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RULE 18- PRE-TRIAL for P9,000,000.00.

for P9,000,000.00.17 Petitioner argued that the sale was simulated and that there was
Sec. 1.When conducted collusion between Santos and Raymundo (respondents).
SEE: A.M. NO. 03-1-09-SC Respondents respectively moved18 for the dismissal of the Complaint on the main
ground that it stated no cause of action.
On September 2, 1991, the RTC dismissed 22 petitioner's Complaint on the ground that it
SARMIENTO V. JUAN, G.R. NO. 56605, JANUARY 28, 1983 "does not contain any valid cause of action." 23
Petitioner then filed a motion for reconsideration 24 which was, however, denied by the
Facts: RTC in an Order25 dated October 11, 1991.
In this petition for review on certiorari, petitioner Andres C. Sarmiento seeks to set aside Aggrieved, petitioner elevated the case on appeal before the CA (docketed as CA-G.R.
a decision rendered by the respondent Court of Appeals in CA G.R. No. SP-10649 CV No. 34987) which rendered a Decision 26 dated March 29, 1993 affirming the
which denied due course to a petition for certiorari filed therein by the herein petitioner dismissal of the Complaint.
to annul two orders issued by the Court of First Instance of Manila in Civil Case No. Eventually, the foregoing CA Decision was reversed 27 on petition for review before the
126113. The instant petition was given due course in the Resolution of September 14, Court (docketed as G.R. No. 111538) in a Decision dated February 26, 1997 (February
1981 and the parties ordered to submit their respective memoranda. The petitioner flied 26, 1997 Decision), upon a finding that the Complaint "sufficiently alleges an actionable
a memorandum in his behalf but the private respondent merely adopted its comment on contractual breach"28 on the part of respondents.
the petition as its memorandum. However, the Court held that in order to have full compliance with the contractual right
Civil Case No. 126113 was an action filed by private respondent Belfast Surety & granting petitioner the first option to purchase, the sale of the subject properties for the
Insurance Co., Inc. against herein petitioner and his father Benjamin R. Sarmiento, Sr. amount of P9,000,000.00, the price for which it was finally sold to Raymundo, should
for indemnification under an Indemnity Agreement executed by them in connection with have' likewise been first offered to petitioner. 29
a bail bond. The case was assigned to Branch X of the Court of First Instance of Manila Necessarily, the Court remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings.
presided over by respondent Judge Celestino C. Juan who had since retired. Petitioner wanted to strike out, in particular, the allegations in the Answer that the
After the petitioner filed an answer with compulsory counterclaim, private respondent subject properties were offered to it first at P5,000,000.00, and subsequently
filed a motion to dismiss the case against defendant Benjamin R. Sarmiento, Sr., and to at P9,000,000.00.36
schedule the case for pre-trial. This motion was granted by Judge Juan and the pre-trial However, petitioner's Motion to Strike Out was denied by the RTC in an Order 37 dated
was set on February 5, 1980, at 8:30 a.m. May 18, 1998, emphasizing the inapplicability of the principle of res judicata with respect
At the said pre-trial, nobody appeared except Atty. Federico T. Castillo, Jr., counsel for to the afore-quoted February 26, 1997 Decision.
the private respondent. However, the petitioner sent to the Court on the same date an Petitioner moved39 for the reconsideration of the said Order, as well as the voluntary
urgent motion for postponement stating therein that when he was preparing to go to the inhibition of the presiding judge for alleged acts of "undue deference for and haste in
Court, he felt severe stomach pain followed by loose bowel movements, and he granting all the motions and wishes of [respondents] and his consistent denial of the
accordingly prayed that the pre-trial be postponed to another date. motions of [petitioner]." 40
The urgent motion for postponement filed by the petitioner was denied in the order of The motion was, however, denied by the RTC, in an Order 41 dated June 11, 1998, and
Judge Juan dated February 5, 1980. On motion of Atty. Castillo, the petitioner was the case was set for pre-trial on July 7, 1998.
"declared non-suited" (should have been "as in default") and the private respondent On July 2, 1998, petitioner filed a Motion to cancel Pre-Trial, 42 claiming that it was
allowed to present its evidence ex-parte on February 26, 1980, at 8:30 a.m. preparing a petition for certiorari and prohibition which (a) was to be filed with the CA
On March 19, 1980, the petitioner filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court before the scheduled pre-trial on July 7, 1998, and (b) was intended to challenge the
docketed as G.R. No. 53399 to annul the aforementioned orders of Judge Juan dated validity of the RTC's Orders dated May 18, 1998 and June 11, 1998 by raising alleged
February 5, 1980 and February 26, 1980. The said petition was remanded to the Court prejudicial questions that must be resolved first before the pre-trial and trial on the
of Appeals pursuant to the Resolution of the First Division of this Court dated March 28, merits of the case could proceed.
1980.In a decision promulgated on August 29, 1980 by the Special First Division of the Incidentally, the petition for certiorari and prohibition 43 (docketed as CA-G.R. SP No.
Court of Appeals, the petition was denied due course and ordered dismissed for lack of 48214) that was actually filed at 2:17 44 in the afternoon of July 7, 1998, (contrary to
meet. Said decision is the subject of the present appeal by certiorari. petitioner's assertion in its Motion to Cancel Pre-Trial that it was to be .filed before the
July 7, 1998 pre-trial) was resolved by the CA in favor of petitioner in a Decision 45 dated
Issue/s: December 6, 1999 (December 6, 1999 CA Decision), where it was determined that the
Whether or not the pre-trial was prematurely scheduled on the supposed ground that the Motion to Strike Out was denied prematurely.
last pleading had not been filed. On the other hand, the CA declared the petition for voluntary inhibition moot and
academic with the appointment of a regular judge for Branch 57.
Held: Meanwhile, on July 7, 1998, the day of the pre-trial sought to be cancelled, the RTC
No, the pre-trial was not prematurely scheduled on the supposed ground that the last denied petitioner's Motion to Cancel Pre-Trial in its First Order 48 of even date.
pleading had not been filed. Accordingly, the RTC directed the parties to proceed to pre-trial as scheduled.
In the petition for certiorari docketed as G.R. No. 53399, the petitioner has alleged that The trial court then required petitioner to start the pre-trial with the statement of its
he filed his answer to the complaint containing a compulsory counterclaim on December cause.
