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RULE MAKING POWER OF THE SUPREME COURT

Power to amend the rules

G.R. No. 167403 August 6, 2008


MAKATI INSURANCE CO., INC., Petitioner, vs. HON. WILFREDO D. REYES, as Presiding Judge
of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 36, RUBILLS INTERNATIONAL, INC., TONG
WOON SHIPPING PTE LTD, and ASIAN TERMINALS, INC., Respondents.

FACTS:
Petitioner filed before the RTC a Complaint against private respondents Rubills
International, Inc., Tong Woon Shipping PTE., LTD., and Asian Terminals, Inc. for damages arising
from breach of contract of carriage.

After the issues were joined, the case was set for pre-trial conference. For the failure of
petitioners counsel to appear at the scheduled pre-trial conference on 19 November 2001, RTC
Presiding Judge Wilfredo D. Reyes (Judge Reyes) dismissed the case without prejudice.

On 29 November 2001, petitioner received the Order dated 19 November 2001 dismissing
its case. On 4 December 2001, petitioner filed its Verified Motion for Reconsideration alleging that
sickness prevented its counsel from attending the pre-trial conference. On 3 July 2002, petitioner
received Judge Reyes’s Order dated 17 June 2002 denying its Verified Motion for Reconsideration.

Petitioner received notice of the afore-mentioned Order on 3 July 2002.

On 17 July 2002, petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal, which was promptly opposed by
private respondents for having been filed out of time. Petitioner countered that its failure to file
the Notice of Appeal on time was due to its counsel’s inadvertence in computing the appeal
period. The inadvertence was allegedly due to the fact that its Verified Motion for Reconsideration
was filed by registered mail, and the messenger who mailed it failed to attach to the records of
the case the postal receipt showing the date the said motion was mailed. Petitioners counsel,
therefore, was unable to determine correctly when petitioner’s period to appeal was interrupted
by the filing of its Verified Motion for Reconsideration and how many more days were left in said
period when its Motion was denied.

On 2 October 2002, Judge Reyes issued his Order dismissing petitioners Notice of Appeal
for being filed three days beyond the 15-day reglementary period. In so ruling, Judge Reyes held
that pursuant to Section 3, Rule 41 vis-a-vis Section 2, Rule 22 of the Revised Rules of Court, the
period to appeal is interrupted by a timely motion for reconsideration. Petitioner filed its Verified
Motion for Reconsideration five days after receiving the Order dismissing the case without
prejudice. Excluding the day the said motion was filed, petitioner had only 11 days left to file a
notice of appeal. Petitioner received the Order of 17 June 2002 denying its Verified Motion for
Reconsideration on 3 July 2002. Accordingly, it had only until 14 July 2002 to file a Notice of
Appeal. Petitioner, however, filed its Notice of Appeal on 17 July 2002.

Plaintiffs’ notice of appeal was ordered dismissed as it was filed three (3) days beyond the
reglementary period.

Petitioner then filed with the Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of
the Revised Rules of Court questioning the 2 October 2002 RTC Order dismissing its Notice of
Appeal. The Petition, however, was denied by the Court of Appeals.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the Notice of Appeal filed by petitioner was filed out of time.

RULING:
NO. Based on the foregoing, an appeal should be taken within 15 days from the notice of
judgment or final order appealed from. A final judgment or order is one that finally disposes of a
case, leaving nothing more for the court to do with respect to it. It is an adjudication on the merits
which, considering the evidence presented at the trial, declares categorically what the rights and
obligations of the parties are; or it may be an order or judgment that dismisses an action.

Propitious to petitioner is Neypes v. Court of Appeals, promulgated on 14 September 2005


while the present Petition was already pending before us. In Neypes, we pronounced that:

To standardize the appeal periods provided in the Rules and to afford litigants fair
opportunity to appeal their cases, the Court deems it practical to allow a fresh period of
15 days within which to file the notice of appeal in the Regional Trial Court, counted from
receipt of the order dismissing a motion for a new trial or motion for reconsideration.

