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G.R. No. 179638, July 08, 2013 - HEIRS OF NUMERIANO MIRANDA, SR., namely: CIRILA (deceased), CORNELIO, NUMERIANO, JR., ERLINDA, LOLITA, RUFINA, DANILO, ALEJANDRO, FELIMON, TERESITA, ELIZABETH AND ANALIZA, ALL SURNAMED MIRANDA, Petitioners, v. PABLO R. MIRANDA, Respondent.

G.R. No. 179638, July 08, 2013 - HEIRS OF NUMERIANO MIRANDA, SR., namely: CIRILA (deceased), CORNELIO, NUMERIANO, JR., ERLINDA, LOLITA, RUFINA, DANILO, ALEJANDRO, FELIMON, TERESITA, ELIZABETH AND ANALIZA, ALL SURNAMED MIRANDA, Petitioners, v. PABLO R. MIRANDA, Respondent.

PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 179638, July 08, 2013

HEIRS OF NUMERIANO MIRANDA, SR., namely: CIRILA (Deceased), CORNELIO, NUMERIANO, JR., ERLINDA, LOLITA, RUFINA, DANILO, ALEJANDRO, FELIMON, TERESITA, ELIZABETH AND ANALIZA, ALL SURNAMED MIRANDA, Petitioners, v. PABLO R. MIRANDA, Respondent.

D E C I S I O N

DEL CASTILLO, J.:

An action for revival of a judgment cannot modify, alter, or reverse the original judgment, which is already final and executory.1

This Petition for Review on Certiorari2 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assails the Decision3 dated June 14, 2007 and the Resolution4 dated September 11, 2007 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 97350.

Factual Antecedents

In 1994, petitioners Cirila, Cornelio, Numeriano, Jr., Erlinda, Lolita, Rufina, Danilo, Alejandro, Felimon, Teresita, Elizabeth, and Analiza, all surnamed Miranda, representing themselves as the heirs of Numeriano Miranda, Sr., filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Muntinlupa City,  a Complaint5 for Annulment of Titles and Specific Performance, docketed as Civil Case No. 94-612, against the heirs of Pedro Miranda, namely: Pacita and Oscar Miranda; the heir of Tranquilino Miranda, Rogelio Miranda; and the spouses respondent Pablo Miranda and Aida Lorenzo.

After trial, the RTC, Branch 256, rendered a Decision6 dated August 30, 1999, the dispositive portion of which reads:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

WHEREFORE, premises considered, this court resolves:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

1.  To [u]phold and [s]ustain the validity of TCT Nos. 186011, 186012, and 186013;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

2.  Ordering Pablo Miranda to indemnify all other heirs of NUMERIANO MIRANDA the amount equivalent to 12/13 fair market value of the co-owned residential house, erected on the lot 826-A-3 covered by TCT No. 186013 corresponding to their shares,  and for the said heirs to divide among themselves the aforesaid amount as follows:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
1/13 to CIRILA MIRANDA
1/13 to CORNELIO MIRANDA
1/13 to NUMERIANO MIRANDA, JR.
1/13 to ERLINDA MIRANDA
1/13 to LOLITA MIRANDA
1/13 to RUFINA MIRANDA
1/13 to DANILO MIRANDA
1/13 to ALEJANDRO MIRANDA
1/13 to FELIMON MIRANDA
1/13 to TERESITA MIRANDA
1/13 to ELIZABETH MIRANDA
1/13 to ANALIZA MIRANDA
3.  Ordering Plaintiffs Lolita Miranda, Alejandro Miranda, Teresita Miranda, Rufina Miranda and all persons claiming rights under them to immediately vacate the abovementioned residential house and to jointly and severally pay to the spouses Pablo and Aida Miranda a monthly rental of P2,000.00 from the date of notice of the promulgation of this judgment up to the time that they have actually vacated the property;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

4.  Proclaiming that ROGELIO MIRANDA is not the biological son or child by nature of TRANQUILINO MIRANDA,  and therefore is not entitled to inherit from the latter;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

