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CONCEPT OF REMEDIAL OR PROCEDURAL

G.R. No. 158239 January 25, 2012


PRISCILLA ALMA JOSE, Petitioner,
vs.
RAMON C. JAVELLANA, ET AL., Respondents.
DECISION
BERSAMIN, J.:
The denial of a motion for reconsideration of an order granting the defending party’s motion to dismiss is not an interlocutory but a final order
because it puts an end to the particular matter involved, or settles definitely the matter therein disposed of, as to leave nothing for the trial court
to do other than to execute the order.1 Accordingly, the claiming party has a fresh period of 15 days from notice of the denial within which to
appeal the denial.2
Antecedents
On September 8, 1979, Margarita Marquez Alma Jose (Margarita) sold for consideration of ₱160,000.00 to respondent Ramon Javellana by
deed of conditional sale two parcels of land with areas of 3,675 and 20,936 square meters located in Barangay Mallis, Guiguinto, Bulacan.
They agreed that Javellana would pay ₱80,000.00 upon the execution of the deed and the balance of ₱80,000.00 upon the registration of
the parcels of land under the Torrens System (the registration being undertaken by Margarita within a reasonable period of time); and that
should Margarita become incapacitated, her son and attorney-in-fact, Juvenal M. Alma Jose (Juvenal), and her daughter, petitioner Priscilla M.
Alma Jose, would receive the payment of the balance and proceed with the application for registration. 3
After Margarita died and with Juvenal having predeceased Margarita without issue, the vendor’s undertaking fell on the shoulders of Priscilla,
being Margarita’s sole surviving heir. However, Priscilla did not comply with the undertaking to cause the registration of th e properties under
the Torrens System, and, instead, began to improve the properties by dumping filling materials therein with the intention of converting the parcels
of land into a residential or industrial subdivision. 4 Faced with Priscilla’s refusal to comply, Javellana commenced on February 10, 1997 an
action for specific performance, injunction, and damages against her in the Regional Trial Court in Malolos, Bulacan (RTC), docketed as Civil
Case No. 79-M-97 entitled Ramon C. Javellana, represented by Atty. Guillermo G. Blanco v. Priscilla Alma Jose.
In Civil Case No. 79-M-97, Javellana averred that upon the execution of the deed of conditional sale, he had paid the initial amount of
₱80,000.00 and had taken possession of the parcels of land; that he had paid the balance of the purchase price to Juvenal on different dates
upon Juvenal’s representation that Margarita had needed funds for the expenses of registration and payment of real estate tax; and that in
1996, Priscilla had called to inquire about the mortgage constituted on the parcels of land; and that he had told her then th at the parcels of
land had not been mortgaged but had been sold to him.5
Javellana prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction to restrain Priscilla from dumping filling
materials in the parcels of land; and that Priscilla be ordered to institute registration proceedings and then to execute a final deed of sale in
his favor.6
Priscilla filed a motion to dismiss, stating that the complaint was already barred by prescription; and that the complaint did not state a cause of
action.7
The RTC initially denied Priscilla’s motion to dismiss on February 4, 1998.8 However, upon her motion for reconsideration, the RTC reversed itself
on June 24, 1999 and granted the motion to dismiss, opining that Javellana had no cause of action against her due to her not being bound to
comply with the terms of the deed of conditional sale for not being a party thereto; that there was no evidence showing the payment of the
balance; that he had never demanded the registration of the land from Margarita or Juvenal, or brought a suit for specific performance against
Margarita or Juvenal; and that his claim of paying the balance was not credible. 9
Javellana moved for reconsideration, contending that the presentation of evidence of full payment was not necessary at that stage of the
proceedings; and that in resolving a motion to dismiss on the ground of failure to state a cause of action, the facts alleged in the complaint were
hypothetically admitted and only the allegations in the complaint should be considered in resolving the motion. 10 Nonetheless, he attached to the
motion for reconsideration the receipts showing the payments made to Juvenal. 11 Moreover, he maintained that Priscilla could no longer succeed
to any rights respecting the parcels of land because he had meanwhile acquired absolute ownership of them; and that the only thing that she,
as sole heir, had inherited from Margarita was the obligation to register them under the Torrens System.12
On June 21, 2000, the RTC denied the motion for reconsideration for lack of any reason to disturb the order of June 24, 1999. 13
Accordingly, Javellana filed a notice of appeal from the June 21, 2000 order, 14 which the RTC gave due course to, and the records were
elevated to the Court of Appeals (CA).
In his appeal (C.A.-G.R. CV No. 68259), Javellana submitted the following as errors of the RTC,15 to wit:
I
THE TRIAL COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT PLAINTIFF-APELLANT HAD LONG COMPLIED WITH
THE FULL PAYMENT OF THE CONSIDERATION OF THE SALE OF THE SUBJECT PROPERTY AND HAD IMMEDIATELY TAKEN ACTUAL
AND PHYSICAL POSSESSION OF SAID PROPERTY UPON THE SIGNING OF THE CONDITIONAL DEED OF SALE;
II
THE TRIAL COURT OBVIOUSLY ERRED IN MAKING TWO CONFLICTING INTERPRETATIONS OF THE PROVISION OF THE CIVIL
[CODE], PARTICULARLY ARTICLE 1911, IN THE LIGHT OF THE TERMS OF THE CONDITIONAL DEED OF SALE;
III
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT DEFENDANT-APPELLEE BEING NOT A PARTY TO THE CONDITIONAL DEED OF SALE
EXECUTED BY HER MOTHER IN FAVOR OF PLAINTFF-
APPELLANT IS NOT BOUND THEREBY AND CAN NOT BE COMPELLED TO DO THE ACT REQUIRED IN THE SAID DEED OF
CONDITIONAL SALE;
IV
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE AMENDED COMPLAINT WITHOUT HEARING THE CASE ON THE MERITS.
Priscilla countered that the June 21, 2000 order was not appealable; that the appeal was not perfected on time; and that Javellana was guilty
of forum shopping.16
It appears that pending the appeal, Javellana also filed a petition for certiorari in the CA to assail the June 24, 1999 and June 21, 2000
orders dismissing his complaint (C.A.-G.R. SP No. 60455). On August 6, 2001, however, the CA dismissed the petition for certiorari, 17 finding
that the RTC did not commit grave abuse of discretion in issuing the orders, and holding that it only committed, at most, an error of judgment
correctible by appeal in issuing the challenged orders.
On November 20, 2002, the CA promulgated its decision in C.A.-G.R. CV No. 68259,18 reversing and setting aside the dismissal of Civil Case
No. 79-M-97, and remanding the records to the RTC "for further proceedings in accordance with law." 19 The CA explained that the complaint
sufficiently stated a cause of action; that Priscilla, as sole heir, succeeded to the rights and obligations of Margarita with respect to the parcels
of land; that Margarita’s undertaking under the contract was not a purely personal obligation but was transmissible to Priscilla, who was
consequently bound to comply with the obligation; that the action had not yet prescribed due to its being actually one for quieting of title that
was imprescriptible brought by Javellana who had actual possession of the properties; and that based on the
complaint, Javellana had been in actual possession since 1979, and the cloud on his title had come about only when Priscilla had started dumping
filling materials on the premises.20
On May 9, 2003, the CA denied the motion for reconsideration, 21 stating that it decided to give due course to the appeal even if filed out of
time because Javellana had no intention to delay the proceedings, as in fact he did not even seek an extension of time to file his appellant’s
brief; that current jurisprudence afforded litigants the amplest opportunity to present their cases free from the constraints of technicalities, such
that even if an appeal was filed out of time, the appellate court was given the discretion to nonetheless allow the appeal for justifiable reasons.
Issues
Priscilla then brought this appeal, averring that the CA thereby erred in not outrightly dismissing Javellana’s appeal because: (a) the June 21,
2000 RTC order was not appealable; (b) the notice of appeal had been filed belatedly by three days; and (c) Javellana was guilty of forum
shopping for filing in the CA a petition for certiorari to assail the orders of the RTC that were the subject matter of his appeal pending in the
CA. She posited that, even if the CA’s decision to entertain the appeal was affirmed, the RTC’s dismissal of the complaint should nonetheless be
upheld because the complaint stated no cause of action, and the action had already prescribed.
On his part, Javellana countered that the errors being assigned by Priscilla involved questions of fact not proper for the Court to review through
petition for review on certiorari; that the June 21, 2000 RTC order, being a final order, was appealable; that his appeal was perfected on
time; and that he was not guilty of forum shopping because at the time he filed the
petition for certiorari the CA had not yet rendered a decision in C.A.-G.R.
CV No. 68259, and because the issue of ownership raised in C.A.-G.R. CV No. 68259 was different from the issue of grave abuse of discretion
raised in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 60455.
Ruling
The petition for review has no merit.
I
Denial of the motion for reconsideration of the
order of dismissal was a final order and appealable
Priscilla submits that the order of June 21, 2000 was not the proper subject of an appeal considering that Section 1 of Rule 41 of the Rules of
Court provides that no appeal may be taken from an order denying a motion for reconsideration.
Priscilla’s submission is erroneous and cannot be sustained.
First of all, the denial of Javellana’s motion for reconsideration left nothing more to be done by the RTC because it confirmed the dismissal of
Civil Case No. 79-M-97. It was clearly a final order, not an interlocutory one. The Court has distinguished between final and interlocutory orders
in Pahila-Garrido v. Tortogo,22 thuswise:
The distinction between a final order and an interlocutory order is well known. The first disposes of the subject matter in its entirety or terminates
a particular proceeding or action, leaving nothing more to be done except to enforce by execution what the court has determined, but the latter
does not completely dispose of the case but leaves something else to be decided upon. An interlocutory order deals with preli minary matters
and the trial on the merits is yet to be held and the judgment rendered. The test to ascertain whether or not an order or a judgment is
interlocutory or final is: does the order or judgment leave something to be done in the trial court with respect to the merits of the case? If it does,
the order or judgment is interlocutory; otherwise, it is final.
And, secondly, whether an order is final or interlocutory determines whether appeal is the correct remedy or not. A final order is appealable,
to accord with the final judgment rule enunciated in Section 1, Rule 41 of the Rules of Court to the effect that "appeal may be taken fro m a
judgment or final order that completely disposes of the case, or of a particular matter therein when declared by these Rules to be appealable;"23
but the remedy from an interlocutory one is not an appeal but a special civil action for certiorari. The explanation for the differentiation of
remedies given in Pahila-Garrido v. Tortogo is apt:
xxx The reason for disallowing an appeal from an interlocutory order is to avoid multiplicity of appeals in a single action, which necessarily
suspends the hearing and decision on the merits of the action during the pendency of the appeals. Permitting multiple appeals will necessarily
delay the trial on the merits of the case for a considerable length of time, and will compel the adverse party to incur unnecessary expenses, for
one of the parties may interpose as many appeals as there are incidental questions raised by him and as there are interlocutory orders rendered
or issued by the lower court. An interlocutory order may be the subject of an appeal, but only after a judgment has been rend ered, with the
ground for appealing the order being included in the appeal of the judgment itself.
The remedy against an interlocutory order not subject of an appeal is an appropriate special civil action under Rule 65, provided that the
interlocutory order is rendered without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. Then is certiorari under Rule 65 allowed to
be resorted to.
Indeed, the Court has held that an appeal from an order denying a motion for reconsideration of a final order or judgment is effectively an
appeal from the final order or judgment itself; and has expressly clarified that the prohibition against appealing an order d enying a motion
for
reconsideration referred only to a denial of a motion for reconsideration of an interlocutory order.24
II
Appeal was made on time pursuant to Neypes v. CA
Priscilla insists that Javellana filed his notice of appeal out of time. She points out that he received a copy of the June 24, 1999 order on July
9, 1999, and filed his motion for reconsideration on July 21, 1999 (or after the lapse of 12 days); that the RTC denied his m otion for
reconsideration through the order of June 21, 2000, a copy of which he received on July 13, 2000; that he had only three days from July 13,
2000, or until July 16, 2000, within which to perfect an appeal; and that having filed his notice of appeal on July 19, 2000, his appeal should
have been dismissed for being tardy by three days beyond the expiration of the reglementary period.
