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Judgment on the Pleadings and Summary Judgment – 2.

Gregorio Estrada filed a complaint for damages against Uy


What can the trial court consider in determining the and Galaura, owner and driver, respectively, of the jeep, for
propriety of rendering summary judgment breach of their obligations as a common carrier, in view of the
G.R. No. L-40948 – Estrada vs. Consolacion (1976) death of his wife.
Antonio, J. a. Alleged that the owner failed to safely conduct the
plaintiff's wife to her place of destination by reason on
There was a vehicular accident resulting in the death of one of her "failure to exercise even the diligence of a good
the passenger’s of the jeep. The husband of the passenger who father of a family" and her "gross and evident bad faith,
died filed a complaint for damages against the jeep’s owner and malevolence and wantonness" in discharging her
driver alleging breach of contract of carriage. Defendants filed an obligation as a common carrier
answer and moved for summary judgment. The trial court issued 3. Defendants Uy and Galaura filed their Answer:
an order worded as if it were a summary judgment. The SC ruled a. Admitted that plaintiff's wife was a passenger and that
that such order was a mere interlocutory order directing that a she died as a result of the accident,
hearing be conducted for the purpose of ascertaining the amount b. Alleged that the proximate and only cause of the
or the assessment of damages which may be adjudged in favor accident was the negligence of third persons, (the
of the prevailing party. It is a determination of the court of a drivers of the trucks which the jeep collided with,) over
preliminary point or directing some steps in the proceedings, but whom Uy had no supervision and control, and who
not a disposition of the merits. were then driving their respective vehicles at a fast rate
of speed and from different directions causing the
collision.
DOCTRINE c. Set up a counterclaim for damages by reason of
The test of a motion for summary judgment is whether the plaintiff's institution of the clearly unfounded suit
pleadings, affidavits and exhibits in support of the motions are against them.
4. Uy and Galaura filed a motion for summary judgment
sufficient to overcome the opposing papers and to justify a finding
against Estrada on the ground that there is no genuine issue
as a matter of law that there is no defense to the action or the as to any material fact in the case except as to the amount of
claim is clearly meritorious. damages they are seeking from him by way of counterclaim.
They annexed the ff. to the motion:
a. The sketch of the accident made by the Traffic
FACTS Investigator
1. Simeona Estrada, was a passenger of the AC Jeep owned b. Said investigator's affidavit detailing his findings
and operated by defendant Corazon Ramirez Uy and driven upon investigation
by defendant Lucio Galaura. The jeep bumped a Ford pick-up c. The respective sworn statements of the drivers of
truck along Claro M. Recto Ave., and as a result, Simeona the two pick-ups wherein each driver respectively
sustained a fractured left humerus, fat (pulmonary) embolism claimed that he exercised due care but attributed to the
and shock due to respiratory failure. She was brought to the other negligence as the cause of the collision; and
San Pedro Hospital where she died. d. The sworn statement of defendant driver (Galaura)
of said Jeep detailing what he did in order to prevent
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or minimize damages to his vehicle and his ISSUE with HOLDING
passengers, marked as Annex "7" of defendants' 1. W/N trial judge erred in granting the Motion for Summary
answer. Judgment – NO
5. By the foregoing annexes, Uy and Galaura sought to prove a. Under the Rules, A party against whom a claim,
that they were relieved of any liability to Estrada inasmuch as counterclaim, or crossclaim is asserted or a declaratory
the accident which caused the death of his wife "resulted from relief is sought may, at any time, move with supporting
the negligence of third persons over whom defendants had no affidavits for a summary judgment in his favor as to all
supervision or control.” or any part thereof
6. Estrada opposed the motion for summary judgment relying on b. If the moving party the defendant, the pleadings,
the presumption that in case of death of the passenger, the depositions, and affidavits must be sufficient to defeat
common carrier is presumed "to have been at fault or to have the claim of the plaintiff. The affidavit submitted by the
acted negligently," unless the carrier proves that he has party moving for summary judgment shall be by
observed extraordinary diligence with due regard to all the persons having personal knowledge of the facts; it shall
circumstances, which movants failed to do. recite all material facts and show that there is no
7. Notwithstanding the opposition filed by the plaintiffs, defense to the cause of action or that the cause of
respondent Judge issued summary judgment: action has no merits
c. After being served the Motion and supporting
“The Court has considered at length and thoroughly the documents at least 10 days before the hearing, the
pleadings in the action, the affidavits and other pertinent plaintiff may serve opposing affidavits, sufficient to
annexes (Annexes 1 to 6), of the movants, and has found that defeat the Motion for Summary Judgment.
there is no genuine issue as to material fact and no d. After hearing, the Motion will be granted if on the basis
controversial question of fact to be submitted to the trial court, of all the papers and proofs submitted, the cause of
and has concluded that defendants are entitled to a judgment action or defense shall be established sufficiently to
as a matter of law except as to the amount of damages warrant the court as a matter of law in directing
recoverable. judgment in favor of any party. The motion shall be
denied if any party shall show facts sufficient to require
It is therefore ordered and decreed that defendants have a trial of any issue of fact other than an issue as to the
judgment summarily against the plaintiff for such amount as amount or extent of the damages.
