5 Remedies against a Default Order

Under the Rules of Court, a defending party may be declared in default, upon motion and notice, for failure to file an answer within the allowable period. As a result, the defaulting party cannot take part in the trial albeit he is entitled to notice of subsequent proceedings.

The remedies against a default order are: (1) a motion to set aside the order of default at any time after discovery thereof and before judgment on the ground that the defendants failure to file an answer was due to fraud, accident, mistake or excusable neglect and that the defendant has a meritorious defense; (2) a motion for new trial within 15 days from receipt of judgment by default, if judgment had already been rendered before the defendant discovered the default, but before said judgment has become final and executory; (3) an appeal within 15 days from receipt of judgment by default; (4) a petition for relief from judgment within 60 days from notice of judgment and within 6 months from entry thereof; and (5) a petition for certiorari in exceptional circumstances.

In this case, former President Marcos was declared in default for failure to file an answer. He died in Hawaii as an exile while this case was pending, since he and his family fled to Hawaii in February 1986 during a people-power revolt in Metro Manila. His representatives failed to file a motion to lift the order of default. Nevertheless, respondent, as executor of his fathers estate, filed a motion for leave to file a responsive pleading, three motions for extensions to file an answer, and a motion for bill of particulars all of which were granted by the anti-graft court. (G.R. No. 148154; December 17, 2007))