A.C. No. 5469             August 10, 2004
RICARDO A. FORONDA, complainant,
ATTY. ARNOLD V. GUERRERO, respondent.
D E C I S I O N
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
The instant disbarment case arose when Ricardo A. Foronda, acting as attorney-in-fact for Ramona Patricia Alcaraz and Concepcion D. Alcaraz, filed a verified Letter-Complaint1 dated June 29, 2001 with the Office of the Bar Confidant charging Atty. Arnold V. Guerrero with abusing "procedural rules to defeat the ends of substantial justice by filing appeals, complaints and petitions to frustrate and delay the execution of a judgment."
The complainant alleged that his principals, Ramona and Concepcion Alcaraz, filed Civil Case No. Q-44134 entitled "Concepcion Alcaraz, et al. v. Romeo Coronel, et al." for specific performance and damages before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 83. The case involved a parcel of land which the defendants therein sold to the Alcarazes, and, thereafter, while the case was pending, to Catalina Balais-Mabanag. Assisted by her husband Eleuterio Mabanag, and with the respondent as their lawyer, Catalina intervened in the case.
On March 1, 1989, the RTC rendered a Decision2 in favor of the plaintiffs, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment for specific performance is hereby rendered ordering defendant to execute in favor of plaintiffs a deed of absolute sale covering that parcel of land embraced in and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 327403 (now TCT No. 331582) of the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City, together with all the improvements existing thereon, free from all liens and encumbrances and once accomplished, to immediately deliver said document of sale to plaintiffs, and upon receipt thereof, the plaintiffs are ordered to pay defendants the whole balance of the purchase price amounting to
P1,190,000.00 in cash. Transfer Certificate of Title No. 331582 of the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City in the name of intervenor is hereby cancelled and declared to be without any force and effect. Defendants and intervenor, and all other persons claiming under them, are hereby ordered to vacate the subject property and deliver possession thereof to plaintiffs. Plaintiffs’ claim for damages and attorney’s fees, as well as the counterclaims of defendants and intervenors, are hereby dismissed.
No pronouncement as to costs.
The Mabanag Spouses, through the respondent as their counsel, appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 23000. In its Decision4 promulgated on December 16, 1991, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the RTC in toto. Unsatisfied with the judgment of the appellate court, the respondent elevated the matter to this Court, docketed as G.R. No. 103577. The petition for review was dismissed, and the judgment appealed from was, likewise, affirmed in toto in the Court’s Decision5 dated October 7, 1996.6 The Court found that the questioned sale of the parcel of land between therein petitioners and Mabanag on February 18, 1985 was correctly upheld by both courts below.
Thereafter, according to the complainant, the respondent, acting for and in behalf of his clients, the Mabanag Spouses, filed several cases7 questioning the ruling of the Court in G.R. No. 103577. The complainant contended that the multiple pleadings and actions pursued by the respondent indicate that he violated his oath as an officer of the court and breached the Code of Professional Responsibility for Lawyers. The complainant thereafter prayed that the instant complaint be referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for proper investigation and action.8
The Respondent’s Defense
The respondent, for his part, filed a Motion to Cite Complainant and Counsel in Contempt Without Prejudice to Disciplinary Action Against Counsel,9 alleging that in an attempt to cause disrepute, dishonor and to cast aspersion on him, the complainant’s counsel virtually "published and made known publicly" the instant administrative case against him by filing a Manifestation in Civil Case No. Q-01-43396 before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 80. According to the respondent, this grossly violated the confidentiality in administrative proceedings.10
In his Comment,11 the respondent did not deny that the decision in Civil Case No. Q-44134 was already final and executory, as it had already been affirmed by the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court in their respective decisions. The respondent put forth the following arguments to justify the dismissal of the instant complaint:
A. THE SUBSEQUENT CASES FILED INVOLVED LEGITIMATE AND VALID RESORT TO JUDICIAL PROCESSES AND REMEDIES; HENCE, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR THE CHARGE THAT THE RESPONDENT COUNSEL HAS ABUSED PROCEDURAL PROCESSES TO DEFEAT THE ENDS OF SUBSTANTIAL JUSTICE.
