G.R. No. 201760, September 16, 2013
LBL INDUSTRIES, INC., Petitioner, v. CITY OF LAPU-LAPU, Respondent.
D E C I S I O N
VELASCO JR., J.:
That at the Special Meeting of the Board of the Corporation on February 14, 2006, the following resolution had been adopted and approved[.] to wit:chanroblesvirtualawlibraryMeanwhile, petitioner interposed a Motion to Conduct Joint Survey and Set Case for Pre-trial."RESOLVED, as it is hereby resolved, to authorize ELSIE TAN MARIÑO [Mariño], an officer of the corporation, to commence any action for and in behalf of the corporation as she may deem fit and necessary to do any and all acts that may be essential in the prosecution and defense of the cases of the corporation[,] more particularly involving and in connection with the Eminent Domain case filed by the City of Lapu-Lapu[,] including the execution/signing and verification of the Answer of other necessary pleadings[,] and do such other acts necessary and proper in connection therewith."2
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Motion to Dismiss is denied.Petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the RTC's February 18, 2008 Order was likewise denied in that court's January 26, 2011 Order,5 the dispositive portion of which states:chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Plaintiff [respondent] is directed to prosecute this case within thirty (30) days from receipt of this order.
Furnish copies of this order to counsels.
WHEREFORE PREMISES CONSIDERED, the motion for reconsideration is hereby DENIED.In the latter Order, the RTC attributed the fault to its branch clerk of court for failing to comply with its twin orders directing the issuance of a writ of possession.
For the third time, the Branch Clerk of Court is hereby directed to issue a writ of possession.
Furnish copy of this order to counsels.
RESOLVED, as it is hereby resolved, to authorize Mr. Roberto Z. Sison [Sison] or Ms. Elsie T. Mariño, to commence any action and. or represent the corporation as he/she may deem fit and necessary and to do any and all acts that may be essential in the prosecution and defense of the cases of the corporation more particularly involving the Complaint for Eminent Domain filed with the RTC of Lapu-Lapu City, any proceedings for just compensation for its lots in Lapu-Lapu City including the execution/signing and verification of the necessary documents and do such other acts necessary and proper in connection therewith.6
The fallo of the CA's July 11, 2011 Resolution reads as follows:chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
- a One Hundred and Fifty Peso (PhP 150) deficiency in docket fees;
- the absence of the serial number, as well as the province or city of commission of the Notary Public in the Notarial Certificate of the Verification and Certification of Non-Forum Shopping
- lack of proper proof of service; and
- absence of a board resolution evincing the authority of Roberto Sison, petitioner's Chief Operating Officer, to represent it in the case.
In view of the foregoing premises, petitioners' Petition for Certiorari dated April 11, 2011 is hereby DISMISSED.As regards the absence of a board resolution, the CA held that "the Petition is subject to dismissal if a certification was submitted unaccompanied by proof of the signatory's authority."8 Petitioner, thus, moved for reconsideration, offering explanations for the defects cited by the CA including the absence of the board resolution.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration dated August 10, 2011, is hereby DENIED.
Accompanying the Petition is a copy of the April 8, 2011 Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Board of Directors of petitioner authorizing Sison to represent petitioner in the expropriation case.12cralawlibrary
- [WHETHER THE CA] SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE SECRETARY'S CERTIFICATE EXECUTED BY ASSISTANT CORPORATE SECRETARY ELSIE T. MARIÑO AUTHORIZING ROBERTO Z. SISON TO ACT FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONER CORPORATION IN FILING THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARI DOES NOT CONSTITUTE SUFFICIENT PROOF OF [SISON'S] AUTHORITY TO REPRESENT THE CORPORATION.
- [WHETHER THE CA] SERIOUSLY ERRED IN DISMISSING THE CASE BASED ON A TECHNICALITY WHEN PETITIONER HAS SUBSTANTIALLY RAISED VALID GROUNDS TO SET ASIDE THE ORDERS OF THE TRIAL COURT DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO DISMISS THE CASE FOR FAILURE OF THE RESPONDENT TO PROSECUTE THE CASE FOR AN UNREASONABLE LENGTH OF TIME.11
In Shipside Incorporated v. Court of Appeals, the petitioner had not attached any proof that its resident manager was authorized to sign the Verification and the non-forum shopping Certification, as a consequence of which the Petition was dismissed by the Court of Appeals. Subsequent to the dismissal, however, the petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, to which was already attached a Certificate issued by its board secretary who stated that, prior to the filing of the Petition, the resident manager had been authorized by the board of directors to file the Petition.A simple perusal of the records shows that separate authorizing board resolutions, as evidenced by the Secretary's Certificate, were executed a few days prior to the filing of the Answer to the basic complaint to expropriate and the petition for certiorari interposed before the CA. The Answer was filed on February 28, 2006. Prior to this date, the board of petitioner already authorized Mariño "to do any and all acts that may be essential in the prosecution and defense of the cases of the corporation, more particularly involving and in connection with the Eminent Domain case filed by the City of Lapu-Lapu" during its February 14, 2006 special meeting. Similarly, the Petition for Certiorari before the CA was filed on April 15, 2011, accompanied by a secretary's certificate executed on April 12, 2011 by Mariño, which states, among others, that the latter, as well as Sison, was authorized by the Board on April 8, 2011 to represent petitioner in said eminent domain case.
