CASE DIGEST: Pacific Union vs. Concepts & Systems

G.R. No. 183528 : February 23, 2011

PACIFIC UNION INSURANCE COMPANY, Petitioner, v. CONCEPTS & SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT, INCORPORATED and COURT OF APPEALS (FIFTEENTH DIVISION), Respondent.

NACHURA, J.:


FACTS:

Concepts & Systems Development, Inc. (private respondent) and a certain Pedro Perez entered into an Amended Construction Agreement. To secure these amounts in case Perez fails to make good his part of the contract, respondent required him to post, as he did post, surety bonds, part of which was issued by Pacific Union Insurance Company (petitioner).

After Perez failed to complete his work, private respondent filed a civil action for Breach of Contract and Damages with Preliminary Attachment against petitioner and the others.

The RTC rendered a decision in favor of private respondent. The CA dismissed petitioner’s appeal for failure to pay the docket and other legal fees. Petitioner moved for reconsideration, averring that it failed to pay the appellate docket fees due to serious financial reverses. To convince the CA to grant the motion, petitioner expressed its willingness to pay the docket fees, albeit belatedly. The motion was denied.

ISSUE: Whether or not the CA erred in dismissing petitioner’s appeal.

HELD:

The petition is meritorious.

CIVIL LAW: Docket fees

The emerging trend in our jurisprudence is to afford every party-litigant the amplest opportunity for the proper and just determination of his cause free from the constraints of technicalities. While it is desirable that the Rules of Court be faithfully and even meticulously observed, courts should not be so strict about procedural lapses that do not really impair the administration of justice.

But in this case, the required fees were actually paid, as shown in the July 10, 2007 RTC Order granting the notice of appeal which explicitly declares that the “appeal docket fee therefor was paid within the reglementary period allowed by law.” That petitioner’s counsel mistakenly thought that no payment was made, and thus prayed, in her motion for reconsideration, for the chance to pay the fees belatedly, is of no moment. The fact is, there was actual payment.

The Court has, in numerous instances, relaxed the Rules when an appellant altogether fails to pay the docket fees; with greater reason should a liberal stance be taken in this case considering that the appellate docket fees were actually paid and the only detail lacking is a specific breakdown of the fees settled.

Petition is DENIED.

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