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Rules of procedure are tools to facilitate a fair and orderly conduct of proceedings. Strict adherence thereto must not get in the way of achieving substantial justice.
So long as their purpose is sufficiently met and no violation of due process and fair play takes place, the rules should be liberally construed, especially in agrarian cases. SP No. The assailed Decision disposed as follows:. Respondents are co-owners of several parcels of land primarily devoted to rice production consisting of T, T, T, T, T Petitioners are in actual possession of the said land as tillers thereof.
According to respondents, petitioners are agricultural lessees with the obligation to pay annual lease rentals. On the other hand, petitioners aver that they are farmer-beneficiaries under Presidential Decree 27, who have been granted Certificates of Land Transfer CLTs and unregistered emancipation patents EPs.
They alleged that petitioners failed to pay and remit the agreed lease rentals to respondents since , or for a period of eight years. Among the named defendants were Avelino Santos Avelino and Pedro Bernardo Pedro , who were already deceased at the time of the filing of the complaint.
Per the death certificates presented before the Regional Adjudicator, Avelino died on December 29, , while Pedro passed away on July 25, Thus, when the complaint for ejectment was filed in , the actual tillers on the land were already the successors-in-interest of Avelino and Pedro, namely Delfin Sacdalan Delfin and Roberto Bernardo Roberto , respectively.
Despite such disclosure, no amendment to implead the real parties-in-interest was made to the complaint. Instead on May 9, , the Regional Adjudicator ordered the respective legal heirs to substitute the named decedents in the case. For some reason, no formal substitution of party litigants took place either. However, it is clear from the records, and neither party disputes, that notwithstanding the non-amendment of the complaint and the absence of a formal substitution, the heirs of Avelino and Pedro appeared and participated in the proceedings below.
The position papers of respondents 6 as well as petitioners 7 both named Delfin and Roberto as the heirs of the two decedents and parties to the case. Vacate the landholdings in question and peacefully surrender possession thereof to the plaintiffs;.
Remove at their own expense all structures and other improvements introduced thereon if any;. Continue to pay to the plaintiffs the annual leasehold rentals due thereon until the latter are fully restored to the premises in question.
Since all the petitioners failed to prove that they complied with their rental obligations to respondents since , the Regional Adjudicator held that they could no longer invoke their right to security of tenure. Unlike their previous pleadings, which were all signed by Atty. Jaime G. Mena Atty. On May 6, , the Regional Adjudicator issued an Order 17 giving due course to the appeal, except with respect to the decedents Avelino and Pedro, whose signatures were held to be falsified.
Thus, a writ of execution was issued against the non-appealing defendants and the deceased defendants. The petitioners received the above Order only on May 8, , together with the writ of execution, 18 which was promptly implemented on the same day and on May 10, Dissatisfied with the May 6, Order of the Regional Adjudicator, both the respondents and the petitioners whose appeal was disallowed, moved for reconsideration of the order.
Respondents reiterated 20 that the Regional Adjudicator should not have given due course to the appeal because it did not adhere strictly with Section 2, Rule XIII of the DARAB Rules of Procedure; and that it was a dilatory or frivolous appeal that deserved outright dismissal. On the other hand, the petitioners who were included in the writ of execution, including the heirs of Avelino and Pedro, now represented by the DAR-Legal Counsel Atty.
Dauphine B. Go, 21 argued that the May 6, Order was hastily executed, without giving them an opportunity to question its correctness. A hearing was conducted on July 3, , 24 where the heirs of Avelino and Pedro personally appeared to explain the alleged falsification of signatures.
Pilar, the widow of Pedro, explained that she did not sign the Notice of Appeal herself, but that she allowed her son Roberto to sign it for her. Their testimonies are verified by the records. All of them explained that their only intention was to sign the pleadings on behalf of their deceased relatives so as to be able to participate in the proceedings.
Based on these testimonies, Regional Adjudicator Manalang allowed the appeal of the heirs of the two decedents and nullified the writ of execution as regards them in an Order dated August 5, While this may be so, it is not for this Office to pass on the merits of the appeal.
All that it is called upon to do is to determine whether the same was seasonably filed and perfected by the appellants within the prescribed reglementary period. With an affirmative finding on this aspect, nothing more remains to be done except to allow the appeal to run its full course.
Giving due course to the Motion for Reconsideration from the Order of May 6, and Writ of Execution dated May 8, filed by the Heirs of Pedro Bernardo, Heirs of Avelino Santos, and of Ismael Natividad 26 and thereby allowing their appeal to the exclusion of the other defendants-movants;.
Motu proprio quashing the Writ of Execution issued on May 8, directed against aforenamed defendants and thereby nullifying all proceedings undertaken in connection therewith. Respondents moved for another reconsideration on August 14, Respondents sought another reconsideration, 29 which was again denied on January 9, Respondents thus filed a petition for certiorari before the CA.
They argued that the DARAB no longer had any jurisdiction to reverse the portion of its Decision, which had already been duly executed upon the authority of a writ issued on May 6, They also insisted that both notices of appeal were infirm for failure to state the grounds for an appeal and for containing forged signatures. It held that the Notice of Appeal of the second group bearing the signatures of deceased Avelino and Pedro was a product of forgery, and thus had no legal effect.
It found their intentions immaterial and irrelevant to the nullity of a forged instrument. According to the CA, the Notices of Appeal failed to specifically allege the grounds relied upon for the appeal. The statement that they are appealing on "questions of fact and law" was held to be insufficient because an appeal, being a mere statutory privilege, must be exercised in the manner prescribed by the provisions of law authorizing it.
