667 Phil. 640
"Once again, we must stress that the technical rules of procedure should be used to promote, not frustrate, the cause of justice. While the swift unclogging of court dockets is a laudable aim, the just resolution of cases on their merits, however, cannot be sacrificed merely in order to achieve that objective. Rules of procedure are tools designed not to thwart but to facilitate the attainment of justice; thus, their strict and rigid application may, for good and deserving reasons, have to give way to, and be subordinated by, the need to aptly dispense substantial justice in the normal course." 
This Petition for Review on Certiorari 
assails the March 10, 2005 Resolution 
of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 88601, which dismissed petitioner Ma. Ligaya B. Santos' (petitioner) Petition for Certiorari
filed therewith for being defective in form, as well as the November 29, 2005 Resolution 
which denied her Motion for Reconsideration. Likewise sought to be set aside are the August 27, 2004 and November 30, 2004 Resolutions 
of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and the November 28, 2003 Decision 
of Labor Arbiter Pablo C. Espiritu, Jr. in NLRC NCR Case No. 00-02-01560-2003, which dismissed petitioner's complaint for illegal dismissal against respondents Litton Mills, Inc. (respondent Litton Mills) and/or Atty. Rodolfo Mariño (respondent Atty. Mariño).Factual Antecedents
Petitioner was hired on December 5, 1989 by respondent Litton Mills, a company engaged in the business of manufacturing textile materials. It used to sell its used sludge oil and other waste materials through its Plant Administration and Services Department, wherein petitioner was assigned as clerk.
On September 28, 2002, 
respondent Atty. Mariño, personnel manager of respondent Litton Mills, directed petitioner to explain in writing why no disciplinary action should be imposed on her after having been caught engaging in an unauthorized arrangement with a waste buyer. Allegedly, petitioner has been demanding money from a certain Leonardo A. Concepcion (Concepcion) every time he purchases scrap and sludge oil from the company and threatening to withhold the release of the purchased materials by delaying the release of official delivery receipt and gate pass if he would not oblige. Respondent Atty. Mariño also informed petitioner that she will be placed under preventive suspension for 15 days pending investigation of her case.
In her letter-reply, 
petitioner denied the accusation and explained that her
job is merely clerical in nature and that she has no authority to hold the release of purchased waste items. Petitioner averred that the P2,000.00 she obtained from Concepcion was in payment for the loan she had extended to Concepcion's wife; and, that her practice of lending money to increase her income cannot be considered as an irregularity against her employer.
Meanwhile, a criminal complaint for robbery/extortion was lodged before the City Prosecutor of Pasig City against petitioner which was eventually filed in court. 
On October 1, 2002, respondent Atty. Mariño notified petitioner that an administrative investigation is scheduled on October 4, 2002 and requested her to appear and present her defenses on the charges. During the hearing, petitioner, represented by three officers of the union of which she was a member, submitted a Motion for Reinvestigation 
(which she also filed in the criminal case for extortion), with a Counter-Affidavit 
attached therein. She pointed out that it is not within her power to intimidate or threaten any buyer regarding the release of the company's waste items. Petitioner also presented a copy of her handwritten notes 
showing a list of entries representing the debts owed to her by different debtors including Concepcion's wife.
On October 11, 2002, petitioner received a Letter of Termination 
from respondents for obtaining or accepting money as a result of an unauthorized arrangement with a waste buyer, an act considered as affecting company interests, in violation of Section 2.04 of the company's Code of Conduct for Employee Discipline. 
On February 4, 2003, petitioner filed a Complaint 
for illegal dismissal against respondents which was later amended to include a prayer for moral and exemplary damages and attorney's fees.Ruling of the Labor Arbiter
In a Decision dated November 28, 2003, the Labor Arbiter dismissed the complaint after finding that there was just cause for dismissal and proper observance of due process. The Labor Arbiter ruled that the pendency of the criminal case for extortion is an indication that there is sufficient evidence that petitioner is responsible for the offense charged, and that only substantial evidence and not proof beyond reasonable doubt is necessary for a valid dismissal. The Labor Arbiter was not convinced that the money which petitioner received from Concepcion was intended as payment for a loan and even if it was, it is still unauthorized and prohibited by the company rules. The claim for damages was likewise dismissed for lack of merit.Ruling of the National Labor Relations Commission
On appeal, petitioner argued that the Labor Arbiter erred in relying on the pending criminal case in finding her dismissal as valid and claimed that the charge should first be proven. She thereafter filed an Urgent Manifestation 
to inform the tribunal that on April 20, 2004, the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 167 has rendered a Decision 
acquitting her of the criminal charge and declaring that she merely demanded payment for a loan and thus did not illegally exact money from Concepcion.