21, 1979 which was served on the counsel for the private respondent on the same date. Petitioner then filed a Notice of Appeal 53 with the RTC from the First and Second Orders
(Rollo, p. 19.) The pre-trial was scheduled to be held on February 5, 1980 or a month both dated July 7, 1998 and the Order dated September 21, 1998.
and a half after the petitioner had flied his answer to the complaint in Civil Case No. The same was, however, denied due course for being filed out of time in an
126113 and private respondent served with a copy of the same. While it may be true Order54 dated November 27; 1998.
that the private respondent had not filed any answer to the counterclaim contained in the Petitioner had 15 days from July 29, 1998, the date of receipt of copies of the First and
petitioner's answer, such circumstance does not prevent the trial court from conducting Second Orders both dated July 7, 199 8, or until August 13, 199 8, to perfect its appeal
the pre-trial. As was observed by the respondent Court of Appeals in its questioned but it failed to do so. Petitioner filed its Notice of Appeal only on September 30, 1998,
decision: "If no answer (to the counterclaim) is timely filed the pre-trial order may issue. which was about 48 days late.55
Otherwise, an unscrupulous party litigant can hold court processes by the simple Unperturbed, petitioner went up to the CA, for the third time, on a petition for certiorari,
expedient of failing to answer." mandamus, and prohibition56 (docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 50570), insisting that its
The requirement that the pre-trial shall be scheduled "after the last pleading has been motion for reconsideration substantially complied with the rules and, thus, effectively
filed" ( Section 1, Rule 20, Rules of Court) is intended to fully apprise the court and the tolled the reglementary period to appeal.
parties of all the issues in the case before the pre-trial is conducted. It must be Nearly a decade after, or on May 23, 2008, the appellate court granted the petition,
remembered that the issues may only be ascertained from the allegations contained in annulled the questioned orders of the trial court, and directed the lower court to give due
the pleadings filed by the parties. The last permissible pleading that a party may file course to petitioner's appeal.57
would be the reply to the answer to the last pleading of claim that had been filed in the Upon motion for execution 58 of petitioner, the trial court issued an Order 59 dated
case, which may either be the complaint, a cross-claim, a counterclaim or a third party November 11, 2008 elevating the entire records of the case to the CA. The appeal,
complaint, etc. (Secs. 2 and 11, Rule 6, Rules of Court.) Any pleading asserting a claim which was the fourth time petitioner was before the CA, was docketed as CA-G.R. CV
must be answered, and the failure to do so by the party against whom the claim is No. 92522.
asserted renders him liable to be declared in default in respect of such claim. (See. On September 22, 2010, the appellate court rendered the assailed Decision 60 affirming
10, Ibid) There are, however, recognized exceptions to the rule, making the failure to the First and Second Orders both dated July 7, 1998, as well as the Order dated
answer a pleading of claim as a ground for a default declaration, such as the failure to September 21, 1998. The same court further denied 61petitioner's motion for
answer a complaint in intervention (Sec. 2(c) Rule 12, Rules of Court), or a compulsory reconsideration62 of said Decision, hence, the instant petition.
counterclaim so intimately related to the complaint such that to answer to same would
merely require a repetition of the allegations contained in the complaint.
In the case presently considered, the nature of the counterclaim in the petitioner's
answer has not been made clear, except to categorize it as a compulsory counterclaim. The Issue Before the Court
Such being the case, it is likely to be one where the answering thereof is not necessary, Whether or not the CA correctly upheld
and the failure to do so would not be a ground to be declared in default. In any event, (a) the RTC's denial of petitioner's Motion to Cancel Pre-Trial, and
the private respondent's failure to answer the petitioner's counterclaim after the period to (b) the dismissal of the Complaint for failure of petitioner to proceed to pre-trial as
file the answer had lapsed is no obstacle to holding a pre-trial.1äwphï1.ñët The directed by the trial court.
requirement that the last pleading must have been filed before a pre-trial may be
scheduled should more appropriately be construed to mean not only if the last pleading The Court's Ruling
had been actually filed, but also if the period for filing the same had expired. At the outset, it should be emphasized that the trial court has the discretion on whether
to grant or deny a motion to postpone and/or reschedule the pre-trial conference in
accordance with the circumstances obtaining in the case.
ELOISA MERCHANDISING VS BANCO DE ORO This must be so as it is the trial court which is able to witness firsthand the events as
they unfold during the trial of a case.
PARANQUE KINGS VS SANTOS Postponements, while permissible, must not be countenanced except for clearly
The Facts meritorious grounds and in light of the attendant circumstances. 63
Respondent Catalina L. Santos (Santos) entered into a Contract of Lease 8 with In this case, the RTC was able to explain to the satisfaction of the Court that the
Frederick O. Chua (Chua) over eight (8) parcels of land 9 located in Parañaque City postponement of the pre-trial scheduled on July 7, 1998 was not warranted under the
(leased premises), specifically giving the latter the "first option or priority to buy" the circumstances detailed below, viz.:
same in case of sale.10 As far as the Court could gather, the sought postponement of the pre-trial on July 7 was
Chua then caused the construction of a 6-door commercial complex 11on the leased dilatory, if movant was not trifling with this court, because at the pre-trial scheduled on
premises but, by reason of business reverses, he was constrained to assign 12 his rights March 26, 1998 it was plaintiff-movant through counsel, Justice Emilio Gangcayco, who
thereon to Lee Ching Bing (Lee), who likewise assumed all obligations under the lease asked for time and was given 10 days to file motion for contempt and to strike out
contract with Santos. averments in defendants answer. Thus, pre-trial was reset to May 21, 1998.
Lee, in turn, executed a Deed of Assignment13 over the leased premises, including all But on May 21, 1998 the pre-trial was again reset to June 11, 1998 to enable movant's
improvements thereon, in favor of petitioner. counsel, Atty. Nelson Santos, to prepare for pretrial as he was not ready for pre-trial.
On March 19, 1991, petitioner filed a Complaint 14 before the RTC (docketed as Civil The scheduled pre-trial on June 11, 1998 was blocked by plaintiffs Motion for Inhibition
Case No. 91-786) against Santos and respondent David A. Raymundo (Raymundo) to and to vacate and/or reconsider the order of May 18, 1998. Both counsel submitted the
whom Santos allegedly sold the leased premises on September 21, 1988 for a matter for resolution and agreed that the pre-trial likewise be scheduled in that
consideration of P5,000,000.00,15 without giving petitioner the opportunity to exercise its resolution, considering that Atty. Tomacruz (counsel for defendants) may oppose the
priority to buy the same. postponement of the pre-trial of the June 11 pre-trial if no date is fixed therein. (Order
Petitioner claimed that, when it objected to the sale, Santos repurchased the subject dated June 11, 1998) The June 11 pre-trial was accordingly reset to July 7, 1998 as the
properties for the same price,16 and offered them to petitioner for P15,000,000.00. The court denied the motion for inhibition and reconsideration. 64 (Emphases and
latter made a counter-offer of P5,000,000.00 but, before replying. thereto, Santos sold underscoring supplied)
the subject properties again to Raymundo on May 15, 1989
The pattern to delay the pre-trial of the instant case is quite evident from the During the March 17, 2006 pre-trial setting, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG),
foregoing.1a\^/phi1 Petitioner clearly trifled with the mandatory character of a pre-trial, representing the Republic, failed to appear.
which is a procedural device intended to clarify and limit the basic issues raised by the Come the April 19, 2006 hearing, despite having received a copy of the March 17, 2006
parties and to take the trial of cases out of the realm of surprise and maneuvering. Order, the OSG again failed to appear.