With the advent of the "fresh period rule," parties who availed themselves of the remedy
of motion for reconsideration are now allowed to file a notice of appeal within fifteen days from
the denial of that motion.
The fresh period rule is not inconsistent with Rule 41, Section 3 of the Revised Rules of
Court which states that the appeal shall be taken within fifteen (15) days from notice of judgment
or final order appealed from. The use of the disjunctive word or signifies disassociation and
independence of one thing from another. It should, as a rule, be construed in the sense which it
ordinarily implies. Hence, the use of or in the above provision supposes that the notice of appeal
may be filed within 15 days from the notice of judgment or within 15 days from notice of the final
order, which, in this case is the 17 July 2002 RTC Order denying petitioners Verified Motion for
Reconsideration, received by petitioner on 3 July 2002.

Taking the bearings from Neypes, in Sumaway v. Urban Bank, Inc., the SC set aside the
denial of a notice of appeal which was purportedly filed five days late. With the fresh period rule,
the 15-day period within which to file the notice of appeal was counted from notice of the denial
of the therein petitioners motion for reconsideration.

We followed suit in Elbia v. Ceniza, wherein SC applied the principle granting a fresh period
of 15 days within which to file the notice of appeal, counted from receipt of the order dismissing
a motion for new trial or motion for reconsideration or any final order or resolution.

Thereafter, in First Aqua Sugar Traders, Inc. v. Bank of the Philippine Islands, the SC held
that a party litigant may now file his notice of appeal either within fifteen days from receipt of the
original decision or within fifteen days from the receipt of the order denying the motion for
reconsideration.

The SC thus hold that when herein petitioner filed its notice of appeal on 17 July 2002, the
same was seasonably filed within the fresh period of 15 days, counted from 3 July 2002, the date
it received the denial of its Verified Motion for Reconsideration.
Power to suspend the rules

G.R. No. 164195 December 4, 2009


APO FRUITS CORPORATION and HIJO PLANTATION, INC. Petitioners, vs. THE HON. COURT
OF APPEALS and LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

FACTS:
AFC and HPI owned agricultural lands which they voluntarily offered to sell to the
government. However, they did not agree to the LBP’s valuation of the land, stating that the
valuations were unreasonably low and inadequate as just compensation for the properties.

DAR then requested LBP to deposit the amounts equivalent to the LBP valuations in the
names of both AFC and HPI. The latter both withdrew several millions from the said accounts.
Thereafter, new TCTs over the lands were issued in the name of the Republic of the Philippines,
and CLOAs were subsequently issued to farmer-beneficiaries.

AFC and HPI both filed complaints for determination of just compensation.

ISSUES:
 Whether or not LBP may determine the amount of just compensation.
 If so, Whether or not it correctly determined the value of the lands in question.

RULING:
NO. The valuation of property in eminent domain is essentially a judicial function which is
vested with the RTC acting as a Special Agrarian Court.

NO. In the determination of just compensation, all the facts as to the condition of the
property and its surroundings, its improvements and capabilities, may be shown and considered
in estimating its value.

The determination of just compensation is essentially a judicial function. The


determination of just compensation cannot be made to the prejudice of the sellers or of the
government.

Requirements for a proper exercise of eminent domain:


 Public use
 Just compensation

Reasons which would warrant the suspension of Rules

G.R. No. 167471 February 5, 2007


GLICERIA SARMIENTO, Petitioner, vs. EMERITA ZARATAN, Respondent.

FACTS:
Petitioner Gliceria Sarmiento filed an ejectment case against respondent Emerita Zaratan,
in the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Quezon City. On 31 March 2003, the MeTC rendered a
decision in favor of petitioner. ( MeTC ordered the defendant to pay plaintiff monthly rentals and
to vacate the premises.)

Respondent filed her notice of appeal. Thereafter, the case was raffled to the RTC of
Quezon City.

In the Notice of Appealed Case, the RTC directed respondent to submit her memorandum
in accordance with the provisions of Section 7(b) of Rule 40 of the Rules of Court and petitioner
to file a reply memorandum within 15 days from receipt.

Respondent’s counsel having received the notice on 19 May 2003, he had until 3 June
2003 within which to file the requisite memorandum. But on 3 June 2003, he filed a Motion for
Extension of Time of five days due to his failure to finish the draft of the said Memorandum. He
cited as reasons for the delay of filing his illness for one week, lack of staff to do the work due to
storm and flood compounded by the grounding of the computers because the wirings got wet.
But the motion remained unacted.

