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RULE 37 38 prove their possession of the property since

1977.5

Respondents filed a motion for reconsideration


G.R. No. 125799 August 21, 2003 where they appended more documentary
evidence showing their ownership over the
DANILO CANSINO AND LINDA DE subject property, as well as the ownership and
JESUS, Petitioners, possession of their predecessors-in-interest. On
vs. March 14, 1995, the RTC reversed its previous
COURT OF APPEALS, HON. JUDGE, RTC OF decision. It ruled that respondents were able to
KALOOCAN CITY, BR. 120 AND SPS. prove the ownership and possession of their
FRANCISCO E. CASTRO and ROSARIO B. predecessors-in-interest, which dated back to
CASTRO and,CESAR L. CRUZ, SHERIFF IV, 1964, way before the 1977 possession of
RTC KALOOKAN CITY, BR. 120, Respondents. petitioners. Moreover, it rejected the claim of
petitioners that the subject land is public property
DECISION since it has been proven that the lot is titled and
the title has been transferred to respondents on
PUNO, J.: January 29, 1993. The title being incontrovertible
after a year, petitioners can no longer assail it.
Having gone through the summary procedure in The court considered petitioners as intruders or
the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), an appeal squatters on the subject lot.6
to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) and a petition
for certiorari to the Court of Appeals (CA), this Thus, petitioners filed a petition for review with
ejectment case is now before this Court on a the Court of Appeals. They assailed the right of
Petition for Review on Certiorari. the RTC to decide the issue of ownership without
any fair trial and the propriety of the action of the
The case stemmed from a complaint for unlawful RTC in considering the documentary evidence
detainer filed by respondent spouses Francisco attached by respondents in their motion for
and Rosario Castro against Danilo Cansino, reconsideration which were not made part of the
Linda de Jesus and Elena Mesa1 before the position paper they (respondents) previously
Metropolitan Trial Court. The subject matter of submitted.7
the controversy is a parcel of land located at
Maligaya Park Subdivision, Kalookan City. In The Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of the
their complaint, respondents alleged that RTC. It held that petitioners were unable to
petitioners, "by strategy and stealth unlawfully substantiate their possession of the property.
constructed their respective houses inside Their "occupancy is at best due to the tolerance
plaintiffs(’) (herein respondents) aforementioned of the registered owners, private respondent
parcel of land."2 In their answer with spouses." Moreover, "since respondents had
counterclaim, petitioners Cansino and de Jesus prior legal possession of the property, they had
averred that their possession was "premised in their favor priority of time that legally entitles
upon the honest belief that the lot they were and them to stay in the said property."8 With regard
are still occupying was a public land;" that they to the action taken by the RTC in considering the
"had been in possession of the subject premises documentary evidence attached only in the
ever since 1977;" and that "the failure (of herein motion for reconsideration, the appellate court
respondents) to allege when possession of ruled that under Section 5, Rule 135 of the
defendants (herein petitioners) started and taken Revised Rules of Court, the RTC has the
cognizance of by plaintiffs (herein respondents) inherent power to amend and control its process
created (sic) doubts" as to the jurisdiction of the and orders so as to make them conformable to
MeTC.3 law and justice.9
The MeTC took cognizance of the case and Petitioners brought the case at bar to this Court
treated the complaint as one for ejectment under on a petition for review on certiorari. They raise
the Rules on Summary Procedure. It ordered the the following issues:
parties to submit their respective affidavits and
those of their witnesses along with their other I
evidence. Thereafter, the MeTC in its decision
dated August 12, 1994, dismissed the complaint WHETHER OR NOT SECTION 5, RULE 135 OF
holding that in an ejectment case, the plaintiff THE REVISED RULES OF COURT IS
has the burden of proving prior physical APPLICABLE IN A MOTION FOR
possession of the property. Respondents failed RECONSIDERATION WHERE DOCUMENTS
to discharge the burden.4 IN THE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
ARE NOT TO BE CONSIDERED AS EVIDENCE
On appeal with the RTC of Kalookan City, Br. TO PROVE SUPERVENING EVENTS.
120, the court, on January 11, 1995, affirmed in
toto the decision of the MeTC. It held that II
respondents were not able to present evidence
of their actual possession of the property prior to
that of petitioners, while the latter were able to
WHETHER OR NOT THE PRIVATE or purely for impeaching a witness, merely
RESPONDENTS HAVE A CLEAR RIGHT TO important evidence being not enough, and (d) if
POSSESS THE SUBJECT LAND.10 presented, would probably alter the result of the
action.15
Anent the first issue, Section 5, Rule 135 of the
Revised Rules of Court provides: In the case at bar, respondents attached for the
first time in their motion for reconsideration,
Sec. 5. Inherent powers of courts. – Every court evidence to prove their ownership over the
shall have the power: parcel of land subject matter of this controversy.
This cannot be countenanced. For one,
xxx xxx xxx possession is the only issue in a case for
unlawful detainer.16 More importantly, there is no
(g) To amend and control its process and orders justification for the delay in presenting said
so as to make them conformable to law and evidence. We note that although it was
justice; respondents who filed an appeal to the RTC,
they failed to submit their memorandum as
xxx xxx xxx required by the said court.17 It was only after the
RTC rendered an unfavorable decision that
The Court of Appeals upheld the RTC in respondents filed a motion for reconsideration
reconsidering its prior decision on the basis of and appended their new evidence. Piecemeal
new evidence attached to the motion for presentation of evidence is not in accord with
reconsideration on the ground that it is the orderly justice.
inherent right of the court to amend and control
its processes. It further ruled that procedural But considering the totality of evidence, we still
technicalities should not override substantial rule in favor of petitioners.1âwphi1 Respondents
justice.11 appended to its motion for reconsideration the
following evidence: Transfer Certificate of Title
We disagree. It is true that the rules provide that No. T-45212 issued on August 16, 1972 in the
courts have the inherent power to amend their name of the predecessors-in-interest of
decisions to make them conformable to law and respondents, Estrella Crisostomo and Azucena
justice. This prerogative, however, is not Bantug;18 Transfer Certificate of Title No.
absolute. The rules do not contemplate T-262332 issued on January 29, 1993 in the
amendments that are substantial in nature.12 name of respondent spouses Francisco and
They merely cover formal changes or such that Rosario Castro;19 Contract to Sell between
will not affect the crux of the decision, like the Maligaya Park and Leticia Flores and Estrella
correction of typographical or clerical errors. Crisostomo dated May 4, 1962;20 Location Plan
Courts will violate due process if they make showing the site of the contested parcel of