The NLRC, however, affirmed the findings of the Labor Arbiter in its Resolution dated August 27, 2004. 
It held that petitioner's acquittal in the criminal case has no bearing on the illegal dismissal case since she was dismissed for accepting money by reason of an unauthorized arrangement with a client. This, according to the NLRC, is an infraction of the company's Code of Conduct for employees punishable by dismissal even for the first violation.
In its Resolution dated November 30, 2004, 
the NLRC denied petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration.Ruling of the Court of Appeals
Petitioner filed a Petition for Certiorari 
with the CA. However, in a Resolution dated March 10, 2005, the CA dismissed the petition for failure of the petitioner to indicate in the petition the actual addresses of the parties and to state in the Verification and Certification of non-forum shopping that there were no other pending cases between the parties at the time of filing. The March 10, 2005 Resolution reads:
Petition is hereby DISMISSED due to the following jurisdictional flaws:
1. Actual addresses of the parties were not disclosed in the petition in contravention of Sec. 3, Rule 46, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure;
2. Non-conformity to the required verification and certification of non-forum shopping by failure to state that there were no other pending cases between the parties at the time of filing (See Sections 4 and 5, Rule 7 and Sec. 1, Rule 65 in relation to Sec. 3, Rule 46 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure). Deficiency is equivalent to the non-filing thereof.
SO ORDERED. 
Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration 
explaining that her petition substantially complied with the provisions of Section 3, Rule 46 of the Rules of Court because it indicated that the parties may be served with notices and processes of the Court through their respective counsels whose addresses were specifically mentioned therein. She also insisted that although the Verification and Certification attached to the petition was an abbreviated version, the same still substantially complied with the Rules. Nonetheless, she submitted her faithful compliance with the Rules by indicating the complete addresses of the parties and of their counsels and submitting a revised Verification and Certification of non-forum shopping. At the same time, she contended that her excusable lapse is not enough reason to dismiss her meritorious petition.
On November 29, 2005, 
the CA rendered its Resolution denying the motion for reconsideration. The said Resolution reads:
Instead of [rectifying] the deficiencies of the petition, the petitioner chose to avoid compliance, arguing more than revising the mistakes explicitly pointed out.Issues
WHEREFORE, for lack of merit, petitioner's March 31, 2005 Motion for Reconsideration is hereby DENIED.
SO ORDERED. 
Hence, this petition anchored on the following grounds:
WITH DUE RESPECT, THE COURT OF APPEALS HAD SHOWN HOSTILITY AGAINST THE PETITIONER AND ACTED DESPOTICALLY BECAUSE THE DEFICIENCIES IN THE PETITION WERE DULY CORRECTED AND THE EXPLANATION MADE FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF THE PETITION IS MERELY TO POINT OUT THAT THIS HONORABLE SUPREME COURT HAD SHOWN LENIENCY EVEN IN MORE SERIOUS CASES AND THAT PETITIONER HAS A MERITORIOUS CASE.
WITH DUE RESPECT, THE NLRC AND THE LABOR ARBITER COMMITTED A SERIOUS ERROR AND ABUSED THEIR DISCRETION IN FINDING THAT PETITIONER OBTAINED OR ACCEPTED MONEY CONSEQUENT OF AN UNAUTHORIZED ARRANGEMENT WITH A WASTE BUYER DESPITE CLEAR EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY AND THE FINDINGS OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT THAT THE P2,000.00 DEMANDED BY THE PETITIONER IS FOR THE PAYMENT OF A LOAN. 
Petitioner questions the propriety of the CA's dismissal of her petition despite correction of the deficiencies in faithful compliance with the rules. She prays for liberality and leniency for the minor lapses she committed so that substantial justice would not be sacrificed at the altar of technicalities.
