XX. TRIAL, TRIAL BY COMMISSIONERS, HEARINGS AND CONSOLIDATION OF CASES (RULES 30 TO 32) 1. Lourdez de Castro v. Crispino de Castro, G.R. No. 172198, June 16, 2009 QUICKIE FACTS: Crispino and Lourdes De Castro are spouses. The RTC granted Crispino’s Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage base don psychological incapacity for failure of Lourdes to file an Answer. The latter filed a Motion for Leave to FIle an Omnibus Motion Seeking a New Trial or Reconsideration on the ground that she was misled and prevented from participating in the annulment case because Crispino promised support for their children. RTC granted said motion. On July 17, 2002, the RTC had to reset the hearing because there was no return of the notice sent. Thereafter, the hearings were reset 12 more times. On Aug 20, 2003, the RTC denied Lourdes’ request to cancel the hearing due to unavailability of witnesses. RTC deemed to have waived her right to present evidence due to her failure to present evidence that day. On Dec 12, 20003, RTC denied Lourdes’ request to Reconsider the denial claiming that her absence was justifiable with no intent to delay the proceedings. Lourdes filed a Petition fo Certiorari which the CA denied. Hence, this petition. She now questions Judge Umali’s act of ruling that her right to present evidence was waived when she failed to appear at the August 20 hearing. DOCTRINE: We take note of the fact that all motions for postponement by Lourdes were made on the scheduled hearing dates themselves. On the August 20, 2003 hearing, despite previous warning that no further postponement would be allowed, she still failed to appear. We agree with the CA when it pointed out that she obviously knew in advance that she could not make it to the August 20, 2003 hearing. As of the last scheduled hearing of July 25, 2003, she was still out of the country. The least that petitioner could have done was to instruct her counsel to make a timely representation with the RTC by filing an early motionmanifestation for the resetting of the hearing. Between July 25, 2003 and August 20, 2003 she had sufficient time to file one. Obviously, the warning by the court of the consequence of another non-appearance in the hearing fell on deaf ears. After having been granted numerous motions for postponement, she cannot now claim that she was denied due process. In Ortigas, Jr. v. Lufthansa German Airlines, we ruled that: Where a party seeks postponement of the hearing of this case for reasons caused by his own inofficiousness, lack of resourcefulness and diligence if not total indifference to his own interests or to the interests of those he represents, thereby resulting in his failure to present his own evidence, the court would not extend to him its mantle of protection. If it was he who created the situation that brought about the resulting adverse consequences, he cannot plead for his day in court nor claim that he was so denied of it. Further in Hap Hong Hardware Co. v. Philippine Company, we sustained the trial court’s denial of a motion for postponement on the ground that the defendant’s witnesses, officers of the company, could not come because it was the beginning of the milling season in the municipality of San Jose, Mindoro Occidental and their presence in the Central was necessary. We held that the reason adduced was “not unavoidable and one that could not have been foreseen.” In the case at bar, Lourdes’ excuse — that she was still in the U.S. taking care of her newborn grandchild, while her witness, Dr. Maria Cynthia Ramos-Leynes, who conducted a psychiatric evaluation on her, was likewise out of the country, attending a convention — was unjustified. These reasons were “not unavoidable and one that could not have been foreseen.” The date of the trial was set one month prior, and as of July 25, 2003, Lourdes was in the U.S. Certainly, Loures would know in advance if she could make it to the August 20, 2003 hearing. Likewise, attending a convention is a scheduled event, also something known in advance. It is the basic duty of a litigant to move for postponement BEFORE THE DAY OF THE HEARing, so that the court could order its resetting and timely inform the adverse party of the new date. This was not the case at bar for the subject motion was presented only on the day of the trial without any justification. We thus hold that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion for postponement. 2. Zulueta v. Asia Brewery, G.R. No. 138137, March 8, 2001 QUICKIE FACTS: Asia Brewery and Zulueta entered into a Dealership Agreement where Asia Brewery would manufacture and distribute beer for Zulueta to sell in the outlet he operates. Thereafter, alleging violation of said Dealership Agreement, Zulueta filed a Complaint for Breach of Contrat, Specific Performance, and Damages against Asia Brewery in the RTC of Iloilo. While said case was pending, Asia Brewery likewise filed a Complaint for Collection of Sum of Money in the RTC of Makati against Zulueta for the latter’s unpaid beer products bought. Zulueta moved to dismiss the Complaint in Maati on the ground of splitting causes of action and violation against the principle of multiplicity of suits but was denied. Later on Zulueta moved that the cases be consolidated. This was granted. On appeal, CA reversed the ruling anstated that there is no common issue of law or fact between the two cases since the Iloilo case was about the alleged violation of the Dealership Agreement while the Makati case was about Zulueta’s debt for unpaid beer products. Hence, this petition. DOCTRINE: True, Zulueta’s obligation to pay for the beer products delivered by Asia Brewery can exist regardless of an alleged breach in the Dealership Agreement. Undeniably, however, this obligation and the relationship between Asia Brewery and Zulueta, as supplier and distributor respectively, arose from the Dealership Agreement which is now the subject of inquiry in the Iloilo case. In fact, Zulueta herself claims that her obligation to pay was negated by Asia Brewery’s contractual breach. In other words, the nonpayment — the res of the Makati case — is an incident of the Iloilo case. Inasmuch as the binding force of the Dealership Agreement was put in question, it would be more, practical and convenient to submit to the Iloilo court all the incidents and their consequences. The issues in both civil cases pertain to the respective obligations of the same parties under the Dealership Agreement. Thus, every transaction as well as liability arising from it must be resolved in the judicial forum where it is put in issue. The consolidation of the two cases then becomes imperative to a complete, comprehensive and consistent determination of all these related issues. Two cases involving the same parties and affecting closely related subject matters must be ordered consolidated and jointly tried in court, where the earlier case was filed. The consolidation of cases is proper when they involve the resolution of common questions of law or facts. Indeed, upon the consolidation of the cases, the interests of both parties in the two civil cases will best be served and the issues involved therein expeditiously settled. After all, there is no question on the propriety of the venue in the Iloilo case. 3. Roque Yu v. Magno, G.R. No. 138701, October 17, 2006 QUICKIE FACTS: Sps Roque and Asuncion Yu, as controlling stockholders of Leyte Lumber, entered into a verbal agreement with Engr. Magno where Leyte Lumber would supply Magno with building materials he may need his construction business. Magno then established BG Magno Construction and Development Enterprises. Thereafter, Roque and Magno entered into a joint venture called the Great Pacific Construction Company. This continued until Magno died. A year after Magno’s death, Sps Yu and Leyte Lumber filed separate Complaints for Sum of Money with Damages and Preliminary Attachment against BG Magno and the estate. In the case instituted by Leyte Lumber, it wanted to collect on the principal amount of 1.2M for construction materials. In the case instituted by Sps. Yu, they wanted to collect on loans and advances amounting to 3.5M. Both cases were raffled to separate RTC branches which rendered decisions in favor of BG Magno. Howeever, the 2 decisions were penned by Judge Francisco. The parties did not file an MR nor called the attention of Judge Francisco on the absence of an Order for Consolidation. Instead, they directly filed appeals before the CA. In the CA, the 2 cases were consolidated. CA modified in the case instituted by Leyte Lumber but reserved the one instituted by Sps. Yu. Sps. Yu filed an MR but was denied. Hence, this petition. DOCTRINE: On the question of the propriety of Judge Francisco of Branch 6 formulating the decision in Civil Case No. 5822 which was pending and tried in Branch 8, we declare that there was nothing irregular in the procedure taken. The records show that there appears to have been a previous agreement to either transfer or consolidate the two cases for decision by the presiding judge of Branch 6. Indeed, when the Magno filed a Motion to Lift, Dissolve and Quash the Writs of Attachment with Branch 6 on January 20, 1993, the caption thereof indicated the docket numbers of both cases. Likewise, on October 29, 1993, when the Sps. Yu’s new counsel entered his Formal Appearance, in the caption thereof was also written the docket numbers of both cases. Sps. Yu’s previous counsel of longstanding (whose representation dates back to the filing of the two complaints in 1979) filed his Motion to Withdraw as Counsel on October 30, 1993, and the caption thereof similarly indicated the docket numbers of both cases. Subsequent orders of the court which emanated from Branch 6 also bear, in the caption thereof, the titles and docket numbers of both cases. In other words, as early as 6 months prior to the promulgation of Judge Francisco’s decisions in the 2 cases, there appears to have been a transfer or consolidation of said cases in Branch 6 and the parties knew of it, albeit the actual date when the two cases were consolidated or transferred does not appear on record. Nonetheless, the fact remains that no opposition or objection in any manner was registered by either of the parties to the same, thereby evincing their consent thereto. It is, therefore, already too late in the day for the Sps. Yu to question the competence of Judge Francisco to render the separate decisions in the two cases. The two cases were filed just a few months apart; they involve simple cases of collection of sums of money between identical parties and no other; Magno’s claim, in both cases, essentially the same defense, which is overpayment; they cover the same period of transacting continuous business that spans 4 years; they relate to simple issues of fact that are intimately related to each other; they entailed presentation of practically identical evidence and witnesses; in fact, a broad part of the evidence and testimonies in one case was totally adopted or reproduced in the other by either or both parties. And the trial court, being multisala courts, its Branches 6 and 8 possessed jurisdiction to try either or both cases on their own. A court may order several actions pending before it to be tried together where they arise from the same act, event or transaction, involve the same or like issues, and depend largely or substantially on the same evidence, provided that the court has jurisdiction over the case to be consolidated and that a joint trial will not give one party an undue advantage or prejudice the substantial rights of any of the parties. The obvious purpose of the above rule is to avoid multiplicity of suits, to guard against oppression and abuse, to prevent delays, to clear congested dockets, to simplify the work of the trial court; in short the attainment of justice with the least expense and vexation to the parties litigants. Consolidation of cases, when proper, results in the simplification of proceedings, which saves time, the resources of the parties and the courts, and a possible major abbreviation of trial. It is a desirable end to be achieved, within the context of the present state of affairs where court dockets are full and individual and state finances are limited. It contributes to the swift dispensation of justice, and is in accord with the aim of affording the parties a just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of their cases before the courts. Another compelling argument that weighs heavily in favor of consolidation is the avoidance of the possibility of conflicting decisions being rendered by the courts in two or more cases which would otherwise require a single judgment. 