Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1966 > January 1966 Decisions > G.R. No. L-21046 January 31, 1966 SINFOROSO GALIMA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-21046. January 31, 1966.]

SINFOROSO GALIMA, ET AL., Petitioners, v. THE COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL., Respondents.

Crispin D. Baizas & Associates for the petitioners.

Andrada Magat for the respondents.


SYLLABUS


1. APPEALS; PERFECTION OF APPEAL WITHIN REGLEMENTARY PERIOD, JURISDICTIONAL. — The perfection of an appeal within the period prescribed by law is jurisdictional. (Miranda v. Guanzon, 92 Phil. 168; Valdez v. Acumen, 106 Phil. 929; Gov’t. v. Luis Antonio, Et Al., L-23236, October 19, 1965.)

2. ID.; ID.; AUTHORITY OF COURT TO EXTEND PERIOD FOR FILING RECORD ON APPEAL AND APPEAL BOND. — The Court has the power and discretion to extend the period for filing the record on appeal and appeal bond provided the application for extension of time is filed prior to the expiration of the period fixed by law. (Layda v. Legaspi, 39 Phil. 83; Moya v. Barton, 43 Off. Gaz. No. 3, p. 836) Unless, therefore, an application for extension of time is filed within the reglementary period, said period for perfecting an appeal cannot be extended. (Fonseca v. Santiago, Et Al., CA-G.R. No. 14618-R, June 24, 1955.)

3. ID.; ID.; FAILURE TO APPEAL WITHIN REGLEMENTARY PERIOD, EFFECT OF. — If an appeal be not taken within the reglementary period, the judgment becomes final and the court loses all jurisdiction over the case, and it has no alternative but to order the execution of the final judgment.

4. ID.; ID.; ID.; LEGALITY OF ALLOWANCE OF APPEAL MAY BE RAISED AT ANY TIME. — Where no timely appeal was taken, the judgment becomes final, and the legality of the allowance of the appeal may be raised at any stage of the proceedings in the appellate court. (Garganta v. Court of Appeals, 56 Off. Gaz., 4323, 4327).

5. ID.; ID.; MISCOMPUTATION OF APPEAL PERIOD, EFFECT OF. — The miscomputation by counsel of the appeal period will not arrest the course of the same, nor prevent the finality of the judgment. Otherwise, the definitive and executory character of the judgment would be left to the whim of the losing party, when it is to the interest of everyone that the date when judgments become final should remain fixed and ascertainable.


D E C I S I O N


REYES, J. B. L., J.:


Petition for review of a decision of the Court of Appeals dismissing petitioners’ application for a writ of certiorari against Judge Amado S. Santiago of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan.

Reduced to its essentials, the case arose as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

In Civil Cases Nos. U-234 and U-435, of the Court of Pangasinan, judgment was rendered ordering petitioners Sinforoso Galima, Marcelo Nocilo and Eulalio Nocilo to deliver to Juliana Bautista alias Juliana de los Santos 382 square meters covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 18790; to pay her P200, plus interest at 6% per annum from September 17, 1958 until fully paid, and to pay the costs.

Copy of the decision was received by counsel for petitioners on January 30, 1962. Steps were taken to appeal the judgment, and notice of appeal and cash bond were filed prior to March 26, 1962. No record of appeal, was filed prior to March 1, 1962, when the 30-day appeal period expired; but on March 2, 1962, petitioners applied for an extension of five days to present it. Despite objection, the vacation Judge, Javier Pabalan, on April 18 granted the extension, and petitioners filed the record of appeal. The winning party, Juliana Bautista, asked for reconsideration, and on June 5, 1962 the regular judge, respondent Amado Santiago, set aside the order of April 18, 1962; dismissed the appeal on the ground that the judgment had become final on March 1, 1962; and issued the corresponding writ of execution.

Petitioners’ motions for reconsideration having been denied, they resorted to the Court of Appeals on certiorari, and prayed for a writ of preliminary injunction to forestall execution of the judgment (CA-G.R. No. 31732-R); but the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition of Galima, Et. Al. Reconsideration not having been granted, they came to this Court.

It is not denied that the 30-day period for appeal expired on March 1, and that the petition to extend the time to file the record of appeal was one day late. Petitioners claim, however, that the extension was validly granted, and that it was abuse of discretion on the part of Judge Santiago to dismiss their appeal, since the trial court "had discretion to allow the record of appeal on equitable grounds", and Judge Pabalan had exercised that discretion in granting the extension of time prayed for. They argue that —

"In this instance, counsel for the petitioners believed that March 2, 1962 was the last day for the filing of the record on appeal. On that date therefore he filed a motion for extension of time to file said record. That 1-day difference in the filing of the motion for extension, without fault of the petitioners if so belated, considering that counsel had just been recently retained, the honest belief of counsel that he was still on time in asking for the extension, and the voluminous records of the case which truly necessitated more time for the substituting counsel to submit the record on appeal, certainly constituted excusable mistake or neglect sufficient to relieve the petitioners from the consequences of the failure to comply strictly with the law."cralaw virtua1aw library

