Deculawan v. Catarus (G.R. No. 228064. August 09, 2017)

PO2 JOSE DECULAWAN, PO1 LITO GORDO, PO1 SMITH CUPIDO, PO1 JAIME KANEN AND P/SUPT. SAM ANDARINO VERSUS SPOUSES APOLINARIO CATARUS AND NENITA CATARUS. [G.R. No. 228064, August 09, 2017].

The petitioners' motion for an extension of thirty (30) days from the expiration of the reglementary period on October 26, 2016 within which to file a petition for review on certiorari is DENIED for failing to file the motion within the 15-day reglementary period under Sec. 2, Rule 45, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended; and the Cash Collection and Disbursement Division is DIRECTED to RETURN to petitioners the excess payment for the legal fees in the amount of P270.00 under O.R. No. 0167622-SC-EP dated November 25, 2016.

After reviewing the Petition and its annexes, inclusive of the Court of Appeals' (CA) Decision dated May 16, 2016 and Resolution dated September 20, 2016 in C.A.-G.R. CEB-CV. No. 04458, and the Regional Trial Court's (RTC) Decision dated March 27, 2012 in Civil Case No. 920, the Court resolves to DENY the Petition for being filed out of time, and for failure of petitioners to sufficiently show that the CA committed any reversible error in the challenged decision as to warrant the exercise of this Court's discretionary appellate jurisdiction.Petitioners received the CA's Resolution denying their motion for reconsideration on October 11, 2016. However, they filed their motion for extension of time asking for an additional period of thirty (30) days to file their petition on October 27, 2016, or one (1) day beyond the fifteen (15)-day reglementary period to file a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Moreover, assuming that the motion is granted, petitioners filed their Petition on November 28, 2016, or three (3) days past the extended deadline (November 25, 2016), thus, the Petition may be denied for being filed out of time.

In any event, and as correctly ruled by the RTC and the CA, petitioners failed to sufficiently prove that they properly secured M/B Angelo Ken Rick while it was in their custody before Typhoon Caloy hit Northern Samar, nor did they present evidence that they exerted all efforts to find a better shelter in order to prevent or at least mitigate any damage to the vessel. Thus, it is clear that they were negligent when they failed to secure the subject vessel while it was in their custody. Moreover, petitioners cannot find solace in the doctrine of State immunity from suit, since they were sued in their personal capacities, and such negligence is beyond the scope of official duties, or at least, may not be covered by such immunity to escape liability and perpetuate injustice to respondents in the performance of official acts. Thus, the RTC and the CA properly made petitioners liable for damages.

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