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Ponciano vs. Judge Parentela Case Digest


An answer which asserts a compulsory counterclaim need not include a certificate of non-forum shopping since such pleading is not initiatory in character.

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Facts: 

Respondents Ildefonso and Leonora Clamosa filed a complaint for a sum of money and damages against petitioners Claro and Gloria Ponciano for unpaid cost of labor and materials incurred by them in repairing petitioners house.

Petitioners filed their answer with compulsory counterclaim, claiming that they have paid the total contract price agreed upon; that despite this, the work of private respondents was defective; and that private respondents abandoned the renovation before it was completed. Petitioners asserted that they are entitled to be paid P250,000 to complete the renovation, and damages.

Upon motion of private respondents, the trial court ordered that petitioners counterclaim be stricken off from the record for failure to comply with Administrative Circular No. 04-94, which requires an affidavit of non-forum shopping for all initiatory pleadings in all courts. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing, among others, that since their counterclaim is compulsory in nature, it is not an initiatory pleading and therefore, does not fall within the scope of said circular. However,the trial court denied petitioners motion for reconsideration.


Issue:

Whether or not an answer which asserts a compulsory counterclaim must include a certificate of non-forum shopping.


Held:

No. The real office of Administrative Circular No. 04-94, made effective on 01 April 1994, is to curb the malpractice commonly referred to also as forum-shopping. It is an act of a party against whom an adverse judgment has been rendered in one forum of seeking and possibly getting a favorable opinion in another forum, other than by appeal or the special civil action of certiorari, or the institution of two or more actions or proceedings grounded on the same cause on the supposition that one or the other court would make a favorable disposition. The language of the circular distinctly suggests that it is primarily intended to cover an initiatory pleading or an incipient application of a party asserting a claim for relief.

There is no doubt that the counterclaims pleaded by petitioners in their answers are compulsory in nature. The filing of a separate action by petitioners would only result in the presentation of the same evidence as in Civil Case No. TM-601. Proceeding from our ruling in Santo Tomas University Hospital, petitioners need not file a certification of non-forum shopping since their claims are not initiatory in character, and therefore, are not covered by the provisions of Administrative Circular No. 04-94. (Ponciano vs. Judge Parentela, G.R. No. 133284. May 9, 2000)

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