FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 143574. July 11, 2002]

MANILA HOTEL CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and SAMUEL ALCORDO, respondents.

D E C I S I O N

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to set aside the Resolutions[1] of the Court of Appeals[2] in CA-G.R. SP No. 57760, which dismissed petitioners special civil action for certiorari assailing the October 29, 1999 decision of the National Labor Relations Commission in NLRC NCR CN. 00-12-09877-98.[3]

Private respondent was hired by petitioner on March 23, 1998 as Food and Beverage Director with a salary of P75,000.00 a month. On November 30, 1998, however, his services were terminated on the ground of loss of confidence due to his inability to improve the profitability of the restaurants under his responsibility. Private respondent filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against petitioner.

On June 14, 1999, the Labor Arbiter rendered a decision[4] dismissing the complaint for illegal dismissal on the ground that private respondent, a managerial employee, was hired not only to oversee the operations of the restaurants but precisely to improve their profitability. Hence, the failure of private respondent to meet this condition despite regular monthly evaluation by petitioner, showing the substantial drop in the profitability of the department under his control, justified his dismissal for loss of confidence. Petitioner was, however, ordered to pay private respondents one month salary of P80,000.00 in lieu of the 30-day advance notice of dismissal, plus an indemnity of P5,000.00 for its failure to comply with procedural due process.

Petitioner appealed to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) which reversed the decision of the Labor Arbiter on October 29, 1999. It ruled that petitioner failed to prove that private respondent was hired subject to the condition that he would improve the profitability of the restaurants, and that the unsatisfactory performance of said restaurants was due to the fault or negligence of private respondent. The dispositive portion of the said decision reads:

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby REVERSED, and respondent Manila Hotel Inc. is ordered to pay the complainant the following: (1) full backwages, inclusive of allowances, from December 1, 1998 up to date of finality of this decision; (2) separation pay equivalent to one month salary for every year of service, reckoned from March 23, 1998 up to the date of finality of this decision; and (3) moral and exemplary damages amounting to P50,000.00 and 30,000.00, respectively.

SO ORDERED.[5]

A motion for reconsideration of the foregoing decision was denied on January 12, 2000.[6]

A petition for certiorari was filed by petitioner with the Court of Appeals which dismissed the petition on the following grounds: 1) the petition was not accompanied with copies of the decision of the Labor Arbiter and the position paper of the parties; 2) the certificate of non-forum shopping was signed by Atty. Martin B. Isidro, petitioners counsel and Assistant Vice-President, Personnel Department; and 3) the petition was not accompanied with a board resolution authorizing Atty. Martin B. Isidro to act for and in behalf of petitioner.

A motion for reconsideration was filed by petitioner alleging that the failure to attach said documents to the petition was due to inadvertence or oversight.[7] Attached to the motion were copies of the omitted decision of the Labor Arbiter, the position papers, as well as the required board resolution.[8]

On June 8, 2000, the Court of Appeals denied the motion for reconsideration stressing that under Rule 46, Section 3, in relation to Rule 65, Section 1 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, failure to append copies of relevant documents is sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition. Hence, the instant petition for review on certiorari praying for a liberal interpretation of the rules of procedure.

The petition is without merit.

Pertinent portion of Rule 65, Section 1 and Rule 46, Section 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, provide:

SECTION 1. Petition for certiorari.

x x x x x x x x x

The petition shall be accompanied by a certified true copy of the judgment, order or resolution subject thereof, copies of all pleadings and documents relevant and pertinent thereto, and a sworn certification of non-forum shopping as provided in the third paragraph of Section 3, Rule 46.

SECTION 3. Contents and filing of petition; effect of noncompliance with requirements. -

x x x x x x x x x

It shall be filed in seven (7) clearly legible copies together with proof of service thereof on the respondent with the original copy intended for the court indicated as such by the petitioner, and shall be accompanied by a clearly legible duplicate original or certified true copy of the judgment, order, resolution or ruling subject thereof, such material portions of the record as are referred to therein, and other documents relevant or pertinent thereto. . . . .

x x x x x x x x x

The failure of the petitioner to comply with any of the foregoing requirements shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition. (Emphasis supplied)

The Court of Appeals outrightly dismissed petitioners action on the ground that the petition was not accompanied with the required board resolution authorizing Atty. Martin B. Isidro to institute the petition; as well as copies of the Labor Arbiters decision and the position paper of the parties. The issue posed before the Court of Appeals is the validity of the termination of private respondents employment. Hence, the need to append copies of the Labor Arbiters decision and the position papers of the parties. Under the circumstances, there was a necessity for the appellate court to review the facts and the law on which the conclusions were based, considering the conflicting findings of the NLRC and the Labor Arbiter.

Liberal construction of the rule has been allowed by this Court in the following cases: (1) where a rigid application will result in manifest failure or miscarriage of justice, especially if a party successfully shows that the alleged defect in the questioned final and executory judgment is not apparent on its face or from the recitals contained therein; (2) where the interest of substantial justice will be served; (3) where the resolution of the motion is addressed solely to the sound and judicious discretion of the court; and (4) where the injustice to the adverse party is not commensurate with the degree of his thoughtlessness in not complying with the procedure prescribed.[9]

Petitioner contends that the omission of the required documents is due to oversight or inadvertence. In Sea Power Shipping Enterprises, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, et al.,[10] however, the Court held that oversight and excusable negligence have become an all too familiar and ready excuse on the part of lawyers remiss in their bounden duty to comply with established rules. Rules of procedure are tools designed to promote efficiency and orderliness as well as to facilitate attainment of justice, such that strict adherence thereto is required. The application of the Rules may be relaxed only when rigidity would result in a defeat of equity and substantial justice.

In the case at bar, petitioner has not shown any cogent reason for the Court to be liberal in the application of the rules.[11] Hence, the dismissal of its petition by the Court of Appeals on technical grounds must be sustained.

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the petition is DENIED. The appealed Resolutions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 57760 are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

Davide, Jr., C.J., Vitug, Kapunan, and Austria-Martinez, JJ., concur.



[1] Dated March 22, 2000 and June 8, 2000; Rollo, pp. 31, 34.

[2] Penned by Associate Justice Marina L. Buzon and concurred in by Associate Justices Ramon A. Barcelona and Edgardo P. Cruz.

[3] Rollo, p. 53.

[4] Rollo, p. 118.

[5] Rollo, pp. 62-63.

[6] Rollo, p. 65.

[7] CA Rollo, p. 35.

[8] CA Rollo, pp. 38-91.

[9] Sea Power Shipping Enterprises, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 138270, June 28, 2001, citing Tan v. Court of Appeals, et al., 295 SCRA 755, 767 [1998].

[10] Ibid.

[11] Moncielcoji 1 Corporation v. National Labor Relations Commission, et al., G.R. No. 144460, April 27, 2001, citing Casa Filipina Realty Corporation v. Office of the President, 241 SCRA 165 [1995]; South Villa Chinese Restaurant & City Foods Corporation v. National Labor Relations Commission, et al., 250 SCRA 246 [1995].