Unfortunately, none of these excuses appears substantiated in the record before us, nor are they sufficient to enervate the finality of the decision rendered by the Court of First Instance upon the expiration of the appeal period on March 1, 1962. After said period has lapsed, the court lost all jurisdiction over the case, and had no alternative but to order the execution of the final judgment; and the Court of Appeals committed no error in refusing to interfere. As correctly ruled by the Court of Appeals:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"It is a requirement under the provisions of section 3, 5 and 9 of Rule 41, Rules of Court, that the notice of appeal, appeal bond and record on appeal should be filed in court and served upon the adverse party within thirty days from notice of judgment. (Espartero v. Ladaw, G.R. No. L-5181, Feb. 24, 1953, 49 O. G., No. 4, p. 1439.) 1 The filing of the notice of appeal, appeal bond and record on appeal within the reglementary period of thirty days is mandatory and jurisdictional. (Remorin, Et. Al. v. Valles, G.R. No. L-4946. April 29, 1953; 2 Espartero v. Ladaw, supra). The Court has the power and discretion to extend the period for filing the record on appeal and appeal bond provided the application for extension of time is filed prior to the expiration of the period fixed by law. (Layda v. Legaspi, 39 Phil. 83; Moya v. Barton, 43 O.G., No. 3, p. 836.) Unless, therefor, an application for extension of time is filed within the reglementary period, said period for perfecting an appeal cannot be extended. (Fonseca v. Santiago, Et Al., CA-G.R. No. 14618-R, June 24, 1955). Petitioner Galima’s motion for extension of time to file his record on appeal having been filed on March 2, 1962, or one day after the reglementary period of 30 days had elapsed, it was error on the part of Judge Pabalan to have granted said motion and, accordingly, respondent Judge Santiago did not abuse his discretion in setting aside Judge Pabalan’s said order granting petitioner Galima’s motion for extension of time, and in dismissing his appeal and ordering the execution of the judgment in Civil Cases Nos. U-234 and U-435."cralaw virtua1aw library

This pronouncement of the Court of Appeals finds support in our ruling in Garganta v. Court of Appeals, 56 Off. Gaz., 4323, at p. 4327:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"An allowance by a court of first instance of an appeal which was not taken within the reglementary period; a denial by the same court of a motion to dismiss an appeal taken beyond such period; and a denial by the Court of Appeals to dismiss such appeal, do not render the appeal valid, effective and legal. If an appeal be not taken within the reglementary period, the judgment becomes final and the legality of the allowance of the appeal and of the denial of the motion to dismiss the appeal by the trial court and the appellate court, to which the appeal has been forwarded, may always be raised because it concerns the jurisdiction of the appellate Court, a point which may he raised at any stage of the proceedings in the appellate court."cralaw virtua1aw library

The miscomputation by counsel of the appeal period will not arrest the course of the same, nor prevent the finality of the judgment. Otherwise, the definitive and executory character of the judgment would be left to the whim of the losing party, when it is to the interest of everyone that the date when judgments become final should remain fixed and ascertainable.

Petitioners appear to have been misled by certain dicta in two or three old decisions to the effect that it is discretionary in the trial court to approve or disapprove a record of appeal tendered after the appeal period (or timely extension thereof) had expired. But the vast weight of authority is clear that lapse of the appeal period deprives the courts of jurisdiction to alter the final judgment (Espartero v. Ladaw, 92 Phil. 704; Remorin v. Valles, 92 Phil. 991 and cases therein cited).

Finally, petitioners lay stress on our decision in Santiago v. Valenzuela, 78 Phil. 397. Suffice it to say that the ruling in that case has been abandoned and overruled in subsequent cases (Miranda v. Guanzon, 92 Phil. 168; Valdez v. Acumen, L-13526, January 28, 1960; Gov’t. v. Luis Antonio, Et Al., L-23736, October 19, 1965) wherein it was ruled that the perfection of an appeal within the period prescribed by law is jurisdictional. In the last case cited (Government v. Antonio, Et. Al.), this Court explained and expressly declared that the rule in Santiago v. Valenzuela, 78 Phil. 397, no longer holds.

Wherefore, the writ of certiorari applied for is denied, and the decision of the Court of Appeals in C.A. G. R. No. 31732-R is affirmed. Costs against Petitioners-Appellants.

Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Barrera, Dizon, Regala, Bengzon, J.P. and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.

Makalintal, J., did not take part.

Endnotes:



1. Espartero v. Ladaw, 92 Phil. 704.

2. Remorin, v. Valles 92 Phil. 991: "Los plazos de apelacion son fatales, la falta de perfeccion dentro del plazo fijado hace firme la decision."




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