G.R. No. 166944, August 18, 2014
JUANITO MAGSINO, Petitioner, v. ELENA DE OCAMPO AND RAMON GUICO, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
WHEREFORE, having failed to substantiate his allegations, the Complaint is hereby ordered DISMISSED.
The writ of preliminary injunction dated November 10, 2000, is hereby ordered recalled, set aside and with no further force and effect. Consequently, the plaintiff is ordered to leave and vacate that parcel of agricultural land with an area of 10 hectares more or less, located at Sapinit, San, Juan, Antipolo City covered by Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. 328090, 328091, 328092, 328093 and 328094 in the name of defendant Elena De Ocampo which is currently being occupied by said plaintiff by virtue of such writ of injunction.
But finding no malice in instituting this Complaint against the defendants, as it was only natural for anybody who is similarly situated to search for remedies in protecting his rights, the Court shall not pronounce any moral or actual damages against the plaintiff.
However, as the defendants incurred litigation expenses, plaintiff is hereby ordered to reimburse to the defendants the grand total amount of P100,000.00 representing attorney's fees and litigation expenses (“Honorarium”) and to pay costs of suit.
WHEREFORE, the Decision appealed from is hereby affirmed-in-toto with costs against the plaintiff-appellant.
The petition is not accompanied by copies of the pleadings and other material portions as would support the allegations of the petition, such as:1) Copy of the complaint filed with the Municipal Trial Court of Taytay, Rizal, Answer, and Motion to Dismiss;WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED.
2) Copies of the appeal memoranda filed by the parties.
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS HAD THE POWER AND DISCRETION TO FOREGO WITH THE APPLICATION OF SAID SECTIONS OF RULE 43 (SIC) IN THE INTEREST OF SUBSTANTIAL JUSTICE, CONSIDERING THAT NO LESS THAN IGNORANCE OF THE LAW WAS EXHIBITED BY JUDGE QUERUBIN IN HOLDING THAT RESPONDENTS, THEN DEFENDANTS, HAD THE BETTER POSSESSORY RIGHT OVER THE PROPERTY BY REASON OF THEIR TITLE, OBLIVIOUS OF THE FACT THAN (SIC) IN FORCIBLE ENTRY, IT IS PRIOR, PHYSICAL AND ACTUAL POSSESSION THAT IS MATERIAL.
WHETHER OR NOT, CONSIDERING OUR SUBMISSION TO THIS HONORABLE COURT THE DOCUMENTS THE COURT OF APPEALS WAS AITATING (SIC) FOR IT WOULD BE PROPER FOR THIS CASE TO BE REFERRED BACK TO IT FOR ADJUDICATION ON THE MERITS.
WHETHER OR NOT TECHNICALITY (SIC) WHICH THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS STRICTLY AHERED (SIC) TO BEDAME (SIC), HERE, AN INSTRUMENT IN OBSTRUCTIN (SIC) THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH AND IN DEFEATING THE ENDS OF JUSTICE.15
Section 2. Form and contents. – The petition shall be filed in seven (7) legible copies, with the original copy intended for the court being indicated as such by the petitioner, and shall (a) state the full names of the parties to the case, without impleading the lower courts or judges thereof either as petitioners or respondents; (b) indicate the specific material dates showing that it was filed on time; (c) set forth concisely a statement of the matters involved, the issues raised, the specification of errors of fact or law, or both, allegedly committed by the Regional Trial Court, and the reasons or arguments relied upon for the allowance of the appeal; (d) be accompanied by clearly legible duplicate originals or true copies of the judgments or final orders of both lower courts, certified correct by the clerk of court of the Regional Trial Court, the requisite number of plain copies thereof and of the pleadings and other material portions of the record as would support the allegations of the petition.
x x x x
Section 3. Effect of failure to comply with requirements. – The failure of the petitioner to comply with any of the foregoing requirements regarding the payment of the docket and other lawful fees, the deposit for costs, proof of service of the petition, and the contents of and the documents which should accompany the petition shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal thereof.
First, not all pleadings and parts of case records are required to be attached to the petition. Only those which are relevant and pertinent must accompany it. The test of relevancy is whether the document in question will support the material allegations in the petition, whether said document will make out a prima facie case of grave abuse of discretion as to convince the court to give due course to the petition.
Second, even if a document is relevant and pertinent to the petition, it need not be appended if it is shown that the contents thereof can also (sic) found in another document already attached to the petition. Thus, if the material allegations in a position paper are summarized in a questioned judgment, it will suffice that only a certified true copy of the judgment is attached.
Third, a petition lacking an essential pleading or part of the case record may still be given due course or reinstated (if earlier dismissed) upon showing that petitioner later submitted the documents required, or that it will serve the higher interest of justice that the case be decided on the merits.
