Notes on splitting cause of action

Rule 2, Sec. 4. Splitting a single cause of action; effect of. If two or more suits are instituted on the basis of the same cause of action, the filing of one or a judgment upon the merits in any one is available as a ground for the dismissal of the others.

What are the basic rules in filing of action? (Rule 2, Secs. 3-4)

[1] For one cause of action (one delict or wrong) , file only ONE ACTION or suit. NO SPLITTING A SINGLE CAUSE OF ACTION. Reasons are to avoid multiplicity of suits and to minimize expenses, inconvenience and harassment.

[2] As a remedy against splitting a single cause of action (two complaints separately filed for one action), the defendant may file: [a] motion to dismiss on the ground of: litis pendentia, if first complaint is still pending (Rule 16, Sec. 1 [e]) or res judicata, if first complaint is terminated by final judgment (Rule 16, Sec. 1 [f]) OR [b] an answer alleging either of above grounds as affirmative defense (Rule 16, Sec. 6).

If defendant fails to raise ground on time, he is deemed to have waived them. Splitting must be questioned in the trial court; cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. When is splitting of action prohibited?

Question: May a lessee file with MeTC an action for forcible entry and damages against the lessor and a separate suit with RTC for moral and exemplary damages plus actual and compensatory damages based on the same forcible entry?

The answer is no.

Claims for damages sprung from the main incident being heard before MeTC. Unlawful taking or detention of property of another is only one single cause of action regardless of number of rights that may have been violated. All such rights should be alleged in a single complaint as constituting one single cause of action. (Progressive Development Corp. vs. CA, 1999)