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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 480 1/16/18, 13:33

VOL. 480, JANUARY 25, 2006 137


LDP Marketing, Inc. vs. Monter
*
G.R. No. 159653. January 25, 2006.

LDP MARKETING, INC. and MA. LOURDES DE LA


PEÑA, petitioners, vs. ERLINDA DYOLDE MONTER,
respondent.

Remedial Law; Pleadings and Practice; Verification;


Certification of Non-forum Shopping; Petitions for certiorari must be
verified and accompanied by a sworn certification of non-forum
shopping.·Under Rule 46, Section 3, paragraph 3 of the Rules of
Court, petitions for certiorari must be verified and accompanied by
a sworn certification of non-forum shopping.
Same; Same; Same; Same; A pleading is verified by an affidavit
that the affiant has read the pleading and that the allegations
therein are true and correct of his personal knowledge or based on
authentic records; Party need not sign the verification.·A pleading
is verified by an affidavit that the affiant has read the pleading
and that the allegations therein are true and correct of his personal
knowledge or based on authentic records. The party need not sign
the verification. A partyÊs representative, lawyer or any person who
personally knows the truth of the facts alleged in the pleading may
sign the verification.
Same; Same; Same; Same; What contains a certification of non-
forum shopping.·A certification of non-forum shopping is a
certification under oath by the plaintiff or principal party in the
complaint or other initiatory pleading asserting a claim for relief or
in a sworn certification annexed thereto and simultaneously filed
therewith, (a) that he has not theretofore commenced any action or
filed any claim involving the same issues in any court, tribunal or
quasi-judicial agency and, to the best of his knowledge, no such
other action or claim is pending therein; (b) if there is such other

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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 480 1/16/18, 13:33

pending action or claim, a complete statement of the present status


thereof, and (c) if he should thereafter learn that the same or
similar action or claim has been filed or is pending, he shall report
that fact within five (5) days therefrom to the court wherein his
aforesaid complaint or initiatory pleading has been filed.

_______________

* THIRD DIVISION.

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138 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED

LDP Marketing, Inc. vs. Monter

Same; Same; Same; Same; Requirement that a petitioner or


principal party should sign the certificate of non-forum shopping
applies even to corporations.·The requirement that a petitioner or
principal party should sign the certificate of non-forum shopping
applies even to corporations, considering that the mandatory
directives of the Rules of Court make no distinction between
natural and juridical persons.
Same; Same; Same; Same; The lack of certification against
forum shopping is generally not curable by the submission thereof
after the filing of the petition.·The lack of certification against
forum shopping is generally not curable by the submission thereof
after the filing of the petition. Section 5, Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules
of Civil Procedure provides that the failure of the petitioner to
submit the required documents that should accompany the petition,
including the certification against forum shopping, shall be
sufficient ground for the dismissal thereof. The same rule applies to
certifications against forum shopping signed by a person on behalf
of a corporation which are unaccompanied by proof that said
signatory is authorized to file a petition on behalf of the corporation.
Same; Same; Same; Same; In certain exceptional circumstances,
the Court has allowed the belated filing of the certification.·In
certain exceptional circumstances, however, the Court has
allowed the belated filing of the certification. In Loyola v.
Court of Appeals, et al. (245 SCRA 477 [1995]), the Court considered

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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 480 1/16/18, 13:33

the filing of the certification one day after the filing of an election
protest as substantial compliance with the requirement. In
Roadway Express, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, et al. (264 SCRA 696
[1996]), the Court allowed the filing of the certification 14 days
before the dismissal of the petition. In Uy v. LandBank, supra, the
Court had dismissed UyÊs petition for lack of verification and
certification against non-forum shopping. However, it subsequently
reinstated the petition after Uy submitted a motion to admit
certification and non-forum shopping certification. In all these
cases, there were special circumstances or compelling reasons
that justified the relaxation of the rule requiring verification and
certification on non-forum shopping.

PETITION for review on certiorari of the resolutions of the


Court of Appeals.

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VOL. 480, JANUARY 25, 2006 139


LDP Marketing, Inc. vs. Monter

The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.


Feria, Feria, LaÊO, Tantoco for petitioners.
Anacleto F. Astucia for respondent.

