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LINDA M. CHAN KENT, represented by ROSITA MANALANG, Petitioner, vs. DIONESIO C.

G.R. No. 185758 March 9, 2011
NATURE: recovery of real property and annulment of title
Linda M. Chan Kent is a naturalized US citizen and resident but of Filipino descent. She purchased a
residential lot in Panabo City in 1982 which she intended for her parents to build their new home.
Since, it was difficult for her to register the land in her name as she was an American citizen, she
registered the lot in the names of Spouses Micarez under an implied trust.
In 2005, Linda learned from her sister and herein represenative Rosita Micarez-Manalang that Spouses
Micarez sold the subject lot to Dionesio Micarez, her youngest brother, on November 22, 2001 and
had a TCT registered under his name.
Linda then filed for recovery of property and annulment of title at Regional Trial Court of Panabo
City, Branch 34. Since all the respindents were permanent US residents, summons was served by
publication. Atty. Richard Miguel was the authorized counsel for the respondents. After the filing of
the pre-trial brief and the joining of the issues, RTC referred the case to the Philippine Mediation
Center (PMC).
On March 1, 2008, Mediator Esmeraldo O. Padao, Sr. issued a Mediators Report and returned the civil
case to the RTC due to the non-appearance of the respondents on the scheduled conferences. RTC then
issued an order on May 29, 2009 allowing petitioner to present her evidence ex parte.
However, on July 15, 2008, Mediator Padao clarified thru a manifestation that it was actually
petitioners counsel Atty. Benjamin Utulle who who did not attend the mediation proceedings set on
March 1, 2008, and not Atty. Miguel, as the latter inadvertently affixed his signature for attendance
purposes on the column provided for the plaintiffs counsel in the mediators report. Because of this,
RTC dismissed the case.
Petitioner moved for reconsideration but it was denied. The case was elevated to the Supreme Court
via petition for review on certiorari.
Petitioner contends that Manalang, and her counsel, Atty. Etulle, did not deliberately snub the
mediation proceedings. In fact, they twice attended the mediation conferences on January 19, 2008
and on February 9, 2008. On both occasions, Manalang was present but was not made to sign the and
was only waiting to be called by Atty. Etulle upon arrival of Atty. Miguel. Manalang and Atty. Etulle
only left PMC at 11:00 oclock in the morning when Atty. Miguel had not yet arrived.
ISSUE: Whether the failure of petitioners duly authorized representative, Manalang, and her counsel
to attend the mediation proceedings a ground to dismiss the case
RULING: No. The Supreme Court found such sanction too severe to be imposed on the petitioner. The
petition was granted and the Civil Case was reinstated and referred back to the Philippine Mediation
Center for possible amicable settlement or for other proceedings.

The provisions of A.M. No. 01-10-5-SC-PHILJA (Second Revised Guidelines for the Implementation
of Mediation Proceedings) pertinent to the case at bench are as follows:
9. Personal appearance/Proper authorizations
Individual parties are encouraged to personally appear for mediation. In the event they cannot attend,
their representatives must be fully authorized to appear, negotiate and enter into a compromise by a
Special Power of Attorney. A corporation shall, by board resolution, fully authorize its representative
to appear, negotiate and enter into a compromise agreement.
12. Sanctions
Since mediation is part of Pre-Trial, the trial court shall impose the appropriate sanction including but
not limited to censure, reprimand, contempt and such other sanctions as are provided under the Rules
of Court for failure to appear for pre-trial, in case any or both of the parties absent himself/themselves,
or for abusive conduct during mediation proceedings.
Since mediation is a part of pre-trial, parties are encouraged to personally or through their authorized
representatives attend the proceedings. To ensure the attendance of the parties, the guidelines in
mediation proceedings specifically enumerates the sanctions that the court can impose upon a party
who fails to appear in the proceedings: censure, reprimand, contempt, and even dismissal of the
action in relation to Section 5, Rule 18 of the Rules of Court.
Although the RTC has legal basis to order the dismissal, the Supreme Court found such sanction too
severe to be imposed on the petitioner where the records of the case is devoid of evidence of willful or
flagrant disregard of the rules on mediation proceedings. Their absence on March 1, 2008 was neither
intended to perpetuate delay in the litigation of the case nor is it indicative of lack of interest on the
part of petitioner to enter into a possible amicable settlement of the case. Manalang was not entirely at
fault for Atty. Miguel came late during the January 19 and February 9, 2008 conferences which
resulted in their cancellation and the final resetting to March 1, 2008. There are other available
remedies apart from immediately ordering the dismissal of 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 doing otherwise, the RTC
impetuously deprived petitioner of the opportunity to recover the land which she allegedly paid for
plus she lost a great deal of money spent for docket and filing fees and even extra-territorial service all
for a mere technicality
Even if the dismissal is without prejudice, the refiling of the case would still be injurious to petitioner
because she would have to pay again all the litigation expenses which she previously paid for.
Technicalities should take a backseat against substantive rights and should give way to the realities of
the situation for petitioner has manifested her interest to pursue the case through the present petition.
A party-litigant should be given the fullest opportunity to establish the merits of his complaint or
defense rather than for him to lose life, liberty or property on technicalities.

