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FRANCISCO A.G. DE LIANO, ALBERTO O. VILLA- conclusion.

The brief should be so prepared as to minimize


ABRILLE, JR., and SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION, the labor of the court in the examination of the record upon
petitioners, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and which the appeal is heard and determined. [italics supplied]
BENJAMIN A. TANGO, respondents. Same; Same; Same; Same; Subject Index; The index is
intended to facilitate the review of appeals by providing
Appeals; The premise that underlies all appeals is that ready reference, functioning much like a table of contents
they are merely rights which arise from statutetherefore, the subject index makes readily available at ones fingertips
they must be exercised in the manner prescribed by law. the subject of the contents of the brief so that the need to
The premise that underlies all appeals is that they are thumb through the brief page after page to locate a partys
merely rights which arise from statute; therefore, they arguments, or a particular citation, or whatever else needs
must be exercised in the manner prescribed by law. It is to to be found and considered, is obviated.The first
this end that rules governing pleadings and practice before requirement of an appellants brief is a subject index. The
appellate courts were imposed. These rules were designed index is intended to facilitate the review of appeals by
to assist the appellate court in the accomplishment of its providing ready reference, functioning much like a table of
tasks, and overall, to enhance the orderly administration of contents. Unlike in other jurisdictions, there is no limit on
justice. the length of appeal briefs or appeal memoranda filed
_______________ before appellate courts. The danger of this is the very real
possibility that the reviewing tribunal will be swamped
* SECOND DIVISION.
with voluminous documents. This occurs even though the
350 rules consistently urge the parties to be brief or concise
in the drafting of pleadings, briefs, and other papers to be
3 SUPREME COURT REPORTS filed in court. The subject index makes readily available at
50 ANNOTATED ones fingertips the subject of the contents of the brief so
De Liano vs. Court of Appeals that the need to thumb through the brief page after page to
Same; Pleadings and Practice; Briefs; Words and locate a partys arguments, or a particular citation, or
Phrases; Brief, Defined; The brief should be so prepared as whatever else needs to be found and considered, is obviated.
to minimize the labor of the court in the examination of the Same; Same; Same; Same; Assignment of Errors; An
record upon which the appeal is heard and determined.x x assignment of errors in appellate procedure is an
x [L]et it be recalled that the word brief is derived from enumeration by appellant or plaintiff in error of the errors
the Latin brevis,and the French briefe, and literally means alleged to have been committed by the court below in the
a short or condensed statement. The purpose of the brief, as trial of the case upon which he seeks to obtain a reversal of
all law students and lawyers know, is to present to the the judgment or decreeit is in the nature of a pleading,
court in concise form the points and questions in and performs in the appellate court the same office as a
controversy, and by fair argument on the facts and law of declaration or complaint in a court of original
the case to assist the court in arriving at a just and proper jurisdiction.An assignment of errors follows the subject
index. It is defined in this wise: An assignment of errors in material information regarding the nature of the controversy,
appellate procedure is an enumeration by appellant or the proceedings before the trial court, the orders and rulings
plaintiff in error of the errors alleged to have elevated on appeal, and the judgment itself.The rules then
351 require that an appellants brief must contain both a
statement of the case and a statement of facts. A
VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 22, 3
statement of the case gives the appellate tribunal an
2001 51 overview of the judicial antecedents of the case, providing
De Liano vs. Court of Appeals material information regarding the nature of the
been committed by the court below in the trial of the controversy, the proceedings before the trial court, the
case upon which he seeks to obtain a reversal of the orders and rulings elevated on appeal, and the judgment
judgment or decree; it is in the nature of a pleading, and itself. These data enable the appellate court to have a
performs in the appellate court the same office as a better grasp of the matter entrusted to it for its appraisal.
declaration or complaint in a court of original jurisdiction. Same; Same; Same; Same; Statement of Facts; The
Such an assignment is appellants complaint, or pleading, statement of facts comprises the very heart of the appellants
in the appellate court, and takes the place of a declaration briefthe facts constitute the backbone of a legal argument,
or bill; an appeal without an assignment of errors would be determinative of the law and jurisprudence applicable to the
similar to a suit without a complaint, bill, or declaration. case, and consequently, will govern the appropriate relief.
The assignment is appellants declaration or complaint In turn, the statement of facts comprises the very heart of
against the trial judge, charging harmful error, and proof the appellants brief. The facts constitute the backbone of a
vel non of assignment is within the record on appeal. xxx legal argument; they are determinative of the law and
xxx xxx The object of such pleadings is to point out the jurisprudence applicable to the case, and consequently, will
specific errors claimed to have been committed by the court govern the appropriate relief. Appellants should remember
below, in order to enable the reviewing court and the that the Court of Appeals is empowered to review both
opposing party to see on what points appellant or plaintiff questions
in error intends to ask a reversal of the judgment or decree, 352
and to limit discussion to those points. The office of an
assignment of errors is not to point out legal contentions,
3 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
but only to inform the appellate court that appellant 52 ANNOTATED
assigns as erroneous certain named rulings; the function of De Liano vs. Court of Appeals
the assignment is to group and bring forward such of the of law and of facts. Otherwise, where only a pure
exceptions previously noted in the case on appeal as question of law is involved, appeal would pertain to this
appellant desires to preserve and present to the appellant. Court. An appellant, therefore, should take care to state the
Same; Same; Same; Same; Statement of the Case; A facts accurately though it is permissible to present them in
statement of the case gives the appellate tribunal an a manner favorable to one party. The brief must state the
overview of the judicial antecedents of the case, providing facts admitted by the parties, as well as the facts in
controversy. To laymen, the distinction may appear circumstances, their relation to each other and to the whole
insubstantial, but the difference is clear to the practitioner and the probabilities of the situation.
and the student of law. Facts which are admitted require no Same; Same; Same; Same; Arguments; An appellants
further proof, whereas facts in dispute must be backed by arguments go hand in hand with his assignment of errors,
evidence. Relative thereto, the rule specifically requires for the former provide the justification supporting his
that ones statement of facts should be supported by page contentions, and in so doing resolves the issues. It will not
references to the record. Indeed, disobedience therewith has do to impute error on the part of the trial court without
been punished by dismissal of the appeal. Page references substantiation.Thereafter, the appellant is required to
to the record are not an empty requirement. If a statement present his arguments on
of fact is unaccompanied by a page reference to the record, 353
it may be presumed to be without support in the record and
VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 22, 3
may be stricken or disregarded altogether.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Statement of the Issues; The 2001 53
statement of issues is not to be confused with the assignment De Liano vs. Court of Appeals
of errorsthey are not one and the same; The statement of each assigned error. An appellants arguments go hand
issues puts forth the questions of fact or law to be resolved by in hand with his assignment of errors, for the former
the appellate court; Questions of Fact and Questions of provide the justification supporting his contentions, and in
Law, Distinguished.When the appellant has given an so doing resolves the issues. It will not do to impute error
account of the case and of the facts, he is required to state on the part of the trial court without substantiation. The
the issues to be considered by the appellate court. The mere elevation on appeal of a judgment does not create a
statement of issues is not to be confused with the presumption that it was rendered in error. The appellant
assignment of errors: they are not one and the same, for has to show that he is entitled to the reversal of the
otherwise, the rules would not require a separate statement judgment appealed, and he cannot do this unless he
for each. The statement of issues puts forth the questions of provides satisfactory reasons for doing so. It is therefore
fact or law to be resolved by the appellate court. What essential that x x x [A]s far as possible, the errors and