CARPIO-MORALES, J.:

Respondent, Erlinda Dyolde Monter, a cashier at the Red


Tag Convenience Store, filed a complaint for illegal
dismissal and related causes of action against petitioner
LDP Marketing, Inc., owner-operator of the store, and
LDPÊs Vice-President-co-petitioner
1
Ma. Lourdes Dela Peña.
By Decision of January 2, 2001, the Labor Arbiter ruled
in favor of respondent.
On appeal, the National2
Labor Relations Commission
(NLRC), by Resolution of May 24, 2002, affirmed the
Labor ArbiterÊs decision, modifying, however, the amount of
attorneyÊs fees awarded.
PetitionersÊ Motion for Reconsideration having been
denied by the NLRC, they filed on May 19, 2002 before the
Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari wherein the
Verification/Certification of non-forum shopping was

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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 480 1/16/18, 13:33

accomplished by petitioner Ma. Lourdes Dela Peña-Vice-


President of its co-petitioner corporation.
By Resolution of December 23, 2002, the appellate court,3
citing Digital Microwave Corp. v. Court of Appeals,
dismissed petitionersÊ Petition for Certiorari for „failing to
attach to the petition a copy of the company board
resolution authorizing said Ma. Lourdes Dela Peña to sign
the said Verification/ Certification of [non-]forum shopping
for and in behalf of petitioner corporation.‰

_______________

1 NLRC records, pp. 72-81.


2 Id., at pp. 228-234.
3 G.R. No. 128550, March 16, 2000, 384 Phil. 842; 328 SCRA 286.

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140 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


LDP Marketing, Inc. vs. Monter

To the appellate courtÊs Resolution,


4
petitioners filed a
Motion for Reconsideration to which they5 attached a
January 24, 2003 SecretaryÊs Certificate quoting a
Resolution adopted by the Board of Directors of petitioner
corporation during a special meeting on May 19, 1999
reading:

xxxx
„RESOLVED, as it is hereby resolved that Ms. Ma. Lourdes dela
Peña and/or Ms. Nonita R. Dela Peña are hereby appointed,
designated and authorized to be the attorney-in-fact and
representative of the Corporation, with absolute and complete
authority to sign, enter into any stipulation, agreement, settlement
or compromise and act on any and all matters that may be taken up
in behalf of the Corporation in all the proceedings in connection with
the case entitled „Erlinda D. Monter vs. LDP Marketing, Inc. and/or
Ma. Lourdes dela Peña‰ with NLRC-NCR Case No. 00-03-02699-99,
pending with the National Labor Relations Commission, National
Capital Region, wherein the Corporation is a respondent.
3. The above-resolution has not been revoked and is in full force
6
and effect as of the date of this certification.‰ (Italics supplied)

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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 480 1/16/18, 13:33

The Court of Appeals, „find[ing] no cogent reason to


reverse‰ its Resolution of December 23, 2002, denied 7
petitionersÊ Motion for Reconsideration by Resolution of
August 20, 2003.
Hence, the present Petition for Review on Certiorari,
petitioners advancing the following arguments:

„1. The case of Digital Microwave Corp. v. Court of


Appeals, 328 SCRA 286 (2000) relied upon by the
Court of Appeals in dismissing the Petition for
Certiorari is not applicable in this case.
2. The more recent case of Shipside Incorporated v.
Court of Appeals, 352 SCRA 334 (2001) which
affirmed the validity of a verification/certification
against forum shopping despite the absence of an
attached authorization confirming the authority of
the person

_______________

4 CA Rollo, pp. 160-169.


5 Id., at p. 170.
6 Ibid.
7 Id., at p. 174.

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LDP Marketing, Inc. vs. Monter

signing for and in behalf of a corporate entity, is the


leading case applicable to the present controversy.
3. Assuming for the sake of argument that there was
indeed a technical defect in the Petition for
Certiorari due [to] the failure of [p]etitioners to
attach a written authorization to sign the
verification/certification against forum shopping,
the merits of the case and the substantial interest of
justice dictates that the 8Petition for Certiorari
should be given due course.‰ (Italics supplied)

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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 480 1/16/18, 13:33

The petition is impressed with merit.


Under Rule 46, Section 3, paragraph 3 of the Rules of
Court, petitions for certiorari must be verified and
accompanied
9
by a sworn certification of non-forum
shopping.
A pleading is verified by an affidavit that the affiant
has read the pleading and that the allegations therein are
true and correct 10of his personal knowledge or based on
authentic records.

