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Remedial Recent SC Decisions

Remedial Recent SC Decisions

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Remedial Law
Civil Procedure
Annulment of judgment; direct recourse to this remedynot allowed if other appropriate remedies are available.Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 47 of the Rules of Court imposethe conditions for the availment of the remedy of annulment of judgment, viz.:Section 1. Coverage.- This Rule shall govern theannulment by the Court of Appeals of judgments or finalorders and resolutions in civil actions of Regional TrialCourts for which the ordinary remedies of new trial,appeal, petition for relief or other appropriate remediesare no longer available through no fault of the petitioner.Section 2. Groundsfor annulment. – The annulment maybe based only on the grounds of extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction.Extrinsic fraud shall not be a valid ground if it wasavailed of, or could have been availed of, in a motion fornew trial or petition for relief.Section 1, Rule 47 provides that it does not allow a directrecourse to a petition for annulment of judgment if otherappropriate remedies are available, such as a petition fornew trial, appeal or a petition for relief. If petitioner failsto avail of these remedies without sufficient justification,she cannot resort to the action for annulment of judgmentunder Rule 47, for otherwise, she would benefit from herinaction or negligence.We found no reversible error committed by the CA indismissing the petition for annulment of judgment. TheSpouses Arcenas were declared non-suited for failure toappear at the pre-trial conference of Civil Case No. 072-07-2002 on November 11, 2003, and respondent bank wasallowed to present evidence on its counterclaim onJanuary 8, 2004. Such Order was received by thesecretary of petitioner’s counsel on November 17, 2003.Petitioner did not move to set aside the RTC’s order of non-suit. While petitioner’s counsel claimed that he onlylearned of such Order of non-suit on December 4, 2003,yet no motion to lift the order of non-suit was filed.Notably, from December 4, 2003 to the scheduled hearingon January 8, 2004, petitioner did not take any remedialaction to lift the order of non-suit when she had theopportunity to do so. In fact, petitioner and her counseldid not also appear on the scheduled January 8, 2004hearing wherein respondent bank presented evidence onits counterclaim and submitted the case for decision. Itwas only on January 14, 2004 when petitioner and herhusband filed a pleading captioned as Manifestation andMotion, wherein they prayed for the reconsideration of theOrders dated November 11, 2003 and January 8, 2004 andfor further pre-trial conference. The RTC denied suchManifestation and Motion in its Order dated March 9, 2004,as the same was filed beyond the reglementary period,and such Order was received by petitioner on March 12,2004. Petitioner then filed with the CA a Petition forannulment of order of non-suit under Rule 47 of the Rulesof Court on the ground of extrinsic fraud. The CA deniedthe petition as petitioner failed to avail of the appropriateremedies provided by the Rules to which we agree.XXX XXX XXXPetitioner tries to justify her failure to avail of theappropriate remedies on a promise of settlement.However, such promise was not an excuse for petitioner’scounsel not to lift the order of non-suit and to file apetition for relief. Petitioner’s claim that she was presentwhen respondent bank’s counsel moved for the issuance of the order of non-suit against her was not proven by anyevidence. There was indeed a failure to show, to oursatisfaction, that petitioner could not have availed of theordinary and appropriate remedies under the Rules. Thus,she cannot resort to the remedy under Rule 47 of theRules; otherwise, she would benefit from her inaction ornegligence.
Spouses Oscar Arcenas and Dolores Arcenasvs. Queen City Development Bank and Court of Appeals(Nineteenth Division), G.R. No. 166819, June 16, 2010.
