Sps Gudoy v. Guadalquiver : 151136 : May 27, 2004 : J. Quisumbing :
Second Division : Decision
[G.R. NO. 151136 : May 27, 2004]
SPS. GAVINO C. GUDOY and VIOLETA M. GUDOY, LILLETE C. GUDOY,
NINOLETA M. GUDOY, JOEL C. TOLENTINO, AMARYLIS B. BISNAR, ROLDAN C. BUSTAMANTE,
WELANDO G. ELLAZO and ANNA SOCORRO M. GUDOY, Petitioners,
v. JACINTA S. GUADALQUIVER and her
spouse ADRIANO GUADALQUIVER, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
For review on certiorari is the Order1 dated October 1, 2001 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Panabo City, 11th
Judicial Region, Branch 34, in Civil Case No. 99-78 for Quieting of Title and
The antecedent facts are as follows:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
The petitioners herein are the spouses Gavino Gudoy and Violeta
Gudoy, Lillette Gudoy, Ninoleta Gudoy, Joel Tolentino, Amarylis Bisnar, Roldan
Bustamante, Welando Ellazo, and Anna Socorro Gudoy.
The respondents are Jacinta Guadalquiver and her husband Adriano
On October 1, 1999, the petitioners filed with the RTC of Panabo
City, Davao del Norte, a Complaint for Quieting of Title and Damages against
The case was
docketed as Civil Case No. 99-78 and was originally assigned to Branch 4 of the
Summons was served and respondents filed their Answer on December
On January 6, 2000,
petitioners filed an Answer to Counterclaim and an Ex-Parte Motion to Set Case
In its Order dated
January 17, 2000, the court set the case for pre-trial on March 1, 2000.
Petitioners and respondents thus filed their
respective pre-trial briefs.
On March 1, 2000, the court a quo ordered the dismissal of
the complaint for petitioners failure to appear during the pre-trial set on
It turned out that
petitioners did not receive on time the Order of January 17, 2000.
Thus, they filed a Motion for
Reconsideration, which was granted.
On May 29, 2001, the presiding judge of Branch 4 of the said
court issued an Order where he resolved to voluntarily inhibit himself from
further presiding over the case.
case was then transferred to Branch 34 of the same court.
On July 10, 2001, petitioners filed a Motion to Set Pre-Trial and
Trial, which the new judge granted in an Order dated July 18, 2001.
Hence, the case was set for pre-trial on
September 4, 2001.
However, on August 9, 2001, respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss
alleging for the very first time that only one of the petitioners signed the
verification of the complaint.
argued that the certification against forum shopping was thus defective.
Acting on the said motion, the court in an Order dated October 1,
2001 dismissed the complaint ruling as follows:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
To this Court the rationale of this ruling is that all plaintiffs
must sign the Certification against (sic) Anti-Forum Shopping and not
just Gavino Gudoy, who may not know if the other eight (8) plaintiffs have
filed similar cases or not.
eight (8) plaintiffs should know.
WHEREFORE, the Court dismisses the complaint and also cancels the
pre-trial set on October 15, 2001, at 8:30 A.M., by reason of this dismissal.
SO ORDERED.2 cralawred
Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration and an Urgent Plea
to Do Away with Needless Technicalities, both of which the court denied in an
Order dated December 12, 2001 for lack of merit.
Thus, the instant appeal purely on a question of law.
The sole issue for our resolution is whether
petitioners complaint was properly dismissed on the ground of alleged improper
certification against forum shopping.
Petitioners contend that it is sufficient that only Gavino Gudoy
sign the certification against forum shopping because all the petitioners are
co-owners pro indiviso of the property subject of the complaint.
They rely on our ruling in Dar v. Alonzo-Legasto ,3 where we held that:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
In the instant case, the Court of Appeals should have taken into
consideration the fact that the petitioners were sued jointly, or as Mr. and
Mrs. over a property in which they have a common interest.
Such being the case, the signing of one of
them in the certification substantially complies with the rule on certification
of non-forum shopping.
Petitioners also allege the trial court was already estopped from
questioning the complaints compliance with the formal requirements set by
Petitioners argue that if the
complaint was indeed defective, it should have been dismissed outright.
Instead, the court a quo served
summons to the respondents, set the case for pre-trial several times, and
conducted various hearings on the case.
However, respondents maintain that the complaint is defective as
to form because all the petitioners are required to sign the complaints
certification on non-forum shopping.
