Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1982 > May 1982 Decisions > G.R. No. L-47334 May 31, 1982 - MIGUEL VIOLAGO, ET AL. v. JOSE C. CAMPOS, JR., ET AL.

199 Phil. 463:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. L-47334. May 31, 1982.]

MIGUEL VIOLAGO and SIMEON SINGALAWA, Petitioners, v. HON. PRESIDING JUDGE JOSE C. CAMPOS, JR., BRANCH XXX, COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF RIZAL and DALISAY T. ALDOVER. respondents.

Abraham P.A. Gorospe, for Petitioners.

Fidel M. Cabrera II for Respondents.

Conrado R. Mangahas for Times Surety.

SYNOPSIS


Private respondent filed an action for damages against petitioners and Times Security and Insurance Co., Inc. An answer with compulsory counterclaim was filed within the reglementary period. Two days before the scheduled hearing of August 12, 1977, counsel for petitioners entered his appearance and prayed for the postponement and resetting of trial. When petitioners and their counsel did not appear during the August 12, hearing, they were declared in default. Their motion for reconsideration was denied. Hence, the present petition.

On certiorari, the Supreme Court held that dependants who fail to appear at the trial who have filed their answer within the reglementary period cannot be declared in default, although trial may proceed without them.

Assailed orders set aside, and the case ordered set for hearing.


SYLLABUS


REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE; DEFAULT; FAILURE TO APPEAR AT TRIAL AFTER HAVING FILED ANSWER WITHIN THE REGLEMENTARY PERIOD DOES NOT CONSTITUTE DEFAULT. — Petitioners (dependants in Civil Case No. 5549-P) were not really in default because they have filed their answered to the complaint within the reglementary period. Having answered the complaint, the failure of the dependants to attend the court and to adduce evidence did not constitute default. Trial may proceed without them. (GO CHANGJO v. ROLDAN SY-CHANGJO, 18 Phil. 405).


D E C I S I O N


RELOVA, J.:


Dalisay T. Aldover filed an action against Miguel Violago, Simeon Singalawa and Times Surety and Insurance Company, Inc. for damages before the Court of First Instance of Rizal, in Pasay City. The case is docketed as Civil Case No. 5549-P and assigned to respondent Judge.

The defendants filed their answer with compulsory counterclaim within the reglementary period. Pre-trial was held on July 20, 1977 following which respondent Judge issued an Order setting the case for trial on the merits on August 12, 1977, at 9:00 in the morning.chanrobles law library

On August 10, 1977, Atty. Abraham P.A. Gorospe filed his appearance for defendants Violago and Singalawa, with prayer that the hearing on August 12, 1977 be postponed and reset for September 12 or 16, 1977 at 10:00 in the morning.

When the case was called for hearing on August 12, 1977, defendants Violago and Singalawa and their new counsel failed to appear. Upon plaintiff’s motion, respondent Judge declared them in default. Defendants Violago and Singalawa filed a motion for reconsideration but the same was denied. Hence, this petition for certiorari, praying that the Order of default (Annex "C"), "be annulled or set aside, and the Order denying the motion for reconsideration (Annex `F’) dated October 20, 1977 be reversed."cralaw virtua1aw library

Verification of the records of Civil Case No. 5549-P, entitled "Dalisay T. Aldover v. Miguel Violago, Simeon Singalawa and Times Surety and Insurance Company, Inc." for damages shows that said case is still pending trial before the Court of First Instance of Rizal in Pasay City, Branch XXX, with respect to defendants Miguel Violago and Simeon Singalawa, while the case against defendant Times Surety and Insurance Company, Inc. was terminated by virtue of a compromise agreement which was approved on February 19, 1979.

From the facts stated above, herein petitioners (defendants in said Civil Case No. 5549-P) were not really in default because they have filed their answer to the complaint within the statutory period. Having answered the complaint, the failure of defendants to attend the court and to adduce evidence did not constitute default. Trial may proceed without them. (Go Changjo v. Roldan Sy-Changjo, 18 Phil. 405)

"As long as the defendant answers he can never be in default and he should therefore not be declared in default (See Rosario Et. Al. v. Alonzo Et. Al. L-17330, June 29, 1963).

"As long as there has been an answer made by him, the mere non-appearance of the defendant at a hearing is not default, neither is failure to introduce evidence (Siojo v. Tecson, 88 Phil. 531; Ignacio v. Racho and Dolores, 78 Phil 557), BUT, certainly, the trial can proceed without him (Go Changjo v. Roldan Sy-Changjo, 18 Phil 405)."cralaw virtua1aw library

From the foregoing, we conclude that herein petitioners had been unjustly deprived of their day in court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

WHEREFORE, the default order dated August 12, 1977 of respondent Judge in Civil Case No. 5549-P as well as the order denying the motion for reconsideration dated October 20, 1977 are hereby set aside and respondent is hereby directed to set the case for hearing with respect to defendants Miguel Violago and Simeon Singalawa and to render judgment accordingly.

SO ORDERED.

Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Vasquez and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.




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