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Formal Amendments


Section 4. Formal amendments. — A defect in the designation of the parties and other clearly clerical or typographical errors may be summarily corrected by the court at any stage of the action, at its initiative or on motion, provided no prejudice is caused thereby to the adverse party. (Rules of Court) 

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What are formal amendments? 

Formal amendments consist of defect in the designation of the parties and other clearly clerical or typographical errors.


When can formal amendments be made? 

Formal amendments can be made at any stage of the action, upon motion of the party or the court motu proprio, provided no prejudice is caused thereby to the adverse party.


● Amendments of pleadings may be resorted to subject to the condition that the amendments sought do not alter the cause of action of the original complaint. Amendment of pleadings may be resorted to, so long as the intended amendments are not inconsistent with the allegations in the initial complaint, and are obviously intended to clarify the intrinsic ambiguity in it with respect to the time of accrual of the cause of action. xxx. The courts should be liberal in allowing amendments to pleadings to avoid multiplicity of suits and in order that the real controversies between the parties are presented and the case decided on the merits without unnecessary delay. This rule applies with more reason and with greater force when, as in the case at bar, the amendment sought to be made refers to a mere matter of form and no substantial rights are prejudiced. Indeed, the rule on amendment of pleadings need not be applied rigidly, particularly where no surprise or prejudice is caused the objecting party.

In the case at bench, while the date indicated in the original complaint was February 13, 1986, there is no denying that the actual date of the incident was really February 3, 1986 when the subject cargo was actually withdrawn from the pier and delivered to the Hotels warehouse. All the supporting documents offered in evidence refer to this date and no other. Contrary to Bormahecos stand, the actual date of the loss was well within the coverage of the insurance policy. Surely, Bormaheco could not have been misled or surprised by the correction of the error. Neither could it have been prejudiced by the correction of the said date for this was merely a typographical mistake purely technical. (Bormaheco, Inc. vs. Malayan Insurance Company, Inc., G.R. No. 156599, July 26, 2010)


● Facts: In its first amended complaint, respondent DVSHA alleged that it is a registered association. However, it failed to attach to its complaint the supporting certificate of registration, as well as its articles of incorporation and by-laws. In their answer, petitioners promptly assailed respondents lack of personality to sue. The trial court, desiring to determine if indeed respondent has the capacity to sue, directed respondent to amend its complaint anew by attaching thereto the necessary documents.

Held: Sections 1 and 4, Rule 10 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, provide:

SEC. 1. Amendments in general. Pleadings may be amended by adding or striking out an allegation or the name of any party, or by correcting a mistake in the name of a party or a mistaken or inadequate allegation or description in any other respect, so that the actual merits of the controversy may speedily be determined without regard to technicalities, and in the most expeditious and inexpensive manner.

SEC. 4. Formal amendments. A defect in the designation of the parties and other clearly clerical or typographical errors may be summarily corrected by the court at any stage of the action, at its initiative or on motion, provided no prejudice is caused thereby to the adverse party.  

Here, the amendment of respondents complaint at the instance of the trial court merely involves the designation of respondent as a proper party, i.e., whether it has a juridical personality and, therefore, can sue or be sued. We note that when respondent amended its complaint by attaching the required supporting documents, such amendment did not change its cause of action. Nor was its action intended to prejudice petitioners. Verily, the Court of Appeals correctly ruled that the RTC did not gravely abuse its discretion when it ordered the amendment of the complaint. (Godinez vs. CA, G.R. No. 154330, February 15, 2007) 

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