e. Summary judgment or accelerated judgment is a
may be found due them for damages, to be ascertained by
procedure resorted to in order to weed out sham
trial upon that issue alone on June 9, 1975 at 8:30 a.m.” defenses or claims, avoiding unnecessary litigation
during trial, it is meant to ensure that only what is
8. Estrada filed an MR on the ground that said Order failed to substantial and not merely formal or pretended is
state clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is litigated.
based, thus violating the Constitution and the Rules of Court. f. In hearing a Motion for Summary Judgment, the judge
a. This was denied, hence this present petition for is asked not to try the issue but to determine whether
certiorari with prohibiton. the issue is meritorious. Summary Judgment should
not be granted if there is a triable issue. The court is
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not called to pass upon the evidence, and conduct a iv. It was thus incumbent on Estrada, the plaintiff,
full-blown trial on the merits. to rebut the proof presented by the defendants
g. The test, therefore, of a motion for summary judgment in order to sustain his claim. Estrada failed to
is whether the pleadings, affidavits and exhibits in controvert the evidence which shows that
support of the motions are sufficient to overcome the incident was caused by factors outside the
opposing papers and to justify a finding as a matter of defendants’ control and that they were free of
law that there is no defense to the action or the claim contributory negligence.
is clearly meritorious. j. The present petition is premature, since the order of
h. In Motions for Summary Judgment, the plaintiff must the Judge was interlocutory (as it set a date for hearing
prove that there is a cause of action, and that the with regard to damages due), the remedy available to
defense is interposed merely to delay the proceedings. plaintiff is to move for the setting aside of the order by
Once this burden is discharged, it is up to the the presentation of opposing affidavits showing that,
defendant to show facts entitling him to a defense on other than the issue as to the amount or extent of
the merits. damages, there is a genuine issue of fact on the
i. In this case: carrier's liability.
i. When injury arises during the course of being
transported under a Contract of Carriage, there DISPOSITIVE PORTION
is a presumption of fault on the part of the ACCORDINGLY, the petition for certiorari with prohibition is
common carrier, which can only be overcome if dismissed, without special pronouncement as to costs.
the Common Carrier proves that it exercised
extraordinary diligence or if is able to show that SEPARATE OPINION
the injury was caused by a fortuitous event.
ii. In order to constitute a fortuitous event that Barredo, J., concurring
would exempt a person from responsibility, it is 1. This decision does not mean that the Court is upholding
necessary that the questioned order as the summary. The said order must
1. the event must be independent of the be construed as nothing but an interlocutory one holding
human will; that respondents have sufficiently established the bases
2. the occurrence must render it impossible for a summary judgment, which will be rendered after the
for the obligor to fulfill his obligation in a court has received and duly evaluated the evidence as to
normal manner; and the amount of damages that should be awarded to them
3. the obligor must be free of a concurrent for their counterclaim.
or contributory fault or negligence. 2. Summary judgment vs. Judgment on the pleadings
iii. Here, the defendants were able to show through a. The basic reason for judgment on the pleadings is
the supporting documents attached to its Motion that the allegations in the pleadings of the
for Summary Judgment, that the injury was contending parties show that there is no
caused by a fortuitous event, namely the controversy at all between them as to the facts.
collision of the two pickup trucks which caused b. In summary judgment procedure, it is assumed
one of the trucks to hit the jeep. precisely that in their pleadings, the parties have
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joined issues on the ultimate facts, at least, but just GRAND FARMS, INC. and PHILIPPINE SHARES CORP. v. CA
the same, trial is foreclosed because the factual [RTC presiding judge, RTC clerk of court, & deputy sheriff-in-
issues thus joined do not appear to be genuine, charge] (BANCO FILIPINO SAVINGS AND MORTGAGE BANK)
meaning to say, they are not real but sham. 193 SCRA 748
i. A factual issue raised by a party is REGALADO; Feb. 7, 1991
considered as sham when by its nature it is
evident that it cannot be proven or it is such NATURE
that the party tendering the same has neither Appeal from the decision of CA, which found no grave abuse of
any sincere intention nor adequate evidence discretion on the part of respondent judge in denying petitioners'
to prove it. motion for summary judgment
ii. This usually happens in denials made by
defendants merely for the sake of having an FACTS
issue and thereby gaining delay, taking - Petitioners filed Civil Case No. 2816-V-88 in the Regional Trial
advantage of the fact that their answers are Court of Valenzuela, Metro Manila for annulment and/or
not under oath anyway declaration of nullity of the extrajudicial foreclosure proceedings
3. When the party against whom a summary judgment is over their mortgaged properties, with damages, against
asked fails to submit counter- affidavits to support the respondents clerk of court, deputy sheriff and herein private
opposition and, on the other hand, the facts alleged by the respondent Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank.
moving party, confirmed in the sworn statements - After the bank filed its answer, petitioners requested an
submitted with the motion, do not appear to be by their admission by the bank that no formal notice of intention to
very nature false or not susceptible to proof, a summary foreclose the real estate mortgage was sent by the bank to
judgment is reasonably, if not undeniably, proper. petitioners.