On 9 June 2003, respondent filed her Memorandum. On 19 June 2003, the RTC dismissed
the appeal as follows:

Record shows that defendant-appellant received the Notice of Appealed Case, through
counsel, on May 19, 2003 (Registry Return Receipt dated May 12, 2003, Record, back of p. 298).
Thus, under Section 7(b), Rule 40 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, she had fifteen (15) days or
until June 3, 2003 within which to submit a memorandum on appeal. As further appears on record,
however, the required Memorandum was filed by defendant-appellant only on June 9, 2003
(Record, p. 623), or six (6) days beyond the expiration of the aforesaid fifteen day period.

Aggrieved, respondent filed a Petition for Certiorari in the Court of Appeals, which was
granted the petition of respondent. The appellate court nullified and set aside Orders of the RTC
and ordered the reinstatement of respondent’s appeal. Consequently, respondent’s appeal
memorandum was admitted and the case remanded to the RTC for further proceedings. Hence,
this appeal by petitioner.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the lack of notice of hearing in the Motion for Extension of Time to file
Memorandum on Appeal is fatal, such that the filing of the motion is a worthless piece of paper.

RULING:
In this case, the answer is NO. Petitioner avers that, because of the failure of respondent
to include a Notice of Hearing in her Motion for Extension of Time to file Memorandum on Appeal
in the RTC, the latter’s motion is a worthless piece of paper with no legal effect.
It is not disputed that respondent perfected her appeal on 4 April 2003 with the filing of her Notice
of Appeal and payment of the required docket fees. However, before the expiration of time to file
the Memorandum, she filed a Motion for Extension of Time seeking an additional period of five
days within which to file her Memorandum, which motion lacked the Notice of Hearing required
by Section 4, Rule 15 of the 1997 Rules of Court which provides:

SEC. 4.Hearing of Motion. - Except for motions which the court may act upon without
prejudicing the rights of the adverse party, every written motion shall be set for hearing
by the applicant.

Every written motion required to be heard and the notice of the hearing thereof shall be
served in such a manner as to ensure its receipt by the other party at least three (3) days
before the date of hearing, unless the court for good cause sets the hearing on shorter
notice.

As may be gleaned above and as held time and again, the notice requirement in a motion
is mandatory. As a rule, a motion without a Notice of Hearing is considered pro forma and does
not affect the reglementary period for the appeal or the filing of the requisite pleading.
As a general rule, notice of motion is required where a party has a right to resist the relief
sought by the motion and principles of natural justice demand that his right be not affected
without an opportunity to be heard. The three-day notice required by law is intended not for the
benefit of the movant but to avoid surprises upon the adverse party and to give the latter time to
study and meet the arguments of the motion. Principles of natural justice demand that the right
of a party should not be affected without giving it an opportunity to be heard.

The test is the presence of the opportunity to be heard, as well as to have time to study
the motion and meaningfully oppose or controvert the grounds upon which it is based.
Considering the circumstances of the present case, we believe that procedural due process was
substantially complied with.

There are, indeed, reasons which would warrant the suspension of the Rules: (a) the
existence of special or compelling circumstances, b) the merits of the case, (c) a cause not entirely
attributable to the fault or negligence of the party favored by the suspension of rules, (d) a lack
of any showing that the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory, and (e) the other party will
not be unjustly prejudiced thereby. Elements or circumstances (c), (d) and (e) exist in the present
case.

The suspension of the Rules is warranted in this case. The motion in question does not
affect the substantive rights of petitioner as it merely seeks to extend the period to file
Memorandum. The required extension was due to respondent’s counsel’s illness, lack of staff to
do the work due to storm and flood, compounded by the grounding of the computers. There is
no claim likewise that said motion was interposed to delay the appeal. As it appears, respondent
sought extension prior to the expiration of the time to do so and the memorandum was
subsequently filed within the requested extended period. Under the circumstances, substantial
justice requires that we go into the merits of the case to resolve the issue of who is entitled to the
possession of the land in question.

Further, it has been held that a "motion for extension of time x xx is not a litigated motion
where notice to the adverse party is necessary to afford the latter an opportunity to resist the
application, but an ex parte motion made to the court in behalf of one or the other of the parties
to the action, in the absence and usually without the knowledge of the other party or parties." As
a general rule, notice of motion is required where a party has a right to resist the relief sought by
the motion and principles of natural justice demand that his rights be not affected without an
opportunity to be heard. It has been said that "ex parte motions are frequently permissible in
procedural matters, and also in situations and under circumstances of emergency; and an
exception to a rule requiring notice is sometimes made where notice or the resulting delay might
tend to defeat the objective of the motion.

