764 Phil. 294
That on or about the 16th day of October 2001, at about 5:10 o'clock in the afternoon, more or less, in the premises and vicinity, particularly at Avon Store, situated at Atis Street, Poblacion, in the municipality of Bayugan, province of Agusan del Sur, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named Accused, with deliberate intent, moved by personal resentment and hatred, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously threatened the life of Mrs. Salud Gegato, speak and utter by telephone the following threatening words, to wit; “SALUD, UNDANGA ANG IMONG PAGSIGI UG TSISMIS SA AKONG ASAWA, KAY MAULAWAN ANG AKONG ASAWA. WARNINGAN TAKA AYAW PANG HILABOT SA AMONG KINABUHI KAY BASIN PATYON TAKA,” meaning (Salud, stop your rumor against my wife because she will be embarrassed. I’m warning you, don't mind our lives for I might kill you), which acts cast fear and danger upon the life of the victim Salud Gegato, to the damage and prejudice consisting of actual, moral and compensatory damages.Before arraignment, petitioner filed a Motion to Quash based on the ground of jurisdiction and that the crime is not Grave Threats under Article 282 of the Revised Penal Code, but Other Light Threats under Article 285, paragraph 2 of the same Code.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, Philippines, October 23, 2001.
In view of the foregoing, this Court finds the Accused GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of GRAVE THREATS under Paragraph 1 (2) imposing condition, without the offender attaining his purpose, and is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment, considering one (1) mitigating circumstance, the medium period of arresto mayor or a period of two (2) months and one (1) day to four (4) months.On appeal, the Regional Trial Court, in its Decision dated April 2, 2007, denied petitioner's appeal but found petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Other Light Threats under Article 285, par. 2 of the Revised Penal Code, instead of Grave Threats as originally adjudged by the MCTC. The RTC ruled that:
In addition, he is ordered to pay Private Complainant [the] following civil liabilities.
a. The amount of ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND (P100,000.00) Pesos as moral damages.
b. the amount of TWENTY THOUSAND (P20,000.00) Pesos for litigation expenses and for Attorney’s Fees as it is clear from the trials that complainant was assisted by a Private Prosecutor for a fee.
WHEREFORE, accused is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment of 10 days of arresto menor and the moral damages of P100,000.00 be reduced to P50,000.00, attorney's fee of P20,000.00 stands.Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration, and in its Amended Decision dated May 16, 2007, the RTC denied the motion and modified its original decision reducing the amount of moral damages to P10,000.00 and the attorney’s fees to P10,000.00.
The original decision is hereby modified.
If accused does not file an appeal within the reglementary period, let the entire records be returned back to the Court of origin for proper disposition thereat.
Petitioner's first Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for Review asking for fifteen (15) days from June 6, 2007 or until June 21, 2007 is DENIED for failure to pay the full amount of the docket fees pursuant to Sec. 1, Rule 42 of the Rules of Court. His second motion for extension is likewise DENIED as no further extension may be granted except for most compelling reason.On August 14, 2007, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration, but it was denied by the CA in its Resolution dated October 17, 2008 for failure of the petitioner to furnish copies to the Solicitor General and the private respondent.
The petition subsequently filed is, however, NOTED but DISMISSED on the following grounds:1. Filed beyond the reglementary period;
2. Failure of petitioner to pay complete docket fees as prescribed by law. It is deficient by P3,530.00;
3. Failure of petitioner to indicate a complete statement of material dates as required under the Rules. Petitioner did not mention in the body of the petition when he received the RTC's Order dated May 16, 2007 denying his Motion for Reconsideration;
4. Failure of petitioner to attach pertinent documents material in the petition. No copy of the May 16, 2007 Order denying his Motion for Reconsideration was attached to the petition.
ACCORDINGLY, the Court RESOLVES to:On December 28, 2009, petitioner filed a third Motion for Reconsideration, but was resolved by the CA on June 24, 2010, as follows:
1. DISPENSE with the Offices of the Solicitor General's comment on the petitioner's second Motion for Reconsideration dated 13 November 2008;
2. GRANT the petitioner's second Motion for Reconsideration dated 13 November 2008, and RECONSIDER and SET ASIDE the Court's 17 October 2008 Resolution dismissing the petitioner's first Motion for Reconsideration dated 13 August 2007; and
3. DENY the petitioner's first Motion for Reconsideration dated 13 August 2007; and
4. DISMISS with finality the instant petition for review.
The Court RESOLVES to merely NOTE WITHOUT ACTION the petitioner's third Motion for Reconsideration, in view of Our 23 November 2009 Resolution dismissing this petition with finality.Hence, the present petition.
