Certiorari is a prerogative writ which must be filed within 60 days from receipt of counsel of the Order. This is a non-extendible period.
The reckoning point is the receipt of counsel and not of party.
The Supreme Court held as follows:
Waterfront Cebu City Casino Hotel, Inc. and Marco Protacio vs. Ildebrando Ledesma
G.R. No. 197556, March 25, 2015
Respondent Ildebrando Ledesma was hired as House Detective at Waterfront located at Salinas Drive, Cebu City
On the basis of the complaints filed before Waterfront by Christe Mandal, a supplier of a concessionaire of Waterfront,and Rosanna Lofranco, who was seeking a job at the same hotel, Ledesma was dismissed from employment.
From the affidavits and testimonies of Christe Mandal and Rosanna Lofranco during the administrative hearings conducted by Waterfront, the latter found, among others, that Ledesma kissed and mashed the breasts of Christe Mandal inside the hotel’s elevator, and exhibited his penis and asked Rosanna Lofranco to masturbate him at the conference room of the hotel.
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The LA found that the allegations leveled against Ledesma are mere concoctions, and concluded that Ledesma was illegally dismissed.
On appeal to the NLRC, the latter reversed the ruling of the LA and held that Ledesma’s acts of sexual overtures to Christe Mandal and Rosanna Lofranco constituted grave misconduct justifying his dismissal from employment.
The NLRC denied Ledesma’s motion for reconsideration in a resolution. A copy of the said resolution received by Atty. Gines Abellana (Atty. Abellana), Ledesma’s counsel of record, on March 15, 2010.
On May 17, 2010, or sixty-three (63) days after Atty. Abellana received a copy of the NLRC’s Resolution denying the motion for reconsideration, said counsel filed before the CA a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
In its Comment, Waterfront prayed for the outright dismissal of the petition on the ground that it was belatedly filed.
On August 5, 2010, Ledesma, now assisted by a new counsel, filed a motion for leave to file amended petition, and sought the admission of his Amended Petition for Certiorari. In the amended petition, Ledesma contended that his receipt on March 24, 2010 (and not the receipt on March 15, 2010 by Atty. Abellana), is the reckoning date of the 60-day reglementary period within which to file the petition. Hence, Ledesma claims that the petition was timely filed on May 17, 2010.
The CA granted leave of court to Ledesma and admitted his amended petition for certiorari. The CA, thereafter, rendered a Decision reversing the Decision of the NLRC and reinstating the ruling of the LA.
The CA denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Waterfront in a Resolution dated June 21, 2011. Thus, the present petition for review on certiorari where Waterfront raised the main issue of whether the petition for certiorari was timely filed with the CA
Whether or not the reckoning point for the counting of the period to file petition for certiorari is the receipt of pary and not of his counsel
The SC found the petition meritorious.
The unjustified failure of Ledesma to file his petition for certiorari before the CA within the 60-day period is a ground for the outright dismissal of said petition.
In Laguna Metts Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, the SC categorically ruled that the present rule, Section 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, as amended by A.M. No. 07-7-12-SC, now mandatorily requires compliance with the reglementary period. The period can no longer be extended as previously allowed before the amendment
In the subsequent case of Domdom vs. Third & Fifth Divisions of the Sandiganbayan, the absence of a specific prohibition in Section 4 of Rule 65, as amended, for the extension of the 60-day period to file a petition for certiorari was construed as a discretionary authority of the courts to grant an extension.
Republic vs. St. Vincent De Paul Colleges, Inc. clarified the “conflict” between the rulings in Laguna Metts Corporation and Domdom, in that the former is the general rule while the latter is the exception.
In relaxing the rules and allowing an extension, Thenamaris Philippines, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals reiterated the necessity for the party invoking liberality to advance a reasonable or meritorious explanation for the failure to file the petition for certiorari within the 60-day period.
Atty. Abellana, Ledesma’s counsel, admittedly received a copy of the NLRC Resolution denying the Motion for Reconsideration on March 15, 2010while Ledesma received his copy on March 24, 2010.
Ledesma erroneously asserted in his petition for certiorari filed before the CA, that the 60th day is May 15, 2010, counted from March 15, 2010. In computing a period, the first day shall be excluded, and the last included; hence, the last day to file his petition for certiorariis on May 14, 2010, a Friday. Ledesma therefore belatedly filed his petition on May 17, 2010.
When a party to a suit appears by counsel, service of every judgment and all orders of the court must be sent to the counsel. This is so because notice to counsel is an effective notice to the client, while notice to the client and not his counsel is not notice in law. Receipt of notice by the counsel of record is the reckoning point of the reglementary period.
The relaxation of procedural rules may be allowed only when there are exceptional circumstances to justify the same. There should be an effort on the part of the party invoking liberality to advance a reasonable or meritorious explanation for his/her failure to comply with the rules. Moreover, those who seek exemption from the application of a procedural rule have the burden of proving the existence of exceptionally meritorious reason warranting such departure.
Both in his petition and amended petition, Ledesma never invoked the liberality of the CA nor endeavored to justify the belated filing of his petition. On the contrary, Ledesma remained firm that his petition was filed with the CA within the reglementary period. Absent valid and compelling reasons for the procedural lapse, the desired leniency cannot be accorded to Ledesma.