G.R. No. 219984, April 03, 2019
VALENCIA (BUKIDNON) FARMERS COOPERATIVE MARKETING ASSOCIATION, INC., REPRESENTED BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF FARMERS COOPERATIVE MARKETING ASSOCIATION (FACOMA) AS TRUSTEES, HEREIN REPRESENTED BY DAVID M. PORTICOS, BOARD CHAIRMAN, PETITIONER, v. HEIRS OF AMANTE P. CABOTAJE, NAMELY: ESTHER M. CABOTAJE, AMANTE M. CABOTAJE, JR., JULINDA M. CABOTAJE, FERNANDO M. CABOTAJE, CHRISTINA IMELDA M. CABOTAJE-NELAM, ALL HEREIN REPRESENTED BY ESTHER M. CABOTAJE, RESPONDENTS.
R E S O L U T I O N
Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari1 (Petition) under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court filed by the petitioner Valencia (Bukidnon) Farmers Cooperative Marketing Association, Inc. (petitioner FACOMA), represented by its Board of Directors, herein represented by the Board Chairman David M. Porticos, assailing the Decision2 dated March 27, 2014 (assailed Decision) and Resolution3 dated August 13, 2015 (assailed Resolution) issued by the Court of Appeals - Cagayan de Oro City (CA) Twenty-first Division and Special Former Twenty-first Division, respectively, in CA-G.R. SP No. 04244-MIN, reversing the Resolution4 dated April 4, 2011 of the Regional Trial Court of Malaybalay City (RTC), Branch 8 in Civil Case No. 2663-97, which denied the Notice to Appeal filed by respondents Heirs of Amante P. Cabotaje (respondents Heirs of Cabotaje).
[Petitioner FACOMA,] represented by its Directors Sergio Belera and Pedro Pagonzaga instituted an action for quieting of title and recovery of ownership and possession of parcel of land, and damages against [respondents Heirs of Cabotaje] and Francisco Estrada.
On December 3, 2010, the [RTC] rendered a Decision[,] the fallo of which reads:"WHEREFORE, judgment is issued in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants ordering the Annulment and Cancellation of the Deed of Sale executed by Francisco Estrada in favor of Amante Cabotaje and all the Transfer Certificates of Titles issued pursuant thereto as follows:Aggrieved, [respondents Heirs of Cabotaje] tiled a Motion for Reconsideration[,) mainly contending the following:
x x x x
Ordering defendant Amante Cabotaje and members of his family, agents and assigns from interfering with plaintiff's exercise of ownership over the properties and vacate the same if and when they succeed in taking possession thereof;
Ordering the demolition of all improvements introduced thereon in bad faith. Also ordering the Register of Deeds to restore the Certificates of Titles issued to the plaintiff subject hereof."1. [Petitioner] FACOMA has no legal personality to sue and be sued as [therein] defendant Francisco Estrada asseverated in his Answer. [Petitioner] FACOMA's failure to present to the [RTC the] original copy of the re-registration, according to [respondents Heirs of Cabotaje], would mean that it had no capacity to sue;On February 3, 2011, the [RTC] denied the aforesaid Motion for Reconsideration. Thus, on February 25, 2011, [respondents Heirs of Cabotaje] filed the Notice of Appeal. Incidentally, [petitioner] FACOMA filed a Motion to Dismiss the Notice of Appeal averring that the Motion for Reconsideration earlier filed by [respondents Heirs of Cabotaje] did not toll the running of the reglementary period to appeal for the reason that the Motion was but pro forma and raised no new issue.
2. The Deed of Sale of the subject properties, which was allegedly admitted by [petitioner] FACOMA during the Pre-trial Conference and was allegedly executed and subscribed before a Notary Public is regular and valid contrary to the [RTC's] findings; and
3. The sale made by [therein] defendant Francisco Estrada to [respondents Heirs of Cabotaje] is also binding and valid.
On April 4, 2011, the [RTC] issued [a Resolution] which denied the Notice of Appeal for being filed out of time. [The RTC deemed the respondents Heirs of Cabotaje 's Motion for Reconsideration as a pro forma motion, failing to toll the reglementary period to file an appeal.] Hence, [respondents Heirs of Cabotaje filed a Petition for Certiorari (Certiorari Petition) under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court on June 6, 2011. An Amended Petition for Certiorari5 dated July 25, 2011 was filed by respondents Heirs of Cabotaje.] x x x.6
[During the pendency of the Certiorari Petition before the CA, petitioner FACOMA filed a Motion for Execution of Judgment, which was initially denied by the RTC. Unsatisfied, petitioner FACOMA filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the RTC's denial of its Motion for Execution of Judgment. On December 13, 2011, the RTC issued a Resolution7 granting petitioner FACOMA's Motion for Execution of Judgment.]8
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant Petition for Certiorari is GRANTED. The assailed Resolution dated April 4, 2011 is SET ASIDE. The Regional Trial Court, Branch 8, Malaybalay City is ORDERED to give due course of petitioners' Notice of Appeal.In sum, the CA found that the Motion for Reconsideration filed by respondents Heirs of Cabotaje is not a pro forma motion. Hence, the Notice of Appeal filed by the latter, having been filed three days after receipt of the RTC's Resolution, was not filed out of time. On April 24, 2014, petitioner FACOMA filed a Motion for Reconsideration,10 which was eventually denied by the CA in its assailed Resolution.
