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G.R. No. L-9959, Government v. Monte de Piedad

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

DECISION

December 13, 1916

G.R. No. L-9959
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, represented by the Treasurer of the Philippine Islands, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
EL MONTE DE PIEDAD Y CAJA DE AHORRAS DE MANILA, defendant-appellant.

Hartigan and Welch for appellant. No appearance for appellee.

, J.:

I dissent.

A stay of execution should be granted, it clearly appearing that the party seeking it has a right under the law to take the money judgment of this court to the Supreme Court of the United States for review, the amount of that judgment being in excess of P25,000; that he is taking the necessary steps, in good faith, to secure such a review; that he has used diligence in moving for a stay; and that he has tendered a good and sufficient bond to secure compliance with any judgment which may finally be entered against him.

It is not a sufficient ground upon which to deny relief in this case to say that as a result of the change of procedure in the method whereby such appeals were formerly perfected, we cannot grant a writ of supersedeas in the identical form and manner in which we were authorized to grant such writs under the old procedure. The change of procedure was certainly not intended to have the effect of depriving litigants of any right to stay of execution pending appeals to the Supreme Court of the United States which was secured to them under the former statute. Until and unless the Supreme Court of the United States takes jurisdiction this court and this court alone has jurisdiction in the premises. In every case wherein a litigant seeks to exercise his right to have a judgment of this court reversed by the Supreme Court of the United States under the procedure prescribed in the new law, a period of from sixty to ninety days must elapse from the entry of final judgments by this court before the court above can be given an opportunity to take jurisdiction of the case. It must be assumed that during that period this court has at least sufficient supervisory jurisdiction over the execution of its own judgments to control and restrain any attempt to enforce these judgments in cases wherein their immediate execution would deprive the litigant of a right which, heretofore, has always been secured to him, to have execution stayed by the exercise of due diligence in prosecuting his appeal -a right which it was not the intention of the legislators to destroy by the change in the mode of procedure in prosecuting the appeal.

It is said that had the application been made to us during the period of ten days after final judgment was entered and before the record was returned to the court below, we might then have held the record in this court for a time sufficient to allow an application for the writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States.

But, it is to be observed, in the first place, that while we might have had the power so to do and while the delay thus incurred would have had the indirect effect of staying the execution, the practice of granting such delays while it might conserve the rights of the losing party in certain cases, would take no account of the rights of the prevailing party, who should have execution of his judgment without delay unless proper security is furnished by the party seeking to stay execution pending the appeal. An order directing that the record be retained in the court under such circumstances is in effect a grant of a stay of execution, by indirection, in which the prevailing party is deprived of his right to security for the performance of the judgment by the party at whose instance the stay is granted.

In the second place, a period of ten days from the entry of final judgment does not give a litigant sufficient time within which to determine whether or not he should appeal, and having determined so to do, to furnish the security without which stay of execution should not be granted. Heretofore, litigants always had at least sixty days within which they could secure a stay of execution in a case wherein the filing of a supersedeas bond was authorized. I do not believe that the substantial rights of the litigant in this regard are preserved under the rule which it is now proposed to follow, under which he is deprived of the right to a stay of execution unless he moves within ten days after the entry of final judgment.

The following paragraph from Freeman on Executions, together with the citations of authority in support of the pertinent comment in the original, sets forth the doctrine which in my opinion should be applied under the very exceptional circumstances of this case:

Stay of execution other than by appellate proceedings. -During the time within which plaintiff is otherwise entitled to execution his right thereto may be suspended or destroyed by what is commonly known as a stay of execution, granted by the court in which the judgment was rendered or by some other court of superior authority, or arising without any formal order of any court as a result of proceedings authorized by statute. These stays of execution may be regarded as of three classes, first, those which are ordered by the court in which the judgment was rendered, but not as the result of any appellate proceedings, and which proceed upon the ground that, for some cause, the execution of the judgment ought to be postponed to some subsequent date, or, perhaps, ought to take place at all; second, those which are a consequence of, or attend, appellate proceedings; and third, those which result from statutes granting the defendant a further time in which to satisfy the judgment upon his giving certain security therefor. Each court has such general control of its process as enables it to act for the prevention of all abuse thereof. Hence it may, to prevent the annoyance which might be occasioned by the attempted execution of a void judgment, either stay or arrest the process; and may, where it is clear that the judgment ought not be further enforced, order a perpetual stay of execution. If it appears that the proceedings have been instituted which may result in the annulment of the judgment or in granting the defendant a release therefrom, its further execution may be suspended until the result of such proceedings can be known. If proceedings in bankruptcy of insolvency have been commenced which may result in the release of the defendant, it is proper to stay execution for a reasonable time to permit him to so far prosecute such proceedings that his release can either be obtained or denied. If an action has been brought upon a judgment from which a writ of error has been recovered, execution thereon should be stayed until the first is either reversed or affirmed; otherwise, the party prosecuting the writ of error may, though successful, be deprived of all benefit thereof. A perpetual stay of execution may be granted by the court in which the judgment was rendered, when such judgment was void when entered, or when, from some cause occurring after its entry, it is clear that the further prosecution thereof ought not to be allowed. The most familiar instance, other than that by the satisfaction of the judgment, of a matter occurring after its entry and requiring a perpetual stay of execution, is the release of the defendant and his property therefrom by a discharge granted him under the bankruptcy or insolvency laws.

When an appellate court has affirmed a judgment and remitted the case to the subordinate court, the latter has no right to stay execution. This rule ought not to prevent a temporary stay of execution upon grounds which do not question the correctness of the judgment thus affirmed, as where it is urged that the defendant has a judgment against the plaintiff to the benefit of which he is entitled as a set-off. Such set-off may be allowed him without in any respect questioning the propriety of the judgment of the appellate court, and stay of execution may properly be granted until the claim of set-off can be investigated and determined.

The power of court to temporarily stay the issuing of execution is exercised in an almost infinite variety of circumstances, in order that the ends of justice may be accomplished. In many cases this power operates almost as a substitute for proceedings in equity, and enables the defendant to prevent any inequitable use of the judgment or writ. Like most other discretionary powers, it is liable to abuse. It is the general practice of the losing party to ask and for the court to grant a stay of execution for some designated period after the entry of judgment, for no other reason than that he is not yet ready to comply with the judgment, or perhaps in view of proceedings by appeal or for a new trial. These stays generally result in a delay, and sometimes in the defeat of justice; and the courts ought to be very cautious in granting them, except in cases where the ultimate satisfaction of the judgment by the defendant is assured. The power, however, to grant such stays of execution is everywhere conceded, and it could not be limited by the enactment of any unvarying rule without encountering evils of greater magnitude than those sought to be suppressed. The exercise of this power will sometimes be reviewed by the appellate court, but never "unless capriciously exercised or abused." As the statutes in most of the states purport to give the plaintiff a right to execution for a definite period of time after the entry of judgment in his favor, it seems unreasonable to maintain that any court has a right to restrict this right or to interfere with its exercise, even for a temporary period, except for some well-defined reason, and therefore that the many orders made granting stays of execution without disclosing any other ground therefor than the desire or convenience of the applicant ought not to be sustained. While it was in one instance said that "plaintiff having obtained his judgment, is entitled to enforce it unless it be set aside or modified in due course of law," we infer that this apparently reasonable assertion is not maintainable under the existing decisions, and that on the other hand, each court may grant temporary stays of execution during which time the plaintiff has no right to a writ for the enforcement of his judgment, and no remedy other than by appeal or writ of error, and that these remedies will not aid him, except where there has been a manifest abuse of the discretion of the court in granting the stay."

Footnotes

1 Government of the Philippine Islands vs. Monte de Piedad y Caja de Ahorros de Manila (35 Phil. Rep., 728).