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8epubllc of Lhe hlllpplnes

SUkLML CCUk1
Manlla
Ln 8AnC
G.k. No. 148193 Ianuary 16, 2003
LCLL CI 1nL nILIINLS, peLlLloner,
vs.
kAIALL ICSL CCNSING, Ik., respondenL.

NAkLS-SAN1IAGC, !.:
8efore us ls a peLlLlon for revlew under 8ule 43 of Lhe 8ules of CourL, seeklng Lo seL
aslde Lhe May 31, 2001 declslon
1
of Lhe CourL of Appeals
2
ln CA-C.8. S no. 63712,
whlch reversed and seL aslde Lhe !anuary 23, 2001 order
3
of Lhe 8eglonal 1rlal CourL of
lmus, CavlLe, 8ranch 21, ln Crlmlnal Case no. 7668-00 denylng respondenL's moLlon for
defermenL of arralgnmenL.
SomeLlme ln lebruary 1997, respondenL 8afael !ose Conslng, !r. and hls moLher, Cecllla
de la Cruz,
4
represenLed Lo lus 8ullders, lnc. (8l) LhaL Lhey are Lhe Lrue and lawful
owners of a 42,443 square meLer loL slLuaLed ln lmus, CavlLe and covered by 1ransfer
CerLlflcaLe of 1lLle no. 687399 ln Lhe name of Cecllla de la Cruz. 1hey furLher
represenLed LhaL Lhey acqulred sald loL, whlch was prevlously covered by 1C1 no.
191408 from !uanlLo 1an 1eng and o Wlllle ?u. 8elylng on Lhe represenLaLlons of
respondenL and hls moLher, 8l purchased Lhe quesLloned loL.
ln Aprll 1999, 8l dlscovered LhaL respondenL and hls moLher dld noL have a valld LlLle
over Lhe sub[ecL loL. 8l came Lo know LhaL !uanlLo 1an 1eng and o Wlllle ?u never sold
sald loL Lo respondenL and hls moLher and LhaL 1C1 no. 191408 upon whlch 1C1 no.
687399 was based ls noL on flle wlLh Lhe 8eglsLer of ueeds.
ln AugusL 1999, 8l was ousLed from Lhe possesslon of Lhe dlspuLed loL by !uanlLo 1an
1eng and o Wlllle ?u. uesplLe wrlLLen and verbal demands, respondenL and hls moLher
refused Lo reLurn Lhe amounL of 13,369,641.79 alleged Lo have been lnlLlally pald by
8l.
Cn !uly 22, 1999, respondenL flled wlLh Lhe 8eglonal 1rlal CourL of aslg ClLy, 8ranch 68,
an acLlon for "ln[uncLlve 8ellef" dockeLed as Clvll Case no. SCA 1739, agalnsL 8l,
unlcaplLal lnc, unlcaplLal 8ealLy lnc., !alme MarLlres, Marlano u. MarLlnez, Cecllla de la
Cruz and 20 oLher !ohn uoes.
3
8espondenL soughL a declaraLlon LhaL he was merely an
agenL of hls moLher, Cecllla de la Cruz, and Lherefore was noL under any obllgaLlon Lo
8l and Lo Lhe oLher defendanLs on Lhe varlous LransacLlons lnvolvlng 1C1 no. 687399.
Cn CcLober 13, 1999, 8l flled agalnsL respondenL and hls moLher a complalnL for
"uamages and ALLachmenL," dockeLed as Clvll Case no. 99-93381, wlLh 8ranch 12 of Lhe
8eglonal 1rlal CourL of Manlla.
6
8espondenL flled a moLlon Lo dlsmlss on Lhe ground of
forum shopplng and pendency of Clvll Case no. SCA 1739.
7

Cn !anuary 21, 2000, a crlmlnal case for esLafa Lhrough falslflcaLlon of publlc documenL
was flled agalnsL respondenL 8afael !ose Conslng, !r. and hls moLher wlLh Lhe 81C of
lmus, CavlLe.
8

