CA favors Delfin Lee in case vs Pag-IBIG
MANILA, Philippines – Voting 3-2, the Court of Appeals (CA) dismissed on technicality the petition for certiorari filed by Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund) seeking the reversal of a Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) ruling favoring Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corporation (GA) president Delfin Lee.
CA affirmed the damage suit filed by Lee against Pag-IBIG. But in a resolution prepared by Associate Justice Stephen Cruz, the court said the amount of the damages would have to be decided on once the trial is over.
The court said Pag-IBIG chose the wrong mode of appeal for the case.
A petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is filed when a tribunal or a member of the judiciary acted with grave abuse of discretion. Meanwhile, petitions for review on certiorari under Rule 41 is an ordinary appeal of the rulings from the CA, Sandiganbayan, RTC or other courts.
On January 30, 2012, Judge Eugene Paras of the Makati RTC Branch 58 granted Lee's petition to declare him entitled for damages from Pag-IBIG. CA later on filed a temporary restraining order against the ruling.
CA said Pag-IBIG should have filed an ordinary appeal under Rule 41 of the Rules of Court rather than a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 since the January decision is a summary judgement on GA and Lee's damage suit, which is considered a final judgement.
The Court also dismissed Pag-IBIG’s claims that Paras committed grave abuse of discretion in granting Lee's petition for summary judgment.
“While a reasonable assumption may be made that public respondent should have brushed aside technicalities so as not to frustrate HDMF’s [Pag-IBIG's] right to appeal, the eventual refusal of public respondent to accede to HDMF’s plea and, in the alternative, his disposition to require strict compliance with the rules is not necessarily grave abuse of discretion,” the decision read .
Associate Justice Alihu Ybanez and Danton Bueser concurred with the ruling, while Associate Justices Myra Garcia Fernandez and Magdangal De Leon dissented.
In his separate dissenting opinion, De Leon said the court should not base its decision on technicalities but on merits.
The Supreme Court earlier stopped CA from implementing its ruling, junking charges of syndicated estafa against Lee, who is facing P6.65-billion syndicated estafa charges along with 4 others for questionable loans with Pag-IBIG using ghost buyers. - Rappler.com