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SPOUSLS ALIRLDO D.

VALMON1L and
MARIA LOURDLS A. VALMON1L v. CLARI1A ALCALA
G.R. No. J68667, 23 July 2008, SLCOND DIVISION, (Brion, J.)
1be Covrt aoe. vot cov.iaer tbe rariavce betreev tbe aate. a. fatat to tbe 1atvovte.` ca.e becav.e tbe rariavce
aia vot vece..arit, teaa to tbe covctv.iov tbat vo rerificatiov ra. vaae, or tbat tbe rerificatiov ra. fat.e. More ivortavtt,,
tbe rariavce totatt, to.t .igvificavce after tbe 1atvovte. .evt frov tbe | ava .vbvittea to tbe C. tbe reqvirea
1erificatiov,Certificatiov iv covtiavce ritb tbeir reriov.t, vavife.tea ivtevt. .. tbi. Covrt votea iv a ca.e rbere
covtiavce ritb a certificate of vovforvv .boivg ra. at i..ve, tbe fact tbat tbe Rvte. reqvire .trict covtiavce veret,
vvaer.core. it. vavaator, vatvre; it cavvot be ai.ev.ea ritb or it. reqvirevevt. attogetber ai.regaraea, bvt it aoe. vot
tbereb, ivteraict .vb.tavtiat covtiavce ritb it. rori.iov. vvaer ;v.tifiabte circvv.tavce., a. re fiva iv tbi. ca.e.

1he Spouses Alredo and Maria Lourdes Valmonte are the unregistered owners o Apartment
No. 1411 which they leased to respondent Alcala, since they were migrating to the United States. Due to
Alcala`s subsequent ailure to pay the agreed rentals despite written demand, the Spouses Valmonte iled
a complaint or unlawul detainer against her beore the Metropolitan 1rial Court ,M1C,. As the
Spouses Valmonte were already US residents at that time, they signed the required
Veriication,Certiication o Non-lorum Shopping o their complaint beore a notary public in the state
o \ashington, and had this Veriication,Certiication authenticated by the Philippine Consulate
General in San lrancisco. 1he M1C ruled in aor o the Spouses Valmonte, howeer, it was reersed
by the Regional 1rial Court on appeal by Alcala.

1he Spouses Valmonte iled a Petition or Reiew ,CA Petition, with the Court o Appeals ,CA,,
which was dismissed. 1he Spouses Valmonte then iled a Motion or Reconsideration which was likewise
denied by the CA, on the ground that while the eriication,certiication was purportedly executed on
March 1, 2005, the petition is dated March 31, 2005. lence, this petition.

ISSUL:

\hether or not the ariance between the dates o the Veriication,Certiication that the
Valmontes executed abroad and the CA Petition conclude that they did not read the petition beore it
was iled in court

HLLD:

Petition GRAN1LD.

Generally, a pleading is not required to be eriied unless required by law or by the Rules o
Court. One such requirement is ound in Section 1 o Rule 42 which requires a party appealing rom a
decision o the R1C rendered in the exercise o its appellate jurisdiction to ile a verified petition for
review with the CA.

Veriication, when required, is intended to secure an assurance that the allegations o a pleading
are true and correct, are not speculatie or merely imagined, and hae been made in good aith. 1o
achiee this purpose, the eriication o a pleading is made through an aidait or sworn statement
conirming that the aiant has read the pleading whose allegations are true and correct o the aiant`s
personal knowledge or based on authentic records.

Apparently, the CA concluded that no real eriication, as aboe required, had been undertaken
since the CA Petition was dated March 31, 2005 while the Veriication,Certiication carried an earlier
date - March 1, 2005, the petition ra. .titt ivei.tevt when the Veriication,Certiication was executed.

1he Court inds this conclusion erroneous or the ollowing reasons:

ir.t, the ariance in dates does not necessarily contradict the categorical declaration made by
Valmontes in their aidait that they read and understood the covtevt. o the pleading. 1he Valmontes`
claim in this regard is that they read a copy o the CA Petition through an electronic mail ;evait, sent to
them by their lawyers. 1he Court inds this claim, under the circumstances more ully discussed below,
to be a reasonable explanation o why a ariance in dates existed. \e should not lose sight o the reality
that pleadings are prepared and signed by the counsel at the instructions o the client, the latter merely
proides the supporting acts o the pleading and, as needed, eriies that the allegations are true and
correct. In short, the pleading and the eriication are prepared separately and a ariance in their dates is
a matter that may satisactorily be explained. 1o demand the litigants to read the rer, .ave aocvvevt that is
to be iled beore the courts is too rigorous a requirement, what the Rules require is or a party to read
the covtevt. o a pleading without any speciic requirement on the orm or manner in which the reading is
to be done. 1hat a client may read the contents o a pleading without seeing tbe .ave teaaivg to be actvatt,
fitea ritb tbe covrt is, in these days o evait. and other technological adances in communication, not an
explanation that is hard to beliee. Apparently in this case, counsel sent a copy o the drat petition by e
vait and inalized it as soon as it was approed by the Valmontes. 1he latter, on the other hand,
complied with their end not only by approing the terms o the petition, but also by sending a copy o
their sworn statement ,as yet unauthenticated, in order to ile the petition soonest, thereby complying
with the required timeliness or the iling o the petition. 1o the Court`s mind, beyond the manner o
these exchanges, what is important is that eorts were made to satisy the objectie o the Rule - to
ensure good aith and eracity in the allegations o a pleading - thereby allowing the courts to act on the
case with reasonable certainty that the Valmontes` real positions hae been pleaded.