4. Mega Land v. C-E Construction, Inc., G.R. No. 165211, July 31, 2007 QUICKIE FACTS: Mega Land and CE Construction had an arbitration case before the Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC). CIAC rendered a decisión ordering Mega Land to pay CE 1.6M. After Megal Land received the decisión on June 20, 2002, pursuant to Rule 43, it had 15 days (July 5) to appeal to the CA. On July 4, Fajardo Law Offices filed a Motion for Extension of Time to file a Petition for Review and sought an extensión untilJuly20onthegroundthatthelegalissuesarecomplexandtherecordsarevoluminous. Thiscasewasraffledtothe16th Division. However, on July 5, Mega Land’s President and GM (Sy) also filed a Motion for Extension which was assigned a different docket number. This was raffled to the 5th división (now 3rd Division) The reason for the second Motion was because it was no longer availing of the services of Fajardo Law Offices. No move was undertaken to withdraw or disavow the Motion earlier filed by Fajardo Law Offices. These 2 Motions for Extensions were granted and thus prolonging the period to July 20. Meanwhile, Mega Land secured the services of Atty. Flores. As such, he filed a 2nd Motion for Extension of Time with Formal Entry of Appearance on July 15. Flores sought a new 15 day period to appeal or on Aug 4. In his Motion, the caption was that of the 2nd case. This was granted thus further prolonging the period to appeal from July 20 to August 4. On August 1, Flores filed a Petition for Review on behalf of Mega Land but the caption thereof was that of the first case. As a result, the 16th Division handling the first case dismissed the Petition for Review for having been filed out of time because the time extensión was only until July 20. As for the 3rd Division handling the 2nd case, the appeal was dismissed on the ground that Mega Land did not file a Petition for Review within the period granted or on August 4. Mega Land filed an MR to the 1st case but was denied. Hence, this petition. Essentially, Mega Land contends that the 2nd Motion for Extension of Time should have bound the 16th Division which would thereby make its period Aug 4 than merely July 20. DOCTRINE: The fact that the petition for review intended for filing in the second case bore instead the docket number of the first case indicates that Mega Land and its new counsel, Atty. Flores, knew of the first case earlier initiated by Fajardo Law Offices. In short, at the time the petition was filed with the CA, Mega Land had known that there were two similar cases involving the same parties and causes of action. There were a variety of options Mega Land could have resorted to in order to rectify the anomaly. Upon learning that there were actually two different cases pending before the Court of Appeals, it could have moved to withdraw either any of the motions for extension of time, so that there would be only one case pending with the appellate court. Had Mega Land done this at the onset, even if later the filed petition itself stated the wrong docket number, the Court of Appeals could have easily recorded the pleading under the case that remained in existence since it would anyway be incapable of filing the same under the records of a case that had already been withdrawn. NO MANDATORY CONSOLIDATION IN THE CA We have duly considered that perhaps this entire untidiness could have been avoided had the Court of Appeals at the outset consolidated the two cases. Yet such consideration is ultimately of no moment to Mega Land. For one, under the 2002 Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals (RIRCA), there is no mandatory obligation to consolidate related cases. The language utilized in Rule 3, Section 3 of the RIRCA, which authorizes consolidation of cases, is merely directory in character, providing as it does: “[w]hen related cases are assigned to different Justices, they may be consolidated and assigned to one Justice.” More importantly perhaps, the consolidation of cases was never intended to cure the defect of forum shopping. If one litigant has filed multiple suits involving the same parties for the same cause of action, the consolidation of these suits is not the correct palliative. These suits should instead be dismissed on the ground of forum shopping. 5. Neri v. Sandiganbayan, 703 SCRA 350 (2013) QUICKIE FACTS: The Ombudsman filed in the Sandiganbayan 2 criminal Informations in connection with the ZTE Project. First, it filed an Information against Abalos (Abalos case) for violation of RA 3019. This was raffled off to the Fourth Division. Subsequently, an Information was filed against Romulo Neri (Neri case) also for violation of RA 3019. This was raffled off to the Fifth Division. During Pretrial of the Abalos case, Neri took the stand against Abalos. Thereafter, the Special Prosecutor in the Neri case moved that the Neri case be consolidated with the Abalos case to promote a more expeditious and less expensive resolution of the controversy of cases involving the same business transaction. Neri opposed the consolidation claiming that it would be oppressive and would violate his rights as an accused. Nonetheless, the Fifth Division granted consolidation subject to the conformity of the Fourth Division. Neri’s MR was denied. Hence, this petition. DOCTRINE: ISSUE IS MOOT ON ACCOUNT OF SUPERVENING EVENTS IN THE SANDIGANBAYAN As may be recalled, the assailed resolution of the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division ordering the consolidation of the Neri case with the Abalos case pending with the Fourth Division, was subject to the “conformity of the said (4th) Division.” On October 19, 2012, the Fourth Division, on the premise that consolidation is addressed to the sound discretion of both the transferring and receiving courts, but more importantly the latter as the same transferred case would be an added workload, issued a Resolution refusing to accept the Neri case, thus: WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the Fourth Division RESPECTFULLY DECLINES to accept SB-10-CRM-0099 (Neri case) for consolidation with SB-10-CRM-00998 (Abalos case) pending before it. It declined the consolidation on the ground that it already Heard Neri testify against Abalos. As such, the Fourth Division had already formed their respective opinions on the matter of Neri’s credibility. IMPROPRIETY OF THE CONSOLIDATION OF CASES CONSOLIDATION is a procedural device granted to the court as an aid in deciding how cases in its docket are to be tried so that the business of the court may be dispatched expeditiously while providing justice to the parties. Toward this end, consolidation and a single trial of several cases in the court’s docket or consolidation of issues within those cases are permitted by the rules. The term “consolidation” is used in THREE (3) DIFFERENT SENSES OR CONCEPTS, thus: . (1) Where all except one of several actions are stayed until one is tried, in which case the judgment [in one] trial is conclusive as to the others. This is not actually consolidation but is referred to as such. (QUASI CONSOLIDATION) . (2) Whereseveralactionsarecombinedintoone,losetheirseparateident ity,andbecomeasingleactioninwhich a single judgment is rendered. This is illustrated by a situation where several actions are pending between the same parties stating claims which might have been set out originally in one complaint. (ACTUAL CONSOLIDATION) . (3) Where several actions are ordered to be tried together but each retains its separate character and requires the entry of a separate judgment. This type of consolidation does not merge the suits into a single action, or cause the parties to one action to be parties to the other. (CONSOLIDATION FOR TRIAL) To be sure, consolidation, as taken in the above senses, is allowed, as Rule 31 of the Rules of Court is entitled “Consolidation or Severance.” And Sec. 1 of Rule 31 provides: Section 1. Consolidation. — When actions involving a common question of law or fact are pending before the court, it may order a joint hearing or trial of any or all the matters in issue in the actions; it may order all actions consolidated; and it may make such orders concerning proceedings therein as may tend to avoid unnecessary costs or delay. The counterpart, but narrowed, rule for CRIMINAL CASES is found in Sec. 22, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court stating: Sec. 22. Consolidation of trials of related offenses. — Charges for offenses founded on the same facts or forming part of a series of offenses of similar character may be tried jointly at the discretion of the court. as complemented by Rule XII, Sec. 2 of the SANDIGANBAYAN REVISED INTERNAL RULES which states: Section 2. Consolidation of Cases. — Cases arising from the same incident or series of incidents, or involving common questions of fact and law, may be consolidated in the Division to which the case bearing the lowest docket number is raffled. Whether as a procedural tool to aid the court in dispatching its official business in criminal or civil cases, the rule allowing consolidation — in whatsoever sense it is taken, be it as a merger of several causes of actions/cases, in the sense of actual consolidation, or merely joint trial — is designed, among other reasons, to avoid multiplicity of suits, guard against oppression and abuse, attain justice with the least expense and vexation to the litigants. While the assailed resolution is silent as to the resultant effect/s of the consolidation it approved, there is nothing in the records to show that what the prosecution vied for and what the Fifth Division approved went beyond consolidation for trial or joint trial. Not to be overlooked is the fact that the prosecution anchored its motion for consolidation partly on the aforequoted Sec. 22 of Rule 119 which indubitably speaks of a joint trial. Given the above perspective, Neri should now disabuse himself of the unfounded notion that what the Fifth Division intended was a fusion into one criminal Proceedings of the Abalos and Neri cases, where one is unidentifiable from the other, or worse, where he will be tried as coaccused in the Abalos case. Jurisprudence has laid down the REQUISITES FOR CONSOLIDATION OF TRIAL. As held in Caños v. Peralta, joint trial is permissible “where the [actions] arise from the same act, event or transaction, involve the same or like issues, and depend largely or substantially on the same evidence, provided that the court has jurisdiction over the cases to be consolidated and that a joint trial will not give one party an undue advantage or prejudice the substantial rights of any of the parties.” Criminal prosecutions primarily revolve around proving beyond reasonable doubt the existence of the elements of the crime charged. As such, they mainly involve questions of fact. There is a question of fact when the doubt or difference arises from the truth or the falsity of the allegations of facts. Put a bit differently, it exists when the doubt or difference arises as to the truth or falsehood of facts or when the inquiry invites calibration of the whole gamut of 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. Since conviction or acquittal in a criminal case hinges heavily on proof that the overt acts constituting, or the elements, of the crime were indeed committed or are present, allegations in the information are crucial to the success or failure of a criminal prosecution. As can be gleaned from the charges in the Informations, the inculpatory acts complained of, the particulars and specifications for each of the cases are dissimilar, even though they were allegedly done in connection with the negotiations for and the implementation of the NBN Project. Due to this variance, the prosecution witnesses listed in the pre-trial order in the Neri case are also different from the list of the people’s witnesses lined up to testify in the Abalos case, albeit some names appear in both the pre-trial orders. A consolidation of the Neri case to that of Abalos would expose Neri to testimonies which have no relation whatsoever in the case against him and the lengthening of the legal dispute thereby delaying the resolution of his case. Consolidation here would force petitioner to await the conclusion of testimonies against Abalos, however irrelevant or immaterial as to him (Neri) before the case against the latter may be resolved –– a needless, hence, oppressive delay in the resolution of the criminal case against him. XXI. DEMURRER TO EVIDENCE (RULE 33) 1. Radiowealth v. Del Rosario, G.R. No. 138739, July 6, 2000 QUICKIE FACTS: Sps. Vicente and Del Rosario jointly and severally executed in favor of Radiowealth Finance Company a PN for P138K on installments with an acceleration clause. When the Sps Vicente defaulted, demands for payment were sent but went unheeded. Thus, Radiowealth filed a Complaint for Collection of a Sum of Money before the RTC of Manila. During the trial, Radiowealt’s Collection and Credit Officer (Famatico) presented in evidence in check payments, demand letters, etc. However, he admitted that he had no personal knowledge of the transaction or the exectuion of any documentary evidence which had been merely endorsed to him. As a result, RTC ordered the termination of the presentation of evidence. Thereafter, Sps. Vicente filed a Demurrer to Evidence for alleged lack of cause of action. RTC granted it on the ground that the evidence presented by Radiowealth was merely based on hearsay. On appeal, however, CA reversed and stated that its genuiness and due execution were deeed admitted thereby establishing the Vicente’s indebtedness. As such, CA remanded it for further proceedings. DOCTRINE: The old Rule 35 of the Rules of Court was reworded under Rule 33 of the 1997 Rules, but the consequence on appeal of a demurrer to evidence was not changed. As amended, the pertinent provision of Rule 33 reads as follows: SECTION 1. Demurrer to evidence. — After the plaintiff has completed the presentation of his evidence, the defendant may move for dismissal on the ground that upon the facts and the law the plaintiff has shown no right to relief. If his motion is denied, he shall have the right to present evidence. If the motion is granted but on appeal the order of dismissal is reversed he shall be deemed to have waived the right to present evidence. Explaining the consequence of a demurrer to evidence, the Court in Villanueva Transit v. Javellana pronounced: The rationale behind the rule and doctrine is simple and logical. The defendant is permitted, without waiving his right to offer evidence in the event that his motion is not granted, to move for a dismissal that upon the facts as thus established and the applicable law, the plaintiff has shown no right to relief. If the trial court denies the dismissal motion, i.e., finds that plaintiff’s evidence is sufficient for an award of judgment in the absence of contrary evidence, the case still remains before the trial court which should then proceed to hear and receive the defendant’s evidence so that all the facts and evidence of the contending parties may be properly placed before it for adjudication as well as before the appellate courts, in case of appeal. Nothing is lost. The doctrine is but in line with the established procedural precepts in the conduct of trials that the trial court liberally receive all proffered evidence at the trial to enable it to render its decision with all possibly relevant proofs in the record, thus assuring that the appellate courts upon appeal have all the material before them necessary to make a correct judgment, and avoiding the need of remanding the case for retrial or reception of improperly excluded evidence, with the possibility thereafter of still another appeal, with all the concomitant delays. The rule, however, imposes the condition by the same token that if his demurrer is granted by the trial court, and the order of dismissal is reversed on appeal, the movant losses his right to present evidence in his behalf and he shall have been deemed to have elected to stand on the insufficiency of plaintiff’s case and evidence. In such event, the appellate court which reverses the order of dismissal shall proceed to render judgment on the merits on the basis of plaintiff’s evidence. In other words, defendants who present a demurrer to the plaintiff’s evidence retain the right to present their own evidence, if the trial court disagrees with them; if the trial court agrees with them, but on appeal, the appellate court disagrees with both of them and reverses the dismissal order, the defendants lose the right to present their own evidence. The appellate court shall, in addition, resolve the case and render judgment on the merits, inasmuch as a demurrer aims to discourage prolonged litigations. In the case at bar, the RTC, acting on Sps. Vicente’s demurrer to evidence, dismissed the Complaint on the ground that the plaintiff had adduced mere hearsay evidence. However, on appeal, the CA reversed the trial court because the genuineness and the due execution of the disputed pieces of evidence had in fact been admitted by defendants. Applying Rule 33, Section 1 of the 1997 Rules of Court, the CA should have rendered judgment on the basis of the evidence submitted by Radiowealth. While the CA correctly ruled that “the documentary evidence submitted by Radiowealth should have been allowed and appreciated,” and that “it presented quite a number of documentary exhibits enumerated in the appealed order,” we agree with Radiowealth that the CA had sufficient evidence on record to decide the collection suit. A remand is not only frowned upon by the Rules, it is also logically unnecessary on the basis of the facts on record. 2. People v. Cachola, G.R. No. 148712, January 21, 2004 QUICKIE FACTS: Cachola et al were charged with murder in the RTC of La Union. During trial 12-year old Jessie Barnachea, his older brother Robert, and their neighbors were presented as witnesses for the prosecution. Jessie testified that armed men entered their house and shot and stabbed to death his uncle, mother, brother, and cousin. Meanwhile, Robert testified that while he was in his uncle’s house next door, he saw armed men running towards their house. After several shots, they saw them running away and noticed a stainless jeep with “fruits and vegetables dealer” marked on it parked in front of their house. Some neighbors at a nearby store likewise saw the same jeep with an “El Shaddai” marked in front and “fruits and vegetables dealer” marked on the side. After reporting this to the pólice, they intercepted said jeep carrying the 8 accused at a checkpoint in the highway. During a pólice lineup, Jessie identified Cachola et al as assailants. After the Prosecution rested its case, the Defense orally asked for leave of court to file a Demurrer to Evidence. However, RTC denied this outright and set the Schedule for presentation of evidence for the defense. Instead of presenting evidence, the Defense filed another Demuruer without leave of court. Thereafter, RTC no longer allowed the presentation of he defense and convicted Cachola and Amay as principals, and the 6 others as accomplices. Hence, this automatic review. It is contended that the RTC wrongly disallowed the Defense’s presentation of evidence. DOCTRINE: As to whether the trial court erred in not allowing the Cachola to present evidence after filing their demurrer to evidence without leave of court, then Section 15, Rules 119 of the Rules of Court is clear on the matter, thus: SEC. 15. Demurrer to evidence. — After the prosecution has rested its case, the court may dismiss the case on the ground of insufficiency of evidence: (1) on its own initiative after giving the prosecution an opportunity to be heard; or (2) on motion of the accused filed with prior leave of court. If the court denies the motion for dismissal, the accused may adduce evidence in his defense. When the accused files such motion to dismiss without express leave of court, he waives the right to present evidence and submits the case for judgment on the basis of the evidence for the prosecution. The filing by Cachola of a demurrer to evidence in the absence of prior leave of court was a clear waiver of their right to present their own evidence. To sustain their claim that they had been denied due process because the evidence they belatedly sought to offer would have exculpated them would be to allow them to “wager on the outcome of judicial proceedings by espousing inconsistent viewpoints whenever dictated by convenience.” Furthermore, it cannot be said that the waiver was not clear. The trial court postponed the hearings on the motion for demurrer, even after leave of court had been denied, and then granted extensions to Amay until he finally adopted the position of his co-appellants. At no time other than in this automatic review was there any attempt that is contrary to the waiver of the presentation of evidence. XXII.JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS AND SUMMARY JUDGMENT (RULE 34 AND 35) 1. Wood Technology v. Equitable Banking, G.R. 153867, February 17, 2005 QUICKIE FACTS: Equitable filed a Complaint for Sum of Money against WTC, Cordova, and Young. It was alleged that WTC obtained a loan from Equitable in the amount of $75K as evidenced by a PN which was signed also by Cordova and Young as representatives of the WTC. Likewise, Cordova and Young executed a Surety Agreement binding themselves as WTC’s sureties for the loan. In their Answer, WTC admitted that they obtained a loan and that Cordova and Young bound themselves as sureties. However, they claimed that the loan had not yet matured as the maturity date was purposely left blank subject to the agreement by the parties at a later date. Thus, since no maturity date had been fixed, the Complaint was filed prematurely and that it failed to state a cause of action. Equitable moved for Judgment on the Pleadings. RTC rendered judgment in favor of Equitable. CA affirmed and stated the PN’s genuiness and due execution were deemed admitted and that there was no need to present eveidence to prove the maturity date of the PN since it was payable on demand. MR denied. Hence, this petition. DOCTRINE: The Rules of Court seeks to shorten the procedure in order to allow the speedy disposition of a case. Specifically, we have rules on demurrer to evidence, judgment on the pleadings, and summary judgments. In all these instances, a full blown trial is dispensed with and judgment is rendered on the basis of the pleadings, supporting affidavits, depositions and admissions of the parties. In this case, at issue is the propriety and validity of a judgment on the pleadings. A JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS is proper when an answer fails to tender an issue, or otherwise admits the material allegations of the adverse party’s pleading. We note now that (1) the RTC knew that the Answer asserted special and affirmative defenses; (2) the Court of Appeals recognized that certain issues were raised, but they were not genuine issues of fact; (3) WTC insisted that they raised genuine issues; and (4) Equitable argued that WTC’s defenses did not tender genuine issues. JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS V. SUMMARY JUDGMENT However, whether or not the issues raised by the Answer are genuine is not the crux of inquiry in a motion for judgment on the pleadings. It is so only in a motion for summary judgment. In a case for JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS, the Answer is such that no issue is raised at all. The essential question in such a case is whether there are issues generated by the pleadings. This is the distinction between a proper case of summary judgment, compared to a proper case for judgment on the pleadings. We have explained this vital distinction in Narra Integrated Corporation v. Court of Appeals, thus, The existence or appearance of ostensible issues in the pleadings, on the one hand, and their sham or fictitious character, on the other, are what distinguish a proper case for summary judgment from one for a judgment on the pleadings. In a proper case for JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS, there is no ostensible issue at all because of the failure of the defending party’s answer to raise an issue. On the other hand, in the case of a SUMMARY JUDGMENT, issues apparently exist — i.e. facts are asserted in the complaint regarding which there is as yet no admission, disavowal or qualification; or specific denials or affirmative defenses are in truth set out in the answer — but the issues thus arising from the pleadings are sham, fictitious or not genuine, as shown by affidavits, depositions, or admissions. Indeed, WTC’s Answer apparently tendered issues. While it admitted that WTC obtained the loan, that Cordova and Young signed the promissory note and that they bound themselves as sureties for the loan, it also alleged special and affirmative defenses that the obligation had not matured and that the promissory note and surety agreement were contracts of adhesion. Applying the requisites of a judgment on the pleadings vis-à-vis a summary judgment, the judgment rendered by the RTC was not a judgment on the pleadings, but a summary judgment. Although the Answer apparently raised issues, both the RTC and the CA after considering the parties’ pleadings, petitioners’ admissions and the documents attached to the Complaint, found that the issues are not factual ones requiring trial, nor were they genuine issues. SUMMARY JUDGMENT is a procedure aimed at weeding out sham claims or defenses at an early stage of the litigation. The proper inquiry in this regard would be whether the affirmative defenses offered by petitioners constitute genuine issues of fact requiring a full-blown trial. In a summary judgment, the crucial question is: are the issues raised by petitioners not genuine so as to justify a summary judgment? A “GENUINE ISSUE” means an issue of fact which calls for the presentation of evidence, as distinguished from an issue which is fictitious or contrived, an issue that does not constitute a genuine issue for trial. We note that this is a case for a sum of money, and WTC have admitted that they obtained the loan. They also admitted the due execution of the loan documents and their receipt of the final demand letter made by Equitable. These documents were all attached to the Complaint. WTC merely claimed that the obligation has not matured. Notably, based on the promissory note, the RTC and the CA found this defense not a factual issue for trial, the loan being payable on demand. We agree with both the RTC and CA that this matter proffered as a defense could be resolved judiciously by plain resort to the stipulations in the promissory note which was already before the trial court. A full-blown trial to determine the date of maturity of the loan is not necessary. Also, the act of leaving blank the maturity date of the loan did not necessarily mean that the parties agreed to fix it later. If this was the intention of the parties, they should have so indicated in the promissory note. 2. Bascug v. Aranday, A.M.