5.  Declaring CORNELIO MIRANDA, NUMERIANO MIRANDA, JR., ERLINDA MIRANDA, LOLITA MIRANDA, RUFINA MIRANDA,  DANIL[O] MIRANDA, ALEJANDRO MIRANDA, FELIMON MIRANDA, TERESITA MIRANDA,  ELIZABETH MIRANDA, ANALIZA MIRANDA, PABLO MIRANDA and PACITA MIRANDA as the lawful legal heirs of the deceased TRANQUILINO MIRANDA and ordering them to partition among themselves Lot 826-A-1 covered by TCT No. 186011 registered in the name of TRANQUILINO MIRANDA, containing an area of 213 square meters,  as follows:cralavvonlinelawlibrary
1/13 aliquot share to Cornelio Miranda
1/13 aliquot share to Numeriano Miranda, Jr.
1/13 aliquot share to Erlinda Miranda
1/13 aliquot share to Lolita Miranda
1/13 aliquot share to Rufina Miranda
1/13 aliquot share to Danilo Miranda
1/13 aliquot share to Alejandro Miranda
1/13 aliquot share to Felimon Miranda
1/13 aliquot share to Teresita Miranda
1/13 aliquot share to Elizabeth Miranda
1/13 aliquot share to Analiza Miranda
1/13 aliquot share to Pablo Miranda
1/13 aliquot share to Pacita Miranda
6.  Ordering all the abovenamed heirs to commission the survey of Lot 826-A-1 or to authorize in writing, one of them to commission such survey, in order to avoid a chaotic situation similar to the case at bar.  Should they not agree as to what particular portion shall belong to one another,  they may agree that it be allotted to one or two or several of them,  who shall indemnify the others at a price agreed upon by all of them.  Should they not agree as to whom shall the property be allotted, to sell the property to a third person at [a] price agreed upon by a majority of all [of] them, and to partition the proceeds of the sale in accordance with No. 5 above.

SO ORDERED.7

Petitioners did not file any appeal hence the Decision became final and executory.8

On December 11, 2001, the RTC issued a Writ of Execution,9 which was not implemented.10

On July 8, 2005, respondent filed an Ex-parte Motion11 praying that the RTC issue a “Break-Open and Demolition Order” in order to compel the petitioners to vacate his property.12  But since more than five years have elapsed from the time the Writ of Execution should have been enforced, the RTC denied the Motion in its Order13 dated August 16, 2005.

This prompted respondent to file with the RTC a Petition14 for Revival of Judgment, which was docketed as Civil Case No. 05-131.  Petitioners opposed the revival of judgment assailing, among others, the jurisdiction of the RTC to take cognizance of the Petition for Revival of Judgment.15

On June 20, 2006, the RTC rendered a Decision16 granting the Petition. Thus:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

WHEREFORE, finding the instant petition to be meritorious, the petition is hereby GRANTED.  Pursuant to Rule 39, Section 6 of the Rules of Court, the Decision dated August 30, 1999 in Civil Case No. 94-612 is hereby REVIVED.

SO ORDERED.17nadcralavvonlinelawlibrary

On July 13, 2006, petitioners filed a Notice of Appeal18 via LBC,19 which was opposed by respondent on the ground that the Decision dated August 30, 1999 has long become final and executory.20  Petitioners, in turn, moved for the transmittal of the original records of the case to the CA, insisting that respondent’s opposition is without merit.21

Ruling of the Regional Trial Court

Finding the appeal barred by prescription, the RTC denied the Notice of Appeal in its Order22 dated October 10, 2006, to wit:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the notice of appeal herein filed is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.23nadcralavvonlinelawlibrary

Feeling aggrieved, petitioners filed a Petition for Mandamus24 with the CA praying that their Notice of Appeal be given due course.25

Ruling of the Court of Appeals

On June 14, 2007, the CA denied the Petition for Mandamus on the ground that the Notice of Appeal was filed out of time.26  The dispositive portion of the Decision reads:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED.  The appeal is hereby DISMISSED for having been filed out of time.

SO ORDERED.27

Petitioners moved for reconsideration but the same was denied by the CA in its Resolution28 dated September 11, 2007.