In setting aside technical infirmities and thereby giving due course to tardy appeals, we have not been oblivious to or unmindful of the extraordinary situations that merit liberal application of the Rules. In those situations where technicalities were dispensed with, our decisions were not meant to undermine the force and effectivity of the periods set by law. But we hasten to add that in those rare cases where procedural rules were not stringently applied, there always existed a clear need to prevent the commission of a grave injustice. Our judicial system and the courts have always tried to maintain a healthy balance between the strict enforcement of procedural laws and the guarantee that every litigant be given the full opportunity for the just and proper disposition of his cause.The circumstances surrounding this case do not warrant the relaxation of the rules. Petitioner failed to present compelling justification or reason to relax the rules of procedure. The CA ruled that, “[t]he petitioner's attribution to inadvertence (as the cause) of his failure to indicate a complete statement of material dates and to attach pertinent documents material to the petition is not compelling or reasonable enough for the Court to disregard the mandate in Rule 42, Sec. 3 of the Rules, x x x.”
The same issue was the focal point in Obando v. Court of Appeals. In Obando, this Court maintained the prohibitory nature of a second motion for reconsideration and its gnawing implications in the appeal process. Said the court:Hence, the CA did not commit any error when it properly noted without action the petitioner's third motion for reconsideration for being a prohibited pleading, as well as merely a reiteration of his arguments in his first motion for reconsideration. Therefore, the said motion for reconsideration is a mere scrap of paper that does not deserve any consideration and the filing of the same did not toll the running of the prescriptive period for filing a petition based on Rule 45.x x x [T]he Rules of Court are explicit that a second motion for reconsideration shall not be allowed. In this case, petitioners filed not only a second motion for reconsideration, but a third motion for reconsideration as well. Since the period to appeal began to run from the denial of the first motion for reconsideration, the notice of appeal which petitioners filed six months after the denial of their first motion for reconsideration was correctly denied for having been filed late. (Emphasis supplied)Since the second motion for reconsideration was not allowed, this Court ruled that it did not toll the running of the period to appeal. More so, would a third motion for reconsideration.
In Dinglasan v. Court of Appeals, this Court explained the reason why it is unwise to reckon the period of finality of judgment from the denial of the second motion for reconsideration.To rule that finality of judgment shall be reckoned from the receipt of the resolution or order denying the second motion for reconsideration would result to an absurd situation whereby courts will be obliged to issue orders or resolutions denying what is a prohibited motion in the first place, in order that the period for finality of judgments shall run, thereby, prolonging the disposition of cases. Moreover, such a ruling would allow a party to forestall the running of the period for finality of judgments by virtue of filing a prohibited pleading; such a situation is not only illogical but also unjust to the winning party.The overt consequence of the introduction of a prohibited pleading was pointed out succinctly by this Court in Land Bank of the Philippines v. Ascot Holdings and Equities, Inc.:
x x x xIt is obvious that a prohibited pleading cannot toll the running of the period to appeal since such pleading cannot be given any legal effect precisely because of its being prohibited.Clearly, a second motion for reconsideration does not suspend the running of the period to appeal and neither does it have any legal effect.
Section 1. How appeal taken; time for filing. - A party desiring to appeal from a decision of the Regional Trial Court rendered in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction may file a verified petition for review with the Court of Appeals, paying at the same time to the clerk of said court the corresponding docket and other lawful fees, depositing the amount of P500.00 for costs, x x x.The rule is that payment in full of the docket fees within the prescribed period is mandatory. In Manchester v. Court of Appeals, it was held that a court acquires jurisdiction over any case only upon the payment of the prescribed docket fee. The strict application of this rule was, however, relaxed two (2) years after in the case of Sun Insurance Office, Ltd. v. Asuncion, wherein the Court decreed that where the initiatory pleading is not accompanied by the payment of the docket fee, the court may allow payment of the fee within a reasonable period of time, but in no case beyond the applicable prescriptive or reglementary period. This ruling was made on the premise that the plaintiff had demonstrated his willingness to abide by the rules by paying the additional docket fees required. Thus, in the more recent case of United Overseas Bank v. Ros, the Court explained that where the party does not deliberately intend to defraud the court in payment of docket fees, and manifests its willingness to abide by the rules by paying additional docket fees when required by the court, the liberal doctrine enunciated in Sun Insurance Office, Ltd., and not the strict regulations set in Manchester, will apply.
Clearly, there are pre-requisites before a motion for extension to file a Rule 42 petition for review could even be granted. The petitioner must pay the full amount of the docket and other lawful fees and the deposit for costs before the expiration of the reglementary period. This requirement was not met by the petitioner as the docket fees he had paid are actually deficient by Three Thousand Five Hundred Thirty Pesos (P3,530.00). Granting the petitioner's two (2) motions for extension of time to file petition for review would have been beyond the pale of the limits allowed by the Rules for the Court in that instance, considering that the petitioner failed to fulfill a requirement.Petitioner now begs this Court for leniency in the interest of justice. While there is a crying need to unclog court dockets, on the one hand, there is, on the other, a greater demand for resolving genuine disputes fairly and equitably, for it is far better to dispose of a case on the merit which is a primordial end, rather than on a technicality that may result in injustice. However, [i]t is only when persuasive reasons exist that the Rules may be relaxed to spare a litigant of an injustice not commensurate with his failure to comply with the prescribed procedure. In the present case, petitioner failed to convince this Court of the need to relax the rules and the eventual injustice that he will suffer if his prayer is not granted.