Citing several cases excusing noncompliance with the requirement of a certificate of non-forum shopping, the Court held that "with more reason should x x x the instant petition [be allowed,] since petitioner herein did submit a certification on non-forum shopping, failing only to show proof that the signatory was authorized to do so." The Court further said that the subsequent submission of the Secretary's Certificate, attesting that the signatory to the certification was authorized to file the action on behalf of petitioner, mitigated the oversight. (Emphasis supplied; citations omitted.)
Sec. 1. When conducted. - After the last pleading has been served and filed, it shall be the duty of the plaintiff to promptly move ex parte that the case be set for pre-trial.chanrob1esvirtualawlibraryRelated to the above section is Sec. 3 of Rule 17, which states:chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Sec. 3. Dismissal due to fault of plaintiff. - If, for no justifiable cause, the plaintiff fails x x x to prosecute his action for an unreasonable length of time, x x x the complaint may be dismissed upon motion of the defendant or upon the court's own motion x x x.chanrob1esvirtualawlibrarySec. 1, Rule 18 of the Rules of Court imposes upon the plaintiff the duty to set the case for pre-trial after the last pleading is served and filed. With this in mind, We have, in several cases,16 ruled that the plaintiffs omission to promptly move that the case be set for pre-trial is a ground for the dismissal of the complaint due to his fault, particularly for failing to prosecute his action for an unreasonable length of time, pursuant to Sec. 3, Rule 17.
I. PRE-TRIALThus, the present rule is that if the plaintiff fails to file a motion to set the case for pre-trial within five (5) days from the filing of a reply, the duty to set the case for pre-trial falls upon the branch clerk of court. However, this does not relieve the plaintiff of his own duty to prosecute the case diligently.
A. Civil Cases
1. Within one day from receipt of the complaint:chanroblesvirtualawlibrary1.1. Summons shall be prepared and shall contain a reminder to defendant to observe restraint in filing a motion to dismiss and instead allege the grounds thereof as defences in the Answer, in conformity with IBP-OCA Memorandum on Policy Guidelines dated March 12, 2002. xxx.
1.2 x x x Within five (5) days from date of filing of the reply, the plaintiff must promptly move ex parte that the case be set for pre-trial conference. If the plaintiff fails to file said motion within the given period, the Branch [Clerk of Court] shall issue a notice of pre-trial.
* Acting member per Special Order No. 1541 (Revised) dated September 9. 2013.cranad
1 Docketed as Civil Case No. 6538-L before the RTC, Branch 27 in Lapu-Lapu City, entitled City of Lapu-Lapu v. Sps. Lhullier, et al.
2Rollo p. 139.cranad
3 Id. at 172.cranad
4 Id. at 162.cranad
5 Id. at 172.cranad
6 Id. at 186.cranad
7 Id. at 32-34. Penned by Associate Justice Eduardo B. Peralta Jr. and concurred in by Associate Justices Pampio A. Abarirrtbs and Gabriel T. Ingles.cranad
8 Id. at 33.cranad
9 Id. at 37.cranad
10 Id. at 38.cranad
11 Id. at 14.cranad
12 Id. at 219.cranad
13Shipside Incorporated v. Court of Appeals, 404 Phil. 981 (2001); Cebu Metro Pharmacy, Inc. v. Euro-Med Laboratories Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 164757, October 18, 2010, 633 SCRA 320; Mediserv, Inc. v. CA, G.R. No. 161368, April 5, 2010, 617 SCRA 284.cranad
14 496 Phil. 467, 475 (2005).cranad
15 See Golangco v. Court of Appeals, 347 Phil. 771. 778 (1997). [The next most logical step would then be for the Court to simply set aside the challenged resolutions, remand the case to the CA and direct the latter to resolve on the merits of the petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 58799. But that would further delay the case. Considering the issues raised which can be resolved on the basis of the pleadings and documents filed, and the fact that petitioner itself has asked the Court to decide its petition on the merits, the Court deems it more practical and in the greater interest of justice not to remand the case to the CA but, instead, to resolve the controversy once and for all.]
16Olave v. Mistas, G.R. No. 155193, November 26, 2004, 444 SCRA 479; Samson v. Fiel-Macaraig, G.R. No. 166356, February 2, 2010, 611 SCRA 345; New Japan Motors, Inc. v. Pemcho, 165 Phil. 636 (1976).cranad
17 Guidelines to be Observed by Trial Court Judges and Clerks of Court in the Conduct of Pre-Trial and Use of Deposition-Discovery Measures.cranad
18Rollo, p. 151.cranad
19 Id. at 152.cranad
20 Id. at 153.cranad
21 Id. at 172.