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11/8/2016 G.R.No.

167484

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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

THIRDDIVISION

G.R.No.167484September9,2013

HERNANDO BORRA, JOHN PACHEO, DANILO PEREZ, FELIZARDO SIMON, RAMON BUENACOSA, JR.,
FELIXBELADOR,WILFREDOLUPO,RONALDVILLARIAS,ARSENIOMINDANAO,MAXNONALA,SIMPLICIO
DE ERIT, NOEL DONGUINES, JULIO BORRA, MELCHOR JAVIER, JOHNNY ENRICO VARGAS, PAQUITO
SONDIA,JOSESALAJOG,ELMERLUPO,RAZULARANEZ,NELSONPEREZ,BALBINOABLAY,FERNANDO
SIMON, JIMMY VILLARTA, ROMEO CAINDOC, SALVADOR SANTILLAN, ROMONEL JANEO, ERNESTO
GONZALUDO, JOSE PAJES, ROY TAN, FERNANDO SANTILLAN, JR., DEMETRIO SEMILLA, RENE
CORDERO, EDUARDO MOLENO, ROMY DINAGA, HERNANDO GUMBAN, FEDERICO ALVARICO, ELMER
CATO,ROGELIOCORDERO,RODNEYPAJES,ERNIEBAYER,ARMANDOTABARES,NOLIAMADOR,MARIO
SANTILLAN, ALANIL TRASMONTE, VICTOR ORTEGA, JOEVING ROQUERO, CYRUS PINAS, DANILO
PERALES,andALFONSOCOSAS,JR.,Petitioners,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS SECOND AND NINETEENTH DIVISIONS and HAWAIIAN PHILIPPINE COMPANY,
Respondents.

DECISION

PERALTA,J.:

BeforetheCourtisaspecialcivilactionforcertiorariunderRule65oftheRulesofCourtseekingthenullification
oftheNovember14,2003Resolution,1aswellasthesubsequentDecision2andResolution,3datedJune22,2004
andJanuary14,2005,respectively,oftheCourtofAppeals(CA)inCAG.R.SPNo.78729.TheNovember14,
2003Resolutiongrantedprivaterespondent'smotionfortheissuanceofapreliminarymandatoryinjunction.The
assailed CA Decision, on the other hand, set aside the Order of the Labor Arbiter, dated August 12, 2003, and
dismissedRABCaseNo.091069897,whiletheJanuary14,2005CAResolutiondeniedpetitioners'motionfor
reconsideration.

Thefactualandproceduralantecedentsofthecaseareasfollows:

OnSeptember12,1997,hereinpetitionersfiledwiththeNationalLaborRelationsCommission(NLRC)Regional
ArbitrationBranchNo.VIinBacolodCitytwoseparatecomplaintswhichweredocketedasRABCaseNo.0609
1069897 and RAB Case No. 06091069997. RAB Case No.06091069897 was filed against herein private
respondentalone,whileRABCaseNo.06091069997impleadedhereinprivaterespondentandacertainFela
Contractor as respondents. In RAB Case No. 06091069897,herein petitioners asked that they be recognized
and confirmed as regular employees of herein private respondent and further prayed that they be awarded
variousbenefitsreceivedbyregularemployeesforthree(3)yearspriortothefilingofthecomplaint,whileinRAB
CaseNo.06091069997,hereinpetitionerssoughtforpaymentofunpaidwages,holidaypay,allowances,13th
monthpay,serviceincentiveleavepay,moralandexemplarydamagesalsoduringthethree(3)yearspreceding
thefilingofthecomplaint.

On October 16, 1997, private respondent filed a Motion to Consolidate4 the above mentioned cases, but the
LaborArbiterinchargeofthecasedeniedthesaidMotioninitsOrder5datedOctober20,1997.