Section 3 of Rule 41 of the Rules of Court provides:
Section 3. Period of ordinary appeal. — The appeal shall be taken within fifteen (15) days from notice of the judgment or final order appealed
from. Where a record on appeal is required, the appellant shall file a notice of appeal and a record on appeal within thirty ( 30) days from
notice of the judgment or final order.
The period of appeal shall be interrupted by a timely motion for new trial or reconsideration. No motion for extension of time to file a motion
for new trial or reconsideration shall be allowed. (n)
Under the rule, Javellana had only the balance of three days from July 13, 2000, or until July 16, 2000, within which to perfect an appeal due
to the timely filing of his motion for reconsideration interrupting the running of the period of appeal. As such, his filing of the notice of appeal
only on July 19, 2000 did not perfect his appeal on time, as Priscilla insists.
The seemingly correct insistence of Priscilla cannot be upheld, however, considering that the Court meanwhile adopted the fresh period rule in
Neypes v. Court of Appeals,25 by which an aggrieved party desirous of appealing an adverse judgment or final order is allowed a fresh period
of 15 days within which to file the notice of appeal in the RTC reckoned from receipt of the order denying a motion for a new trial or motion
for reconsideration, to wit:
The Supreme Court may promulgate procedural rules in all courts. It has the sole prerogative to amend, repeal or even establish new rules for
a more simplified and inexpensive process, and the speedy disposition of cases. In the rules governing appeals to it and to the Court of Appeals,
particularly Rules 42, 43 and 45, the Court allows extensions of time, based on justifiable and compelling reasons, for parties to file their
appeals. These extensions may consist of 15 days or more.
To standardize the appeal periods provided in the Rules and to afford litigants fair opportunity to appeal their cases, the Court deems it
practical to allow a fresh period of 15 days within which to file the notice of appeal in the Regional Trial Court, counted from receipt of the
order dismissing a motion for a new trial or motion for reconsideration.
Henceforth, this "fresh period rule" shall also apply to Rule 40 governing appeals from the Municipal Trial Courts to the Regional Trial Courts;
Rule 42 on petitions for review from the Regional Trial Courts to the Court of Appeals; Rule 43 on appeals from quasi-judicial agencies to the
Court of Appeals and Rule 45 governing appeals by certiorari to the Supreme Court. The new rule aims to regiment or make the appeal period
uniform, to be counted from receipt of the order denying the motion for new trial, motion for reconsideration (whether full o r partial) or any
final order or resolution.26
The fresh period rule may be applied to this case, for the Court has already retroactively extended the fresh period rule to "actions pending
and undetermined at the time of their passage and this will not violate any right of a person who may feel that he is adversely affected,
inasmuch as there are no vested rights in rules of procedure." 27 According to De los Santos v. Vda. de Mangubat:28
Procedural law refers to the adjective law which prescribes rules and forms of procedure in order that courts may be able to administer justice.
Procedural laws do not come within the legal conception of a retroactive law, or the general rule against the retroactive operation of statues
― they may be given retroactive effect on actions pending and undetermined at the time of their passage and this will not violate any right of
a person who may feel that he is adversely affected, insomuch as there are no vested rights in rules of procedure.
The "fresh period rule" is a procedural law as it prescribes a fresh period of 15 days within which an appeal may be made in the event that
the motion for reconsideration is denied by the lower court. Following the rule on retroactivity of procedural laws, the "fresh period rule"
should be applied to pending actions, such as the present case.
Also, to deny herein petitioners the benefit of the "fresh period rule" will amount to injustice, if not absurdity, since the subject notice of
judgment and final order were issued two years later or in the year 2000, as compared to the notice of judgment and final order in Neypes
which were issued in 1998. It will be incongruous and illogical that parties receiving notices of judgment and final orders issued in the year
1998 will enjoy the benefit of the "fresh period rule" while those later rulings of the lower courts such as in the instant case, will not.29
Consequently, we rule that Javellana’s notice of appeal was timely filed pursuant to the fresh period rule.
III
No forum shopping was committed
Priscilla claims that Javellana engaged in forum shopping by filing a notice of appeal and a petition for certiorari against the same orders. As
earlier noted, he denies that his doing so violated the policy against forum shopping.
The Court expounded on the nature and purpose of forum shopping in In Re: Reconstitution of Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 303168 and
303169 and Issuance of Owner’s Duplicate Certificates of Title In Lieu of Those Lost, Rolando Edward G. Lim, Petitioner: 30
Forum shopping is the act of a party litigant against whom an adverse judgment has been rendered in one forum seeking and possibly getting
a favorable opinion in another forum, other than by appeal or the special civil action of certiorari, or the institution of two or more actions or
proceedings grounded on the same cause or supposition that one or the other court would make a favorable disposition. Forum shopping
happens when, in the two or more pending cases, there is identity of parties, identity of rights or causes of action, and identity of reliefs
sought. Where the elements of litis pendentia are present, and where a final judgment in one case will amount to res judicata in the other, there
is forum shopping. For litis pendentia to be a ground for the dismissal of an action, there must be: (a) identity of the parties or at least such as
to represent the same interest in both actions; (b) identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for, the relief being founded on the same acts;
and (c) the identity in the two cases should be such that the judgment which may be rendered in one would, regardless of which party is
successful, amount to res judicata in the other.
For forum shopping to exist, both actions must involve the same transaction, same essential facts and circumstances and must raise identical
causes of action, subject matter and issues. Clearly, it does not exist where different orders were questioned, two distinct causes of action and
issues were raised, and two objectives were sought.
Should Javellana’s present appeal now be held barred by his filing of the petition for certiorari in the CA when his appeal in that court was
yet pending?
We are aware that in Young v. Sy,31 in which the petitioner filed a notice of appeal to elevate the orders concerning the dismissal of her case
due to non-suit to the CA and a petition for certiorari in the CA assailing the same orders four months later, the Court ruled that the successive
filings of the notice of appeal and the petition for certiorari to attain the same objective of nullifying the trial court’s dismissal orders
constituted forum shopping that warranted the dismissal of both cases. The Court said:
Ineluctably, the petitioner, by filing an ordinary appeal and a petition for certiorari with the CA, engaged in forum shopping. When the
petitioner commenced the appeal, only four months had elapsed prior to her filing with the CA the Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 and
which eventually came up to this Court by way of the instant Petition (re: Non-Suit). The elements of litis pendentia are present between the
two suits. As the CA, through its Thirteenth Division, correctly noted, both suits are founded on exactly the same facts and refer to the same
subject matter—the RTC Orders which dismissed Civil Case No. SP-5703 (2000) for
failure to prosecute. In both cases, the petitioner is seeking the reversal of the RTC orders.1âwphi1 The parties, the rights asserted, the issues
professed, and the reliefs prayed for, are all the same. It is evident that the judgment of one forum may amount to res judicata in the other.
xxxx
The remedies of appeal and certiorari under Rule 65 are mutually exclusive and not alternative or cumulative. This is a firm judicial policy. The
petitioner cannot hedge her case by wagering two or more appeals, and, in the event that the ordinary appeal lags significantly behind the
others, she cannot post facto validate this circumstance as a demonstration that the ordinary appeal had not been speedy or adequate
enough, in order to justify the recourse to Rule 65. This practice, if adopted, would sanction the filing of multiple suits in multiple fora, where
each one, as the petitioner couches it, becomes a "precautionary measure" for the rest, thereby increasing the chances of a favorable decision.
This is the very evil that the proscription on forum shopping seeks to put right. In Guaranteed Hotels, Inc. v. Baltao, the Court stated that the
grave evil sought to be avoided by the rule against forum shopping is the rendition by two competent tribunals of two separate and
contradictory decisions. Unscrupulous party litigants, taking advantage of a variety of competent tribunals, may repeatedly try their luck in
several different fora until a favorable result is reached. To avoid the resultant confusion, the Court adheres strictly to the rules against forum
shopping, and any violation of these rules results in the dismissal of the case. 32
The same result was reached in Zosa v. Estrella,33 which likewise involved the successive filing of a notice of appeal and a petition for
certiorari to challenge the same orders, with the Court upholding the CA’s dismissals of the appeal and the petition for certiorari through
separate decisions.
Yet, the outcome in Young v. Sy and Zosa v. Estrella is unjust here even if the orders of the RTC being challenged through appeal and the
petition for certiorari were the same. The unjustness exists because the appeal and the petition for certiorari actually sought different
objectives. In his appeal in C.A.-G.R. CV No. 68259, Javellana aimed to undo the RTC’s erroneous dismissal of Civil Case No. 79-M-97 to
clear the way for his judicial demand for specific performance to be tried and determined in due course by the RTC; but his petition for
certiorari had the ostensible objective "to prevent (Priscilla) from developing the subject property and from proceeding with the ejectment
case until his appeal is finally resolved," as the CA explicitly determined in its decision in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 60455.34
Nor were the dangers that the adoption of the judicial policy against forum shopping designed to prevent or to eliminate attendant. The first
danger, i.e., the multiplicity of suits upon one and the same cause of action, would not materialize considering that the appeal was a continuity
of Civil Case No. 79-M-97, whereas C.A.-G.R. SP No. 60455 dealt with an independent ground of alleged grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the RTC. The second danger, i.e., the unethical malpractice of shopping for a friendly
court or judge to ensure a favorable ruling or judgment after not getting it in the appeal, would not arise because the CA had not yet decided
C.A.-G.R. CV No. 68259 as of the filing of the petition for certiorari.
Instead, we see the situation of resorting to two inconsistent remedial approaches to be the result of the tactical misjudgment by Javellana’s
counsel on the efficacy of the appeal to stave off his caretaker’s eviction from the parcels of land and to prevent the development of them
into a residential or commercial subdivision pending the appeal. In the petition for certiorari, Javellana explicitly averred that his appeal was
"inadequate and not speedy to prevent private respondent Alma Jose and her transferee/assignee xxx from developing and disposing of the
subject property to other parties to the total deprivation of petitioner’s rights of possession and ownership over the subject property," and that
the dismissal by the RTC had "emboldened private respondents to fully develop the property and for respondent Alma Jose to file an
ejectment case against petitioner’s overseer xxx." 35 Thereby, it became far-fetched that Javellana brought the petition for certiorari in
violation of the policy against forum shopping.
WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition for review on certiorari; AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on November 20, 2002; and ORDERS
the petitioner to pay the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.

NATURE OF REMEDIAL LAW

G.R. No. L-286 March 29, 1946


FREDESVINDO S. ALVERO, petitioner,
vs.
M.L. DE LA ROSA, Judge of First Instance of Manila, JOSE R. VICTORIANO, and MARGARITA VILLARICA, respondents.
Revilla and Palma for petitioner.
Francisco Claravall for respondents.
DE JOYA, J.:
This is an original petition for certiorari filed in this court.
The record shows that, on June 25, 1945, respondent Jose R. Victoriano had filed a complaint, in the Court of First Instance of the City of Manila,
against petitioner Fredesvindo S. Alvero and one Margarita Villarica, alleging two causes of action, to wit, (1) to declare in force the contract
of sale, made on October 1, 1940, between said Jose R. Victoriano and Margarita Villarica, of two (2) parcels of land in the Manotoc subdivision,
Balintawak, in the barrio of Calaanan, municipality of Caloocan, Province of Rizal, with a combined area of 480 square meters, which land was
subsequently sold by said Villarica, in favor of petitioner Fredesvindo S. Alvero, on December 31, 1944, for the sum of P100,000 in Japanese
military notes; and (2) to declare said subsequent sale null and void.
On July 7, 1945, Margarita Villarica filed an answer to said complaint, expressly admitting having sold said land to Fresdesv indo S. Alvero,
for P100,000, in December, 1944, due to the imperative necessity of raising funds with which to provide for herself and family, and that she
did not remember the previous sale; at the same time, offering to repurchase said land from Fredesvindo S. Alvero in the sum of P5,000, but
that the latter refused to accept the offer.
On July 13, 1945, Fredesvindo S. Alvero, in answering said complaint, denied the allegations made therein, and claimed exclusive ownership
of the land in question, and at the same time set up a counterclaim and crossclaim in his answer, demanding from Jose R. Victoriano a P200-
monthly rent on said property, beginning from February, 1945, plus P2,000 as damages.