More significantly, a pre-trial has been institutionalized as the answer to the clarion call It also failed to submit its comment. Thus, counsels for the defendants Filstar, Chiat
for the speedy disposition of cases. Hailed as the most important procedural innovation Sing, and Chingkoe moved that plaintiff be declared non-suited. Meanwhile, the counsel
in Anglo Saxon justice in the nineteenth century, it paves the way for a less cluttered trial for BOC requested for an update of their case. In its Order 16 on the same date, the trial
and resolution of the case.65 It is, thus, mandatory for the trial court to conduct pre-trial in court warned the plaintiffs Republic and BOC that if no comment is submitted and if they
civil cases in order to realize the paramount objective of simplifying; abbreviating, and fail to appear during the pre-trial set on May 25, 2006, the court will be constrained to go
expediting trial.66 along with the motion for the dismissal of the case.
Far from showing bias or prejudice, the RTC judge was merely complying with his sworn The scheduled May 25, 2006 hearing, however, did not push through, since the trial
duty to administer justice without delay. It should be recalled that the Complaint was court judge went on official leave. The pre-trial was again reset to June 30, 2006.
filed by petitioner on March 19, 1991. During the June 30, 2006 pre-trial conference, the OSG again failed to attend. A certain
Seven (7) years later, or in 1998, no pre-trial had been conducted as yet. Hence, the Atty. Bautista Corpin, Jr. (Atty. Corpin Jr.), appearing on behalf of BOC, was present, but
cancellation of the pre-trial on 'the ground of the impending filing of a petition for was not prepared for pre-trial.
certiorari and prohibition, as there was no proof at the time of the hearing that said Meanwhile, counsels for defendants Chiat Sing, Filstar, and third-party defendants
petition was in fact filed, was obviously a dilatory tactic designed for petitioner to control Faustino T. Chingkoe and Gloria C. Chingkoe, who were all present during the pre-trial,
the proceedings of the court. moved for the dismissal of the case on the ground of respondent’s failure to prosecute.
More importantly, even with the actual filing of the petition for certiorari at 2:17 68 in the The trial court judge issued an Order 18 resetting the pre-trial to July 14, 2006.
afternoon of July 7, 1998, no restraining order was issued by the CA enjoining the trial At the hearing conducted on July 14, 2006, the respective counsels of the defendants
court from proceeding with the pre-trial. 69 were present. Notwithstanding the warning of the judge given during the previous
The appellate court correctly emphasized, in the assailed Decision dated September 22, hearing, that their failure to appear will result in the dismissal of the cases, neither the
2010, that the mere elevation of an interlocutory matter through a petition for certiorari OSG nor the BOC attended the hearing. Thus, as moved anew by the respective
does not by itself merit a suspension of the proceedings before the trial court, unless a counsels of the three defendants, the trial court issued an Order 19 dismissing the case,
temporary restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction has been issued. 70 which reads:
This pronouncement is squarely consistent with Section 7, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court The motion for reconsideration of the July 14, 2006 Order was likewise denied by the
which was instructively applied in Republic of the Phils. v. Sandiganbayan (First RTC on August 31, 2007.21As recourse, respondents filed a Petition for Certiorari under
Div.)71 as follows: Rule 65 before the CA, alleging that the trial court judge acted with grave abuse of
The dismissal is a matter within the trial court's sound discretion, which, as authorized discretion in dismissing the two cases.
by Section 3, Rule 17 of the Rules of Court hereunder quoted, must stand absent any In its Decision dated April 30, 2008, the CA granted the petition and remanded the case
justifiable reason to the contrary, as in this case: to the RTC for further proceedings. In reversing the RTC Order, the CA ruled that the
SEC. 3. Dismissal due to fault of plaintiff - If, for no justifiable cause, the plaintiff fails to case, being a collection case involving a huge amount of tax collectibles, should not be
appear on the date of the presentation of his evidence in chief on the complaint, or to taken lightly. It also stated that it would be the height of injustice if the Republic is
prosecute his action for an unreasonable length of time, or to comply with these Rules deprived of due process and fair play. Finally, it took "judicial notice of the fact that the
or any order of the court, the complaint may be dismissed upon motion of the defendant collection of customs duties and taxes is a matter imbued with public interest, taxes
or upon the court's own motion, without prejudice to the right of the defendant to being the lifeblood of the government and what we pay for civilized society." 22
prosecute his counterclaim in the same or in a separate action. This dismissal shall The CA, thus, disposed of the case in this manner:
have the effect of an adjudication. upon the merits, unless otherwise declared by the WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is GRANTED. The Court a
court. (Emphases supplied) quo’s Orders dated 14 July 2006 and 31 August 2007, are hereby REVOKED and SET
Verily, as the Court sees it, petitioner had the opportunity to present its case, yet chose ASIDE and a new one rendered ordering the REMAND of this case to the Court a quo
to unduly forego the same. The appellate court in CA-G.R. CV No. 92522 pointed out for further proceedings. The Bureau of Customs, through the Office of the Solicitor
the crucial fact that petitioner had already submitted its pre-trial brief and its counsel was General (OSG), is hereby directed to give this case its utmost and preferential
armed with a special power of attorney for the pre-trial.74 attention.24
There was nothing that could have stopped petitioner from proceeding to pre-trial when Issues
its motion for postponement was denied. Petitioners posit:
The trial court correctly opined that it would have been entirely different if petitioner Whether the Honorable Court of Appeals committed a reversible error when it granted
simply objected to the proceeding and made of record its objection. the petition for certiorari and revoked and set aside the order of dismissal of the RTC
But petitioner's refusal to even start with the statement of its cause is a "clear, firm and considering that:
open defiance" 'of the directive of the court, 75 which justified the dismissal of its 1. The extraordinary writ of certiorari is not available in the instant case as
Complaint pursuant to Section 3, Rule 17 of the Rules of Court as above-cited. an appeal from the order of dismissal as a plain, speedy and adequate
The Court finally considers that this case was elevated to the CA for four ( 4) times, and remedy available to the respondent;
this is the third time that the Court has to resolve issues between the' parties, at the 2. The dismissal of the complaints below for the repeated failure of the
instance of petitioner. If this case has dragged on for more than two (2) decades, surely respondent to appear during the pre-trial and for its failure to prosecute for
petitioner cannot wash its hands of any responsibility therefor. an unreasonable length of time despite the stern warning of the RTC is not a
The expedition of disposition of cases is as much the duty of petitioner, being the dismissal on mere technical grounds; and
plaintiff, as the court's. Indeed, respondents, as the defendants, cannot be wearingly 3. The dismissal of the cases with prejudice was not attended with grave
denied of their right to the speedy disposition of the case filed against them. abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC.