B. THE COMPLAINT MUST AND SHOULD BE DISMISSED ON THE GROUND OF FORUM SHOPPING AND VIOLATION OF SECTION 5, RULE 7 OF THE 1997 RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE.
C. THIS ADMINISTRATIVE CASE IS PREMATURE CONSIDERING THAT THE MATTERS RAISED THEREIN ARE STILL ISSUES TO BE RESOLVED IN PENDING CASES; HENCE, ITS OUTRIGHT DISMISSAL IS APPROPRIATELY CALLED FOR AND WARRANTED.12
The respondent was vehement in denying that he abused legal processes and remedies, as the issues raised in the subsequent actions he filed were valid and meritorious, the resolution of which were indispensable for the orderly administration of justice. Thus:
It is basic that a counsel may resort to all legal reliefs and remedies available and to invoke all pertinent provisions of the law and rules, to protect the interest of a client in order that justice may be done and duly administered. In fact, it is not only the right of a counsel to do so but rather, it is his bounden and sacred obligation as an officer of the court and as an advocate who is tasked to protect the interest of a client within the bounds of law.
Thus, in Civil Case No. Q-91-31268, with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, which is the first complaint, what was challenged therein is the eligibility of Ramona Patricia Alcaraz, to own urban commercial lands, within the ambit of Batas Pambansa Blg. 185, considering that she is not a Filipino citizen or at least, she does not appear nor was she alleged to be so. Evidently, therefore, this is not intended to forestall the execution of the judgment which must be executed, pursuant to the rules that is, in accordance with the dispositive portion thereof. Otherwise stated, the execution, if it must be undertaken, must be made in accordance with and consistently (sic) the dispositive portion thereof. It is well settled that execution must conform to that ordained or decreed in the dispositive portion of the decision. …
As shown in the earlier narrations, the foregoing case is presently on appeal with the Honorable Court of Appeals and is still pending thereat, up to the present.
With regards to the petition for certiorari filed with the Honorable Court of Appeals, docketed thereat as CA-G.R. SP No. 4770 (sic), whereby a decision was already rendered and such decision is already final and executory, the issues therein disposed as raised, pertinently pertained to the questioned and assailed Orders of the trial court which granted the writ of execution, upon motion of parties who are purportedly the principals of the complainant and his counsel. After the denial of the said petition and the finality of the judgment of such denial, partial execution ensued and was not of course, even attempted to be forestalled by the herein respondent counsel and his clients.
However, the execution being undertaken later on was shown to have been exceeded when, despite the fact that there is no showing that the parties who were supposed to execute a deed of absolute sale pursuant to the dispositive portion of the subject decision being sought to be implemented, had refused or at least failed, after demand, to so execute and perform the foregoing acts, the trial court ordered its branch clerk of court to perform the said acts. In fact, it was pointed out that it does not even appear that the other parties whose acts are sought, were already served with the writ of execution; hence, the trial court’s act was without basis and/or premature. Nevertheless, the trial court’s branch clerk of court notwithstanding, proceeded as in fact, executed the deed of absolute sale in favor of the Alcarazes. This act of the trial court, with due respect, unduly created chaos and confusion, which are antithetical to its function for an orderly administration of justice and the fair approximation thereof.
The matter was, thereafter, complicated further, when despite the fact that the citizenships of the Alcarazes were not indicated in the deed of absolute sale which appears to have been presented with the Register of Deeds of Quezon City, the said Register of Deeds cancelled the title of the client of the herein respondent counsel and issued a new title over the subject property in favor of the Alcarazes and in order to validate and to give a semblance of legality or color to the validity of the issuance of the said title, by making it appear that the Alcarazes are Filipino citizens, ALTHOUGH THERE IS NO INDICATION OF THEIR CITIZENSHIP IN THE SUBJECT DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE, nevertheless, indicated in the new title that the Alcarazes are Filipinos.