Cn Aprll 7, 2000, respondenL flled a moLlon Lo defer arralgnmenL on Lhe ground of
pre[udlclal quesLlon, l. e., Lhe pendency of Clvll Case nos. SCA 1739 and 99-93381.
9
Cn
!anuary 27, 2000, Lhe Lrlal courL denled respondenL's moLlon.
A moLlon for reconslderaLlon Lhereof was llkewlse denled on lebruary 27, 2001.
10

8espondenL flled a peLlLlon for cerLlorarl wlLh prayer for Lhe lssuance of a Lemporary
resLralnlng order and/or wrlL of prellmlnary ln[uncLlon wlLh Lhe CourL of Appeals seeklng
Lo en[oln Lhe arralgnmenL and Lrlal of Lhe esLafa Lhrough falslflcaLlon case.
11
1he CourL
of Appeals granLed respondenL's prayer for Lhe lssuance of a Lemporary resLralnlng
order ln a resoluLlon daLed March 19, 2001.
12

Cn May 31, 2001, a declslon was rendered seLLlng aslde Lhe !anuary 27, 2000 order of
Lhe, Lrlal courL and permanenLly en[olnlng lL from proceedlng wlLh Lhe arralgnmenL and
Lrlal of Lhe crlmlnal case unLll Lhe clvll cases for ln[uncLlve 8ellef and for uamages and
ALLachmenL shall have been flnally declded.
Pence, Lhe eople of Lhe hlllpplnes, represenLed by Lhe SollclLor Ceneral, flled Lhe
lnsLanL peLlLlon seeklng Lhe reversal of Lhe May 31, 2001 declslon of Lhe CourL of
Appeals.
1he lssue Lo be resolved ln Lhls peLlLlon ls wheLher or noL Lhe pendency of Clvll Case
nos. SCA 1739 and 99-93381, for ln[uncLlve 8ellef and for uamages and ALLachmenL, ls a
pre[udlclal quesLlon [usLlfylng Lhe suspenslon of Lhe proceedlngs ln Lhe crlmlnal case for
esLafa Lhrough falslflcaLlon of publlc documenL, flled agalnsL Lhe respondenL.
A pre[udlclal quesLlon ls deflned as LhaL whlch arlses ln a case, Lhe resoluLlon of whlch ls
a loglcal anLecedenL of Lhe lssue lnvolved Lhereln, and Lhe cognlzance of whlch perLalns
Lo anoLher Lrlbunal. 1he pre[udlclal quesLlon musL be deLermlnaLlve of Lhe case before
Lhe courL buL Lhe [urlsdlcLlon Lo Lry and resolve Lhe quesLlon musL be lodged ln anoLher
courL or Lrlbunal. lL ls a quesLlon based on a facL dlsLlncL and separaLe from Lhe crlme
buL so lnLlmaLely connecLed wlLh lL LhaL lL deLermlnes Lhe gullL or lnnocence of Lhe
accused. lor a clvll acLlon Lo be consldered pre[udlclal Lo a crlmlnal case as Lo cause Lhe
suspenslon of Lhe crlmlnal proceedlngs unLll Lhe flnal resoluLlon of Lhe clvll acLlon, Lhe
followlng requlslLes musL be presenL: (1) Lhe clvll case lnvolves facLs lnLlmaLely relaLed
Lo Lhose upon whlch Lhe crlmlnal prosecuLlon would be based, (2) ln Lhe resoluLlon of
Lhe lssue or lssues ralsed ln Lhe clvll acLlon, Lhe gullL or lnnocence of Lhe accused would
necessarlly be deLermlned, and (3) [urlsdlcLlon Lo Lry sald quesLlon musL be lodged ln
anoLher Lrlbunal.
13

