New Trial or Reconsideration in Civil Procedure

Castro vs. Guevarra (GR 192737)

New trial is a remedy that seeks to temper the severity of a judgment or prevent the failure of justice. The effect of an order granting a new trial is to wipe out the previous adjudication so that the case may be tried de novo for the purpose of rendering a judgment in accordance with law, taking into consideration the evidence to be presented during the second trial. Consequently, a motion for new trial is proper only after the rendition or promulgation of a judgment or issuance of a final order.

A motion for new trial is only available when relief is sought against a judgment and the judgment is not yet final. Verily, in the case at bench, the filing by Spouses Guevarra of a motion for new trial was premature and uncalled for because a decision has yet to be rendered by the trial court in Civil Case No. 2187-00. Let it be underscored that the December 22, 2003 Decision of Judge Espaol was effectively set aside by the December 15, 2004 Omnibus Order of Judge Mangrobang. Hence, there is technically no judgment which can be the subject of a motion for new trial.

Yu vs. Samson-Tatad (GR 170979)

The Fresh period rule

The raison dtre for the fresh period rule is to standardize the appeal period provided in the Rules and do away with the confusion as to when the 15-day appeal period should be counted. Thus, the 15-day period to appeal is no longer interrupted by the filing of a motion for new trial or motion for reconsideration; litigants today need not concern themselves with counting the balance of the 15-day period to appeal since the 15-day period is now counted from receipt of the order dismissing a motion for new trial or motion for reconsideration or any final order or resolution.

PNB vs. Hon. Paneda (GR 149236)

The main question is whether petitioners Motion for New Trial and Reconsideration is pro forma and, hence, it did not suspend the running of the period for appeal.

xxx

The subject Motion actually consists of two motions, a Motion for New Trial and a Motion for Reconsideration. While the Court agrees that the Motion for New Trial lacks merit for the reason that the documents sought to be presented are not newly discovered evidence, the Court does not agree that the Motion for Reconsideration is pro forma.

Balayan vs. Acorda (GR 153537)

a motion for reconsideration must first be filed with the lower court prior to resorting to the extraordinary writ of certiorari since a motion for reconsideration is still considered an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. The rationale for the filing of a motion for reconsideration is to give an opportunity to the lower court to correct its imputed errors. Generally, only when a motion for reconsideration has been filed and subsequently denied can petitioner avail of the remedy of the writ of certiorari.

Fernandez vs. CA (GR 131094)

It is without question that Fernandez received a copy of the RTC Decision on 28 June 1994. Fourteen (14) days after the receipt of the decision or specifically on 12 July 1994, he filed a motion for reconsideration. This motion was denied by the RTC and the Order of denial was received by Fernandez on 29 November 1994. Applying Rule 37, Section 1 of the Revised Rules of Court, he had only one (1) day left to file a motion for new trial since a motion for new trial should be filed within the period to appeal, that is, within fifteen (15) days from notice of the judgment. The motion for new trial suspends the running of the period to appeal but does not extend the time within which an appeal must be perfected. Hence if denied, a movant, like Fernandez in this case has only the balance of the reglementary period within which to appeal. It bears repeating that Fernandez received a copy of the RTC decision on 28 June 1994. Applying Rule 41, Section 3 of the Revised Rules of Court, he had fifteen (15) days from receipt of the RTC decision to file a motion for new trial or reconsideration. He filed a motion for reconsideration fourteen (14) days after receipt of the decision. The motion was denied and he had only the remaining one (1) day to file a motion for new trial which day fell on 01 December 1994. Since 30 November 1994 was a holiday, Fernandez had up to 01 December 1994 to file the motion for new trial. Extant from the records, instead of a motion for new trial, he filed before the Court of Appeals on 01 December 1994 the motion for extension of time to file petition for review. Thereafter, and pending the resolution of his motion before the Court of Appeals, Fernandez went back to the RTC and filed on 09 December 1994 a motion for new trial.

