Republic of the
DOUGLAS F. ANAMA,
- versus -
COURT OF APPEALS,
PHILIPPINE SAVINGS BANK,
SPOUSES SATURNINA BARIA &TOMAS CO and THE REGISTER OF DEEDS, METRO
G.R. No. 187021
VELASCO, JR., J., Chairperson,
January 25, 2012
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D E C I S I O N
This is a petition for review under
Rule 45 assailing the March 31, 2008 Decision of
the Court of Appeals (CA) and its
The factual and procedural backgrounds of this case were succinctly recited by the CA in its decision as follows:
Sometime in 1973, the Petitioner, Douglas F. Anama (Anama), and the Respondent, Philippine Savings Bank (PSB), entered into a “Contract to Buy,” on installment basis, the real property owned and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 301276 in the latter’s name. However, Anama defaulted in paying his obligations thereunder, thus, PSB rescinded the said contract and title to the property remained with the latter. Subsequently, the property was sold by PSB to the Spouses Saturnina Baria and Tomas Co (Co Spouses) who, after paying the purchase price in full, caused the registration of the same in their names and were, thus, issued TCT No. 14239.
Resultantly, Anama filed before the
Aggrieved, Anama twice moved for the reconsideration of the
Dissatisfied, the petitioner questioned the RTC Order before the CA for taking judicial cognizance of the motion for execution filed by spouses Tomas Co and Saturnina Baria (Spouses Co) which was (1) not in accord with Section 4 and Section 15 of the Rules of Court because it was without a notice of hearing addressed to the parties; and (2) not in accord with Section 6, Rule 15 in conjunction with Section 13, Rule 13 of the Rules of Court because it lacks the mandatory affidavit of service.
The CA also stated that although a notice of hearing and affidavit of service in a motion are mandatory requirements, the Spouses Co’s motion for execution of a final and executory judgment could be acted upon by the RTC ex parte, and therefore, excused from the mandatory requirements of Sections 4, 5 and 6 of Rule 15 of the Rules of Court.
The CA was of the view that petitioner was not denied due process because he was properly notified of the motion for execution of the Spouses Co. It stated that the act of the Spouses Co in resorting to personal delivery in serving their motion for execution did not render the motion pro forma. It refused to apply a rigid application of the rules because it would result in a manifest failure of justice considering that petitioner’s position was nothing but an obvious dilatory tactic designed to prevent the final disposition of Civil Case No. 44940.
Not satisfied with the CA’s unfavorable disposition, petitioner filed this petition praying for the reversal thereof presenting the following
THE RESPONDENT APPELLATE COURT DID NOT TAKE INTO
CONSIDERATION THE CLEAR TEACHING OF THE HONORABLE COURT WITH REGARD TO THE
REQUISITE NOTICE OF HEARING – IT SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE PARTIES NOT TO THE
CLERK OF COURT, THE LATEST (THEN) BEING GARCIA V. SANDIGANBAYAN, G.R. NO.
THE RESPONDENT APPELLATE COURT DID NOT TAKE INTO
CONSIDERATION THE CLEAR TEACHING OF THE HONORABLE COURT WITH REGARD TO THE
REQUISITE AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE – IT SHOULD BE IN THE PROPER FORM AS PRESCRIBED
IN THE RULES AND IT SHOULD BE ATTACHED TO THE MOTION, THE LATEST (THEN) BEING
ELLO V. COURT OF APPEALS, G.R. NO. 141255,
THE RESPONDENT APPELLATE COURT DID NOT TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION ON THE “FRAUD PERPETRATED UPON THE COURT” BY RESPONDENT-SPOUSES AND THEIR LEAD COUNSEL.
SINCE THE RESPONDENT APPELLATE COURT REFUSED TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE RESPONDENT BANK’S ACTION – THAT OF:
ENGAGING IN A DAGDAG-BAWAS (LEGALLY “INTERCALATION”) OPERATION OF A PORTION OF THE TRANSCRIPT OF STENOGRAPHIC NOTES (TSN), OCTOBER 12, 1984, OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 167, PASIG CITY, IN CIVIL CASE NO. 44940, PAGES 54-55, AND
PRESENTING IT IN ITS APPELLEE’S BRIEF (IN THE OWNERSHIP CASE, CA-G.R. NO. CV-42663, LIKEWISE, BEFORE THE RESPONDENT APPELLATE COURT) BY CITING IT ON PAGE 14 OF SAID BRIEF, AS IMPLIEDLY COMING FROM THE TSN OF THE TRIAL COURT.