Issues

Hence, this recourse, with petitioners raising the following issues:cralavvonlinelawlibrary

  1. WHETHER X X X THE APPEAL WAS PERFECTED ON TIME?

  2. WHETHER X X X THE LATE (ONE DAY) FILING WAS JUSTIFIED?

  3. WHETHER X X X AN ACTION FOR REVIVAL OF JUDGMENT IS APPEALABLE?

  4. WHETHER THE APPEAL IS MERITORIOUS?

    1. Whether the [RTC] below has exclusive original jurisdiction over an action for revival of judgment?
    2. Whether xxx respondent herein, plaintiff therein, as one of the judgment creditors can file the said action for revival ALONE?
    3. Whether subsequent events or laws have rendered the judgment sought to be revived modified [or] altered[,] or prevent its enforcement?
    4. Whether res judicata or laches has seeped in, other judgment creditors not suing for any such implementation of the 1999 judgment, ONLY PLAINTIFF ALONE?
    5. Whether x x x the Petitioners are entitled to damages?29

Petitioners’ Arguments

Petitioners assert that an action to revive judgment is appealable,30 and that their appeal was perfected on time.31 They insist that the Notice of Appeal, which they filed on the 15th day via LBC, was seasonably filed since the law does not require a specific mode of service for filing a notice of appeal.32

Besides, even if their appeal was belatedly filed, it should still be given due course in the interest of justice,33 considering that their counsel had to brave the storm and the floods caused by typhoon “Florita” just to file their Notice of Appeal on time.34

Petitioners further contend that their appeal is meritorious.35  They insist that it is the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), not the RTC, which has jurisdiction over the Petition for Revival of Judgment since the amount in the tax declarations of the properties involved is less than Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00).36  They likewise assail the Decision dated August 30, 1999, claiming that the deeds and certificates of title subject of Civil Case No. 94-612 were falsified.37

Respondent’s Arguments

Respondent, on the other hand, maintains that the Notice of Appeal was belatedly filed,38 and that the revival of judgment is unappealable as it is barred by prescription.39

Our Ruling

The Petition lacks merit.

The Notice of Appeal was belatedly filed.

It is basic and elementary that a Notice of Appeal should be filed “within fifteen (15) days from notice of the judgment or final order appealed from.”40

Under Section 3,41 Rule 13 of the Rules of Court, pleadings may be filed in court either personally or by registered mail.  In the first case, the date of filing is the date of receipt.  In the second case, the date of mailing is the date of receipt.

In this case, however, the counsel for petitioners filed the Notice of Appeal via a private courier, a mode of filing not provided in the Rules.  Though not prohibited by the Rules, we cannot consider the filing of petitioners’ Notice of Appeal via LBC timely filed.  It is established jurisprudence that “the date of delivery of pleadings to a private letter-forwarding agency is not to be considered as the date of filing thereof in court;” instead, “the date of actual receipt by the court x x x is deemed the date of filing of that pleading.”42  Records show that the Notice of Appeal was mailed on the 15th day and was received by the court on the 16th day or one day beyond the reglementary period.  Thus, the CA correctly ruled that the Notice of Appeal was filed out of time.

Neither can petitioners use typhoon “Florita” as an excuse for the belated filing of the Notice of Appeal because work in government offices in Metro Manila was not suspended on July 13, 2006, the day petitioners’ Notice of Appeal was mailed via LBC.43

And even if we, in the interest of justice, give due course to the appeal despite its late filing, the result would still be the same.  The appeal would still be denied for lack of merit.

The Decision dated August 30, 1999 is
already final and executory. 


An action for revival of judgment is a new and independent action.44  It is different and distinct from the original judgment sought to be revived or enforced.45  As such, a party aggrieved by a decision of a court in an action for revival of judgment may appeal the decision, but only insofar as the merits of the action for revival is concerned.  The original judgment, which is already final and executory, may no longer be reversed, altered, or modified.46

In this case, petitioners assail the Decision dated August 30, 1999, which is the original judgment sought to be revived or enforced by respondent.  Considering that the said Decision had already attained finality, petitioners may no longer question its correctness.  As we have said, only the merits of the action for revival may be appealed, not the merits of the original judgment sought to be revived or enforced.

RTC has jurisdiction over the
Petition for Revival of Judgment.


As to whether the RTC has jurisdiction, we rule in the affirmative.  An action for revival of judgment may be filed either “in the same court where said judgment was rendered or in the place where the plaintiff or defendant resides, or in any other place designated by the statutes which treat of the venue of actions in general.”47  In this case, respondent filed the Petition for Revival of Judgment in the same court which rendered the Decision dated August 30, 1999.

