Mananquil vs Moico (GR No. 180076 November 21, 2012)

Mananquil vs Moico
GR No. 180076 November 21, 2012

Facts: Lots 18 and 19 in Dagat-Dagatan, Navotas form  part  of the land previously expropriated by the National Housing Authority (NHA) and  placed under its Tondo Dagat-Dagatan Foreshore Development Project – where occupants, applicants or beneficiaries may purchase  lots on installment basis.  In October 1984, Lot 18 was awarded to  spouses Iluminardo and  Prescilla Mananquil under a Conditional Contract to Sell.  Lot 19, on the other hand, was sold to Prescilla in February 1980 by its occupant. When the spouses died, the heirs of Illuminardo filed for extrajudicial settlement of estates of the spouses over lots 18 and 19. They appropriated to themselves the properties by leasing it. However, herein respondent Moico  bought the properties from one Eulogio who is the alleged child of Prescilla from her first marriage who in turn evicted the tenants of the herein petitioners. Upon finding out the of the same, the Mananquils filed for an action to quiet the title against herein Moico claiming title over the said properties.

Issue: Whether or not petitioners have legal title over the subject lots entitling for the relief of quieting of title.

Held: No. An action  for quieting of title is  essentially a common law remedy grounded on equity. 

The competent court  is tasked to determine the respective rights of the complainant and other claimants, not only to place things in their proper place, to make the one who has no rights to said  immovable respect and not disturb the other, but also for the benefit of both, so that  he who has the right would see every cloud of  doubt over the property dissipated, and he could afterwards without fear introduce the improvements he may desire, to use, and even to  abuse the property as  he  deems best.  But “for an  action to quiet title to prosper, two indispensable  requisites must concur, namely: 

(1) the plaintiff or complainant has a legal or an equitable title  to or interest in the real property subject of the action; and 
(2) the deed, claim, encumbrance, or proceeding claimed to be casting cloud on his title  must be shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative despite its  prima  facie  appearance of validity or legal efficacy.”

Contrary to  petitioners’ stand,  the issue  relating to the grant of rights, title or award by the NHA determines whether the case for quieting of title may be maintained.  If the petitioners are legitimate successors to or beneficiaries of Iluminardo upon his death – under the certificate of title, award, or grant, or under the special law or specific terms of  the  NHA program/project – then they possess the requisite interest to  maintain suit; if not, then  Civil Case No. 2741-MN must necessarily be dismissed.

From  the evidence adduced below,  it appears that the petitioners have  failed to show their qualifications  or right to succeed Iluminardo in his rights under the NHA program/project.  They  failed to present any  title, award, grant, document or certification from the NHA  or proper government agency which would show that Iluminardo  and Prescilla have  become the registered owners/beneficiaries/ awardees of Lots 18 and 19, or that petitioners are qualified successors or beneficiaries under the Dagat-Dagatan program/project,  taking over Iluminardo’s rights after his death.  They  did not call to the witness  stand competent witnesses from  the NHA who can attest  to their rights as successors to or beneficiaries of Lots 18 and 19.  They  failed to present proof, at the very least, of the specific law, provisions, or terms that govern  the Tondo Dagat-Dagatan Foreshore Development Project which would indicate  a modicum of interest on their part.   For this reason, their rights  or interest in  the property  could not be established. 

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People vs Soria (GR No. 179031 November 14, 2012)

People of the Philippines vs Soria
GR No. 179031 November 14, 2012

Facts: A complaint for rape was filed against the respondent for allegedly raping her minor daughter, AAA. The information indicated the offense as rape by sexual intercourse as defined by the Revised Penal Code. However, respondent as his defense invoked that as the father of the child he will not be able to do the imputed act and the case was tainted with bad faith on the part of the victim’s mother not having a good relationship with the respondent. During the course of the proceedings and examination of the witness, it was found out that the identification of the victim by the respondent was in reliance to her brother’s statement that he saw that it was their father who committed the act. The medico legal was also presented with the findings that the hymen of the victim is intact. These statements were invoked by the defense to question the findings of the trial court of the offense charged which was later affirmed by the appellate court, hence, this appeal. 