On July 21, 1945, Jose R. Victoriano filed an answer to said counterclaim, denying Fredesvindo S. Alvero's alleged ownership over said land,
and the other allegations contained in Alvero's answer.
After the trial of the case before the Hon. Mariano L. de la Rosa, Judge of the Court of First Instance of the City of Manila, one of the respondents
in this case, on November 16, 1945, said respondent judge rendered his decision, in which it was declared that the two (2) parcels of land in
question, with a combined area of 480 square meters had been sold by Margarita Villarica to Jose R. Victoriano, since October 1, 1940, for
the sum of P6,000, on the condition that the purchaser should make a down payment of P1,700, and a monthly payment of P76.86 in 120 equal
monthly installments; that Jose R. Victoriano continued making said monthly payments until December, 1941, but that owing to the war-time
conditions then existing, Margarita Villarica agreed verbally to suspend such payments until the restoration of peace; that immediately after
said sale of said land to him, Jose R. Victoriano took possession thereof and made improvements thereon to the amount of P800, and continued
occupying said property until December, 1944, when he abandoned the same to go to evacuation places, but returned thereto in February,
1945; that Margarita Villarica, having forgotten the sale of said land to Jose R. Victoriano, sold the same for P100,000 in Japanese military
notes, on December 31, 1944, to Fredesvindo S. Alvero, but afterwards offered to repurchase said property from him, for the sum of P8,000
in genuine Philippine currency, after liberation; that Fredesvindo S. Alvero presented the deed of sale, executed in his favor, to the Register of
Deeds of the City of Manila, on January 3, 1945, and took possession of said property in December, 1944, but afterwards found Jose R.
Victoriano in the premises in February, 1945; that in the contract of sale executed by Margarita Villarica, in favor of Jose R. Victoriano, it was
agreed that, upon failure of the purchaser to make payments of three (3) successive mothly installments, the vendor would be free to sell the
property again, forfeiting the payments made, except in the case of force majeure; that there was really a verbal agreement between Margarita
Villarica and Jose Victoriano, made in February, 1942, for the suspension of the payment of the monthly installments until the restoration of
peace; and that although Jose R. Victoriano had presented the deed of sale, executed in his favor, to the Register of Deeds, in Pasig, Rizal, like
Fredesvindo S. Alvero, he had also failed to secure the transfer of title to his name. And considering that Jose R. Victoriano's document was older
than that of Fredesvindo S. Alvero, and that he had taken possession of said property, since October 1, 1940, the respondent judge rendered
his decision in favor of Jose R. Victoriano, adjudging to him the title over the property in question, including all the improvements existing thereon,
and dismissed the counterclaim.
On November 28, 1945, Fredesvindo S. Alvero was notified of said decision; and on December 27, 1945, he filed a petition for reconsideration
and new trial, which was denied on January 3, 1946; and of said order he was notified on January 7, 1946.
On January 8, 1946, Fredesvindo S. Alvero filed his notice of appeal and record on appeal simultaneously in the lower court, without filing the
P60-appeal bond.
On January 14, 1946, Jose R. Victoriano filed a petition to dismiss the appeal, and at the same time, asked for the execution of the judgment.
On January 15, 1946, Fredesvindo S. Alvero filed an opposition to said motion to dismiss, alleging that on the very same day, January 15,
1946, said appeal bond for P60 had been actually filed, and allege as an excuse, for not filing the said appeal bond, in due time, the illness
of his lawyer's wife, who died on January 10, 1946, and buried the following day.
On January 17, 1946, the respondent judge, Hon. Mariano L. de la Rosa, ordered the dismissal of the appeal, declaring that, although the
notice of appeal and record on appeal had been filed in due time, the P60-appeal bond was filed too late.
On January 23, 1946, Fredesvindo S. Alvero filed a petition for the reconsideration of the said order dated January 17, 1946, dismissing his
appeal; and said petition for reconsideration was denied on January 29, 1946. Hence, this petition for certiorari.
On February 11, 1946, the respondents filed their answer to the petition for certiorari, alleging (1) that said petition is defective in form as well
as in substance; (2) that there has been no excusable negligence, on the part of the petitioner, or grave abuse of discretion on the part of the
respondent judge, in the instant case.
As already stated, the decision rendered by the respondent judge, Hon. Mariano L. de la Rosa, was dated November 16, 1945, of which counsel
for Fredesvindo S. Alvero was notified on November 28, 1945; that his motion for reconsideration and new trial was filed on D ecember 27,
1945, and denied on January 3, 1946, and that said counsel for Alvero was notified of said order on January 7, 1946; and that he filed his
notice of appeal and record on appeal the following day, to wit, January 8, 1946, and that the P60-appeal bond was filed only on January
15, 1946.
According to the computation erroneously made by the court, the last day for filing and perfecting the appeal, in this case, was January 8,
1946, or which date, Fredesvindo S. Alvero should have filed his (1) notice of appeal, (2) record on appeal, and (3) appeal bond. But the P60-
appeal bond was filed only on January 15, 1946.
Failure to perfect the appeal, within the time prescribed by the rules of court, will cause the judgment to become final, and the certification of
the record on appeal thereafter, cannot restore the jurisdiction which has been lost. (Roman Catholic Bishop of Tuguegarao vs. Director of Lands,
34 Phil., 623; Estate of Cordoba and Zarate vs. Alabado, 34 Phil., 920; and Bermudez vs. Director of Lands, 36 Phil., 774.)
The period within which the record on appeal and appeal bond should be perfected and filed may, however, be extended by order of the
court, upon application made, prior to the expiration of the original period. (Layda vs. Legaspi, 39 Phil., 83.)
Rules of courts, promulgated by authority of law, have the force and effect of law; and rules of court prescribing the time within which certain
acts must be done, or certain proceedings taken, are considered absolutely indispensable to the prevention of needless delays and to the orderly
and speedy discharge of judicial business. (Shioji vs. Harvey, 43 Phil., 333.)
Strict compliance with the rules of court has been held mandatory and imperative, so that failure to pay the docket fee in the Supreme Court,
within the period fixed for that purpose, will cause the dismissal of the appeal. (Salaveria vs. Albindo, 39Phil., 922.) In the same manner, on
failure of the appellant in a civil case to serve his brief, within the time prescribed by said rules, on motion of the appel lee and notice to the
appellant, or on its own motion, the court may dismiss the appeal. (Shioji vs. Harvey, 43 Phil., 333.)
Counsel for the petitioner Fredesvindo Alvero alleges as an excuse, for his failure to perfect and file his appeal, in due time, the illness of his
wife, which ended in her death on January 10, 1946, and by which he was greatly affected.
How little, indeed, does one realize that in life he lives in the midst of death; and that every that passes in a step nearer towards eternity. Yet,
notwithstanding the inexorable laws of human destiny, every mortal fears death, and such fear is worse than death itself. That is perhaps the
reason why those feeling its approach, in their last moments, want to be surrounded by the ones dearest to their heart, to hear from them words
of tenderness and eternal truth, and thus receive as balm their love and the cheering influence of the traditional faith, and the consolation of
religious hope.
The virtuous and loving wife is the peculiar gift of heaven, and Mother is the name for God in the innocent lips and hearts o f adoring children.
"She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness." "And her daughters arise up and call h er blessed." And
when she dies in the bosom of God, her children find solace in the contemplation of her eternal bliss, as mirrored in her tranquil beauty.
It is not, therefore, difficult to understand the state of mind of the attorney, and his intense devotion and ardent affection towards his dying wife.
Unfortunately, counsel for petitioner has created a difficult situation. In his motion for reconsideration and new trial, dated December 27, 1945,
he did not point out specifically the findings or conclusions in the judgment, are not supported by the evidence or which are contrary to law,
making express reference to the pertinent evidence or legal provisions, as expressly required by Rule 37, section 2, paragraph (c) of the Rules
of Court. Motions of that kind have been considered as motions pro forma intended merely to delay the proceeding, and, as such, they cannot
and will not interrupt or suspend the period of time for the perfection of the appeal. (Valdez vs. Jugo, 74 Phil., 49, and Reyes vs. Court of
Appeals and Bautista, 74 Phil., 235.) Hence, the period for perfecting herein petitioner's appeal commenced from November 28, 1945, when
he was notified of the judgment rendered in the case, and expired on December 28, 1945; and, therefore, his notice of appeal and record on
appeal filed on January 8, 1946, were filed out of time, and much more so his appeal bond, which was only filed on January 15, 1946.
It is futile to speak of hospitals, doctors and nurses to minister alone to the needs of the sick and the dying, who are dearest to us, for our
reasoning powers are of little avail when sorrow or despair rages within.
But human laws are inflexible and no personal consideration should stand in the way of performing a legal duty.
The attorney for petitioner Fredesvindo S. Alvero could have asked for an extension of time, within which to file and perfect his appeal, in the
court below; but he had failed to do so, and he must bear the consequences of his act. A strict observance of the rules of court, which have been
considered indispensable to the prevention of needless delays and to the orderly and speedy dispatch of judicial business, is an imperative
necessity.
It may not be amiss to state in this connection that no irreparable damage has been caused to the petitioner Fredesvindo S. Alvero, as Margarita
Villarica, the vendor to the two, of the land in question, has shown readiness to repair the damage done.
No showing having been made that there had been merely excusable negligece, on the part of the attorney for petitioner Fredesvindo S. Alvero,
and that there had been gave abuse of sound judicial discretion, on the part of the respondent judge, the petition for certiorari filed in this case,
is, therefore, hereby dismissed, without costs. So ordered.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUBSTANTIVE AND PROCEDURAL LAW


[G.R. No. 140500. January 21, 2002]
ERNESTINA BERNABE, petitioner, vs. CAROLINA ALEJO as guardian ad litem for the minor ADRIAN BERNABE, respondent.
DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:
The right to seek recognition granted by the Civil Code to illegitimate children who were still minors at the time the Family Code took effect
cannot be impaired or taken away. The minors have up to four years from attaining majority age within which to file an action for recognition.
Statement of the Case
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, praying for (1) the nullification of the July 7, 1999 Court
of Appeals (CA) Decision in CA-GR CV No. 51919 and the October 14, 1999 CA Resolution denying petitioners Motion for Reconsideration,
as well as (2) the reinstatement of the two Orders issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasay City (Branch 109) concerning the same
case. The dispositive portion of the assailed Decision reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the order of the lower court dismissing Civil Case No. 94-0562 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Let the records
of this case be remanded to the lower court for trial on the merits.
The Facts
The undisputed facts are summarized by the Court of Appeals in this wise:
The late Fiscal Ernesto A. Bernabe allegedly fathered a son with his secretary of twenty-three (23) years, herein plaintiff-appellant Carolina
Alejo. The son was born on September 18, 1981 and was named Adrian Bernabe. Fiscal Bernabe died on August 13, 1993, while his wife
Rosalina died on December 3 of the same year, leaving Ernestina as the sole surviving heir.
On May 16, 1994, Carolina, in behalf of Adrian, filed the aforesaid complaint praying that Adrian be declared an acknowledged
illegitimate son of Fiscal Bernabe and as such he (Adrian) be given his share in Fiscal Bernabes estate, which is now being held by Ernestina as
the sole surviving heir.
On July 16, 1995, the Regional Trial Court dismissed the complaint, ruling that under the provisions of the Family Code as well as the case of
Uyguangco vs. Court of Appeals, the complaint is now barred x x x.
Orders of the Trial Court
In an Order dated July 26, 1995, the trial court granted Ernestina Bernabes Motion for Reconsideration of the trial courts Decision and
ordered the dismissal of the Complaint for recognition. Citing Article 175 of the Family Code, the RTC held that the death of the putative
father had barred the action.
In its Order dated October 6, 1995, the trial court added that since the putative father had not acknowledged or recognized Adrian Bernabe
in writing, the action for recognition should have been filed during the lifetime of the alleged father to give him the opportunity to either
affirm or deny the childs filiation.