4. The questioned order is not entirely erroneous but only - The bank responded and said that petitioners were notified of
improperly worded and is merely an interlocutory one and the auction sale by the posting of notices and the publication of
is not a final appealable judgment. notice in the Metropolitan Newsweek, a newspaper of general
a. It should not have been worded as "decreeing that circulation in the province where the subject properties are
defendants have judgment summarily against located and in the Philippines.
plaintiff", for the real summary judgment is not only - On the basis of implied admission that no formal notice was
supposed to be rendered after the proof of served personally, petitioners filed a motion for summary
damages shall have been presented, but it should judgment contending that the foreclosure was violative of the
also state clearly and distinctly the facts and the law provisions of the mortgage contract, specifically paragraph (k)
on which it is based even when it renders a thereof which provides:
summary judgment. "k) All correspondence relative to this Mortgage, including
demand letters, summons, subpoena or notifications of any
DIGESTER: Liana judicial or extrajudical actions shall be sent to the Mortgagor at
the address given above or at the address that may hereafter be
given in writing by the Mortgagor to the Mortgagee, and the mere
act of sending any correspondence by mail or by personal
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delivery to the said address shall be valid and effective notice to an issue may be raised formally by the pleadings but there is no
the Mortgagor for all legal purposes, and the fact that any genuine issue of fact, and all the facts are within the judicial
communication is not actually received by the Mortgagor, or that knowledge of the court, summary judgment may be granted.
it has been returned unclaimed to the Mortgagee, or that no The real test, therefore, of a motion for summary judgment is
person was found at the address given, or that the address is whether the pleadings, affidavits and exhibits in support of the
fictitious, or cannot be located, shall not excuse or relieve the motion are sufficient to overcome the opposing papers and to
Mortgagor from the effects of such notice;" justify a finding as a matter of law that there is no defense to the
- The bank opposed the motion saying that based on other action or that the claim is clearly meritorious.
paragraphs (b and d) in the contract, the mortgagor authorized Reasoning Private respondent tacitly admitted in its answer to
extra-judicial sale upon breach of contract and that the petitioners' request for admission that it did not send any formal
mortgagee was appointed atty-in-fact with full powers upon any notice of foreclosure to petitioners. Stated otherwise, and as is
breach of the obligations in the contract. evident from the records, there has been no denial by private
- The RTC issued an order denying petitioners' motion for respondent that no personal notice of the extrajudicial foreclosure
summary judgment. MFR was also denied on the ground that was ever sent to petitioners prior thereto. This omission, by itself,
genuine and substantial issues exist which require the rendered the foreclosure defective and irregular for being
presentation of evidence during the trial. contrary to the express provisions of the mortgage contract.
- Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari to CA attacking said There is thus no further necessity to inquire into the other issues
orders of denial as having been issued with grave abuse of cited by the trial court, for the foreclosure may be annulled solely
discretion. CA dismissed the petition, holding that no personal on the basis of such defect.
notice was required to foreclose since private respondent was - In Community Savings & Loan Association, Inc., et al. vs. Court
constituted by petitioners as their attorney-in-fact to sell the of Appeals, at al., the SC held that the stipulation is the law
mortgaged property. It further held that paragraph (k) of the between [the parties] and as it not contrary to law, morals, good
mortgage contract merely specified the address where customs and public policy, the same should be complied with
correspondence should be sent and did not impose an additional faithfully (Art. 1306 CC). Thus, while publication of the foreclosure
condition on the part of private respondent to notify petitioners proceedings in the newspaper of general circulation was
personally of the foreclosure. CA also denied petitioners MFR. complied with, personal notice is still required, when the same
was mutually agreed upon by the parties as additional condition
ISSUES of the mortgage contract. Failure to comply with this additional
stipulation would render illusory Art. 1306. And as the record is
WON summary judgment was proper bereft of any evidence which even impliedly indicate that the
required notice of the extrajudicial foreclosure was ever sent to
HELD the debtor-mortgagor, the extrajudicial foreclosure proceedings
YES. on the property in question are fatally defective and are not
Ratio The Rules of Court authorize the rendition of a summary binding on the debtor-mortgagor.
judgment if the pleadings, depositions and admissions on file, - To still require a trial notwithstanding private respondent's
together with the affidavits, show that, except as to the amount of admission of the lack of such requisite notice would be a
damages, there is no issue as to any material fact and that the superfluity and would work injustice to petitioners whose
moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Although obtention of the relief to which they are plainly and patently
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entitled would be further delayed. That undesirable contingency
is obviously one of the reasons why our procedural rules have
provided for summary judgments.

Disposition The decision appealed from is hereby REVERSED


and SET ASIDE and this case is REMANDED to the court of
origin for further proceedings in conformity with this decision.