-RTJ 00-1591, April 11, 2002 QUICKIE FACTS: In the case of Ditching v Odisco Farms System Cooperative, Bascug, President of Odisco, filed an Administrative Complaint charging Judge Aranday with grave misconduct when he directed a judgment on the pleadings. Bascug claims that Judge declared that the parties agreed to the rendition of a judgment on the pleadings even if Odisco had never agreed to it. In fact, Odisco never submitted any memorándum for judgment on the pleadings required by the Judge in an Order. In his defense, Judge claimed that the parties manifested that they had no objection to the submission of the case for judgment on the pleadings. DOCTRINE: Section 1, Rule 34, of the Rules on Civil Procedure provides — Where an answer fails to tender an issue or otherwise admits the material allegations of the adverse party’s pleading, the court may on motion of that party, direct judgment on such pleading. In his order, dated 20 December 1994, Judge required the parties to submit their respective memoranda for a judgment on the pleadings. Bascug was the President of the corporation who maintained that the corporation never agreed to have the case submitted for judgment on the pleadings. As so aptly put by the Court of Appeals in its decision of 14 August 1998 — It is believed that under the circumstances of the case, judgment on the pleadings was not called for and prevented a fair and full resolution of controversy. The trial court stated that both parties agreed to have judgment on the pleadings, the minutes of the session held on December 20, 1994 merely stated that ‘both parties will submit their respective memoranda for judgment on the pleadings’. Only the plaintiffs submitted Memorandum praying for judgment on the pleadings; the defendants did not submit their memorandum for judgment on the pleadings. In fact, in their Motion for Reconsideration of the Judgment on the pleadings, the defendants pointed out that the parties presented ‘widely opposing contentions’ in their respective pre-trial brief, and the court cannot rely on ‘conjectures’ on the ‘wild’ monetary claims of plaintiffs. In view of the objections expressed by the defendants to the issues raised, there was no clear agreement to submit the case to a judgment or the pleadings, much less an implied admission of each other’s factual allegations, which the defendants-appellants correctly describe as ‘widely opposing,’ that would support a submission by the parties to a judgment on the pleadings. 3. Eland Phil. V. Garcia, G.R. No. 173289, February 17, 2010 QUICKIE FACTS: Garcia et al filed a Complaint for Queting of Title with Writ of Preliminary Injunction in the RTC against Eland Phils. Inc. They claimed that they are owners of a parcel of land by occupation and possession. They further claim that they were not aware of any person who had a legal or equitable interest or claim on the same lot until they were requesting that the lot be declared for tax purposes. They found out that the lot was subject to a Land Registration Proceeding which had already been decided. RTC declared Eland in default and allowed Garcia to present evidence ex parte. Eland filed an MR which was granted. Then, the RTC admitted Eland’s Answer Ad Coutelam. Thereaafter, Pretrial Conference was set and the parties submitted their respective Pretrial briefs. Eland tried to suspend the proceedings by filing a Petition for Certiorari which was however denied. Hence, the RTC ruled that the reception of evidence presented by Garcia remained as part of the records subject to Eland’ s right to cross-examine. Eventually, Garia filed a Motion for Summary Judgment to which Eland filed its Opposition. RTC granted Summary Judgment. Hence, this petition. Eland questions the propriety of the Summary Judgment rendered in this case of Quieting of Title. DOCTRINE: Rule 35 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides: SEC. 1. Summary judgment for claimant.—A party seeking to recover upon a claim, counterclaim, or cross-claim or to obtain a declaratory relief may, at any time after the pleading in answer thereto has been served, move with supporting affidavits for a summary judgment in his favor upon all or any part thereof. SEC. 3. Motion and proceedings thereon.—The motion shall be served at least ten (10) days before the time specified for the hearing. The adverse party prior to the day of hearing may serve opposing affidavits. After the hearing, the judgment sought shall be rendered forthwith if the pleading, depositions, and admissions on file together with the affidavits, show that, except as to the amount of damages, there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. NO VIOLATION OF THE 10-DAY NOTICE RULE Eland contended that the 10-day notice rule was violated, because the copy of the motion for summary judgment was served only on August 20, 1999 or on the same day it was set for hearing. The above specific contention, however, is misguided. The CA was correct in its observation that there was substantial compliance with due process. The CA ruled, as the records show, that the 10-day notice rule was substantially complied with because when Garcia et al filed the motion for summary judgment on August 9, 1999, they furnished Eland with a copy thereof on the same day as shown in the registry receipt and that the motion was set for hearing on August 20, 1999, or 10 days from the date of the filing thereof. SUMMARY JUDGMENT APPLIES TO QUETING OF TITLE; EXCEPTIONS This Court has already ruled that any action can be the subject of a summary judgment with the sole exception of actions for annulment of marriage or declaration of its nullity or for legal separation. IMPROPRIETY OF SUMMARY JUDGMENT; EXISTENCE OF GENUINE ISSUES A summary judgment is permitted only if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and a moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. A summary judgment is proper if, while the pleadings on their face appear to raise issues, the affidavits, depositions, and admissions presented by the moving party show that such issues are not genuine. It must be remembered that the non-existence of a genuine issue is the determining factor in granting a motion for summary judgment, and the movant has the burden of proving such nonexistence. The RTC found no genuine issue as to any material fact that would necessitate conducting a full-blown trial. However, a careful study of the case shows otherwise. In their motion for summary judgment, the Garcia failed to clearly demonstrate the absence of any genuine issue of fact. They merely reiterated their averments in the complaint for quieting of title and opposed some issues raised by the Eland in its Answer Ad Cautelam. Clearly, the facts pleaded by Garcia in their motion for summary judgment have been duly disputed and contested by Eland, raising genuine issues that must be resolved only after a full-blown trial. When the facts as pleaded by the parties are disputed or contested, proceedings for summary judgment cannot take the place of trial. In the present case, Eland was able to point out the genuine issues. A “genuine issue” is an issue of fact that requires the presentation of evidence as distinguished from a sham, fictitious, contrived or false claim. By granting the summary judgment, the RTC has in effect annulled its former ruling based on a claim of possession and ownership of the same land for more than 30 years without the benefit of a full-blown trial. The fact that Garcia et al seek to nullify the original certificate of title issued to Eland on the claim that the former were in possession of the same land for a number of years, is already a clear indicium that a genuine issue of a material fact exists. 4. Smart Communications v. Aldecoa, supra DOCTRINE: At the outset, the RTC erred in granting Smart’s Motion for Summary Judgment and ordering the dismissal of Aldecoa’s Complaint in Civil Case. Summary judgments are governed by Rule 35 of the Rules of Court. In Rivera v. Solidbank Corporation, the Court discussed extensively when a summary judgment is proper: For a summary judgment to be proper, the movant must establish two requisites: (a) there must be no genuine issue as to any material fact, except for the amount of damages; and (b) the party presenting the motion for summary judgment must be entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Where, on the basis of the pleadings of a moving party, including documents appended thereto, no genuine issue as to a material fact exists, the burden to produce a genuine issue shifts to the opposing party. If the opposing party fails, the moving party is entitled to a summary judgment. A GENUINE ISSUE is an issue of fact which requires the presentation of evidence as distinguished from an issue which is a sham, fictitious, contrived or a false claim. On the other hand, where the facts pleaded by the parties are disputed or contested, proceedings for a summary judgment cannot take the place of a trial. The evidence on record must be viewed in light most favorable to the party opposing the motion who must be given the benefit of all favorable inferences as can reasonably be drawn from the evidence. Courts must be critical of the papers presented by the moving party and not of the papers/documents in opposition thereto. Judging by the aforequoted standards, summary judgment cannot be rendered in this case as there are clearly factual issues disputed or contested by the parties. XXIII.JUDGMENT (RULE 36) 1. Consing v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 143584, March 10, 2004 QUICKIE FACTS: As sugar-farm owners, Sps Consing purchased various grades of fertilizer from Sugar Producer’s Cooperative Marketing Association (SPCMA), an association assisting planters to procure fertilizer and other farm needs. The debt was evidenced by a PN. When SPCMA presented the PN to PNB in which Sps. Consing had a Fertilizer Credit Line, the latter refused to honor the note. Thus, SPCMA filed a Complaint for Collection of Sum of Money against the Sps Consing with the RTC of Negros. RTC, through Judge Querubin, ruled in favor of SPCMA. In its 2-page judgment, it merely narrated the facts showing the indebtedness of the Sps. Consing and immediately went to the dispostive part holding the Sps liable to SPCMA in the amount of P1.2M. On appeal, CA affirmed. Sps Consing’s MR denied. Hence this petition. Sps. Consing allege that their the RTC decisión failed to state the legal basis of its ruling which is in violation of the express mandate of the Constitution. DOCTRINE: While Judge Querubin mentioned his factual findings, the legal basis of his ruling is not set out in the decision. Judge Querubin failed to meet faithfully the requirement demanded by the Constitution from the courts in rendering their decisions. Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution declares that: Sec. 14. No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based. No petition for review or motion for reconsideration of a decision of the court shall be refused due course or denied without stating the legal basis therefor. The court must inform the parties to a case of the legal basis for the court’s decision so that if a party appeals, it can point out to the appellate court the points of law to which it disagrees. Every judge should know the constitutional mandate and the rationale behind it. Judge Querubin should have known the exacting standard imposed on courts by Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution and should not have sacrificed the constitutional standard for brevity’s sake. The failure of the RTC decision to measure up to the standard set by the Constitution is too gross to ignore as it is in stark contrast to the CA’s decision. The CA’s decision, while also brief, being only three pages long, laid down the factual and legal reasons why Antonio and Soledad are the ones liable to SPCMA, and not PNB. The Court of Appeals’ discussion of the merits of this case enabled the parties to pinpoint the proper issues that we now review. 2. Heirs of Valdez v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 163208, August 13, 2008 QUICKIE FACTS: In an action for Quieting of Title and Declaration of Nullity of TCTs entittled Manila Construction Development v. Sps. Dela Rosa et al, the RTC granted the Heirs of Valdez & Sps Malvar an Injunction Order and a Writ of Preliminar Mandatory Injunction to place them in possession of a parcel of land in dispute. Thus, the Sheriff implemented the order and writ in the property in possession by Lopez Resources. In doing so, they tore down the fence enclosing the said property. Aggrieved, Lopez Resources questioned the RTC decisión in the CA which was assigned to the Ninth Division. Here, the CA issued 2 conflicting resolutions. One resolution dismissed the petition without prejudice for violation of the provision against fórum shopping. Subsequently, another resolution was issued which required the Heirs of Valdez & Sps. Malvar to file their comments to the Petition while requiring Lope Resources to rectify the deficiency in its fórumshopping certification. Confusion arose when some parties were not able to get both resolutions. As a result, 86 days after the issuance of the conficliting resolutions, the CA again issued another resolution clarifying that the first resolution was merely a clerical error. Pursuant to this, Lopez Resources made the necessary corrections in its petition and refiled the case. Thereafter, the Heirs of Valdez and Sps Malvar moved to dismiss the re-filed Petition on the ground that CA has no jurisdiction because the prior resolution had already become final and executory. However, the CA went to proceed with the case. Hence, this petition. DOCTRINE: The fact that the Ninth Division of the CA committed a monumental error cannot be erased. But the error was not in the court’s intent on what to do with the forum shopping violation it found. In both resolutions, what is clear is that the court intended to allow a rectification of the deficiency in Lopez Resources’ nonforum shopping certification in view perhaps of what it perceived to be the merits that the face of the petition showed. We have no doubt that it was within the CA’s power and prerogative to issue what either resolution decreed without committing an abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. To look at the matter from another perspective, the issuance of two conflicting resolutions — one for dismissal, the other for the continuation of the case, with one cancelling out the other — can only mean that no definite, specific determination was made by the court; at least, there was uncertainty on what the court really intended to do. Under this situation, we find it fallacious to conclude that one resolution lapsed to finality while the other did not. In legal effect, there was effectively no definite resolution that could have lapsed to finality because of the mistake the court committed. This status continued until a clarification was made by the issuing court. Even granting that the first Resolution became final and executory, the rule on immutability of judgment does not apply in cases where what is to be modified or altered involves: (1) thecorrectionofclericalerrors; (2) theso-callednuncprotuncentrieswhichcausenoprejudicetoanyparty; (3) void judgments [such as a dismissal without prejudice that was not intended to be issued] and those where circumstances transpire after the finality that render the execution or enforcement, as in this case, of the judgment unjust or inequitable. To be sure, the rule does not apply in cases where a supervening event — such as the mistake undisputably committed by the court (i.e., the unintended release of one of the resolutions, thus resulting in the conflict and confusion) — took place. 3. Intramuros Tennis v. Philippine Tourism Authority, G.R. No. 135630, September 26, 2000 QUICKIE FACTS: PTA owns Victoria Tennis Courts located in Intramuros. Pursuant to a MOA, PTA transferred the management, operation, administration, and development of Victoria to the Philippine Tennis Association (PhilTA) for 10 years. Intramuros Tennis Club is affiliated with PhilTA and its members are tennis players who frequently use the facilities of Victoria. During the pendency of the MOA, PTA alleged that PhilTA violated its terms and conditions and thus demanded the surrender of its possession of Victoria. It likewise asked PhilTA to vacate the premises. As such, Intramuros filed a case for Preliminary Injucntion, Damages, and TRO in the RTC of Manila against PTA alleging that PTA’s demand to vacate was tantamount to a unilateral pre-termination of the MOA. RTC granted the TRO and the Writ of Preliminary Injunction. Thereafter, PTA filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the cause of action bécame moot and academic in light of the expiration of the MOA. As a result, MOA dismissed the case and lifted the Writ of Preliminary Injunction. It also declared that PTA is entitled to the possession of Victoria. Aggrieved, Intramuros appealed. Before the resolution of the appeal, PTA filed a Motion for Execution Pending Appeal. CA granted said Motion. MR denied. Hence, this petition. Intramuros contends that the CA gravely abused its discretion in ordering execution pending appeal. DOCTRINE: Based on the Sec 2 Rule 39 (Discretionary Execution), the CA may order execution pending appeal subject to the following conditions: (1) there must be a judgment or final order; (2) the trial court must have lost jurisdiction over the case; (3) there must be “good reasons” to allow execution; and (4) such good reasons must be stated in a special order after due hearing. Undoubtedly, the RTC order which granted PTA’s Motion to Dismiss and lifted the Writ of Preliminary Injunction is a “final order” within the contemplation of Section 2, Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court. Intramuros maintains that the said RTC order could not be the proper subject of execution because it was still appealed to the CA, but this merely confuses the concept of a “final” judgment or order from one which has “become final” (or to use the more established term, “final and executory”) — a distinction that is definite and settled. A “FINAL” JUDGMENT OR ORDER is one that finally disposes of a case, leaving nothing more for the court to do in respect thereto — such as an adjudication on the merits which, on the basis of the evidence presented at the trial, declares categorically what the rights and obligations of the parties are and which party is in the right, or a judgment or order that dismisses an action on the ground of res judicata or prescription, for instance. It is to be distinguished from an order that is “interlocutory,” or one that does not finally dispose of the case, such as an order denying a motion to dismiss under Rule 16 of the Rules of Court, or granting a motion for extension of time to file a pleading. As such, only final judgments or orders (as opposed to interlocutory orders) are appealable. Now, a “FINAL” JUDGMENT OR ORDER in the sense just described becomes “final and executory” upon expiration of the period to appeal therefrom where no appeal has been duly perfected or, an appeal therefrom having been taken, the judgment of the appellate court in turn becomes final. It is called a “final and executory” judgment because execution at such point issues as a matter of right. By its provisional nature, the remedy of execution pending appeal requires only a “final” judgment or order (as distinguished from an “interlocutory” order) and not a “final and executory” judgment or order. In the instant case, the RTC order dated August 5, 1997 which granted PTA’s motion to dismiss, lifted the writ of preliminary injunction and held that PTA entitled to possess the Victoria Tennis Courts is a final order within the contemplation of Section 2, Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court, inasmuch as it makes an adjudication on the merits of the case and dismisses Intramuros’ action. Intramuros, in fact, impliedly recognized the finality of this RTC order when they filed an ordinary appeal (and not a petition for certiorari) therefrom with the CA. 4. Polymer Rubber Corporation v. Salamuding, 702 SCRA 153 (2013) QUICKIE FACTS: Salamuding et al were employees of Polymer Rubber Corporation of which Ang was the highest ranking director. They were dismissed by Polymer for committing certain irregularities. Thus, in 1990, they filed a Complaint for Illegal Dismissal and Nonpayment of Monetary Benefits. LA and NLRC ruled in favor of Salamuding et al. An Entry of Judgment was made and an Alias Writ of Execution issued based on the NLRC ruling. On certiorari, the SC affirmed. Soon after the SC decisión in 1993, Polymer ceased operations. On motion, another Alias Writ of Execution was issued but was returned unsatisfied. In 2004, Polymer’s office was gutted by a fire. As such, LA issued its 5th Alias Writ of Execution and commanded the sherrif to collect an amount of P2.9M. In the implementation of the Writ, Ang’s shares of stock at USA Resources Corporation were levied. As such, Polymer moved to quash the 5th Alias Writ of Execution alleging that Ang cannot be made solidarily liable with Polymer considering that it was only the latter whom the LA, NLRC and SC adjudged to be liable previously. LA quashed the Writ and ruled that Ang can no longer be held liable because the decisión had become final and executory and would thus vary the tenor of the judgment. NLRC affirmed. MR denied. On certiorari, CA reversed and held Ang liable after it pierced Polymer’s corporate veil. Hence, this petition. DOCTRINE: The CA imputed bad faith on the part of Polymer and Ang when Polymer ceased its operations the day after the promulgation of the SC resolution in 1993 which was allegedly meant to evade liability. The CA found it necessary to pierce the corporate fiction and pointed at Ang as the responsible person to pay for Salamuding’s money claims. Except for this assertion, there is nothing in the records that show that Ang was responsible for the acts complained of. At any rate, we find that it will require a great stretch of imagination to conclude that a corporation would cease its operations if only to evade the payment of the adjudged monetary awards in favor of three (3) of its employees. The dispositive portion of the LA Decision dated November 21, 1990 which Salamuding attempts to enforce does not mention that Ang is jointly and severally liable with Polymer. Ang is merely one of the incorporators of Polymer and to single him out and require him to personally answer for the liabilities of Polymer is without basis. In the absence of a finding that he acted with malice or bad faith, it was error for the CA to hold him responsible. To hold Ang personally liable at this stage is quite unfair. The judgment of the LA, as affirmed by the NLRC and later by the SC had already long become final and executory. It has been held that a final and executory judgment can no longer be altered. The judgment may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law, and regardless of whether the modification is attempted to be made by the court rendering it or by the highest Court of the land. “Since the alias writ of execution did not conform, is different from and thus went beyond or varied the tenor of the judgment which gave it life, it is a nullity. 5. Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Fortune Tobacco Corporation, 705 SCRA 430 (2013) QUICKIE FACTS: FTC manufactures and produces cigarettes. Originally, its cigerette brands were subject to ad valorem tax. However, with the passage of RA 8240 in 1997, a specific tax system was adopted which imposed excise taxes on cigarette brands. Pursuant to RRs issued to impement the law, FTC paid excise taxes on all cigarettes manufactured. Thereafter, FTC sought administrative redress for refund for 3 different periods (2000, 2001, 2002) before the CIR. Since the claims were not acted upon, FTC filed 3 Petitions for Review in the CTA with claims for refund of the overpaid excise taxes. As such, the CTA ordered CIR to refund FTC for 3 different periods. MR denied. As a result, CIR went to the CA on Petition for Review assailing the ruling in the consolidated cases involving the claims from 2000 and 2001. Subsequently, CIR filed another Petition for Review for the case involving the period 2002. CA denied the CIR’s Petitions for Review. MRs were likewise denied. In the SC, it ruled against the CIR in July 21 2008. In its fallo, it only said that, “The Decision of the CA in CA-GR SP No. 80675 (which consolidated only the claims for 2000 and 2001) are affirmed.” In 2009, upon FTC’s motion, CTA issued a Writ of Execution and ordered CIR to refund FTC the amounts stated in the 2008 SC decisión which attained finality by virtue of an Entry of Judgment in Nov 2008. In said Entry of Judgment, however, only the claims in years 2000 and 2001 were mentioned. Thus, FTC filed a Motion for the Issuance of an Additional Writ of Execution covering the judgment in the claims for year 2002. However, this Motion was denied. MR was likewise denied. CTA en banc also denied. Hence, FTC comes now via Petition for Review. DOCTRINE: After a scrutiny of the body of the aforesaid July 21, 2008 Decision, the Court finds it necessary to render a judgment nunc pro tunc and address an error in the fallo of said decision. The office of a JUDGMENT NUNC PRO TUNC is to record some act of the court done at a former time which was not then carried into the record, and the power of a court to make such entries is restricted to placing upon the record evidence of judicial action which has actually been taken. The object of a judgment nunc pro tunc is not the rendering of a new judgment and the ascertainment and determination of new rights, but is one placing in proper form on the record, that has been previously rendered, to make it speak the truth, so as to make it show what the judicial action really was, not to correct judicial errors, such as to render a judgment which the court ought to have rendered, in place of the one it did erroneously render, not to supply non-action by the court, however erroneous the judgment may have been. The Court would thus have the record reflect the deliberations and discussions had on the issue. In this particular case it is a correction of a clerical, not a judicial error. The body of the decision in question is clear proof that the fallo must be corrected, to properly convey the ruling of this Court. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The dispositive portion of the Court’s July 21, 2008 Decision in G.R. Nos. 167274-75 is corrected to reflect the inclusion of CA-G.R. SP No. 83165 therein. As amended, the fallo of the aforesaid decision shall read: WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in the consolidated cases of CA-G.R. SP No. 80675 and 83165 (2002 claim) dated 28 September 2004, and its Resolution, dated 1 March 2005, are AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs. XXIV. MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION AND NEW TRIAL (RULE 37) 1. Fernandez v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 131094, May 16, 2005 QUICKIE FACTS: Olivarez filed a Complaint for Unlawful Detainer against Fernandez in the MTC. MTC dismissed the Complaint for lack of sufficient cause of action. On appeal, RTC reversed the MTC and ordered Fernandez to pay rent in a decisión dated May 2, 1994. Fernandez received a copy thereof on June 28, 1994. On July 12 1994 (14 days after), Fernandez filed an MR. On Nov 29, 1994, Fernandez received the denial of his MR. Thus, on Dec 1, 1994, he filed a Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for Review in the CA. Meanwhile, upon discovering new evidence of receipts proving his rental payments, Fernandez filed a Motion for New Trial in the RTC on Dec 9, 1994. On Dec 12, 1994, CA granted his Motion for Extension. However, on Dec 29, 1994, Ferndandez filed a Motion to Withdraw his Petition for Review. On Feb 6, 1995, RTC denied the Motion for New Trial and stated that by filing a Motion to Extend in the CA which was eventually granted, CA already had jurisdiction over the the case and not the RTC. Thereafter, upon motion of Olivares, RTC issued a Writ of Execution. This prompted Fernandez to File a Petition for Certiorari in the CA. However, CA dismissed the Petition. MR denied. Hence this petition. Fernandez questions whether or not his mere filing of a Motion for Extension (which was later withdrawn) automatically divested the RTC of its jurisdiction over the case as to take cognizance of a Motion for New Trial. DOCTRINE: It may seem at once apparent that the CA had in fact acquired jurisdiction over his person. It has been repeatedly held that an appearance in whatever form, without expressly objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over the person, is a submission to the jurisdiction of the court over the person. He may appear by presenting a motion, for example, and unless by such appearance he specifically objects to the jurisdiction of the court, he thereby gives his assent to the jurisdiction of the court over his person. As we are dealing here with the jurisdiction of an appellate court, additional rules are required for jurisdiction to attach therein, to wit: (1) thepetitionermusthaveinvokedthejurisdictionoftheCourtofAppealswithinthetimefo rdoingso; (2) hemusthavefiledhispetitionforreviewlikewisewithinthetimefordoingso; (3) hemusthavepaidthenecessarydocketfees;and (4) theotherpartiesmusthaveperfectedtheirappealsinduetime. The Rule requires that in an appeal by way of Petition For Review, the appeal is deemed perfected as to the petitioner upon the timely filing of the petition and the payment of docket and other lawful fees. In the discussion of the Committee on the revision of the Rules of Court, it was emphasized that to perfect the appeal, the party has to file the petition for review and to pay the docket fees within the prescribed period. The law and its intent are clear and unequivocal that the petition is perfected upon its filing and the payment of the docket fees. Thus, it may be argued, and rightly so, that the CA has not yet acquired jurisdiction over the case because Fernandez merely filed a motion for extension of time to file petition but not the petition itself. Withal, sans the petition, it cannot be said that the CA has acquired jurisdiction over the case as to say that the trial court is without authority to act on a motion for new trial. It is axiomatic that if a statute is clear, plain and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning and applied without attempted interpretation. On this point we fully agree in the position taken by Fernandez that when he filed the motion for extension of time to file petition for review, jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals had not yet attached, such that his failure to file the petition itself would normally have the effect of rendering the decision of the lower court final and executory. COMPUTATION OF PERIOD TO FILE A MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL Rule 37, Section 1 of the Revised Rules of Court providing for the period to file a motion for new trial in relation to Rule 41, Section 3 is in point. Section 1. Grounds of and period for filing motion for new trial or reconsideration. — Within the period for taking an appeal, the aggrieved party may move the trial court to set aside the judgment or final order and grant a new trial for one or more of the following causes materially affecting the substantial rights of said party. Sec. 3. Period of ordinary appeal. — The appeal shall be taken within fifteen (15) days from notice of the judgment or final order appealed from. Where a record on appeal is required, the appellant shall file a notice of appeal and a record on appeal within thirty (30) days from notice of the judgment or final order. The period of appeal shall be interrupted by a timely motion for new trial or reconsideration. No motion for extension of time to file a motion for new trial or reconsideration shall be allowed. It is without question that Fernandez received a copy of the RTC Decision on 28 June 1994. Fourteen (14) days after the receipt of the decision or specifically on 12 July 1994, he filed a motion for reconsideration. This motion was denied by the RTC and the Order of denial was received by Fernandez on 29 November 1994. Applying Rule 37, Section 1 of the Revised Rules of Court, he had only one (1) day left to file a motion for new trial since a motion for new trial should be filed within the period to appeal, that is, within fifteen (15) days from notice of the judgment. The motion for new trial suspends the running of the period to appeal but does not extend the time within which an appeal must be perfected. Hence if denied, a movant, like Fernandez in this case has only the balance of the reglementary period within which to appeal. Applying the foregoing, Fernandez’s motion for new trial was filed out of time. The fifteen (15)-day period for filing a motion for new trial cannot be extended. IN SUM, considering that a motion for new trial must be filed during the period for filing an appeal and that such period cannot be extended, Fernandez, by filing his motion for new trial beyond the period to appeal, had unwittingly sealed his fate and stripped himself of any further relief. 2. Republic v. Peralta, G.R. No. 150327, June 18, 2003, supra QUICKIE FACTS: Peralta et al are the heirs of one Benedicto Alonday. The latter was granted a Homestead Patent by the DENR over a lot in Davao. Title was thereafter issued in his name. In 1969, Bureau of Forest Development sought permission to use a portion of said property. Instead, BFD constructed a building on it. Benedicto’s lawyer demanded for the BFD to vacate. Failing this, Peralta filed a Complaint for Recovery and Ownership of Real Property in the RTC of Davao. RTC ruled in favor of Peralta and orded the Republic to vacate the property and remove all improvements thereon. On May 30, 1997 or 5 days before the expiration of the period to appeal, Republic filed through registered mail a Motion for Reconsideration of the RTC decison. However, on June 11, 1997, the RTC expunged the MR on the ground that it failed to incorporate any notice of hearing as required by the Rules. The Republic received said order on June 18, 1997. Thereafter, on July 22, 1997, Republic filed a Notice of Appeal. In opposition, Peralta et al filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the MR was a mere scap of paper and thus did not toll the running of the reglementary period for perfecting appeal. Pending all this, the RTC judge retired. On Jan 28, 1999, the new judge issued an order giving due course to Republic’s Appeal but was again reversed in light of jurisprudence brought to its attention. Peralta et al then moved for the execution which was granted. Republic filed an MR assailing the dismissal of it Appeal as well as the granting of the Writ of Execution. MR denied. On certiorari in the CA, Republic’s petition was again dismissed. Hence, this petition. Essentially, the Republic assails the CA’s declaration that they failed to perfect their appeal. DOCTRINE: The Court agrees with the CA that the OSG was negligent when it filed on May 30, 1997 the defective motion for reconsideration. Section 2, Rule 37 of the Rules of Court provides that a motion for reconsideration or a motion for a new trial shall be made in writing stating the ground or grounds therefor, a written notice of which shall be served by the movant on the adverse party. Such written notice is that prescribed in Sections 4 and 5, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court. Under Section 4, paragraph 2 of said rule, a notice of hearing on a motion shall be served by the movant to all the parties concerned at least 3 days before the date of hearing. Section 5 of the same rule requires that the notice of hearing shall be directed to the parties concerned and shall state the time and place of the hearing of the motion. The requirements, far from being merely technical and procedural as claimed by the petitioners, are vital elements of procedural due process. Since the Rules of Court do not fix any period within which the said party may file his reply or opposition, the trial court would have no way of determining whether the adverse party agrees or objects to the motion and, if he objects, to hear him on his objection. Hence, the need for the movant to set the time and place of hearing of its motion. The requirements entombed in Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 15 of the Rules of Court are mandatory and noncompliance therewith is fatal and renders the motion pro forma;a worthless piece of paper which the clerk of court has no right to receive and which the court has no authority to act upon. In cases of motions for a new trial or for the reconsideration of a judgment, the running of the period for appeal is not tolled by the mere filing or pendency of said motion. In this case, the Republic, through the OSG, received on May 20, 1997 the decision of the RTC; hence, they had until June 4, 1997 within which to file their motion for reconsideration or for a new trial or to perfect their appeal from said adverse decision. Although the Republic filed the motion for reconsideration dated May 30, 1997 within the reglementary period, said motion failed to comply with Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 15. The records show that there is no proof that Peralta et al were actually served with a copy of said motion, as required by Section 10, Rule 13 of the Rules of Court. The OSG did not bother to file an amended motion for reconsideration containing the requirements of Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 15 of the Rules of Court. 