Wednesday, September 29, 2010

UNIVERSITY OF THE EAST vs. ROMEO A. JADER, GR No. 132344. February 17, 2000.

UNIVERSITY OF THE EAST, petitioner, VS. ROMEO A. JADER, respondent
GR No. 132344. February 17, 2000.

Romeo Jader, a law student of the University of the East, failed to take his regular examination in Practice Court I in his first semester of his last school year. However, he was able to remove the incomplete mark when the Dean of his college approved his application to take a removal examination.
In the 2nd semester, his name appeared in the tentative list of candidates for graduation for the Decree of Bachelor of Laws and in the invitation for the 35th Investiture and Commencement Ceremonies, the plaintiff’s name appeared. Thus, he attended the investiture ceremonies and graduated.
On April to September 1998, he took a leave of absence from his work and enrolled at the pre-bar review class in Far Eastern University. To his dismay upon knowing that he incurred a deficiency, he dropped his review class and was not able to take the bar examinations.
He then filed a suit against UE praying for moral and exemplary damages arising from the latter’s negligence. The trial court ruled in his favor and was granted for actual damages. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision with modification. The CA awarded moral damages. On account of suffering moral shock, mental anguish, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings and sleepless nights and ultimately for not having to take the bar exam.

Whether or not Romeo Jader can validly claim for moral damages.

In view of the foregoing issue, the Supreme Court emphatically enunciated that moral damages cannot be awarded to Romeo Jader. It cannot believe that he suffered shock, trauma, and pain.
Along this vein, the Supreme Court held Jader negligent. It opined that as a student, he should have been responsible enough to ensure that all his affairs, especially those appertaining to his academics, are in order. If respondent was indeed humiliated by his failure to take the bar, he brought this upon himself by not verifying if he has satisfied all the requirements. While the Court held the University of the East negligent and therefore liable for actual damages in favor of Jader, the latter was also held liable for negligence thereby no moral damages can be awarded in his favor. The decision was affirmed with modification.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


G. R. No. 154380 October 5, 2005


This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision and resolution of the Regional Trial Court of Molave, Zamboaga del Sur, Branch 23, granting respondent’s petition for authority to remarry invoking par. 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code.

On May 24, 1981, Cipriano Orbecido III and Lady Myros Villanueva were married in Lam-an, Ozamis City and were blessed with a son and a daughter. In 1986, Lady Myros left for the U. S. bringing along their son and after a few years she was naturalized as an American citizen.

Sometime in 2000, respondent Orbecido learned from his son – who was living with his wife in the States – that his wife had remarried after obtaining her divorce decree. Thereafter, he filed a petition for authority to remarry with the trial court invoking par. 2 of Art. 26 of the Family Code.

Having no opposition, on May 15, 2002, the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga del Sur granted the petition of the respondent and allowed him to remarry.

The Solicitor General’s motion for reconsideration was denied. In view of that, petitioner filed this petition for review on certiorari of the Decision of the Regional Trial Court. Herein petitioner raised the issue of the applicability of Art. 26 par. 2 to the instant case.




Respondent Orbecido who has the burden of proof, failed to submit competent evidence showing his allegations that his naturalized American wife had obtained a divorce decree and had remarried. Therefore, the Petition of the Republic of the Philippines is GRANTED. The Decision and Resolution of the RTC Br. 32 of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur is hereby SET ASIDE.

“Art. 26 (2) Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under the Philippine laws.”

Article 26 par. 2 of the Family Code only applies to case where at the time of the celebration of the marriage, the parties are a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. The instant case is one where at the time the marriage was solemnized, the parties were two Filipino citizens, but later on, the wife was naturalized as an American citizen and subsequently obtained a divorce granting her capacity to remarry, and indeed she remarried an American citizen while residing in the U. S. A. Therefore, the 2nd par. of Art. 26 does not apply to the instant case.

However, the legislative intent must be taken into consideration and rule of reason must be applied. The Supreme Court ruled that par. 2 of Art. 26 should be construed and interpreted to include cases involving parties who, at the time of the celebration of the marriage were Filipino citizens, but later on, one of then becomes naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a divorce decree. The Filipino spouse should likewise be allowed to remarry as if the other party were a foreigner at the time of the solemnization of the marriage. To rule otherwise would be sanction absurdity and injustice. Were the interpretation of a statute according to its exact and literal import would lead to mischievous results or contravene the clear purpose of the legislature, it should be construed according to its spirit and reason, disregarding as far as necessary the letter of the law. A stature may therefore be extended to case not within the literal meaning of its terms, so long as they come within its spirits or intent.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Estrada v. Disierto, [G.R. Nos. 146710-15. April 3, 2001] 253 SCRA 452

Estrada v. Disierto,
[G.R. Nos. 146710-15. April 3, 2001]
253 SCRA 452

FACTS: Following the aborted impeachment trial & the resignation of majority of the members of the Cabinet & the defection of the military & the police, at about noon of Jan. 20, 2001, V-pres Arroyo was sworn into office as Pres. of the Phil., while Pres. Estrada w/ his family left Malacanang. On the same day, however, Pres. Estrada wrote a letter to the Senate stating that he was unable to exercise the powers of the office of the Presidency & the operation of the Consti, the V-pres shall be Acting Pres.

ISSUE: Is the Pres. only temporarily unable to act as Pres?

RULING: NO. On Jan. 20, 2001, despite receipt of the letter, the House issued a resolution supporting the assumption of Arroyoi as Pres. Likewise, on Feb. 7, it confirmed the nomination by Pres. Arroyo of Sen. Guingona as V-Pres. On the same day, the Senate also confirmed the nomination. The Senate on Feb. 8, issued a resolution confirming the existence of a vacancy in the Senate brought about by the nomination of Sen. Guingona & urging the COMELEC to fill the vacancy. Finally, both Houses of Congress started sending bills to be signed into law by Pres. Arroyo. It is therefore clear that Congress has recognized Arroyo as the Pres., & that the inability of Estrada is no longer temporary. In the face of this determination by a co-equal branch, the court is w/out authority to review. It is a pol’l question, w/c cannot be decided by the Court w/out transgressing the princ. of separation of powers.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Oh Cho vs Director of Lands G.R. No. 48321, August 31, 1946

Oh Cho vs Director of Lands
G.R. No. 48321, August 31, 1946


Oh Cho, a Chinese citizen, purchased from the Lagdameos a parcel of land in Tayabas, which they openly, continuously and adversely possessed since 1880. On January 17, 1940, Oh Cho applied for registration of this land. The Solicitor General opposed on the ground that Oh Cho lacked title to said land and also because he was an alien.


Whether or not Oh Cho had title
Whether or not Oh Cho is entitled to a decree of registration


Oh Cho failed to show that he has title to the lot, which may be confirmed under the Land Registration Act.

All lands that were not acquired from the Government, either by purchase or by grant, belong to the public domain. An exception to the rule would be any land that should have been in the possession of an occupant and of his predecessors in interest since time immemorial, for such possession would justify the presumption that the land had never been part of the public domain or that it had been a private property even before the Spanish conquest.

The applicant does not come under the exception, for the earliest possession of the lot by his first predecessor in interest began in 1880.

Under the Public Land Act, Oh Cho is not entitled to a decree of registration of the lot, because he is an alien disqualified from acquiring lands of the public domain.

Oh Cho's predecessors in interest would have been entitled toa decree of registration had they applied for the same. The application for the registration of the land was a condition precedent, which was not complied with by the Lagmeos. Hence, the most they had was mere possessory right, not title. This possessory right was what was transferred to Oh Cho, but since the latter is an alien, the possessory right could never ripen to ownership by prescription. As an alien, Oh Cho is disqualified from acquiring title over public land by prescription.

