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CASE BRIEFS – REMEDIAL LAW REVIEW I 1

The PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF AURORA VS. MARCO

FACTS

In 2004, Governor Ramoncita Ong appointed Hilario M. Marco as Cooperative Development Specialist II
five (5) days before the end of her term. Then, Marco’s appointment, including twenty five (25) other
appointments, were submitted to the Civil Service Commission (CSC). Annexed to Marco's appointment
papers was a certification from Provincial Budget Officer Norma R. Clemente (Provincial Budget Officer
Clemente) and Provincial Accountant Wilfredo C. Saturno (Provincial Accountant Saturno) stating that
funds from the Province's 2004 Annual Budget were available to cover the position. Later, when newly
elected Governor Bellafolor Angara-Castillo (Governor Castillo) assumed position, Marco’s appointment
was disapproved. This prompted him to write the CSC Regional Office No. IV to move for the
reconsideration for the disapproval of his appointment. However, the Regional Office affirmed the
Provincial’s disapproval of his appointment on the basis of the alleged lack of funds established during the
meeting of the different department heads of the Aurora Province, called by Governor Castillo.
Unsatisfied, Marco appealed before the CSC through a letter. A copy thereof was given to Provincial and
was received by its Human Resource Management Office. However, it failed to comment on Marco’s
appeal within ten (10) days from receipt, as required under Rule 73 of the Uniform Rules on Administrative
Cases in the Civil Service. In turn, the CSC granted Marco’s appeal and set aside the Regional Office’s ruling
and ruled that his appointment was valid because of the certification on the availability of funds previously
issued by Clemente during Governor Ong’s term.

Thereafter, Provincial Administrator Ocampo filed a Petition for Relief before the CSC on the ground of
extrinsic fraud on behalf of the Provincial. He averred that the CSC deprived the Provincial its right to have
an opportunity to be heard when the Commission failed to implead it as an indispensable party. This was
dismissed outright by the CSC because such a remedy is not allowed under the Uniformed Rules.
Meanwhile, Marco consequently requested the Civil Service Commission to implement the April 14, 2008
Resolution, which was the Commission granted. But then, Provincial Administrator Ocampo filed a Motion
for Reconsideration with Motion to Quash "Execution," arguing that the April 14, 2008 Resolution had
already been implemented. As the Civil Service Commission had ordered, the Province reflected the April
14, 2008 Resolution in Marco's appointment papers and in his Service Record. But this MR was later
denied by the CSC because the Provincial still did not reinstate Marco to his position.

Aggrieved, the Provincial appealed against the CSC’s order of execution of its April 14, 2008 resolution
before the Court of Appeals under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court. However, the Court of Appeals ruled that
the April 14, 2008 Resolution already became final and executory since there was no motion for
reconsideration filed within the reglementary period. Although the Province filed a Petition for Relief
before the Civil Service Commission, the Court of Appeals held that the remedy of a petition for relief is not
allowed under the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. Moreover, the Province failed
to prove the extrinsic fraud that allegedly prevented it from filing a motion for reconsideration. Thus, the
Civil Service Commission correctly denied the Petition for Relief.

Undaunted, the Provincial filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the Court of Appeal’s Decision before
the Supreme Court.

Written by: MARIA KRISTINA D. SIUAGAN, RN (TINA SIUAGAN)


CASE BRIEFS – REMEDIAL LAW REVIEW I 2

ISSUE

Was the Court of Appeals correct in denying the Provincial’s appeal against CSC’s denial of its Petition for
Relief of Judgment?

RULING

Yes; the Court of Appeals was correct in denying the Provincial Government of Aurora’s Petition for Relief
of Judgment against the 14 April 2009 Resolution of the Civil Service Commission. This is because, aside
from the fact that it is not among the allowed remedies under the Rules on Administrative Cases in the
Civil Service, the Provincial failed to show that the Commission’s ruling became final and executory
because of fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence, which is required under Rule 37 of the Rules
of Court.

