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PSCFC Financial Corp. vs. CA Case Digest


 When Rule 26 states that a party shall respond to the request for admission, it should not be restrictively construed to mean that a party may not engage the services of counsel to make the response in his behalf. 

 Attorneys have authority to bind their clients in any case by any agreement in relation thereto made in writing, and in taking appeals, and in all matters of ordinary judicial procedure. 


Facts:

PSCFC filed a complaint against private respondent Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank for annulment of foreclosure proceedings and damages. Banco Filipino filed its Answer.

PSCFC then served upon Banco Filipino a written request for admission of the truth of certain matters.

PSCFC received Banco Filipino's answer to its request for admission signed by its counsel, Atty. Philip Sigfrid A. Fortun.

PSCFC made a second request for admission, impliedly objecting to the first reply having been made by its lawyer, Atty. Fortun. Banco Filipino objected.

PSCFC asked the trial court for a ruling that the matters sought to be admitted in its second bid for admission should be considered as impliedly admitted when the answer was made by a lawyer who was not qualified to do so as he had no direct and personal knowledge of the matters sought to be admitted.

Trial court did not grant PSCFC’s motion. CA sustained the trial court.

Petitioner submits that the answer to the request for admission under Rule 26 should be made by the party himself and nobody else, not even his lawyer. Consequently, failure of respondent Banco Filipino, upon whom the call for admission was served, to render the required sworn statement would constitute an implied admission of the facts sought to be admitted.


Issue:

May a request for admission directed to an adverse party be answered only by his counsel?


Held:

Yes. Section 21 of Rule 138 states —

Sec. 21. Authority of attorney to appear. — An attorney is presumed to be properly authorized to represent any cause in which he appears, and no written power of attorney is required to authorize him to appear in court for his client ... 

Petitioner has not shown that the case at bar falls under any of the recognized exceptions as found in Art. 1878 of the Civil Code which enumerates the instances when special powers of attorney are necessary, or in Rule 20 of the Rules of Court on pre-trial where the parties and their attorneys are both directed to appear before the court for a conference; so that for counsel to appear at the pre-trial in behalf of the client, he must clothe the former with an adequate authority in the form of a special power of attorney or corporate resolution.

Section 23 of Rule 138 provides that "(a)ttorneys have authority to bind their clients in any case by any agreement in relation thereto made in writing, and in taking appeals, and in all matters of ordinary judicial procedure ..."

Thus, when Rule 26 states that a party shall respond to the request for admission, it should not be restrictively construed to mean that a party may not engage the services of counsel to make the response in his behalf. Indeed, the theory of petitioner must not be taken seriously; otherwise, it will negate the principles on agency in the Civil Code, 4 as well as Sec. 23, Rule 138, of the Rule of Court.

Nonetheless, even assuming arguendo that Atty. Philip Sigfrid Fortun overstepped his authority, it is only his client, respondent Banco Filipino, which has the prerogative to impugn his acts and not petitioner, the adverse party. Interestingly, Banco Filipino has not objected to the response made by its counsel in its behalf. (PSCFC Financial Corp. vs. CA, G.R. No. 106094, December 28, 1992)

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