OnJanuary9,1998,privaterespondentfiledaMotiontoDismiss6RABCaseNo.0609069897ontheground
of res judicata. Private respondent cited an earlier decided case entitled " Humphrey Perez, et al. v. Hawaiian
Philippine Co. et al. "(Perez case) and docketed as RAB Case No.06041016995, which was an action for
recovery of 13th month pay and service incentive leave pay, and it includes herein petitioners among the
complainants and herein private respondent and one Jose Castillon (Castillon) as respondents. Private
respondent contended that the Perez case, which has already become final and executory, as no appeal was
takentherefrom,servesasabartothelitigationofRABCaseNo.06091069897,becauseitwasruledtherein
thatpetitionersarenotemployeesofprivaterespondentbutofCastillon.

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InanOrder7datedJuly9,1998,theLaborArbitergrantedprivaterespondent'sMotiontoDismiss.

PetitionersappealedtotheNLRCwhichsetasidetheOrderoftheLaborArbiter,reinstatedthecomplaintinRAB
CaseNo.06091069897andremandedthesameforfurtherproceedings.8

PrivaterespondentappealedtotheCA.OnJanuary12,2001,theCArenderedjudgment,affirmingtheDecision
oftheNLRCanddeniedthesubsequentmotionforreconsideration.

Aggrieved,privaterespondentfiledapetitionforreviewoncertioraribeforethisCourt.Thecasewasentitledas
"Hawaiian Philippine Company v. Borra" and docketed as G.R. No. 151801. On November 12, 2002, this Court
rendered its Decision denying the petition and affirming the Decision of the CA. Quoting with approval, the
assailedDecisionoftheCA,thisCourtheld,thus:

TheCourtofAppealscommittednoreversibleerror.Thetwocasesinquestionindeedinvolveddifferentcauses
of action. The previous case of "Humphrey Perez vs. Hawaiian Philippine Company" concerned a money claim
and pertained to the years 1987 up until 1995. During that period, private respondents were engaged by
contractor Jose Castillon to work for petitioner at its warehouse. It would appear that the finding of the Labor
Arbiter,totheeffectthatnoemployeremployeerelationshipexistedbetweenpetitionerandprivaterespondents,
was largely predicated on the absence of privity between them. The complaint for confirmation of employment,
however,wasfiledbyprivaterespondentson12September1997,bywhichtime,JoseCastillonwasnolonger
thecontractor.TheCourtofAppealscameoutwiththesefindingsviz.:

At first glance, it would appear that the case at bench is indeed barred by Labor Arbiter Drilons findings since
bothpetitionerandprivaterespondentsarepartiesinPerezandtheissueofemployeremployeerelationshipwas
finallyresolvedtherein.

However,thefactualmilieuofthePerezcasecoveredtheperiodNovember1987toApril6,1995(dateoffilingof
thecomplaint),duringwhichtimeprivaterespondents,bytheirownadmission,wereengagedbyCastillontowork
atpetitionerswarehouse.

In contrast, the instant case was filed on September 12, 1997, by which time, the contractor involved was Fela
Contractorandprivaterespondentsprayerisforconfirmationoftheirstatusasregularemployeesofpetitioner.

Stateddifferently,Perezpertainstoprivaterespondentsemploymentfrom1987to1995,whiletheinstantcase
covers a different (subsequent) period. Moreover, in Perez, the finding that no employeremployee relationship
existed between petitioner and private respondents was premised on absence of privity between Castillon and
petitioner.Consequently,Perezandtheinstantcaseinvolvedifferentsubjectmattersandcausesofaction.

On the other hand, resolution of the case at bench would hinge on the nature of the relationship between
petitionerandFelaContractor.Inotherwords,privaterespondentsactionfordeclarationasregularemployeesof
petitionerwillnotsucceedunlessitisestablishedthatFelaContractorismerelya"laboronly"contractorandthat
petitioneristheirrealemployer.

Indeed,itispureconjecturetoconcludethatthecircumstancesobtaininginPerezsubsisteduntilthefilingofthe
case at bench as there is no evidence supporting such conclusion. There is, as yet, no showing that Fela
ContractormerelysteppedintotheshoesofCastillon.NeitherhasFelaContractorsrealprincipalbeenshown:
petitionerorthesugartraders/planters?

