G.R. No. 184146, January 27, 2014


On March 21, 2005, respondent Zenaida Gotauco y Tan, the owner and general manager of a manpower agency, filed a complaint for Sum of Money against petitioner Valerie Buenaventura, Julie Ann D. Hernandez, Sylvia L. Bajao, Pinky Bantillan and Lanie Morales. Respondent claimed that petitioner and his other employees fraudulently took from her P732,375.75 by having ghost employees, payroll paddings, putting up a business directly in competition with that of respondent, and pirating the latter's clients.[1]

After several motions for extension of time to file answer, petitioner filed a Motion for Bill of Particulars as to the allegations in paragraphs 7, 8 and 9 of the complaint, particularly the specific constitutive acts and approximate dates of the alleged padding or illegal cash out, how the alleged conspiracy and concealment were done and the specific names of the alleged ghost employees, the averred modus operandi, and the amount of damages, which she claimed to be too sweeping and generalized.[2]

On November 14, 2005, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) issued an Order[3] granting, among others, petitioner's motion for bill of particulars thereby directing respondent to file the same within ten (10) days from receipt of the order, which the latter failed to do.

On July 18, 2006 and upon inventory of the case, the RTC dismissed the case for respondent's failure to prosecute the case, it appearing that no steps were undertaken to pursue her case since the publication of summons on January 1, 2006.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) reversed and set aside the RTC decision. Accordingly, respondent's complaint was reinstated and the case was remanded to the RTC for further proceedings. The CA noted that respondent failed to comply with the order of the RTC, because she filed a criminal case as well as a special civil action against the same defendants. Thus, based on the liberal application of the Rules, the CA excused petitioner from non-compliance.

Petitioner now comes before the Court assailing the liberal application of the rules of procedure.

The petition is without merit.To be sure, procedural rules are not to be belittled as they are required to be followed except only for the most persuasive of reasons when they may be relaxed to relieve a litigant of an injustice not commensurate with the degree of his thoughtlessness in not complying with the procedure prescribed.[4] In this case, we find no reason to depart from the CA's liberal interpretation of the rules of procedure and excuse respondent for her failure to file the required bill of particulars, in order to serve the ends of justice.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for failure of petitioner to show any reversible error in the assailed CA decision.


[1] Rollo, p. 26.[2] Id. at 27.

[3] Id. at 33-34.

[4] Rural Bank of the Seven Lakes (S.P.C.), Inc. v. Dan, G.R. No. 174109, December 24, 2008, 575 SCRA 476, 488-489.