lf boLh clvll and crlmlnal cases have slmllar lssues or Lhe lssue ln one ls lnLlmaLely relaLed
Lo Lhe lssues ralsed ln Lhe oLher, Lhen a pre[udlclal quesLlon would llkely exlsL, provlded
Lhe oLher elemenL or characLerlsLlc ls saLlsfled. lL musL appear noL only LhaL Lhe clvll case
lnvolves Lhe same facLs upon whlch Lhe crlmlnal prosecuLlon would be based, buL also
LhaL Lhe resoluLlon of Lhe lssues ralsed ln Lhe clvll acLlon would be necessarlly
deLermlnaLlve of Lhe gullL or lnnocence of Lhe accused. lf Lhe resoluLlon of Lhe lssue ln
Lhe clvll acLlon wlll noL deLermlne Lhe crlmlnal responslblllLy of Lhe accused ln Lhe
crlmlnal acLlon based on Lhe same facLs, or Lhere ls no necesslLy LhaL Lhe clvll case be
deLermlned flrsL before Laklng up Lhe crlmlnal case, Lherefore, Lhe clvll case does noL
lnvolve a pre[udlclal quesLlon.
14

ln Lhe case aL bar, we flnd no pre[udlclal quesLlon LhaL would [usLlfy Lhe suspenslon of
Lhe proceedlngs ln Lhe crlmlnal case. 1he lssue ln Clvll Case no. SCA 1739 for ln[uncLlve
8ellef ls wheLher or noL respondenL merely acLed as an agenL of hls moLher, Cecllla de la
Cruz, whlle ln Clvll Case no. 99-93381, for uamages and ALLachmenL, Lhe quesLlon ls
wheLher respondenL and hls moLher are llable Lo pay damages and Lo reLurn Lhe
amounL pald by 8l for Lhe purchase of Lhe dlspuLed loL. Lven lf respondenL ls declared
merely an agenL of hls moLher ln Lhe LransacLlon lnvolvlng Lhe sale of Lhe quesLloned loL,
he cannoL be ad[udged free from crlmlnal llablllLy. An agenL or any person may be held
llable for consplrlng Lo falslfy publlc documenLs. Pence, Lhe deLermlnaLlon of Lhe lssue
lnvolved ln Clvll Case no. SCA 1739 for ln[uncLlve 8ellef ls lrrelevanL Lo Lhe gullL or
lnnocence of Lhe respondenL ln Lhe crlmlnal case for esLafa Lhrough falslflcaLlon of
publlc documenL.
Llkewlse, Lhe resoluLlon of 8l's rlghL Lo be pald damages and Lhe purchase prlce of Lhe
loL ln quesLlon wlll noL be deLermlnaLlve of Lhe culpablllLy of Lhe respondenL ln Lhe
crlmlnal case for even lf 8l ls held enLlLled Lo Lhe reLurn of Lhe purchase prlce plus
damages, lL does noL lpso facLo follow LhaL respondenL should be held gullLy of esLafa
Lhrough falslflcaLlon of publlc documenL. SLaLed dlfferenLly, a rullng of Lhe courL ln Lhe
clvll case LhaL 8l should noL be pald Lhe purchase prlce plus damages wlll noL
necessarlly absolve respondenL of llablllLy ln Lhe crlmlnal case where hls gullL may sLlll
be esLabllshed under penal laws as deLermlned by oLher evldence.
Moreover, nelLher ls Lhere a pre[udlclal quesLlon lf Lhe clvll and Lhe crlmlnal acLlon can,
accordlng Lo law, proceed lndependenLly of each oLher.
13
under 8ule 111, SecLlon 3 of
Lhe 8evlsed 8ules on Crlmlnal rocedure, ln Lhe cases provlded ln ArLlcles 32, 33, 34 and
2176 of Lhe Clvll Code, Lhe lndependenL clvll acLlon may be broughL by Lhe offended
parLy. lL shall proceed lndependenLly of Lhe crlmlnal acLlon and shall requlre only a
preponderance of evldence. ln no case, however, may Lhe offended parLy recover
