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HEIRS OF DICMAN vs. JOSE CARIO G.R. No.

146459 June 8, 2006

FACTS: The subject land, at the turn of the 20th century, had been part of the land claim of Mateo Cario. Within this site, a sawmill and other buildings had been constructed by H.C. Heald in connection with his lumber business. On March 14, 1916, H.C. Heald sold the buildings to Sioco Cario, son of Mateo Cario and grandfather of private respondent Jose Cario. Sioco Cario then took possession of the buildings and the land on which the buildings were situated. The petition originated from an action for recovery of possession of the eastern half of a parcel of land situated in Residence Section "J", Camp Seven, Baguio City, consisting of 101,006 square meters, more or less, and identified as Lot 46, Ts-39, Plan SWO-37115. On October 22, 1928, Ting-el Dicman executed a public instrument entitled "Deed of Conveyance of Part Rights and Interests in Agricultural Land" with Sioco Cario. After the execution of the foregoing deed, Sioco Cario, who had been in possession of the land in controversy since 1916, continued to stay thereon. On January 10, 1938, Sioco Cario executed, as seller, a public instrument entitled "Deed of Absolute Sale" covering the subject land and its improvements with his son, Guzman Cario, as buyer. HELD: The petition must be dismissed on the following grounds: Section 5, Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which requires the pleader to submit a certificate of non-forum shopping to be executed by the plaintiff or principal party, is mandatory, and non-compliance therewith is a sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition. The forum shopping certification must be signed by the party himself as he has personal knowledge of the facts therein stated. Obviously, it is the plaintiff or principal party who is in the best position to know whether he actually filed or caused the filing of a petition in the case. Where there are two or more plaintiffs or petitioners, all of them must sign the verification and non-forum certification, and the signature of only one of them is insufficient, unless the one who signs the verification and certification has been authorized to execute the same by, and on behalf of, the co-plaintiff or co-petitioner. But it must be stressed that the requirement the principal party himself should sign the certification applies only to a natural person and not to a juridical person which can only act through its officer or duly authorized agent. However, the Court has also held that the rules on forum shopping were designed to promote and facilitate the orderly administration of justice and thus should not be interpreted with such absolute literalness as to subvert its own ultimate and legitimate objective. The rule of substantial compliance may be availed of with respect to the contents of the certification. This is

because the requirement of strict compliance with the provisions regarding the certification of non-forum shopping merely underscores its mandatory nature in that the certification cannot be altogether dispensed with or its requirements completely disregarded. Thus, under justifiable circumstances, the Court has relaxed the rule requiring the submission of such certification considering that although it is obligatory, it is not jurisdictional.