G.R. No. 237948. July 02, 2018

[G.R. No. 237948, July 02, 2018]. PASTRANA BANANA PLANTATION AND/OR CHRISTOPHER PASTRANA V. LEONCIO SUCLATAN, JR. AND LIEZL SUCLATAN. G.R. No. 237948. Pastrana Banana Plantation and/or Christopher Pastrana v. Leoncio Suclatan, Jr. and Liezl Suclatan.

The Court resolves to GRANT petitioners' Motion for Extension of thirty (30) days from the expiration of the reglementary period within which to file a petition for review on certiorari.

This Court has carefully reviewed the allegations, issues, and arguments adduced in the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari and accordingly further resolves to DENY the same for: (1) failure to accompany the petition with clearly legible duplicate originals or certified true copies of the assailed August 25, 2017 and March 2, 2018 Resolutions, in violation of Section 4(d), Rule 45 of the Rules of Court in relation to Section 5, Rule 45 and Section 5, Rule 56 of the said Rules; and (2) failure to sufficiently show that the Court of Appeals (CA) committed any reversible error in dismissing the Petition for Certiorari in CA-G.R. SP No. 08255-MIN.

Petitioners harp on this Court's previous rulings giving due course to a belatedly filed petition in the interest of substantial justice. The reasons proffered by petitioners for the two-day delay in filing their petition for certiorari before the CA, i.e., the distance between their counsel's office and Cagayan de Oro (where the petition was to be filed) was too great and "they had to prepare the money necessary for the payment of the docket fee,"[1] are not, however, sufficient reasons to disregard the 60-day reglementary period.

Besides, not only did petitioners fail to file the petition on time but they also paid the docket fees more than two weeks after the lapse of the reglementary period. In Ruiz v. Delos Santos,[2] this Court held:
Payment in full of docket fees within the prescribed period is mandatory. It is an essential requirement without which the decision appealed from would become final and executory as if no appeal has been filed. Failure to perfect an appeal within the prescribed period is not a mere technicality but jurisdictional, and failure to perfect an appeal renders the judgment final and executory. (Citations omitted.)
Even if this Court were to look into the merits of the instant petition, we are more inclined to accept the National Labor Relations Commission's reason as to why prescription did not run against respondents, to wit:
[Respondents] asked DOLE Regional Office No. 10 that their case be endorsed to the NLRC Regional Arbitration Branch (RAB) No. 10, Cagayan de Oro City for it to be consolidated with their complaint for illegal dismissal that they intended to file. Acting thereon, the Assistant Regional Director of DOLE Regional Office No. 10, Mr. Crispin D. Dannug Jr., issued an [O]rder dated 29 September 2012 endorsing their case to NLRC RAB No. 10 as they prayed for. Consequently, or on March 06, 2014, [respondents] filed with the NLRC RAB No. 10 a complaint for illegal dismissal with money claims.Summonses/notices of hearing were sent to both parties, but the records of the case do not show if any hearing was conducted. In fact, [respondents] inquired with the NLRC RAB No. 10 if [petitioners] were indeed served [with] such summons/notice of hearing.

[With] no information therefrom, [respondents] re-filed their complaint for illegal dismissal with money claims on 12 May 2016. xxx


xxx The filing by [respondents] of their complaint for illegal dismissal with money claims on March 06, 2014 stopped the running of the statute of prescription. [There] being no showing that the said complaint was dismissed or voluntarily withdrawn by [respondents], it cannot be legally said that [it was] as if no action had been commenced by [respondents] on such date of March 06, 2014. To rule otherwise [illegible] [respondents] are penalized for inaction on their first complaint not on their fault against the principle of fairness and justice, xxx[3]
ACCORDINGLY, the Court resolves to AFFIRM the Resolutions dated August 25, 2017 and March 2, 2018 by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 08255-MIN. The National Labor Relations Commission is DELETED as party respondent in this case pursuant to Sec. 4, Rule 45, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended.