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G.R. No. 171098 - JUAN G. GARCIA, JR., ET AL. v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

G.R. No. 171098 - JUAN G. GARCIA, JR., ET AL. v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. NO. 171098 : February 26, 2008]

JUAN G. GARCIA, JR. and DOROTEO C. GAERLAN, Petitioners, v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and GARCIA PASION DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION(GPDC), represented by RAMONA G. AYESA and MARCELO F. AYESA, Respondents.

D E C I S I O N

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

In this Petition for Certiorari, petitioners seek to set aside the Resolutions of the Court of Appeals, dated 29 June 20051 and 13 January 2006,2 which dismissed their Petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 90178 for failure to comply with the requirements of Section 1, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.3

From the records, it appears that petitioners are stockholders of private respondent Garcia Pasion Development Corp. (GPDC), a family corporation duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Petitioners are defendants in SP. Proc. No. 03-106410, a stockholders' derivative suit with prayer for attachment and receivership filed by GPDC, represented by Ramona G. Ayesa and Marcelo F. Ayesa, with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 24. Furthermore, GPDC is a stockholder of Kenram Philippines, Inc. and Kenram Industrial Development, Inc. On 22 February 2005, petitioners and private respondents filed a Joint Motion4 with the RTC, praying, thus:

WHEREFORE, plaintiff and defendants respectfully pray that the Honorable Court issue an Order as follows:

(a) Directing that all the dividends declared or to be declared in the future to plaintiff Garcia Pasion Development Corporation by Kenram Philippines, Inc. and Kenram Industrial Development, Inc., or other corporations, including those still in the custody of the latter two corporations, be delivered to the Branch Clerk of Court;

(b) Directing the Branch Clerk of Court to open an account in the name of Garcia Pasion Development Corporation [GPDC], with a bank designated by the Honorable Court, in which account shall be deposited all funds received by said Branch Clerk of Court as and by way of dividends due to GPDC; andcralawlibrary

(c) Directing that no withdrawal shall be made from the bank account except upon motion of the parties approved by the Court.5

The RTC issued an Order6 of even date which partially granted the parties' prayer, directing that the dividends be delivered to the Office of the Clerk of Court, RTC, Manila. Hence:

As prayed for, all the dividends declared or to be declared in the future to [private respondent] Garcia Pasion Development Corporation [GPDC], by Kenram Philippines, Inc. and Kenram Industrial Development, Inc., or other corporations, including those still in the custody of the latter two corporations, are hereby directed to be delivered not to the Branch Clerk of Court but to the Office of the Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court, Manila.7

Unsatisfied, the parties filed a Joint Motion to Amend the Order dated 22 February 2005, praying that the RTC modify the same by directing that all the dividends of GPDC delivered to the Office of the Clerk of Court, RTC of Manila, be deposited in an account to be opened in the name of GPDC with a bank designated by the RTC, and that no withdrawal shall be made except upon joint motion of the parties approved by the court.8

Acting on the said Joint Motion, the RTC issued an Order9 dated 7 April 2005, denying the same. It directed thus:

x x x considering that under Section 2.1.2 of [T]he 2002 Revised Manual for Clerks of Court, particularly the provisions that "only one depository bank shall be maintained, that deposits shall be made in the name of the court and that the clerk of Court shall be the custodian of the passbook to be issued by the depository bank x x x," the joint motion is hereby denied.10

On 20 June 2005, petitioners filed a Petition for Certiorari with the Court of Appeals, which dismissed it outright for failure to attach therewith certified true copies of the assailed Orders of the RTC, dated 22 February 2005 and 7 April 2005 in contravention of Section 1, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.

On 15 July 2005, petitioners filed a Joint Motion for Reconsideration,11 but it was denied. The Court of Appeals held that while the attachment of a duplicate original copy of the assailed order is sufficient compliance with the mandate of Section 1, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, petitioners merely appended machine copies of the assailed orders.

Hence, the instant Petition alleging that the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing the Petition for Certiorari on mere technicality.

