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G.R. No. L-66620 September 24, 1986 REMEDIO V. FLORES, petitioner, vs. HON. JUDGE HEILIA S.

MALLARE-PHILLIPPS, IGNACIO BINONGCAL & FERNANDO CALION, respondents. The Court rules that the application of the totality rule under Section 33(l) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 and Section 11 of the Interim Rules is subject to the requirements for the permissive joinder of parties under Section 6 of Rule 3 which provides as follows: Permissive joinder of parties.-All persons in whom or against whom any right to relief in respect to or arising out of the same transaction or series of transactions is alleged to exist, whether jointly, severally, or in the alternative, may, except as otherwise provided in these rules, join as plaintiffs or be joined as defendants in one complaint, where any question of law or fact common to all such plaintiffs or to all such defendants may arise in the action; but the court may make such orders as may be just to prevent any plaintiff or defendant from being embarrassed or put to expense in connection with any proceedings in which he may have no interest. Petitioner has appealed by certiorari from the order of Judge Heilia S. Mallare-Phillipps of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City and Benguet Province which dismissed his complaint for lack of jurisdiction. Petitioner did not attach to his petition a copy of his complaint in the erroneous belief that the entire original record of the case shall be transmitted to this Court pursuant to the second paragraph of Section 39 of BP129. This provision applies only to ordinary appeals from the regional trial court to the Court of Appeals (Section 20 of the Interim Rules). Appeals to this Court by petition for review on certiorari are governed by Rule 45 of the Rules of Court (Section 25 of the Interim Rules). However, the order appealed from states that the first cause of action alleged in the complaint was against respondent Ignacio Binongcal for refusing to pay the amount of P11,643.00 representing cost of truck tires which he purchased on credit from petitioner on various occasions from August to October, 1981; and the second cause of action was against respondent Fernando Calion for allegedly refusing to pay the amount of P10,212.00 representing cost of truck tires which he purchased on credit from petitioner on several occasions from March, 1981 to January, 1982. On December 15, 1983, counsel for respondent Binongcal filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction since the amount of the demand against said respondent was only P11,643.00, and under Section 19(8) of BP129 the regional trial court shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction if the amount of the demand is more than twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00). It was further averred in said motion that although another person, Fernando Calion, was allegedly indebted to petitioner in the amount of P10,212.00, his obligation was

separate and distinct from that of the other respondent. At the hearing of said Motion to Dismiss, counsel for respondent Calion joined in moving for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. Counsel for petitioner opposed the Motion to Dismiss. As above stated, the trial court dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. Petitioner maintains that the lower court has jurisdiction over the case following the "novel" totality rule introduced in Section 33(l) of BP129 and Section 11 of the Interim Rules. The pertinent portion of Section 33(l) of BP129 reads as follows: ... Provided,That where there are several claims or causes of action between the same or different parties, embodied in the same complaint, the amount of the demand shall be the totality of the claims in all the causes of action, irrespective of whether the causes of action arose out of the same or different transactions. ... Section 11 of the Interim Rules provides thus: Application of the totality rule.-In actions where the jurisdiction of the court is dependent on the amount involved, the test of jurisdiction shall be the aggregate sum of all the money demands, exclusive only of interest and costs, irrespective of whether or not the separate claims are owned by or due to different parties. If any demand is for damages in a civil action, the amount thereof must be specifically alleged. Petitioner compares the above-quoted provisions with the pertinent portion of the former rule under Section 88 of the Judiciary Act of 1948 as amended which reads as follows: ... Where there are several claims or causes of action between the same parties embodied in the same complaint, the amount of the demand shall be the totality of the demand in all the causes of action, irrespective of whether the causes of action arose out of the same or different transactions; but where the claims or causes of action joined in a single complaint are separately owned by or due to different parties, each separate claim shall furnish the jurisdictional test. ... and argues that with the deletion of the proviso in the former rule, the totality rule was reduced to clarity and brevity and the jurisdictional test is the totality of the claims in all, not in each, of the causes of action, irrespective of whether the causes of action arose out of the same or different transactions. This argument is partly correct. There is no difference between the former and present rules in cases where a plaintiff sues a defendant on two or more separate causes of action. In such cases, the amount of the demand shall be the totality of the claims in all the causes of action irrespective of whether the causes of action arose out of the same or different transactions. If the total demand exceeds twenty thousand pesos, then the regional trial court has jurisdiction.

