Pulumbarit Sr. vs Court of Appeals
G.R. NOS. 153745-46, October 14, 2015
Facts: Sometime in 1982, San Juan Macias Memorial Park, Inc. (SJMMPI), through its President Lourdes S. Pascual, authorized Atty. Soledad de Jesus to look for a buyer for the San Juan Memorial Park (Memorial Park) for P1,500,000.00. Thereafter, Lourdes Pascual, Leonila F. Acasio, and the other officers of SJMMPI (Pascual et al.) were introduced to Nemencio Pulumbarit (Pulumbarit). The parties eventually came to an agreement, with Pulumbarit issuing eighteen (18) checks in the name of SJMMPI Secretary-Treasurer Leonila Acasio. Pulumbarit and/or his lawyer took charge of reducing the agreement into writing and securing the signatures of all concerned parties. On June 13, 1983, Pascual et al. sent a letter to Pulumbarit requesting for a copy of their written agreement. In another letter of even date, they also asked Pulumbarit to reissue new checks to replace the ones he previously issued. Failing to get a favorable response, Pascual et al. filed a Complaint for Rescission of Contract, Damages and Accounting with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction or Receivership against Pulumbarit. On February 3, 1984, Pulumbarit filed a Motion praying for the dismissal of the Complaint for lack of cause of action, attaching a copy of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). Pascual et al. amended their Complaint on June 5, 1984. Therein, they alleged that Pulumbarit falsified their agreement, as the MOA provided did not reflect the terms and conditions agreed upon by the parties. They disputed the statement in the MOA that the agreement was a sale of all the paid-up stocks of SJMMPI and not a management agreement with option to buy. Pascual et al. argued that the falsified MOA was a nullity and therefore without force and effect. In a motion filed on July 5, 1984, and pending resolution of Pulumbarit’s Motion to Dismiss, Pascual et al. sought to have Pulumbarit declared in default. The trial court granted this motion and allowed Paseual et al. to present their evidence ex parte. On September 5, 1984, the trial court rendered a default judgment in favor of Paseual et al. This judgment of default was reversed by the CA on January 15, 1989 and the case was remanded to the trial court for reception of Pulumbarit’s evidence. Prior to the reversal of the trial court’s default judgment, however, Pascual et al. applied for the appointment of a receiver to take possession of the Memorial Park and all its records and business transactions during the pendency of the case. This application was denied by the trial court in an Order dated October 10, 1991. Pulumbarit filed a Notice of Appeal dated August 19, 2000. His appeal was docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 69931. Meanwhile, and before the transniittal of the records of Civil Case No. 7250-M to the CA, Pascual et al. filed with the trial court motions praying for (1) the issuance of a writ of injunction against Pulumbarit and (2) the execution of the decision pending appeal. The trial court granted these motions on September 13, 2000 pursuant to Section 4, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. Pulumbarit’s subsequent motion for reconsideration of this Order (directing discretionary execution) was denied on October 3, 2000.
Issues: Whether or not Pascual et al.’s filing of an Urgent Motion for Execution Pending Appeal in CA-G.R. CV No. 69931, despite knowledge of the pendency of CA-G.R. SP No. 61873, constituted forum shopping.
Whether or not the filing of the motion for execution pending appeal in CA-G.R. CV No. 69931 rendered CA-G.R. SP No. 61873 moot and academic.
Whether or not the finding of fact in the application for receivership constituted res judicata as to the issue of the true agreement between the parties.
Held: No. Strictly speaking, Pascual et al. did not commit forum shopping. Forum shopping exists when the elements of litis pendentia are present, or when a final judgment in one case will amount to res judicata in another. Here, any action by the CA on Pascual et al.’s motion in CA-G.R. CV No. 69931 is provisional in nature, such that it can in no way constitute as res judicata in CA-G.R. SP No. 61873. Moreover, forum shopping requires the identity of parties, rights or causes of action, and reliefs sought in two or more pending cases. Mere, there is no identity of relief and/or cause of action. CAG.R. SP No. 61873 is limited to a determination of whether grave abuse of discretion was committed by the trial court in granting execution pending appeal while Pascual et al.’s motion in CA-G.R. CV No. 69931 involves a determination by the CA whether there are “good reasons” warranting the grant of discretionary execution.
No. To reiterate, Pascual et al.’s motion in CA-G.R. CV No. 69931 seeks the CA’s approval to execute the trial court’s Decision pending final disposition of Pulumbarit’s appeal. CA-G.R. SP No. 61873, on the other hand, is an action to determine whether grave abuse of discretion was committed by the trial court when it allowed execution pending appeal. The subjects of Pascual et al.’s motion in CA-G.R. CV No. 69931 and Pulumbarit’s petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 61873 concern two different, albeit closely related, issues. Furthermore, any action on a motion for execution pending appeal is only provisional in nature. The grant or denial (as the case may be) of such a motion is always without prejudice to the court’s final disposition of the case and the issues raised therein. In fact, Section 3, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court allows the party against whom the execution of a decision pending appeal is directed to stay the execution by posting a supersedeas bond. Section 5 of the same rule also provides that where the executed judgment is reversed totally or partially, or annulled, on appeal or otherwise, the trial court may, on motion, issue such orders of restitution or reparation of damages as equity and justice may warrant under the circumstances.
For these reasons, the grant by the CA of a motion for execution pending appeal, being provisional in nature, could therefore not have rendered CA-G.R. SP No. 61873 moot and academic. In the same way, if not arguably more so, much less can the mere filing of such a motion warrant the dismissal of CA-G.R. SP No. 61873 on the ground of mootness. Thus, the CA committed a reversible error when it dismissed CA-G.R. SP No. 61873.
Section 2, Rule 30 of the Rules of Court provides, in part, that discretionary execution (or execution pending appeal) may only issue “upon good reasons to be stated in a special order after due hearing.” Good reason must consist of superior or exceptional circumstances of such urgency as to outweigh the injury or damage that the losing party may suffer, should the appealed judgment be reversed later.
No. 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.
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 directly controverted and determined and not as to matters merely involved therein. This is the concept of res judicata known as “conclusiveness of judgment.” Stated differently, 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 the merits is conclusively settled by the judgment therein and cannot again be litigated between the parties and their privies, whether or not the claim, demand, purpose, or subject matter of the two actions is the same.
The application of the doctrine of res judicata either in the concept of bar by prior judgment or conclusiveness of judgment requires or presupposes the existence of two independent actions.