Thus, the herein respondent counsel, in behalf of his client and to protect their interest, this time, was constrained to institute a petition with the Honorable Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 55576, whereby they assailed the jurisdiction of the trial judge in decreeing the foregoing execution of acts not included in the disposition portion of the decision being sought to be executed and to perform acts within the exclusive competence and direction of the Register of Deeds pursuant to Providential Decree No. 1529, otherwise known as the Board Registration Decree. This case is still pending with the Honorable Court of Appeals up to the present; hence, it is misleading for the complainant to even insinuate that a decision thereon is already final, which, of course, as shown in the earlier discussions, are farthest from the truth.
While all of the foregoing issues were still pending as they are still pending up to the present, the complainant and counsel, purportedly sold and transferred the subject property, using the title being assailed and questioned in CA-G.R. SP No. 55576, to a third person, one Emelita Mariano, with the purported deed of absolute sale being notarized by the same counsel of the herein complainant, Atty. Oscar R. Ferrer, who is representing the Alcarazes in the abovesaid cases; hence, he cannot feign ignorance of the pendency of the said cases and the issues involved therein which cast questions on the said title and, thus, rendered the purported transfer or sale fatally defective.
True to his duty to his client and as an officer of the court and in order to maintain the integrity, dignity and orderliness in the administration of justice, herein respondent counsel, filed in behalf of his client, the Complaint in Civil Case No. Q-01-43396, on February 15, 2001, with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, for the annulment of the title issued in favor of the third person, Emelita L. Mariano, for the annulment of the Deed of Absolute Sale to her and Damages with prayer for a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction.
When no temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction were issued by the trial court, herein respondent counsel, in behalf of his client, availed of the legally available remedy of a special civil action of certiorari, assailing on jurisdictional/grave abuse of discretion grounds, the refusal and/or failure of the trial court to issue the prayed for preliminary injunctive reliefs, among others. Thus, respondent, as counsel for his client, filed with the Honorable Court of Appeals, on July 24, 2001, a petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 65783, which is still pending resolution of the said Honorable Court up to the present.13
The respondent also alleged that the complainant’s failure to disclose the pendency of Civil Case No. Q-01-43396 in the certification against non-forum shopping in the case at bar was in gross violation of Section 5, Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Because of this, the respondent reasoned, the complaint should be dismissed.
Finally, the respondent averred that the instant administrative case is premature, considering that there are still issues to be resolved in the pending cases. As such, no cause of action could accrue against him. The respondent prayed that the complaint be dismissed for "utter and palpable lack of merit."
In his Compliance and Comment,14 the complainant asserted that there was no malice nor inaccuracy resorted to in the filing of the complaint against the respondent. The complainant averred that he was constrained to file the instant complaint out of exasperation, if not desperation, upon the instruction of his principals, so as to stop the respondent from continuing with his "dilatory and obstructionist strategies" to deprive them of their rights already confirmed by the courts, from the RTC to the Supreme Court. Thus:
… In order to stall the execution of the favorable decision obtained by my principals Concepcion Alcaraz and her daughter Ramona Patricia Alcaraz as early as March 1, 1989, in Civil Case No. Q-44134, respondent acting in behalf of his clients, went to this Court three (3) times in said case and several times also to the Court of Appeals on appeals, petitions for certiorari, etc.
… Although respondent admits the fact that the subject decision of the court a quo is already final and executory, he insists that "the issues in the other cases are indeed different." He argues in his comment that the issue in his petition (Annex "2" to Comment) pertained to the issuance of a writ of execution to implement the abovesaid final and executory decision." This is plain hair-splitting aimed to muddle the issues and ultimately mislead the Honorable Court.15
The Recommendation of the Integrated Bar Of The Philippines (IBP)
Commission On Bar Discipline
On October 25, 2003, the IBP Board of Governors passed Resolution No. XVI-2003-237, finding that the foregoing recommendation of the Commissioner was fully supported by the records, as well as the applicable laws. The Board found that the respondent violated Rule 12.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and recommended his suspension for one (1) year.