Respondents cite the cases of United
Residents of Dominican Hill, Inc. v. Commission on the Settlement of Land
Problems 4 and Docena v. Lapesura ,5 where we held that the certification on non-forum shopping should be signed by
all of the petitioners or plaintiffs in a case and that the signing by only one
of them is insufficient.
At the outset, we find the petition impressed with merit.
It is true that Supreme Court (SC) Circular No. 28-91,6 as amended by SC Administrative
Circular No. 4-94,7 specifically states that the certification on non-forum shopping must be signed
by all the plaintiffs and failure to do so shall be a cause for the dismissal
of the complaint upon motion and after hearing.cralaw
In Loquias v. Office
of the Ombudsman ,8 we categorically stated that where there are two or more plaintiffs or
Petitioners, a complaint or petition signed by only one of them is defective,
unless he was duly authorized by his co-parties to represent them and to sign
However, this ruling
applies to the peculiar circumstances of the said case where the co-parties are
being sued in their individual capacities.
Note that the petitioners in Loquias are the mayor, vice-mayor, and three members of the municipal board of San Miguel, Zamboanga del Sur, who
were criminally charged for allegedly withholding the salary increases and
benefits of the municipalitys health personnel.Petitioners were tried for alleged violation of Republic Act No.
30199 in their various respective personal capacities.Clearly, the conviction or acquittal of one accused would not
necessarily apply to all the accused in a graft charge.
Contrarily, in the present case, records show that the nine
petitioners herein are the registered owners of a parcel of land located at
Poblacion, Penaplata, Davao as evidenced by Transfer Certificate of Title No.
C-7700.10 Upon discovering that respondents herein
likewise have a title to a portion of the said property, all nine petitioners
filed as co-owners pro indiviso a complaint against respondents for
quieting of title and damages.
owners in common, none of the said petitioners is entitled to any specific
portion of the said property as they all have a joint interest in the undivided
As contended by herein Petitioners, Dar v. Alonzo-Legasto11 is instructive for the resolution of the present case.
In Dar, petitioners were four spouses
against whom a complaint for unlawful detainer was filed.
They were Mr. and Mrs. Ronnie Dar, Mr. and
Mrs. Randy Angeles, Mr. and Mrs. Joy Constantino, and Mr. and Mrs. Liberty
Their Petition for Review on Certiorari and mandamus was dismissed by the Court of Appeals on the ground
that there was failure to comply with the rule on certification against forum
It appeared that while
petitioners Ronnie Dar, Randy Angeles, Joy Constantino, and Liberty Cruz signed
the said certification, their respective spouses did not sign the same.
We held in that case that since what was
involved in the complaint was the petitioners common rights of abode under the
system of absolute community of property, either of the spouses could sign the
certification of non-forum shopping. cra
The failure of the other spouses to sign the said certification should
not be a ground for dismissal of their petition.
As aptly stated in Dar, to wit:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
With respect to the contents of the certification which the pleader
may prepare, the rule of substantial compliance may be availed of.
While this section (Section 1 of SC
Administrative Circular No. 4-94) requires that it be strictly complied with,
it merely underscores its mandatory nature in that it cannot be altogether
dispensed with or its requirements completely disregarded but it does not
thereby prevent substantial compliance on this aspect of its provisions under
28-91 was designed to serve as an instrument to promote and facilitate the
orderly administration of justice and should not be interpreted with such
absolute literalness as to subvert its own ultimate and legitimate objective or
the goal of all rules of procedure which is to achieve substantial justice as
expeditiously as possible.12 (Insertion supplied).
Taking into account the circumstances of the present case, no
real prejudice will result to the respondents cause by proceeding with the
pre-trial of the case already set.
a palpable denial of substantial justice to petitioners may occur because of
belated reliance on a literal adherence to the formal requirement in an
administrative circular, SC. No. 4-94, whose intent is precisely the expeditious
administration of justice by the concerned court.
WHEREFORE, the Order dated October 1, 2001 of the Regional
Trial Court of Panabo City, Branch 34, in Civil Case No. 99-78, is hereby
REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
The case is
REMANDED to the said court for its proper and expeditious disposition.
Austria-Martinez, Callejo, Sr., and
TINGA, JJ., concur.
Puno, (Chairman), J., on
3 G.R. No. 143016, 30 August 2000, 339 SCRA 306, 309-310.
4 G.R. No. 135945, 7 March 2001, 353 SCRA 782, 800.
5 G.R. No. 140153, 28 March 2001, 355 SCRA 658, 666.
6 Effective 1 January 1992.
7 Effective 1 April 1994.
8 G.R. No. 139396, 15 August 2000, 338 SCRA 62, 68.
9 Otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
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