Wednesday, February 29, 2012

State Investment Trust, Inc. vs. Delta Motors Corporation

Facts: On December 5, 1984, the RTC rendered a judgment by default in an action for a sum of money, ordering respondent Delta Motors Corp. to pay petitioner State Investment Trust, Inc. The judgment, however, did not attain finality because a copy thereof was not served on respondent. On November 12, 1991, respondent filed its Notice of Appeal with the RTC. The RTC dismissed the Notice of Appeal. On June 17, 1993, the CA granted respondent’s Petition for Certiorari (Rule 65) and ordered to elevate the case records to the CA. Despite the CA decision, the case records have not been actually elevated by the RTC to the CA. Upon petitioner’s Omnibus Motion dated March 16, 1998, the RTC issued the May 27, 1998 Order directing the sheriff to continue with the execution of its December 5, 1984 Decision. 

Issue: Whether or not the RTC has jurisdiction in ordering the execution. 

Held: NO. Furthermore, Section 9 of Rule 41 of the Rules of Court explains the instances when the trial court loses jurisdiction over a case: 

“A party’s appeal by record on appeal is deemed perfected as to him with respect to the subject matter thereof upon the approval of the record on appeal filed in due time. 

“In appeals by notice of appeal, the court loses jurisdiction over the case upon the perfection of the appeals filed in due time and the expiration of the time to appeal of the other parties. 

“In either case, prior to the transmittal of the original record or the record on appeal, the court may issue orders for the protection and preservation of the rights of the parties which do not involve any matter litigated by the appeal, approve compromises, permit appeals of indigent litigants, order execution pending appeal in accordance with Section 2 of Rule 39, and allow withdrawal of the appeal.” 

In the case at bar, the appeal filed by respondent was perfected on November 12, 1991, when it filed its Notice of Appeal. Considering that it had already filed such Notice, and that the period of appeal for petitioner had already expired, the RTC no longer had jurisdiction over the case. Hence, the trial court acted improperly when it issued its May 27, 1998 Order granting petitioner’s Omnibus Motion. For having been issued without jurisdiction, the Order is plainly null and void. 

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