Civil Law

Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. vs Ludivico Arciaga

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G.R. No. L-29701 – 148 SCRA 438 – Civil Law – Preliminary Title – Application of Laws – Finality of Judgment

On August 24, 1960, Taurino Singson as paying passenger on board a bus belonging to the Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines sustained multiple serious physical injuries when the said bus crashed against an acacia tree somewhere in Balaoan, La Union. Thereafter, he brought a complaint for contractual tort. In their answer, Philippine Rabbit interposed the defense that the collision was due to fortuitous event. The case was set for trial but the case was dismissed for non appearance of Singson. He then filed a motion for relief on the grounds of equity. He averred that the jeepney he was riding on the way to court for trial had engine trouble hence he was too late in court (when he arrived, the case was already dismissed.) Judge Ludivico Arciaga, the hearing judge, granted the motion. Philippine Rabbit questioned the grant.

ISSUE: Whether or not the case filed by Taurino Singson should be dismissed.

HELD: Yes. Normally, a petition for relief may be granted by the courts but in this case, there is no reason to grant such. It appears that in this case, Singson and his lawyer let 61 days lapse before filing their petition/motion for relief. Under the rules, a petition for relief must be filed within 60 days from the order of dismissal otherwise, the judgment shall become final and executory. It is already too late for Singson when he filed his petition on the 61st day. Equity aids the vigilant, not those who slumber on their rights.

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