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VALLACAR TRANSIT, INC. V.

JOCELYN CATUBIG
DOCTRINE:
The requirement on verification of a pleading is a formal, not a jurisdictional, requisite
o The party need NOT sign the verification; a partys representative, layer, or any person who
personally knows the truth of the facts alleged in the pleading may sign the verification
o When circumstances warrant, the court may simply order the correction of unverified pleadings
or act on it and waive strict compliance with the rules in order that the ends of justice may thereby
be served
EMERGENCY RECIT:
Cabanilla, employee, was driving a bus owned by Vallacar Transit, when it collided with a motorcycle
driven by Quintin Catubig, who had another passenger riding in tandem with him, killing Catubig and the
other passenger
Catubig was in the process of overtaking a cargo truck in front of him, in a curve in the highway, when it
collided with the bus driven by Cabanilla
Catubigs widow, Jocelyn, filed a complaint for reckless imprudence resulting in double homicide with the
MCTC, which was dismissed because the court found no negligence on Cabanillas part
Jocelyn filed a complaint for damages with the RTC, which was dismissed for lack of merit, since the
RTC also found that Cabanilla was not negligent
Jocelyn appealed to the CA, which found that Vallacar was equally responsible for the negligence of its
driver, Cabanilla, and ordered it to pay damages to Catubigs heirs
Vallacar filed a petition for review with the SC, contending that Jocelyns complaint for damages with the
RTC should have been dismissed outright for her failure to verify the complaint
SC found that there was no reason to outrightly dismiss Jocelyns complaint since it is not a pleading
required by law or rules to be verified. Also, verification is only a formal, not jurisdictional, requirement
SC also found Vallacar not liable for any damages since its driver, Cabanilla, was not guilty of any
negligence. On the contrary, it was Catubig who was negligent in overtaking a truck while approaching a
curve in the road
FACTS:
Vallacar Transit (Vallacar) is in the business of transportation and is the franchise owner of a Ceres
Bulilit bus
Quirino Cabanilla (Cabanilla) is employed as a regular bus driver of Vallacar
Jocelyns (respondent) husband, Quintin Catubig (Catubig), was on his way home from Dumaguete,
driving a motorcycle with an employee of his, Teddy Emperado (Emperado), riding in tandem with him
While approaching a curve, Quintin tried to overtake a slow-moving ten-wheeler cargo truck by crossing
over to the opposite lane, which was being traversed by the Ceres Bulilit bus, driven by Cabanilla
When the two vehicles collided, Catubig and Emperado were thrown from the motorcycle
o Catubig died on the spot while Emperado died while he was being rushed to the hospital
Cabanilla was charged with reckless imprudence resulting in double homicide before the MCTC of
Manjuyod-Bindoy-Ayungon, Negros Oriental
o After preliminary investigation, MCTC dismissed the criminal charge, finding that Cabanilla was
not criminally liable for the deaths of Catubig and Emperado because there was no negligence,
not even contributory, on Cabanillas part
Jocelyn filed a complaint for damages before the RTC, seeking actual, moral and exemplary damages
amounting to P484,000 for the death of her husband, based on Art. 2180, in relation to Art. 2176, of the
Civil Code (she said that Vallacar should be civilly liable vicariously because their employee was reckless
and negligent in driving the bus which collided with Catubigs motorcycle)
o Vallacars defense, in its answer with counterclaim, was that the proximate cause of the
collision was the sole negligence of Catubig when he overtook the cargo truck at a curve,
traversing the opposite lane
o Vallacar also asked for the dismissal of the complaint for not being verified and/or failure
to state a cause of action, as there was no allegation that Vallacar was negligent in the selection
or supervision of its employee driver

o RTC dismissed the complaint, finding preponderance of evidence in favor of Vallacar, that
Catubig was the reckless and imprudent driver, and not Cabanilla. Vallacars counterclaim was
dismissed for lack of merit
Jocelyn appealed to the CA, which modified the RTC decision and found both drivers to have been
negligent. According to the CA, Catubig was negligent in overtaking a truck at a curve, while Cabanilla
was running the bus at a high speed of 100 kmh. CA also brushed aside the defense of Vallacar that it
exercised the degree of diligence required by law in the conduct of its business
o CA held Vallacar equally liable in the accident, awarding P250,000 to the heirs of Catubig as full
compensation for his death
o Vallacars MR was denied
Vallacar filed a petition for review with the SC, asserting that Jocelyns complaint for damages
should be dismissed for her failure to verify the same and denying and vicarious liability through the
alleged negligence of their employee, Cabanilla
ISSUE:
WON Jocelyns complaint for damages should be dismissed for failure to verify the complaint
WON Vallacar is vicariously liable for the death of Catubig
HELD/RATIO:
1. NO. SC held that it finds no procedural defect that would warrant the outright dismissal of
Jocelyns complaint
This is because Jocelyn filed her complaint for damages in 1995, when the
1964 Rules of Court were still in effect
1964 ROC (R7, 6)
Sec. 6. Verification.
A pleading is verified only by an
affidavit stating that the person
verifying has read the pleading
and that the allegations thereof
are true of his own knowledge.
Verifications based on
"information and belief," or upon
"knowledge, information and
belief," shall be deemed
insufficient.

1997 ROC (R7, 4)


(effective July 1, 1997)
SEC. 4. Verification.
Except when otherwise
specifically required by law or
rule, pleadings need not be
under oath, verified or
accompanied by affidavit.

A.M. No. 00-2-10


(effective May 1, 2000)
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 knowledge and
belief.

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.

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.

The 1997 ROC states that pleadings need not be verified except when otherwise specifically required by
law or rule. No such law or rule specifically requires that Jocelyns complaint for damages should
have been verified

The requirement on verification of a pleading is a formal, not a jurisdictional, requisite


o It is intended to secure an assurance that what are alleged in the pleading are true and correct
and not the product of the imagination or a matter of speculation, and that the pleading is filed in
good faith
o The party need NOT sign the verification; a partys representative, layer, or any person who
personally knows the truth of the facts alleged in the pleading may sign the verification
o When circumstances warrant, the court may simply order the correction of unverified pleadings
or act on it and waive strict compliance with the rules in order that the ends of justice may thereby
be served
o Examples of petitions that require verification: all pleadings filed in civil cases under the 1991
Revised Rules on Summary Procedure, petition for review from the RTC to the SC raising only
questions of law under Rule 41, petition for review of the decision of the RTC to the CA under
Rule 42, etc.
o Verification is different from certification of non-forum shopping, which must be signed by the
party only (not even by counsel)
2. NO. SC agrees with Vallacar that Jocelyn was unable to prove imputable negligence on the part of
Vallacar
Art. 2180 (on vicarious liability of employer) does not apply to Vallacar since the fault or negligence of its
employee, Cabanilla, has never been established
o The presumption that employers are negligent under Art. 2180 flows from the negligence of
their employees (which in this case, has not been proved satisfactorily
The totality of the evidence shows that the proximate cause of the collision of the bus and motorcycle is
attributable solely to the Catubigs negligence
o Catubigs overtaking of the cargo truck in front of ihm, while approaching a cruve, was the
immediate and proximate cause of the collision