Retroactivity of remedial law

QUESTION: Are procedural laws (remedial laws) prospective or retroactive in application?

The general rule is that rules of procedure may be modified at any time to become effective at once, so long as the change does not affect vested rights. Moreover, it is equally axiomatic that there are no vested rights in rules of procedure.

In Zulueta v. Asia Brewery (G.R. No. 138137), remedial or procedural laws, i.e., those statutes relating to remedies or modes of procedure, which do not create new or take away vested rights, but only operate in furtherance of the remedy or confirmation of such rights, ordinarily do not come within the legal meaning of a retrospective law, nor within the general rule against the retrospective operation of statutes.

In Zulueta, the issue was the then new 60-day rule in certiorari petitions under the 1997 Rules on Civil Procedure. The High Court said: "The ninety-day limit established by jurisprudence cannot be deemed a vested right. It is merely a discretionary prerogative of the courts that may be exercised depending on the peculiar circumstances of each case. Hence, respondent was not entitled, as a matter of right, to the 90-day period for filing a petition for certiorari; neither can it imperiously demand that the same period be extended to it.

"Upon the effectivity of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure on July 1, 1997, respondent's lawyers still had 21 days or until July 22, 1997 to file a petition for certiorari and to comply with the sixty-day reglementary period. Had they been more prudent and circumspect in regard to the implications of these procedural changes, respondent's right of action would not have been foreclosed. After all, the 1997 amendments to the Rules of Court were well-publicized prior to their date of effectivity. At the very least counsel should have asked for as extension of time to file the petition." What are the exceptions?

Statutory Construction, 1986 ed., pp. 269-272 by Agpalo was cited in G.R. No. 136368:

The rule that procedural laws are applicable to pending actions or proceedings admits certain exceptions. The rule does not apply:

[1] Where the statute itself expressly or by necessary implication provides that pending actions are excepted from its operation, or;
[2] Where to apply it to pending proceedings would impair vested rights.

Under appropriate circumstances, courts may deny the retroactive application of procedural laws in the event that to do so would not be feasible or would work injustice. Nor may procedural laws be applied retroactively to pending actions if to do so would involve intricate problems of due process or impair the independence of the courts."