On 23 July 2008, the Supreme Court of the Philippines decided the case of Sps. Valmonte vs. Clarita Alcala, to the effect of allowing substantial compliance for the requirement of including a verification and certification page for pleadings. This is not entirely novel since the courts have always resolved the issue of compliance on a case to case basis. But what is noteworthy in this particular case is the acceptance by the Supreme Court of a photostatic copy of the verification as sufficient to meet the requirement.
In this case, a photostatic copy was submitted preliminarily since the petitioners have already migrated to the United States. They made a manifestation that the original will be submitted once it was authenticated by the Philippine Consulate. Initially, the petition was dismissed by the Court of Appeals for failure to comply with the requirement. However, the Supreme Court reversed the decision and ruled that there was substantial compliance. The Court appreciated the claim of the petitioners that they have been communicating with their counsel through e-mail and that they were able to relay the material facts and read a copy of the petition through this medium. As stated in the case:
“Apparently in this case, counsel sent a copy of the draft petition by e-mail and finalized it as soon as it was approved by the petitioners. The latter, on the other hand, complied with their end not only by approving the terms of the petition, but also by sending a copy of their sworn statement (as yet unauthenticated) in order to file the petition soonest, thereby complying with the required timeliness for the filing of the petition.”
With the case now forming part of jurisprudence, the rules may now be considered relaxed. Party litigants who are outside the Philippines with cases filed here can now cite Sps. Valmonte vs. Alcala. Clients can now have their certification and verification scanned and e-mailed to their counsel. Once printed, it would be ready for filing, along with the pleading. This tactic in a way saves the counsel time and effort in filing the pleading, especially when beating the deadline. The caveat though, is that (1) the original still has to be submitted and (2) other circumstances still have to be taken into consideration.
- Evangelista, Emmanuel Benedict C., Blog Post No. 3
, et al., G.R. No. 168667, July 23, 2008