NOT contented with the decision of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), respondent HSY Marketing Ltd. filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals (CA).
The verification of the petition was signed by its counsel, Eller Roel I. Daclan, in which he attested that, “I caused the preparation of the foregoing petition and attest that, based upon facts relayed to me by my clients and upon authentic records made available, all the allegations contained therein are true and correct.”
Petitioner Charlie Hubilla contends that respondents’ petition should not have been given due course since the verification does not comply with the requirements of the rules.
Does this contention find merit?
The policy behind the requirement of verification is to guard against the filing of fraudulent pleadings. Litigants run the risk of perjury if they sign the verification despite knowledge that the stated allegations are not true or are products of mere speculation.
“Verification is not an empty ritual or a meaningless formality. Its import must never be sacrificed in the name of mere expedience or sheer caprice. For what is at stake is the matter of verity attested by the sanctity of an oath to secure an assurance that the allegations in the pleading have been made in good faith, or are true and correct and not merely speculative.”
Thus, for verification to be valid, the affiant must have “ample knowledge to swear to the truth of the allegations in the complaint or petition.” Facts relayed to the counsel by the client would be insufficient for counsel to swear to the truth of the allegations in a pleading. Otherwise, counsel would be able to disclaim liability for any misrepresentation by the simple expediency of stating that he or she was merely relaying facts with which he or she had no competency to attest to.
For this reason, the Rules of Court require no less than personal knowledge of the facts to sufficiently verify a pleading.
Respondents’ counsel, not having sufficient personal knowledge to attest to the allegations of the pleading, was not able to validly verify the facts as stated.
Therefore, respondents’ petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals should have been considered as an unsigned pleading. (Charlie Hubilla vs. HSY Marketing Ltd., G.R. No. 207354, Jan 10, 2018).