Appeal modes, periods are mandatory


On April 27, 2016, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 59, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental rendered a Decision in Criminal Case No. RTC 4634 convicting petitioner of violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic Act (RA) No. 9165. This judgment of conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals on April 27, 2017. Petitioner moved for reconsideration, but the Court of Appeals denied the same in its September 22, 2017 Resolution. Under the Rules of Court, petitioner had fifteen (15) days from receipt of said September 22, 2017 Resolution of the Court of Appeals on October 5, 2017 or until October 20, 2017 within which to make an appeal to this Court via a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45.

Petitioner, however, filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari with motion to admit the same only on December 27, 2017, which is beyond the reglementary period to appeal. At this point in time, the Decision of the Court of Appeals had long attained finality and can no longer be assailed as petitioner failed to timely appeal therefrom.

Nothing is more settled than the principle that an appeal, whether in the form of an ordinary appeal or an appeal by certiorari, not being a natural right but a mere statutory privilege, must be perfected according to the mode and within the period prescribed by the law and the rules. The party who seeks to avail himself of the privilege must comply with the requirements of the rules; failing to do so, as in this case, results in the loss of the right to appeal. While procedural irregularities are on occasion set aside in the interest of justice, it must be stressed that the "procedures regulating appeals as laid down in the Rules of Court must be followed because strict compliance with them is indispensable for the orderly and speedy disposition of justice."[1]

Moreover the copies of the assailed Court of Appeals Decision and Resolution that were attached to the petition are mere machine copies rather than clearly legible duplicate original or certified true copies as required under Section 4 of Rule 45. This is another sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition under Section 5, in relation to Section 4 of Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

ACCORDINGLY, the Court resolves to DENY both the Motion to Admit Attached Petition for Review on Certiorari and the attached Petition for Review on Certiorari for late filing.

Petitioner's Ex-Parte Manifestation is NOTED.

SO ORDERED. (Sereno, C.J., on leave; De Castro, J., designated as Acting Chairperson of the First Division per Special Order No. 2540 dated February 28, 2018).

[1] Estrellado-Mainar vs. People, 765 Phil. 21, 27 (2015).