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G.R.No.203241.July10,2013.

RIZAL COMMERCIAL BANKING CORPORATION, petitioner,


vs.FEDERICOA.SERRA,respondent.

Remedial Law Civil Procedure Judgments Execution of Judgments


The Rules of Court provide that a final and executory judgment may be
executedbymotionwithinfiveyearsfromthedate

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*SECONDDIVISION.

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RizalCommercialBankingCorporationvs.Serra

of its entry or by an action after the lapse of five years and before
prescriptionsetsin.TheRulesofCourtprovidethatafinalandexecutory
judgment may be executed by motion within five years from the date of its
entryorbyanactionafterthelapseoffiveyearsandbeforeprescriptionsets
in.ThisCourt,however,allowsexceptionswhenexecutionmaybemadeby
motion even after the lapse of five years. These exceptions have one
common denominator: the delay is caused or occasioned by actions of the
judgmentobligorand/orisincurredforhisbenefitoradvantage.
Same Same Same Same The Supreme Court has reiterated that the
purposeofprescribingtimelimitationsforenforcingjudgmentsistoprevent
parties from sleeping on their rights.This Court has reiterated that the
purposeofprescribingtimelimitationsforenforcingjudgmentsistoprevent
partiesfromsleepingontheirrights.Farfromsleepingonitsrights,RCBC
haspursuedpersistentlyitsactionagainstSerrainaccordancewithlaw.On
theotherhand,Serrahascontinuedtoevadehisobligationbyraisingissues
of technicality. While strict compliance with the rules of procedure is
desired, liberal interpretation is warranted in cases where a strict
enforcementoftheruleswillnotservetheendsofjustice.

PETITION for review on certiorari of the orders of the Regional


TrialCourtofMakatiCity,Br.134.
ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.
Platon,Martinez,Flores,SanPedroandLeaoforpetitioner.

CARPIO,J.:
TheCase
This Petition for Review on Certiorari1 with prayer for the
issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary
RestrainingOrderassailsthe16February20122and26

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1UnderRule45ofthe1997RulesofCivilProcedure.
2Rollo,pp.3942.PennedbyJudgePerpetuaAtalPao.

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126 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
RizalCommercialBankingCorporationvs.Serra

July 20123 Orders of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City,


Branch134(RTCMakati).
TheFacts
Respondent Federico A. Serra (Serra) is the owner of a 374
square meter parcel of land located along Quezon Street, Masbate,
Masbate. On 20 May 1975, Serra and petitioner Rizal Commercial
BankingCorporation(RCBC)enteredintoaContractofLeasewith
OptiontoBuy,whereinSerraagreedtoleasehislandtoRCBCfor
25years.SerrafurthergrantedRCBCtheoptiontobuythelandand
improvement (property) within 10 years from the signing of the
ContractofLeasewithOptiontoBuy.
On 4 September 1984, RCBC informed Serra of its decision to
exerciseitsoptionto buy the property. However, Serra replied that
he was no longer interested in selling the property. On 14 March
1985, RCBC filed a Complaint for Specific Performance and
Damages against Serra (Specific Performance case) in the RTC
Makati. The RTC Makati initially dismissed the complaint.
However, in an Order dated 5 January 1989, the RTC Makati
reversed itself and ordered Serra to execute and deliver the proper
deedofsaleinfavorofRCBC.4

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3Id.,atpp.4344.
4Serrav.CourtofAppeals,G.R.No.103338,4January1994,229SCRA60,66.
TheRTCOrderstates:
WHEREFORE,theCourtreconsidersitsdecisiondatedJune6,1988,andhereby
rendersjudgmentasfollows:
1.Thedefendantisherebyorderedtoexecuteanddelivertheproperdeedofsale
in favor of plaintiff selling, transferring and conveying the property covered by and
described in the Original Certificate of Title 0232 of the Registry of Deeds of
Masbate for the sum of Seventy Eight Thousand Five Hundred Forty Pesos
(P78,540.00),Philippinecurrency
2.Defendant is ordered to pay plaintiff the sum of Five Thousand (P5,000.00)
Pesosasattorneysfees

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RizalCommercialBankingCorporationvs.Serra