THINKING THAT THEIR FALSIFIED APPELLEE’S BRIEF WAS MATERIAL IN SAID CA-G.R. NO. CV-42663.
IT COULD NOT RULE THAT THE SAME HAS BROUGHT ABOUT A
CRUCIAL MATERIAL CHANGE IN THE SITUATION OF THE PARTIES WHICH MAKES EXECUTION
INEQUITABLE (PUNCIA V. GERONA, 252 SCRA 424, 430-431), OR, IN THE WORDS OF
DEVELOPMENT BANK OF RIZAL V. CA, G.R. NO. 75964,
Basically, petitioner argues that the respondents failed to substantially comply with the rule on notice and hearing when they filed their motion for the issuance of a writ of execution with the RTC. He claims that the notice of hearing in the motion for execution filed by the Spouses Co was a mere scrap of paper because it was addressed to the Clerk of Court and not to the parties. Thus, the motion for execution did not contain the required proof of service to the adverse party. He adds that the Spouses Co and their counsel deliberately “misserved” the copy of their motion for execution, thus, committing fraud upon the trial court.
Additionally, he claims that PSB falsified its
appellee’s brief by engaging in a “dagdag-bawas” (“intercalation”) operation in
pages 54 to 55 of the TSN, dated
Position of the Spouses Co
The Spouses Co counter that the petition should be dismissed outright for raising both questions of facts and law in violation of Section 1, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. The Spouses Co aver that petitioner attempts to resurrect the issue that PSB cheated him in their transaction and that the RTC committed a “dagdag-bawas.” According to the Spouses Co, these issues had long been threshed out by this Court.
At any rate, they assert that they have substantially complied with the requirements of notice and hearing provided under Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 15 and Section 13, Rule 13 of the Rules of Court. Contrary to petitioner’s allegations, a copy of the motion for the issuance of a writ of execution was given to petitioner through his principal counsel, the Quasha Law Offices. At that time, the said law office had not formally withdrawn its appearance as counsel for petitioner. Spouses Co argue that what they sought to be executed was the final judgment of the RTC duly affirmed by the CA and this Court, thus, putting the issues on the merits to rest. The issuance of a writ of execution then becomes a matter of right and the court’s duty to issue the writ becomes ministerial.
Position of respondent PSB
PSB argues that the decision rendered by the RTC in
Civil Case No. 44940 entitled “Douglas F. Anama v. Philippine Savings Bank,
had long become final and executory as shown by the Entry of Judgment made by
the Court on
As to the principal issue, PSB points out that the notice of hearing appended to the motion for execution filed by the Spouses Co substantially complied with the requirements of the Rules since petitioner’s then counsel of record was duly notified and furnished a copy of the questioned motion for execution. Also, the motion for execution filed by the Spouses Co was served upon and personally received by said counsel.
The Court agrees with the Spouses Co that petitioner’s allegations on the “dagdag-bawas operation of the Transcript of Stenographic Notes,” the “fraud perpetuated upon the Court by said spouses and their lead counsel,” the “ownership,” and “falsification” had long been laid to rest in the case of “Douglas F. Anama v. Philippine Savings Bank, et. al.” For said reason, the Court cannot review those final pronouncements. To do so would violate the rules as it would open a final judgment to another reconsideration which is a prohibited procedure.
On the subject procedural question, the Court finds no compelling reason to stay the execution of the judgment because the Spouses Co complied with the notice and hearing requirements under Sections 4, 5 and 6 of Rule 15. Said sections, as amended, provide:
SECTION 4. Hearing of motion. – Except for motions which the court may act upon without prejudicing the rights of the adverse party, every written motion shall be set for hearing by the applicant.
Every written motion required to be heard and the notice of the hearing thereof shall be served in such a manner as to ensure its receipt by the other party at least three (3) days before the date of hearing, unless the court for good cause sets the hearing on shorter notice.
SECTION 5. Notice of hearing. – The notice of hearing shall be addressed to all parties concerned, and shall specify the time and date of the hearing which must not be later than ten (10) days after the filing of the motion.
SECTION 6. Proof of service necessary. – No written motion set for hearing shall be acted upon by the court without proof of service thereof.
