Sunday, August 29, 2010

EVANGELISTA vs. ALTO SURETY & INSURANCE CO., INC. G.R. No. L-11139 April 23, 1958

G.R. No. L-11139 April 23, 1958


On June 4, 1949, petitioner herein, Santos Evangelista, instituted Civil Case No. 8235 of the Court of First, Instance of Manila for a sum of money. On the same date, he obtained a writ of attachment, which levied upon a house, built by Rivera on a land situated in Manila and leased to him, by filing copy of said writ and the corresponding notice of attachment with the Office of the Register of Deeds of Manila, on June 8, 1949. In due course, judgment was rendered in favor of Evangelista, who, on October 8, 1951, bought the house at public auction held in compliance with the writ of execution issued in said case. The corresponding definite deed of sale was issued to him on October 22, 1952, upon expiration of the period of redemption. When Evangelista sought to take possession of the house, Rivera refused to surrender it, upon the ground that he had leased the property from the Alto Surety & Insurance Co., Inc. and that the latter is now the true owner of said property. It appears that on May 10, 1952, a definite deed of sale of the same house had been issued to respondent, as the highest bidder at an auction sale held, on September 29, 1950, in compliance with a writ of execution issued in Civil Case No. 6268 of the same court for the sum of money, had been rendered in favor respondent herein, as plaintiff therein. Hence, on June 13, 1953, Evangelista instituted the present action against respondent and Ricardo Rivera, for the purpose of establishing his (Evangelista) title over said house, securing possession thereof, apart from recovering damages. After due trial, the CFI Manila rendered judgment for Evangelista, sentencing Rivera and Alto Surety to deliver the house in question to Evangelista and to pay him, jointly and severally, P40 a month from Oct. 1952 until said delivery, plus costs.

On appeal taken by respondent, this decision was reversed by the Court of Appeals, which absolved said respondent from the complaint, upon the ground that, although the writ of attachment in favor of Evangelista had been filed with the Register of Deeds of Manila prior to the sale in favor of respondent, Evangelista did not acquire thereby a preferential lien, the attachment having been levied as if the house in question were immovable property, although in the opinion of the Court of Appeals, it is "ostensibly a personal property.


W/N a house constructed by the lessee of the land on which it is built, should be dealt with, for the purpose of attachment, as immovable property.


The said house is not personal property, much less a debt, credit or other personal property not capable of manual delivery, but immovable property. As explicitly held, in Laddera vs. Hodges (48 Off. Gaz., 5374), "a true building (not merely superimposed on the soil) is immovable or real property, whether it is erected by the owner of the land or by usufructuary or lessee. This is the doctrine of our Supreme Court in Leung Yee vs. Strong Machinery Company, 37 Phil., 644.

It is true that the parties to a deed of chattel mortgage may agree to consider a house as personal property for purposes of said contract (Luna vs. Encarnacion, * 48 Off. Gaz., 2664; Standard Oil Co. of New York vs. Jaramillo, 44 Phil., 630; De Jesus vs. Juan Dee Co., Inc., 72 Phil., 464). However, this view is good only insofar as the contracting parties are concerned. It is based, partly, upon the principle of estoppel. Neither this principle, nor said view, is applicable to strangers to said contract. Much less is it in point where there has been no contract whatsoever, with respect to the status of the house involved, as in the case at bar.

PUNSALAN, JR. V. VDA. DE LACSAMANA G.R. No. L-55729 March 28, 1983

G.R. No. L-55729 March 28, 1983

Punsalan was the owner of a piece of land, which he mortgaged in favor of PNB. Due to his failure to pay, the mortgage was foreclosed and the land was sold in a public auction to which PNB was the highest bidder.

On a relevant date, while Punsalan was still the possessor of the land, it secured a permit for the construction of a warehouse.

A deed of sale was executed between PNB and Punsalan. This contract was amended to include the warehouse and the improvement thereon. By virtue of these instruments, respondent Lacsamana secured title over the property in her name.

Petitioner then sought for the annulment of the deed of sale. Among his allegations was that the bank did not own the building and thus, it should not be included in the said deed.

Petitioner’s complaint was dismissed for improper venue. The trial court held that the action being filed in actuality by petitioner is a real action involving his right over a real property.


W/N the trial court erred in dismissing the case on the ground of improper venue.
W/N the warehouse is an immovable and must be tried in the province where the property lies.

 Warehouse claimed to be owned by petitioner is an immovable or real property. Buildings are always immovable under the Code. A building treated separately from the land on which it is stood is immovable property and the mere fact that the parties to a contract seem to have dealt with it separate and apart from the land on which it stood in no wise changed its character as immovable property.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


G.R. No. L-17500 May 16, 1967


On September 8, 1948, Atlantic Gulf & Pacific Company of Manila, a West Virginia corporation licensed to do business in the Philippines sold and assigned all its rights in the Dahican Lumber concession to Dahican Lumber Company - hereinafter referred to as DALCO - for the total sum of $500,000.00, of which only the amount of $50,000.00 was paid. Thereafter, to develop the concession, DALCO obtained various loans from the People's Bank & Trust Company amounting, as of July 13, 1950, to P200,000.00. In addition, DALCO obtained, through the BANK, a loan of $250,000.00 from the Export-Import Bank of Washington D.C., evidenced by five promissory notes of $50,000.00 each, maturing on different dates, executed by both DALCO and the Dahican America Lumber Corporation, a foreign corporation and a stockholder of DALCO,

As security for the payment of the abovementioned loans, on July 13, 1950 DALCO executed in favor of the BANK a deed of mortgage covering five parcels of land situated in the province of Camarines Norte together with all the buildings and other improvements existing thereon and all the personal properties of the mortgagor located in its place of business in the municipalities of Mambulao and Capalonga, Camarines Norte. On the same date, DALCO executed a second mortgage on the same properties in favor of ATLANTIC to secure payment of the unpaid balance of the sale price of the lumber concession amounting to the sum of $450,000.00. Both deeds contained a provision extending the mortgage lien to properties to be subsequently acquired by the mortgagor.

