City of Manila vs. Court of Appeals

G.R. No. 100626. November 29,1991

MAIN TOPIC – Rule 38


The City of Manila filed a complaint for unlawful detainer against Army and Navy Club (ANC) for violation of the lease agreement between them over a parcel of land on Roxas Boulevard.  A summary judgment was decided in favor of City of Manila by the Metropolitan Trial Court which is affirmed by the Regional Trial Court. ANC then filed a supersedeas bond and subsequently appealed from the judgment.  The petitioner filed an ex parte motion for execution on the ground that the judgment had already become final and executory under RA 6031. Judge Reyes granted the motion the same day and at 4:00 o’clock that afternoon the writ of execution was served on ANC.

ANC filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with the Court of Appeals. On July 3, 1991, that court issued granted the filing of the present petition for certiorari. The petitioner assails the action of the CA and contends that decisions of the regional trial court in cases exclusively cognizable by inferior courts are final and executory under RA 6031 In response, the respondent posited that decisions of the regional trial court in cases originating from and within the exclusive jurisdiction of the metropolitan or municipal trial courts are not final but subject to appeal in a petition for review to the Court of Appeals. Such decisions cannot be executed where the period of time for the defendant to perfect his appeal has not yet expired.


Whether or not decisions of the regional trial court in its appellate capacity had already become “final and executory,” and could not validly be elevated to the Court of Appeals in a petition for review.


No. Judgments are “final” in the sense that they finally dispose of, adjudicate, or determine the rights of the parties in the case, but such judgments are not yet “final and executory” pending the expiration of the reglementary period for appeal. During that period, execution of the judgment cannot yet be demanded by the winning party as a matter of right. ANC had up to June 25, 1991, to appeal the decision of the regional trial court. The motion for execution was filed by the petitioner on June 10, 1991, before the expiration of the said reglementary period. As the decision had not yet become final and executory on that date, the motion was premature and should therefore not have been granted. Contrary to the petitioner’s contention, what the trial court authorized was an execution pending appeal.

While it is true that execution pending appeal is allowed under Rule 39, Sec. 2, of the Rules of Court, this provision must be strictly construed, being an exception to the general rule. The reason allowing this kind of execution must be of such urgency as to outweigh the injury or damage of the losing party should it secure a reversal of the judgment on appeal. Absent any such justification, the order of execution must be struck down as flawed with grave abuse of discretion.


A judgment becomes “final and executory” by operation of law. Finality of judgment becomes a fact upon the lapse of the reglementary period to appeal if no appeal is perfected.