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G.R. No.

L-47757-61 January 28, 1980


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, ABUNDIO R. ELLO, As 4th Assistant of
Provincial Bohol VICENTE DE LA SERNA. JR., as complainant all private
prosecutor, petitioners,
vs.
HON. VICENTE B. ECHAVES, JR., as Judge of the Court of First Instance of
Bohol Branch II, ANO DACULLO, GERONIMO OROYAN, MARIO APARICI,
RUPERTO CAJES and MODESTO S SUELLO,respondents.
[Statcon Ejusdem Generis]
AQUINO, J.:p
The legal issue in this case is whether Presidential Decree No. 772, which penalizes
squatting and similar acts, applies to agricultural lands. The decree (which took
effect on August 20, 1975) provides:
SECTION 1. Any person who, with the use of force, intimidation or threat, or taking
advantage of the absence or tolerance of the landowner, succeeds in occupying or
possessing the property of the latter against his will for residential, commercial or
any other purposes, shall be punished by an imprisonment ranging from six months
to one year or a fine of not less than one thousand nor more than five thousand
pesos at the discretion of the court, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency. (2nd paragraph is omitted.)
The record shows that on October 25, 1977 Fiscal Abundio R. Ello filed with the
lower court separate informations against sixteen persons charging them with
squatting as penalized by Presidential Decree No. 772. The information against
Mario Aparici which is similar to the other fifteen informations, reads:
That sometime in the year 1974 continuously up to the present at barangay
Magsaysay, municipality of Talibon, province of Bohol, Philippines and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with stealth and
strategy, enter into, occupy and cultivate a portion of a grazing land physically
occupied, possessed and claimed by Atty. Vicente de la Serna, Jr. as successor to the
pasture applicant Celestino de la Serna of Pasture Lease Application No. 8919,
accused's entrance into the area has been and is still against the win of the
offended party; did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously squat and
cultivate a portion of the said grazing land; said cultivating has rendered a nuisance
to and has deprived the pasture applicant from the full use thereof for which the
land applied for has been intended, that is preventing applicant's cattle from
grazing the whole area, thereby causing damage and prejudice to the said
applicant-possessor-occupant, Atty. Vicente de la Serna, Jr. (sic)
Five of the informations, wherein Ano Dacullo, Geronimo Oroyan, Mario Aparici,
Ruperto Cajes and Modesto Suello were the accused, were raffled to Judge Vicente
B. Echaves, Jr. of Branch II (Criminal Cases Nos. 1824, 1828, 1832, 1833 and 1839,
respectively).

Before the accused could be arraigned, Judge Echaves motu proprio issued an
omnibus order dated December 9, 1977 dismissing the five informations on the
grounds (1) that it was alleged that the accused entered the land through "stealth
and strategy", whereas under the decree the entry should be effected "with the use
of force, intimidation or threat, or taking advantage of the absence or tolerance of
the landowner", and (2) that under the rule of ejusdem generis the decree does not
apply to the cultivation of a grazing land.
Because of that order, the fiscal amended the informations by using in lieu of
"stealth and strategy" the expression "with threat, and taking advantage of the
absence of the ranchowner and/or tolerance of the said ranchowner". The fiscal
asked that the dismissal order be reconsidered and that the amended informations
be admitted.
The lower court denied the motion. It insisted that the phrase "and for other
purposes" in the decree does not include agricultural purposes because its
preamble does not mention the Secretary of Agriculture and makes reference to the
affluent class.
From the order of dismissal, the fiscal appealed to this Court under Republic Act No.
5440. The appeal is devoid of merit.
We hold that the lower court correctly ruled that the decree does not apply to
pasture lands because its preamble shows that it was intended to apply to squatting
in urban communities or more particularly to illegal constructions in squatter areas
made by well-to-do individuals. The squating complained of involves pasture lands
in rural areas.
The preamble of the decree is quoted below:
WHEREAS, it came to my knowledge that despite the issuance of Letter of
Instruction No. 19 dated October 2, 1972, directing the Secretaries of National
Defense, Public Work. 9 and communications, Social Welfare and the Director of
Public Works, the PHHC General Manager, the Presidential Assistant on Housing and
Rehabilitation Agency, Governors, City and Municipal Mayors, and City and District
Engineers, "to remove an illegal constructions including buildings on and along
esteros and river banks, those along railroad tracks and those built without permits
on public and private property." squatting is still a major problem in urban
communities all over the country;
WHEREAS, many persons or entities found to have been unlawfully occupying public
and private lands belong to the affluent class;
WHEREAS, there is a need to further intensify the government's drive against this
illegal and nefarious practice.
It should be stressed that Letter of Instruction No. 19 refers to illegal constructions
on public and private property. It is complemented by Letter of Instruction No. 19-A
which provides for the relocation of squatters in the interest of public health, safety
and peace and order.

