[G.R. No. 140024. June
KOWLOON HOUSE vs. CA
Quoted hereunder, for your information is a resolution of this
Court dated JUN 18 2003.
G.R. No. 140024 (em>Kowloon House/Willy
Ng vs. Hon. Court of Appeals, 4th Division, National Labor Relations
Commission and Rolando Cruz.)
At bar is a petition for certiorari assailing the Resolutions
dated May 4, 1999cralaw
and July 12, 1999cralaw
of the Court of Appeals outrightly dismissing the petition for certiorari filed
by Kowloon House, Inc. and Willie Ng for being insufficient in form and
The controversy herein stemmed from a complaint for payment of
retirement as well as unused sick and vacation leave benefits filed with the
Labor Arbiter by Rolando Cruz, private respondent, against Kowloon House, Inc.
and William "Willie" Ng, petitioners, docketed as NLRC NCR Case No.
Respondent, in his complaint, alleged that sometime in 1975, he was employed as a waiter by
petitioner Kowloon House, Inc. In March, 1997, having reached the age of fifty
(50) years and after rendering
twenty-one (21) years of continuous and uninterrupted service in petitioner
company, he opted to avail of the optional retirement benefits under Section 1,
Article XV of the Collective Bargaining Agreement which provides that an
employee who has rendered seventeen (17) years of continuous and uninterrupted
service is entitled to avail of the optional retirement benefits equivalent to
fifteen (15) days salary for every
year of service. Thus, respondent is entitled to
P66,501.75 as optional retirement benefits
exclusive of the amount representing the commutation of his unused sick and
On September 16, 1997,
the Labor Arbiter rendered a decision finding the petitioner company liable to
pay respondent the amount of
P66,501.75 representing his optional retirement benefits as well as an
unspecified amount corresponding to his vacation and sick leave benefits. The
dispositive portion of the decision reads:
"CONFORMABLY WITH THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered
finding the respondent Kowloon House, Inc. liable to complainant as follows:
as retirement benefits;
vacation leave and sick leave benefits.
Unsatisfied the petitioners, on October
24,1997, filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations
In a resolution dated June
16, 1998, the NLRC dismissed petitioners' appeal for their failure
to post a bond within the reglementary period. Their motion for reconsideration
was likewise dismissed.
On April 26, 1999,
petitioners filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari alleging
that in dismissing their appeal, the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion.
However, the Appellate Court outrightly dismissed the petition for being
insufficient in form and substance, holding that:
"(a)The petition is
belatedly filed. Petitioner admits having received the June
16, 1998 assailed NLRC Resolution on July
22, 1998. Without stating when petitioner filed a Motion for
Reconsideration with the NLRC (which is equally a ground for dismissal for
non-statement of a material date), a copy of the denial of the Motion for
Reconsideration dated July 31, 1998
was received by the petitioner on February
23, 1999. Granting that the Motion for Reconsideration was filed
also on July 31, 1998, or, nine (9) days after notice of the NLRC judgment,
under the recent Supreme Court Circular No. 38-98 (on Bar Matter No. 803) which
took effect on September 1, 1998, petitioner had only fifty-one (51) days left
out of the sixty (60) day-period, within which to file a Petition for
Certiorari under Section 4 of Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Court, as amended.
Verily, when the instant petition was filed on April
26, 1999 or on the 62nd day (April 24 and 25 being a Saturday and a
Sunday, respectively) after the receipt of the denial of the Motion for
Reconsideration, such filing is already nine (9) days beyond the reglementary
(b)Section 1 of Rule 65 of
the same 1997 Rules, requires that the petition shall be accompanied by a
certified true copy of the judgment, order or resolution subject thereof, "copies of all pleadings and documents
pertinent and relevant thereto, and etc." Here the only annexes in the
petition at bench are the NLRC Resolution dated June 16, 1998 (Annex A,
Petition) and the Order dated January 26, 1999 (Annex B, Petition) without the
other material pleadings, such as the Complaint, position papers, memorandum of
appeal and the motion for reconsideration dated July 31, 1998. Section 3 of
Rule 46 of the said 1997 Rules, provides that such failure is a sufficient
ground for the dismissal of the action.
(c)And more importantly,
an evaluation of the allegations of the petition utterly failed to show any
reversible error or abuse of discretion committed by the respondent NLRC in
this case which will justify the grant of the extraordinary remedy of
certiorari prayed for by the petitioner under existing judicial pronouncements.
On June 1, 1999,
petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied by the Court of
Appeals in its Resolution dated July
Hence, this petition alleging that respondent Court of Appeals
committed grave abuse of discretion by not construing liberally Rule 65 (on certiorari) of the 1997 Rules of
Civil Procedure, as amended.
Time and again, this Court has held that: "(r)ules of procedure
exist for a purpose, and to disregard such rules in the guise of liberal
construction would be to defeat such purpose."cralaw
Procedural rules are not to be disdained as mere technicalities. They may not
be ignored to suit the convenience of a party.Adjective law ensures the effective enforcement of substantive rights
through the orderly and speedy administration of justice. Rules are not intended
to hamper litigants or complicate litigation. But they help provide for a vital
system of justice where suitors may be heard in the correct form and manner, at
the prescribed time in a peaceful though adversarial confrontation before a
judge whose authority litigants acknowledge. Public order and our system of
justice are well served by a conscientious observance of the rules of
procedure, particularly by government officials and agencies.cralaw
Petitioners failed (1) to post the required appeal bond when they
interposed an appeal to the NLRC; (2) to file with the Court of Appeals their
petition for certiorari within the reglementary period; and (3) to attach to
the same petition the pertinent and relevant pleadings and documents required
by Section 1, Rule 65 of the 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure. Moreover, petitioners, in elevating this case to this
Court, resorted to certiorari instead of a petition for review on certiorari.
It is basic that certiorari is not a substitute for a lapsed appeal.
While this Court, in accordance with the liberal spirit pervading
the Rules of Court, has the discretion to treat this petition as a petition for
review on certiorari under Rule 45, however, it can not do so since the same
was filed beyond the reglementary period.
Indeed, there is nothing in the records showing that respondent
Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion or want or excess of
jurisdiction in dismissing the petition.
In Manila Midtown Hotels
& Land Corp. vs. NLRC,cralaw we aptly stated that "(c)ertiorari, being
an extraordinary remedy, the party who seeks to avail of the same must strictly
observe the rules laid down by law."
This Court has repeatedly stressed that the Rules of Court as well
as SC Circulars were not adopted and approved for childish, flimsy or petty
reasons nor for pure love of technicalities, but to compel the strict
observance of the Rules of Court in order that proceedings may not be
needlessly delayed. It was to correct the prevalent shoddiness in the filing of
actions and to expedite the disposition of cases that the SC Circulars were
WHEREFORE, the instant
petition is hereby DISMISSED. The assailed Resolutions of the Court of Appeals dated May
4, 1999 and July 12,
1999 are AFFIRMED in toto.
Very truly yours,
(Sgd.)JULIETA Y. CARREON
Clerk of Court