constitutes a question of fact or one of law should be clear reasons assigned should be supported by a citation of
by now: At this point, the distinction between a question of authorities. The failure to do so has been said to be
fact and a question of law must be clear. As distinguished inexcusable; and, although a point made in the brief is
from a question of law which exists when the doubt or before the court even though no authorities are cited and
difference arises as to what the law is on certain state of may be considered and will be where a proposition of well
factsthere is a question of fact when the doubt or established law is stated, the court is not required to search
difference arises as to the truth or the falsehood of alleged out authorities, but may presume that counsel has found no
facts; or when the query necessarily invites calibration of case after diligent search or that the point has been waived
the whole evidence considering mainly the credibility of or abandoned, and need not consider the unsupported
witnesses, existence and relevancy of specific surrounding errors assigned, and ordinarily will not give consideration
to such errors and reasons unless it is apparent without De Liano vs. Court of Appeals
further research that the assignments of errors presented petitioner submitted an Amended Appellants Brief to
are well taken. cure the infirmities of the one first filed on its behalf by its
Same; Same; Same; Procedural Rules; When the error lawyer. All things being equal, we would have been inclined
relates to something so elementary as to be inexcusable, the to grant the petition until we realized that the attempt at
Courts discretion becomes nothing more than exercise in compliance was, at most, only a cosmetic procedure. On
frustration.Some may argue that adherence to these closer scrutiny, the amended brief was as defective as the
formal requirements serves but a meaningless purpose, first. Where the first brief lacked an assignment of errors
that these may be ignored with little risk in the smug but included a statement of issues, the amended brief
certainty that liberality in the application of procedural suffered a complete reversal: it had an assignment of errors
rules can always be relied upon to remedy the infirmities. but no statement of issues. The statement of facts lacked
This misses the point. We are not martinets; in appropriate page references to the record, a deficiency symptomatic of
instances, we are prepared to listen to reason, and to give the first. Authorities were cited in an improper manner,
relief as the circumstances may warrant. However, when that is, the exact page of the report where the citation was
the error relates to something so elementary as to be lifted went unspecified. The amended brief did not even
inexcusable, our discretion becomes nothing more than an follow the prescribed order: the assignment of errors came
exercise in frustration. It comes as an unpleasant shock to after the statement of the case and the statement of facts.
us that the contents of an appellants brief should still be No one could be expected to ignore such glaring errors, as in
raised as an issue now. There is nothing arcane or novel the case at bar. The half-hearted attempt at submitting a
about the provisions of Section 13, Rule 44. The rule supposedly amended brief only serves to harden our resolve
governing the contents of appellants briefs has existed to demand a strict observance of the rules.
since the old Rules of Court, which took effect on July 1, Same; Same; Same; Same; The Court reminds
1940, as well as the Revised Rules of Court, which took members of the bar that their first duty is to comply with the
effect on January 1, 1964,until they were superseded by the rules, not to seek exceptions.We remind members of the
present 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The provisions were bar that their first duty is to comply with the rules, not to
substantially preserved, with few revisions. seek exceptions. As was expressed more recently in Del
Same; Same; Same; Same; A half-hearted attempt at Rosario v. Court of Appeals,which was rightfully quoted by
submitting a supposedly amended brief only serves to the appellate court, we ruled that: Petitioners plea for
harden the Courts resolve to demand a strict observance of liberality in applying these rules in preparing Appellants
the rules.An additional circumstance impels us to deny Brief does not deserve any sympathy. Long ingrained in our
the reinstatement of petitioners appeal. We observed that jurisprudence is the rule that the right to appeal is a
354 statutory right and a party who seeks to avail of the right
3 SUPREME COURT REPORTS must faithfully comply with the rules. In People v.
Marong, we held that deviations from the rules cannot be
54 ANNOTATED
tolerated. The rationale for this strict attitude is not
difficult to appreciate. These rules are designed to facilitate are treated differently depending upon their classification
the orderly disposition of appealed cases. In an age where into one of three (3) categories: appealed civil cases,
courts are bedeviled by clogged dockets, these rules need to appealed criminal cases, and special cases. Be it noted that
be followed by appellants with greater fidelity. Their all cases are under the supervision and control of the
observance cannot be left to the whims and caprices of members of the Court of Appeals in all stages, from the
appellants. In the case at bar, counsel for petitioners had all time of filing until the remand of the cases to the courts or
the opportunity to comply with the above rules. He remained agencies of origin. Ordinary appealed civil cases undergo
obstinate in his non-observance even when he sought two (2) stages. The first stage consists of completion of the
reconsideration of the ruling of the respondent court records. The second stage is for study and report, which
dismissing his clients appeal. Such obstinacy is follows when an appealed case is deemed submitted for
incongruous with his late plea for liberality in construing decision.
the rules on appeal. [italics supplied] Same; Same; Same; A preliminary raffle is held at
Same; Same; Same; Two Modes of Appeal from which time an appealed case is assigned to a Justice for
Decisions of the Regional Trial Courts to the Court of completion, and after completion, when the case is deemed
Appeals.The Rules of Court prescribe two (2) modes of ripe for judgment, a second raffle is conducted to determine
appeal from decisions of the Regional Trial Courts to the the Justice to whom the case will be assigned for study and
Court of Appeals. When the trial court decides a case in the report.At each stage, a separate raffle is held. Thus, a
exercise of its preliminary raffle is held at which time an appealed case is
355 assigned to a Justice for completion. After completion, when
the case is deemed ripe for judgment, a second raffle is
VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 22, 3
conducted to determine the Justice to whom the case will be
2001 55 assigned for study and report. Each stage is distinct; it may
De Liano vs. Court of Appeals happen that the Justice to whom the case was initially
original jurisdiction, the mode of review is by an raffled for completion may not be the same Justice who will
ordinary appeal in accordance with Section 2(a) of Rule 41. write the decision thereon.
In contrast, where the assailed decision was rendered by Same; Same; Same; The Justice in-charge of
the trial court in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, completion exceeds his province should he examine the
the mode of appeal is via a petition for review pursuant to merits of the case since his function is to oversee completion
Rule 42. We are more concerned here about the first mode only.The aforesaid distinction has a bearing on the case
since the case at bar involves a decision rendered by the at bar. It becomes apparent that the merits of the appeal
Regional Trial Court exercising its original jurisdiction. can only be looked into during the second stage. The Justice
Same; Same; Same; Categories and Treatment of Cases in-charge of completion exceeds his province should he
Elevated to the Court of Appeals; Ordinary appealed civil examine the merits of the case since his function is to
cases undergo two (2) stages: completion of the records, and oversee completion only. The prerogative of determining the
study and report.Cases elevated to the Court of Appeals merits of an appeal pertains properly to the Justice to
whom the case is raffled for study and report. The case at and usage, as usually pertaining to the particular officer or
bar did not reach the second stage; it was dismissed during agent, and such apparent powers as the corporation has
completion stage pursuant to Section 1(f) of caused persons dealing with the officer or agent to believe
356 that it has conferred.
3 SUPREME COURT REPORTS PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the
56 ANNOTATED Court of Appeals.
De Liano vs. Court of Appeals
Rule 50. Consequently, petitioners contention that the The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
appellate court should have considered the substance of the De Lima-Bohol & Meez Law Officesfor
appeal prior to dismissing it due to technicalities does not petitioners.
gain our favor. Leovillo C. Agustin Law Offices for respondent.
Same; Attorneys; Corporation Law; Generally, the
negligence of counsel binds his client; A corporation is an DE LEON, JR., J.:
artificial being whose juridical personality is only a fiction
created by lawit can only exercise its powers and transact Before us is a petition for review on certiorari praying
its business through the instrumentalities of its board of
for the reversal of the Resolution dated June 4, 1999
1