damages Lwlce for Lhe same acL or omlsslon charged ln Lhe crlmlnal acLlon.
1hus, ln !"#$% '( )*"+,*,
16
Lhe peLlLloner was accused ln a crlmlnal case for vlolaLlon of
ArLlcle 319 of Lhe 8evlsed enal Code, for execuLlng a new chaLLel morLgage on personal
properLy ln favor of anoLher parLy wlLhouL consenL of Lhe prevlous morLgagee.
1hereafLer, Lhe offended parLy flled a clvll case for LermlnaLlon of managemenL
conLracL, one of Lhe causes of acLlon of whlch conslsLed of peLlLloner havlng execuLed a
chaLLel morLgage whlle Lhe prevlous chaLLel morLgage was sLlll valld and subslsLlng.
eLlLloner moved LhaL Lhe arralgnmenL and Lrlal of Lhe crlmlnal case be held ln abeyance
on Lhe ground LhaL Lhe clvll case was a pre[udlclal quesLlon, Lhe resoluLlon of whlch was
necessary before Lhe crlmlnal proceedlngs could proceed. 1he Lrlal courL denled Lhe
suspenslon of Lhe crlmlnal case on Lhe ground LhaL no pre[udlclal quesLlon exlsL. We
afflrmed Lhe order of Lhe Lrlal courL and ruled LhaL:
. . . Lhe resoluLlon of Lhe llablllLy of Lhe defendanL ln Lhe clvll case on Lhe
elevenLh cause of acLlon based on Lhe fraudulenL mlsrepresenLaLlon LhaL Lhe
chaLLel morLgage Lhe defendanL execuLed ln favor of Lhe sald CMS LsLaLe, lnc. on
lebruary 20, 1937, LhaL hls u-6 "CaLerplllar" 1racLor wlLh Serlal no. 9-u-6363 was
"free from all llens and encumbrances" wlll noL deLermlne Lhe crlmlnal llablllLy of
Lhe accused ln Lhe sald Crlmlnal Case no. 36042 for vlolaLlon of paragraph 2 of
ArLlcle 319 of Lhe 8evlsed enal Code . . . (l) 1haL, even granLlng for Lhe sake of
argumenL, a pre[udlclal quesLlon ls lnvolved ln Lhls case, Lhe facL remalns LhaL
boLh Lhe crlme charged ln Lhe lnformaLlon ln Lhe crlmlnal case and Lhe elevenLh
cause of acLlon ln Lhe clvll case are based upon fraud, hence boLh Lhe clvll and
crlmlnal cases could proceed lndependenLly of Lhe oLher pursuanL Lo ArLlcle 33
of Lhe new Clvll Code whlch provldes: "ln cases of defamaLlon, fraud and physlcal
ln[urles, a clvll acLlon for damages, enLlrely separaLe and dlsLlncL from Lhe
crlmlnal acLlon shall proceed lndependenLly of Lhe crlmlnal prosecuLlon, and
shall requlre only a preponderance of evldence." ([) 1haL, Lherefore, Lhe acL of
respondenL [udge ln lssulng Lhe orders referred Lo ln Lhe lnsLanL peLlLlon was noL
made wlLh "grave abuse of dlscreLlon."
ln Lhe lnsLanL case, Clvll Case no. 99-93381, for uamages and ALLachmenL on accounL of
Lhe alleged fraud commlLLed by respondenL and hls moLher ln selllng Lhe dlspuLed loL Lo
8l ls an lndependenL clvll acLlon under ArLlcle 33 of Lhe Clvll Code. As such, lL wlll noL
operaLe as a pre[udlclal quesLlon LhaL wlll [usLlfy Lhe suspenslon of Lhe crlmlnal case aL
bar.
WnLkLICkL, |n v|ew of a|| the forego|ng, the |nstant pet|t|on |s GkAN1LD. 1he May
31, 2001 dec|s|on of the Court of Appea|s |n CA-G.k. S No. 63712 |s kLVLkSLD and SL1
ASIDL. 1he permanent |n[unct|on |ssued by the Court of Appea|s |s LII1LD and the
keg|ona| 1r|a| Court of Imus, Cav|te, 8ranch 21 |s CkDLkLD to proceed w|th the
arra|gnment and tr|a| |n Cr|m|na| Case No. 7668-00.
SC CkDLkLD.