Final judgments may be reversed

Final and executory judgments may be reversed when the interest of substantial justice is at stake and where special and compelling reasons called for such actions.[1] In Barnes v. Judge Padilla,[2] it was declared by the Supreme Court as follows:

x x x a final and executory judgment can no longer be attacked by any of the parties or be modified, directly or indirectly, even by the highest court of the land.

However, this Court has relaxed this rule in order to serve substantial justice considering (a) matters of life, liberty, honor or property, (b) the existence of special or compelling circumstances, (c) the merits of the case, (d) a cause not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of the party favored by the suspension of the rules, (e) a lack of any showing that the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory, and (f) the other party will not be unjustly prejudiced thereby.

Invariably, rules of procedure should be viewed as mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. Their strict and rigid application, which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice, must always be eschewed. Even the Rules of Court reflects this principle. The power to suspend or even disregard rules can be so pervasive and compelling as to alter even that which this Court itself had already declared to be final.

[1] See Apo Fruits Corporation, et al. v. Land Bank of the Philippines, 647 Phil. 251, 288 (2010).

[2] 482 Phil. 903, 915 (2004). Citations omitted. 

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