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
On the other hand, the Court of Appeals ruled that in the interest of justice, Adrian should be allowed to prove that he was the illegitimate son
of Fiscal Bernabe. Because the boy was born in 1981, his rights are governed by Article 285 of the Civil Code, which allows an action for
recognition to be filed within four years after the child has attained the age of majority. The subsequent enactment of the Family Code did not
take away that right.
Hence, this appeal.
Issues
In her Memorandum, petitioner raises the following issues for our consideration:
I
Whether or not respondent has a cause of action to file a case against petitioner, the legitimate daughter of the putative father, for
recognition and partition with accounting after the putative fathers death in the absence of any written acknowledgment of paternity by the
latter.
II
Whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals erred in ruling that respondents had four years from the attainment of minority to file an
action for recognition as provided in Art. 285 of the Civil Code, in complete disregard of its repeal by the [express] provisions of the Family
Code and the applicable jurisprudence as held by the Honorable Court of Appeals.
III
Whether or not the petition for certiorari filed by the petition[er] is fatally defective for failure to implead the Court of Appeals as one of the
respondents.
The Courts Ruling
The Petition has no merit.
First and Second Issues: Period to File Action for Recognition
Because the first and the second issues are interrelated, we shall discuss them jointly.
Petitioner contends that respondent is barred from filing an action for recognition, because Article 285 of the Civil Code has been supplanted
by the provisions of the Family Code. She argues that the latter Code should be given retroactive effect, since no vested right would be
impaired. We do not agree.
Article 285 of the Civil Code provides the period for filing an action for recognition as follows:
ART. 285. The action for the recognition of natural children may be brought only during the lifetime of the presumed parents, except in the
following cases:
(1) If the father or mother died during the minority of the child, in which case the latter may file the action before the
expiration of four years from the attainment of his majority;
(2) If after the death of the father or of the mother a document should appear of which nothing had been heard and in which
either or both parents recognize the child.
In this case, the action must be commenced within four years from the finding of the document.
The two exceptions provided under the foregoing provision, have however been omitted by Articles 172, 173 and 175 of the Family Code,
which we quote:
ART. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the following:
(1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or
(2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned.
In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be proved by:
(1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child; or
(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws.
ART. 173. The action to claim legitimacy may be brought by the child during his or her lifetime and shall be transmitted to the heirs should the
child die during minority or in a state of insanity. In these cases, the heirs shall have a period of five years within which to institute the action.
The action already commenced by the child shall survive notwithstanding the death of either or both of the parties.
ART. 175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same, evidence as legitimate children.
The action must be brought within the same period specified in Article 173, except when the action is based on the second paragraph of
Article 172, in which case the action may be brought during the lifetime of the alleged parent.
Under the new law, an action for the recognition of an illegitimate child must be brought within the lifetime of the alleged parent. The Family
Code makes no distinction on whether the former was still a minor when the latter died. Thus, the putative parent is given by the new Code a
chance to dispute the claim, considering that illegitimate children are usually begotten and raised in secrecy and without the legitimate family
being aware of their existence. x x x The putative parent should thus be given the opportunity to affirm or deny the childs filiation, and this,
he or she cannot do if he or she is already dead.
Nonetheless, the Family Code provides the caveat that rights that have already vested prior to its enactment should not be prejudiced or
impaired as follows:
ART. 255. This Code shall have retroactive effect insofar as it does not prejudice or impair vested or acquired rights in accordance with the
Civil Code or other laws.
The crucial issue to be resolved therefore is whether Adrians right to an action for recognition, which was granted by Article 285 of the Civil
Code, had already vested prior to the enactment of the Family Code. Our answer is affirmative.
A vested right is defined as one which is absolute, complete and unconditional, to the exercise of which no obstacle exists, and which is
immediate and perfect in itself and not dependent upon a contingency x x x. Respondent however contends that the filing of an action for
recognition is procedural in nature and that as a general rule, no vested right may attach to [or] arise from procedural laws.
Bustos v. Lucero distinguished substantive from procedural law in these words:
x x x. Substantive law creates substantive rights and the two terms in this respect may be said to be synonymous. Substantive rights is a term
which includes those rights which one enjoys under the legal system prior to the disturbance of normal relations. Substantive law is that part of
the law which creates, defines and regulates rights, or which regulates the rights and duties which give rise to a cause of action; that part of
the law which courts are established to administer; as opposed to adjective or remedial law, which prescribes the method of enforcing rights
or obtains redress for their invasion. (Citations omitted)
Recently, in Fabian v. Desierto, the Court laid down the test for determining whether a rule is procedural or substantive:
[I]n determining whether a rule prescribed by the Supreme Court, for the practice and procedure of the lower courts, abridges, enlarges, or
modifies any substantive right, the test is whether the rule really regulates procedure, that is, the judicial process for enforcing rights and duties
recognized by substantive law and for justly administering remedy and redress for a disregard or infraction of them. If the rule takes away a
vested right, it is not procedural. If the rule creates a right such as the right to appeal, it may be classified as a substantive matter; but if it
operates as a means of implementing an existing right then the rule deals merely with procedure.
Applying the foregoing jurisprudence, we hold that Article 285 of the Civil Code is a substantive law, as it gives Adrian the right to file his
petition for recognition within four years from attaining majority age. Therefore, the Family Code cannot impair or take Adrians right to file
an action for recognition, because that right had already vested prior to its enactment.
Uyguangco v. Court of Appeals is not applicable to the case at bar, because the plaintiff therein sought recognition as an illegitimate child
when he was no longer a minor. On the other hand, in Aruego Jr. v. Court of Appeals the Court ruled that an action for recognition filed while
the Civil Code was in effect should not be affected by the subsequent enactment of the Family Code, because the right had already vested.
Not Limited to Natural Children
To be sure, Article 285 of the Civil Code refers to the action for recognition of natural children. Thus, petitioner contends that the provision
cannot be availed of by respondent, because at the time of his conception, his parents were impeded from marrying each other. In other
words, he is not a natural child.
A natural child is one whose parents, at the time of conception, were not disqualified by any legal impediment from marrying each other. Thus,
in De Santos v. Angeles, the Court explained:
A childs parents should not have been disqualified to marry each other at the time of conception for him to qualify as a natural child.
A strict and literal interpretation of Article 285 has already been frowned upon by this Court in the aforesaid case of Aruego, which allowed
minors to file a case for recognition even if their parents were disqualified from marrying each other. There, the Complaint averred that the
late Jose Aruego Sr., a married man, had an extramarital liason with Luz Fabian. Out of this relationship were born two illegitimate children
who in 1983 filed an action for recognition. The two children were born in 1962 and 1963, while the alleged putative father died in 1982. In
short, at the time of their conception, the two childrens parents were legally disqualified from marrying each other. The Court allowed the
Complaint to prosper, even though it had been filed almost a year after the death of the presumed father. At the time of his death, both
children were still minors.
Moreover, in the earlier case Divinagracia v. Rovira, the Court said that the rules on voluntary and compulsory acknowledgment of natural
children, as well as the prescriptive period for filing such action, may likewise be applied to spurious children. Pertinent portions of the case
are quoted hereunder:
The so-called spurious children, or illegitimate children other than natural children, commonly known as bastards, include those adulterous
children or those born out of wedlock to a married woman cohabiting with a man other than her husband or to a married man cohabiting with
a woman other than his wife. They are entitled to support and successional rights. But their filiation must be duly proven.
How should their filiation be proven? Article 289 of the Civil Code allows the investigation of the paternity or maternity or spurious children
under the circumstances specified in articles 283 and 284 of the Civil Code. The implication is that the rules on compulsory recognition of
natural children are applicable to spurious children.
Spurious children should not be in a better position than natural children. The rules on proof of filiation of natural children or the rules on
voluntary and compulsory acknowledgment for natural children may be applied to spurious children.
That does not mean that spurious children should be acknowledged, as that term is used with respect to natural children. What is simply meant
is that the grounds or instances for the acknowledgment of natural children are utilized to establish the filiation of spurious children.
A spurious child may prove his filiation by means of a record of birth, a will, a statement before a court of record, or in any authentic writing.
These are the modes of voluntary recognition of natural children.
In case there is no evidence on the voluntary recognition of the spurious child, then his filiation may be established by means of the
circumstances or grounds for compulsory recognition prescribed in the aforementioned articles 283 and 284.
The prescriptive period for filing the action for compulsory recognition in the case of natural children, as provided for in article 285 of the Civil
Code, applies to spurious children. (Citations omitted, italics supplied)
Thus, under the Civil Code, natural children have superior successional rights over spurious ones. However, Rovira treats them as equals with
respect to other rights, including the right to recognition granted by Article 285.
To emphasize, illegitimate children who were still minors at the time the Family Code took effect and whose putative parent died during their
minority are thus given the right to seek recognition (under Article 285 of the Civil Code) for a period of up to four years from attaining
majority age. This vested right was not impaired or taken away by the passage of the Family Code.
Indeed, our overriding consideration is to protect the vested rights of minors who could not have filed suit, on their own, during the lifetime of
their putative parents. As respondent aptly points out in his Memorandum, the State as parens patriae should protect a minors right. Born in
1981, Adrian was only seven years old when the Family Code took effect and only twelve when his alleged father died in 1993. The minor
must be given his day in court.
Third Issue: Failure to Implead the CA
Under Section 4(a) of Rule 45 of the current Rules of Court, it is no longer required to implead the lower courts or judges x x x either as
petitioners or respondents. Under Section 3, however, the lower tribunal should still be furnished a copy of the petition. Hence, the failure of
petitioner to implead the Court of Appeals as a party is not a reversible error; it is in fact the correct procedure.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DENIED and the assailed Decision and Resolution AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 141530 March 18, 2003


REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES represented by the NATIONAL CENTENNIAL COMMISSION, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, HON. CHRISTOPHER LOCK, in his capacity as the Presiding Judge of Branch 88 of the Regional Trial Court of
Cavite City, and FE A. MANUEL and METROBANK, Cavite City Branch, respondents.
CORONA, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure seeking to annul the Resolutio n dated March 15,
1999 of the Court of Appeals1 which dismissed (1) the petition for certiorari filed by the petitioner Republic of the Philippines for having been
filed out of time and (2) the subsequent resolution which denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.
The antecedent facts follow.
