Saturday, November 4, 2023



G.R. No. 215121

June 23, 2021


Dr. Agbayani was charged before the MeTC with reckless imprudence resulting ln serious physical injuries in an Information that reads:

On or about January 5, 2006. in the City of Manila, Philippines, the accused, being then the surgeon and/or orthopoedist of complainant Saul Q- Hofilena, Jr., did then and there voluntarily but without malice, conduct an arthroscopy upon said complainant in a reckless manner by using a medical instrument (arthroscope) that was not sterilized without taking the necessary precaution to avoid injury to said complainant, taking into consideration his employment or occupation and degree of intelligence, causing as a consequence of his said carelessness, recklessness, negligence, imprudence and lack of precaution the said complainant to suffer serious physical injuries on his left knee which rendered him incapacitated for work and/or labor for more than thirty (30) days and in fact said complainant had undergone another operation at St. Luke's Hospital, Quezon City on his left knee to remove the infection introduced by the accused and subsequent operation on his right wrist as a result of walking with a care for a prolonged period of time, to the damage and prejudice of said Saul Q. Hofilena. Jr.

Dr. Agbayani pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued.

The MeTC rendered its Decision finding Dr. Agbayani guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Serious Physical Injuries. 

Petitioner appealed before the RTC on September 3, 2013. Thereafter, on October 11, 2013, the RTC ordered him to file a memorandum or appeal as per Section 7(b), Rule 40 of the Rules of Court. The October 11, 2013 Order was received by petitioner on November 19, 2013. Thus, petitioner had until December 4, 2013 within which to file his appeal memorandum. However, instead of filing his appeal memorandum, he filed a motion asking for an extension of 15 days which was granted by the RTC in its December 16, 2013 Order. Hence, petitioner had until December 19, 2013 within which to file his appeal memorandum. However, he failed to do so.

The RTC dismissed petitioner's appeal for failure to file an appeal memorandum within the reglementary period.

The CA dismissed petitioner’s appeal for lack of merit hence, this Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45.


Whether the CA gravely abused its discretion and erred in dismissing the appeal (a) for failure to attach all the pleadings and documents pertinent to the petition (b) upholding RTC’s dismissal of his appeal for failure to file the appeal memorandum within the period of extension originally granted and (c) in failing to consider and reverse MeTC’s erroneous conviction of petitioner for Reckless Imprudence resulting in serious physical injuries.


The Supreme Court held that the appellate court committed no reversible error when it dismissed outright petitioner's appeal for lack of merit.

(a) The SC ruled that Agbayani's Petition for Review before the appellate court lacked material portions of the record that would support his allegations in the petition. The SC cited the case of Barcenas vs Spouses Tomas, where it declared that petitioners are required by the Rules or Court to provide the appellate court with certified true copies or the judgments or final order subject of review, as well as the material portions of the record.  

(b) As regards petitioner's failure to timely submit his appeal memorandum before the RTC, Section 7(b), Rule 40 of the Rules of Court explicitly states that failure of the appellant to file a memorandum within 15 days from filing a notice of appeal shall be a ground for the dismissal or such appeal. 

The SC cited its ruling in the case of Enriquez v. CA viz.:

Rule 40, Section 7 (b) provides that, "it shall be the duty of the appellant to submit a memorandum" and failure to do so "shall be a ground for dismissal of the appeal." The use of the word "shall" in a statue or rule expresses what is mandatory and compulsory. Further. the Rule imposes upon an appellant the "duty" to submit his memorandum. 

Thus, under the express mandate of said Rule, the appellate is duty-bound to submit his memorandum on appeal. Such submission is not a matter of discretion on his part.  His failure to comply with this mandate or to perform said duty will compel the RTC to dismiss his appeal.

A perusal of the records reveal that petitioner was granted an extension of 15 days or until December 19, 2013 within which to file his appeal memorandum. However, instead of submitting his memorandum, petitioner filed two more motions for extension with the expectation that the same would be granted by the RTC. Petitioner should not expect that his motions for extension would be granted much less for the period sought for.

His counsel's excuse of "heavy workload" does not persuade. It bears stressing that petitioner had 15 days to file a notice of appeal, another 15 days to file a memorandum from such notice and an extension of 15 days to file the said memorandum. In sum, petitioner had 45 days to prepare his appeal memorandum which is more than sufficient for his counsel to complete the drafting, printing, proofreading and filing of his memorandum.

The SC stressed that an appeal is a statutory right and the party who intends to appeal must comply with the rules and procedures governing appeals, otherwise, the right to appeal may be lost.

(c)On the issue of the non-sterilization of the arthroscope, the SC stressed the well­ settled rule that in a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, the Court only dwells on questions of law and not questions of facts. The SC held that the sterilization or non­ sterilization of the arthroscope is a question of fact as it involved a review of the probative value of the evidence presented before and considered by the MeTC. Besides, petitioner had the opportunity to raise factual issues before the RTC and CA. However, he failed to take advantage of the opportunity when he unjustifiably and unmeritoriously failed to submit an appeal memorandum.

The SC deemed it necessary however to modify the penalty imposed by the MeTC considering the circumstances of this case and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law. The SC sentenced Dr. Benigno A. Agbayani, Jr. to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of one (1) month and one (I) day of arresto mayor, as minimum, to one (1) year and one (l) day of prision coreccional, as maximum.

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