Consequently, factual issues must first be ventilated inappropriate proceedings before the issue of employer
employeerelationshipbetweenpetitionerandprivaterespondents[hereinprivaterespondentandpetitioners]can
bedetermined.

It is premature to conclude that the evidence in Perez would determine the outcome of the case at bench
becauseasearlierpointedout,thereisstillnoshowingthatthecontractor(Felacontractor)inthiscasecanbe
considered as on the same footing as the previous contractor (Castillon). Such factual issue is crucial in
determiningwhetherpetitioneristherealemployerofprivaterespondents.9

Inthemeantime,onDecember21,1998,theLaborArbiterrenderedaDecision10inRABCaseNo.060910699
97holdingthatthereisnoemployeremployeerelationsbetweenprivaterespondentandpetitioners.TheLabor
Arbiterheldasfollows:

xxxFelaContractorasmaybenotedhappenedtoreplaceJoseCastillon,asContractorofthetradersorsugar
planters,whoabsorbedtheworkersoftheerstwhilecontractorCastillon.

The complainants herein, who were the workers of Castillon, formally applied for employment with respondent
JoseCastillon,theownerofFelaContractor,thenewhandlerandhaulerofthesugarplantersandtraders.Thus,
onFebruary15,1996,respondentJardinico,representativeofrespondentFelaContractor,wrotealettertothe
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AdministrativeManagerofrespondentHawaiianinformingthelatterthatasofMarch1,1996,theformerworkers
ofCastillonthepreviouscontractor,whoundertookthehandlingandwithdrawalofthesugarofthetradersand
planters,havebeenabsorbedandemployedbyFela,witharequesttoallowthemtoenterthepremisesofthe
company.

In this suit, the same complainants now seek monetary benefits arising from the employment and they again
impleadedrespondentHawaiian.

We, thus resolve to dismiss the complaint against respondent Hawaiian, who as we have found in an earlier
pronouncement has no employeremployee relations with the complainant, let alone, any privity of relationship,
exceptforthefactthatitisthedepositoryofsugarwherethesugaroftheplantersandtradersarehauledbythe
workersofthecontractor,likerespondenthereinFelaContractor/Jardinico.11

NoappealwastakenfromtheabovequotedDecision.Thus,thesamebecamefinalandexecutory.12

As a consequence of the finality of the Decision in RAB Case No. 06091069997, herein private respondent
againfiledaMotiontoDismiss13RABCaseNo.06091069897ontheground,amongothers,ofresjudicata.
PrivaterespondentcontendedthatthefinalandexecutoryDecisionoftheLaborArbiterinRABCaseNo.0609
1069997,whichfoundnoemployeremployeerelationsbetweenprivaterespondentandpetitioners,servesasa
bartothefurtherlitigationofRABCaseNo.06091069897.

OnAugust12,2003,theLaborArbiterhandlingRABCaseNo.06091069897issuedanOrder

14denyingprivaterespondent'sMotiontoDismiss.

Private respondent then filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with the CA assailing the August 12, 2003
OrderoftheLaborArbiter.

OnJune22,2004,theCArendereditsquestionedDecision,thedispositiveportionofwhichreads,thus:

WHEREFORE,foregoingpremisesconsidered,thepetitionisGRANTED.Accordingly,theOrderdatedAugust12,
2003 of public respondent is hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. RAB Case No. 091069897 is ordered
DISMISSED.

SOORDERED.15

PetitionersfiledaMotionforReconsideration,buttheCAdenieditinitsResolution16datedJanuary14,2005.