The remedy of a petition for relief from judgment is not among those provided under the Uniform Rules
on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. This means that the remedy is not allowed under civil service
rules. Even assuming that a petition for relief may be filed before the Civil Service Commission, the party
must show that the assailed judgment became final through fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable
negligence.

Here, the Province failed to refute that it received a copy of the Civil Service Commission's April 14, 2008
Resolution. It was given an opportunity to be heard, which is the essence of administrative due process. It
did not even justify why it failed to file a motion for reconsideration despite its receipt of the Civil Service
Commission's Resolution. Contrary to the Province's claim, there was no extrinsic fraud since the Province
was not prevented "from fully and fairly presenting [its] defense[.]" The Civil Service Commission correctly
denied the Province's Petition for Relief.

Even assuming that a petition for relief may be filed before the Civil Service Commission, the party must
show that the assailed judgment became final through fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence.
Here, the Province failed to refute that it received a copy of the Civil Service Commission's April 14, 2008
Resolution. It was given an opportunity to be heard, which is the essence of administrative due process.
It did not even justify why it failed to file a motion for reconsideration despite its receipt of the Civil Service
Commission's Resolution. Contrary to the Province's claim, there was no extrinsic fraud since the Province
was not prevented "from fully and fairly presenting [its] defense[.]"

The Civil Service Commission correctly denied the Province's Petition for Relief. Since the April 14, 2008
Resolution already became final and executory, it may no longer be reversed. The Civil Service Commission
correctly granted Marco's request for the Resolution's implementation.

Written by: MARIA KRISTINA D. SIUAGAN, RN (TINA SIUAGAN)


CASE BRIEFS – REMEDIAL LAW REVIEW I 3

THOMASITES CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIES VS. RODRIGUEZ

FACTS:

Ruth Rodriguez (Rodriguez), Irene P. Padrigon (Padrigon), and Arlyn Rillera (Rillera), former employees of
the Thomasites Center for International Studies (TCIS), filed illegal dismissal and money claims cases
against the latter and its President, Dr. Cho, before the Labor Arbiter (LA). TCIS and Dr. Cho were then
served with summons, thru Dr. Cho, giving the two ten (10) days from receipt thereof to file their position
paper. TCIS and Dr. Cho did not file any position paper, but they were represented by counsel in several
hearings conducted before the LA. Eventually, the LA rendered a decision in favor of Rodriguez, Padrigon,
and Rillera, finding them illegally dismissed by TCIS. Dr. Cho received a copy of said decision on 21 June
2006. On 11 August 2006, Rodriguez, et.al. moved for the issuance of writ of execution of the LA’s order.
Thereafter, a pre-execution conference was held whereby another lawyer entered appearance for and on
behalf of TCIS. However, on 18 December 2006 hearing, a new law firm entered its appearance as counsel
for TCIS and filed a Petition for Relief of Judgment. The LA merely noted the petition due to wrong venue,
lack of jurisdiction, and because the same is a prohibited pleading. Later, the TCIS re-filed its Petition for
Relief of Judgment, now with prayer for the issuance of Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of
Preliminary Injunction before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). However, the NLRC denied
TCIS’s petition, stating that TCIS had other remedies (such as motion for reconsideration and new trial);
that it failed to show that it was prevented from availing of such remedies thru fraud, accident, mistake,
or excusable negligence; and that it could not avail of the equitable remedy of the petition for relief for
the purpose of reviving its appeal which it lost through negligence.

Aggrieved, the TCIS filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals (CA). Nonetheless, the
appellate court dismissed outright the petition for TCIS’ failure to indicate the material dates to show the
timeliness of the petition. On the matter of the propriety of TCIS’ Petition for Relief, the appellate court
ruled that no fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence prevented the TCIS from filing an appeal
against the LA’s decision. Later, the CA also denied TCIS’ Motion for Reconsideration for lack of
meritorious grounds.

Hence, TCIS filed a Petition for Review before the Supreme Court.

ISSUE:

Was the Court of Appeals correct in setting aside TCIS’ Petition for Relief of Judgment?