ELOISA R. NARCISO, Petitioner, vs. ESTELITA P. GARCIA, Respondent.

G.R. No. 196877 November 21, 2012
NATURE: Damages

FACTS: Estelita P. Garcia filed a complaint for damages against Eloisa R. Narciso before the RTC of
San Fernando, Pampanga. Narciso filed a motion to dismiss alleging that the RTC had no jurisdiction
over the subject matter of the complaint since it averred facts constitutive of forcible entry and as well
as assailed the venue as improperly laid since the acts were committed in Angeles City.
Garcia opposed the motion and sought to have Narciso declared in default since the time to file an
answer had already elapsed. On November 30, 2004, the RTC denied Narcisos motion to dismiss and
declared her in default for failing to file an answer. Narciso filed a motion for reconsideration. At this
time, the presiding judge, Pedro M. Sunga, retired and Judge Divina Luz Aquino-Simbulan replaced
him as acting judge.
Judge Simbulan referred the case for mediation on June 23, 2005. When mediation failed, on August
1, 2005 the trial court set the case for judicial dispute resolution (JDR) presided over by Judge Maria
Amifaith S. Fider-Reyes. The JDR also failed so the case was re-raffled for pre-trial proper and trial to
Judge Esperanza Paglinawan-Rozario.
The court was still unable to act on Narcisos motion for reconsideration. The court set the case for
hearing on March 26, 2007. On August 24, 2007 the trial court denied Narcisos motion for
reconsideration reasoning that since she had already been declared in default ain 2004 and had not
filed any motion to lift the order of default within the allowable time.
On September 3, 2007 Narciso filed a motion to lift the order of default against her contending that the
protracted resolution of her motion for reconsideration and the referral of the case for mediation
prevented her from filing an answer. She also pointed out that she filed a case for ejectment against
Garcia and succeeded in obtaining a decision against the latter. On April 8, 2008 the trial court denied
Narcisos motion. She filed a motion for reconsideration but was also denied. Narciso filed a petition
for certiorari before the Court of Appeals but was also denied. Upon motion for reconsideration, such
was also denied. The CA rationed that while a motion to lift order of default may be filed at any time
after notice and before judgment, Narciso needed to allege facts constituting fraud, accident, mistake,
or excusable negligence that prevented her from answering the complaint. She also needed to show a
meritorious defense or that something would be gained by having the order of default set aside.
Narciso filed a petition for certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order
(TRO) and injunction.
ISSUE: Whether or not it was proper to declare defendant in default when the time for filing the
answer has not yet elapsed.
RULING: No, it was not proper. The Supreme Court annulled and set aside the CA decision and
directed the court to allow her to file her answer to the complaint and proceed to hear the case with
Section 3, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court provides: If the defending party fails to answer within the
time allowed therefor, the court shall, upon motion of the claiming party with notice to the defending
party, and proof of such failure, declare the defending party in default. x x x
In thi case, however, Narciso filed a motion to dismiss Garcias complaint before filing an answer.
Section 1, Rule 16 allows motion to dismiss as a remedy to be filed within the time but before filing

the answer. Thus, the running of the period during which the rules required her to file her answer was
deemed suspended. When the trial court denied her motion to dismiss, she actually had the balance of
her period for filing an answer within which to file the same but in no case less than five days,
computed from her receipt of the notice of denial of her motion to dismiss. Thus, Narciso was not yet
in default when the trial court denied her motion to dismiss. Narciso also had the right to file a motion
for reconsideration of the trial courts order denying her motion to dismiss. Only after the trial court
shall have denied it does Narciso become bound to file her answer to Garcias complaint. And only if
she did not do so was Garcia entitled to have her declared in default.