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    G.R. No. 146079   July 20, 2001 - KANEMITSU YAMAOKA v. PESCARICH MANUFACTURING CORP., ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    FIRST DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 146079. July 20, 2001.]

    KANEMITSU YAMAOKA, Petitioner, v. PESCARICH MANUFACTURING CORPORATION (formerly Yamaoka Nippon Corporation), TETSUO ADACHI, EIJI KAWAI and MARIA LYNN GESMUNDO, Respondents.

    D E C I S I O N


    KAPUNAN, J.:


    Section 1, Rule XV of the New Rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) provides:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Rule XV

    Appeal

    SECTION 1. Appeal from the Resolution, Ruling or Order of the Hearing Officer. — Any decision, ruling or order of the Hearing Officer may be appealed by the aggrieved party to the Commission sitting En Banc within fifteen (15) days from receipt by the appellant of notice of such resolution, ruling or order.

    Does this rule apply only to final orders issued by the Hearing Officer or to interlocutory orders as well? Petitioner contends that the rule pertains exclusively to final acts but the Court of Appeals ruled otherwise. Hence, this petition.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    On June 22, 1995, petitioner Kanemitsu Yamaoka filed a case against respondents before the SEC for the recovery of control and management of Pescarich Manufacturing Corporation (formerly Yamaoka Nippon Corporation). On July 21, 1999, SEC Hearing Officer Simeon P. Badillo, Jr. issued an order denying petitioner’s application for a writ of preliminary injunction and the appointment of a management committee.

    On August 9, 1999, petitioner moved for a reconsideration of the July 21, 1999 Order. While the motion for reconsideration remained pending, the New Rules of Procedure of the SEC took effect on August 29, 1999. On October 14, 1999, the Hearing Officer issued an order denying reconsideration. Petitioner claims that he received this order on October 28, 1999.

    On December 17, 1999, or 50 days after his alleged receipt of the October 14, 1999 Order, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari before the SEC En Banc assailing the orders of the Hearing Officer. Respondents filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that the petition was filed more than fifteen (15) days from receipt of the assailed orders in contravention of Section 1, Rule XV of the New Rules.

    On June 6, 2000, the SEC rendered a decision granting the petition, the dispositive portion of which reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, the instant petition for certiorari is GRANTED and the questioned Orders of respondent Hearing Officer dated 21 July 1999 and 14 October 1999 are hereby set aside and declared null and void. Let a writ of preliminary injunction issue hereby restraining and enjoining private respondents from exercising the rights and privileges arising from the 40% disputed shares, and from managing the affairs and disbursing the funds of Yamaoka Nippon Corporation (now Pescarich Manufacturing Corporation) until final judgment in SEC Case No. 11-95-5199, upon petitioner’s posting of an injunction bond in the amount of P1,000,000.00 to answer for any and all damages that may inure to private respondents by virtue of this decision.

    The Hearing Officer is hereby ordered to create and appoint a Management Committee to undertake the management of Yamaoka Nippon Corporation (now Pescarich Manufacturing Corporation).

    SO ORDERED. 1

    Addressing the question of the timeliness of the petition, the SEC held that the petition for certiorari was the proper remedy to question the decision of the Hearing Officer and that the same was filed on time.

    The SEC Rules which became effective on 29 August 1999 (15 days after its publication) no longer contains any separate provision on certiorari proceedings from interlocutory orders of the SEC Hearing Officers, as contrasted with the old SEC Rules. However, the SEC Rules does not prohibit the filing of certiorari proceedings with this Commission except in election cases (Section 8(g), rule XIV). We should therefore suppletorily apply the Rules of Court.

    Under the Rules of Court, petitions for Certiorari shall be filed within 60 days from receipt of the assailed orders (Section 4, Rule 65). In the instant case, the petition was filed within the prescribed 60-day period. We note that petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration from the July 21, 1999 Order was filed on August 9, 1999 or during the effectivity of the old SEC Rules which allowed the filing of a motion for reconsideration. 2

    Aggrieved, respondents sought relief in the Court of Appeals (CA). The CA reversed the decision of the SEC, holding that Section 1, Rule XV of the New SEC Rules does not distinguish between interlocutory and final orders. Hence, petitioner should have appealed within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the order denying the motion for reconsideration.

