Except when otherwise specifically required by law or rule, pleadings need not be under oath, verified or accompanied by affidavit

Respondent filed her complaint for damages against petitioner on July 19, 1995, when the 1964 Rules of Court was still in effect.  Rule 7, Section 6 of the 1964 Rules of Court provided:

Sec. 6. Verification.—A pleading is verified only by an affidavit stating that the person verifying has read the pleading and that the allegations thereof are true of his own knowledge.

Verifications based on “information and belief,” or upon “knowledge, information and belief,” shall be deemed insufficient.

On July 1, 1997, the new rules on civil procedure took effect.  The foregoing provision was carried on, with a few amendments, as Rule 7, Section 4 of the 1997 Rules of Court, viz:

SEC. 4. Verification. – Except when otherwise specifically required by law or rule, pleadings need not be under oath, verified or accompanied by affidavit.

A pleading is verified by an affidavit that the affiant has read the pleading and that the allegations therein are true and correct of his knowledge and belief.

A pleading required to be verified which contains a verification based on “information and belief,” or upon “knowledge, information and belief,” or lacks a proper verification, shall be treated as an unsigned pleading.”

The same provision was again amended by A.M. No. 00-2-10, which became effective onMay 1, 2000.  It now reads:

SEC. 4. Verification. – Except when otherwise specifically required by law or rule, pleadings need not be under oath, verified or accompanied by affidavit.

A pleading is verified by an affidavit that the affiant has read the pleading and that the allegations therein are true and correct of his personal knowledge or based on authentic records.

A pleading required to be verified which contains a verification based on “information and belief” or upon “knowledge, information and belief,” or lacks a proper verification, shall be treated as an unsigned pleading.

The 1997 Rules of Court, even prior to its amendment by A.M. No. 00-2-10, clearly provides that a pleading lacking proper verification is to be treated as an unsigned pleading which produces no legal effect.  However, it also just as clearly states that “[e]xcept when otherwise specifically required by law or rule, pleadings need not be under oath, verified or accompanied by affidavit.”  No such law or rule specifically requires that respondent’s complaint for damages should have been verified.

Although parties would often submit a joint verification and certificate against forum shopping, the two are different.

In Pajuyo v. Court of Appeals,[21] we already pointed out that:

A party’s failure to sign the certification against forum shopping is different from the party’s failure to sign personally the verification.  The certificate of non-forum shopping must be signed by the party, and not by counsel.  The certification of counsel renders the petition defective.

On the other hand, the requirement on verification of a pleading is a formal and not a jurisdictional requisite.  It is intended simply to secure an assurance that what are alleged in the pleading are true and correct and not the product of the imagination or a matter of speculation, and that the pleading is filed in good faith.  The party need not sign the verification.  A party’s representative, lawyer or any person who personally knows the truth of the facts alleged in the pleading may sign the verification.[22]

In the case before us, we stress that as a general rule, a pleading need not be verified, unless there is a law or rule specifically requiring the same.  Examples of pleadings that require verification are: (1) all pleadings filed in civil cases under the 1991 Revised Rules on Summary Procedure; (2) petition for review from the Regional Trial Court to the Supreme Court raising only questions of law under Rule 41, Section 2; (3) petition for review of the decision of the Regional Trial Court to the Court of Appeals under Rule 42, Section 1; (4) petition for review from quasi-judicial bodies to the Court of Appeals under Rule 43, Section 5; (5) petition for review before the Supreme Court under Rule 45, Section 1; (6) petition for annulment of judgments or final orders and resolutions under Rule 47, Section 4; (7) complaint for injunction under Rule 58, Section 4; (8) application for preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order under Rule 58, Section 4; (9) application for appointment of a receiver under Rule 59, Section 1; (10) application for support pendente lite under Rule 61, Section 1; (11) petition for certiorari against the judgments, final orders or resolutions of constitutional commissions under Rule 64, Section 2; (12) petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus under Rule 65, Sections 1 to 3; (13) petition for quo warranto under Rule 66, Section 1; (14) complaint for expropriation under Rule 67, Section 1; (15) petition for indirect contempt under Rule 71, Section 4, all from the 1997 Rules of Court; (16) all complaints or petitions involving intra-corporate controversies under the Interim Rules of Procedure on Intra-Corporate Controversies; (17) complaint or petition for rehabilitation and suspension of payment under the Interim Rules on Corporate Rehabilitation; and (18) petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages and annulment of voidable marriages as well as petition for summary proceedings under the Family Code.

In contrast, all complaints, petitions, applications, and other initiatory pleadings must be accompanied by a certificate against forum shopping, first prescribed by Administrative Circular No. 04-94, which took effect on April 1, 1994, then later on by Rule 7, Section 5 of the 1997 Rules of Court.  It is not disputed herein that respondent’s complaint for damages was accompanied by such a certificate.

In addition, verification, like in most cases required by the rules of procedure, is a formal, not jurisdictional, requirement, and mainly intended to secure an assurance that matters which are alleged are done in good faith or are true and correct and not of mere speculation. When circumstances warrant, the court may simply order the correction of unverified pleadings or act on it and waive strict compliance with the rules in order that the ends of justice may thereby be served.[23]

http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2011/may2011/175512.htm

 

About Erineus

Born on December 28, 1965, Surallah, South Cotabato, Southern Mindanao, Philippines.
This entry was posted in Forum Shopping, Pleadings, Verification and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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