Applying the foregoing, Fernandezs motion for new trial was filed out of time. The fifteen (15)-day period for filing a motion for new trial cannot be extended. As early as the case of Habaluyas v. Japzon, cited in Naguiat v. Intermediate Appellate Court, and reiterated in Tung Chin Hui v. Rodriguez,  motions for extension of time to file a motion for new trial or reconsideration may no longer be filed before all courts, lower than the Supreme Court. The rule in Habaluyas applies even if the motion is filed before the expiration of the period sought to be extended because the fifteen (15) days period for filing a motion for new trial or reconsideration with said court is non-extendible. Thus, motions for extension of time to file a motion for new trial or reconsideration may be filed only in connection with cases pending before the Supreme Court, which may in its sound discretion either grant or deny the extension requested. No such motion may be filed before any lower courts.

IN SUM, considering that a motion for new trial must be filed during the period for filing an appeal and that such period cannot be extended, Fernandez, by filing his motion for new trial beyond the period to appeal, had unwittingly sealed his fate and stripped himself of any further relief.

Barnes vs. Hon. Padilla (GR 160753)

As early as the 1986 case of Habaluyas Enterprises, Inc. vs. Japson, the Court has consistently held that the fifteen-day reglementary period for appealing or for filing a motion for reconsideration or new trial cannot be extended, except in cases pending with the Supreme Court as a court of last resort which may in its sound discretion either grant or deny the extension requested.

While the Court notes that the IRCA does not explicitly provide that the period of filing a motion for reconsideration is non-extendible, which was expressly stated in the Revised Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals (RIRCA) that was in effect prior to the IRCA, it is noteworthy that the afore-quoted Section 1, Rule VII proviso in the IRCA is substantially the same provision in the RIRCA.

Thus, the IRCA simply reiterates that only a motion for reconsideration or new trial or an appeal shall stay the finality of a CA decision. A motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration therefore continues to be a prohibited pleading which cannot toll the running of the fifteen-day reglementary period. Neither jurisprudence nor the procedural rules provide for an exception.

Judgment on the Pleadings and Summary Judgment Differentiated

Sunbanun vs. Go (GR 163280)

Petitioner, in moving for a judgment on the pleadings without offering proof as to the truth of her own allegations and without giving respondent the opportunity to introduce evidence, is deemed to have admitted the material and relevant averments of the complaint, and to rest her motion for judgment based on the pleadings of the parties.

Basbas vs. Sayson (GR 172660)

Petitioners principally assail the CAs affirmance of the RTCs Order granting respondents Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and/or Summary Judgment.

In Tan v. De la Vega, citing Narra Integrated Corporation v. Court of Appeals, the court distinguished summary judgment from judgment on the pleadings, viz:

The existence or appearance of ostensible issues in the pleadings, on the one hand, and their sham or fictitious character, on the other, are what distinguish a proper case for summary judgment from one for a judgment on the pleadings. In a proper case for judgment on the pleadings, there is no ostensible issue at all because of the failure of the defending party’s answer to raise an issue.

On the other hand, in the case of a summary judgment, issues apparently exist i.e. facts are asserted in the complaint regarding which there is as yet no admission, disavowal or qualification; or specific denials or affirmative defenses are in truth set out in the answer but the issues thus arising from the pleadings are sham, fictitious or not genuine, as shown by affidavits, depositions, or admissions. x x xx.

Simply stated, what distinguishes a judgment on the pleadings from a summary judgment is the presence of issues in the Answer to the Complaint. When the Answer fails to tender any issue, that is, if it does not deny the material allegations in the complaint or admits said material allegations of the adverse partys pleadings by admitting the truthfulness thereof and/or omitting to deal with them at all, a judgment on the pleadings is appropriate.

On the other hand, when the Answer specifically denies the material averments of the complaint or asserts affirmative defenses, or in other words raises an issue, a summary judgment is proper provided that the issue raised is not genuine. A genuine issue means an issue of fact which calls for the presentation of evidence, as distinguished from an issue which is fictitious or contrived or which does not constitute a genuine issue for trial.

Wood Technology Corporation vs. Equitable Banking Corp. (GR 153867)

Applying the requisites of a judgment on the pleadings vis–vis a summary judgment, the judgment rendered by the RTC was not a judgment on the pleadings, but a summary judgment. Although the Answer apparently raised issues, both the RTC and the Court of Appeals after considering the parties pleadings, petitioners admissions and the documents attached to the Complaint, found that the issues are not factual ones requiring trial, nor were they genuine issues.

