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106 Phil. 732

[ G. R. No. L-13715, December 23, 1959 ]




Appeal from a judgment of  the Court of First Instance of Negros  Occidental, Hon.  Jose Teodoro,  Sr., presiding, dismissing plaintiff's complaint on  the grounds specified in a motion presented by defendants.   The main grounds are that the cause of action  stated  in the complaint is barred   by a  prior  judgment  and  by the   statute  of limitations.

The present  case is an offshoot of  G. R. No.  L-6158* (March 11, 1954), entitled  Cebu  Portland Cement Company vs. The Court of Industrial Relations (CIR) and Philippine Land Air-Sea Labor Union (PLASLU), decided by this Court, affirming a decision of the Court of Industrial relations holding that the separation of plaintiff herein, Felix V. Valencia, from his position as general superintendent in  the  Cebu  Portland  Cement Company,  Cebu, was unjustifiable because no valid reasons existed for said removal.  The decision of the Court  of Industrial Relations, affirmed by this  Court, ordered that Felix V. Valencia be reinstated  from May 1, 1949 to  November 16, 1950, with all the privileges and emoluments attached to said petition.

The present complaint was filed on  June 22, 1956, and alleges that plaintiff's separation from the Cebu Portland Cement Company on  June 16,  1950, was caused  by the concerted individual acts of the defendants, which are unreasonable, unjust and illegal.  It further alleges that in procuring plaintiff's dismissal through  malicious, illegal, unjust,  oppressive and high-handed acts, plaintiff and his family have been terribly humiliated and have suffered an irreparable injury to their good name, reputation, honor, social dealings and prestige.  So it is prayed that actual or  compensatory damages, exemplary damages, nominal or temperate damages, attorney's fees and contingent fees, all  amounting to P299,509.00, be  granted  plaintiff- appellant.

Plaintiff-appellant claims that the Court  of Industrial Relations case presented by  him  against the defendant Cebu  Portland Cement Company is not a bar to the present action because the said court has no jurisdiction over his present claim.  We find this  contention to be without merit.  The removal of plaintiff from  his position as general superintendent, which removal was held by the Court of Industrial Relations and by us to be illegal, up to November 16,  1950, is the cause or reason for the present action for nominal, exemplary  and  other  damages.  As claimed by defendant-appellees in the lower  court,  a party to an action cannot split his cause of  action into many causes.  (Rule 2, section 3.)  When, therefore, the plaintiff-appellant filed his action for reinstatement, he should have included in said action the supposed damages that he now claims in his complaint in this case.  It is well settled that a party, after presenting an action, cannot by a subsequent proceeding or suit recover other damages or remedies to which he was entitled in the former action, which is, in this case, the alleged unlawful dismissal of the plaintiff.

The action is also barred by the statute of limitations.

The cause of action  arose upon plaintiff's separation from the service on November 16, 1950.  When he filed  the action on June 22, 1956, more than the four years prescribed by  Article 1146 the Civil Code has already elapsed.

The present action is one for injury to the rights  of the plaintiff.  It is not, as claimed by plaintiff-appellant, an action based on a former judgment.  A previous judgment declared his separation from May 31, 1949 to November 16, 1950, illegal, and consequently, the court ordered payment of his services for that period of time.  If he claims any injury caused to him by the supposed illegal acts of the defendants by his  separation on November 16, 1950, he should have filed his action within four years from that date.  Hence, we are constrained to hold that the action which he now institutes is barred by the provisions of said Article 1146 of the Civil Code.

In view  of the foregoing, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against plaintiff-appellant.

Paras, C.J., Bengzon,  Padilla, Montemayor, Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Endencia, and Barrera, JJ., concur.
Gutierrez David, J., concurs  in the result.

* 94  Phil., 509.