Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mediserv, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals (Special Former 13th Division), et al. G.R. No. 161368, April 5, 2010.

Certiorari; grave abuse of discretion. Finally, we note that the instant petition was filed under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, which requires the existence of grave abuse of discretion. Grave abuse of discretion exists where an act of a court or tribunal is performed with a capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility. No such grave abuse of discretion exists in this case to warrant issuance of the extraordinary writ of certiorari. 

Pleadings; certification of non-forum shopping; substantial compliance through subsequent submission. Unquestionably, there is sufficient jurisprudential basis to hold that Landheights has substantially complied with the verification and certification requirements. We have held in a catena of cases with similar factual circumstances that there is substantial compliance with the Rules of Court when there is a belated submission or filing of the secretary’s certificate through a motion for reconsideration of the Court of Appeals’ decision dismissing the petition for certiorari. In Ateneo de Naga University v. Manalo, this Court acknowledged that it has relaxed, under justifiable circumstances, the rule requiring the submission of these certifications and has applied the rule of substantial compliance under justifiable circumstances with respect to the contents of the certification. It also conceded that if this Court has allowed the belated filing of the certification against forum shopping for compelling reasons in previous rulings, with more reason should it sanction the timely submission of such certification though the proof of the signatory’s authority was submitted thereafter. The Court is aware of the necessity for a certification of non-forum shopping in filing petitions for certiorari as this is required under Section 1, Rule 65, in relation to Section 3, Rule 46 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended. When the petitioner is a corporation, the certification should obviously be executed by a natural person to whom the power to execute such certification has been validly conferred by the corporate board of directors and/or duly authorized officers and agents. Generally, the petition is subject to dismissal if a certification was submitted unaccompanied by proof of the signatory’s authority. However, we must make a distinction between non-compliance with the requirements for certificate of non-forum shopping and verification and substantial compliance with the requirements as provided in the Rules of Court. The Court has allowed the belated filing of the certification on the justification that such act constitutes substantial compliance. In Roadway Express, Inc. v. CA, the Court allowed the filing of the certification fourteen (14) days before the dismissal of the petition. In Uy v. Land Bank of the Philippines, the Court reinstated a petition on the ground of substantial compliance even though the verification and certification were submitted only after the petition had already been originally dismissed. In Havtor Management Phils. Inc. v. NLRC, we acknowledged substantial compliance when the lacking secretary’s certificate was submitted by the petitioners as an attachment to the motion for reconsideration seeking reversal of the original decision dismissing the petition for its earlier failure to submit such requirement. In the present case, Landheights rectified its failure to submit proof of Mr. Dickson Tan’s authority to sign the verification/certification on non-forum shopping on its behalf when the required document was subsequently submitted to the Court of Appeals. The admission of these documents, and consequently, the reinstatement of the petition itself, is in line with the cases we have cited. In such circumstances, we deem it more in accord with substantive justice that the case be decided on the merits. 

Procedural rules; liberal construction. It is settled that liberal construction of the rules may be invoked in situations where there may be some excusable formal deficiency or error in a pleading, provided that the same does not subvert the essence of the proceeding and connotes at least a reasonable attempt at compliance with the rules. After all, rules of procedure are not to be applied in a very rigid, technical sense; they are used only to help secure substantial justice. Mediserv, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals (Special Former 13th Division), et al. G.R. No. 161368, April 5, 2010.

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2 comments: on "Mediserv, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals (Special Former 13th Division), et al. G.R. No. 161368, April 5, 2010."

jaylen watkins said...

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