LITIGANTS do not have unrestrained freedom of choice on how to set up their cause before the court and also on the court to which their cause is to be directed.
Thus, the Supreme Court (SC) junked a position paper of litigants Jose Beso Gulmatico Sr., and Normal Gulmatico Estampador, alleged heirs of the plaintiffs-appellants in a case that was already dismissed by the Court of Appeals (CA) in 1954.
According to court records, the CA received on February 23, 2016 a position paper requesting reopening of the case and for judgment of the case entitled “Tiburcio Estampador and Matilde Gulmatico vs. Patricio delos Reyes and Pablo Rada.”
It was found out that a judgment in the case was already issued on April 22, 1954 and that it became final on May 5 of the same year.
CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr. informed Gulmatico and Estampador that the CA cannot reopen the case since it had no jurisdiction to reopen a final judgment.
Reyes suggested to the litigants to consult their lawyer so that they can file the appropriate pleading or case before the proper court.
The litigants, however, asked Reyes to forward their position paper to the High Court for appropriate action.
In its decision dated January 10, 2017 that was released to the media just recently, the full court held that “they should file the proper case in a proper court within allowable time frame and pay the corresponding docket and filing fees.”
“They cannot circumvent this by the simple expedient of filing a position paper with the CA and after being informed by the latter that it has no jurisdiction to grant them the relief being sought, by asking it to instead forward the same to this court,” the SC opined in its ruling promulgated by clerk of court Felipa Anama.
“It is well to remind Gulmatico and [Estampador] that this kind of attitude toward the CA, or to any other court for that matter, cannot be tolerated. He is, thus, enjoined to be more mindful of the respect due to courts and to avoid actions bordering on disrespect.”