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Cases In Remedial Law

1. EASTERN SHIPPING LINES INC. VS BPI/MS INSURANCE CORP. and MITSUI SUM TOMO INSURANCE CO.
LTD., G.R. No. 193986, January 15, 2014

FACTS:
Sumitomo Corporation (Sumitomo) shipped through MV Eastern Challenger, a vessel owned by
petitioner Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc., for delivery in favor of the consignee Calamba Steel Center Inc.
(Calamba Steel) various steel sheets in coil on three (3) occasions. Upon arrival at the port of Manila, the
shipments were turned over to ATI for stevedoring, storage and safekeeping pending Calamba Steel's
withdrawal of the shipments. When ATI delivered the shipments to Calamba Steel, the latter rejected
some of the shipments for having been damaged.

Calamba Steel filed an insurance claim with respondent Mitsui, through its agent BPI/MS
Insurance Corporation (BPI/MS), and the former was paid for the damages suffered by all three
shipments. Correlatively, on August 31, 2004, as insurer and subrogee of Calamba Steel, Mitsui and
BPI/MS filed a Complaint for Damages against petitioner Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. and ATI.
The RTC ruled in favor of Calamba Steel ordering Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. and Asian Terminals, Inc.,
jointly and severally, to pay Calamba Steel actual damages, attorney's fees and costs of suits.
Aggrieved, petitioner and ATI appealed to the CA. The CA in its assailed Decision affirmed with
modification the RTC’s findings and ruling, holding, among others, that both petitioner and ATI were
very negligent in the handling of the subject cargoes. The CA found, among others, that "during the
unloading operations, the steel coils were lifted from the vessel but were not carefully laid on the
ground.

Hence, petitioner filed a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure, as amended, seeking the reversal of the Decision of the CA arguing that based on the
evidence submitted by respondents, on the one hand, and those submitted by it (petitioner) on the
other, the cause of the damage was the rough handling of the goods by ATI during the discharging
operations hence petitioner should be absolved.

ISSUE:

Whether the CA committed any reversible error in finding that petitioner is solidarily liable with
ATI on account of the damage incurred by the goods.

HELD:
NO.

Well entrenched in this jurisdiction is the rule that factual questions may not be raised before
this Court in a petition for review on certiorari as this Court is not a trier of facts. This is clearly stated in
Section 1, Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, which provides:

SECTION 1. Filing of petition with Supreme Court.–A party desiring to appeal by certiorari from a
judgment or final order or resolution of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Regional Trial
Court or other courts whenever authorized by law, may file with the Supreme Court a verified petition
for review on certiorari. The petition shall raise only questions of law which must be distinctly set forth.
Thus, it is settled that in petitions for review on certiorari, only questions of law may be put in
issue. Questions of fact cannot be entertained.23

A question of law exists when the doubt or controversy concerns the correct application of law
or jurisprudence to a certain set of facts, or when the issue does not call for an examination of the
probative value of the evidence presented, the truth or falsehood of facts being admitted. A question of
fact exists when the doubt or difference arises as to the truth or falsehood of facts or when the query
invites calibration of the whole evidence considering mainly the credibility of the witnesses, the
existence and relevancy of specific surrounding circumstances as well as their relation to each other and
to the whole, and the probability of the situation.24

While it is true that the aforementioned rule admits of certain exceptions, none are applicable in
this case.

2. Dy vs NLRC GR No. L-68544, October 27, 1986

FACTS:

Private respondent Carlito Vailoces was the manager of the Rural Bank of Ayungon. He was also a
director and a stockholder of said bank. On June 4, 1983, a special stockholders' meeting was called for
the purpose of electing the members of the bank's Board of Directors. Immediately after the election
the new Board proceeded to elect the bank's executive officers. in that Board meeting of June 4, 1983,
petitioners Lorenzo Dy, William Ibero and Ricardo Garcia were elected president, vice-president and
corporate secretary, respectively. Vailoces was not re-elected as bank manager. Because of this
development, the Board, on July 2, 1983, passed Resolution No. 5, series of 1983, relieving him as bank
manager.

On August 3, 1983, Vailoces filed a complaint for illegal dismissal and damages with the then Ministry of
Labor and Employment against Lorenzo Dy and Zosimo Dy, Sr. The complaint was amended on
September 22, 1983 to include additional respondents-William Ibero, Ricardo Garcia and the Rural Bank
of Ayungon, and additional causes of action for underpayment of salary and non-payment of living
allowance.

