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6. G.R. No.

194176, September 10, 2014


Limuel C. Narciso, et. al vs. Pacific Traders and Manufacturing Corp., et. Al

The Facts:

The petitioners were hired on different dates by Pacific Traders Manufacturing


Corporation (PTMC). Tabok Muti-Purpose Cooperative is a cooperative duly registered with the
Cooperative Development Authority, one of the purposes of which is to engage in job out works
for PTMC. The petitioners filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against PTMC and TWMPC in
2004, alleging that they were referred to TWMPC by PTMC because the latter refused to sign a
casual or probationary employment contract with them. TWMPC on the other hand treated
them with indifference, and when they reported the latters failure to provide them proper labor
benefits, TWMPC terminated them from employment without just or authorize ed cause. PTMC
denied the allegation that petitioners were its regular employees; they were assigned to the
company by TWMPC, one of its legitimate labor contractors. When their contracts expired, the
petitioners executed their respective Releases and Quitclaims; at the time of the filing of their
complaints, the company had long terminated its relations with petitioners. TWMPC affirmed
that petitioners were its employees; their disagreement started when the Board of Directors
contemplated pakyaw system instead of the per hour arrangement, to which petitioners
objected, thus they agreed to leave TWMPC provided they were paid separation pay; despite
this verbal agreement, petitioners still filed with the DOLE and NLRC. The DOLE case was
eventually settled, but the NLRC case proceeded.
The Labor Arbiter in its decision, dismissed the case filed by petitioners, holding them
not regular employees of PTMC and not illegally dismissed, but ordered TWMPC to pay them
separation pay and other labor benefits. Both petitioners and TWMPC appealed the ruling to
the NLRC, but both appeals were dismissed by the NLRC for failure to attach the requisite
Certificate of Non-Forum Shopping. Petitioners moved for reconsideration of the dismissal and
submitted a Motion to Admit Certificate of Non-Forum Shopping pleading for a liberal
application of procedural rules in the interest of substantial justice; still, the NLRC denied
reconsideration, thus petitioners filed a petition for certiorari with the CA to assail the
dismissal of their appeal.
Holding that petitioners failed to cite a compelling reason for relaxation of the rules, the CA
dismissed the petition for certiorari, ruling that petitioners failed to attach the Certification
Against Non-Forum shopping within the reglementary period for filing the Memorandum
Appeal. Thus, petitioners resorted to a petition for review on certiorari, assailing the CA
decision.
Issue:
Whether or not the CA erred in dismissing the case for failure to attach the Certificate of NonForum shopping.
Ruling:
The petition is denied.

At the outset, it bears to emphasize that the findings of the NLRC are generally binding and
should be treated with finality. The CA only looks at the facts to determine if a tribunal, board
or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions acted without or in excess of its or his
jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in
appreciating the facts.
Hence, in ruling on the correctness of the CAs review of the NLRC decision, this Court is
confined to a review of the case solely on pure questions of law. We are tasked to view the CA
decision in the same context that the petition for certiorari it ruled upon was presented; we
have to examine the CA decision from the prism of whether it correctly determined the
presence or absence of grave abuse of discretion in the NLRC decision before it, not on the
basis of whether the NLRC decision on the merits of the case was correct. In other words, we
have to be keenly aware that the CA undertook a Rule 65 review, not a review on appeal, of the
challenged NLRC decision.
In question form, the question to ask is: Did the CA correctly determine whether the NLRC
committed grave abuse of discretion in ruling on the case?
Grave abuse of discretion connotes utter absence of any basis for the NLRC ruling. The
attendant facts and records on hand show otherwise. A certificate of non-forum shopping is a
requisite for the perfection of an appeal. This is clearly enunciated in Section 4, Rule VI of the
2005 Revised Rules of Procedure of the NLRC (2005 NLRC Rules),thus:
Sec. 4. Requisites For Perfection Of Appeal. a) The appeal shall be: 1) filed within the
reglementary period provided in Section 1 of this Rule; 2) verified by the appellant himself in
accordance with Section 4, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court, as amended; 3) in the form of a
memorandum of appeal which shall state the grounds relied upon and the arguments in
support thereof, the relief prayed for, and with a statement of the date the appellant received
the appealed decision, resolution or order; 4) in three (3) legibly typewritten or printed copies;
and 5) accompanied by i) proof of payment of the required appeal fee; ii) posting of a cash or
surety bond as provided in Section 6 of this Rule; iii) a certificate of non-forum shopping; and
iv) proof of service upon the other parties. The petitioners aver that the CA should have granted
their petition for certiorari and relaxed the NLRC Rules of Procedure because on page 53 of
their memorandum on appeal is the caption Verification and Certification. However, the
counsel for the petitioners inadvertently deleted the paragraphs intended for the certification of
non-forum shopping. They assert that they were in a hurry in preparing the memorandum due
to the very limited time of 10 days to file the same. They proffer these as justifiable causes for
their non-compliance with the NLRC Rules of Procedure and submit that their belated filing of
the certificate in their motion for reconsideration was substantial compliance. They further aver
that the outright dismissal of their appeal on a mere technicality would seriously impair the
orderly administration of justice.
The petitioners arguments are devoid of merit. The subsequent compliance with the
requirement does not excuse a partys failure to comply therewith in the first instance. While
the Court, in certain cases, has excused non-compliance with the requirement to submit a
certificate of non-forum shopping, such liberal posture has always been grounded on special
circumstances or compelling reasons which made the strict application of the rule clearly
unjustified or inequitable.