Both mortgages were registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds of Camarines Norte. In addition thereto DALCO and DAMCO pledged to the BANK 7,296 shares of stock of DALCO and 9,286 shares of DAMCO to secure the same obligation.

Upon DALCO's and DAMCO's failure to pay the fifth promissory note upon its maturity, the BANK paid the same to the Export-Import Bank of Washington D.C., and the latter assigned to the former its credit and the first mortgage securing it. Subsequently, the BANK gave DALCO and DAMCO up to April 1, 1953 to pay the overdue promissory note.c

After July 13, 1950 - the date of execution of the mortgages mentioned above - DALCO purchased various machineries, equipment, spare parts and supplies in addition to, or in replacement of some of those already owned and used by it on the date aforesaid. Pursuant to the provision of the mortgage deeds quoted theretofore regarding "after acquired properties," the BANK requested DALCO to submit complete lists of said properties but the latter failed to do so. In connection with these purchases, there appeared in the books of DALCO as due to Connell Bros. Company (Philippines) - a domestic corporation who was acting as the general purchasing agent of DALCO -the sum of P452,860.55 and to DAMCO, the sum of P2,151,678.34.chan

On December 16, 1952, the Board of Directors of DALCO, in a special meeting called for the purpose, passed a resolution agreeing to rescind the alleged sales of equipment, spare parts and supplies by CONNELL and DAMCO to it.

On January 13, 1953, the BANK, in its own behalf and that of ATLANTIC, demanded that said agreements be cancelled but CONNELL and DAMCO refused to do so. As a result, on February 12, 1953; ATLANTIC and the BANK, commenced foreclosure proceedings in the Court of First Instance of Camarines Norte against DALCO and DAMCO.

Upon motion of the parties the Court, on September 30, 1953, issued an order transferring the venue of the action to the Court of First Instance of Manila.

On August 30, 1958, upon motion of all the parties, the Court ordered the sale of all the machineries, equipment and supplies of DALCO, and the same were subsequently sold for a total consideration of P175,000.00 which was deposited in court pending final determination of the action. By a similar agreement one-half (P87,500.00) of this amount was considered as representing the proceeds obtained from the sale of the "undebated properties" (those not claimed by DAMCO and CONNELL), and the other half as representing those obtained from the sale of the "after acquired properties".


WON the "after acquired properties" were subject to the deeds of mortgage mentioned heretofore. Assuming that they are subject thereto,
WON the mortgages are valid and binding on the properties aforesaid inspite of the fact that they were not registered in accordance with the provisions of the Chattel Mortgage Law.


Under the fourth paragraph of both deeds of mortgage, it is crystal clear that all property of every nature and description taken in exchange or replacement, as well as all buildings, machineries, fixtures, tools, equipments, and other property that the mortgagor may acquire, construct, install, attach; or use in, to upon, or in connection with the premises - that is, its lumber concession - "shall immediately be and become subject to the lien" of both mortgages in the same manner and to the same extent as if already included therein at the time of their execution. Such stipulation is neither unlawful nor immoral, its obvious purpose being to maintain, to the extent allowed by circumstances, the original value of the properties given as security.

Article 415 does not define real property but enumerates what are considered as such, among them being machinery, receptacles, instruments or replacements intended by owner of the tenement for an industry or works which may be carried on in a building or on a piece of land, and shall tend directly to meet the needs of the said industry or works. On the strength of the above-quoted legal provisions, the lower court held that inasmuch as "the chattels were placed in the real properties mortgaged to plaintiffs, they came within the operation of Art. 415, paragraph 5 and Art. 2127 of the New Civil Code". In the present case, the characterization of the "after acquired properties" as real property was made not only by one but by both interested parties. There is, therefore, more reason to hold that such consensus impresses upon the properties the character determined by the parties who must now be held in estoppel to question it.


GR NO. 119190 January 16, 1997

FACTS: Ching married Gina on May 22, 1988 at the Manila Cathedral, Intramuros, Manila as evidenced by their marriage contract. After the celebration they had a reception and then proceeded to the house of the Ching Ming Tsoi’s mother. There they slept together on the same bed in the same room for the first night of their married life.
Gina’s version: that contrary to her expectations that as newlyweds they were supposed to enjoy making love that night of their marriage, or having sexual intercourse, with each other, Ching however just went to bed, slept on one side and then turned his back and went to sleep. There was no sexual intercourse between them that night. The same thing happened on the second, third and fourth nights.
In an effort to have their honey moon in a private place where they can enjoy together during their first week as husband and wife they went to Baguio City. But they did so together with Ching’s mother, uncle and nephew as they were all invited by her husband. There was no sexual intercourse between them for four days in Baguio since Ching avoided her by taking a long walk during siesta time or by just sleeping on a rocking chair located at the living room.
They slept together in the same room and on the same bed since May 22, 1988 (day of their marriage) until March 15, 1989 (ten months). But during this period there was no attempt of sexual intercourse between them. Gina claims that she did not even see her husband’s private parts nor did he see hers.
Because of this, they submitted themselves for medical examinations to Dr. Eufemio Macalalag. Results were that Gina is healthy, normal and still a virgin while Ching’s examination was kept confidential up to this time.
The Gina claims that her husband is impotent, a closet homosexual as he did not show his penis. She said she had observed him using an eyebrow pencil and sometimes the cleansing cream of his mother. She also said her husband only married her to acquire or maintain his residency status here in the country and to publicly maintain the appearance of a normal man
Ching’s version: he claims that if their marriage shall be annulled by reason of psychological incapacity, the fault lies with Gina. He does not want their marriage annulled for reasons of (1) that he loves her very much (2) that he has no defect on his part and he is physically and psychologically capable (3) since the relationship is still very young and if there is any differences between the two of them, it can still be reconciled and that according to him, if either one of them has some incapabilities, there is no certainty that this will not be cured.
Ching admitted that since his marriage to Gina there was no sexual contact between them. But, the reason for this, according to the defendant, was that everytime he wants to have sexual intercourse with his wife, she always avoided him and whenever he caresses her private parts, she always removed his hands.

