Anent the third error raised by petitioners, the same is again without merit. Petitioners argue that the PDIC’s record of appeal is defective for failure to state (1) when the notice of appeal was filed; (2) when the appellate court and docket fees were paid; and (3) when the record on appeal was filed. Moreover, petitioners argue that the PDIC did not include a copy of the May 25, 2006 RTC Order approving the Record of Appeal. Petitioners thus theorize that the PDIC violated Section 6,Rule 41 of the Rules of Court and that the same warrants dismissal under Section 1 (a) of Rule 50.
Section 1 (a) reads:
Sec. 1. Grounds for dismissal of appeal. – An appeal may be dismissed by the Court of Appeals, on its own motion or on that of the appellee, on the following grounds:
(a) Failure of the record on appeal to show on its face that the appeal was taken within the period fixed by these Rules;
To stress, the CA ruled that “the Record on Appeal, consisting of seven (7) thick voluminous folders and totaling One Thousand Eight Hundred Forty-Three (1843) pages, was forwarded to this Court on 28 June 2006. A scrutiny thereof shows that the material(s) dates have been cited therein. The Record on Appeal also contains a copy of the assailed Resolution of the court a quo and a copy of the Notice of Appeal found on pages 1782 and 1795 thereof, respectively. Also, per Judicial Records Division (JRD) Report dated 25 June 2007, petitioner-appellant has fully paid its legal fees.” Moreover, the RTC found that both the notice of appeal and record on appeal were filed within the reglementary period provided by law.
The findings of the CA that the PDIC substantially complied with the requirements for an appeal must be respected. There can be no grave abuse of discretion attributed to it more so since the grounds for dismissing an appeal under Section 1 of Rule 50 of the Rules of Court are discretionary upon the CA. This can be gleaned from the very language of the Rules which uses the word may instead of shall. In De Leon v. Court of Appeals, we held that Section 1, Rule 50, which provides specific grounds for dismissal of appeal, manifestly “confers a power and does not impose a duty. Moreover, it is directory, not mandatory.” With the exception of Section 1(b), the grounds for the dismissal of an appeal are directory and not mandatory, and it is not the ministerial duty of the court to dismiss the appeal. Based on the RTC’s findings as well as its own independent assessment of the PDIC’s appeal, it was discretionary on the CA whether or not to dismiss the appeal. In ruling to accept the PDIC’s appeal, such action does not constitute capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.
Lastly, petitioners would have this Court apply the jurisprudence enunciated in Lamzon v. NLRC (Lamzon), Antonio v. Comelec (Antonio) and Pet Plans, Inc. v. Court of Appeals (Pet Plans), however, a perusal of the said decisions would show that the same are not at fours with herein petition. In Lamzon, the appeal filed was not perfected within the reglementary period because the appeal bond was filed out of time. In Antonio, the appeal was dismissed for having been filed out of time under Comelec rules. In Pet Plans, the appeal was dismissed for failure to comply with the rules on verification and certificate of non-forum shopping. The present petition, on the other hand, involves substantial compliance to the form and contents of the notice of appeal and record on appeal. The decisions relied upon by petitioners, therefore, have no application to herein petition.
In sum, this Court finds that the CA did not act with grave abuse of discretion when it denied petitioners motion to dismiss. In the absence of abuse of discretion, interlocutory orders such as a motion to dismiss are not the proper subject of a petition for certiorari. Time and again, this Court has ruled that dismissal of appeals on purely technical grounds is not encouraged. The rules of procedure ought not to be applied in a very rigid and technical sense, for they have been adopted to help secure, not override, substantial justice. Judicial action must be guided by the principle that a party-litigant should be given the fullest opportunity to establish the merits of his complaint or defense rather than for him to lose life, liberty, honor or property on technicalities. When a rigid application of the rules tends to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice, this Court is empowered to suspend their operation.