After more than two (2) decades, respondents certainly do not deserve the agony of
going through the same issues all over again with petitioner, which could have been
settled had the latter simply proceeded to pre-trial and had given the trial court the The Court’s Ruling
opportunity to evaluate the evidence, apply the law, and decree the proper judgment. The petition is meritorious.
At the end of the day, the unfortunate fault can fall on no one's hands but on petitioner's. The remedy of certiorari does not lie
Indeed, there is a price to pay when one trifles with the rules. to question the RTC Order of dismissal.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated September 22, 2010 and Respondent’s Petition for Certiorari filed before the CA was not the proper remedy
the Resolution dated November 23, 2010 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. against the assailed Order of the RTC. Pursuant to Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, a
92522 are hereby AFFIRMED. special civil action for certiorari could only be availed of when a tribunal "acts in a
SO ORDERED. capricious, whimsical, arbitrary or despotic manner in the exercise of its judgment as to
CORPUS VS. HON. OCHOTONERA be said to be equivalent to lack of jurisdiction" 26 or when it acted without or in excess of
its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
SUICO INDUSTRIAL CORP. VS. HON. YAP jurisdiction; and if there is no appeal or other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the
FIESTA WORLD MALL CORP. VS. LINDBERG ordinary course of law.27
CHINGKOE VS REPUBLIC It is settled that the Rules precludes recourse to the special civil action of certiorari if
The Facts appeal by way of a Petition for Review is available, as the remedies of appeal and
This petition stemmed from two collection cases filed by the Republic of the Philippines certiorari are mutually exclusive and not alternative or successive. 28
(Republic), represented by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) before the Regional Trial Here, respondent cannot plausibly claim that there is no plain, speedy, and adequate
Court (RTC) of Manila. remedy available to it to question the dismissal Order of the trial court. The RTC Order
In the first Complaint4 for collection of money and damages, entitled Republic of the does not fall into any of the exceptions under Section 1, Rule 41, where appeal is not
Philippines, represented by the Bureau of Customs v. Chiat Sing Cardboard Inc. available as a remedy.
(defendant and third party plaintiff) v. Filstar Textile Industrial Corporation, Faustino T The proper remedy, therefore, would have been the filing of a Notice of Appeal under
Chingkoe (third party defendants) and docketed as Civil Case No. 02-102612, the Rule 41 of the Rules of Court. Such remedy is the plain, speedy, and adequate recourse
Republic alleged that Chiat Sing Cardboard Inc. (Chiat Sing), a corporation that imports under the law, and not a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65, as respondent here filed
goods to the Philippines, secured in 1997 fake and spurious tax credit certificates from before the CA.
Filstar Textile Industrial Corporation (Filstar), amounting to six million seventy-six A petition for certiorari is not and cannot be a substitute for an appeal, especially if one’s
thousand two hundred forty-six pesos (PhP 6,076,246). own negligence or error in one’s choice of remedy occasioned such loss or lapse. When
It claimed that Chiat Sing utilized the fraudulently-acquired tax credit certificates to settle an appeal is available, certiorari will not prosper, even if the basis is grave abuse of
its customs duties and taxes on its importations. BOC initially allowed the use of the said discretion.29
tax credit certificates, but after investigation, discovered that the same were fake and Respondent laments that the questioned RTC Order did not specify whether the
spurious. Despite due demand, Chiat Sing failed and refused to pay the BOC the dismissal is with prejudice or not, putting it in a precarious situation of what legal actions
amount of the tax credit certificates, exclusive of penalties, charges, and interest. to take upon its receipt. This misgiving, however, stems from a misreading of the Rules.
Along with its Answer, 5 Chiat Sing, with leave of court, 6 filed a Third-Party Complaint Rule 18, Sec. 5 of the Rules of Court clearly states:
against Filstar. It claimed that it acquired the tax credit certificates from Filstar for Sec. 5. Effect of failure to appear. – The failure of the plaintiff to appear when so
valuable consideration, and that Filstar represented to it that the subject tax credit required pursuant to the next preceding section shall be cause for dismissal of the
certificates are good, valid, and genuine. action. The dismissal shall be with prejudice, unless otherwise ordered by the court. x x
Thereafter, Filstar made various importations, using the tax credit certificates to pay the x (Emphasis supplied.)
corresponding customs duties and taxes. Later, BOC discovered the fact that they were The rule is clear enough that an order of dismissal based on failure to appear at pre-trial
fraudulently secured; thus, the Republic claimed, the customs duties and tax liability of is with prejudice, unless the order itself states otherwise. The questioned Order of the
Filstar remained unpaid.7 trial court did not specify that the dismissal is without prejudice. There should be no
Later, however, pursuant to an Order of the trial court, the case against Felix Chingkoe cause for confusion, and the trial court is not required to explicitly state that the
was dismissed. dismissal is with prejudice.
Pursuant to a Notice of Mediation Hearing sent to the parties on October 17, 2005, 11 the The OSG should have known better, and filed a Notice of Appeal under Rule 41, instead
cases were referred to the Philippine Mediation Center (PMC) for mandatory of a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. Its failure to file the proper recourse renders its
mediation.12 petition dismissible, as it fails to allege sufficient grounds for the granting of a writ of
The pre-trial for the consolidated cases was initially set on January 9, 2006, but come certiorari. The fact that the CA overlooked this constitutes a reversible error on its part.
said date, the report of the mediation has yet to be submitted; hence, on the motion of That the case involves the issuance of allegedly fraudulently secured tax credit
the counsel of defendant Chiat Sing, the pre-trial was canceled and rescheduled to certificates, and not an ordinary action for collection of money, is of no moment. This fact
February 15, 2006.13 alone does not exempt respondent from complying with the rules of procedure, including
On February 15, 2006, the PMC reported that the proceedings are still continuing; thus, the rules on appeal. Neither can respondent invoke the rule on technicalities yielding to
the trial court, on motion of the same counsel for Chiat Sing, moved for the re-setting of the paramount interest of the nation, as the facts and circumstances of this case do not
the pre-trial to March 17, 2006. 14 Unfortunately, the mediation proceedings proved to be warrant such relaxation.
