You are on page 1of 9

provisions on quasi-delicts described in Art.

2176 of the Civil Code of the


Philippines. It is also the substantive law provisions of the Revised Penal Code
and the Civil Code, for example, which give an owner of a particular personal
GENERAL PRINCIPLES property the right to recover its possession from a thief. Also, it is the
provisions on quasi-contracts which furnish the basis for a supposed recipient
of money to recover the same from someone who received it by mistake. The
I. Complaint law on common carriers is likewise the reason for a passengers right to
recover damages for the injuries he may have sustained in the course of his
As a starting point, it must be emphasized that the rules of civil being transported by the carrier without him having the obligation to prove the
procedure will come into play only with the filing of a complaint or in some negligence of the carrier.
actions or proceedings, a petition. It is the filing of a complaint that gives life
to procedural rules and triggers their application. A cause of action involves a right of the plaintiff and a violation of this
right by the defendant. Without a right and a violation of this right, there can
The complaint is the first pleading filed with the court by a party be no cause of action and without this cause of action there would be no right
called the plaintiff. The primary purpose of this pleading is to apprise the to file a suit against the defendant. This right to file a suit is called a right of
adverse party, called the defendant of the nature and the basis of the claim. action. The right of action, which is procedural in character, is the
consequence of the violation of the right of the plaintiff. Hence, the rule: There
A. Right of action and cause of action is no right of action where there is no cause of action.

1. From the point of view of a party, the application of the Rules of B. Jurisdiction, venue and parties, prescription, and conditions precedent
Civil Procedure starts when one feels that another has violated his rights.
1. If a cause of action exists, the lawyer starts considering the
A complaint is filed not because one simply wants to file a complaint. preparation of the complaint. But before doing so, he proceeds to determine
The litigation process involves much more than the mere mechanical act of the the court that should take cognizance of the action. This involves an inquiry
drafting of a complaint and the filing of the same with the court. Before filing into the laws on jurisdiction because the plaintiff is, as a fundamental
the complaint, the lawyer initially determines whether or not his client, the principle, obligated to file his complaint in the court upon which the law has
plaintiff, has a cause of action against the defendant based on the provisions of conferred jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action. Filing the
substantive law. An inquiry into substantive law is imperative because complaint in the wrong court is a ground for dismissal of the complaint either
substantive law is the very basis of procedural law. It is actually substantive upon proper motion by the adverse party or upon the courts own motion
law which supplies the legal basis for a cause of action. (motu proprio).

While it is procedural law which outlines the methods and processes The counsel then goes on to determine the place where the action is to
by which one may sue another for the enforcement or protection of his rights, be filed. In procedural terms, this place is called the venue of the action. A
it is substantive law which supplies the legal basis for the existence of the right complaint filed even in the court with the appropriate jurisdiction runs the risk
itself and the corresponding legal prerogative to demand its protection. For of being dismissed on motion if commenced in the wrong place.
instance, a complaint for damages allegedly arising out of the negligent driving
by the defendant of a motor vehicle, does not find its basis in procedural rules. In determining the venue of an ordinary civil action, the plaintiff
The complaint is one that is actually predicated upon the substantive law inevitably will have to initially consider whether or not the action to be filed is
a real action or a personal action. If the action is real (one that affects title to, judgment prescribe after ten (10) years from the time the cause of action
possession of, or any interest in real property), the action shall be commenced accrues. The same Code provides in Art. 1147 that actions for forcible entry
and tried in the place where the real property involved or a portion thereof is and unlawful detainer must be commenced within one (1) year from the
situated. accrual of the cause of action. Enshrined in the Rules is the rule that when it
appears from the pleadings or from the evidence on record that the action has
If the action is personal, the action may be commenced and tried prescribed, the court is mandated by the Rules to dismiss the claim. When
where the plaintiff resides or where the defendant resides, or in case of a non- dismissed on the ground of prescription, the dismissal shall bar the re-filing of
resident defendant, where he may be found, at the election of the plaintiff. the same action or claim.