Central Philippine University vs. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 112230. July 17, 1995

Central Philippine University vs. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 112230. July 17, 1995
246 SCRA 511

In 1939, Don Ramon Lopez Sr. executed a deed of donation in favor of CPU together with the following conditions:
a) The land should be utilized by CPU exclusively for the establishment & use of medical college;
b) The said college shall not sell transfer or convey to any 3rd party;
c) The said land shall be called “Ramon Lopez Campus” and any income from that land shall be put in the fund to be known as “Ramon Lopez Campus Fund”.

However, on May 31, 1989, PR, who are the heirs of Don Ramon filed an action for annulment of donation, reconveyance & damages against CPU for not complying with the conditions. The heirs also argued that CPU had negotiated with the NHA to exchange the donated property with another land owned by the latter.

Petitioner alleged that the right of private respondents to file the action had prescribed.

1) WON petitioner failed to comply the resolutely conditions annotated at the back of petitioner’s certificate of title without a fixed period when to comply with such conditions? YES
2) WON there is a need to fix the period for compliance of the condition? NO


Under Art. 1181, on conditional obligations, the acquisition of rights as well the extinguishment or loss of those already acquired shall depend upon the happening of the event which constitutes the condition. Thus, when a person donates land to another on the condition that the latter would build upon the land a school is such a resolutory one. The donation had to be valid before the fulfillment of the condition. If there was no fulfillment with the condition such as what obtains in the instant case, the donation may be revoked & all rights which the donee may have acquired shall be deemed lost & extinguished.

More than a reasonable period of fifty (50) years has already been allowed petitioner to avail of the opportunity to comply with the condition even if it be burdensome, to make the donation in its favor forever valid. But, unfortunately, it failed to do so. Hence, there is no more need to fix the duration of a term of the obligation when such procedure would be a mere technicality and formality and would serve no purpose than to delay or lead to an unnecessary and expensive multiplication of suits.

Records are clear and facts are undisputed that since the execution of the deed of donation up to the time of filing of the instant action, petitioner has failed to comply with its obligation as donee. Petitioner has slept on its obligation for an unreasonable length of time. Hence, it is only just and equitable now to declare the subject donation already ineffective and, for all purposes, revoked so that petitioner as donee should now return the donated property to the heirs of the donor, private respondents herein, by means of reconveyance.

Under Art. 1197, when the obligation does not fix a period but from its nature & circumstance it can be inferred that the period was intended, the court may fix the duration thereof because the fulfillment of the obligation itself cannot be demanded until after the court has fixed the period for compliance therewith & such period has arrived. However, this general rule cannot be applied in this case considering the different set of circumstances existing more than a reasonable period of 50yrs has already been allowed to petitioner to avail of the opportunity to comply but unfortunately, it failed to do so. Hence, there is no need to fix a period when such procedure would be a mere technicality & formality & would serve no purpose than to delay or load to unnecessary and expensive multiplication of suits.

Under Art. 1191, when one of the obligors cannot comply with what is incumbent upon him, the obligee may seek rescission before the court unless there is just cause authorizing the fixing of a period. In the absence of any just cause for the court to determine the period of compliance there is no more obstacle for the court to decree recission.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bellis vs Bellis, G.R. No. L-23678 June 6, 1967

executor, MARIA CRISTINA BELLIS and MIRIAM PALMA BELLIS, oppositors-appellants, VS.
EDWARD A. BELLIS, ET. AL., heir-appellees
G.R. No. L-23678 June 6, 1967

Amos Bellis, born in Texas, was a citizen of the State of Texas and of the United States. He had 5 legitimate children with his wife, Mary Mallen, whom he had divorced, 3 legitimate children with his 2nd wife, Violet Kennedy and finally, 3 illegitimate children.

Prior to his death, Amos Bellis executed a will in the Philippines in which his distributable estate should be divided in trust in the following order and manner:

a. $240,000 to his 1st wife Mary Mallen;
b. P120,000 to his 3 illegitimate children at P40,000 each;
c. The remainder shall go to his surviving children by his 1st and 2nd wives, in equal shares.

Subsequently, Amos Bellis died a resident of San Antonio, Texas, USA. His will was admitted to probate in the Philippines. The People’s Bank and Trust Company, an executor of the will, paid the entire bequest therein.

Preparatory to closing its administration, the executor submitted and filed its “Executor’s Final Account, Report of Administration and Project of Partition” where it reported, inter alia, the satisfaction of the legacy of Mary Mallen by the shares of stock amounting to $240,000 delivered to her, and the legacies of the 3 illegitimate children in the amount of P40,000 each or a total of P120,000. In the project partition, the executor divided the residuary estate into 7 equal portions
for the benefit of the testator’s 7 legitimate children by his 1st and 2nd marriages.

Among the 3 illegitimate children, Mari Cristina and Miriam Palma Bellis filed their respective opposition to the project partition on the ground that they were deprived of their legitimates as illegitimate children.

The lower court denied their respective motions for reconsideration.

Whether Texan Law of Philippine Law must apply.

It is not disputed that the decedent was both a national of Texas and a domicile thereof at the time of his death. So that even assuming Texan has a conflict of law rule providing that the same would not result in a reference back (renvoi) to Philippine Law, but would still refer to Texas Law.

Nonetheless, if Texas has conflict rule adopting the situs theory (lex rei sitae) calling for the application of the law of the place where the properties are situated, renvoi would arise, since the properties here involved are found in the Philippines. In the absence, however of proofs as to the conflict of law rule of Texas, it should not be presumed different from our appellants, position is therefore not rested on the doctrine of renvoi.

The parties admit that the decedent, Amos Bellis, was a citizen of the State of Texas, USA and that under the Laws of Texas, there are no forced heirs or legitimates. Accordingly, since the intrinsic validity of the provision of the will and the amount of successional rights has to be determined under Texas Law, the Philippine Law on legitimates can not be applied to the testate of Amos Bellis.

ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation v Philippine Multi-Media System, Inc. G.R. Nos. 175769-70, January 19, 2009

ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation v Philippine Multi-Media System, Inc.
G.R. Nos. 175769-70, January 19, 2009

Philippine Multi-Media System, Inc. (PMSI), operator of Dream Broadcsating System, delivers a digital direct-to-home (DTH) television satellite to its subscribers all over the Philippines, was granted a legislative franchise under Republic Act 8630 and was given a Provisional Authority by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to install, operate and maintain a nationwide DTH satellite service. When it commenced operations, it offered as part of its program line-up, together with other paid premium program channels, ABS-CBN Channels 2 and 23, NBN, Channel 4, ABC, Channel 5, GMA, Channel 7, RPN, Channel 9, and IBC, Channel 13, pursuant to Memorandum Circular 4-08-88 which mandated all cable television system operators, operating within the Grade “A” and “B” CONTOURS to carry out the television signals of the authorized television broadcast stations.

ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation (ABS-CBN), a licensed television and radio broadcasting network, demanded PMSI to cease and desist from “rebroadcasting” Channels 2 and 23. In its reply, PMSI contended that the “rebroadcasting” was in accordance with the authority granted by NTC under its obligations under NTC MC 4-08-88.

Negotiations were ensued between the parties in an effort to reach a settlement; however, the same was terminated by ABS-CBN allegedly due to PMSI’s inability to ensure the prevention of illegal “retransmission” and further “rebroadcast” of its signals, as well as the adverse effect of the rebroadcasts on the business operations of its regional television stations.

ABS-CBN filed with the Intellectual Property Rights Office (IPO) a complaint for “Violation of Laws Involving Property Rights, with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction” alleging that PMSI’s unauthorized rebroadcasting of Channels 2 and 23 infringed on its broadcasting rights and copyright. The TRO was granted by the Bureau of Legal Affairs (BLA) of IPO. PMSI, pursuant to the TRO, suspended the retransmission of PMSI of Channels 2 and 23 and likewise filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals granted the petition of PMSI and reversed the decision of the BLA. ABS-CBN filed its appeal however it was dismissed by the Court of Appeals. Furthermore, ABS-CBN’s motion for reconsideration was denied.

