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Republic of the Philippines

12th Judicial Region


MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS IN CITIES
Cotabato City

MARIAM V. GUIALANI
Plaintiff, CIVIL CASE NO. 3341

-vs- -for-

SPS. ASSIDA A. LAO RECONVEYANCE OF TITLE


and LININDING M. LAO WITH PRAYER FOR DAMAGES
AND FAISAL B. UNGKAKAY AND ATTORNEY’S FEES
In his capacity as the OIC
Register of Deeds of Cotabato City
Defendants.
x-----------------------------------------x

COMMENT/OPPOSITION TO THE MOTION TO DECLARE


DEFENDANTS IN DEFAULT FILED BY THE PLAINTIFF

COMES NOW, Defendants, through undersigned counsels and


unto this Honorable Court, most respectfully submit this
Comment/Opposition to the Plaintiff’s Motion to Declare Defendants in
Default and state that:

1. Last March 6, 2019, the Defendants, through Atty. Tahir Lidasan,


collaborating counsel of the defendants, received a copy of the
Motion to Declare Defendants in Default filed by herein Plaintiff;

2. The Defendants respectfully opposes the Plaintiff’s Motion which


anchored on the premise that Defendants failed to file their
Answer within the reglementary period specified by the Rules of
Court as it was an unsigned pleading;

3. It is worthy to inform this Honorable Court that the Answer filed


by the former counsel of the Defendants was shown to them for
evaluation and to assess the sufficiency of the statements
contained by the said Answer;

4. The Defendants observed that the Answer contained general


denials and immediately informed their former counsel to revise
it and incorporate statements based on their true and correct
recollection of events which would specifically deny the
allegations of the plaintiff on her complaint to give strength to
their defenses;

5. The Defendants did not sign the Answer presented to them by


their former counsel believing that the latter will prepare a
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revised one and will present it to them to affix their signature
before filing it in this Honorable Court;

6. While waiting for the revised pleading, unknown to the


Defendants, their counsel had caused the filing of the Answer
which was previously shown to them without any revision of the
statements contained therein, and without their signature. They
were only apprised of such fact only a day before the hearing.
They were engulfed by worries and fears of the adverse effect
of the filing of the said unsigned pleading, that is why on that
same day, they immediately sought the legal assistance of Atty.
Tahir Lidasan;

7. Defendants tried to reach their former counsel through


telephone calls but they can no longer contact the latter to ask
why the pleading was filed without their signature. Mr. Lininding
M. Lao even went to former counsel’s house and office but to no
avail as the gate of the latter’s house was closed or padlocked
and that he is always not around in his office. In short, after
diligent efforts, still they could not locate the whereabouts of the
former counsel even up to this date.

8. It is doctrinal rule that clients are bound by the actions of their


counsel in the conduct of their case. The only exception to the
general rule is when the counsel’s actuations are gross or
palpable, resulting in serious injustice to clients, that Courts
should accord relief to the party. (GCP-Manny Transport Service
Inc. v. Principe, 511 Phil 176, 184-185(2005); Ligaya Mendoza
and Adelia Mendoza v. The Hon. Court of Appeals (Eight
Division), Hon. Judge Liberato C. Cortez and BangkoKabayan GR
No. 182814, July 15, 2015). The Defendants submits that their
case falls to this exception.

9. It is the utmost intention of the Defendants to apprise this


Honorable Court that they have no intention to cause delay. In
good faith and confidence, they have relied to the professional
legal expertise of their former counsel, thus, it will be unfair to
attribute to them the gross mistake committed by the latter and
consequently be declared in default.

10. A default judgment is frowned upon because of the policy of


the law to hear every litigated case on the merits. (Momarco
Import Co. Inc. v VIllamena, GR No. 192477, July 27, 2017)

11. Moreover, a party to the case should not be denied to be heard


on the ground of mere technicalities. Procedural rules may be
relaxed for the most persuasive of reasons in order to relieve a
litigant of an injustice not commensurate with the degree of his
thoughtlessness in not complying with the procedure prescribed.
Corollarily, the rule, which states that the mistakes of counsel
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bind the client, may not be strictly followed where observance of
it would result in the outright deprivation of the client’s liberty or
property, or where the interest of justice so requires. (City of
Dagupan v Maramba 738 Phil 71,87 (2014) Citing SY v Local
Government of Quezon City, 710 Phil 549,557 (2013).

12. Defendants are also of the belief that they have meritorious
defense since plaintiff has ceased to have title and right to the
subject property as they have already sold it as evidenced by the
Deed of Sale she executed with Baican S. Abutazil wherein the
plaintiff admitted the genuineness of her signature and said
document was attached to the complaint and marked as Annex
“D”;

13. Defendants, if be allowed to file an Answer will be able to prove


their legal title and ownership to the subject land;

14. Defendants respectfully pleads to this Honorable Court that the


Plaintiff’s Motion to Declare the Defendants in Default should be
denied and the former be allowed to file its Answer and be
admitted by this Court to serve the best interests of justice.

WHEREFORE, the Defendants pray that the Motion to Declare


Defendants in Default be denied.

Other reliefs just and equitable are also prayed.

March 14, 2019, Cotabato City, Philippines.

ATTY. RAHMA D. SANGLITAN, CPA


Roll of Attorney No. 70670
IBP OR No. 09778/ 01-07-2019
MCLE Compliance (Admitted June 4, 2018)
PTR No. 3070569/ 01-04-2019
Unit 3B, MS Building, Don TV Juliano Avenue, RH12, Cotabato City

ATTY. NASIFF BRIAN O. MEDITAR, RN


Roll of Attorney No. 72158
IBP OR No. 1071139 (01-28-2019)
MCLE Compliance (Admitted 06-20-2018)
PTR No. 3070134 (01-04-2019; Cotabato City)
Unit 3B MS Building, Don TV Juliano Avenue, RH12, Cotabato City

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ATTY. FAIZODEN P. ALI, CPA
Roll of Attorney No. 70669
IBP OR No. 058522 (12-13-2018; Manila)
MCLE Compliance (Admitted 06-04-2018)
PTR No. 3070570 (01-04-2019; Cotabato City)
Unit 3B MS Building, Don TV Juliano Avenue, RH12, Cotabato City

COUNSELS FOR THE DEFENDANT

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