The Court’s Ruling
At the outset, the Court would like to stress that administrative cases against lawyers belong to a class of their own.16 As we held in the leading case of In re Almacen:17
… Neither purely civil not purely criminal, they do not involve a trial of an action or a suit, but are rather investigations by the Court into the conduct of one of its officers. Not being intended to inflict punishment, [they are] in no sense a criminal prosecution. Accordingly, there is neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein. [They] may be initiated by the Court motu proprio. Public interest is [their] primary objective, and the real question for determination is whether or not the attorney is still a fit person to be allowed the privileges as such. Hence, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers, the Court merely calls upon a member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an officer of the Court with the end in view of preserving the purity of the legal profession and the proper and honest administration of justice by purging the profession of members who by their misconduct have prove[n] themselves no longer worthy to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of an attorney. ….18
As such, the instant complaint cannot be dismissed as prayed for by the respondent.
We agree that the respondent is administratively liable.
The respondent, by his own admission, filed multifarious petitions, motions and actions concerning the sale of the property in question, after the Court already ruled in G.R. No. 103577 that the said sale was correctly upheld by both the trial and appellate courts. He, thereafter, filed two other initiatory pleadings before the RTC of Quezon City, namely, Civil Case No. Q-97-31268 and Civil Case No. Q-01-43396. The same matter subject of the original complaint was elevated to the Court of Appeals no less than four (4) times: CA-G.R. CV No. 65124, CA-G.R. SP No. 65783, CA-G.R. CV No. 75911, and CA-G.R. SP No. 55576. And from there, the matter was again brought before this Court twice: G.R. No. 135820 and G.R. No. 153142.19
We concur with the following observations made by IBP Commissioner Rebecca Villanueva-Maala in her Report and Recommendation dated October 3, 2003:
The issue being raised by the respondent on behalf of his clients in all the complaints, appeals, petitions and motions he has filed is the question of non-eligibility of Ramona Alcaraz to acquire property in the Philippines and the nullity of the sale between Alcaraz and the Coronels. These issues have already been passed upon and upheld by both the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. In the case docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 65783, the First Division of the Court of Appeals "observed that Mabanag’s counsel, (respondent herein) has questioned the non-eligibility of Ramona Alcaraz to acquire property in the Philippines for the nth time although as early as 30 July 1998, the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 47710 had already affirmed the lower court’s ruling that the petitioner is not the proper party to question the eligibility of Alcaraz to own property in the Philippines. The petition for review on certiorari before the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 135820 upheld the right of Ramona Alcaraz as one of the vendees in the deed of sale. The Supreme Court passed judgment on her capacity to buy the property. The issue was recycled in CA-G.R. SP No. 55576, Entry of Judgment was already issued by the Supreme Court on 2 January 1997. However, petitioner has succeeded for more than five (5) years now to hold at bay the full implementation of the judgment in point." Likewise, in dismissing the complaint filed by respondent on behalf of his client before RTC QC Branch 83 docketed as Case No. Q-97-31268 entitled Mabanag vs. Patricia Ramona Alcaraz, et. al. to declare Patricia Alcaraz ineligible to acquire real property, the court observed that for failure of the plaintiffs to get a favorable decision of the earlier case, they tried to prevent the execution by disqualifying herein defendant. (Emphasis ours).