Hence, this petition seeking a review of the Decision dated June 9, of the CA. They posit that their appeal on "questions of fact and law" should suffice, even if they omitted the phrase "which if not corrected would cause grave irreparable damage and injury to them".
They argue that the stringent application of the rules denied them substantial justice. Petitioners also argue that the complaint itself was filed against their deceased predecessors-in-interest. Hence, if technicality is to be followed, the complaint should have been dismissed as to the deceased defendants. But the case continued and they, as heirs, participated in the proceedings. Thus when they signed the Notice of Appeal, their intent was not to defraud but only to continue their quest for justice.
Respondents reiterate that the notices of appeal are "mere scraps of paper" for failure to state the grounds relied upon for the appeal and for containing forged signatures. They insist that giving effect to the Notice of Appeal would countenance an act which is criminal in nature. Respondents maintain that there should be strict adherence to the technical rules of procedure because the DARAB rules frown upon frivolous and dilatory appeals.
The petition is meritorious. The defects found in the two notices of appeal are not of such nature that would cause a denial of the right to appeal.
Placed in their proper factual context, the defects are not only excusable but also inconsequential. There is nothing sacred about the forms of pleadings or processes, their sole purpose being to facilitate the application of justice to the rival claims of contending parties. Hence, pleadings as well as procedural rules should be construed liberally. Dismissal of appeals purely on technical grounds is frowned upon because rules of procedure should not be applied to override substantial justice.
Courts must proceed with caution so as not to deprive a party of statutory appeal; they must ensure that all litigants are granted the amplest opportunity for the proper and just ventilation of their causes, free from technical constraints. Section 2. These Rules shall be liberally construed to carry out the objectives of the agrarian reform program and to promote just, expeditious, and inexpensive adjudication and settlement of agrarian cases, disputes or controversies.
Section 3. Technical Rules Not Applicable. The Board and its Regional and Provincial Adjudicators shall not be bound by technical rules of procedure and evidence as prescribed in the Rules of Court, but shall proceed to hear and decide all agrarian cases, disputes or controversies in a most expeditious manner, employing all reasonable means to ascertain the facts of every case in accordance with justice and equity.
Section 1. Nature of Proceedings. The proceedings before the Board or its Adjudicators shall be non-litigious in nature. Subject to the essential requirements of due process, the technicalities of law and procedure and the rules governing the admissibility and sufficiency of evidence obtained in the courts of law shall not apply.
The following provisions are instructive in making this conclusion:. Appeal to the Board. The aggrieved party may appeal to the Board from a final order, resolution or decision of the Adjudicator on any of the following grounds:. Section 5. Requisites and Perfection of the Appeal. It shall state the date when the appellant received the order or judgment appealed from and the proof of service of the notice to the adverse party; and.
Non-compliance with the above-mentioned requisites shall be a ground for dismissal of the appeal. While the notices omitted to state that "the decision would cause grave and irreparable damage and injury to the appellant," we find such punctilious fidelity to the language of the DARAB Rules unnecessary. Surely by appealing the Decision of the Regional Adjudicator, the petitioners were already manifesting that they will be damaged by the assailed decision.
Requiring a literal application of the rules when its purpose has already been served is oppressive superfluity. Another important consideration is the fact that petitioners were obviously not assisted by counsel in the filing of the Notices of Appeal. Only the parties were signatories thereto; Atty. Their new counsel, Atty.
The Regional Adjudicator is also correct when she ruled that she has no power to determine if the appeal is frivolous and intended merely for delay. The body which rendered the appealed decision should not pass upon the question of whether the appeal was taken manifestly for delay because such determination belongs to the appellate body.
This principle is applicable to agrarian disputes by virtue of Section 8, Rule XIII of the DARAB Rules which states that the Board not the Regional Adjudicator has the power to impose reasonable penalties, including fine or censure, on parties who file frivolous or dilatory appeals.
The implication is that since the Board is the one which has the power to punish, it is also the one which has the power to decide if there has been a violation. The Regional Adjudicator has no such power. She must allow the appeal if it is timely and compliant with the reglementary requirements. It has been held that when an appeal is filed on time, the approval of a notice of appeal is a ministerial duty of the court or tribunal which rendered the decision.
Narciso Zapanta, Edilberto Capulong and Clarita Capulong vs. Co King Ki, etc.
CV No. In his complaint  for 'Annulment of Deed of Absolute Sale, Original Certificate of Title and Damages' filed on 11 July , plaintiff Inocencio  alleged that he is the owner of the subject property after he purchased the same from the late Gabriel Drilon as evidenced by the receipts. He further alleged that defendant Eustaquia Eumague Drilon connived with co-defendants, Spouses Fredeswinda Drilon Ybiosa and Alfredo Ybiosa,  in effecting a deed of sale in favor of the said spouses where the signature of the late Gabriel Drilon was written by another person. He added that the late Gabriel Drilon could not have signed the said Deed in as he was already old and sickly as shown by the fact that when he signed another document denominated as Affidavit of Consent on 03 January , his signature thereon showed signs of difficulty. This difficulty is shown further on the other documents which Gabriel Drilon executed later, such as an Affidavit dated 04 August , Notice of Appeal dated 22 September , and Answer with Counterclaim, Etc.
The 2009 Department Of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (Darab) Rules Of Procedure Rule Xix
Rules of procedure are tools to facilitate a fair and orderly conduct of proceedings. Strict adherence thereto must not get in the way of achieving substantial justice. So long as their purpose is sufficiently met and no violation of due process and fair play takes place, the rules should be liberally construed, especially in agrarian cases. SP No. The assailed Decision disposed as follows:.
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