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Contracts

Republic of the Philippines Supreme Court

Manila
FIRST DIVISION

heirs of rodolfo crisostomo (euprocinia, royce and irish crisostomo), Petitioners,

G.R. No. !" #$

Present: CORON , C.J., Chairperson,

- versus -

!"ON R#O-#" C $%RO, &"R$ '(N, #"! C $%(!!O, and )(!! R ' , *R., JJ.

Rudex international development corporation, Respondent. Promul+ated:

u+ust ,-, ,.//

x--------------------------------------------------x

D%CISION

&%ON'RDO(D% C'STRO) J.*

%his Petition for Re+ie, on Certiorari/0/1 see2s to reverse and set aside the Octo3er 4, ,..4,0,1 and *anuary 5, ,..67071 Resolutions of the Court of 'ppeals in C'(G.R. SP No. $-$#., 8hich dismissed outri+ht the petitioners9 Petition for
/0/1 , 7 /::6 Rules of Court, Rule -5.
0,1

Rollo, pp. -5--4; penned 3y ssociate *ustice Celia C. !i3rea-!ea+o+o 8ith ssociate *ustices Rodri+o ). Cosico and "d+ardo <. $undiam, concurrin+. (d. at 7:--,.

071

Revie8 dated $eptem3er /7, ,..4 for 3ein+ filed one day 3eyond the /5-day extended period +ranted 3y the Court of ppeals. Petitioners "uprocinia, Royce, and (rish, are the 8ife and children, respectively, of the late complainant, Rodolfo Crisostomo, 8ho died durin+ the pendency of the case. -0-1

%he respondent, Rudex (nternational #evelopment Corporation, is a domestic corporation en+a+ed in the real estate 3usiness.5051

On #ecem3er /6, ,../, the Crisostomo spouses 8ere offered a house and lot at Patricia $outh )illa, a su3division developed 3y the respondent in <, (mus, Cavite. na3u ((fter seein+ the model house on &loc2 =, !ot 7, the Crisostomos

decided to 3uy the property priced at =77,...... on installment 3asis. On the same day, they paid /.,...... as do8n payment and si+ned a Reservation +reement. On #ecem3er ,/, ,../, the couple paid an additional 5.,......, executed a promissory note, and issued 74 postdated chec2s to cover the monthly amorti>ations on the property. %he Crisostomos 8ere then +iven a ?ey cceptance, @al2 %hrou+h, and <inal %urnover Certificate.4041

-0-1 5051 4041

(d. at /.. (d. at ,,,. (d. at ,,.

On <e3ruary /., ,..,, the Crisostomo family moved in to their ne8 house; ho8ever, they started to notice several construction defects on the house and inadeAuate facilities in the su3division. %hus, on 'arch ,,, ,..,, the late Rodolfo as2ed his 8ife "uprocinia to discontinue payin+ their monthly amorti>ations and to as2 for a rescission of the contract. On 'ay /6, ,..,, Rodolfo personally delivered a letter of complaint to the respondent, 8herein he rescinded their Contract to Sell, demanded the refund of all the payments he had made, and reiterated that he 8ould no lon+er pay the monthly amorti>ations.6061

On 'ay ,6, ,..,, Rodolfo filed a Complaint=0=1 for violation of Presidential #ecree Nos. /7-- and :56, and &oard Resolution No. 56: of /::5, 3efore the Bousin+ and !and Cse Re+ulatory &oard (B!CR&).

(n vie8 of respondent9s failure to ans8er the Complaint, it 8as declared in default on Novem3er ,4, ,..7.:0:1

%he B!CR& conducted an ocular inspection in Patricia $outh )illa on 'arch /,, ,..7 and found Rodolfo9s alle+ations to 3e supported 3y its findin+s. %he B!CR& held that under $ection ,. of Presidential #ecree No. :56, its findin+s Dustified the ri+ht of Rodolfo to demand rescission of his contract 8ith the
6061 =0=1 :0:1 (d. at ,7-,5. (d. at 57-4,. (d. at 45-44.

respondent. %hus, on *uly 6, ,..7, the /&0R1 issued its 2u34ment b5 Default,/. 0/.1 the dispositive portion of 8hich reads:

6/%R%FOR%, premises considered, Dud+ment is here3y rendered declarin+ the rescission of the contract to sell as valid and orderin+ the respondent to refund the total payments in the amount of P6/,45.... 8ith interest at /,E per annum from the filin+ of the complaint until full payment. fter full payment, complainant is directed to peacefully surrender the su3Dect property in favor of the respondent. <urther, respondent is directed to pay complainant P5,...... as attorney9s fees and to pay this &oard P/.,...... 3y 8ay of administrative fine for violation of $ection ,. in relation to $ection 7= of P.#. :56.//0//1

On

u+ust ,4, ,..7, the respondent as2ed the B!CR& to revie8 /,0/,1 its

*uly 6, ,..7 #ecision. (t alle+ed that Rodolfo9s alle+ations 8ere concocted to +et out of their contract 3ecause he could no lon+er pay his monthly amorti>ations on the property. On 'u4ust !) #..7, the /&0R1 rendered a Decision/70/71 on respondent9s Petition for Revie8, to 8it:

@herefore, the decision of the office 3elo8 is here3y modified to read as follo8s: @herefore premises considered, Dud+ment is here3y rescindin+ the reservation a+reement of parties and su3Dect to le+al compensation or offsettin+, orderin+ respondent to refund the total payments in the amount of P6/,45.... /.0/.1 (d. at :7-:6. //0//1 (d. at :6. /,0/,1 (d. at :=-//,. /70/71 (d. at /=5-/==.

8ith interest at le+al interest from the time of the filin+ of the complaint; orderin+ complainant to turn over possession of the unit to the respondent and orderin+ complainant to pay respondent reasona3le compensation for the use of the unit in the amount of P-,...... per month until possession of the unit is turned over to the respondent. <urther, respondent is directed to pay complainant P5,...... as attorney9s fees and to pay this 3oard P/.,...... 3y 8ay of administrative fine for violation of section ,. in relation to section 7= of P.#. :56./-0/-1

%his 8as appealed/50/51 3y the petitioners, 8ho su3stituted Rodolfo upon his death, to the Office of the Presi3ent. On Novem3er /=, ,..5, the Office of the President decided/40/41 in their favor, as follo8s:

6/%R%FOR%) premises considered, the #ecision of the B!CR& &oard of Commissioners dated u+ust ,7, ,..- is here3y reversed and set aside. *ud+ment is here3y rendered: a. 3. c. d. e. f. #eclarin+ the contract of sale entered into 3et8een the parties as rescinded; ppellants are here3y ordered to turn over possession of the property to the ppellee; ppellee is here3y ordered of refund to the appellants the latter9s total payment in the amount of P6/,45.... 8ith interest at /,E per annum from *une /., ,.., (time of the filin+ of the complaint); ppellee is li2e8ise ordered to pay appellants P,5,...... as moral dama+es and P,5,...... as exemplary dama+es; ppellee is ordered to pay appellants P5,...... as attorney9s fees; and ppellee is ordered to pay administrative fine in the amount of P/.,......./60/61

/-0/-1 (d. at /=6. /50/51 (d. at /:/-,,.. /40/41 (d. at ,4.-,67. /60/61 (d. at ,6,-,67.

%he respondent as2ed for a reconsideration/=0/=1 of this decision and on 'ay :, ,..4, the Office of the President +ranted respondent9s motion and reinstate3 the 'u4ust !) #..7 3ecision of the /&0R1./:0/:1

%he Office of the President, in resolvin+ the issue of 8hether it properly deleted the previous a8ard of rentals 3y the B!CR&, held that FP.#. 0No.1 :56 does not authori>e oppression of perceived unscrupulous su3division developers, each time a home 3uyer cries foul or alle+es any infirmity on the former.G ,.0,.1 +reein+ 8ith the respondent that the deletion of the a8ard of rentals 8ould result in unduly enrichin+ the petitioners, the Office of the President held:

&y stayin+ at the Auestioned premises for free and 8ithout compensation, to the preDudice of 0respondent1, it is clear that 0petitioners1 unduly enriched themselves at the expense of another. Rental payments are le+ally supported 3y virtue of the doctrine of unDust enrichment. "venthou+h the same is not prayed for 3y herein appellee, it could still 3e reco+ni>ed and a8arded 3y our Office considerin+ that said issue, or a8ard thereof, is inextrica3ly lin2ed to the issues involved as 8ell as the facts proven in the case, and it is necessary for a Dust and eAuita3le determination of the case.,/0,/1

/=0/=1 (d. at ,6--,=,. /:0/:1 (d. at ,:.-,:7. ,.0,.1 (d. at ,:/. ,/0,/1 (d. at ,:,.