Annulment of judgment; extrinsic fraud. Petitioner arguesthat when respondent banks counsel moved for theissuance of the Order of non-suit against her and herhusband during the November 11, 2003 hearing, extrinsicfraud was committed on them since respondent bankscounsel concealed from the RTC that there was agentleman’s agreement for the settlement of the subjectcivil cases. We are not persuaded. It bears stressing thatwhen petitioner’s counsel filed the Manifestation andMotion asking for reconsideration of the Order declaringthe Spouses Arcenas non-suited, the reason stated washonest mistake or excusable negligence. To show suchmistake, he explained that since there was a pendingnegotiation for settlement in Civil Case Nos. V-006-01-2002and V-072-07-2002, which were both pending in the samecourt, and the parties had to come up with a settlementfor the hearing of Civil Case No. V-006-01-2002 scheduledon December 4, 2004, petitioner’s counsel then asked forthe postponement of the scheduled November 11, 2003hearing set for the pre-trial conference of Civil Case No. V-072-07-2002 one day before the said date, because of conflict of schedule and since he had in mind theDecember 4, 2003 deadline to submit the settlement.Notably, petitioner’s counsel admitted that the date setfor the submission of settlement in Civil Case No. V-072-07-2002 was indeed November 11, 2003; and that hisfailure to attend the hearings and to file a motion forreconsideration of the declaration of petitioner as non-suited was because of his mistaken belief that respondentbank was earnestly seeking a settlement. There wasnothing in the Manifestation and Motion which alluded thecommission of extrinsic fraud to respondent bankscounsel. Moreover, since petitioner claimed that therewas extrinsic fraud committed by respondent bankscounsel, she could have filed a petition for relief underRule 38 within the period provided for by the Rules of Court, but she did not. Section 2, Rule 47 clearly statesthat extrinsic fraud shall not be a valid ground forannulment of order if it was availed of, or could have beenavailed of, in a motion for new trial or petition for relief.Thus, extrinsic fraud is effectively barred if it could havebeen raised as a ground in an available remedial measure.
Spouses Oscar Arcenas and Dolores Arcenas vs. QueenCity Development Bank and Court of Appeals(Nineteenth Division), G.R. No. 166819, June 16, 2010
Remedial Law
Annulment of order of non-suit; no forum shopping wherepetitioner also files notice of appeal pertaining to decisionon the merits.Finally, we find no merit in respondentbank’s claim that petitioner committed forum shopping.The issue brought before us is whether the CA correctlydismissed petitioner’s petition for annulment of the Orderdated November 11, 2003 declaring her non-suited forfailure to appear at the pre-trial conference of Civil CaseNo. V-072-07-2002. On the other hand, petitioner’s Noticeof Appeal in Civil Case Nos. V-006-01-2002 and V-072-07-2002 pertained to the decision of the RTC rendered on themerits.
Spouses Oscar Arcenas and Dolores Arcenas vs.Queen City Development Bank and Court of Appeals(Nineteenth Division), G.R. No. 166819, June 16, 2010
Appeals; effect of failure to appeal. In its Memorandum,SPI prays that petitioners be ordered to pay 3% interestmonthly as stipulated in the Contract for Lease, plusattorney’s fees. However, as SPI did not appeal the RTCDecision before the appellate court, we cannot act on thesame. It is well-settled that a party who has not appealedfrom a Decision cannot seek any relief other than what isprovided in the judgment appealed from. SPI did notappeal, thus it cannot obtain from the appellate court anyaffirmative relief other than those granted in the Decisionof the court below. It can only advance any argument thatit may deem necessary to defeat petitioners’ claim or touphold the Decision that is being disputed, and it canassign errors in its brief if such is required to strengthenthe views expressed by the court a quo. These assignederrors, in turn, may be considered by the appellate courtsolely to maintain the appealed decision on other grounds,but not for the purpose of reversing or modifying thejudgment in SPI’s favor and giving it other reliefs.We find on record that SPI’s counsel, with the concurrenceof its Vice President, withdrew his appearance onNovember 24, 2000. The RTC granted said withdrawal inits Order dated January 5, 2001. Subsequently, the casewas decided by the RTC and appealed by the petitioners tothe CA. In due time, the CA rendered judgment on thesame and petitioners filed this Petition for Review onCertiorari. SPI did not interpose an appeal from the RTCDecision nor from the CA Decision. After more than sixyears, on September 13, 2007, a new law firm entered itsappearance as counsel of SPI. SPI now claims that it wasnot able to appeal the Decision of the RTC andsubsequently of the CA which failed to impose 3% monthlyinterest as provided in the Contract of Lease because itnever received said Decisions, considering that its counselhas migrated to another country and that petitionersmisled the courts about SPIs address. We are notpersuaded. SPI failed to exercise due diligence in keepingitself updated on the developments of the case. That itserstwhile counsel has not communicated for a long periodof time and has migrated abroad, should have cautioned itthat something was amiss with the case. By that time, SPIshould have initiated moves to locate its counsel or toinquire from the court on the progress of the case. Itshould have ensured that its address on record with thecourt is updated and current. Thus, it has been equallystressed that litigants represented by counsel should notexpect that all they need to do is sit back, relax and awaitthe outcome of the case. Instead, they should give thenecessary assistance to their counsel and exercise duediligence to monitor the status of the case for what is atstake is ultimately their interest.
