MARIBETH CORDOVA, G.R. No. 135711
PUNO, C.J., Chairperson,
- versus - SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, GARCIA, JJ.
EIGHTH DIVISION, and HON.
RICARDO F. TORNILLA (Retired),
Judge, MTCC, Branch 6,
City, and the SHERIFF and his Promulgated:
DEPUTIES, public respondents, and
SPS. ROMEO and MARIETTA August 2, 2007
x ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x
This is a petition for review of
the Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals, dated
The facts appear as follows: 
In her complaint, petitioner denounced
private respondents filing of a Motion for the Issuance of a Writ of
Demolition in Civil Case No. 18761 despite
the parties alleged compromise agreement to have the case dismissed. The case
was presided by public respondent Judge Ricardo F. Tornilla who issued an Order
of Demolition on
The complaint, however, did not
include the certification against forum shopping required under Administrative
Circular No. 04-94 of the Supreme Court. It was only on
On May 18, 1994, private respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss based on the following grounds: 1) that the complaint states no cause of action or an insufficient cause of action; 2) that a similar action involving the same parties is pending in another court; 3) that the matter being resurrected is barred by res judicata; and 4) that petitioner is guilty of forum shopping.
Petitioner opposed the motion
contending that in view of the withdrawal of Civil Case No. 94-8374 pending
before Branch 43 of the
an Order dated
The Court of Appeals affirmed the
findings of the trial court in a Decision dated
It is to be noted, and it is herein
emphasized, that the sworn certification is required to be annexed to the
complaint and simultaneously filed therewith. In the case
at bar, the certification was filed by the plaintiff on
Court finds that the Certification was filed late on purpose because at the
time the complaint was filed on
Plaintiff maintains that at the time she filed this complaint, Civil Case No. 94-8374 had been withdrawn by her as a matter of right. This Court notes, however, that this complaint and the Ex-Parte Motion to Withdraw Case in Civil Case No. 94-8374 were both filed on the same date. As a matter of fact, this case (Civil Case No. 94-8389) was filed ahead or at 11:20 A.M., while the motion to withdraw (Civil Case No. 94-8374) was filed at 11:35 A.M. Plaintiff is, therefore, misleading the court when she states that the Civil Case No. 94-8374 had been withdrawn when Civil Case No. 94-8389 was filed.
. . .
the circular took effect on
. . .
WHEREFORE, this appeal is hereby dismissed for lack of merit.
Costs against appellant.
The issues are:
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN SUSTAINING
THE ORDER OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 43,
WHETHER THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN DISREGARDING THE FACT THAT THE MOTION TO DISMISS IS A MERE SCRAP OF PAPER IN VIOLATION OF RULE 15, SEC. 5 OF THE RULES OF COURT FOR FAILURE TO STATE THE DATE AND TIME IN THE NOTICE OF HEARING.
Petitioner argues that Administrative Circular No. 04-94 took
Furthermore, petitioner contends that
she submitted the certification against forum shopping on
Finally, petitioner submits that the Motion to Dismiss filed by Judge Ricardo F. Tornilla failed to state the Notice of Hearing to petitioner. In Provident International Resources, Inc. v. CA, the Court held that a motion which does not contain a notice of hearing to the adverse party is nothing but a mere scrap of paper, so that the trial court, by giving the Order to cure the defect, clearly acted with grave abuse of discretion.
Petitioner cannot invoke the ruling in Kavinta v. Castillo, Jr. because the same applies only to the specific circumstances of that case:
[P]rivate respondent pointed out that the
filing of the required certification was done with dispatch by his counsel upon
realization of the existence of said circular. He thereby admits his
unawareness or ignorance of the Circular at the time he filed his complaint. We
are not unmindful of the fact that Administrative Circular No. 04-94 took
effect only on
The Court agrees with the finding of the Court of Appeals that there was a deliberate omission on the part of petitioner to attach the certification to the complaint in view of the pendency of Civil Case No. 94-8374 involving the same parties and subject matter. It was only after she filed an ex-parte motion to withdraw the latter case that the certification was submitted to the court.
Administrative Circular No. 04-94 has been incorporated in the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure under Section 5, Rule 7. The second paragraph of the section provides:
Failure to comply with the foregoing requirements shall not be curable by mere amendment of the complaint or other initiatory pleading but shall be cause for the dismissal of the case without prejudice, unless otherwise provided, upon motion and after hearing. The submission of a false certification or non-compliance with any of the undertakings therein shall constitute indirect contempt of court, without prejudice to the corresponding administrative and criminal actions. If the acts of the party or his counsel clearly constitute willful and deliberate forum shopping, the same shall be ground for summary dismissal with prejudice and shall constitute direct contempt, as well as a cause for administrative sanctions.
In Melo v. Court of Appeals, this Court declared that the requirement under Administrative Circular No. 04-94 for a certificate of non-forum shopping is mandatory. The subsequent compliance with this requirement does not excuse a partys failure to comply therewith in the first instance. In those cases where the Court excused non-compliance with the certificate requirement, special circumstances or compelling reasons existed, which made the strict application of the circular clearly inequitable. In this case, however, petitioners action hardly justifies a deviation from the mandatory nature of the afore-quoted provision. Hence, petitioners complaint was clearly dismissible on the ground of forum shopping.
As regards the second issue, the Court finds it unnecessary to dwell on the matter as the Court of Appeals had succinctly ruled:
Appellant harps on the fact that the motions to dismiss filed by the defendants did not comply strictly with the requirements for notice of hearing, and that they are, therefore, mere scraps of paper that should not have been considered at all by the court. A perusal of said motions reveal that both movants asked that the same be set for hearing on February 2, 1996 and copies thereof were furnished counsel for the plaintiff who accordingly filed an Objection/Comment to Motion to Dismiss. There is no showing from the records that the motions were actually heard by the court but the plaintiff did not raise that issue when she filed her Motion for Reconsideration. A procedural issue not brought on reconsideration is deemed waived (Manalo v. Roldan-Confesor, 220 SCRA 606). Any defect in procedural due process had been cured by the filing of a motion for reconsideration by the plaintiff (Medenilla v. Civil Service Commission, 194 SCRA 278, PNOC-Energy Development Corporation v. NLRC, 201 SCRA 487).
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision and Resolution of
the Court of Appeals dated
ADOLFO S. AZCUNA
REYNATO S. PUNO
ANGELINA SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice Associate Justice
CANCIO C. GARCIA
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
REYNATO S. PUNO
 Under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
 Rollo, pp. 31-33.
 Docketed as Civil Case No. 94-8389.
 An action for Ejectment and
Damages entitled, Sps. Romeo & Marietta Laguardia v. Luz Cordova, et
al., before Branch 6 of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC),
 Rollo, p. 47.
 G.R. No. 117083,
 G.R. No. 119329,
 Supra note 8, at 609.
 Emphasis supplied.
 Emphasis supplied.
 G.R. No. 123686,
 See Kavinta v. Castillo, Jr., supra note 8; MSF Tire and Rubber, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 128632, August 5, 1999, 311 SCRA 784, 790-791; Loyola v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 117186, June 29, 1995, 245 SCRA 477.