Mid-Pasig Land and Development Corporation v. Tablante

G.R. No. 162924, 4 February 2010

FACTS:

Petitioner is the registered owner of a piece of land situated in Pasig City, bounded by Meralco Avenue, Ortigas Avenue, Doña Julia Vargas Avenue, and Valle Verde Subdivision. On December 6, 1999, petitioner, represented by its Chairman and President, Ronaldo Salonga, and ECRM Enterprises, represented by its proprietor, Mario P. Tablante, executed an agreement whereby the former would lease to the latter an area, approximately one (1) hectare, of the aforesaid land, for a period of three (3) months, to be used as the staging area for the Home and Garden Exhibition Fair.

On March 6, 2000, the date of the expiration of the Lease Agreement, Tablante assigned all his rights and interests under the said agreement to respondents Laurie M. Litam and/or Rockland Construction Company, Inc. (Rockland) under a Deed of Assignment of the same date.

Petitioner eventually learned that respondent Tablante had executed a Contract of Lease with respondent MC Home Depot, Inc. on November 26, 1999 over the same parcel of land. Thereafter, respondent MC Home Depot, Inc. constructed improvements on the land and subdivided the area into fifty-nine (59) commercial stalls, which it leased to various entities. Upon the expiration of the lease on March 6, 2000, petitioner demanded that respondents vacate the land. A final demand was made in a letter dated December 20, 2000.

Rockland filed a case for Specific Performnce with the Pasig RTC to forestall the ejectment. Mid-Pasig then simultaneously filed for unlawful detainer and a supplemental motion to dismiss Rockland’s case on the ground of litis pendentia. The motion to dismiss was denied,, The denial was questioned and eventually elevated to the SC.

On the other hand, the MTC ruled that it has no jurisdiction over the unlawful detainer case because it held that the real issue of the case was whether or not ECRM had the right to exercise an option to renew its lease contract. Such issue is incapable of pecuniary estimation, thus the RTC has jurisdiction. MTC dismissed the complaint for lack of merit.

Pasig RTC Branch 160 affirmed the decision in toto.

The CA dismissed Mid-Pasig;s petition for certiorari on the following grounds:

(1) The verification and certification against non-forum shoppinh was signed by a certain Antonio Merelos as General Manager of the petitioner-corporation without attaching therewith a Corporate Secretary’s certificate or board resolution that he is authorized to sign for and on behalf of the petitioner; and
(2) Lack of pertinent and necessary documents which are material portions of the record as required by Section 2, Rule 42 of the RCC.

Thus, this case.

ISSUE:

Whether failure to attach the Secretary’s Certificate is a valid ground for the dismissal of Mid-Pasig’s case.

RULING:

It is clear that the failure to attach the Secretary’s Certificate, attesting to General Manager Antonio Merelos’s authority to sign the Verification and Certification of NonForum Shopping, should not be considered fatal to the filing of the petition.

Nonetheless, the requisite board resolution was subsequently submitted to the CA, together with the pertinent documents. Considering that petitioner substantially complied with the rules, the dismissal of the petition was, therefore, unwarranted. Time and again, we have emphasized that dismissal of an appeal on a purely technical ground is frowned upon especially if it will result in unfairness. The rules of procedure ought not to be applied in a very rigid, technical sense for they have been adopted to help secure, not override, substantial justice.

For this reason, courts must proceed with caution so as not to deprive a party of statutory appeal; rather, they must ensure that all litigants are granted the amplest opportunity for the proper and just ventilation of their causes, free from the constraint of technicalities.

*Case Digest by Jhazel Zhan Jebone, JD-4, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2019-2020

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