Selwyn F. Lao, et al.vs. Special Plans, Inc., G.R. No. 164791, June 29, 2010
Appeals; factual findings of trial court. Jurisprudencedictates that factual findings of the trial court, especiallywhen affirmed by the appellate court, are accorded thehighest degree of respect and are considered conclusivebetween the parties. A review of such findings by thisCourt is not warranted except for highly meritoriouscircumstances when: (1) the findings of a trial court aregrounded entirely on speculation, surmises or conjectures;(2) a lower court’s inference from its factual findings ismanifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) there isgrave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts; (4)the findings of the appellate court go beyond the issues of the case, or fail to notice certain relevant facts which, if properly considered, will justify a different conclusion; (5)there is a misappreciation of facts; (6) the findings of factare conclusions without mention of the specific evidenceon which they are based, are premised on the absence of evidence, or are contradicted by evidence on record.None of the foregoing exceptions which would warrant areversal of the assailed decision obtains in this instance.
St. Joseph’s College, Sr., Josephini Ambatali, SFIC, andRosalinda Tabugo vs. Jayson Miranda, represented byhis father, Rodolfo S. Miranda, G.R. No. 182353, June29, 2010
Appeals; “Fresh period rulein “Neypes v. Court of Appeals” not applicable to administrative appeal fromDENR regional office to DENR Secretary.TheissuebeforetheCourtofAppeals was whether the “freshperiod rule” laid down in Neypes applies to petitioner’scase, i.e., that he had a fresh period of 15 days to appealRD Sampulna’s October 16, 2007 Order to the DENRSecretary, counted from her notice on September 12, 2007of the RDs Order of September 6, 2007 denying hermotion for reconsideration of the decision. The “freshperiod rule” in Neypes declares:To standardize the appeal periods provided in theRulesand to afford litigants fair opportunity to appeal theircases, the Court deems it practical to allow a fresh periodof 15 days within which to file the notice of appealin theRegional Trial Court, counted from receipt of the orderdismissing a motion for a new trial or motion forreconsideration.Henceforth, this “fresh period ruleshallalsoapplytoRule40 governing appeals from theMunicipal Trial Courts to the Regional Trial Courts; Rule42on petitions for review from the Regional Trial Courts tothe Court of Appeals; Rule43 on appeals from quasi-judicial agencies to the Court of Appeals; and Rule45governing appeals by certiorari to the Supreme Court. Thenew rule aims to regiment or make the appeal perioduniform, to be counted from receipt of the order denyingthe motion for new trial, motion for reconsideration(whether full or partial) or any final order or resolution.x x x. This pronouncement is not inconsistent with
Remedial Law
Rule41, Section3oftheRules which states that the appealshall be taken within 15 days from notice of judgment orfinal order appealed from. The use of the disjunctive word“or” signifies disassociation and independence of one thingfrom another. It should, as a rule, be construed in thesense in which it ordinarily implies. Hence, the use of “or” in the above provision supposes that the notice of appeal may be filed within 15 days from notice of judgment or within 15 days from notice of the “finalorder,” which we already determined to refer to the x x xorder denying the motion for a new trial orreconsideration.Neither does this new rule run counter to the spirit of Section39ofBP129 which shortened the appeal period from30 days to 15 days to hasten the disposition of cases. Theoriginal period of appeal x x x remains and therequirement for strict compliance still applies.The freshperiod of 15 days becomes significant only when a partyopts to file a motion for reconsideration. In this manner,the trial court which rendered the assailed decision isgiven another opportunity to review the case and, in theprocess, minimize and/or rectify any error of judgment.While we aim to resolve cases with dispatch and to havejudgments of courts become final at some definite time,we likewise aspire to deliver justice fairly.In this case, the new period of 15 days eradicates theconfusion as to when the 15-day appeal period should becounted–from receipt of notice of judgment x x x or fromreceipt of notice of “final order” appealed from x x x.To recapitulate, a party litigant may either file hisnotice of appeal within 15 days from receipt of theRegional Trial Court’s decision or file it within 15 days fromreceipt of the order (the “final order”) denying his motionfor new trial or motion for