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245 PIONEER CONCRETE PHILIPPINES INC VS.

TODARO not seeking any relief under the Labor Code, but seeks payment of damages
G.R. NO. 154830 June 8, 2007 on account of petitioners’ alleged breach of their obligation under their
agreement to employ him. It is settled that an action for breach of contractual
Facts: obligation is intrinsically a civil dispute. In the alternative, respondent seeks
redress on the basis of the provisions of Articles 19 and 21 of the Civil Code.
Pioneer International Limited (PIL), an Australian company engaged in the Hence, it is clear that the present action is within the realm of civil law, and
ready-mix concrete business, established herein petitioner PCPI to undertake jurisdiction over it belongs to the regular courts.
its business in the Philippines. PIL contacted respondent Todaro and asked if
the latter is available to join them in their intention to establish plant This Court has consistently held that where no employer-employee
operations in the country to which the latter agreed. Subsequently, PIL and relationship exists between the parties and no issue is involved which may be
Todaro came to an agreement wherein the former consented to engage the resolved by reference to the Labor Code, other labor statutes or any collective
services of the latter as consultant for 2-3 months, after which he would be bargaining agreement, it is the Regional Trial Court that has jurisdiction.
employed as manager of concrete operations should PIL decide to invest in
the Philippines. PIL started its operation however it refused to comply with Whether a suit should be entertained or dismissed on the basis of forum non
its undertaking to employ Todaro on a permanent basis. Respondent thus conveniens depends largely upon the facts of the particular case and is
filed a complaint for sum of money and damages against petitioner. addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court. In the case of
Petitioner meanwhile contends that the case should fall with the NLRC as the Communication Materials and Design, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, this Court
damages arose from an alleged breach of employment contract. Both the trial held that "xxx [a] Philippine Court may assume jurisdiction over the case if it
court and CA ruled in favor of respondent. chooses to do so; provided, that the following requisites are met: (1) that the
Philippine Court is one to which the parties may conveniently resort to; (2)
ISSUE: Which court has jurisdiction over the dispute? that the Philippine Court is in a position to make an intelligent decision as to
the law and the facts; and, (3) that the Philippine Court has or is likely to have
HELD: RTC. power to enforce its decision."

The RTC has jurisdiction. Where no employer-employee relationship exists The doctrine of forum non conveniens should not be used as a ground for a
between the parties and no issue is involved which may be resolved by motion to dismiss because Sec. 1, Rule 16 of the Rules of Court does not
reference to the Labor Code, other labor statutes or any collective bargaining include said doctrine as a ground. This Court further ruled that while it is
agreement, it is the Regional Trial Court that has jurisdiction. In the present within the discretion of the trial court to abstain from assuming jurisdiction
case, no employer-employee relationship exists between petitioners and on this ground, it should do so only after vital facts are established, to
respondent. In fact, in his complaint, private respondent is not seeking any determine whether special circumstances require the court’s desistance; and
relief under the Labor Code, but seeks payment of damages on account of that the propriety of dismissing a case based on this principle of forum non
petitioners' alleged breach of their obligation under their agreement to conveniens requires a factual determination, hence it is more properly
employ him. It is settled that an action for breach of contractual obligation is considered a matter of defense.
intrinsically a civil dispute. In the alternative, respondent seeks redress on the
basis of the provisions of Articles 19 and 21 of the Civil Code. Hence, it is clear PETITION DENIED.
that the present action is within the realm of civil law, and jurisdiction over it
belongs to the regular courts.

In the present case, no employer-employee relationship exists between


petitioners and respondent. In fact, in his complaint, private respondent is