Pertinently, Section 13 of Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, provides:
SEC. 13. Proof of service. – Proof of personal service shall consist of a written admission of the party served, or the official return of the server, or the affidavit of the party serving, containing a full statement of the date, place, and manner of service. If the service is by ordinary mail, proof thereof shall consist of an affidavit of the person mailing of facts showing compliance with section 7 of this Rule. If service is made by registered mail, proof shall be made by such affidavit and the registry receipt issued by the mailing office. The registry return card shall be filed immediately upon its receipt by the sender, or in lieu thereof the unclaimed letter together with the certified or sworn copy of the notice given by the postmaster to the addressee.
Elementary is the rule that every motion must contain the mandatory requirements of notice and hearing and that there must be proof of service thereof. The Court has consistently held that a motion that fails to comply with the above requirements is considered a worthless piece of paper which should not be acted upon. The rule, however, is not absolute. There are motions that can be acted upon by the court ex parte if these would not cause prejudice to the other party. They are not strictly covered by the rigid requirement of the rules on notice and hearing of motions.
The motion for execution of the Spouses Co is such kind of motion. It cannot be denied that the judgment sought to be executed in this case had already become final and executory. As such, the Spouses Co have every right to the issuance of a writ of execution and the RTC has the ministerial duty to enforce the same. This right on the part of the Spouses Co and duty on the part of the RTC are based on Section 1 and Section 2 of Rule 39 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure provides, as follows:
Section 1. Execution upon judgments or final orders. – Execution shall issue as a matter of right, on motion, upon a judgment or order that disposes of the action or proceeding upon the expiration of the period to appeal therefrom if no appeal has been duly perfected.
If the appeal has been duly perfected and finally resolved, the execution may forthwith be applied for in the court of origin, on motion of the judgment obligee, submitting therewith certified true copies of the judgment or judgments or final order or orders sought to be enforced and of the entry thereof, with notice to the adverse party.
The appellate court may, on motion in the same case, when the interest of justice so requires, direct the court of origin to issue the writ of execution.
SEC. 2. Discretionary execution.—
(a) Execution of a judgment or final order pending appeal.— On motion of the prevailing party with notice to the adverse party filed in the trial court while it has jurisdiction over the case and is in possession of either the original record or the record on appeal, as the case may be, at the time of the filing of such motion, said court may, in its discretion, order execution of a judgment or final order even before the expiration of the period to appeal.
After the trial court has lost jurisdiction, the motion for execution pending appeal may be filed in the appellate court.
Discretionary execution may only issue upon good reasons to be stated in a special order after due hearing.
(b) Execution of several, separate or partial judgments.—A several, separate or partial judgment may be executed under the same terms and conditions as execution of a judgment or final order pending appeal. (2a) [Emphases and underscoring supplied]
As can be gleaned therefrom, under Paragraph 1 of Section 1 of Rule 39 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, the Spouses Co can have their motion for execution executed as a matter of right without the needed notice and hearing requirement to petitioner. This is in contrast to the provision of Paragraph 2 of Section 1 and Section 2 where there must be notice to the adverse party. In the case of Far Eastern Surety and Insurance Company, Inc. v. Virginia D. Vda. De Hernandez, it was written:
It is evident that Section 1 of Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court does not prescribe that a copy of the motion for the execution of a final and executory judgment be served on the defeated party, like litigated motions such as a motion to dismiss (Section 3, Rule 16), or motion for new trial (Section 2, Rule 37), or a motion for execution of judgment pending appeal (Section 2, Rule 39), in all of which instances a written notice thereof is required to be served by the movant on the adverse party in order to afford the latter an opportunity to resist the application.
It is not disputed that the judgment sought to be executed in the case at bar had already become final and executory. It is fundamental that the prevailing party in a litigation may, at any time within five (5) years after the entry thereof, have a writ of execution issued for its enforcement and the court not only has the power and authority to order its execution but it is its ministerial duty to do so. It has also been held that the court cannot refuse to issue a writ of execution upon a final and executory judgment, or quash it, or order its stay, for, as a general rule, the parties will not be allowed, after final judgment, to object to the execution by raising new issues of fact or of law, except when there had been a change in the situation of the parties which makes such execution inequitable or when it appears that the controversy has ever been submitted to the judgment of the court; or when it appears that the writ of execution has been improvidently issued, or that it is defective in substance, or is issued against the wrong party, or that judgment debt has been paid or otherwise satisfied; or when the writ has been issued without authority. Defendant-appellant has not shown that she falls in any of the situations afore-mentioned. Ordinarily, an order of execution of a final judgment is not appealable. Otherwise, as was said by this Court in Molina v. de la Riva, a case could never end. Once a court renders a final judgment, all the issues between or among the parties before it are deemed resolved and its judicial function as regards any matter related to the controversy litigated comes to an end. The execution of its judgment is purely a ministerial phase of adjudication. The nature of its duty to see to it that the claim of the prevailing party is fully satisfied from the properties of the loser is generally ministerial.