Hence,thepresentpetitionforcertioraribasedonthefollowinggrounds:

I. THE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED ABSOLUTELY WITHOUTANY JURISDICTION WHEN IT TOOK


COGNIZANCEOFTHE2ndPETITIONOFHPCODESPITETHEABSOLUTELACKOFANYINTERVENING
OR SUPERVENING EVENT THAT WOULD RENDER THE ORDERS OF THE SUPREME COURT AND
COURT OFAPPEALS INAPPLICABLE AND THE CLEAR AND ESTABLISHEDDECISION LAID DOWN BY
THE FIRST DIVISION OF THE SUPREME COURT UNDER CHIEF JUSTICE HILARIO G. DAVIDE,JR.,
ASSOCIATE JUSTICES JOSE C. VITUG, CONSUELO YNARESSANTIAGO, ANTONIO T. CARPIO, AND
ADOLFOS.AZCUNAANDBYTHECOURTOFAPPEALSUNDERJUSTICESEDGARDOP.CRUZ,RAMON
MABUTAS, JR., ROBERTO A. BARRIOS, MA.ALICIA AUSTRIAMARTINEZ AND HILARION L.
AQUINO,RULING THAT FURTHER HEARINGS AND TRIAL MUST BECONDUCTED BY THE LABOR
ARBITER WHICH SIGNIFICANTLYFOUND THE EXISTENCE OF EMPLOYEREMPLOYEERELATIONSHIP
INHISDECISIONDATEDSEPTEMBER25,2003.

II. THE COURT OF APPEALS HAD SERIOUSLY ERRED, IF NOTGRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION
WHEN IT CHOSE TODELIBERATELY IGNORE AND/OR ENTIRELY DISREGARD THECLEAR AND
ESTABLISHED FACTS ON RECORD AS TO THEEXISTENCE OF THE IDENTITY OF SUBJECT MATTER
ANDCAUSE OF ACTION BETWEEN HPCO VS. BORRA & 48 OTHERS/NLRC, ET. AL., C.A. G.R. NO.
59132 AND HPCO VS. NLRC,BORRA, ET AL., G.R. NO. 151801 ON ONE HAND AND HPCO VS.HON.
PHEBUNPURA/BORRA&48OTHERSC.A.G.R.NO.78729ONTHEOTHERHAND.

III.THECOURTOFAPPEALSSERIOUSLYERREDINTAKINGCOGNIZANCEOFTHESECONDPETITION
OF HPCO DESPITE THECLEAR AND ESTABLISHED FACT ON RECORD THAT HPCO
HADSIMULTANEOUSLY AND SUCCESSIVELY FILED AN (sic)IDENTICAL THREE (3) MOTIONS TO
DISMISS IN THE SALA OFLABOR ARBITERS AND TWO (2) PETITIONS FOR CERTIORARI INTHE
COURTOFAPPEALSWHICHISAFLAGRANTVIOLATIONONTHELAWOFFORUMSHOPPING.17

Thepetitionlacksmerit.

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This Court is not persuaded by petitioners' argument that the CA has no jurisdiction over private respondent's
petitionforcertioraribecausethisCourt,inG.R.No.151801,lodgedjurisdictionintheLaborArbiterbydirecting
theremandofRABCaseNo.06091069897theretoforfurtherproceedings.

Itissettledthatjurisdictionoverthesubjectmatterisconferredbylawanditisnotwithinthecourts,letalonethe
parties,tothemselvesdetermineorconvenientlysetaside.18

Inthisregard,itshouldbereiteratedthatwhathasbeenfiledbyprivaterespondentwiththeCAisaspecialcivil
actionforcertiorariassailingtheLaborArbiter'sOrderwhichdenieditsmotiontodismiss.

Section3,RuleVoftheNLRCRulesofProcedure,whichwasthenprevailingatthetimeofthefilingofprivate
respondent'spetitionforcertiorariwiththeCA,clearlyprovides:

SECTION3.

MOTION TO DISMISS. On or before the date set for the conference, the respondent may file a motion to
dismiss.Anymotiontodismissonthegroundoflackofjurisdiction,impropervenue,orthatthecauseofactionis
barredbypriorjudgment,prescriptionorforumshopping,shallbeimmediatelyresolvedbytheLaborArbiterbya
writtenorder.Anorderdenyingthemotiontodismissorsuspendingitsresolutionuntilthefinaldeterminationof
thecaseisnotappealable.19

