Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1950 > December 1950 Decisions > G.R. No. L-3576 December 5, 1950 - ANGELES CASON VDA. DE CARRETERO v. GREGORIO TARCA, ET AL.

087 Phil 689:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-3576. December 5, 1950.]

ANGELES CASON VDA. DE CARRETERO, Petitioner, v. GREGORIO TARCA, RODOLFO TARCA CASTRO and THE COURT OF APPEALS, Respondents.

Primicias, Abad, Mencias & Castillo, for Petitioner.

Perkins, Ponce Enrile & Contreras, for respondents Tarca and Tarca Castro.

SYLLABUS


1. PLEADING AND PRACTICE; LAW FIRM AS ATTORNEYS OF RECORDS; NOTICE AFTER DISSOLUTION BUT WITHOUT NEW APPEARANCE BINDING. —Where a law firm appears in the record as counsel for a party, notice addressed to it after its dissolution and in the absence of new appearance by any of its members, is binding on such party.

2. ATTORNEYS; NOTICE; AUTHORITY OF LAW PARTNER TO RECEIVE. — If a messenger of an attorney is authorized to receive notice, there is better reason for holding that his lay partner has the same authority.


D E C I S I O N


PARAS, J.:


In two cases jointly appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA-G. R. Nos. 2699-R and 2700-R), Angeles Cason Vda. de Carretero was the appellee, and Gregorio Tarca and Rodulfo Tarca Castro were the appellants. On September 15, 1949, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision favorable to Angeles Cason. Notice of the decision was sent by registered mail to Fernandez, Unson and Patajo, of Lingayen, Pangasinan, attorneys of record of Gregorio Tarca and Rodulfo Tarca Castro, and according to the return card and the record of the post office, said notice was received on September 21, 1949, by Atty. Ramon Fernandez. As no motion for reconsideration was filed within the reglementary period, final judgment was entered in the Court of Appeals on October 7, 1949, and the records were remanded to the court of origin on October 19, 1949. On October 25, 1949, the decision was executed by the provincial sheriff of Pangasinan and Angeles Cason was accordingly placed in possession of the land in question. Under date of October 29, 1949, Gregorio Tarca and Rodulfo Tarca Castro filed in the Court of Appeals, through another attorney, a petition to set aside the entry of final judgment and to allow the filing of a motion of reconsideration, on the ground that their former attorneys never received copy of the decision, having learned thereof only when Atty. Crispin A. Fernandez, senior member of the law firm of Fernandez, Unson and Patajo, was shown by Gregorio Tarca on October 29, 1949, a copy of the decision, and that the signature "Fernandez" on the registry return card was falsified. Over the opposition of counsel for Angeles Cason, the Court of Appeals, on November 25, 1949, promulgated a resolution setting aside the entry of final judgment and permitting the filing of a motion for reconsideration within ten days. Upon denial of the motion for reconsideration filed by counsel for Angeles Cason, the present petition for certiorari and prohibition was filed by Angeles Cason Vda. de Carretero against Gregorio Tarca and Rodulfo Tarca Castro, jointly with the Court of Appeals, to the end that the resolution of the Court of Appeals setting aside its entry of final judgment and permitting the filing of a motion for reconsideration by the Tarcas, be declared null and void.

There is no dispute that Fernandez, Unson and Patajo were the attorneys of record of respondents Gregorio Tarca and Rodulfo Tarca Castro when the two cases were decided by the Court of Appeals on September 15, 1949; that the law firm of Fernandez, Unson and Patajo was dissolved in June, 1949; that thereafter the law firm of Fernandez, Unson, Angeles and Fernandez was formed, being composed of Attys. Crispin A. Fernandez and Jose Aldeguer Unson (members of the former law firm of Fernandez, Unson and Patajo) and Romulo Angeles and Ramon Fernandez (new members); that in September, 1949, Attys. Ramon Fernandez and Romulo Angeles received from the post office of Lingayen all registered mails addressed to Fernandez, Unson, Angeles and Fernandez; that Atty. Ramon Fernandez received the notice of the decision of the Court of Appeals on September 21, 1949.

It is contended, however, for the respondents that, after the dissolution of the law firm of Fernandez, Unson and Patajo, Atty. Crispin A. Fernandez continued to handle the two cases in the Court of Appeals personally, although it is admitted that, at the hearing, his law associate, Atty. Jose Aldeguer Unson, appeared. As a corollary, it is also contended that the notice received by Atty. Ramon Fernandez, who was not a member of Fernandez, Unson and Patajo, could not serve as notice to the latter. In answer, it may be stated that Atty. Crispin A. Fernandez, individually, had not entered his appearance in the Court of Appeals, and it was not logically to be expected that the notice would be sent to him in his individual name. Upon the other hand, when Atty. Ramon Fernandez received the notice containing copy of the decision on September 21, 1949, he was already a member of Fernandez, Unson, Angeles and Fernandez, and it is quite fair to assume that he was authorized to receive registered mails from the post office addressed not only to said law firm but also to the former law firm of Fernandez, Unson and Patajo, because, in both, Attys. Crispin A. Fernandez and Jose Aldeguer Unson were the principal and senior members, and more especially because it is not pretended that Atty. Lino Patajo personally handled the two cases in the Court of Appeals or that he was the principal member in the former law firm of Fernandez, Unson and Patajo.

If a messenger of Atty. Crispin A. Fernandez (even granting that the two cases were his personal cases) received the notice from the post office, it cannot undoubtedly be contended that the receipt was unauthorized. The petitioner’s position in the case at bar is better, because the notice was received by no less than a law partner of Atty. Crispin A. Fernandez. To adopt respondents’ theory and its implication — that Atty. Ramon Fernandez did not deliver the notice to Atty. Crispin A. Fernandez, — is to impute irresponsibility to Atty. Ramon Fernandez; and the respondents certainly never intended to win a point at the expense of the prestige of Atty. Ramon Fernandez. Indeed, the finding of the Court of Appeals in its resolution denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration that the failure of Atty. Crispin A. Fernandez to receive notice of the decision is also attributable to simple negligence on his part or on the part of his companions, is inconsistent with any claim that Atty. Ramon Fernandez was not authorized to receive the notice in question.

Wherefore, the resolution of the Court of Appeals setting aside its entry of final judgment in the two cases involved herein is declared null and void and its decision of September 15, 1949, is declared final. So ordered, with costs against the respondents other than the respondent court.

Feria, Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes, Jugo and Bautista Angelo, JJ., concur.

Tuason, J., concurs in the result.




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