Needless to state, if the causes of action are separate and independent, their joinder in one complaint is permissive and not mandatory, and any cause of action where the amount of the demand is twenty thousand pesos or less may be the subject of a separate complaint filed with a metropolitan or municipal trial court. On the other hand, there is a difference between the former and present rules in cases where two or more plaintiffs having separate causes of action against a defendant join in a single complaint. Under the former rule, "where the claims or causes of action joined in a single complaint are separately owned by or due to different parties, each separate claim shall furnish the jurisdictional test" (Section 88 of the Judiciary Act of 1948 as amended, supra). This was based on the ruling in the case of Vda. de Rosario vs. Justice of the Peace, 99 Phil. 693. As worded, the former rule applied only to cases of permissive joinder of parties plaintiff. However, it was also applicable to cases of permissive joinder of parties defendant, as may be deduced from the ruling in the case ofBrillo vs. Buklatan, thus: Furthermore, the first cause of action is composed of separate claims against several defendants of different amounts each of which is not more than P2,000 and falls under the jurisdiction of the justice of the peace court under section 88 of Republic Act No, 296. The several claims do not seem to arise from the same transaction or series of transactions and there seem to be no questions of law or of fact common to all the defendants as may warrant their joinder under Rule 3, section 6. Therefore, if new complaints are to be filed in the name of the real party in interest they should be filed in the justice of the peace court. (87 Phil. 519, 520, reiterated in Gacula vs. Martinez, 88 Phil. 142, 146) Under the present law, the totality rule is applied also to cases where two or more plaintiffs having separate causes of action against a defendant join in a single complaint, as well as to cases where a plaintiff has separate causes of action against two or more defendants joined in a single complaint. However, the causes of action in favor of the two or more plaintiffs or against the two or more defendants should arise out of the same transaction or series of transactions and there should be a common question of law or fact, as provided in Section 6 of Rule 3. The difference between the former and present rules in cases of permissive joinder of parties may be illustrated by the two cases which were cited in the case of Vda. de Rosario vs. Justice of the Peace (supra) as exceptions to the totality rule. In the case of Soriano y Cia vs. Jose (86 Phil. 523), where twenty-nine dismissed employees joined in a complaint against the defendant to collect their respective claims, each of which was within the jurisdiction of the municipal court although the total exceeded the jurisdictional amount, this Court held that under the law then the municipal court had jurisdiction. In said case, although the plaintiffs' demands were separate, distinct and independent of one another, their joint suit was authorized under Section 6 of Rule 3 and each separate claim furnished the jurisdictional test. In the case of International Colleges, Inc. vs. Argonza (90 Phil. 470), where twenty-five dismissed teachers jointly sued the defendant for unpaid salaries, this Court also held that the municipal court had jurisdiction because the amount of each claim was within, although the

total exceeded, its jurisdiction and it was a case of permissive joinder of parties plaintiff under Section 6 of Rule 3. Under the present law, the two cases above cited (assuming they do not fall under the Labor Code) would be under the jurisdiction of the regional trial court. Similarly, in the abovecited cases of Brillo vs. Buklatan and Gacula vs. Martinez (supra), if the separate claims against the several defendants arose out of the same transaction or series of transactions and there is a common question of law or fact, they would now be under the jurisdiction of the regional trial court. In other words, in cases of permissive joinder of parties, whether as plaintiffs or as defendants, under Section 6 of Rule 3, the total of all the claims shall now furnish the jurisdictional test. Needless to state also, if instead of joining or being joined in one complaint separate actions are filed by or against the parties, the amount demanded in each complaint shall furnish the jurisdictional test. In the case at bar, the lower court correctly held that the jurisdictional test is subject to the rules on joinder of parties pursuant to Section 5 of Rule 2 and Section 6 of Rule 3 of the Rules of Court and that, after a careful scrutiny of the complaint, it appears that there is a misjoinder of parties for the reason that the claims against respondents Binongcal and Calion are separate and distinct and neither of which falls within its jurisdiction. WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is affirmed, without pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED. G.R. No. L-32030 July 2, 1930

SOFIA LAVARRO, ET AL., Plaintiffs-Appellants, vs. REGINA LABITORIA, ET AL., Defendants-Appellants. Anastacio Labitoria, who died over thirty years ago, was the original owner of a tract of land divided into three parcels and situated in the barrio of Mangilag, municipality of Candelaria, Province of Tayabas. He left four children, Francisco, Liberata, Tirso, and Eustacio Labitoria. Francisco acquired the shares of Tirso and Eustacio together with the greater part of that of Liberata, and thus became the owner of nearly all of the land. After his death, his children, Macario and Regina Labitoria, became the owners of his interest in the land.. . Sofia Lavarro is the daughter of Liberata Labitoria, and in or about the year 1897, her first husband, Crispulo Alcantara, borrowed P330 from Francisco Labitoria on the condition that Alcantara should plant 3,300 coconut palms on the land to be divided in equal shares between the parties, the loan to be paid back by turning over to the creditor 330 coconut palms out of the share of Alcantara and Sofia. Under this agreement, about 1,700 palms were planted by Alcantara, but later on, further plantings were made by his wife, Sofia Lavarro.. .