%he petitioners sou+ht for a reconsideration ,,0,,1 of this Order,,70,71 3ut this 8as denied 3y the Office of the President on u+ust ,, ,..4.

On $eptem3er /5, ,..4, the petitioners filed their Petition for Revie8 3efore the Court of ppeals. Bo8ever, this 8as dismissed outri+ht in a Resolution ,-0,-1 for 3ein+ filed out of time, the deadline 3ein+ $eptem3er /-, ,..4. %he Court of ppeals said that the petitioners 8ere already +ranted a /5-day extension and yet no Dustification or reason 8as +iven to explain 8hy they still filed 3eyond the extended period. %he Court of ppeals held:

@e have no more Durisdiction to entertain the Petition much less to alter the Dud+ment 8hich has 3ecome final and executory. @e only have the po8er to dismiss the appeal in the a3sence of exceptional circumstances to 8arrant such delay.,50,51

%he petitioners sou+ht reconsideration of this dismissal 3ut the Court of ppeals found their motion to 3e F3ereft of merit.G,40,41

,,0,,1 (d. at ,:--7.:. ,70,71 (d. at 7/6. ,-0,-1 (d. at -5--4. ,50,51 (d. ,40,41 (d. at -..

%he petitioners are no8 3efore us, see2in+ not only that 8e +ive their petition due consideration, 3ut also that 8e declare the B!CR& u+ust /6, ,..#ecision as null and void. %hey su3mit the follo8in+ issues for our resolution:

5./. N PP" ! ($ N "$$"N%( ! P R% O< OCR *C#(C( ! $H$%"' N# %B" COCR%$ $BOC!# PROC""# @(%B C C%(ON, $O $ NO% %O #"PR()" %B" P"%(%(ON"R$ O< %B" R(IB% %O PP" !, P R%(CC! R!H, (< %B" PP" ! ($ '"R(%OR(OC$. 5.,. %B" B!CR& PP" ! &O R# B $ NO *CR($#(C%(ON 'O#(<H(NI %B" *C#I'"N% O< B!CR& PROP"R IR N%(NI R"!("< @B(CB @ $ NO% PR H"# <OR !!"I"# (N %B" P!" #(NI$, N# NO ")(#"NC" @ $ PR"$"N%"#. 5.7. %B" B!CR& PP" ! &O R# B $ NO *CR($#(C%(ON @B"N (% 'O#(<("# %B" *C#I'"N% &H #"< C!% O< B!CR& PROP"R, N# %B" O<<(C" O< %B" PR"$(#"N%, !(?"@($" B $ C%"#, (N "JC"$$ O< *CR($#(C%(ON @B"N (% <<(R'"# EN TOTO %B" #"C($(ON O< %B" B!CR& PP" ! &O R#.,60,61

Discussion

@e shall limit our discussion to the core issue of 8hether or not the Court of ppeals erred in dismissin+ the petition for revie8 filed 3y petitioners 3efore it, on the +round that the petition 8as filed late.

%he petitioners are claimin+ that their one-day delay in filin+ their petition 3efore the Court of
,60,61 (d. at ,4.

ppeals constitutes excusa3le ne+li+ence in the a3sence of an

intent to delay the administration of Dustice. %he petitioners explained that their petition 8as ready as early as $eptem3er /7, ,..4, 8ith only the annexes to 3e attached. %heir counsel assi+ned her secretary to arran+e and attach these annexes 3ut 8ithout their counsel9s 2no8led+e, the secretary did this in a vacant room outside their office. %he follo8in+ day, the secretary, a sin+le mother of t8o small children, failed to report for 8or2 3ecause she had to ta2e her 2ids to a doctor as they had 3een sic2 since she found them home, a3andoned 3y their nanny, the ni+ht 3efore. (t 8as only late in the afternoon that the secretary remem3ered that she for+ot to leave instructions a3out the petition in their office.,=0,=1

%he petitioners are as2in+ that this Court exercise its eAuity Durisdiction since their delay 8as neither intended nor preDudicial to respondent.,:0,:1

Ruling of this Court

@e +rant the petition.