Issue: Whether or not the offense was properly charged.

Held: No. The  following  are the  elements  of  rape  by  sexual  assault: 

(1)  That  the  offender  commits  an  act  of  sexual  assault;   
(2)  That  the  act  of  sexual  assault  is  committed  by  any  of  the following  means: 

(a)  By inserting  his  penis  into  another  person’s  mouth  or  anal  orifice;  or 
(b)  By  inserting  any  instrument or  object  into  the  genital or anal orifice  of another  person; 

(3)  That  the act  of  sexual  assault  is accomplished  under  any  of  the following circumstances: 

(a)  By using  force  and  intimidation; 
(b)  When the  woman  is  deprived of  reason  or  otherwise  unconscious;  or 
(c)  By means  of  fraudulent  machination  or  grave  abuse  of  authority;  or 
(d)  When the  woman  is  under  12 years  of  age  or  demented.

In  the  instant case,  it  was  clearly  established  that  appellant  committed  an  act of sexual  assault  on “AAA”  by inserting  an  instrument  or object  into her genital.   We find it  inconsequential  that  “AAA”  could not  specifically identify  the particular  instrument  or  object  that  was  inserted  into  her  genital.    What  is important  and relevant  is  that  indeed something was  inserted into her vagina.   To require  “AAA”  to  identify  the  instrument  or object  that  was  inserted  into her vagina  would be  contrary to the  fundamental  tenets of  due  process.   It  would be akin  to requiring “AAA”  to  establish  something that  is  not  even  required  by  law.   [Moreover,  it  might  create  problems later  on  in  the  application  of  the  law  if  the victim  is  blind or otherwise  unconscious.]   Moreover,  the  prosecution satisfactorily  established  that  appellant  accomplished  the  act  of  sexual  assault through  his  moral  ascendancy  and  influence  over  “AAA”  which  substituted  for violence  and intimidation.   Thus,  there  is  no doubt  that  appellant  raped  “AAA”  by sexual  assault.

The  failure of “AAA” to  mention that  her  panty  was  removed prior to the rape  does  not  preclude  sexual  assault.    We  cannot  likewise  give  credence  to  the assertion  of  appellant  that  the  crime  of  rape  was  negated by  the  medical  findings of an intact  hymen or absence  of lacerations  in the  vagina  of “AAA”.   Hymenal rupture,  vaginal  laceration or genital  injury is  not  indispensable  because  the  same is not an  element  of the  crime of rape.   “An  intact  hymen  does  not  negate a finding that  the victim  was  raped.”    Here,  the  finding of reddish discoloration  of the  hymen  of  “AAA”  during  her medical  examination  and the intense pain  she felt in  her  vagina  during  and  after  the  sexual  assault  sufficiently  corroborated  her testimony  that  she was  raped.    

Likewise  undeserving  of credence  is  appellant’s  contention that  his  wife merely  instigated “AAA”  to  file the  charge of rape  against  him  in  retaliation  for his  having  confronted her about  her  illicit affair  with  another  man.    This imputation  of  ill  motive  is  flimsy considering that  it  is  unnatural  for appellant’s wife  to  stoop so low  as  to  subject  her own  daughter  to the hardships and  shame concomitant  with  a  prosecution for rape,  just  to assuage  her hurt  feelings.   It is also  improbable  for appellant’s  wife to  have  dared  encourage their  daughter “AAA”  to  publicly  expose  the  dishonor of the  family unless  the  rape  was  indeed committed.