1. Whether or not PMSI violated the Laws on Property Rights.
2. Whether or not the issuance MC 4-08-88 by the NTC is a valid exercise of the police power of the State.

1. NO. PMSI did not violate the Laws on Property Rights because it is not engaged in rebroadcasting Channels 2 and 23. Rebroadcasting has been defined as “the simultaneous broadcasting by one broadcasting organization of the broadcast of another broadcasting organization.” It is also “the transmission by wireless means for the public reception of sounds or of images or of representations thereof; such transmission by satellite is also ‘broadcasting’ where the means for decrypting are provided to the public by the broadcasting organization or with its consent.” PMSI is only engaged in the carrying of signals of ABS-CBN coming from ABS-CBN and transmitting signals. PMSI is not the origin nor does it claim to be the origin of the programs broadcasted by the ABS-CBN. PMSI did not make and transmit on its own but merely carried the existing signals of the ABS-CBN. When PMSI subscribers view ABS-CBN’s programs in Channels 2 and 23, they know that the origin thereof was the ABS-CBN.

The nature of broadcasting is to scatter the signals in its widest area of coverage as possible. On this score, it may be said that making public means that accessibility is undiscriminating as long as it is within the range of the transmitter and equipment of the broadcaster. That the medium through which the PMSI carries the ABS-CBN’s signal, that is via satellite, does not diminish the fact that it operates and functions as a cable television. It remains that the PMSI’s transmission of signals via its DTH satellite television service cannot be considered within the purview of broadcasting.

Furthermore, there is no rebroadcasting on the part of the PMSI of the ABS-CBM’s programs on Channels 2 and 23, as defined under the Rome Convention, which defines rebroadcasting as “the simultaneous broadcasting by one broadcasting organization of the broadcast of another broadcasting organization.” ABS-CBN creates and transmits its own signals; PMSI merely carries such signals which the viewers receive in its unaltered form. PMSI does not produce, select, or determine the programs to be shown in Channels 2 and 23. Likewise, it does not pass itself off as the origin or author of such programs. Insofar as Channels 2 and 23 are concerned, PMSI merely retransmits the same in accordance with Memorandum Circular 04-08-88. With regard to its premium channels, it buys the channels from content providers and transmits on an as-is basis to its viewers. Clearly, PMSI does not perform the functions of a broadcasting organization; thus, it cannot be said that it is engaged in rebroadcasting Channels 2 and 23.

Therefore, the retransmission of ABS-CBN’s signals by PMSI – which functions essentially as a cable television – does not constitute rebroadcasting in violation of the former’s intellectual property rights under the IP Code.

2. YES. The law on copyright is not absolute. The carriage of ABS-CBN’s signals by virtue of the must-carry rule in Memorandum Circular No. 04-08-88 is under the direction and control of the government though the NTC which is vested with exclusive jurisdiction to supervise, regulate and control telecommunications and broadcast services/facilities in the Philippines. The imposition of the must-carry rule is within the NTC’s power to promulgate rules and regulations, as public safety and interest may require, to encourage a larger and more effective use of communications, radio and television broadcasting facilities, and to maintain effective competition among private entities in these activities whenever the Commission finds it reasonably feasible.

The “Must-Carry Rule” is in consonance with the principles and objectives underlying Executive Order No. 436, to wit:

The Filipino people must be given wider access to more sources of news, information, education, sports event and entertainment programs other than those provided for by mass media and afforded television programs to attain a well informed, well-versed and culturally refined citizenry and enhance their socio-economic growth.

Moreover, radio and television waves are mere franchised which may be reasonably burdened with some form of public service. It is a privilege subject, among other things, to amendment by Congress in accordance with the constitutional provision that “any such franchise or right granted . . . shall be subject to amendment, alteration or repeal by the Congress when the common good so requires.”

The must carry rule is a valid exercise of the police power of the State. It favors both broadcasting organizations and the public. It prevents cable television companies from excluding broadcasting organization especially in those places not reached by signal. Also, the rule prevents cable television companies from depriving viewers in far-flung areas the enjoyment of programs available to city viewers. In fact, this Office finds the rule more burdensome on the part of the cable television companies. The latter carries the television signals and shoulders the costs without any recourse of charging. On the other hand, the signals that are carried by cable television companies are dispersed and scattered by the television stations and anybody with a television set is free to pick them up.

Bengson v HRET G.R. No 142840, May 7, 2001

Bengson v House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal
G.R. No 142840, May 7, 2001

Facts: The citizenship of Teodoro Cruz, a member of the HOR, is being questioned on the ground that he is not a natural-born citizen of the Philippines.

Cruz was born in the Philippines in 1960, the time when the acquisition of citizenship rule was still jus soli. However, he enlisted to the US Marine Corps and he was naturalized as US citizen in connection therewith. He reacquired Philippine citizenship through repatriation under RA 2630 and ran for and was elected as a representative. When his nationality was questioned by petitioner, the HRET decided that Cruz was a natural born citizen of the Philippines.

Issue: WON Cruz is a natural born citizen of the Philippines.

Held: YES. Natural-born citizens "are those citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect his Philippine citezenship." On the other hand, naturalized citizens are those who have become Filipino citizens through naturalization, generally under Commonwealth Act No. 473, otherwise known as the Revised Naturalization Law, which repealed the former Naturalization Law (Act No. 2927), and by Republic Act No. 530.11 To be naturalized, an applicant has to prove that he possesses all the qualifications12 and none of the disqualification.

Filipino citizens who have lost their citizenship may however reacquire the same in the manner provided by law. Commonwealth Act. No. (C.A. No. 63), enumerates the three modes by which Philippine citizenship may be reacquired by a former citizen: (1) by naturalization, (2) by repatriation, and (3) by direct act of Congress.

Naturalization is mode for both acquisition and reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. As a mode of initially acquiring Philippine citizenship, naturalization is governed by Commonwealth Act No. 473, as amended. On the other hand, naturalization as a mode for reacquiring Philippine citizenship is governed by Commonwealth Act No. 63.16 Under this law, a former Filipino citizen who wishes to reacquire Philippine citizenship must possess certain qualifications and none of the disqualification mentioned in Section 4 of C.A. 473.

Repatriation, on the other hand, may be had under various statutes by those who lost their citizenship due to: (1) desertion of the armed forces; services in the armed forces of the allied forces in World War II; (3) service in the Armed Forces of the United States at any other time, (4) marriage of a Filipino woman to an alien; and (5) political economic necessity.

As distinguished from the lengthy process of naturalization, repatriation simply consists of the taking of an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippine and registering said oath in the Local Civil Registry of the place where the person concerned resides or last resided.

Moreover, repatriation results in the recovery of the original nationality. This means that a naturalized Filipino who lost his citizenship will be restored to his prior status as a naturalized Filipino citizen. On the other hand, if he was originally a natural-born citizen before he lost his Philippine citizenship, he will be restored to his former status as a natural-born Filipino.

In respondent Cruz's case, he lost his Filipino citizenship when he rendered service in the Armed Forces of the United States. However, he subsequently reacquired Philippine citizenship under R.A. No. 2630.

