Adtel v. Valdez (G.R. No. 189942. August 09, 2017)


CASE DIGEST: ADTEL, INC. AND/OR REYNALDO T. CASAS, PETITIONERS, VS. MARIJOY A. VALDEZ, RESPONDENT. [G.R. No. 189942. August 09, 2017].

FACTS: Adtel, a domestic corporation, terminated respondent from the company. Respondent filed a complaint for illegal dismissal with the Labor Arbiter. The Labor Arbiter dismissed respondent's complaint for illegal dismissal. On appeal, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) reversed the decision of the Labor Arbiter. The NLRC ruled that Adtel illegally dismissed respondent. A motion for reconsideration was filed but it was denied by the NLRC.

Fifteen (15) days after the last day for filing or the 75th day, Adtel filed its petition for certiorari with the CA.

The CA denied the motion for extension and dismissed Adtel's petition for certiorari for being filed beyond the reglementary period. The CA ruled that Adtel had until 7 April 2009 to file its petition for certiorari. Instead of filing the petition for certiorari, Adtel filed a motion for extension of time on 7 April 2009 and subsequently filed its petition for certiorari on 22 April 2009, the last day of the extended period prayed for by Adtel. The CA held that the reglementary period to file a petition for certiorari can no longer be extended.
Motion for reconsideration denied.

ISSUES: Did the Court of Appeals commit a reversible error in denying the petitioners' motion for reconsideration and in dismissing the petition for certiorari on the sole basis of technicality?

Technicalities should give way to a judgment on the merits. Did the Labor Arbiter justly and correctly rule that the complaint for illegal dismissal against petitioner was baseless and unmeritorious only to be later reversed by the NLRC upon respondent's appeal?

HELD: The petition is DENIED. WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. We AFFIRM the Resolutions of the Court of Appeals. SO ORDERED.

A.M. No. 07-7-12-SC which amended Section 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court states:
Sec. 4. When and where to file the petition. — The petition shall be filed not later than sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment, order or resolution. In case a motion for reconsideration or new trial is timely filed, whether such motion is required or not, the petition shall be filed not later than sixty (60) days counted from the notice of the denial of the motion. xxx
A.M. No. 07-7-12-SC states that in cases where a motion for reconsideration was timely filed, the filing of a petition for certiorari questioning the resolution denying the motion for reconsideration must be made not later than sixty (60) days from the notice of the denial of the motion. In Laguna Metts Corporation v. Court of Appeals, the Court held that following A.M. No. 07-7-12-SC, petitions for certiorari must be filed strictly within 60 days from the notice of judgment or from the order denying a motion for reconsideration.
In Laguna Metts Corporation, this Court ruled that the 60-day period was non-extendible and the CA no longer had the authority to grant the motion for extension in view of A.M. No. 07-7-12-SC which amended Section 4 of Rule 65.

In Labao v. Flores, the Court recognized that the extension of the 60-day period may be granted by the Court in the presence of special or compelling circumstances provided that there should be an effort on the part of the party invoking liberality to advance a reasonable or meritorious explanation for his or her failure to comply with the rules. Likewise, in Mid-Islands Power Generation v. Court of Appeals the Court held that a motion for extension was allowed in petitions for certiorari under Rule 65 subject to the Court's sound discretion and only under exceptional or meritorious cases.

Therefore, the rule is that in filing petitions for certiorari under Rule 65, a motion for extension is a prohibited pleading. However in exceptional or meritorious cases, the Court may grant an extension anchored on special or compelling reasons.

In Thenamaris Philippines, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, the Court held that the heavy workload of counsel is hardly a compelling or meritorious reason for availing a motion for extension of time to file a petition for certiorari.

As previously stated in Labao, there should be an effort on the part of the party invoking liberality to advance a reasonable or meritorious explanation for his or her failure to comply with Rule 65. Accordingly, in the absence of a more compelling reason cited in the motion for extension of time other than the "undersigned counsel's heavy volume of work," the CA did not commit a reversible error in dismissing the petition for certiorari.

[1] 611 Phil. 530 (2009).
[2] De Los Santos v. Court of Appeals, 522 Phil. 313 (2006).
[3] 627 Phil. 341 (2010).
[4] 649 Phil. 213 (2010).
[5] 683 Phil. 325 (2012).
[6] 693 Phil. 145 (2012).
[7] 435 Phil. 83 (2002).
[8] 725 Phil. 590 (2014).

Popular Posts