substantial amendments in their decisions land;21 and Real Property Tax Receipts for the
without affording the other party the right to years 198822 and 1993.23
contest the new evidence presented in a motion
for reconsideration. The titles presented by respondents do not
necessarily prove their right to possession,
Under Rule 37 of the Revised Rules of Court, a especially since there is a separate case for the
party may file a motion for reconsideration on the investigation of the true status of the land
ground, among others, that "x x x, the evidence formerly in the name of Biyaya Corporation from
is insufficient to justify the decision or final order, where respondents and their
or the decision or final order is contrary to law."13 predecessors-in-interest obtained their title.24
It requires the motion to point out specifically the Neither will the contract to sell and the location
findings or conclusions of the judgment or final plan prove possession. Lastly, the tax receipts
order which are not supported by the evidence presented by respondents covered only the
or which are contrary to law, making specific years 1988 and 1993. The failure of respondents
reference to the testimonial or documentary to present the receipts covering the years before
evidence presented or to the provisions of law 1988 and between 1988 and 1993, despite the
alleged to be violated.14 claim that they and their predecessors-in-interest
had possession over the property during these
It is implicitly clear from Rule 37 that a motion for years, creates doubt as to the validity of their
reconsideration cannot be used as a vehicle to claim of prior possession.
introduce new evidence. Petitioners correctly
contend that if respondents wanted to present It is fundamental that complainants in an
further evidence, they should have filed a motion ejectment case must allege and prove that they
for new trial based on newly discovered had prior physical possession of the property
evidence. However, for newly discovered before they were unlawfully deprived thereof by
evidence to warrant a new trial, (a) it must have defendants.25 Respondents, being the
been discovered after trial, (b) it could not have complainants before the lower court, had the
been discovered or produced at the trial despite burden of proving their claim of prior possession.
reasonable diligence, (c) it must be material and They, however, failed to prove their
not merely collateral, cumulative, corroborative claim.1âwphi1
In light of our resolution of the first issue which and petitioner; that Robert merely referred
clears the question of prior possession, it is petitioner to FMISC; that petitioner left his check
unnecessary to discuss the second issue since in Robert's office which was picked up by
petitioners’ argument touches on the ownership FMISC's collector; and that the deformed steel
of the lot subject matter of this controversy. As bars were delivered to and received by
discussed, the case at bar is an ejectment case petitioner's representatives as certified to by
where the only issue is prior possession of the Paul Eldrich V. Uy, petitioner's son.4
lot. Any controversy with regard to ownership
should be ventilated in a separate action. Petitioner filed his Answer with
Counterclaim5 claiming that he had no business
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision of the Court of transaction with FMISC; that he issued the check
Appeals is REVERSED. The decision of the in favor of FMISC in the amount of P695,811,00
Metropolitan Trial Court of Kalookan City, but since it was not intended as payment to
Branch 50 and the January 11, 1995 decision of FMISC, he stopped the payment thereof.
the Regional Trial Court of Kalookan City,
Branch 120 are REINSTATED. Hearings were thereafter conducted for the
reception of evidence of FMISC, Robert and
SO ORDERED. MICC. The initial reception of petitioner's
evidence was set on February 28, 20016 but it
G.R. No. 167245 September 27, was cancelled because petitioner had influenza.
2006 The hearing was reset to April 26, 2001 and May
10, 20017 but was again cancelled and moved to
ELPIDIO S. UY, petitioner, October 25, 2001 and December 13, 2001.
vs.
FIRST METRO INTEGRATED STEEL CORP. During the October 25, 2001 hearing, petitioner
and HON. ANTONIO I. DE CASTRO, in his was represented by Atty. Lucas C. Carpio, Jr.
capacity as Presiding Judge, Regional Trial who appeared as Atty. Molina's collaborating
Court, National Capital Judicial Region, counsel.8 The hearing was cancelled and
Branch 3, Manila, respondents. rescheduled to December 13, 2001. However,
on December 10, 2001, Atty. Molina withdrew
DECISION his appearance as petitioner's counsel with the
latter's consent.9 On December 13, 2001, Atty.
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: Danilo Bañares entered his appearance and
requested for a resetting on February 14 and 28,
This petition for review under Rule 45 of the 200210 which was granted by the trial court. On
Rules of Court assails the Decision1 of the Court February 14, 2002, Atty. Bañares appeared but
of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 81046 dated instead of presenting evidence for the petitioner,
August 27, 2004 dismissing petitioner Elpidio S. he requested for a postponement and resetting
Uy's petition for certiorari and its of the hearing.11
Resolution2dated February 22, 2005 denying the
motion for reconsideration. During the scheduled hearing on February 28,
2002, Atty. Bañares arrived late. Upon motion of
The facts show that on July 5, 1999, private FMISC, the trial court ordered that petitioner's
respondent First Metro Integrated Steel right to present evidence is deemed waived and
Corporation (FMISC) filed a complaint for sum of the parties were directed to file their respective
money with prayer for writ of preliminary memorandum.12 The case was deemed
attachment against Robert Juan Uy (Robert), submitted for decision on November 18, 2002.13
Midland Integrated Construction Company
(MICC) and herein petitioner Elpidio Uy, with the Atty. Bañares withdrew his appearance on
Regional Trial Court of Manila, which was January 8, 2003 with petitioner's conformity.14
docketed as Civil Case No. 99-94408 and raffled
to Branch 3.3 On March 7, 2003, the trial court rendered
judgment,15 the dispositive portion of which
It is alleged that on June 3, 5 and 6, 1998, reads as follows:
FMISC delivered to MICC, Robert and petitioner
deformed steel bars valued at P695,811.00. On WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in
June 9, 1998, Robert allegedly delivered to favor of plaintiff ordering defendant Elpidio Uy to
FMISC Metrobank Check No. 042892 in the pay the former:
amount of P695,811.00 issued by petitioner as
payment. However, the check was dishonored a) the sum of P690,000 with interest thereon at
upon presentment and despite demands, MICC, 12% per annum from July 1998 until fully paid;
Robert and petitioner refused to pay, hence the
complaint. b) the sum of P110,000.00 as attorney's fees
which is 16% of the principal amount; and
In their Answer with Counterclaim and
Crossclaim, Robert and MICC alleged that they c) the costs of suit.
are strangers to the contract between FMISC
Defendant Robert Uy's cross-claim is denied as working day. Thus, the motion was actually filed
it is now academic. The counterclaims of both on time it having been filed on April 21, 2003, the
defendants herein against plaintiff and against next working day, following the last day for filing
each other are denied for lack of merit. which fell on a Saturday.

SO ORDERED.16 Section 9, Rule 37 of the Rules of Court which


provides that the remedy to an order denying a
On April 4, 2003, petitioner received a copy of motion for new trial is to appeal the judgment or
the Decision. final order, must be read in conjunction with
Section 1, Rule 41 which provides that:
On April 21, 2003, petitioner through Atty. Lucas
C. Carpio, Jr. filed a Motion for New Trial17 on SEC. 1. Subject of appeal. – An appeal may be
the ground of gross negligence of petitioner's taken from a judgment or final order that
counsel in failing to attend the hearing for the completely disposes of the case, or of a
reception of evidence, thus impairing his rights to particular matter therein when declared by these
due process. rules to be appealable.

The trial court denied the motion for new trial in No appeal may be taken from:
an Order18 dated October 1, 2003.
(a) An order denying a motion for new trial or
Dissatisfied, petitioner filed with the Court of reconsideration;
Appeals a petition for certiorari which dismissed
the petition in its assailed Decision dated August xxxx
27, 2004. It held that the trial court correctly
denied the motion for new trial because it was In all the above instances where the
filed out of time and that a petition for certiorari is judgment or final order is not appeasable, the
not the proper remedy for the denial of a motion aggrieved party may file an appropriate
for new trial. special civil action under Rule 65. (Emphasis
supplied)
Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was
denied, hence, this recourse on the grounds that Thus, the filing by the petitioner of a petition for
– certiorari with the Court of Appeals from the
denial of the motion for new trial by the trial court
1. The Seventeenth (17th) Division of the Court is proper.
of Appeals gravely erred in denying due course
to the Petition for Certiorari on technical grounds, Notwthstanding the foregoing, we find that the
that is, for the purported failure of the Petitioner trial court correctly denied petitioner's motion for
to file with the Court a Quo his Motion for New new trial.
Trial within the reglementary period to appeal
and that the only remedy for the denial of the Section 1, Rule 37 provides that a motion for
latter motion is by appealing from the Judgment new trial may be filed within the period for taking
or Final order and not through a Special Civil an appeal based on the following grounds:
Action for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the
Revised Rules of Civil Procedure.19 (a) Fraud, accident, mistake
or excusable negligence which ordinary
2. The former Seventeenth (17th) Division of the prudence could not have guarded against and by
Court of Appeals gravely erred in not finding that reason of which such aggrieved party has
the Public Respondent Judge committed grave probably been impaired in his rights; or
abuse of discretion tantamount to lack or excess
of jurisdiction when he issued the assailed Order xxxx
dated October 1, 2003 denying Petitioner's
Motion for New Trial.20 Negligence to be excusable must be one which
ordinary diligence and prudence could not have
A scrutiny of the records discloses that while the guarded against.23
Motion for New Trial was received by the trial
court on April 28, 2003, the date on the Registry In the instant case, we find the negligence of
Receipt attached to the Affidavit of Service21 as petitioner's counsel in failing to attend the
well as that stamped on the envelope22 which hearings for the reception of
contained the copy of the motion, reveals that it evidence inexcusable. The trial court scheduled
was filed and served by registered mail on April the hearing for the reception of petitioner's
21, 2003, a Monday, because April 19, 2003, the evidence seven times. The initial hearing set on
last day for filing the same was a Saturday. February 28, 2001 was cancelled because
Section 1, Rule 22 of the Rules of Court states in petitioner allegedly had influenza. The hearings
no uncertain terms that if the last day of the scheduled on April 26, 2001 and May 10, 2001
period thus computed falls on a Saturday, a were cancelled and moved to October 25, 2001
Sunday, or a legal holiday in the place where the and December 13, 2001. Petitioner was
court sits, the time shall not run until the next represented by Atty. Carpio, Jr. as collaborating
counsel during the hearing on October 25, 2001 of at least three motions to extend the filing of
but no evidence was presented. Instead, the petitioner's Answer; (2) his nonappearance
hearing was cancelled. On December 13, 2001, during the scheduled pretrials; and (3) the failure
Atty. Bañares, petitioner's new counsel, to file petitioner's pretrial Brief, even after the
appeared but he requested for a resetting. On filing of several Motions to extend the date for
February 14, 2002, Atty. Bañares moved to filing.
postpone the hearing to February 28, 2002 as
previously scheduled. On February 28, 2002, Besides, we find that petitioner's and his
Atty. Bañares arrived late. counsel's negligence are concurrent. During the
initial hearing for the reception of his evidence,
Scrutiny of the records disclose that the hearings petitioner was absent allegedly due to influenza.
were postponed or cancelled without any During the succeeding scheduled hearings,
justification. However, the trial court petitioner was absent but his lawyer, Atty. Molina,
accommodated the requests for postponement was present but did not present any evidence.
or resetting in order to accord petitioner due Instead, motions for postponement or resetting
process. Under the circumstances, we find were made. In one occasion, Atty. Molina was
petitioner's counsel's failure to attend the seven absent but Atty. Carpio, Jr. appeared as
scheduled hearings without justifiable reason collaborating counsel. Still, no evidence was
tantamount to inexcusable neglect. As such, it presented but a resetting was again requested.
cannot be a ground for new trial.
On December 13, 2001, petitioner hired Atty.
In addition, the Rule requires that motions for Bañares as his new counsel, and the hearings
new trial founded on fraud, accident, mistake or were set on February 14 and 28, 2002. For
excusable negligence must be accompanied by petitioner, thus, to feign and insist upon a lack of
affidavits of merits, i.e., affidavits showing the awareness of the progress of the case is to
facts (not mere conclusions or opinions) unmask a penchant for the ludicrous.31 When he
constituting the valid cause of action or defense hired the services of Atty. Bañares, it is highly
which the movant may prove in case a new trial improbable that he was unaware of the stage of
is granted, because a new trial would serve no the proceedings. In keeping with the normal
purpose and would just waste the time of the cause of events, he should have made the
court as well as the parties if the complaint is proper inquiries from his former counsel as to the
after all groundless or the defense is nil or status of the case.
ineffective.24
Incidentally, we find it interesting that Atty. Lucas
Under the Rules, the moving party must show C. Carpio, Jr. who assisted petitioner in the
that he has a meritorious defense. The facts preparation of the motion for new trial, wherein
constituting the movant's good and substantial he claimed that his former counsel was grossly
defense, which he may prove if the petition were negligent in defending his case, was petitioner's
granted, must be shown in the affidavit which collaborating counsel and who appeared in his
should accompany the motion for a new behalf during the October 25, 2001 hearing but
trial.25 We examined petitioner's Affidavit of Merit likewise presented no evidence for the
and find that it did not contain clear statements petitioner.
of the facts constituting a good and valid defense
which he might prove if given the chance to Finally, petitioner's counsel's inexcusable
introduce evidence. The allegations that he has neglect did not amount to petitioner's deprivation
a "meritorious defense"26 and a "good of due process of law. The right to due process
cause"27 are mere conclusions which did not safeguards the opportunity to be heard and to
provide the court with any basis for determining submit any evidence one may have in support of
the nature and merit of the case. An affidavit of his claim or defense. In the instant case,
merit should state facts, and not mere opinion or petitioner was given several opportunities to be
conclusions of law.28 Petitioner's motion for new heard and to submit evidence but he
trial and affidavit of merit did not mention the squandered them. Indeed, from lethargy is
evidence which he was prevented from misfortune born.32
introducing, nor did it allege that such evidence
would change the outcome of the case. Blunders and mistakes in the conduct of the
proceedings in the trial court as a result of the
Petitioner's argument that his counsel's ignorance, inexperience or incompetence of
negligence was so gross that he was deprived of counsel do not qualify as a ground for new trial. If
due process fails to impress. Gross negligence such were to be admitted as valid reasons for
is not one of the grounds for a motion for a new re-opening cases, there would never be an end
trial. We cannot declare his counsel's negligence to litigation so long as a new counsel could be
as gross as to liberate him from the effects of his employed to allege and show that the prior
failure to present countervailing evidence.29 In counsel had not been sufficiently diligent,
Air Philippines Corporation v. International experienced or learned. This will put a premium
Business Aviation Services, Phils., Inc.,30 we did on the willful and intentional commission of
not consider as gross negligence the counsel's errors by counsel, with a view to securing new
resort to dilatory schemes, such as (1) the filing
trials in the event of conviction,33 or an adverse he was diagnosed with hernia. On June 26, 2002,
decision, as in the instant case. he was repatriated due to his ailment.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition Upon petitioner’s return to the Philippines, he