The guideposts, which equally apply to a petition for review filed in the CA under Rule 42, reflect that the significant determinant of the sufficiency of the attached documents is whether the accompanying documents support the allegations of the petition.19
If this Honorable Court would really want to inform itself more, it is submitted that all that it has to do is to order the elevation of all the records to it. The Rules of Court, and for that matter all rules of procedure should bow to the greater imperative of doing substantial justice. Rather, routinely applying a rule of procedure when the same is not necessary in order to arrive at an intelligent resolution of the issues, it is submitted, would hamper or repress rather than promote the search for truth.
x x x x
It may be cliché, but it is still true today as when it first found its way into the human mind, that when technical rules of procedure already serve to hamper justice they must be left to the dustbin of the legally forgettable, and at the cost of setting them aside, should unobtrusively pursue the ends of justice and the search for truth.
x x x x
Now must this Honorable Court sacrifice the law for technical rules of procedure? Must it countenance mediocrity, nay, ignorance, by sticking unflaggingly to such rules? Can this honorable Court afford to pass up the rare opportunity to decide a constitutional issue with right of a party to due process of law on the line?
x x x x
ONCE AGAIN, we ask: Is it necessary for this Honorable Court to still pursue those pleadings when the issues confronting them are legal issues which even lesser legal intellects can resolve?
This Honorable Court is respectfully reminded the law is made for man, not man for the law.31
A careful perusal of the said provision would reveal that the documents or annexes therein mentioned are required to be appended to the petition and the mandatory character of such requirement may be inferred from Section 3 of Ruled 42 x x x.
The petitioner’s further argument that it is the Court which should get all the records from the court a quo if it really wants to be more informed of the issues, is not well-taken. Precisely, the annexes mentioned in Section 2(d) of Rule 42 are required to be appended to the petition in order to enable this Court to determine even without consulting the record if the petition is patently without merit or the issues raised therein are too insubstantial to require consideration, in which case the petition should be dismissed outright, or whether there is a need to require the respondent to comment on the petition. In short, the mere fact that a petition for review is filed does not call for the elevation of the record, which means that until this Court finds that the elevation of the record is necessary, such record should remain with the trial court during the pendency of the appeal in accordance with Section 2 of Rule 39, let alone the fact that in ejectment cases the decision of the RTC is immediately executory pursuant to Section 21 of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure. Thus, more often than not, this Court has resolved petitions for review under Rule 42 without unnecessary movement of the original record of the case which could entail not only undue delay but also the possibility of the record being lost in transit.
The petitioner urged us to rely on the documents and pleadings he appended in his petition which merely consisted of the MTC Judgment, the assailed RTC Order, the Motion for Reconsideration, and the questioned Order dated November 6, 2003 denying his Motion for Reconsideration. None of the aforementioned documents set out the factual milieu of his claims.
Instead of manifesting that he would submit the additional documentary evidence, the petitioner remained obstinate in his stand not to submit the additional pleadings and other material portions of the record. He maintained that what he has submitted based on his discretion, are all that are necessary to support his allegations in his petition. As we have already mentioned, the accompanying documents were insufficient to support the petition. Also, the petitioner could have easily ended his debacle by merely attaching the supplemental documents in his Motion for Reconsideration. Instead, the petitioner stubbornly chose to insist that this Court direct the elevation of the records of the case if we deem that the relevant documents were not appended to the petition.
x x x x
It is not disputed that it is petitioner who knows best what pleadings or material portions of the record of the case would support the allegations in the petition. The petitioner's discretion in choosing the documents to be attached to the petition is however not unbridled. The Court has the duty to check the exercise of this discretion, to see to it that the submission of supporting documents is not merely perfunctory. The practical aspect of this duty is to enable us to determine at the earliest possible time the existence of prima facie merit in the petition. Moreover, Section 3 of Rule 42 of the Revised Rules of Court provides that if petitioner fails to comply with the submission of “documents which should accompany the petition”, it “shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal thereof.”
In this case, the insufficiency of the supporting documents coupled with the unjustified refusal of the petitioner to even attempt to substantially comply with the attachment requirement justified the dismissal of his petition.32
Procedural requirements which have often been disparagingly labeled as mere technicalities have their own valid d’ etre in the orderly administration of justice. To summarily brush them aside may result in arbitrariness and injustice.35
The Court’s pronouncement in Garbo v. Court of Appeals36 is relevant:Procedural rules are tools designed to facilitate the adjudication of cases. 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.Like all rules, procedural rules should be followed except only when, for the most persuasive of reasons, they may be relaxed to relieve a litigant of an injustice not commensurate with the degree of his thoughtlessness in not complying with the prescribed procedure.37
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. 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 that 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.