In July, 1916, the land was registered in the names of Macario Labitoria, Regina Labitoria, Bernardo Labitoria, Vidal Labitoria, Ariston Lavarro, Sofia Lavarro, and Isidro Lavaris. Nothing seems to have been said about the improvements on the land and no special mention of them appears in the certificate of title. Neither were the respective shares of the persons to whom the land was adjudicated definitely determined.. . On October 31, 1916, Macario, Regina, and Bernardo Labitoria and Ariston Lavarro brought an action against Sofia Lavarro and her then husband, Emeterio Pureza, for the partition of the land with its improvements. The action is civil case No. 351 of the Court of First Instance of Tayabas. In her answer in that case, Sofia Lavarro set up a cross-complaint alleging, among other things, that she was a coowner of the land and was entitled to a large proportion of the coconut palms thereon. The prayer of the cross-complaint reads as follows: Wherefore, by this cross-complaint Sofia Lavarro and Emeterio Pureza, through their undersigned attorney, pray the court to decree the partition of the three parcels of land described above, with all the improvements thereon, allotting to Sofia Lavarro and Emeterio Pureza their rightful portion, and ordering Macario Labitoria to render the proper accounts, and to deliver to his coheirs their proportionate part of the fruits and products of said lands, with costs against the cross-complaint defendants. (Emphasis supplied.) Upon trial partition was ordered, and Sofia Lavarro was awarded 520 coconut trees and 43,391 square meters of land. She thereupon appealed to the Supreme Court, and a decision was rendered by that court on March 24, 1927,1 in which it was held that Sofia Lavarro was entitled to 1/28 of the land. In all the respects, the decision of the Court of First Instances was affirmed. The partition seems to have been carried out in conformity with the decision of the Supreme Court, and Sofia was awarded 6 hectares, 88 ares, and 77 centiares of land, together with 850 coconut palms instead of 520.. . The present action was initiated by Sofia Lavarro and her daughters, Apolonia and Isabel Alcantara, on August 15, 1927, against Regina Labitoria and Marciano Labitoria, the latter as administrator of the estate of the deceased Macario Labitoria. In their amended complaint, the plaintiffs allege that on or about the year 1897, Sofia Lavarro and her husband, Crispulo Alcantara, planted 2,850 coconut palms on the land above-mentioned, of which 1,970 trees were actually alive and bearing fruit; that after the death of Crispulo Alcantara in the year 1910, Sofia Lavarro, being then a widow, planted 2,200 coconut palms on the same tract of land, 2,000 palms being still in existence and the greater part of them bearing fruit; that from the year 1897, the plaintiffs had been in possession of the above-mentioned plantings and had collected the fruits, but that the defendants were now endeavoring to take possession of said coconut palms; and that each coconut palm was worth P12. The plaintiffs therefore prayed that unless the defendants paid to the plaintiffs the sum of P47,640, the value of the 3,970 palms planted, it be ordered that said plaintiffs be allowed to continue in possession of said coconut palms in accordance with the law.. . In their answer to the complaint, the defendants set up as special defenses res judicata and prescription.. .