SerraappealedtotheCourtofAppeals(CA).On18May1989,
Serra donated the property to his mother, Leonida Ablao (Ablao).
On 20 April 1992, Ablao sold the property to Hermanito Liok
(Liok). A new land title was issued in favor of Liok. Thus, RCBC
filedaComplaintforNullificationofDeedofDonationandDeedof
Sale with Reconveyance and Damages against Liok, Ablao and
Serra (Annulment case) before the RTC of Masbate City (RTC
Masbate).
Meanwhile, the CA, and later the Supreme Court, affirmed the
order of the RTC Makati in the Specific Performance case. In a
Decisiondated4January1994,thisCourtdeclaredthattheContract
of Lease with Option to Buy was valid, effective, and enforceable.
On 15 April 1994, the decision in the Specific Performance case
becamefinalandexecutoryuponentryofjudgment.5
On22October2001,theRTCMasbateruledinfavorofRCBC,
declaringthedonationinfavorofAblaoandthesubsequentsaleto
Lioknullandvoid.6InaDecisiondated28September2007,theCA
affirmedtheRTCMasbatedecision.TheCAheldthatthedonation
to Ablao was simulated and was done solely to evade Serras
obligation to RCBC. Since Ablao had no right to transfer the
propertyandLiokwasnot

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3.Thecounterclaimofdefendantisherebydismissedand
4.Defendantsshallpaythecostsofsuit.
5Rollo,p.50.
6Rollo(G.R.No.182664),p.35.TheDecisionstates:
PREMISESCONSIDERED,theDeedofDonationexecutedbydefendantFederico
SerraonMay18,1989,infavorofhismotherLeonidaAblaoaswellastheDeed of
SaleexecutedbyLeonidaAblaoonApril10,1992,infavorofdefendant Hermanito
Liokaredeclarednullandvoid.TheRegisterofDeedsoftheProvinceofMasbateis
orderedtocancelTCTNos.7434andT8432.
xxxx

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128 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
RizalCommercialBankingCorporationvs.Serra

abuyeringoodfaith,thesubsequentsaletoLiokwaslikewisenull
andvoid.
Thus,LiokfiledaPetitionforReviewonCertiorari,docketedas
G.R. No. 182478, while Serra and Ablao filed a Petition for
Certiorari, docketed as G.R. No. 182664, before this Court. In
separate Resolutions dated 30 June 2008 and 22 October 2008,
whichbecamefinalandexecutoryon27August20087and3March
2009,8 respectively, this Court found neither reversible error nor
graveabuseofdiscretionontheCAspart.
On 25 August 2011, RCBC moved for the execution of the
decisionintheSpecificPerformancecase.RCBCallegedthatitwas
legally impossible to ask for the execution of the decision prior to
the annulment of the fraudulent transfers made by Serra. Thus, the
periodtoexecutebymotionwassuspendedduringthependencyof
the Annulment case. On 22 September 2011, Serra filed his
comment and opposition to the motion. Serra insisted that the
motionforexecutionwasalreadybarredbyprescriptionandlaches,
and that RCBC was at fault for failing to register as lien in the
originaltitletheContractofLeasewithOptiontoBuy.
In an Order dated 16 February 2012, the RTC Makati denied
RCBCs motion for execution. The RTC Makati opined that
[RCBC] should have asked for the execution of the deed of sale
and have the same registered with the Registry of Deeds, so that
evenif[Serra]soldortransferredthesubjectpropertytoanyperson
theprincipleofcaveatemptorwouldsetin.9
InanOrderdated26July2012,theRTCMakatideniedRCBCs
motionforreconsideration.Thus,RCBCfiledthispetition.

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7Rollo,p.51.
8Id.,atp.52.
9Id.,atp.41.

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RizalCommercialBankingCorporationvs.Serra

In a Resolution dated 3 December 2012, this Court granted


RCBCsTemporaryRestrainingOrderagainsttheimplementationof
thequestionedOrdersuponRCBCsfilingofabond.
TheIssue
RCBCraisesthissoleissueforresolution:
WHETHERORNOTTHECOURTAQUOERREDINHOLDINGTHAT
PETITIONER RCBC IS BARRED FROM HAVING ITS 05 JANUARY
1989 DECISION EXECUTED THROUGH MOTION, CONSIDERING
THAT UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OBTAINING IN THIS CASE,
RCBC WAS UNLAWFULLY PREVENTED BY THE RESPONDENT
FROMENFORCINGTHESAIDDECISION.10

