Saturday, April 9, 2016

Rules of procedure are designed to secure substantial justice


“X x x.

Rules of procedure are mere tools 
designed to facilitate the attainment 
of justice.

In dismissing outright Cadiz's petition, the CA found the following defects: (1) incomplete statement of material dates; (2) failure to attach registry receipts; and (3) failure to indicate the place of issue of counsel's PTR and IBP official receipts.

Rule 46, Section 3 of the Rules of Court states the contents of a petition filed with the CA under Rule 65, viz, "the petition shall x x x indicate the material dates showing when notice of the judgment or final order or resolution subject thereof was received, when a motion for new trial or reconsideration, if any, was filed and when notice of the denial thereof was received." The rationale for this is to enable the CA to determine whether the petition was filed within the period fixed in the rules.2° Cadiz's failure to state the date of receipt of the copy of the NLRC decision, however, is not fatal to her case since the more important material date which must be duly alleged in a petition is the date of receipt of the resolution of denial of the motion for reconsideration,21 which she has duly complied with.

The CA also dismissed the petition for failure to attach the registry receipt in the affidavit of service.23 Cadiz points out, on the other hand, that the registry receipt number was indicated in the petition and this constitutes substantial compliance with the requirement. What the rule requires, however, is that the registry receipt must be appended to the paper being served.24 Clearly, mere indication of the registry receipt numbers will not suffice. In fact, the absence of the registry receipts amounts to lack of proof of service.25 Nevertheless, despite this defect, the Court finds that the ends of substantial justice would be better served by relaxing the application of technical rules of procedure. 26 With regard to counsel's failure to indicate the place where the IBP and PTR receipts were issued, there was substantial compliance with the requirement since it was indicated in the verification and certification of non-forum shopping, as correctly argued by Cadiz's lawyer.27 

Time and again, the Court has emphasized that rules of procedure are designed to secure substantial justice. These are mere tools to expedite the decision or resolution of cases and if their strict and rigid application would frustrate rather than promote substantial justice, then it must be avoided.28

X x x.”