On the other hand, it should be noted that squatting on public agricultural lands,
like the grazing lands involved in this case, is punished by Republic Act No. 947
which makes it unlawful for any person, corporation or association to forcibly enter
or occupy public agricultural lands. That law provides:
SECTION 1. It shall be unlawful for any person corporation or association to enter or
occupy, through force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth, any public
agriculture land including such public lands as are granted to private individuals
under the provision of the Public Land Act or any other laws providing for the of
public agriculture lands in the Philippines and are duly covered by the corresponding
applications for the notwithstanding standing the fact that title thereto still remains
in the Government or for any person, natural or judicial to investigate induce or
force another to commit such acts.
Violations of the law are punished by a fine of not exceeding one thousand or
imprisonment for not more than one year, or both such fine and imprisonment in
the discretion of the court, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. (See
People vs. Lapasaran 100 Phil. 40.)
The rule of ejusdem generis (of the same kind or species) invoked by the trial court
does not apply to this case. Here, the intent of the decree is unmistakable. It is
intended to apply only to urban communities, particularly to illegal constructions.
The rule of ejusdem generis is merely a tool of statutory construction which is
resorted to when the legislative intent is uncertain (Genato Commercial Corp. vs.
Court of Tax Appeals, 104 Phil. 615,618; 28 C.J.S. 1049-50).
WHEREFORE, the trial court's order of dismissal is affirmed. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Barredo, Antonio, Concepcion Jr. and Abad Santos, J., concur.
Digest:
Facts: Petitioner Ello filed with the lower court against 16 persons charging them
with squatting, as penalized in Presidential Decree 772. Respondent Echavez
dismissed the case on the grounds that 1) the accused entered the land through
stealth and strategy and not with the use of force, intimidation, or threat or taking
advantage of the absence of the owner (as described in the Presidential Decree);
and 2) under the rule of ejusdem genernis, the decree does not apply to the
cultivation of a grazing land.
Issue: Whether or not Presidential Decree 771 penalizes squatting and similar acts
also apply to agricultural lands
Held: No.
Ratio: PD 772 does not apply to pasture lands because its preamble shows that it
was intended to apply to squatting in urban communities or more particularly to
illegal constructions in squatter areas made by well-to-do individuals. But the
Supreme Court disagreed with the lower courts usage of the maxim Ejusdem

Generis because the intent of the decree is unmistakeable. It stated that the rule
of ejusdem generis is merely a tool for statutory construction which is resorted to
when the legislative intent is uncertain.

StatCon maxim: A preamble may restrict what otherwise appears to be a broad


scope of a law.

Definition from Nolos Plain-English Law Dictionary


(ee-joose-dem gen-ris) adj. Latin for "of the same kind." Used to interpret statutes
when a law lists classes of persons or things. For example, if a law refers to
automobiles, trucks, tractors, motorcycles, and other motor-powered vehicles, a court
might use ejusdem generis to hold that such vehicles would not include airplanes,
because the list included only land-based transportation.

G.R. No. L-8782

April 28, 1956

MARCELINO B. FLORENTINO and LOURDES T. ZANDUETA, petitionersappellants,


vs.
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, respondent-appellee.
Marcelino B. Florentino for appellants.
Ramon de los Reyes for appellee.
[Statcon Doctrine of last antecedent]
JUGO, J.:
The petitioners and appellants filed with the Court of First Instance of La Union a
petition for mandamus against respondent and appellee, Philippine National Bank,
to compel it to accept the backpay certificate of petitioner Marcelino B. Florentino
issued to him by the Republic of the Philippines, to pay an indebtedness to the
Philippine National Bank in the sum of P6,800 secured by real estate mortgage on
certain properties.
The case was submitted on an agreed statement of facts, which reads as follows:
Parties herein represented by counsel, have agreed on the following facts:

1. That the petitioners are indebted to the respondent bank in the amount of P6,800
plus interest, the same having been incurred on January 2, 1953, which is due on
January 2, 1954;.
2. That the said loan is secured by a mortgage of real properties;.
3. That the petitioner Marcelino B. Florentino is a holder of Backpay
Acknowledgment No. 1721 dated October 6, 1954, in the amount of P22,896.33 by
virtue of Republic Act No. 897 approved on June 20, 1953; and.
4. That on December 27, 1953, petitioners offered to pay their loan with the
respondent bank with their backpay certificate, but the respondent bank, on
December 29, 1953, refused to accept petitioner's offer to pay the said
indebtedness with the latter's backpay certificate;
The legal provision involved is section 2 of Republic Act No. 879, which provides:
SEC. 2. Section two of the said Act (Republic Act 304) as amended by Republic Act
Numbered Eight hundred, is further amended to read:
SEC. 2. The Treasurer of the Philippines shall, upon application of all persons
specified in section one hereof and within one year from the approval of this Act,
and under such rules and regulations as may be promulgated by the Secretary of
Finance, acknowledge and file requests for the recognition of the right of the
salaries or wages as provided in section one hereof, and notice of such
acknowledgment shall be issued to the applicant which shall state the total amount
of such salaries or wages due the applicant, and certify that it shall be redeemed by
the Government of the Philippines within ten years from the date of their issuance
without interest: Provided, That upon application and subject to such rules and
regulations as may be approved by the Secretary of Finance a certificate of
indebtedness may be issued by the Treasurer of the Philippines covering the whole
or a part of the total salaries or wages the right to which has been duly
acknowledged and recognized, provided that the face value of such certificate of
indebtedness shall not exceed the amount that the applicant may need for the
payment of (1) obligations subsisting at the time of the approval of this amendatory
Act for which the applicant may directly be liable to the Government or to any of its
branches or instrumentalities, or the corporations owned or control by the
Government, or to any citizen of the Philippines, or to any association or corporation
organized under the laws of the Philippines, who may be willing to accept the same
for such settlement.
The question raised is whether the clause "who may be willing to accept the same
for settlement" refers to all antecedents "the Government, any of its branches or
instrumentalities, the corporations owned or controlled by the Government, etc.," or
only the last antecedent "any citizen of the Philippines, or any association or
corporation organized under the laws of the Philippines.
The contention of the respondent-appellee, Philippine National Bank is that said
qualifying clause refers to all the antecedents, whereas the appellant's contention is
that it refers only to the last antecedent.

Incidentally, it may be stated that one of the purposes of Republic Act No. 879 was
to include veterans of the Philippine Army and their wives or orphans among the
beneficiaries of the Backpay Law, Republic Act No. 304, in recognition of their great
sacrifices in the resistance movement. as shown by the following quotation from the
Congressional Record:
. . . This particular bill, House Bill No. 1228, has been filed by this public servant for
three objectives: First, to serve as a source of financial aid to needy veterans, like
crippled or disabled veterans, and to their wives or orphans. Secondly, to give
recognition to the sacrifices of those who joined the last war, and particularly to
those who have given their all for the cause of the last war. And thirdly, to eliminate
the discrimination that has been committed either through oversight, or on purpose,
against the members of the Philippine Army, the Philippine Scouts, and guerrillas or
the so-called civilian volunteers, who joined the resistance movement.
(Congressional Record No. 61, 2nd Congress, 4th Regular Session, May 6, 1953,
page 74; quoted in Appellant's brief, pages 13-14.).
Grammatically, the qualifying clause refers only to the last antecedent; that is, "any
citizen of the Philippines or any association or corporation organized under the laws
of the Philippines." It should be noted that there is a comma before the words "or to
any citizen, etc.," which separates said phrase from the preceding ones.
But even disregarding the grammatical construction, as done by the appellee, still
there are cogent and powerful reasons why the qualifying clause should be limited
to the last antecedent. In the first place, to make the acceptance of the backpay
certificates obligatory upon any citizen, association, or corporation, which are not
government entities or owned or controlled by the government, would render
section 2 of Republic Act No. 897 unconstitutional, for it would amount to an
impairment of the obligation of contracts by compelling private creditors to accept a
sort of promissory note payable within ten years with interest at a rate very much
lower than the current or even the legal one.
The other reason is found in the Congressional Record, which says:
Mr. TIBLE: On page 4, lines 17, between the words "this" and "act", insert the word
"amendatory".
Mr. ZOSA: What is the purpose of the amendment?.
Mr. TIBLE: The purpose of the amendment is to clarify the provision of section 2. I
believe, gentleman from Cebu, that section 2, as amended in this amendatory bill
permits the use of backpay certificates as payment for obligations and indebtedness
in favor of the government. (Congressional Record No. 64, 2nd Congress, 4th
Regular Session May 11, 1953 page 41; quoted in Appellants brief, p. 15.).
As there would have been no need to permit by law the use of backpay certificates
in payment of debts to private persons, if they are willing to accept them, the
permission necessarily refers to the Government of the Philippines, its agencies or
other instrumentalities, etc.