The plaintiff, through counsel, will have to look into any possible 3. If the action requires the performance of conditions precedent, then
restrictive stipulations on venue. If the parties have agreed on an exclusive compliance with these conditions is imperative and such compliance cannot be
venue in writing prior to the filing of the action and the agreed venue is conveniently ignored. For instance, there are certain cases where parties are
contemplated to be so exclusive, then the place stipulated is the only venue of required to avail of barangay conciliation proceedings before invoking judicial
the action. This stipulation precludes the filing of the action in some other intervention. Also, parties need to undergo arbitration processes before seeking
place. judicial relief when so required by contractual stipulations. Compliance of
condition precedents is not however, sufficient. The compliance must likewise
Counsel likewise will proceed by ascertaining whether or not his be alleged in the complaint.
client, the plaintiff, is a real party in interest. A plaintiff who claims to be one
must sufficiently allege ownership of a right violated by the adverse party. In There are conditions precedent which actually constitute elements of
the words of the Rules, he must be one who stands to be benefited or injured the plaintiffs cause of action. An action for collection of a sum of money for
by the judgment in the suit or the one entitled to the avails of the suit. example, must be preceded by a demand to pay pursuant to Art. 1169 of the
Counsel then will find himself expanding his analysis by determining those Civil Code of the Philippines. Under this provision, the debtor, as a rule, incurs
who are to be impleaded as defendants. This determination is vital because as a no delay unless there be a prior demand made by the creditor. An action for
rule, a suit can be commenced only against one averred to have violated the unlawful detainer predicated upon the non-payment of rentals must likewise
plaintiffs rights. All these determinations mean that he sees to it that the rules come only after a demand upon the defendant to pay and to vacate the
on parties are complied with. In short, as parts of his initial preparations for premises and such demand is not heeded by the latter. Actions between
the case, the lawyer meticulously pours over the principles governing actions, members of the same family must be preceded by attempts to have the
right of action, causes of action, jurisdiction, venue, and parties. controversy settled and compromised by virtue of Art. 151 of the Family Code
of the Philippines. The Family Code declares in unequivocal language that no
2. All the above principles having been considered, counsel will be suit between members of the same family shall prosper unless it should appear
obligated to thoroughly and carefully verify from the substantive laws whether from the verified complaint or petition that earnest efforts toward a
or not there still exists a sustainable cause of action by confronting himself compromise have been made, and that such efforts have failed. If it is shown
with a very basic question: Is the action barred by the statute of limitations? If that no such efforts were made, the case has to be dismissed. Also, when there
it was, then the right of action has ceased. It has ceased because it has is a need to exhaust administrative remedies before judicial intervention is
prescribed and prescription is one of the well-recognized grounds for the sought, then the plaintiff should allege and show compliance with this
dismissal of a complaint, the same being a mode of extinguishment of a legal condition.
obligation. For example, under Art. 1144 of the Civil Code of the Philippines,
actions upon a written contract, upon an obligation created by law, or upon a
The performance or occurrence of all conditions precedent need not be would be deemed to have admitted the genuineness and due execution of the
averred with particularity. A general averment of the same is sufficient. note.

