Petitioner Novateknika Land Corporation (NLC), together with 9 other Corporations, entered into a Credit Agreement with PNB for the availment of an omnibus line in the principal amount of ₱500,000,000.00.
After 2 Renewal Agreements, their total outstanding principal obligation went up to ₱593,449,464.79. Due to nonpayment depsite repeated demands, PNB filed petitions for extrajudicial foreclosure over the properties covered by the Mortgage, which included the 4 parcels of land of NLC.
After the Extrajudicial Sale, the properties were awarded to PNB as the sole bidder, and the bid amount was applied in partial satisfaction of the outstanding obligation of the borrowers.
NLC filed an action for injunction with a prayer for the issuance of a TRO and/or a writ of preliminary injunction arguing, inter alia, that PNB’s right to bring a mortgage action had already prescribed.
The RTC granted NLC’s application for the issuance of a TRO, preventing PNB from consummating the public sale of the subject properties.
The RTC denied NLC’s prayer for injunctive relief, ruling that the mortgage action had not prescribed.
Aggrieved, NLC elevated the case to the CA via a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. The CA dismissed the petition outright for failure of NLC to file a motion for reconsideration before the RTC.
Whether or not a Motion for Reconsideration is a condition sine qua non to certiorari.
A Motion for reconsideration is a condition sine qua non to certiorari.
Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court states that:
Section 1. Petition for certiorari. – When any tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court, alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal, board or officer, and granting such incidental reliefs as law and justice may require.
x x x x
Unmistakably, before a petition for certiorari can prosper, the petitioner must be able to show, among others, that he does not have any other “plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.” This remedy referred to in Section 1 of Rule 65 is a motion for reconsideration of the questioned order.
Well established is the rule that the filing of a motion for reconsideration is a prerequisite to the filing of a special civil action for certiorari, subject to certain exceptions, to wit:
(a) where the order is a patent nullity, as where the court a quo has no jurisdiction;
(b) where the questions raised in the certiorari proceeding have been duly raised and passed upon by the lower court, or are the same as those raised and passed upon in the lower court;
(c) where there is an urgent necessity for the resolution of the question and any further delay would prejudice the interests of the government or the petitioner or the subject matter of the action is perishable;
(d) where, under the circumstances, a motion for reconsideration would be useless;
(e) where petitioner was deprived of due process and there is extreme urgency for relief;
(f) where, in a criminal case, relief from an order of arrest is urgent and the granting of such relief by the trial court is improbable;
(g) where the proceedings in the lower court are a nullity for lack of due process;
(h) where the proceedings was ex parte or in which the petitioner had no opportunity to object; and
(i) where the issue raised is one purely of law or where public interest is involved.22
None of the exceptions, however, is present in this case.
Jurisprudence is replete with decisions which reiterate that before filing a petition for certiorari in a higher court, the attention of the lower court should be first called to its supposed error and its correction should be sought. Failing this, the petition for certiorari should be denied. The reason for this is to afford the lower court the opportunity to correct any actual or fancied error attributed to it through a re-examination of the legal and factual aspects of the case. The petitioner’s disregard of this rule deprived the trial court the right and the opportunity to rectify an error unwittingly committed or to vindicate itself of an act unfairly imputed.
In the case at bench, the proper recourse of NLC was to have filed a motion for reconsideration of the RTC Order denying its application for injunctive relief. Only after the denial of such motion can it be deemed to have exhausted all available remedies and be justified in elevating the case to the CA through a petition for certiorari under Rule 65.