In Maralit vs. Philippine National Bank, where petitioner Maralit questioned the appellate court’s admission and appreciation of a belatedly submitted documentary evidence, the Court held that “[i]n a special civil action for certiorari, the Court of Appeals has ample authority to receive new evidence and perform any act necessary to resolve factual issues.”
According to the Supreme Court (SC), the Court of Appeals did not err in admitting the evidence showing LBC Bank’s express ratification of Milan’s consolidation of the title over the subject property. Further, the Court of Appeals did not err in admitting such evidence in resolving LBC Bank’s motion for reconsideration in a special civil action for certiorari. To rule otherwise will certainly defeat the ends of substantial justice.
Thus, the Court of Appeals may consider the new evidence presented by a party in a petition for certiorari.
However, in the case of Team Pacific Corporation vs. Parente (G.R. No. 206789, July 15, 2020), the Court of Appeals ruled that petitioners waived their right to present evidence, and thus, reversed the labor tribunals’ rulings and found that Parente was illegally dismissed.
Hence, petitioners went to the SC Court through a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
It is well established that a Rule 45 petition should raise only questions of law. This Court is not a trier of facts and it is not its function to weigh the evidence all over again. Citing Fuji Television Network, Inc. vs. Espiritu, the SC held:
“When a decision of the Court of Appeals under a Rule 65 petition is brought to this court by way of a petition for review under Rule 45, only questions of law may be decided upon. As held in Meralco Industrial v. National Labor Relations Commission:
This Court is not a trier of facts. Well-settled is the rule that the jurisdiction of this Court in a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court is limited to reviewing only errors of law, not of fact, unless the factual findings complained of are completely devoid of support from the evidence on record, or the assailed judgment is based on a gross misapprehension of facts. Besides, factual findings of quasi-judicial agencies like the NLRC, when affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are conclusive upon the parties and binding on this Court.”
Career Philippines v. Serna, citing Montoya v. Trammed, is instructive on the parameters of judicial review under Rule 45:
“As a rule, only questions of law may be raised in a Rule 45 petition. In one case, we discussed the particular parameters of a Rule 45 appeal from the CA’s Rule 65 decision on a labor case, as follows:
In a Rule 45 review, we consider the correctness of the assailed CA decision, in contrast with the review for jurisdictional error that we undertake under Rule 65. Furthermore, Rule 45 limits us to the review of questions of law raised against the assailed CA decision. In ruling for legal correctness, we have to view the CA decision in the same context that the petition for certiorari it ruled upon was presented to it; we have to examine the CA decision from the prism of whether it correctly determined the presence or absence of grave abuse of discretion in the NLRC decision before it, not on the basis of whether the NLRC decision on the merits of the case was correct. In other words, we have to be keenly aware that the CA undertook a Rule 65 review, not a review on appeal, of the NLRC decision challenged before it.”
Thus, when the SC reviews a decision of the Court of Appeals on a Rule 65 petition, what it determines is whether the Court of Appeals correctly ruled on whether grave abuse of discretion exists.
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