Remedial Law

HEIRS OF ARTURO GARCIA v. MUNICIPALITY OF IBA, ZAMBALES G.R. No. 162217, July 22, 2015 Modes of Appeal, Appeal as a matter of right v. Discretionary Appeal


FACTS:

Melecio R. Bueno was the tenant-farmer beneficiary of an agricultural land. He brought an ejectment suit in the MTC of Iba against the Municipality of Iba, claiming that the Municipality of Iba had constructed the public market on a substantial portion of his land without his consent; and that his repeated demands for the Municipality of Iba to vacate the property had remained unheeded.

The MTC ruled in favor of Bueno.

The Municipality of Iba filed its notice of appeal, but the MTC denied due course to the notice of appeal. Thus, the Municipality of Iba filed its petition for certiorari in the RTC in Iba, Zambales to assail the denial of due course by the MTC.

Petitioners, who substituted Bueno upon his death, moved for the reconsideration of the judgment granting the petition for Certiorari. The RTC denied their MR.

Aggrieved, the petitioners appealed to the CA by petition for review under Rule 42 of the Rules of Court.

The CA “dismissed” the petitioners’ petition for review on October 28, 2003 for not being the proper mode of appeal, observing that the assailed orders had been issued by the RTC in the exercise of its original jurisdiction.

ISSUE:

What is the proper mode of appeal for the adverse decision of the RTC in the special civil action for certiorari.

RULING:

An appeal brings up for review any error of judgment committed by a court with jurisdiction over the subject of the suit and over the persons of the parties, or any error committed by the court in the exercise of its jurisdiction amounting to nothing more than an error of judgment.

The modes of appeal were well delineated in the Rules of Court, and have been expressly stated in Section 2, Rule 41 thereof, to wit:

Section 2. Modes of appeal.—

(a) Ordinary appeal.— The appeal to the Court of Appeals in cases decided by the Regional Trial Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction shall be taken by filing a notice of appeal with the court which rendered the judgment or final order appealed from and serving a copy thereof upon the adverse party. No record on appeal shall be required except in special proceedings and other cases of multiple or separate appeals where the law or these Rules so require. In such cases, the record on appeal shall be filed and served in like manner.

(b) Petition for review.— The appeal to the Court of Appeals in cases decided by the Regional Trial Court in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction shall be by petition for review in accordance with Rule 42.

(c) Appeal by certiorari.In all cases where only questions of law are raised or involved, the appeal shall be to the Supreme Court by petition for review on certiorari in accordance with Rule 45.

Pursuant to this rule, in conjunction with Section 3 and Section 4 of Rule 41, the petitioners should have filed a notice of appeal in the RTC.

The distinctions between the various modes of appeal cannot be taken for granted, or easily dismissed, or lightly treated. The appeal by notice of appeal under Rule 41 is a matter or right, but the appeal by petition for review under Rule 42 is a matter of discretion.

An appeal as a matter of right, which refers to the right to seek the review by a superior court of the judgment rendered by the trial court, exists after the trial in the first instance. In contrast, the discretionary appeal, which is taken from the decision or final order rendered by a court in the exercise of its primary appellate jurisdiction, may be disallowed by the superior court in its discretion.

As borne out in the foregoing, the petitioners’ resort to the petition for review under Rule 42 was wrong. Hence, the CA did not err in denying due course to the petition for review.

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