G.R. No. 204729, August 06, 2014
LOURDES SUITES (CROWN HOTEL MANAGEMENT CORPORATION), Petitioner, v. NOEMI BINARAO,, Respondent.
R E S O L U T I O N
Period of stay
Total contract price
AQ College of Nursing & Health Sciences Students
27 March 2011-16 April 2011
1 May 2011-21 May 2011
Mariano Marcos State University College of Nursing & Health Sciences Students
27 March 2011-7 May 2011
9 May 2011-14 May 2011
16 May 2011-21 May 2011
23 May 2011-28 May 2011
30 May 2011-4 June 2011
6 June 2011-11 June 2011
13 June 2011-18 June 2011
x x x [P]laintiff failed to successfully prove by preponderance of evidence the existence of an obligation in its favor and that the defendant has an unpaid account in the amount of Php47,810.00.
Defendant, on the other hand, confirmed that she requested plaintiff several times to make a proper accounting to include specifically the actual number of student[s] who [stayed in the] hotel and the number of rooms actually used by the students. Defendant even asked for a computation [of the unpaid amount], but was continuously ignored by the plaintiff.
x x x x
It would appear therefore that the defendant has already paid her monetary obligation and even made an overpayment in the amount of Php43,060.00.8
WHEREFORE, the Court RENDERS judgment ordering the DISMISSAL with prejudice of the instant complaint for lack of cause of action.
On the Counter Claim ordering the plaintiff Lourdes Suites (Crown Hotel Management Corporation) to pay the defendant the sum of Php43,060.00 in refund of overpayment made to plaintiff and the amount of Php10,000.00 as moral damages.
For failure of the defendant to prove that the plaintiff has acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or malevolent manner in the filing of the Complaint, her claim for exemplary damages in the amount of Php50,000 is hereby denied.
- A dismissal based on the ground that the [c]omplaint states no cause of action cannot be deemed a dismissal with prejudice under the Rules;
- The existence of a cause of action is determined only by the facts alleged in the complaint, [but the MeTC Decision] was anchored on the evidence of Defendant, now Respondent x x x ;
- If the dismissal is not moored on the face of the [c]omplaint, lack of cause of action arises only when the action is not brought in the name of the real party in interest x x x ; and
- Lack of cause of action, much less with prejudice, is not set forth as a ground for dismissal in both the Rule[s] of Procedure For Small Claims Cases and the Rules of Civil Procedure x x x.15
[f]ailure to state a cause of action and lack of cause of action are really different from each other. On the one hand, failure to state a cause of action refers to the insufficiency of the pleading, and is a ground for dismissal under Rule 16 of the Rules of Court. On the other hand, lack of cause [of] action refers to a situation where the evidence does not prove the cause of action alleged in the pleading. Justice Regalado, a recognized commentator on remedial law, has explained the distinction:x x x What is contemplated, therefore, is a failure to state a cause of action which is provided in Sec. 1(g) of Rule 16. This is a matter of insufficiency of the pleading. Sec. 5 of Rule 10, which was also included as the last mode for raising the issue to the court, refers to the situation where the evidence does not prove a cause of action. This is, therefore, a matter of insufficiency of evidence. Failure to state a cause of action is different from failure to prove a cause of action. The remedy in the first is to move for dismissal of the pleading, while the remedy in the second is to demur to the evidence, hence reference to Sec. 5 of Rule 10 has been eliminated in this section. The procedure would consequently be to require the pleading to state a cause of action, by timely objection to its deficiency; or, at the trial, to file a demurrer to evidence, if such motion is warranted.20
The basis of [the] public respondent in dismissing the complaint for lack of cause of action is the failure of petitioner to preponderantly establish its claim against the private respondent by clear and convincing evidence. Hence, public respondent did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it dismissed the Complaint for lack of cause of action, as he referred to the evidence presented and not to the allegations in the Complaint.
The dismissal of the complaint with prejudice is likewise not an exercise of wanton or palpable discretion. It must be noted that this case is an action for small claims where decisions are rendered final and unappealable, hence, a [d]ecision dismissing the same is necessarily with prejudice.22
1Rollo, pp. 20-22. Penned by Presiding Judge Andres Bartolome Soriano.
2 Records, pp. 11-13.
3 Id. at 28.
4 Id. at 24.
5 Id. at 14-19.
6 Id. at 11.
8 Id. at 12.
9 Id. at 13. Penned by Acting Presiding Judge Glenn D. Santos.
11 Id. at 1-10.
12 Id. at 5.
13 Id. at 7.
14 Id. at 81-89.
15Rollo, p. 13.
17 Id. at 15-16.
18 G.R. No. 156375, 30 May 2011, 649 SCRA 92.
19Rollo, p. 15.
20Macaslang v. Zamora, supra note 18 at 106-107.
21Heirs of Jose Lim v. Lim, G.R. No. 172690, 3 March 2010, 614 SCRA 141, 148-149.
22Rollo, pp. 21-22.