Administrative res judicata


The doctrine of res judicata applies and treats the final determination of the action as speaking the infallible truth as to the rights of the parties as to the entire subject of the controversy, and such controversy and every part of it must stand irrevocably closed by such determination. The sum and substance of the whole doctrine is that a matter once judicially decided is finally decided.

Res judicata is based on the ground that the party to be affected, or some other with whom he is in privity, has litigated the same matter in the former action in a court of competent jurisdiction, and should not be permitted to litigate it again. This principle frees the parties from undergoing all over again the rigors of unnecessary suits and repetitious trials. At the same time, it prevents the clogging of court dockets. Equally important, res judicata stabilizes rights and promotes the rule of law.

The requisites of res judicata are: (1) there must be a former final judgment rendered on the merits; (2) the court must have had jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; and (3) there must be identity of parties, subject matters and causes of action between the first and second actions.

In EDGARDO A. QUILO, Complainant, vs. ROGELIO G. JUNDARINO, SHERIFF III, METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 19, MANILA, Respondent (A.M. No. P-09-2644, July 30, 2009), the Supreme Court held that there was no res judicata.

Quilo alleged in his Complaint against Judge Cacanindin and Sheriff Jundarino in A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 08-2078-MTJ that:
1. We are accusing Judge Felicitas O. Laron-Canindin ("respondent Judge") and Sheriff Rogelio G. Jundarino ("respondent Sheriff"), both of the Metropolitan Trial Court in Cities-Branch XIX, Manila City with the administrative offenses of Ignorance of the law, Grave Misconduct, Abuse of Authority and violations of Republic Act No. 3019 and Republic Act No. 6713. 
2. We are actual occupants of houses located at 2518 Granate St., San Andres Bukid, Manila, for a period of not less than thirty (30) years. 
3. Other than our houses on the aforesaid lot, we do not own any real property. Should our houses and structures be demolished, we would be rendered homeless citizens. Moreover, we are underprivileged citizens and our respective incomes do not exceed that of the poverty line, thus considering our status as poor citizens, we cannot afford to build and/or acquire new shelters for a decent living. We are indigent citizens who deserve utmost protection of the law. Attached are the Certificates of Indigency issued by the Brgy. Chairman of Barangay 766-Zone 83, 5th District, Manila, marked as Annexes A and B. 
4. Sometime on February [12], 2008, we were shocked when the respondent sheriff attempted to serve to us a Notice to Pay/Vacate and Demolish Premises, directing us to vacate our place and remove our houses therefrom. We refused to receive the said notice as we had not been a part of any case whatsoever, but later, for our protection, we secured a copy of the same hereto attached as Annex C. The said Notice states that it was issued by virtue of the Writ of Execution issued on November 28, 2007. 
5. Without wasting time, we inquired and became aware that the said Notice to Pay/Vacate and Demolish Premises were issued pursuant to a Decision dated November 20, 1998 of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila, Branch XIX, pursuant to the Complaint for Ejectment filed by one Teodula Bajao against Eduardo Saclag, Zoilo Fulong, Alena Bertol and Talia Saclag. Copies of the said Decision and Complaint are hereto attached as Annexes D and E, respectively. 
6. The subject of the Complaint for ejectment is a parcel of land located at 2519 Granate Street, Sta. Ana, Manila. 
7. We do not know the said Teodula Bajao (plaintiff in the ejectment case). Neither do we know the defendants in the said ejectment case, they do not also live in 2519 Granate Street, Sta. Ana, Manila, but in 2518 Granate Street, San Andres Bukid, Manila. 
8. Immediately, we filed on March 5, 2008 a Motion to quash Writ of Execution and Recall of the Notice to Pay/Vacate and Demolish Premises on the ground, among others, that the writ was issued against a wrong party, a stranger to the action, the writ of execution is based on a vague and indefinite judgment, and decision is null and void for having been rendered by a court without jurisdiction. A copy of the said Motion is attached as Annex F. 
9. Even with the filing and pendency of the aforesaid Motion, the respondent Sheriff on March 27, 2008 went back to our place, accompanied by a person who introduced herself as Teodula Bajao and several demolition men armed with demolition tools ready to effect the demolition of our houses, but we successfully resisted the said attempt. 
10. We then filed on April 9, 2008 a Supplemental Motion amplifying the grounds relied upon in our earlier motion, a copy of which is attached as Annex G. 
11. On June 26, 2008, the respondent Judge denied our Motion and supplemental Motion but contradicted herself when she stated that the writ of execution is binding on persons who occupy the premises known as 2519 Granate Street, Sta. Ana, Manila, whether impleaded as a party or not. A copy of the said Order is attached as Annex H. 
12. Within the reglementary period, we filed on July 7, 2008 a Motion for Reconsideration, a copy of which is attached as Annex I. 
13. On July 29, 2008, respondent Judge issued an Order denying our Motion for Reconsideration, a copy of which is attached as Annex J, which we received on August 18, 2008. 
14. On August 29, 2008, the respondent Sheriff served a 2nd Final Notice to Pay/Vacate and to Demolish Premises, giving us three (3) days to vacate the premises and demolish our houses. Otherwise, he will forcefully us (sic) and demolish our houses. A copy of the said Notice is attached as Annex K. 
15. Aggrieved, we filed a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition on September 1, 2008 with the Regional Trial Court-Branch 17, Manila City, assailing the aforesaid Orders of the respondent Judge; 
16. Despite the pendency of our petition and application for injunctive writs, the respondent Sheriff, aided by a number of demolition men, demolished our houses on September 4, 2008. Pictures of our demolished houses are attached as Annex L-series. 
17. The acts of the respondent Judge and respondent Sheriff reflect gross ignorance of the law, amounting to grave misconduct, and depict manifest partiality to the plaintiff in the ejectment suit in violation of the standards provided in Republic Act Nos. 3019 and 6713.
True, paragraphs no. 1 to no. 12 of Quilo’s Complaint in A.M. No. P-09-2644 contains essentially the same allegations in paragraphs no. 1 to no. 10 of his Complaint in A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 08-2078-MTJ. The Court, however, takes note of two essential differences between Quilo’s two Complaints.