The Executive Labor Arbiter found that respondent was illegally dismissed. When the case was elevated
to the NLRC, the latter, however bypassed the issues raised and simply dismissed the appeal for having
been filed late.

ISSUE:
WHETHER OR NOT THE MINISTRY OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT AND THE NLRC HAVE JURISDICTION
OVER THE CASE.

HELD:
The Ministry of Labor and Employment and the NLRC did not have jurisdiction over the case as it is not
case of dismissal.

There is no dispute that the position from which private respondent Vailoces claims to have been
illegally dismissed is an elective corporate office. He himself acquired that position through election by
the bank's Board of Directors at the organizational meeting of November 17, 1979.[10] He lost that
position because the Board that was elected in the special stockholders' meeting of June 4, 1983 did not
re-elect him. This case does not fall within the jurisdiction of the then Ministry of Labor and
Employment.
It is of no moment that Vailoces, in his amended complaint, seeks other relief which would seemingly
fan under the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter, because a closer look at these-underpayment of salary
and non-payment of living allowance-shows that they are actually part of the perquisites of his elective
position, hence, intimately linked with his relations with the corporation. The question of remuneration,
involving as it does, a person who is not a mere employee but a stockholder and officer, an integral part,
it might be said, of the corporation, is not a simple labor problem but a matter that comes within the
area of corporate affairs and management, and is in fact a corporate controversy in contemplation of
the Corporation Code.

3. SPOUSES CESAR R. ROMULO vs. SPOUSES MOISES P. LAYUG, September 8, 2006, G.R. No. 151217

Sometime in 1986, petitioners obtained from respondents a loan in the amount of P50,000.00 with a
monthly interest of 10%, which subsequently ballooned to P580,292.00. To secure the payment of the
loan, respondents allegedly duped petitioners into signing a Contract of Lease and a Deed of Absolute
Sale covering petitioners house and lot located at Phase II, BF Homes, Sucat, Paraaque and covered by
Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. S-71528. The Deed of Absolute Sale purportedly facilitated the
cancellation of petitioners title on the house and lot and the issuance of TCT No. 20489 in the name of
respondents. Thus, petitioners filed an action seeking the nullification of the Deed of Absolute Sale, the
contract of lease and TCT No. 20489, and the award of moral and exemplary damages.

Respondents denied petitioners allegations and vouched for the validity of the Deed of Absolute Sale,
particularly as having been voluntarily executed by the parties for the purpose of extinguishing
petitioners indebtedness to respondents. As consideration of the sale, respondents allegedly paid the
amount of P200,000.00 in addition to the writing off of petitioners obligation to them. That they allowed
petitioners to occupy the house and lot as lessees thereof was founded on the trust they reposed on
petitioners, claimed respondents.

RTC found that the contract entered into by the parties is one of equitable mortgage. CA reversed the
RTC's decision mainly on the ground that petitioners failed to present sufficient evidence to prove their
allegation that their signatures to the Deed of Absolute Sale were obtained fraudulently.

Their MR having been rebuffed, petitioners filed an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 raising the lone
issue of whether or not the transaction between the parties constitutes an equitable mortgage.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the parties intended an equitable mortgage is a factual issue.

HELD:

As a general rule, factual review is beyond the province of this Court. One of the exceptions to the rule is
exemplified by the instant case where the factual findings of the RTC and Court of Appeals are
contradictory.
That petitioners obtained loans from respondents between 1985 and 1987, which remained unpaid up
to the time of the execution of the assailed Deed of Absolute Sale, is established.[15] That petitioners
signed the assailed instrument is also not disputed. Indeed, they admitted having signed said document
qualifying, however, that they were forced by respondents to execute the same for the purpose of
securing their indebtedness to respondents.[16] Respondents, on the other hand, insisted that the
parties executed the Deed of Absolute Sale as an honest-to-goodness sales transaction.

The Supreme Court is clothed with ample authority to review matters, even if they are not assigned as
errors on appeal, if it finds that their consideration is necessary in arriving at a just decision of the
case.[30] Though petitioners did not raise in issue the appellate courts reversal of the award of damages
in their favor, the Court has the discretion to pass upon this matter and determine whether or not there
is sufficient justification for the award of damages.