First Leverage and Services Group vs. Solid Builders, Inc. (GR 155680)

Summary judgment is a procedural device resorted to in order to avoid long drawn out litigations and useless delays where the pleadings on file show that there are no genuine issues of fact to be tried. A genuine issue is such issue of fact which requires the presentation of evidence as distinguished from a sham, fictitious, contrived or false claim. There can be no summary judgment where questions of fact are in issue or where material allegations of the pleadings are in dispute. A party who moves for summary judgment has the burden of demonstrating clearly the absence of any genuine issue of fact, or that the issue posed in the complaint is so patently unsubstantial as not to constitute a genuine issue for trial, and any doubt as to the existence of such an issue is resolved against the movant.

 

Demurrer to Evidence, How made

SPS. Gonzales vs. Bugaay (GR 173008)

The Court has previously explained the nature of a demurrer to evidence in the case of Celino v. Heirs of Alejo and Teresa Santiago as follows:

A demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss on the ground of insufficiency of evidence and is presented after the plaintiff rests his case. It is an objection by one of the parties in an action, to the effect that the evidence which his adversary produced is insufficient in point of law, whether true or not, to make out a case or sustain the issue. The evidence contemplated by the rule on demurrer is that which pertains to the merits of the case.

In passing upon the sufficiency of the evidence raised in a demurrer, the court is merely required to ascertain whether there is competent or sufficient proof to sustain the judgment. Being considered a motion to dismiss, thus, a demurrer to evidence must clearly be filed before the court renders its judgment.

Choa vs. Choa (GR 143376)

A demurrer to evidence is defined as an objection or exception by one of the parties in an action at law, to the effect that the evidence which his adversary produced is insufficient in point of law (whether true or not) to make out his case or sustain the issue. The demurrer challenges the sufficiency of the plaintiffs evidence to sustain a verdict. In passing upon the sufficiency of the evidence raised in a demurrer, the court is merely required to ascertain whether there is competent or sufficient proof to sustain the indictment or to support a verdict of guilt.

Casent Realty Dev. Corp vs. PHILBANKING (GR 150731)

What should be resolved in a motion to dismiss based on a demurrer to evidence is whether the plaintiff is entitled to the relief based on the facts and the law. The evidence contemplated by the rule on demurrer is that which pertains to the merits of the case, excluding technical aspects such as capacity to sue.

However, the plaintiffs evidence should not be the only basis in resolving a demurrer to evidence.The facts referred to in Section 8 should include all the means sanctioned by the Rules of Court in ascertaining matters in judicial proceedings. These include judicial admissions, matters of judicial notice,stipulations made during the pre-trial and trial, admissions, and presumptions, the only exclusion being the defendants evidence.

Celino vs. Heirs of Santiago (GR 161817)

A demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss on the ground of insufficiency of evidence and is presented after the plaintiff rests his case. It is an objection by one of the parties in an action, to the effect that the evidence which his adversary produced is insufficient in point of law, whether true or not, to make out a case or sustain the issue. The evidence contemplated by the rule on demurrer is that which pertains to the merits of the case.

Thus, as correctly held by the Court of Appeals, lack of legal capacity to sue is not a proper ground for a demurrer to evidence, pertaining as it does to a technical aspect, and it having nothing to do with the evidence on the merits of the complaint. Consequently, petitioners Demurrer to Evidence and Motion for Reconsideration should be denied, as the trial court did.

Salazar vs. People (GR 151931)

In criminal cases, the demurrer to evidence partakes of the nature of a motion to dismiss the case for failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. In a case where the accused files a demurrer to evidence without leave of court, he thereby waives his right to present evidence and submits the case for decision on the basis of the evidence of the prosecution. On the other hand, if the accused is granted leave to file a demurrer to evidence, he has the right to adduce evidence not only on the criminal aspect but also on the civil aspect of the case if his demurrer is denied by the court.

