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REY LAADA vs. CA and SPS.

ROGELIO and ELIZA HEMEDEZ


[G. R. N0. 102390. February 1, 2002

NESTLE PHILIPPINES, INC. and FRANCIS SANTOS vs. CA and SPS. HEMEDEZG. R.
No. 102404. February 1, 2002

FACTS:

This consolidated cases involved petitions for review on Certiorari of CAs decision dated July
24, 1991 in which it granted the motions to strike out the answers subject to request for admission made
on behalf of the defendants by their counsel and declaring each of the matters requested to be impliedly
admitted which in effect reversed the lower courts decision. The lone question raised by the Spouses
Hemedez in their Petition for Certiorari was whether a counsel of a party to whom a written request for
admission is addressed under Section 1 Rule 26 of the Rules of Court may answer such request on behalf
of his client.The facts of the case disclosed that the claims involved in the instant case was brought about
by the tragic death of Dr. Vied Hemedez during the bloody strike of workers of Nestle Cabuyao who are
members of Union of Filipino Employees. For the death of Dr. Hemedez, his parents spouses Hemedez
filed civil cases for award of indemnity, damages and attorneys fees against Nestle and various
personalities involved in the security and transport of Nestls goods during the strike to whom the
Request for Admission was made by the petitioners. Through their respective counsels, defendants filed
their verified answers to the request for admission which is herein being contested by petitioner as not
being in accordance with Sec. 2 of Rule 26 and thus should be treated in the nature of hearsay which
must be stricken out.

ISSUE:

Whether a counsel can answer on behalf of his client the clients answer to written Request for
Admission?

RULING:

YES. As provided in Rule 26, a party shall respond to the request for admission. It
should not be restrictively construed to mean that a party may not engage the services of a
counsel to make the response in his behalf. Indeed the theory of petitioner must not be taken
seriously otherwise; it will negate the principles on agency in the Civil Code as well as Sec. 23,
Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. Sec. 23 of Rule 138 provides that attorneys have authority to
bind their clients in any case by any agreement in relation thereto made in writing, and in taking
appeals, and on all matters of ordinary judicial procedure. On the other hand Civil Code Art.
1878 on Agency provides the specific instances when special powers of attorney are necessary.
Petitioners have not shown that the case at bar falls under any of the recognized exceptions as
found in Art. 1878 nor was there any proof that the defendants have not authorized their
respective counsels to file in their behalf the respective answers requested of them by the
petitioners Hemedez spouses written Request for Admission.
REMINGTON INDUSTRIAL SALES CORPORATION vs. CA and BRITISH STEEL
(ASIA), LTD., G.R. No. 133657. May 29, 2002

FACTS:

On August 21, 1996, petitioner filed a complaint3 for sum of money and damages arising
from breach of contract, docketed as Civil Case No. 96-79674, before the sala of Judge Marino
M. De la Cruz of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 22. Impleaded as principal
defendant therein was Industrial Steels, Ltd. (ISL), with Ferro Trading GMBH (Ferro) and
respondent British Steel as alternative defendants. ISL and respondent British Steel separately
moved for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground that it failed to state a cause of action
against them. On April 7, 1997, the RTC denied the motions to dismiss,4 as well as the ensuing
motion for reconsideration.5 ISL then filed its answer to the complaint.

On the other hand, respondent British Steel filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition
before the Court of Appeals,6 docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 44529. Respondent claimed therein
that the complaint did not contain a single averment that respondent committed any act or is
guilty of any omission in violation of petitioners legal rights. Apart from the allegation in the
complaints Jurisdictional Facts that: Defendants British Steel (Asia) Ltd. and Ferro Trading
GMBH, while understood by the plaintiff as mere suppliers of goods for defendant ISL, are
impleaded as party defendants pursuant to Section 13, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court.7No
other reference was made to respondent that would constitute a valid cause of action against it.
Since petitioner failed to plead any cause of action against respondent as alternative defendant
under Section 13, Rule 3,8 the trial court should have ordered the dismissal of the complaint
insofar as respondent was concerned.

Meanwhile, petitioner sought to amend its complaint by incorporating therein additional


factual allegations constitutive of its cause of action against respondent. Pursuant to Section 2,
Rule 109 of the Rules of Court, petitioner maintained that it can amend the complaint as a matter
of right because respondent has not yet filed a responsive pleading thereto.10Subsequently,
petitioner filed a Manifestation and Motion11 in CA-G.R. SP No. 44529 stating that it had filed a
Motion to Admit Amended Complaint together with said Amended Complaint before the trial
court. Hence, petitioner prayed that the proceedings in the special civil action be suspended.

On January 29, 1998, the trial court ruled on petitioners Motion to Admit Amended Complaint

ISSUE:

Whether or Motion to amend the complaint before an answer has been served is precluded by the
filing of a motion to dismiss.
RULING:

No. The right granted to the plaintiff under procedural law to amend the complaint before
an answer has been served is not precluded by the filing of a motion to dismiss or any other
proceeding contesting its sufficiency. Were we to conclude otherwise, the right to amend a
pleading under Section 2, Rule 10 will be rendered nugatory and ineffectual, since all that a
defendant has to do to foreclose this remedial right is to challenge the adequacy of the complaint
before he files an answer.

The Court finds no practical advantage in ordering the dismissal of the complaint and for the
plaintiff to re-file the same, when he can still clearly amend the complaint as a matter of right.
In this case, the remedy espoused by the appellate court in its assailed judgment will precisely
result in multiple suits, involving the same set of facts and to which the defendants would likely
raise the same or, at least, related defenses. Plainly stated, we find no practical advantage in
ordering the dismissal of the complaint against respondent and for petitioner to re-file the same,
when the latter can still clearly amend the complaint as a matter of right. The amendment of the
complaint would not prejudice respondents or delay the action, as this would, in fact, simplify
the case and expedite its disposition.

Where some but not all the defendants have answered, the plaintiff may still amend its complaint
once, as a matter of right, in respect to claims asserted solely against the non-answering
defendant, but not as to claims asserted against the other defendants.The fact that the other
defendants below has filed their answers to the complaint does not bar petitioners right to amend
the complaint as against respondent. Indeed, where some but not all the defendants have
answered, the plaintiff may still amend its complaint once, as a matter of right, in respect to
claims asserted solely against the non-answering defendant, but not as to claims asserted against
the other defendants.