is DENIED for lack of merit. was examined by Dr. Alegre, the company
physician, who prescribed certain medication.
SO ORDERED. On July 24, 2002, Dr. Alegre declared that he
was fit to resume work. When he reported to
G.R. No. 182718 September 26, MRM Philippines, Inc. hoping to be re-hired for
2008 another contract, he was told that there was no
vacancy for him.
JULIO B. PURCON, JR., Petitioner,
vs. On September 17, 2003, he consulted Dr. Efren
MRM PHILIPPINES, INC. and MIGUEL L. R. Vicaldo, an internist-cardiologist of Philippine
RIVERA/MARITIME RESOURCES Heart Center. On March 3, 2004, after a
MANAGEMENT, Respondents. thorough medical examination and evaluation,
he was diagnosed with EPIDIDYMITIS, LEFT;
x----------------------------------- UPPER RESPIRATORY TRACT INFACTION
---------------x WITH INPEDIMENT GRADE XIV.

RESOLUTION Respondents, on the other hand, countered that


since petitioner’s ailment, hernia, is not
REYES, R.T., J.: work-related, he is not entitled to disability
benefit and related claims. In fact, he was
A PETITION for relief from judgment under Rule declared fit to resume work on July 23, 2002 by
38 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure is an the company-designated physician.
equitable remedy that is allowed only in Respondents likewise argued that his ailment is
exceptional cases when there is no other not to be considered a permanent disability as
available or adequate remedy. It may be availed this is easily correctable by simple surgery. More
of only after a judgment, final order, or other importantly, petitioner signed a Quitclaim and
proceeding was taken against petitioner in any Release which was notarized.
court through fraud, accident, mistake, or
excusable negligence.1 On March 31, 2005, Labor Arbiter Donato G.
Quinto, Jr. rendered its decision5 dismissing the
Before Us is a petition for relief from complaint for utter lack of merit. The Labor
judgment2 filed by Julio B. Purcon, seeking to set Arbiter explained that petitioner was fit to resume
aside Our July 16, 2007 Resolution,3which work as a seafarer as of July 23, 2002 as his
denied his petition for review, as well as the "hernia" was already cured or non-existent. In
October 9, 2007 Entry of Judgment.4 He pleads fact, petitioner was ready to resume work.
for the Court’s leniency on account of the Unfortunately, he was not accommodated due to
negligence and inefficiency of his counsel, which lack of vacancy. The fact that he was not
resulted in the late filing of the petition and in re-hired by respondent did not mean that he was
filing defective pleadings within this Court. suffering from disability.