The trial court described respondents acts as malevolent, necessitating the award for moral and
exemplary damages. An award of moral damages would require certain conditions to be met, to wit: (1)
first, there must be an injury, whether physical, mental or psychological, clearly sustained by the
claimant; (2) second, there must be a culpable act or omission factually established; (3) third, the
wrongful act or omission of the defendant is the proximate cause of the injury sustained by the
claimant; and (4) fourth, the award of damages is predicated on any of the cases stated in Article
2219.[31]

However, petitioners are not completely without fault. Had they exercised ordinary diligence in their
affairs, petitioners could have avoided executing documents in blank. Respondents wrongful act,
although the proximate cause of the injury suffered by petitioners, was mitigated by petitioners own
contributory negligence. Hence, the award of moral and exemplary damages must be reduced to one-
half of the amounts awarded by the trial court.

4. Quelnan v VHF Philippines GR No. 138500, September 16, 2005

Facts:

In an ejectment suit (Civil Case No. 139649-CV) filed by respondent VHF Philippines, Inc. against
petitioner Andy Quelnan, involving a condominium unit at the Legaspi Towers 300 at Roxas Boulevard,
Manila which respondent claimed to have been leased by petitioner, the Metropolitan Trial Court
(MeTC) of Manila, on its finding that summons together with a copy of the complaint was served [on
petitioner] thru his wife on August 25, 1992 by substituted service and that petitioner failed to file his
answer within the reglementary period, rendered a judgment ordering herein petitioner to vacate the
premises.

Copy of the aforementioned decision was served on petitioner by registered mail but the same was
returned unclaimed on account of petitioners failure to claim the same despite the postmasters three
(3) successive notices on November 25, 1992, December 7, 1992 and December 11, 1992.

No appeal having been taken by the petitioner, the MeTC decision became final and executory.

On May 18, 1993, a writ of execution, a notice of levy and a notice to vacate were served on petitioners
wife who acknowledged receipt thereof.
On May 24, 1993, petitioner filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) at Manila a Petition for Relief from
Judgment With Prayer for Preliminary Injunction and/or temporary restraining order,[4] thereunder
alleging, inter alia, that he was never served with summons and was completely unaware of the
proceedings in the ejectment suit, adding that he learned of the judgment rendered thereon only on
May 18, 1993 when a notice of levy on execution came to his knowledge. He thus prayed the RTC to
annul and set aside the MeTC decision and the writs issued in connection therewith.

In a decision dated June 3, 1996, the RTC granted petitioners petition for relief and set aside the MeTC
decision. The RTC explained, among others, that petitioner had been unduly deprived of a hearing and
had been prevented from taking an appeal for the reason that petitioners wife, in a fit of anger, tore the
summons and complaint in the ejectment suit in the heat of a marital squabble.

CA reversed RTC's decision.

ISSUE:

WON the Petition for Relief from Judgment was filed out of time.

HELD:

The Petition for Relief from Judgment was filed out of time.

Relief from judgment under Rule 38 is a legal remedy whereby a party seeks to set aside a judgment
rendered against him by a court whenever he was unjustly deprived of a hearing or was prevented from
taking an appeal, in either case, because of fraud, accident, mistake or excusable neglect.

Section 3 of Rule 38 reads:

SEC. 3. Time for filing petition; contents and verification. A petition provided for in either of the
preceding sections of this Rule must be verified, filed within sixty (60) days after the petitioner learns of
the judgment, final order, or other proceeding to be set aside, and not more than six (6) months after
such judgment or final order was entered, or such proceeding was taken; and must be accompanied
with affidavits, showing the fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence relied upon and the facts
constituting the petitioners good and substantial cause of action or defense, as the case may be.
(Emphasis supplied)

Clear it is from the above that a petition for relief from judgment must be filed within: (a) 60 days from
knowledge of judgment, order or other proceedings to be set aside; and (b) six (6) months from entry of
such judgment, order or other proceeding. These two periods must concur. Both periods are also not
extendible and never interrupted. Strict compliance with these periods stems from the equitable
character and nature of the petition for relief. Indeed, relief is allowed only in exceptional cases as when
there is no other available or adequate remedy. As it were, a petition for relief is actually the last chance
given by law to litigants to question a final judgment or order. And failure to avail of such last chance
within the grace period fixed by the Rules is fatal.
We do not take issue with petitioner that the 60-day period under Section 3, Rule 38, supra should be
reckoned from the time the aggrieved party has knowledge of the judgment. The Rule expressly says so.
We cannot, however, go along with his contention that it was only on May 18, 1993 when he became
aware of the judgment subject of his petition for relief.

