“Not all judgments are for the recovery of sums of money; these may also be for the conveyance and delivery of deeds, delivery or restitution of real property, removal of improvements on real property, or the delivery of property“
Aggrieved individuals or companies seek the assistance of a lawyer to help them enforce or protect a right, and to prevent or correct a wrong.
While these parties want to know how their case will be handled, it is more important for them to learn how they can obtain a favorable judgment.
Ordinarily, a civil action would take around 20 months from the commencement of the action to the rendition of judgment in the trial court.
This period would include the period to file an Answer and to set the case for Pre-Trial, and the holding of a mediation or judicial dispute resolution, with some leeway for allowable extensions of time to file an Answer or to postpone hearings.
Trial periods should be contained in the estimated 20 months to terminate a case.
The trial period must be completed within 10 months or 300 calendar days.
However, if there are no third-party complaints, counterclaims, or cross-claim, the presentation of evidence must be terminated within six months or 180 days (Rule 30, Section 1, Amended Rules of Civil Procedure).
The case must be resolved by the trial court within a period of, and not exceeding, 90 days from the date the case is submitted for resolution (Rule 30, Section 1).
The period to render a final judgment or order is also included in the estimated 20 months to terminate a case.
The final judgment or order is served to the parties by personal service or registered mail.
It may be served by accredited courier to any party upon ex-parte motion at the expense of the concerned party (Rule 13, Section 13). The understanding of the service of judgments in relation to the running of the reglementary period is important in the determination on whether the judgment is final and executory.
Despite a favorable judgment, the winning party will not be able to satisfy or execute the judgment if the losing party avails of post-judgment remedies, such as motions for reconsideration or appeals.
In the latter instance, the winning party will have to patiently wait for the appellate court’s resolution, which may take additional time.
Upon the expiration of the period to appeal or if no appeal has been filed, the execution of the judgment shall issue as a matter of right; at this point, the judgment is final and executory.
To satisfy or execute the judgment, the winning party must file a motion for execution in the court of origin or before the appellate court, when the interest of justice so requires (Rule 39, Section 1).
If the court grants the motion, a writ of execution containing the dispositive portion of the judgment or decision will be issued. The writ is that document which the sheriff presents to the losing party to execute or satisfy the judgment.
However, if the judgment is not yet final and executory, a motion for discretionary execution may be filed and may be issued only for good reasons (Rule 39, Section 2).
The gauge used is the presence or the absence of these good reasons, which may consist of exceptional circumstances of such urgency as to outweigh the injury or damage that the losing party may suffer should the appealed judgment be reversed later (G. R. No. 136805 – January 28, 2000).
“Good reason imports a superior circumstance that will outweigh injury or damage to the adverse party”. In the Diesel Construction v. Jollibee Foods case, Diesel Construction (Diesel) failed to show “paramount and compelling reasons of urgency and justice.”
Diesel cited as good reason the fact that “it is a small-time building contractor that could ill-afford the protracted delay in the reimbursement of the advances it made for the aforesaid increased-costs of . . . construction of the [Jollibee’s] buildings” (G. R. No. 136805 – January 28, 2000).
The Supreme Court declared that Diesel’s alleged precarious financial condition is not by itself a compelling circumstance warranting immediate execution.
The financial distress of a juridical entity is not comparable to a case involving a natural person, such as a very old and sickly one without any means of livelihood, an heir seeking an order for support and monthly allowance for subsistence, or one who dies (G. R. No. 136805 – January 28, 2000).
The alleged financial distress of a corporation does not outweigh the long-standing general policy of enforcing only final and executory judgments.
Certainly, a juridical entity like Diesel has, other than extraordinary execution, alternative remedies such as loans, advances, internal cash generation and the like to address its precarious financial condition (G. R. No. 136805 – January 28, 2000).
A final judgment or final order disposes of the action or proceedings and leaves nothing to be done or remedied.
However, an interlocutory order “does not determine the issues (at trial) but directs some further proceeding preliminary to a final decree” (Barron’s Law Dictionary).
The judgment should not be mistaken for an interlocutory order which is also issued by the court handling the proceedings.
Some examples of interlocutory orders are the grant or denial of a motion for bill of particulars, motions for intervention, or motions to amend a pleading. Interlocutory orders are not appealable but may be included in the matters raised on appeal.
There are different ways of satisfying or executing final judgments or orders.
For judgments concerning monetary payment, the sheriff or officer must first make a demand for the losing party to pay the winning party the full monetary award including the other lawful fees (Rule 39, Section 9).
If the losing party cannot pay the monetary award in cash, the sheriff or officer shall levy upon his or her properties.
The losing party will be given the option to choose which property he proposes to be levied upon. If the option is not exercised, the levy shall first proceed against his or her personal properties (Rule 39, Section 9).
The levy does not mean that the properties are delivered directly to the winning party; these are earmarked in preparation for a public sale. Hence, it is irregular for the winning party to appropriate the levied properties without participating in a public sale.
Another mode to satisfy the monetary award is to garnish the bank deposits, financial interests, royalties, or commissions of the losing party in the possession or control of third parties.
The garnishee shall make a written report to the court. Thereafter, the garnished amount shall be delivered to the winning party within ten working days from the service of the notice requiring delivery (Rule 39, Section 9).
Not all judgments are for the recovery of sums of money; these may also be for the conveyance and delivery of deeds, delivery or restitution of real property, removal of improvements on real property, or the delivery of property.
However, if the judgment is for the demolition or removal of improvements on real property, it must be executed via a special order of the court after the winning party files a motion (Rule 39, Section 10).
While the sheriff or officer may levy on the properties of the losing party, there are some properties exempt from execution, such as the family home or homestead in which he or she resides, ordinary tools or implements in trade or livelihood, clothing or articles for personal use, or the libraries of professionals, among others.
The exemption does not extend to judgments to recover its price or to foreclose on a mortgage (Rule 39, Section 13).