All told, we find no error on the part of the CA in denying the Petition and dismissing the appeal for having been filed out of time.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DENIED.  The Decision dated June 14, 2007 and the Resolution dated September 11, 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 97350 are hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

Carpio, (Chairperson), Perez, Mendoza,* and Perlas-Bernabe, JJ., concur.


Endnotes:


* Per Special Order No. 1484 dated July 9, 2013.cralawlibrary

1Arcenas v. Court of Appeals, 360 Phil. 122, 132 (1998).cralawlibrary

2Rollo, pp. 3-32.cralawlibrary

3 CA rollo, pp. 134-139; penned by Associate Justice Juan Q. Enriquez, Jr. and concurred in by Associate Justices Vicente S. E. Veloso and Marlene Gonzales-Sison.cralawlibrary

4 Id. at 180-181.cralawlibrary

5 Records, Volume I, Civil Case No. 94-612, pp. 1-7.cralawlibrary

6 Records, Civil Case No. 05-131, pp. 8-20; penned by Presiding Judge Alberto L. Lerma.cralawlibrary

7 Id. at 18-20.cralawlibrary

8 Id. at 31.cralawlibrary

9 Id. at 21-23.cralawlibrary

10 Id. at 24.cralawlibrary

11 Id. at 25-29.cralawlibrary

12 Id. at 28.cralawlibrary

13 Id. at 31.cralawlibrary

14 Id. at 1-7.cralawlibrary

15 Id. at 199-205.cralawlibrary

16 Id. at 268-270; penned by Presiding Judge Alberto L. Lerma.cralawlibrary

17 Id. at 270. Emphases in the original.cralawlibrary

18 Id. at 282-283.cralawlibrary

19 Id. at 284.cralawlibrary

20 Id. at 286-288.cralawlibrary

21 Id. at 292-297.cralawlibrary

22 Id. at 305; penned by Presiding Judge Alberto L. Lerma.cralawlibrary

23 Id.cralawlibrary

24 CA rollo, pp. 2-16; Amended Petition, pp. 39-63.cralawlibrary

25 Id. at 12 and 60.cralawlibrary

26 Id. at 134-139.cralawlibrary

27 Id. at 139.cralawlibrary

28 Id. at 180-181.cralawlibrary

29Rollo, pp. 12-13.cralawlibrary

30 Id. at 412.cralawlibrary

31 Id. at 404.cralawlibrary

32 Id.cralawlibrary

33 Id. at 411-412.cralawlibrary

34 Id. at 408-410.cralawlibrary

35 Id. at 417.cralawlibrary

36 Id. at 418-419.cralawlibrary

37 Id. at 413-415.cralawlibrary

38 Id. at 464.cralawlibrary

39 Id. at 466.cralawlibrary

40 Rules of Court, Rule 41, Section 3.cralawlibrary

41 Sec. 3. Manner of filing. – The filing of pleadings, appearances, motions, notices, orders, judgments and all other papers shall be made by presenting the original copies thereof, plainly indicated as such, personally to the clerk of court or by sending them by registered mail. In the first case, the clerk of court shall endorse on the pleading the date and hour of filing. In the second case, the date of the mailing of motions, pleadings, or any other papers or payments or deposits, as shown by the post office stamp on the envelope or the registry receipt, shall be considered as the date of their filing, payment, or deposit in court. The envelope shall be attached to the record of the case.cralawlibrary

42 Philippine National Bank v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, G.R. No. 172458, December 14, 2011, 662 SCRA 424, 433-434, citing Benguet Electric Cooperative, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 89070, May 18, 1992, 209 SCRA 55, 60-61.cralawlibrary

43Rollo, p. 46.cralawlibrary

44Juco v. Heirs of Tomas Siy Chung Fu, 491 Phil. 641, 650 (2005).cralawlibrary

45 Id.cralawlibrary

46Arcenas v. Court of Appeals, supra note 1 at 132.cralawlibrary

47Infante v. Aran Builders, Inc., G.R. No. 156596, August 24, 2007, 531 SCRA 123, 129, citing Aldeguer v. Gemelo, 68 Phil. 421, 424-425 (1939).
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