Here, the reasons cited by the petitioners for their failure to attach the certificate in their
appeal memorandum can hardly be considered as special circumstances or compelling reasons
to warrant a liberal application of the rules of procedure. Moreover, based on the facts of the
case, a strict application of a technical rule will not prejudice the administration of justice in
view of the petitioners unmeritorious claims.
It is true that in labor cases, technical rules are not necessarily fatal and they can be liberally
applied. However, this principle can only operate if, all things being equal, any doubt or
ambiguity would be resolved in favor of labor. Should the case be substantively unmeritorious,
technicalities and limitations in procedural rules must be fully enforced.
The claims advanced by the petitioners failed to yield substantive merit. First, their money
claims have already been amicably settled and paid in the concurrent labor case they filed
before the DOLE. The Quitclaim and Release signed by the petitioners show that they already
received payment for their claims from TWMPC and PTMC. The quitclaims were duly attested
by Atty. Joy Lily Elumir-Tan, Chief of the Labor Relations Division of the DOLE, Region VII,
Cebu City.
Second, the LA correctly ruled that the petitioners allegations did not bear out a case for illegal
dismissal. The alleged termination from employment was merely presumed by the petitioners
from their disagreement with TWMPC when the latter announced its plans to shift to a
pakyaw system of compensation instead of the per hour scheme. We defer to the factual
findings of the LA considering its expertise on labor matters and its inimitable opportunity to
assess the parties claims first-hand. As observed by the LA, the petitioners verbally agreed to
settle the disagreement by withdrawing their membership and monetary interests from the
cooperative. They later on filed the illegal dismissal suit just to obtain more monetary
consideration from TWMPC in the form of a separation pay. Meanwhile, PTMC was not the
employer of the petitioners and it hired them long before the present controversy arose. They
were hired as casual or contractual employees through their job contractor TWMPC.
In fine, in the absence of justifiable and compelling reasons, a liberal application of procedural
rules is not warranted in this case. The Court thus agrees with the CA that no grave abuse of
discretion is attributable to the NLRC when it found no justification to excuse the absence of a
certificate of non-forum shopping in the petitioners memorandum on appeal.
7.
G.R. No. 202989, March 25, 2015
COMGLASCO CORP/Aguila Glass vs. Santos Car Check Center Corp.
Facts:
In the year 2000, Santos Car Check Center and Comglasco Corporation entered into a contract
of lease for five years of a showroom in Iloilo City. However, Comglasco advised Santos Car
Check Center that it is pre-terminating the lease effective December 1, 2001, to which Santos
did not accede, citing that their contract was for five years. Comglasco vacated the premises on
January 15, 2002 and stopped paying any rentals. Despite several demands, Comglasco
ignored the demand letters, hence Santos filed a case for breach of contract. In its answer,
Comglasco averred that business setbacks caused by the 1997 financial crisis caused it to preterminate the contract, which allows pre-termination with cause in the first three years of the