Having thus taken the required oath of allegiance to the Republic and having registered the same in the Civil Registry of Magantarem, Pangasinan in accordance with the aforecited provision, respondent Cruz is deemed to have recovered his original status as a natural-born citizen, a status which he acquired at birth as the son of a Filipino father. It bears stressing that the act of repatriation allows him to recover, or return to, his original status before he lost his Philippine citizenship

Tecson vs. Commission on Elections [GR 151434, 3 March 2004]

Tecson vs. Commission on Elections
[GR 151434, 3 March 2004]

Facts: On 31 December 2003, Ronald Allan Kelly Poe, also known as Fernando Poe, Jr. (FPJ), filed his certificate of candidacy for the position of President of the Republic of the Philippines under the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) Party, in the 2004 national elections. In his certificate of candidacy, FPJ, representing himself to be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, stated his name to be "Fernando Jr.," or "Ronald Allan" Poe, his date of birth to be 20 August 1939 and his place of birth to be Manila. Victorino X. Fornier, (GR 161824) initiated, on 9 January 2004, a petition (SPA 04-003) before the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to disqualify FPJ and to deny due course or to cancel his certificate of candidacy upon the thesis that FPJ made a material misrepresentation in his certificate of candidacy by claiming to be a natural-born Filipino citizen when in truth, according to Fornier, his parents were foreigners; his mother, Bessie Kelley Poe, was an American, and his father, Allan Poe, was a Spanish national, being the son of Lorenzo Pou, a Spanish subject. Granting, Fornier asseverated, that Allan F. Poe was a Filipino citizen, he could not have transmitted his Filipino citizenship to FPJ, the latter being an illegitimate child of an alien mother. Fornier based the allegation of the illegitimate birth of FPJ on two assertions: (1) Allan F. Poe contracted a prior marriage to a certain Paulita Gomez before his marriage to Bessie Kelley and, (2) even if no such prior marriage had existed, Allan F. Poe, married Bessie Kelly only a year after the birth of FPJ. On 23 January 2004, the COMELEC dismissed SPA 04-003 for lack of merit. 3 days later, or on 26 January 2004, Fornier filed his motion for reconsideration. The motion was denied on 6 February 2004 by the COMELEC en banc. On 10 February 2004, Fornier assailed the decision of the COMELEC before the Supreme Court conformably with Rule 64, in relation to Rule 65, of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. The petition likewise prayed for a temporary restraining order, a writ of preliminary injunction or any other resolution that would stay the finality and/or execution of the COMELEC resolutions. The other petitions, later consolidated with GR 161824, would include GR 161434 and GR 161634, both challenging the jurisdiction of the COMELEC and asserting that, under Article VII, Section 4, paragraph 7, of the 1987 Constitution, only the Supreme Court had original and exclusive jurisdiction to resolve the basic issue on the case.

Issue: Whether FPJ was a natural born citizen, so as to be allowed to run for the offcie of the President of the Philippines.

Held: Section 2, Article VII, of the 1987 Constitution expresses that "No person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least forty years of age on the day of the election, and a resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding such election." The term "natural-born citizens," is defined to include "those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship." Herein, the date, month and year of birth of FPJ appeared to be 20 August 1939 during the regime of the 1935 Constitution. Through its history, four modes of acquiring citizenship - naturalization, jus soli, res judicata and jus sanguinis – had been in vogue. Only two, i.e., jus soli and jus sanguinis, could qualify a person to being a “natural-born” citizen of the Philippines. Jus soli, per Roa vs. Collector of Customs (1912), did not last long. With the adoption of the 1935 Constitution and the reversal of Roa in Tan Chong vs. Secretary of Labor (1947), jus sanguinis or blood relationship would now become the primary basis of citizenship by birth. Considering the reservations made by the parties on the veracity of some of the entries on the birth certificate of FPJ and the marriage certificate of his parents, the only conclusions that could be drawn with some degree of certainty from the documents would be that (1) The parents of FPJ were Allan F. Poe and Bessie Kelley; (2) FPJ was born to them on 20 August 1939; (3) Allan F. Poe and Bessie Kelley were married to each other on 16 September, 1940; (4) The father of Allan F. Poe was Lorenzo Poe; and (5) At the time of his death on 11 September 1954, Lorenzo Poe was 84 years old. The marriage certificate of Allan F. Poe and Bessie Kelley, the birth certificate of FPJ, and the death certificate of Lorenzo Pou are documents of public record in the custody of a public officer. The documents have been submitted in evidence by both contending parties during the proceedings before the COMELEC. But while the totality of the evidence may not establish conclusively that FPJ is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, the evidence on hand still would preponderate in his favor enough to hold that he cannot be held guilty of having made a material misrepresentation in his certificate of candidacy in violation of Section 78, in relation to Section 74, of the Omnibus Election Code. Fornier has utterly failed to substantiate his case before the Court, notwithstanding the ample opportunity given to the parties to present their position and evidence, and to prove whether or not there has been material misrepresentation, which, as so ruled in Romualdez-Marcos vs. COMELEC, must not only be material, but also deliberate and willful. The petitions were dismissed.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ANTONIO GELUZ vs. COURT OF APPEALS G.R. No. L-16439 July 20, 1961

G.R. No. L-16439, July 20, 1961
2 SCRA 801

Her present husband impregnated Nita Villanueva before they were legally married. Desiring to conceal her pregnancy from the parent, she had herself aborted by petitioner Antonio Geluz. After her marriage, she again became pregnant. As she was then employed in the COMELEC and her pregnancy proved to be inconvenient, she had herself aborted again by Geluz. Less than 2 years later, Nita incurred a third abortion of a two-month old fetus, in consideration of the sum of P50.00. Her husband did not know of, nor consented to the abortion. Hence Oscar Lazo, private respondent, sued petitioner for damages based on the third and last abortion.
The trial court rendered judgment ordering Antonio Geluz to pay P3,000.00 as damages, P700.00 as attorney’s fee and the cost of the suit. Court of Appeals affirmed the decision.

Is an unborn child covered with personality so that if the unborn child incurs injury, his parents may recover damages from the ones who caused the damage to the unborn child?

Personality begins at conception. This personality is called presumptive personality. It is, of course, essential that birth should occur later, otherwise the fetus will be considered as never having possessed legal personality.
Since an action for pecuniary damages on account of injury or death pertains primarily to the one injured, it is easy to see that if no action for damages could be instituted on behalf of the unborn child on account of injuries it received, no such right of action could derivatively accrue to its parents or heirs. In fact, even if a cause of action did accrue on behalf of the unborn child, the same was extinguished by its pre-natal death, since no transmission to anyone can take place from one that lacked juridical personality.
It is no answer to invoke the presumptive personality of a conceived child under Article 40 of the Civil Code because that same article expressly limits such provisional personality by imposing the condition that the child should be subsequently born alive. In the present case, the child was dead when separated from its mother’s womb.
This is not to say that the parents are not entitled to damages. However, such damages must be those inflicted directly upon them, as distinguished from injury or violation of the rights of the deceased child.


ADOLFO C. AZNAR, Executor and LUCY CHRISTENSEN, Heir of the deceased, Executor and
Heir-appellees, VS. HELEN CHRISTENSEN GARCIA, oppositor-appellant
January 31, 1963

Edward E. Christensen, though born in New York, migrated to California, where he resided and consequently was considered a California citizen. In 1913, he came to the Philippines where he became a domiciliary until his death. However, during the entire period of his residence in this country he had always considered himself a citizen of California. In his will executed on March 5, 1951, he instituted an acknowledged natural daughter, Maria Lucy Christensen as his only heir, but left a legacy of sum of money in favor of Helen Christensen Garcia who was rendered to have been declared acknowledged natural daughter. Counsel for appellant claims that California law should be applied; that under California law, the matter is referred back to the law of the domicile; that therefore Philippine law is ultimately applicable; that finally, the share of Helen must be increased in view of the success ional rights of illegitimate children under Philippine law. On the other hand, counsel for the heir of Christensen contends that inasmuch as it is clear that under Article 16 of our Civil Code, the national law of the deceased must apply, our courts must immediately apply the internal law of California on the matter; that under California law there are no compulsory heirs and consequently a testator could dispose of any property possessed by him in absolute dominion and that finally, illegitimate children not being entitled to anything and his will remain undisturbed.

Whether or not the Philippine law should prevail in administering the estate of Christensen?