In the case of Metro Drug Distribution, Inc. v. Metro Drug Corporation Employees Association
FederationofFreeWorkers,20thisCourtheldthat:

xxxTheNLRCruleproscribingappealfromadenialofamotiontodismississimilartothegeneralruleobserved
incivilprocedurethatanorderdenyingamotiontodismissisinterlocutoryand,hence,notappealableuntilfinal
judgmentororderisrendered.Theremedyoftheaggrievedpartyincaseofdenialofthemotiontodismissisto
file an answer and interpose, as a defense or defenses, the ground or grounds relied upon in the motion to
dismiss,proceedtotrialand,incaseofadversejudgment,toelevatetheentirecasebyappealinduecourse.In
ordertoavailoftheextraordinarywritofcertiorari,itisincumbentuponpetitionertoestablishthatthedenialof
themotiontodismisswastaintedwithgraveabuseofdiscretion.21

Inthisregard,Rule41oftheRulesofCourt,whichisappliedinasuppletorycharactertocasescoveredbythe
NLRCRules,providesthatinalltheinstancesenumeratedunderthesaidRule,wherethejudgmentorfinalorder
is not appealable, the aggrieved party may file an appropriate special civil action under Rule 65.22 Thus, this
Courthasheldthatwhenthedenialofamotiontodismissistaintedwithgraveabuseofdiscretion,thegrantof
theextraordinaryremedyofcertiorarimaybejustified.23Onthebasisoftheforegoing,itisclearthattheCAhas
jurisdictionoverthespecialcivilactionforcertiorarifiledbyprivaterespondentasthelatterwasabletoallegeand
establishthatthedenialofitsmotiontodismisswastaintedwithgraveabuseofdiscretion.Petitionersarewrong
to argue that this Court's directive in G.R. No. 151801 to remand RAB Case No. 06091069897 to the Labor
ArbiterforfurtherproceedingsdeprivestheCAofitsjurisdictionoverprivaterespondent'spetitionforcertiorari.
The essence of this Court's ruling in G.R. No. 151801 is simply to require resolution of the factual issue of
whether or not Fela Contractor has stepped into the shoes of Castillon and, thus, has taken petitioners in its
employ. In other words, this Court called for a prior determination as to who is the real employer of petitioners.
Thisissue,however,wasalreadysettledaswillbediscussedbelow.

Attheoutset,theunderlyingquestionwhichhastoberesolvedinbothRABCaseNos.06091069897and06
091069997,beforeanyotherissueinthesecasescouldbedetermined,isthematterofdeterminingpetitioners'
realemployer.IsitFelaContractor,orisitprivaterespondent?Indeed,thetribunalsandcourtscannotproceedto
decidewhetherornotpetitionersshouldbeconsideredregularemployees,andarethusentitledtothebenefits
theyclaim,ifthereisapriorfindingthattheyare,inthefirstplace,notemployeesofprivaterespondent.Stated
differently,andascorrectlyheldbytheCA,petitioners'prayerforregularizationinRABCaseNo.06091069897
isessentiallydependentontheexistenceofemployeremployeerelationsbetweenthemandprivaterespondent,
becauseonecannotbemadearegularemployeeofonewhoisnothisemployer.Inthesamevein,petitioners'
prayerinRABCaseNo.06091069997fortherecoveryofbackwages,13thmonthpay,holidaypayandservice
incentiveleavepayfromprivaterespondentlikewiserestsonthedeterminationofwhetherornottheformerare,
indeed,employeesofthelatter.

Asearliermentioned,thisissuehasalreadybeensettled.InthealreadyfinalandexecutorydecisionoftheLabor
Arbiter in RAB Case No.06091069997, it was ruled therein that no employeremployee relationship exists
betweenprivaterespondentandpetitionersbecausethelatter'srealemployerisFelaContractor.Thus,insofar
asthequestionofemployerandemployeerelationsbetweenprivaterespondentandpetitionersisconcerned,the
finaljudgmentinRABCaseNo.06091069997hastheeffectandauthorityofresjudicatabyconclusivenessof
judgment.

