Wednesday, May 31, 2006

La Mesa Dam Dispute: Is the land award barred by presription?

Here is another reaction to the La Mesa essays that came out in the Inquirer last Sunday.

The Supreme Court decision on the validity and enforceability of the land award to the ex-MWSS employees lapsed into finality in 1975. The rule on final judgments, however, is "(a) final and executory judgment or order may be executed on motion within five (5) years from the date of its entry. After the lapse of such time, and before it is barred by the statute of limitations, a judgment may be enforced by action. The revived judgment may also be enforced by motion within five (5) years from the date of its entry and thereafter by action before it is barred by the statute of limitations." (Section 6 Rule 39 of the Rules of Civil Procedure)

This means that from 1975 to 1980, the decision may be enforced by a mere motion in the same court and same docket number. But after 1980, it could only be enforced by a separate action. This means they have to file a new case. But here is the key point: has the enforcement of the decision by a separate action prescribed?

Prescription is the rule under the Civil Code that bars the filing of a legal action to enforce a right after the time set by law for filing it has lapsed. This means that once the deadline for filing an action passes, it may no longer be filed. In the case of final judgments, the Civil Code provides that the deadline is 10 years. Art. 1144 of the Civil Code states,

"The following actions must be brought within ten years from the time the right of action accrues:
(1) Upon a written contract;
(2) Upon an obligation created by law;
(3) Upon a judgment. "

When was the decision rendered? 1975. When did the action prescribe? 1985. What year is it now? 2006.

Why are people fighting about this now? I don't know.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do not agree with your conclusion. What has prescribed is the filing of the action to enforce the final judgment in court, not the execution of the judgment award. Since steps were successfully made to carry out the execution of the final deed of sale, albeit belatedly, the prescription of the filing of a separate action to enforce said decision is of no moment. The filing of a separate action to enforce the judgment award is not necessary because this was achieved by lobbying with the government agencies involved. What is the major issue now is whether or not the DENR should issue them the ECC so that they can begin the construction of their housing projects.

marvin said...

Thank you for your reaction. What happens if the government agencies refuse to enforce the judgment?