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MARCELINA GACUTANA-FRAILE, petitioner, vs. ANGEL T.

DOMINGO,
BENJAMIN T. DOMINGO, ATTY. JORGE PASCUA AND THE
PRESIDING JUDGE, RTC BRANCH 33, GUIMBA, NUEVA ECIJA,
respondents.

FACTS:
Petitioner Fraile filed a civil case for Quieting of Title and Damages against
private respondents Angel T. Domingo and Benjamin T. Domingo, involving three
parcels of land registered in her name. Petitioner Fraile hired private respondent Atty.
Jorge Pascua as counsel for both civil cases. Subsequently, on June 2, 1998, the
respondent judge rendered a decision in favor of the respondent Domingos. Atty.
Pascua received a copy of the decision and on the last day for filing an appeal, filed a
Notice of Appeal and Motion for Reconsideration of the adverse decision.

In an Order dated July 23,1998, respondent judge dismissed the Notice of


Appeal and denied the Motion for Reconsideration for the following procedural
infirmities:
1. Lack of proof of service to the adverse party and written explanation
why service or filing thereof was not done personally, in violation of
Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
2. Lack of a notice of hearing, in violation of Rule 15 of the 1997 Rules
of Civil Procedure.
3. Failure to specify the court to which the appeal was being taken in the
Notice of Appeal, thereby failing to comply with Sec. 5, Rule 41 of the
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
4. Docketing fees were also not seasonably paid upon filing of the Notice
of Appeal.

On August 8, 1998, Atty. Pascua filed another Motion for Reconsideration, but
the motion was again denied for the same formal infirmities of the first Motion for
Reconsideration. As Atty. Pascua did not challenge the Orders dated July 23, 1998 and
August 8, 1998, the trial court issued on October 15, 1998 a Writ of Execution of the
June 2, 1998 decision. Consequently, the Register of Deeds of Nueva Ecija canceled
petitioner Fraile’s TCT’s over the subject parcels of land.

Appalled by the outcome of her cases, Fraile hired another lawyer, Atty. Renato
M. Esguerra, and subsequently filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for annulment
of the judgment citing the procedural lapses allegedly amounting to extrinsic fraud
committed by her previous counsel, Atty. Pascua. On March 10, 1999, the Court of
Appeals dismissed the petition on the ground that the negligence of Atty. Pascua did not
constitute extrinsic fraud, the remedy of Petition for Relief was not used in violation of
Sec. 2, Par. 2, Rule 47 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, and affidavits of witnesses
supporting her cause of action were not submitted by petitioner as required by Sec. 4,
Rule 47 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The petitioner filed a Motion for
Reconsideration of the resolution, but this was likewise denied. Hence, the present
petition for review on certiorari. Petitioner contended that the appellate court gravely
erred in holding that the acts or omissions or procedural lapses of Atty. Jorge Pascua in
handling his case were not gross and palpable enough as to constitute extrinsic fraud.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the honorable court of appeals gravely erred in holding that the
acts or omissions or procedural lapses by Atty. Jorge Pascua in the handling of
petitioner's case are not gross and palpable enough as to constitute extrinsic fraud.

RULING:
No. The Supreme Court denied the petition and affirmed the resolutions of the
Court of Appeals. The Court ruled that in order for fraud to serve as basis for annulment
of a judgment, it must be extrinsic or collateral in character, otherwise there would be no
end to litigations.

Extrinsic fraud refers to any fraudulent act of the prevailing party, which is
committed outside the trial of the case, whereby the defeated party has been prevented
from exhibiting fully his side of the case, by fraud or deception practiced on him by his
opponent. It refers to some act or conduct of the prevailing party, which has prevented
the aggrieved party from having a trial or presenting his case to the court, or was used
to procure judgment without a fair submission of the controversy. The Court also
emphasized that it has previously ruled that the fraud must be committed by the
adverse party and not by one's own counsel.

Petitioner's allegation that the acts of Atty. Pascua constitute extrinsic fraud
deliberately done in connivance with private respondents Angel and Benjamin Domingo,
designed to defeat the cause of herein petitioner and to deprive her of her right to due
process was merely a conclusion drawn by petitioner Fraile and did not find support in
the evidence on record. To impute negligence on her counsel is one thing, to prove that
such negligence was in collusion with the private respondents is another.