Pito v. Luna (G.R. No. 235814. February 21, 2018)

CASE DIGEST: [ G.R. No. 235814, February 21, 2018 ]. EDEN C. PITO, REMEDIOS C. LIAGIA, EXEQUIEL A. BARILLO, BOBBY B. ALAMAN, THELMA B. MARIN, JOSEPHINE B. ENGUITO, JENNIFER H. ROASOL V. RODOLFO B. LUNA.

After a judicious study of the case, the Court resolves to DENY the instant petition and AFFIRM the August 17, 2017 and October 12, 2017 Resolutions of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 08193-MIN for failure of petitioners Eden C. Pito, Remedios C. Lingua, Exequiel A. Barillo, Bobby B. Alaman, Thelma B. Marin, Josephine B. Enguito, and Jennifer L. Roasol (petitioners) to sufficiently show that the CA committed any reversible error in dismissing their Petition for Review filed under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court and their subsequent Motion for Reconsideration of the denial thereof for belated filing.

As the CA correctly ruled, petitioners failed to present a compelling justification or reason to relax the rules of procedure; hence, the CA's August 17, 2017 Resolution dismissing their Rule 43 Petition for Review had already become final and executory, leaving nothing more for this Court to review.

It must be emphasized that the right to appeal is a mere statutory privilege and may be exercised only in the manner and in accordance with the provisions of the law. A party who seeks to avail of the right must, therefore, comply with the requirements of the rules, failing which the right to appeal is invariably lost, as petitioners' appeal in this case.

Moreover, records show that petitioners filed the present Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court only on December 15, 2017, or seven (7) days beyond the 15-day extended period, or only until December 8, 2017, granted by this Court. The Court cannot countenance petitioners' actions and what appears to have become their habit of disregarding the reglementary periods without any justifiable reason. While procedural rules are liberally construed, the provisions on reglementary periods are strictly applied, indispensable as they are to the orderly and speedy discharge, of judicial business, Accordingly, the CA acted in accordance with the law, rules, and jurisprudence in denying their appeal for belated filing.

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