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(SP No. 92664. October 30, 2006)*
DURANO & Co., Inc., petitioner vs. RESIDENTS/
HOMEOWNERS OF SAN JOSE VILLAGE, respondents.
1. REMEDIAL LAW; COURTS; WHILE PROCEDURAL
RULES MAYBE LITERALLY INTERPRETED
of decision, orders or resolutions of a judicial,
no end to litigations. ** (ibid).
NEITHER A NATURAL RIGHT NOR A PART OF DUE PROCESS, EXCEPT WHERE IT IS GRANTED BY STATUTE IN WHICH CASE IT SHOULD BE EXERCISED IN THE MANNER AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF LAW.-It bears stressing that "the right to appeal is neither a natural right nor a part of due process, except where it is granted by statute in which case it should be exercised in the manner and in accordance with the provisions of law. In other words, appeal is a right of statutory and not of constitutional origin. The perfection of an appeal in the manner and within the period prescribed by law is not only mandatory but also jurisdictional and the failure of a party to conform to the rules regarding appeal will render the judgment final and executory and, hence, unappealable, for it is more important that a case be settled than it be settled right." (Peña v. Government Service Insurance System, G.R. No. 159520, 19 September 2006)
2. ID.; ID.; MOTIONS FOR EXTENSION ARE NOT
GRANTED AS A MATTER OF COURSE;
PETITION FOR REVIEW of the Orders and
Decision of the Office of the President.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
3. ID.; COURTS: THE RULE ON FINALITY OF Lim and Ocampo for petitioner.
DECISIONS, ORDERS OR RESOLUTIONS
Rule 43 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil
and set aside the Orders and Decision of Court of Appeals Reports Annotated, Vol. 41.
the Office of the President dated 8 June 2005', 18 August 20052 and 24 November 2005), respectively.
The antecedent facts are:
The present case originated from a class suit filed by the Residents/Homeowners of San Jose Village (hereinafter referred to as "respondents") against Durano & Co., Inc. (hereinafter referred to as “petitioner) and Lydia B. Durano-Rodriguez in the Housing and Land Use Eegulatory Board (HLURB) Expanded National Capital Region Field Office. It appears that the respondent were sustained in said case, prompting the petitioner to appeal the Decision therein to the HLURB Board of Commissioners, but to no avail. Note, however, that copies of the aforesaid HLURB Decisions do not appear in Our records.
By reason of such denial, petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal with the Office of the President (OP). In an Orders dated 19 January 2005, the OP directed the parties thus:
"9. Respondent-Appellant, within fifteen (15) days
Manila, Philippines, Jan. 19, 2005" A Very Urgent Motion (for extension of time to comply with Jan. 19 Order) dated 11 February 2005 was filed by herein petitioner, alleging that it is remitting the appeal fee to the Cashier of the OP through a postal money order, and that it is, at the same time, seeking a fifteen-day extension of time to comply
he 19 January 2005 Order of the OP "due to the heavy volume of equally important cases that he (petitioner's former counsel] is handling presently. Consequently, on 7 March 2005, the OP issued an Ordere granting the extension prayed for, giving the petitioner until 15 March 2005 within which to comply with the 19 January 2005 Order. Later, a Very Urgent Motion (for last extension to comply with Jan. 19 Order)dated 15 March 2005 was filed by petitioner,
stating that: "2. Due to sheer volume of equally important
cases being handled by undersigned counsel
from receipt hereof, remit the sum of Five Hundred Pesos (P500.00) as appeal fee, payable to the 'Cashier, Office of the President', showing proof of compliance therewith and the fact that the appeal was filed on time and submit its appeal memorandum, copy furnished complainants-appellees and other respondent-appellant; otherwise, this Office shall dismiss the case without further
notice; 2. Complainants-Appellees, within fifteen (15)
days from receipt of appellant's memorandum, submit their reply memorandum, copy furnished respondents-appellants; otherwise, this Office shall decide the case on the basis
of available records; 3. The Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board,
within fifteen (15) days from receipt hereof, forward to this Office the complete records of this case with each page consecutively numbered and initialed by the custodian of records, together with the summary of proceedings pursuant to Memorandum Circular No. 123 dated February 8, 1991, and its Comment, if any, on the appeal; and
