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Kent V.

Micarez

Facts

This is petition for review on certiorari.


This petition draws its origin from a complaint for recovery of real property and annulment of
title filed by petitioner, through her younger sister and authorized representative, Rosita
Micarez-Manalang (Manalang), before the RTC. Petitioner is of Filipino descent who became a
naturalized American citizen after marrying an American national in 1981. She is now a
permanent resident of the United States of America (USA). The petitioner claimed that her
parents the herein respondents fraudulently and clandestinely transferred her property to
her brother, one of the respondents.
Aware that it was difficult to register a real property under her name, she being married to
an American citizen, she purchased the subject property and registered it under the name of
her parents. A deed of absolute sale was executed between her parents and the owner of
the said property. TCT was issued in the name of her parents. Years later the petitioner
learned that the said property was sold by her parents to her brother. Considering that all
the respondents are residents of United States summons was served upon them through
publication. The respondents authorized their counsel to file an answer and represent them
in pre-trial conference with power to enter into compromise agreement. The RTC ordered the
referral of the case to Philippine Mediation Center, however respondents failed to appear
during the schedule. The Court ordered the petitioner to present her evidence ex-parte.
However, the counsel of the respondents clarified that it was the counsel of the petitioner
who did not appear during the scheduled mediation proceedings, the respondentss counsel
further explained that their counsel had inadvertently affixed his signature on the space
provided for the counsel of the plaintiff in the mediation report.

Issue

Whether or not the dismissal of the case on the ground of the non-appearance of the
counsel of the petitioner during the mediation proceedings proper.

Held

There is no clear demonstration that the absence of petitioners representative during


mediation proceedings on March 1, 2008 was intended to perpetuate delay in the litigation
of the case. Neither is it indicative of lack of interest on the part of petitioner to enter into a

possible amicable settlement of the case. Indeed, there are other available remedies to the
court a quo under A.M. No. 01-10-5-SC-PHILJA, apart from immediately ordering the
dismissal of the case. If Manalangs absence upset the intention of the court a quo to
promptly dispose the case, a mere censure or reprimand would have been sufficient for
petitioners representative and her counsel so as to be informed of the courts intolerance of
tardiness and laxity in the observation of its order. By failing to do so and refusing to
resuscitate the case, the RTC impetuously deprived petitioner of the opportunity to recover
the land which she allegedly paid for.