In Pamintuan v. Muñoz, We ruled that once a judgment becomes final and executory, the prevailing party can have it executed as a matter of right, and the judgment debtor need not be given advance notice of the application for execution.
Also of the same stature is the rule that once a judgment becomes final and executory, the prevailing party can have it executed as a matter of right and the granting of execution becomes a ministerial duty of the court. Otherwise stated, once sought by the prevailing party, execution of a final judgment will just follow as a matter of course. Hence, the judgment debtor need not be given advance notice of the application for execution nor he afforded prior hearing.
Absence of such advance notice to the judgment debtor does not constitute an infringement of the constitutional guarantee of due process.
However, the established rules of our system of jurisprudence do not require that a defendant who has been granted an opportunity to be heard and has had his day in court should, after a judgment has been rendered against him, have a further notice and hearing before supplemental proceedings are taken to reach his property in satisfaction of the judgment. Thus, in the absence of a statutory requirement, it is not essential that he be given notice before the issuance of an execution against his tangible property; after the rendition of the judgment he must take "notice of what will follow," no further notice being "necessary to advance justice." [Emphases and underscoring supplied]
Likewise, in the case of Leonardo Lim De Mesa v. Hon. Court of Appeals, it was stated:
In the present case, the decision ordering partition and the rendition of accounting had already become final and executory. The execution thereof thus became a matter of right on the part of the plaintiffs, herein private respondents, and is a mandatory and ministerial duty on the part of the court. Once a judgment becomes final and executory, the prevailing party can have it executed as a matter of right, and the judgment debtor need not be given advance notice of the application for execution nor be afforded prior hearings thereon.
On the bases of the foregoing considerations, therefore, the Court of Appeals acted correctly in holding that the failure to serve a copy of the motion for execution on petitioner is not a fatal defect. In fact, there was no necessity for such service. [Emphases and underscoring supplied]
At any rate, it is not true that the petitioner was not notified of the motion for execution of the Spouses Co. The records clearly show that the motion for execution was duly served upon, and received by, petitioner’s counsel-of-record, the Quasha Ancheta Pena Nolasco Law Offices, as evidenced by a “signed stamped received mark” appearing on said pleading. The records are bereft of proof showing any written denial from petitioner’s counsel of its valid receipt on behalf of its client. Neither is there proof that the Quasha Ancheta Pena Nolasco Law Offices has formally withdrawn its appearance as petitioner’s counsel-of-record. Considering that there is enough proof shown on record of personal delivery in serving the subject motion for execution, there was a valid compliance with the Rules, thus, no persuasive reason to stay the execution of the subject final and executory judgment.
Moreover, this Court takes note that petitioner was particularly silent on the ruling of the CA that he was notified, through his counsel, of the motion for execution of the Spouses Co when he filed a motion for reconsideration of the RTC’s order dated June 28, 2005, holding in abeyance said motion pending the resolution of petitioner’s pleading filed before this Court. He did not dispute the ruling of the CA either that the alleged defect in the Spouses Co’s motion was cured when his new counsel was served a copy of said motion for reconsideration of the RTC’s June 28, 2005 Order.
The three-day notice rule is not absolute. A liberal construction of the procedural rules is proper where the lapse in the literal observance of a rule of procedure has not prejudiced the adverse party and has not deprived the court of its authority. Indeed, Section 6, Rule 1 of the Rules of Court provides that the Rules should be liberally construed in order to promote their objective of securing a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding. Rules of procedure are tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice, and courts must avoid their strict and rigid application which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice.
In Somera Vda. De Navarro v. Navarro, the Court held that there was substantial compliance of the rule on notice of motions even if the first notice was irregular because no prejudice was caused the adverse party since the motion was not considered and resolved until after several postponements of which the parties were duly notified.