6 Annex "E," Rollo, p. 41
1 Annex "A," Rollo, pp. 30-33 2 Annex "B," Rollo, pp. 34-36 3 Annex "C," Rollo, pp. 37-38
4 The subject of the class suit filed by the private respondents in the HLURB is not indicated in our records.
5 Annex "D," Rollo, pp. 39-40
8 Annex "F," Rollo, p. 42
11 Annex "H," Rollo, p. 45
2005, the petitioner, through counsel, filed out of time, and insists that the same yet again prayed for a fifteen-day was perfected within the reglementary extension of time to file the required period, arguing thus: memorandum and draft decision, reiterating the same reason in its earlier motion, to wit:
4. With respect to the filing of the Appeal
Memorandum and the Draft Decision, appellant "2. Due to sheer volume of equally important
however, was granted several extensions to cases being handled by the undersigned
file them and as prayed for by the appellant in counsel and the fact that he still has to go
its latest motion dated March 30, 2005, it was back to Cebu City this April 6, 2005 yet in
finally able to file the said Appeal order to locate some records of respondent
Memorandum and Draft Decision on April 11, appellant Durano & Co., Inc., which is now
2005; holding offices at Cebu City and which records are necessary in the preparation of the 5. The aforesaid Order of this Honorable Office, required: 1) appeal memorandum and 2) draft dated March 28, 2005 to the effect that: 'no decision, the said pleadings could not be filed further extension shall be allowed' was TODAY so that he needs another extension of
received by undersigned counsel only in the TEN days or until April 11, 2005 within which afternoon of April 11, 2005, while the said to file the same. 1914
Appeal Memorandum and Draft Decision were
filed early in the morning of the same date. On 8 June 2005, the first assailed Order15 of the OP was issued. The dispositive 6. In other words, the aforesaid warning was portion thereof reads:
received by the undersigned counsel after he
had already filed earlier the said Appeal "Wherefore, premises considered, the instant Memorandum and Draft Decision. appeal is hereby DENIED for having been flled out of time. Accordingly, let the records of this case be
7. It could not be said therefore that the Appeal remanded to HLURB for proper disposition.
Memorandum and the Draft Decision were filed
out of time. SO ORDERED.
8. At any rate, what matters most is the fact that Manila, Philippines, 08 Jun 2005"
the said appeal memorandum and draft
decision were eventually filed, so that it would Apparently, petitioner's motion 16 dated 30
be the height of injustice to dismiss the instant March 2005 was received by the OP only
appeal merely and just because the appeal on 5 April 2005, eight (8) days after the memorandum and the draft decision were filed issuance of its 28 March 2006 Order!?. By
beyond the extended period granted by this
Office. reason thereof, the OP no longer acted upon the same, in view of the fact that it was explicitly stated in its latest Order18 that "no
Respondents filed their comment/ further extension shall be allowed."19 Soon
Opposition 23 to the said motion for thereafter, on 20 April 2005, the OP
reconsideration, saying that "compliance received the petitioner's Appeal Memo
with the Order of this Honorable Office dated randum and Draft Decision20 dated 11 April 28 March 2005 for purposes of perfecting 2005.
an appeal, is not only mandatory; it is even Petitioner received a copy of the 8 June jurisdicitional.***"24 They further averred that 2005 Order21 on 24 June 2005. It then filed petitioner's counsel signed the motion for an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration (of reconsideration in utter bad faith for on 15 the Order dated June 8, 2005)22 dated 29 June 2005, said counsel was disbarred 25 June 2005. Petitioner maintains that the by the Supreme Court "for being unfit to OP erred in dismissing its appeal for being discharge the duties of his office and unworthy of the trust and confidence reposed on him as an officer of the court."26
23 Annex “L,” Rollo, pp. 59-61
25 San Jose Home Owners Association Inc. v. Romanillos, A.C. No. 5580; 15 June 2005
19 Supra, Note 11
In its present Petition 31. Petitioner posits the following issues, viz.:
In an Order27 dated 18 August 2005, the 1. Whether or not the filing of the appeal OP denied the petitioner's motion for memorandum and draft decision is reconsideration, holding that
jurisdictional; and respondent-appellant (petitioner herein) miserably despised the procedural rule of 2. Whether or not the filing of the second perfecting an appeal and the same was motion for reconsideration, with leave, disdainfully considered due to seemingly an is an exceptionally meritorious case.32 endless request for extension of time within which to file the required appeal
Anent these issues, petitioner argues that memorandum despite its self-imposed the payment of the appeal fee settles the prescriptive period within which to file the jurisdictional question involved herein,
without necessarily considering the filing of
the appeal memorandum and draft decision, Refusing to acquiesce with the said as the OP even granted, on several Order, petitioner, through its new counsel,
occasions, its motions for extension to file filed a Motion for Leave to Admit Second the same. Moreover, petitioner insists that Motion for Reconsideration 29 dated 16 since it only received the 28 March Order33 September 2005, praying that its appeal be of the OP on 11 April 2005, it had no way given due course by the OP. In a Decision 30 of being apprised sooner about the warning dated 24 November 2005, the OP denied
found therein. It further contends that the the petitioner's motion, ruling thus:
case should be decided on the merits,
without much adherence to technicalities. Without delving into the merits of the case, this Office resolved to deny the said motion. Section 7 of
ISSUE Administrative Order No. 18, series of February 12, 1987, provides:
Whether or not the Office of the President
should reinstate and give due course the 'SEC. 7. +++
petitioner's appeal. Only one motion for reconsideration by any
RULING one party shall be allowed and entertained, save in exceptionally meritorious cases."