Private respondent GPDC in its Comment12 joins petitioners in their prayer that this Court give due course to the Petition.

We dismiss the Petition.

The acceptance of a petition for certiorari, as well as the grant of due course thereto is, in general, addressed to the sound discretion of the court.13 It must be stressed that certiorari, being an extraordinary remedy,14 the party who seeks to avail of the same must strictly observe the rules laid down by the law15 and non-observance thereof may not be brushed aside as mere technicality.16

In the matter of the requirement that a Petition for Certiorari be accompanied by a certified true copy of the judgment, order or resolution subject thereof, Section 1, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, provides:

SECTION 1. Petition for certiorari . -

x x x

The petition shall be accompanied by a certified true copy of the judgment, order or resolution subject thereof, copies of all pleadings and documents relevant and pertinent thereto, and a sworn certification of non-forum shopping as provided in the third paragraph of Section 3, Rule 46.

Significantly, Section 3, Rule 46 of the same Rules, provides:

SECTION 3. Contents and filing of petition; effect of non-compliance with requirements. '

x x x

It shall be filed in seven (7) clearly legible copies together with proof of service thereof on the respondent with the original copy intended for the court indicated as such by the petitioner, and shall be accompanied by a clearly legible duplicate original or certified true copy of the judgment, order, resolution, or ruling subject thereof, such material portions of the record as are referred to therein, and other documents relevant or pertinent thereto. The certification shall be accomplished by the proper clerk of court or by his duly authorized representative, or by the proper officer of the court, tribunal, agency or office involved or by his duly authorized representative. The other requisite number of copies of the petition shall be accompanied by clearly legible plain copies of all documents attached to the original.

x x x

The failure of the petitioner to comply with any of the foregoing requirements shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition."

It is true that Section 3 of Rule 46 does not require that all supporting papers and documents accompanying a petition be duplicate originals or certified true copies.17 However, it explicitly directs that all cases originally filed in the Court of Appeals shall be accompanied by a clearly legible duplicate original or certified true copy of the judgment, order, resolution or ruling subject thereof.18 Similarly, under Rule 65, which covers certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, petitions need to be accompanied only by duplicate originals or certified true copies of the questioned judgment, order or resolution.19 Other relevant documents and pleadings attached to it may be mere machine copies thereof.20 In the case at bar, petitioners failed to attach duplicate originals or certified true copies of the assailed Orders of the RTC, dated 22 February 2005 and 7 April 2005. What they affixed were machine or xerox copies of the same. Plainly put, petitioners contravened the obvious rudiments of the rules.

In Circular No. 3-96, we made the following clarifications and supplemental rules on what is a duplicate original or certified true copy:

1. The "duplicate original copy" shall be understood to be that copy of the decision, judgment, resolution or order which is intended for and furnished to a party in the case or proceeding in the court or adjudicative body which rendered and issued the same. The "certified true copy" thereof shall be such other copy furnished to a party at his instance or in his behalf, duly authenticated by the authorized officers or representatives of the issuing entity as hereinbefore specified.

2. The duplicate original copy must be duly signed or initialed by the authorities or the corresponding officer or representative of the issuing entity, or shall at least bear the dry seal thereof or any other official indication of the authenticity and completeness of such copy. For this purpose, all courts, offices or agencies furnishing such copies which may be used in accordance with Paragraph (3) of Revised Circular No. 1-88 shall make arrangements for and designate the personnel who shall be charged with the implementation of this requirement.

3. The certified true copy must further comply with all the regulations therefor of the issuing entity and it is the authenticated original of such certified true copy, and not a mere xerox copy thereof, which shall be utilized as an annex to the petition or other initiatory pleading.

4. Regardless of whether a duplicate original copy or a certified true copy of the adjudicatory document is annexed to the petition or initiatory pleading, the same must be exact and complete copy of the original and all the pages thereof must be clearly legible and printed on white bond or equivalent paper of good quality with the same dimensions as the original copy. Either of the aforesaid copies shall be annexed to the original copy of the petition or initiatory pleading filed in court, while plain copies thereof may be attached to the other copies of the pleading.