If demurrer is granted and the accused is acquitted by the court, the accused has the right to adduce evidence on the civil aspect of the case unless the court also declares that the act or omission from which the civil liability may arise did not exist. If the trial court issues an order or renders judgment not only granting the demurrer to evidence of the accused and acquitting him but also on the civil liability of the accused to the private offended party, said judgment on the civil aspect of the case would be a nullity for the reason that the constitutional right of the accused to due process is thereby violated.

xxx

The petitioner was granted leave of court to file a demurrer to evidence. The court issued an order granting the demurrer on its finding that the liability of the petitioner was not criminal but only civil. However, the court rendered judgment on the civil aspect of the case and ordered the petitioner to pay for her purchases from the private complainant even before the petitioner could adduce evidence thereon. Patently, therefore, the petitioner was denied her right to due process.

Uy vs. Chua (GR 183965)

The essential question to be resolved in a demurrer to evidence is whether petitioner has been able to show that she is entitled to her claim, and it is incumbent upon RTC-Branch 24 to make such a determination. A perusal of the Resolution dated 25 June 2008 of RTC-Branch 24 in Special Proceeding No. 12562-CEB shows that it is barren of any discussion on this matter. It did not take into consideration any of the evidence presented by petitioner. RTC-Branch 24 dismissed Special Proceedings No. 12562-CEB on the sole basis of res judicata, given the Decision dated 21 February 2000 of RTC-Branch 9 in Special Proceeding No. 8830-CEB, approving the Compromise Agreement between petitioner and respondent.

Hence, the Resolution dated 25 June 2008 of RTC-Branch 24 should be deemed as having dismissed Special Proceeding No. 12562-CEB on the ground of res judicata rather than an adjudication on the merits of respondents demurrer to evidence. Necessarily, the last line of Section 1, Rule 33 of the Rules of Court should not apply herein and respondent should still be allowed to present evidence before RTC-Branch 24 in Special Proceedings No. 12562-CEB.

Heirs of Pasag vs. SPS. Parocha (GR 155483)

A demurrer to evidence is an instrument for the expeditious termination of an action; thus, abbreviating judicial proceedings. It is defined as an objection or exception by one of the parties in an action at law, to the effect that the evidence which his adversary produced is insufficient in point of law (whether true or not) to make out his case or sustain the issue. The demurrer challenges the sufficiency of the plaintiffs evidence to sustain a verdict. In passing upon the sufficiency of the evidence raised in a demurrer, the court is merely required to ascertain whether there is competent or sufficient proof to sustain the indictment or to support a verdict of guilt.

The Mysteriuos Aberratio Ictus

Talampas Vs. People of the Phils. (GR 180219)

The fact that the target of Talampas assault was Eduardo, not Ernesto, did not excuse his hitting and killing of Ernesto. The fatal hitting of Ernesto was the natural and direct consequence of Talampas felonious deadly assault against Eduardo. Talampas poor aim amounted to aberratio ictus, or mistake in the blow, a circumstance that neither exempted him from criminal responsibility nor mitigated his criminal liability. Lo que es causa de la causa, es causa del mal causado (what is the cause of the cause is the cause of the evil caused). Under Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code, criminal liability is incurred by any person committing a felony although the wrongful act done be different from that which he intended.

People vs. Gemoya (GR 132633)

The two accused-appellants herein are liable for the crime resulting from Gemoya’s act of releasing the second “indian pana”, which accidentally hit Rosalie. Although Rosalie may not have been their intended victim, accused-appellants, acting in conspiracy with one another as we have earlier discussed, are liable for the consequences of their felonious act (see: Paragraph 1, Article 4, Revised Penal Code). Mistake in the identity of the victim, which may either be (a) “error in personae” (mistake of the person), or (b) “aberratio ictus” (mistake in the blow), is neither exempting nor mitigating (People vs. Gona, 54 Phil. 605 [1930]). Accused-appellants, therefore, cannot escape the criminal liability resulting from the injury suffered by Rosalie.