First, Quilo’s Complaint in A.M. No. P-09-2644 provides more details on the Sheriff Jurandino’s purported visits on 12 February 2008 and 27 March 2008 to the former’s residence. It particularly sets forth Sheriff Jurandino’s alleged statements and deportment during said visits. Such details are not mentioned in Quilo’s Complaint in A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 08-2078-MTJ.

Second, Quilo’s Complaint in A.M. No. P-09-2644 ends with the allegation that after Sheriff Jurandino’s visit to Quilo’s residence on 27 March 2008, Quilo filed an Affidavit before the MeTC in support of his earlier Motion to Quash Writ of Execution And Recall of the Notice to Pay/Vacate And Demolish Premises in Civil Case No. 158273-CV. On the other hand, Quilo’s Complaint in A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 08-2078-MTJ alleged events which transpired thereafter, i.e., Judge Cacanindin’s denial of Quilo’s Motion to Quash Writ of Execution, as well as the latter’s subsequent Motion for Reconsideration; Sheriff Jundarino’s service upon Quilo on 29 August 2008 of the second Notice to Pay/Vacate And Demolish Premises; Quilo’s filing with the RTC of a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition on 1 September 2008 challenging Judge Cacanindin’s denial of his aforementioned Motions; and Sheriff Jurandino’s demolition of Quilo’s residence on 4 September 2008.

These differences between Quilo’s Complaints in A.M. No. P-09-2644 and A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 08-2078-MTJ support the fact that said Complaints are based on two different causes of action. Quilo’s Complaint in A.M. No. P-09-2644 assails Sheriff Jundarino’s abrasive words and actions during his alleged visits to the former’s residence on 12 February 2008 and 27 March 2008 to implement the Writ of Execution in Civil Case No. 158273-CV; while his Complaint in A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 08-2078-MTJ attributes gross ignorance to Judge Cacanindin, for his refusal to quash the Writ of Execution in Civil Case No. 158273-CV, and to Sheriff Jundarino, for his persistence in implementing said Writ, in obvious partiality to Bajao and in disregard of Quilo’s pending Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition before the RTC.

The Court dismissed Quilo’s Complaint in A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 08-2078-MTJ through its Resolution dated 16 February 2009, on the ground that it was judicial in nature. It is conceded that the determination of whether Quilo’s residence is the same property subject of Civil Case No. 158273-CV and whether it should be demolished pursuant to the judgment in said case, is a matter best left to the determination of the trial court in appropriate judicial proceedings. Questions judicial in nature ought to be threshed out in a judicial proceeding and definitely not in an administrative one. An administrative complaint is not a valid substitute for a judicial action.

In fact, Quilo himself alleged that he had already filed a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with the RTC of Manila, Branch 17, on 1 September 2008.

The same cannot be said for A.M. No. P-09-2644, the present Complaint. As to whether Sheriff Jundarino exercised proper decorum and followed established procedure when he served upon Quilo and the latter’s wife and neighbors, on 12 February 2008 and 27 March 2008, a copy of the Writ of Execution and the Notice to Pay/Vacate and Demolish Premises issued by the MeTC in Civil Case No. 158273-CV, is evidently an administrative matter, within the jurisdiction of this Court to decide in exercise of its authority to discipline judicial employees.

Therefore, there is no res judicata. (A.M. No. P-09-2644, July 30, 2009)

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