[G.R. No. 128421. January 12, 2004]

vs. CA



Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated JAN 12 2004.

G.R. No. 128421 (Trans International vs. The Court of Appeals, National Power Corporation, Perla A. Segovia and Gilberto A. Pastoral.)

Before us is a motion for reconsideration of our resolution dated October 12, 1998 which set aside the decision dated October 21, 1996 and resolution dated January 31, 1997 of the respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 41977.

The crux of the respondents' motion for reconsideration is their view that the rules on appeal should not be construed in such a manner as to enforce a rigid application, disregarding the circumstances which led to the belated filing of the notice of appeal. We have already passed upon this argument.

In addition, there is no showing of any extraordinary circumstance which would justify a deviation from the rule on timely filing of appeals. Anyone seeking exemption from the application of this rule has the burden of proving that exceptional and meritorious grounds warranting such action exist. In this case, private respondents failed to discharge this burden. The only explanation offered for the delay in filing the notice of appeal was the alleged failure of their receiving clerk to follow their instruction to deliver to their counsel any order related to this case. They admitted that the clerk forgot to immediately deliver the copy of the order.

We reiterate that forgetfulness is not an accident, mistake or excusable negligence which constitutes sufficient justification for the one-day delay in filing the notice of appeal.Such an excuse is unacceptable.

Furthermore, the special civil action of certiorari filed by respondents in the Court of Appeals cannot be used as a substitute for a lost appeal. We have time and again reminded members of the bench and bar that a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 lies only when there is no appeal nor plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. Certiorari is not allowed when a party fails to appeal a judgment despite the availability of that remedy. The remedies of appeal and certiorari are mutually exclusive and neither alternative nor successive. [1] cralaw We have always emphasized that the perfection of an appeal in the manner and within the period provided by the rules is not only mandatory but jurisdictional, and that the failure to perfect it renders the decision of the trial court final and executory. This rule is founded on the principle that the right to appeal is not a part of due process but a mere statutory privilege to be exercised only in the manner and in accordance with the provisions of law. We find no cogent reason to depart from this rule.

Respondents cannot invoke the doctrine that technicalities must yield to the broader interests of substantial justice. While every litigant must be given the amplest opportunity for the proper and just determination of his cause, free from the constraints of technicalities, the failure to perfect an appeal within the reglementary period is not a mere technicality. It raises a jurisdictional problem as it deprives the appellate court of jurisdiction over the appeal. [2] cralaw

When the trial court dismissed respondents' notice of appeal for having been filed out of time, it merely applied the rules according to its plain terms. As long as the trial court acted with jurisdiction, any error committed by it in the exercise thereof amounts to nothing more than a mere error of judgment which may be reviewed or corrected only on appeal. [3] cralaw

The denial of this motion will serve as a bitter lesson for them but unfortunately, it was their negligence which allowed the trial court's decision to become final and executory.

WHEREFORE, the instant motion for reconsideration is hereby DENIED with FINALITY.


Very truly yours,

Clerk of Court


[1] cralaw Bernardo vs. Court of Appeals, 275 SCRA 423 [ 1997].

[2] cralaw Sy Chin vs. CA, 345 SCRA 673 [2000].

[3] cralaw Jalandoni vs. Drilon, 327 SCRA 107 [2000].

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