uneventful, as no settlement or compromise was agreed upon by the parties. Dismissal due to the fault of respondent
Even going into the merits of the case, however, We find the trial court’s dismissal of the Benavidez also argued that RTC-Antipolo erred in refusing to re-open the
case to be in order. As it were, the trial court amply gave respondent sufficient notice case for pre-trial conference and disallowing her to present evidence. She added that
and opportunity to attend the pre-trial conference, but despite this, it neglected its duty the absence of her counsel on the scheduled pre-trial conference caused her substantial
to prosecute its case and attend the scheduled pre-trial hearings. Hence, the trial court prejudice. Though she was not unmindful of the general rule that a client was bound by
cannot be faulted for dismissing the case. the mistake or negligence of her counsel, she insisted that since the incompetence or
This Court finds that the dismissal of the case by the trial court was due to the fault and ignorance of her counsel was so great and the error committed was so serious as it
negligence of respondent. There is clear negligence and laxity on the part of both the prejudiced her and denied her day in court, the litigation should have been reopened to
BOC and OSG in handling this case on behalf of the Republic. Despite several re- give her the opportunity to present her case.The CA was not moved.Feeling aggrieved
settings of the hearing, either or both counsels failed to attend the pre-trial conference, by the affirmance, Benavidez filed a motion for reconsideration on the ground that the
without giving a justifiably acceptable explanation of their absence. This utter neglect of same was contrary to law and jurisprudence. On June 08, 2006, the CA issued
its duty to attend the scheduled hearings is what led the trial court to ultimately dismiss the Amended Decision, holding that the motion was partly meritorious. Still unsatisfied,
the cases. In finding that the dismissal by the trial court is tainted with Benavidez comes before the Court via a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules
Come June 30, 2006, an unprepared Atty. Corpin, Jr. appeared on behalf of the BOC, of Court.
and he had no necessary authority from BOC to represent it as its counsel. He ISSUE: WON RTC-Antipolo committed an error of law when it allowed Salvador to
manifested that they failed to receive the notice of hearing on time, and moved for present evidence ex-parte and eventually decided the case without waiting to hear her
another chance, "on the condition that if they will not be appearing, either or both side.
lawyers from the Bureau of Customs or Office of the Solicitor General, the court may be HELD:Benavidez basically contends that she should not be made to suffer the
constrained to dismiss all the above cases of the Bureau of Customs for failure to irresponsibility of her former counsel, Atty. Jakosalem, and that the trial court should
prosecute for an unreasonable length of time." 36 On the other hand, the BOC again have relaxed the application of the Rules of Court, reopened the case and allowed her
failed to send a representative. The court again had to cancel the hearing and reset it, to present evidence in her favor.
this time to July 14, 2006. The Court is not moved.
It is fairly obvious that the trial court gave the Republic, through the OSG and the BOC, Section 4, Rule 18 of the Rules of Court provides that it is the duty of the parties and
every opportunity to be present during the pre-trial conference. The hearings had to be their counsel to appear at the pre-trial conference. The effect of their failure to appear is
reset six times due to various reasons, but not once was the OSG and BOC properly provided by Section 5 of the same rule where it states:
represented. Too, not once did the OSG and BOC offer a reasonable explanation for Sec. 5. Effect of failure to appear.- The failure of the plaintiff to appear when so
their absence during the hearings. Despite the express warning by the trial court during required pursuant to the next preceding section shall be cause for dismissal of the
the penultimate setting on June 30, 2006, the OSG and BOC still failed to attend the action. The dismissal shall be with prejudice, unless otherwise ordered by the court. A
next scheduled setting. similar failure on the part of the defendant shall be cause to allow the plaintiff to
Despite the leeway and opportunity given by the trial court, it seemed that the OSG and present his evidence ex parte and the court to render judgment on the basis
BOC did not accord proper importance to the pre-trial conference. Pre-trial, to stress, is thereof.
way more than simple marking of evidence. Hence, it should not be ignored or Furthermore, Section 6 thereof provides:
neglected, as the counsels for respondent had. In Tolentino v. Laurel, 37 this Court has Sec.6. Pre-trial brief.-The parties shall file with the court and serve on the adverse
this to say on the matter of importance of pre-trial: party, in such manner as shall ensure their receipt thereof at least three (3) days
Pre-trial is an answer to the clarion call for the speedy disposition of before the date of the pre-trial, their respective pre-trial briefs which shall contain,
cases.1âwphi1 Although it was discretionary under the 1940 Rules of Court, it was among others:
made mandatory under the 1964 Rules and the subsequent amendments in 1997. Failure to file the pre-trial brief shall have the same effect as failure to
Hailed as "the most important procedural innovation in Anglo-Saxon justice in the appear at the pre-trial.
nineteenth century," pre-trial seeks to achieve the following: From the foregoing, it is clear that the failure of a party to appear at the pre-trial has
(a) The possibility of an amicable settlement or of a submission to alternative adverse consequences. If the absent party is the plaintiff, then his case shall be
modes of dispute resolution; dismissed. If it is the defendant who fails to appear, then the plaintiff is allowed to
(b) The simplification of the issues; present his evidence ex parte and the court shall render judgment on the basis thereof.
(c) The necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings; Thus, the plaintiff is given the privilege to present his evidence without objection from
(d) The possibility of obtaining stipulations or admissions of facts and of the defendant, the likelihood being that the court will decide in favor of the plaintiff, the
documents to avoid unnecessary proof; defendant having forfeited the opportunity to rebut or present its own evidence.
(e) The limitation of the number of witnesses; RTC-Antipolo then had the legal basis to allow Salvador to present evidence ex
(f) The advisability of a preliminary reference of issues to a commissioner; parte upon motion. Benavidez and her counsel were not present at the scheduled pre-
(g) The propriety of rendering judgment on the pleadings, or summary trial conference despite due notice. They did not file the required pre-trial brief despite
judgment, or of dismissing the action should a valid ground therefor be found receipt of the Order. The rule explicitly provides that both parties and their counsel are
to exist; mandated to appear thereat except for: (1) a valid excuse; and (2) appearance of a
(h) The advisability or necessity of suspending the proceedings; and representative on behalf of a party who is fully authorized in writing to enter into
(i) Such other matters as may aid in the prompt disposition of the action. an amicable settlement, to submit to alternative modes of dispute resolution, and
Petitioners’ repeated failure to appear at the pre-trial amounted to a failure to comply to enter into stipulations or admissions of facts and documents. In this case,
with the Rules and their non-presentation of evidence before the trial court was Benavidez’s lawyer was already negligent, but she compounded this by being negligent
essentially due to their fault. (Citations omitted.) herself. She was aware of the scheduled pre-trial conference, but she did not make any
The inevitable conclusion in this case is that the trial court was merely following the move to prevent the prejudicial consequences of her absence or that of her counsel. If
letter of Sec. 5, Rule I 8 of the Rules of Court in dismissing the case. Thus, the CA she knew that her lawyer would not appear and could not because she was ill, she
committed grave and reversible error in nullifying the Order of dismissal. The trial court should have sent a representative in court to inform the judge of her predicament.
had every reason to dismiss the case, not only due to the Motion to Dismiss filed by the Also, her failure to file the pre-trial brief warranted the same effect because the rules
defendants, but because the Rules of Court itself says so. dictate that failure to file a pre-trial brief shall have the same effect as failure to appear
In view, however, of the huge amount of tax collectibles involved, and considering that at the pre-trial. Settled is the rule that the negligence of a counsel binds his
taxes are the "lifeblood of the government," the dismissal of the case should be without clients. Neither Benavidez nor her counsel can now evade the effects of their
prejudice. misfeasance.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The April WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.
