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Philippine Charter Insurance Corp.

, Petitioner
versus
Explorer Maritime Co., Ltd., Owner of the Vessel
M/VExplorer, WallemPhils. Shipping, Inc., Asian
Terminals, Inc. and Foremost International Port
Services, Inc., Respondents
G.R. No. 175409 Sep. 07, 2011
Leonardo De Castro, J.:
Facts:
On March 22, 1995, petitioner Philippine Charter
Insurance Corporation (PCIC) filed with the RTC of Manila a
Complaint against Explorer Maritime Co., Ltd., et al. The
complaint sought to recover from the respondents the sum
of P342,605.50, allegedly representing the value of lost or
damaged shipment paid to the insured, interest and
attorneys fees. On the same date, PCIC filed a complaint
against Wallem Philippines Shipping, Inc., Asian Terminals,
Inc., and Foremost International Port Services, Inc., but in
this instance, the fourth defendant is the unknown owner of
the vessel M/V Taygetus.Answers and reply were
respectively filed and the case was set for pre-trial
conference by an ex parte motion of PCIC. However, before
the scheduled date of the pre-trial conference, PCIC filedits
Amended Complaint and the Unknown Owner of the vessel
M/V Explorer and Asian Terminals, Inc. filed anew their
respective answers with counterclaims. A motion to dismiss
the complaint was filed by Foremost International Port
Services but was denied.
The Unknown Owner of the vessel M/V Explorer and
Asian Terminals, Inc. filed also the motion to dismiss on the
ground that PCIC failed to prosecute its action for an
unreasonable length of time which was opposed by the latter
claiming that the trial court has not yet acted on its Motion
to Disclose which it purportedly filed where it prayed for the
trial court to order respondent Wallem Philippines Shipping,
Inc. to disclose the true identity and whereabouts of
defendant Unknown Owner of the Vessel M/V Explorer.
The trial court dismissed the case, stating that PCIC
failed to prosecute its action for an unreasonable length of
time. PCIC then moved for reconsideration upon knowing

that its Motion to Disclose was mistakenly filed with another


branch instead in Branch 37 where the present case was
pending. However, the trial court denied its motion for
reconsideration.
PCIC, through its new counsel, appealed to the Court of
Appeals which affirmed the decision of the RTC and later,
denied the motion for reconsideration of PCIC involving the
same issue.
Feeling aggrieved, PCIC then filed with the Supreme
Court a petition for review on certiorari. The Supreme Court
later on required the counsel for the Unknown Owner of
said vessels to submit proof of identity.
Issue/s:
Whether the Trial Court erred in dismissing the
complaint of PCIC on the ground that it failed to prosecute its
action for an unreasonable length of time.
Ruling:
According to the Supreme Court, respondent Explorer
Maritime Co., Ltd., which was then referred to as the
Unknown Owner of the vessel M/V Explorer, had already
been properly impleaded pursuant to Section 14, Rule 3 of
the Rules of Court. The Rule states:
Section 14.
Unknown identity or name of
defendant Whenever the identity or name of a
defendant is unknown, he may be sued as the
unknown owner, heir, devisee, or by such other
designation as the case may require; when his
identity or true name is discovered, the pleading
must be amended accordingly.
As all the parties have been properly impleaded, the
resolution of the Motion to Disclose was unnecessary for the
purpose of setting the case for pre-trial.
Hence, the Petition is of PCIC is DENIED and the
Decision of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.