Another reason is that it is matter of general knowledge that many officials and
employees of the Philippine Government, who had served during the Japanese
Occupation, have already received their backpay certificates and used them for the
payment of the obligations to the Government and its entities for debts incurred
before the approval of Republic Act No. 304.
The case of Diokno vs. Rehabilitation Finance Corporation, 91 Phil., 608 (July 11,
1952), is different from the present one. In the Diokno case, his debt to the
Rehabilitation Finance Corporation was incurred on January 27, 1950. He brought
the action on November 10, 1950, under the provisions of Republic Act No. 304
(section 2), which was approved on June 18, 1948; that is, one year and almost
eight months before Diokno could not avail himself of the provisions of section 2 of
Act No. 304, because said section provides that the application for recognition of
backpay must have been filed within one year after the approval of said Act No.
304, and the debt must be subsisting at the time of said approval, Diokno having
incurred the debt on January 27, 1950, and brought action on November 10, 1950. It
was, therefore, discretionary in the Diokno case for the Rehabilitation Finance
Corporation to accept or not his backpay certificate in payment.
The Secretary of Justice, in his Opinion No. 226, series of 1948, held that the phrase
"who may be willing to accept the same for such settlement" qualifies only its
immediate antecedent and does not apply to the Government or its agencies.
The appellee asserts in his brief that the Secretary of Justice, in his letter of June 19,
1953, remarked that the clause "who may be willing to accept such settlement"
refers to all antecedents, including the Government and its agencies. We are not
impressed with this observation of the Secretary, for we believe that his Opinion No.
226, series of 1948, correct for the reasons we have stated above.
In the present case, Marcelino B. Florentino incurred his debt to the Philippine
National Bank on January 2, 1953; hence, the obligation was subsisting when
the Amendatory Act No. 897 was approved. Consequently, the present case falls
squarely under the provisions of section 2 of the Amendatory Act No. 897.
In view of the foregoing, the decision appealed from is reversed, and the appellee is
ordered to accept the backpay certificate above mentioned of the appellant,
Marcelino B. Florentino, in payment of his above cited debt to the appellee, without
interest from December 27, 1953, the date when he offered said backpay certificate
in payment. Without pronouncement as to costs. It is ordered.
Paras, Bengzon, C.J., Montemayor, Reyes, A., Jugo, Bautista Angelo, Concepcion,
Reyes, J. B. L. and Endencia, JJ., concur.

Facts: Florentino et al are indebted to the respondent bank in the amount of P6,800
plus interest, incurred on January 2, 1953, which is due on January 2, 1954. The said
loan is secured by a mortgage of real properties. Petitioner Florentino is a holder of
Backpay Acknowledgment No. 1721 dated October 6, 1954, in the amount of
P22,896.33 by virtue of Republic Act No. 897 approved on June 20, 1953. On

December 27, 1953, petitioners offered to pay their loan with the respondent bank
with their backpay certificate but PNB refused to accept petitioners offer to pay the
said indebtedness with the latters backpay certificate.
Issue: Whether or not, Philippine National Bank be compelled to accept the backpay
certificate of petitioner Marcelino B. Florentino issued to him by the Republic of the
Philippines, to pay an indebtedness to the Philippine National Bank
Held: Appellee is ordered to accept the backpay certificate.
Ratio: Section 2 of RA 304 reads as obligations subsisting at the time of the
approval of this amendatory Act for which the applicant may directly be liable to the
Government or to any of its branches or instrumentalities, or the corporations
owned or control by the Government, or to any citizen of the Philippines, or to any
association or corporation organized under the laws of the Philippines, who may be
willing to accept the same for such settlement. SC held that the qualifying clause
refers only to the last antecedent; that is, any citizen of the Philippines or any
association or corporation organized under the laws of the Philippines. It should be
noted that there is a comma before the words or to any citizen, etc., which
separates said phrase from the preceding ones. Hence, who may be willing to
accept the same for settlement applies only to the last antecedent.
StatCon maxim: An argument based upon punctuation alone is not persuasive, and
the courts will not hesitate to change the punctuation when necessary, to give the
statute the effect intended by the legislature, disregarding superfluous or incorrect
punctuation marks and inserting others where necessary.