Discussingtheconceptofresjudicata,thisCourtheldinAntoniov.SaymanVda.deMonje24
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that:

xxxResjudicataisdefinedas"amatteradjudgedathingjudiciallyacteduponordecidedathing
ormattersettledbyjudgment."Accordingtothedoctrineofresjudicata,anexistingfinaljudgmentor
decree rendered on the merits, and without fraud or collusion, by a court of competent jurisdiction,
uponanymatterwithinitsjurisdiction,isconclusiveoftherightsofthepartiesortheirprivies,inall
otheractionsorsuitsinthesameoranyotherjudicialtribunalofconcurrentjurisdictiononthepoints
and matters in issue in the first suit. To state simply, a final judgment or decree on the merits by a
courtofcompetentjurisdictionisconclusiveoftherightsofthepartiesortheirpriviesinalllatersuits
onallpointsandmattersdeterminedintheformersuit.

The principle of res judicata is applicable by way of (1) "bar by prior judgment" and (2)
"conclusivenessofjudgment."ThisCourthadoccasiontoexplainthedifferencebetweenthesetwo
aspectsofresjudicataasfollows:

There is "bar by prior judgment" when, as between the first case where the judgment
was rendered and the second case that is sought to be barred, there is identity of
parties, subject matter, and causes of action. In this instance, the judgment in the first
case constitutes an absolute bar to the second action. Otherwise put, the judgment or
decree of the court of competent jurisdiction on the merits concludes the litigation
betweentheparties,aswellastheirprivies,andconstitutesabartoanewactionorsuit
involvingthesamecauseofactionbeforethesameorothertribunal.

But where there is identity of parties in the first and second cases, but no identity of
causes of action, the first judgment is conclusive only as to those matters actually and
directlycontrovertedanddeterminedandnotastomattersmerelyinvolvedtherein.This
istheconceptofresjudicataknownas"conclusivenessofjudgment."Stateddifferently,
any right, fact or matter in issue directly adjudicated or necessarily involved in the
determination of an action before a competent court in which judgment is rendered on
themeritsisconclusivelysettledbythejudgmentthereinandcannotagainbelitigated
between the parties and their privies whether or not the claim, demand, purpose, or
subjectmatterofthetwoactionsisthesame. 1 w p h i1

Stated differently, conclusiveness of judgment finds application when a fact or question has been
squarelyputinissue,judiciallypassedupon,andadjudgedinaformersuitbyacourtofcompetent
jurisdiction. The fact or question settled by final judgment or order binds the parties to that action
(and persons in privity with them or their successorsininterest), and continues to bind them while
the judgment or order remains standing and unreversed by proper authority on a timely motion or
petition the conclusivelysettled fact or question cannot again be litigated in any future or other
action between the same parties or their privies and successorsininterest, in the same or in any
othercourtofconcurrentjurisdiction,eitherforthesameorforadifferentcauseofaction.Thus,only
theidentitiesofpartiesandissuesarerequiredfortheoperationoftheprincipleofconclusivenessof
judgment.25

Hence,thereisnopointindeterminingthemainissueraisedinRABCaseNo.06091069897,

i.e.,whetherpetitionersmaybeconsideredregularemployeesofprivaterespondent,because,inthefirstplace,
theyarenotevenemployeesofthelatter.Assuch,theCAcorrectlyheldthattheLaborArbitercommittedgrave
abuseofdiscretionindenyingprivaterespondent'smotiontodismissRABCaseNo.06091069897.

The question that follows is whether private respondent is guilty of forum shopping, considering that it already
filedamotiontodismissRABCaseNo.06091069897in1998?TheCourtanswersinthenegative.

InPentacapitalInvestmentCorporationv.Mahinay,26thisCourt'sdiscussiononforumshoppingisinstructive,to
wit:

Forumshopping is the act of a litigant who repetitively availed of several judicial remedies in different courts,
simultaneouslyorsuccessively,allsubstantiallyfoundedonthesametransactionsandthesameessentialfacts
andcircumstances,andallraisingsubstantiallythesameissues,eitherpendinginoralreadyresolvedadversely
bysomeothercourt,toincreasehischancesofobtainingafavorabledecisionifnotinonecourt,theninanother.