In line with the centennial celebration of Philippine Independence on June 12, 1998, the government embarked on several commemorative
Centennial Freedom Trail (CFT) projects. One of these projects was the construction of the Tejeros Convention Center and the founding site of
the Philippine Army on the 3,497 sq. m. property of respondent Fe Manuel located in Tejeros, Rosario, Cavite. The said property was declared
by the National Historical Institute (NHI) as a historical landmark in its Resolution No. 2 dated April 19, 1995.2
To carry out the Tejeros Convention Project, the government, through the National Centennial Commission (NCC), filed on Decem ber 4, 1997 a
complaint for expropriation against respondents Fe Manuel and Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank).3 The land was mortgaged
by Fe Manuel to Metrobank and was extrajudicially foreclosed by the latter on November 20, 1997. 4 Respondent Fe Manuel interposed no
objection to the expropriation as long as just compensation was paid.5
On May 27, 1998, Presiding Judge Christopher Lock of the Regional Trial Court of Cavite City, Branch 88, dismissed the compla int for
expropriation on the ground of lack of cause of action. The trial court ruled that, based on the 1987 Administrative Code,6 there were: (1) no
prior determination by the President as to the necessity or wisdom of the exercise of the right of eminent domain, and (2) no prior written
authority for the Solicitor General to institute the expropriation case. Without such conditions precedent, the trial court ruled that plaintiff had
no cause of action to file the expropriation case. 7 The trial court also ruled that the NCC had no power under Executive Order No. 128 8 to
acquire real estate properties through negotiated sale, nor to recommend to the President the propriety of taking property through condemnation
proceedings. It explained that since the NCC’s life was only up to the June 12, 1998 celebrations, the fear of defendant Metrobank that there
would be no more entity to process its claim for just compensation was perfectly valid. Accordingly, the trial court dismissed the complaint for
expropriation.9
On June 17, 1998, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the trial court’s order dismissing its complaint. The trial court denied the motion
in its order dated October 6, 1998, a copy of which was received by the petitioner on October 12, 1998. 10
On December 11, 1998, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals, alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of
Judge Christopher Lock for summarily dismissing its complaint and denying its motion for reconsideration. 11
The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition, in its resolution dated March 15, 1999, for having been filed out of time. It also denied petitioner’s
motion for reconsideration in its January 13, 2000 resolution. 12
Aggrieved, petitioner filed the instant petition for review, arguing that the Court of Appeals should not have applied to its case the amendment
made to Section 4, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which took effect on September 1, 1998. Procedural rules, petitioner argued,
should not be given retroactive effect where their application would result in injustice. Petitioner invoked Section 6, Rule 1 of the 1997 Rules of
Civil Procedure which provides that liberality should be observed in construing the Rules of Court in order to promote its objective of securing a
just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding. Petitioner also called the Court’s attention to the case of Solar Team
Entertainment vs. Ricafort,13 wherein we accorded liberality to the implementation of Section 11, Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. 14
We ruled in the said case that strict compliance with Section 11, Rule 13 thereof shall be required 1 month from the promulgation of the Court’s
decision or 2 years from the time the Rules actually took effect. Petitioner said that Solar Team and its case were similar in that both arose about
the time when a new amendment was being implemented; hence, its case should be accorded the same consideration given in Solar Team.15
In its Memorandum dated September 11, 2001, petitioner invoked A.M. No. 00-2-03-SC which took effect on September 1, 2000, specifically
amending Section 4, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. A.M. No. 00-2-03-SC was the amendment reverting to the original rule that
the 60-day period for filing a petition for certiorari shall be reckoned from receipt of the order denying the motion for reconsideration.16
Private respondent Fe Manuel, owner and mortgagor of the land subject of expropriation, interposed no objection to the expropriation in her
Comment to the petition for review.17 She in fact adopted the arguments of the petitioner in her Memorandum.18
On the other hand, Metrobank asserted that the petition for certiorari was correctly dismissed because it was filed out of time. It argued that
when petitioner received the order of the trial court denying its motion for reconsideration on October 12, 1998, the new Section 4, Rule 65 of
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended by the Resolution of the Supreme Court En Banc dated July 21, 1998 in Bar Matte r No. 803,
was already in effect. Said amended rule, effective as of September 1, 1998, provides that the 60-day period shall be reckoned from receipt
of the assailed decision, order or resolution. Thus, based on this new rule, the petition for certiorari was filed 14 days late. 19
The sole issue at hand is whether or not the petition for certiorari filed by the Republic of the Philippines before the Court of Appeals was filed
out of time.
The petition is meritorious.
In dismissing the petition for certiorari for having been filed out of time, the Court of Appeals applied Section 4, Rule 6 5 of the 1997 Rules of
Civil Procedure, as amended by the July 21, 1998 Bar Matter No. 803, effective September 1, 1998, which provides:
Sec. 4. Where and when petition to be filed. ─ The petition may be filed not later than sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment,
order or resolution sought to be assailed in the Supreme Court, or if it relates to the acts or omissions of a lower court or of a
corporation, board, officer or person, in the Regional Trial Court exercising jurisdiction over the territorial area as defined by the
Supreme Court. It may also be filed in the Court of Appeals whether or not the same is in aid of its appellate jurisdiction, or in the
Sandiganbayan if it is in aid of its jurisdiction. If it involves the acts or omissions of a quasi-judicial agency, and unless otherwise
provided by the law or the Rules, the petition shall be filed in and cognizable only by the Court of Appeals.
If the petitioner had filed a motion for new trial or reconsideration in due time after notice of said judgment, order or resolution, the
period herein fixed shall be interrupted. If the motion is denied, the aggrieved party may file the petition within the remaining period but
which shall not be less than five (5) days in any event, reckoned from notice of such denial. No extension of time to file the petition shall
be granted except for the most compelling reason and in no case to exceed fifteen (15) days. (Emphasis ours)
Strictly speaking, the Court of Appeals did not err in dismissing the petition for having been filed out of time because the prevailing rule at that
time provided that the 60-day period for filing a petition for certiorari shall be reckoned from receipt of the assailed decision or order. The
period is interrupted when a motion for reconsideration is filed but it starts to run again from receipt of the denial of the said motion for
reconsideration. Based on this amendment, respondent Court of Appeals ruled that the filing of the petition for certiorari was 14 days late. The
respondent Court of Appeals ruled:
In the petition at bench, records show that the Office of the Solicitor General received a copy of the Court a quo’s Order dated May
7, 1998 on June 3, 1998 and that a motion for reconsideration was filed on June 17, 1998. Therefore, there was a lapse of
fourteen (14) days from receipt of the assailed Order before the OSG filed a motion for reconsideration.
Considering the material dates stated above, the Office of the Solicitor General had only forty-six 46 days left from October 12,
1988 (sic), date when it received the Order denying the motion for reconsideration dated October 6, 1998 or until November 27,
1998 within which to file the instant petition for certiorari. However, the petition was filed only on December 11, 1998 by registered
mail. Therefore, it was filed fourteen (14) days late.20
However, Section 4, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure as amended by Bar Matter No. 803 effective September 1, 1998 , was
recently amended by A.M. No. 00-2-03-SC effective September 1, 2000. The recent rule no longer provides that the 60-day period shall be
reckoned from receipt of the assailed decision, order or resolution. Instead, it provides that the 60-day period shall be reckoned from receipt
of the order denying the motion for reconsideration. The rule at present reads as follows:
Sec. 4. When and where petition filed. – The petition shall be filed not later than sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment, order or
resolution. In case a motion for reconsideration or new trial is timely filed, whether such motion is required or not, the sixty (60) day
period shall be counted from notice of the denial of said motion.
The petition shall be filed in the Supreme Court or, if it relates to the acts or omissions of a lower court or of a corporation, board,
officer or person, in the Regional Trial Court exercising jurisdiction over the territorial area as defined by the Supreme Court. It may
also be filed in the Court of Appeals whether or not the same is in aid of its appellate jurisdiction, or in the Sandiganbayan if it is in
aid of its appellate jurisdiction. It if involves the acts or omissions of a quasi-judicial agency, unless otherwise provided by law or
these rules, the petition shall be filed in and cognizable only by the Court of Appeals.
No extension of time to file the petition shall be granted except for compelling reason and in no case exceeding fifteen (15) days.
(Emphasis ours)
The amendment under A.M. 00-2-03-SC quoted above is procedural or remedial in character. It does not create new or remove vested rights
but only operates in furtherance of the remedy or confirmation of rights already existing. It is settled that procedural laws do not come within
the legal conception of a retroactive law, or the general rule against retroactive operation of statutes. They may be given retroactive effect to
actions pending and undetermined at the time of their passage and this will not violate any right of a person who may feel that he is adversely
affected, inasmuch as there is no vested rights in rules of procedure. 21
The retroactive application of A.M. 00-2-03-SC has, in fact, already been ordered by this Court in a number of recent cases, such as Systems
Factors Corporation vs. NLRC, 22 Unity Fishing Development Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 23 Docena et. al. vs. Lapesura, 24 Pfizer vs. Galan 25
and Universal Robina Corporation et. al. vs. Court of Appeals et. al. 26
Thus, by virtue of this retroactive application of A.M. 00-2-03-SC, we hold that the instant petition for certiorari was filed on time. In fact, there
is no dispute that the petition was filed by petitioner on the 60th day from receipt of the order denying the motion for reconsideration. Petitioner
received the denial on October 12, 1998 and it filed the petition for certiorari on December 11, 1998. Clearly therefore the petition was filed
on time.
WHEREFORE, the petition is granted. The assailed resolutions of the Court of Appeals dated March 15, 1999 and January 13, 2000 are hereby
set aside and the case is remanded to the Court of Appeals for further proceedings.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.

OBJECTIVE OF PROCEDURAL LAWS


G.R. No. 189151 January 25, 2012

SPOUSES DAVID BERGONIA and LUZVIMINDA CASTILLO, Petitioners,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS (4th DIVISION) and AMADO BRAVO, JR., Respondents.
RESOLUTION
REYES, J.:
This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court filed by the spouses David Bergonia and Luzviminda Castillo (petitioners)
assailing the Resolutions issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) on May 18, 2009 1 and June 29, 20092 in CA-G.R. CV No. 91665.
The petitioners were the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. Br. 23-749-03 entitled "Spouses David Bergonia and Luzviminda Castillo v. Amado Bravo,
Jr." in the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 23, Roxas, Isabela. On January 21, 2008, the RTC rendered a decision adverse to the petitioners.
The petitioners consequently sought a reconsideration of the said decision but the same was denied by the RTC in an Order dated April 25,
2008 which was received on May 6, 2008. On May 7, 2008, the petitioners filed a Notice of Appeal. 3
In January 2009, the Law Firm of Lapeña & Associates filed with the CA its formal entry of appearance as counsel for the petitioners, in view
of the withdrawal of the former counsel, Atty. Panfilo Soriano. The substitution of lawyers was noted in the Resolution4 dated January 20, 2009.
In the same resolution, the CA further directed the appellants therein to remit the deficient amount of ₱20.00 within 5 days from notice.
Thereafter, the CA issued a Resolution on January 30, 2009 requiring the filing of the Appellant’s Brief within 45 days from receipt.
On April 8, 2009, respondent Amado Bravo, Jr. (the defendant-appellee therein), filed a Motion to Dismiss Appeal5 dated April 2, 2009 stating
that the petitioners failed to file their Appellant’s Brief within the 45-day period granted to them by the CA in the Resolution dated January 30,
2009. Citing Section 1 (e), Rule 50 of the Rules of Court, respondent prayed for the dismissal of the petitioners’ appeal.
In an Opposition/Comment promptly filed on April 8, 2009, 6 the petitioners alleged that the Motion to Dismiss filed by the respondent had no
basis considering that they or their counsel did not receive any resolution from the CA requiring them to file their Appellants’ Brief within 45
days.7
On May 18, 2009, the CA issued the assailed resolution 8 which reads:
For failure of the plaintiffs-appellants to file the required appellant’s brief within the reglementary period which expired on 22 March 2009,
as per Judicial Records Division Report dated 05 May 2009, the appeal is hereby considered ABANDONED and is hereby DISMISSED pursuant
to Section 1 (e), Rule 50, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
SO ORDERED. (citation omitted)
On May 25, 2009, the CA issued a Resolution9 which stated, among others, that the January 30, 2009 notice to file brief addressed to petitioners’
counsel was received by a certain Ruel de Tomas on February 5, 2009.
On June 5, 2009, the petitioners filed a Compliance and Motion for Reconsideration 10 praying that the dismissal of their appeal be set aside in
the interest of justice and equity. The petitioners claimed that their failure to file their brief was due to the fact that they were never furnished
a copy of the said January 30, 2009 Resolution of the CA directing them to file their brief.
Subsequently, in a Manifestation11 filed on June 16, 2009, the petitioners asserted that their counsel – the Law Firm of Lapeña and Associates –
has no employee in the name of Ruel de Tomas. However, they explained that Atty. Torenio C. Cabacungan, Jr., an associate of the law firm
personally knows a person named "Ruel" who sometimes visits their office and who may have accidentally received the said January 30, 2009
Resolution of the CA. In such a case, the same should not be considered officially served upon them as the latter was not connected with nor
authorized to perform any act for and in behalf of counsel.
On June 29, 2009, the CA denied the motion for reconsideration.12
Undaunted, the petitioners instituted the instant petition for certiorari before this Court asserting the following arguments: (1) their failure to file
their appellants’ brief was merely due to the fact that they were never properly served with a copy of the January 30, 2009 Resolution of the
CA; (2) Ruel de Tomas, the person who apparently received the copy of the January 30, 2009 Resolution of the CA, was not their employee;
and (3) the CA, in the interest of justice and equity, should have decided their appeal on the merits instead of dismissing the same purely on
technical grounds.
The sole issue for resolution is the propriety of the dismissal of the petitioners’ appeal for their failure to file the appellants’ brief within the
reglementary period.
The petition is denied.