30, 2008 Decision and June 27, 2008 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
No. 101394 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The July 14, 2006 Order of the
RTC, Branch 34 in Manila, in Civil Case Nos. 02-102612 and 02-102634, is hereby
REINSTATED with the MODIFICATION that the dismissal of the two civil cases shall be LAZO VS. REPUBLIC SURETY
G.R. No. 136913 May 12, 2000
ANITA C. BUCE, petitioner,
M. TIONGCO, respondents.
RULE 18 SEC. 6. Pre Trial Brief
On 9 August 1993, petitioner filed with the Regional Trial Court of
FACTS: In February 1998, petitioner Florpina Benavidez (Benavidez) approached and Manila a complaint for specific performance with prayer for
asked respondent Nestor Salvador (Salvador) for a loan that she would use to consignation, which was docketed as Civil Case No. 93-67135. She
repurchase her property in Tanay, Rizal which was foreclosed by the Farmers Savings prayed that private respondents be ordered to accept the rentals in
and Loan Bank, Inc. (Farmers Savings). Salvador agreed to lend the money subject to accordance with the lease contract and to respect the lease of fifteen
certain conditions. To secure the loan, Benavidez was required to execute a real estate years, which was renewable for another ten years, at the rate of P200 a
mortgage, a promissory note and a deed of sale. She was also required to submit a month.
special power of attorney (SPA) executed and signed by Benavidez’s daughter,
Florence B. Baning (Baning), whom she named as the vendee in the deed of absolute 2. ANSWER
sale of the repurchased property.Salvador issued a manager’s check in favor of - BY PRIVATE RESPONDENTS SPOUSES TIONGCO, ET AL
Benavidez in the amount of One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00) and released Five
Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) in cash. In their Answer, private respondents countered that petitioner
Benavidez, however, failed to deliver the required SPA. She also defaulted in had already paid the monthly rent of P1,000 for July and August 1991.
her obligation under the promissory note. All the postdated checks which she had issued Under Republic Act No. 877, as amended, rental payments should
to pay for the interests were dishonored. This development prompted Salvador to send already be P1,576.58 10 per month; hence, they were justified in refusing
a demand letter with a corresponding statement of account, dated January 11, 2000. the checks for P400 that petitioner tendered. Moreover, the phrase in the
Unfortunately, the demand fell on deaf ears which constrained Salvador to file a lease contract authorizing renewal for another ten years does not mean
complaint for sum of money with damages with prayer for issuance of preliminary automatic renewal; rather, it contemplates a mutual agreement between
attachment. the parties.
On May 4, 2000, Benavidez filed a motion to dismiss on the ground of litispendentia.The During the pendency of the controversy, counsel for private
motion to dismiss, however, was denied by RTC-Antipolo on July 31, 2000. On respondents wrote petitioner reminding her that the contract expired on 1
September 15, 2000, Benavidez filed her answer with counterclaim. A pre-trial June 1994 and demanding that she pay the rentals in arrears, which then
conference was scheduled on May 2, 2001 but she and her counsel failed to appear amounted to P33,000.
despite due notice. Resultantly, upon motion, Salvador was allowed by the trial court to 3. RTC DECISION – IN FAVOR OF PETITIONER, WITH MODIFICATION
present evidence ex parte.On June 1, 2001, RTC-Antipolo decided the subject case for THEREOF
Salvador.Benavidez filed a motion for reconsideration but unfortunately for her, RTC- On 29 August 1995, the RTC declared the lease contract
Antipolo, in its August 10, 2001 Order, denied her motion for lack of merit.Frustrated, automatically renewed for ten years and considered as evidence thereof
Benavidez appealed the June 1, 2001 Decision and the August 10, 2001 Order of RTC- (a) the stipulations in the contract giving the lessee the right to
Antipolo to the CA. construct buildings
and improvements and
(b) the filing by petitioner of the complaint almost one year before of the term of the contract. Even the RTC conceded that the issue of automatic
the expiration renewal is debatable. The fact that the lessee was allowed to introduce improvements
of the initial term of fifteen years. on the property is not indicative of the intention of the lessors to automatically extend the
RTC then fixed the monthly rent as follows: contract.
a. at P400 from 1 June 1990 to 1 June 1994; Considering the original 15-year duration of the contract, structures would
b. P1,000 from 1 June 1994 until 1 June 1999; and have necessarily been constructed, added, or built on the property, which in its previous
c. P1,500 for the rest of the period or from 1 June 2000 to state was an idle 56-square meter lot in the heart of Manila. Petitioner leased the
1 June 2004, property for the purpose of turning it into a commercial establishment and to which it has
reasoning that the continuous increase of rent from P200 been transformed as Anita's Grocery and Store. Neither the filing of the complaint a
to P250 then P300, P400 and finally P1,000 caused "an year before the expiration of the 15-year term nor private respondents'
inevitable novation of their contract." 11 acceptance of the increased rentals has any bearing on the intention of the
parties regarding renewal. It must be recalled that the filing of the complaint was even
4. APPEAL WITH THE CA – REVERSAL OF RTC DECISION spawned by private respondents' refusal to accept the payment of monthly rental in the
amount of only P400.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the Now on the applicability of Fernandez v. Court of Appeals to the case at bar.
