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Heirs of George Poe VS. Malayan Insurance Company G.R. No.

156302, April 07, 2009 Ponente: Chico- Nazario, J. Avena Doctrine (March 14) Former rule: Filing of MR or MNT has the effect of stopping the running of the period (22.2) the period will start to run again after you receive the notice of the cessation of the action which interrupted the period to appeal. Post Neypes new rule: Fresh period rule, 15 days to from receipt of the order denying the MR or the MNT. because of the Fresh Period rule you have 15 days again from May 5. In accordance with AM 7-7-12 Hence, Rule 37.5 is moot and academic already. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Parties: Decedent: George Poe; Petitioner: Heirs of George Poe Truck Onwer: Rhoda Santos ; Driver: Willie Labrador (Respondent) Insurance: Malayan Insurance Company Facts: - [January, 1995] At about 4:45am while waiting for a ride to work in front of Capital Garments Co, Ortigas Extension, George Poe was run over by a 10 wheeler cargo truck owned by Rhoda Santos (Rhoda), driven by Willie Labrador, insured with Malayan Insurance Company (MICI) - The heirs of George Poe (heirs) filed with the RTC a complaint for damages against Rhoda and Malayan Insurance Company (MICI) praying for actual, moral and exemplary damages. - Rhoda in her answer admitted the aforementioned facts, but denied liability for the death of George averring that the accident was caused by the negligent act of the victim is surreptitiously crossing the road. - MICI in its answer also admitted the aforementioned facts but claimed that its liability would only attach if there is a judicial pronouncement that both Rohda and her driver were liable, and that such liability would be subject to the limitations in the insurance contract. - During trial Rhoda & MICI were scheduled to adduce evidence, but failed to do so despite several postponements granted by the RTC. - [June 1995] The RTC, upon motion of heirs, issued an order declaring that MICI and Rhoda had waived their right to present evidence and ordered the parties to submit their memorandums after which the case would be deemed submitted for decision. - Rhoda & MICI filed a motion for reconsideration of the 1995 RTC order, but the MR was denied. - Rhoda & MICI then filed a Petition for Certiorari, Mandamus, Prohibition and Injunction with Prayer for a Temporary Restraining Order and Writ of Preliminary Injunction, assailing the Orders dated 9 June 1995 and 11 August 1995 of the RTC foreclosing their right to adduce evidence, with the CA. CA denied the petition. It was elevated to the SC which likewise dismissed the petition.

- [ Feb 28, 2000] (1st RTC decision) RTC rendered a decision in favor of the heirs, ordering Rhoda& MICI jointly and solidarily pay actual, moral, exemplary damages and attorneys fees to the heirs. [ March 14, 2000] Rhoda & MICI received their copy of the RTC decision. [ March 22, 2000] Rhoda & MICI filed a Motion for reconsideration of the RTC decision averring that the RTC erred in ruling that the obligation of Rhoda and MICI was solildary and that the computation of Georges loss of earning capacity was not in accord w/ established law and jurisprudence. [ Jan 24, 2001] (2nd RTC order) RTC issued an order amending its original decision (Feb 28,2000) decision, ruling that Rhoda & MICI were not solidarily liable, DISMISSING the case against MICI, and re computing the amount of actual damages due to the heirs, substantially reducing the award. [ Unspecified date after Jan 24, 2001] Heirs filed a motion for reconsideration of the RTCs Jan 24, 2001 order (aforementioned). To which MICI filed a vigorous opposition to the motion for reconsideration.

- [ June 15, 2001] (3rd RTC order) RTC issued an order REINSTATING its Feb 28, 2000 decision, ruling

- [ June 27, 2001] MICI received a copy of the June 15, 2001 RTC order reinstating its first decision. - [ July 9, 2001] MICI filed a Notice of appeal of the Feb 28, 2000 decision. Rhoda did not join MICI in its notice of appeal. On the other hand the heirs filed an opposition to the notice of appeal w/ motion for writ of execution. [ Sept 6, 2001] RTC denied the notice of appeal and granted the writ of execution ratiocinating that: since the (Feb 28,2000) RTC decision in favor of the heirs, was received by MICI on (March 14, 2000), the 15 day period to appeal should be reckoned from that date (March 14). So that when MICI mailed it motion for reconsideration on (March 22, 2000), 8 days had already lapsed, leaving MICI a remaining 7 days to file a notice of appeal, the period of prescription being interrupted by the filing of the motion for reconsideration. Hence, When MICI received the last RTC order (June 15, 2001 RTC order reinstating its Feb 28, 2000 decision), on June (27, 2001), MICI only had the remaining 7 days to file its appeal. MICI however, only filed its notice of appeal on (July 9, 2001) 12 days after it received the order, 5 days too late. [ unspecified date] MICI filed a petition for Certiorari (65) before the CA alleging GAD on the part of the RTC in denying its appeal and granting the Writ of Execution, as well has in holding MICI solidarily liable with Rhoda. [ June 26, 2000] CA granted the Petition for Certiorari, citing the case of Sta. Romana v Lacson ratiocinating that: Where the court of origin made a through restudy of the original judgement and rendered the amended judgement only after considering all the factual and legal issues, the amended decision is an entirely new decision which superseded the past decision. For all intents and purposes, then, the trial court entered a new judgement from which the period to appeal must be reckoned. In this case, the 15 day period to appeal should be counted anew from the date MICI received the last RTC order (June 15, 2001) on June 27 2001.Thus when MICI filed its notice of appeal, on July 9, 2001, it was well within the reglematary period, which was until July 12, 2001. [ November 29, 2002] CA denied the Heirs Motion for reconsideration, hence the present Petition for Review before the SC.

