Docena v. Lapesura

GR No. 140153, 28 March 2001

FACTS:

Casiano Hombria, private respondent, filed a complaint for the recovery of a parcel of land against his lessees, petitioner-spouses, Antonio and Alfreda Docena. The spouses claimed ownership of the land based on the occupation since time immemorial. The petitioners filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with CA alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial judge in issuing orders and that of the sheriff in issuing the writ of demolition.

The CA dismissed the petition on the ground that the petition was filed beyond the 60-day period provided in the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure and that the certification of non-forum shopping attached thereto was signed by only one of the petitioners.

ISSUE:

Whether or not it is sufficient that the certification of non-forum shopping was signed by only one of the petitioners.

RULING:

Yes, such certificate signed by Antonio Docena alone should be deemed to constitute substantial compliance with the rules.

Under the Family Code, the administration of the conjugal property belongs to the husband and the wife jointly. However, unlike an act of alienation or encumbrance where the consent of both spouses is required, joint management or administration does not require that the husband and wife always act together. Each spouse may validly exercise full power of management alone, subject to the intervention of the court in proper cases as provided under Article 124 of the Family Code. It is believed that even under the provisions of the Family Code, the husband alone could have filed the petition for certiorari and prohibition to contest the writs of demolition issued against the conjugal property with the Court of Appeals without being joined by his wife. The signing of the attached certificate of non-forum shopping only by the husband is not a fatal defect.

The two petitioners in this case are husband and wife and their residence is the subject property alleged to be a conjugal property. In view of the property involved which is a conjugal property, the petition questioning the writ of demolition thereof originated from an action for recovery brought against the spouses and is clearly intended for the benefit of the conjugal partnership and the wife as point out was in the province of Samar whereas the petition was prepared in Metro Manila, a rigid application of the rules on forum shopping that would disauthorize a husband’s signing the certification in his behalf and that of his wife is too harsh. Hence, petition was granted and the case was remanded to the CA for further proceedings.

* Case digest by Vera L. Nataa, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018

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