In the case docketed as CA-G.R. SP [No.] 65783, a pertinent portion of the Court of Appeals decision reads "While lawyers owe (sic) entire devotion to the interest of their client’s right, they should not forget that they are officers of the court bound to exert every effort to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice – they should not, therefore, misuse the rules of procedure to defeat the ends of justice or unduly delay a case, impede the execution of a judgment or misuse the court processes (Eternal Gardens Memorial Park Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 293 SCRA 622)."20
It has, thus, been clearly established that in filing such numerous petitions in behalf of his client, the respondent thereby engaged in forum shopping. The essence of forum shopping is the filing of multiple suits involving the same parties for the same cause of action, either simultaneously or successively, for the purpose of obtaining a favorable judgment. It exists when, as a result of an adverse opinion in one forum, a party seeks a favorable opinion in another, or when he institutes two or more actions or proceedings grounded on the same cause to increase the chances of obtaining a favorable decision. An important factor in determining the existence of forum shopping is the vexation caused to the courts and the parties-litigants by the filing of similar cases to claim substantially the same reliefs.21
Indeed, while a lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client, it should not be at the expense of truth and the administration of justice. Under the Code of Professional Responsibility, a lawyer has the duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice, and is enjoined from unduly delaying a case by impeding execution of a judgment or by misusing court processes.22 Such filing of multiple petitions constitutes abuse of the Court’s processes and improper conduct that tends to impede, obstruct and degrade the administration of justice and will be punished as contempt of court. Needless to add, the lawyer who files such multiple or repetitious petitions (which obviously delays the execution of a final and executory judgment) subjects himself to disciplinary action for incompetence (for not knowing any better) or for willful violation of his duties as an attorney to act with all good fidelity to the courts, and to maintain only such actions as appear to him to be just and are consistent with truth and honor.23
We note that while lawyers owe their entire devotion to the interest of their clients and zeal in the defense of their client’s right, they should not forget that they are, first and foremost, officers of the court, bound to exert every effort to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice.24
In filing multiple petitions before various courts concerning the same subject matter, the respondent violated Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which provides that a lawyer shall exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice. He also violated Rule 12.0225 and Rule 12.0426 of the Code, as well as a lawyer’s mandate "to delay no man for money or malice."
We find that the IBP’s recommended penalty of one year’s suspension from the practice of law is not commensurate to the respondent’s transgression. He shall thus be meted a two-year suspension from the practice of law, effective immediately.
WHEREFORE, for trifling with judicial processes by resorting to forum shopping, respondent Atty. Arnold V. Guerrero is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of Two (2) Years. The respondent is DIRECTED to inform the Court of the date of his receipt of this Decision. Let a copy of this Decision be included in the respondent’s files which are with the Office of the Bar Confidant, and circularized to all courts and to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Azcuna, Tinga, and Chico-Nazario, JJ., concur.
Sandoval-Gutierrez, J., on leave.
1 Rollo, pp. 1-6.
2 Penned by Judge Reynaldo V. Roura.
3 Rollo, pp. 1, 7-8.
4 Annex "A," Id. at 7-16.
5 Penned by then Associate Justice Jose A. R. Melo, entitled Coronel v. Court of Appeals (263 SCRA 15).
6 Annex "B," Rollo, pp. 17-42.
7 According to the complainant, the respondent filed the following cases:
a) Petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with prayer for temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction filed with the Court of Appeals on May 19, 1998 and docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 47710, entitled Catalina B. Mabanag, et al. v. Hon. Estrella T. Estrada, et al.;
b) Civil Case No. Q-97-31268 entitled Spouses Mabanag v. Ramona Alcaraz and the Register of Deeds of Quezon City, for "declaration of inability to acquire real property and damages" before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 91, which was dismissed on July 9, 1999 on the grounds of res judicata and forum shopping;
c) CA-G.R. CV No. 65124 filed before the Court of Appeals questioning the ruling of the trial court in Civil Case No. Q-97-31268;
d) Petition for review dated December 1, 1998 before the Supreme Court, docketed as G.R. No. 135820, to review the decision of the Court of Appeals dismissing CA-G.R. SP No. 47710;
e) Special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court filed with the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 55576, questioning the orders of the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 83, in Civil Case No. Q-44134 dated July 29, 1999 and September 23, 1999; and,
f) Civil Case No. Q-01-43396 entitled Catalina Balais-Mabanag v. Emelita L. Mariano, Concepcion D. Alcaraz and Ramona P. Alcaraz, Ricardo A. Foronda, Atty. Cecilia V. Santoyo and the Register of Deeds of Quezon City, before the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 80, for annulment of sale.