contract and without cause after the third year. Invoking Article 1267 of the Civil Code, it
averred that it is authorised to pre-terminate the contract before the lapse of the three years.
Santos moved for a judgment on the pleading, which the RTC granted. It held Comglasco liable
for unpaid rentals from January 16, 2002 to August 15, 2003, as well as attorneys fees,
litigation expenses and exemplary damages. Comglasco appealed to the CA, but the same was
denied. Hence, Comglasco filed a petition for review on certiorari with the Supreme Court,
arguing that judgment on the pleadings was not proper in the case as it cannot be deemed to
have admitted the material allegations in the complaint in its Answer, having pleaded a valid
cause (Business reverses caused by the 1997 financial crisis). The RTC should have ordered
the reception of evidence for that purpose, after which a summary judgment would have been
proper. It also insists that its rentals in advance should be deducted from the award of
damages.
Issue:
Whether or not judgment on the pleadings is proper in the case.
Ruling:
The petition is denied.
Comglasco maintains that the RTC was wrong to rule that its answer to Santos complaint
tendered no issue, or admitted the material allegations therein; that the court should have
heard it out on the reason it invoked to justify its action to pre-terminate the parties lease; that
therefore a summary judgment would have been the proper recourse, after a hearing.
In Philippine National Construction Corporation v. CA (PNCC), which also involves the
termination of a lease of property by the lessee due to financial, as well as technical,
difficulties, the Court ruled:
The obligation to pay rentals or deliver the thing in a contract of lease falls within the
prestation to give; hence, it is not covered within the scope of Article 1266. At any rate, the
unforeseen event and causes mentioned by petitioner are not the legal or physical
impossibilities contemplated in said article. Besides, petitioner failed to state specifically the
circumstances brought about by the abrupt change in the political climate in the country
except the alleged prevailing uncertainties in government policies on infrastructure projects.
The principle of rebus sic stantibus neither fits in with the facts of the case. Under this theory,
the parties stipulate in the light of certain prevailing conditions, and once these conditions
cease to exist, the contract also ceases to exist. This theory is said to be the basis of Article
1267 of the Civil Code, which provides:
Art. 1267. When the service has become so difficult as to be manifestly beyond the
contemplation of the parties, the obligor may also be released therefrom, in whole or in part.
This article, which enunciates the doctrine of unforeseen events, is not, however, an absolute
application of the principle of rebus sic stantibus, which would endanger the security of
contractual relations. The parties to the contract must be presumed to have assumed the risks
of unfavorable developments. It is therefore only in absolutely exceptional changes of
circumstances that equity demands assistance for the debtor.
In this case, petitioner wants this Court to believe that the abrupt change in the political
climate of the country after the EDSA Revolution and its poor financial condition rendered the

