IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered:
1. Expropriating, in favor of plaintiff Province, for the public use detailed in its complaint, and in Res. No. 129, S. of 1998, the lands described in its pars. 1 and 4, consolidated complaint, as further described its sketch plan, p. 361 records;
2. Condemning plaintiff to pay defendants as just compensation for the land, owned by defendants named in the consolidated complaint and enumerated in Annex A as well as the improvements standing thereon, at the time this decision is executed, and set forth in Annex C hereof, which is made an integral part of this decision, with 6% interest per annum from the date cases were individually filed until paid; and
3. Condemning plaintiff to pay Financial Assistance per E.O. 1035, Sec. 18 to the tenants mentioned in the summary of the commissioner's report and enumerated in Annex A; and to pay Commissioners Co, Altar and Malali, P5,000.00 each, immediately.
Irrigated riceland - P9.00 per sq. m.
Unirrigated riceland, coconut land, orchard - P8.00 per sq. m.
Residential land - P120.00 per sq. m.6
x x x x
The Court RESOLVES to:
x x x x
(d) DISMISS the appeal of plaintiff-appellant Province of Camarines Sur for failure to pay the jurisdictional requirement of payment of the docket fee pursuant to Sec. 1 (c) of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.11
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED AND GROSSLY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN DISMISSING THE APPEAL OF HEREIN PETITIONER PROVINCE OF CAMARINES SUR AND IN DENYING ITS MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION SUCH DISMISSAL AND DENIAL BEING ENTIRELY NOT IN ACCORD AND DIRECTLY IN CONTRAVENTION WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THE SUPREME COURT IN THE INSTANT CASE, CONSIDERING THE ATTENDANT CIRCUMSTANCES HEREIN WHICH JUSTIFY THE LIBERAL INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION OF THE RULES OF COURT.
THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN DISMISSING THE APPEAL OF HEREIN PETITIONER PROVINCE OF CAMARINES SUR SINCE SAID APPEAL IS EXCEPTIONALLY MERITORIOUS AS THE APPEALED DECISION COMPLETELY DEPARTED FROM THE APPLICABLE RULES AND DULY ESTABLISHED JURISPRUDENCE IN THE DETERMINATION OF JUST COMPENSATION IN EXPROPRIATION CASES AND INSTEAD THE JUDGE IN THE LOWER COURT USED HIS OWN PERSONAL VIEW AND BELIEF IN COMING UP WITH THE VALUATION OF THE PROPERTY AS TO URGENTLY REQUIRE THE EXERCISE OF THE POWER OF JUDICIAL INTERVENTION AND SUPERVISION BY THE COURT OF APPEALS.
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT DENIED THE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION FILED BY HEREIN PETITIONER AND AFFIRMED ITS RESOLUTION DISMISSING THE APPEAL OF HEREIN PETITIONER PROVINCE BY CITING ONE CASE WHICH IS NOT APPLICABLE IN THIS INSTANT CASE AND CITING ANOTHER WHICH IS, IN FACT, SUPPORT OF THE APPEAL OF HEREIN PETITIONER.14
x x x x
1. The failure of the former counsel of herein Plaintiff-Appellant Province of Camarines Sur (the late Atty. Victor D.R. Catangui) to pay or caused to be paid the appellate court docket fees was committed through honest inadvertence and excusable negligence, since during the time that the notice of appeal was filed, said counsel was already having health problems affecting his heart that substantially distracted him from faithfully performing his duties and functions as Provincial Legal Officer, including that as counsel of herein Plaintiff-Appellant Province of Camarines Sur in the above-entitled case;
2. That it was the same physical condition that forced him to resign as Provincial Legal Officer effective January 2, 2001 as the distance between his office in Provincial Capitol Complex, Cadlan, Pili, Camarines Sur and that of his residence in San Roque, Iriga City, which is, more or less than 27 kilometers is too much for him to physically endure;
3. That, notwithstanding his resignation from the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur and subsequent transfer to a much nearer office in Iriga City, he nevertheless, sad to tell, unexpectedly succumbed on March 2, 2001 at the age of 47. x x x16
In the instant case, petitioner received a copy of the Decision of the trial court on March 3, 1998. Accordingly, it had, pursuant to Section 3, Rule 41, until March 18, 1998 within which to perfect its appeal by filing within that period the Notice of Appeal and paying the appellate docket and other legal fees. While petitioner filed the Notice of Appeal on March 9, 1998, or within the reglementary period, however, it paid the required docket fees only on November 13, 1998, or late by 7 months and 25 days.
The mere filing of the Notice of Appeal is not enough, for it must be accompanied by the payment of the correct appellate docket fees. Payment in full of docket fees within the prescribed period is mandatory.It is an essential requirement without which the decision appealed from would become final and executory as if no appeal had been filed. Failure to perfect an appeal within the prescribed period is not a mere technicality but jurisdictional and failure to perfect an appeal renders the judgment final and executory.
In Guevarra vs. Court of Appeals, where the docket fees were not paid in full within the prescribed period of fifteen (15) days but were paid forty-one (41) days late due to "inadvertence, oversight, and pressure of work," we held that the Court of Appeals correctly dismissed the appeal. In Lee vs. Republic of the Philippines, where half of the appellate docket fee was paid within the prescribed period, while the other half was tendered after the period within which payment should have been made, we ruled that no appeal was perfected. Clearly, where the appellate docket fee is not paid in full within the reglementary period, the decision of the trial court becomes final and no longer susceptible to an appeal. For once a decision becomes final, the appellate court is without jurisdiction to entertain the appeal.23
* The Court approved the Extra-Judicial Settlement with Compromise Sale executed by the Heirs of San Joaquin per Resolution dated December 12, 2007.
1 Rollo, pp. 10-43.
2 Id.at 45-46.
3 Penned by Associate Justice Jose L. Sabio, Jr., with Presiding Justice Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez (retired member of this Court) and Associate Justice Hilarion L. Aquino, concurring; id. at 49-50.
4 Rollo, pp. 63-68.
5 Id. at 67-68.
6 Id. at 66.
7 Records, vol. 3, pp. 1493-1519.
8 Id. at 1583-1585.
9 Id. at 1586-1587.
10 Rollo, pp. 45-46.
11 Id.at 45.
12 Id. at 52-58.
13 Id. at 49-50.
14 Id.at 20-21.
15 Id.at 52-58.
16 Id. at 52-53.
17 Yambao v. Court of Appeals, 399 Phil. 712, 717-718 (2000).
18 CA rollo, p. 64. (Dorsal side.)
19 Id.at 66.
20 Ayala Land, Inc. v. Spouses Carpo, 399 Phil. 327, 335 (2000).
21 The medical history of Atty. Catangui reveals that he was suffering from diabetes mellitus type 2 and hypertensive cardiovascular disease; rollo, pp. 70-71.
22 484 Phil. 500 (2004).
23 Id. at 504-505. (Emphasis supplied.)