Remedy after finality or execution of judgment

In the 2018 case of Esposo v. Epsilon (G.R. No. 218167), petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals (CA) erred in reversing the Decision of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) when the same (Decision ) had already become final and executory, there being no appeal provided by law therefrom. Likewise, Esposo faults the CA for refusing to dismiss respondents' petition when respondents had already voluntarily settled the judgment award in the present case.

These contentions deserve scant consideration. The Supreme Court held that the Entry of Judgment issued by the NLRC and the Satisfaction of the NLRC's Judgment made by the respondents did not render moot and academic, and was without prejudice to, the respondents' Petition for Certiorari before the CA.

A judgment or order becomes final upon the lapse of the period to appeal, without an appeal being perfected or a motion for reconsideration being filed.[1] The period or manner of appeal from the NLRC to the CA is governed by Rule 65, pursuant to the ruling of this Court in St. Martin Funeral Home v. NLRC.[2]

Section 4 of Rule 65, as amended, states that the petition may be filed not later than sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment, or resolution sought to be assailed.[3]

In this case of Esposo v. Epsilon, it is not disputed that respondents timely filed their Rule 65 Petition for Certiorari of the NLRC Decision with the CA. Hence, the issuance of the Entry of Judgment by the NLRC cannot render moot and academic the Petition for Certiorari before the CA and the latter was correct in taking cognizance of the petition.Anent the issue of the satisfaction of judgment made by respondents which should have allegedly prompted the CA to dismiss respondents' petition filed before it, this contention is likewise untenable. The Satisfaction of Judgment with Urgent Motion to Lift Garnishment filed by respondents contains the categorical caveat that their prayer for the lifting of the garnishment over their depositary bank which hampered their business operations was without prejudice to the then pending petition with the CA. Likewise, such course of action by judgment creditors is expressly recognized by the 2011 NLRC Rules of Procedure, Rule XI on Execution Proceedings which provides for the remedy of restitution in similar situations, to wit:
Rule XI


SECTION 14. EFFECT OF REVERSAL OF EXECUTED JUDGMENT. – Where the executed judgment is totally or partially reversed or annulled by the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, the Labor Arbiter shall, on motion, issue such orders of restitution of the executed award, except wages paid during reinstatement pending appeal.
Hence, the satisfaction by respondents of the judgment award of the NLRC did not prejudice the proceedings before the CA. The CA correctly refused to dismiss the respondents' petition on this ground.

[1] Phil. Veterans Bank v. Solid Homes, Inc., 607 Phil. 14, 21 (2009).
[2] 356 Phil. 811 (1998).
[3] Dela Rosa v. Michaelmar Philippines, Inc., 664 Phil. 154, 162 (2011).

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