CCI vs Nanol (GR No. 176791 November 14, 2012)

Communities Cagayan Inc. vs Spouses Nanol
GR No. 176791 November 14, 2012

Facts: Sometime in 1994, respondent-spouses Arsenio and Angeles Nanol entered into contract to Sell with petitioner Communities Cagayan, Inc., whereby the former  agreed to sell to respondent-spouses a house and Lots 17 and 19″ locate Block 16,  Camella  Homes  Subdivision,  Cagayan de  Oro City,  for the  price  of P 368,000.00.  Respondent-spouses,  however,  did not  avail  of petitioner’s  inhouse  financing  due  to  its high  interest  rates.  Instead,  they obtained  a loan from Capitol  Development  Bank,  a  sister  company of petitioner,  using  the  property  as collateral.  To  facilitate the loan,  a simulated  sale over  the property  was  executed by petitioner in favor of respondent-spouses. Accordingly,  titles  were transferred  in the  names  of respondent-spouses  under Transfer Certificates  of Title (TCT)  Nos.  105202  and 105203,  and  submitted  to  Capitol  Development  Bank for loan processing.   Unfortunately,  the  bank collapsed  and closed  before it  could release  the  loan.  Thus,  on  November  30,  1997,  respondent-spouses  entered into  another Contract to  Sell with  petitioner  over the  same property for the  same price  of P 368,000.00.   This  time,  respondent-spouses  availed of  petitioner’s  in-house financing  thus,  undertaking  to  pay the  loan  over  four years,  from  1997 to 2001.  Sometime in 2000,  respondent  Arsenio demolished  the  original  house  and constructed  a three-story  house  allegedly valued at  P 3.5  million,  more  or  less.18 In July  2001,  respondent  Arsenio  died,  leaving his  wife,  herein respondent Angeles,  to  pay for  the  monthly  amortizations.

Issue: Whether or not respondents are considered builders in good faith entitled to indemnification for necessary and useful expenses and/or to buy the land under the provisions of the New Civil Code.

Held: Yes. As  a  general  rule,  Article  448  on builders  in good faith does  not  apply where  there  is  a  contractual  relation  between  the  parties,  such  as  in  the  instant case.   We  went  over the  records  of this  case and we  note  that  the  parties  failed to attach  a copy of the  Contract  to Sell.   As  such,  we  are  constrained  to  apply Article 448  of the Civil  Code,  which  provides  viz:  

ART.  448. The  owner  of  the  land  on  which anything has  been  built, sown or  planted in good  faith, shall  have  the  right  to appropriate  as  his  own the works, sowing or  planting, after  payment  of  the  indemnity  provided  for  in Articles  546  and 548, or  to oblige  the  one  who built  or  planted to pay the  price  of the  land, and  the  one  who sowed, the  proper  rent. However, the  builder  or  planter cannot  be  obliged to buy the  land if  its  value  is  considerably  more  than that  of  the building or  trees. In such  case, he  shall  pay reasonable  rent, if  the  owner  of  the land does  not  choose  to appropriate  the  building or  trees  after  proper  indemnity. The  parties shall  agree  upon  the terms  of  the lease  and  in  case of  disagreement, the court  shall  fix  the terms  thereof.

Article 448  of the  Civil  Code  applies  when  the builder believes  that  he is the owner  of the  land  or that  by  some  title  he  has  the  right  to build  thereon, or that,  at least,  he  has  a  claim  of  title  thereto.  Concededly,  this  is  not  present  in the instant  case.   The  subject  property is  covered by  a  Contract  to  Sell  hence ownership  still remains with  petitioner  being  the  seller.   Nevertheless,  there were already instances  where  this  Court  applied  Article  448  even if the  builders  do  not have  a  claim  of  title over  the property.    Thus: 

This  Court  has  ruled  that  this  provision  covers  only  cases  in  which the builders,  sowers or  planters believe themselves  to  be  owners  of  the  land  or,  at least,  to  have a claim  of  title thereto.   It  does not  apply  when  the interest  is merely that  of  a  holder, such as  a  mere  tenant, agent  or  usufructuary.  From  these pronouncements, good  faith is  identified by the  belief  that  the  land is  owned;  or that  –  by  some  title  –  one  has  the  right  to  build,  plant,  or  sow  thereon. 

