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In 2006, Dr. Benigno Agbayani, Jr. was sued by Saul Hofileña, Jr. Allegedly, Dr. Agbayani conducted a surgery on the knee of Hofileña but the surgical tool (arthroscope) the doctor used was unsterilized. This resulted in an infection which further resulted in Hofileña seeking medical help from other doctors. In 2013, the Metropolitan Trial Court, after trial, convicted Dr. Agbayani of Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Serious Physical Injuries.
Dr. Agbayani appealed the conviction to the Regional Trial Court under Rule 40 of the Rules of Court. In October 2013, the RTC issued an Order directing Dr. Agbayani to file his appeal memorandum. Dr. Agbayani received the order on 19 November 2013. Under the Rules, he has 15 days or until 4 December 2013 to file an appeal memorandum.
Instead of filing an appeal memorandum, Dr. Agbayani’s lawyer, due to heavy workload, filed a motion for extension which was granted. The fresh period granted to Dr. Agbayani was until 19 December 2013.
Came 19 December 2013 but the RTC did not receive any appeal memorandum. On 23 December 2013, the RTC issued an order dismissing Dr. Agbayani’s appeal.
On 26 February 2014, Dr. Agbayani’s lawyer filed a motion for reconsideration. The lawyer argued that on 19 December 2013, he filed for a second motion for extension; and that he even filed a third motion for extension on 3 January 2014 – both by registered mail.
The RTC denied Dr. Agbayani’s motion for reconsideration. It ruled that the second and third motions for extension were only received by the court on 15 January 2014 and 20 January 2014, respectively, which are beyond the 23 December 2014 Order; that Dr. Agbayani should not expect that those motions will be granted as the grant is discretionary upon the court.
Dr. Agbayani’s lawyer filed a petition for review under Rule 42. The Court of Appeals denied the petition on the ground that there is no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC. The CA further noted that the petition before the CA was defective due to Dr. Agbayani’s lawyer’s failure to attach certain documents required by the Rules.
Dr. Agbayani filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied on 23 October 2014.
Dr. Agbayani then filed a Petition for Review under Rule 45 citing grave abuse of discretion on the part of the CA.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Court of Appeals acted with grave abuse of discretion in denying Dr. Agbayani’s Petition for Review.
Under Rule 40, the submission of an appeal memorandum within 15 days from filing of a notice of appeal is mandatory. Failure to submit a memorandum is a ground for dismissal. Here, Dr. Agbayani’s lawyer seem to have expected that their subsequent motions for extension to file memorandum will be granted. Unfortunately for Dr. Agbayani, the RTC was not even able to rule on the motions for extension due to the fact that they were not received on time.
Thus, the CA did not act with grave abuse of discretion when it denied Dr. Agbayani’s petition for review.
Further, the petition before the CA is defective. Rule 42 requires the appellant to provide the appellate court with certified true copies of the judgments or final orders subject of review as well as the material portions of the record. REASON: These documents and pleadings are needed by the reviewing courts in resolving whether to give due course to the petition. Hence, they should not be perfunctorily ignored or violated. Failure to comply with these rules hinders the review of cases on the merits and deprives the appellate court of definitive bases for its rulings, results in frustrating delays, and disrupts the orderly administration of justice.