Thursday, February 23, 2012

Republic vs. Nolasco

Facts: Nolasco, a newspaper man, filed a case before the RTC to disqualify Daewoo from the bid for the Agno River Flood Control Project, and to restrain the DPWH from awarding the said bud to Daewoo. After a long and protracted proceedings, and while his MR is pending before the RTC, Nolasco filed a Motion for Partial Judgment and Dismissal. He wants his MR dismissed for the speedy resolution of the case while, at the same time, arguing that Daewoo should be disqualified from the bid, and that the bid should be awarded to China International. 

Issue: Whether or not the Motion for Partial Judgment is proper 

Held: On paper, Nolasco’s petition prays for two reliefs: 1) that the DPWH be restrained from awarding the project to Daewoo; and 2) that Daewoo be disqualified as a bidder and its bid be rejected. Yet these reliefs are obviously intertwined for the allowance of one would necessarily lead to the grant of another. Section 5 of Rule 36 of Rules of Court on separate judgments refers to reliefs which are sufficiently segregate from each other that the allowance of one at the preliminary stage will not preclude litigation of the merits of the others. 

More importantly, partial judgment with regard to one of the reliefs is warranted only after a “a determination of the issues material to a particular claim and all counterclaims arising out of the transaction or occurrence which is the subject matter of the claim.” Here, the partial judgment was sought even before the respondents had the chance to file an answer to the petition. 

The allowance of partial judgment at this stage would constitute a denial of due process. It would condemn before hearing, and render judgment before trial. 

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