However,  in  some  special  cases,  this  Court  has used  Article 448  by recognizing  good  faith  beyond this  limited definition.  Thus, in  Del  Campo  v. Abesia, this  provision was  applied to one  whose  house  –  despite  having been built at the  time  he  was  still co-owner  –  overlapped with  the  land of  another.   This article  was also  applied  to  cases wherein  a builder  had  constructed improvements  with the  consent  of  the  owner.  The  Court  ruled that  the  law deemed the  builder  to be  in good  faith.   In  Sarmiento  v. Agana,  the  builders  were found to  be  in good  faith  despite  their  reliance  on the  consent  of  another,  whom they had  mistakenly  believed to  be  the  owner  of  the  land.

In fine,  the Court  applied  Article  448 by construing  good faith beyond its limited definition.   We find no reason not  to  apply the  Court’s  ruling in  Spouses Macasaet  v.  Spouses  Macasaet  in  this case.   We  thus  hold  that  Article  448  is also applicable  to the  instant  case.   First,  good faith  is  presumed  on the  part  of the respondent-spouses.   Second,  petitioner  failed to rebut  this presumption.   Third, no evidence  was  presented  to  show  that  petitioner  opposed  or  objected  to  the improvements introduced by the  respondent-spouses.   Consequently,  we  can validly presume  that  petitioner  consented  to  the  improvements  being  constructed.   This  presumption  is  bolstered  by  the  fact  that  as  the  subdivision developer, petitioner  must  have given  the respondent-spouses  permits to  commence  and undertake  the  construction.    Under  Article  453  of  the  Civil  Code,  “it  is understood  that  there  is  bad faith  on the  part  of the  landowner whenever the  act was  done  with  his  knowledge  and without  opposition on his  part.” 

Perla vs Baring (GR No. 172471 November 12, 2012)

Perla vs Baring
GR No. 172471 November 12, 2012

Facts: A complaint for abandonment and support was filed by herein respondent Mirasol Baring together with her son, Randy Perla allegedly the son of Antonio Perla. It is Randy’s birth certificate that was presented as evidence to support the the claim which was later denied by petitioner that such information has discrepancies and not signed by him. Such was neither signed by Antonio. 

Issue: Whether or not illegitimate filiation was established.

Held: No. The rules for establishing filiation are found in Articles 172 and 175 of the Family  Code which  provide as follows:

Article 172.  The filiation  of  legitimate children is  established by any of the following: 

(1)  The record of  birth appearing in the  civil register  or a final judgment; or 
(2)    An  admission  of  legitimate  filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. 

In the absence of  the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be proved by: 

(1) The open and continuous possession  of the status of a legitimate child; or 
(2)  Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. 

x x x x 

Article 175.  Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on  the same evidence as legitimate children. 

x x x x

Respondents  presented the Certificate  of Live Birth of Randy identifying Antonio as the father.  However, said certificate has no  probative value to  establish Randy’s filiation to  Antonio since the latter had not signed  the same.   It is settled that “a certificate of live  birth  purportedly identifying  the putative father is not competent evidence of  paternity when there  is no showing  that the putative  father had a hand in the preparation of said certificate.”   We also cannot lend credence to Mirasol’s claim that Antonio supplied certain information through Erlinda.  Aside from  Antonio’s denial  in having any participation in the preparation of the document as well as the absence of his signature thereon, respondents did not present Erlinda to  confirm  that  Antonio indeed supplied certain entries in Randy’s birth certificate. Besides,  the several unexplained discrepancies in  Antonio’s personal circumstances as reflected in the subject birth certificate are manifestations of Antonio’s non-participation in  its preparation.  Most important, it was Mirasol who signed as informant  thereon which she confirmed on the witness stand.