„The party need not sign the verification. A partyÊs representative,


lawyer or any person who personally knows the truth of the facts
11
alleged in the pleading may sign the verification.‰

On the other hand, a certification of non-forum


shopping is a certification under oath by the plaintiff or
principal party in the complaint or other initiatory
pleading asserting a claim for relief or in a sworn
certification annexed thereto and simultaneously filed
therewith, (a) that he has not theretofore commenced any
action or filed any claim involving the same issues in any
court, tribunal or quasi-judicial agency and, to the best of
his knowledge, no such other action or claim is pending
therein; (b) if there is such other pending action or claim, a
complete statement of the present status thereof, and

_______________

8 Rollo, pp. 7-8, 11.


9 Rules of Court, Rule 65, Section 1.
10 Rules of Court, Rule 7, Section 4.
11 Pajuyo v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 146364, June 3, 2004, 430
SCRA 492, 509.

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142 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


LDP Marketing, Inc. vs. Monter

(c) if he should thereafter learn that the same or similar


action or claim has been filed or is pending, he shall report
that fact within five (5) days therefrom to the court

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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 480 1/16/18, 13:33

wherein his12
aforesaid complaint or initiatory pleading has
been filed.
The requirement that a petitioner or principal party
should sign the certificate of non-forum shopping applies
even to corporations, considering that the mandatory
directives of the Rules of Court make 13
no distinction
between natural and juridical persons.
A corporation, however, exercises its powers through its
board of directors and/or its duly authorized officers and
agents. Physical acts, like the signing of documents, can be
performed only by natural persons duly authorized for the
purpose by corporate
14
by-laws or by a specific act of the
board of directors. 15
In Digital Microwave Corporation relied upon by the
appellate court in dismissing petitionersÊ Petition for
Certiorari, the certification of non-forum shopping was
signed by the therein petitioner corporationÊs counsel,
hence, the appellate court dismissed the petition for failure
to comply with Revised Supreme Court Circular No. 28-91,
as amended. On the therein petitioner corporationÊs Motion
for Reconsideration, the appellate court denied the same
„absent any compelling reason for petitionerÊs failure to
comply at the first instance with [the circular] . . .‰ On the
petitionerÊs petition, this Court denied the same in this
wise:

„In this case, petitioner has not adequately explained its failure
to have the certification against forum shopping signed by one of

_______________

12 Rules of Court, Rule 7, Sec. 5.


13 Pascual and Santos, Inc. v. The Members of the Tramo Wakas
Neighborhood Association, Inc., G.R. No. 144880, November 17, 2004,
442 SCRA 438, 446.
14 Id., at pp. 446-447.
15 Supra note 3.

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LDP Marketing, Inc. vs. Monter

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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 480 1/16/18, 13:33

its officers. Neither has it shown any compelling reason for us


to disregard strict compliance with the rules.
As we further stated in Spouses Ortiz,

Utter disregard of the rules cannot justly be rationalized by harking on


16
the policy of liberal construction.‰ (Emphasis supplied)

In the more
17
recent case of Shipside Incorporated v. Court of
Appeals cited by herein petitioners, the therein petitioner
Shipside Incorporated filed a Petition for Certiorari and
Prohibition with the Court of Appeals which, however,
dismissed it, citing absence of proof that the one who
signed the Verification and Certification of non-forum
shopping, its Manager Lorenzo Balbin, Jr., was authorized
to institute the petition for and in behalf of the petitioner.
Shipside Incorporated filed a Motion for Reconsideration to
which it attached a certificate issued by its board secretary
stating that ten days before the filing of the petition, its
board of directors authorized Balbin to file it. The Court of
Appeals just the same denied the Motion for
Reconsideration. In granting petitioner Shipside
IncorporatedÊs Petition for Certiorari, this Court held:

„It is undisputed that on October 21, 1999, the time petitionerÊs


Resident Manager Balbin filed the petition, there was no proof
attached thereto that Balbin was authorized to sign the verification
and non-forum shopping certification therein, as a consequence of
which the petition was dismissed by the Court of Appeals. However,
subsequent to such dismissal, petitioner filed a motion for
reconsideration, attaching to said motion a certificate issued by its
board secretary stating that on October 11, 1999, or ten days prior to
the filing of the petition, Balbin had been authorized by petitionerÊs
board of directors to file said petition.
The Court has consistently held that the requirement regarding
verification of a pleading is formal, not jurisdictional (Uy v.
LandBank, G.R. No. 136100, July 24, 2000, 336 SCRA 419). Such

