You are on page 1of 2

Ma. Rizza B.

Astete JD 1-4 logic

Atty. Pericleo L. Solis Legal Technique and

Rule 18, Sec. 5 of the Rules of Court on Judicial Dispute Resolution (JDR)

As a general rule, Rule 18 under the Rules on Civil Procedure is applicable in the Pre-Trial stage of civil and criminal cases, and those which involve special proceedings filed in court, subject to the exemptions as provided by the Rules. Rule 18 of the Revised Rules of Court provides that:
Section 5. Effect of failure to appear. The failure of the plaintiff to appear when so required pursuant to the next preceding section shall be cause for dismissal of the action. The dismissal shall be with prejudice, unless other-wise ordered by the court. A similar failure on the part of the defendant shall be cause to allow the plaintiff to present his evidence ex parte and the court to render judgment on the basis thereof (Emphasis supplied).

But now, the issue here is whether the foregoing sanction can also be applied on Judicial Dispute Resolution (JDR) proceedings, which is only a part of Pre-Trial and whose nature is to settle aforesaid cases through a compromise agreement; or, can non-appearance of either of the parties be only interpreted as a lack of intention on their part to enter into a settlement. The express provision under Section VIII, Part Three of A.M. No. 11-1-6-SC-PHILJA (Re: Consolidated and Revised Guidelines to Implement the Expanded Coverage of CourtAnnexed Mediation [CAM] and Judicial Dispute Resolution [JDR] states that Rule 18 can be applied to JDR proceedings, a portion of which is stated as follows:
A party who fails to appear on the date set for JDR conference, may forthwith be imposed the appropriate sanction as provided in Rule 18 of the Revised Rules of Court and relevant issuances of the Supreme Court including but not limited to censure, reprimand, contempt, and requiring the absent party to reimburse the appearing party his costs, including attorneys fees for that day up to treble such costs, payable on or before the date of the re-scheduled setting (Emphasis supplied).

In this light, non-appearance of the complainant shows his lack of interest in the information that he filed against the respondent while failure to appear of the latter is tantamount to a waiver of his right to present evidence in his favour. This interpretation is keeping in faith with the purpose of JDR as expressly stated in the ADR Act of 2004 (R.A. No. 9285), to wit:
Towards this end, the State shall encourage and actively promote the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as an important means to achieve speedy and impartial justice and de-clog court dockets (Emphases supplied).

Ma. Rizza B. Astete JD 1-4 logic

Atty. Pericleo L. Solis Legal Technique and

Rule 18, as a sanction under JDR, affords the parties their constitutional right to a speedy disposition of their cases and helps courts to focus on cases wherein the parties are truly interested in the resolution thereof. Aside from this, this also relieves the courts as well as the parties from incurring additional costs in the hearing of cases wherein one of the parties is absent. At first blush this sanction might seem grave for a settlement proceeding. But then again it must be noted that, as mentioned above, it is just one of the sanctions under JDR. The court still has the discretion whether to apply it or not on a specific set of case facts. I opine that this penalty should only be imposed on cases wherein the party liable can already be considered as a chronic absentee or his failure to appear has caused substantial or irreparable damage on the part of the present party.