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GOMEZ- ESTOESTA // APPRAC-A

BAÑADERA • CADIENTE •CARIAGA • CHENG • DE LUIS • DUEÑAS • ESCASURA • GARCIA • ORQUINAZA • RUBIO • SANTOS • YU

GROUNDS: EXTRINSIC FRAUD, ACCIDENT, MISTAKE, Held:


EXCUSABLE NEGLIGENCE Yes. Rule 38 Sec. 1 of the Rules of Court require that for a
petition for relief of judgment be granted there must be a
CITY OF DAGUPAN v. MARAMBA (Bañadera) showing of either excusable negligence, fraud, accident, or
[GR. No. 174411; July 2, 2014] mistake. In this case, the mistake committed by the Legal
“Mistake so gross committed by the counsel can amount to Officer of Dagupan City is so fatal considering the amount
extrinsic fraud” awarded to Maramba. Such nature of mistake was so gross
that it constituted extrinsic fraud.
Recit-Ready:
Facts: Respondent Maramba filed a case for damages Facts:
against Petitioner Dagupan City for having her  Respondent Ester F. Maramba was a grantee of a
commercial fishing center destroyed without notice. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
The complaint was riddled with alterations to make miscellaneous lease contract for a 284-square-meter
it look like the amount claimed is more than the property in Poblacion, Dagupan City.
o Sometime in 1974, she caused the construction
actual damages. The RTC granted the complaint and
awarded 10 million to Maramba. After the MR was of a commercial fish center on the property.
 City of Dagupan caused the destruction of the commercial
denied, a petition for relief from judgment was filed
fish center allegedly without giving direct notice to
subsequently alleging that it was the City Legal
Maramba and with threat of taking over the property.
Officer’s mistake that caused them to lose their case
 Maramba filed a case of damages against the City of
and allowed Maramba to claim a huge amount of
Dagupan. However, the values of actual damages claimed
money against them. The RTC however denied the
by Maramba were suspiciously tampered.
petition for relief of judgment. However, despite the o The commercial fish center was valued at the
denial, the amount of damages claimed was still amount of 10 million pesos with the word, “ten,”
reduced to 75,000. A petition for certiorari to the CA handwritten on top of the word, “five.”
was thereafter filed by Maramba. The CA held that o In the complaint’s prayer, Maramba asked for a
the lower court’s decision as to the amount was final judgment to pay plaintiff the amount of Ten
and executory. A Rule 45 petition was thereafter filed Thousand (P10,000.00) with word, “million,”
to the SC. handwritten on top of the word, “thousand,” and
an additional zero was handwritten at the end of
Issue: the numerical figure.
Whether the mistake of the City Legal Officer can be a  The RTC ruled in favor of Maramba and awarded him 10
ground for granting the relief from judgment million pesos.
GOMEZ- ESTOESTA // APPRAC-A
BAÑADERA • CADIENTE •CARIAGA • CHENG • DE LUIS • DUEÑAS • ESCASURA • GARCIA • ORQUINAZA • RUBIO • SANTOS • YU

 City of Dagupan filed an MR. The MR was opposed by either excusable negligence, fraud, or mistake. In this case,
Maramba claiming that that the motion was not set for the mistake committed by the Legal Officer of Dagupan City is
hearing. so fatal considering the amount awarded to Maramba. Such
 The RTC denied petitioner City’s motion for lack of notice nature of mistake was so gross that it constituted extrinsic
of time and place of hearing. fraud.
 The City of Dagupan thereafter filed a petition for relief
from judgment claiming that it was their City Legal o A Petition for Relief from Judgment under Sec. 1 of Rule
Officer’s mistake which caused them to lose their case. 38 may be granted only upon showing the existence of
The City of Dagupan faults its City Legal Officer by giving either fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence.
Maramba much more than it was able to prove and allowed
the faulty decision to be implemented. EXCUSABLE NEGLIGENCE
 The petition for relief was denied and the motion for o Excusable negligence as a ground for a petition for relief
execution was granted. However, in the decision, the Judge requires that the negligence be so gross “that ordinary
modified the amount of actual damages from 10 million to diligence and prudence could not have guarded against
75,000 pesos. it.
 Maramba then filed a petition for certiorari against the o This excusable negligence must also be imputable to the
Judge for modifying the amount of damages which was party-litigant and not to his or her counsel whose
already final and executory. negligence binds his or her client. The binding effect of
 The CA granted the certiorari of Maramba claiming that the the counsel’s negligence ensures that clients cannot
decision and amounts awarded to him was final and simply be allowed to merely disown their counsels’
executory. The MR at the CA was subsequently denied. conduct. Exception to the binding character of the
 Thereafter the City of Dagupan filed a Petition for Review counsel are:
on Certiorari under Rule 45.  (1) where [the] reckless or gross negligence of
counsel deprives the client of due process of law;
Issue:  (2) when [the rule’s] application will result in
Whether the mistake of the City Legal Officer can be a ground outright deprivation of the client’s liberty or
for granting the relief from judgment – YES property; or
 (3) where the interests of justice so require.

Held/Ratio: WHEREFORE, this Petition is GRANTED and the


FRAUD
challenged Decision of the Court of Appeals REVERSED and o Pertains to extrinsic or collateral fraud.
SET ASIDE. o The extrinsic or collateral fraud must be such that it
prevented the unsuccessful party from fully and fairly
Rule 38 Sec. 1 of the Rules of Court require that for a petition presenting his case or defense and the losing party from
for relief of judgment be granted there must be a showing of having an adversarial trial of the issue.
GOMEZ- ESTOESTA // APPRAC-A
BAÑADERA • CADIENTE •CARIAGA • CHENG • DE LUIS • DUEÑAS • ESCASURA • GARCIA • ORQUINAZA • RUBIO • SANTOS • YU

o Extrinsic fraud can be committed by a counsel against


his client when the latter is prevented from presenting
his case to the court such as when the lawyer sells out
the case.

MISTAKE
o Must be mistake of fact and not mistake of law.
o A wrong choice in legal strategy or mode of procedure
will not be considered a mistake for purposes of
granting a petition for relief from judgment. Similarly, a
judicial error is not a ground for petition for relief as it is
correctible by appeal
o Mistake can be of such nature as to cause substantial
injustice to one of the parties. It may be so palpable that
it borders on extrinsic fraud.

o In this case, the mistake committed by the Legal Officer


was fatal since it allowed Maramba to claim 11 million
worth of damages despite the fact that the records show
that Maramba was not able to testify and substantiate
the claim of actual damages amounting to 11 million
o Therefore, the gross disparity between the award of
actual damages and the amount actually proved during
the trial, the magnitude of the award, the nature of the
“mistake” made, and that such negligence did not
personally affect the legal officer of the city all
contributed to a conclusion that the mistake or
negligence committed by counsel bordered on extrinsic
fraud.