TheRulingoftheCourt
Thepetitionhasmerit.
TheRulesofCourtprovidethatafinalandexecutoryjudgment
may be executed by motion within five years from the date of its
entry or by an action after the lapse of five years and before
prescriptionsetsin.11ThisCourt,however,allowsexceptionswhen
executionmaybemadebymotionevenafterthelapseoffiveyears.
These exceptions have one common denominator: the delay is
caused or occasioned by actions of the judgment obligor and/or is
incurredforhisbenefitoradvantage.12

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10Id.,atp.18.
11RC,Rule39,Section6.
12ZamboangaBarterTradersKilusangBayan,Inc.v.Plagata,G.R.No.148433,30
September 2008, 567 SCRA 163 Yau v. Silverio, Sr., G.R. No. 158848, 4 February
2008, 543 SCRA 520 Central Surety and Insurance Company v. Planters Products
Inc., 546 Phil. 479 517 SCRA 651 (2007) Francisco Motors Corp. v. Court of
Appeals,535Phil.736505SCRA8(2006)RepublicofthePhils.v.CourtofAppeals,
329Phil.115258SCRA223(1996).

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230 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
RizalCommercialBankingCorporationvs.Serra

InCamachov.CourtofAppeals,13weheldthatwherethedelays
were occasioned by the judgment debtors own initiatives and for
heradvantageaswellasbeyondthejudgmentcreditorscontrol,the
fiveyearperiodallowedforenforcementofthejudgmentbymotion
isdeemedtohavebeeneffectivelyinterruptedorsuspended.
In the present case, there is no dispute that RCBC seeks to
enforcethedecisionwhichbecamefinalandexecutoryon15April
1994. This decision orders Serra to execute and deliver the proper
deedofsaleinfavorofRCBC.However,toevadehisobligationto
RCBC,SerratransferredthepropertytohismotherAblao,whothen
transferred it to Liok. Serras action prompted RCBC to file the
Annulmentcase.Clearly,thedelayintheexecutionofthedecision
wascausedbySerraforhisownadvantage.Thus,thependencyof
the Annulment case effectively suspended the fiveyear period to
enforce through a motion the decision in the Specific Performance
case.SincethedecisionintheAnnulmentcaseattainedfinalityon3
March 2009 and RCBCs motion for execution was filed on 25
August 2011, RCBCs motion is deemed filed within the fiveyear
periodforenforcementofadecisionthroughamotion.
This Court has reiterated that the purpose of prescribing time
limitations for enforcing judgments is to prevent parties from
sleepingontheirrights.14Farfromsleepingonitsrights,RCBChas
pursuedpersistentlyitsactionagainstSerrainaccordancewithlaw.
On the other hand, Serra has continued to evade his obligation by
raisingissuesoftechnicality.Whilestrictcompliancewiththerules
of procedure is desired, liberal interpretation is warranted in cases
where a strict enforcement of the rules will not serve the ends of
justice.15

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13351Phil.108287SCRA611(1998).
14RepublicofthePhils.v.CourtofAppeals,supranote12.
15PhilippineVeteransBankv.SolidHomes,Inc., G.R. No. 170126, 9 June 2009,
589SCRA40citingCentralSuretyandInsur

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RizalCommercialBankingCorporationvs.Serra

WHEREFORE,weGRANTthepetition.WeSETASIDE the
assailedOrdersoftheRegionalTrialCourtofMakatiCitydated16
February2012and26July2012.TheTemporaryRestrainingOrder
issued by this Court on 3 December 2012 is made permanent. The
RegionalTrialCourtofMakatiCityisDIRECTEDtoissuethewrit
of execution in Civil Case No. 10054 for the enforcement of the
decisiontherein.Costsagainstpetitioner.
SOORDERED.

Del Castillo, Perez, Mendoza** and PerlasBernabe, JJ.,


concur.

Petitiongranted,orderssetaside.

Notes.It is undisputable that the most difficult phase of any


proceeding is the execution of judgment. (Marabe vs. Tan, 586
SCRA92[2009])
A final and executory judgment may be executed by motion
within five years or by action for revival of judgment within ten
years reckoned from the date of entry of judgment, which date of
entry, in turn, is the same as the date of finality of judgment.
(Philippine Veterans Bank vs. Solid Homes, Inc., 589 SCRA 40
[2009])
o0o

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anceCompanyv.PlantersProducts,Inc.,546Phil.479517SCRA651(2007).
**DesignatedadditionalmemberperSpecialOrderNo.1484dated9July2013.

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