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[ GR No. L-9343, Dec 29, 1959 ]



106 Phil. 771

[ G. R. No. L-9343, December 29, 1959 ]




This is  an appeal from a decision rendered by the Court of First Instance of Manila ordering the defendant Valentin R. Lim to pay to the plaintiff the sum of P1000 with legal interest from July 26, 1951, with costs.   The appeal is predicated on the proposition that the lower court erred:
  1. In holding and ordering appellant to return the  sum of P1000 to  appellee;
  2. In ordering  reimbursement merely because the  order under which appellee made payment was subsequently set aside and in failing to rule that reasons of equity entitle appellant to retain the amount delivered;  and
  3. In assuming jurisdiction of the action that give rise to the present appeal.
The present case is an offshoot of the decision rendered by Us on  December 29,  1949 in cases G. R. Nos. L-2717, 2718 and 2767*, wherein we declared that damages suffered by reason of the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction must  be claimed, ascertained and awarded in the final judgment, and that the damages awarded therein in favor of defendant Valentin R. Lim by reason  of the issuance of the preliminary injunctions in civil cases Nos. 487 and 7674 of the  Court  of  First  Instance of Rizal, were granted in violation of Section 9 of Rule 60  in connection with Section  20 of Rule 59  of  the Rules  of Court, for  said damages  were  not  included in  the decision  and were awarded  long time after it became final  and executory. "Facundo vs. Tan, 85 Phil., 249, 47 Off. Gaz., 2912.

The factual background of the present case is as follows: On February 26, 1946, in civil case No. 32 of  the Justice of the Peace  Court of  Pasay, Valentin R. Lim obtained a judgment against Irineo  Facundo,  "ordering the  latter to vacate the  premises described in the complaint and to pay the plaintiff a monthly  rental of P100 from February 18, 1955 until the  defendant  vacate the  premises and to pay the costs."  Irineo  Facundo  did not  appeal from the decision  but  instead  caused the  filing  of a special civil action  for certiorari and prohibition  (Case  No.   7674) in the Court  of First Instance  of Rizal, entitled  Irineo Facundo,  petitioner,  vs.  Jose M.  Santos,  ex-Justice  of the Peace of Pasay, Ricardo C. Robles, as Justice of the Peace of Pasay, and Valentin R. Lim, respondents, wherein a writ of preliminary  injunction was  issued upon the filing by Facundo of a bond in the sum of P1000,  which bond was posted by  the  Manila  Surety  & Fidelity Co., Inc.  On June 21, 1946, this  case was dismissed by the Court of First Instance of  Rizal and the dismissal' was subsequently affirmed on  appeal  by the  Supreme  Court on December 17, 1946.

On July 29,  1948, Valentin R. Lim filed with the Court of First Instance of Rizal,  in said case No. 7694, a motion for the  determination of  damages  sustained by  him for uncollected rentals due to  the  issuance of the above-mentioned writ of preliminary injunction in  said  case.   Despite the fact  that the decision in that  case wherein no damages  were awarded to  appellant Lim had already become final two years  more  or  less from  the date of said judgment, the  Court  of First Instance of  Rizal, on September 30,  1948, allowed appellant Lim to prove said damages, awarded them and ordered the confiscation of the bond posted by the  Manila  Surety &  Fidelity  Co., Inc. and directed the latter to  pay  appellant  Lim the sum of P1000, which order gave rise to a  petition for certiorari filed and  docketed in this Court as G. R. No. L-2718.

On April 9,  1948,  Irineo Facundo filed in the  Court of First  Instance  of Rizal  a special  civil  action  for prohibition against  Lucio M. Tiangco as municipal  Judge of Rizal  City, and  Valentin R. Lim,  wherein he prayed that  a writ  of preliminary  injunction  be issued upon filing  a bond  of P1000  to  prevent Judge  Tiangco from issuing an alias writ  of execution in civil case No.  32 of his court.  Upon Facundo's  filing  of  the  bond  which was  posted by the Manila Surety  & Fidelity Co., Iiic, the court issued the  corresponding preliminary injunction.  On April 24, 1948, the court dismissed this case and dissolved the writ of preliminary injunction; hence on July 29, 1948, appellant filed a  petition with said court asking for damages sustained by him for  failure to  collect the rentals because  of the issuance of the aforementioned preliminary injunction; and despite the fact that the decision in said civil case No. 487 wherein no  damages were awarded for the issuance of said preliminary injunction had become final on May 9, 1948, the Court of First Instance of Rizal allowed the damages sought for, ordered the confiscation of  the  bond posted by  the Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc., and directed the latter to pay to Lim the full value of said bond.  This  order gave rise to  a petition with this Court, docketed as G.  R. No. L-2717.

Thereafter, or to be more exact,  on January 24, 1949, the Court of First Instance  of Rizal issued  a writ of execution in  the  aforementioned cases Nos. 487 and  7674, directing the Sheriff of Manila  to require  the Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc.  to pay  to appellant  Valentin R. Lim the sum of P1000 in satisfaction of its liability under the  preliminary injunction bond, and  in  compliance with the writ of execution, the Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc., herein appellee,  delivered to the Sheriff of Manila the sum of P1,015.01 in full  satisfaction of the writ of execution and the fees of  the Sheriff, of which amount the sum of f 1000 was delivered by the Sheriff to appellant Valentin R. Lim.