Upon trial, the court below, basing its decision on the case of Bautista vs. Jimenez (24 Phil., 111), and article 361 of the Civil Code, ordered the defendants to pay the plaintiffs the sum of P4,820 for 1,205 coconut palms or to require the plaintiffs to purchase the land, the plaintiffs to retain the coconut palms until the aforesaid sum was paid. From this judgment both the plaintiffs and defendants appealed.. . It is very obvious that the court below erred in rendering judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. This is an action for compensation for improvements alleged to have been made by the plaintiffs on the land awarded to the defendants and is brought notwithstanding the fact that the question of improvements was put in issue in case No. 351 and that the portion of land due Sofia Lavarro, and the improvements as well, were determined and adjudicated by the court in that case. Her rights in regard to the improvements are consequently res judicata.. . But it is intimated that, while in the earlier case the issues related to the ownership of the improvements, the issue here is only a question of money payment and that therefore the causes of action are different. Assuming, without conceding, that such is the case, the result would be the same. The issues in both cases arose from the same source or transactions and should have been determined in the same case (sec. 97, Code of Civil Procedure). A judgment upon the merits bars a subsequent suit upon the same cause, though brought in a different form of action. (White vs. Martin, 1 Port. [Ala.], 215.) "The principle is firmly established that a party will not be permitted to split up a single cause of action and make it the basis for several suits. If several suits be brought for different parts of such a claim, the pendency of the first may be pleaded in abatement of the others, and a recovery of any part of the cause of action will be a bar to an action brought upon the other part. Not only is it a bar to suit, but the plaintiff in the former action cannot subsequently avail himself of the residue by way of offset in an action against him by the opposite party." (15 R. C. L., 965) In passing, it may be noted that a close examination of the facts in the case of Bautista vs. Jimenez (24 Phil., 111), will show that it differs materially from the present case; the case of Berses vs. Villanueva (25 Phil., 473), is more in point.. . As to the other plaintiffs, Apolonia and Isabel Alcantara, it is sufficient to say that if they had any claim to the property or improvements, such claims should have been presented in the registration proceedings in 1916; trees and plants annexed to the land are parts thereof and unless rights or interests in such trees or plants are claimed in the registration proceedings by others, they become the property of the persons to whom the land is adjudicated. By timely proceedings in equity, matters of that character, if fraudulent, may sometimes be corrected, but in the present case, the plaintiffs Apolonia and Isabel Alcantara did not prosecute their alleged rights until eleven years after the registration of the property, and it is obvious that whatever rights they may have had are now lost by prescription.. . The judgment of the court below is therefore reversed, and the case is dismissed with the costs in both instances against the plaintiffs, jointly and severally. So ordered.

G.R. No. 121251. June 26, 1998 PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK,Petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and ROMEO BARILEA, Respondents. DECISION May a complaint for damages arising from an alleged premature foreclosure of mortgage, with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction, be dismissed on the ground that the foreclosure sought to be enjoined is already a fait accompli? On 12 November 1991 private respondent Romeo Barilea filed a complaint for damages with the Regional Trial Court of Negros Occidental with a prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction against petitioner Philippine National Bank (PNB) and the Provincial Sheriff of Negros Occidental. The complaint allegedthat: defendant Barilea (private respondent herein) obtained sugar crop loans with petitioner at its Victoria Branch to finance his sugarcane plantation in Sagay, Negros Occidental; he was granted a crop loan ofP208,300.00 and, thereafter, another loan of P40,000.00 which would fall due on 31 August 1991 and 31 August 1992, respectively; the crop loans were secured by a mortgage on Barileas parcel of land with an area of 2,804 square meters and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-12217 of the Register of Deeds of Cadiz City. Private respondent also alleged that on 29 September 1991, while he was harvesting and cutting canes for the purpose of milling the same, petitioner filed a petition for the sale of the mortgaged property under Act No. 3135 as amended with the Provincial Sheriff of Negros Occidental, and that, consequently, on 7 October 1991 the latter issued a Notice of Extrajudicial Sale by public auction of private respondents property on 18 November 1991. The complaint further stated that in October 1991 private respondent had partially harvested and milled his sugarcane at a sugar central after which quedans were prepared; that when private respondent was about to withdraw the quedans, he was informed that they were taken by petitioner. Private respondent contended that in filing the petition for the sale of the mortgaged property with the provincial sheriff, petitioner acted with malice and bad faith in order to embarrass him; that the petition was premature because the crop loans had not yet fallen due; and, that because of petitioners malicious acts in filing the petition, private respondent suffered sleepless nights, mental torture, anxiety, public humiliation and public ridicule, thus entitling him to moral and exemplary damages in addition to the actual expenses incurred for which petitioner should be ordered to pay. Private respondent also prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin petitioner and the Provincial Sheriff from conducting the sale by public auction scheduled on 18 November 1991.1

