G.R. No. 151047.

August 15, 2005]
BRAGADO vs. AQUINO
Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated AUG 15 2005.
G.R. No. 151047 (SPOUSES RUPERTO BRAGADO and ARACELI A. BRAGADO vs. GEMINIANO M.
AQUINO, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT, 4
th
Judicial Region, Balayan, Batangas, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT,
4
th
Judicial Region, Balayan, Batangas, and the 15
th
Division of the HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS.)

Facts: A petition for certiorari was filed by Spouses Bragado which was dismissed for failure to comply with the
following: (a) submit a valid certification against forum shopping duly executed by petitioners themselves, (b)
properly verify the petition since the verification was based on the “personal knowledge and information” of the
counsel for the petitioners.
Petitioners’ counsel apologizes for the oversight. He claims responsibility for the procedural lapses and
attributes his omissions to his old age. He also admits that, since he does not maintain an active practice anymore,
he is no longer appraised of innovations and changes in procedural rules. He then attached an amended petition
which satisfies the requirements which were previously not complied with in the original petition for certiorari.
Private respondent Aquino contends that subsequent compliance with the requirements for the filing of a
petition for certiorari is not a ground for reconsideration of the dismissal of the petition, except for compelling
reasons. He asserts that, in this case, petitioners failed to show the existence of compelling reasons that would
justify the relaxation of the rules.
Issue:
Held: We rule against the petitioners.
Counsel for petitioners admits that he was not able to comply with the requirements on account of his
advanced age and ignorance of the new procedural rules. There was, therefore, negligence on the part of their
counsel. Such lapse binds petitioners for the rule is that mistake or negligence of counsel is binding upon the
client.
[1]

Petitioners failed to comply with not just one but four requirements each of which is sufficient to warrant the
dismissal of the petition. Petitioners did not present adequate reason that will deserve our reconsideration of the
dismissal of the petition.
The rule is that an initiatory pleading or a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court shall be
accompanied by a certification against non-forum shopping.
[2]
Failure to comply with the requirement cannot be
cured by mere amendment, except upon a showing of special circumstances or compelling reasons. Non-
compliance constitutes sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition.
[3]

Here, no compelling reason that will merit the relaxation of the rules was shown. Hence, the filing of an
amended petition will not operate to cure the fatal omission.
A petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court should also be verified.
[4]
A pleading is verified
by an affidavit that the affiant has read it and that the allegations therein are true and correct of his own knowledge
and belief.
[5]
A pleading which lacks proper verification shall be treated as unsigned and will not produce any
effect.
[6]

In this case, the petition is not properly verified. Thus, it was deemed as an unsigned pleading which is without
legal effect.
While the rule that verification and certificate against forum shopping not signed by the petitioners are
defective and constitute grounds for dismissing the petition may be relaxed, petitioners must comply with two
conditions: first, they must show justifiable cause for their failure to personally sign the verification and/ or
certification, and, second, they must also be able to prove that the outright dismissal of the petition would seriously
impair the orderly administration of justice.
[7]
Here, we find that petitioners failed to prove the presence of these
conditions.
While litigation is not a game of technicalities, it is a truism that every case must be prosecuted in accordance
with the prescribed procedure to insure an orderly and speedy administration of justice.
[14]
A party who fails to
observe very elementary rules of procedure which are mandatory causes his own predicament.
[15]
To exculpate him
from the compulsory coverage of such rules will undermine the stability of the judicial process as the bench and
bar will be confounded by such uncertainties as when to obey and when to ignore the rules.
[16]

One final note.
Counsel for petitioners acknowledges that the predicament of his clients was caused by his unawareness of the
new procedural requirements. Ignorantia legis non excusat. Ignorance in this regard encompasses not only
substantive but also procedural laws.
[17]

WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration of the petitioners is DENIED with finality.