RODOLFO V. FRANCISCO vs. EMILIANA M. ROJAS, and the legitimate heirs of JOSE A. ROJAS, namely: JOSE FERDINAND M. ROJAS II, ROLANDO M. ROJAS, JOSE M. ROJAS, JR., CARMELITA ROJAS-JOSE, VICTOR M. ROJAS, and LOURDES M. ROJAS, all represented by JOSE FERDINAND M. ROJAS II, G.R. No. 167120, April 23, 2014
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Petitioner contends that the CA should have dismissed the petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by respondents on January 3, 2001 for being filed beyond the 60-day reglementary period in violation of Section 4, Rule 65 of the Rules from the time they allegedly discovered the existence of LRC Case No. 95-0004 in June 2000. He asserts that failure to perfect an appeal within the prescribed period is not a mere technicality but mandatory and jurisdictional in nature and that, for want of allegations of compelling reason for the court to exercise its equity jurisdiction, procedural rules on timeliness of filing should have been strictly adhered to. Due to the CA’s error in entertaining the petition, he avers that it did not acquire jurisdiction over the same, effectively rendering invalid its questioned Decision and Resolution. Further, while petitioner agrees with the CA’s opinion that Torrens title cannot be attacked collaterally, he argues that respondents’ petition for certiorari before the CA does not and cannot be considered as a direct attack to the Franciscos’ title; hence, the CA’s Decision nullifying TCT Nos. M-102009, M-102010, and M-102012 is likewise void.
Indeed, respondents committed a lapse in procedure, but not due to a petition that was filed out of time before the CA. Respondents erred because they should have filed a petition for annulment of judgment under Rule 47 of the Rules instead of a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 thereof. Such petition does not require a person to be a party to the judgment sought to be annulled.16 Nevertheless, considering that the petition before the CA essentially alleged lack of jurisdiction and denial of due process – two grounds upon which a petition for annulment of judgment may be based (aside from extrinsic fraud)17 – We deem it wise to ignore the procedural infirmity and resolve the substantial merits of the case, especially so since the action filed is not yet barred by laches or estoppel.18
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