The instant petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The Decision and the Resolution of the
Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED. No costs.

G.R. No. 166645 November 11, 2005


VICENTE D. HERCE, JR., Petitioner, vs. MUNICIPALITY OF CABUYAO, LAGUNA and JOSE B.
CARPENA, Respondents.

FACTS:
The LRA issued a Torrens Certificate of Title on January 28, 1997, in favor of the petitioner
over a parcel of land. However, this was opposed by the respondent alleging that they are the
legal owner of said land by virtue of Decree No. 4244.

After the issuance of said Torrens Certificate of Title, the respondent filed before the RTC
a petition to reopen the decree of registration in favor of the petitioner. Despite the objection of
the petitioner, the RTC granted said motion.

The petitioner filed an appeal before the CA but it was dismissed.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the CA erred in affirming the trial courts order to reopen the decree of
registration.

RULING:
No. In the case of City of Manila v. Lack the Court explained that the purpose of the
legislature in creating the Court of Land Registration was to bring the land titles of the Philippine
under one comprehensive and harmonious system, the cardinal features of which are
indefeasibility of title and the intervention of the State as a prerequisite to the creation and
transfer of titles and interest, with the resultant increase in the use of land as a business asset by
reason of the greater certainty and security of title. The Court of Land Registration does not create
or vest a title. It simply confirms a title already created and already vested, rendering it forever
indefeasible.
The Land Registration Act (Act No. 496, now P.D. No. 1529) as well as the Cadastral Act
protects only the holders of a title in good faith and cannot be used as a shield for frauds or that
one should enrich himself at the expense of another. One cannot conceal under the cloak of its
provisions to perpetrate fraud and obtain a better title than what he really and lawfully owns. Thus,
if he secures a certificate of title by mistake or obtain more land than what he really owns, the
certificate of title should be cancelled or corrected.

In other words, indefeasibility and imprescriptibility are the cornerstones of land


registration proceedings. Barring any mistake or use of fraud in the procurement of the title,
owners may rest secure on their ownership and possession once their title is registered under the
protective mantle of the Torrens system. Thus, once a decree of registration is made under the
Torrens system, and the reglementary period has passed within which the decree may be
questioned, the title is perfected and cannot be collaterally questioned later on.

Applying these legal precepts to the case at bar, it is clear that Decree No. 4244 issued in
favor of the respondent municipality in 1911 has become indefeasible; as such, petitioner is now
barred from claiming the subject land. Under the Land Registration Act, specifically Section 38
thereof, the adjudication of land in a registration (or cadastral) case becomes final and
incontrovertible after the expiration of one year after the entry of the final decree. Before such
time, the decision remains under the control and sound discretion of the court rendering the
decree, which court after hearing, may set aside the decision or decree and adjudicate the land to
another party. As such, Decree No. 4244, which was issued in 1911, has long become final and
incontrovertible.

Accordingly, the decree of registration issued by the LRA on January 28, 1997 in favor of
petitioner, followed by the issuance of OCT No. O-2099, pertaining to the same parcel of land
covered by Decree No. 4244, has no legal basis and should be nullified.

Petitioners contention that respondent municipality is estopped from questioning the


decree of registration issued in his favor in view of the inordinate delay by the respondent
municipality in asserting its claim of ownership is likewise erroneous. The fundamental principle
is that prescription does not run against the government.
Rules on liberal construction and its purpose

G.R. No. 191215 February 3, 2014


THENAMARIS PHILIPPINES, INC. (Formerly INTERMARE MARITIME AGENCIES, INC.)/
OCEANIC NAVIGATION LTD. and NICANOR B. ALTARES, Petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS
and AMANDA C. MENDIGORIN (In behalf of her deceased husband GUILLERMO
MENDIGORIN), Respondents.