The mandatory tenor of Section 2(d), Rule 42 with respect to the requirement of attaching clearly legible duplicate originals or true copies of the judgments or final orders of both lower courts is discernible and well settled. In this case, the mandatory or directory nature of the requirement with respect to the attachment of pleadings and other material portions of the record is put in question.
The phrase “of the pleadings and other material portions of the record” in Section 2(d), Rule 42 is followed by the phrase “as would support the allegations of the petition” clearly contemplates the exercise of discretion on the part of the petitioner in the selection of documents that are deemed to be relevant to the petition. xxx. The crucial issue to consider then is whether or not the documents accompanying the petition before the CA sufficiently supported the allegations therein.44 (Emphasis supplied)
* In lieu of Associate Justice Martin S. Villarama, Jr., who took part in the Court of Appeals, per the raffle of July 11, 2012.
1Rollo, p. 65; penned by Associate Justice Amelita G. Tolentino (retired), and concurred in by Associate Justice Eloy R. Bello, Jr. (retired) and Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion (now a Member of this Court).
2 Id. at 70-73; penned by Associate Justice Tolentino, concurred in by Associate Justice Brion and Associate Justice Villarama, Jr. (who replaced Associate Justice Bello, Jr. upon his retirement).
3 Id. at 11.
4 Id. at 18.
5 Id. at 38-39.
6 Id. at 47; penned by Judge Francisco A. Querubin.
7 Id. at 48.
8 Id. at 52.
9 Id. at 65.
10 Id. at 67.
12 Id. at 68.
14 Id. at 70-73.
15 Id. at 6.
16Dimarucot v. People, G.R. No. 183975, September 20, 2010, 630 SCRA 659; Polintan v. People, G.R. No. 161827, April 21, 2009, 586 SCRA 111.
17Polintan v. People, supra, at 117; Trans International v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 128421, October 12, 1998, 297 SCRA 718.
18 G.R. No. 157445, April 3, 2013, 695 SCRA 10, 21-22.
19 Id., citing Air Philippines Corporation v. Zamora, G.R. No. 148247, August 7, 2006, 498 SCRA 59, 72.
20 Section 1, Rule 70, Rules of Court.
21Santos v. Ayon, G.R. No. 137013, May 6, 2005, 458 SCRA 83, 89; see also Sumulong v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 108817, May 10, 1994, 232 SCRA 372, 383. It is cogent to observe, however, that a sufficient cause of action for forcible entry can be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction based on the allegations of the answer or other responsive pleadings only when agricultural tenancy is averred as a defense and is shown to be the real issue between the parties (Ignacio v. CFI of Bulacan, G.R. No. L-27897-98, October 29, 1971, 42 SCRA 89, 95.) The action should then be dismissed and brought in the proper Regional Trial Court acting as a special agrarian court.
22 Section 7(b), Rule 40 of the Rules of Court (1997).
23Enriquez v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 140473, January 28, 2003, 396 SCRA 377, 384; Solid Homes, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 117501, July 8, 1997, 275 SCRA 267, 282.
24 Section 7, Rule 40 of the Rules of Court (1997).
25 CA rollo, pp. 7-10.
26 Id. at 11-12.
27 Id. at 13.
28 Id. at 14-16.
29 Id. at 53.
30 Id. at 67-69.
31 Id. at 68-69.
32 Rollo, pp. 71-73. (Italics omitted.)
33 Building Care Corporation/Leopard Security & Investigation Agency v. Macaraeg, G.R. No. 198357, December 10, 2012, 687 SCRA 643, 647.
34 G.R. No. 149576, August 8, 2006, 498 SCRA 220, 231.
35 Id., citing Trimica, Inc. v. Polaris Marketing Corporation, G.R. No. L-29887, October 28, 1974, 60 SCRA 321, 325.
36 G.R. No. 107698, July 5, 1996, 258 SCRA 159, 163.
37 Id.; See also Social Security System v. Chaves, G.R. No. 151259, October 13, 2004, 440 SCRA 269, 276.
38 Bolos v. Bolos, G.R. No.186400, October 20, 2010, 634 SCRA 429, 437.
39Iloilo La Filipina Uygongco Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 170244, November 28, 2007, 539 SCRA 178, 191.
40Mediserv, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 161368, April 5, 2010, 617 SCRA 284, 296-297.
41 G.R. No. 189151, January 25, 2012, 664 SCRA 322.
42Anderson v. Ho, G.R. No. 172590, January 7, 2013, 688 SCRA 8, 20-21; Philippine National Bank v. Deang Marketing Corporation, G.R. No. 177931, December 8, 2008, 573 SCRA 312, 323.
43 G.R. No. 136096, February 7, 2001, 351 SCRA 361.
44 Id. at 368-369.