ISSUE: Whether or not Ching is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage

HELD: The Supreme Court affirmed the decisions of the trial court and Court of Appeals in rendering as VOID the marriage entered into by Ching and Gina on May 22, 1988. No costs.

The Supreme Court held that the prolonged refusal of a spouse to have sexual intercourse with his or her spouse is considered a sign of psychological incapacity. If a spouse, although physically capable but simply refuses to perform his or her essential marriage obligations, and the refusal is senseless and constant, Catholic marriage tribunals attribute the causes to psychological incapacity than to stubborn refusal. Senseless and protracted refusal is equivalent to psychological incapacity.
One of the essential marital obligations under the Family Code is “to procreate children basedon the universal principle that procreation of children through sexual cooperation is the basic end of marriage.” Constant non-fulfillment of this obligation will finally destroy the integrity or wholeness of the marriage. In the case at bar, the senseless and protracted refusal of one of the parties to fulfill this marital obligation is equivalent to psychological incapacity.
While the law provides that the husband and the wife are obliged to live together, observer mutual love, respect and fidelity, the sanction therefore is actually the “spontaneous, mutual affection between husband and wife and not any legal mandate or court order (Cuaderno vs. Cuaderno, 120 Phil. 1298). Love is useless unless it is shared with another. Indeed, no man is an island, the cruelest act of a partner in marriage is to say “I could not have cared less.” This is so because an ungiven self is an unfulfilled self. The egoist has nothing but himself. In the natural order, it is sexual intimacy that brings spouses wholeness and oneness. Sexual intimacy is a gift and a participation in the mystery of creation. It is a function which enlivens the hope of procreation and ensures the continuation of family relations.

Saturday, August 21, 2010



GR No. 174689

October 22, 2007


When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God; He created them male and female. (Genesis 5:1-2)

Amihan gazed upon the bamboo reed planted by Bathala and she heard voices coming from inside the bamboo. “Oh North Wind! North Wind! Please let us out!,” the voices said. She pecked the reed once, then twice. All of a sudden, the bamboo cracked and slit open. Out came two human beings; one was a male and the other was a female. Amihan named the man “Malakas” (Strong) and the woman “Maganda” (Beautiful). (The Legend of Malakas and Maganda)

When is a man a man and when is a woman a woman? In particular, does the law recognize the changes made by a physician using scalpel, drugs and counseling with regard to a person’s sex? May a person successfully petition for a change of name and sex appearing in the birth certificate to reflect the result of a sex reassignment surgery?


On November 26, 2002, petitioner Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio filed a petition for the change of his first name and sex in his birth certificate in the RTC of Manila, Branch 8, alleging that he is a male transsexual, that is, “anatomically male but feels, thinks and acts as a female” and that he had always identified himself with girls since childhood. Feeling trapped in a man’s body, he consulted several doctors in the United States. He underwent psychological examination, hormone treatment and breast augmentation. His attempts to transform himself to a “woman” culminated on January 27, 2001 when he underwent sex reassignment surgery in Bangkok, Thailand. From then on, petitioner lived as a female and was in fact engaged to be married. He then sought to have his name in his birth certificate changed from “Rommel Jacinto” to “Mely,” and his sex from “male” to “female.”

On June 4, 2003, the trial court rendered a decision in favor of petitioner, stating that granting the petition would be more in consonance with the principles of justice and equity; that with his sexual re-assignment, petitioner, who has always felt, thought and acted like a woman, now possesses the physique of a female. Petitioner’s misfortune to be trapped in a man’s body is not his own doing and should not be in any way taken against him. Likewise, the court believes that no harm, injury or prejudice will be caused to anybody or the community in granting the petition. On the contrary, granting the petition would bring the much-awaited happiness on the part of the petitioner and her fiancĂ© and the realization of their dreams.

On August 18, 2003, the Republic of the Philippines (Republic), thru the OSG, filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals. It alleged that there is no law allowing the change of entries in the birth certificate by reason of sex alteration. On February 23, 2006, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision in favor of the Republic, and set aside the decision of the trial court. Hence, this petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not the change of petitioner’s name and sex in his birth certificate is allowed under Articles 407 to 413 of the Civil Code, Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court and RA 9048.



The State has an interest in the names borne by individuals and entities for purposes of identification. A change of name is a privilege, not a right. Petitions for change of name are controlled by statutes. In this connection, Article 376 of the Civil Code provides: No person can change his name or surname without judicial authority.

This Civil Code provision was amended by RA 9048 (Clerical Error Law). In particular, Section 1 of RA 9048 provides:

SECTION 1. Authority to Correct Clerical or Typographical Error and Change of First Name or Nickname. – No entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order, except for clerical or typographical errors and change of first name or nickname which can be corrected or changed by the concerned city or municipal civil registrar or consul general in accordance with the provisions of this Act and its implementing rules and regulations.

RA 9048 now governs the change of first name. It vests the power and authority to entertain petitions for change of first name to the city or municipal civil registrar or consul general concerned. Under the law, therefore, jurisdiction over applications for change of first name is now primarily lodged with the aforementioned administrative officers. The intent and effect of the law is to exclude the change of first name from the coverage of Rules 103 (Change of Name) and 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry) of the Rules of Court, until and unless an administrative petition for change of name is first filed and subsequently denied. It likewise lays down the corresponding venue, form and procedure. In sum, the remedy and the proceedings regulating change of first name are primarily administrative in nature, not judicial.

