G.R. No. 191906, June 02, 2014
JOSELITO MA. P. JACINTO (FORMERLY PRESIDENT OFF. JACINTO GROUP, INC.), Petitioner, v. EDGARDO* GUMARU, JR., Respondent.
D E C I S I O N
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, respondents are hereby jointly and severally liable to pay complainant the following:
- Separation pay based on two months per year of service.
P50,000.00 x 2 x 10 years = P1,000,000.00
- Other monetary claims.
- 3 mos. unpaid wages & allowance = P133,101.00
- SL/VL for 2000 = 34,969.00
- 13th month pay for 2000 = 24,944.00
- Moral Damages in the sum of P100,000.00
- Exemplary Damages in the sum of P500,000.00
- 10% of all sums accruing shall be adjudged as attorney’s fees.
It is understood that the withholding of the separation benefits plus other monetary claims shall earn legal interest of 12% per annum from the time [they were] unlawfully withheld on September 01, 2000.
On June 20, 2008, respondents filed a Motion to Lift and Annul levy on execution on the ground that the writ of execution served had already elapsed.
Finding that the writ of execution was issued on September 07, 2007 and pursuant to the Supreme Court’s declaration in the case of Merlinda Dagooc vs. Roberto Endina, 453 SCRA 423 quoting section 14 of the Revised Rules of Court, that the writ has a life of five years, the instant Motion is hereby DENIED.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the NLRC Sheriff is hereby ORDERED to proceed with the auction sale set on June 27, 2008 at 10:00 AM before the Register of Deeds of Baguio City.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Order appealed from is hereby SET ASIDE and respondents–appellants’ Motion to Lift and Annul Levy is GRANTED. The Labor Arbiter is also hereby ordered to oversee the proper implementation and execution of the judgment award in this case.
Let the records be remanded to the Labor Arbiter of origin for further execution proceedings.
The Verification and Certification of Non–Forum Shopping, which accompanied the petition at bar, was executed and signed by petitioner’s counsel Atty. Ronald Mark S. Daos, in violation of Section 5, Rule 7 of the Revised Rules of Court.
Pursuant to Supreme Court Revised Circular No. 28–91, the duty to certify under oath is strictly addressed to petitioner which in this case is herein petitioner Joselito P. Jacinto and not his counsel to [sic] Atty. Ronald Mark S. Daos. Thus, to allow the delegation of said duty to anyone would render Supreme Court Revised Circular No. 28–91 inutile.
Accordingly, the petition is DENIED DUE COURSE and DISMISSED.
4.1. THE COURT OF APPEALS SHOULD NOT HAVE DISMISSED THE SUBJECT PETITION.
A PARTY UNABLE TO SIGN THE CERTIFICATION AGAINST FORUM SHOPPING CAN AUTHORIZE HIS COUNSEL TO SIGN THE CERTIFICATION. IN HIS AFFIDAVIT AND SPECIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY, PETITIONER EFFECTIVELY EMPOWERED HIS COUNSEL TO EXECUTE THE REQUIRED VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION. MOREOVER, PETITIONER, BEING ABROAD AND PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO TRAVEL TO THE NEAREST CONSULAR OFFICE, MERITED THE RELAXATION OF THE TECHNICAL RULES ON VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION. IN ANY EVENT, PETITIONER SUBSEQUENTLY SUBMITTED THE NECESSARY DOCUMENT, IN SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENT OF VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION.
VERIFICATION BY COUNSEL IS LIKEWISE ADEQUATE AND SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLIANT. THE REQUIREMENT OF VERIFICATION IS ALSO DEEMED SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLIED WITH WHEN THE AFFIANT ACTED IN GOOD FAITH AND X X X [POSSESSES] X X X SUFFICIENT KNOWLEDGE TO TRUTHFULLY ATTEST THAT THE ALLEGATIONS ARE TRUE AND CORRECT, AS IN THE CASE AT BAR. IN ANY CASE, VERIFICATION IS A FORMAL, NOT A JURISDICTIONAL, REQUISITE. IT AFFECTS ONLY THE FORM OF PLEADING BUT DOES NOT RENDER THE PLEADING FATALLY DEFECTIVE.
4.2. THE COURT OF APPEALS SHOULD HAVE GIVEN DUE COURSE TO THE SUBJECT PETITION.
THE MERITS, SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES AND COMPELLING REASONS FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF THE SUBJECT PETITION, SPECIFICALLY, THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF A PRIOR VALID SERVICE ON PETITIONER OF THE RESOLUTION SUPPOSEDLY DISPOSING OF HIS APPEAL OF THE DECEMBER 6, 2004 DECISION, THE SAID DECISION CANNOT BE IMPLEMENTED AND EXECUTED BECAUSE IT HAS NOT ATTAINED FINALITY AND JURIDICAL EXISTENCE, IS APPARENT. IF NOT CORRECTED, IT WOULD CAUSE GREAT AND IRREPARABLE DAMAGE AND INJURY, NOT TO MENTION GRAVE INJUSTICE, TO PETITIONER, WHO WILL BE COMPELLED TO SATISFY A JUDGMENT THAT OBVIOUSLY HAS NOT ATTAINED FINALITY AND JURIDICAL EXISTENCE.25
For the guidance of the bench and bar, the Court restates in capsule form the jurisprudential pronouncements already reflected above respecting non– compliance with the requirements on, or submission of defective, verification and certification against forum shopping:
1) A distinction must be made between non–compliance with the requirement on or submission of defective verification, and non–compliance with the requirement on or submission of defective certification against forum shopping.