G.R. No. L-35910 July 21, 1978


PURITA BERSABAL, petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE JUDGE SERAFIN SALVADOR, as Judge of the Court of First

Instance of Caloocan City, Branch XIV, TAN THAT and ONG PIN
TEE, respondents.
[Statcon Use of Shall or May]
MAKASIAR, J.:
On March 23, 1972, petitioner Purita Bersabal seeks to annul the orders of
respondent Judge of August 4, 1971, October 30, 1971 and March 15, 1972 and to
compel said respondent Judge to decide petitioner's perfected appeal on the basis
of the evidence and records of the case submitted by the City Court of Caloocan
City plus the memorandum already submitted by the petitioner and respondents.
Since only questions of law were raised therein, the Court of Appeals, on October
13, 1972, issued a resolution certifying said case to this Court pursuant to Section
17, paragraph (4) of the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended.
As found by the Court of Appeals, the facts of this case are as follows:
It appears that private respondents Tan That and Ong Pin Tee filed an ejectment
suit, docketed as Civil Case No. 6926 in the City Court of Caloocan City, against the
petitioner. A decision was rendered by said Court on November 25, 1970, which
decision was appealed by the petitioner to the respondent Court and docketed
therein as Civil Case No. C-2036.
During the pendency of the appeal the respondent court issued on March 23, 1971
an order which reads:
Pursuant to the provisions of Rep. Act No. 6031, the Clerk of Court of Caloocan City,
is hereby directed to transmit to this Court within fifteen (15) days from receipt
hereof the transcripts of stenographic notes taken down during the hearing of this
case before the City Court of Caloocan City, and likewise, counsels for both parties
are given thirty (30) days from receipt of this order within which to file their
respective memoranda, and thereafter, this case shall be deemed submitted for
decision by this Court.
which order was apparently received by petitioner on April 17, 1971.
The transcript of stenographic notes not having yet been forwarded to the
respondent court, petitioner filed on May 5, 1971 a 'MOTION EX-PARTE TO SUBMIT
MEMORANDUM WITHIN 30 DAYS FROM RECEIPT OF NOTICE OF SUBMISSION OF THE
TRANSCRIPT OF STENOGRAPHIC NOTES TAKEN DURING THE HEARING OF THE CASE
BEFORE THE CITY COURT OF CALOOCAN CITY' which was granted by respondent
court on May 7, 1971. However, before the petitioner could receive any such notice
from the respondent court, the respondent Judge issued an order on August 4, 1971
which says:
For failure of the defendant-appellant to prosecute her appeal the same is hereby
ordered DISMISSED with costs against her.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the order on September 28, 1971,
citing as a ground the granting of his ex-parte motion to submit memorandum

within 30 days from notice of the submission of the stenographic notes taken before
the City Court. Private respondents filed their opposition to the motion on
September 30,1971. In the meantime, on October 20,1971, petitioner filed her
memorandum dated October 18, 1971. On October 30, 1971 the respondent Court
denied the motion for reconsideration. Then on January 25, 1972, petitioner filed a
motion for leave to file second motion for reconsideration which was likewise denied
by the respondent court on March 15, 1972. Hence this petition.
The sole inquiry in the case at bar can be stated thus: Whether, in the light of the
provisions of the second paragraph of Section 45 of Republic Act No. 296, as
amended by R.A. No. 6031, the mere failure of an appellant to submit on nine the
memorandum mentioned in the same paragraph would empower the Court of First
Instance to dismiss the appeal on the ground of failure to Prosecute; or, whether it is
mandatory upon said Court to proceed to decide the appealed case on the basis of
the evidence and records transmitted to it, the failure of the appellant to submit a
memorandum on time notwithstanding.
The second paragraph of Section 45 of R.A. No. 296, otherwise known as the
Philippine Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended by R.A. No. 6031 provides, in part, as
follows:
Courts of First Instance shall decide such appealed cases on the basis of the
evidence and records transmitted from the city or municipal courts: Provided, That
the parties may submit memoranda and/or brief with oral argument if so
requested ... . (Emphasis supplied).
The foregoing provision is clear and leaves no room for doubt. It cannot be
interpreted otherwise than that the submission of memoranda is optional on the
part of the parties. Being optional on the part of the parties, the latter may so
choose to waive submission of the memoranda. And as a logical concomitant of the
choice given to the Parties, the Court cannot dismiss the appeal of the party waiving
the submission of said memorandum the appellant so chooses not to submit the
memorandum, the Court of First Instance is left with no alternative but to decide the
case on the basis of the evidence and records transmitted from the city or municipal
courts. In other words, the Court is not empowered by law to dismiss the appeal on
the mere failure of an appellant to submit his memorandum, but rather it is the
Court's mandatory duty to decide the case on the basis of the available evidence
and records transmitted to it.
As a general rule, the word "may" when used in a statute is permissive only and
operates to confer discretion; while the word "shall" is imperative, operating to
impose a duty which may be enforced (Dizon vs. Encarnacion, L-18615, Dec. 24,
1963, 9 SCRA 714, 716-717). The implication is that the Court is left with no choice
but to decide the appealed case either on the basis of the evidence and records
transmitted to it, or on the basis of the latter plus memoranda and/or brief with oral
argument duly submitted and/or made on request.
Moreover, memoranda, briefs and oral arguments are not essential requirements.
They may be submitted and/or made only if so requested.