On December 29, 1949, we declared  that  the writs of execution issued in civil  cases  Nos. 487 and 7674 of the Court of First Instance were null  and void, and  on January 21,  1951,  the herein plaintiff-appellee demanded from the defendant-appellant the  immediate reimbursement of the payment it made in compliance  with said writs, but the herein defendant-appellant refused to return  the abover mentioned amount  of P1,015.01, herfee plaintiff-appellee initiated the present  action.

The  main  contention  of  defendant-appellant  is  that plaintiff-appellee has  paid voluntarily its natural  obligation and therefore is precluded from recovering that which was delivered to defendant-appellant, and that the requisites of solutio indebiti  which is the only basis  for the return  of the  amount paid do not exist in the present case.  Appellant invokes  the following  provisions  of the Civil Code:
"ART. 1423. Natural obligations, not being based on positive law but on equity and natural law,  do  not grant  a  right of  action to enforce their performance,  but after voluntary fulfillment by the obligor, they authorize the retention of what has been delivered or rendered by reason  thereof".

"ART.  1424. When a right to  sue upon a  civil obligation has lapsed by extinctive  prescription, the obligor  who voluntarily performs the contract cannot recover what he has delivered or the value of the service he has rendered".

"Art. 1428. When, after an  action to enforce a civil obligations has  failed,  the defendant  voluntarily perform the  obligations, he cannot demand the return of what he has delivered or the payment of  the value of the service he  has rendered".
 Upon  careful examination of the foregoing  provisions of law and the  undisputed facts of the  case, we find appellant's contention to be untenable, for the payment made by   the  herein  plaintiff-appellee   to  defendant-appellant was not voluntary,  it was thru a  coercive process  of the writ of  execution issued at the  instance and  insistence of the defendant-appellant.  Certainly, were it not for said writ of  execution, plaintiff-appellee would not  have  paid to defendant-appellant the amount in  question.  It should be noted that at the time the said writ  of execution was issued, the right of defendant-appellant to damages caused unto him by reason of  his inability to collect the rents of the property involved  in civil cases Nos.  487 and  7674, was still  pending  determination  by  the Supreme  Court, and had defendant-appellant waited for the final decision of the Supreme Court  on said damages, surely he would not have  caused  the issuance of the writ  of execution in said civil cases and thus  compel  plaintiff-appellee to pay to him the aforementioned sum of P1,015.01.

It  is contented  by  defendant-appellant that  there  is no justification  for ordering the return of the amount in question as the court below did,  for in the present case, the requisites  of  solutio indebiti do  not exist.  But the instant case does  not fall under the provisions of Article 2154; it is based on the theory that the judgment upon which the plaintiff-appellee made payment was declared null  and   void  and  consequently  the execution of  said judgment and the payment made thereunder were also null and void.  It is quite a settled rule that damages caused by  the issuance of  a  preliminary injunction should be adjudicated  in  the final judgment rendered  in  the case in which  the injunction  was issued.  In civil  cases Nos. 487 and 7674 of the Court of First Instance  of Rizal, the award of  damages was done after the decision on the merit of said cases became final, so said award was illegal, for which no writ of  execution  could be  validly issued. Evidently, the order of September 30, 1949 of the Court of First Instance  of Rizal whereby it awarded damages and ordered  the  forfeiture  and execution of  plaintiff's bond  in each of said two cases, is null and  void, it having been  issued in violation of the Rules of Court.

Defendant-appellant  lastly raises the question of jurisdiction of the court below, claiming that the present action should have been filed  with the Court of  First Instance of Rizal and citing as  follows:
"A court which takes cognizance of an action over which it  has jurisdiction and  power to afford  complete relief has the exclusive right to dispose of the controversy without interference from, other courts of  concurrent  jurisdiction in which similar actions are subsequently  instituted between  the same  parties seeking similar  remedies and involving the same questions."  (21 C.J.S. 745).  (Italics supplied)

"*  * *  every court has the inherent power, for the advancement of justice, to correct errors  of its ministerial  officer and to control  its own process." (Dimayuga vs. Raymundo,  et al., 76  Phil., 143.)

"Independent of any statutory  provision, we assert  that  every court has inherent power to do all  things reasonably necessary for the administration of justice  within the scope of  its jurisdiction."  (Shioji vs. Harvey, 43 Phil.,  333.)
Appellant's  contention  is untenable.   The present action is for a  sum of money and  all the parties  involved are residents of the  City of  Manila as averred  in  paragraph 1  of the complaint.  Under Sec. 1 of Rule 5 of the Rules of Court, civil  actions like the one in question  may be commenced and tried where the defendant or any  of the defendants  resides  or may  be found  or  where the plaintiff or any of the plaintiffs  resides,  at the  election of the plaintiff.

Wherefore, finding  no  error in  the decision  appealed from the same  is hereby affirmed, with costs.

Paras, C. J., Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Reyes, J. B. L., Barrera, and Gutierrez David, JJ.,  concur.
Concepcion, J.,  concurs  in the  result.