LIM TECK CHUAN, PETITIONER, VS. SERAFIN UY, RESPONDENT. G.R. NO. 155701, March 11, 015, REYES, J . KEY DOCTRINE DOCTRINE : The dismissal of the complaint does not necessarily result to the dismissal of the counterclaim.
A piece of land in Lapu lapu City Cebu known as Lot 5357 is owned and registered under the name of Antonio Lim Tanhu married to Dy Ochay The said lot was sold by Antonio to !pouses Cabansag but the latter failed to transfer the title to their names The !pouses Cabansag later sold the lot to !era"n The !pouses Cabansag tried to transfer the property in their names "rst in order to transfer title to !era"n but the owner#s copy of TCT was lost !era"n then "led a petition before $TC praying for the issuance of new owner#s duplicate TCT in his name !era"n#s petition was granted but was recalled and nulli"ed later on the ground that petitioner Chuan "led an Opposition and%or &otion for $econsideration with &anifestation for !pecial Appearance alleging that he is one of the ' legitimate descendants of Antonio and that the original owner#s copy of TCT was not lost and has always been in his custody (n the meanti ntime) *enry Lim e+ecuted an A,ida-it of !ole Ad.udication%!ettlement of /state of Antonio Lim Tanhu with Deed of !ale claiming that he is the only sur-i-ing heir of Antonio and Lot 5357 was sold by *enry to Leopolda !era"n then "led a complaint for 0uieting of title and for the nullity of the a,idaa,ida-it it of ad.udi ad.udicat cation ion and sale sale Leopol Leopolda) da) "led "led her Answer Answer wit with h counterclaim and cross 1 claim against *enry asserting that she was a buyer in good faith and for -alue 2etitioner Chuan a-erred in his Answer with counterclaim and cross 1 claims against Leopolda and *enry that lot 5357 was ne-er transferred no encumbered to any person during Antonios life During the pre tiral conference) the parties agreed to the issue of whether or not defendants Leopolda and Chuan ha-e -alid counterclaims against the plainti, The initial trial of the case was reset and then !era"n and Leopol Leopolda da submit submitted ted a oint oint &otion &otion to Dismis Dismiss s where where Leopol Leopolda da has agreed to wai-e her counterclaim for damages in the instant case4 !era"n has secured already a certi"cate of title to lot 5357 in his name and that what wh atee-er er clai claim m Chua Chuan n may may ha-e ha-e on said said lot lot may may be an appr approp opri riat ate e independent action 2etitioner Chuan "led his Opposition praying for the denial of the oint &otion to Dismiss on the ground of bad faith and claiming that he has -alid counterclaims against !era"n for moral and e+emplary damages including attorney#s fees
!era"n "led his $eply to petitioner Chuan and a-erred that by reason of the amicable settlement between him and Leopolda) the latter wai-ed and abandoned all rights to the lot /rgo) as far as Leopolda is concerned) her wai-er egated all the legal conse0uences of Ta+ Declaration and *enry#s a,ida-it of selfad.udication !ince the same were the -ery documents that casrs clouds on !era"n#s title) his main causes of action in the case at bench had become moot and academic as the title to the said lot had been 0uieted The petitioner "led a &otion to (mplead (ndispensable parties 6!pouses Cabansag and !upplemental Opposition to oint &otion to Dismiss $TC granted only the motion to dismiss and ordered the case dismissed so with the respecti-e counterclaims of the defendants The &otion for $econsideration of petitioner was denied so he "led a petition for re-iew on certiorari under $ule 85) faulting the $TC for dismissing the case in its entirety in spite of his counterclaim and cross 1 claim *e asserts that within 95days from notice of the "ling of the .oint motion to dismiss) he "led his opposition thereto and e+pressed his preference to ha-e his counterclaim and cross 1 claim be resol-ed in the same action The court should ha-e limited its action to the dismissal of complaint ISSUE: ;hether or not the dismissal of the complaint speci"cally upon motion of the plainti, under !ec < of $ule 97 $oC also calls for the dismissal of the defendant#s counterclaim= RULING: >O The $TC granted the oint &otion to Dismiss upon the behest of !era"n) on the main ground that the case had become moot and academic since his title to lot 5357 had been allegedly 0uieted and the reliefs prayed for were obtained The $TC interpreted that what is contemplated under the $ules authori?ing the hearing of defendant#s counterclaim is when the dismissal is not at the instance of the plainti, The $TC erred when it dismissed the case when the present rule state that the !"#$"##a% #ha%% &' %"$"('! )*%+ () (h' c)$%a"*(. A !"#$"##a% )- a* ac(")* "# !"'r'*( -r)$ a $'r' !"#$"##a% )- (h' c)$%a"*(. !ince only the complaint and not the action is dismissed) the defendant in spite of said dismissal may still prosecute his counterclaim in the same action (n the Opposition to the oint &otion to Dismiss) petitioner e+pressed his preference to ha-e his counterclaim and cross 1 claim prosecuted in the same case @rom the case#s inception) the petitioner#s interest and that of his siblings o-er the sub.ect property were -igilantly defended as e-idenced by the numerous and e+change of pleadings made by the parties (t cannot
therefore be denied that the petitioner has certainly -alid defenses and enforceable claims against the respondents for being dragged into this case Thus) petitioner#s manifestation of his preference to ha-e his counterclaim prosecuted in the same action is -alid and in accordance with !ec < $ule 97 or $oC