SECTION 1. Perfection of Appeals.
(a) Unless otherwise provided by law or executive order, appeals from the decisions/orders of the DENR Regional Offices shall be perfected within fifteen (15) days after receipt of a copy of the decision/order complained of by the party adversely affected, by filing with the Regional Office which adjudicated the case a notice of appeal, serving copies thereof upon the prevailing party and the Office of the Secretary, and paying the required fees.
(b) If a motion for reconsideration of the decision/order of the Regional Office is filed and such motion for reconsideration is denied, the movant shall have the right to perfect his appeal during the remainder of the period for appeal, reckoned from receipt of the resolution of denial. If the decision is reversed on reconsideration, the aggrieved party shall have fifteen (15) days from receipt of the resolution of reversal within which to perfect his appeal.
(c) The Regional office shall, upon perfection of the appeal, transmit the records of the case to the Office of the Secretary with each page numbered consecutively and initialed by the custodian of the records.
x x x x
SECTION 6. Applicability of the Rules of Court. - The Rules of Court shall apply when not inconsistent with the provisions hereof. (emphasis and underscoring supplied)
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,13 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.
x x x. This pronouncement is not inconsistent with Rule 41,14 Section 3 of the Rules which states that the appeal shall be taken within 15 days from notice of judgment or final order appealed from. The use of the disjunctive word "or" signifies disassociation and independence of one thing from another. It should, as a rule, be construed in the sense in which it ordinarily implies. Hence, the use of "or" in the above provision supposes that the notice of appeal may be filed within 15 days from notice of judgment or within 15 days from notice of the "final order," which we already determined to refer to the x x x order denying the motion for a new trial or reconsideration.
Neither does this new rule run counter to the spirit of Section 39 of BP 12915 which shortened the appeal period from 30 days to 15 days to hasten the disposition of cases. The original period of appeal x x x remains and the requirement for strict compliance still applies. The fresh period of 15 days becomes significant only when a party opts to file a motion for reconsideration. In this manner, the trial court which rendered the assailed decision is given another opportunity to review the case and, in the process, minimize and/or rectify any error of judgment. While we aim to resolve cases with dispatch and to have judgments of courts become final at some definite time, we likewise aspire to deliver justice fairly.
In this case, the new period of 15 days eradicates the confusion as to when the 15-day appeal period should be counted-from receipt of notice of judgment x x x or from receipt of notice of "final order" appealed from x x x.
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 3.16 (emphasis and underscoring supplied; italics in the original)
1 The other respondents named in the petition, namely, Regional Executive Director Jim O. Sampulna, DENR Region XII, Koronadal City, and the Court of Appeals, are deleted pursuant to Rule 45, Section 4(a) of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended.
* Additional member per Special Order No. 843 dated May 17, 2010.
2 Rollo, pp. 63-66.
3 Docketed as RED Claim No. 002-07, CENRO Case No. XII-5A-003.
4 Id. at 65-66.
5 Id. at 75-76.
6 Id. at 77-79.
7 Id. at 83-84.
8 "Regulations Governing Appeals to the Office of the [DENR] Secretary from the Decisions/Orders of the Regional Offices."
9 G.R. No. 141524, September 14, 2005, 469 SCRA 633, 644-646.
10 Id. at 88-89. Rollo, pp. 88-89.
11 Penned by Associate Justice Jane Aurora C. Lantion and concurred in by Associate Justices Edgardo A. Camello and Elihu A. Ybanez; id. at 90-91.
12 Id. at 98.
13 Referring to Rule 41 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure; supra note 9 at 639.
14 Appeal from the Regional Trial Courts (RTC) through (1) ordinary appeal to the Court of Appeals (CA) in cases decided by the RTC in the exercise of its original jurisdiction [Section 2(a), Rule 41]; (2) petition for review to the CA in cases decided by the RTC in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, in accordance with Rule 42 [Section 2(b), id.]; and (3) appeal by certiorari to the Supreme Court in cases where only questions of law are raised, in accordance with Rule 45 [ Section 2(c), id.].
15 The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980.
16 Supra note 9 at 644-646.
17 Ericsson Telecommunications, Inc. v. City of Pasig, G.R. No. 176667, November 22, 2007, 538 SCRA 99, 108-109.
18 Resolution dated June 25, 2008, rollo, p. 98.