G.R. No. 142316, November 22, 2001.
Main Topic – Rule 44.
Petitioners filed an appeal with the CA with regard to the decision of RTC – Quezon City granting the release of duplicate copy of TCT and the originals of REM contracts in favor of B. Tango. The appellee filed a “Motion to Dismiss Appeal” on the ground that the Appellants’ Brief failed to comply with Section 13, Rule 44 of the Rules of Court. In defense, petitioners argued that the omissions were only the result of oversight or inadvertence and as such could be considered “harmless” errors. They prayed for liberality in the application of technical rules, adding that they have a meritorious defense.
The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal of the petitioners and pointed out that the Brief does not contain a Subject Index nor a Table of Cases and Authorities, with page references. Moreover, the Statement of the Case, Statement of Facts, and Arguments in the Brief has no page reference to the record. These procedural lapses justify the dismissal of the appeal, pursuant to Section 1 (f), Rule 50 of 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. And despite having been notified of such defects, still failed to amend their Brief to conform to the Rules, and instead, argues that these are mere “harmless errors.”
Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing petitioner’s appeal on the basis of pure technicalities and even after petitioners have corrected the technical defect of its appeal.
No. Appeals are merely rights which arise from statute; therefore, they must be exercised in the manner prescribed by law. These rules were designed to assist the appellate court in the accomplishment of its tasks, and overall, to enhance the orderly administration of justice. Relative thereto, Section 13, Rule 44 of the Revised Rules of Court governs the format to be followed by the appellant in drafting his brief. Some may argue that adherence to these formal requirements serves but a meaningless purpose, that these may be ignored with little risk in the smug certainty that liberality in the application of procedural rules can always be relied upon to remedy the infirmities.
Appeals are merely rights which arise from statute; therefore, they must be exercised in the manner prescribed by law.