Instead of filing an answer to the complaint, petitioner filed on 17 January 1991 a motion to dismiss2 alleging that: petitioner had not acted maliciously and prematurely in filing the petition for foreclosure of mortgage; private respondent was granted four (4) loan accomodations by petitioner three (3) of which had already fallen due; because of the past due accounts of private respondent petitioner had the right to institute foreclosure proceedings; and, the other reliefs prayed for by private respondent, i.e., issuance of a restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction, had been rendered moot and academic by the holding of the auction sale on 7 November 1991. On 18 February 1992 private respondent filed an amended complaint increasing the amounts prayed for as moral damages and attorneys fees. On 10 March 1992 the trial court issued an order dismissing the case for being moot and academic because the sale sought to be enjoined had already been conducted on 7 November 1991.3 The motion for reconsideration by private respondent was denied. Private respondent appealed the order of dismissal to the Court of Appeals. In its decision 4 of 28 June 1995, the Court of Appeals set aside the order dismissing the case. The appellate court found that the complaint of private respondent sought the payment of moral and exemplary damages on the ground that petitioner was actuated with malice and bad faith in filing the petition with the sheriff for the sale of the mortgaged property even if the crop loan of P40,000.00 had not yet matured. It also ruled that the issuance of a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction was only a provisional remedy, and consequently, the foreclosure sale on 7 November 1991 did not render the case moot since the principal action for payment of damages still had to be litigated. The Court of Appeals remanded the case back to the trial court for proper proceedings. Hence this petition alleging that the Court of Appeals erroneously failed to hold that (a) the dismissal of the case by the trial court was justified after it had become moot and academic with the foreclosure sale; (b) denial of the ancillary remedy of temporary restraining order was proper; and, (c) the foreclosure of the mortgage was valid in view of the contract between the parties and conformably with the mandatory requirements of PD No. 385. The principal issue to be resolved is whether the complaint for damages based on the foreclosure of mortgage should now be dismissed in view of the foreclosure sale. The other issues raised by petitioner, i.e., whether the foreclosure sale was valid, and whether the claim of private respondent for damages was proper, are factual matters well within the domain of the trial court - and not of this Court. The petition must fail. The Court of Appeals was correct in ruling that the dismissal of the complaint of private respondent by the trial court was not valid. In a motion to dismiss on the ground that the complaint states no cause of action, the question to be resolved by the trial court is whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to

constitute a cause of action and not whether the allegations of fact are true as the latter are hypothetically admitted.5 Hence, a complaint sufficiently states a cause of action when the following questions are answered in the affirmative: (a) Does the complaint show the plaintiff has suffered an injury? (b) Is it an injury which the law recognizes as a wrong and for which it provides a remedy? (c) Is the defendant liable for the alleged wrong done? and, (d) If the defendant is liable, is there a legal remedy for such injury? 6 Applying these criteria to the complaint of private respondent, the same alleged facts are sufficient to state a cause of action for damages. The complaint alleged that private respondent suffered actual expenses, moral anxiety and public humiliation, among others, as a result of the alleged premature and malicious filing of the petition for foreclosure of mortgage over private respondents property; hence, the prayer for damages and attorneys fees. In its motion to dismiss, petitioners allegation that private respondent had no basis to claim for damages amounted to failure to state a cause of action. Since the allegations in the complaint furnish sufficient basis by which the complaint can be maintained, the same should not have been dismissed regardless of the defense that may be raised by petitioner as defendant before the trial court.7 In the instant case, aside from the principal action for damages, private respondent sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin the foreclosure sale in order to prevent an alleged irreparable injury to private respondent. It is settled that these injunctive reliefs are preservative remedies for the protection of substantive rights and interests. Injunction is not a cause of action in itself but merely a provisional remedy, an adjunct to a main suit. When the act sought to be enjoined had become fait accompli, only the prayer for provisional remedy should be denied. However, the trial court should still proceed with the determination of the principal action so that an adjudication of the rights of the parties can be had. It was grave error for the trial court to dismiss the case simply because the basis for the issuance of the writ of injunction is no longer existent and thus moot and academic. A case becomes moot and academic when there is no more actual controversy between the parties8 or no useful purpose can be served in passing upon the merits. 9 The foregoing circumstances do not obtain in the instant case. The holding of the extrajudicial sale did not in any way render the case moot and academic. As found by the Court of Appeals, there still remained for the resolution of the trial court the issue of whether private respondent is entitled to damages prayed for as a result of petitioners act in filing a petition to foreclose the mortgage. Whether the filing of the petition for foreclosure was proper and whether private respondent suffered damages resulting from petitioners acts are still unanswered questions which have to be determined and passed upon by the trial court after hearing the evidence of both parties in accordance with due process. It is a rule of universal application that courts of justice are constituted to adjudicate substantive rights. While courts should consider public policy and necessity in putting an end

to litigations speedily they must nevertheless harmonize such necessity with the fundamental right of litigants to an opportunity to be heard. 10 WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The decision of the Court of Appeals dated 28 June 1995 is AFFIRMED. The records of this case are remanded to the trial court with a directive to proceed and dispose of this case expeditiously. SO ORDERED.