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Honoridez vs. Mahinay Case Digest


Only pending actions involving a common question of law or fact may be consolidated.

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Facts: 

Petitioners filed a Complaint with the RTC of Cebu City for declaration of nullity of a mortgage deed and for damages, with an application for a temporary restraining order and/or injunction to prevent the foreclosure sale of the subject parcel of land. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-23653. Petitioners alleged that in 1994, they mortgaged said parcel of land to Jocelyn Joy Sorensen, and that the mortgage deed imposed an exorbitant, unconscionable interest of 5% per month. Thereafter, petitioners filed an Amended Complaint, alleging that the same parcel of land was earlier mortgaged to Felimon Suarez in 1993, but they were required to execute a deed of sale instead. They claimed that when the secured obligation had matured, Sorensen offered to help redeem the property and did pay the sum for such purpose, as well as the taxes involved. It was after such payment that petitioners executed the mortgage in favor of Sorensen.

During the course of the proceedings, Atty. Makilito Mahinay filed a Motion to Intervene, claiming that in an earlier case, Civil Case No. CEB-11086, he and petitioners entered into a compromise agreement wherein he was given the preferential right to buy the lot in issue in the event that petitioners decide to dispose of it. Later on, he discovered that petitioners executed a deed of sale over the same lot in favor of Suarez, thereby prompting him to file an action for specific performance against petitioners and Suarez. The subsequent action, docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-16335, was decided in Mahinay's favor, with the RTC finding that the contract between Suarez and petitioners was a sale and not an equitable mortgage, ruling that Mahinay is entitled to redeem the lot from Suarez, and ordering Suarez to execute a deed of conveyance and to transfer the lot to Mahinay for the same consideration as in the deed of sale between Suarez and petitioners. This decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals and became final and executory in 2001.

Petitioners and Sorensen opposed the motion for intervention, claiming that Suarez could not have sold the lot to Mahinay because Suarez had not purchased it and become its owner in the first place. Thereafter, Mahinay filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, alleging that the answers failed to tender an issue.

Petitioners then filed three motions: (1) Motion to Defer Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, (2) Motion for Consolidation, and (3) Motion for Leave to File Third Party Complaint and Admit Third Party Complaint. In the first motion, they claimed that they were able to redeem the lot from Suarez long before the decision in Civil Case No. CEB-16335 had come out, thus rendering the aforementioned decision moot and academic. According to petitioners, such redemption is a supervening event which rendered the decision unenforceable. In the second motion, they argued that the determination of whether such redemption is a supervening event is a common issue in the case a quo and in Civil Case No. CEB-16335. In the third motion, petitioners claimed that there is a necessity to implead Suarez in order to preserve and protect their ownership over the lot.

The RTC denied the three motions.


Issue:

Did the trial court err in not consolidating Civil Case No. CEB-23653 with Civil Case No. CEB 16335?


Held:

No. Under Section 1, Rule 31 of the Rules of Court, only pending actions involving a common question of law or fact may be consolidated. Obviously, petitioners cannot make out a case for consolidation in this case since Civil Case No. CEB-16335, the case which petitioners seek to consolidate with the case a quo, has long become final and executory; as such it cannot be re-litigated in the instant proceedings without virtually impeaching the correctness of the decision in the other case.  Public policy abhors such eventuality.

Litigation must end and terminate sometime and somewhere, and it is essential to an effective administration of justice that once a judgment has become final the issue or cause involved therein should be laid to rest. (Honoridez vs. Mahinay, G.R. No. 153762. August 12, 2005)

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