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The spouses Leynes were unjustly declared in default by the MCTC and deprived

of the opportunity to present arguments and evidence to counter the spouses


Superales’ Complaint. Hence, we are accepting and giving due course to the
spouses Leynes’ petition in the interests of substantial justice and equity.

These averments obviously involve factual matters which the spouses Leynes must
back up with evidence. We cannot rule on the same since this Court is not a trier
of facts. Consequently, it is only prudent that the case be remanded to the MCTC
for further proceedings.

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As we held in Pure Foods Corporation v. NLRC:

It must emphatically be reiterated, since so often is it overlooked, that the special civil action for
certiorari is a remedy designed for the correction of errors of jurisdiction and not errors of
judgment. The reason for the rule is simple. When a court exercises its jurisdiction, an error
committed while so engaged does not deprive it of the jurisdiction being exercised when the
error is committed. If it did, every error committed by a court would deprive it of its jurisdiction
and every erroneous judgment would be a void judgment. This cannot be allowed. The
administration of justice would not survive such a rule. Consequently, an error of judgment that
the court may commit in the exercise of its jurisdiction is not correctible through the original
civil action of certiorari.

Even on the supposition that certiorari was an appropriate remedy, the petition would still fail
because it has not been clearly shown that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in
refusing to set aside the default order and the default judgment. We have held in many cases,
including Pahilanga v. Luna, 13 that:

It is within the sound discretion of the court to set aside an order of default and to permit a
defendant to file his answer and to be heard on the merits even after the reglementary period for
the filing of the answer has expired, but it is not error, or an abuse of discretion, on the part of the
court to refuse to set aside its order of default and to refuse to accept the answer where it finds no
justifiable reason for the delay in the filing of the answer. In motions for reconsideration of an
order of default, the moving party has the burden of showing such diligence as would justify his
being excused from not filing the answer within the reglementary period as provided by the
Rules of Court, otherwise, these guidelines for an orderly and expeditious procedure would be
rendered meaningless. Unless it is shown clearly that a party has justifiable reason for the delay
the court will not ordinarily exercise its discretion in his favor. G.R. No. 101789. April 28, 1993.
BHAGWAN RAMNANI, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, HON. BUENAVENTURA J. GUERRERO, as Regional Trial Court
Judge of Makati, Metro Manila, Branch 133, SPOUSES CENON G. DIZON and JULIETTE B.
DIZON, respondents.

It is basic that the defendant's failure to file an answer within the reglementary period or the extension granted entitles the plaintiff, upon
proper motion, to an order of default. Absent any cogent reason for setting aside the default order, as in the instant case, the denial of a
motion to lift such default order must be sustained. G.R. No. L-48724 August 29, 1988

CELESTINO PAHILANGA, petitioner,


vs.
HON. ARTEMON D. LUNA, Judge CFI of Negros Occidental, Br. I, FUNDADOR
PAHILANGA, ANTERO PAHILANGA, CARLOS PAHILANGA, ENRIQUETA P.
VECERA, and CARLOS SOPIO
**********************************************************************************

G.R. No. L-48724 August 29, 1988

CELESTINO PAHILANGA, petitioner,


vs.
HON. ARTEMON D. LUNA, Judge CFI of Negros Occidental, Br. I, FUNDADOR
PAHILANGA, ANTERO PAHILANGA, CARLOS PAHILANGA, ENRIQUETA P.
VECERA, and CARLOS SOPIO,

this Tribunal's pronouncement in Malipol v. Tan [G.R. No. L-27730, January 21, 1974, 55 SCRA 202, 208] cannot be more emphatic:

...It is within the sound discretion of the court to set aside an order of default and to permit a defendant to file his
answer and to be heard on the merits even after the reglementary period for the filing of the answer has expired, but it
is not error, or an abuse of discretion, on the part of the court to refuse to set aside its order of default and to refuse to
accept the answer where it finds no justifiable reason for the delay in the filing of the answer. In motions for
reconsiderations of an order of default, the moving party has the burden of showing such diligence as would justify his
being excused from not filing the answer within the reglementary period as provided by the Rules of Court, otherwise,
these guidelines for an orderly and expenditious procedure would be rendered meaningless. Unless it is shown clearly
that a party has justifiable reason for the delay the court will not ordinarily exercise its discretion in his favor [Emphasis
supplied.]