5. It shall be the duty and responsibility of the party using documents required by Paragraph (3) of Circular No. 1-88 to verify and ensure compliance with all the requirements thereof as detailed in the proceeding paragraphs. Failure to do so shall result in the rejection of such annexes and the dismissal of the case. Subsequent compliance shall not warrant any reconsideration unless the court is fully satisfied that the noncompliance was not in any way attributable to the party despite due diligence on his part, and that there are highly justifiable and compelling reasons for the court to make such other disposition as it may deem just and equitable.

Based on the foregoing, it is incontrovertible that a certified true copy is not a mere xerox copy. Further, it is imperative that the duplicate original copy required by the rules must be duly signed or initialed by the authorities or the corresponding officer or representative of the issuing entity, or shall at least bear the dry seal thereof or any other official indication of the authenticity and completeness of such copy. Petitioners' xerox copies are wanting in this respect.

Petitioners seek a liberal application of the procedural rules. For their failure to attach certified true copies of the assailed orders of the RTC, petitioners place the blame on the appellate court. Petitioners brazenly suggest that what the Court of Appeals should have done was to issue an Order directing them to comply with the rule on attaching certified true copies, instead of dismissing the case on its face. We do not see reason to grant liberality in the application of the rules. It must be emphasized that the liberality in the interpretation and application of the rules applies only in proper cases and under justifiable causes and circumstances.21 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.22 Only strong considerations of equity, which are wanting in this case, will lead us to allow an exception to the procedural rule in the interest of substantial justice.23 To further suggest petitioners' impervious attitude towards rules, they even failed to attach certified true copies or duplicate original copies of the assailed Orders in their Motion for Reconsideration filed with the Court of Appeals. Concomitant to a liberal application of the rules of procedure should be an effort on the party invoking liberality to at least explain its failure to comply with the rules.24 Circular No. 3-96 is also unequivocal that it shall be the duty and responsibility of the party to verify and ensure compliance with all the requirements detailed therein. In fact, failure to do so shall result in the rejection of such annexes and the dismissal of the case.25

Petitioners' contention that the Court of Appeals ought to have issued an Order directing them to file the certified true copies of the assailed RTC orders is hardly a plausible explanation. They have everything within their power to ensure compliance with all the requirements laid down by the rules. As parties who wish to seek the aid of the courts and avail of the extraordinary remedy of certiorari, petitioners should have taken the duty and the responsibility to observe the rules.

At any rate, we do not find merit in the Petition. Petitioners' prayer that the Branch Clerk of Court be directed to open an account in the name of GPDC, with a bank designated by the RTC may not be granted. The guidelines to be observed in making deposits or withdrawals of all collections from bailbonds, rental deposits and other fiduciary collections, or moneys received in trust are enumerated in Supreme Court Circular No. 13-92, dated 1 March 1992, to wit:

CIRCULAR NO. 13-92

To : All Executive Judges and Clerks of Court of the Regional Trial Courts and Shari a District Courts.

Subject: Court Fiduciary Funds

x x x

x x x The following procedure is, therefore, prescribed in the administration of Court Fiduciary Funds:

"Guidelines in Making Deposits:

"1) Deposits shall be made under a savings account. Current account can also be maintained provided that it is on automatic transfer of account from savings.

"2) Deposits shall be made in the name of the Court.

"3) The Clerk of Court shall be the custodian of the Passbook to be issued by the depository bank and shall advise the Executive Judge of the bank's name, branch and savings/current account number.

"Guidelines in Making Withdrawals

"1) Withdrawal slips shall be signed by the Executive Judge and countersigned by the Clerk of Court.

"2) In maintaining a current account, withdrawals shall be made by checks. Signatories on the checks shall likewise be the Executive Judge and the Clerk of Court.