    Based on the aforequoted section of the SEC New Rules, respondent should have availed himself of the remedy of appeal within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the SEC Hearing Officer’s Order dated October 14, 1999 denying his motion for reconsideration.

    Respondent’s contention that the said order is "interlocutory" and, hence, unappealable, is obviously untenable because Section 1. RULE XV does not distinguish between a final or interlocutory order of the SEC Hearing Officer. Suffice it to state, the phrase "any decision, ruling or order" is so self-explanatory and wide enough as to encompass decisions, rulings and orders whether final or interlocutory in nature.

    Respondent’s insistence that the Rules of Court applies in a suppletory manner is tenable only if the SEC New Rules is absolutely wanting of a specific provision on the matter. For reasons only known to him, respondent ignored the clear import of Section 1, RULE XV of the SEC New Rules and waited for fifty (50) days before filing his petition for certiorari on December 17, 1999, counted from October 28, 1999.

    However, under the circumstances obtaining in this case, especially considering that there is no showing of any plausible justification why it took him fifty (50) days to file such petition, respondent must suffer the consequences of a procedural lapse which is antithetical to the well-settled rule that a petition for certiorari is not a substitute for a lost appeal. 3

    The dispositive portion of the CA Decision reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for review is hereby GIVEN DUE COURSE and accordingly GRANTED. The Decision rendered by the Securities and Exchange Commission En Banc on June 6, 2000 in SEC-EB No. 690 entitled "Kanemitsu Yamaoka v. Hon. Hearing Officer Simeon P. Badillo, Jr., Yamaoka Nippon Corporation (now Pescarich Manufacturing Corporation), Tetsuo Adachi, and Eiji Kawai," is hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE.

    Consequently, let a writ of injunction issue permanently enjoining respondent, the Commission En Banc and/or the appropriate branch of the Regional Trial Court, their representatives, agents, employees, or other persons acting for and in their behalf, from executing and/or implementing the Decision of the Commission En Banc dated June 6, 2000 rendered in the said SEC-EB No. 690.

    No pronouncement as to costs.

    SO ORDERED. 4

    From this decision, petitioner appeals.

    The petition is meritorious.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Before the promulgation of the 1999 New Rules of Procedure of the SEC, the previous SEC Rules of Procedure, in Rule XV (Petition for Review or Certiorari) thereof, allowed petitions for certiorari to be filed with the Commission En Banc" [w]hen any Hearing Officer, or panel of Hearing Officers of the Commission has acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion and there is no plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law" (Section 1, Rule XV). Rule XV of the old Rules has been entirely omitted in the 1999 Rules.

    Moreover, Section 1, Rule XVI (Appeals) of the old Rules provided that" [o]nly final decisions, orders or ruling shall be subject to appeal to the Commission En Banc." This portion of the rule is substantially reproduced in Section 1, Rule XV of the 1999 Rules, except for the contentious omission of "final" as a modifier to "decision, ruling or order." Ordinarily, these omissions or deletions in the new Rules would confer a construction different from the old Rules. 5

    There are, however, certain provisions in the new Rules that suggest the availability of certiorari as a remedy against interlocutory orders. First, as petitioner correctly points out, a petition for certiorari is not among the pleadings prohibited by Section 4, Rule III:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    SECTION 4. Prohibited Pleadings. — The following pleadings, motions, or petitions shall not be allowed in the cases covered by these Rules:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    a. Motion to dismiss the complaint;

    b. Motion for a bill of particulars;

    c. Motion for new trial, or for reconsideration of judgment or order, or for reopening of trial;

    d. Petition for relief from judgment;

    e. Motion for extension of time to file pleadings, affidavits or any other paper;

    f. Memoranda;

    g. Motion to declare the defendant in default;

    h. Motion for Postponement;

    i. Supplemental pleadings; and

    j. Motion for leave to amend pleadings.