performance of the lease contract impractical and inimical to the corporate survival of the
petitioner.
The RTC acted correctly in resorting to Section 1 of Rule 34, on Judgment on the Pleadings, to
cut short a needless trial. This Court agrees with the CA that Comglasco cannot cite Article
1267 of the Civil Code, and that it must be deemed to have admitted the material allegations in
the complaint.
Section 1, Rule 34 reads:
Sec. 1. Judgment on the pleadings. Where an answer fails to tender an issue, or otherwise
admits the material allegations of the adverse partys pleading, the court may, on motion of
that party, direct judgment on such pleading. However, in actions for declaration of nullity or
annulment of marriage or for legal separation, the material facts alleged in the complaint shall
always be proved.
A judgment on the pleadings is a judgment on the facts as pleaded, and is based exclusively
upon the allegations appearing in the pleadings of the parties and the accompanying
annexes It is settled that the trial court has the discretion to grant a motion for judgment on
the pleadings filed by a party if there is no controverted matter in the case after the answer is
filed A genuine issue of fact is that which requires the presentation of evidence, as
distinguished from a sham, fictitious, contrived or false issue. Come to think of it, under Rule
35, on Summary Judgments, Comglasco had recourse to move for summary judgment,
wherein it could have adduced supporting evidence to justify its action on the parties lease,
but it did not do so. Section 2 of Rule 35 provides:
Sec. 2. Summary judgment for defending party. A party against whom a claim, counterclaim,
or cross-claim is asserted or a declaratory relief is sought may, at any time,move with
supporting affidavits, depositions or admissions for a summary judgment in his favor as to all
or any part thereof.
Concerning, now, whether Comglascos alleged rental deposit and advance rentals of
P309,000.00 should be credited to Comglascos account, let it suffice to state that it never
raised this matter in its answer to the complaint, nor in its appeal to the CA. Certainly, it
cannot do so now.
Finally, as to whether attorneys fees may be recovered by Santos, Article 2208(2) of the Civil
Code justifies the award thereof, in the absence of stipulation, where the defendants act or
omission has compelled the plaintiff to incur expenses to protect his interest. The pretermination of the lease by Comglasco was not due to any fault of Santos, and Comglasco
completely ignored all four demands of Santos to pay the rentals due from January 16, 2002 to
August 15, 2003, thereby compelling Santos to sue to obtain relief.
It is true that the policy of the Court is that no premium should be placed on the right to
litigate,but it is also true that attorneys fees are in the nature of actual damages, the reason
being that litigation costs money. But the Court agrees with the CA that the lesser amount of
P100,000.00 it awarded to Santos instead of P200,000.00 adjudged by the RTC, is more
reasonable.

8. Spouses Abelardo and Francisca Valarao vs. MSC and COMPANY (G.R. No. 185331, June 8,
2016)
FACTS:
MSC and Company (MSC) entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with Spouses Valarao to
develop the latters landholding in Angat, Bulacan for residential use. The parties had
subsequent Contract Agreement where Spouses Valarao undertook to reimburse MSCs
expenses for the projects topographic survey, site relocation, subdivision plans and
specifications. They also agreed to give an advance payment of P8,550,000.00 as mobilization
expenses for land development which will be paid upon the contract's execution. However,
Spouses Valarao failed to pay after demand and even after MSC completed 30% of the project.
MSC instituted the court action for collection of sum of money, damages and rescission. On
April 5, 2006, RTC rendered its decision in favor of MSC, ordering the spouses to pay the
former P16,349,035.60 and other reliefs sought by MSC. Aggrieved by the decision, Spouses
Valarao appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA) but was denied appeal in its decision dated
February 21, 2008 and affirming the decision of the RTC. The CAs decision became final on
March 19, 2008 considering that no motion for reconsideration or Supreme Court petition has
been filed by MSC and that no Supreme Court petition has been filed by Spouses Valarao.
Spouses Valarao brought the matter to the Supreme Court via petition for review on certiorari
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, claiming that they have timely submitted a Motion for
Reconsideration on March 11, 2008.
ISSUE: Did the decision of CA dated February 21, 2008 become final and executory
considering the alleged timely filing of the Motion for Reconsideration on March 11, 2008?
RULING:
Yes, the decision of CA dated February 21, 2008 had become final and executory. The alleged
timely submitted Motion for Reconsideration filed on March 11, 2008 was not properly filed in
its due form considering that the copy of the motion attached to the petition lacked material
portions, including the end of its prayer and the required signature of counsel. Further, the
counsel of Spouses Valarao failed to file a timely Motion for Extension or Petition with the
Supreme Court despite the receipt of the May 28, 2008 resolution denying his motion for
reconsideration. The doctrine of finality or immutability of judgment has already set in. Under
this doctrine, a decision that has acquired finality becomes immutable and unalterable, and
may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct
erroneous conclusions of fact and law, and whether it be made by the court that rendered it or
by the Highest Court of the land. Any act which violates this principle must immediately be
struck down. Although there are exceptions to this doctrine, none of the circumstance attends
the above-mentioned case.

9. UST VS DANES SANCHEZ


GR No. 165569
FACTS:
This case began with a Complaint for Damages filed by respondent Danes B. Sanchez
(respondent) against the University of Santo Tomas (UST) and its Board of Directors, the Dean
and the Assistant Dean of the UST College of Nursing, and the University Registrar for their
alleged unjustified refusal to release the respondents Transcript of Records (ToR).