We rule in the negative. The instant The situation contemplated by Section 7 of the petition must fail. aforesaid Administrative Order No. 18 is clearly unavalling in the instant case. Respondent- At the outset, it must be emphasized that appellant failed to show any compelling reason
while procedural rules may be liberally for this office to decide otherwise.
interpreted and their application may be WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant
relaxed from time to time, the same applies motion is hereby DENIED with finality. No other "only in proper cases of demonstrable merit motions of the same nature will be entertained by and under justifiable causes and this Office. Accordingly, let the records of this case be remanded to HLURBB for proper is not a game of technicalities, it is equally
circumstances. While it is true that litigation disposition.
true that every case must be prosecuted in SO ORDERED.
accordance with the prescribed procedure
to insure an orderly and speedy Manila, Philippines, Nov. 24, 2005"
administration of justice."34
26 Supra, Note 22, paragraph 3 27 Supra, Note 2
31 Rollo, pp. 14-29
34 Norris v. Parentela, et al., G.R. No. 143216; 27 February 2003
29 Annex "M," Rollo, pp. 62-68 30 Supra, Note 3
In the case at bar, it is apparent that Petitioner's argument that it received a petitioner's former counsel filed on several copy of the 28 March 2005 Order37 only on occasions, motions for extension of time to 11 April 2005 is of no moment, for its is file the required memorandum and draft incumbent upon it, or its counsel, to inquire decision with the OP. We observe that the
with the OP as regards the status of the first motion was dated and filed on the last
case. It was error for it to presume that day of the period for filing memorandum
each and every motion for extension it filed and draft decision, Then, the subsequent with the OP would be granted, or at least motions were again dated and filed on the
be acted upon. last day of the period of extension prayed for, whether or not such extension has been
The Code of Professional Responsibility granted by the OP.
mandates lawyer's to “not unduly delay a In the case of Roxas v. Court of case, impede the execution of a judgment Appeals35, the Supreme Court held that or misuse Court processes. "38 In this case, "Lawyers should not presumed that the the multiple motions filed by petitioner's courts would grant their motion for extension
counsel are hereby deemed as mere dilatory ***. Let this serve as warning among the
tactics in order to prolong the proceedings, members of the Philippine bar who take
if not to stay the execution of the adverse their own sweet time with their cases if not Decision of the HLURB. “A lawyer shall purposely delay its progress for no cogent observe the rules of procedure and shall reason. It does no credit to their standing not misuse them to defeat the ends of in the profession. More so when they do justice. "39 not file the required brief or pleading until their motion is acted upon. *** They should
Worthy of mention is the fact that on 15 file their briefs or pleadings within the
June 2005, petitioner's former counsel was extended period requested. Failing in this disbarred by the Supreme Court for they have only themselves to blame if their representing conflicting interest between the appeal or case is dismissed."
same parties herein.40 This notwithstanding,
said counsel still filed. In behalf of petitioner, Further, in Diman v. Alumbres 36, it was a motion for reconsideration41 dated 29 ruled that no party has a right to an June 2005. Clearly, he no longer had any extension of time to comply with an authority to represent, much less file said obligation within the period set therefor by motion on said date given that he was law; motions for extension are not granted already disbarred. Thus, the aforesaid as a matter of course; their concession lies
motion did not merit any consideration from in the sound discretion of the Court the OP as it should have been regarded as exercised in accordance with the attendant not filed at all. Consequently, the circumstances; the movant is not justified prescriptive period to file said motion has in assuming that the extension sought will not been tolled, hence, upon the lapse be granted, or that it will be granted for the thereof, the assailed Order2 has already length of time suggested by him. It is thus reached its finality. incumbent on any movant for extension to exercise due diligence to inform himself as It bears stressing that "the right to appeal soon as possible of the Court's action on is neither a natural right nor a part of due his motion, by timely inquiry of the Clerk of process, except where it is granted by Court. Should he neglect to do so, he runs statute in which case it should be exercised the risk of time running out on him, for which in the manner and in accordance with the he will have nobody but himself to blame." provisions of law. In other words, appeal is
35 G.R. No. L-76549; 10 December 1987
37 Supra, Note 10