reconsideration. Obviously, thenew 15-day period may be availed of only if either motionis filed; otherwise, the decision becomes final andexecutory after the lapse of the original appeal periodprovided in Rule 41, Section 3. (emphasis and underscoringsupplied; italics in the original)XXX XXX XXXAs reflected in the above-quoted portion of the decision inNeypes, the “fresh period rule” shall apply to Rule40(appeals from the Municipal Trial Courts to the RegionalTrial Courts); Rule41 (appeals from the Regional TrialCourts to the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court); Rule42(appeals from the Regional Trial Courts to the Court of Appeals); Rule43 (appeals from quasi-judicial agencies tothe Court of Appeals); and Rule45 (appeals by certiorari tothe Supreme Court). Obviously, these Rules cover judicialproceedings under the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.Petitioner’s present case is administrative in natureinvolving an appeal from the decision or order of the DENRregional office to the DENR Secretary. Such appeal isindeed governed by Section 1 of Administrative Order No.87, Series of 1990. As earlier quoted, Section 1 clearlyprovides that if the motion for reconsideration is denied,the movant shall perfect his appeal “during the remainderof the period of appeal, reckoned from receipt of theresolution of denial;” whereas if the decision is reversed,the adverse party has a fresh 15-day period to perfect hisappeal. Rule 41, Section 3 of the Rules of Court, asclarified in Neypes, being inconsistent with Section 1 of Administrative Order No. 87, Series of 1990, it may notapply to the case of petitioner whose motion forreconsideration was denied.
Julieta Panolino vs.Josephine L. Tajala, G.R. No. 183616, June 29, 2010
Appeals; late filing excused in interest of substantialjustice. It is settled that an appeal must be perfectedwithin the reglementary period provided by law;otherwise, the decision becomes final and executory.Before the Supreme Court, a petition for review oncertiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of CivilProcedure, as amended, must be filed within fifteen (15)days from notice of the judgment or final order orresolution appealed from, or of the denial of thepetitioner’s motion for new trial or reconsideration filed indue time after notice of the judgment. Even then, reviewis not a matter of right, but of sound judicial discretion,and may be granted only when there are special andimportant reasons therefor. In the case at bar, the DocketDivision of the OSG received a copy of the CA decision onNovember 7, 2007. It was not until February 1, 2008 oralmost three (3) months however, that the OSG, forpetitioner, filed a petition for review on certiorari withthis Court. The OSG pleads for understanding consideringthe scarcity of its lawyers and the inadvertence of thetemporarily-designated OIC of Division XV in overlookingthat the CA decision was adverse to PEZA.While the Court realizes the OSG’s difficulty in having onlythree (3) lawyers working full time on its cases, the OSGcould have easily asked for an extension of time withinwhich to file the petition. More importantly, as thegovernment agency tasked to represent the government inlitigations, the OSG should perform its duty withpromptness and utmost diligence. However, upon carefulconsideration of the merits of this case, the Court isinclined to overlook this procedural lapse in the interest of substantial justice. Although a party is bound by the actsof its counsel, including the latters mistakes andnegligence, a departure from this rule is warranted wheresuch mistake or neglect would result in serious injustice tothe client. Indeed, procedural rules may be relaxed forpersuasive reasons to relieve a litigant of an injustice notcommensurate with his failure to comply with theprescribed procedure. More so, when to allow the assaileddecision to go unchecked would set a precedent that willsanction a violation of substantive law. Such is thesituation in this case.
Philippine Economic ZoneAuthority, represented herein by Dir. Gen. Lilia B. DeLima vs. Joseph Jude Carantes and all the other heirs of Maximino Carantes, G.R. No. 181274. June 23, 2010
Appeals; Rule 45 petition may raise only questions of law.At the outset, we note that this recourse is a petition forreview on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.Under Section 1 of the Rule, such a petition shall raiseonly questions of law which must be distinctly alleged inthe appropriate pleading. In a case involving a question of law, the resolution of the issue must rest solely on whatthe law provides for a given set of facts drawn from the

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