%his Court has explained that the purpose in limitin+ the period of appeal is to forestall or avoid an unreasona3le delay in the administration of Dustice and to put an end to controversies. @here no element of intent to delay the administration
,=0,=1 (d. at ,4-,6. ,:0,:1 (d. at ,6.

of Dustice could 3e attri3uted to petitioners, a one-day delay does not Dustify their petition9s dismissal.7.07.1

(n Department of Justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzales v. ennisi,7/07/1 this Court elucidated on the rules on re+lementary periods, to 8it:
%he +eneral rule is that the perfection of an appeal in the manner and 8ithin the period prescri3ed 3y la8 is, not only mandatory, 3ut Durisdictional, and failure to conform to the rules 8ill render the Dud+ment sou+ht to 3e revie8ed final and unappeala3le. &y 8ay of exception, unintended lapses are disre+arded so as to +ive due course to appeals filed 3eyond the re+lementary period on the 3asis of stron+ and compellin+ reasons, such as servin+ the ends of Dustice and preventin+ a +rave miscarria+e thereof. %he purpose 3ehind the limitation of the period of appeal is to avoid an unreasona3le delay in the administration of Dustice and to put an end to controversies.7,07,1

(n Samala v. Court of !ppeals,770771 8e said:

%he rules of procedure are mere tools desi+ned to facilitate the attainment of Dustice. %heir strict and ri+id application especially on technical matters, 8hich tends to frustrate rather than promote su3stantial Dustice, must 3e avoided. "ven the Revised Rules of Court envision this li3erality. %echnicality, 8hen it deserts its proper office as an aid to Dustice and 3ecomes its +reat hindrance and chief enemy, deserves scant consideration from the courts.7-07-1 7.
07.1

"ilippine !musement an# Gamin$ Corporation v. !n$ara , 5// Phil. -=4, -:=

(,..5). 7/07/1 I.R. No. /4::5=, 'arch 5, ,./., 4/- $CR ,:,. 7,07,1 (d. at 7./. 770771 -/4 Phil. / (,../). 7-07-1 (d. at =.

(n this case, the last day for filin+ the petition for revie8 8as on $eptem3er /7, ,..4. %he petitioners entrusted the draftin+ of their petition 8ith their counsel, 8ho in turn entrusted the attachin+ of the reAuired annexes to the petition 8ith her secretary. %he secretary resi+ned from her Do3 sometime later to avoid +ivin+ her employer Fpro3lems for unexpected a3sences in the future.G750751 the petitioners also su3mitted an 8herea3outs of the petition. side from this, ffidavit 740741 from the secretary, 8ho narrated certification from the doctor of one of the

her ordeal that day and 8hy she 8as not a3le to inform her employer of the secretary9s children 8as also su3mitted to prove that the secretary indeed 3rou+ht her children to the doctor on $eptem3er /-, ,..4, the deadline for filin+ the petition for revie8 8ith the Court of ppeals.

(n li+ht of the fore+oin+, 8e are inclined to +ive the same consideration in this case pursuant to the rules on Dustice, eAuity, and fair play.

6/%R%FOR%) the petition is GR'NT%D. %he Octo3er 4, ,..4 and *anuary 5, ,..6 Resolutions of the Court of ppeals in C -I.R. $P No. :5:,. are here3y R%V%RS%D and S%T 'SID%. proceedin+s.
750751 Rollo, p. 5/, Resi+nation !etter. 740741 (d. at -=--:.

C -I.R. $P No. :5:,. is ordered ppeals for further

R%INST'T%D and R%M'ND%D to the Court of

SO ORD%R%D.

T%R%SIT' 2. &%ON'RDO( D% C'STRO


ssociate *ustice

@" CONCCR:

R%N'TO C. CORON' Chief *ustice Chairperson

&0C'S P. 1%RS'MIN ssociate *ustice

M'RI'NO C. D%& C'STI&&O


ssociate *ustice

M'RTIN S. VI&&'R'M') 2R. ssociate *ustice

C%RTIFIC'TION

Pursuant to $ection /7, rticle )((( of the Constitution, ( certify that the conclusions in the a3ove #ecision had 3een reached in consultation 3efore the case 8as assi+ned to the 8riter of the opinion of the Court9s #ivision.

R%N'TO C. CORON'
Chief *ustice