directors, and through its officers and agents, when


authorized by resolution or its by-laws.Generally, the issued by the former
_______________
negligence of counsel binds his client. Actually, Atty. Afable
is also an employee of petitioner San Miguel Corporation. 1 Penned by Associate Justice Ramon A. Barcelona, and concurred

Yet even this detail will not operate in petitioners favor. A in by Associate Justices Demetrio G. Demetria and Mariano M.
corporation, it should be recalled, is an artificial being Umali, Fourteenth Division. Rollo, pp. 45-48.
whose juridical personality is only a fiction created by law.
357
It can only exercise its powers and transact its business
through the instrumentalities of its board of directors, and
VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 22, 2001 357
through its officers and agents, when authorized by De Liano vs. Court of Appeals
resolution or its bylaws. x x x Moreover, x x x a corporate Fourteenth Division of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
officer or agent may represent and bind the corporation in CV No. 60460, which dismissed the appeal of herein
transactions with third persons to the extent that authority petitioners on procedural grounds as well as its
to do so has been conferred upon him, and this includes Resolution of February 23, 2000 which denied their
powers which have been intentionally conferred, and also motion for reconsideration.
such powers as, in the usual course of the particular The relevant facts are:
business, are incidental to, or may be implied from, the
powers intentionally conferred, powers added by custom
On March 30, 1998, the Regional Trial Court of _______________
Quezon City, Branch 227 issued a Decision in Civil
2
2Annex Q of the Petition, Rollo, pp. 97-101.
Case No. Q-95-24332, the dispositive portion of which
3
3Entitled Benjamin A. Tango v. San Miguel Corporation,
is hereunder quoted: Francisco A.G. De Liano, Alberto O. Villa-Abrille, Jr., and Spouses
WHEREFORE, premises considered, defendant San Miguel Carmelita Ibarra and Bernardino Ibarra.
Corporation is hereby ordered 358
358 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
1. 1.To release to the plaintiff the owners duplicate
ANNOTATED
copy of
De Liano vs. Court of Appeals
TCT No. 299551 in the same [sic] of Benjamin A. Tango; and Alberto O. Villa-Abrille, Jr., who are senior
executives of petitioner SMC.
2. 2.To release to plaintiff the originals of the REM SMC, De Liano and Abrille appealed the aforesaid
contracts dated December 4, 1990 and February 17, decision to the Court of Appeals. In due time, their
1992 and to cause the cancellation of the counsel, Atty. Edgar B. Afable, filed an Appellants
annotation of the same on plaintiffs [sic] TCT No. Brief which failed to comply with Section 13, Rule 44
4