What is important in determining whether forumshopping exists is the vexation caused the courts and parties
litigantsbyapartywhoasksdifferentcourtsand/oradministrativeagenciestoruleonthesameorrelatedcauses
and/or grant the same or substantially the same reliefs, in the process creating the possibility of conflicting
decisionsbeingrenderedbythedifferentforauponthesameissues.

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Forumshoppingcanbecommittedinthreeways:(1)byfilingmultiplecasesbasedonthesamecauseofaction
andwiththesameprayer,thepreviouscasenothavingbeenresolvedyet(wherethegroundfordismissalislitis
pendentia)(2)byfilingmultiplecasesbasedonthesamecauseofactionandwiththesameprayer,theprevious
casehavingbeenfinallyresolved(wherethegroundfordismissalisresjudicata)and(3)byfilingmultiplecases
basedonthesamecauseofactionbutwithdifferentprayers(splittingofcausesofaction,wherethegroundfor
dismissalisalsoeitherlitispendentiaorresjudicata).

Moreparticularly,theelementsofforumshoppingare:(a)identityofpartiesoratleastsuchpartiesthatrepresent
thesameinterestsinbothactions(b)identityofrightsassertedandreliefsprayedfor,thereliefbeingfoundedon
thesamefacts(c)identityofthetwoprecedingparticulars,suchthatanyjudgmentrenderedintheotheraction
will,regardlessofwhichpartyissuccessful,amounttoresjudicataintheactionunderconsideration.27

In the instant case, there can be no forum shopping, because the grounds cited by private respondent in its
motionstodismissfiledin1998andinthepresentcasearedifferent.In1998,themotiontodismissisbasedon
theargumentthatthefinalandexecutorydecisioninthe

Perez case serves as res judicata and, thus, bars the relitigation of the issue of employeremployee relations
betweenprivaterespondentandpetitioners.Intheinstantcase,privaterespondentagaincitesresjudicataasa
ground for its motion to dismiss. This time, however, the basis for such ground is not Perez but the final and
executorydecisioninRABCaseNo.06091069997.Thus,thereliefprayedforinprivaterespondent'smotionto
dismisssubjectoftheinstantcaseisfoundedontotallydifferentfactsandissues.

Asafinalnote,thisCourtcannothelpbutcalltheattentionoftheLaborArbiterregardingOurobservationthatthe
resolutionofRABCaseNo.06091069897hasbeenunnecessarilypendingforalmostsixteen(16)yearsnow.
TheresultingdelayintheresolutionoftheinstantcasecouldhavebeenavoidedhadtheLaborArbitergranted
private respondent's Motion to Consolidate RAB Case Nos. 06091069897 and 06091069997. This Court
quoteswithapprovalthecontentionofprivaterespondentinitsMotion,towit:

3. That in light of the fact that the question as to whether or not there exists employeremployee relations as
betweencomplainants[hereinpetitioners]andhereinrespondentHPCOwillindispensablyhavetoberesolvedin
lightofthepresenceofanindependentcontractor(FELAContractors)inRABCaseNo.06091069997which
shouldotherwisebedeterminativeoftheissueinvolvedinthepresentsuititshouldonlybelogicalandproper
thatforpurposesofabatingseparateandinconsistentverdictsbytwodistinctarbitrationsalasofthisCommission
thatthepresentsuitbeaccordinglyconsolidatedforjointhearingandresolutionwithsaidRABCaseNo.0609
1069997xxx.28

UnderSection3,RuleIVofthethenprevailing,aswellasinthepresentlyexisting,NLRCRulesofProcedure,itis
clearlyprovidedthat:

Section3.ConsolidationofCases.WheretherearetwoormorecasespendingbeforedifferentLaborArbiters
in the same Regional Arbitration Branch involving the same employer and issues, or the same parties and
different issues, whenever practicable, the subsequent easels shall be consolidated with the first to avoid
unnecessarycostsordelay.xxx

Inthesamemanner,Section1,Rule31ofthe1997RulesofCivilProcedure,allowsconsolidation,thus:

SECTION 1. Consolidation. When actions involving a common question of law or fact are pending before the
court, it may order a joint hearing or trial of any or all the matters in issue in the actions it may order all the
actionsconsolidatedanditmaymakesuchordersconcerning

Proceedingsthereinasmaytendtoavoidunnecessarycostsordelay.

