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TitleRivelisa Realty Inc vs First Sta. Clara Builders Corporation
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Page 1

[G.R. No. 189618. January 15, 2014.]

RIVELISA REALTY, INC., represented by RICARDO P. VENTURINA, petitioner, vs.
FIRST STA. CLARA BUILDERS CORPORATION, represented by RAMON A.
PANGILINAN, as President, respondent.

RESOLUTION

PERLAS-BERNABE, J p:

Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari 1 are the Decision 2 dated February 27, 2009,
and the Resolutions 3 dated May 22, 2009 and September 8, 2009 of the Court of Appeals (CA)
in CA-G.R. CV No. 67198 which reversed and set aside the Decision 4 dated March 30, 2000 of
the Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City, Branch 86 (RTC), holding that: (a) the 15-day
reglementary period to file a motion for reconsideration is non-extendible; and (b) the Joint
Venture Agreement (JVA) entered into by petitioner Rivelisa Realty, Inc. (Rivelisa Realty) and
respondent First Sta. Clara Builders Corporation (First Sta. Clara) had been terminated through
mutual assent.

The Facts

On January 25, 1995, Rivelisa Realty entered into a JVA 5 with First Sta. Clara for the
construction and development of a residential subdivision located in Cabanatuan City (project).
According to its terms, First Sta. Clara was to assume the horizontal development works in the
remaining 69% undeveloped portion of the project owned by Rivelisa Realty, and complete the
same within twelve (12) months from signing. Upon its completion, 60% of the total subdivided
lots shall be transferred in the name of First Sta. Clara. Also, since 31% of the project had been
previously developed by Rivelisa Realty which was assessed to have an aggregate worth of
P10,000,000.00, it was agreed that First Sta. Clara should initially use its own resources (in the
same aggregate amount of P10,000,000.00) before it can start claiming additional funds from the
pre-sale of the 31% developed lots. 40% of the cost of additional works not originally part of the
JVA was to be shouldered by Rivelisa Realty, while 60% by First Sta. Clara. 6 HDAECI

During the course of the project, First Sta. Clara hired a subcontractor to perform the horizontal
development work as well as the additional works on the riprap and the elevation of the road
embankment. Since First Sta. Clara ran out of funds after only two (2) months of construction,
Rivelisa Realty was forced to shoulder part of the payment due to the subcontractor. 7 First Sta.
Clara manifested its intention to back out from the JVA and to discontinue operations when
Rivelisa Realty refused to advance any more funds until 60% of the project had been
accomplished. In a letter dated August 24, 1995, Rivelisa Realty readily agreed to release First
Sta. Clara from the JVA and estimated its actual accomplishment at P4,000,000.00, which
included the payment to the subcontractor in the amount of P1,258,892.72 and the cash advances
amounting to P319,259.68. 8 First Sta. Clara, however, insisted on a valuation of its

Page 4

RULE 4

PROCEDURE IN ORDINARY APPEALS IN CIVIL CASES

xxx xxx xxx

Section 3. Period of Ordinary Appeal. — The appeal shall be taken within fifteen (15) days
from notice of the judgment or final order appealed from. Where a record on appeal is required,
the appellant shall file a notice of appeal and a record on appeal within thirty (30) days from
notice of the judgment or final order. (Sec. 3, Rule 41, RCP)

(Emphases supplied)

xxx xxx xxx

While a motion for additional time is expressly permitted in the filing of a petition for review
before the Court under Section 2, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, 24 a similar motion seeking to
extend the period for filing a motion for reconsideration is prohibited in all other courts. This rule
was first laid down in the case of Habaluyas Enterprises v. Japzon 25 wherein it was held that: 26

Beginning one month after the promulgation of this Resolution, the rule shall be strictly enforced
that no motion for extension of time to file a motion for new trial or reconsideration may be filed
with the Metropolitan or Municipal Trial Courts, the Regional Trial Courts, and the Intermediate
Appellate Court. Such a motion may be filed only in cases pending with the Supreme Court as
the court of last resort, which may in its sound discretion either grant or deny the extension
requested.

Restating the rule in Rolloque v. CA 27 (Rolloque), the Court emphasized that the 15-day period
for filing a motion for new trial or reconsideration is non-extendible. Hence, the filing of a
motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration did not toll the 15-day period
before a judgment becomes final and executory.

In this case, Rivelisa Realty only had until March 18, 2009 29 within which to file either a
motion for reconsideration before the CA or a petition for review of the CA Decision to the
Court. But it committed the fatal error of filing instead a Motion for Extension of Time to File a
Motion for Reconsideration before the CA which — as expressed in Rolloque — did not toll the
running of the period for the finality of the latter's decision. Verily, a party who fails to question
an adverse decision by not filing the proper remedy within the period prescribed by law loses the
right to do so as the decision, as to him, becomes final and binding. 30 Since the CA Decision
had already become final and executory due to the lapse of the reglementary period, not only did
the CA properly deny Rivelisa Realty's belatedly-filed motion for reconsideration but also the
remedy of review before the Court had already been lost. The Court has repeatedly held that the
failure to perfect an appeal in the manner and within the period fixed by law renders the decision
sought to be appealed final, with the result that no court can exercise appellate jurisdiction to

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