People vs. Flora (GR 125909)

Coming now to the criminal responsibility of appellants. In the present case, when Hermogenes Flora first fired his gun at Ireneo, but missed, and hit Emerita Roma and Flor Espinas instead, he became liable for Emeritas death and Flors injuries. Hermogenes cannot escape culpability on the basis of aberratio ictus principle. Criminal liability is incurred by any person committing a felony, although the wrongful act be different from that which he intended.

 

Nature of Ex post Facto Law and Bill of Attainder

RP vs. Rosemoor Mining and Development Corp. (GR 149927)

there is no merit in the argument that the proclamation is an ex post facto law. There are six recognized instances when a law is considered as such: 1) it criminalizes and punishes an action that was done before the passing of the law and that was innocent when it was done; 2) it aggravates a crime or makes it greater than it was when it was committed; 3) it changes the punishment and inflicts one that is greater than that imposed by the law annexed to the crime when it was committed; 4) it alters the legal rules of evidence and authorizes conviction upon a less or different testimony than that required by the law at the time of the commission of the offense; 5) it assumes the regulation of civil rights and remedies only, but in effect imposes a penalty or a deprivation of a right as a consequence of something that was considered lawful when it was done; and 6) it deprives a person accused of a crime of some lawful protection to which he or she become entitled, such as the protection of a former conviction or an acquittal or the proclamation of an amnesty. Proclamation No. 84 does not fall under any of the enumerated categories; hence, it is not an ex post facto law.

It is settled that an ex post facto law is limited in its scope only to matters criminal in nature. Proclamation 84, which merely restored the area excluded from the Biak-na-Bato national park by canceling respondents license, is clearly not penal in character.

BOCEA vs. Hon. Margarito Teves (GR 181704)

R.A. No. 9335 does not possess the elements of a bill of attainder. It does not seek to inflict punishment without a judicial trial. R.A. No. 9335 merely lays down the grounds for the termination of a BIR or BOC official or employee and provides for the consequences thereof. The democratic processes are still followed and the constitutional rights of the concerned employee are amply protected.

Recuerdo vs. People, CA (GR 133036)

The contention that B. P. 22 is a bill of attainder, one which inflicts punishment without trial and the essence of which is the substitution of a legislative for a judicial determination of guilt, fails. For under B. P. 22, every element of the crime is still to be proven before the trial court to warrant a conviction for violation thereof.

Republic vs. Desierto (GR 136506)

to construe Section 15, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution in order to give it retroactive application to the private respondents will run counter to another constitutional provision, that is, Section 22, Article III which provides that No ex post facto law or bill of attainder shall be enacted. An ex post facto law is defined, in part, as a law which deprives persons accused of crime of some lawful protection of a former conviction or acquittal, or of the proclamation of amnesty; every law which, in relation to the offense or its consequences, alters the situation of a person to his disadvantage. A construction which raises a conflict between different parts of the constitution is not permissible when by reasonable construction, the parts may made to harmonize.

PP vs. Casta (GR 172871)

In light of the greater penalty that attaches under the amendment, the previous penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death will have to be imposed in order not to run afoul of the constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws. Under Section 22 of Article III of the 1987 Constitution, no ex post facto law or bill of attainder shall be enacted. An ex post facto law, among others, is one that changes the penalty and inflicts a greater punishment than what the law annexed to the crime when committed – the situation that would obtain if the amendment under Republic Act No. 7659 would be applied.

 

Treaties and Laws of Preferential Application

Salonga vs. Smith (GR175888)

The rule in international law is that a foreign armed forces allowed to enter ones territory is immune from local jurisdiction, except to the extent agreed upon. The Status of Forces Agreements involving foreign military units around the world vary in terms and conditions, according to the situation of the parties involved, and reflect their bargaining power. But the principle remains, i.e., the receiving State can exercise jurisdiction over the forces of the sending State only to the extent agreed upon by the parties.

Deutcshe Bank vs.CIR (GR 188550)

A state that has contracted valid international obligations is bound to make in its legislations those modifications that may be necessary to ensure the fulfillment of the obligations undertaken. Thus, laws and issuances must ensure that the reliefs granted under tax treaties are accorded to the parties entitled thereto. The BIR must not impose additional requirements that would negate the availment of the reliefs provided for under international agreements. More so, when the RP-Germany Tax Treaty does not provide for any pre-requisite for the availment of the benefits under said agreement.

