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Zulueta vs. Asia Brewery, Inc.

G.R. No. 138137; March 8, 2001

Nature: PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals
Ponente: Panganiban

Respondent Asia Brewery, Inc, is engaged in the manufacture, distribution and sale of beer while
Petitioner Perla Zulueta is a dealer and an operator of an outlet selling the formers beer products. A
Dealership Agreement governed their contractual relations.
On March 30, 1992, petitioner filed a complaint before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Iloilo
[Iloilo case], against respondent for Breach of Contract, Specific Performance and Damages.
On July 7, 1994, during the pendency of the Iloilo case, respondent filed a complaint with the
Makati RTC [Makati case] against the petitioner for the failure of the latter to pay the value of beer
products that was delivered to her.
On January 3, 1997, petitioner moved for the consolidation of the Makati case with the Iloilo case
which the Makati RTC granted on February 13, 1997. Respondent filed for a Motion of Reconsideration
but was denied on May 19, 1997.
On August 18, 1997, respondent filed before the Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari
assailing the consolidation of the two cases decided by the Makati RTC. The CA granted respondents
petition and has set aside the decision of the RTC (re: consolidation). The CA ruled that there is no
common issue of law or fact between the two cases so they cannot be consolidated. The issue in the
Makati case is private respondents complaint for the unpaid beer products by the petitioner while in the
Iloilo case is whether or notrespondent breached its dealership contract with petitioner. According to the
CA, the petitioners obligation to pay for the beer deliveries can exist regardless of any breach in the
The petitioner then filed a Petition for Certiorari assailing the decision of the CA.

1. Whether the decision of the RTC in granting the consolidation of the two case was already final
and executory when respondent filed its petition at the CA such that the CA could have no longer
acquire jurisdiction over the case and should have dismissed it outright. (Procedural)
2. Did the CA correctly ruled that the two cases cannot be consolidated since there was no common
issue in law or in fact between the two. (Substantive)

1.Yes, it was final and executory.
Respondents Petition for Certiorari was filed with the CA beyond the reglementary 60-day period
prescribed in the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, which took effect on July 1, 1997. The records
show that the respondent received on May 23, 1997 the Order denying its Motion for Reconsideration.
According to the petitioner, the respondent has only 60 days or until July 22, 1997, within which to file
the Petition for Certiorari. However, the respondent filed the petition on August 18, 1997. On the other
hand, respondent contended that they filed on time because the reglementary period was 90 days under
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Hence, the last day must be still on August 21, 1997. Respondent
said that the Revised Rules cannot apply since laws have no retroactive effect.
Under the Civil Code, laws shall have no retroactive effect, unless the contrary is provided. There are
exceptions to the general rule, such as when the statute is Remedial or Procedural in nature. Thus,
procedural laws may operate retroactively as to pending proceedings even without provision to that effect.
Accordingly, rules of procedure can apply to cases pending at the time of their enactment. Statute
regulating the procedure of the courts will be applied on actions undetermined at the time of their
Thus, the CA should have dismissed the respondents petition outright.
Note: Remedial or Procedural laws are those statutes relating to remedies or modes of procedure which
do not create new or take away vested rights, but only operate in furtherance of the remedy or
confirmation of such rights.
2. The CA erred in its decision that the two cases cannot be consolidated.
It is true that the petitioners obligation to pay for the beer products
delivered can exist regardless of an alleged breach in the Dealership Agreement which is the subject of
the inquiry in the Iloilo case. However, this obligation and the relationship between respondent and
petitioner, as supplier and distributor respectively, arose from the Agreement. In fact, petitioner herself
claims that her obligation to pay was negated by respondents contractual breach. In other words, the
nonpayment the res of the Makati caseis an incident of the Iloilo case. Hence, the issues in both civil
cases pertain to the respective obligation of the parties under the Dealership Agreement.
Two cases involving the same parties and affecting closely related subject matters must be
ordered consolidated and jointly tried in court, where the earlier
case was filed. The consolidation of cases is proper when they involve the resolution of common
questions of law or facts.