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Eladio Alonso, plaintiff and appellee v. Tomas Villamor et al., defendants and appellants. No.

2352 July 26, 1910 FACTS: Defendants were members of the municipal board of the municipality of Placer. They wrote a letter addressed to the plaintiff who at that time was the priest in charge of the church. The contents of the letter basically stated that there was an order from the provincial fiscal saying that cemeteries, convents, and other buildings erected on land belonging to the town belong to the town. As such, they are notifying the priest that all revenues and products of the church must be turned over to the treasury of the municipality. All alms given by churchgoers and devotees to the image of St. Vicente lodged in the church should also be turned into the municipal treasury. Two weeks later, the defendants took possession of the church and all of the personal properties contained therein. The plaintiff, as the priest and as the person in charge thereof, made protests that went unheeded. Hence, an action was brought by him to recover from the defendants the value of the articles and the rental value of the church. The lower court ruled in favor of the plaintiff. In the defendants appeal, one of the defenses presented was that the plaintiff was not the real party in interest. The defendants assert that the court erred in permitting the action o be brought and continued in the name of the plaintiff, Tomas Villamor, instead of in the name of the bishop of the diocese within which the church was located or in the name of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church. ISSUE: Whether or not the formal/technical defect raised by the defendant constitutes enough ground to reverse the decision of the court RULING/RATIO: No, the Court allowed the substitution of the plaintiff as the party in interest. Sec. 503 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that No judgment shall be revered on formal or technical grounds, or for such error as has not prejudiced real rights of the excepting party. Sec. 110 of the same code also provides that in furtherance of justice, the court is empowered to allow a party to amend any pleading or proceeding at any stage of the action. In this case, it is undoubted that the bishop of the diocese or the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church itself is the real party in interest. The plaintiff asserted the same in the complaint, and maintained that assertion all through the record. He claimed no interest whatsoever in the litigation. The substitution, then, of the name of the bishop of the diocese as party plaintiff, is in reality not a substation of the identity of another but is simply to make the form express the substance that is already there. There is nothing sacred about processes or pleadings, their forms or contents. Their sole purpose is to facilitate the application of justice to the rival claims of

contending parties. They were created, not to hinder and delay, but to facilitate and promote, the administration of justice.