Tanada vs. Angara (GR 118295)

This Court notes and appreciates the ferocity and passion by which petitioners stressed their arguments on this issue. However, while sovereignty has traditionally been deemed absolute and all-encompassing on the domestic level, it is however subject to restrictions and limitations voluntarily agreed to by the Philippines, expressly or impliedly, as a member of the family of nations. Unquestionably, the Constitution did not envision a hermit-type isolation of the country from the rest of the world. In its Declaration of Principles and State Policies, the Constitution adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land, and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity, with all nations.” By the doctrine of incorporation, the country is bound by generally accepted principles of international law, which are considered to be automatically part of our own laws. One of the oldest and most fundamental rules in international law is pacta sunt servanda — international agreements must be performed in good faith. A treaty engagement is not a mere moral obligation but creates a legally binding obligation on the parties x x x. A state which has contracted valid international obligations is bound to make in its legislations such modifications as may be necessary to ensure the fulfillment of the obligations undertaken.

 

Pre-Trial in Civil Cases (Civil Procedure)

The Supreme Court came out with a directive thru A.M. 14-03-02-SC dated March 8, 2014 the piloting of Rules 22 and 24 of the draft Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, reproduced below. These Rules shall, beginning February 16, 2015, apply to all civil actions in the following first and second level courts that have not yet undergone pretrial.
The Supreme court identified some couts that will serve as project pilots therefore it is not yet applicable to all courts as of this writing.

Agulto vs. Tecson (GR 145276)

While it would have been more prudent for counsel of petitioners to inquire from the RTC whether or not the pre-trial had in fact been scheduled on the date suggested by her, the duty of the court to serve notice of pre-trial should not be shifted to the counsels of the parties (or to the parties themselves). Otherwise, the mandatory character of the notice of pre-trial will be for naught.

Tiu vs. Middleton (GR 134998)

Pre-trial is an essential device for the speedy disposition of disputes. Hence, parties cannot brush it aside as a mere technicality. Where the pre-trial brief does not contain the names of witnesses and the synopses of their testimonies as required by the Rules of Court, the trial court, through its pre-trial order, may bar the witnesses from testifying. However, an order allowing the presentation of unnamed witnesses may no longer be modified during the trial, without the consent of the parties affected.

Carlos vs. Cruz (GR 182426)

While heavy pressures of work was not considered a persuasive reason to justify the failure to set the case for pre-trial in Olave v. Mistas, however, unlike the respondents in the said case, herein respondent never failed to comply with the Rules of Court or any order of the trial court at any other time. Failing to file a motion to set the case for pre-trial was her first and only technical lapse during the entire proceedings. Neither has she manifested an evident pattern or a scheme to delay the disposition of the case nor a wanton failure to observe the mandatory requirement of the rules. Accordingly, the ends of justice and fairness would best be served if the parties are given the full opportunity to litigate their claims and the real issues involved in the case are threshed out in a full-blown trial. Besides, petitioners would not be prejudiced should the case proceed as they are not stripped of any affirmative defenses nor deprived of due process of law.

This is not to say that adherence to the Rules could be dispensed with. However, exigencies and situations might occasionally demand flexibility in their application. Indeed, on several occasions, the Court relaxed the rigid application of the rules of procedure to afford the parties opportunity to fully ventilate the merits of their cases.  This is in line with the time-honored principle that cases should be decided only after giving all parties the chance to argue their causes and defenses.  Technicality and procedural imperfection should thus not serve as basis of decisions.

Tolentino vs. Laurel (GR 181368)

In the case at bar, the trial court gave petitioners every chance to air their side and even reconsidered its first order declaring petitioners in default. Notwithstanding, petitioners and their counsel failed to take advantage of such opportunity and disregarded the legal processes, by continuously failing to appear during the pre-trial of the case without any valid cause. Clearly, when the trial court allowed the respondents to present evidence ex parte due to the continued failure of the petitioners to attend the pre-trial conference, it did so in accordance with Rule 18 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure and with due regard to the constitutional guarantee of due process. Plainly, petitioners cannot complain that they were denied due process. What the fundamental law prohibits is total absence of opportunity to be heard. When a party has been afforded opportunity to present his side, he cannot feign denial of due process.