RTC, and ordered petitioner to immediately vacate the leased premises on Although the factual scenario in that case with regard to the renewal option is slightly
the ground that the contract expired on 1 June 1994 without being off-tangent to the case under consideration because the intention of the parties therein
renewed and to pay the rental arrearages at the rate of P1,000 monthly. for future mutual agreement was clearly discernible in their contract, we cannot
completely disregard the pronouncement of this Court in that case; thus:
[I]n a reciprocal contract like a lease,
5. MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION WITH THE CA – DENIED BY CA the period must be deemed to have
The Court of Appeals denied petitioner's motion for been agreed upon for the benefit of
reconsideration. both parties,absent language showing
6. PETITION BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT that the term was deliberately set for
the benefit of the lessee or lessor
The herein petition. alone. 18We are not aware of any
presumption in law that the term was
FACTS OF THE CASE: deliberately set for the benefit of the
Petitioner leased a 56-square meter parcel of land located at 2068 Quirino lessee alone. Koh and Cruz in effect
Avenue, Pandacan, Manila. The lease contract was for a period of fifteen years to rested upon such a presumption. But that
commence on 1 June 1979 and to end on 1 June 1994"subject to renewal for presumption cannot reasonably be
another ten (10) years, under the same terms and conditions." Petitioner then indulged in casually in an era of rapid
constructed a building and paid the required monthly rental of P200. Private economic change, marked by, among
respondents, through their administrator Jose Tiongco, later demanded a gradual other things, volatile costs of living and
increase in the rental until it reached P400 in 1985. For July and August 1991, fluctuations in the value of domestic
petitioner paid private respondents P1,000 as monthly rental.2 currency. The longer the period the more
On 6 December 1991, private respondents' counsel wrote petitioner clearly unreasonable such a presumption
informing her of the increase in the rent to P1,576.58 effective January 1992 pursuant would be. In an age like that we live in,
to the provisions of the Rent Control Law.3 Petitioner, however, tendered checks dated very specific language is necessary to
5 October 1991,4 5 November 1991,5 5 December 1991, 6 5 January 1992,7 31 May show an intent to grant a unilateral faculty
1992,8 and 2 January 1993 9 for only P400 each, payable to Jose Tiongco as to extend or renew a contract of lease to
administrator. As might be expected, private respondents refused to accept the same. the lessee alone or to the lessor alone for
Petitioner contends that by ordering her to vacate the premises, the In the case at bar, it was not specifically indicated who may exercise the
Appellate Court went beyond the bounds of its authority because the case she filed option to renew, neither was it stated that the option was given for the benefit of herein
before the RTC was for "Specific Performance" not unlawful detainer. The power to petitioner. Thus, pursuant to the Fernandez ruling and Article 1196 of the Civil Code, the
order the lessee to vacate the leased premises is lodged in another forum. period of the lease contract is deemed to have been set for the benefit of both parties.
Additionally, private respondents did not pray for the ejectment of petitioners from the Renewal of the contract may be had only upon their mutual agreement or at the
leased premises in their Answer with Counterclaim; well-settled is the rule that a court will of both of them.
cannot award relief not prayed for in the complaint or compulsory counterclaim. Since the private respondents were not amenable to a renewal, they cannot
The literal meaning of the stipulations shall control if the terms of the be compelled to execute a new contract when the old contract terminated on 1 June
contract are clear and leave no doubt upon the intention of the contracting 1994. It is the owner-lessor's prerogative to terminate the lease at its expiration. 20The
parties.14 However, if the terms of the agreement are ambiguous, resort is made to continuance, effectivity and fulfillment of a contract of lease cannot be made to
contract interpretation which is the determination of the meaning attached to written or depend exclusively upon the free and uncontrolled choice of the lessee between
spoken words that make the contract. 15 Also, to ascertain the true intention of the continuing the payment of the rentals or not, completely depriving the owner of
parties, their actions, subsequent or contemporaneous, must be principally considered. 16 any say in the matter. Mutuality does not obtain in such a contract of lease and no
Petitioner further maintains that the phrase "renewable for another ten years equality exists between the lessor and the lessee since the life of the contract would be
at the option of both parties" in the Fernandez case clearly indicated the intention of the dictated solely by the lessee. 21
parties to renew the contract only upon mutual agreement. After the lease terminated on 1 June 1994 without any agreement for
Whereas in this case the contract states, "[T]his lease shall be for a period of renewal being reached, petitioner became subject to ejectment from the premises. 22
fifteen (15) years effective June 1, 1979, subject to renewal for another ten (10) years, It must be noted, however, that private respondents did not include in their
under the same terms and conditions," making this stipulation subject to interpretation Answer with Counterclaim a prayer for the restoration of possession of the leased
with due regard to the contemporaneous and subsequent acts of the parties. premises. Neither did they file with the proper Metropolitan Trial Court an unlawful
The stipulation in the contract allowing the lessee to construct buildings and detainer suit 2 against petitioner after the expiration of the lease contact.
improvements; her filing of the complaint a year before the expiration of the initial 15- Moreover, the issues agreed upon by the parties to be resolved during
year term; and private respondents' acceptance of the increased rental are the pre-trial were the correct interpretation of the contract and the validity of private
contemporaneous and subsequent acts that signify the intention of the parties to renew respondents' refusal to accept petitioner's payment of P400 as monthly rental. 24They
the contract. later limited the issue to the first, i.e., the correct interpretation of the contract.25
ARGUMENT OF THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS The issue of possession of the leased premiseswas not among the issues agreed upon
On the other hand, private respondents aver that even if the original petition by the parties or threshed out before the court a quo. Neither was it raised by private
filed before the RTC was not for unlawful detainer, the order of the Court of Appeals respondents on appeal.
requiring petitioner to vacate the premises is but a logical consequence of its Accordingly, as correctly contended by the petitioner, the Court of Appeals
finding that the lease contract had expired. To require another litigation would went beyond the bounds of its authority 26 when after interpreting the questioned
constitute multiplicity of suits; besides, petitioner has no other reason to stay in the provision of the lease contract in favor of the private respondents it proceeded to order
premises. There is no basis why Fernandez should not be applied to the case at bar. petitioner to vacate the subject premises.
Absent contrary stipulation in reciprocal contracts, the period of lease is deemed WHEREFORE, the instant petition is partly GRANTED. The assailed decision of the
to be for the benefit of both parties. Court of Appeals is REVERSED insofar as it ordered the petitioner to immediately
Private respondents argue that the alleged contemporaneous and vacate the leased premises, without prejudice, however, to the filing by the private
subsequent acts do not determine the real intention of the parties as regards respondents of an action for the recovery of possession of the subject property.
renewal of the lease contract. Had they intended an automatic renewal of the lease No costs.
contract they would have agreed on a 25-year period instead. Correlatively, private MERCADER VS. DBP
respondents' letter reminding petitioner of the expiration of the contract on 1 June 1994
and demanding payment of the rentals in arrears signifies that they are no longer
interested in renewing the contract. Also petitioner's refusal to pay the increased rental ONGCO VS. DALISAY
of P1,000 as early as 1991 and private respondents' refusal to accept the P400 Rule 19, sec. 2
tendered constituted a disagreement on the rate of rental; hence, any renewal is out of QUINTO VS COMELEC
the question.