C. Preparation of the complaint 2. The complaint must specify the relief sought although the rule
allows the addition of a general prayer for such other reliefs as the court may
1. The preparation of a complaint requires recognition and mastery of deem just or equitable. Although part of the complaint, the relief or prayer is
certain principles. Most prominent among these is the rule that the complaint not largely determinative of the cause of action. The nature of the cause of
or any other pleading is not designed to be a narration and an exposition of action is primarily determined by the allegations in the body of the complaint
evidentiary matters but properly a statement only of the ultimate facts which and not by the prayer.
constitute a partys claim or defense. Such facts are to be alleged plainly,
concisely, and directly in a methodical and logical form. Because the rule 3. The complaint must be dated. It must likewise be signed by the
requires the allegations only of ultimate facts, the statement of mere party or by the counsel representing him. Signing the complaint is mandatory
evidentiary facts are to be omitted. Also to be omitted are statements because an unsigned pleading produces no legal effect.
constituting mere conclusions of law. Evidentiary matters are to be presented
in the trial and have no place in a pleading like a complaint. Also, conclusions 4. When it is counsel who signs the pleading, this signature constitutes
are to be made by the court and not by a party. Hence, conclusions have also a certificate by him that he has read the pleading, that to the best of his
no place in pleadings. knowledge, information, and belief, there are good grounds to support it, and
that it is not interposed for delay.
There are situations where the suit is predicated upon the alleged
fraudulent acts of the defendant. If this be so, the rule requires that the 5. The complaint must designate the address of the party or his
circumstances constituting fraud or mistake must be stated with particularity to counsel. This address should not be a post-office box.
enable the court to determine the type of fraud committed by the defendant and
the subsequent liability of the defendant, if there be any. Under the Civil Code, 6. Should a complaint or any other pleading be under oath, verified or
depending on the kind of fraud committed, fraud may be a cause for the accompanied by affidavit? The general rule on the matter is that a pleading
annulment or rescission of the contract. It may be a ground for liability for need not be verified unless a verification is specifically mandated by law or by
damages alone. It may even be a cause for an action for the reformation of an a particular rule. For example, all pleadings under the Rules on Summary
instrument. The same rule mandating a particular narration of circumstances of Procedure have to be verified. Petitions for certiorari, prohibition, and
fraud applies to averments of mistake. Averments of malice, intent, knowledge mandamus must likewise be verified.
or other condition of the mind of a person may, however, be averred generally.
7. The complaint and other initiatory pleading must contain or be
An action filed may sometimes be based upon a document as when a accompanied by a certification against forum shopping where the plaintiff or
collection suit is based upon a promissory note executed by the defendant. principal party certifies, among others, that he has not commenced any action
Such document need to be properly pleaded in the complaint by setting forth or filed any claim involving the same issues in any other tribunal. Failure to
the substance of the instrument in the complaint and by attaching the original comply with this requirement is a ground for the dismissal of the complaint
or a copy thereof as an integral part of the complaint. It is possible for the upon motion and after a hearing.
defendant to deny the genuineness and due execution of the promissory note.
In such an event, a mere specific denial of such matters would not be a 8. Depending upon the nature of the action, the plaintiff may avail of
sufficient denial. The denial must be under oath, otherwise the defendant any of the provisional remedies provided for under the rules like preliminary
attachment, preliminary injunction, receivership, replevin or support pendente 3. Even on appeal, the general rule is that payment of docket fees
lite. In an action for forcible entry, for instance, the plaintiff may ask for a writ within the prescribed period is mandatory for the perfection of the appeal
of preliminary mandatory injunction to restore him in his possession during the although there were instances when the rule had been applied with liberality. It
pendency of the main case. In an action for collection of a sum of money, the is well-established that as a general rule, the payment of docket fees within the
plaintiff may, at the commencement of the action, apply for the issuance of a prescribed period is mandatory for the perfection of an appeal. This is so
writ of preliminary attachment of the defendants properties where for because a court acquires jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action only
instance, it is shown that the defendant is about to depart from the Philippines upon the payment of the correct amount of docket fees regardless of the actual
with the intention of defrauding the plaintiff-creditor. This attachment is date of filing of the case in court.
obtained to secure the future execution of the judgment to avoid the sad
spectacle of a winning party literally holding an empty bag because the sheriff 4. When the complaint is filed and the prescribed fees are paid, the
cannot find properties of the losing party to satisfy the judgment. In an action action is deemed commenced. The court then acquires jurisdiction over the
for support, the resolution of which may possibly come only after a protracted person of the plaintiff and the running of the prescriptive period for the action
litigation, the plaintiff may ask the court to order the defendant to give support is tolled.
to the plaintiff during the pendency of the action. This support is known in the
Rules as support pendente lite. In an action for damages against an electric E. Possible proceedings after the filing of the complaint
company which wrongly cut off the power supply to the plaintiff's factory, the
latter may ask the court to issue a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction to 1. Dismissal of the action by the plaintiff Sometimes after the
restore power in the meantime that litigation on the damage suit against the complaint has been duly filed, the plaintiff may, for reasons personal or
electric company is in progress. otherwise, entertain doubts on the propriety of the filing of the action against
the defendant. In this case, he may exercise the option of dismissing his own
D. Filing of the complaint complaint. If the dismissal is to be made before the adverse party has served an
answer or a motion for summary judgment, he may have his own complaint
1. After all those mentioned above have been considered and duly dismissed by the mere filing of a notice of dismissal. Upon such notice, the
complied with, the complaint shall now be filed. The filing of the complaint is court shall issue an order confirming the dismissal. The dismissal by notice of
the act of presenting the same before the clerk of court. dismissal is without prejudice to its being refiled later, unless otherwise stated
in the notice of dismissal or when the refiling is barred by what jurisprudence
2. The rule in this jurisdiction is that when an action is filed, the filing cedis the two- dismissal rule because the action had already been previously
must be accompanied by the payment of the requisite docket and filing fees. dismissed twice by the plaintiff. As long as the dismissal is to be made prior to
The fees must be paid because as a rule, the court acquires jurisdiction over the the service by the adverse party of his responsive pleading, the dismissal under
case only upon payment of the prescribed fees. Without payment, the general this rule is a matter within the sole discretion of the plaintiff. The confirmation
rule is that the complaint is not considered filed. Payment of the full amount of of the dismissal by the court through an order shall come as a matter of course.
the docket fee is mandatory and jurisdictional. This rule was however, relaxed
by the Supreme Court in some cases in which payment of the fee within a 2. After service of the answer or a motion for summary judgment, the
reasonable time but not beyond the prescriptive period was permitted. If the plaintiff can no longer have his action dismissed by mere notice. The plaintiff
fees are not paid at the time of the filing, the court acquires jurisdiction only now has to file a motion to dismiss his complaint. The granting or the denial of
upon full payment of the fees within a reasonable time as the court may grant, the motion to dismiss is now a matter addressed to sound judicial discretion
barring prescription. because this type of dismissal is no longer a matter of right. If the court allows
the dismissal of the complaint, only the complaint is dismissed. A
counterclaim already pleaded prior to the service upon the defendant of the when the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action and the
motion for dismissal, is not affected by the dismissal of the complaint and is amendment is for the purpose of conferring jurisdiction upon the court where
without prejudice to the right of the defendant to prosecute his counterclaim in the amendment is no longer a matter of right, the amendment shall not be
the same or in a separate action. A dismissal under this rule, is deemed a allowed. In the latter case, since the court is without jurisdiction over the
dismissal without prejudice, unless otherwise stated in the order of the court. action, it has no jurisdiction to act on the motion for leave to amend.