Likewise, in Jehan Shipping Corporation v. National Food Authority, the Court held that despite the lack of notice of hearing in a Motion for Reconsideration, there was substantial compliance with the requirements of due process where the adverse party actually had the opportunity to be heard and had filed pleadings in opposition to the motion. The Court held:
This Court has indeed held time and again, that under Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 15 of the Rules of Court, mandatory is the requirement in a motion, which is rendered defective by failure to comply with the requirement. As a rule, a motion without a notice of hearing is considered pro forma and does not affect the reglementary period for the appeal or the filing of the requisite pleading.
As an integral component of the procedural due process, the three-day notice required by the Rules is not intended for the benefit of the movant. Rather, the requirement is for the purpose of avoiding surprises that may be sprung upon the adverse party, who must be given time to study and meet the arguments in the motion before a resolution of the court. Principles of natural justice demand that the right of a party should not be affected without giving it an opportunity to be heard.
The test is the presence of opportunity to be heard, as well as to have time to study the motion and meaningfully oppose or controvert the grounds upon which it is based. [Emphases and underscoring supplied]
Likewise, in the case of KKK Foundation, Inc. v. Hon. Adelina Calderon-Bargas, this Court stated:
Anent the second issue, we have consistently held that a motion which does not meet the requirements of Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 15 of the Rules of Court is considered a worthless piece of paper, which the Clerk of Court has no right to receive and the trial court has no authority to act upon. Service of a copy of a motion containing a notice of the time and the place of hearing of that motion is a mandatory requirement, and the failure of movants to comply with these requirements renders their motions fatally defective. However, there are exceptions to the strict application of this rule. These exceptions are: (1) where a rigid application will result in a manifest failure or miscarriage of justice especially if a party successfully shows that the alleged defect in the questioned final and executory judgment is not apparent on its face or from the recitals contained therein; (2) where the interest of substantial justice will be served; (3) where the resolution of the motion is addressed solely to the sound and judicious discretion of the court; and (4) where the injustice to the adverse party is not commensurate with the degree of his thoughtlessness in not complying with the procedure prescribed.
A notice of hearing is an
integral component of procedural due process to afford the adverse parties a
chance to be heard before a motion is resolved by the court. Through such
notice, the adverse party is given time to study and answer the arguments in
the motion. Records show that while Angeles’s Motion for Issuance of Writ of
Execution contained a notice of hearing, it did not particularly state the date
and time of the hearing. However, we still find that petitioner was not denied
procedural due process. Upon receiving the Motion for Issuance of Writ of
Execution, the trial court issued an Order dated
The notice requirement is not a ritual to be followed blindly. Procedural due process is not based solely on a mechanical and literal application that renders any deviation inexorably fatal. Instead, procedural rules are liberally construed to promote their objective and to assist in obtaining a just, speedy and inexpensive determination of any action and proceeding. [Emphases supplied]
rate, it is undisputed that the
The Court agrees with the respondents that petitioner mainly relies on mere technicalities to frustrate the ends of justice and further delay the execution process and enforcement of the RTC Decision that has been affirmed by the CA and this Court. The record shows that the case has been dragging on for almost 30 years since petitioner filed an action for annulment of sale in 1982. From the time the Spouses Co bought the house from PSB in 1978, they have yet to set foot on the subject house and lot.
To remand the case back to the lower court would further prolong the agony of the Spouses Co. The Court should not allow this to happen. The Spouses Co should not be prevented from enjoying the fruits of the final judgment in their favor. In another protracted case, the Court wrote:
As a final note, it bears to point out
that this case has been dragging for more than 15 years and the execution of
this Court’s judgment in PEA v. CA has been delayed for almost ten years now
simply because De
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
DIOSDADO M. PERALTA ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice Associate Justice
ESTELA M. PERLAS-BERNABE
A T T E S T A T I O N
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Chairperson, Third Division
C E R T I F I C A T I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson’s Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.
RENATO C. CORONA
 Rollo, pp. 103-113. Penned by Associate Justice Normandie B. Pizarro and concurred in by Associate Justice Josefina Guevara-Salonga and Associate Justice Magdangal M. De Leon.
 G.R. No.
 G.R. No.
 G.R. No. 109387,
 Rollo, p. 143.
 Fausto R. Preysler, Jr. v. Manila South Coast Development Corporation, G.R. No. 171872, June 28, 2010, 621 SCRA 636, 643.
 G.R. No. 163785,
 Rollo, pp. 122-136.
 National Power Corporation v. Spouses Lorenzo L. Laohoo, G.R. 151973, July 23, 2009, 593 SCRA 564, 580.