The records clearly reveal that a copy of the MeTC decision was sent to petitioner through registered
mail at his given address on November 25, 1992. It should be noted that petitioner was not represented
by counsel during the proceedings before the MeTC. The first notice to him by the postmaster to check
his mail was on November 25, 1992. Thereafter, subsequent notices were sent by the postmaster on
December 7, 1992 and December 11, 1992. For sure, a certification that the registered mail was
unclaimed by the petitioner and thus returned to the sender after three successive notices was issued
by the postmaster. Hence, service of said MeTC decision became effective five (5) days after November
25, 1992, or on November 30, 1992, conformably with Rule 13, Section 10 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure, which reads:

SEC. 10. Completeness of Service. − Personal service is complete upon actual delivery. Service by
ordinary mail is complete upon the expiration of ten (10) days after mailing, unless the court otherwise
provides. Service by registered mail is complete upon actual receipt by the addressee, or after five (5)
days from the date he received the first notice of the postmaster, whichever date is earlier. (Emphasis
supplied)

There is no doubt that under the Rules, service by registered mail is complete upon actual receipt by the
addressee. However, if the addressee fails to claim his mail from the post office within five (5) days from
the date of the first notice, service becomes effective upon the expiration of five (5) days therefrom.[14]
In such a case, there arises a presumption that the service was complete at the end of the said five-day
period. This means that the period to appeal or to file the necessary pleading begins to run after five
days from the first notice given by the postmaster. This is because a party is deemed to have received
and to have been notified of the judgment at that point.

With the reality that petitioner was first notified by the postmaster on November 25, 1992, it follows
that service of a copy of the MeTC decision was deemed complete and effective five (5) days therefrom
or on November 30, 1992. Necessarily, the 60-day period for filing a petition for relief must be reckoned
from such date (November 30, 1992) as this was the day when actual receipt by petitioner is presumed.
In short, petitioner was deemed to have knowledge of the MeTC decision on November 30, 1992. The
60-day period for filing a petition for relief thus expired on January 29, 1993. Unfortunately, it was only
on May 24, 1993, or 175 days after petitioner was deemed to have learned of the judgment that he filed
his petition for relief with the RTC. Indubitably, the petition was filed way beyond the 60-day period
provided by law.

5. Lazaro vs CA, G.R. No. 137761, April 6, 2000

Private respondents filed a civil action for annulment of title, reconveyance and damages (with prayer
for preliminary injunction) Petitioners Gabriel Lazaro and the heirs of Florencia Pineda and Eva Viernes.

After trial, the RTC rendered judgment in favor of the petitioners. Thereafter, the private respondents
filed a Notice of Appeal before the trial court. The CA dismissed the appeal for failure of herein private
respondents to pay the required docket fees within the prescribed period. Private respondents filed MR
which was granted by the CA reinstating the appeal. In reinstating the appeal despite the failure of
herein private respondents to pay the docket fees within the prescribed period, the Court of Appeals
invoked "the interest of substantial justice." It did not elaborate however. No specific circumstance or
any other explanation was cited in support of its ruling. Petitioners filed an MR but was denied
prompting them to file Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 with the SC.

ISSUE:
WON failure to pay docket and other lawful fees within the prescribed period is a ground for the
dismissal of an appeal

HELD:

Failure to pay docket and other lawful fees within the prescribed period is a ground for the dismissal of
an appeal. This rule cannot be suspended by the mere invocation of "the interest of substantial justice."
Procedural rules may be relaxed only in exceptionally meritorious cases.

The Rules of Court, as amended, specifically provides that appellate court docket and other lawful fees
should be paid within the period for taking an appeal. Hence, Section 4 of Rule 41 reads:

"Section 4. Appellate court docket and other lawful fees. -- Within the period for taking an appeal,[9] the
appellant shall pay to the clerk of the court which rendered the judgment or final order appealed from,
the full amount of the appellate court docket and other lawful fees. Proof of payment of said fees shall
be transmitted to the appellate court together with the original record or the record on appeal."

The payment of the docket and other legal fees within the prescribed period is both mandatory and
jurisdictional. Section 1 (c), Rule 50 of the Rules of Court provides: "Failure of the appellant to pay the
docket and other fees as provided in Section 4 of Rule 41" is a ground for the dismissal of the appeal.
Indeed, it has been held that failure of the appellant to conform with the rules on appeal renders the
judgment final and executory.[10] Verily, the right to appeal is a statutory right and one who seeks to
avail of that right must comply with the statute or the rule.

