Lack of copies of essential pleadings = dismissal?

In Air Philippines Corporation v. Zamora (Air Philippines), the Supreme Court elucidated that mere failure to attach legible copies does not ipso facto warrant the dismissal of a complaint or a petititon, to wit:

As a general rule, a petition lacking copies of essential pleadings and portions of the case record may be dismissed. This rule, however, is not petrified. As the exact nature of the pleadings and parts of the case record which must accompany a petition is not specified, much discretion is left to the appellate court to determine the necessity for copies of pleading and other documents. There are, however, guideposts it must follow.

First, not all pleadings and parts of case records are required to be attached to the petition. Only those which are relevant and pertinent must accompany it. The test of relevancy is whether the document in question will support the material allegations in the petition, whether said document will make out a prima facie case of grave abuse of discretion as to convince the court to give due course to the petition.Second, even if a document is relevant and pertinent to the petition, it need not be appended if it is shown that the contents thereof can also be found in another document already attached to the petition. Thus, if the material allegations in a position paper are summarized in a questioned judgment, it will suffice that only a certified true copy of the judgment is attached.

Third, a petition lacking an essential pleading or part of the case record may still be given due course or reinstated (if earlier dismissed) upon showing that petitioner later submitted the documents required, or that it will serve the higher interests of justice that the case be decided on the merits.

Lest it be misunderstood, the Supreme Court does not belittle the compliance with the rules of procedure. It recognizes that zealous observance of the rules is still the general course of action as it serves to guarantee the orderly, just, and speedy dispensation of cases. (Read G.R. No. 195887)

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