National Lumber and Hardware Co. vs. Pedro J. Velasco | G.R. No. L-14109, January 30, 1960

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Republic of the Philippines


G.R. No. L-14109 | January 30, 1960

NATIONAL LUMBER and HARDWARE CO., plaintiff-appellee,
PEDRO J. VELASCO, defendant-appellant.

Navarro, Tirona and Tirona for appellant.
Mariano M. de Joya for appellee.


Appeal from an order of the Court of First Instance of Manila denying defendant-appellant’s motion for new trial.

On August 21, 1952, a complaint was filed with the Municipal Court of Manila for the collection of the sum of P481.00, plus interest, allegedly representing the unpaid balance of the costs of lumber purchased by the defendant from the plaintiff. On January 17, 1953, after trial, said court rendered judgment in favor of plaintiff.

Defendant appealed to the Court of First Instance of Manila and after the issues were therein joined, the first hearing was set for March 23, 1954. On the 16th of the same month, however, counsel for defendant filed an “Urgent Ex-Parte Petition for Postponement of Hearing” on the ground that on the date set for hearing, the counsel would be busy with another case in Baguio City and the defendant would similarly be busy.

The hearing was scheduled for October 26, 1954, upon plaintiff’s motion, but on account of defendant’s “Very Urgent Ex-parte Petition for Change of Date of Hearing” due, allegedly, to pressure of work, the hearing was again for counsel to have filed a motion for postponement in order to able the court to resolve the same and to notify him of such resolution in due time.

If defendant-appellant was really ill on the date set for hearing, at least his counsel should have appeared to find out what action was taken on his motion for further postponement and be present at the presentation of the evidence for the plaintiff, cross-examine its witnesses and ask for an opportunity to present his own evidence at another time. While defendant-appellant’s request for postponement may not be entirely groundless, neither he nor his counsel had reason to assume that the trial court would grant it (Sarreal vs. Tan, 92 Phil., 689, 49 Off. Gaz., 499),especially if their motion was filed in less than three days’ notice (Bautista vs. Municipal Council of Mandaluyong, et al., 98 Phil., 409, 52 Off. Gaz., p. 759). And it has been held time and again that motions for continuance are addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court and this discretion should not be interfered with unless it is shown to have been abused (See Fabillo vs. Tiongko and Egay, 4 Phil., 317; Linis vs. Rovira, 61 Phil., 138; Dimayuga vs.Dimayuga, 96 Phil., 859, 51 Off. Gaz., p. 2397; Salvador Cruz vs. Malabayabas, 105 Phil., 708; Rufino Adan et al. vs. Nicasia Pantalla, 105 Phil., 921).

Remarkably, the present case had been ready for trial as far back as May, 1953, when the last pleading was filed. From that date up to the hearing on August 9, 1956, trial had been postponed four times, all at the instance of the defendant-appellant. It cannot, therefore, be said that appellant has been deprived of the opportunity to defend himself.

In view of the foregoing, the order appealed from is affirmed, with costs against the appellant.

Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Bautista Angelo, Labrador and Barrera, JJ., concur.