Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-12827            August 22, 1917

ALIPIO BERMUDEZ, petitioner-appellee,
vs.
THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, LEON ROMERO, and LIBERATO GARICA, objectors.
LEON ROMERO, appellant.

No appearance for appellant.
Inocencio Payumo for appellee.

JOHNSON, J.:

This is a motion to dismiss the appeal upon the ground that the bill of exceptions had not been presented within the period prescribed by section 26 of Act No. 2347. The records shows that the bill of exceptions was not presented within the 30 days prescribed by said Act. The only question presented is whether or not the judge of a Court of First Instance, acting in a case for the registration of land under the Torrens system, may extend the period of 30 days for the presentation of a bill of exceptions after the 30 days had expired.

The facts relating to the decision, notice, motion for a new trial, exception, and the presentation of the bill of exceptions, as disclosed by the record, are as follows.

First. Decision announced, September 18, 1916.

Second. Notice of decision, September 19, 1916.

Third. Exception to decision, September 28, 1916.

Fourth. Motion for a new trial, September 28, 1916.

Fifth. Motion for a new trial denied, October 4, 1916.

Sixth. Notice of order of judge denying motion for a new trial. October 6, 1916.

Seventh. The bill of exceptions not having been presented, the appellee presented an objection to the approval of the bill of exceptions on October 28, 1916.

Eighth. Said opposition to the approval of the bill of exceptions was denied by the judge, November 4, 1916.

Ninth. A petition for an extension of time within which to present a bill of exceptions was presented, November 13, 1916.

Tenth. The petition for an extension of time for the presentation of the bill of exceptions was granted, November 13, 1916.

Eleventh. The bill of exceptions was presented, November 29, 1916.

Twelfth. Bill of exceptions filed, November 29, 1916.

Thirteenth. A further opposition to the approval of the bill of exceptions was presented by the appellee on January 9th, 1917.

Fourteenth. On January 15, 1917, the appellee presented a further opposition to the approval of the bill of exceptions, upon the ground that the judge was without authority to grant an extension of time after the expiration of the 30 days provided for the presentation of the bill of exceptions under section 26 of Act No. 2347.

Fifteenth. On the 23d day of January, 1917, the trial judge approved and certified the bill of exceptions.

The record was received in the Supreme Court upon the 12th day of March, 1917. On the 2d day of April, 1917, the appellee presented a motion in the Supreme Court asking for a dismissal of the appeal, for the reason that the appellant had failed to pay the clerk's fees. In the 11th day of May the appellee presented a motion to dismiss the appeal for the reason that the bill of exceptions had not been presented within the time prescribed by law.

Section 26 of Act No. 2347, so far as it is applicable to the question presented here, provides:

That Section fourteen of Act Numbered Four Hundred and ninety-six, entitled "The Land Registration Act," as amended by section four of Act Numbered Eleven hundred and eight, is hereby further amended by adding at the end of the last proviso therein contained and immediately before the paragraph marked (a) the following words: And provided, further, That the period within which the litigating parties must file their appeals and bills of exceptions against the final judgment in land registration cases shall be thirty days, counting from the date on which the party received a copy of the decision." By reference to paragraph (b) of said section 26 it will be seen that the paragraph of said section above quoted is an amendment of section 1 of Act No. 1484. By reference to said section 1 of Act No. 1484 it will be found that it originally provided that "the period within which the litigating parties must file their appeals and bills of exceptions against the final judgment of the Court of Land Registration shall be thirty days, counting from the date on which the party received a copy of the decision, which period may, in the discretion of the court, in writing be extended to sixty days, etc.

Prior to the enactment of Act No. 1484, it has been decided that appeals from the Court of Land Registration should be perfected in the same manner as appeals from the Court of First Instance. Because of some uncertainty with reference to the exact time within which such bills of exceptions should be presented, Act No. 1484 was adopted, by the provisions of which the time for the presentation of bills of exceptions in appeals from the Court of Land Registration was definitely fixed. (Estate of Cordoba and Zarate vs. Alabado, 34 Phil. Rep., 920.) Said Act (No. 1484) provided that the bill of exceptions in an appeal from the Court of Land Registration shall be presented within 30 days, with the further provision that the judge may extend that period for another period of 30 days. Section 26 of Act No. 2347 expressly amends section 1 of Act No. 1484. In construing public laws their meaning and purpose must be ascertained so far as it is possible. In doing so the courts must take into consideration the conditions and circumstances under which the law was adopted, the condition which made the law necessary and the remedy which the legislature had in mind. The same consideration should apply in determining the meaning and purpose of an amendment to a law. Amendments to laws are usually made for the purpose of curing some defect in the original. Courts must take into consideration the reason and spirit of the law as well as the causes which moved the legislature to adopt it. A law may be adopted for the purpose of curing a certain evil, or for the purpose of remedying certain conditions. An amendment may be adopted for the reason that the original law did not cure or remedy the conditions for which it was adopted, or because new conditions have arisen which make the amendment necessary. Sometimes an amendment is made to remedy what the legislature deemed to be a wrong interpretation given by the courts to a certain law. It is always to be assumed that the legislature intended its enactments to be effectual, not invalid; and therefore construction should aim to support and not to defeat it. The court should see to it, so far as it is possible, to give a law the precise meaning and effect intended by the legislature. The spirit and purpose of a law should be ascertained, if possible, in its application and interpretation. If it was adopted to cure some evil it should receive an interpretation which would cure the evil.

It is difficult to read the provisions of Act No. 1484, in relation with its amendment (section 26 of Act No. 2347), without reaching the conclusion that the Legislature did not believe that the original law (Act No. 1484) quite brought about the conditions desired with reference to the perfection of appeal from the Court of Land Registration, and therefore amended it. In Act No. 1484, did the Legislature believe that the courts were vested with the power of extending the period of 30 days? If it did, then, why was it necessary to expressly confer that power? The Legislature, at least, thought it advisable to expressly confer such power, or otherwise it would not have done so. If the Legislature thought it desirable or necessary to expressly confer such power in Act No. 1484, is it not significant that such power was withheld in Act No. 2347? Without discussing further whether the courts are vested with the discretion to extend a statutory period before that period has elapsed without express authority, for the reason that that question is not now involved, we are of the opinion that the legislature did not intend, at least, to confer upon the courts authority to grant a further period within which a bill of exceptions might be presented, on a date after the expiration of the statutory period.

Without at this time deciding the question whether or not the court are possessed with power of discretion to extend the statutory period for the presentation of a bill of exceptions, if done within the period prescribed, we are of the opinion that when such time has once expired, the court of Land Registration is without authority to grant another period for the presentation of a bill of exceptions. (Credit Company vs. Arkansas Cent. R. Company, 128 U. S., 258.)

Therefore, we are of the opinion that the motion for the dismissal of the appeal in the present case should be granted and the appeal should be dismissed, for the reason that it was not perfected within the time prescribed by section 26 of Act No. 2347, with costs. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Araullo, Street and Malcolm, JJ., concur.


Footnotes

1 NOTE. Case No. 12828, between these same parties and involving the same question, was decided at the same time.


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