Petitioner also questions the propriety of the labor tribunals' declaration that her dismissal from employment was legal. She contends that her act of extending a loan to a person and consequently demanding payment for the same should not be considered as sufficient ground for the imposition of the supreme penalty of dismissal.Our Ruling
We partly grant the petition.Rules of procedure should be relaxed when there is substantial and subsequent compliance.
Under Section 3, Rule 46 of the Rules of Court, petitions for certiorari
shall contain, among others, the full names and actual addresses of all the petitioners and respondents. The petitioner should also submit together with the petition a sworn certification that (a) he has not theretofore commenced any other action involving the same issues in any court, tribunal or quasi-judicial agency and, to the best of his knowledge, no such other action or claim is pending therein; (b) if there is such other pending action or claim, he must state the status of the same; and (c) if he should thereafter learn that the same or similar action or claim has been filed or is pending, he shall promptly inform the court within five days therefrom. The Rule explicitly provides that failure to comply with these requirements shall be sufficient ground to dismiss the petition.
In the petition for certiorari
filed before the CA, petitioner indeed failed to indicate the actual addresses of the parties. However, she clearly mentioned that the parties may be served with the Court's notices or processes through their respective counsels whose addresses were clearly specified, viz
Petitioner is of legal age, married, Filipino and may be served with notices, resolutions, decisions and other processes at the office address of the undersigned counsel.
Public respondent National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) is a quasi-judicial government agency clothed by law with exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all cases decided by labor arbiters (Article 217, b, P.D. 442, as amended). Respondent Labor Arbiter Pablo Espiritu, Jr. is a Labor Arbiter at the National Capital Region of the NLRC and clothed by law [with] the authority to hear and decide termination disputes and all claims arising from employer-employee relations (Article 217, Labor Code, as amended). They may be served with notices, resolutions, decisions and other processes at PPSTA Building, Banawe Street, Quezon City.
Private respondent Litton Mills, Inc. (Company for short) is a domestic corporation engaged in the business of manufacturing textile materials. Individual respondent Atty. Rodolfo Marino is its personnel manager. They may be served with notices, resolutions, decisions and other processes through their counsel, Baizas Magsino Recinto Law Offices, Suite 212 Cityland Pioneer, 128 Pioneer Street, Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City. 
To us, the mention of the parties' respective counsel's addresses constitutes substantial compliance with the requirements of Section 3, Rule 46 of the Rules of Court which provides in part that "[t]he petition shall contain the full names and actual addresses of all the petitioners and respondents." Our observation further finds support in Section 2, Rule 13 which pertinently provides that "[i]f any party has appeared by counsel, service upon him shall be made upon his counsel or one of them, unless service upon the party himself is ordered by the Court." As we held in Garrucho v. Court of Appeals, 
"[n]otice or service made upon a party who is represented by counsel is a nullity. Notice to the client and not to his counsel of record is not notice in law."
Moreover, in her motion for reconsideration, petitioner explained that she was of the honest belief that the mention of the counsel's address was sufficient compliance with the rules. At any rate, she fully complied with the same when she indicated in her Motion for Reconsideration the actual addresses of the parties. 
Hence, we are at a loss why the CA still proceeded to deny petitioner's petition for certiorari
and worse, even declared that: "Instead of [rectifying] the deficiencies of the petition, the petitioner chose to avoid compliance, arguing more than revising the mistakes explicitly pointed out." 
The second ground for the CA's denial of petitioner's petition for certiorari
was her alleged failure to indicate in her Verification and Certification of non-forum shopping that there were no other pending cases between the parties at the time of filing thereof. For reference, we reproduce below the pertinent portions of the said petition for certiorari
Verification With Certification
I, LIGAYA B. SANTOS, subscribing under oath, depose and state:
1. I am the petitioner in the above-entitled case;
2. I have caused the preparation and filing of the foregoing petition;
3. I have read the contents of the same and declare that they are true and correct of my personal knowledge;
4. I certify that I have not caused the filing to the Court of Appeals, to the Supreme Court or to any other Court or body of a case similar to the instant petition and should I learn that the existence or pendency of a similar case at the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court or any other Court or body, I undertake to inform this Court within five (5) days from knowledge.