As agreed upon/limited by the parties during the pre-trial, the sole issue to FACTS:
be resolved was the correct interpretation of the contract provision, thus: Pursuant to its constitutional mandate to enforce and administer election laws,
"this lease shall be for a period of fifteen (15) years COMELEC issued Resolution No. 8678, the Guidelines on the Filing of Certificates of
effective June 1, 1979, subject to renewal for another ten (10) Candidacy (CoC) and Nomination of Official Candidates of Registered Political Parties
years, under the same terms and conditions" in Connection with the May 10, 2010 National and Local Elections. Sections 4 and 5 of
(Whether or not the parties intended an automatic renewal of the lease Resolution No. 8678 provide:
contract when they agreed that the lease shall be for a period of fifteen years "subject SEC. 4. Effects of Filing Certificates of Candidacy.—a) Any person holding a public
to renewal for another ten (10) years.") appointive office or position including active members of the Armed Forces of the
RULING: Philippines, and other officers and employees in government-owned or controlled
The phrase "subject to renewal for another ten (10) years" is unclear on corporations, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his office upon the filing of his
whether the parties contemplated an automatic renewal or extension of the term, or certificate of candidacy.
just an option to renew the contract; and if what exists is the latter, who may b) Any person holding an elective office or position shall not be considered resigned
exercise the same or for whose benefit it was stipulated. upon the filing of his certificate of candidacy for the same or any other elective office or
In this jurisdiction, a fine delineation exists between renewal of the contract position.
and extension of its period. Generally, the renewal of a contract connotes the death of
the old contract and the birth or emergence of a new one. A clause in a lease providing Alarmed that they will be deemed ipso facto resigned from their offices the moment they
for an extension operates of its own force to create an additional term, but a clause file their CoCs, petitioners Eleazar P. Quinto and Gerino A. Tolentino, Jr., who hold
providing for a renewal merely creates an obligation to execute a new lease contract for appointive positions in the government and who intend to run in the coming elections,
the additional term. As renewal of the contract contemplates the cessation of the old filed the instant petition for prohibition and certiorari, seeking the declaration of the
contract, then it is necessary that a new one be executed between the parties. 17 afore-quoted Section 4(a) of Resolution No. 8678 as null and void. Petitioners also
There is nothing in the stipulations in the contract and the parties' contend that Section 13 of R.A. No. 9369, the basis of the assailed COMELEC
actuation that shows that the parties intended an automatic renewal or extension resolution, contains two conflicting provisions. These must be harmonized or reconciled
to give effect to both and to arrive at a declaration that they are not ipso facto resigned
from their positions upon the filing of their CoCs.
ISSUE: WON the motion for intervntion is timely filed?
i. Timeliness of COMELEC’s Motion for Reconsideration
Pursuant to Section 2, Rule 56-A of the 1997 Rules of Court,[5] in relation to Section 1,
Rule 52 of the same rules,[6] COMELEC had a period of fifteen days from receipt of
notice of the assailed Decision within which to move for its reconsideration. COMELEC
received notice of the assailed Decision on December 2, 2009, hence, had until
December 17, 2009 to file a Motion for Reconsideration.
The Motion for Reconsideration of COMELEC was timely filed. It was filed on December
14, 2009. The corresponding Affidavit of Service (in substitution of the one originally
submitted on December 14, 2009) was subsequently filed on December 17, 2009 – still
within the reglementary period.
ii. Propriety of the Motions for Reconsideration-in-Intervention
Section 1, Rule 19 of the Rules of Court provides:
A person who has legal interest in the matter in litigation or in the success of either of
the parties, or an interest against both, or is so situated as to be adversely affected by a
distribution or other disposition of property in the custody of the court or of an officer
thereof may, with leave of court, be allowed to intervene in the action. The court shall
consider whether or not the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of
the rights of the original parties, and whether or not the intervenor’s rights may be fully
protected in a separate proceeding.

Pursuant to the foregoing rule, this Court has held that a motion for intervention shall be
entertained when the following requisites are satisfied: (1) the would-be intervenor
shows that he has a substantial right or interest in the case; and (2) such right or interest
cannot be adequately pursued and protected in another proceeding.[7]
Upon the other hand, Section 2, Rule 19 of the Rules of Court provides the time within
which a motion for intervention may be filed, viz.:
SECTION 2. Time to intervene.– The motion for intervention may be filed at any time
before rendition of judgment by the trial court. A copy of the pleading-in-intervention
shall be attached to the motion and served on the original parties. (italics supplied)
This rule, however, is not inflexible. Interventions have been allowed even beyond the
period prescribed in the Rule, when demanded by the higher interest of justice.
Interventions have also been granted to afford indispensable parties, who have not been
impleaded, the right to be heard even after a decision has been rendered by the trial
court,[8] when the petition for review of the judgment has already been submitted for
decision before the Supreme Court,[9] and even where the assailed order has already
become final and executory.[10] In Lim v. Pacquing,[11] the motion for intervention filed
by the Republic of the Philippines was allowed by this Court to avoid grave injustice and
injury and to settle once and for all the substantive issues raised by the parties.
In fine, the allowance or disallowance of a motion for intervention rests on the sound
discretion of the court[12] after consideration of the appropriate circumstances.[13] We
stress again that Rule 19 of the Rules of Court is a rule of procedure whose object is to
make the powers of the court fully and completely available for justice.[14] Its purpose is
not to hinder or delay, but to facilitate and promote the administration of justice.[15]
We rule that, with the exception of the IBP – Cebu City Chapter, all the movants-
intervenors may properly intervene in the case at bar.
First, the movants-intervenors have each sufficiently established a substantial right or
interest in the case.
As a Senator of the Republic, Senator Manuel A. Roxas has a right to challenge the
December 1, 2009 Decision, which nullifies a long established law; as a voter, he has a
right to intervene in a matter that involves the electoral process; and as a public officer,
he has a personal interest in maintaining the trust and confidence of the public in its
system of government.
On the other hand, former Senator Franklin M. Drilon and Tom V. Apacible are
candidates in the May 2010 elections running against appointive officials who, in view of
the December 1, 2009 Decision, have not yet resigned from their posts and are not
likely to resign from their posts. They stand to be directly injured by the assailed
Decision, unless it is reversed.
Moreover, the rights or interests of said movants-intervenors cannot be adequately
pursued and protected in another proceeding. Clearly, their rights will be foreclosed if
this Court’s Decision attains finality and forms part of the laws of the land.
With regard to the IBP – Cebu City Chapter, it anchors its standing on the assertion that
“this case involves the constitutionality of elections laws for this coming 2010 National
Elections,” and that “there is a need for it to be allowed to intervene xxx so that the voice
of its members in the legal profession would also be heard before this Highest Tribunal
as it resolves issues of transcendental importance.”[16]
Prescinding from our rule and ruling case law, we find that the IBP-Cebu City Chapter
has failed to present a specific and substantial interest sufficient to clothe it with
standing to intervene in the case at bar. Its invoked interest is, in character, too
indistinguishable to justify its intervention.