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ISSUE:

1) Whether or not the petitioner has adequately explained his failure to personally sign the certification
which justifies relaxation of the rule. YES

2) Whether or not the failure of the petitioner to comply with Section 3, paragraph b, Rule 6 of the
RIRCA, that is, to append to his petition copies of the pleadings and other material portions of the
records as would support the petition, justifies the outright dismissal of the petition. NO

HELD:

1) YES. The requirement regarding the need for a certification of non-forum shopping in cases filed
before the CA and the corresponding sanction for noncompliance thereto are found in the then
prevailing Revised Circular No. 2891. It provides that the petitioner himself must make the certification
against forum shopping and a violation thereof shall be a cause for the summary dismissal of the
multiple petition or complaint. The rationale for the rule of personal execution of the certification by the
petitioner himself is that it is only the petitioner who has actual knowledge of whether or not he has
initiated similar actions or proceedings in other courts or tribunals; even counsel of record may be
unaware of such fact. The Court has ruled that with respect to the contents of the certification, the rule
on substantial compliance may be availed of. This is so because the requirement of strict compliance
with the rule regarding the certification of non-forum shopping simply underscores its mandatory
nature in that the certification cannot be altogether dispensed with.

We fully agree with petitioner that it was physically impossible for the petition to have been prepared
and sent to the petitioner in the United States, for him to travel from Virginia, U.S.A. to the nearest
Philippine Consulate in Washington, D.C., U.S.A., in order to sign the certification before the Philippine
Consul, and for him to send back the petition to the Philippines within the 15-day reglementary period.
Thus, we find that petitioner has adequately explained his failure to personally sign the certification
which justifies relaxation of the rule.

We have stressed that the rules on forum shopping, which were precisely designed to promote and
facilitate the orderly administration of justice, should not be interpreted with such absolute literalness
as to subvert its own ultimate and legitimate objective which is simply to prohibit and penalize the evils
of forum-shopping. The subsequent filing of the certification duly signed by the petitioner himself
should thus be deemed substantial compliance, pro hac vice.

2) NO. The failure of the petitioner to comply with Section 3, paragraph b, Rule 6 of the RIRCA, that is, to
append to his petition copies of the pleadings and other material portions of the records as would
support the petition, does not justify the outright dismissal of the petition. It must be emphasized that
the RIRCA gives the appellate court a certain leeway to require parties to submit additional documents
as may be necessary in the interest of substantial justice. Under Section 3, paragraph d of Rule 3 of the
RIRCA, the CA may require the parties to complete the annexes as the court deems necessary, and if the
petition is given due course, the CA may require the elevation of a complete record of the case as
provided for under Section 3(d)(5) of Rule 6 of the RIRCA. At any rate, petitioner attached copies of the
pleadings and other material portions of the records below with his motion for reconsideration. In Jaro
vs. Court of Appeals, the Court reiterated the doctrine laid down in Cusi-Hernandez vs. Diaz and Piglas-
Kamao vs. National Labor Relations Commission that subsequent submission of the missing documents
with the motion for reconsideration amounts to substantial compliance which calls for the relaxation of
the rules of procedure. We find no cogent reason to depart from this doctrine.

Truly, in dismissing the petition for review, the CA had committed grave abuse of discretion amounting
to lack of jurisdiction in putting a premium on technicalities at the expense of a just resolution of the
case.

GONZAGA VS. COURT OF APPEALS

394 SCRA 472

FACTS: In 1970, spouses Gonzaga bought a parcel of land from Lucky Home Inc. Said lot was specifically
denominated as Lot No. 19 and which the spouses mortgaged to the Social Security Commission as a
security for their housing loan. Meanwhile, the spouses started to construct their house on Lot No. 18,
and not on Lot No. 19. They mistakenly identified Lot No. 18 as Lot No. 19. Lucky Homes then informed
them of such mistake but the spouses instead offered to buy Lot No. 18 to widen their premises, thus
they continued building their house thereon. However for failure on the part of the spouses to pay their
obligation to the SSS, Lot No. 19 was consequently foreclosed. The title thereto was cancelled and a new
one was issued in the name of SSS. After such foreclosure, the spouses offered to swap Lot Nos.18 and
19 and demanded from lucky homes to reform their contract. Lucky home however refused. This
prompted the spouses to file an action for reformation of contract with damages before the RTC. The
RTC however dismissed the action for lack of merit and awarded lucky homes moral damages and
attorney’s fees. Subsequently then, a writ of execution was issued. Spouses urgently filed a motion to
recall such writ, questioning now the jurisdiction of the RTC on the ground that the case falls within the
jurisdiction of the Housing and land use regulatory board. Subsequently, the spouses went to the CA to
annul RTC’s decision. CA dismissed the petition on the ground that the spouses were estopped from
question RTC’s jurisdiction pursuant to the case of Tijam.. On the other hand spouses contended that
the doctrine in Tijam case has been abandoned.

ISSUE: Whether the spouses Gonzaga is estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the trial court?

HELD: Yes. Petitioners claim that the recent decisions of this Court have already abandoned the doctrine
laid down in Tijam vs. Sibonghanoy. We do not agree. In countless decisions, this Court has consistently
held that, while an order or decision rendered without jurisdiction is a total nullity and may be assailed
at any stage, active participation in the proceedings in the court which rendered the order or decision
will bar such party from attacking its jurisdiction.

In the case at bar, it was petitioners themselves who invoked the jurisdiction of the court a quo by
instituting an action for reformation of contract against private respondents. It appears that, in the
proceedings before the trial court, petitioners vigorously asserted their cause from start to finish. Not
even once did petitioners ever raise the issue of the courts jurisdiction during the entire proceedings
which lasted for two years. It was only after the trial court rendered its decision and issued a writ of
execution against them in 1998 did petitioners first raise the issue of jurisdiction ─ and it was only
because said decision was unfavorable to them. Petitioners thus effectively waived their right to
question the courts jurisdiction over the case they themselves filed.