[ G.R. No. 130017. February 10, 1999]




Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated FEB 10, 1999.

G.R. No. 130017 (Bernardo Molining vs. Hon. Court of Appeals and the People of the Philippines.)

This is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the resolutions of April 14, and May 2, 1997 of the respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. UDK-095.

Petitioner Bernardo Molining was charged with an eventually convicted of the crime of attempted robbery before the MCTC of Kabacan-Carmen-Banisilan, Kabacan, Cotabato and was sentenced to suffer an imprisonment f four (4) months. Petitioner appealed before the RTC of Kabacan, Cotabato, Branch 22. His conviction was affirmed with modification by increasing the penalty. Acting on petitioner's motion for reconsideration, the court in its order of February 13, 1997, reduced the penalty to one month and one day imprisonment. Thereafter, petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a motion for extension of time of thirty (30) days from February 25, 1997, or until March 27, 1997, within which to file a petition for review. On March 25, 1997, the petition was filed. In the resolution of April 14, 1997, the Court of Appeals granted petitioner's motion for non-extendible period of fifteen (15) days from February 25, 1997 or until March 12, 1997, within which to file the petition for review. Upon receipt thereof, petitioner filed a manifestation stating that he already filed his petition on March 25, 1997. In the resolution of May 2, 1997, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for being filed late. His motion for reconsideration was denied on June 27, 1997. Hence, this petition.

Petitioner alleged that the ends of justice should prevail over the Revised Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals. He maintains that the interpretation and application of the rules should be in accordance with substantial justice.

The petition is not impressed with merit.

As early as in Lacsamana v. Second Special Cases Division of the Intermediate Appellate Court, 1 [143 SCRA643 (1986).] this Court categorically set the fifteen-day period as allowable extension of time to file petitions for review in cases filed before the Court of Appeals. This ruling was accordingly adopted under Rule 6, Section 3 of the 1988 Revised Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals, which took effect on August 18, 1988.

In the recent case of Videogram Regulatory Board vs Court of Appeals 2 [265 SCRA 50 (1996).] it held that x x x extension should be limited only to fifteen (15) days, save in exceptionally meritorious cases where the Court of Appeals may grant a longer period. It further stated that:

"Thus, respondent Court cannot be faulted for granting petitioner only fifteen days extension, even if it prayed for thirty. Certainly, we can not attribute grave abuse of discretion to said Court for merely following its own internal rules which have been granted imprimatur by this Court."

In the case at bar, the Court of Appeals granted petitioner an extension of fifteen days instead of thirty days as originally prayed for. Petitioner's counsel should not have presumed that the Court of Appeals would grant his motion for extension of time for thirty days, nor except that the extension that may be granted shall be counted from notice.

As clearly enunciated in Roxas v. Court of Appeals: 3 [156 SCRA 252 (1987).]

"Thus, the petition for review of the assailed resolutions must fail: Let this serve as warning among members of the Philippine Bar who take their own sweet time with their cases if not purposely delay its progress for no cogent reason. It does no credit to their standing in the profession. More so when they do not file the required brief or pleading until their motion is acted upon. Not only should they presume that their motion for extension of time will be granted by the court much less should they except that the extension that may be granted shall be counted from notice. They should file their briefs or pleadings within the extended period requested. Failing in this, they have only themselves to blame if their appeal or case is dismissed."

The Court of Appeals committed no error in dismissing the petition for review since the appellate court merely enforced its own internal rules, which has been long affirmed by this Court. Moreover, no compelling reason was raised by petitioner in his motion for extension to warrant an exception that a longer of extension other than the fifteen-day period be granted.

Lastly, when no timely appeal is taken, the judgment becomes final and the court loses jurisdiction over the case, and it has no alternative but to order the execution of the final judgment.4 [Ditching vs. Court of Appeals, 263 SCRA 343 (1996).] In this case, the Court of Appeals was correct in dismissing the petition for review for the reason that it was filed out of time. Thus, the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Kabacan, Cotabato in Criminal Case No. (4712-E) 272 is now final and executory.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the instant petition is hereby DENIED. The decision of the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. CR No. UDK-095 dated May 2, 1997, is AFFIRMED in toto. No costs.

Very truly yours,


Clerk of Court

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