"x x x.
Forum shopping is defined as "theact of a litigant who ‘repetitively availed of several judicial remedies in different courts, simultaneously or successively, all substantially founded on the same transactions and the same essential facts and circumstances, and all raising substantially the same issues either pending in, or already resolved adversely by some other court . . . to increase his chances of obtaining a favorable decision if not in one court, then in another’."52 Once clearly established that forum shopping was committed willfully and deliberately by a party or his or her counsel, the case may be summarily dismissed with prejudice, and the act shall constitute direct contempt and a cause for administrative sanctions.53
Forum shopping is prohibited, and sanctions are imposed on those who commit forum shopping as "it trifles with the courts, abuses their processes, degrades the administration of justice and adds to the already congested court dockets."54 This court has said:
What is critical is the vexation brought upon the courts and the litigants by a party who asks different courts to rule on the same or related causes and grant the same or substantially the same reliefs and in the process creates the possibility of conflicting decisions being rendered by the different fora upon the same issues, regardless of whether the court in which one of the suits was brought has no jurisdiction over the action.55 (Citation omitted)
The test and requisites that must concur to establish when a litigant commits forum shopping are the following:
The test for determining the existence of forum shopping is whether the elements of litis pendentiaare present, or whether a final judgment in one case amounts to res judicatain another. Thus, there is forum shopping when the following elements are present: (a) identity of parties, or at least such parties asrepresent the same interests in both actions; (b) identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for, the relief being founded on the same facts; and (c) the identity of the two preceding particulars, such that any judgment rendered in the other action will, regardless of which party is successful, amount to res judicatain the action under consideration; said requisites are also constitutive of the requisites for auter action pendant or lis pendens.56 (Citation omitted)
There is no question that Ferro Chemicals, Inc. committed forum shopping when it filed an appeal before the Court of Appeals and a petition for certiorari before this court assailing the same trial court decision. This is true even if Ferro Chemicals, Inc.’s notice of appeal to the Court of Appeals was entitled "Notice of Appeal Ex Gratia Abudantia Ad Cautelam (Of The Civil Aspect of the Case)."57 The "civil aspect of the case" referred to by Ferro Chemicals, Inc. is for the recovery of civil liability ex delicto. However, it failed to make a reservation before the trial court to institute the civil action for the recovery of civil liability ex delictoor institute a separate civil action prior to the filing of the criminal case.
There is identity of parties. Petitioner, Antonio Garcia, and respondent, Ferro Chemicals, Inc., are both parties in the appeal filed before the Court of Appeals and the petition for certiorari before this court.
There is identity of the rights asserted and reliefs prayed for in both actions. At a glance, it may appear that Ferro Chemicals, Inc. asserted different rights: The appeal before the Court of Appeals is purely on the civil aspect of the trial court’s decision while the petition for certiorari before this court is allegedly only onthe criminal aspect of the case. However, the civil liability asserted by Ferro Chemicals, Inc. before the Court of Appeals arose from the criminal act. It is in the nature of civil liability ex delicto. Ferro Chemicals, Inc. did not reserve the right to institute the civil action for the recovery of civil liability ex delictoor institute a separate civil action prior to the filing of the criminal case.58 Thus, it is an adjunct of the criminalaspect of the case.1âwphi1 As held in Lim v. Kou Co Ping:59
The civil liability arising from the offense or ex delictois based on the acts or omissions that constitute the criminal offense; hence, its trial is inherently intertwined with the criminal action.For this reason, the civil liability ex delictois impliedly instituted with the criminal offense. If the action for the civil liability ex delictois instituted prior to or subsequent to the filing of the criminal action, its proceedings are suspended until the final outcome of the criminal action. The civil liability based on delict is extinguished when the court hearing the criminal action declares that ‘the act or omission from which the civil liability may arise did not exist’."60 (Emphasis supplied, citations omitted).
When the trial court’s decision was appealed as to its criminal aspect in the petition for certiorari before thiscourt, the civil aspect thereof is deemed included in the appeal. Thus, the relief prayed for by Ferro Chemicals, Inc., that is, recovery of civil liability ex delicto, is asserted in both actions before this court and the Court of Appeals.
x x x."
G.R. No. 172505, October 1, 2014
ANTONIO M. GARCIA, Petitioner,
vs. FERRO CHEMICALS, INC., Respondent.
vs. FERRO CHEMICALS, INC., Respondent.