Neither does the testimony of Randy establish his illegitimate filiation.   That during their first encounter in 1994 Randy called  Antonio “Papa” and kissed his hand while Antonio hugged him  and promised to support  him; or that his Aunt Lelita treated him as a relative and was good to him during his one-week stay in her place, cannot be considered as indications of  Randy’s open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child under  the second  paragraph of Article 172(1).  “To prove open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child, there must  be  evidence of  the manifestation of the permanent intention of the supposed father to consider  the child as his,  by continuous and clear manifestations  of parental affection and care, which cannot  be attributed to pure charity.  Such acts  must be  of  such  a nature that they reveal not only the conviction of paternity, but also the apparent desire to  have and treat the child as such in all relations in society and in  life, not accidentally, but continuously.”  Here, the single instance that Antonio  allegedly hugged Randy  and promised to support him cannot be considered as proof of continuous  possession of the status of a child.  To emphasize, “the father’s conduct towards his son must be spontaneous and uninterrupted  for this ground to exist.”  Here,  except for that singular occasion in which they met, there are no other acts  of Antonio treating Randy as his son.  Neither can Antonio’s paternity be deduced from  how his sister Lelita treated Randy.  To this Court, Lelita’s actuations  could have been done due to charity or  some other reasons. 

People vs Ending (GR No. 183827 November 12, 2012)

People of the Philippines vs Ending
GR No. 183827 November 12, 2012

Facts: In three  separate  Information,  appellant  was  indicted  for raping his  own daughter,  “AAA.” In several occasions, respondent allegedly raped her minor daughter which was duly supported by a medico legal report showing that the victim have old lacerations. On the other hand, respondent denied said allegation and countered the same with an alibi saying that the victim does not live with him but with her grandparents and that the laceration was due to an incident where another person, GGG raped her.

Issue: Whether or not petitioner is guilty of the crime charged.

Held: Yes. The  defense  of  appellant  is  anchored on denial  and  alibi  which  do not impress  belief.   As often  stressed,  “[m]ere denial,  if unsubstantiated by clear  and convincing  evidence,  has  no weight  in law  and cannot  be  given greater evidentiary value than  the positive  testimony  of a  rape  victim.” In  this  case,  appellant’s testimony,  particularly  his  denial,  was  not substantiated  by  clear and convincing evidence.   Also,  for  his  alibi  to prosper,  appellant  must establish  that he  was  not  at the  locus delicti  at  the  time the offense  was  committed  and  that  it  was physically impossible  for him  to  be  at  the  scene  of the  crime  at the  time  of  its commission.  Appellant  failed  to  establish  these  elements.    The  fact  that “AAA”  was living  with her grandparents  did  not preclude  the  possibility  that  appellant  was present  at the crime  scenes  during  their  commission.   Appellant himself  admitted  that  the distance between his  residence and  that  of “AAA’s”  grandparents  is  only approximately 7½  kilometers  and  which  can be  traversed  by riding a  pedicab  in less than  30  minutes.   In other  words,  it  was  not  physically impossible  for appellant  to  have  been  at  the  situs  of the  crimes  during the  dates  when the separate acts  of  rape  were  committed.   Moreover,  it has been  invariably  ruled  that  alibi cannot  prevail  over  the  positive  identification  of the  accused.    Here,  appellant  was positively identified  by “AAA”  as  the perpetrator  of the  crimes  without  showing any dubious reason  or  fiendish  motive  on  her part  to  falsely  charge him.   The contention  of appellant  that  “AAA”  was  motivated by hatred  because  he prevented  her from  having  a  boyfriend  is  unconvincing.   There  is  nothing novel  in such  a  contrived  defense.    “Motives  such  as  resentment,  hatred  or  revenge  have never  swayed this  Court  from  giving full  credence  to the  testimony of a rape victim.”  It  is  a  jurisprudentially  conceded  rule  that  “it is  against  human  nature for a  young  girl  to fabricate  a  story that  would expose  herself  as  well  as  her family to  a  lifetime  of shame,  especially  when  her  charge could  mean the  death or lifetime imprisonment  of her  own  father.”