    Second, the SEC noted that a petition for certiorari is not allowed in election cases. Section 8, Rule XIV states:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    SECTION 8. Prohibited Pleadings and Motions. — The following pleadings, motions or petitions shall not be allowed:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    a. Motion to Dismiss;

    b. Motion for a Bill of Particulars;

    c. Motion for New Trial or for Reconsideration;

    d. Petition for Relief from Judgment;

    e. Motion for Extension of Time to File Pleadings, Affidavits or any Other Paper;

    f. Memorandum;

    g. Petition for Certiorari, mandamus or Prohibition against any Interlocutory Order of the Hearing Officer;

    h. Motion to Declare Respondent in Default;

    i. Motion for Postponement;

    j. Reply or Rejoinder;

    k. Third Party Complaint; and

    l. Intervention.

    Section 10, Rule X likewise prohibits the filing of a petition for certiorari from 72-hour temporary restraining orders (TROs), thus:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    SECTION 10. Prohibitions. — Any motion that would delay the resolution of the application for TRO is prohibited. A petition for Certiorari with respect to the issuance of the seventy-two (72) — hour TRO is likewise prohibited.

    Significantly, there is no similar prohibition regarding writs of injunction, which is governed by the same Rule X. These provisions in the new Rules imply that in proper cases, petitions for certiorari against interlocutory orders are generally allowed. To this rule, only election cases and 72-hour TROs are excepted.

    Section 1, Rule XV, which does not distinguish between final and interlocutory acts of the Hearing Officer, should not be treated in isolation but read along with the other provisions of the Rules. To construe certiorari as a prohibited remedy in every proper case because of the omission of the word "final" in Section 1, Rule XV and of the entire rule on certiorari in the new Rules would render Section 8, Rule XIV and Section 10, Rule X superfluous.

    The particular words, clauses and phrases in a law should not be studied as detached and isolated expressions, but the whole and every part thereof must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts and in order to produce a harmonious whole. 6 Every part or word thereof should be given effect. 7 An interpretation that would render a provision superfluous should be avoided. 8

    Furthermore, to uphold the interpretation of the Court of Appeals allowing appeals even from decisions, ruling or orders of the Hearing Officer that have not attained finality would not promote the expeditious disposition of the main case. In Go v. Court of Appeals, 9 aptly cited by petitioner, the Court adverted to the hazards of interlocutory appeals:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    . . . It is axiomatic that an interlocutory order cannot be challenged by an appeal. Thus, it has been held that "the proper remedy in such cases is an ordinary appeal from an adverse judgment on the merits, incorporating in said appeal the grounds for assailing the interlocutory orders. Allowing appeals from interlocutory orders would result in the ‘sorry spectacle’ of a case being subject of a counterproductive pingpong to and from the appellate court as often as a trial court is perceived to have made an error in any of its interlocutory rulings. However, where the assailed order is patently erroneous and the remedy of appeal would not afford adequate and expeditious relief, the Court may allow certiorari as a mode of redress.

    Clearly, therefore, allowing appeals from interlocutory orders would not "assist the parties in obtaining just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action or claim brought before the Commission." 10

    As the new SEC Rules no longer contain any specific provisions governing petitions for certiorari, the SEC correctly applied the Rules of Court "in a suppletory manner," consistent with Section 4, Rule I of its New Rules.

    WHEREFORE, the petition is given DUE COURSE and GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED.

    SO ORDERED.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Pardo and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. Rollo, p. 109.

    2. Id., at 101.

    3. Id., at 83. Italics and underscoring in the original.

    4. Id., at 84-85. Emphasis in the original.

    5. See Gloria v. Court of Appeals, 306 SCRA 287 (1999).

    6. National Tobacco Administration v. Commission on Audit, 311 SCRA 755 (1999).

    7. Marsaman Manning Agency, Inc. v. NLRC, 313 SCRA 88 (1999); JMM Promotions & Management, Inc. v. NLRC, 228 SCRA 129 (1993).

    8. See Niere v. CRI of Negros Occidental, Br. II, 54 SCRA 165 (1973).

    9. 297 SCRA 574 (1998).

    10. NEW RULES OF PROCEDURE OF THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, RULE I, SECTION 3.

    G.R. No. 146079   July 20, 2001 - KANEMITSU YAMAOKA v. PESCARICH MANUFACTURING CORP., ET AL.


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