G.R. No. 147257, July 31, 2013 - SPOUSES JESUS DYCOCO and JOELA E. DYCOCO, Petitioners, v. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, NELLY SIAPNOSANCHEZ and INOCENCIO BERMA, Respondents.
G.R. No. 147257, July 31, 2013
SPOUSES JESUS DYCOCO and JOELA E. DYCOCO, Petitioners, v. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, NELLY SIAPNOSANCHEZ and INOCENCIO BERMA,1Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
WHEREFORE, finding for the complainants, respondents Nelly Siapno-Sanchez, Leonora Talagtag and Inocencio Berma are hereby adjudged not worthy toOn motion of petitioner-spouses, the Provincial Adjudicator issued a writ of execution dated November 22, 1995 ordering, among others, the ejectment of private respondents from their respective tillage.11 Subsequently, petitioner-spouses filed a Motion for Issuance of Alias Writ of Execution and to Cite Respondents in Contempt, claiming that private respondents returned to the subject property although they have already been ordered ejected.12 Private respondents filed a Motion to Quash or Suspend Implementation of the Writ of Execution. They explained that they are already the owners of their respective portions of the property in question by virtue of the Operation Land Transfer under Presidential Decree No. 27. According to private respondents, petitioner-spouses executed deeds of transfer in their favor which resulted to the issuance to them of emancipation patents and, afterwards, OCT No. E-2332 in the name of private respondent Siapno-Sanchez and OCT Nos. E-2335 and E-2336 in the name of private respondent Berma. Private respondents further asserted that the decision ordering their ejectment from their tillage is not yet executory as they have filed a notice of appeal on August 29, 1996.13cralaw virtualaw library
become beneficiaries under PD 27[;] hence[,] judgment is hereby issued:
- Ordering the ejectment of Nelly Siapno-Sanchez, Leonora Talagtag, and Inocencio Berma from their respective tillage;chanr0blesvirtualawlibrary
- Ordering Rogelio Siapno and Pablo Bonde, Sr. to comply with their obligation under the Deed[s] of Transfer in their favor;chanr0blesvirtualawlibrary
- Ordering the dismissal of the case against Eusebio Siapno, for lack of evidence; and
- Ordering the respondents under paragraph 1 to pay complainants jointly and severally nominal damages in the amount of P10,000.00 and
attorney’s fee[s] in the amount of P10,000.00.10cralaw virtualaw library
The petition (for review), filed under Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure is DENIED DUE COURSE and, as a consequence, DISMISSED, for late filing, as the petition was filed beyond the extended period of fifteen (15) days granted under Resolution dated May 5, 2000, which resolution was issued pursuant to Section 4 of Rule 43, as follows:cralawlibraryPetitioner-spouses moved for reconsideration but it was denied in a resolution dated January 10, 2001.x x x x
“Sec. 4. Period of appeal. – The appeal shall be taken within fifteen (15) days from notice of the award, judgment, final order or resolution, or from the date of its last publication, if publication is required by law for its effectivity, or of the denial of petitioner’s motion for new trial or reconsideration duly filed in accordance with the governing law of the court or agency a quo. Only one (1) motion for reconsideration shall be allowed. Upon proper motion and the payment of the full amount of the docket fee before the expiration of the reglementary period, the Court of Appeals may grant an additional period of fifteen (15) days only within which to file the petition for review. No further extension shall be granted except for the most compelling reason and in no case to exceed fifteen (15) days” x x x.23cralaw virtualaw library
Section 1. Filing of petition with Supreme Court. – A party desiring to appeal by certiorari from a judgment, final order or resolution of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Court of Tax Appeals, the Regional Trial Court or other courts, whenever authorized by law, may file with the Supreme Court a verified petition for review on certiorari. The petition may include an application for a writ of preliminary injunction or other provisional remedies and shall raise only questions of law, which must be distinctly set forth. The petitioner may seek the same provisional remedies by verified motion filed in the same action or proceeding at any time during its pendency.The Resolutions dated June 2, 2000 and January 1, 2001 of the Court of Appeals were final and appealable judgments. In particular, the Resolution dated June 2, 2000 denied due course to the petition and dismissed it, while the Resolution dated January 1, 2001 denied the motion for reconsideration of the former Resolution. The said Resolutions disposed of the appeal of petitioner-spouses in a manner that left nothing more to be done by the Court of Appeals in respect to the said appeal. Thus, petitioner- spouses should have filed an appeal by petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, not a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, in this Court.