(Sgd.) LIGAYA B. SANTOS 
A reading of said Verification with Certification reveals that petitioner nonetheless certified therein that she has not filed a similar case before any other court or tribunal and that she would inform the court if she learns of a pending case similar to the one she had filed therein. This, to our mind is more than substantial compliance with the requirements of the Rules. It has been held that "with respect to the contents of the certification[,] x x x the rule on substantial compliance may be availed of." 
Besides, in her Motion for Reconsideration, petitioner rectified the deficiency in said Verification with Certification, viz
VERIFICATION & CERTIFICATION
OF NON-FORUM SHOPPING
I, LIGAYA SANTOS, resident of 261 B Rodriguez Avenue, Manggahan, Pasig City, after being sworn in accordance with law, depose and state:
I am the petitioner in the above-entitled case;
I have caused the preparation and filing of the foregoing Motion for Reconsideration;
I have read the contents of the same and declare that they are true and correct of my personal knowledge;
I certify that I have not theretofore commenced any action or filed any claim involving the same issues in any court, tribunal or quasi-judicial agency and to the best of my knowledge, no such other action is pending therein and should I learn that the same or similar action or claim has been filed or is pending, I [shall] immediately inform this Honorable Court within five (5) days from knowledge or notice.
(Sgd.) LIGAYA B. SANTOS
It is settled that "subsequent and substantial compliance may call for the relaxation of the rules of procedure." 
The Court has time and again relaxed the rigid application of the rules to offer full opportunity for parties to ventilate their causes and defenses in order to promote rather than frustrate the ends of justice. 
Because there was substantial and subsequent compliance in this case, we resolve to apply the liberal construction of the rules if only to secure the greater interest of justice. Thus, the CA should have given due course to the petition.
Anent the arguments raised by petitioner pertaining to the merits of the case, we deem it proper to remand the adjudication thereof to the CA.WHEREFORE
, the Petition for Review on Certiorari
is PARTLY GRANTED
. The assailed March 10, 2005 and November 29, 2005 Resolutions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 88601, are hereby SET ASIDE
. The case is REMANDED
to the Court of Appeals which is directed to give due course to the petition and adjudicate the same on the merits with dispatch.SO ORDERED.Corona, C.J., (Chairperson), Leonardo-De Castro, Perez
, and Mendoza, JJ.
Per Special Order No. 1022 dated June 10, 2011.**
Also referred as Atty. Rodolfo Marino in some parts of the records. Fiel v. Kris Security Systems, Inc
., 448 Phil.657, 662 (2003). Rollo
, pp. 10-25.
, pp. 148-149; penned by Associate Justice Vicente Q. Roxas and concurred in by Associate Justices Portia Aliño-Hormachuelos and Juan Q. Enriquez, Jr.
Id. at 159.
Id. at 18-27 and 28-29, respectively; penned by Presiding Commissioner Raul T. Aquino and concurred in by Commissioners Victoriano R. Calaycay and Angelita A. Gacutan.
Id. at 30-41.
Id. at 94.
Dated September 29, 2002, id. at 95-96.
See Investigation Report of Police dated September 30, 2002, id. at 97.
Id at 107-109.
Id. at 110-112.
Id. at 113-115.
Id. at 117.
Id. at 121.
Id. at 119-120.
Id. at 143-146.
Id. at 142-146.
Id. at 18-27.
Id. at 28-29.
Id. at 2-17.
Id. at 148.
Id. at 152-158.
Id. at 159.
, p. 19.
, pp. 4-5.
489 Phil. 150, 156 (2005).
, p. 154.
See Resolution of November 29, 2005, id. at 177.
Id. at 16. Ching v. The Secretary of Justice
, 517 Phil. 151, 166 (2006). See also Ateneo de Naga University v. Manalo
, 497 Phil. 635, 646 (2005); MC Engineering Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission
, 412 Phil. 614, 622 (2001). 
, p. 157. Security Bank Corporation v. Indiana Aerospace University,
500 Phil. 51, 60 (2005). Quintano v. National Labor Relations Commission
, 487 Phil. 412, 426 (2004).