Finally, a contrary interpretation would be unjust and dangerous as it may defeat


the litigant's right to appeal granted to him by law. In the case of Republic vs.
Rodriguez
(L-26056, May 29, 1969, 28 SCRA 378) this Court underscored "the need of
proceeding with caution so that a party may not be deprived of its right to appeal
except for weighty reasons." Courts should heed the rule in Municipality of Tiwi,
Albay vs. Cirujales
(L-37520, Dec. 26, 1973, 54 SCRA 390, 395), thus:
The appellate court's summary dismissal of the appeal even before receipt of the
records of the appealed case as ordered by it in a prior mandamus case must be set
aside as having been issued precipitously and without an opportunity to consider
and appreciate unavoidable circumstances of record not attributable to petitioners
that caused the delay in the elevation of the records of the case on appeal.
In the instant case, no notice was received by petitioner about the submission of the
transcript of the stenographic notes, so that his 30-day period to submit his
memorandum would commence to run. Only after the expiration of such period can
the respondent Judge act on the case by deciding it on the merits, not by dismissing
the appeal of petitioner.
WHEREFORE, THE CHALLENGED ORDERS OF RESPONDENT JUDGE DATED AUGUST 4,
1971, OCTOBER 30, 1971 AND MARCH 15, 1971 ARE HEREBY SET ASIDE AS NULL
AND VOID AND THE RESPONDENT COURT IS HEREBY DIRECTED TO DECIDE CIVIL
CASE NO. C-2036 ON THE MERITS. NO COSTS.
Muoz Palma, Fernandez and Guerrero, JJ., concur.
Case No. 29 | Midterms Case No. 19
Purita Bersabal vs Hon. Judge Serafin Salvador
Gr No. L-35910, July 21, 1978
Statutory rule: Use of word may in the statute generally connotes a permissible thing while the word
shall is imperative.
Facts:
Private respondents filed an ejectment suit against the petitioner. The subsequent decision was
appealed by the petitioner and during its pendency, the court issued an order stating that counsels
for both parties are given 30 days from receipt of this order within which to file their memoranda in
order for this case to be submitted for decision by the court. After receipt, petitioner filed a Motion Ex
Parte to Submit Memorandum within 30 days from receipt of Notice of Submission of the transcript of
stenographic notes taken during the hearing of the case which was granted by the court. But the
respondent judge issued an order dismissing the case for failure to prosecute petitioners appeal.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration citing the submitted ex parte motion but the court denied
it.
Issue: W/N the mere failure of an appellant to submit the mentioned memorandum would empower the
CFI to dismiss the appeal on the ground of failure to prosecute.
Held:
The court is not empowered by law to dismiss the appeal on the mere failure of an appellant to
submit his memorandum. The law provides that Courts shall decide.. cases on the basis of the
evidence and records transmitted from the city courts: providedparties may submit memorandum.. if
so requested. It cannot be interpreted otherwise than that the submission of memorandum is
optional. Being optional, a party may choose to waive submission of the memoranda. As a general

rule, the word may when used in a statute is permissive only and operates to confer discretion; while
the word shall is imperative, operating to impose a duty which may be enforced.