Sunday, December 04, 2011

Westmont Investment Corporation vs. Farmix Fertilizer Corporation, et al., G.R. No. 165876, October 4, 2010

Intra-Corporate Controversies; motion for reconsideration is a prohibited pleading. Rule 1 of the Interim Rules of Procedure for Intra-Corporate Controversies specifically prohibits the filing of motions for reconsideration, to wit: 

Sec. 8. Prohibited pleadings. – The following pleadings are prohibited: 

(1) Motion to dismiss; 

(2) Motion for a bill of particulars; 

(3) Motion for new trial, or for reconsideration of judgment or order, or for re-opening of trial; 

(4) Motion for extension of time to file pleadings, affidavits or any other paper, except those filed due to clearly compelling reasons. Such motion must be verified and under oath; and 

Motion for postponement and other motions of similar intent, except those filed due to clearly compelling reasons. Such motion must be verified and under oath. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.) 

With the above proscription, the RTC in the first place should not have issued the December 3, 2003 Order denying the UOB Group’s motion for reconsideration, which WINCORP adopted. The remedy of an aggrieved party like WINCORP is to file a petition for certiorari within sixty (60) days from receipt of the assailed order and not to file a motion for reconsideration, the latter being a prohibited pleading. Here, WINCORP should have filed the petition for certiorari before the CA on or before January 12, 2004. It was, however, filed only on February 13, 2004. With that, the CA should have dismissed the petition outright for being filed late. 

Certiorari; period to file. The petition before the CA was filed out of time. A perusal of the allegations in the subject petition reveals that though it sought the nullification of the February 2, 2004 Decision of the RTC, what it questioned was the RTC’s resolve to render a judgment before trial pursuant to Section 4, Rule 4 of the Interim Rules of Procedure for Intra-Corporate Controversies. Said section provides, 

Sec. 4. Judgment before pre-trial. – If, after submission of the pre-trial briefs, the court determines that, upon consideration of the pleadings, the affidavits and other evidence submitted by the parties, a judgment may be rendered, the court may order the parties to file simultaneously their respective memoranda within a non-extendible period of twenty (20) days from receipt of the order. Thereafter, the court shall render judgment, either full or otherwise, not later than ninety (90) days from the expiration of the period to file the memoranda. 

As correctly pointed out by the Farmix Group, it is very clear that the issues raised in the subject petition pertained to previous orders of the RTC – the November 12 and December 3, 2003 Orders – submitting the case for decision. 

The November 12, 2003 Order was received by WINCORP on November 13, 2003. It then filed a Manifestation and Motion adopting the UOB Group’s motion for reconsideration of said order and even raised additional arguments. Thereafter, the RTC issued the December 3, 2003 Order denying UOB Group’s motion for reconsideration but there was no mention of WINCORP’s manifestation and motion. 

Rule 1 of the Interim Rules of Procedure for Intra-Corporate Controversies specifically prohibits the filing of motions for reconsideration, to wit: 

Sec. 8. Prohibited pleadings. – The following pleadings are prohibited: 

(1) Motion to dismiss; 
(2) Motion for a bill of particulars; 
(3) Motion for new trial, or for reconsideration of judgment or order, or for re-opening of trial; 
(4) Motion for extension of time to file pleadings, affidavits or any other paper, except those filed due to clearly compelling reasons. Such motion must be verified and under oath; and 
(5) Motion for postponement and other motions of similar intent, except those filed due to clearly compelling reasons. Such motion must be verified and under oath. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.) 

With the above proscription, the RTC in the first place should not have issued the December 3, 2003 Order denying the UOB Group’s motion for reconsideration, which WINCORP adopted. The remedy of an aggrieved party like WINCORP is to file a petition for certiorari within sixty (60) days from receipt of the assailed order and not to file a motion for reconsideration, the latter being a prohibited pleading. Here, WINCORP should have filed the petition for certiorari before the CA on or before January 12, 2004. It was, however, filed only on February 13, 2004. With that, the CA should have dismissed the petition outright for being filed late. 

Even if the sixty (60)-day period will be reckoned from WINCORP’s receipt of the December 3, 2003 Order, the petition for certiorari was still filed out of time since it should have been filed on or before February 2, 2004. 

This Court can only conclude that WINCORP filed the petition for certiorari supposedly assailing the February 2, 2004 Decision as a subterfuge to make it appear that it was filed on time when in truth it was assailing an earlier order, the period for which to assail the same has long elapsed. Westmont Investment Corporation vs. Farmix Fertilizer Corporation, et al., G.R. No. 165876, October 4, 2010

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