[CONSTI I | LEGARDA | D2017

]

Date Title Ponente Doctrine Law

Aug 23 2012 GR No. 171182 UP vs. Dizon Bersamin Retroactivity of Procedural/Remedial Statues Article 4 of NCC | Article 2252 of NCC

FACTS  Petitioner UP contracted respondent Stern Builders Inc. for the extension and renovation of the CAS Building in UPLB  When UP failed to pay in the amount of P273k due COA disallowance, respondent filed a case against UP in RTC QC that resulted in the decision to garnish public funds amounting to P16M  On Nov 28, 2001 RTC rendered a decision in favor of respondent. UP failed to file an appeal during the 15-day reglementary period after promulgation of said decision.  UP files for appeal only on June 3 2002, arguing that the UP OLS only received a copy May 31 2002. RTC denied said appeal since it has been filed out of time.  RTC issues writ of execution Oct 4 2002  UP files to CA and SC for certiorari to assail decision due to the denial of due course – petition denied  On Dec 21 2004, RTC respondent Judge Dizon orders for the release of garnished funds of UP  On Jan 10 2005, UP files for certiorari to assail said decision to CA – petition granted and TRO filed  After 60-day TRO, RTC directs sheriff to receive the check from DBP  On July 8, 2005 Respondent Dizon ordered the non-withdrawal of check on basis the certiorari is pending  On Sept 16 2005, UP files for certiorari – denied on Dec 2005 but UP files for petition for review  On Jan 2006, Dizon denies motion to withdraw since UP is filing for petition to CA  On Jan 3 2007, RTC Judge Yadao (replaced Dizon) now ordered the withdrawal  On Jan 22 2007, UP filed for TRO to SC – granted  UP files petition of review for RTC decision to withdraw funds ISSUES  WoN the finality of the Nov 28 2001 decision can be challenged  WoN the fresh-period rule announced in Neypes v CA can be given retroactive application HELD Petition GRANTED. CA decision REVERSED and SET ASIDE. RTC order for garnishment of funds ANNULED. Awards for actual damages, moral damages, and attorney’s fees in RTC decision DELETED. Can the finality of the Nov 28 2001 decision be challenged?  YES. As a general rule, once a decision has become final and executory, the prevailing party should not be deprived of reaping the fruits of victory. But an exception to this would be when circumstances transpire after the finality of the decision to render the execution unjust and inequitable.  In the present case, SC rules that the non-acceptance of RTC to the appeal made by UP for the Nov 28 2001 decision was inequitable and was a clear violation to UP’s right to due process: o The service of the denial for MR was defective since it was not given to the counsel of record, the OLS, but to Atty Nolasco of UPLB Legal. Only by May 31 2002 did OLS receive a copy o The filing of the notice of appeal on Jun 3 was well within the reglementary period (as per the fresh-period rule) o For equity, the fresh-period rule should and must apply in this case o QED the finality of RTC decision is set aside Can the fresh-period rule announced in Neypes v CA be given retroactive application?  YES. The retroactive effect of a procedural law does not come within the legal conception of “retroactivity” or is not subject to the general rule prohibiting the retroactive operation of statutes (Sec 4, NCC) – rather, its retroactivity is already given since, by the nature of rules of procedure, no vested right is impinged in its application (Sec 2252, NCC)  In the present case, the retroactive application of the fresh-period rule need not even be questioned since the rule came into effect in 1998 by the Neypes v CA judgment

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