ISSUES: 1. WON the notice of Appeal Filed by MICI before the RTC was filed out of time? NO. Applying the fresh period rule (Neypes v CA) MICI had fresh 15 days from the time it received the last order of the RTC to file its notice of appeal, having filed it 12 days after receipt of said order, the notice was not filed out of time. 2. WON the case should be remanded? NO. 3. WON MICI is solidarily liable w/ Rhoda to pay damages to Heirs? YES. 4. WON the amount of damages awarded was proper? HELD: Notice of appeal filed by MICI before RTC was filed on time. But instead of remanding the case to the RTC, SC ruled against MICI, ordering MICI and Rhoda jointly and severally to pay damages to the Heirs. RATIO: 1. Applying the fresh period rule , MICIs notice of appeal was not filed out of time. - The period for filing a Notice of Appeal is set by Rule 41.3 ROC 41.3. Period of ordinary appeal. The appeal shall be taken within 15 days from notice of the judgment or final order appealed from. Where a record on appeal is required, the appellants shall file a notice of appeal and a record on appeal within 30 days from notice of the judgment or final order. x x x. The period of appeal shall be interrupted by a timely motion for new trial or reconsideration. No motion for extension of time to file a motion for new trial or reconsideration shall be allowed.

- It is clear under the Rules that an appeal should betaken within 15 days from the notice of judgment or
final order appealed from.

- A final judgment or order is one that finally disposes of a case, leaving nothing more for the court to do
with respect to it. It is an adjudication on the merits which, considering the evidence presented at the trial, declares categorically what the rights and obligations of the parties are; or it may be an order or judgment that dismisses an action. In the case of Neypes v CA (2005) this court laid down the fresh period rule where it held that: To standardise the appeal periods provided in the Rules and to afford litigants fair opportunity to appeal their cases, the Court deems it practical to allow a fresh period of 15 days within which to file the notice of appeal in the Regional Trial Court, counted from receipt of the order dismissing a motion for a new trial or motion for reconsideration. Henceforth, this "fresh period rule" shall also apply to Rule 40 governing appeals from the Municipal Trial Courts to the Regional Trial Courts; Rule 42 on petitions for review from the Regional Trial Courts to the Court of Appeals; Rule 43 on appeals from quasi- judicial agencies to the Court of Appeals and Rule 45 governing appeals by certiorari to the Supreme Court. The new rule aims to regiment or make the appeal period uniform, to be counted from receipt of the order denying the motion for new trial, motion for reconsideration (whether full or partial) or any final order or resolution.

- The fresh period rule becomes important when a party files a motion for new trial or a motion for
reconsideration, since the rule allows the party to file a notice of a appeal within 15 days from denial of said MR or MNT. - The fresh period rule is not inconsistent with 41.3 of the ROC which states that the appeal shall be taken "within 15 days from notice of judgment or final order appealed from." The use of the disjunctive word "or" signifies disassociation and independence of one thing from another. It should, as a rule, be construed in the sense 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 the notice of judgment or within 15 days from notice of the final order in the case. - Applying the fresh period rule, the Court agrees with the Court of Appeals and holds that respondent MICI seasonably filed its Notice of Appeal with the RTC on 9 July 2001, just 12 days from 27 June 2001, when it received the denial of its Motion for Reconsideration of the 15 June 2001 Resolution reinstating the 28 February 2000 Decision of the RTC. 2. Since the SC affirms the ruling of the CA that MICI filed its Notice of Appeal w/ the RTC within the reglementary period, the appropriate action, ordinarily would be for the SC to rem end the case to the RTC, however considering that the case has already been pending for 16 years, and the records are already with the SC, remand is no longer necessary. As a rule, remand is avoided if: 1. The ends of justice would not be served by a remand 2. Where public interest demands an early disposition of the case. 3. Where the trial court has already received all the evidence presented by both parties and the SC is in a position, based on the evidence, to deice the case on its merits. 3. MICI failed to present the insurance contract which it claimed, limited its liability. Such failure, given the fact that it alone possesses the insurance contract, gives rise to the presumption that the contents of the contract are adverse to MICI, and thus amount to an implied admission that MICI had agreed to fully indemnity 3rd party liabilities.

- MICI had all the opportunity to prove before the RTC that its liability under the insurance policy issued to
Rhoda was limited. The failure of MICI to present the insurance policy which, understandably, is not in the Heirs' possession, but in the custody and absolute control of MICI as the insurer and/or Rhoda as the

insured - gives rise to the presumption that its presentation is prejudicial to the cause of respondent MICI. - The ordinary rule is that one who has knowledge peculiarly within his own control, and refuses to divulge it, cannot complain if the court puts the most unfavorable construction upon his silence, and infers that a disclosure would have shown the fact to be as claimed by the opposing party. - Given the admission of respondent MICI that it is the insurer of the truck involved in the accident that killed George, and in the utter absence of proof to establish both the existence and the extent/amount of the alleged limited liability of respondent MICI as insurer, the Court could only conclude that respondent MICI had agreed to fully indemnify third-party liabilities. - Consequently, there is no more difference in the amounts of damages which petitioners can recover from Rhoda or respondent MICI; petitioners can recover the said amounts in full from either of them, thus, making their liabilities solidary or joint and several. 4. Damages awarded
RTC (Feb 28, 2000) as reinstated by June 15, 2001 order Funeral expenses Actual damages for loss of earning capacity 36,000 805,000 P611,386.92; SC 36,000

Moral damages Death Indemnity Atty Fees

50,000 50,000 50,000 + 1,500/Court appearance

100,000 50,000 50,000 + 1,500/Court appearance