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DOJ says HSAC orders ‘final and executory’

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THE Department of Justice (DOJ) has ruled that decisions of the Human Settlements and Adjudication Commission (HSAC) are final and executory 15 days after copies of the order have been received by the parties unless stayed by the Court of Appeals (CA) through a restraining order or preliminary injunction.

In a legal opinion, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla stressed that unless restrained by the CA when appealed, HSAC decisions are final and executory despite the pendency of the appeal.

The opinion was sought by HSAC on what it perceived as conflicts in Sections 15 and 18 of Republic Act No. 11201, or the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development Act.

Citing RA 11201, Remulla said “it is clear that the decisions of the Commission En Banc become final and executory after the lapse of fifteen (15) calendar days from receipt there by the parties, in the absence of a stay order from the CA.”

Section 15 of RA 11201 states: “The decision of the Commission shall be final and executory after fifteen (15) calendar days from receipt thereof by the parties.”

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Section 18, on the other hand, provides: “The decision of the Commission upon any disputed matter may be brought upon to the Court of Appeals in accordance with Rule 43 of the Rules of Court.”

“Unlike in ordinary cases where the appeal shall stay the judgment or final order unless the CA, the law or the Rules of Court shall provide otherwise, RA No. 11201 specifically provides that decisions of the Commission become final and executory after fifteen (15) calendar days from receipt thereof by the parties even on appeal to the CA unless the appellate court provides otherwise,” Remulla pointed out.

According to the DOJ chief, it has been “a cardinal rule in statutory construction that when the law is clear and free from any doubt or ambiguity, there is no room for construction or interpretation.”

“The statute must be given its literal meaning and applied without attempted interpretation,” he said.

“The right to appeal is neither a natural right nor is it a component of due process. It is a mere statutory privilege and may be exercised only in the manner and in accordance with the provisions of law,” Remulla added.

Besides, Remulla said, that “an appealing party, must strictly comply with the requisites laid down in the Rules of Court.”

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