299551; of the Rules of Court. The appellee (herein private


3. 3.To pay the plaintiff the following sums: respondent) was quick to notice these deficiencies, and
accordingly filed a Motion to Dismiss Appeal dated 5

1. 3.1.P100,000.00 as and by way of moral damages;


March 8, 1999. Required to comment, the appellants
6

2. 3.2.P50,000.00 as and by way of attorneys fees;


3. 3.3.costs of suit. averred that their brief had substantially complied
with the contents as set forth in the rules. They
SO ORDERED. proffered the excuse that the omissions were only the
result of oversight or inadvertence and as such could
In brief, the case involved the cancellation of two (2) be considered harmless errors. They prayed for
real estate mortgages in favor of petitioner San Miguel liberality in the application of technical rules, adding
Corporation (SMC) executed by private respondent that they have a meritorious defense.
Benjamin A. Tango over his house and lot in Quezon On June 4, 1999, the appellate court issued the first
City. The mortgages were third party or assailed resolution dismissing the appeal. The Court of
7

accommodation mortgages on behalf of the spouses Appeals held, as follows:


Bernardino and Carmelita Ibarra who were dealers of xxx xxx xxx
SMC products in Aparri, Cagayan. Other defendants As pointed out by plaintiff-appellee, the Brief does not
in the case were Francisco A.G. De Liano contain a Subject Index nor a Table of Cases and
Authorities, with page references. Moreover, the Statement an age where courts are bedeviled by clogged dockets, these rules
of the Case, Statement of Facts, and Arguments in the Brief need to be followed by appellants with greater fidelity. Their
has no page reference to the record. These procedural observance cannot be left to the whims and caprices of appellants.
lapses justify the dismissal of the appeal, pursuant x x x
to Section 1 (f), Rule 50 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, Having ruled as such, the Court need not resolve
as amended, which reads: plaintiff-appellees contention that the issues raised in the
SECTION 1. Grounds for dismissal of appeal.An appeal may appeal are mere questions of law.
be dismissed by the Court of Appeals, on its own motion, or on
that of the appellee, on the following grounds: The appellants (herein petitioners) sought to have the
xxx xxx xxx foregoing resolution reconsidered. Simultaneously,
(f) Absence of specific assignment of errors in the appellants
brief, or of page references to the record as required in section 13, through the same counsel, they filed a Motion to
paragraphs (a), (c), (d) and (f) of Rule 44; Admit Amended Defendants-Appellants Brief. The 8

xxx xxx xxx appellate court denied the consolidated motions in its
_______________
Resolution of February 23, 2000.
9

From the denial of their motion for reconsideration,


4 Annex R of the Petition, Rollo, pp. 107-121. only petitioner SMC interposed the instant
5 Annex S of the Petition, Rollo, pp. 122-125. petition. As grounds for allowance, petitioner
10

6 Annex T of the Petition, Rollo, pp. 126-128.

7 Annex A of the Petition, Rollo, pp. 45-48.


contends that:
A
359
VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 22, 2001 359 THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DISMISSING
De Liano vs. Court of Appeals SMCs APPEAL ON THE BASIS OF PURE
Finally, defendants-appellants, despite having been notified TECHNICALITIES AND EVEN AFTER SMC HAS
of such defects, still failed to amend their Brief to conform CORRECTED THE TECHNICAL DEFECT OF ITS
to the Rules, and instead, argues that these are mere APPEAL.
harmless errors. In the case of Del Rosario v. Court of _______________
Appeals, G.R. No. 113890, February 22, 1996, 241 SCRA
553 [1996], the Supreme Court, in sustaining the dismissal 8 Annexes U and V of the Petition, Rollo, pp. 129-133 and 134-

of the petitioners appeal for non-compliance with the rule 153, respectively.
9 Annex B of the Petition, Rollo, p. 50.
on the contents of the Appellants Brief, ruled that:
10 We note with interest that petitioner has entrusted the instant
Long ingrained in our jurisprudence is the rule that the right to
appeal to external counsel.
appeal is a statutory right and a party who seeks to avail of the
right must faithfully comply with the rules. x x x These rules are 360
designed to facilitate the orderly disposition of appealed cases. In 360 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
ANNOTATED the case to assist the court in arriving at a just and proper
De Liano vs. Court of Appeals conclusion. The brief should be so prepared as to minimize
B the labor of the court in the examination of the record upon
which the appeal is heard and determined. [italics 11

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DISMISSING supplied]