_______________

16 Id., at pp. 847-848.


17 G.R. No. 143377, February 20, 2001, 352 SCRA 334.

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144 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


LDP Marketing, Inc. vs. Monter

requirement is simply a condition affecting the form of the pleading,


non-compliance with which does not necessarily render the pleading
fatally defective. Verification is simply intended to secure an
assurance that the allegations in the pleading are true and correct
and not the product of the imagination or a matter of speculation,
and that the pleading is filed in good faith. The court may order the
correction of the pleading if verification is lacking or act on the
pleading although it is not verified, if the attending circumstances
are such that strict compliance with the rules may be dispensed
with in order that the ends of justice may thereby be served.
On the other hand, the lack of certification against forum
shopping is generally not curable by the submission thereof after
the filing of the petition. Section 5, Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of
Civil Procedure provides that the failure of the petitioner to submit
the required documents that should accompany the petition,
including the certification against forum shopping, shall be
sufficient ground for the dismissal thereof. The same rule applies to
certifications against forum shopping signed by a person on behalf
of a corporation which are unaccompanied by proof that said
signatory is authorized to file a petition on behalf of the corporation.
In certain exceptional circumstances, however, the Court
has allowed the belated filing of the certification. In Loyola v.
Court of Appeals, et al. (245 SCRA 477 [1995]), the Court considered
the filing of the certification one day after the filing of an election
protest as substantial compliance with the requirement. In
Roadway Express, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, et al. (264 SCRA 696
[1996]), the Court allowed the filing of the certification 14 days
before the dismissal of the petition. In Uy v. LandBank, supra, the
Court had dismissed UyÊs petition for lack of verification and
certification against non-forum shopping. However, it subsequently
reinstated the petition after Uy submitted a motion to admit
certification and non-forum shopping certification. In all these
cases, there were special circumstances or compelling reasons
that justified the relaxation of the rule requiring verification
and certification on non-forum shopping.
In the instant case, the merits of petitionerÊs case should be
considered special circumstances or compelling reasons that justify
tempering the requirement in regard to the certificate of non-forum
shopping. Moreover, in Loyola, Roadway, and Uy, the Court

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excused non-compliance with the requirement as to the certificate of

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LDP Marketing, Inc. vs. Monter

non-forum shopping. With more reason should we allow the instant


petition since petitioner herein did submit a certification on non-
forum shopping, failing only to show proof that the signatory was
authorized to do so. That petitioner subsequently submitted a
secretaryÊs certificate attesting that Balbin was authorized to file an
action on behalf of petitioner likewise mitigates this oversight.
It must also be kept in mind that while the requirement of the
certificate of non-forum shopping is mandatory, nonetheless the
requirements must not be interpreted too literally and thus defeat
the objective of preventing the undesirable practice of forum-
shopping (Bernardo v. NLRC, 255 SCRA 108 [1996]). Lastly,
technical rules of procedure should be used to promote, not
frustrate justice. While the swift unclogging of court dockets is a
laudable objective, the granting of substantial justice is an even
18
more urgent ideal.‰ (Italics in the original; emphasis and boldface
supplied)

In the case at bar, petitioner corporation rectified its failure


to submit proof of its petitioner-Vice-President Ma. Lourdes
dela PeñaÊs authority to sign the Verification/Certification
on non-forum shopping also on its behalf when it attached
the necessary document to its Motion for Reconsideration
before the appellate court. And petitioners stressed in said
motion their „basic and principal argument x x x that the
public respondent National Labor Relations Commission
committed grave abuse of discretion when it ruled that
private respondent x x x was illegally dismissed, when the
facts and circumstances show otherwise.‰
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The
Resolutions of the Court of Appeals dated December 23,
2002 and August 20, 2003 are SET ASIDE.
Let the records of the case be REMANDED to the Court
of Appeals which is hereby DIRECTED to take appropriate
action thereon in light of the foregoing discussion.

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_______________

18 Id., at pp. 345-347.

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146 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Sunace International Management Services, Inc. vs.
National Labor Relations Commission

SO ORDERED.

Quisumbing (Chairperson), Carpio and Tinga, JJ.,


concur.

Petition granted, resolutions set aside. Case remanded to


Court of Appeals.

Note.·The certificate of non-forum shopping should be


signed by all the petitioners or plaintiffs in a case and that
the signing by only one of them is insufficient. (Docena vs.
Lapesura, 355 SCRA 658 [2001])

··o0o··

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