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Verification of Pleadings

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. (Rule 7, Rules of Court)

Are pleadings required to be verified?

As a general rule, pleadings need not be verified, unless there is a law or rule specifically requiring the same. (Sec. 4, Rule 7, Rules of Court)

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. (Vallacar Transit, Inc. vs Catubig, G.R. No. 175512, May 30, 2011)

How is a pleading verified?

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

Verifications based on "information and belief," or upon "knowledge, information and belief," shall be deemed insufficient. (Sec. 4, Rule 7, Rules of Court)

What is the significance of verification?

The verification requirement is significant, as it is intended to secure an assurance that the allegations 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. (Martos et al. vs. New San Jose Builders, Inc., G.R. No. 192650, October 24, 2012)

Who should verify a pleading?

● The party does not need to 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. (Cebu Metro Pharmacy, Inc. vs. Euro-Med Laboratories, G.R. No. 164757, October 18, 2010)

● Verification is deemed substantially complied with when one who has ample knowledge to swear to the truth of the allegations in the complaint or petition signs the verification, and when matters alleged in the petition have been made in good faith or are true and correct. (Fernandez vs. Villegas, G.R. No. 200191, August 20, 2014)

What is the effect of non-compliance with the requirements on or submission of a defective verification?

● A pleading required to be verified but lacks the proper verification shall be treated as an unsigned pleading (Sec. 4, Rule 7, Rules of'Court). Hence, it produces no legal effect (Sec. 3, Rule 7, Rules of Court).

● An unsigned pleading produces no legal effect. However, the court may, in its discretion, allow such deficiency to be remedied if it shall appear that the same was due to mere inadvertence and not intended for delay. xxx. (Sec. 3, Rule 7, Rules of Court).

A pleading, therefore, wherein the Verification is merely based on the party's knowledge and belief produces no legal effect, subject to the discretion of the court to allow the deficiency to be remedied. (Negros Oriental Planters Association vs. Presiding Judge, G.R. No. 179878, December 24, 2008)

●Non-compliance therewith or a defect therein does not necessarily render the pleading fatally defective. The court may order its submission or correction or act on the pleading if the attending circumstances are such that strict compliance with the Rule may be dispensed with in order that the ends of justice may be served thereby.

Verification of a pleading is only a formal, not a jurisdictional requirement intended to secure the assurance that the matters alleged in a pleading are true and correct. Therefore, the courts may simply order the correction of the pleadings or act on them and waive strict compliance with the rules. (Fernandez vs. Villegas)

● Time and again, we had espoused the doctrine that provisions of the Rules of Court should be liberally construed in order to promote their objective of securing a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding.  Otherwise put, the rule requiring a certification of forum shopping to accompany every initiatory pleading, or the verification for that matter “should not be interpreted with such absolute literalness as to subvert its own ultimate and legitimate objective or the goal of all rules of procedure – which is to achieve substantial justice as expeditiously as possible.”⁠  While it is true that the rules of procedure are intended to promote rather than frustrate the ends of justice, and the swift unclogging of court docket is a laudable objective, it nevertheless must not be met at the expense of substantial justice.  This Court has time and again reiterated the doctrine that the rules of procedure are mere tools aimed at facilitating the attainment of justice, rather than its frustration.  A strict and rigid application of the rules must always be eschewed when it would subvert the primary objective of the rules, that is, to enhance fair trials and expedite justice.  Technicalities should never be used to defeat the substantive rights of the other party. Every party-litigant must be afforded the amplest opportunity for the proper and just determination of his cause, free from the constraints of technicalities. (Zarsona Medical Clinic vs. PHIC, G.R. No. 191225, October 13, 2014) 

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