SMCs APPEAL WITHOUT CONSIDERING ITS MERITS. Relative thereto, Section 13, Rule 44 of the Revised
Rules of Court governs the format to be followed by the
1. 1.There are valid grounds to reverse the RTCs
appellant in drafting his brief, as follows:
award of damages in favor of Tango. The award of
_______________
damages has no basis in fact or in law.
2. 2.The appeal involves a question of substance which 11 Estiva v. Cavil, 59 Phil. 67, 68-69 (1933).
should have been resolved by the Court of Appeals,
to wit: whether a third party mortgagor can 361
unilaterally withdraw the mortgage without the VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 22, 2001 361
consent of the debtor and creditor. De Liano vs. Court of Appeals
Contents of appellants brief.The appellants brief shall
The petition has no merit. contain, in the order herein indicated, the following:
The premise that underlies all appeals is that they
are merely rights which arise from statute; therefore, 1. (a)A subject index of the matter in the brief with a
they must be exercised in the manner prescribed by digest of the arguments and page references, and a
law. It is to this end that rules governing pleadings table of cases alphabetically arranged, textbooks
and statutes cited with references to the pages
and practice before appellate courts were imposed.
where they are cited;
These rules were designed to assist the appellate court 2. (b)An assignment of errors intended to be urged,
in the accomplishment of its tasks, and overall, to which errors shall be separately, distinctly and
enhance the orderly administration of justice. concisely stated without repetition and numbered
In his definition of a brief, Justice Malcolm consecutively;
explained thus: 3. (c)Under the heading Statement of the Case, a
x x x [L]et it be recalled that the word brief is derived clear and concise statement of the nature of the
from the Latin brevis, and the French briefe, and literally action, a summary of the proceedings, the appealed
means a short or condensed statement. The purpose of the rulings and orders of the court, the nature of the
brief, as all law students and lawyers know, is to present to judgment and any other matters necessary to an
the court in concise form the points and questions in understanding of the nature of the controversy,
controversy, and by fair argument on the facts and law of with page references to the record;
4. (d)Under the heading Statement of Facts, a clear ing ready reference, functioning much like a table of
and concise statement in a narrative form of the contents. Unlike in other jurisdictions, there is no limit
facts admitted by both parties and of those in on the length of appeal briefs or appeal memoranda
controversy, together with the substance of the filed before appellate courts. The danger of this is the
proof relating thereto in sufficient detail to make it
very real possibility that the reviewing tribunal will be
clearly intelligible, with page references to the
swamped with voluminous documents. This occurs
record;
5. (e)A clear and concise statement of the issues of fact even though the rules consistently urge the parties to
or law to be submitted to the court for its judgment; be brief or concise in the drafting of pleadings,
6. (f)Under the heading Argument, the appellants briefs, and other papers to be filed in court. The
arguments on each assignment of error with page subject index makes readily available at ones
references to the record. The authorities relied fingertips the subject of the contents of the brief so
upon shall be cited by the page of the report at that the need to thumb through the brief page after
which the case begins and the page of the report on page to locate a partys arguments, or a particular
which the citation is found; citation, or whatever else needs to be found and
7. (g)Under the heading Relief, a specification of the considered, is obviated.
order or judgment which the appellant seeks; and
An assignment of errors follows the subject index. It
8. (h)In cases not brought up by record on appeal, the
is defined in this wise:
appellants brief shall contain, as an appendix, a
An assignment of errors in appellate procedure is an
copy of the judgment or final order appealed from.
enumeration by appellant or plaintiff in error of the errors
alleged to have been committed by the court below in the
This particular rule was instituted with reason, and trial of the case upon which he seeks to obtain a reversal of
most certainly, it was not intended to become a the judgment or decree; it is in the nature of a pleading,
custom more honored in the breach than in the and performs in the appellate court the same office as a
observance. It has its logic, which is to present to the declaration or complaint in a court of original jurisdiction.
appellate court in the most helpful light, the factual Such an assignment is appellants complaint, or pleading,
and legal antecedents of a case on appeal. in the appellate court, and takes the place of a declaration
The first requirement of an appellants brief is a or bill; an appeal without an assignment of errors would be
subject index. The index is intended to facilitate the similar to a suit without a complaint, bill, or declaration.
review of appeals by provid- The assignment is appellants declaration or complaint
362 against the trial judge, charging harmful error, and proof
362 SUPREME COURT REPORTS vel non of assignment is within the record on appeal.
ANNOTATED xxx xxx xxx
De Liano vs. Court of Appeals
The object of such pleadings is to point out the specific will be considered unless stated in the assignment of errors,
errors claimed to have been committed by the court below, or closely related to or dependent on an assigned error and
in order to enable the reviewing court and the opposing properly argued in the brief, save as the court may pass
party to see on what points appellant or plaintiff in error upon plain errors and clerical errors.
intends to ask a reversal of the judgment or decree, and to
limit discussion to those points. The office of an assignment The rules then require that an appellants brief must
of errors is not to point out legal contentions, but only to contain both a statement of the case and a
inform the appellate court that appellant assigns as statement of facts. A statement of the case gives the
erroneous certain named rulings; the function of the appellate tribunal an overview of the judicial
assignment is to group and bring forward such of the antecedents of the case, providing material
exceptions previously noted in the case on appeal as information regarding the nature of the controversy,
appellant desires to preserve and present to the appellant. 12
the proceedings before the trial court, the orders and
_______________ rulings elevated on appeal, and the judgment itself.
These data enable the appellate court to have a better
12 5 C.J.S. Appeal and Error 1217. grasp of the matter entrusted to it for its appraisal.
363 In turn, the statement of facts comprises the very
VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 22, 2001 363 heart of the appellants brief. The facts constitute the
De Liano vs. Court of Appeals backbone of a legal argument; they are determinative
It has been held that a general assignment of errors is of the law and jurisprudence applicable to the case,
unacceptable under the rules. Thus, a statement of the and consequently, will govern the appropriate relief.
following tenor: that the Court of First Instance of Appellants should remember that the Court of Appeals
this City incurred error in rendering the judgment is empowered to review both questions of law and of
appealed from, for it is contrary to law and the weight facts. Otherwise, where only a pure question of law is
of the evidence, was deemed insufficient. The 13
involved, appeal would pertain to this Court. An
appellant has to specify in what aspect of the law or appellant, therefore, should take care to state the facts
the facts that the trial court erred. The conclusion, accurately though it is permissible to present them in
therefore, is that the appellant must carefully a manner favorable to one party. The brief must state
formulate his assignment of errors. Its importance the facts admitted
_______________
cannot be underestimated, as Section 8, Rule 51 of the
Rules of Court will attest: 13 Santiago v. Felix, 94 Phil. 378, 384 (1913).
Questions that may be decided.No error which does not
affect the jurisdiction over the subject matter or the validity 364
of the judgment appealed from or the proceedings therein 364 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
ANNOTATED when the query necessarily invites calibration of the whole
De Liano vs. Court of Appeals evidence considering mainly the credibility of witnesses,
existence and relevancy of specific surrounding
by the parties, as well as the facts in controversy. To
circumstances, their relation to each other and to the whole
laymen, the distinction may appear insubstantial, but and the probabilities of the situation. 16

