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Labor Relations - Certificate of Non-Forum Shopping

Labor Relations - Certificate of Non-Forum Shopping

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Published by Stef Macapagal
Labor Relations Digest regarding the requirement of certificate of non-forum shopping
Labor Relations Digest regarding the requirement of certificate of non-forum shopping

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Published by: Stef Macapagal on Jan 22, 2011
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02/03/2014

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S. Macapagal. BSU LAW 2012
 
FORUM SHOPPING
Mandaue Galleon Trade v. IsidtoFACTS: Mandaue Galleon Trade was sued by its former employees for illegal dismissal before the LaborArbiter. The LA decided in favor of Isidto and the other former employees of Mandaue Galleon Trade, andordered said company to pay the complainants a sum of P917,700.00. Mandaue Galleon Trade filed an appealbefore the NLRC but failed to attach a certification of non-forum shopping to their notice of appeal, asrequired by Section 4, Rule VI of the NLRC Rules of Procedure. The NLRC dismissed Mandaue Galleons appealfor being fatally defective, and the LAs decision was affirmed in toto with finality. An entry of judgment wasthen issued by the NLRC, stating that its decision had already become final and executory.Mandaue Galleon Trade then filed a petition for certiorari before the CA. The CA dismissed the same.Mandaue Galleon Trade then filed another petition for certiorari before the SC, stating that the CA committedgrave abuse of discretion in denying its appeal on mere technicality.ISSUE: W/N the CA committed a grave and reversible error in affirming the decision of the NLRC denyingMandaue Galleon Trades appeal on mere technicality despite the existence of a meritorious case.NO. Based on Section 4(a), Rule VI of the New Rules of Procedure of the NLRC, a certificate of non-forumshopping is a requisite for the perfection of an appeal, and non-compliance therewith shall not stop therunning of the period for perfecting an appeal. The filing of a certificate of non-forum shopping is mandatoryin initiatory pleadings. The subsequent compliance with the requirement does not excuse a partys failure tocomply therewith in the first instance. In those cases where the Supreme Court excused non-compliance withthe requirement to submit a certificate of non-forum shopping, it found special circumstances or compellingreasons which made the strict application of the Circular clearly unjustified or inequitable. In this case,however, Mandaue Galleon Trade offered no valid justification for their failure to comply with the Circular.While it is true that litigation is not a game of mere technicalities and that rules of procedure shall not bestrictly enforced at the cost of substantial justice, it does not mean that the Rules of Court may be ignored at will and at random to the prejudice of the orderly presentation and assessment of the issues and their just resolution. It must be emphasized that procedural rules should not be belittled or dismissed simply becausetheir non-observance might have resulted in prejudice to a partys substantial rights. Like all rules, they arerequired to be followed, except only for the most persuasive of all reasons.Petition denied. CA decision affirmed.
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It has been previously ruled that non-compliance with the required certification is fatal. The filing of the same is not waived by failing to immediately assert the defect, and neither is it cured by itsbelated submission on the ground that the party was not in any way guilty of actual forum shopping.
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Administrative Circular No. 28-91, dated 8 February 1994, issued by the Supreme Court requires that every petition filed with the Supreme Court or the CA must be accompanied by a certificate of non-forum shopping. Later, Administrative Circular No. 04-94 was issued and made effective on 1 April1994. It expanded the certification requirement to include cases filed in court and in quasi-judicialagencies. The Court adopted paragraphs (1) and (2) of Administrative Circular No. 04-94 to becomeSection 5, Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Significantly, to curb the practice of forumshopping, the rule ordains that a violation thereof would constitute contempt of court and be a causefor the summary dismissal of the petition, without prejudice to the taking of appropriate actionagainst the counsel of the party concerned.

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