An amendment may also arise by implication when issues not raised in


the pleadings are tried with the express or implied consent of the parties as
3. Amendment of the complaint Instead of dismissing his complaint when no objection is interjected on the evidence offered on a matter not raised
as explained in the immediately preceding paragraphs, it frequently happens in the pleadings. When this occurs, the issues tried with the consent of the
that the plaintiff finds the need to amend his complaint. Amendment of his parties shall be treated as if they had been raised in the pleadings. The
pleading is a matter of right as long as the said amendment is made before the pleadings may then be amended to conform to the evidence although an actual
other party has served a responsive pleading. So if the plaintiff desires to amendment need not be made because failure to so amend the pleadings will
amend his complaint before the defendant serves his answer, the amendment not affect the result of the trial on said issues.
may be done as a matter of right and the court has no discretion on the matter.
In such a case, the amendment has to be accepted. If the court refuses to accept
an amendment made as a matter of right, the court may be compelled to do so II. Summons; motion for bill of particulars; motion to dismiss
through the special civil action of mandamus. Note that an amendment made
as a matter of right may, by the terms of the Rules, be made only once. 1. Upon the filing of the complaint and the payment of the requisite
legal fees, the clerk of court shall issue the corresponding summons to the
May the plaintiff amend his complaint as a matter of right even after a defendant directing him to file an answer to the complaint and that unless he
motion to dismiss has been served? He may. This is because a motion to does so, the court may render a judgment against him by default and grant to
dismiss is not a responsive pleading. Hence, his right to amend his complaint the plaintiff the relief applied for. Attached to the summons is a copy of the
is not affected by the filing of the motion to dismiss. After a responsive complaint.
pleading has been served, amendment must be by leave of court. This means
for example, that after an answer has been served, an amendment may be done The summons and a copy of the complaint are to be served upon the
only with the approval of the court. Example: A complaint was filed. The defendant in person but if the defendant cannot be served despite efforts to
defendant served an answer to the complaint. The plaintiff now decides to serve him in person, summons may be served by an alternative mode called
amend his complaint. The amendment is no longer a matter of right because an substituted service. This consists in serving the summons at the residence of
answer has already been served by the defendant. The amendment would now the defendant or his regular place of business with a person qualified to so
require leave of court and the amendment has become a matter of judicial receive the summons in accordance with the Rules. Subject to certain
discretion. exceptions, the long standing rule is that summons by publication is not a
recognized mode of service for the purpose of acquiring jurisdiction over the
Although existing jurisprudence adopts a liberal policy on amendments, the person of the defendant.
amendment may be refused if it appears to the court that the amendment is
intended for delay. It may also be denied if the amendment is no longer a 2. Recall that the filing of the complaint enables the court to acquire
matter of right and the proposed amendment would result in a drastic change jurisdiction over the person of the plaintiff. This jurisdiction however, does not
in the cause of action or defense or a change in the theory of the case. Also, extend to the person of the defendant. Absent a voluntary appearance, it is the
service of summons upon the defendant which enables the court to acquire the adverse party by his filing of a motion for bill of particulars. It must be
jurisdiction over his person in those actions traditionally called actions in clarified that a motion for bill of particulars is not solely directed to the
personam. The summons is a coercive process which places the person, even complaint. Any other pleading may be the object of a motion for bill of
of the unwilling defendant, under the jurisdiction of the court. Service of particulars.
summons likewise represents a compliance with the rule on notice, an essential
element of constitutional due process. 4. Motion to dismiss After the plaintiff submits a bill of particulars
which clarifies the ambiguities in the complaint, the defendant may now file
The rules on summons mandate specific procedures for service upon his answer. If however, from the reading of the complaint, a solid basis exists
certain classes of defendants. When for instance, the defendant is a minor or an for the immediate dismissal of the action, the defendant, instead of filing his
incompetent, service of summons shall be made upon him personally and on answer, may avail of another option, i.e., to file a motion to dismiss.
his legal guardian if he has one, or if none, upon his guardian ad litem or in the
case of a minor, upon his father or mother. There are numerous grounds for a motion to dismiss and these grounds
must be invoked by filing the requisite motion. Normally, a court will wait for
If the defendant is a domestic corporation or partnership, service may a party to file a motion to dismiss even if the ground for dismissal is known to
be made on certain specific persons only like the president, managing partner, it. For instance, unless the case is covered by the Rules on Summary
general manager, corporate secretary, treasurer, or in-house counsel. Procedure, the court will and ought to refrain from dismissing a complaint on