the difference is clear to the practitioner and the


student of law. Facts which are admitted require no _______________
further proof, whereas facts in dispute must be backed 14 Eg., Heirs of Palomique v. Court of Appeals, 134 SCRA 331, 334

by evidence. Relative thereto, the rule specifically (1985) and Genobiagon v. Court of Appeals, 76 SCRA 37, 39 (1977).
requires that ones statement of facts should be Also, in People v. Marong (119 SCRA 430, 436 [1982]), we
supported by page references to the record. Indeed, disapproved of the Solicitor Generals failure to cite page references
to the record in support of its statement of facts.
disobedience therewith has been punished by 15 5 Am Jur 2d, Appellate Review 546.

dismissal of the appeal. Page references to the record


14
16 Bernardo v. Court of Appeals, 216 SCRA 224, 232 (1992).

are not an empty requirement. If a statement of fact is


365
unaccompanied by a page reference to the record, it
VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 22, 2001 365
may be presumed to be without support in the record
and may be stricken or disregarded altogether. 15
De Liano vs. Court of Appeals
When the appellant has given an account of the Thereafter, the appellant is required to present his
case and of the facts, he is required to state the issues arguments on each assigned error. An appellants
to be considered by the appellate court. The statement arguments go hand in hand with his assignment of
of issues is not to be confused with the assignment of errors, for the former provide the justification
errors: they are not one and the same, for otherwise, supporting his contentions, and in so doing resolves
the rules would not require a separate statement for the issues. It will not do to impute error on the part of
each. The statement of issues puts forth the questions the trial court without substantiation. The mere
of fact or law to be resolved by the appellate court. elevation on appeal of a judgment does not create a
What constitutes a question of fact or one of law presumption that it was rendered in error. The
should be clear by now: appellant has to show that he is entitled to the
At this point, the distinction between a question of fact and reversal of the judgment appealed, and he cannot do
a question of law must be clear. As distinguished from a this unless he provides satisfactory reasons for doing
question of law which exists when the doubt or difference so. It is therefore essential that
arises as to what the law is on certain state of facts x x x [A]s far as possible, the errors and reasons assigned
there is a question of fact when the doubt or difference should be supported by a citation of authorities. The failure
arises as to the truth or the falsehood of alleged facts; or to do so has been said to be inexcusable; and, although a
point made in the brief is before the court even though no 366 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
authorities are cited and may be considered and will be ANNOTATED
where a proposition of well established law is stated, the De Liano vs. Court of Appeals
court is not required to search out authorities, but may
presume that counsel has found no case after diligent
little risk in the smug certainty that liberality in the
search or that the point has been waived or abandoned, and application of procedural rules can always be relied
need not consider the unsupported errors assigned, and upon to remedy the infirmities. This misses the point.
ordinarily will not give consideration to such errors and We are not martinets; in appropriate instances, we are
reasons unless it is apparent without further research that prepared to listen to reason, and to give relief as the
the assignments of errors presented are well taken.
17
circumstances may warrant. However, when the error
relates to something so elementary as to be
In this regard, the rules require that authorities
inexcusable, our discretion becomes nothing more than
should be cited by the page of the report at which the
an exercise in frustration. It comes as an unpleasant
case begins, as well as the page of the report where the
shock to us that the contents of an appellants brief
citation is found. This rule is imposed for the
should still be raised as an issue now. There is nothing
convenience of the appellate court, for obvious reasons:
arcane or novel about the provisions of Section 13,
since authorities relied upon by the parties are
Rule 44. The rule governing the contents of appellants
checked for accuracy and aptness, they are located
briefs has existed since the old Rules of Court, which 18