The Antecedents On May 5, 2005, complainant-appellant


(petitioner) filed a memorandum of appeal with
The case stemmed from a complaint filed by the NLRC Third Division.
petitioner for reimbursement of medical
expenses, sickness allowance and permanent On September 30, 2005, the NLRC Third
disability benefits with prayer for compensatory, Division issued a resolution6 as follows:
moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s
fees before the Arbitration Branch of the National WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED for
Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). lack of merit and the assailed decision dated
March 31, 2005 is hereby AFFIRMED.
In his verified position paper, petitioner alleged
that on January 28, 2002, respondent MRM SO ORDERED.7
Philippines, Inc. hired him as a seaman on board
the vessel M/T SARABELLE 2. He signed a On December 20, 2005, the motion for
contract for three (3) months with a monthly reconsideration was dismissed for lack of merit.
salary of $584.00. According to petitioner, his On January 27, 2006, the NLRC resolution
work involved a day-to-day activity that required became final and executory and was recorded in
exertion of strenuous effort, and that he often the Book of Entries of Judgments.
worked overtime due to the pressure of his work.
His contract was extended for another three (3) On March 2, 2006, petitioner filed a petition for
months. On the second week of June 2002, he certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of
felt an excruciating pain in his left testicle. After Court with the Court of Appeals (CA). However,
being examined by a doctor at the port of France, on June 7, 2006, the CA dismissed the case due
to formal infirmities. Petitioner’s motion for The threshold issue before Us is – Can petitioner
reconsideration was denied. On September 29, avail of a petition for relief from judgment under
2006, the CA resolution became final and Rule 38 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure
executory. from Our resolution denying his petition for
review?
On May 9, 2007, petitioner filed with this Court a
petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of We answer in the negative. A petition for relief
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure assailing the from judgment is not an available remedy in the
June 7, 2006 and September 5, 2006 Supreme Court.
Resolutions of the CA, which dismissed his
petition for certiorari. First, although Section 1 of Rule 38 states that
when a judgment or final order is entered
In Our Resolution8 dated July 16, 2007, We through fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable
denied the petition for the following reasons: (1) negligence, a party in any court may file a
the petition was filed beyond the reglementary petition for relief from judgment, this rule must be
period of fifteen (15) days fixed in Section 2, interpreted in harmony with Rule 56, which
Rule 45 in relation to Section 5(a), Rule 56, 1997 enumerates the original cases cognizable by the
Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended; (2) failure Supreme Court, thus:
to pay on time docket and other fees and deposit
for costs in violation of Section 3, Rule 45, in Section 1. Original cases cognizable. – Only
relation to Section 5(c) of Rule 56; and (3) petitions for certiorari, prohibition,
insufficient or defective verification under mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus,
Section 4, Rule 7. disciplinary proceedings against members of the
judiciary and attorneys, and cases affecting
We likewise held that petitioner failed to ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls
sufficiently show that the CA committed any may be filed originally in the Supreme Court.
reversible error in the challenged resolutions as
to warrant the exercise of this Court’s A petition for relief from judgment is not included
discretionary appellate jurisdiction. He was not in the list of Rule 56 cases originally cognizable
able to convince this Court why the actions of the by this Court.
Labor Arbiter, the NLRC and the CA, which have
passed upon the same issue, should be In Dela Cruz v. Andres,10 We reiterated Our
reversed. Consequently, on October 9, 2007, an pronouncement in Mesina v. Meer,11 that a
Entry of Judgment was issued. petition for relief from judgment is not an
available remedy in the Court of Appeals and the
On May 6, 2008, petitioner filed the instant Supreme Court. The Court explained that under
petition for relief from judgment interposing the the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, the
following grounds: petition for relief must be filed within sixty (60)
days after petitioner learns of the judgment, final
I. The Honorable Labor Arbiter committed a order or other proceeding to be set aside and
GROSS MISTAKE when he based his decision must be accompanied with affidavits showing the
on the fit to work certification issued by the fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable
company-designated physician and on the negligence relied upon, and the facts
Quitclaim and Release executed by the constituting petitioner’s good and substantial
complainant; cause of action or defense, as the case may be.
Most importantly, it should be filed with the same
II. The Honorable Labor Arbiter further court which rendered the decision, viz.:
committed a GROSS MISTAKE when he
adopted the irrelevant jurisprudence cited by the Section 1. Petition for relief from judgment, order,
