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GR No. 12355555 January 22, 1999

Petition for review on Certiorari on Decision of Court of Appeals


May 27, 1991: Petitioner leased the a parcel of land with a commercial building in
Araneta Center Cuabo to Westin Seafood Market Inc. for 9 years and 3 months with a
monthly rental fee of P600,000.

October 19, 1992: Respondents Westin failed to pay rentals despite several demands
(constituting breach of contract) arrearages amounting to P 8,608,284.66

October 31, 1992 Petitioner repossessed the leased premises and made inventories
of the movable properties and scheduled a public auction with notice to the

Nov 26, 1992: Respondent Westin filed with MeTC a Complaint for Forcible Entry with
Damages and a prayer for TRO. (praying for restoration by the lessor, damages fpor the
deterioration of perishable foodstuff causing loss of profits)

TRO was issued and parties agreed on the following:

a. respondent shall deposit 8600000 to the court as security for the payment of back
b. petitioner to defer sale of movable properties of Westin
c. petitioner shall allow retrieval of perishable items inside the premises
d. petitioner to allow 3 personnel to maintain restaurant equipment
e. if no settlement on negotiation for restoration, hearing on the merits shall proceed

Respondent Westin did not comply in its undertaking.

Respondent instituted another action for damages in RTC. Praying for moral and
exemplary damages for unrealized profits of the restaurant.

Petitioner filed a Motion to dismiss on the ground of litis pendencia and forum shopping
but was archived by the presiding judge on July 2, 1993 since the case is being heard in

Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration and reiterated motion to dismiss.

Before the motion to dismiss could be resolved, respondent file with RTC an amended
complaint in August 18, 1993.

Sept 14, 1993: Urgent exparte motion for the issuance of TRO and motion to grant
preliminary prohibitory.
Presiding Judge Santiago denied motion to dismiss and admitted the amended
complaint and granted TRO.

Petitioner filed a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition before the Court of
Appeals on the ground of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction and
allowing forum shopping and taking cognizance despite lack of jurisdiction.

CA dismissed the petition on the following grounds:

1. Failure of the petitioner in filing MR, which is a prerequisite to institution of a petition
for certiorari and prohibition
2. Elements of Litis Pendencia was lacking to justify the dismissal of the action for
damages in forcible entry had no direct relation in the kind of damages being claimed
before the RTC (high handed manner of petitioner to reacquire possession and sale of
movable properties found inside the restaurant)

1st Issue: WON CA erred in dismissing the case requiring prior filing of MR.

While generally a motion for reconsideration must first be filed before resorting to
certiorari in order to give the lower court an opportunity to correct the errors imputed to it
this rule admits of exceptions and is not intended to be applied without considering the
circumstances of the case. The filing of the motion for reconsideration before availing of
the remedy of certiorari is not sine qua non when the issue raised is one purely of law,
or where the error is patent or the disputed order is void, or the questions raised on
certiorari are the same as those already squarely presented to and passed upon by the
lower court.

In its motion for dismissal of the action for damages with the RTC petitioner raised the
ground that another action for forcible entry was pending at the MeTC between the
same parties involving the same matter and cause of action. Outrightly rejected by the
RTC, the same issue was elevated by petitioner on certiorari before the Court of
Appeals. Clearly, under the prevailing circumstance, any motion for reconsid eration of
the trial court would have been a pointless exercise.

2nd Issue: WON RTC should dismiss the case on the pendency of another action filed
by same lessee against same lessor?

Sec 1 of Rule 70 of the Rules of Court provides that any person deprived of the
possession of any land or building by force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth or
against whom the possession of any land or building is unlawfully withheld, may bring
an action in the proper Municipal Trial Court against the person or persons unlawfully
withholding or depriving of possession, together with damages and cost. (No claim
for damages arising out of forcible entry or unlawful detainer may be filed
separately and independently of the claim on restoration of possession)

Sec 1 par (e) Rule 16 of the Rules of Court states that the pendency of another action
between the same parties for the same cause is a ground for dismissal of an action.

Res Judicata requires that there must be between action sought to be dismissed and
the other action the following elements:
a. identity of the parties
b. identity of the right asserted and relief being prayed for
c. identity in 2 preceding particulars

Sec 3 Rule 2 of Rules of Court that a party may not institure more than one suit for a
single cause of action. Under Sec.4 of the same Rule, if two or more suits are instituted
on the basis of the same cause of action, the filing of one or a judgment upon the merits
in any one is available as a ground for the dismissal of the other or others. Cause of
action is defined by Sec 2 of Rule of 2 as the act of omission by which a party violates a
right of another.

Simply stated, the restoration of possession and demand for actual damages in the
case before the MeTC and the demand for damages with the RTC both arise from the
same cause of action, i.e., the forcible entry by petitioner into the leased premises.

A comparative study of the two (2) complaints filed by private respondent against
petitioner before the two (2) trial courts shows that not only are the elements of res
adjudicata present, at least insofar as the claim for actual and compensatory damages
is concerned, but also that the claim for damagesmoral and exemplary in addition to
actual and compensatoryconstitutes splitting a single cause of action. Since this runs
counter to the rule against multiplicity of suits, the dismissal of the second action
becomes imperative.

The other claims for moral and exemplary damages cannot also succeed considering
that these sprung from the main incident being heard before the MeTC. Jurisprudence
is unequivocal that when a single delict or wrong is
committedlike the unlawful taking or detention of the property of anotherthere is but
one single cause of action regardless of the number of rights that may have been
violated, and all such rights should be alleged in a single complaint as constituting one
single cause of action In a forcible entry case, the real issue is the physical possession
of the real property. The question of damages is merely secondary or incidental, so
much so that the amount thereof does not affect the jurisdiction of the court. In other
words, the unlawful act of a deforciant in taking possession of a piece of land by means
of force and intimidation against the rights of the party actually in possession thereof is
a delict or wrong, or a cause of action that gives rise to two (2) remedies, namely, the
recovery of possession and recovery of damages arising from the loss of possession,
but only to one action. For obvious reasons, both remedies cannot be the subject of two
(2) separate and independent actions, one for recovery of possession only, and the
other, for the recovery of damages.

3rd Issue: WON Respondent Westin committed Forum Shopping?

The foregoing discussions provide sufficient basis to petitioners charge that private
respondent and its counsel in the trial courts committed forum-shopping. In Crisostomo
v. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Supreme Court ruled

There is forumshopping whenever, as a result of an adverse opinion in one forum, a

party seeks a favorable opinion (other than by appeal or certiorari) in another. The
principle applies x x x with respect to suits filed in the courts x x x in connection with
litigations commenced in the court x x x in anticipation of an unfavorable x x x ruling and
a favorable case where the court in which the second suit was brought, has no

The records ineluctably show that the complaint lodged by private respondent with the
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City contained no certification of nonforum shopping.
When petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the case raising among others the ground of
forumshopping it pointed out the absence of the required certification. The amended
complaint, as well as the second and third amended complaints, attempted to rectify the
error by invariably stating that there was no other action pending between the parties
involving the same causes of action although there was actually a forcible entry case
pending before the MTC of Quezon City. By its admission of a pending forcible entry
case, it is obvious that private respondent was indulging in forum shopping.

Petition Is granted.
CA and RTC decision dismissed.
RTC case Westin vs Progressive dismissed.
MeTC case Westin vs Progressive proceed.