"All collections from bailbonds, rental deposits and other fiduciary collections shall be deposited immediately by the Clerk of Court concerned, upon receipt thereof, with an authorized government depository bank.26

The same rule is also embodied in the 2002 Revised Manual for Clerks of Court.27 Pertinently, the rule is that deposits shall be made in the name of the Court. Perforce, the instant Petition is without merit.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition is hereby DISMISSED. The Resolutions of the Court of Appeals, dated 29 June 2005 and 13 January 2006 in CA-G.R. SP No. 90178, are AFFIRMED. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Endnotes:


1 Rollo, pp. 79-80.

2 Id. at 63-65.

3 SECTION 1. Petition for certiorari . ' When any tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court, alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal, board or officer, and granting such incidental reliefs as law and justice may require.

The petition shall be accompanied by a certified true copy of the judgment, order or resolution subject thereof, copies of all pleadings and documents relevant and pertinent thereto, and a sworn certification of non-forum shopping as provided in the third paragraph of Section 3, Rule 46.

4 Rollo, pp. 66-68.

5 Id. at 67.

6 Records, Volume III, p. 398.

7 Id.

8 Id. at 405.

9 Id. at 424.

10 Id.

11 CA rollo, pp. 28-33.

12 Rollo, pp. 73-76.

13 Tan v. Bausch and Lomb, Inc., G.R. No. 148420, 15 December 2005, 478 SCRA 115, 120.

14 Manila Midtown Hotels & Land Corp. v. National Labor Relations Commission, 351 Phil. 500, 506 (1998); Solidum v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 161647, 22 June 2006, 492 SCRA 261, 269.

15 Balayan v. Acorda, G.R. No. 153537, 5 May 2006, 489 SCRA 637, 643, citing Matagumpay Maritime Co., Inc., v. Dela Cruz, G.R. No. 144638, 9 August 2005, 466 SCRA 130, 134; Seastar Marine Services, Inc. v. Bul-an, Jr., G.R. No. 142609, 25 November 2004, 444 SCRA 140, 153.

16 De Los Santos v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 147912, 26 April 2006, 488 SCRA 351, 358; Teoville Homeowners Association, Inc. v. Ferreira, G.R. No. 140086, 8 June 2005, 459 SCRA 459, 472; Sea Power Shipping Enterprises, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 412 Phil. 603, 611 (2001).

17 OSM Shipping Philippines, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, 446 Phil. 793, 802-803 (2003).

18 Circular No. 39-98 reads, in part:

Rule 46, Sec 3. Contents and filing of petition; effect of non-compliance with requirements. '

x x x

It shall be filed in seven (7) clearly legible copies together with proof of service thereof on the respondent with the original copy intended for the court indicated as such by the petitioner and shall be accompanied by a clearly legible duplicate original or certified true copy of the judgment, order, resolution, or subject thereof, such material portions of the record as are referred to therein, and other documents relevant or pertinent thereto. The certification shall be accomplished by the proper clerk of court of by his duly authorized representative, or by the proper officer of the court, tribunal, agency or office involved or by his duly authorized representative.

19 Id.

20 Id.

21 Garbo v. Court of Appeals, 327 Phil. 780, 784 (1996).

22 Id.

23 Bago v. People, 443 Phil. 503, 506 (2003).

24 Prudential Guarantee and Assurance, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 146559, 13 August 2004, 436 SCRA 478, 483; Lapid v. Judge Laurea, 439 Phil. 887, 896 (2002).

25 Paragraph 5 of Administrative Circular No. 3-96, states:

[5]It shall be the duty and responsibility of the party using the documents required by paragraph 3 of Circular No. 1-88 to verify and ensure compliance with all the requirements thereof as detailed in the preceding paragraphs. Failure to do so shall result in the rejection of such annexes and the dismissal of the case. Subsequent compliance shall not warrant any reconsideration unless the Court is fully satisfied that the non-compliance was not in any way attributable to the party, despite due diligence on his part, and that there are highly justifiable and compelling reasons for the Court to make such other disposition as it may deem just and equitable.

26 Judge Madrid v. Ramirez, 324 Phil. 651, 657-658 (1996).

27 See Volume I, Section 2.1.2.2c.1 of the 2002 Revised Manual for Clerks of Court.

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