The court in deciding to grant more successional rights to Helen said in effect that there are two rules in California on the matter: the internal law which should apply to Californians domiciled in California; and the conflict rule which should apply to Californians domiciled outside of California. The California conflict rule says: “If there is no law to the contrary in the place where personal property is situated, is deemed to follow the person of its owner and is governed by the law of his domicile.” Christensen being domiciled outside California, the law of his domicile, the Philippines, ought to be followed. Where it is referred back to California, it will form a circular pattern referring to both country back and forth.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

CARIÑO vs THE INSULAR GOVERNMENT, G.R. No. L-2746 December 6, 1906


G.R. No. L-2746 December 6, 1906

FACTS: On June 23, 1903, Mateo Cariňo went to the Court of Land Registration to petition his inscription as the owner of a 146 hectare land he’s been possessing in the then municipality of Baguio. Mateo only presented possessory information and no other documentation. The State opposed the petition averring that the land is part of the US military reservation. The CLR ruled in favor of Mateo. The State appealed. Mateo lost. Mateo averred that a grant should be given to him by reason of immemorial use and occupation as in the previous case Cansino vs Valdez & Tiglao vs Government.

ISSUE: Whether or not Mateo is the rightful owner of the land by virtue of his possession of it for some time.

HELD: No. The statute of limitations did not run against the government. The government is still the absolute owner of the land (regalian doctrine). Further, Mateo’s possession of the land has not been of such a character as to require the presumption of a grant. No one has lived upon it for many years. It was never used for anything but pasturage of animals, except insignificant portions thereof, and since the insurrection against Spain it has apparently not been used by the petitioner for any purpose.

While the State has always recognized the right of the occupant to a deed if he proves a possession for a sufficient length of time, yet it has always insisted that he must make that proof before the proper administrative officers, and obtain from them his deed, and until he did the State remained the absolute owner.

Macariola vs. Asuncion, A.M. No. 133-J, May 31 1982, 114 SCRA 77

Bernardita Macariola vs. Judge Elias Asuncion of CFI Leyte

A.M. No. 133-J, May 31 1982, 114 SCRA 77


In 1963, Macariola and her step sister (Reyes) had a dispute over their inheritance involving parcels of land located in Leyte. A trial ensued and Judge Macariola, after determining the legibility of the parties to inherit rendered a decision in the civil case. Thereafter, the counsels of the parties submitted a project partition reflecting the preference of the parties. The project partition was, however, unsigned by Macariola. But her lawyer assured Asuncion that he is duly authorized by Macariola as counsel. The judge then approved the project partition. The decision became final in 1963 as well.

Reyes et al sold some of their shares to Arcadio Galapon, who later sold the property to judge Asuncion in 1965.

On 6 Aug 1968, Macariola filed a complaint against Judge Asuncion with “acts unbecoming a judge” on the ground that he bought a property (formerly owned by Macariola) which was involved in a civil case decided by him; this act by Asuncion is averred by Macariola to be against Art. 1491, par 5 of the Civil Code which provides:

"Article 1491. The following persons cannot acquire by purchase, even at a public or judicial action, either in person or through the mediation of another:

xxx xxx xxx

"(5) Justices, judges, prosecuting attorneys, clerks of superior and inferior courts, and other officers and employees connected with the administration of justice, the property and rights in litigation or levied upon an execution before the court within whose jurisdiction or territory they exercise their respective functions; this prohibition includes the act of acquiring by assignment and shall apply to lawyers, with respect to the property and rights which may be the object of any litigation in which they may take part by virtue of their profession".

Also, Macariola said that Asuncion’s act tainted his earlier judgment. Macariola said that the project partition was unsigned by her and that what was given to her in the partition were insignificant portions of the parcels of land.


Whether or not Judge Asuncion violated said provision.


No. The prohibition only applies if the litigation is under pendency. The judge bought the property in 1965 – 2 years after his decision became final. Further, Asuncion did not buy the property directly from any of the parties since the property was directly bought by Galapon, who then sold the property to Asuncion. There was no showing that Galapon acted as a “dummy” of Asuncion.

Also, Macariola did not show proof that there was a gross inequality in the partition; or that what she got were insignificant portions of the land.

The Supreme Court however admonished Judge Asuncion to be more discreet in his personal transactions.

Cruz vs DENR, G.R. No. 135385, December 6, 2000

Isagani Cruz v. Dept. of Energy and Natural Resources,
G.R. No. 135385, December 6, 2000

FACTS: Cruz, a noted constitutionalist, assailed the validity of the RA 8371 or the Indigenous People’s Rights Act on the ground that the law amount to an unlawful deprivation of the State’s ownership over lands of the public domain as well as minerals and other natural resources therein, in violation of the regalian doctrine embodied in Section 2, Article XII of the Constitution. The IPRA law basically enumerates the rights of the indigenous peoples over ancestral domains which may include natural resources. Cruz et al content that, by providing for an all-encompassing definition of “ancestral domains” and “ancestral lands” which might even include private lands found within said areas, Sections 3(a) and 3(b) of said law violate the rights of private landowners.

ISSUE: Whether or not the IPRA law is unconstitutional.

HELD: The SC deliberated upon the matter. After deliberation they voted and reached a 7-7 vote. They deliberated again and the same result transpired. Since there was no majority vote, Cruz’s petition was dismissed and the IPRA law was sustained. Hence, ancestral domains may include natural resources – somehow against the regalian doctrine.

Sixto Brillantes, Jr. vs. Haydee T. Yorac, G.R. No. 93867, December 18 1990

Brillantes vs. Yorac
G.R. 93867, 18 December 1990

In December 1989, a coup attempt occurred prompting the president to create a fact finding commission which would be chaired by Hilario Davide. Consequently he has to vacate his chairmanship of the COMELEC. Yorac was temporarily placed as his substitute. Brillantes then questioned such appointment urging that under Art 10-C of the Constitution “in no case shall any member of the COMELEC be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity:. Brillantes claimed that the choice of the acting chairman should not be appointed for such is an internal matter that should be resolved by the members themselves and that the intrusion of the president violates the independence of the COMELEC as a constitutional commission.

Whether or not the designation made by the president violates the constitutional independence of the COMELEC.

The Supreme Court ruled that although all constitutional commissions are essentially executive in nature, they are not under the control of the president in the discharge of their functions. The designation made by the president has dubious justification as it was merely grounded on the quote “administrative expediency” to present the functions of the COMELEC. Aside from such justification, it found no basis on existing rules on statutes. Yorac’s designation is null and unconstitutional.

Nitafan vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue GR L-78780, 23 July 1987

Nitafan vs. Commissioner
GR L-78780, 23 July 1987

FACTS: Nitafan and some others seek to prohibit the CIR from making any deduction of withholding taxes from their salaries or compensation for such would tantamount to a diminution of their salary, which is unconstitutional. On June 7 1987, the Court en banc had reaffirmed the directive of the Chief Justice.

ISSUE: Whether or not the members of the judiciary are exempt from the payment of income tax.

HELD: What is provided for by the constitution is that salaries of judges may not be decreased during their continuance in office. They have a fix salary which may not be subject to the whims and caprices of congress. But the salaries of the judges shall be subject to the general income tax as well as other members of the judiciary.

ISIDRO CARIÑO vs. COMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS G.R. No. 96681, December 2, 1991


G.R. No. 96681, December 2, 1991


Some 800 public school teachers undertook “mass concerted actions” to protest the alleged failure of public authorities to act upon their grievances. The “mass actions” consisted in staying away from their classes, converging at the Liwasang Bonifacio, gathering in peacable assemblies, etc. The Secretary of Education served them with an order to return to work within 24 hours or face dismissal. For failure to heed the return-to-work order, eight teachers at the Ramon Magsaysay High School were administratively charged, preventively suspended for 90 days pursuant to sec. 41, P.D. 807 and temporarily replaced. An investigation committee was consequently formed to hear the charges.

