Monday, March 26, 2012

De Roy and Ramos vs. CA [G.R. No. 80718 January 29, 1988]

Facts: The firewall of a burned-out building owned by petitioners collapsed and destroyed the tailoring shop occupied by the family of private respondents, resulting in injuries to private respondents and the death of Marissa Bernal, a daughter. Private respondents had been warned by petitioners to vacate their shop in view of its proximity to the weakened wall but the former failed to do so. On the basis of the foregoing facts, the Regional Trial Court. First Judicial Region, Branch XXXVIII, presided by the Hon. Antonio M. Belen, rendered judgment finding petitioners guilty of gross negligence and awarding damages to private respondents. On appeal, the decision of the trial court was affirmed in toto by the Court of Appeals in a decision promulgated on August 17, 1987, a copy of which was received by petitioners on August 25, 1987. On September 9, 1987, the last day of the fifteen-day period to file an appeal, petitioners filed a motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration, which was eventually denied by the appellate court in the Resolution of September 30, 1987. Petitioners filed their motion for reconsideration on September 24, 1987 but this was denied in the Resolution because the same was not filed within the grace period as enscribed in the present jurisprudence . 

Issue: Whether or not the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion in denying the denied the motion and let the petitioner be bound by the negligence of their counsel

Held: The Court finds that the Court of Appeals did not commit a grave abuse of discretion when it denied petitioners' motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration. In the instant case, petitioners' motion for extension of time was more than a year after the expiration of the grace period. Hence, it is no longer within the coverage of the grace period. Considering the length of time from the expiration of the grace period to the promulgation of the decision of the Court of Appeals on August 25, 1987, petitioners cannot seek refuge in the ignorance of their counsel regarding said rule for their failure to file a motion for reconsideration within the reglamentary period. It is the bounden duty of counsel as lawyer in active law practice to keep abreast of decisions of the Supreme Court particularly where issues have been clarified, consistently reiterated, and published in the advance reports of Supreme Court decisions (G. R. s) and in such publications as the Supreme Court Reports Annotated (SCRA) and law journals.

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