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In Re: Fabiana

A.M. No. CA-13-51-J


July 2, 2013
Rule 31, Section 1
FACTS:
The case is about the claim for death benefits by the heirs of the late Marlon Fabiana
against his former manning agent Magsaysay Maritime Corporation (MMC) and its principal Air
Sea Holiday. Basically, Merlita, the widow, filed an administrative case against CA Presiding
Justice Reyes (and 2 Associate Justices) for having defied the resolution promulgated by the
SC in the case Heirs of Fabiana v Magsaysay Maritime Corp.
Dis be what happened in that case. Marlon died. They went to the Labor Arbiter. Labor
arbiter gave heirs $82k + back pay + etc + P100k moral damages and P1M exemplary
damages. On appeal by MMC, NLRC reduced moral and exemplary to just P50k. We go to CA.
FIRST PETITION: Heirs appeal to CA to question NLRCs jurisdiction to take the appeal
SECOND PETITION: MMC also appeals to the CA saying Marlon died because of the
nonwork related disease after their contract for work expired. So they shouldnt be made
to pay the heirs.
When the heirs commented on the second petition, they also said that they wanted a
consolidation of both petitions. But the CA did not act upon the consolidation and even rendered
it moot by promulgating the decision to the first petition. They partly granted the first petition
with modification as to the interest rates. The heirs appealed this to the SC but SC affirmed CA
decision and so the first petition achieved finality.
So like, the heirs moved to dismiss the second petition as the decision on the first petition
rendered it moot. But CA denied motion to dismiss because according to them it is not true that
the petition here has been rendered moot and academic by the decision on the first petition.
The said decision rendered by this Court passed upon two limited issues only, namely, the
NLRCs jurisdiction to allow the petitioners appeal thereto despite flaws in their verification and
non-forum shopping papers and the propriety of the reduction by the NLRC of the amount of
damages awarded to the private respondents. (swear guys bigla nalang may issue pala sa
verification and nonforumshopping and shit wow but yeah). Anyway the heirs still won because
the CA said that the NLRC did not do GADALEJ for the second petition. (so parang tama yung
NLRC na MMC should give money to the heirs)
Issue:
Whether or not the CA justices wilfully disobeyed the decision in the first petition?
Ruling/Ratio:
NO. COMPLAINT LACKS MERIT.
In administrative proceedings, the burden of substantiating the charges falls on the
complainant who must prove her allegations in the complaint by substantial evidence. Here, the
allegation of willful disobedience against respondent CA Justices was unsubstantiated and
baseless. The CA said that the issues raised in the first petition were limited to the NLRCs
jurisdiction over the appeal by Magsaysay Maritime Corporation and its principal, and to the
reduction of the amounts awarded as moral and exemplary damages. In contrast, the second
petition concerned only the propriety of awarding monetary benefits. The explanation,

whether correct or not, was issued in the exercise of judicial discretion. It is not for us to
say now in a resolution of this administrative complaint whether the explanation was
appropriate or not, nor for the complainant to herself hold them in error. Also, they said
something like, you shouldve MR-ed or further question this in the courts and not through an
administrative complaint.
BUT THEN THE COURT GOES TO SAY THAT THEY SHOULDVE CONSOLIDATED IT
THOUGH. HERE:
Even as we dismiss the administrative charge, we deem it necessary to observe further,
in the exercise of our administrative supervision over the CA, that the matter addressed here
was really simple and avoidable if only the CA had promptly implemented its current procedure
for the consolidation of petitions or proceedings relating to or arising from the same
controversies. Section 3(a), Rule III of the 2009 Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals has
forthrightly mandated the consolidation of related cases assigned to different Justices, viz:
Section 3. Consolidation of Cases. When related cases are assigned to different justices, they
shall be consolidated and assigned to one Justice.
(a) Upon motion of a party with notice to the other party/ies, or at the instance of the Justice to
whom any or the related cases is assigned, upon notice to the parties, consolidation shall ensue
when the cases involve the same parties and/or related questions of fact and/or law.
A perusal of the two petitions showed that they involved the same parties and the same facts.
Even their issues of law, albeit not entirely identical, were closely related to one another. It could
not also be denied that they assailed the same decision of the NLRC. For these reasons alone,
the request for consolidation by the heirs of Fabiana should have been granted, and the two
petitions consolidated in the same Division of the CA. The consolidation of two or more
actions is authorized where the cases arise from the same act, event or transaction,
involve the same or like issues, and depend largely or substantially on the same
evidence, provided that the court has jurisdiction and that consolidation will not give one
party an undue advantage or that consolidation will not prejudice the substantial rights
of any of the parties.
It is true that under the Rules of Court, the consolidation of cases for trial is permissive and a
matter of judicial discretion. (NOT PLACED IN THE CASE BUT THIS IS RULE 31 SECTION 1)
This is because trials held in the first instance require the attendance of the parties, their
respective counsel and their witnesses, a task that surely entails an expense that can multiply if
there are several proceedings upon the same issues involving the same parties. At the trial
stage, the avoidance of unnecessary expenses and undue vexation to the parties is the primary
objective of consolidation of cases.
YOU CAN SKIP THIS IF YOURE IN A HURRY:
An appellate court serves a dual function. The first is the review for correctness function,
whereby the case is reviewed on appeal to assure that substantial justice has been done. The
second is the institutional function, which refers to the progressive development of the law for
general application in the judicial system. Differently stated, the review for correctness function
is concened with the justice of the particular case while the institutional function is concerned
with the articulation and application of constitutional principles, the authoritative interpretation of
statutes, and the formulation of policy within the proper sphere of the judicial function.
The duality also relates to the dual function of all adjudication in the common law system. The
first pertains to the doctrine of res judicata, which decides the case and settles the controversy;

the second is the doctrine of stare decisis, which pertains to the precedential value of the case
which assists in deciding future similar cases by the application of the rule or principle derived
from the earlier case.
With each level of the appellate structure, the review for correctness function diminishes
and the institutional function, which concerns itself with uniformity of judicial administration and
the progressive development of the law, increases.
In the appellate stage, therefore, the rigid policy is to make the consolidation of all
cases and proceedings resting on the same set of facts, or involving identical claims or
interests or parties mandatory. Such consolidation should be made regardless of
whether or not the parties or any of them requests it. A mandatory policy eliminates
conflicting results concerning similar or like issues between the same parties or interests even
as it enhances the administration of justice.