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Heirs of Miranda v. Pablo Miranda G.R. No. 179638, 08 July 2013.

08 Feb

[DEL CASTILLO, J.]

FACTS:

Petitioners’ Complaint for Annulment of Titles and Specific Performance was decided by the RTC against their favor on August 30, 1999. Without any appeal, the Decision became final and executory. On December 11, 2001, the RTC issued a Writ of Execution but was not implemented. On July 8, 2005, respondent filed an Ex-parte Motion praying that the RTC issue a “Break-Open and Demolition Order” in order to compel the petitioners to vacate his property. 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 Order dated August 16, 2005. This prompted respondent to file with the RTC a Petition for Revival of Judgment, which was granted.

On July 13, 2006, petitioners filed a Notice of Appeal via LBC, which was opposed by respondent on the ground that the Decision dated August 30, 1999 has long become final and executory. 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. Finding the appeal barred by prescription, the RTC denied the Notice of Appeal in its Order dated October 10, 2006. Feeling aggrieved, petitioners filed a Petition for Mandamus with the CA praying that their Notice of Appeal be given due course, but was denied on June 14, 2007 for being filed out of time. Petitioners assert that an action to revive judgment is appealable, and that their appeal was perfected on time. 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. Besides, even if their appeal was belatedly filed, it should still be given due course in the interest of justice, 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.

 

ISSUE:

Was the Notice of Appeal filed on the 15th day via private courier like LBC considered to be belatedly filed?

 

HELD: YES.

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.Under Section 3, 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.” 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. 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

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