Earlier, this Court had already stressed that

... It is not enough that no order of default has yet been issued by the court or that there may be valid defenses which a
defendant may interpose in order that the default order may be set aside. Equally important is a proper showing why a
party may be justifiably excused for disregarding the reglementary period provided for by the Rules of Court within
which such party should submit his answer. ... [Quirante v. Verano, supra at 804; Emphasis supplied.]
In Malipol v. Lim Tan,70 154 Phil. 193, 199-200 (1974).this Court ruled that –

It is within the sound discretion of the court to set aside an order of default and to permit a
defendant to file his answer and to be heard on the merits even after the reglementary period for
the filing of the answer has expired, but it is not error, or an abuse of discretion, on the part of the
court to refuse to set aside its order of default and to refuse to accept the answer where it finds no
justifiable reason for the delay in the filing of the answer. In the motions for reconsideration of
an order of default, the moving parry has the burden of showing such diligence as would justify
his being excused from not filing the answer within the reglementary period as provided by the
Rules of Court, otherwise these guidelines for an orderly and expeditious procedure would be
rendered meaningless. Unless it is shown clearly that a party has justifiable reason for the delay,
the court will not ordinarily exercise its discretion in his favor.

G.R. No. 133110 March 28, 2007

BARSTOWE PHILIPPINES CORPORATION, Petitioner,


vs.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,

***********************************************

It is true that this Court looks with disfavor upon default judgments, preferring to give the parties full
opportunity to argue their respective positions at a regular trial. But there are limits to our forbearance. As
we held in Pahilanga vs. Luna: 10 164 SCRA 725.

It is within the sound discretion of the court to set aside an order of default and to permit
a defendant to file his answer and to be heard on the merits even after the reglementary
period for the filing of the answer has expired, but it is not error, or an abuse of discretion,
on the part of the court to refuse to accept the answer where it finds no justifiable reason
for the delay in the filing of the answer. In motions for reconsideration of an order of
default, the moving party has the burden of showing such diligence as would justify his
being excused from not filing the answer within the reglementary period as provided by
the Rules of Court, otherwise, these guidelines for an orderly and expeditious procedure
would be rendered meaningless. Unless it is shown clearly that a party has justifiable
reason for the delay, the court will not ordinarily exercise its discretion in his favor.

G.R. No. 80491 August 12, 1992

J. ARTIE VERGEL DE DIOS, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS AND EDUARDO LOPINGCO,
************

In the present case, the late Servando and Antonio were already declared in default by the RTC
on 31 July 1992, after their supposed counsel failed to file an answer to the Republic’s petition
for cancellation of title. Nothing was heard from Servando’s heirs even after the promulgation of
the RTC Decision on 22 December 1992, and the Court of Appeals Decision, dated 8 August
1997, until they filed their Petition for New Trial, dated 23 May 2001, before this Court, or nine
years from the date they were declared in default.

According to Servando’s heirs, due to the extrinsic fraud committed by the President and counsel
of BPC, they were prevented from participating in the proceedings before the trial court. They
allegedly relied on the assurance of the President and counsel of BPC that the latter shall also
represent them and their interests in the subject lots in the case.

This allegation of fraud by Servando’s heirs has no leg to stand on. It should be recalled that the
late Servando and Antonio were represented by a counsel at the beginning of the proceedings
before the RTC. Their counsel even submitted two consecutive motions for extension of time to
file the appropriate pleadings. There was no explanation provided as to why, despite the grant of
said motions, the counsel still failed to file an answer to the Republic’s petition for cancellation
of title. It is also contrary to common human experience that Servando’s heirs, by the mere
assurance of the President and counsel of BPC, adopted a totally hands-off attitude in a case
where they supposedly have substantial interest. There is no showing during the nine years when
they were not participating in the court proceedings, that they, at least, inquired into or followed-
up on the status of the case with BPC. Such blind trust in the President and counsel of BPC is
surely difficult to comprehend, especially if this Court takes into account the contention of
Servando’s heirs that BPC failed to deliver the shares of stock in exchange for the subject lots.
What is apparent to this Court is not the alleged fraud committed by BPC but, rather, the
inexcusable negligence of Servando’s heirs when it came to protecting their titles, rights, and
interests to the subject lots, if indeed, there were still any.