respondents and by adopting it in his decision; or other proceedings. – When a judgment or final
order is entered, or any other proceeding is
III. The Honorable NLRC Third Division also thereafter taken against a party in any
committed a GROSS MISTAKE when it affirms court through fraud, accident, mistake, or
the ERRONEOUS decision of the Honorable excusable negligence, he may file a petition in
Labor Arbiter; such court and in the same case praying that the
judgment, order or proceeding be set
IV. The factual findings of the Honorable Labor aside.12(Underscoring supplied)
Arbiter, and the Honorable NLRC Third Division,
are not based on substantial evidence and that Second, while Rule 38 uses the phrase "any
their decisions are contrary to the applicable law court," it refers only to Municipal/Metropolitan
and jurisprudence; and and Regional Trial Courts.

V. The collaborating counsel of the petitioner As revised, Rule 38 radically departs from the
committed a GROSS MISTAKE in filing defective previous rule as it now allows the Metropolitan or
pleadings to the prejudice of the herein Municipal Trial Court which decided the case or
petitioner.9 issued the order to hear the petition for relief.
Under the old rule, a petition for relief from the
judgment or final order of Municipal Trial Courts judicial relief. For a claim of counsel’s gross
should be filed with the Regional Trial Court, viz.: negligence to prosper, nothing short of clear
abandonment of the client’s cause must be
Section 1. Petition to Court of First Instance for shown.
relief from judgment of inferior court. – When a
judgment is rendered by an inferior court on a The relief afforded by Rule 38 will not be granted
case, and a party thereto by fraud, accident, to a party who seeks to be relieved from the
mistake, or excusable negligence, has been effects of the judgment when the loss of the
unjustly deprived of a hearing therein, or has remedy of law was due to his own negligence, or
been prevented from taking an appeal, he may mistaken mode of procedure for that matter;
file a petition in the Court of First Instance of the otherwise the petition for relief will be tantamount
province in which the original judgment was to reviving the right of appeal which has already
rendered, praying that such judgment be set been lost, either because of inexcusable
aside and the case tried upon its merits. negligence or due to a mistake of procedure by
counsel.
Section 2. Petition to Court of First Instance for
relief from the judgment or other proceeding In exceptional cases, when the mistake of
thereof. – When a judgment order is entered, or counsel is so palpable that it amounts to gross
any other proceeding is taken against a party in negligence, this Court affords a party a second
a Court of First Instance through fraud, accident, opportunity to vindicate his right. But this
mistake, or excusable negligence, he may file a opportunity is unavailing in the instant case,
petition in such court and in the same case especially since petitioner has squandered the
praying that the judgment, order or proceeding various opportunities available to him at the
be set aside. different stages of this case. Public interest
demands an end to every litigation and a belated
The procedural change in Rule 38 is in line with effort to reopen a case that has already attained
Rule 5, prescribing uniform procedure for finality will serve no purpose other than to delay
Municipal and Regional Trial Courts13 and the administration of justice.
designation of Municipal/Metropolitan Trial
Courts as courts of record.14 Finally, it is a settled rule that relief will not be
granted to a party who seeks to be relieved from
Third, the procedure in the CA and the Supreme the effects of the judgment when the loss of the
Court are governed by separate provisions of the remedy at law was due to his own negligence, or
Rules of Court.15 It may, from time to time, be a mistaken mode of procedure; otherwise, the
supplemented by additional rules promulgated petition for relief will be tantamount to reviving
by the Supreme Court through resolutions or the right of appeal which has already been lost
circulars. As it stands, neither the Rules of Court either because of inexcusable negligence or due
nor the Revised Internal Rules of the CA16 allows to mistaken mode of procedure by counsel.17
the remedy of petition for relief in the CA.
ACCORDINGLY, the petition is DISMISSED.
There is no provision in the Rules of Court
making the petition for relief applicable in the CA SO ORDERED.
or this Court. The procedure in the CA from
Rules 44 to 55, with the exception of Rule 45 G.R. No. 140630 August 12, 2004
which pertains to the Supreme Court, identifies
the remedies available before said Court such as YUSUKE FUKUZUMI, petitioner,
annulment of judgments or final orders or vs.
resolutions (Rule 47), motion for reconsideration SANRITSU GREAT INTERNATIONAL
(Rule 52), and new trial (Rule 53). Nowhere is a CORPORATION, TETSUJI MARUYAMA,
petition for relief under Rule 38 mentioned. AKIRA KUBOTA, YUKIO
MATSUZAKA, respondent.
If a petition for relief from judgment is not among
the remedies available in the CA, with more
reason that this remedy cannot be availed of in
the Supreme Court. This Court entertains only RESOLUTION
questions of law. A petition for relief raises
questions of facts on fraud, accident, mistake, or
excusable negligence, which are beyond the
concerns of this Court.ALF-itc CALLEJO, SR., J.:

