CASE: Fil-Estate Properties, Inc. and Fairways and Blue-Waters Resort vs. Hon. Marietta J. Homena-Valencia G.R. No. 173942  June 25, 2008

Ponente: Carpio Morales, J.:

SUBJECT:
1. Remedial Law: “Fresh Period Rule”

CASE BRIEF 2008-0571

FACTS:

In 1998, NAVAL et. al. filed a case against FIL-ESTATE. The RTC rendered a decision in favor of NAVAL of which FIL-ESTATE moved for reconsideration filed on 10 May 2000, thirteen (13) days after petitioners received their copy of the RTC’s decision. On 26 July 2000, the RTC issued an order denying the motion. Petitioners alleged in their petition that they received the order denying the motion for reconsideration on 11 August 2005. They filed a Notice of Appeal on 25 August 2005, or beyond the reglementary period to perfect the appeal which is 15 days from receipt of the RTC’s Decision (this is because the 15 day fresh period from the denial of the Motion for Recosideration or Neypes Doctrine was promulgated on September 14, 2005). Consequently, the RTC denied the appeal and such denial was sustained by the Supreme Court in its Decision dated October 15, 2007.

FIL-ESTATE filed a Motion for Reconsideration on November 19, 2007 questioning the October 15, 2007 Decision of the Supreme Court. It argued that following the Court’s 2005 decision in Neypes v. Court of Appeals, their Notice of Appeal was perfected on time, that is, within fifteen (15) days from their receipt of the RTC’s order denying their motion for reconsideration. Neypes has established a new rule whereby an appellant is granted a fresh 15-day period, reckoned from receipt of the order denying the motion for reconsideration, within which to perfect the appeal.

FIL-ESTATE argued that since they received the RTC’s order denying their motion for reconsideration on 11 August 2005,  following Neypes, they were entitled to a new 15-day period, i.e., until 26 August 2005 or one (1) day after they had posted the full appellate docket fees, to perfect the appeal on August 25, 2005.

ISSUE: Whether the “fresh period” rule announced in Neypes could retroactively apply in cases where the period for appeal had lapsed prior to 14 September 2005 when Neypes was promulgated.

RULING:

Yes. Procedural laws may be given retroactive effect to actions pending and undetermined at the time of their passage, there being no vested rights in the rules of procedure. Amendments to procedural rules are procedural or remedial in character as they do not create new or remove vested rights, but only operate in furtherance of the remedy or confirmation of rights already existing.

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THINGS DECIDED:

A) Procedural laws may be given retroactive effect to actions pending and undetermined at the time of their passage, there being no vested rights in the rules of procedure.

B) Procedural rules are remedial in character as they do not create new or remove vested rights, but only operate in furtherance of the remedy or confirmation of rights already existing.

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