FACTS:
Amanda C. Mendigorin, the private respondent is the widow of seafarer Guillermo M.
Mendigorin employed by Thenamaris Philippines, Inc., filed a complaint with the Labor Arbiter,
for death benefits, unpaid salaries, sickness allowance, refund of medical expenses, damages and
attorney’s fees against Thenamaris after he Guillermo Mendigorin died of colon cancer during the
term of employment contract between him and the company.

The Labor Arbiter rendered a decision in favor of Mendigorin, awarding the latter death
benefits, reimbursement of medical expenses, moral and exemplary damages, and attorney’s fees
while denying the rest of the claims. Upon appeal, the NLRC reversed Arbiter’s decision and
reconsideration was denied for lack of merit.

Private respondent's counsel, 62 days after receipt of NLRC decision, filed a Motion for
Extension of Time praying for an extension of 15 days to File Petition for Certiorari before the CA,
alleging she had until September 7, 2009 (as September 6, 2009, the actual last day for filing, fell
on a Sunday) within which to file a petition for certiorari. The CA, entertained private respondent's
Petition for Certiorari despite having been filed 15 days late and allowed her to correct the
technical infirmities therein. Petitioners asserted that as private respondent’s motion for extension
is a prohibited pleading, as well as one filed outside of the reglementary period, then private
respondent’s Petition for Certiorari is a mere scrap of paper with no remedial value whatsoever.
Consequently, the Decision of the NLRC has become final and executory and is beyond the ambit
of judicial review.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the period for filing a petition for certiorari by the private respondent may
be extended
RULING:
There is merit in the petition. The period for filing a petition for certiorari by the private
respondent may not be extended.

In Republic v. St. Vincent de Paul Colleges, Inc.22 we had the occasion to settle the seeming
conflict on various jurisprudence touching upon the issue of whether the period for filing a
petition for certiorari may be extended. In said case we stated that the general rule, as laid down
in Laguna Metts Corporation v. Court of Appeals, is that a petition for certiorari must be filed
strictly within 60 days from notice of judgment or from the order denying a motion for
reconsideration. This is in accordance with the amendment introduced by A.M. No. 07-7-12-SC
where no provision for the filing of a motion for extension to file a petition for certiorari exists,
unlike in the original Section 4 of Rule 65 which allowed the filing of such a motion but only for
compelling reason and in no case exceeding 15 days. Under exceptional cases, however, and as
held in Domdom v. Third and Fifth Divisions of the Sandiganbayan, the 60-day period may be
extended subject to the court’s sound discretion. In Domdom, we stated that the deletion of the
provisions in Rule 65 pertaining to extension of time did not make the filing of such pleading
absolutely prohibited. “If such were the intention, the deleted portion could just have simply been
reworded to state that ‘no extension of time to file the petition shall be granted.’ Absent such a
prohibition, motions for extension are allowed, subject to the court’s sound discretion.”

Meaning of the rules on liberal construction

G.R. No. 170232 December 5, 2006


VETTE INDUSTRIAL SALES CO., INC., KENNETH TAN, ESTRELLA CHENG, LUISITO RAMOS,
YVETTE TAN, KESSENTH CHENG, VEVETTE CHENG and FELESAVETTE CHENG, petitioners, vs.
SUI SOAN S. CHENG a.k.a. CHENG SUI SOAN, respondent.

FACTS:
These consolidated Petitions for Review on Certiorari assail the Decision dated September
22, 2005 of the Court of Appeals. Also assailed is the Resolution dated October 27, 2005 denying
petitioners’ motion for partial reconsideration and respondent Sui’s motion for reconsideration.

In his Complaint for specific performance and damages filed against Vette Industrial Sales
Company, Inc., Kenneth Tan, Estrella Cheng, Luisito Ramos, Yvette Tan, Kessenth Cheng, Vevette
Cheng, and Felesavette Cheng (petitioners), Sui Soan S. Cheng a.k.a. Cheng Sui Soan (Sui) alleged
that on October 24, 2001, he executed a Deed of Assignment, where he transferred his 40,000
shares in the company in favor of Kenneth Tan, Vevette Cheng, Felesavette Cheng, and Yvette Tan
(Petitioners-Assignees). To implement the Deed of Assignment, the company acknowledged in a
Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), that it owed him P6.8 million pesos, plus insurance proceeds
amounting to P760,000.00 and a signing bonus of P300,000.00. Thereafter, he was issued 48
postdated checks but after the 11th check, the remaining checks were dishonored by the bank.
Sui also claimed that petitioners did not remit to him the insurance proceeds, thus breaching their
obligation under the MOA which entitled him to moral and exemplary damages, and attorney’s
fees.