At the outset, this Court notes that the petitioners’ resort to a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is not the proper remedy
to assail the May 18, 2009 and June 29, 2009 Resolutions issued by the CA. In determining the appropriate remedy or remedies available, a
party aggrieved by a court order, resolution or decision must first correctly identify the nature of the order, resolution or decision he intends to
assail.13
It bears stressing that the extraordinary remedy of certiorari can be availed of only if there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy, and
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. 14 On the other hand, Section 1, Rule 41 of the Rules of Court states that an appeal may be
taken from a judgment or final order that completely disposes of the case or a particular matter therein.
Concomitant to the foregoing, the remedy of a party against an adverse disposition of the CA would depend on whether the same is a final
order or merely an interlocutory order. If the Order or Resolution issued by the CA is in the nature of a final order, the remedy of the aggrieved
party would be to file a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Otherwise, the appropriate remedy would be to
file a petition for certiorari under Rule 65.
In Republic v. Sandiganbayan (Fourth Division),15 this Court laid down the following rules to determine whether a court’s disposition is already a
final order or merely an interlocutory order and the respective remedies that may be availed in each case, thus:
Case law has conveniently demarcated the line between a final judgment or order and an interlocutory one on the basis of the disposition made.
A judgment or order is considered final if the order disposes of the action or proceeding completely, or terminates a particu lar stage of the
same action; in such case, the remedy available to an aggrieved party is appeal. If the order or resolution, however, merely resolves incidental
matters and leaves something more to be done to resolve the merits of the case, the order is interlocutory and the aggrieved party’s remedy is
a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. Jurisprudence pointedly holds that:
As distinguished from a final order which disposes of the subject matter in its entirety or terminates a particular proceedin g or action, leaving
nothing else to be done but to enforce by execution what has been determined by the court, an interlocutory order does not dispose of a case
completely, but leaves something more to be adjudicated upon. The term "final" judgment or order signifies a judgment or an order which
disposes of the case as to all the parties, reserving no further questions or directions for future determination.
On the other hand, a court order is merely interlocutory in character if it leaves substantial proceedings yet to be had in connection with the
controversy. It does not end the task of the court in adjudicating the parties’ contentions and determining their rights and liabilities as against
each other. In this sense, it is basically provisional in its application. (citations omitted)
Here, the assailed May 18, 2009 and June 29, 2009 Resolutions issued by the CA had considered the petitioners’ appeal below as having
been abandoned and, accordingly, dismissed. Thus, the assailed Resolutions are in the nature of a final order as the same completely disposed
of the petitioners’ appeal with the CA. Thus, the remedy available to the petitioners is to file a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45
with this court and not a petition for certiorari under Rule 65.
Even if we are to assume arguendo that the petitioners’ resort to the extraordinary remedy of certiorari is proper, the instant petition would still
be denied. A petition for certiorari will prosper only if grave abuse of discretion is alleged and proved to exist. 16 The abuse of discretion must
be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law or to act at all in
contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility. 17 Here, there was
no hint of whimsicality or gross and patent abuse of discretion on the part of the CA when it dismissed the appeal of the petitioners for the
failure of the latter to file their appellants’ brief.
Section 1 (e), Rule 50 of the Rules of Court succinctly provides that:
Section 1. Grounds for dismissal of appeal. – An appeal may be dismissed by the Court of Appeals, on its own motion or on that of the appellee,
on the following grounds:
xxxx
(e) Failure of the appellant to serve and file the required number of copies of his brief or memorandum within the time provided by these Rules;
xxx
In a long line of cases, this Court has held that the CA’s authority to dismiss an appeal for failure to file the appellant’s brief is a matter of
judicial discretion. Thus, a dismissal based on this ground is neither mandatory nor ministerial; the fundamentals of justice and fairness must be
observed, bearing in mind the background and web of circumstances surrounding the case. 18
Having in mind the peculiar circumstances of the instant case, we find that the petitioners’ excuse for their failure to file their brief was flimsy
and discreditable and, thus, the propriety of the dismissal of their appeal. Indeed, as aptly ruled by the CA, the records of the case clearly
showed that the petitioners, through their counsel, received the January 30, 2009 Resolution which required them to file their appellants’ brief.
Thus:
The records of this case are clear that the Resolution of 30 January 2009 requiring the [petitioners] to file the required brief was received by
a certain Ruel de Tomas for [petitioners’] counsel on 05 February 2009. Hence, mere denial by [petitioners’] counsel of the receipt of his copy
of the Resolution cannot be given weight in the absence of any proof that the said person is neither an employee at his law office nor someone
unknown to him. Likewise, it is highly implausible that any person in the building where [petitioners’] counsel holds office would simply receive a
correspondence delivered by a postman.19
Verily, the petitioners were only able to offer their bare assertion that they and their counsel did not actually receive a copy of the January 30,
2009 Resolution and that the person who apparently received the same was not in any way connected with their counsel. There w as no other
credible evidence adduced by the petitioners which would persuade us to exculpate them from the effects of their failure to file their brief.
The Court notes that, in concluding that the petitioners indeed received a copy of the January 30, 2009 Resolution, the CA was guided by the
Report of the Judicial Records Division of the CA and by the certification issued by the Postmaster of Quezon City. Indubitably, the petitioners’
bare assertions could not overcome the presumption of regularity in the preparation of the records of the Post Office and that of the CA.20
Nonetheless, the petitioners cite a cacophony of cases decided by this Court which, in essence, declared that dismissal of an appeal on purely
technical ground is frowned upon and that, as much as possible, appeals ought to be decided on the merits in the interest of justice and equity.
The petitioners' plea for the application of the principles of substantial justice in their favor deserves scant consideration. The petitioners should
be reminded that technical rules may be relaxed only for the furtherance of justice and to benefit the deserving. 21 While the petitioners adverted
to several jurisprudential rulings of this Court which set aside procedural rules, it is noted that there were underlying considerations in those cases
which warranted a disregard of procedural technicalities to favor substantial justice. Here, there exists no such consideration.
The petitioners ought to be reminded that the bare invocation of "the interest of substantial justice" is not a magic wand th at will automatically
compel this Court to suspend procedural rules. Procedural rules are not to be belittled or dismissed simply because their non-observance may
have resulted in prejudice to a party's substantive rights. Like all rules, they are required to be followed except only for the most persuasive of
reasons when they may be relaxed to relieve a litigant of an injustice not commensurate with the degree of his thoughtlessness in not complying
with the procedure prescribed.22
In Asian Spirit Airlines v. Spouses Bautista,23 this Court clarified that procedural rules are required to be followed except only for the most
persuasive of reasons when they may be relaxed to relieve a litigant of an injustice not commensurate with the degree of his thoughtlessness in
not complying with the procedure prescribed:
We agree with the petitioner’s contention that the rules of procedure may be relaxed for the most persuasive reasons. But as this Court held in
Galang v. Court of Appeals:
Procedural rules are not to be belittled or dismissed simply because their non-observance may have resulted in prejudice to a party’s substantive
rights. Like all rules, they are required to be followed except only for the most persuasive of reasons when they may be relaxed to relieve a
litigant of an injustice not commensurate with the degree of his thoughtlessness in not complying with the procedure prescribed.
In an avuncular case, we emphasized that:
Procedural rules are tools designed to facilitate the adjudication of cases.1âwphi1 Courts and litigants alike are, thus, enjoined to abide strictly
by the rules. And while the Court, in some instances, allows a relaxation in the application of the rules, this, we stress, was never intended to
forge a bastion for erring litigants to violate the rules with impunity. The liberality in the interpretation and application of the rules applies only
in proper cases and under justifiable causes and circumstances. While it is true that litigation is not a game of technicalities, it is equally true that
every case must be prosecuted in accordance with the prescribed procedure to insure an orderly and speedy administration of justice. The
instant case is no exception to this rule.
In the present case, we find no cogent reason to exempt the petitioner from the effects of its failure to comply with the Rules of Court.
The right to appeal is a statutory right and the party who seeks to avail of the same must comply with the requirements of the Rules. Failing to
do so, the right to appeal is lost. More so, as in this case, where petitioner not only neglected to file its brief within th e stipulated time but also
failed to seek an extension of time for a cogent ground before the expiration of the time sought to be extended.
In not a few instances, the Court relaxed the rigid application of the rules of procedure to afford the parties the opportunity to fully ventilate
their cases on the merits. This is in line with the time-honored principle that cases should be decided only after giving all parties the chance to
argue their causes and defenses. Technicality and procedural imperfection should, thus, not serve as basis of decisions. In that way, the ends of
justice would be better served. For, indeed, the general objective of procedure is to facilitate the application of justice to the rival claims of
contending parties, bearing always in mind that procedure is not to hinder but to promote the administration of justice. In this case, however,
such liberality in the application of rules of procedure may not be invoked if it will result in the wanton disregard of the rules or cause needless
delay in the administration of justice. It is equally settled that, save for the most persuasive of reasons, strict compliance is enjoined to facilitate
the orderly administration of justice.24 (citations omitted)
Reiterating the foregoing in Dimarucot v. People of the Philippines,25 this Court stated that:
The right to appeal is not a natural right and is not part of due process. It is merely a statutory privilege, and may be exercised only in
accordance with the law. The party who seeks to avail of the same must comply with the requirements of the Rules. Failing to do so, the right to
appeal is lost.
Strict compliance with the Rules of Court is indispensable for the orderly and speedy disposition of justice. The Rules must be followed, otherwise,
they will become meaningless and useless.26 (citations omitted)
WHEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing disquisitions, the petition is DISMISSED. The assailed Resolutions dated May 18, 2009 and June
29, 2009 issued by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 91665 dismissing the petitioners’ appeal are AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
APPLICATION OF PROCEDURAL LAWS
G.R. No. 168313 October 6, 2010
BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, Petitioner,
vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. ROMEO BARZA, in his capacity as the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Br.
61, FIRST UNION GROUP ENTERPRISES and LINDA WU HU, Respondents.
DECISION
BRION, J.:
Through the present petition for review on certiorari,1 petitioner Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) seeks the reversal of: (1) the Court of Appeals
(CA) decision of November 2, 2004,2 in "Bank of the Philippine Islands v. Hon. Romeo Barza, et al." docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 75350 and
(2) the CA resolution of May 25, 20053 denying BPI’s Motion for Reconsideration. The assailed CA ruling affirmed the Order of the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch 61 dated August 26, 2002, 4 granting First Union Group Enterprises (First Union) and Linda Wu Hu’s
(Linda) Motion to Dismiss dated March 26, 2002. A subsequent Motion for Reconsideration was likewise denied. 5
THE FACTUAL ANTECEDENTS
First Union borrowed from BPI the sums of Five Million Pesos (PhP5,000,000.00) and One Hundred Twenty Thousand U.S. Dollars a nd 32 cents
(USD123,218.32), evidenced by separate promissory notes. 6
As partial security for the loan obligations of First Union, defendant Linda and her spouse (Eddy Tien) executed a Real Estate Mortgage
Agreement dated August 29, 1997,7 covering two (2) condominium units. Linda executed a Comprehensive Surety Agreement dated April 14,
19978 where she agreed to be solidarily liable with First Union for its obligations to BPI.
Despite repeated demands to satisfy the loan obligations upon maturity, First Union failed to pay BPI the amounts due.
On October 16, 2000, BPI initiated with the Office of the Sheriff of the RTC of Pasig extra-judicial foreclosure proceedings against the two (2)
mortgaged condominium units to satisfy First Union and Linda’s solidary obligations.
After due notice and publication, the properties were sold at public auction on June 29, 2001. 9 BPI was the highest bidder, having submitted a
bid of Five Million Seven Hundred Ninety Eight Thousand Four Hundred Pesos (PhP5,798,400.00). The proceeds of the auction sale were applied
to the costs and expenses of foreclosure, and thereafter, to First Union’s obligation of Five Million Peso (PhP5,000,000.00). After so applying
the proceeds, First Union still owed BPI a balance of Four Million Seven Hundred Forty Two Thousand Nine Hundred Forty Nine & 32/100 Pesos
(PhP4,742,949.32), inclusive of interests and penalty charges, as of December 21, 2001. 10 Additionally, First Union’s foreign currency loan
obligation remained unpaid and, as of December 21, 2001, amounted to One Hundred Seventy Five Thousand Three Hundred Twenty F our
Thousand & 35/100 US Dollars (USD175,324.35), inclusive of interest and penalty charges.
