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May 18, 2017

Buan vs. OIC Lopez

Facts:
  • On August 5, 1986, a Special Civil Action was instituted by the Quiapo Church Vendors against Respondent Gemiliano Lopez who was the then Acting Mayor of Manila.
  • The case prayed for that the Lopez be prohibited from arbitrarily, whimsically and capriciously revoking or cancelling their licenses or permit as well as from threatening the physical demolition of their business stalls.
  • There was also a prayer for issuance of TRO which was granted on the same day.
  • On July 7, 1986, another Special Civil Action of prohibition with preliminary injunction was filed by Samahang Kapatiran Sa Hanap Buhay ng Bagong Lipunan against Lopez.
  • The president of the said organization was Rosalina Buan and its press relations officer was Liza Ocampo.
  • The two individuals are also the petitioners in the case at bar.
  • It must be noted that the petitions is grounded on the same facts. (page 7, left)
  • There was also identity of parties or at least such parties represent the same interests in both actions as well as the identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for. 



Issue: Wheter or not there was forum shopping. YES

Ruling:

There was forum shopping 
The acts of petitioners constitute an improper conduct that tends to degrade the administration of justice. The rule has been formalized in Section 17 of the Interim Rules and Guidelines issued by this Court on January 11, 1983 in connection with the implementation of the Judiciary Reorganization Act, specifically with the grant in Section 9 of B.P. Blg. 129 of equal original jurisdiction to the Intermediate Appellate Court to issue writs of mandamus, prohibition, etc., and auxiliary writs or processes, whether or not in aid Of its appellate jurisdiction. 

Under Section 9 of BP 129: 
Thus, the cited Rule provides that no such petition may be filed in the Intermediate Appellate Court 'if another similar petition has been filed or is still pending in the Supreme Court' and vice- versa. The Rule orders that "A violation of the rule shall constitute contempt of court and shall be a cause for the summary dismissal of both petitions, without prejudice to the taking of appropriate action against the counsel or party concerned." The rule applies with equal force where the party having filed an action in the Supreme Court shops for the same remedy of prohibition and a restraining order or injunction in the regional trial court (or vice-versa).

Indications of existence of forum shopping
As already observed, there is between the action at bar and RTC Case No. 86-36563, an Identity as regards parties, or interests represented, rights asserted and relief sought, as well as basis thereof, to a degree sufficient to give rise to the ground for dismissal known as auter action pendant or lis pendens 

Sanction: There must be dismissal of both petitions
That same Identity puts into operation the sanction Of twin dismissals just mentioned. The application of this sanction will prevent any further delay in the settlement of the controversy which might ensue from attempts to seek reconsideration of or to appeal from the Order of the Regional Trial Court in Civil Case No. 86-36563 promulgated on July 15, 1986, which dismissed the petition upon grounds which appear persuasive.

What the parties filed when they realized they are guilty of forum shopping: 
filing in this Court by their lawyers of a "MANIFESTATION WITH AFFIDAVIT OF WITHDRAWAL" on August 11, 1986, 17 another "MANIFESTATION AND MOTION" on August 29, 1986, and an "URGENT MANIFESTATION AND MOTION TO STRIKE- OUT THE NAME ROSALINA BUAN AND LIZA OCAMPO" on September 13, 1986

According to them: THEY "were forcibly brainwashed and guarded by ... (Atty. Reynaldo Aralar)and his associates to accede to the invitation of the saidcounsel ... to appear for them and file the case before theHonorable Court knowingly (sic) that he was furnished the status quo-order of the same case pending before theRegional Trial Court Branch 45 of Manila," and/or saidAtty. Aralar and his associates had perpetrated "piracy" of clients and "should be condemned and suspended forcommitting act of shopping for courts." BUT THE COURT DID NOT BELIEVE THEM

WHAT BELIED THEIR CLAIM: And the claim is undermined by the misrepresentation in Buan's and Ocampo's "Joint Affidavit of Withdrawal" that the status quo order in RTC Case No. 8636563 was still subsisting and the case still pending trial 19 when in truth, the case had already been dismissed and the restraining order lifted by Order of July 27, 1986. 

Another reason for the dismissal of the petition is the fact that none of them had  valid licenses
The petitioners thus have no basis whatever to postulate a right to ply their trade in the Quiapo area or elsewhere. The argument that the non-renewal by the municipal authorities of their licenses was in effect a cancellation or revocation thereof without cause is puerile.

RULING: WHEREFORE, the petition is denied for lack of merit, and the Regional Trial Court is commanded to dismiss Civil Case No. 86-36563 and to conduct no further proceedings in connection therewith save in accordance with and in implementation of this Decision. Costs against petitioners.

Citation:
  • ROSALINA BUAN, RODOLFO TOLENTINO, TOMAS MERCADO, CECILIA MORALES, LIZA OCAMPO, Quiapo Church Vendors, for themselves and all others similarly situated as themselves, petitioners, vs.OFFICER-IN-CHARGE GEMILIANO C. LOPEZ, JR., OFFICE OF THE MAYOR OF MANILA, respondent.
  • G.R. No. 75349 
  • October 13, 1986
  • First Division

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