G.R. No. 176598, July 09, 2014
PETRONIO CLIDORO, DIONISIO CLIDORO, LOLITA CLIDORO, CALIXTO CARDANO, JR., LOURDES CLIDORO-LARIN, MATEO CLIDORO AND MARLIZA CLIDORO-DE UNA, Petitioners, v. AUGUSTO JALMANZAR, GREGORIO CLIDORO, JR., SENECA CLIDORO-CIOCSON, MONSERAT CLIDORO-QUIDAY, CELESTIAL CLIDORO-BINASA, APOLLO CLIDORO, ROSALIE CLIDORO-CATOLICO, SOPHIE CLIDORO, AND JOSE CLIDORO, JR., Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
The instant appeal stemmed from a complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. T-2275 for revival of judgment filed by Rizalina Clidoro, et al. against Onofre Clidoro, et al., praying that the Decision dated November 13, 1995 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 19831, which affirmed with modification the RTC Decision dated March 10, 1988 in Civil Case No. T-98 for partition, be revived and that the corresponding writ of execution be issued. The dispositive portion of the CA Decision reads:The estate of the late Mateo Clidoro, excepting that described in paragraph (i) of the Complaint, is hereby ordered partitioned in the following manner:
1. One-fifth portion to the Plaintiffs-Appellees, by right of representation to the hereditary share of Gregorio Clidoro, Sr.;
2. One-fifth portion to Defendant-Appellant Antonio Clidoro or his legal heirs;
3. One-fifth portion to Appellant Josaphat Clidoro;
4. One-fifth portion to Appellant Aida Clidoro;
5. One-tenth portion to Gregoria Clidoro, as her legitime in the hereditary share of Onofre Clidoro; and
6. One-tenth portion to Catalino Morate, as successor-in-interest to the legitime of Consorcia Clidoro.
On September 3, 2003, defendants-appellees except Gregoria Clidoro-Palanca, moved to dismiss the said complaint on the following grounds: “1.) The petition, not being brought up against the real parties-in-interest, is dismissible for lack of cause of action; 2.) The substitution of the parties defendant is improper and is not in accordance with the rules; 3.) Even if the decision is ordered revived, the same cannot be executed since the legal requirements of Rule 69, Section 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure has not been complied with; and 4.) The Judgment of the Honorable Court ordering partition is merely interlocutory as it leaves something more to be done to complete the disposition of the case.”
After the filing of plaintiffs-appellants' Comment/Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss, defendants-appellees' Reply, plaintiffs-appellants' Rejoinder and defendants-interested parties' Sur-Rejoinder, the RTC issued the assailed Order dated December 8, 2003 dismissing the instant complaint for lack of cause of action, the pertinent portion of which reads:“ x x xPlaintiffs-appellants moved for reconsideration of the foregoing Order with prayer to admit the attached Amended Complaint impleading the additional heirs of the interested party Josaphat Clidoro and the original plaintiffs Rizalina Clidoro-Jalmanzar, Cleneo Clidoro and Aristoteles Clidoro. The same was, however, denied in the second assailed order. x x x 3
The complaint shows that most of the parties-plaintiffs, parties-defendants and interested parties are already deceased and have no more natural or material existence. This is contrary to the provision of the Rules (Sec. 1, Rule 3, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure). They could no longer be considered as the real parties-in-interest. Besides, pursuant to Sec. 3, Rule 3 (1997 Rules of Civil Procedure), where the action is allowed to be prosecuted or defended by a representative or someone acting in fiduciary capacity, the beneficiary shall be included in the title of the case. In the instant case the beneficiaries are already deceased persons. Also, the Complaint states that they were the original parties in Civil Case No. T-98 for Partition, but this is not so (paragraph 2). Some of the parties are actually not parties to the original case, but representing the original parties who are indicated as deceased.
From the foregoing, the Court finds the instant complaint to be flawed in form and substance. The suit is not brought by the real parties-in-interest, thus a motion to dismiss on the ground that the complaint states no cause of action is proper (Section 1(g), Rule 16).
WHEREFORE, the instant complaint is ordered DISMISSED for lack of cause of action.
A. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS FAILED TO CONSIDER THAT THERE WAS NO PROPER SUBSTITUTION OF PARTIES IN THE INSTANT ACTION FOR REVIVAL OF JUDGMENT.
B. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN CONSIDERING THE RESPONDENTS AS WELL AS THE PETITIONERS AS THE REAL PARTIES-IN-INTEREST.
C. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT AMENDMENT TO PLEADINGS WAS PROPERLY MADE AND IS APPLICABLE TO THE INSTANT ACTION.
D. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THERE WAS MERE MISJOINDER OF PARTIES IN THE INSTANT ACTION.4
Lack of cause of action is, however, not a ground for a dismissal of the complaint through a motion to dismiss under Rule 16 of the Rules of Court, for the determination of a lack of cause of action can only be made during and/or after trial. What is dismissible via that mode is failure of the complaint to state a cause of action. Sec. 1(g) of Rule 16 of the Rules of Court provides that a motion may be made on the ground "that the pleading asserting the claim states no cause of action."
The rule is that in a motion to dismiss, a defendant hypothetically admits the truth of the material allegations of the ultimate facts contained in the plaintiff's complaint. When a motion to dismiss is grounded on the failure to state a cause of action, a ruling thereon should, as rule, be based only on the facts alleged in the complaint. x x x
x x x x
In a motion to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action, the focus is on the sufficiency, not the veracity, of the material allegations. The test of sufficiency of facts alleged in the complaint constituting a cause of action lies on whether or not the court, admitting the facts alleged, could render a valid verdict in accordance with the prayer of the complaint. x x x6
An action for revival of judgment is no more than a procedural means of securing the execution of a previous judgment which has become dormant after the passage of five years without it being executed upon motion of the prevailing party. It is not intended to re-open any issue affecting the merits of the judgment debtor's case nor the propriety or correctness of the first judgment. An action for revival of judgment is a new and independent action, different and distinct from either the recovery of property case or the reconstitution case [in this case, the original action for partition], wherein the cause of action is the decision itself and not the merits of the action upon which the judgment sought to be enforced is rendered. x x x 10
On the other hand, the parties to the original case for partition are named as follows:
PLAINTIFFS DEFENDANTS 1.Rizalina Clidoro (deceased) rep. herein by Augusto Jalmanzar 1. Onofre Clidoro (deceased) rep. by Gregoria Clidoro-Palanca (daughter) 2.Gregorio Clidoro, Jr. 2. Antonio Clidoro (deceased) herein rep. by Petronio Clidoro, 3.Urbana Costales (deceased) 3. Carmen Clidoro-Cardano, rep. by Calixto Cardano, Jr. (husband) 4.Cleneo Clidoro (deceased) 4. Dionisio Clidoro 5.Seneca Clidoro Ciocson 5. Lourdes Clidoro-Larin 6.Monserrat Clidoro 6. Lolita Clidoro 7.Celestial Clidoro 7. Mateo Clidoro 8.Aristoteles Clidoro (deceased) INTERESTED PARTIES 9.Apollo Clidoro 1. Aida Clidoro (deceased) 10. Rosalie Clidoro 2. Josaphat Clidoro (deceased), herein rep. by Marliza Clidoro-De Una 11. Sophie Clidoro 12. Jose Clidoro, Jr.
A comparison of the foregoing would show that almost all of the plaintiffs in the original case for partition, in whose favor the court adjudged certain shares in the estate of deceased Mateo Clidoro, are also the plaintiffs in the action for revival of judgment. Meanwhile, the defendants impleaded in the action for revival are allegedly the representatives of the defendants in the original case, and this appears to hold water, as Gregoria Clidoro-Palanca, named as the representative of defendant Onofre Clidoro in the complaint for revival of judgment, was also mentioned and awarded a portion of the estate in the judgment in the original partition case. In fact, the trial court itself stated in its Order11 of dismissal dated December 8, 2003, that “[s]ome of the parties are actually not parties to the original case, but representing the original parties who are indicated as deceased.”
PLAINTIFFS DEFENDANTS 1. Rizalina Clidoro 1. Onofre Clidoro 2. Gregorio Clidoro, Jr. 2. Antonio Clidoro 3. Sofia Cerdena INTERESTED PARTIES 4. Urbana Costales 1. Aida Clidoro 5. Cleneo Seneca 2. Josaphat Clidoro 6. Monserrat Clidoro 7. Celestial Clidoro 8. Aristoteles Clidoro 9. Apollo Clidoro 10. Rosalie Clidoro 11. Sophie Clidoro 12. Jose Clidoro, Jr.
* Designated Acting Member, per Special Order No. 1691 dated May 22, 2014.
1 Penned by former Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe (now Associate Justice of the Supreme Court), with Associate Justices Renato C. Dacudao and Rosmari D. Carandang, concurring; rollo, pp. 29-35.
2Id. at 36-37.
3Id. at 30-33.
4Id. at 14.
5 616 Phil. 73 (2009).
6Vitangcol v. New Vista Properties, Inc., supra, at 85-87. (Emphasis supplied)
7 G.R. No. 171365, October 6, 2010, 632 SCRA 347.
8Manaloto v. Veloso III, supra, at 362. (Emphasis supplied)
9 593 Phil. 420 (2008).
10Saligumba v. Palanog, supra, at 426-427. (Emphasis supplied)
11Rollo, p. 114. (Emphasis supplied)
12 G.R. No. 172660, August 24, 2011, 656 SCRA 151, 173.