2) As to verification, non–compliance therewith or a defect therein does not necessarily render the pleading fatally defective. The court may order its submission or correction or act on the pleading if the attending circumstances are such that strict compliance with the Rule may be dispensed with in order that the ends of justice may be served thereby.
3) Verification is deemed substantially complied with when one who has ample knowledge to swear to the truth of the allegations in the complaint or petition signs the verification, and when matters alleged in the petition have been made in good faith or are true and correct.
4) As to certification against forum shopping, non–compliance therewith or a defect therein, unlike in verification, is generally not curable by its subsequent submission or correction thereof, unless there is a need to relax the Rule on the ground of “substantial compliance” or presence of “special circumstances or compelling reasons.”
5) The certification against forum shopping must be signed by all the plaintiffs or petitioners in a case; otherwise, those who did not sign will be dropped as parties to the case. Under reasonable or justifiable circumstances, however, as when all the plaintiffs or petitioners share a common interest and invoke a common cause of action or defense, the signature of only one of them in the certification against forum shopping substantially complies with the Rule.
6) Finally, the certification against forum shopping must be executed by the party–pleader, not by his counsel. If, however, for reasonable or justifiable reasons, the party–pleader is unable to sign, he must execute a Special Power of Attorney designating his counsel of record to sign on his behalf?30
* Also spelled as Eduardo in some parts of the records.
1C.F. Sharp Crew Management, Inc. v. Undersecretary Espanol, Jr., 559 Phil. 826, 834 (2007).
2 Spouses Malolos v. Dy, 382 Phil. 709, 716 (2000).
3Rollo, pp. 21–63.
4 CA rollo, pp. 179–180; penned by Associate Justice Jane Aurora C. Lantion and concurred in by Associate Justices Mario L. Guariña III and Maritlor P. Punzalan Castillo.
6 NLRC records, pp. 65–69; penned by Labor Arbiter Ariel Cadiente Santos of the National Capital Regional Arbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission, Quezon City.
5 Id. at 182–183.
7 Entitled “Eduardo Gumaru, Jr., Complainant, versus F. Jacinto Group, Inc. and/or Joselito Ma. P. Jacinto, Respondents.”
8 NLRC records, pp. 68–69.
9 Id. at 193–196.
10 Id. at 211.
11 Id. at 217–219.
12 Id. at 342–354.
13 Id. at 393.
15 Id. at 488–491; penned by Commissioner Pablo C. Espiritu, Jr. and concurred in by Presiding Commissioner Lourdes C. Javier and Commissioner Gregorio O. Bilog III.
16 Id. at 490–491.
17 Id. at 523–526.
18 CA rollo, pp. 8–32.
19 Id. at 134–135.
20 Id. at 136–147.
21 Which state:
PARTS OF A PLEADING
Sec. 4. Verification.
Except when otherwise specifically required by law or rule, pleadings need not be under oath, verified or accompanied by affidavit.
A pleading is verified by an affidavit that the affiant has read the pleading and that the allegations therein are true and correct of his personal knowledge or based on authentic records.
A pleading required to be verified which contains a verification based on “information and belief, or upon “knowledge, information and belief,” or lacks a proper verification, shall be treated as an unsigned pleading.
SEC. 5. Certification against forum shopping.
The plaintiff or principal party shall certify under oath in the complaint or other initiatory pleading asserting a claim for relief, or in a sworn certification annexed thereto and simultaneously filed therewith:
(a) that he has not theretofore commenced any action or filed any claim involving the same issues in any court, tribunal or quasi–judicial agency and, to the best of his knowledge, no such other action or claim is pending therein; (b) if there is such other pending action or claim, a complete statement of the present status thereof; and (c) if he should thereafter learn that the same or similar action or claim has been filed or is pending, he shall report that fact within five (5) days therefrom to the court wherein his aforesaid complaint or initiatory pleading has been filed.
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. The submission of a false certification or non–compliance with any of the undertakings therein shall constitute indirect contempt of court, without prejudice to the corresponding administrative and criminal actions. If the acts of the party or his counsel clearly constitute willful and deliberate forum shopping, the same shall be ground for summary dismissal with prejudice and shall constitute direct contempt, as well as a cause for administrative sanctions.
22 Citing Uy v. Workmen’s Compensation Commission, 186 Phil. 156, 162–164 (1980); Ballao v. Court of Appeals, 535 Phil. 236, 243–244 (2006); Rombe Eximtrade (Phils.), Inc. v. Asiatrust Development Bank, 568 Phil. 810, 816–817 (2008).
23 CA rollo, pp. 148–150.
24 Id. at 163; citing Nayve v. Court of Appeals, 446 Phil. 473, 482–483 (2003).
25Rollo, pp. 32–33.
26 Id. at 415–444.
27 Citing Altres v. Empleo, G.R. No. 180986, December 10, 2008, 573 SCRA 583; Spouses Wee v. Galvez, 479 Phil. 737 (2004).
28Rollo, pp. 397–402.
29 Supra note 27.
30 Id. at 596–598.
31Rollo, pp. 451–455.
32Spouses Malolos v. Dy, supra note 2; Freeman, Inc. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, G.R. No. 110265, July 7, 1994, 233 SCRA 735, 743; Alazas v. Judge Salas, 259 Phil. 432, 437 (1989).
33 C.F. Sharp Crew Management, Inc. v. Undersecretary Espanal, Jr., supra note 1.
34 Spouses Malolos v. Dy, supra note 2 at 717