After the issues were joined, pre-trial was set on July 3, 2003. However, the case was first
submitted for mediation but it was referred back to the court for continuation of the proceedings
when no settlement was arrived at during mediation.

Sui thereafter filed a Motion to Set Pre-trial on December 16, 2003. Petitioners received
the motion but they did not attend because there was no notice from the Court setting the pre-
trial date. On December 29, 2003, petitioners received two orders from the trial court. The first
Order allowed Sui to present evidence ex-parte, while the second Order revoked the first order
after the trial court noted that "what was set for consideration on December 16, 2003 was merely
a motion to set pre-trial." Thus, the trial court reset the pre-trial on January 15, 2004 but it was
postponed and moved to May 21, 2004. On said date, Sui and his counsel, Atty. Pedro M. Ferrer
(Atty. Ferrer), failed to appear. Consequently, the trial court ordered the dismissal of the case
without prejudice on the part of petitioners to present and prove their counterclaim and set the
hearing for reception of evidence on June 22, 2004.

Atty. Ferrer filed a Manifestation and Motion for Reconsideration of the order of dismissal,
explaining that he arrived late for the hearing because he had to drop by his office to get the case
folder because he had just arrived from South Cotabato where he served as Chief Counsel in the
Provincial Board of Canvassers for Governor Datu Pax Mangudadatu and Congressman Suharto
Mangudadatu. The trial court required petitioners to file their Comment on the Manifestation and
Motion for Reconsideration. In their Opposition, petitioners asserted that the motion for
reconsideration be denied.

In an Order dated December 16, 2004, the trial court granted Sui’s motion for
reconsideration and set aside the dismissal of the complaint.
The Motion for Reconsideration filed by petitioners was denied by the trial court hence
they filed a Petition for Certiorari with the Court of Appeals which granted the petition. The Court
of Appeals held that dismissal of the case is proper but without prejudice to the filing of a new
action. Both parties moved for reconsideration but the same were jointly denied in a Resolution
dated October 27, 2005. Hence, these consolidated Petitions.

ISSUE:
Whether the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing without prejudice the case and in ruling
that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion when it granted Sui’s motion for
reconsideration to set aside the order of dismissal of the complaint.

RULING:
Lack of jurisdiction and excess of jurisdiction are distinguished thus: the respondent acts
without jurisdiction if he does not have the legal power to determine the case; where the
respondent, being clothed with the power to determine the case, oversteps his authority as
determined by law, he is performing a function in excess of his jurisdiction. Thus, we now discuss
whether the trial court granted the motion for reconsideration of Sui and reinstated the complaint
without basis in law. Citing the case of Ace Navigation Co., Inc. v. Court of Appeals, the trial court
held that rules of procedures are mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice and
must be relaxed if its strict and rigid application would frustrate rather than promote substantial
justice. Thus, it lifted and set aside its order of dismissal in the interest of substantial justice, which
is the legal basis for the trial court to grant the motion for reconsideration of Sui.

While it is desirable that the Rules of Court be faithfully observed, courts should not be so
strict about procedural lapses that do not really impair the proper administration of justice. If the
rules are intended to ensure the proper and orderly conduct of litigation, it is because of the
higher objective they seek which is the attainment of justice and the protection of substantive
rights of the parties. Thus, the relaxation of procedural rules, or saving a particular case from the
operation of technicalities when substantial justice requires it, as in the instant case, should no
longer be subject to cavil.

When the trial court received Sui’s Manifestation and Motion for Reconsideration, it did
not immediately resolve the motion. Instead, it allowed petitioners to file their comment and also
leave to file a rejoinder if Sui files a reply. These circumstances justify a departure from the literal
application of the rule because petitioners were given the opportunity to study and answer the
arguments in the motion. Petitioners’ claim that Sui failed to attach proof of service in violation of
Section 6, Rule 15 of the Rule, must fail.

