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[ GR No. L-6903, Jan 31, 1956 ]



98 Phil. 305

[ G.R. No. L-6903, January 31, 1956 ]



REYES, J.B.L., J.:

Appeal from an order of the Court of  First Instance of Manila annulling an order of the Municipal Court,, also of Manila,  in  Civil' Case  No.  19777  thereof,  dismissing defendant's counterclaim  for  lack of  jurisdiction;. over the same,  and ordering the respondent Municipal Court to proceed  with the  hearing of  the case  including  said counterclaim.

It appears that on March 22, 1952, Cristeto Reyes filed a detainer  (termed "ejectment") case against Librada Proceso Despo in the Municipal Court  of Manila.   Defendant Despo filed an amended answer denying the allegations of the complaint charging that she was fraudulently induced to become .a lessee, and prayed, by way of counterclaim, for the recovery of the total sum of P6,000 Under 5 causes of action, to wit:
(1) First cause of  action P500 for  alleged improvements introduced by defendant in the premises;

(2) Second cause of action P2,000 for moral damages allegedly  suffered by defendant because  of the untimely removal and demolition  of the apartment in question;

(3) Third cause  of action P1,000  for compensatory damages allegedly suffered by  defendant because  of the demolition of her shop at the apartment in question;

(4)  Fourth cause of action P2,000 for exemplary or correctional damages because of alleged  fraudulent dealings of plaintiff with defendant;  and

(5)  Fifth cause of action P500 for attorney's fees.
Plaintiff moved for the dismissal of defendant's counterclaim  on  the  ground  that  the  aggregate  sum claimed therein exceeded the jurisdiction  of  the  Municipal Court; and finding the motion meritorious, the Municipal  Court ordered the  dismissal  of  the counterclaim. .  Wherefore, defendant filed  a petition for certiorari in the Court of First  Instance of Manila,  charging  the Municipal  Court with grave abuse of discretion and  excess of jurisdiction in dismissing her counterclaim.  The  Court or First Instance of Manila granted the certiorari, held that the counterclaim in question was  within the jurisdiction  of the respondent court because each separate  cause  of  action thereunder was for an  amount not in  excess  of P2,000, and, as-already  stated, annulled the order of dismissal and directed the Municipal Court to proceed with the hearing of the case  including the  counterclaim.  From  this order of the Court of  First Instance of  Manila, plaintiff Cristeto Reyes  appealed  to this Court.

The appeal must be sustained. In  the recent case of Soriano vs.  Omila, 97  Phil.,  62, promulgated May  21, 1955  (51  Off. Gaz.  [No. 7]  3465),  this  Court  held that .the jurisdiction of  a court depends, not upon  the value or demand  in each single cause of action  contained in the complaint, but upon the totality  of, the demand in all the causes of action.  The, aggregate, sum of P6.000 demanded under defendant's  counterclaim being  beyond the , jurisdiction of the Municipal Court  of Manila,  said court "  correctly dismissed the same for  lack  of jurisdiction.

In  the  case  of Go vs. Go, 95 Phil.,  878  (June  30,. 1954), we drew a distinction  between a, claim composed of several accounts each distinct from the other and arising out of different transactions,  and another which is composed of several accounts, arising  out of the same transaction; and we held that in the first case, the claims may be joined in a single action even if the total amount demanded exceeds the jurisdiction of the justice of the peace court, but each account furnishes the teat  of jurisdiction; while in the second case,  the claims should  be stated in one cause of action and cannot be divided for the purpose of bringing the case within the jurisdiction of the inferior court,  and jurisdiction is determined by  the total amount claimed. The present case falls within the second class; for all the five items  of damages demanded under defendant's counterclaim admittedly arose out of  one and the same transaction the alleged untimely demolition of  the apartment from which she was ejected by plaintiff.  Hence, defendant cannot be permitted to divide or  split her cause  of action into several claims for the purpose  of bringing the same within the jurisdiction of the municipal court.  The totality of  the amounts  demanded in her counterclaim furnishes the test  of  jurisdiction; and as it exceeds P2,000, it falls within the jurisdiction of, and must be filed in, the Court of First Instance.

In support of  its opinion that the Municipal Court  had jurisdiction over defendant's counterclaim  because  each separate cause of  action thereunder was  for an amount not  in excess  of P2,000, the  Court  of First Instance of Manila cited the cases of Argonza, et  al. vs. International Colleges,  (90 Phil., 470)  dated November 29,  1951,  and Soriano y Cia.  vs. Jose, 47 Off. Gaz.  (12 Sup.) 156.  Both cases  cited are not in point,  for  there, several  plaintiffs having separate  and distinct claims  against the  same defendant  were allowed to litigate together under the rule on  permissive  joinder of  parties, there being a question of  fact common to, and a right of relief  arising out of the same transaction  in favor  of, all  of them (section 6, Rule 3,  Rules  of  Court) ; and while  the totality  of  the claims of the  several plaintiffs exceeded the jurisdiction of  the inferior court, we held that the  demand of each claimant  furnished the jurisdictional test,  and  so  the justice of the peace court had jurisdiction.  Pointing out the difference between the case of  several  plaintiffs  with separate claims suing  under the same complaint,  and that of  one  plaintiff, alleging  in  one  complaint several independent causes  of action, like  the case at  bar, we said:
"The  petitioner  believes  that the joining  of  plaintiffs having separate' claims should be controlled by the  principle bearing on the court's jurisdiction in suits  where  one plaintiff alleges in one complaint several  independent causes of action,  in which case it is the aggregate amount  which determines the jurisdiction..  But there is a fundamental  difference between such cases and. one like that before us.  In the first,,  the total demand accrues to one person, while in  the latter only part  of the combined demand, which does not exceed  the jurisdictional  amount, pertains to a single plaintiff. In  other  words, the court takes into account what one party would recover  and not what is adjudged to  all the  parties or  some  of them."  (Soriano  y Cia. vs. Jose, supra.)
 The  order  appealed from  is,  therefore,  reversed,  and the order  of the Municipal  Court of  Manila  dismissing defendant-appellee Librada Proceso Despo's counterclaim is affirmed.  Costs against  defendant-appellee.  So  ordered.

ParĂ¡s, C. J., Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes, A., Jugo, Labrador,  Concepcion, and Endencia, JJ., concur.

Bautista Angelo,  J., concurs in the result.