RULING:

Yes. The Court of Appeals (and even the NLRC) was correct in setting aside TCIS’ Petition for Relief of
Judgment of the Labor Arbiter. This is because TCIS was not able to establish that its failure to appeal against
the Labor Arbiter’s decision was due to fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence, as required under
Rule 38 of the Rules of Court.

Written by: MARIA KRISTINA D. SIUAGAN, RN (TINA SIUAGAN)


CASE BRIEFS – REMEDIAL LAW REVIEW I 4

The Court denies the petition.

In Philippine Amanah Bank (now Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank of the Philippines, also known as
Islamic Bank) v. Contreras the Court stated:

“Relief from judgment is a remedy provided by law to any person against whom a decision or order is
entered through fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence. It is a remedy, equitable in character,
that is allowed only in exceptional cases when there is no otheravailable or adequate remedy. When a
party has another remedy available to him, which may either be a motion for new trial or appeal from an
adverse decision of the trial court, and he was not prevented by fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable
negligence from filing such motion or taking such appeal, he cannot avail of the remedy of petition for
relief. (Citation omitted)”

Otherwise, the petition for relief will be tantamount to reviving the right of appeal which has already been
lost either because of inexcusable negligence or due to the mistake in the mode of procedure by counsel.

In Tuason v. CA, the Court explained the nature of a petition for relief from judgment, thus:

“A petition for relief from judgment is an equitable remedy; it is allowed only in exceptional cases where
there is no other available or adequate remedy. When a party has another remedy available to him, which
may be either a motion for new trial or appeal from an adverse decision of the trial court, and he was not
prevented by fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence from filing such motion or taking such
appeal, he cannot avail himself of this petition. Indeed, relief will not be granted to a party who seeks
avoidance from the effects of the judgment when the loss of the remedy at law was due to his own
negligence; otherwise the petition for relief can be used to revive the right to appeal which had been lost
thru inexcusable negligence (Citations omitted)”

As provided in Section 3, Rule 38 of the Rules of Court, a party filing a petition for relief from judgment
must strictly comply with two (2) reglementary periods: first, the petition must be filed within sixty (60)
days from knowledge of the judgment, order or other proceeding to be set aside; and second, within a
fixed period of six (6) months from entry of such judgment, order or other proceeding. Strict compliance
with these periods is required because a petition for relief from judgment is a final act of liberality on the
part of the State, which remedy cannot be allowed to erode any further the fundamental principle that a
judgment, order or proceeding must, at some definite time, attain finality in order to put an end to
litigation.

The NLRC pointed out that TCIS's petition for relief was filed beyond the period provided under Rule. The
earliest that it could have learned of the LA's judgment was on June 21, 2006 when Dr. Cho received a
copy thereof, and the latest was during the pre-execution conference held on September 22, 2006, when
Atty. Bayona formally entered her appearance as counsel for TCIS and Dr. Cho. TCIS's petition for relief
was filed only on February 13, 2007, well beyond the 60-day period allowed.

Written by: MARIA KRISTINA D. SIUAGAN, RN (TINA SIUAGAN)


CASE BRIEFS – REMEDIAL LAW REVIEW I 5

Moreover, the Court agrees with the CA that no fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence prevented
TCIS from filing an appeal from the decision of the LA, even as the NLRC also noted that the petition also
lacked the requisite affidavit showing the fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence, and the facts
constituting its good and substantial cause of action.

TCIS was afforded every opportunity to be heard. The service of summons and notices of proceedings to
Dr. Cho was perfectly valid and binding upon TCIS since they were sent to him at its address, and Dr. Cho
is a responsible officer of TCIS. Dr. Cho was TCIS's academic dean who hired the respondents and also
signed their termination letters. The attendance of TCIS's counsel at the hearings held on February 15,
2005, March 15, 2005, and April 19, 2005 is also proof that it was duly notified of the LA's judgment.

Written by: MARIA KRISTINA D. SIUAGAN, RN (TINA SIUAGAN)