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Pre-Trial – Failure to Appear 3.

If the defendant discovered the default after the


judgment has become final and executory, by filing a
Lesaca v. CA petition for relief.
4. Appeal from the judgment.
Facts:
Lesaca filed a complaint for ejectment against Ravelo in the
MeTC due to the expiration of the latter’s month-to-month Extent of Relief to be Awarded
lease contract. Only Lesaca appeared on the preliminary
conference and the MeTC declared Ravelo “in default” and Mangelen v. CA
rendered a decision ordering Ravelo to vacate the premises.
Facts:
Held: Mangelen filed an action for recovery against Habaluyas
MeTC erred. It should have issued a “preliminary conference Enterprises for an amount the latter bound itself to pay by
order” defining the issues in the case. Thereafter the parties virtue of a Compromise Agreement.
should have submitted their affidavits and other evidence. When Habaluyas Enterprises did not file any answer to the
Since Ravelo did file an answer to the complaint, MeTC may complaint, Mangelen filed a motion to declare Habaluyas
not declare him in default despite his absence at the pre-trial Enterprises in default and to be allowed to present evidence
conference because a motion to declare Ravelo in default is a ex-parte, which the trial court granted. Habaluyas filed a
prohibited pleading. motion to set aside order of default on ground that they had
filed with the IAC a petition for certiorari raising the issues of
improper venue, lack of jurisdiction, and litis pendencia.
Effect
Held:
Dulos v. CA TC was correct in declaring Habaluyas in default and
authorizing Mangelen to present evidence ex-parte. If the
Facts: reason for their failure to answer was because they wanted
Spouses Nocom sued Spouses Dulos for forcible entry in the to file a petition for certiorari with the IAC, they should have
MeTC. Neither Spouses Dulos nor their counsel appeared on acted immediately. It appears therefore that it was part of a
the pre-trial conference. well planned strategy to gain more time to delay the case.
Rectra appeared on the pre-trial and manifested that she was
duly authorized by virtue of a SPA to represent her brother
Dulos who was confined in the hospital for having undergone Procedure after Order of Default
a femur operation.
Spouses Dulos were nonetheless declared in default. Five Star Bus v. CA
Judgment was rendered in favor of Spouses Nocom. Instead
of taking an appeal, Spouses Dulos filed for certiorari and Facts:
injunction with the RTC. Spouses Santos filed for breach of contract of carriage and
damages against Five Star Bus Co. for the death of their son
Held: Joey. TC set the pre-trial but Five Star and their counsel failed
RTC did not err in denying the application for injunction. First, to appear. TC declared them in default and scheduled the
a case may be dismissed for failure of a party to appear at the reception of their evidence.
pre-trial conference. Rectra did appear at the pre-trial but did
not present her SPA to represent Dulos or a med certificate of Held:
his operation. Secondly, the denial was justified because After declaring a party as in default or non-suited, the TC is
Spouses Dulos did not employ the proper remedy. not duty bound to receive evidence ex-parte on the very
Defendants should have filed an appeal. same day it issued the default or non-suit order. The hearing
The remedies available to a defendant declared in default that petitioners failed to attend was a pre-trial; pre-trial and
are: trial on the merits are usually held on separate days to enable
1. At any time after discovery thereof and before the parties to prepare for trial.
judgment, filing a motion under oath to set aside the
order of default on the ground that the failure to Monserrate v. CA
answer or appear was due to fraud, accident, (no issue on default )
mistake or excusable negligence, and that he has a
meritorious defense. Facts:
2. If judgment has already been rendered when the Upon a verified petition for adoption by Ervin Pompa, RTC
defendant discovered the default but before it has declared him as the son of Suiza. Monserrate filed for the
become final and executory, by filing a petition for nullification of the order of adoption. CA dismissed the case.
new trial.
Held:
There is no law or rule requiring notice to the Solicitor
General as a jurisdictional prerequisite for the valid exercise
of the court’s jurisdiction in an adoption case.

Remedies – Liberality Modes – Appeal

Gerales v. CA MERALCO v. La Campana

Facts: Facts:
The case arose out of a vehicular accident wherein Gerales, La Campana filed a complaint for recovery of a sum of money
the offended party filed a case for damages in the RTC against with preliminary injunction against Meralco after it was
car owner Fideldia and driver Pimentel. served a notice of disconnection for alleged nonpayment of
Before the summons were served, the claims of Gerales were bills.
amicably settled and she signed a Release of Claim. When Summons were duly served on Meralco and the latter filed
Fideldia and Pimentel were served with summons, Pimentel for a motion for extension.
wrote the Clerk of Court of the RTC stating that the parties The motion however was not acted upon as it did not contain
have mutually settled the case. a notice of hearing.
RTC nevertheless declared Fideldia and Pimentel in default Since Meralco failed to file an answer to the complaint within
and set the case for presentation of Gerales’ evidence ex the reglementary period, La Campana filed an Ex-Parte
parte. Motion to Declare Defendants in Default.
RTC judge granted motion and rendered judgment in favor of
Held: La Campana.
RTC ought to have considered the letter of Pimentel as a Meralco filed a Motion to set aside Judgment by Default
responsive pleading even if it lacks the formalities required by and/or for New Trial on the ground that it filed an answer to
law. The courts should be liberal in setting aside orders of the complaint and that the judgment by default was obtained
default for default judgment is frowned upon, and unless it by fraud.
clearly appears that the reopening of the case is intended for
delay, it is best that trial courts give both parties every chance Held:
to fight their case fairly and in the open, without resort to RTC judge did not err. Meralco failed to indicate in its “motion
technicality. for extension of time to file an answer” a notice of place and
date of hearing, an omission for which it could offer no
Modes – Appeal explanation. It could not presume that the court will grant its
motion for extension. Thus when it filed its answer with
Tan v. CA counterclaim 14 days after the expiration of the period within
which to file an answer, Meralco was already in default and
Facts: naturally it had to bear all the legal consequences of being in
DPG filed with the MeTC an ejectment suit for non-payment default.
of rentals against Vermont Packaging that is being managed
by Tan.
During pendency of said suit, Tan filed for cancellation or
annulment of the TCT issued in the name of DPG.
As DPG repeatedly failed to file answer, Tan filed a motion to
declare DPG in default.
Trial Court granted the motion and rendered a judgment in
favor of Tan.
When DPG receive a copy of the decision, its counsel filed a
motion for new trial and to admit answer with counterclaim.

Held:
A remedy against a judgment by default is a motion for new
trial which should be filed within the period for perfecting an
appeal, and that the timely filing thereof interrupts the 15
day reglementary period. No dispute that a motion for new
trial was filed on behalf of DPG within the 15 day appeal
period.