RA 9048 likewise provides the grounds for which change of first name may be allowed:

SECTION 4. Grounds for Change of First Name or Nickname. – The petition for change of first name or nickname may be allowed in any of the following cases:

(1) The petitioner finds the first name or nickname to be ridiculous, tainted with dishonor or extremely difficult to write or pronounce;

(2) The new first name or nickname has been habitually and continuously used by the petitioner and he has been publicly known by that first name or nickname in the community; or

(3) The change will avoid confusion.

Petitioner’s basis in praying for the change of his first name was his sex reassignment. He intended to make his first name compatible with the sex he thought he transformed himself into through surgery. However, a change of name does not alter one’s legal capacity or civil status. RA 9048 does not sanction a change of first name on the ground of sex reassignment. Rather than avoiding confusion, changing petitioner’s first name for his declared purpose may only create grave complications in the civil registry and the public interest.

Before a person can legally change his given name, he must present proper or reasonable cause or any compelling reason justifying such change. In addition, he must show that he will be prejudiced by the use of his true and official name. In this case, he failed to show, or even allege, any prejudice that he might suffer as a result of using his true and official name.

In sum, the petition in the trial court in so far as it prayed for the change of petitioner’s first name was not within that court’s primary jurisdiction as the petition should have been filed with the local civil registrar concerned, assuming it could be legally done. It was an improper remedy because the proper remedy was administrative, that is, that provided under RA 9048. It was also filed in the wrong venue as the proper venue was in the Office of the Civil Registrar of Manila where his birth certificate is kept. More importantly, it had no merit since the use of his true and official name does not prejudice him at all. For all these reasons, the Court of Appeals correctly dismissed petitioner’s petition in so far as the change of his first name was concerned.


The determination of a person’s sex appearing in his birth certificate is a legal issue and the court must look to the statutes. In this connection, Article 412 of the Civil Code provides: No entry in the civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order.

Together with Article 376 of the Civil Code, this provision was amended by RA 9048 in so far as clerical or typographical errors are involved. The correction or change of such matters can now be made through administrative proceedings and without the need for a judicial order. In effect, RA 9048 removed from the ambit of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the correction of such errors. Rule 108 now applies only to substantial changes and corrections in entries in the civil register.

Section 2(c) of RA 9048 defines what a “clerical or typographical error” is: “Clerical or typographical error” refers to a mistake committed in the performance of clerical work in writing, copying, transcribing or typing an entry in the civil register that is harmless and innocuous, such as misspelled name or misspelled place of birth or the like, which is visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding, and can be corrected or changed only by reference to other existing record or records: Provided, however, That no correction must involve the change of nationality, age, status or sex of the petitioner.

Under RA 9048, a correction in the civil registry involving the change of sex is not a mere clerical or typographical error. It is a substantial change for which the applicable procedure is Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.

The entries envisaged in Article 412 of the Civil Code and correctable under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court are those provided in Articles 407 and 408 of the Civil Code:

ART. 407. Acts, events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons shall be recorded in the civil register.

ART. 408. The following shall be entered in the civil register:

(1) Births; (2) marriages; (3) deaths; (4) legal separations; (5) annulments of marriage; (6) judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning; (7) legitimations; (8) adoptions; (9) acknowledgments of natural children; (10) naturalization; (11) loss, or (12) recovery of citizenship; (13) civil interdiction; (14) judicial determination of filiation; (15) voluntary emancipation of a minor; and (16) changes of name.

The acts, events or factual errors contemplated under Article 407 of the Civil Code include even those that occur after birth. However, no reasonable interpretation of the provision can justify the conclusion that it covers the correction on the ground of sex reassignment.

To correct simply means “to make or set aright; to remove the faults or error from” while to change means “to replace something with something else of the same kind or with something that serves as a substitute.” The birth certificate of petitioner contained no error. All entries therein, including those corresponding to his first name and sex, were all correct. No correction is necessary.

Article 407 of the Civil Code authorizes the entry in the civil registry of certain acts (such as legitimations, acknowledgments of illegitimate children and naturalization), events (such as births, marriages, naturalization and deaths) and judicial decrees (such as legal separations, annulments of marriage, declarations of nullity of marriages, adoptions, naturalization, loss or recovery of citizenship, civil interdiction, judicial determination of filiation and changes of name). These acts, events and judicial decrees produce legal consequences that touch upon the legal capacity, status and nationality of a person. Their effects are expressly sanctioned by the laws. In contrast, sex reassignment is not among those acts or events mentioned in Article 407. Neither is it recognized nor even mentioned by any law, expressly or impliedly.

“Status” refers to the circumstances affecting the legal situation (that is, the sum total of capacities and incapacities) of a person in view of his age, nationality and his family membership.

The status of a person in law includes all his personal qualities and relations, more or less permanent in nature, not ordinarily terminable at his own will, such as his being legitimate or illegitimate, or his being married or not. The comprehensive term status… include such matters as the beginning and end of legal personality, capacity to have rights in general, family relations, and its various aspects, such as birth, legitimation, adoption, emancipation, marriage, divorce, and sometimes even succession.

A person’s sex is an essential factor in marriage and family relations. It is a part of a person’s legal capacity and civil status. In this connection, Article 413 of the Civil Code provides: All other matters pertaining to the registration of civil status shall be governed by special laws.

But there is no such special law in the Philippines governing sex reassignment and its effects. This is fatal to petitioner’s cause.

Moreover, Section 5 of Act 3753 (the Civil Register Law) provides:

SEC. 5. Registration and certification of births. – The declaration of the physician or midwife in attendance at the birth or, in default thereof, the declaration of either parent of the newborn child, shall be sufficient for the registration of a birth in the civil register. Such declaration shall be exempt from documentary stamp tax and shall be sent to the local civil registrar not later than thirty days after the birth, by the physician or midwife in attendance at the birth or by either parent of the newborn child.

In such declaration, the person above mentioned shall certify to the following facts: (a) date and hour of birth; (b) sex and nationality of infant; (c) names, citizenship and religion of parents or, in case the father is not known, of the mother alone; (d) civil status of parents; (e) place where the infant was born; and (f) such other data as may be required in the regulations to be issued.