the ground of improper venue even if the venue is blatantly defective. Venue is
Also, when the defendant is a prisoner confined in a jail or institution, a matter designed for the convenience of the parties and if no party complains
service shall be effected upon him (the prisoner) by the officer having about the venue, it is not for the court to take up the cudgels for any party.
management of the jail or institution. Such manager is deemed deputized as a There are however, grounds for dismissal which the court will recognize on its
special sheriff for said purpose. own motion. Lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action, litis
pendencia, res judicata, and prescription are reasons for the court to effect a
One rule that stands out under the topic on summons is the rule that motu proprio dismissal of the complaint whenever any of these grounds
service of summons is not always required to enable the court to acquire the appears from the pleadings or from the evidence on record.
requisite jurisdiction over the person of the defendant in certain actions.
Service of summons may be dispensed with if the defendant makes a voluntary
appearance. Under the Rules, the defendants voluntary appearance in the III. Answer; default
action shall be equivalent to service of summons.
1. If there exists no ground for a motion to dismiss or if the motion is
3. Motion for bill of particulars Although the summons directs the rightfully denied, the defendant has to file his answer. The answer is the
defendant to file an answer to the complaint, the defendant is procedurally
pleading which is considered as the responsive pleading to the complaint. The
under no obligation to outrightly file an answer since the rule allows him
certain procedural options. For instance, if after reading the complaint, the answer gives notice to the plaintiff as to which allegations in the complaint he
defendant finds that, because of the ambiguity in certain material allegations of decides to contest and thus, put in issue. The answer contains both the negative
the complaint, he cannot possibly file an intelligent answer, he need not serve and affirmative defenses of the defendant.
his answer unless and until the alleged ambiguities are clarified by the
plaintiff. These ambiguities may be sought to be clarified through a bill of 2. The filing of an answer is important. Failure of the defendant to file
particulars submitted by the plaintiff upon order of the court and procured by an answer will entitle the plaintiff to file a motion to declare the defendant in
default. When he is declared in default, the defendant loses his standing in 4. A judgment on the pleadings is not to be confused with a summary
court and the court may proceed to render judgment granting the plaintiff the judgment. A judgment on the pleadings is rendered because, as disclosed by
relief as his complaint may warrant, unless in its discretion, the court requires the pleadings, there is no issue in the case either because the answer fails to
the plaintiff to submit evidence on his claim. tender an issue or because it admits the material allegations of the complaint.
A judgment on the pleadings is based, just as the name tells us, on the
An important principle in this regard is the rule that the courts pleadings of the parties. A summary judgment is based not only on the
declaration of default should be preceded by a motion to declare the said party pleadings of the parties but also on their affidavits, depositions, or admissions.
in default together with proof of such failure. The rule therefore, precludes the The basis of a summary judgment is not the absence of an issue but the
court from declaring the defending party in default on its own motion. absence of a genuine issue in the case. Where there is an issue in the case but
Although declared in default, the party so declared shall still be entitled to the issue does not concern any material fact, as when the issue is merely the
notice of subsequent proceedings and is accorded a relief from the order. A amount of damages, there is no genuine issue, and a summary judgment would
party declared in default may, at any time after notice thereof and before be proper.
judgment, file a motion under oath to set aside the order of default. The motion
must show that his failure to answer was due to fraud, accident, mistake, or 5. It happens frequently enough that the defendant has his own claim
excusable negligence, and that he has a meritorious defense. The order of against the plaintiff. When the defendant files his answer to the complaint, said
default may be set aside on such terms and conditions as the judge may impose answer may be coupled with a counterclaim, which is a pleading in its own
in the interest of justice. right. A counterclaim is a pleading which sets forth a claim which a defending
party may have against an opposing party. A counterclaim is always directed
Another important rule in relation to default is that a default order will against an opposing party.
not be issued in an action for annulment of marriage, action for declaration of
nullity of marriage, or action for legal separation, even if the defendant fails to The counterclaim may be one that is compulsory or one that is
answer. Instead, the court shall order the prosecuting attorney to investigate permissive. A compulsory counterclaim which a defending party has at the
whether or not collusion exists between the parties and prevent fabrication of time he files his answer shall be contained therein. A permissive counterclaim
evidence. does not have to be raised in the same proceedings because by its nature, it
could be invoked as an independent action.
When the order of default ripens into a judgment by default, there is a
limit imposed by the Rules on the extent of relief to be awarded in the 6. There are instances when two or more defendants are named in a