When their motion for suspension was denied by the Investigating Committee, said teachers staged a walkout signifying their intent to boycott the entire proceedings. Eventually, Secretary Carino decreed dismissal from service of Esber and the suspension for 9 months of Babaran, Budoy and del Castillo. In the meantime, a case was filed with RTC, raising the issue of violation of the right of the striking teachers’ to due process of law. The case was eventually elevated to SC. Also in the meantime, the respondent teachers submitted sworn statements to Commission on Human Rights to complain that while they were participating in peaceful mass actions, they suddenly learned of their replacement as teachers, allegedly without notice and consequently for reasons completely unknown to them.

While the case was pending with CHR, SC promulgated its resolution over the cases filed with it earlier, upholding the Sec. Carino’s act of issuing the return-to-work orders. Despite this, CHR continued hearing its case and held that the “striking teachers” “were denied due process of law;…they should not have been replaced without a chance to reply to the administrative charges;” there had been violation of their civil and political rights which the Commission is empowered to investigate.”


* Whether or not CHR has jurisdiction to try and hear the issues involved


The Court declares the Commission on Human Rights to have no such power; and that it was not meant by the fundamental law to be another court or quasi-judicial agency in this country, or duplicate much less take over the functions of the latter.

The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative power is that it may investigate, i.e., receive evidence and make findings of fact as regards claimed human rights violations involving civil and political rights. But fact finding is not adjudication, and cannot be likened to the judicial function of a court of justice, or even a quasi-judicial agency or official. The function of receiving evidence and ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a judicial function, properly speaking. To be considered such, the faculty of receiving evidence and making factual conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied by the authority of applying the law to those factual conclusions to the end that the controversy may be decided or determined authoritatively, finally and definitively, subject to such appeals or modes of review as may be provided by law. This function, to repeat, the Commission does not have.

Power to Investigate

The Constitution clearly and categorically grants to the Commission the power to investigate all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights. It can exercise that power on its own initiative or on complaint of any person. It may exercise that power pursuant to such rules of procedure as it may adopt and, in cases of violations of said rules, cite for contempt in accordance with the Rules of Court. In the course of any investigation conducted by it or under its authority, it may grant immunity from prosecution to any person whose testimony or whose possession of documents or other evidence is necessary or convenient to determine the truth. It may also request the assistance of any department, bureau, office, or agency in the performance of its functions, in the conduct of its investigation or in extending such remedy as may be required by its findings.

But it cannot try and decide cases (or hear and determine causes) as courts of justice, or even quasi-judicial bodies do. To investigate is not to adjudicate or adjudge. Whether in the popular or the technical sense, these terms have well understood and quite distinct meanings.

“Investigate” vs. “Adjudicate”

"Investigate," commonly understood, means to examine, explore, inquire or delve or probe into, research on, study. The dictionary definition of "investigate" is "to observe or study closely: inquire into systematically. "to search or inquire into: . . . to subject to an official probe . . .: to conduct an official inquiry." The purpose of investigation, of course, is to discover, to find out, to learn, obtain information. Nowhere included or intimated is the notion of settling, deciding or resolving a controversy involved in the facts inquired into by application of the law to the facts established by the inquiry.

The legal meaning of "investigate" is essentially the same: "(t)o follow up step by step by patient inquiry or observation. To trace or track; to search into; to examine and inquire into with care and accuracy; to find out by careful inquisition; examination; the taking of evidence; a legal inquiry;" "to inquire; to make an investigation," "investigation" being in turn describe as "(a)n administrative function, the exercise of which ordinarily does not require a hearing. 2 Am J2d Adm L Sec. 257; . . . an inquiry, judicial or otherwise, for the discovery and collection of facts concerning a certain matter or matters."

"Adjudicate," commonly or popularly understood, means to adjudge, arbitrate, judge, decide, determine, resolve, rule on, settle. The dictionary defines the term as "to settle finally (the rights and duties of the parties to a court case) on the merits of issues raised: . . . to pass judgment on: settle judicially: . . . act as judge." And "adjudge" means "to decide or rule upon as a judge or with judicial or quasi-judicial powers: . . . to award or grant judicially in a case of controversy . . . ."

In the legal sense, "adjudicate" means: "To settle in the exercise of judicial authority. To determine finally. Synonymous with adjudge in its strictest sense;" and "adjudge" means: "To pass on judicially, to decide, settle or decree, or to sentence or condemn. . . . Implies a judicial determination of a fact, and the entry of a judgment."

Hence it is that the Commission on Human Rights, having merely the power "to investigate," cannot and should not "try and resolve on the merits" (adjudicate) the matters involved in Striking Teachers HRC Case No. 90-775, as it has announced it means to do; and it cannot do so even if there be a claim that in the administrative disciplinary proceedings against the teachers in question, initiated and conducted by the DECS, their human rights, or civil or political rights had been transgressed. More particularly, the Commission has no power to "resolve on the merits" the question of (a) whether or not the mass concerted actions engaged in by the teachers constitute and are prohibited or otherwise restricted by law; (b) whether or not the act of carrying on and taking part in those actions, and the failure of the teachers to discontinue those actions, and return to their classes despite the order to this effect by the Secretary of Education, constitute infractions of relevant rules and regulations warranting administrative disciplinary sanctions, or are justified by the grievances complained of by them; and (c) what where the particular acts done by each individual teacher and what sanctions, if any, may properly be imposed for said acts or omissions.

Who has Power to Adjudicate?

These are matters within the original jurisdiction of the Sec. of Education, being within the scope of the disciplinary powers granted to him under the Civil Service Law, and also, within the appellate jurisdiction of the CSC.

Manner of Appeal

Now, it is quite obvious that whether or not the conclusions reached by the Secretary of Education in disciplinary cases are correct and are adequately based on substantial evidence; whether or not the proceedings themselves are void or defective in not having accorded the respondents due process; and whether or not the Secretary of Education had in truth committed "human rights violations involving civil and political rights," are matters which may be passed upon and determined through a motion for reconsideration addressed to the Secretary Education himself, and in the event of an adverse verdict, may be reviewed by the Civil Service Commission and eventually the Supreme Court.

Luis Ribad vs Filipinas Investment and Finance Corp G.R. No. L-39806, January 27, 1983

Luis Ribad vs Filipinas Investment and Finance Corp
G.R. No. L-39806, January 27, 1983
120 SCRA 246


On April 14, 1964, plaintiffs purchased from the Supreme Sales arid Development Corporation two (2) brand new Ford Consul Sedans complete with accessories, for P26,887 payable in 24 monthly installments. To secure payment thereof, plaintiffs executed on the same date a promissory note covering the purchase price and a deed of chattel mortgage not only on the two vehicles purchased but also on another car (Chevrolet) and plaintiffs' franchise or certificate of public convenience granted by the defunct Public Service Commission for the operation of a taxi fleet. Then, with the conformity of the plaintiffs, the vendor assigned its rights, title and interest to the above-mentioned promissory note and chattel mortgage to defendant Filipinas Investment and Finance Corporation.

Due to the failure of the plaintiffs to pay their monthly installments as per promissory note, the defendant corporation foreclosed the chattel mortgage extra-judicially, and at the public auction sale of the two Ford Consul cars, of which the plaintiffs were not notified, the defendant corporation was the highest bidder and purchaser. Another auction sale was held on November 16, 1965, involving the remaining properties subject of the deed of chattel mortgage since plaintiffs' obligation was not fully satisfied by the sale of the aforesaid vehicles, and at the public auction sale, the franchise of plaintiffs to operate five units of taxicab service was sold for P8,000 to the highest bidder, herein defendant corporation, which subsequently sold and conveyed the same to herein defendant Jose D. Sebastian, who then filed with the Public Service Commission an application for approval of said sale in his favor.