ecova, the circumstances` the Court mentioned aboe reer to the Valmontes` unique situation
as parties residing oerseas who are litigating locally through their local counsel. \hile these oerseas
litigants are not excused rom complying with our Rules such as the strict obserance o the periods or
appeal and the eriication requirement, we must take into account the attendant realities brought into
play because they are suing rom oerseas or ria long distance communications with their counsel. In the
eriication requirement, there are added ormalities required or the acceptance in the Philippines o
statements sworn oerseas beore oreign notaries, we require their authentication by our consulates.
1his is a process whose completion time may ary depending, among others, on arious actors such as
the location o the requesting party rom the consulate, the peculiarities o oreign laws on notaries, the
olume o transactions in a consulate, noting particularly the time o year when the authentication is
requested, and the mode o sending the authenticated documents to the Philippines. Apparently
compelled by one or a combination o these reasons, the Valmontes in act maniested when they iled
their petition ,on March 31, 2005, that they were submitting a photostatic copy o the
Veriication,Certiication executed in \ashington on March 1, 2005 since the original was still with the
Philippine Consulate in San lrancisco or authentication. 1he Court takes judicial notice that the
Valmontes` request or authentication coincided with the obserance o the loly \eek - a traditional
period o prayer and holidays in the Philippines, or the Philippines` oreign embassies and consulates,
and een or lilipinos oerseas. 1he Court inds it signiicant that, conormably with their
Maniestation, the Valmontes` counsel iled on April 8, 2005 the duly sworn and authenticated
Veriication as soon as counsel receied it. Under these circumstances, there is eery reason or an
equitable and relaxed application o the rules to the Valmontes` situation.

1bira, the Court discerns utmost good aith on the part o the Valmontes when they iled their
Maniestation about their problem, intent, and plan o compliance with the eriication requirement.
1hey in act stated early on through this Maniestation that their eriication had been executed on
March 1, 2005 in \ashington, that is, at a date much earlier than the iling o their petition and
maniestation. Unortunately, the CA ailed to note the ariance in dates at the earliest opportunity,
thus, the CA dismissed the petition on some other ground, only to hark back later on to the ariance in
dates in their reconsideration o the earlier dismissal. Gien this good aith and the early disclosure, it
was basically unair or the CA - who had earlier oerlooked the ariance in dates - to subsequently
make this ground the basis o yet another dismissal o the petition. 1he CA - ater oerlooking the
ariance in dates at the irst opportunity - should hae at least asked or the petitioners` explanation on
why the ariance should not be an additional ground or the dismissal o the petition, instead o
relecting in their order on reconsideration that it could hae granted the motion or reconsideration
based on attachments already made, but there existed another reason - the ariance in dates - or
maintaining the dismissal o the petition.

ovrtb, the Court notes that most o the material allegations set orth by the Valmontes in their CA
Petition are already in their complaint or unlawul detainer iled beore the M1C on April 26, 2002.
Attached to the complaint was a Veriication,Certiication dated March 18, 2002 ,authenticated by the
Philippine Consulate in San lrancisco on March 2, 2002, in which the Valmontes declared under oath
that they had caused the preparation o the complaint through their lawyers and had read and
understood the allegations o the complaint. 1he material acts alleged in the CA Petition are likewise
stated in the records o the case, as part o the indings o acts made by the M1C and the R1C.
1erificatiov a. to tbe trvtb of tbe.e fact. iv tbe etitiov for rerier before tbe C. ra., tberefore, .trictt, a reavvaavc,; it.
fitivg revaivea a vece..it, ovt, becav.e tbe Rvte. ov tbe fitivg of a etitiov for rerier before tbe C. reqvire it. 1his
consideration could hae led to a more equitable treatment o the Valmontes` ailure to strictly comply
with the Rules, additionally justiied by the act that tbe faitvre to covt, ritb tbe rvte. ov rerificatiov i. a forvat
ratber tbav a ;vri.aictiovat aefect.

In sum, the Court inds suicient justiication to rule - under the circumstances o this case - that
the CA committed a reersible error when it dismissed the petition or ailure to strictly ollow the
eriication requirements. Stated otherwise, the Court does not consider the ariance between the dates
as atal to the Valmontes` case because the ariance did not necessarily lead to the conclusion that no
eriication was made, or that the eriication was alse. More importantly, the ariance totally lost
signiicance ater the Valmontes sent rom the US and submitted to the CA the required
Veriication,Certiication in compliance with their preiously maniested intent. As this Court noted in
a case where compliance with a certiicate o non-orum shopping was at issue, the act that the Rules
require strict compliance merely underscores its mandatory nature, it cannot be dispensed with or its
requirements altogether disregarded, but it does not thereby interdict substantial compliance with its
proisions under justiiable circumstances, as we ind in this case.