It bears emphasis that the special civil action for certiorari is a limited form of review and is a remedy of last recourse. The Court has often reminded members of the bench and bar that this extraordinary action lies only where there is no appeal nor plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. It cannot be allowed when a party to a case fails to appeal a judgment despite the availability of that remedy, certiorari not being a substitute for a lapsed or lost appeal. Where an appeal is available, certiorari will not prosper, even if the ground therefor is grave abuse of discretion. x x x. (Citations omitted.)Certiorari is not and cannot be made a substitute for an appeal where the latter remedy is available but was lost through fault or negligence. In this case, petitioner-spouses received the Resolution dated January 1, 2001 on January 19, 200127 and, under the rules,28 had until February 5, 2001 to file an appeal by way of a petition for review on certiorari in this Court. Petitioner-spouses allowed this period to lapse without filing an appeal and, instead, filed this petition for certiorari on March 16, 2001.29cralaw virtualaw library
The term “grave abuse of discretion” has a specific meaning. An act of a court or tribunal can only be considered as with grave abuse of discretion when such act is done in a “capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.” The abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an “evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility.” Furthermore, the use of a petition for certiorari is restricted only to “truly extraordinary cases wherein the act of the lower court or quasi-judicial body is wholly void.” From the foregoing definition, it is clear that the special civil action of certiorari under Rule 65 can only strike an act down for having been done with grave abuse of discretion if the petitioner could manifestly show that such act was patent and gross. x x x. (Citations omitted.)In this case, nowhere in the petition did petitioner-spouses show that the issuance of the Resolutions dated June 2, 2000 and January 1, 2001 was patent and gross that would warrant striking them down through a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Petitioner-spouses simply framed the issue in this case as follows:
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN DENYING DUE COURSE TO THE PETITION FOR REVIEW FILED BY PETITIONERS AND SUBSEQUENTLY DENYING PETITIONERS’ MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION.33cralaw virtualaw libraryThey did not, however, address the issue. It is noteworthy that aside from a cursory claim in the opening paragraph and paragraph 25 of the petition that the Resolutions dated June 2, 2000 and January 1, 2001 of the Court of Appeals were “unjust and arbitrary” and “issued in grave abuse of judicial discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction,”34 petitioner-spouses failed to establish grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Court of Appeals. They have not advanced any argument to show that the Court of Appeals exercised its judgment capriciously, whimsically, arbitrarily or despotically by reason of passion and hostility. Thus, they failed in their duty to demonstrate with definiteness the grave abuse of discretion that would justify the proper availment of a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
SECTION 4. Service of Pleadings, Notices and Resolutions. – a) The party filing the pleading shall serve the opposing party with a copy thereof in the manner provided for in these Rules and proof of such service shall be filed with the records of the case; andAt that time, private respondent Berma had neither counsel nor duly authorized representative. Therefore, the copy of the Provincial Adjudicator’s decision should have been served on Berma personally or by registered mail. As it was sent by registered mail to private respondent Berma as the addressee, service thereof could only have been completed upon receipt by Berma. As it was not received by private respondent Berma but by his daughter who resided in another barangay, there was no proper and completed service of the Provincial Adjudicator’s decision on Berma. Thus, with respect to him, the notice of appeal was also filed on time.
b) Summons, notices and copies of resolutions, orders or decisions shall be served personally as far as practicable, or by registered mail upon the party himself, his counsel, or his duly authorized representative. However, notice to the counsel is notice to the party himself whether he be a complainant or petitioner, or a defendant or respondent.x x x x
SECTION 9. Proof of Completeness of Service. – The return is a prima facie proof of the facts indicated therein. Service by registered mail is completed upon receipt by the addressee, his counsel, or by the duly authorized representative or agent. (Emphases supplied.)
1 Petitioner-spouses named seven private respondents in their petition, namely, Eusebio Siapno, Rogelio Siapno, Nelly Siapno-Sanchez, Felix Sepato, Sr., Leonora Talagtag, Pablo Bonde, Sr. and Inocencio Berma. A reading of the petition, however, shows that the petition is against Nelly Siapno-Sanchez and Inocencio Senna. In particular, only Nelly Siapno-Sanchez and Inocencio Benna were the appellants in DARAB Case No. 5573, which is the subject of the Court of Appeals case involved in this petition. Also, petitioner-spouses state that Eusebio Siapno has fully paid his obligation on June 27, 1996 (Exhibit "S" of petition, rollo, p. 104). On the other hand, in a Manifestation dated September 23, 2004 (rollo, pp. 256-257), petitioner-spouses have dropped Felix Sepato, Sr. and Leonora Talagtag as respondents in this case.
2Rollo, pp. 27-28; penned by Associate Justice Teodoro P. Regino with Associate Justices Conchita Carpio-Morales (subsequently, a member of this Court, now Ombudsman) and Mercedes Gozo Dadole, concurring.
3 Id. at 30-31.
4 Id. at 53-55.
5 Id. at 153.
6 Id. at 72-74.
8 Id. at 68-71; Answer, Annex “C” of Petition; id. at 75-84, Position Paper, Annex “E” of Petition.nadcralawlibrary
9 Id. at 85-87; Decision of Provincial Adjudicator Isabel Florin, Annex “F” of Petition.redcralaw
10 Id. 87.
11 Id. at 90-91, Annex “I” of Petition.
12 Id. at 98; Motion for Issuance of Alias Writ of Execution and to Cite Respondents in Contempt, Annex “O” of Petition.
13 Id. at 106-107; Motion to Quash or Suspend Implementation of the Writ of Execution, Annex “U” of Petition.
14 Comments [on]/Opposition to the Motion to Quash/Suspend Implementation of Writ of Execution and Notice of Appeal Filed by Respondents and
Supplemental Comments [on]/Opposition to the Motion to Quash/Suspend Implementation of Writ of Execution and Notice of Appeal Filed by Respondents, Annexes “W” and “Y” of Petition, id. at 110-111 and 114-116, respectively.