Under the Civil Register Law, a birth certificate is a historical record of the facts as they existed at the time of birth. Thus, the sex of a person is determined at birth, visually done by the birth attendant (the physician or midwife) by examining the genitals of the infant. Considering that there is no law legally recognizing sex reassignment, the determination of a person’s sex made at the time of his or her birth, if not attended by error, is immutable.

When words are not defined in a statute they are to be given their common and ordinary meaning in the absence of a contrary legislative intent. The words “sex,” “male” and “female” as used in the Civil Register Law and laws concerning the civil registry (and even all other laws) should therefore be understood in their common and ordinary usage, there being no legislative intent to the contrary. In this connection, sex is defined as “the sum of peculiarities of structure and function that distinguish a male from a female” or “the distinction between male and female.” Female is “the sex that produces ova or bears young” and male is “the sex that has organs to produce spermatozoa for fertilizing ova.” Thus, the words “male” and “female” in everyday understanding do not include persons who have undergone sex reassignment. Furthermore, “words that are employed in a statute which had at the time a well-known meaning are presumed to have been used in that sense unless the context compels to the contrary.” Since the statutory language of the Civil Register Law was enacted in the early 1900s and remains unchanged, it cannot be argued that the term “sex” as used then is something alterable through surgery or something that allows a post-operative male-to-female transsexual to be included in the category “female.”

For these reasons, while petitioner may have succeeded in altering his body and appearance through the intervention of modern surgery, no law authorizes the change of entry as to sex in the civil registry for that reason. Thus, there is no legal basis for his petition for the correction or change of the entries in his birth certificate.


The trial court opined that its grant of the petition was in consonance with the principles of justice and equity. It believed that allowing the petition would cause no harm, injury or prejudice to anyone. This is wrong.

The changes sought by petitioner will have serious and wide-ranging legal and public policy consequences. First, even the trial court itself found that the petition was but petitioner’s first step towards his eventual marriage to his male fiancĂ©. However, marriage, one of the most sacred social institutions, is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman. One of its essential requisites is the legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female. To grant the changes sought by petitioner will substantially reconfigure and greatly alter the laws on marriage and family relations. It will allow the union of a man with another man who has undergone sex reassignment (a male-to-female post-operative transsexual). Second, there are various laws which apply particularly to women such as the provisions of the Labor Code on employment of women, certain felonies under the Revised Penal Code and the presumption of survivorship in case of calamities under Rule 131 of the Rules of Court, among others. These laws underscore the public policy in relation to women which could be substantially affected if petitioner’s petition were to be granted.

It is true that Article 9 of the Civil Code mandates that “[n]o judge or court shall decline to render judgment by reason of the silence, obscurity or insufficiency of the law.” However, it is not a license for courts to engage in judicial legislation. The duty of the courts is to apply or interpret the law, not to make or amend it.

In our system of government, it is for the legislature, should it choose to do so, to determine what guidelines should govern the recognition of the effects of sex reassignment. The need for legislative guidelines becomes particularly important in this case where the claims asserted are statute-based.

To reiterate, the statutes define who may file petitions for change of first name and for correction or change of entries in the civil registry, where they may be filed, what grounds may be invoked, what proof must be presented and what procedures shall be observed. If the legislature intends to confer on a person who has undergone sex reassignment the privilege to change his name and sex to conform with his reassigned sex, it has to enact legislation laying down the guidelines in turn governing the conferment of that privilege.

It might be theoretically possible for this Court to write a protocol on when a person may be recognized as having successfully changed his sex. However, this Court has no authority to fashion a law on that matter, or on anything else. The Court cannot enact a law where no law exists. It can only apply or interpret the written word of its co-equal branch of government, Congress.

Petitioner pleads that “[t]he unfortunates are also entitled to a life of happiness, contentment and [the] realization of their dreams.” No argument about that. The Court recognizes that there are people whose preferences and orientation do not fit neatly into the commonly recognized parameters of social convention and that, at least for them, life is indeed an ordeal. However, the remedies petitioner seeks involve questions of public policy to be addressed solely by the legislature, not by the courts.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED.

DAVAO SAW MILL CO. VS. CASTILLO G.R. No. L-40411 August 7, 1935

G.R. No. L-40411     August 7, 1935


Petitioner is the holder of a lumber concession.  It operated a sawmill on a land, which it doesn’t own.  Part of the lease agreement was a stipulation in which after the lease agreement, all buildings and improvements would pass to the ownership of the lessor, which would not include machineries and  accessories.    In  connection  to  this,  petitioner  had  in  its  sawmill machineries and other equipment wherein some were bolted in foundations of cement.  
Whether or not the trial judge erred in finding that the subject properties are personal in nature.
The machinery must be classified as personal property.

The lessee placed the machinery in the building erected on land belonging to another, with the understanding that the machinery was not included in the improvements which would pass to the lessor on the expiration of the lease  agreement.    The  lessee  also  treated  the  machinery  as  personal
property  in  executing  chattel  mortgages  in  favor  of  third  persons.    The machinery was levied upon by the sheriff as personalty pursuant to a writ of execution obtained without any protest being registered.

Furthermore, machinery only becomes immobilized when placed in a plant by the owner of the property or plant, but not when so placed by a tenant, usufructuary,  or  any  person  having  temporary  right,  unless  such  person acted as the agent of the owner.

Bicerra v. Teneza [G.R. No. L-16218. November 29, 1962.]

Bicerra v. Teneza
[G.R. No. L-16218. November 29, 1962.]
En Banc, Makalintal (J): 10 concur.

