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[G.R. No. 148414. October 1, 2001]

RBL FISHING CO. et al. vs. FORTU, et al.

SECOND DIVISION

Gentlemen:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated OCT 1 2001.

G.R. No. 148414(RBL Fishing Corporation and/or Alfonso Tan v. Leopoldo L. Fortu, et al.)

In its resolution of April 11, 2001, the Court of Appeals dismissed petitioners' petition for certiorari of the resolution, dated February 22, 2001, of the National Labor Relations Commission in NLRC NCRC CA No. 021353-99 entitled "Leopoldo Fortu, Abraham E. Nacasi and Edilberto S. Salalin v. RBL Fishing Corporation and/or Alfonso L. Tan" for non-compliance with Rule 65, 1 in relation to Rule 46, 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The Court of Appeals held:

The petition filed before Us reveals the failure of petitioner to annex the alleged authority of Ms. Gorgonia V. Yan, Manager of the Industrial Relations Division of petitioner corporation, to initiate this special civil action and to verify and subscribe under oath the required certification of non-forum shopping for and in behalf of petitioners RBL Fishing Corporation and/or Alfonso L. Tan. Since she is subscribing and attesting to the truth of the allegations in the certification against forum shopping, her authority to do so for and in behalf [of] petitioners should be clearly established by pertinent documents submitted to this Court.

Furthermore, it is settled that the power of a corporation to sue and be sued is lodged in the Board of Directors that exercises its corporate powers and not in the president or officer thereof.

..

On account of the foregoing, We cannot admit the certification of non-forum shopping signed by Ms. Gorgonia V. Yan absent any board resolution and/or other authority submitted to prove the grant of said authority to sue for and in behalf of petitioners. Such omission amounts to non-compliance with the requirement of a certification (CA Decision, p. 3; Rollo, p. 25).

Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, alleging that Gorgonia V. Yan had in fact been authorized by a resolution of the board of directors of the corporation to file the petition before the appeals court and that their failure to attach a copy of the resolution to the petition was due to oversight and inadvertence in view of their counsel's heavy workload and recurring illness. Petitioners submitted a copy of the resolution in question. However, their motion was denied in the resolution of May 30, 2001 on the ground that the subsequent compliance with the Rules does not cleanse the petition of its infirmity. Hence this petition for review on certiorari of the resolutions of the Court of Appeals.

The petition has no merit. Rule 46, 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides -Contents and filing of petition; effect of non-compliance with requirement.- . . . .

The petitioner shall also submit together with the petition a sworn certification that he has not theretofore commenced any other action involving the same issues in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or different divisions thereof, or any other tribunal or agency; if there is such other action or proceeding, he must state the status of the same; and if he should thereafter learn that a similar action or proceeding has been filed or is pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or different divisions thereof, or any other tribunal or agency, he undertakes to promptly inform the aforesaid courts and other tribunal or agency thereof within five (5) days therefrom.

..

The failure of the petitioner to comply with any of the foregoing requirements shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition.

This requirement applies to petitions for certiorari by virtue of Rule 65, 1. With regard to actions filed by corporate entities, the certificate of non-forum shopping should be signed by persons duly authorized for the purpose either by the corporate laws or by a board resolution (BA Savings Bank v. Sia, 336 SCRA 484 (2000)).

Petitioners contend, however, that the appeals court should have adopted a liberal construction of the Rules and overlooked the "simple technical infirmity" of their petition in the interest of justice in view of the meritorious grounds raised in their petition. This contention has no merit. Procedural rules are tools designed to facilitate the adjudication of cases and courts and litigants are enjoined to abide strictly by them. While in some instances, this Court has allowed a relaxation of the Rules, this has never been intended to justify non-compliance thereon (Garbo v. Court of Appeals, 258 SCRA 159 (1996)).

For the foregoing reasons, the Court RESOLVED to DENY the petition for lack of showing that the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error.

The compliance of Atty. Sotero T Comes of Parungao Comes and Associates, counsel for petitioners, with the resolution of 08 August 2001 by affixing his signature on the unsigned original copy of the petition on 6 September 2001 is NOTED.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) TOMASITA B.MAGAY-DRIS

Clerk of Court


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