Nevertheless, even if We delve into the merits of This is a petition for review on certiorari under
the petition, the same must still be dismissed. Rule 45 of the Rules of Court of the Order1 of the
The late filing of the petition for review does not Regional Trial Court of Parañaque City, Branch
amount to excusable negligence. Petitioner’s 258, dated August 5, 1999 in Civil Case No.
lack of devotion in discharging his duty, without 97-0237 denying the petition of Yusuke
demonstrating fraud, accident, mistake or Fukuzumi for relief from the Order2 of the court
excusable negligence, cannot be a basis for dated June 2, 1999 denying his notice of appeal
of the decision of the trial court against him and issued by Dr. Ma. Lakambini Cruz-Crespo dated
consequently dismissing his appeal. June 18, 1999, viz:

The records show that on January 26, 1999, the medical certificate
trial court rendered judgment3 in Civil Case No.
97-0237 in favor of the plaintiffs Sanritsu Great To Whom It May Concern:
International Corporation, Tetsuji Maruyama,
Akira Kubota and Yukio Matsuzaka, ordering This is to certify that I have seen and examined
defendant Yusuke Fukuzumi to pay to the Atty. Jonathan Polines, from Las Piñas on May 6,
plaintiffs sums of money. The fallo of the 1999 with the chief complaint of headache of two
decision reads: days duration.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment Impression: Essential hypertension, moderate.


is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff Sanritsu
Great International Corporation and against The patient was advised to rest for at least 3
defendant YUSUKE FUKUZUMI who is hereby days (May 6-8, 1999). He was given Nifedipine
ordered to pay said plaintiff the following, to wit: (Calcibloc).

1. The amount of PhP90,000.00 representing (Sgd). MA. LAKAMBINI CRUZ-CRESPO, M.D.


two (2) month's rental deposit;

2. The amount of PhP112,500.00 representing SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this


unused rental payments for two-and-a-half (2-½) 18th day of June 1999, affiant exhibited to me his
months; CTC No. 18652403 issued at Las Piñas City on
August 7, 1998.
3. The amount of PhP16,500.00 for the cost of
the pressure pump and overhead tank; Doc. No. 3408
Page No. 1075
4. The amount of PhP8,000.00 as cost of Book No. 1 (Sgd.) (Illegible)
hauling; NOTARY PUBLIC
Series of 1999.5
5. The amount of PhP137,148.15 as actual
damages representing plaintiffs' hotel bills at On August 5, 1999, the trial court issued an
Traders Hotel and Mount Sea Resort Hotel and Order denying the defendant's petition on the
Restaurant; ground that Section 2, Rule 38 of the Rules of
Court was not applicable. The defendant's
6. The amount of PhP50,000.00 as and way of motion for reconsideration of the order was
attorney's fees; and denied by the court per its Order dated October
22, 1999.
7. To pay the costs of suit.
The defendant, now the petitioner, filed his
SO ORDERED.4 petition for review on certiorari with this Court
alleging that:
The defendant received a copy of the decision
on February 9, 1999 and on February 23, 1999, (A) THE COURT A QUO HAS DECIDED A
filed his motion for reconsideration of the QUESTION OF SUBSTANCE IN A WAY NOT
decision. On April 27, 1999, the trial court issued IN ACCORD WITH LAW WHEN IT RULED
an Order denying the defendant's motion. The THAT THE PETITIONER'S PETITION FOR
latter received a copy of the order on May 5, RELIEF FROM DENIAL OF APPEAL FILED
1999. Instead of perfecting his appeal on May 6, PURSUANT TO SECTION 2, RULE 38 OF THE
1999, he filed his notice of appeal only on May 7, 1997 RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE IS NOT
1999, or one day beyond the reglementary APPLICABLE SINCE THE DENIAL OF THE
period therefor. The court issued an Order on APPEAL WAS BASED ON SECTION 3, RULE
June 2, 1999 denying the defendant's notice of 41 IN RELATION TO SECTION 2, RULE 22 OF
appeal. The defendant received the court's order THE 1997 RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE.
on June 10, 1999. On June 22, 1999, the
defendant filed a Verified Petition for Relief from (B) THE COURT A QUO HAS SO FAR
the order of the trial court denying his notice of DEPARTED FROM THE ACCEPTED AND
appeal. USUAL COURSE OF JUDICIAL
PROCEEDINGS WHEN, IN DENYING THE
In his petition for relief, the petitioner averred that PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM DENIAL OF
his counsel suffered a high blood pressure on APPEAL, IT DID NOT RULE ON THE MERIT
May 6, 1999 which impelled said counsel to rest OF THE GROUNDS RAISED THEREIN BUT,
for three days, upon the advice of his doctor, INSTEAD, SUBSTITUTED ITS OWN
thus, hindered him from filing the notice of SPECULATION BY SAYING THAT THE
appeal on May 6, 1999. The petitioner appended PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM DENIAL OF
to his petition a verified Medical Certificate
APPEAL IS ALLEGEDLY MORE OF AN (a) An order denying a motion for new trial or
AFTERTHOUGHT.6 reconsideration;

