Very heavy case load NOT sufficient to justify delay in filing appeal, answer, etc.

The OSG persists in pressing this Court to take judicial notice of its very heavy caseload, which in its estimation constitutes sufficient justifications for the delay. However, it cannot be gainsaid that, with ordinary diligence and foresight, the Solicitor General and his staff could have readily found a way to comply with the deadline. While we understand the OSG's predicament, its oft-repeated excuse of being saddled with a huge caseload, which is resorted to almost every time it applies for extensions of time for appeal and filing of comments/replies/briefs, has already lost its flavor, if not gone stale entirely. Certainly, by this time the OSG must have already developed a system for keeping track of all its deadlines and monitoring the progress of work being done on the cases it is handling. After all, government service really entails hard work and perennial, unceasing pressure to meet deadlines. Most assuredly, this is not a ground for the liberal interpretation of the rules. Only in exceptionally meritorious cases should the rules be relaxed. Such has not been shown to be the situation this case. [G.R. No. 106564. November 28, 1996]