A final and executory judgment may be modified to prevent an inequitable or unjust execution.
The RTC should have determined via hearing if Danilo’s allegation were true and accordingly modified the period Danilo is to be held accountable for monthly rentals. Unjustified delay in the enforcement of a judgment sets at naught the role of courts in disposing justiciable controversies with finality. Once a judgment becomes final and executory, all the issues between the parties are deemed resolved and laid to rest. All that remains is the execution of the decision which is a matter of right. Banaga v. Majaducon (G.R. No. 149051, June 30, 2006, 494 SCRA 153, 162-163), however, enumerates the instances where a writ of execution may be appealed: (1) the writ of execution varies the judgment; (2) there has been a change in the situation of the parties making execution inequitable or unjust; (3) execution is sought to be enforced against property exempt from execution; (4) it appears that the controversy has never been subject to the judgment of the court; (5) the terms of the judgment are not clear enough and there remains room for interpretation thereof; or (6) it appears that the writ of execution has been improvidently issued, or that it is defective in substance, or is issued against the wrong party, or that the judgment debt has been paid or otherwise satisfied, or the writ was issued without authority. In these exceptional circumstances, considerations of justice and equity dictate that there be some mode available to the party aggrieved of elevating the question to a higher court. That mode of elevation may be either by appeal (writ of error or certiorari), or by a special civil action of certiorari, prohibition, or mandamus.
The instant case falls under one of the exceptions cited above. The fact that Danilo has left the property under dispute is a change in the situation of the parties that would make execution inequitable or unjust. Moreover, there are exceptions that have been previously considered by the Court as meriting a relaxation of the rules in order to serve substantial justice. These are: (1) matters of life, liberty, honor or property; (2) the existence of special or compelling circumstances; (3) the merits of the case; (4) a cause not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of the party favored by the suspension of the rules; (5) a lack of any showing that the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory; and (6) the other party will not be unjustly prejudiced thereby. We find that Danilo’s situation merits a relaxation of the rules since special circumstances are involved; to determine if his allegation were true would allow a final resolution of the case.
Applicable, too, is what Sec. 5, Rule 135 of the Rules of Court states as one of the powers of a court:
Section 5. Inherent powers of the courts. Every court shall have power: xxx (g) To amend and control its process and orders so as to make them conformable to law and justice. Thus, the Court ruled in Mejia v. Gabayan (G.R. No. 149765, April 12, 2005, 455 SCRA 499, 512): xxx The inherent power of the court carries with it the right to determine every question of fact and law which may be involved in the execution. The court may stay or suspend the execution of its judgment if warranted by the higher interest of justice. It has the authority to cause a modification of the decision when it becomes imperative in the higher interest of justice or when supervening events warrant it. The court is also vested with inherent power to stay the enforcement of its decision based on antecedent facts which show fraud in its rendition or want of jurisdiction of the trial court apparent on the record.
The writ of execution sought to be implemented does not take into consideration the circumstances that merit a modification of judgment. Given that there is a pending issue regarding the execution of judgment, the RTC should have afforded the parties the opportunity to adduce evidence to determine the period within which Danilo should pay monthly rentals before issuing the writ of execution in the instant case. Should Danilo be unable to substantiate his claim that he vacated the premises in April 1994, the period to pay monthly rentals should be until June 19, 2007, the date he informed the CA that he had already left the premises.
(Parel v. Heirs of Prudencio, G.R. No. 192217, March 2, 2011)