In his comment on the petition, the respondents (b) An order denying a petition for relief or any
averred that (a) the petitioner cannot invoke Rule similar motion
38, Section 2 of the Rules of Court which applies
only to negligence of a party and not of his seeking relief from judgment;
counsel; (b) by his negligence, the petitioner
failed to avail of other remedies other than filing (c) An interlocutory order;
his petition for relief from the June 22, 1999
Order of the trial court; and (c) the alleged high …
blood pressure of the petitioner's counsel is
merely an afterthought. In all the above instances where the judgment or
final order is not appealable, the aggrieved party
The petition is denied. may file an appropriate civil action under Rule 65.
(Underscoring supplied)
The remedy of a party whose notice of appeal is
denied by the trial court, although such notice is The petitioner's failure to file his notice of appeal
filed within the period therefor, is to file a motion within the period therefor is far from excusable. It,
for reconsideration of such order and, if the court rather, shows negligence no less. The medical
denies such motion, to file a petition for certiorari certificate issued to his counsel shows that he
under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. If the party was examined by Dr. Lakambini Cruz-Crespo on
is prevented by fraud, accident, mistake or May 6, 1999 and was advised to rest for three
excusable negligence from filing his notice of days from May 6, 1999 or until May 8, 1999. The
appeal within the reglementary period therefor, petitioner would like the trial court and this Court
his remedy is to file a petition for relief, in the to believe that his counsel was unable to file the
same case, from the order of the trial court notice of appeal on or before May 6, 1999
denying his notice of appeal. This is provided in because he was even advised to take a rest for
Section 2, Rule 38 of the 1997 Rules of Civil three days. But his counsel was able, well
Procedure, which reads: enough, to prepare and file the notice of appeal
on May 7, 1999 when he was supposed to be
SEC. 2. Petition for relief from denial of resting. The petitioner even failed to allege in his
appeal.— When a judgment or final order is notice of appeal that the same was filed one day
rendered by any court in a case, and a party late because his counsel was suffering from high
thereto, by fraud, accident, mistake, or blood pressure on May 6, 1999. It was only after
excusable negligence, has been prevented from the petitioner received the order of the trial court
taking an appeal, he may file a petition in such denying his notice of appeal and filed his petition
court and in the same case praying that the for relief on June 22, 1999 did he allege that his
appeal be given due course. counsel was suffering from high blood pressure
on May 6, 1999. It was only on June 18, 1999
Such party is not entitled to relief under Rule 38, that the petitioner secured a medical certificate
Section 2 of the Rules of Court if he was not from Dr. Crespo.
prevented from filing his notice of appeal by
fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence. Thus, we are not convinced by the petitioner's
Such relief will not be granted to a party who claim that his counsel was suffering from high
seeks to be relieved from the effects of the blood pressure on May 6, 1999, which prevented
judgment when the loss of the remedy of law him from filing said notice of appeal on said date.
was due to his own negligence, or a mistaken Said allegation is a mere afterthought to cover
mode of procedure for that matter; otherwise, the up his and his own counsel's collective
petition for relief will be tantamount to reviving negligence. It is settled that clients are bound by
the right of appeal which has already been lost the mistakes, negligence and omission of their
either because of inexcusable negligence or due counsel.8
to a mistake of procedure by counsel.7
It bears stressing that perfection of an appeal in
If the petition for relief is denied by the trial court, the manner and within the period prescribed by
the remedy of the petitioner is to file a petition for law is not only mandatory but jurisdictional as
certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of well and failure to perfect an appeal has the
Civil Procedure, which reads: effect of rendering the judgment or resolution
final and executory.9 After all, the right to appeal
SECTION 1. Subject of appeal.— An appeal is not a natural right or a part of due process; it is
may be taken from a judgment or final order that merely a statutory privilege, and may be
completely disposes of the case, or of a exercised only in the manner and in accordance
particular matter therein when declared by these with the provisions of law.10
Rules to be appealable.
While we have ruled that delay in the filing of a
No appeal may be taken from: notice of appeal does not justify the dismissal of
the appeal, however, the petitioner has not
shown any exceptional circumstances justifying
a reversal of the assailed order of the trial court
and the reinstatement of his appeal.

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the


petition is DENIED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.