judgment. A judgment rendered against a party in default shall not exceed or complaint. It also happens that one defendant has a claim against his co-
be different in kind from that prayed for nor award unliquidated damages. defendant, a claim arising out of the transaction or occurrence which is the
subject matter of the complaint. The claiming defendant may then, in his
3. The answer to the complaint must specifically deny the material answer, interpose a pleading against his co-defendant. This pleading is known
averments of the complaint because material averments not specifically denied as a cross-claim. This is a pleading containing the claim by one party against a
are deemed admitted. If the answer admits the material averments of the co-party. Thus, if P files an action for a sum of money against A and B, A may
complaint, the answer is deemed to have failed to tender an issue. Since there file a cross-claim against B, his co-defendant. If A files a claim against P, such
are no triable issues, a trial is completely unnecessary. The plaintiff may then claim is called a counterclaim, not a cross-claim.
file a motion for a judgment on the pleadings and the court may direct a
judgment based on the pleadings already filed. 7. There are also cases when a defendant named in the complaint, has
a cause of action against one who is not a party to the action. This cause of
action is a claim against a third person either for contribution, indemnity, IV. Pre-trial
subrogation, or any other relief in respect of the plaintiffs claim. The defendant
may bring in the third person into the suit and implead him as a party by filing, 1. After the last pleading has been served and filed, it is the duty of the
with leave of court, a third-party complaint against him, thus making him a plaintiff to promptly move ex parte that the case be set for pre-trial. A pre-trial
party to the action. is mandatory and failure to appear by either party will result in adverse
consequences for the absent party. In a pre-trial, the parties shall, among
8. Recall that the defendant files an answer to the complaint. This others, consider the possibility of an amicable settlement or submission of the
answer is the responsive pleading to the complaint. May the plaintiff likewise case to alternative modes of dispute resolution.
make his own response to the answer? The plaintiff can. Upon receipt of the
answer of the defendant, the plaintiff may respond to the answer. This 2. During the pre-trial stage and generally at any time even before pre-
response is done through a pleading called a reply. The purpose of a reply is to trial or trial, the parties may obtain information from each other through the
deny or allege facts in denial or avoidance of new matters alleged in the employment of devices collectively known as discovery procedures. Thus, a
answer. A reply is the plaintiffs responsive pleading to the answer of the party may avail of the various modes of discovery like depositions,
defendant to the complaint. A reply, unlike the answer, is not a compulsory interrogatories to parties, request for admission, production and inspection of
pleading. While the failure to file an answer may lead to a declaration of documents, and physical and mental examinations of persons.
default, the failure to file a reply does not have the same consequence. The
failure to file a reply will not likewise result in the implied admission of the
material allegations in the answer because allegations of new matters in the V. Trial
answer even if not replied to, are deemed controverted or denied.
Should there be no amicable settlement or a compromise forged
9. Recall also that a person not a party to the original action may be between the parties, the case will be set for trial. During the trial, the parties
impleaded by an original party and brought into the action through a pleading present their evidence on their claims and defenses. The plaintiff presents his
called a third-party complaint. Now, what if a person not a party to the evidence first. After he rests his case, the defendant will present his own
complaint wants to be a party to the action, and no party is impleading him as evidence. However, if the defendant believes that upon the facts and the law,
a defendant through a third-party complaint? How could this be procedurally the plaintiff is not entitled to relief, he may, instead of presenting his own
possible? There are provisions in the Rules that adequately meet this kind of evidence, move for the dismissal of the case. He does so by way of a demurrer
situation. This is made possible through a process called intervention. Under to evidence. If the demurrer is denied, the defendant still has the right to
the Rules, if at any time before judgment, a person not a party to the action present his evidence. If the demurrer is granted but on appeal the order of
believes that he has a legal interest in the matter in litigation in a case in which dismissal is reversed, the defendant is deemed to have waived his right to
he is not a party, he may, with leave of court, file a complaint-in-intervention present evidence.
in the action if he asserts a claim against one or all of the parties. On the other
hand, if he unites with the defending party in resisting a claim against said A trial is not an indispensable stage of a civil action. A judgment may
party, he may file an answer-in-intervention. be rendered even without a trial as when a case is permanently dismissed as a
consequence of a motion to dismiss on certain grounds like prescription or bar
by a prior judgment. A judgment may also be rendered on the pleadings. Here
no trial is required because the basis of the decision would merely be the
pleadings of the parties. A judgment upon a compromise may also occur even
without a trial.
VI. Judgment VIII. Execution and satisfaction of judgments

