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Heirs of Eduardo Simon (Petitioner) vs Elvin Chan and Court of Appeals (Respondent) GR. NO.

157547 February 23, 2011 Facts: In 11 July 1997 the City Prosecutor of Manila filed a criminal case in the Metro politan Trial Court of Manila charging Eduardo Simon of violating BP22. Sometime in December 1996, Simon issued to Elvin Chan a Landbank check with a de clared amount of P336,000. The accuse did not have sufficient fund in his accoun t to fund the check he issued, contrary to the information he had given to the r espondent. Despite notice insufficiency of his account s funds, the petitioner fai led to pay the respondent the value of the check within 5 days after receiving t he notice. Three years later on 3 August 2000, Elvin Chan commenced in the MTC in Pasay Cit y a Civil Action for the collection of the principal amount of P 336,000.00. On 17 August 2000, Simon filed an urgent Motion to Dismiss with application to c hange plaintiff s attachmnent bond for damages on the ground of litis pendentia as a consequence of the pendency of another action between parties for the same ca use. The plaintiff countered the argument of Simon by pointing out he did not make an y allegation as to the exact amount of his claim in the criminal case, consititu ting an implied right to initiate civil action. The Plaintiff also cited Rule 11 1 Section 2, exception to file separate civil action during the pendency of a cr iminal case under Art. 31, 32, 33, 34, and 2177 of the CCP. The case falls under Art. 33 of the CCP. On 23 October 2000, the MCTC in Pasay City granted Simon s urgent Motion to Dismis s with application to charge plaintiff s attachment bond for damages. On 31 July 2 001, the RTC of Pasay City upheld MCTC s dismissal of Chan s initiated Civil Case. Chan appealed to the CA by petition for review with the following issue; Whether or not the RTC erred in the dismissal of his case on the ground of litis pendet ia. The CA overturened the decision of the RTC with following legal basis; Though th e CA recognized that civil case cannot anymore initiated following the filling o f a criminal case, the following case falls under the exception under Rule 111 s ec. 2. The case remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. Simon appealed to the Supreme Court for petition for review. Issue/Issues: 1. Whether or not Chan s Civil action to recover the amount of the bounced check a s an independent civil action. 2. Whether or not new Supreme Court circular pertaining to BP22 can be applied r etroactively.

Ruling: The SC set aside the decision promulgated by the Court of Appeals on Jun e 25, 2002. Furthermore, the SC reinstate the decision rendered on October 23, 2 000 by the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 45, in Pasay City.

The SC applied new rule on BP22 specifically, The criminal action for vi olation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 shall be deemed to necessarily include the cor responding civil action, and no reservation to file such civil action separately shall be allowed or recognized. The aforequoted provisions of the Rules of Court, even if not yet in eff ect when Chan commenced Civil Case No. 915-00 on August 3, 2000, are nonetheless applicable. It is axiomatic that the retroactive application of procedural laws does not violate any right of a person who may feel adversely affected, nor is it constitutionally objectionable. The reason is simply that, as a general rule, no vested right may attach to, or arise from, procedural laws. Any new rules m ay validly be made to apply to cases pending at the time of their promulgation, considering that no party to an action has a vested right in the rules of proced ure, except that in criminal cases, the changes do not retroactively apply if t hey permit or require a lesser quantum of evidence to convict than what is requi red at the time of the commission of the offenses, because such retroactivity wo uld be unconstitutional for being ex post facto under the Constitution Furthermore, for litis pendentia to be successfully invoked as a bar to an action, the concurrence of the following requisites is necessary, namely: (a) there must be identity of parties or at least such as represent the same intere st in both actions; (b) there must be identity of rights asserted and reliefs pr ayed for, the reliefs being founded on the same facts; and, (c) the identity in the two cases should be such that the judgment that may be rendered in one would , regardless of which party is successful, amount to res judicata in respect of the other. Absent the first two requisites, the possibility of the existence of the third becomes nil. A perusal of Civil Case No. 01-0033 and Criminal Case No. 275381 ineluctably sho ws that all the elements of litis pendentia are attendant. First of all, the par ties in the civil action involved in Criminal Case No. 275381 and in Civil Case No. 915-00, that is, Chan and Simon, are the same. Secondly, the information in Criminal Case No. 275381 and the complaint in Civil Case No. 915-00 both alleged that Simon had issued Landbank Check No. 0007280 worth P336,000.00 payable to ca sh, thereby indicating that the rights asserted and the reliefs prayed for, as we ll as the facts upon which the reliefs sought were founded, were identical in al l respects. And, thirdly, any judgment rendered in one case would necessarily ba r the other by res judicata; otherwise, Chan would be recovering twice upon the same claim. It is clear, therefore, that the MeTC in Pasay City properly dismissed Civil Cas e No. 915-00 on the ground of litis pendentia through its decision dated October 23, 2000; and that the RTC in Pasay City did not err in affirming the MeTC.