Sunday, April 22, 2012

Where injunction is improper. - G.R. No. 171765

G.R. No. 171765

"x x x.

A preliminary injunction, being a preservative remedy for the protection of substantive rights or interestsis not a cause of action in itself but merely a provisional remedy, an adjunct to a main suit.[28]

A preliminary injunction is defined under Section 1, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court, as follows:

Section 1. Preliminary injunction defined; classes. — A preliminary injunction is an order granted at any stage of an action or proceeding prior to the judgment or final order, requiring a party or a court, agency or a person to refrain from a particular act or acts. x x x

A preliminary injunction is a provisional remedy that a party may resort to in order to preserve and protect certain rights and interests during the pendency of an action.[29]The objective of a writ of preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo until the merits of the case can be fully heard.  Status quo is the last actual, peaceable and uncontested situation which precedes a controversy.[30]

Significantly, Section 3, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court, enumerates the grounds for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction:
SEC. 3.  Grounds for issuance of preliminary injunction. — A preliminary injunction may be granted when it is established:

(a)    That the applicant is entitled to the relief demanded, and the whole or part of such relief consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the act or acts complained of, or in requiring the performance of an act or acts, either for a limited period or perpetually;

(b)   That the commission, continuance or non-performance of the act or acts complained of during the litigation would probably work injustice to the applicant; or

(c)    That a party, court, agency or a person is doing, threatening, or is attempting to do, or is procuring or suffering to be done, some act or acts probably in violation of the rights of the applicant respecting the subject of the action or proceeding, and tending to render the judgment ineffectual.

Based on the foregoing provision, the Court in St. James College of Parañaque v. Equitable PCI Bank[31] ruled that the following requisites must be proved before a writ of preliminary injunction will issue:

(1) The applicant must have a clear and unmistakable right to be protected, that is, a right in esse;

(2) There is a material and substantial invasion of such right;

(3) There is an urgent need for the writ to prevent irreparable injury to the applicant; and

(4) No other ordinary, speedy, and adequate remedy exists to prevent the infliction of irreparable injury.[32] [Underscoring supplied]

It bears stressing that to be entitled to an injunctive writ, the right to be protected and the violation against that right must be shown.  A writ of preliminary injunction may be issued only upon clear showing of an actual existing right to be protected during the pendency of the principal action.[33] When the complainant’s right or title is doubtful or disputed, he does not have a clear legal right and, therefore, the issuance of injunctive relief is not proper.[34]
 x x x."