On February 21, 1966, plaintiffs filed an action for annulment of contract before the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch I, with Filipinas Investment and Finance Corporation, Jose D. Sebastian and Sheriff Jose San Agustin, as party-defendants. By agreement of the parties, the case was submitted for decision in the lower court on the basis of the documentary evidence adduced by the parties during the pre-trial conference. Thereafter, the lower court declared the chattel mortgage to be null and void in so far as the taxicab franchise and the used Chevrolet car of plaintiffs are concerned, and the sale at public auction conducted by the City Sheriff of Manila concerning said taxicab franchise, to be of no legal effect.


The validity of the chattel mortgage in so far as the franchise and the subsequent sale thereof are concerned.


The resolution of said issue is unquestionably governed by the provisions of Article 1484 of the Civil Code.

The precise purpose of the law is to prevent mortgagees from seizing the mortgaged property, buying it at foreclosure sale for a low price and then bringing suit against the mortgagor for a deficiency judgment, otherwise, the mortgagor-buyer would find himself without the property and still owing practically the full amount of his original indebtedness.

The lower court rightly declared the nullity of the chattel mortgage in question in so far as the taxicab franchise and the used Chevrolet car of plaintiffs are concerned, under the authority of the ruling in the case of Levy Hermanos, Inc. vs. Pacific Commercial Co., et al., 71 Phil. 587, the facts of which are similar to those in the case at bar. There, we have the same situation wherein the vendees offered as security for the payment of the purchase price not only the motor vehicles which were bought on installment, but also a residential lot and a house of strong materials. This Court sustained the pronouncement made by the lower court on the nullity of the mortgage in so far as it included the house and lot of the vendees, holding that under the law, should the vendor choose to foreclose the mortgage, he has to content himself with the proceeds of the sale at the public auction of the chattels which were sold on installment and mortgaged to him and having chosen the remedy of foreclosure, he cannot nor should he be allowed to insist on the sale of the house and lot of the vendees, for to do so would be equivalent to obtaining a writ of execution against them concerning other properties which are separate and distinct from those which were sold on installment. This would indeed be contrary to public policy and the very spirit and purpose of the law, limiting the vendor's right to foreclose the chattel mortgage only on the thing sold.

Costs against the appellants.

Ebralinag, et al vs. Div. Supt. of Schools of Cebu G.R. No. 95770, March 1, 1993

Ebralinag, et al vs. Div. Supt. of Schools of Cebu

G.R. No. 95770, March 1, 1993


In 1989, DECS Regional Office in Cebu received complaints about teachers and pupils belonging to the Jehovah’s Witness, and enrolled in various public and private schools, which refused to sing the Phil. National Anthem, salute the flag and recite the patriotic pledge.

Division Superintendent of schools, Susana B. Cabahug of the Cebu Division of DECS and her Assistant issued Division Memorandum No. 108, dated Nov. 17, 1989, directing District Supervisors, High School Principals and Heads of Private Educational institutions to remove from service, after due process, teachers and school employees, and to deprive the students and pupils from the benefit of public education, if they do not participate in daily flag ceremony and doesn’t obey flag salute rule.

Members of the Jehovah’s Witness sect find such memorandum to be contrary to their religious belief and choose not to obey. Despite a number of appropriate persuasions made by the Cebu officials to let them obey the directives, still they opted to follow their conviction to their belief. As a result, an order was issued by the district supervisor of Daan Bantayan District of Cebu, dated July 24, 1990, ordering the ‘dropping from the list’ in the school register of all Jehovah’s Witness teachers and pupils from Grade 1 to Grade 6 who opted to follow their belief which is against the Flag Salute Law, however, given a chance to be re-accepted if they change their mind.

Some Jehovah’s Witness members appealed to the Secretary of Education but the latter did not answer to their letter.

On Oct. 31, 1990, students and their parents filed special civil actions for Mandamus, Certiorari and prohibition, alleging that the respondents acted without or in excess of their jurisdiction and with grave abuse of discretion in ordering their expulsion without prior notice and hearing, hence, in violation of their right to due process, their right to free public education and their right to freedom of speech, religion and worship. Petitioners prayed for the voiding of the order of expulsion or ‘dropping from the rolls’ issued by the District Supervisor; prohibiting and enjoining respondent from barring them from classes; and compelling the respondent and all persons acting for him to admit and order their(Petitioners) re-admission I their respective schools.

On November 27, 1990, Court issued a TRO and writ of preliminary mandatory injunction, commanding the respondents to immediately re-admit the petitioners to their respective classes until further orders.

On May 31, the Solicitor General filed a consolidated comment to the petitions defending the expulsion orders issued by the respondents.

Petitioners stressed that while they do not take part in the compulsory flag ceremony, they do not engage in ‘external acts’ or behavior that would offend their countrymen who believe in expressing their love of country through observance of the flag ceremony. They quietly stand at attention during the flag ceremony to show their respect for the right of those who choose to participate in the solemn proceedings. Since they do not engage in disruptive behavior, there is no warrant for their expulsion.


Whether or not the expulsion of the members of Jehovah’s Witness from the schools violates right receive free education.


The expulsion of the members of Jehovah’s Witness from the schools where they are enrolled will violate their right as Philippine citizens, under the 1987 Constitution, to receive free education, for it is the duty of the state to ‘protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education, and to make such education accessible to all (Sec. I, Art XIV). Nevertheless, their right not to participate in the Flag Ceremony does not give them a right to disrupt such patriotic exercises. If they quietly stand at attention during flag ceremony while their classmates and teachers salute the flag, sing the national anthem and recite the patriotic pledge, we do not see how such conduct may possibly disturb the peace, or pose ‘a grave and present danger of a serious evil to public safety, public morals, public health or any legitimate public interest that the state has a right and duty to prevent.

It is appropriate to recall the Japanese occupation of our country in 1942-1944 when every Filipino, regardless of religious persuasion, in fear of the invader, saluted the Japanese flag and bowed before every Japanese soldier, perhaps if petitioners had lived through that dark period of our history, they would not quibble now about saluting the Phil. Flag.

The petitions for certiorari and prohibition are granted and expulsion orders are hereby annulled and set aside.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


G.R. No. 156367  May 16 2005
Service Incentive Leave Pay

Antonio Bautista was employed by Auto Bus Transport Systems, Inc. in May 1995. He was assigned to the Isabela-Manila route and he was paid by commission (7% of gross income per travel for twice a month).

In January 2000, while he was driving his bus he bumped another bus owned by Auto Bus. He claimed that he bumped the he accidentally bumped the bus as he was so tired and that he has not slept for more than 24 hours because Auto Bus required him to return to Isabela immediately after arriving at Manila. Damages were computed and 30% or P75,551.50 of it was being charged to Bautista. Bautista refused payment.

Auto Bus terminated Bautista after due hearing as part of Auto Bus’ management prerogative. Bautista sued Auto Bus for Illegal Dismissal. The Labor Arbiter Monroe Tabingan dismissed Bautista’s petition but ruled that Bautista is entitled to P78,1117.87 13th month pay payments and P13,788.05 for his unpaid service incentive leave pay.

The case was appealed before the National Labor Relations Commission. NLRC modified the LA’s ruling. It deleted the award for 13th Month pay. The court of Appeals affirmed the NLRC.

Auto Bus averred that Bautista is a commissioned employee and if that is not reason enough that Bautista is also a field personnel hence he is not entitled to a service incentive leave. They invoke:


(a) Every employee who has rendered at least one year of service shall be entitled to a yearly service incentive leave of five days with pay.


SECTION 1. Coverage. ' This rule shall apply to all employees except:

(d) Field personnel and other employees whose performance is unsupervised by the employer including those who are engaged on task or contract basis, purely commission basis, or those who are paid in a fixed amount for performing work irrespective of the time consumed in the performance thereof; . . .

Whether or not Bautista is entitled to Service Incentive Leave.

If he is, Whether or not the three (3)-year prescriptive period provided under Article 291 of the Labor Code, as amended, is applicable to respondent's claim of service incentive leave pay.