In his Complaint, respondent alleged that he graduated from UST on April 2, 2002 with a
Bachelors Degree of Science in Nursing. He was included in the list of candidates for
graduation and attended graduation ceremonies. On April 18, 2002, respondent sought to
secure a copy of his ToR with the UST Registrars Office, paid the required fees, but was only
given a Certificate of Graduation by the Registrar. Despite repeated attempts by the respondent
to secure a copy of his ToR, and submission of his class cards as proof of his enrolment, UST
refused to release his records, making it impossible for him to take the nursing board
examinations, and depriving him of the opportunity to make a living. The respondent prayed
that the RTC order UST to release his ToR and hold UST liable for actual, moral, and
exemplary damages, attorneys fees, and the costs of suit.
Instead of filing an Answer, petitioners filed a Motion to Dismiss where they claimed that they
refused to release respondents ToR because he was not a registered student, since he had not
been enrolled in the university for the last three semesters. They claimed that the respondents
graduation, attendance in classes, and taking/passing of examinations were immaterial
because he ceased to be a student when he failed to enroll during the second semester of
school year 2000-2001. They also sought the dismissal of the case on the ground that the
complaint failed to state a cause of action.
After the parties filed their responsive pleadings,petitioners filed a Supplement to their Motion
to Dismiss,
alleging that respondent sought administrative recourse before the Commission on Higher
Education (CHED) through a letter-complaint dated January 21, 2003. Thus, petitioners
claimed that the CHED had primary jurisdiction to resolve matters pertaining to school
controversies, and the filing of the instant case was premature.
Issues:
1. Whether or not CHED exercises quasi-judicial power over controversies involving school
matters and has primary jurisdiction over respondents demand for the release of his ToR.
2. Whether or not the Complaint failed to state a cause of action, since respondent admitted
that he was not enrolled in UST in the last three semesters prior to graduation.
RULING:
1. The rule on primary jurisdiction applies only where the administrative agency exercises
quasi-judicial or adjudicatory functions. Thus, an essential requisite for this doctrine to apply
is the actual existence of quasi-judicial power. However, petitioners have not shown that the
CHED possesses any such power to investigate facts or ascertain the existence of facts, hold
hearings, weigh evidence, and draw conclusions. Indeed, Section 8 of Republic Act No. 7722
otherwise known as the Higher Education Act of 1994, certainly does not contain any express
grant to the CHED of judicial or quasi-judicial power.
2. The Complaint states a cause of action. Under Rule 16, Section 1(g) of the Rules of Court, a
motion to dismiss may be made on the ground that the pleading asserting the claim states no
cause of action. To clarify the essential test required to sustain dismissal on this ground, we
have explained that the test of the sufficiency of the facts found in a petition, to constitute a
cause of action, is whether admitting the facts alleged, the court could render a valid judgment
upon the same in accordance with the prayer of the petition. Stated otherwise, a complaint is

said to assert a sufficient cause of action if, admitting what appears solely on its face to be
correct, the plaintiff would be entitled to the relief prayed for. The Complaint makes the
following essential allegations: that petitioners unjustifiably refused to release respondents ToR
despite his having obtained a degree from UST; that petitioners claim that respondent was not
officially enrolled is untrue; that as a result of petitioners unlawful actions, respondent has not
been able to take the nursing board exams since 2002; that petitioners actions violated Articles
19-21 of the Civil Code; and that petitioners should be ordered to release respondents ToR and
held liable for P400,000.00 as moral damages, P50,000.00 as exemplary damages, P50,000.00
as attorneys fees and costs of suit, and P15,000.00 as actual damages.
10. G.R. No. 203775
August 5, 2014
ASSOCIATION OF FLOOD VICTIMS and JAIME AGUILAR HERNANDEZ, Petitioners,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ALAY BUHAY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION,
INC., and WESLIE TING GATCHALIAN, Respondents.