In The Philippine American Life & General Insurance Company v. Enario, the Court held that pre-trial cannot be taken for granted.  It is not a mere technicality in court proceedings for it serves a vital objective: the simplification, abbreviation and expedition of the trial, if not indeed its dispensation.

BPI vs. Dando (GR 177456)

The counsel of BPI invokes heavy pressures of work to explain his failure to file the Pre-Trial Brief with the RTC and to serve a copy thereof to Dando at least three days prior to the scheduled Pre-Trial Conference. True, in Olave v. Mistas, we did not find heavy pressures of work as sufficient justification for the failure of therein respondents counsel to timely move for pre-trial. However, unlike the respondents in Olave, the failure of BPI to file its Pre-Trial Brief with the RTC and provide Dando with a copy thereof within the prescribed period under Section 1, Rule 18 of the Rules of Court, was the first and, so far, only procedural lapse committed by the bank in Civil Case No. 03-281. BPI did not manifest an evident pattern or scheme to delay the disposition of the case or a wanton failure to observe a mandatory requirement of the Rules. In fact, BPI, for the most part, exhibited diligence and reasonable dispatch in prosecuting its claim against Dando by immediately moving to set Civil Case No. 03-281 for Pre-Trial Conference after its receipt of Dandos Answer to the Complaint; and in instantaneously filing a Motion for Reconsideration of the 10 October 2003 Order of the RTC dismissing Civil Case No. 03-281.

Summary Procedure in Civil Cases

Victoria’s Milling co., inc vs. CA (GR168062)

Although it is alleged that there may be a technical error in connection with the service of summons, there is no showing of any substantive injustice that would be caused to IPI so as to call for the disregard of the clear and categorical prohibition of filing petitions for certiorari. It must be pointed out that the Rule on Summary Procedure, by way of exception, permits only a motion to dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over thesubject matter but it does not mention the ground of lack of jurisdiction over the person.

It is a settled rule of statutory construction that the express mention of one thing implies the exclusion of all others. Expressio unius est exclusio alterius. From this it can be gleaned that allegations on the matter of lack of jurisdiction over the person by reason of improper service of summons, by itself, without a convincing showing of any resulting substantive injustice, cannot be used to hinder or stop the proceedings before the MCTC in the ejectment suit. With more reason, such ground should not be used to justify the violation of an express prohibition in the rules prohibiting the petition for certiorari.

Gachon vs. Devera, Jr. (GR 116695)

May the Rule on Summary Procedure be interpreted liberally to allow the admission of an answer filed out of time due to alleged oversight?

Other than a plea for the liberal interpretation of the Rule on Summary Procedure, petitioners do not provide an adequate justification for the admission of their late answer. Oversight, which they candidly cite as the reason for their filing a motion for extension of time to file an answer, is not a justification. Oversight, at best, implies negligence; at worst, ignorance. The negligence displayed by petitioners is clearly inexcusable; ignorance of so basic a rule, on the other hand, can never be condoned. In either case, the directory application of the questioned provision is not warranted.

Soriente vs Estate of the late Concepcion (GR 160239)

The Court notes that the ejectment case filed by respondent against petitioner was docketed in the trial court as Civil Case No. 17973, the case against Alfredo Caballero was docketed as Civil Case No. 17974, while the case against Severina Sadol was docketed as Civil Case No. 17932. These cases were consolidated by the trial court.

Under Section 7 of the 1991 Revised Rules on Summary Procedure, if a sole defendant shall fail to appear in the preliminary conference, the plaintiff shall be entitled to judgment in accordance with Section 6 of the Rule, that is, the court shall render judgment as may be warranted by the facts alleged in the Complaint and limited to what is prayed for therein. However, [t]his Rule (Sec. 7) shall not apply where one of two or more defendants sued under a common cause of action, who had pleaded a common defense, shall appear at the preliminary conference. Petitioner claims that the preceding provision applies to her as a defendant, since the ejectment cases were consolidated by the trial court, and she and Caballero filed the same Answer to the Complaint; hence, the trial court should not have rendered judgment against her when she failed to appear in the preliminary conference.