In the present case, the private respondents failed to pay the required docket fees within the
reglementary period. In fact, the Court notes that they paid the fees only after the CA had dismissed the
appeal, or six months after the filing of the Notice of Appeal. Clearly, existing jurisprudence and the
Rules mandate that the appeal should be dismissed.

The appellate court nonetheless reinstated the appeal "in the interest of substantial justice." But as
earlier observed, it did not cite any specific circumstance or any other explanation in support of its
ruling. For their part, private respondents failed to offer a satisfactory explanation why they paid the
docket fees six months after the prescribed period. Indeed, neither they nor the Court of Appeals
showed fraud, accident, mistake, excusable negligence, or any other reason to justify the suspension of
the aforecited rule.

We must stress that the bare invocation of "the interest of substantial justice" is not a magic wand that
will automatically compel this Court to suspend procedural rules. "Procedural rules are not to be
belittled or dismissed simply because their non-observance may have resulted in prejudice to a party's
substantive rights.
6. Fabian v Desierto, G.R. No. 129742. September 16, 1998

PROMAT Construction Development Corporation (PROMAT) participated in the bidding for government
construction project including those under the First Metro Manila Engineering District (FMED).
Petitioner Fabian was the major stockholder and president of PROMAT while private respondent Agustin
was the incumbent District Engineering District of FMED. Later, misunderstanding and unpleasant
incidents developed between the parties. Fabian tried to terminate their relationship. Then, she
eventually filed an administrative case against Agustin.

Graft Investigator Benitez issued a resolution finding private respondent guilty of grave misconduct and
ordering his dismissal from the service with forfeiture of all benefits under the law. His resolution bore
the approval of Director Napoleon Baldrias and Assistant Ombudsman Abelardo Aportadera of their
office.

Herein respondent Ombudsman, in an Order dated February 26, 1996, approved the aforesaid
resolution with modifications, by finding private respondent guilty of misconduct and meting out the
penalty of suspension without pay for one year. After private respondent moved for reconsideration,
respondent Ombudsman discovered that the former's new counsel had been his "classmate and close
associate" hence he inhibited himself. The case was transferred to respondent Deputy Ombudsman
Jesus F. Guerrero who, in the now challenged Joint Order of June 18, 1997, set aside the February 26,
1997 Order of respondent Ombudsman and exonerated private respondents from the administrative
charges.

Fabian elevated the case to the SC, arguing that Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 (Ombudsman Act of
1989) that all administrative disciplinary cases, orders, directives or decisions of the Office of the
Ombudsman may be appealed to the Supreme Court by filing a petition for certiorari within ten (10)
days from receipt of the written notice of the order, directive or decision or denial of the motion for
reconsideration in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

ISSUE:

Whether or not administrative disciplinary cases, orders, directives or decisions of the Office of the
Ombudsman may be appealed to the Supreme Court.

HELD:

No. Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 cannot validly authorize an appeal to this Court from decisions
of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases. It consequently violates the
proscription in Section 30, Article VI of the Constitution against a law which increases the Appellate
jurisdiction of this Court. No countervailing argument has been cogently presented to justify such
disregard of the constitutional prohibition which, as correctly explained in First Leparto Ceramics, Inc. vs.
The Court of Appeals, et al. was intended to give this Court a measure of control over cases placed
under its appellate Jurisdiction. Otherwise, the indiscriminate enactment of legislation enlarging its
appellate jurisdiction would unnecessarily burden the Court.

7. DOMINGO NEYPES, ET AL. vs. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.


G.R. No. 141524 (September 14, 2005)
FACTS:

Petitioners filed an action for annulment of judgment and titles of land and/or reconveyance and/or
reversion with preliminary injunction before the RTC against the private respondents. Later, in an order,
the trial court dismissed petitioners’ complaint on the ground that the action had already prescribed.
Petitioners allegedly received a copy of the order of dismissal on March 3, 1998 and, on the 15th day
thereafter or on March 18, 1998, filed a motion for reconsideration. On July 1, 1998, the trial court
issued another order dismissing the motion for reconsideration which petitioners received on July 22,
1998. Five days later, on July 27, 1998, petitioners filed a notice of appeal and paid the appeal fees on
August 3, 1998.