more easily as the appellate court is not bound to


took effect on July 1, 1940, as well as the
peruse volume upon volume, and page after page, of _______________
reports.
Lastly, the appellant is required to state, under the 18 Section 17, Rule 48 of which states:
Contents of appellants brief.The appellants brief shall contain in the order
appropriate heading, the reliefs prayed for. In so doing, herein indicated the following:
the appellate court is left in no doubt as to the result
desired by the appellant, and act as the circumstances 1. (a)A subject index of the matter in the brief with page references
may warrant. and a table of cases alphabetically arranged, textbooks, and
statutes cited with references to the pages where they are cited, if
Some may argue that adherence to these formal the brief contains twenty or more pages;
requirements serves but a meaningless purpose, that 2. (b)An assignment of errors intended to be urged. Such errors shall
be separately, distinctly, and concisely stated without repetition,
these may be ignored with and shall be numbered consecutively;
_______________ 3. (c)Under the heading Statement of Facts, a clear and concise
statement in brief narrative form of the facts of the case, including
17 5 C.J.S. Appeal and Error 1325. the nature of the action, the character of the pleading and
proceedings, the substance of the proof in sufficient detail to make
366 it clearly intelligible, the rulings and orders of the court, the
nature of the judgment, and any other matters necessary to an
understanding of the nature of the controversy on appeal, with and of those in controversy, together with the substance of the
page references to the record; proof relating thereto in sufficient detail to make it clearly
4. (d)Under the heading Argument, the appellants arguments on intelligible, with page references to the record;
each assignment of error with page references to the record. The 5. (e)A clear and concise statement of the issues of fact or law to be
authorities relied upon shall be cited by the page of the report at submitted to the court for its judgment;
which the case begins and the page of the report on which the 6. (f)Under the heading Argument, the appellants arguments on
citation is found; each assignment of error with page references to the record. The
5. (e)Under the heading Relief, a specification of the order or authorities relied upon shall be cited by the page of the report at
judgment which the appellant seeks; which the case begins and the page of the report on which the
citation is found;
7. (g)Under the heading Relief, a specification of the order or
367
judgment which the appellant seeks;
VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 22, 2001 367 8. (h)In cases not brought up by record on appeal, the appellants brief
De Liano vs. Court of Appeals shall contain, as an appendix, a copy of the judgment or order
appealed from.
Revised Rules of Court, which took effect on January
19

1, 1964, until they were superseded by the present 368


1997 Rules of Civil Pro- 368 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
_______________ ANNOTATED
1. (f)In cases not brought up by record on appeal, the
De Liano vs. Court of Appeals
appellants brief shall contain as an appendix a copy of the cedure. The provisions were substantially preserved,
judgment or order appealed from. with few revisions.
An additional circumstance impels us to deny the
Section 16, Rule 46 thereof provides:
reinstatement of petitioners appeal. We observed that
19

Contents of appellants brief.The appellants brief shall contain in the order


herein indicated the following: petitioner submitted an Amended Appellants Brief
to cure the infirmities of the one first filed on its behalf
1. (a)A subject index of the matter in the brief with a digest of the by its lawyer. All things being equal, we would have
argument and page references and a table of cases alphabetically
arranged, textbooks and statutes cited with reference to the pages been inclined to grant the petition until we realized
where they are cited; that the attempt at compliance was, at most, only a
2. (b)An assignment of errors intended to be urged. Such errors shall
be separately, distinctly and concisely stated without repetition,
cosmetic procedure. On closer scrutiny, the amended
and shall be numbered consecutively; brief was as defective as the first. Where the first brief
3. (c)Under the heading Statement of the Case, a clear and concise lacked an assignment of errors but included a
statement of the nature of the action, a summary of the
proceedings, the appealed rulings and orders of the court, the statement of issues, the amended brief suffered a
nature of the judgment and any other matters necessary to an complete reversal: it had an assignment of errors but
understanding of the nature of the controversy, with page
references to the record; no statement of issues. The statement of facts lacked
4. (d)Under the heading Statement of Facts, a clear and concise page references to the record, a deficiency symptomatic
statement in a narrative form of the facts admitted by both parties
of the first. Authorities were cited in an improper cases. In an age where courts are bedeviled by clogged
manner, that is, the exact page of the report where the dockets, these rules need to be followed by appellants with
citation was lifted went unspecified. The amended 20 greater fidelity. Their observance cannot be left to the
brief did not even follow the prescribed order: the whims and caprices of appellants. In the case at bar, counsel
for petitioners had all the opportunity to comply with the
assignment of errors came after the statement of the
above rules. He remained obstinate in his non-observance
case and the statement of facts. No one could be
even when he sought reconsideration of the ruling of the
expected to ignore such glaring errors, as in the case at respondent court dismissing his clients appeal. Such
bar. The half-hearted attempt at submitting a obstinacy is incongruous with his late plea for liberality in
supposedly amended brief only serves to harden our construing the rules on appeal. [italics supplied]
resolve to demand a strict observance of the rules.
We remind members of the bar that their first duty Anent the second issue, it may prove useful to
is to comply with the rules, not to seek exceptions. As elucidate on the processing of appeals in the Court of
was expressed more recently in Del Rosario v. Court of Appeals. In so doing, it will help to explain why the
Appeals, which was rightfully quoted by the appellate
21
former Fourteenth Division of the appellate court
court, we ruled that: could not look into the merits of the appeal, as
Petitioners plea for liberality in applying these rules in petitioner corporation is urging us to do now.
preparing Appellants Brief does not deserve any sympathy. The Rules of Court prescribe two (2) modes of
Long ingrained in our jurisprudence is the rule that the appeal from decisions of the Regional Trial Courts to
right to appeal is a statutory right and a party who seeks to the Court of Appeals. When the trial court decides a
avail of the right must faithfully comply with the rules. case in the exercise of its original jurisdiction, the
In People v. Marong, we held that deviations from the rules mode of review is by an ordinary appeal in accordance
cannot be tolerated. The rationale for this strict attitude is with Section 2(a) of Rule 41. In contrast, where the
22

not difficult to appreciate. These rules are designed to assailed decision was rendered by the trial court in the
facilitate the orderly disposition of appealed
_______________
exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, the mode of
appeal is via a petition for review pursuant to Rule
20 As added aggravation, two cases (Filoil Marketing Corporation v.
42. We are more concerned here about the first mode
23