The Court holds that the italicized provision above does not apply in the case of petitioner, since she and Caballero were not co-defendants in the same case. The ejectment case filed against petitioner was distinct from that of Caballero, even if the trial court consolidated the cases and, in the interest of justice, considered the Answer filed by Caballero in Civil Case No. 17974 as the Answer also of petitioner since she affixed her signature thereto.

Considering that petitioner was sued in a separate case for ejectment from that of Caballero and Sadol, petitioners failure to appear in the preliminary conference entitled respondent to the rendition of judgment by the trial court on the ejectment case filed against petitioner, docketed as Civil Case No. 17973, in accordance with Section 7 of the 1991 Revised Rules on Summary Procedure.

Macadangdang vs. Gaviola (GR 156809)

Jurisdiction over forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases falls on the Metropolitan Trial Courts, the Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, the Municipal Trial Courts, and the Municipal Circuit Trial Courts. Since the case before the the MTCC was an unlawful detainer case, it was governed by the Rules on Summary Procedure. The purpose of the Rules on Summary Procedure is to prevent undue delays in the disposition of cases and to achieve this, the filing of certain pleadings is prohibited, including the filing of a motion for reconsideration.

However, the motion for reconsideration that petitioners allege to be a prohibited pleading was filed before the RTC acting as an appellate court. The appeal before the RTC is no longer covered by the Rules on Summary Procedure. The Rules on Summary Procedure apply before the appeal to the RTC. Hence, respondents motion for reconsideration filed with the RTC is not a prohibited pleading.

RP, Napocor vs Sunvar Realty (GR 194880)

Under the Rules on Summary Procedure, a certiorari petition under Rule 65 against an interlocutory order issued by the court in a summary proceeding is a prohibited pleading. The prohibition is plain enough, and its further exposition is unnecessary verbiage. The RTC should have dismissed outright respondent Sunvars Rule 65 Petition, considering that it is a prohibited pleading. Petitioners have already alerted the RTC of this legal bar and immediately prayed for the dismissal of the certiorari Petition. Yet, the RTC not only refused to dismiss the certiorari Petition, but even proceeded to hear the Rule 65 Petition on the merits.

Five Star Marketing company vs. Booc (GR 143331)

The record reveals that both the respondent and his counsel failed to appear at the preliminary conference scheduled on August 3, 1999. The only explanation offered to justify their non-appearance was the counsels unpostponable personal engagement in Manila, without specification as to the details thereof. Assuming that the counsels justification is acceptable, the same should be applied only as an explanation for the his non-appearance. However, no explanation at all was offered with respect to the respondents failure to appear. At the very least, the respondent should have attended the preliminary conference notwithstanding the absence of his counsel. Absent any clear justification for the party and counsels non-appearance, the defiance of the lawful order of the court as well as the well-entrenched rule laid down by the rules of procedure on the effect of non-appearance, cannot be allowed.

Bongato vs. Malvar (GR 141614)

Petitioner further argues that a motion to dismiss based on lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter is not a prohibited pleading, but is allowed under Sec. 19(a) of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure. We agree.

xxx

Pursuant to Section 36 of BP 129, the Court on June 16, 1983, promulgated the Rule on Summary Procedure in Special Cases. Under this Rule, a motion to dismiss or quash is a prohibited pleading. Under the 1991 Revised Rule on Summary Procedure, however, a motion to dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter is an exception to the rule on prohibited pleadings.

Atty. Enriquez vs. Judge Camarista (A.M. no. MTJ-97-1123)

The rules require courts to decide cases submitted for decision generally within three (3) months from the date of such submission. With respect to cases falling under the Rule on Summary Procedure, however, first level courts are only allowed thirty (30) days following the receipt of the last affidavit and position paper, or the expiration of the period for filing the same, within which to render judgment. The Rule on Summary Procedure was precisely enacted to achieve an expeditious and inexpensive determination of cases. While the procedural requirement is directory it subjects the defaulting judge to administrative sanction for failure to observe the rule.