Tuesday, December 8, 2015

When CA may treat Certiorari as original action for Injunction

SANGGUNIANG PANLUNGSOD NG BAGUIO CITY vs. JADEWELL PARKING SYSTEMS CORPORATION, G.R. No. 160025, April 23, 2014; with companion cases: GR 163052; G.R. No. 164107; G.R. No. 165564; G.R. No. 172215; G.R. No. 172216; G.R. No. 173043; G.R. No. 174879; G.R. No. 181488. 

“x x x.

The CA sustained the position of the Sanggunian that certiorari could not prosper because when the latter enacted Resolution 37, the Sanggunian was exercising its legislative function and not its judicial or quasi-judicial function. The writ of certiorari under Rule 65 requires: (a) that it is directed against a tribunal, a board or an officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions; (b) that such tribunal, board, or officer has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion; and (c) that there is no appeal nor any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.138

The CA nevertheless proceeded to treat the Petition as an original action for injunction, ruling in this wise:

x x x x

Although in the trial court, Jadewell filed said petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus under Rule 65, it is essentially one for Injunction under Rule 58. Said petition’s form and substance satisfied all the requirements of a civil action for Injunction, which is the proper remedy under the attendant circumstances.

The rules of procedure ought not to be applied in a very rigid technical sense, rules of procedure are used only to help secure, not override substantial justice. If a technical and rigid enforcement of the rules is made, their aim would be defeated.

Considering the clear and patent denial of due process committed by the Sanggunian in precipitately rescinding the MOA and in the interest of substantial justice, WE deem it more prudent to treat the petition filed below as an action for Injunction under Rule 58, which is well within the jurisdiction of the trial court. Consequently, the present appeal shall be considered as an appeal from the permanent injunction ordered by the trial court, which is properly appealable to this Court, as held in Casilan vs. Ybaňez.139

"x x x x

We sustain the ruling of the appellate court treating Jadewell’s original action for certiorari as one for injunction based on the allegations in the latter’s pleadings.

In Ramon Jimenez, Jr. v. Juan Jose Jordana,140 the issue to be resolved was whether the nature of the action was one for specific performance or for recovery of real property. In determining that the case was one for the recovery of real property, the Court characterized the suit on the basis of the allegations in the Complaint. We restated the rule that the nature of an action is determined by the material averments in the complaint and the character of the relief sought. In the recent case of Reyes v. Alsons Development and Investment Corporation,141 we likewise ruled that the nature of an action is determined by the allegations in the pleadings.

In Lee, Jr. v. Court of Appeals,142 the controversy to be resolved was whether the appeal filed by the petitioner was one under Rule 65 or Rule 42. The determination of the issue was crucial, because the appellate court had dismissed the appeal of the petitioner, saying that the wrong mode of appeal had been used. The CA had ruled that petitioner should have filed a certiorari petition under Rule 65 – instead of a petition under Rule 42 – to appeal the assailed decision rendered by the RTC in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction.

We held:

Our perusal of the petition filed before the Court of Appeals clearly shows that it is a petition for review under Rule 42, and not a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65. We note that in the Court of Appeals’ petition, under the heading "Nature of the Petition," petitioner stated that it was a "petition for review on certiorari to set aside, invalidate and reverse the Decision dated December 14, 2001 of public respondent Judge Victor T. Llamas, Jr." Also, the reversal sought was premised on the ground that the decision was issued in gross error. The statement under the heading "Nature of the Petition" that the trial courts’ decisions were issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction, and even the caption impleading the lower courts, would not automatically bring the petition within the coverage of Rule 65. It is hornbook doctrine that it is not the caption of the pleading but the allegations therein that determine the nature of the action. (Emphasis supplied)

In the original action filed by Jadewell before the RTC of Baguio City, although the action was clearly denominated as a Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus against the Sangguniang Panlungsod, the allegations actually supported an action for injunction under Rule 58 of the Revised Rules on Civil Procedure. As can be gleaned from its allegations and especially in its prayers, Jadewell filed the case with the trial court with the ultimate end of restraining the implementation of Resolution No. 037, Series of 2002.

We agree with the CA when it ruled that Jadewell sought permanent injunction aside from the auxiliary remedy of preliminary injunction, thus:

An action for injunction is a recognized remedy in this jurisdiction. It is a suit for the purpose of enjoining the defendant, perpetually or for a particular time, from committing or continuing to commit a specific act, or compelling the defendant to continue performing a particular act. It has an independent existence. The action for injunction is distinct from the ancillary remedy of preliminary injunction, which cannot exist except only as part or an incident of an independent action or proceeding.143 xxxx...

In Garcia v. Adeva,144 this Court had the opportunity to clarify that while injunction can be a provisional remedy, it can also be a main case. The Court had to make this preliminary distinction in order to find out whether the SEC had the jurisdiction to prevent, on a permanent basis, the commission of certain acts by the respondents. Thus, the necessity to make the distinction between injunction as a provisional remedy and injunction as a main case. It found guidance from Garayblas v. Atienza, Jr.,145 and quoting from the latter:

Injunction is a judicial writ, process or proceeding whereby a party is ordered to do or refrain from doing a certain act. It may be the main action or merely a provisional remedy for and as an incident in the main action. The Court has distinguished the main action for injunction from the provisional or ancillary remedy of preliminary injunction, thus:

The main action for injunction is distinct from the provisional or ancillary remedy of preliminary injunction which cannot exist except only as part or an incident of an independent action or proceeding. As a matter of course, in an action for injunction, the auxiliary remedy of preliminary injunction, whether prohibitory or mandatory, may issue. Under the law, the main action for injunction seeks a judgment embodying a final injunction which is distinct from, and should not be confused with, the provisional remedy of preliminary injunction, the sole object of which is to preserve the status quo until the merits can be heard. A preliminary injunction is granted at any stage of an action or proceeding prior to the judgment or final order. It persists until it is dissolved or until the termination of the action without the court issuing a final injunction.

We, therefore, rule that the CA did not commit any error in treating Jadewell’s Petition for Certiorari as an original action for injunction.

X x x.”