The  Court,  like  the courts  below,  finds  that  “AAA”  was  without  doubt telling  the  truth  when  she  declared  that  her  father  raped  her  on  three separate occasions.   She  was  consistent  in her narration on how  she  was  abused  by  her father in their own house,  in the  copra  drier,  and even in a  nearby  pasture  land.  After she  was  forced  to  lie  down,  appellant  removed her clothes,  went  on  top of her,  inserted his  penis  into her vagina  and threatened her with death if she  would report  the  incidents.   Hence,  appellant’s  attempt  to  discredit  the  testimony of “AAA”  deserves  no  merit.   “When  credibility  is in  issue,  the court generally defers  to the  findings  of the  trial  court  considering that  it  was  in a better  position  to decide  the  question,  having  heard  the  witnesses themselves  and  observed  their deportment  during trial.”  Here,  there is  nothing from  the records  that  would impel  this  Court  to  deviate  from  the  findings  and conclusions  of the  trial  court  as affirmed by the  CA.

Ladano vs Neri (GR No. 178622 November 12, 2012)

Ladano vs Neri
GR No. 178622 November 12, 2012

Facts: This  case  originated  from  a  Complaint  filed by  petitioner Luciano  Ladano (Ladano) before  the  DARAB  Provincial  Adjudicator  against  respondents  Felino Neri  (Neri),  Edwin Soto,  Adan  Espanola  and Ernesto Blanco.   Ladano  alleged  that on May 7,  2003,  the  respondents  forcibly  entered  the two-hectare  land,  located  in Manalite I,  Barangay  Sta.  Cruz,  Antipolo  City,  which he  and  his  family  have  been peaceably occupying and cultivating  since 1970.   The  said  respondents  informed him  that  the  property belongs  to Neri  and  that  he should vacate  the  same immediately.   Not  too  long afterwards,  the  respondents  fenced the  property  and destroyed some  of the  trees  and  kawayan  planted thereon.   Ladano  prayed  that  he be  declared  the  rightful  “occupant/tiller”  of the  property,  with the  right  to security of tenure  thereon. 

Issue: Whether or not petitioner is a tenant in a tenancy relationship entitled to reliefs prayed for.

Held: No. A  tenancy  relationship  arises  between  a  landholder  and  a tenant  once  they agree,  expressly  or impliedly,  to undertake  jointly the  cultivation of a land belonging to the  landholder,  as  a  result  of  which  relationship  the tenant  acquires the  right  to continue working  on and cultivating the  land.”  For  a tenancy relationship,  express  or  implied,  to  exist,  the  following  requisites  must be  present:

(1) the  parties  must  be landowner  and tenant  or agricultural  lessee;
(2)  the subject matter is  agricultural  land;
(3) there  is  consent  by the  landowner;
(4)  the  purpose is agricultural  production;
(5)  there  is  personal  cultivation  by  the  tenant;  and
(6)  there is  sharing  of harvests  between the  landowner  and the tenant.  

Independent  and concrete  evidence  of  the  foregoing elements  must  be  presented by the  party asserting  the  existence  of  such  a  relationship.  They  cannot  be  arrived at  by  mere conjectures  or  by  presumptions.    “Unless  a  person  has  established  his status  as  a de  jure  tenant,  he  is  not  entitled  to security  of tenure  [nor  is he]  covered by  the Land  Reform  Program  of  the  Government  under  existing  tenancy laws.

The  DARAB  failed  to consider  that  one’s  occupancy  and cultivation of an  agricultural  land,  no  matter how  long,  will  not  ipso  facto  make  him  a  de  jure  tenant.    It  should  not  have considered  such  occupation  as  a basis  for assuming the landowner’s  consent, especially  when  the  occupant  himself  never  alleged  that  he  obtained  the landowner’s  consent.   Petitioner  did not  even  allege  in his  Complaint  that he  is a tenant  of the  landowner.    Neither  did he  allege  that  he shared  his  harvests  with  the landowner.   Without such  factual  assertions  from  Ladano,  the  DARAB  arrived at a  conclusion  that  is  utterly  bereft  of  factual  bases.    Petitioner  is  not  a  tenant  on  the land  and  is  not  entitled  to security  of tenure  nor to disturbance  compensation.    His Complaint  was  properly dismissed  for lack  of  merit.  

