Remedial Law

ROSS RICA SALES CENTER, INC. v. Sps. ONG, Erroneous Appeal, Rule 42

FACTS:

Ross Rica Sales Center, Inc. and Juanito King and Sons, Inc. (petitioners) had acquired the lands subject in this case from Mandaue Prime Estate Realty through a sale. In turn, it appears that Mandaue Prime Estate Realty had acquired the properties from the respondents through a Deed of Absolute Sale. However, this latter deed of sale and the transfers of title consequential thereto were subsequently sought to be annulled by respondents in a complaint filed before the Mandaue RTC against Mandaue Prime Estate Realty.

Petitioners filed a complaint for ejectment against respondents before the MTC alleging the fact of their ownership of the parcels of land and the fact of respondents’ refusal to vacate the properties upon demand by the petitioners.

The MTC resolved the ejectment case ordering respondents to vacate the premises in question and to peacefully turn over possession thereof to petitioners.

On appeal, the RTC affirmed the MTC’s decision in its entirety.

Respondents filed a notice of appeal. However, on the following day, they filed a motion for reconsideration.

The RTC issued an Order which concurrently gave due course to respondents’ notice of appeal filed on 8 May 1997; denied their motion for reconsideration, and granted petitioners’ motion for immediate execution pending appeal.

 

ISSUE:

What is the effect of the filing of the Motion for Reconsideration a day after the filing of the Notice of Appeal.

 

RULING:

Rule 42 governs the mode of appeal applicable in this case. Sec. 1 provides:

Section 1. How appeal taken; time for filing. — A party desiring to appeal from a decision of the RTC rendered in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction may file a verified petition for review with the Court of Appeals xxx

Since the unlawful detainer case was filed with the MTC and affirmed by the RTC, petitioners should have filed a Petition for Review with the CA and not a Notice of Appeal with the RTC.

However, we consider this to have been remedied by the timely filing of the Motion for Reconsideration on the following day.

Section 3, Rule 50 of the Rules of Court allows the withdrawal of appeal at any time, as a matter of right, before the filing of the appellee’s brief. Applying this rule contextually, the filing of the Motion for Reconsideration may be deemed as an effective withdrawal of the defective Notice of Appeal.

Perforce, the period of appeal was tolled by the Motion for Reconsideration and started to run again from the receipt of the order denying the Motion for Reconsideration.

Petitioners invoke to the ruling in People v. De la Cruz that once a notice of appeal is filed, it cannot be validly withdrawn to give way to a motion for reconsideration. The factual circumstances in the two cases are different.

De la Cruz is a criminal case, governed by criminal procedure. Section 3, Rule 122 of the Rules of Court provides that the proper mode of appeal from a decision of the RTC is a notice of appeal and an appeal is deemed perfected upon filing of the notice of appeal.

In the case at bar, a petition for review before the Court of Appeals is the proper mode of appeal from a decision of the RTC. Since the filing of the notice of appeal is erroneous, it is considered as if no appeal was interposed.

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