RESPONDENT Robert S. Elvas filed a petition for review from the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA).
The 30th day of the additional period granted him was on July 5, 2010. He failed to file his petition. Instead, he filed it on July 6, 2010.
In justifying the delay, respondent claimed that he was able to obtain funds for printing and photographing of the petition and its attachments only on the last day of filing the petition, or on July 5, 2010. By then, it was too late to complete the photocopying and collation of documents for submission on the same day as in fact, he was able to personally deliver the completed petition before the Supreme Court only on the following day.
Does this justification find merit?
The right to appeal is neither a natural right nor is it a component of due process. It is a mere statutory privilege, and may be exercised only in the manner and in accordance with the provisions of law.
Elvas calls for our compassion to overlook the one day delay in the filing of his petition; however, we have ruled time and again that our kind consideration is not for the undeserving. While it is within our power to relax the rule on timeliness of appeals, the circumstances obtaining in this case do not warrant our liberality.
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In addition, the fact that the delay in the filing of the petition was only one day is not a legal justification for non-compliance with the rule requiring that it be filed within the reglementary period. Thus, in the recent case of Visayan Electric Company Employees Union-ALU-TUCP v. Visayan Electric Cornpany, Inc., G.R. No. 205575, July 22, 2015, 763 SCRA 566, 578, we affirmed the CA’s denial of a petition for certiorari filed 61 days instead of 60 days from notice of the judgment or resolution, viz: When the law fixes thirty days x x x, we cannot take it to mean also thirty-one days. If that deadline could be stretched to thirty-one days in one case, what would prevent its being further stretched to thirty-two days in another case, and so on, step by step, until the original line is forgotten or buried in the growing confusion resulting from the alterations? That is intolerable. We cannot fix a period with the solemnity of a statute and disregard it like a joke. If law is founded on reason, whim and fancy should play no part in its application.
Consequently, we deny Elvas’ petition for being filed beyond the reglementary period (Jardeleza, J., SC Third Division, Maria Victoria Tolentino-Prieto vs. Robert S. Elvas, G.R. No. 192369, Robert S. Elvas, vs. Innsbruck International Trading and/or Marivic Tolentino (A.K.A. Maria Victoria Tolentino-Prieto), G.R. No. 193685, November 09, 2016).