FACTS: The Bicerras are supposedly the owners of the house worth P200, built on a lot owned by them in Lagangilang, Abra; which the Tenezas forcibly demolished in January 1957, claiming to be the owners thereof. The materials of the house were placed in the custody of the barrio lieutenant. The Bicerras filed a complaint claiming actual damages of P200, moral and consequential damages amounting to P600, and the costs. The CFI Abra dismissed the complaint claiming that the action was within the exclusive (original) jurisdiction of the Justice of the Peace Court of Lagangilang, Abra.

W/N the action involves title to real propety.
W/N the dismissal of the complaint was proper.

The Supreme Court affirmed the order appealed. Having been admitted in forma pauperis, no costs were adjudged.

1. House is immovable property even if situated on land belonging to a different owner; Exception, when demolished
A house is classified as immovable property by reason of its adherence to the soil on which it is built (Article 415, paragraph 1, Civil Code). This classification holds true regardless of the fact that the house may be situated on land belonging to a different owner. But once the house is demolished, as in this case, it ceases to exist as such and hence its character as an immovable likewise ceases.

2. Recovery of damages not exceeding P2,000 and involving no real property belong to the Justice of the Peace Court
The complaint is for recovery of damages, the only positive relief prayed for. Further, a declaration of being the owners of the dismantled house and/or of the materials in no wise constitutes the relief itself which if granted by final judgment could be enforceable by execution, but is only incidental to the real cause of action to recover damages. As this is a case for recovery of damages where the demand does not exceed PhP 2,000 and that there is no real property litigated as the house has ceased to exist, the case is within the jurisdiction of the Justice of the Peace Court (as per Section 88, RA 296 as amended) and not the CFI (Section 44, id.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010


103 SCRA 972
G.R. Nos. L-10837-38 May 30, 1958

Spouses Valino were the owners of a house, payable on installments from Philippine Realty Corporation. To be able to purchase on credit rice from NARIC, they filed a surety bond subscribed by petitioner and therefor, they executed an alleged chattel mortgage on the house in favor of the surety company. The spouses didn’t own yet the land on which the house was constructed on at the time of the undertaking. After being able to purchase the land, to be able to secure payment for indebtedness, the spouses executed a real estate mortgage in favor of Iya.

The spouses were not able to satisfy obligation with NARIC, petitioner was compelled to pay. The spouses weren’t able to pay the surety company despite demands and thus, the company foreclosed the chattel mortgage. It later learned of the real estate mortgage over the house and lot secured by the spouses. This prompted the company to file an action against the spouses. Also, Iya filed another civil action against the spouses, asserting that she has a better right over the property. The trial court heard the two cases jointly and it held that the surety company had a preferred right over the building as since when the chattel mortgage was secured, the land wasn’t owned yet by the spouses making the building then a chattel and not a real property. 


WON the auction sale was null and void
WON the house can be considered as personal property.
A building certainly cannot be divested of its character of a realty by the fact that the land on which it is constructed belongs to another. To hold it the other way, the possibility is not remote that it would result in confusion, for to cloak the building with an uncertain status made dependent on ownership of the land, would create a situation where apermanent fixture changes its nature or character as the ownership of the land changes hands. In the case at bar, as personal properties may be the only subjects of a chattel mortgage, the execution of the chattel mortgage covering said building is null and void.

FRANCISCO M. ALONSO vs. CEBU COUNTRY CLUB, INC. G.R. No. 130876 January 31, 2002

G.R. No. 130876 January 31, 2002
FRANCISCO M. ALONSO, substituted by his heirs, petitioners,
CEBU COUNTRY CLUB, INC., respondent.

FACTS: The case is an appeal via certiorari from a decision of the Court of Appeals affirming in toto that of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 8, Cebu City, declaring that the title to the contested Lot No. 727, Banilad Friar Lands Estate, Cebu City, was validly re-constituted in the name of the Cebu Country Club, Inc. and ordering petitioners to pay attorney’s fees of P400,000.00, and litigation expenses of P51,000.00, and costs.

Petitioner Francisco M. Alonso, who died pendente lite and substituted by his legal heirs, a lawyer by profession, the only son and sole heir of the late Tomas N. Alonso and Asuncion Medalle, who died on June 16, 1962 and August 18, 1963, respectively. Cebu Country Club, Inc. is a non-stock, non-profit corporation duly organized and existing under Philippine Laws the purpose of which is to cater to the recreation and leisure of its members.

Sometime in 1992, petitioner discovered documents and records — Friar Lands Sale Certificate Register/Installment Record Certificate No. 734, Sales Certificate No. 734 and Assignment of Sales Certificate — showing that his father acquired Lot No. 727 of the Banilad Friar Lands Estate from the Government of the Philippine Islands in or about the year 1911 in accordance with the Friar Lands Act (Act No. 1120). The documents show that one Leoncio Alburo, the original vendee of Lot No. 727, assigned his sales certificate to petitioner’s father on December 18, 1911, who completed the required installment payments thereon under Act No. 1120 and was consequently issued Patent No. 14353 on March 24, 1926. On March 27, 1926, the Director of Lands, acting for and in behalf of the government, executed a final deed of sale in favor of petitioner’s father Tomas N. Alonso. It appears, however, that the deed was not registered with the Register of Deeds because of lack of technical requirements, among them the approval of the deed of sale by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, as required by law.

Upon investigation of the status of the land, petitioner found out from the office of the Registrar of Deeds of Cebu City that title to Lot No. 727 of the Banilad Friar Lands Estate had been "administratively reconstituted from the owner’s duplicate" on July 26, 1948 under Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. RT-1310 (T-11351) in the name of United Service Country Club, Inc., predecessor of Cebu Country Club, Inc. On March 8, 1960, upon order of the Court of First Instance, the name of the registered owner in TCT No. RT-1310 (T-11531) was changed to Cebu Country Club, Inc. Moreover, the TCT provides that the reconstituted title was a transfer from TCT No. 1021.