FACTS:
On 28 August 2012, The Supreme Court affirmed COMELEC Resolution SPP 10-013,
cancelling the certificate of registration of the Alliance of Barangay Concerns (ABC) Party-List
which won in the party-list elections in the 2010 national elections. The disqualification of the
ABC Party-List resulted in the re-computation of the party-list allocations in the House of
Representatives, in which the COMELEC followed the formula outlined in the case of Barangay
Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT) v. Commission on Elections.
The COMELEC then issued Minute Resolution No. 12-0859.
Petitioners Association of Flood Victims and Jaime Aguilar Hernandez filed with the Court a
special civil action for certiorari and/or mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
Petitioners assert that the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion when it issued
Minute Resolution No. 12-0859. Furthermore, petitioners pray for the issuance of a writ of
mandamus to compel publication of the COMELEC Minute Resolution No. 12-0859.
The Issues
(1) whether the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing Minute Resolution
No. 12-0859;
(2) whether the COMELEC may be compelled through mandamus to publish Minute
Resolution No. 12-0859.
RULING:
Petition Dismissed.
1. Petitioners do not have legal capacity to sue, hence no reason to discuss the issues
raised in the case at bar. Sections 1 and 2, Rule 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure
read:
SECTION 1. Who may be parties; plaintiff and defendant. Only natural or juridical persons,
or entities authorized by law may be parties in a civil action. The term "plaintiff" may refer to

the claiming party, the counter-claimant, the cross-claimant, or the third (fourth, etc.) -party
plaintiff. The term "defendant" may refer to the original defending party, the defendant in a
counterclaim, the cross-defendant, or the third (fourth, etc.) -party defendant.
SECTION 2. Parties in interest. A real party in interest is the party who stands to be benefited
or injured by the judgment in the suit, or the party entitled to the avails of the suit. Unless
otherwise authorized by law or these Rules, every action must be prosecuted or defended in the
name of the real party in interest.
Under Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 3, only natural or juridical persons, or entities authorized by
law may be parties in a civil action, which must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the
real party in interest. Article 44 of the Civil Code lists the juridical persons with capacity to
sue, thus:
Art. 44. The following are juridical persons:
(1) The State and its political subdivisions;
(2) Other corporations, institutions and entities for public interest or purpose, created
by law; their personality begins as soon as they have been constituted according to law;
(3) Corporations, partnerships and associations for private interest or purpose to which
the law grants a juridical personality, separate and distinct from that of each
shareholder, partner or member. (Emphasis supplied)
Section 4, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court mandates that "[f]acts showing the capacity of a party to
sue or be sued or the authority of a party to sue or be sued in a representative capacity or the
legal existence of an organized association of persons that is made a party, must be averred.
In their petition, it is stated that petitioner Association of Flood Victims "is a non-profit and
non-partisan organization in the process of formal incorporation, the primary purpose of which
is for the benefit of the common or general interest of many flood victims who are so numerous
that it is impracticable to join all as parties," and that petitioner Hernandez "is a Tax Payer and
the Lead Convenor of the Association of Flood Victims. Clearly, petitioner Association of Flood
Victims, which is still in the process of incorporation, cannot be considered a juridical person
or an entity authorized by law, which can be a party to a civil action.
Petitioner Association of Flood Victims is an unincorporated association not endowed with a
distinct personality of its own. An unincorporated association, in the absence of an enabling
law, has no juridical personality and thus, cannot sue in the name of the association Such
unincorporated association is not a legal entity distinct from its members. If an association,
like petitioner Association of Flood Victims, has no juridical personality, then all members of
the association must be made parties in the civil action.
In this case, other than his bare allegation that he is the lead convenor of the Association of
Flood Victims, petitioner Hernandez showed no proof that he was authorized by said
association. Aside from petitioner Hernandez, no other member was made signatory to the

petition. Only petitioner Hernandez signed the Verification and Sworn Certification Against
Forum Shopping, stating that he caused the preparation of the petition. There was no
accompanying document showing that the other members of the Association of Flood Victims
authorized petitioner Hernandez to represent them and the association in the petition.
Since petitioner Association of Flood Victims has no legal capacity to sue, petitioner Hernandez,
who is filing the petition as a representative of the Association of Flood Victims, is likewise
devoid of legal personality to bring an action in court.