1. A judgment is rendered after the submission of the evidence of the When all the remedies available to a party have been exhausted and
parties has been concluded. It is the decision of the court and represents its the case is finally decided, the judgment of the court shall then be subject to
official determination of the respective rights and obligations of the parties to execution. This is the remedy afforded by procedural rules for the enforcement
the case. of the judgment. It is the fruit as well as the end of the action.

2. There is no oral judgment under the Rules. It has to be in writing,


personally and directly prepared by the judge, stating clearly the facts and the
law on which it is based, signed by him, and filed with the clerk of court.

3. Central to the concept of a judgment is the date of entry of the


judgment which under current procedure should also be the date of the finality
of the judgment. The date of entry of the judgment finds relevance as when the
judgment is to be executed or when later on a litigant files a petition for relief
from judgment.

VII. Post judgment remedies

1. The judgment will declare inevitably that a party wins and the other
party loses the litigation. The judgment is not the end for the losing party
because he is afforded remedies against the adverse judgment. These remedies
may be categorized into (a) remedies before the judgment becomes final and
executory, and (b) remedies after the judgment becomes final and executory.

2. Before the judgment becomes final and executory the aggrieved


party may file (a) a motion for reconsideration,(b) a motion for new trial, or (c)
an appeal.

3. After the judgment becomes final and executory, a party may no


longer appeal because the period for appeal has already lapsed. The judgment
has become final and executory and the prevailing party may, at anytime
within five years from its entry, file a motion for the execution of the judgment
rendered in his favor. The losing party may however, avail of extraordinary
remedies at this stage like (a) a petition for relief, (b) an action to annul the
judgment, (c) certiorari, or (d) even attack the judgment collaterally when the
nullity of the judgment is plain and evident on its face.