July 18, 2012
On February 11, 2004, an information for falsification of public documents was filed with the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Manila by the Assistant City Prosecutor of Manila (representing Bernardo Vergara Jr.) against Rosa Fenequito, Corazon E. Hernandez, and Lauro H. Rodriquez. On April 23, 2004, Fenequito, et al. filed a Motion to Dismiss the Case Based on Absence of Probable Cause. The MeTC issued an order granting the said motion. Upon appeal by the public prosecutor, however, the RTC set aside the MeTC’s order and directed the latter to trial. Fenequito, et al, filed an appeal before the CA, which subsequent ruled that the RTC’s assailed decision was interlocutory in nature and was therefore not appealable. Hence, the instant petition for review.
WON RTC’s decision was interlocutory and can be appealed.
RTC’s decision was interlocutory in nature. As such, it cannot be appealed.
One of the grounds for the CA’s outright dismissal of Fenequito et al.’s petition for review was because of the latter’s failure to submit copies of pleadings and documents relevant and pertinent to the petition filed, as required under Section 2, Rule 42 of the Rules of Court.
It is settled rule that the right to appeal is neither a natural right nor a part of due process; it is merely a statutory privilege, and may be exercised only in the manner and in accordance with the provisions of law. An appeal being a purely statutory right, an appealing party must strictly comply with the requisites laid down in the Rules of Court. The rationale for this strict attitude is not difficult to appreciate as the Rules are designed to facilities the orderly disposition of appealed cases.
But even if the Court bends its Rules to allow the present petition, the Court still finds no cogent reason to depart from the assailed ruling of the CA. This is because Fenequito et al. erroneously assumed that the RTC Decision is final and appealable, when in fact it is interlocutory. An order is interlocutory if it does not dispose of a case completely, but leaves something more to be done upon its merits. In contrast, a final order is one that which dispose of the whole subject matter or terminates a particular proceeding or action, leaving nothing to be done but to enforce by execution what has been determined.
Granted, the assailed Decision of the RTC set aside the Order of the MeTC and directed the court a quo to proceed to trial by allowing the prosecution to present its evidence. Hence, it is clear that the RTC Decision is interlocutory as it did not dispose of the case completely, but left something more to be done on its merits.