Intermediate Appellate Court and Ilocos Norte Electric Company v. Court _______________
of Appeals) were mis-cited; see Rollo, p. 136.
21 241 SCRA 553, 557 (1995).
22 Section 2 (a) states:
(a) Ordinary appeal.The appeal to the Court of Appeals in cases decided by
369
the Regional Trial Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction shall be
VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 22, 2001 369 taken by filing a notice of appeal with the court which rendered the judgment
De Liano vs. Court of Appeals or final order appealed from and serving a copy thereof upon the adverse
party. No record on appeal shall be required except in special proceedings
and other cases of multiple or separate appeals where the law or these Rules
so require. In such cases, the record on appeal shall be filed and served in like 1. 1)Where no hearing on the merits of the main case is
manner.
held, upon the filing of the last pleading, brief, or
23 Section 1 thereof provides: memorandum required
How appeal taken; time for filing.A party desiring to appeal from a decision
of the Regional Trial Court rendered in the exercise of its appellate
_______________
jurisdiction may file a verified petition for review with the Court of Appeals,
paying at the same time to the clerk of said court the corresponding docket
and other lawful fees, depositing the amount of P500.00 for costs, and Court and the adverse party with a copy of the petition. The petition shall be
furnishing the Regional Trial filed and served within fifteen (15) days from notice of the decision sought to
be reviewed or of the denial of petitioners motion for new trial or
370 reconsideration filed in due time after judgment. Upon proper motion and the
payment of the full amount of the docket and other lawful fees and the
370 SUPREME COURT REPORTS deposit for costs before the expiration of the reglementary period, the Court of
ANNOTATED Appeals may grant an additional period of fifteen (15) days only within which
to file the petition for review. No further extension shall be granted except for
De Liano vs. Court of Appeals the most compelling reason and in no case to exceed fifteen (15) days.
since the case at bar involves a decision rendered by 24 Cases which are considered special include petitions for
the Regional Trial Court exercising its original annulment of judgments of regional trial courts; petitions for
jurisdiction. certiorari, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto, and habeas corpus;
Cases elevated to the Court of Appeals are treated petitions for review of decisions from administrative or quasi-judicial
differently depending upon their classification into one tribunals and from regional trial courts in the exercise of their
appellate jurisdiction; appeals in agrarian cases; and appeals in
of three (3) categories: appealed civil cases, appealed special civil actions originating from regional trial courts.
criminal cases, and special cases. Be it noted that all
24 25 Section 1, Rule 3, Revised Internal Rules of the Court of
cases are under the supervision and control of the Appeals [hereafter, RIRCA].
members of the Court of Appeals in all stages, from 371
the time of filing until the remand of the cases to the VOL. 370, NOVEMBER 22, 2001 371
courts or agencies of origin. Ordinary appealed civil
25
De Liano vs. Court of Appeals
cases undergo two (2) stages. The first stage consists of
completion of the records. The second stage is for study 1. by the Rules or by the court itself, or the
and report, which follows when an appealed case is expiration of the period for its filing;
deemed submitted for decision, thus: 2. 2)Where such a hearing is held, upon its
When case deemed submitted for judgment.A case shall be
termination or upon the filing of the last
deemed submitted for judgment:
pleading or memorandum as may be required
or permitted to be filed by the court, or the
1. A.In ordinary appeals.
expiration of the period for its filing. 26

3. x x x x x x x x x
At each stage, a separate raffle is held. Thus, a 27 Per section 6, Rule 3 of the RIRCA, the first raffle is open to the
public while the second raffle is strictly confidential.
preliminary raffle is held at which time an appealed 28 A manifestation filed by SAN MIGUEL states, in the secretarys

case is assigned to a Justice for completion. After certificate attached thereto (Rollo, pp. 169-172), that Atty. Afable is
completion, when the case is deemed ripe for judgment, authorized to represent, prosecute and defend petitioner in any
a second raffle is conducted to determine the Justice to action
whom the case will be assigned for study and 372
report. Each stage is distinct; it may happen that the
27
372 SUPREME COURT REPORTS
Justice to whom the case was initially raffled for ANNOTATED
completion may not be the same Justice who will write De Liano vs. Court of Appeals
the decision thereon. corporation, it should be recalled, is an artificial being
The aforesaid distinction has a bearing on the case whose juridical personality is only a fiction created by
at bar. It becomes apparent that the merits of the law. It can only exercise its powers and transact its
appeal can only be looked into during the second stage. business through the instrumentalities of its board of
The Justice in-charge of completion exceeds his directors, and through its officers and agents, when
province should he examine the merits of the case authorized by resolution or its by-laws.
since his function is to oversee completion only. The x x x Moreover, x x x a corporate officer or agent may
prerogative of determining the merits of an appeal represent and bind the corporation in transactions with
pertains properly to the Justice to whom the case is third persons to the extent that authority to do so has been
raffled for study and report. The case at bar did not conferred upon him, and this includes powers which have
reach the second stage; it was dismissed during been intentionally conferred, and also such powers as, in
completion stage pursuant to Section 1(f) of Rule 50. the usual course of the particular business, are incidental to,
Consequently, petitioners contention that the or may be implied from, the powers intentionally conferred,
appellate court should have considered the substance powers added by custom and usage, as usually pertaining to
the particular officer or agent, and such apparent powers as
of the appeal prior to dismissing it due to technicalities
the corporation has caused persons dealing with the officer
does not gain our favor. or agent to believe that it has conferred. 29

Generally, the negligence of counsel binds his client.


Actually, Atty. Afable is also an employee of petitioner That Atty. Afable was clothed with sufficient authority
San Miguel Corporation. Yet even this detail will not
28 to bind petitioner SMC is undisputable. Petitioner
operate in petitioners favor. A SMCs board resolution of May 5, 1999 attests to that.
_______________ Coupled with the provision of law that a lawyer has
authority to bind his client in taking appeals and in all
26 Section 1, Rule 51, Rules of Court.
matters of ordinary judicial procedure, a fortiorithen,
30
petitioner SMC must be held bound by the actuations
of its counsel of record, Atty. Afable.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby
DENIED for lack of merit, with cost against petitioner
San Miguel Corporation.
SO ORDERED.