PhilRock v. Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (G.R. No. 132848-49)

Facts:

The Cid spouses, herein private respondents, were purchasers of ready-mix concrete from petitioner herein, PhilRock, Inc. The concrete delivered by the latter turned out to be of substandard quality, and as a result the structures built using such cement developed cracks and honey combs. Respondents, thus, filed a Complaint for Damages against petitioner with the RTC of Quezon City, which then issued an order dismissing the case and referring the same to CIAC because the spouses and petitioner had filed an Agreement to Arbitrate. Since no common ground can be reached by the parties, they requested the case be remanded back again to court, to which it had declared it no longer had jurisdiction over the case and ordered the records of the case to be remanded back again to CIAC. Petitioner while contending the supposed jurisdiction of CIAC, the latter rendered a decision in favor of the spouses. Thus, petitioner filed a Petition for Review before the CA, to which the latter dismissed. Hence this petition.

Issue:

Whether or not the CIAC could take jurisdiction over the case of respondent spouses and petitioner after it had been dismissed by both the RTC and CIAC.

Ruling:

The petition has no merit. Section 4 of EO 1008 expressly vests in the CIAC original and exclusive jurisdiction over disputes arising from or connected with construction contracts entered into by parties that have agreed to submit their disputes to voluntary arbitration. Further, petitioner continued participating in the arbitration even after the CIAC order has been issued as evidenced by their concluding and signing of the Terms of Reference. The Court will not countenance any effort of any party to subvert or defeat the objective of voluntary arbitration for its own private motives. Petitioner is stopped from assailing the jurisdiction of the CIAC, merely because the latter rendered an adverse decision.

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