VCP vs Municipality of Parañaque (GR No. 178431 November 12, 2012)

V.C. Ponce Company Inc. vs Municipality of Parañaque
GR No. 178431 November 12, 2012

Facts: On  October 5,  1987,  respondent  Municipality  (now  City)  of  Parañaque (municipality)  filed  a  complaint  against  petitioner  VCP  for  the  expropriation  of its  property,  which  is  located in the  municipality’s  Barrio San  Dionisio  and covered  by  Transfer  Certificate  of  Title  (TCT)  No.  116554. On August  23,  2002,  the  Regional  Trial  Court  (RTC)  of Parañaque,  Branch 274,    sustained  the  municipality’s  right  to  expropriate  the  said property  and to  a writ  of  possession.   The trial  court  also  informed  the  parties  in  the  same  Order of   the  reckoning period for the  determination  of  just  compensation. The  parties  did  not  file  any  objection  to the  above  Order and proceeded  to submit the  names of  their  respective  nominees  for  commissioner.   On  February 26,  2003,  the  trial  court  appointed three  commissioners to  assist in  ascertaining the  just compensation. The  trial  court  then  made  an independent  finding based on the evidence already on hand.   It  determined that  there  exists,  on record,  a  certification from  the Office  of the  City Assessor,  that  the  property’s  market  value  for the  years  1985 to 1993  (which  includes  the  year  the  complaint  was  filed)  was  P 1,366,400.00.    This value  roughly translates  to  P 75 per square  meter,  for a  total  of  P 1,372,350.00.  VCP moved for reconsideration which was denied by the trial court. Upon receipt of the order denying the motion for reconsideration, VCP filed a motion for extension of time to file a petition for certiorari on the trial court’s judgement.

Issue: Whether or not petition for certiorari is the proper remedy for the herein petitioner.

Held: No. A  court  with  appellate  jurisdiction  can  review  both  the  facts  and  the  law, including questions  of  jurisdiction.   It  can  set  aside an  erroneous  decision  and even nullify the  same,  if warranted.   Appeal  is  a  speedy remedy,  as  an adverse party  can file  its  appeal  from  a  final  decision  or order immediately  after receiving it.   A  party,  who  is  alleging  that  an  appeal  will not  promptly  relieve  it  of the injurious  effects of the judgment,  should establish facts  to show  how  the  appeal  is not  speedy  or adequate. VCP’s empty  protestations,  therefore,  fail to  impress.   There  is no  reason,  and VCP  cannot  explain,  why  an  appeal  would not  be  speedy and adequate  to address  its  assigned errors.  VCP cannot  complain of delay because  it  was  guilty  of  delay  itself,  and  it even  waited  until the  58th  day  of  its receipt  of  the  CA  Decision  before  taking  action.    Clearly,  petitioner  resorted  to certiorari  as a  substitute  for  its lost appeal.   The  CA  did  not  err in dismissing the same.   

Instead of filing  a  Motion for  Reconsideration  on April  25,  2007,  VCP filed a  MOTEX  on the  ground that  its  lawyer had withdrawn from  the  case  and it  was still  in  the  process  of retaining  a  new  counsel.   The  CA  was  correct  in  denying petitioner’s  MOTEX  because  the  period to file  a  Motion  for Reconsideration  is  not extendible.  The  Court  has  pronounced strict  adherence  to the  rule  laid down in Habaluyas  Enterprises,  Inc.  v.  Judge  Japson  that  “no  motion  for  extension  of time  to file  a  motion for new  trial  or reconsideration  may be  filed  with  the Metropolitan or Municipal  Trial  Courts,  the  Regional  Trial  Courts,  and the Intermediate  Appellate Court  (now  Court  of  Appeals).” Since  the  period to file a Motion  for  Reconsideration  is not extendible,  VCP’s  MOTEX  did  not toll  the reglementary period. Thus,  there  being no  Motion for Reconsideration  as  of April  25,  2007,  the  Decision of the  CA  dated  March  23,  2007 became  final  and executory  by operation of law. The  CA  was  correct  in  denying  the  Motion  for Reconsideration  that  VCP  had  belatedly  filed on  May  25,  2007  as  its  lateness  had rendered it  moot.