Wednesday , June 20, 2018

Almirante: Material documents in certiorari

AGGRIEVED by the adverse decision and resolution of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), petitioner Oasis Park Hotel filed before the Court of Appeals (CA) a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court. The CA dismissed the petition due to, among others, the following procedural infirmity: the petition was not accompanied by other material supporting documents which were filed before the labor arbiter such as certified true copies of the respective complaints for illegal dismissal filed by private respondents in violation of Section 3, Rule 46 of the Revised Rules of Court.

Did the CA commit a reversible error?

Ruling: Yes.

The failure of petitioner to attach to the petition respondents’ complaints before the NLRC, as well as a clear and legible copy of the affidavit of fact dated Sept. 8, 2008, likewise did not justify the dismissal of said petition. In Gutierrez v. Valiente, 579 Phil. 486, 496-497 (2008), the Court described what constitutes relevant or pertinent documents under Rule 65, Section 1 of the Revised Rules of Court: With regard to the failure to attach material portions of the record in support of the petition, Section 1 of Rule 65 of the Rules of Court requires that petition for certiorari shall be accompanied by a clearly legible duplicate original or certified true copy of the judgment, order, resolution, or ruling subject thereof, such material portions of the records as are referred to therein, and other documents relevant or pertinent thereto; and failure of compliance shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition.

x x x x

These documents, however, are not at all relevant to the petition for certiorari. Since the issue of whether the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion pertained only to the orders dated May 15, 2000, June 23, 2003, June 9, 2004 and September 9, 2004, copies of said orders would have sufficed as basis for the CA to resolve the issue. It was in these orders that the RTC supposedly made questionable rulings. Thus, the attachment of these orders to the petition was already sufficient even without the other pleadings and portions of the case record. Moreover, spouses Gutierrez corrected the purported deficiency by submitting the required documents in their Motion for Reconsideration.

In Air Philippines Corp. v. Zamora, the Court clarified that not all pleadings and parts of case records are required to be attached to the petition; only those pleadings, parts of case records and documents which are material and pertinent, in that they may provide the basis for a determination of a prima facie case for abuse of discretion, are required to be attached to a petition for certiorari, and omission to attach such documents may be rectified by the subsequent submission of the documents required. (Citations omitted.) Based on the foregoing, copies of the NLRC Decision dated Aug. 31, 2010 and Resolution dated Nov. 30, 2010 attached to the petition would have sufficed. Even if respondents’ complaints before the NLRC and the Affidavit of Fact dated Sept. 8, 2008 were arguably “relevant and pertinent for proper appreciation of the antecedent facts and the complete disposition of the case x x x,” then the Court of Appeals could have simply required their subsequent submission. (Leonardo-De Castro, J., SC 1st Div., Oasis Park Hotel vs. Leslee G. Navaluna,, G.R. No. 197191, Nov. 21, 2016).