Thursday, February 02, 2012

Banco Filipino Savings & Mortgage Bank vs. Espinosa, GR No. 162922, January 31, 2007

Facts: A complaint for ejectment was filed by private respondent against petitioner bank for alleged failure to pay the rentals on leased premises to which petitioner was the lessee and private respondent as lessor. The said action reached the Supreme Court to which a decision (June 25) was reached ordering petitioner to vacate the subject premises in Iloilo City and restore possession thereof to private respondent; and to pay the latter a monthly rental of P21,000 from April 1994 up to the time it vacated the premises. This decision was modified through a Resolution, to which the petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. Pending approval of the motion, the Supreme Court En Banc rendered a decision (Nov. 22) which involved another leased premises in Malolos, Bulacan involving the same grounds, the Court adjudged herein petitioner not to be liable for unpaid rentals, both parties having "participated in the deceptive creation of a trust to circumvent the real estate investment limit" under the General Banking Act. The earlier motion for reconsideration was granted in a Resolution (Sept. 3) pronouncing the petitioner not liable for unpaid rentals, basing its ruling on Nov. 22 decision of the Supreme Court.

Subsequently, the private respondent filed a Motion for Execution of the June 25 decision of the Court before the MTC. Public respondent granted the Motion. Hence, the present petition.

Issue: Did public respondent act without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion in ordering the execution of this Court’s June 25, 2001 Decision?

Held: Yes. Public respondent overstepped his authority, however, when he ordered the execution of this Court’s Decision of June 25, the same not being the final resolution of petitioner’s appeal as contemplated in the second paragraph of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court.

On its face, the Entry of Judgment showed that two Resolutions subsequent to the June 25 Decision were also certified as having become final and executory. Clearly apparent from the chronology of dispositions is the fact that the June 25 Decision was later modified by the July 24 Resolution which, in turn, was reconsidered and set aside by the September 3 Resolution.

Not being the final resolution of petitioner’s duly perfected appeal, this Court’s June 25 Decision was not a judgment that private respondent was entitled to execute as a matter of right, hence, it could not have provided the basis for the grant of the motion for and issuance of the writ of execution.

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