Amend pleading as a matter of right

Our rules of procedure allow a party in a civil action to amend his pleading as a matter of right, so long as the pleading is amended only once and before a responsive pleading is served (or, if the pleading sought to be amended is a reply, within ten days after it is served).[1] Otherwise, a party can only amend his pleading upon prior leave of court.[2]

As a matter of judicial policy, courts are impelled to treat motions for leave to file amended pleadings with liberality.[3] This is especially true when a motion for leave is filed during the early stages of proceedings or, at least, before trial.[4] Our case law has long taught that bona fide amendments to pleadings should be allowed in the interest of justice so that every case may, so far as possible, be determined on its real facts and the multiplicity of suits thus be prevented.[5] Hence, as long as it does not appear that the motion for leave was made with bad faith or with intent to delay the proceedings,[6] courts are justified to grant leave and allow the filing of an amended pleading. Once a court grants leave to file an amended pleading, the same becomes binding and will not be disturbed on appeal unless it appears that the court had abused its discretion.[7]

[1] See Section 2 of Rule 10 of the Rules of Court.

[2] See Sections 3 and 4 of Rule 10 of the Rules of Court.

[3] Torres v. Tomacruz, 49 Phil. 913, 915 (1927).

[4] Ching Tiu v. Philippine Bank of Communications, 613 Phil. 56, 68 (2009).

[5] Quirao v. Quirao, 460 Phil. 605, 611 (2003).

[6] See Section 3 of Rule 10 of the Rules of Court.

[7] Supra note 3.