Petitioners admitted that they received a copy of Sui’s Manifestation and Motion for
Reconsideration. In fact, they had the opportunity to oppose the same. Under these
circumstances, we find that the demands of substantial justice and due process were satisfied. It
is the policy of the Court to afford party-litigants the amplest opportunity to enable them to have
their cases justly determined, free from the constraints of technicalities.41 It should be
remembered that rules of procedure are but tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice,
such that when rigid application of the rules tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial
justice, this Court is empowered to suspend their operation

The Decision dated September 22, 2005 and the Resolution dated October 27, 2005 of the
Court of Appeals is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Order of the Regional Trial Court lifting its
previous order of dismissal is REINSTATED and AFFIRMED.

General Rule on liberal construction and its exceptions

G.R. No. 194104 March 13, 2013


NOVATEKNIKA LAND CORPORATION, Petitioner, vs. PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK and THE
REGISTER OF DEEDS OF MANILA CITY, Respondents.

FACTS:
Respondent PNB extra-judicially foreclosure the mortgaged property of herein petitioners
upon failure to pay the loan they executed from the respondent PNB.

Petitioners then filed before the RTC an action for injunction with a prayer for the issuance
of a temporary restraining order. The RTC issued an order, denying petitioner’s prayer for
injunctive relief.

Petitioner elevated the case to the CA via a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court. However, the CA dismissed the petition outright for failure of the petitioner to file
a motion for reconsideration before the RTC. The CA noted that the petitioner simply averred that
the filing of the said motion was unnecessary because of the alleged extreme urgency for the CA
to annul the questioned order of the trial court. The CA then reiterated the rule that the filing of
a motion for reconsideration is an indispensable condition to the filing of a special civil action for
certiorari.

ISSUE:
Whether the petitioner was justified in elevating the case to the CA without filing the
requisite motion for reconsideration before the RTC.

RULING:
No. Motion for reconsideration is a condition sine qua non to certiorari.

Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court states that:

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, or
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.

Unmistakably, before a petition for certiorari can prosper, petitioner must be able to show,
among others, that he does not have other “plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary
course of law.” This remedy referred to in Section 1 of the Rule 65 is a motion for reconsideration
of the questioned order.

Jurisprudence is replete with decisions which reiterate that before the filing a petition for
certiorari in a higher court, the attention of the lower court should be first called to its supposed
error and its correction should be sought. Failing this, the petition for certiorari should be denied.
The reason for this is to afford the lower court the opportunity to correct any actual or fancied
error attributed to it through a re-examination of the legal and factual aspects of the case. The
petitioner’s disregard of this rule deprived the trial court the right and the opportunity to rectify
an error unwittingly committed or to indicate itself of an act unfairly imputed.

In the case at bench, the proper recourse of NLC was to have filed a motion for
reconsideration denying its application for injunctive relief. Only after the denial of such motion
can it be deemed to have exhausted all available remedies and be justified in elevating the case
to the CA through a petition for certiorari under Rule 65.

The petitioner is reminded that procedural rules are instituted to facilitate the adjudication
of cases and, as such, the courts and the litigants are enjoined to abide strictly by the rules. While
it is true that litigation is not a game of technicalities, it is equally important that every case must
be prosecuted in accordance with the prescribed rules of procedure to ensure an orderly and
speedy administration of justice. Only for the most persuasive of reasons can such rules be relaxed
to relieve a litigant of an injustice not commensurate with the degree of his thoughtlessness in
not complying with the procedural prescribed.

No grave abuse of discretion.

At any rate, even if the Court allows the premature recourse to certiorari without the
petitioner having filed a motion for reconsideration in the trial court, the petition would still fail.
Nothing is more settled than the principle that a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65
will prosper only if grave abuse of discretion is alleged and proved to exist. “Grave abuse of
discretion”, as contemplated by the Rules of Court, is “the arbitrary or despotic exercise of power
due to passion, prejudice or personal hostility; or the whimsical, arbitrary, or capricious exercise
of power” that is so patent and gross that it “amounts to an evasion or refusal to perform a positive
dutyenjoined by law or to act at all in contemplation of law. Such capricious, whimsical and
arbitrary acts must be apparent on the face of the assailed order. The burden of proof is on the
petitioner to show that the RTC issued its order with grave abuse of discretion. This petitioner
failed to do.

Based on the records of the case, the Court finds that the RTC did not abuse its discretion
in denying NLC’s application for the writ of preliminary injunction.