[A] reading of the [Certiorari Petition] shows that what was assailed by the [respondents Heirs of Cabotaje] was the Resolution dated April 4, 2011 denying their Notice of Appeal, a copy thereof was received by them on April 6, 2011, and not the December 3, 2010 [D]ecision adverted to by [petitioner FACOMA] x x x.16Well-settled is the rule that the Court is not a trier of facts. When supported by substantial evidence, the findings of fact of the CA are conclusive and binding on the parties and are not reviewable by this Court.17
In view of the 4 April 2011 Resolution of the [RTC] denying due course to their [N]otice of [A]ppeal, [the respondents Heirs of Cabotaje are] left with no plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, but to file this [Certiorari Petition] in accordance with Rule 65 and Section 3, Rule 46 of the Revised Rules of Court in the Philippines (As Amended).18Hence, the Court resolves to deny petitioner FACOMA's first submission.
x x x The mere reiteration in a motion for reconsideration of the issues raised by the parties and passed upon by the court does not make a motion pro forma otherwise, the movant's remedy would not be a reconsideration of the decision but a new trial or some other remedy. But, as we have held in another case:Thus, it is evidently settled that the respondents Heirs of Cabotaje's Motion for Reconsideration is not a pro forma motion. It is not alleged to be a second motion for reconsideration. It is not contended that the said Motion failed to specify the findings and conclusions contained in the RTC's Decision that the respondents Heirs of Cabotaje opined were contrary to law or not supported by the evidence. It is likewise not alleged that the said Motion merely alleged that the Decision in question was contrary to law without making any explanation.Among the ends to which a motion for reconsideration is addressed, one is precisely to convince the court that its ruling is erroneous and improper, contrary to the law or the evidence and in doing so, the movant has to dwell of necessity upon the issues passed upon by the court. If a motion for reconsideration may not discuss these issues, the consequence would be that after a decision is rendered, the losing party would be confined to filing only motions for reopening and new trial.Indeed, in the cases where a motion for reconsideration was held to be pro forma, the motion was so held because (1) it was a second motion for reconsideration, or (2) it did not comply with the rule that the motion must specify the findings and conclusions alleged to be contrary to law or not supported by the evidence, or (3) it failed to substantiate the alleged errors, or (4) it merely alleged that the decision in question was contrary to law, or (5) the adverse party was not given notice thereof.21
cannot be considered as a supervening event that would automatically moot the issues in the appealed case x x x. Otherwise, there would be no use appealing a judgment, once a writ of execution is issued and satisfied. That situation would be absurd. On the contrary, the Rules of Court in fact provides for cases of reversal or annulment of an executed judgment. Section 5 of Rule 39 provides that in those cases, there should be restitution or reparation as warranted by justice and equity. Therefore, barring any supervening event, there is still the possibility of the appellate court's reversal of the appealed decision - even if already executed - and, consequently, of a restitution or a reparation.32Hence, the Court finds the third submission of petitioner FACOMA lacking in merit.
1Rollo, pp. 12-34.
2 Id. at 38-44; penned by Associate Justice Renato C. Francisco, with Associate Justices Romulo V. Borja and Oscar V. Badelles concurring.
3 Id. at 47-50; penned by Associate Justice Romulo V. Borja, with Associate Justices Oscar V. Badelles and Henri Jean Paul B. Inting concurring.
4 Id. at 52-58. Penned by Presiding Judge Pelagio B. Estopia.
5 Id. at 61-77.
6 Id. at 39-41.
7 Id. at 59-60; penned by Acting Presiding Judge Dennis Z. Alcantar.
8 Id. at 16.
9 Id. at 43-44.
10 Id. at 16; a copy of the pleading was not attached to the instant Petition.
11 Id. at 108-112.
12 Id. at 124-133. Document titled, "COMMENTS."
13 Id. at 117-123.
14 Id. at 141-142.
15 Id. at 21-23.
16 Id. at 50.
17Ontimare, Jr. v. Elep, 515 Phil. 237, 245 (2006).
18Rollo, p. 72; emphasis and underscoring supplied.
19Spouses Marquez v. Spouses Alindog, 725 Phil. 237, 251 (2014), citing Tagolino v. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, 706 Phil. 534 (2013).
20 434 Phil. 861 (2002).
21 Id. at 868-869.
22 544 Phil. 308, 329 (2007).
23 396 Phil. 108 (2000).
24Rollo, p. 42; emphasis and underscoring supplied.
25 Id. at 50.
26Regulus Development, Inc. v. Dela Cruz, 779 Phil. 75, 85 (2016).
27 225 Phil. 459 (1986).
28 Id. at 479.
29 779 Phil. 75 (2016).
30 Id. at 85; emphasis supplied.
31 705 Phil. 153 (2013).
32 Id. at 163; emphasis supplied.