The Complaint for Collection of Sum of Money
First Union’s and Linda’s continued failure to settle their outstanding obligations prompted BPI to file, on January 3, 2002, a complaint for
collection of sum of money with the RTC of Makati City, Branch 61. 11 The complaint’s verification and certificate of non-forum shopping were
signed by Ma. Cristina F. Asis (Asis) and Kristine L. Ong (Ong). However, no Secretary’s Certificate or Board Resolution was attached to evidence
Asis’ and Ong’s authority to file the complaint.
On April 1, 2002, First Union and Linda filed a motion to dismiss 12 on the ground that BPI violated Rule 7, Section 5 of the Rules of Civil Procedure
(Rules); BPI failed to attach to the complaint the necessary board resolution authorizing Asis and Ong to institute the collection action against
First Union and Linda.13
On August 7, 2002, BPI filed an "Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss," 14 arguing that the verification and certificate of non-forum shopping
sufficiently established Asis’ and Ong’s authority to file the complaint and proof of their authority could be presented during the trial. Further,
BPI alleged that a complaint "can only be dismissed under Section 5, Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure if there was no certification
against forum shopping." The provision, according to BPI, "does not even require that the person certifying should show proof of his authority to
do so."15
Instead of submitting a board resolution, BPI attached a "Special Power of Attorney" (SPA) dated December 20, 2001 executed by Zosimo A.
Kabigting (Zosimo), Vice-President of BPI.16 The SPA authorized Asis and Ong or any lawyer from the Benedicto Versoza Gealogo and Burkley
Law Offices to initiate any legal action against First Union and Linda.
In their Comment17 to BPI’s Opposition, First Union and Linda challenged BPI’s reading of the law, charging that it lacked jurisprudential support. 18
First Union and Linda argued, invoking Public Estates Authority v. Elpidio Uy,19 that "an initiatory pleading which does not contain a board
resolution authorizing the person to show proof of his authority is equally guilty (sic) of not satisfying the requirements in the Certification against
Non-Forum Shopping. It is as if though (sic) no certification has been filed." 20 Thus, according to First Union and Linda, BPI’s failure to attach a
board resolution "shall not be curable by mere amendment of the complaint or other initiatory pleading but shall be cause for dismissal of the
case without prejudice x x x."21 First Union and Linda likewise questioned the belated submission of the SPA, which in any case, "is not the board
resolution envisioned by the rules since the plaintiff herein is a juridical person." 22
BPI’s Reply23 to the Comment argued that the cited Public Estates Authority case is not authoritative since "what is proscribed is the absence of
authority from the board of directors, not the failure to attach the board resolution to the initiatory pleading." 24 BPI contended that the "primary
consideration is whether Asis and Ong were authorized by BPI, not the failure to attach the proof of authority to the complaint." 25 BPI also
begged the "kind indulgence of the Honorable Court as it inadvertently failed to submit with the Special Power of Attorney the Corporate
Secretary’s Certificate which authorized Mr. Zosimo Kabigting to appoint his substitutes." 26
On August 22, 2002, the RTC issued its assailed Order27 granting First Union’s and Linda’s Motion to Dismiss.28 The trial court denied BPI’s Motion
for Reconsideration29 on November 13, 2002.30
Proceedings before the CA
BPI, on February 5, 2003, filed a petition for certiorari 31 under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court before the CA. It alleged that that lower court
acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in dismissing the complaint despite the submission of the SPA and
the Corporate Secretary’s Certificate.32
In their Comment to the petition,33 First Union and Linda submitted that the petition is an improper remedy since an order granting a motion to
dismiss is not interlocutory. They contended that the dismissal is final in nature; hence, an appeal, not a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, is
the proper recourse.
The CA disagreed with First Union and Linda’s contention. The assailed order, according to the CA, categorically stated that the dismissal of the
complaint was without prejudice.34 As a dismissal without prejudice, the order is interlocutory in nature and is not a final order. 35
The CA, however, found that BPI failed to comply with the procedural requirements on non-forum shopping.36 Citing Sec. 5, Rule 7 of the Rules
of Court, the CA ruled that the requirement that a petition should sign the certificate of non-forum shopping applies even to corporations since
the Rules of Court do not distinguish between natural and civil persons. 37 Digital Microwave Corp. v. Court of Appeals, et al.38 holds that "where
a petitioner is corporation, the certification against forum shopping should be signed by its duly authorized director or representative."
While the CA did not question the authority of Asis and Ong as bank representatives, the Bank however failed to show - through an appropriate
board resolution – proof of their authority as representatives. To the CA, this failure warranted the dismissal of the complaint. 39
The CA lastly refused to accord merit to BPI’s argument that it substantially complied with the requirements of verification and certification; BPI
only submitted the SPA and the Board Resolution after it had filed the complaint. 40
THE PETITIONER’S ARGUMENTS
BPI maintains in the present petition that it attached a verification and certificate of non-forum shopping to its complaint. Contesting the CA’s
interpretation of Shipside v. Court of Appeals,41 it argues that the Supreme Court actually excused Shipside’s belated submission of its Secretary’s
Certificate and held that it substantially complied with the rule requiring the submission of a verification and certificate of non-forum shopping
as it did, in fact, make a submission. From this starting point, it now asks the Court to excuse its belated submission.42
BPI likewise contends that it is in a better position than the petitioner in Shipside because the latter only submitted a secretary’s certificate while
it submitted a special power attorney signed by Zosimo. On this same point, BPI also cites General Milling Corporation v. Nation al Labor
Relations Commission43 where the Court held that General Milling’s belated submission of a document to prove the authority of the signatories
to the verification and certificate of non-forum shopping was substantial compliance with Rules of Court.
BPI finally urges the Court to reverse and set aside the Decision of the CA and to remand the case to the RTC of Makati City for further
proceedings under the principle that "technicality should not defeat substantial justice." 44
THE RESPONDENT’S ARGUMENTS
In their Memorandum dated September 25, 2009, 45 First Union and Linda allege that BPI’s "position on the submission of the Board Resolution
has been one of defiance."46 BPI’s failure to submit the required board resolution is not an inadvertence but a wilful disregard of the Rules and
a blatant refusal to heed the order of the RTC. First Union and Linda point to BPI’s opposition to the Motion to Dismiss as p roof of BPI’s wilful
disregard. BPI argued in this opposition that (1) the Rules do not require the presentation of a board resolution, and (2) proof of such authority
need not be attached to the initiatory pleading but can be presented during trial. 47
Further, instead of submitting a board resolution, BPI submitted a special power of attorney. 48 It was only after First Union and Linda pointed
out that the submitted special power of attorney cannot bind a juridical entity did BPI change its position. Only then did BPI claim that it merely
inadvertently failed to submit the required secretary’s certificate. 49
This belated change of position, according to First Union and Linda, does not entitle BPI to the jurisprudential exception established by the Court
in Shipside where the Court held that the relaxation of the rule requiring verification and certification of non-forum shopping is only for "special
circumstances or compelling reasons."50
THE COURT’S RULING
We rule in the respondents’ favor.
This Court has repeatedly emphasized the need to abide by the Rules of Court and the procedural requirements it imposes. The verification of
a complaint and the attachment of a certificate of non-forum shopping are requirements that – as pointed out by the Court, time and again –
are basic, necessary and mandatory for procedural orderliness.
Thus, we cannot simply and in a general way apply – given the factual circumstances of this case – the liberal jurisprudential exception in
Shipside and its line of cases to excuse BPI’s failure to submit a board resolution. While we may have excused strict compliance in the past, we
did so only on sufficient and justifiable grounds that compelled a liberal approach while avoiding the effective negation of the intent of the rule
on non-forum shopping. In other words, the rule for the submission of a certificate of non-forum shopping, proper in form and substance, remains
to be a strict and mandatory rule; any liberal application has to be justified by ample and sufficient reasons that maintain the integrity of, and
do not detract from, the mandatory character of the rule.
The rule, its relaxation and their rationale were discussed by the Court at length in Tible & Tible Company, Inc. v. Royal Savings and Loan
Association51 where we said:
Much reliance is placed on the rule that "Courts are not slaves or robots of technical rules, shorn of judicial discretion. In rendering justice, courts
have always been, as they ought to be, conscientiously guided by the norm that on balance, technicalities take a backseat against substantive rights,
and not the other way around." This rule must always be used in the right context, lest injustice, rather than justice would be its end result.
It must never be forgotten that, generally, the application of the rules must be upheld, and the suspension or even mere rela xation of its
application, is the exception. This Court previously explained:
The Court is not impervious to the frustration that litigants and lawyers alike would at times encounter in procedural bureaucracy but imperative
justice requires correct observance of indispensable technicalities precisely designed to ensure its proper dispensation. It has long been recognized
that strict compliance with the Rules of Court is indispensable for the prevention of needless delays and for the orderly and expeditious dispatch
of judicial business.
Procedural rules are not to be disdained as mere technicalities that may be ignored at will to suit the convenience of a party. Adjective law is
important in ensuring the effective enforcement of substantive rights through the orderly and speedy administration of justice. These rules are
not intended to hamper litigants or complicate litigation but, indeed to provide for a system under which a suitor may be hea rd in the correct
form and manner and at the prescribed time in a peaceful confrontation before a judge whose authority they acknowledge.
It cannot be overemphasized that procedural rules have their own wholesome rationale in the orderly administration of justice. Justice has to be
administered according to the Rules in order to obviate arbitrariness, caprice, or whimsicality. We have been cautioned and reminded in Limpot v.
Court of Appeals, et al., that:
Rules of procedure are intended to ensure the orderly administration of justice and the protection of substantive rights in judicial and extrajudicial
proceedings. It is a mistake to propose that substantive law and adjective law are contradictory to each other or, as often suggested, that
enforcement of procedural rules should never be permitted if it will result in prejudice to the substantive rights of the litigants. This is not exactly
true; the concept is much misunderstood. As a matter of fact, the policy of the courts is to give both kinds of law, as complementing each other,
in the just and speedy resolution of the dispute between the parties. Observance of both substantive rights is equally guaranteed by due process,
whatever the source of such rights, be it the Constitution itself or only a statute or a rule of court.
xxxx
x x x (T)hey are required to be followed except only when for the most persuasive of reasons them may be relaxed to relieve a litigant of an
injustice not commensurate with the degree of his thoughtlessness in not complying with the procedure prescribed. x x x While it is true that a
litigation is not a game of technicalities, this does not mean that the Rules of Court may be ignored at will and at random to the prejudice of the
orderly presentation and assessment of the issues and their just resolution. Justice eschews anarchy.
In particular, on the matter of the certificate of non-forum shopping that was similarly at issue, Tible 52 pointedly said:
x x x the requirement under Administrative Circular No. 04-94 for a certificate of non-forum shopping is mandatory. The subsequent compliance
with said requirement does not excuse a party's failure to comply therewith in the first instance. In those cases where this Court excused the
non-compliance with the requirement of the submission of a certificate of non-forum shopping, it found special circumstances or compelling
reasons which made the strict application of said Circular clearly unjustified or inequitable. x x x [Emphasis supplied.]
This same rule was echoed in Mediserv v. Court of Appeals53 where we said in the course of allowing a liberal justification:
It is settled that liberal construction of the rules may be invoked in situations where there may be some excusable formal deficiency or error in
a pleading, provided that the same does not subvert the essence of the proceeding and connotes at least a reasonable attempt at compliance
with the rules. After all, rules of procedure are not to be applied in a very rigid, technical sense; they are used only to help secure substantial
justice. [Emphasis supplied.]
To be sure, BPI’s cited Shipside case also involved the absence of proof – attached to the petition – that the filing officer was authorized to sign
the verification and non-forum shopping certification. In the Motion for Reconsideration that followed the dismissal of the case, the movant
attached a certificate issued by its board secretary stating that ten (10) days prior to the filing of the petition, the filing officer had been
authorized by petitioner’s board of directors to file said petition. Thus, proper authority existed but was simply not attached to the petition. On
this submission, the petitioner sought and the Court positively granted relief.
