Saturday, July 31, 2021

Almirante: Difference between certiorari under Rules 45 and 65

Labor Case Digest

PETITIONER Yushi Kondo filed a complaint for constructive dismissal, illegal diminution of benefits, illegal transfer of department, harassment and discrimination against respondents Toyota Boshoku (Phils.) Corp. and its officers.

The Labor Arbiter (LA) found for petitioner. The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) reversed and set aside the LA decision. The Court of Appeals (CA) denied petitioner’s petition for certiorari. It held that even if petitioner claimed that the NLRC gravely abused its discretion in reversing the LA decision, he nonetheless failed to allege that it was done capriciously or whimsically. He merely claimed that the NLRC was “not correct” in deciding the issues. Thus, he conceded that the NLRC committed errors in judgment and not errors in jurisdiction, which is the exclusive concern of a Rule 65 petition.

Did the CA err?

Ruling: No.

At the outset, the Court notes that the petition was correctly filed under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. However, it alleges grave abuse of discretion on the part of the CA, which is the proper subject of a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. In the CA petition, on the other hand, counsel made a general allegation of grave abuse of discretion committed by the NLRC, but formulated the issues as if the NLRC committed errors of judgment. The difference between petitions filed under Rule 45 and Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is so fundamental that it is extremely lamentable that counsel still confounds one for the other and misapprehends their purpose.

To emphasize, decisions, final orders or resolutions of the CA, in any case, i.e., regardless of the nature of the action or proceedings involved, may be appealed to the Court by filing a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Through this remedy, the Court reviews errors of judgment allegedly committed by the CA. On the other hand, a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 is not an appeal but a special civil action restricted to resolving errors of jurisdiction and grave abuse of discretion, not errors of judgment.

Jurisprudence instructs that where a Rule 65 petition alleges grave abuse of discretion, the petitioner should establish that the respondent court or tribunal acted in a capricious, whimsical, arbitrary or despotic manner in the exercise of its jurisdiction as to be equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. An error of judgment that the court may commit in the exercise of its jurisdiction is not correctable through the original civil action of certiorari. The supervisory jurisdiction of a court over the issuance of a writ of certiorari cannot be exercised for the purpose of reviewing the intrinsic correctness of a judgment of the lower court—on the basis either of the law or the facts of the case, or of the wisdom or legal soundness of the decision. Even if the findings of the court are incorrect, as long as it has jurisdiction over the case, such correction is normally beyond the province of certiorari. Errors of judgment and errors of jurisdiction as grounds in availing the appropriate remedy are mutually exclusive.

Hence, it is inexcusable for petitioner to state that “x x x grave abuse of discretion, in certiorari proceedings, contemplates errors in judgment committed in excess of or with lack of jurisdiction” to justify his deplorable lapses in making the proper allegations in the Rule 65 petition it filed with the CA. As regards the present petition, we note that it fundamentally raises errors of judgment allegedly committed by the CA. Indeed, the measure is that as long as the lower courts act within their jurisdiction, alleged errors committed in the exercise of their discretion will amount to mere errors of judgment correctable by an appeal or a petition for review. We thus excuse petitioner’s erroneous allegation of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the CA. (Yushi Kondo vs. Toyota Boshoku (Phils.) Corp. et al., G.R. 201396, Sept.11, 2019).


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