Considering that the above mentioned cases involved essentially the same parties and the basic issue of
employeremployee relations between private respondent and petitioners, the Labor Arbiter should have been
morecircumspectandshouldhaveallowedthecasestobeconsolidated.Thiswouldbeinconsonancewiththe
parties' constitutional right to a speedy disposition of cases as well as in keeping with the orderly and efficient
dispositionofcases.

WHEREFORE,thepetitionisDISMISSED.TheassailedDecisionandResolutionsoftheCourtofAppealsinCA
G.R.SPNo.78729areAFFIRMED.

SOORDERED.

DIOSDADOM.PERALTA
AssociateJustice

WECONCUR:

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PRESBITEROJ.VELASCO,JR.
AssociateJustice
Chairperson

ROBERTOA.ABAD JOSECATRALMENDOZA
AssociateJustice AssociateJustice

MARVICMARIOVICTORF.LEONEN
AssociateJustice

ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision bad been reached in consultation before the case was
assignedtothewriteroftheopinionoftheCourt'sDivision.

PRESBITEROJ.VELASCO,JR.
AssociateJustice
Chairperson,ThirdDivision

CERTIFICATION

PursuanttoSection13,ArticleVIIIoftheConstitutionandtheDivisionChairperson'sAttestation,Icertifythatthe
conclusionsintheaboveDecisionhadbeenreachedinconsultationbeforethecasewasassignedtothewriterof
theopinionoftheCourt'sDivision.

MARIALOURDESP.A.SERENO
ChiefJustice

Footnotes

1 Penned by Associate Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr. (now CA Presiding Justice), with Associate Justices
BuenaventuraJ.GuerreroandRegaladoE.Maambong,concurringAnnex"D"toPetition,rollo,pp.100
103.

2 Penned by Associate Justice Arsenio J. Magpale, with Associate Justices Pampio A. Abarintos and
RamonM.Bato,Jr.,concurringAnnex"E"toPetition,rollo,pp.104113.

3Annex"F"toPetition,rollo,pp.114115.

4Records,Vol.I,pp.1617.

5Id.at24.

6Id.at3142.

7Id.at132134.

8SeeNLRCDecisiondatedNovember25,1999,records,Vol.I,pp.253259.

9SeeHawaiianPhilippineCompanyv.Borra,G.R.No.151801,November12,2002,391SCRA453,455
456.
10Annex"H"toprivaterespondent'sComment,rollo,pp.393408.

11Id.at402403.(Emphasissupplied)

12SeeNLRCCertificationdatedJanuary11,2000,Annex"H1"toprivaterespondent'sComment,rollo,p.
409.
13Records,Vol.I,pp.661671.

14Records,Vol.II,pp.10051007.

15Rollo,p.113.

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16Id.at115.

17Id.at5253.

18 Machado v. Gatdula, G.R. No. 156287, February 16, 2010, 612 SCRA 546, 559 La Naval Drug
Corporationv.CourtofAppeals,G.R.No.103200,August31,1994,236SCRA78,90.
19Emphasissupplied.

20508Phil.47(2005).

21Id.at5859.(Emphasissupplied)

22SeeRulesofCourt,Rule41,Section1,lastparagraph.

23NMRothschild&Sons(Australia)Limitedv.LepantoConsolidatedMiningCompany,G.R.No.175799,
November 28, 2011, 661 SCRA 328, 337 Lim v. Court of Appeals, Mindanao Station, G.R. No.192615,
January30,2013,689SCRA705,710.
24G.R.No.149624,September29,2010,631SCRA471.

25Id.at479481.(Emphasesintheoriginalcitationsomitted)

26G.R.Nos.171736and181482,July5,2010,623SCRA284.

27Id.at310311.(Emphasissuppliedcitationsomitted))

28Records.Vol.l.pp.1617.

TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

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