8 Rollo, p. 5.
9 Id. at 101.
10 The pertinent portion of the said Manifestation is as follows:
Finally, Alcarazes’ thru their attorney-in-fact, Ricardo A. Foronda, has filed Adm. Case No. 5469 against Atty. Arnold V. Guerrero, now pending before the Second Division of the Supreme Court, for relentlessly pursuing the cyclic filing of cases before the hierarchy of courts to hold the implementation of a final and executory decision, the entry of judgment of which the Supreme Court issued as early as January 2, 1997 in G.R. No. 13577 (sic). This is to manifest to this Honorable Court that herein defendants have not slept on their rights for all intents and purposes (Id. at 98-99 and 104).
11 Id. at 111-166.
12 Id. at 149.
13 Id. at 151-154.
14 Id. at 399-408.
15 Id. at 400.
16 Gatchalian Promotions Talents Pool, Inc. v. Naldoza, 315 SCRA 406 (1999).
17 31 SCRA 562 (1970).
18 Cited in Heinz R. Heck v. Judge Anthony E. Santos, RTC, Br. 19, Cagayan de Oro City, A.M. No. RTJ-01-1657, February 23, 2004.
19 The records show that the respondent filed the following petitions:
1. Catalina Balais-Mabanag, assisted by her husband Eleuterio Mabanag v. Hon. Estrella T. Estrada, et al. docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 47710 (Annex "2," Comment)
This is a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with prayer for temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction filed with the Court of Appeals, on the ground that the respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion, excess or lack of jurisdiction "in issuing and/or refusing to stay the execution of its decision." The respondent put forth the argument that the private respondent therein, Ramona Patricia Alcaraz, being a foreign national, was incapacitated to purchase the subject property due to the limitations embodied in the 1987 Constitution.
The petition was denied, with the appellate court ratiocinating as follows:
We are not impressed. We find the trial court’s stand on the matter to be legally unassailable. In the first place, petitioner is not the proper party to question the qualification or eligibility of Ramona Alcaraz. It is the State, through the Office of the Solicitor General, which has the legal personality and the authority to question the qualification of Ramona Alcaraz to own rural or urban land. In the second place, the decision sought to be executed has already gained finality. As held by the Supreme Court, when a court’s judgment or order becomes final and executory it is the ministerial duty of the trial court to issue a writ of execution to enforce its judgment (Rollo, p. 65-66).
2. Catalina Balais-Mabanag, et al. v. Concepcion Alvarez, et. al. docketed as G.R. No. 135820 (Complaint, Rollo, p. 3; Records, p. 40 [IBP Commission on Bar Discipline])
This petition was filed by the respondent on behalf of his clients asking the Supreme Court to review the decision of the Court of Appeals dismissing the petition for injunction in CA-G.R. SP No. 47710. The petition was denied for having been filed out of time, and the motion for reconsideration therefrom was denied with finality on April 21, 1999.
3. Spouses Eleuterio & Catalina Mabanag v. Ramona Patricia Alcaraz and the Register of Deeds for Quezon City docketed as Civil Case No. Q-97-31268 (Annex "3," Comment)
This was a complaint for "Declaration of Inability to Acquire Real Property and Damages" before RTC QC, Branch 83. In its Order dated July 9, 1999, the court dismissed the case on the grounds of res judicata and forum shopping. The court observed that "for failure of the plaintiffs in this case to get a favorable decision from the earlier case, they tried to prevent the execution by disqualifying the herein defendant Alcaraz" (Report and Recommendation dated October 3, 2003, p. 3).
4. Catalina Balais-Mabanag, assisted by her husband, Eleuterio Mabanag v. Emelita L Mariano, Concepcion D. Alcaraz and Ramona P. Alcaraz, et al. docketed as Civil Case No. Q-01-43396 (Annex "11," Comment)
This is an action for "Annulment of Title and Deed of Absolute Sale and Damages with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction. In its Order dated March 20, 2001, acting on the injunctive aspect of the case, the court denied the injunction prayed for "for failure of the plaintiff to make at least a prima facie showing of a right to the issuance of the writ." The subsequent Motion for Reconsideration filed by the respondent on behalf of his clients was denied on June 18, 2001. Acting on the defendant’s Special and Affirmative Defenses and Motion to Dismiss, the court issued an order dated January 16, 2002 dismissing the complaint finding that the decision in Civil Case No. Q-44134 had already been turned over to complainant as attorney-in-fact of defendants Alcarazes (Report and Recommendation dated October 3, 2003, p. 3).