On August 4, 1998, the court a quo denied the notice of appeal, holding that it was filed eight days late.
This was received by petitioners on July 31, 1998. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but this
too was denied in an order dated September 3, 1998. Via a petition for certiorari and mandamus under
Rule 65, petitioners assailed the dismissal of the notice of appeal before the CA. In the appellate court,
petitioners claimed that they had seasonably filed their notice of appeal. They argued that the 15-day
reglementary period to appeal started to run only on July 22, 1998 since this was the day they received
the final order of the trial court denying their motion for reconsideration. When they filed their notice of
appeal on July 27, 1998, only five days had elapsed and they were well within the reglementary period
for appeal. On September 16, 1999, the CA dismissed the petition. It ruled that the 15-day period to
appeal should have been reckoned from March 3, 1998 or the day they received the February 12, 1998
order dismissing their complaint. According to the appellate court, the order was the “final order”
appealable under the Rules.

ISSUES:

(1) Whether or not receipt of a final order triggers the start of the 15-day reglmentary period to appeal,
the February 12, 1998 order dismissing the complaint or the July 1, 1998 order dismissing the Motion for
Reconsideration.

(2) Whether or not petitioners file their notice of appeal on time.

HELD:

(1) The July 1, 1998 order dismissing the motion for reconsideration should be deemed as the final
order. In the case of Quelnan v. VHF Philippines, Inc., the trial court declared petitioner non-suited and
accordingly dismissed his complaint. Upon receipt of the order of dismissal, he filed an omnibus motion
to set it aside. When the omnibus motion was filed, 12 days of the 15-day period to appeal the order
had lapsed. He later on received another order, this time dismissing his omnibus motion. He then filed
his notice of appeal. But this was likewise dismissed ― for having been filed out of time. The court a quo
ruled that petitioner should have appealed within 15 days after the dismissal of his complaint since this
was the final order that was appealable under the Rules. The SC reversed the trial court and declared
that it was the denial of the motion for reconsideration of an order of dismissal of a complaint which
constituted the final order as it was what ended the issues raised there. This pronouncement was
reiterated in the more recent case of Apuyan v. Haldeman et al. where the SC again considered the
order denying petitioner’s motion for reconsideration as the final order which finally disposed of the
issues involved in the case. Based on the aforementioned cases, the SC sustained petitioners’ view that
the order dated July 1, 1998 denying their motion for reconsideration was the final order contemplated
in the Rules.

(2) YES. To standardize 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 RTC, 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, Rule 42, Rule
43 and Rule 45. 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 SC thus held that petitioners seasonably filed their notice of appeal within the fresh period of 15
days, counted from July 22, 1998 (the date of receipt of notice denying their motion for
reconsideration). This pronouncement is not inconsistent with Rule 41, Section 3 of the Rules 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 in 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,” which we already determined to
refer to the July 1, 1998 order denying the motion for a new trial or reconsideration.

Neither does this new rule run counter to the spirit of Section 39 of BP 129 which shortened the appeal
period from 30 days to 15 days to hasten the disposition of cases. The original period of appeal (in this
case March 3-18, 1998) remains and the requirement for strict compliance still applies. The fresh period
of 15 days becomes significant only when a party opts to file a motion for new trial or motion for
reconsideration. In this manner, the trial court which rendered the assailed decision is given another
opportunity to review the case and, in the process, minimize and/or rectify any error of judgment. While
we aim to resolve cases with dispatch and to have judgments of courts become final at some definite
time, we likewise aspire to deliver justice fairly.

To recapitulate, a party litigant may either file his notice of appeal within 15 days from receipt of the
RTC’s decision or file it within 15 days from receipt of the order (the “final order”) denying his motion
for new trial or motion for reconsideration. Obviously, the new 15-day period may be availed of only if
either motion is filed; otherwise, the decision becomes final and executory after the lapse of the original
appeal period provided in Rule 41, Section 3. Petitioners here filed their notice of appeal on July 27,
1998 or five days from receipt of the order denying their motion for reconsideration on July 22, 1998.
Hence, the notice of appeal was well within the fresh appeal period of 15 days, as already discussed.

NOTE:

The “FRESH PERIOD RULE” do not apply to Rule 64 (Review of Judgments and Final Orders or Resolutions
of the Commission on Elections and the Commission on Audit) because Rule 64 is derived from the
Constitution. It is likewise doubtful whether it will apply to criminal cases.