In the present case, we do not see a situation comparable to the cited Shipside. BPI did not submit any proof of authority in the first instance
because it did not believe that a board resolution evidencing such authority was necessary. We note that instead of immediately submitting an
appropriate board resolution – after the First Union and Linda filed their motion to dismiss – BPI argued that it was not required to submit one
and even argued that:
The Complaint can only be dismissed under Section 5, Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure if there was no certification against forum
shopping. The Complaint has. The provision cited does not even require that the person certifying show proof of his authority to do so x x x.54
In fact, BPI merely attached to its opposition a special power of attorney issued by Mr. Kabigting, a bank vice-president, granting Asis and Ong
the authority to file the complaint. Thus, no direct authority to file a complaint was initially ever given by BPI – the corporate entity in whose
name and behalf the complaint was filed. Only in its Reply to the Comment to plaintiff’s Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss did BPI "beg the
kind indulgence of the Honorable Court as it inadvertently failed to submit with the Special Power of Attorney the Corporate Secretary’s
Certificate which authorized Mr. Zosimo Kabigting to appoint his substitutes." 55 Even this submission, however, was a roundabout way of
authorizing the filing officers to file the complaint.
BPI, interestingly, never elaborated nor explained its belatedly claimed inadvertence in failing to submit a corporate secretary’s certificate
directly authorizing its representatives to file the complaint; it particularly failed to specify the circumstances that led to the claimed inadvertence.
Under the given facts, we cannot but conclude that, rather than an inadvertence, there was an initial unwavering stance that the submission of a
specific authority from the board was not necessary. In blunter terms, the omission of the required board resolution in the complaint was neither
an excusable deficiency nor an omission that occurred through inadvertence. In the usual course in the handling of a case, th e failure was a
mistake of counsel that BPI never cared to admit but which nevertheless bound it as a client. From this perspective, BPI’s case is different from
Shipside so that the ruling in this cited case cannot apply.
Under the circumstances, what applies to the present case is the second paragraph of Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court which states:
Failure to comply with the foregoing requirements shall not be curable by mere amendment of the complaint or other initiatory pleading but
shall be cause for the dismissal of the case without prejudice, unless otherwise provided, upon motion and after hearing.
We thus hold that the dismissal of the case is the appropriate ruling from this Court, without prejudice to its refiling as the Rules allow.1avvphi1
We end this Decision by quoting our parting words in Melo v. Court of Appeals:56
We are not unmindful of the adverse consequence to private respondent of a dismissal of her complaint, nor of the time, effort, and money
spent litigating up to this Court solely on a so-called technical ground. Nonetheless, we hold that compliance with the certification requirement
on non-forum shopping should not be made subject to a party’s afterthought, lest the policy of the law be undermined.
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petitioner’s petition for review on certiorari, and AFFIRM the decision dated November 2, 2004 of the Court of
Appeals, in Bank of the Philippine Islands v. Hon. Romeo Barza, et al. (CA-G.R. SP No. 75350), and the subsequent resolution dated May 25,
200557 denying BPI’s Motion for Reconsideration. The complaint filed against the respondents is DISMISSED without prejudice. Costs against the
petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 170488 December 10, 2012
CMTC INTERNATIONAL MARKETING CORPORATION, Petitioner,
vs.
BHAGIS INTERNATIONAL TRADING CORPORATION, Respondents.
DECISION
PERALTA, J.:
Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the Resolutions dated August 19, 2005 1 and
November 15, 20052 of the Former Special Twelfth Division of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 84742.
The facts of the case follow.
Petitioner instituted a Complaint for Unfair Competition and/or Copyright Infringement and Claim for Damages with Prayer for Temporary
Restraining Order and Writ of Preliminary Injunction against respondent before the Regional Trial Court of Makati (trial court).3
On February 14, 2005, the trial court rendered a Decision 4 dismissing the complaint filed by petitioner. The fallo of said Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Complaint for Unfair Competition and/or Copyright Infringement and Claim for Damages is h ereby
DISMISSED without pronouncement as to cost.
SO ORDERED.5
After receiving a copy of the trial court’s Decision, petitioner seasonably filed a Notice of Appeal before the Court of Appeals (appellate court)
on March 4, 2005.6
Thereafter, the appellate court issued a Notice to File the Appellant’s Brief on May 20, 2005, which was received by the law office representing
petitioner on May 30, 2005, stating as follows:
Pursuant to Rule 44, Sec. 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure you are hereby required to file with this Court within forty-five (45) days from
receipt of this notice, SEVEN (7) legibly typewritten, mimeographed or printed copies of the Appellant’s Brief with legible copies of the assailed
decision of the Trial Court and proof of service of two copies upon the appellee/s. 7
However, despite said notice, petitioner failed to file its appellant’s brief timely. Hence, on August 19, 2005, the appellate court issued a
Resolution dismissing the appeal filed by petitioner. The full text of said Resolution reads:
Considering the report of the Judicial Records Division dated 17 August 2005 stating that no appellant’s brief has been filed as per docket
book entry, the Court RESOLVES to consider the appeal as having been ABANDONED and consequently DISMISS the same pursuant to Sec. 1(e),
Rule 50 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended.8
Upon receipt of the order of dismissal, petitioner filed its Motion for Reconsideration with Motion to Admit Appellant’s Brie f,9 which was filed
forty-two (42) days late from the date of its expiration on July 15, 2005.
On November 15, 2005, the appellate court denied petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration with Motion to Admit Appellant’s Brief. It ruled that
one of the grounds by which the Court of Appeals may, on its own motion or that of the appellee, dismiss the appeal is the fa ilure on the part
of the appellant to serve and file the required number of copies of his brief within the time prescribed by the Rules of Court, viz.:
For this Court to admit the appellant’s brief after such wanton disregard of the Rules would put a strain on the orderly administration of justice.
As held in the case of St. Louis University vs. Cordero, 434 SCRA 575, 587, citing Don Lino Gutierres & Sons, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 61 SCRA
87:
"It is necessary to impress upon litigants and their lawyers the necessity of strict compliance with the periods for performing certain acts incident
to the appeal and the transgressions thereof, as a rule, would not be tolerated; otherwise, those periods could be evaded by subterfuges and
manufactured excuses and would ultimately become inutile.
WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the Motion for Reconsideration with Motion to Admit Appellant’s Brief is perforce DENIED.
SO ORDERED.10
Accordingly, petitioner filed a petition for review on certiorari before this Court questioning the August 19, 2005 and November 15, 2005
Resolutions of the appellate court. Thus, petitioner presents the following grounds to support its petition:
A.
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRIEVOUSLY COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT SACRIFICED SUBSTANTIVE JUSTICE IN FAVOR OF
PROCEDURAL TECHNICALITIES WITH ITS DISMISSAL OF PETITIONER’S APPEAL FOR FAILURE TO FILE THE APPELLANT’S BRIEF ON TIME
WITHOUT CONSIDERING AT ALL WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER’S APPEAL DESERVED FULL CONSIDERATION ON THE MERITS.
B.
IN THE INTEREST OF SUBSTANTIVE JUSTICE, PETITIONER’S APPEAL SHOULD BE REINSTATED CONSIDERING THAT THE ERRORS OF THE TRIAL
COURT IN RENDERING ITS APPEALED DECISION ARE EVIDENT ON THE FACE OF THE SAID DECISION AND MORE SO AFTER AN
EXAMINATION OF THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD.
1. The trial court’s ruling that petitioner should have established actual confusion in the minds of buyers is contrary to jurisprudence.
2. The trial court did not state the facts upon which it based its conclusion that petitioner’s trademark is strikingly different and distinct
from that of defendant’s.
3. Respondent labeled its products in a manner confusingly similar to that of petitioner’s.
4. The trial court erred in finding that respondent did not pass off its products as that of petitioner’s.11
Simply, the issue to be resolved is the propriety of the dismissal of petitioner’s appeal for its failure to file the appellant’s brief within the
reglementary period.
Petitioner asserts that the appellate court erred in dismissing its appeal, since dismissal of appeals on purely technical grounds is frowned upon
and the rules of procedure ought not to be applied in a very technical sense, for they are adopted to help secure substantial justice.
For its part, respondent maintains that the appellate court did not err in dismissing petitioner’s appeal for its failure to file the required appellant’s
brief within the reglementary period. It stresses that in the absence of persuasive reason to deviate therefrom, rules of procedure must be
faithfully followed for the prevention of needless delays and for the orderly and expeditious dispatch of judicial business.
We find merit in the instant petition.
Time and again, this Court has emphasized that procedural rules should be treated with utmost respect and due regard, since they are designed
to facilitate the adjudication of cases to remedy the worsening problem of delay in the resolution of rival claims and in the administration of
justice. From time to time, however, we have recognized exceptions to the Rules, but only for the most compelling reasons whe re stubborn
obedience to the Rules would defeat rather than serve the ends of justice.12
In Obut v. Court of Appeals,13 this Court reiterated that it "cannot look with favor on a course of action which would place the administration of
justice in a straightjacket, for then the result would be a poor kind of justice if there would be justice at all. Verily, judicial orders are issued to
be obeyed, nonetheless a non-compliance is to be dealt with as the circumstances attending the case may warrant. What should guide judicial
action is the principle that a party-litigant if to be given the fullest opportunity to establish the merits of his complaint of defense rather than for
him to lose life, liberty, honor or property on technicalities."
The same principle was highlighted in Philippine National Bank and Development Bank of the Philippines v. Philippine Milling Company, Incorporated,
et al.[14 where the Court ruled that even if an appellant failed to file a motion for extension of time to file his brief on or before the expiration
of the reglementary period, the Court of Appeals does not necessarily lose jurisdiction to hear and decide the appealed case, and that the
Court of Appeals has discretion to dismiss or not to dismiss appellant’s appeal, which discretion must be a sound one to be exercised in accordance
with the tenets of justice and fair play having in mind the circumstances obtaining in each case.
Ergo, where strong considerations of substantive justice are manifest in the petition, the strict application of the rules of procedure may be
relaxed, in the exercise of its equity jurisdiction. 15 Thus, a rigid application of the rules of procedure will not be entertained if it will obstruct
rather than serve the broader interests of justice in the light of the prevailing circumstances in the case under consideration.
In the instant case, it is apparent that there is a strong desire to file an appellant’s brief on petitioner’s part.
When petitioner filed its motion attaching therewith its appellant’s brief, there was a clear intention on the part of petitioner not to abandon his
appeal. As a matter of fact, were it not for its counsel’s act of inadvertently misplacing the Notice to File Brief in another file, petitioner could
have seasonably filed its appellant’s brief as its counsel had already prepared the same even way before the receipt of the Notice to File
Brief.
It bears stressing at this point then that the rule, which states that the mistakes of counsel binds the client, may not be strictly followed where
observance of it would result in outright deprivation of the client’s liberty or property, or where the interest of justice so requires. In rendering
justice, procedural infirmities take a backseat against substantive rights of litigants. Corollarily, if the strict application of the rules would tend
to frustrate rather than promote justice, this Court is not without power to exercise its judicial discretion in relaxing the rules of procedure.16 ]
Also, it must be stressed that petitioner had no participatory negligence in the dismissal of its appeal.1âwphi1 Hence, the ensuing dismissal of its
appeal was completely attributable to the gross negligence of its counsel. For said reason, the Court is not averse to suspending its own rules in
the pursuit of justice. Where reckless or gross negligence of
counsel deprives the client of due process of law, or when the interests of justice so require, relief is accorded to the client who suffered by
reason of the lawyer’s gross or palpable mistake or negligence.17
All told, petitioner should be afforded the amplest opportunity for the proper and just determination of his cause, free from the constraints of
technicalities.
Nevertheless, considering that this Court is not a trier of facts, the appropriate action to take is to remand the case to th e appellate court for
further proceedings, for it to thoroughly examine the factual and legal issues that still need to be threshed out.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED, insofar as this case is REMANDED to the Court of Appeals for
further proceedings, subject to the payment of the corresponding docket fees within fifteen (15) days from notice of this Decision.
Let the records and the CA rollo of this case be transmitted accordingly.
SO ORDERED.