3. People v. Odilao, April 14, 2004, G.R. No. 155451 ???? QUICKIE FACTS: Odilao et al were charged with Estafa in an Information filed in the RTC of Cebu. A Warrant of Arrest was issued. However, upon motion of Odilao, reinvestigation was conducted. Based on the reinvestigation report, no probable cause was found. Thus, the Prosecution sought to dismiss the case. As a result, the prívate complainant (Bugash) opposed the reinvestigation report and filed a Petition for Review in the DOJ. Thus, the RTC did not rule on the Motion to Dismiss until the DOJ resolves the petition. A year later, the RTC denied the Motion to Dismiss. Thus, Odilao filed an MR which was denied. Consequently, Odilao went up to the CA via Petition for Certiorari. CA granted the Petition and directed the RTC to wait until the DOJ resolves the Petition filed before it. As a result, the People filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari with the SC. While said Petition was pending resolution before the SC, Bugash filed an MR before the CA seeking reversal of its decisión which granted Odilao’s Petition. This MR was granted and the CA reversed itself and denied the Motion to Dismiss the case filed by the Prosecutor. Thereafter, DOJ denied the Petition for Review and held that there was no probable cause DOCTRINE: It cannot be avoided that we remind the Court of Ap-peals of the provisions of Section 15, Rule VI of the 2002 Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals (effective August 22, 2002), which explicitly provides thus: SEC. 15. Effect of Filing an Appeal in the Supreme Court. — No motion for reconsideration or rehearing shall be acted upon if the movant has previously filed in the Supreme Court a petition for review on certiorari or a motion for extension of time to file such petition. If such petition or motion is subsequently filed, the motion for reconsideration pending in this Court shall be deemed abandoned. We are, therefore, quite perplexed why the CA did not act in accord with the aforequoted Rule and instead resolved the motion for reconsideration of its Decision dated September 27, 2002, filed by Bugash, despite service on it of a copy of the Motion For Extension To File Petition For Review dated October 15, 2002, filed by the OSG. At the very least, prudence dictates that the CA should have first required Bugash to secure the conformity of the OSG, or required the latter to comment on the motion for reconsideration of Bugash. The positions taken by the Office of the Solicitor General and Bugash are practically identical. In any event the Court of Appeals ought not to have acted on the said motion for reconsideration of private complainant Bugash. It should have considered said motion which, in the first place, was without the conformity of the OSG, the representative of the People of the Philippines, as having been abandoned by the filing of herein petition by the OSG, pursuant to the aforequoted Section 15, Rule VI of the 2002 Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals. 4. Neypes v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 141524, September 14, 2005 QUICKIE FACTS: Neypes et al filed an Action for Annulment of Judgment and Titles and Reconveyance before the RTC against Bureau of Forests, Bureau of Lands, et al. However, in Feb 12, 1998, RTC dismissed the Complaint on the ground that the action already prescribed. Neypes received the order on Mar 3, 1998. On Mar 18, 1998 or 15 days later, Neypes filed an MR. On July 1, 1998, RTC dismissed the MR on and the order was received on July 22, 1998. On July 27, 1998 or 5 days later after receipt, Neypes filed a Notice of appeal and paid docket fees on August 3, 1998. RTC denied the Notice of Appeal for having been filed 8 days late. MR was denied. Neypes went up the CA via Petition for Certiorari and assailed the dismissal of the Notice of Appeal. He claims that they filed it on time and argued that the 15-day period started to run only from the date they received the order dismissing the MR on July 22. Thus, when they filed their MR 5 days later, it was still within the reglementary period. CA dismissed the Petition and reckoned the 15-day period from March 3. MR denied. Hence, this petition. Essentially, Neypes questions the period within which to properly file its Notice of Appeal. DOCTRINE: First and foremost, the right to appeal is neither a natural right nor a part of due process. It is merely a statutory privilege and may be exercised only in the manner and in accordance with the provisions of law. Thus, one who seeks to avail of the right to appeal must comply with the requirements of the Rules. Failure to do so often leads to the loss of the right to appeal. An appeal should be taken within 15 days from the notice of judgment or final order appealed from. A final judgment or order is one that finally disposes of a case, leaving nothing more for the court to do with respect to it. It is an adjudication on the merits which, considering the evidence presented at the trial, declares categorically what the rights and obligations of the parties are; or it may be an order or judgment that dismisses an action. FINAL ORDER As already mentioned, Neypes argues that the order of July 1, 1998 denying their MR should be construed as the “final order,” not the February 12, 1998 order which dismissed their complaint. Since they received their copy of the denial of their MR only on July 22, 1998, the 15-day reglementary period to appeal had not yet lapsed when they filed their notice of appeal on July 27, 1998. We sustain Neypes’ view that the order dated July 1, 1998 denying their MR was the final order contemplated in the Rules. START OF THE 15-DAY REGLEMENTARY PERIOD; FRESH PERIOD RULE Under Rule 41, Section 3, Neypes had 15 days from notice of judgment or final order to appeal the decision of the trial court. On the 15th day of the original appeal period (March 18, 1998), Neypes did not file a notice of appeal but instead opted to file a MR. According to the RTC, the MR only interrupted the running of the 15-day appeal period. It ruled that Neypes, having filed their MR on the last day of the 15-day reglementary period to appeal, had only one (1) day left to file the notice of appeal upon receipt of the notice of denial of their MR. Neypes, however, argue that they were entitled under the Rules to a fresh period of 15 days from receipt of the “final order” or the order dismissing their motion for reconsideration. 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 Regional Trial Court, 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 governing appeals from the Municipal Trial Courts to the Regional Trial Courts; Rule 42 on petitions for review from the Regional Trial Courts to the Court of Appeals; Rule 43 on appeals from quasi-judicial agencies to the Court of Appeals and Rule 45 governing appeals by certiorari to the Supreme Court. 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. To recapitulate, a party litigant may either file his notice of appeal within 15 days from receipt of the Regional Trial Court’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. 5. Tan v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 130314, September 22, 1998 QUICKIE FACTS: Annie Tan leased a portion of her building in Binondo in favor of Bloomberry Export Manufacturing Inc. For alleged violations of the lease contract, Tan filed a Complaint for Ejectment against Bloomberry. Bloomberry likewise filed a Case for Consignation on account of Tan’s refusal to accept its rental payment. These 2 cases were consolidated. As a matter of course, MTC dismissed the Complaint as well as Bloomberry’s counterclaim. On appeal, RTC affirmed. Consequently, Tan filed an MR which however did not include a Notice of Hearing as required by the Rules. Thus, Bloomberry filed an Ex Parte Motion for Entry of Judgment on the ground that the MR was a mere scrap of paper which did not toll the running of the reglemantary period. In other words, Bloomberry contends that the RTC decisión has already become final and executory. Thereafer, Tan filed a Motion to Set for Hearing the MR. Tan avers that she inavertently omitted said Notice on account of her lawyer’s messenger’s honest mistake. Also, she claims that, due to work-related pressures, her lawyer was not able to follow up the motion. Over the vehement opposition of Bloomberry, the RTC granted the Motion and set the hearing at a specified date and time. Aggrieved, Bloomberry filed an MR which was denied. As such, Bloomberry filed a Petition for Certiorari in the CA. CA granted the Petition and reversed the RTC in favor of Bloomberry. Hence, this petition. Tan questions whether or not the omission through inadvertence of a Notice of Hearing for an MR is a fatal defect which does not toll the running of the reglementary period to appeal. DOCTRINE: We are not in the least convinced. First, it is unfair to place the blame for such omission on the messenger. The burden of preparing a complete pleading falls on counsel’s shoulders, not on the messenger’s. The counsel is ultimately responsible for the acts or omissions of his agents. Hence, the messenger’s conduct can neither justify the counsel’s mistake nor warrant a departure from the mandate of the aforesaid procedural rules. Second, it is incredible that the fourth page containing the Notice of Hearing was left behind due to honest mistake. In fact, there was no such page. Tan’s claim is belied by the very MR she filed which ended exactly on the 3rd page as evidenced by the “copy furnished” notation. It is safe to conclude that there was no accidental or excusable neglect in not including a fourth page in this case. In other words, Tan’s counsel simply failed to include a notice of hearing. Finally, the fact that Tan’s former counsel calendared the motion for hearing for August 23, 1996 belies the excuse that an alleged fourth page had been left behind. In the first place, if a notice of hearing had been included in the MR, there would have been no need for Tan to file the Motion to set the time and date of hearing. What is clear is that said counsel filed the latter Motion, only after Bloomberry had submitted its Motion for Entry of Judgment — with copy furnished Tan’s counsel — on the ground that Tan’s MR was a mere scrap of paper that did not stop the period for appeal. XXV. PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT (RULE 38) 1. Alaban v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No.156021, September 23, 2005 QUICKIE FACTS: Francisco Provido, filed a Petition for Probate of the will of Soledad Provido Elevencionado who died in January 2000 in the RTC of Iloilo. He alleged that he was an heir of the decedent. The Probate Court allowed the probate of the will. Meanwhile, Flores filed an Petition for Letters of Administration with the RTC of General Santos. However, RTC of General Santos dismissed the Petition because the Probate Court in Iloilo already had jurisdiction over the case. After 4 months from the finality of the Probate Court, Alaban, Flores, et al filed a Motion to Reopen the probate proceedings claiming that they were intestate heirs of the decedent. Thereafter, RTC issued an Order denying the Motion. Consequently, Alaban, Flores, et al filed with the CA an Petition for Annulment of the Decision and Order of the RTC. They claimed that Provido fraudulently secured the probate of the will by making them think that they were going to enter into a Compromise Agreement. However, CA dismissed the Petition on the ground that Abalan, Flores, et al failed to avail of the ordinary remedies of New Trial, Appeal, Petition for Relief from Judgment, or other appropriate remedies. MR was denied. Hence, this petition. Abalan, Flores, et al essentially claim that since they were not made parties to the proceedings in the RTC of Iloilo (Probate Court), they could not have availed of the ordinary remedies of New Trial, Appeal, Petition for Relief from Judgment, etc. ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT ABALAN COULD FILE A PETITION FOR ANNULMENT OF JUDGMENT WITHOUT AVAILING OF ORDINARY REMEDIES LIKE PETITION FOR RELEIF FROM JUDGMENT. HELD: NO. SINCE IT IS AN ACTION IN REM, THEY BECAME PARTIES TO THE PROBATE PROCEEDINGS BY PUBLICATION. THUS, THEY SHOULD HAVE AVAILED OF THE ORDINARY REMEDIES BEFORE FILING THE PETITION FOR ANNULMENT OF JUDGMENT. MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL Rule 37 allows an aggrieved party to file a motion for new trial on the ground of fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence. The same Rule permits the filing of an MR on the grounds of excessive award of damages, insufficiency of evidence to justify the decision or final order, or that the decision or final order is contrary to law. Both motions should be filed within the period for taking an appeal, or fifteen (15) days from notice of the judgment or final order. PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT Meanwhile, a petition for relief from judgment under Section 3 of Rule 38 is resorted to when a judgment or final order is entered, or any other proceeding is thereafter taken, against a party in any court through fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence. Said party may file a petition in the same court and in the same case to set aside the judgment, order or proceeding. It must be filed within sixty (60) days after the petitioner learns of the judgment and within six (6) months after entry thereof. A motion for new trial or reconsideration and a petition for relief from judgment are remedies available only to parties in the proceedings where the assailed judgment is rendered. In fact, it has been held that a person who was never a party to the case, or even summoned to appear therein, cannot avail of a petition for relief from judgment. NOTICE BY PUBLICATION However, Alaban, Flores et al are mistaken in asserting that they are not or have not become parties to the probate proceedings. It has been held that a proceeding for the probate of a will is one in rem, such that with the corresponding publication of the petition the court's jurisdiction extends to all persons interested in said will or in the settlement of the estate of the decedent. It is the publication of such notice that brings in the whole world as a party in the case and vests the court with jurisdiction to hear and decide it. Thus, even though they were not mentioned in the petition for probate, they eventually became parties thereto as a consequence of the publication of the notice of hearing. As parties to the probate proceedings, they could have validly availed of the remedies of motion for new trial or reconsideration and petition for relief from judgment. PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT IS THE PROPER REMEDY Conceding that they became aware of the Decision after it had become final, they could have still filed a petition for relief from judgment after the denial of their motion to reopen. Petitioners claim that they learned of the Decision only on 4 October 2001, or almost four (4) months from the time the Decision had attained finality. But they failed to avail of the remedy. For failure to make use without sufficient justification of the said remedies available to them, they could no longer resort to a petition for annulment of judgment; otherwise, they would benefit from their own inaction or negligence. ACTION FOR ANNULMENT OF JUDGMENT An action for annulment of judgment is a remedy in law independent of the case where the judgment sought to be annulled was rendered. The purpose of such action is to have the final and executory judgment set aside so that there will be a renewal of litigation. It is resorted to in cases where the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief from judgment, or other appropriate remedies are no longer available through no fault of the petitioner, and is based on only two grounds: extrinsic fraud, and lack of jurisdiction or denial of due process. A person need not be a party to the judgment sought to be annulled, and it is only essential that he can prove his allegation that the judgment was obtained by the use of fraud and collusion and he would be adversely affected thereby. 2. Samartino v. Raon, G.R. No. 131482, July 3, 2002 QUICKIE FACTS: Filomena Crisostomo owns a parcel of land in Noveleta. After her death, she was survived by her sister Leonor Raon. Raon filed a Complaint for Ejectment against Regalado Samartino in the MTC of Noveleta and alleged that the lease with Crisostomo already expired and still she refused to vacate. Summons was served upon Samartino’s brother because he was then confined in rehab in Tagaytay. As a result, the liason officer of the rehab appeared before the MTC with a certification that Samartino cannot comply with the directive file an Answer within the reglementary period. Nonetheless, upon motion of Raon, MTC declared Samartino in default and ordered Raon to present evidence ex parte. Then, MTC ruled in favor of Raon and ordered Samartino to vacate. After learning of the adverse decision by the MTC, Samartino filed a Motion to Set Aside Judgment in the RTC. However, RTC affirmed the MTC’s ruling. The RTC decision became final. Thereafter, a Writ of Execution was issued and the parcel of land was levied upon. Thus, Samartino filed in the RTC a Petition for Relief from Judgment with an affidavit of merit alleging that Filomena Crisostomo sold the land to him as evidence by a Deed of Absolute Sale. Nevertheless, RTC dismissed the Petition for Relief from Judgment. MR was likewise denied. On certiorari, CA dismissed Samartino’s petition. MR was denied as well. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT THE RTC CORRECTLY DISMISSED SAMARTINO’S PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT. HELD: NO. NO VALID SERVICE OF SUMMONS. ALSO, THE PETITION FOR RELIEF WAS FILED ON TIME. There being no valid substituted service of summons (no explanation of impossibility of personal service; brother was not proven to be of sufficient age and discretion and resident thereof), the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the person Samartino. In addition, the RTC committed reversible error in dismissing the petition for relief from judgment for having been filed out of time. According to the RTC, the petition for relief, filed on November 25, 1996, was late because Samartino had actual knowledge of the judgment in the ejectment case since March 1996. The period within which to file a petition for relief should have been reckoned from the date Samartino learned of the judgment of the RTC. It should not have been counted from the date of the MTC’s decision because, precisely, Samartino appealed the same. It was the RTC’s decision that became final and, hence, was the proper subject of the petition for relief from judgment. It is axiomatic that a petition for relief is only available against a final and executory judgment. It is not clear from the records of the case at bar when Samartino learned of the decision of the RTC affirming the judgment of the MTC. What appears is that the said decision became final only on August 15, 1996, and must have been entered sometime thereafter. Hence, the petition for relief filed on November 25, 1996 was well within the 6-month period prescribed by the Rules. 3. Purcon v. MRM Philippines et al., G.R. No. 182718, September 26, 2008 QUICKIE FACTS: Purcon was a seaman working for MRM. He suffered a hernia and was thus repatriated back to the Philippines. After the doctor declared that he was fit to work, he reported to MRM. However, he was told that there was no vacancy for him. As such, he filed Complaint for Reimbursement of Disability Benefits and other monetary benefits in the NLRC. In its defense, MRM averred that since the hernia was not work related, Purcon was not entitled to disability benefit and related claims. LA dismissed Purco’s Complaint. On appeal, NLRC likewise dismissed the appeal which became final and executory. Thereafter, Purco filed in the CA a Petition for Certiorari which was however denied. The CA’s resolution also became final and executory. Nonetheless, Purco filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari with the SC which was also denied. As a result, Purco filed before the SC a Petition for Relief from Judgment. ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT A PETITIONER CAN AVAIL OF A PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT FROM AN SC DECISION WHICH DISMISSED ITS PETITION FOR REVIEW ON CERTIORARI. HELD: NO. IT IS NOT AN AVAILABLE REMEDY IN THE SC. FIRST, although Section 1 of Rule 38 states that when a judgment or final order is entered through fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence, a party in any court may file a petition for relief from judgment, this rule must be interpreted in harmony with Rule 56, which enumerates the original cases cognizable by the Supreme Court, thus: Section 1. Original cases cognizable. — Only petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus, disciplinary proceedings against members of the judiciary and attorneys, and cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls may be filed originally in the Supreme Court. A petition for relief from judgment is not included in the list of Rule 56 cases originally cognizable by this Court. SECOND, while Rule 38 uses the phrase “any court,” it refers only to MTCs and RTCs. As revised, Rule 38 radically departs from the previous rule as it now allows the MTC which decided the case or 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 should be filed with the Regional Trial Court. The procedural change in Rule 38 is in line with Rule 5, prescribing uniform procedure for MTCs and RTCs and designation of Municipal/Metropolitan Trial Courts as courts of record. THIRD, the procedure in the CA and the Supreme Court are governed by separate provisions of the Rules of Court. It may, from time to time, be supplemented by additional rules promulgated by the Supreme Court through resolutions or circulars. As it stands, neither the Rules of Court nor the Revised Internal Rules of the CA allows the remedy of petition for relief in the CA. There is no provision in the Rules of Court making the petition for relief applicable in the CA or this Court. The procedure in the CA from Rules 44 to 55, with the exception of Rule 45 which pertains to the Supreme Court, identifies the remedies available before said Court such as annulment of judgments or final orders or resolutions (Rule 47), motion for reconsideration (Rule 52), and new trial (Rule 53). Nowhere is a petition for relief under Rule 38 mentioned. 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 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. Nevertheless, even if We delve into the merits of the petition, the same must still be dismissed. The late filing of the petition for review does not amount to excusable negligence. Purco’s lack of devotion in discharging his duty, without demonstrating fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence, cannot be a basis for judicial relief. For a claim of counsel’s gross negligence to prosper, nothing short of clear abandonment of the client’s cause must be shown. The relief afforded by Rule 38 will not be granted to a party who seeks to be relieved from the effects of the judgment when the loss of the remedy of law was due to his own negligence, or mistaken mode of procedure for that matter; otherwise the petition for relief will be tantamount to reviving the right of appeal which has already been lost, either because of inexcusable negligence or due to a mistake of procedure by counsel.