In the firm belief that petitioner’s father is still the rightful owner of Lot No. 727 of the Banilad Friar Lands Estate since there are no records showing that he ever sold or conveyed the disputed property to anyone, on July 7, 1992, petitioner made a formal demand upon Cebu Country Club, Inc. to restore to him the ownership and possession of said lot within fifteen (15) days from receipt thereof. Cebu Country Club, Inc., however, denied petitioner’s claim and refused to deliver possession to him.

Left with no other recourse, on September 25, 1992, petitioner filed with the Regional Trial Court, Cebu City, a complaint for declaration of nullity and non-existence of deed/title, cancellation of certificates of title and recovery of property against defendant Cebu Country Club, Inc. He alleged that the Cebu Country Club, Inc. fraudulently and illegally managed to secure in its name the administrative reconstitution of TCT No. RT-13 10 (T-11351) despite the absence of any transaction of specific land dealing that would show how Lot No. 727 had come to pass to Cebu Country Club, Inc.; that TCT No. 11351 which is the source title of TCT No. RT-1310 (T-11351) does not pertain to Lot No. 727; that the reconstituted title which was issued on July 26, 1948, did not contain the technical description of the registered land which was inserted only on March 8, 1960, twenty-eight (28) years after the issuance of TCT No. RT-1310 (T-11351), hence, Cebu Country Club, Inc.’s title is null and void. Petitioner thus prayed for the cancellation of TCT No. RT-1310 (T-11351) and the issuance of another title in his name as the sole heir of Tomas Alonso, for Cebu Country Club, Inc. to deliver possession of the property to petitioner, and render an accounting of the fruits and income of the land. Petitioner likewise prayed for the sum of P100, 000.00 by way of attorney’s fees plus P500.00 per hearing as appearance fee, and P10, 000.00 as reasonable litigation expenses.

On November 5, 1992, Cebu Country Club, Inc. filed with the trial court its answer with counterclaim. It alleged that petitioner had no cause of action against Cebu Country Club, Inc. since the same had prescribed and was barred by laches, Cebu Country Club, Inc. having been in possession of the land since 1935 until the present in the concept of an owner, openly, publicly, peacefully, exclusively, adversely, continuously, paying regularly the real estate taxes thereon; that Cebu Country Club, Inc. acquired the lot in good faith and for value; that it caused the administrative reconstitution of Lot No. 727 in 1948 from the owner’s duplicate, the original of TCT No. 11351 having been lost or destroyed during the war, pursuant to Republic Act No. 26, its implementing Circular, GLRO Circular No. 178 and Circular No. 6 of the General Land Registration Office; that unlike Cebu Country Club, Inc., petitioner’s father never had any registered title under the Land Registration Act No. 496 nor did he pay the necessary taxes on Lot No. 727 during his lifetime; that petitioner’s father knew that the United Service Country Club, Inc., predecessor of Cebu Country Club, Inc. was occupying Lot No. 727 as owner; that petitioner’s father never reconstituted his alleged title to Lot No. 727 but did so over Lot No. 810 of the Banilad Friar Lands Estate, a lot adjacent to the disputed property, in 1946; that petitioner himself lived in Cebu City, a few kilometers away from the land in litigation; that petitioner’s father or petitioner himself, both of whom are lawyers and the former a congressman as well, for more than sixty (60) years, never made any demand on Cebu Country Club, Inc. for the recovery of the property knowing fully well that said land was owned and utilized by Cebu Country Club, Inc. as its main golf course. By way of counterclaim, Cebu Country Club, Inc. prayed for the award of attorney’s fees in the amount of P900,000.00 and litigation expenses of P100,000.00, moral damages of P500,000.00 and exemplary damages of P2,000,000.00.

Judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the defendant and against the plaintiff: declaring the contested property or Lot 727 as legally belonging to the defendant; directing the plaintiff to pay attorney'’ fee of P400, 000.00; and litigation expenses of P51, 000.00; and finally, with costs against the plaintiff.

After proceedings on appeal, on March 31, 1997, the Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision.

On April 30, 1997, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration; however, on October 2, 1997, the Court of Appeals denied the motion. Hence, this appeal.

1. Whether the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the validity of TCT No. RT-1310 (T-11351).
2. Whether the Court of Appeals erred in sustaining respondent’s claim of ownership over Lot No. 727;
3. Whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding that the present action is barred by prescription and/or by laches;
4. Whether the Court of Appeals erred in not applying the doctrine of stare decisis;
5. Whether the Court of Appeals erred in sustaining the trial court’s award for damages in the form of attorney’s fees and litigation expenses.

1. Reconstitution was based on the owner’s duplicate of the title, hence, there was no need for the covering deed of sale or other modes of conveyance. Cebu Country Club, Inc. was admittedly in possession of the land since long before the Second World War, or since 1931. In fact, the original title (TCT No. 11351) was issued to the United Service Country Club, Inc. on November 19, 1931 as a transfer from Transfer Certificate of Title No. 1021. More importantly, Cebu Country Club, Inc. paid the realty taxes on the land even before the war, and tax declarations covering the property showed the number of the TCT of the land. Cebu Country Club, Inc. produced receipts showing real estate tax payments since 1949. On the other hand, petitioner failed to produce a single receipt of real estate tax payment ever made by his father since the sales patent was issued to his father on March 24, 1926. Worse, admittedly petitioner could not show any torrens title ever issued to Tomas N. Alonso, because, as said, the deed of sale executed on March 27, 1926 by the Director of Lands was not approved by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and could not be registered. "Under the law, it is the act of registration of the deed of conveyance that serves as the operative act to convey the land registered under the Torrens system. The act of registration creates constructive notice to the whole world of the fact of such conveyance." On this point, petitioner alleges that Cebu Country Club, Inc. obtained its title by fraud in connivance with personnel of the Register of Deeds in 1941 or in 1948, when the title was administratively reconstituted. Imputations of fraud must be proved by clear and convincing evidence. Petitioner failed to adduce evidence of fraud. In an action for re-conveyance based on fraud, he who charges fraud must prove such fraud in obtaining a title. "In this jurisdiction, fraud is never presumed." The strongest suspicion cannot sway judgment or overcome the presumption of regularity. "The sea of suspicion has no shore, and the court that embarks upon it is without rudder or compass." Worse, the imputation of fraud was so tardily brought, some forty-four (44) years or sixty-one (61) years after its supposed occurrence, that is, from the administrative reconstitution of title on July 26, 1948, or from the issuance of the original title on November 19, 1931, that verification is rendered extremely difficult, if not impossible, especially due to the supervening event of the second world war during which practically all public records were lost or destroyed, or no longer available.

