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CHUA V. METROBANK, ET. AL.  RTC Branch 195 granted the consolidation of cases.

The respondents filed an


G.R. No. 182311 | Chico-Nazario | Aug. 19, 2009 | Cause of Action (Rule 2) MR raising the ground of forum shopping.
o RTC Branch 258 granted the MR of respondents and dismissed the
FACTS case due to forum shopping.
 After obtaining a P4 million loan secured by REM on parcels of land, o CA affirmed and observed that the cause of action of the two cases
petitioners Chua, et. al. were given an open credit line by respondent was the same, i.e. the feigned auction sale. The judgment in either
Metrobank. Petitioners thus obtained other loans from Metrobank. case would result in res judicata.
 Petitioners failed to pay their obligation. The lawyers of Metrobank demanded
that petitioners settle their liabilities; however, the latter still failed. ISSUE #1: W/N THE SUCCESSIVE FILING OF THE TWO CIVIL CASES AMOUNTED
 Respondent Metrobank sought to extrajudicially foreclose the REM TO FORUM SHOPPING – YES
constituted on the lands.  The proscription against forum shopping is found in Section 5, Rule 7 of the
1997 Rules of Court.
1st CIVIL CASE:  Forum shopping can be committed in three ways:
 Petitioner Chua filed before RTC Parañaque Branch 257 a Complaint for (1) filing multiple cases based on the same cause of action and with the same
Injunction with Prayer for Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), prayer, the previous case not having been resolved yet (where the ground for
Preliminary Injunction and Damages against respondents Atty. Celestra, dismissal is litis pendentia);
docketed as Civil Case No. CV-01-0207. (2) filing multiple cases based on the same cause of action and the same
 RTC Branch 257 issued a TRO enjoining respondents Metrobank and prayer, the previous case having been finally resolved (where the ground for
Atty. Celestra from conducting the auction sale. dismissal is res judicata); and
 After the expiration of the TRO, respondent Atty. Celestra reset the auction (3) filing multiple cases based on the same cause of action, but with different
sale. The auction sale proceeded on Nov. 8, 2001, and a Certificate of Sale prayers (splitting of causes of action, where the ground for dismissal is also
was accordingly issued. either litis pendentia or res judicata).
 Petitioners filed with RTC-Branch 257 a Motion to Admit Amended Complaint
in Civil Case No. CV-01-0207, impleading as additional defendant the IN THIS CASE, petitioners committed forum shopping by filing multiple cases based
incumbent Register of Deeds of Parañaque City. They alleged that the on the same cause of action, although with different prayers.
Certificate of Sale was falsified since no actual sale took place.  They also failed to state in the Certificate of Non-Forum Shopping, attached
o They also sought the issuance of TRO/WPI to enjoin Atty. Celestra to their Verified Complaint in Civil Case No. CV-05-0402 before RTC-Branch
from proceeding with the foreclosure sale. 195, the existence of Civil Case No. CV-01-0207 before RTC-Branch 258.
o RTC Branch 257 denied the application for injunction, the same
being moot and academic. Petitioners filed an MR which was denied. Splitting of a Single Cause of Action
They filed a Petition for Certiorari before the CA which was also  Sections 3 and 4, Rule 2 proscribe the splitting of a single cause of action.
denied. The SC dismissed the appeal of respondents with finality.  Forum shopping occurs although the actions seem to be different, when it can
be seen that there is a splitting of a cause of action.
2nd CIVIL CASE:  It is true that a single act or omission can violate various rights at the
 Petitioners filed with Branch 195 of the Regional Trial Court of same time, as when the act constitutes juridically a violation of several
Parañaque (RTC-Branch 195) a Verified Complaint for Damages against separate and distinct legal obligations.
respondents Metrobank, Atty. Celestra, and three Metrobank lawyers, o However, where there is only one delict or wrong, there is but a
namely, Atty. Antonio Viray, Atty. Ramon Miranda and Atty. Pompeyo single cause of action regardless of the number of rights that
Maynigo. The Complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. CV-05-0402. may have been violated belonging to one person.
o They sought award of actual, moral, and exemplary damages  Petitioner would like to make it appear that the first civil case was solely
against respondents for making it appear that an auction sale of the concerned with the nullification of the auction sale while the second civil case
took place, as a result of which, petitioner Chua was prevented from was a totally separate claim for damages.
realizing a profit of P70 million from the intended sale. o HOWEVER, the Court observed that the damages being claimed
by petitioners were also occasioned by the supposed fictitious
Motion to Consolidate foreclosure sale. Both cases are premised on the same cause of
 Petitioners filed with RTC-Branch 195 a Motion to Consolidate, seeking the action, i.e. the purportedly wrongful conduct of respondents in
consolidation of Civil Case No. CV-05-0402, the action for damages pending connection with the foreclosure sale of the subject properties.
before said court, with Civil Case No. CV-01-0207, the injunction case.  The rule against splitting a cause of action is intended to prevent
 Respondents filed an Opposition to Motion to Consolidate with Prayer for repeated litigation between the same parties in regard to the same
Sanctions on the ground of forum shopping. subject of controversy, to protect the defendant from unnecessary
vexation; and to avoid the costs and expenses incident to numerous
suits. It comes from the old maxim nemo debet bis vexari, pro una et
eadem causa (no man shall be twice vexed for one and the same cause).

OTHER ISSUES:
 The damages purportedly arose from the bad faith of respondents in offering
the subject properties at the auction sale at a price much lower than the
assessed fair market value of the said properties, said to be P176,117,000.00.
o On the other hand, the damages in Civil Case No. CV-05-0402,
allegedly resulted from the backing out of prospective buyers, who
had initially offered to buy the subject properties for "not less
than P175,000,000.00," because respondents made it appear that
the said properties were already sold at the auction sale.
o Yet, it is worthy to note that petitioners quoted closely similar values
for the subject properties in both cases due to the fact that petitioners
actually based the said values on the single appraisal report of the
Philippine Appraisal Company on the subject properties.
 If the forum shopping is not considered willful and deliberate, the subsequent
case shall be dismissed without prejudice, on the ground of either litis
pendentia or res judicata.
o However, if the forum shopping is willful and deliberate, both (or all,
if there are more than two) actions shall be dismissed with
prejudice.
o IN THIS CASE, petitioners did not deliberately file Civil Case No. CV-
05-0402 for the purpose of seeking a favorable decision in another
forum. Otherwise, they would not have moved for the consolidation
of both cases. Thus, only Civil Case No. CV-05-0402 is dismissed
and the hearing of Civil Case No. CV-01-0207 before RTC-Branch
258 will be continued.

PETITION FOR REVIEW ON CERTIORARI UNDER RULE 45 DENIED.

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