15 Id. at 124-126; Provincial Adjudicator’s Order dated October 16, 1996, Annex “AA” of Petition.
16 Id. at 130-131; Provincial Adjudicator’s Order dated November 6, 1996, Annex “CC” of Petition.
17 Id. at 132-147; Appeal Memorandum for Nelly Siapno-Sanchez and Inocencio Berma dated November 13, 1996, Annex “DD” of Petition.
18 Id. at 148-149.
19 Id. at 152-159.
21 Id. at 160-164; Notice of Appearance with Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition, Annex “GG” of Petition.
22 Id. at 33-34.
23 Id. at 27-28.
24 Rules of Court, Rule 65, Section 1.red cralawlibrary
25Bugarin v. Palisoc, 513 Phil. 59, 66 (2005).
26 523 Phil. 305, 309 (2006).
27Rollo, pp. 3-4.
28 Rules of Court, Rule 45, Section 2 provides:Section 2. Time for filing; extension. – The petition shall be filed within fifteen (15) days from notice of the judgment or final order or resolution appealed from, or of the denial of the petitioner’s motion for new trial or reconsideration filed in due time after notice of the judgment. On motion duly filed and served, with full payment of the docket and other lawful fees and the deposit for costs before the expiration of the reglementary period, the Supreme Court may for justifiable reasons grant an extension of thirty (30) days only within which to file the petition.The 15th day after petitioner’s receipt of the Decision dated January 1, 2001 was February 3, 2001, a Saturday. Under Section 1, Rule 22, if the last day of the period “falls on a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday in the place where the court sits, the time shall not run until the next working day.” Hence, petitioner had until February 5, 2001, a Monday, to file the petition for review in this Court.
29Rollo, p. 3.
30 Id. at 15. Petition, p. 13.
31Abedes v. Court of Appeals, 562 Phil. 262, 276 (2007).
32 G.R. No. 189207, June 15, 2011, 652 SCRA 341, 348.
33Rollo, p. 334. This is how the issue, as framed by petitioner-spouses, is worded in their Memorandum. In their petition, the issue reads:cralawlibrary
WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN DENYING DUE COURSE THE PETITION FOR REVIEW FILED BY PETITION FOR REVIEW AND SUBSEQUENTLY DENYING PETIONERS’ MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION. (Id. at 15.)
34 Id. at 4.
35See Dr. Zurbano v. Hon. Estrella, 221 Phil. 696, 702-703 (1985), where it was explained that Presidential Decree No. 27 itself requires that just compensation be paid to the landowner whose property was placed under the operation of that law.
36 Section 1, Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides: “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law x x x.” Section 9, Article III of the 1987 Constitution further provides: “Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.”
37 What petitioner-spouses alleged in their complaint and position paper was nonpayment of rentals due from private respondents as tenants. Rollo, pp. 53-55 (Complaint) and 72-74 (Position Paper).
38Tan v. Commission on Elections, 537 Phil. 510, 533 (2006).
39 Paragraph (h), Section 1, Rule II, 2009 DARAB Rules of Procedure. This was also the rule under Paragraph (b), Section 1, Rule II of the 1994 DARAB New Rules of Procedure, the prevailing rule at the time petitioner-spouses filed their complaint on November 23, 1994. The DARAB rules of procedure have been issued pursuant to Section 49 and 50 of Republic Act No. 6657 as amended, and Section 34 of Executive Order No. 129-A in relation to Section 13 thereof.
40Heirs of Lorenzo Buensuceso v. Perez, G.R. No. 173926, March 6, 2013; De la Cruz v. Quiazon, G.R. No. 171961, November 28, 2008, 572 SCRA 681, 693.
41 As long as a party was given the opportunity to defend his interests in due course, he was not denied due process (Cayago v. Lina, 489 Phil. 735, 751 ).
42Samalio v. Court of Appeals, 494 Phil. 456, 466 (2005).
43 Comments [on]/Opposition to the Motion to Quash/Suspend Implementation of Writ of Execution and Notice of Appeal Filed by Respondents and Supplemental Comments [on]/Opposition to the Motion to Quash/Suspend Implementation of Writ of Execution and Notice of Appeal Filed by Respondents, Annexes “W” and “Y” of Petition, rollo, pp. 110-111 and 114-116, respectively.
44Rollo, pp. 148-149.
45 Id. at 124-126; Provincial Adjudicator’s Order dated October 16, 1996, Annex “AA” of Petition.
46Korea Technologies Co., Ltd. v. Lerma, 566 Phil. 1, 35 (2008).
47Ramcar, Inc. v. Hi-Power Marketing, 527 Phil. 699, 708 (2006).
48 Provincial Adjudicator’s Order dated September 25, 1996, rollo, pp. 112-113; Provincial Adjudicator’s Order dated October 16, 1996, id. at 124-126; DARAB Decision dated March 20, 2000, id. at 152-159.
49Republic v. Kenrick Development Corporation, 529 Phil. 876, 885-886 (2006).