Petitioners next question the lack of technical description inscribed in the reconstituted title in Cebu Country Club, Inc.’s name. This is not a bar to reconstitution of the title nor will it affect the validity of the reconstituted title. A registered owner is given two (2) years to file a plan of such land with the Chief of the General Land Registration Office. The two-year period is directory, not jurisdictional. In other words, the failure to submit the technical description within two (2) years would not invalidate the title. At most, the failure to file such technical description within the two-year period would bar a transfer of the title to a third party in a voluntary transaction.

2. Admittedly, neither petitioners nor their predecessor had any title to the land in question. The most that petitioners could claim was that the Director of Lands issued a sales patent in the name of Tomas N. Alonso. The sales patent, however, and even the corresponding deed of sale were not registered with the Register of Deeds and no title was ever issued in the name of the latter. This is because there were basic requirements not complied with, the most important of which was that the deed of sale executed by the Director of Lands was not approved by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Hence, the deed of sale was void. "Approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce is indispensable for the validity of the sale." Moreover, Cebu Country Club, Inc. was in possession of the land since 1931, and had been paying the real estate taxes thereon based on tax declarations in its name with the title number indicated thereon. Tax receipts and declarations of ownership for taxation purposes are strong evidence of ownership. This Court has ruled that although tax declarations or realty tax payments are not conclusive evidence of ownership, nevertheless, they are good indicia of possession in the concept of owner for no one in his right mind will be paying taxes for a property that is not in his actual or constructive possession.

Notwithstanding this fatal defect, the Court of Appeals ruled that "there was substantial compliance with the requirement of Act No. 1120 to validly convey title to said lot to Tomas N. Alonso."

On this point, the Court of Appeals erred.

Under Act No. 1120, which governs the administration and disposition of friar lands, the purchase by an actual and bona fide settler or occupant of any portion of friar land shall be "agreed upon between the purchaser and the Director of Lands, subject to the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources (mutatis mutandis)."

In his Memorandum filed on May 25, 2001, the Solicitor General submitted to this Court certified copies of Sale Certificate No. 734, in favor of Leoncio Alburo, and Assignment of Sale Certificate No. 734, in favor of Tomas N. Alonso. Conspicuously, both instruments do not bear the signature of the Director of Lands and the Secretary of the Interior. They also do not bear the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Only recently, in Jesus P. Liao v. Court of Appeals, the Court has ruled categorically that approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce of the sale of friar lands is indispensable for its validity, hence, the absence of such approval made the sale null and void ab-initio. Necessarily, there can be no valid titles issued on the basis of such sale or assignment. Consequently, petitioner Francisco’s father did not have any registerable title to the land in question. Having none, he could not transmit anything to his sole heir, petitioner Francisco Alonso or the latter’s heirs.

Consequently, we rule that neither Tomas N. Alonso nor his son Francisco M. Alonso or the latter’s heirs are the lawful owners of Lot No. 727 in dispute. Neither has the respondent Cebu Country Club, Inc. been able to establish a clear title over the contested estate. The reconstitution of a title is simply the re-issuance of a lost duplicate certificate of title in its original form and condition. It does not determine or resolve the ownership of the land covered by the lost or destroyed title. A reconstituted title, like the original certificate of title, by itself does not vest ownership of the land or estate covered thereby.

3. An action for re-conveyance is a legal remedy granted to a landowner whose property has been wrongfully or erroneously registered in another’s name, but then the action must be filed within ten years from the issuance of the title since such issuance operates as a constructive notice." In addition, the action is barred by laches because of the long delay before the filing of the case. Petitioner Francisco’s action in the court below was basically one of re-conveyance. It was filed on September 25, 1992, sixty-one (61) years after the title was issued on November 19, 1931, and forty-four (44) years after its reconstitution on July 26, 1948.

4. Petitioners assert that as the Court of Appeals annulled Cebu Country Club, Inc.’s title in the Cabrera-Ingles case, so too must the title in this case be declared void. In the first place, there is no identity of parties; secondly, neither the titles to nor the parcels of land involved are the same. Consequently, the doctrine of res-judicata does not apply. Momentarily casting aside the doctrine of res-judicata, there is an important moiety in the Cabrera-Ingles case. There, the Director of Lands, after the administrative reconstitution of the title, issued a directive to the Register of Deeds to register the lot in question in favor of Graciano Ingles. This superseded the administrative reconstitution, rendering allegations of fraud irrelevant. Here, the Director of Lands did not issue a directive to register the land in favor of Tomas N. Alonso. And worse, the sales patent and corresponding deed of sale executed in 1926 are now stale.

5. An award of attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation is proper under the circumstances provided for in Article 2208 of the Civil Code, one of which is when the court deems it just and equitable that attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation should be recovered and when the civil action or proceeding is clearly unfounded and where defendant acted in gross and evident bad faith.

WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition for review. However, we SET ASIDE the decision of the Court of Appeals and that of the Regional Trial Court, Cebu City, Branch 08. IN LIEU THEREOF, we DISMISS the complaint and counterclaim of the parties in Civil Case No. CEB 12926 of the trial court. We declare that Lot No. 727 D-2 of the Banilad Friar Lands Estate covered by Original Certificate of Title Nos. 251, 232, and 253 legally belongs to the Government of the Philippines.
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