5. Catalina Balais-Mabanag, assisted by her husband, Eleuterio Mabanag v. Emelita L Mariano, Concepcion D. Alcaraz and Ramona P. Alcaraz, et al. docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 65783 (Annex "12," Comment)
This is a special civil action for certiorari filed by the respondent on behalf of his client for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction. The Court of Appeals denied the petition on June 14, 2002, and pointed out the following:
a) On December 5, 2000, the Twelfth Division of the Court of Appeals had already affirmed the decision of the lower court that the authority of the Register of Deeds is confined only to the determination of whether all the requisites for registration are complied with. To authorize him to determine whether Ramona Alcaraz is qualified to own real property in the Philippines is to clothe the Register of Deeds with judicial powers which only courts can exercise.
b) The issue as to whether Ramona Alcaraz is qualified to own real property had been passed upon by the Third Division of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 47710.
c) The Third Division of the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 103577, when it ruled on October 7, 1996 that the sale of the subject land between Alcaraz and the Coronels perfected before the sale between Mabanag and the Coronels, was correctly upheld by both courts (Report and Recommendation dated October 3, 2003, p. 4).
6. Catalina Balais-Mabanag, etc. v. Emelita L. Mariano et al. docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 75911 (Annex "3," Verified Position Paper for the Respondent)
This is an appeal filed by the respondent on behalf of his client on February 1, 2003 after Civil Case No. Q-01-43396 for Annulment of Title and Deed of Absolute Sale and Damages was ordered dismissed by RTC QC, Branch 80. The case is still pending before the Court of Appeals.
7. Catalina Balais-Mabanag, assisted by her husband, Eleuterio Mabanag v. Hon. Estrella Estrada, The Register of Deeds of Quezon City, Concepcion D. Alcaraz and Ramona Patricia-Alcaraz docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 55576 (Annex "7," Comment)
This is a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, questioning the order of the RTC in Civil Case No. Q-44134, ordering the respondent’s client to surrender the owner’s duplicate copy of TCT No. 331582 to the plaintiffs therein. The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition in its Decision dated December 5, 2000 with the final note, to wit:
The Supreme Court Third Division as well as in G.R. No. 103577, on October 7, 1996, ruled: "Thus the sale of the subject parcel of land between petitioners and Romana P. Alcaraz, perfected on February 6, 1985, prior to that between petitioners and Catalina B. Mabanag on February 18, 1985, was correctly upheld by both the lower courts below.["]
Obviously, the lower court’s judgment has become final and executory as per Entry of Judgment issued by the Supreme Court. "It is axiomatic that final and executory judgment can no longer be attacked by any of the parties or be modified, directly or indirectly, even by the highest court of the land…" (Annex "E," Rollo, p. 74).
8. Catalina Balais-Mabanag, assisted by her husband Eleuterio Mabanag v. Register of Deeds of Quezon City, et al. docketed as G.R. No. 153142 (Annex "2," Verified Position Paper for the Respondent)
A petition for review filed by the respondent on behalf of his client, Mabanag, before the Supreme Court on June 12, 2002, asking the Court to review the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 55576. The case is still pending before the Court (Annex "1," Id.)
20 Report and Recommendation, pp. 7-8.
21 T’boli Agro-Industrial Development, Inc. v. Solilapsi, 394 SCRA 269 (2002).
22 Garcia v. Francisco, 220 SCRA 512 (1993).
23 Millare v. Montero, 246 SCRA 1 (1995).
24 Eternal Gardens Memorial Park Corp. v. Court of Appeals, 293 SCRA 622 (1998).
25 Rule 12.02 – A lawyer shall not file multiple actions arising from the same cause.
26 Rule 12.04 – A lawyer shall not unduly delay a case, impede the execution of a judgment or misuse court processes.
The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation