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NOLI ALFONSO and ERLINDA FUNDIALAN, vs.

SPOUSES HENRY and LIWANAG


ANDRES
G.R. No. 166236 July 29, 2010
Facts:
In the present petition for review, petitioners assail Resolution of the Court of Appeals which
dismissed the appeal before it for failure of petitioners to file their brief within the extended
reglementary period.
The present case stemmed from a complaint for accion publiciana with damages filed by
respondent spouses Andres against spouses Fundialan before the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
The RTC rendered a Decision in favor of respondents. Petitioners filed an appeal with the CA.
but failed to submit their Appellants Brief, after having been granted several extensions to do so.
The CA dismissed the appeal.
In the SC, Petitioners alleged poverty in failing to find a new lawyer as their reason for their
failure to file their appellants brief.
Issue:
Whether or not petitioners have shown sufficient reason for the relaxation of what otherwise
should be a stringent application of the rule on the payment of appellate docket and other lawful
fees.
Rule:
Poverty cannot be used as an excuse to justify petitioners' complacency in allowing months to
pass by before exerting the required effort to find a replacement lawyer. Poverty is not a
justification for delaying a case. Both parties have a right to a speedy resolution of their case.
Not only petitioners, but also the respondents, have a right to have the case finally settled
without delay. (Plaintiff and Defendant both)
Furthermore, the failure to file a brief on time was due primarily to petitioners' unwise choices
and not really due to poverty. Petitioners were able to get a lawyer to represent them despite
their poverty. They were able to get two other lawyers after they consented to the withdrawal of
their first lawyer. But they hired their subsequent lawyers too late.
It must be pointed out that petitioners had a choice of whether to continue the services of their
original lawyer or consent to let him go. They could also have requested the said lawyer to file
the required appellants' brief before consenting to his withdrawal from the case. But they did
neither of these. Then, not having done so, they delayed in engaging their replacement lawyer.
Their poor choices and lack of sufficient diligence, not poverty, are the main culprits for the
situation they now find themselves in. It would not be fair to pass on the bad consequences of
their choices to respondents. Petitioners' low regard for the rules or nonchalance toward
procedural requirements, which they camouflage with the cloak of poverty, has in fact
contributed much to the delay, and hence frustration of justice, in the present case.

Dimarucot v. People, G.R. No. 183975, 20


September 2010, 630 SCRA 659
Case:
Accused was convicted of homicide in the RTC. He, by counsel, asked for several extension of
time to file their Appeal Brief with the CA. Eventually, the dismissed the appeal and declared
that appellant failed to file his Appeal Brief within the reglementary period.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, his counsel admitting that he was at fault in failing
to file the appellants brief due to "personal problems emanating from his [counsels] wifes
recent surgical operation." It was thus prayed that the CA allow petitioner to file his appellants
brief which counsel undertook to submit within seven (7) days. By Resolution, the CA, finding
the allegations of petitioner unpersuasive and considering that the intended appellants brief
was not at all filed, denied the motion for reconsideration.
Issue:
Whether or not the criminal case against petitioner should be dismissed for petitioners
counsels failure to file the appellants brief within the reglementary period.
Rule:
It is clear that a criminal case may be dismissed by the CA motu proprio and with notice to the
appellant if the latter fails to file his brief within the prescribed time. The phrase "with notice to
the appellant" means that a notice must first be furnished the appellant to show cause why his
appeal should not be dismissed.
Notwithstanding such absence of notice to the appellant, no grave abuse of discretion was
committed by the CA in considering the appeal abandoned with the failure of petitioner to file his
appeal brief despite four (4) extensions granted to him and non-compliance to date. Dismissal of
appeal by the appellate court sans notice to the accused for failure to prosecute by itself is not
an indication of grave abuse. Thus, although it does not appear that the appellate court has
given the appellant such notice before dismissing the appeal, if the appellant has filed a motion
for reconsideration of, or to set aside, the order dismissing the appeal, in which he stated the
reasons why he failed to file his brief on time and the appellate court denied the motion after
considering said reasons, the dismissal was held proper. Likewise, where the appeal was
dismissed without prior notice, but the appellant took no steps either by himself or through
counsel to have the appeal reinstated, such an attitude of indifference and inaction amounts to
his abandonment and renunciation of the right granted to him by law to prosecute his appeal.
Strict compliance with the Rules of Court is indispensable for the orderly and speedy disposition
of justice. The Rules must be followed, otherwise, they will become meaningless and useless.

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