Yes, Bautista is entitled to Service Incentive Leave. The Supreme Court emphasized that it does not mean that just because an employee is paid on commission basis he is already barred to receive service incentive leave pay.

The question actually boils down to whether or not Bautista is a field employee.

According to Article 82 of the Labor Code, 'field personnel shall refer to non-agricultural employees who regularly perform their duties away from the principal place of business or branch office of the employer and whose actual hours of work in the field cannot be determined with reasonable certainty.

As a general rule, field personnel are those whose performance of their job/service is not supervised by the employer or his representative, the workplace being away from the principal office and whose hours and days of work cannot be determined with reasonable certainty; hence, they are paid specific amount for rendering specific service or performing specific work. If required to be at specific places at specific times, employees including drivers cannot be said to be field personnel despite the fact that they are performing work away from the principal office of the employee.

Certainly, Bautista is not a field employee. He has a specific route to traverse as a bus driver and that is a specific place that he needs to be at work. There are inspectors hired by Auto Bus to constantly check him. There are inspectors in bus stops who inspects the passengers, the punched tickets, and the driver. Therefore he is definitely supervised though he is away from the Auto Bus main office.

On the other hand, the 3 year prescriptive period ran but Bautista was able to file his suit in time before the prescriptive period expired. It was only upon his filing of a complaint for illegal dismissal, one month from the time of his dismissal, that Bautista demanded from his former employer commutation of his accumulated leave credits. His cause of action to claim the payment of his accumulated service incentive leave thus accrued from the time when his employer dismissed him and failed to pay his accumulated leave credits.

Therefore, the prescriptive period with respect to his claim for service incentive leave pay only commenced from the time the employer failed to compensate his accumulated service incentive leave pay at the time of his dismissal. Since Bautista had filed his money claim after only one month from the time of his dismissal, necessarily, his money claim was filed within the prescriptive period provided for by Article 291 of the Labor Code.

Definition of Service Incentive Leave

Service incentive leave is a right which accrues to every employee who has served within 12 months, whether continuous or broken reckoned from the date the employee started working, including authorized absences and paid regular holidays unless the working days in the establishment as a matter of practice or policy, or that provided in the employment contracts, is less than 12 months, in which case said period shall be considered as one year. It is also commutable to its money equivalent if not used or exhausted at the end of the year. In other words, an employee who has served for one year is entitled to it. He may use it as leave days or he may collect its monetary value.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cayetano vs. Monsod 201 SCRA 210 September 1991

Cayetano vs. Monsod

201 SCRA 210

September 1991

Facts: Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by President Corazon C. Aquino to the position of chairman of the COMELEC. Petitioner opposed the nomination because allegedly Monsod does not posses required qualification of having been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. The 1987 constitution provides in Section 1, Article IX-C: There shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and six Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, holders of a college degree, and must not have been candidates for any elective position in the immediately preceding elections. However, a majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.

Issue: Whether the respondent does not posses the required qualification of having engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.

Held: In the case of Philippine Lawyers Association vs. Agrava, stated: The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special proceeding, the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts, and in addition, conveying. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters connected with the law incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services, contemplating an appearance before judicial body, the foreclosure of mortgage, enforcement of a creditor’s claim in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice. Practice of law means any activity, in or out court, which requires the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience.

The contention that Atty. Monsod does not posses the required qualification of having engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years is incorrect since Atty. Monsod’s past work experience as a lawyer-economist, a lawyer-manager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of both rich and the poor – verily more than satisfy the constitutional requirement for the position of COMELEC chairman, The respondent has been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years does In the view of the foregoing, the petition is DISMISSED.

Cui vs. Arellano University G.R. No. 15172 May 30, 1961

Emeterio Cui vs. Arellano University
G.R. No. 15172
May 30, 1961

FACTS: Before the school year 1948-1949 Emeterio Cui took up preparatory law course in the Arellano University. After Finishing his preparatory law course plaintiff enrolled in the College of Law of the defendant from school year 1948-1949. Plaintiff finished his law studies in the defendant university up to and including the first semester of the fourt year. During all the school years in which plaintiff was studying law in defendant law college, Francisco R. Capistrano, brother of mother of plaintiff, was the dean of college of law and legal counsel of the defendant university. Plaintiff enrolled for last semester of his law studies in the defendant university but failed to pay tuition fees because his uncle Dean Francisco R. Capistrano, having severed his connection with defendant and having accepted the deanship and chancellorship of the college of law of the Abad Santos University graduating from the college of law of the latter university. Plaintiff, during all the time he has studying law in Defendant University was awarded scholarship grants, for scholastic merit, so that his semestral tuition fees were retured to him after the end of semester and when his scholarship grants were awarded to him. The whole amount of tuition fess paid by the plaintiff to defendant and refunded to him by the latter from the first semester up to and including the first semester of his last year in college of law or the fourth year, is in total P1,003.87. After Graduating in law from Abad Santos University he applied to take the bar examination. To secure permission to take the bar, he needed the transcript of his records in defendant Arellano University. Plaintiff petitioned the latter to issue to him the needed transcripts. The defendant refused until after he paid back the P1,003.87 which defendant refunded him. As he could not take the bar examination without those transcripts, plaintiff paid to defendant the said sum under protest.

ISSUE: Whether the provision of the contract between plaintiff and defendant, whereby the former waived his right to transfer to another school without refunding to the latter the equivalent of his scholarship in cash, is valid or not.

HELD: Memorandum No. 38 issued by the Director of Private Schools provides that “When students are given full or partial scholarship, it is understood that such scholarship are merited and earned. The amount in tuition and other fees corresponding to These scholarship should not be subsequently charged to recipient students when they decide to quit school or to transfer to another institution. Scholarship should not be offered merely to attract and keep students in a school.

Memorandum No. 38 merely incorporates a sound principle of public policy. The defendant uses the scholarship as a business scheme designed to increase the business potential of an education institution. Thus conceived it is not only inconsistent with sound policy but also good morals. The practice of awarding scholarship to attract students and keep them in school is not Good custom nor has it received some kind of social and practical confirmation except in some private institution as in Arellano University.
Wherefore, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed and another one shall be entered sentencing the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of P1,033.87, with interest thereon at the legal rate from September 1, 1954, date of the institution of this case, as well as the costs, and dismissing the defendant’s counterclaim. It is so ordered.

Guevarra vs. Eala A.C. No. 7136 August 1, 2007

Joselano Guevarra vs. Atty. Jose Emmanuel Eala

A.C. No. 7136

August 1, 2007

Facts: On March 4, 2002 a complaint of disbarment was filed before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Committee on Bar Discipline against Atty. Jose Emmanuel M. Eala a.k.a. Noli Eala for grossly immoral conduct and unmitigated violation of the lawyer’s oath. In the Complaint, Guevarra first met the respondent in January 2000 when his then fiancée Irene Moje introduced respondent to him as her friend who was married to Marianne Tantoco with whom he had three children.

After his marriage to Irene on October 7, 2000, Complainant noticed that from January to March 2001, Irene had been receiving from respondent Cellphone calls, as well as messages some which read “I love you,” “I miss you,” or “Meet you at Megamall.” He also noticed that Irene habitually went home very late at night or early in the morning of the following day, and sometimes did not go home from work. When he asked her whereabouts, she replied that she slept at her parent’s house in Binangonan, Rizal or she was busy with her work.

In February or March 2001, complainant saw Irene and Respondent together on two occasions. On the second occasion, he confronted them following which Irene abandoned the conjugal house. On April 22, 2001 complainant went uninvited to Irene’s birthday celebration at which he saw her and the respondent celebrating with her family and friends. Out of embarrassment, anger and humiliation, he left the venue immediately. Following that incident, Irene went to the conjugal house and hauled off all her personal belongings. Complainant later found a handwritten letter dated October 7, 2007, the day of his wedding to Irene, Complainant soon saw respondent’s car and that of Irene constantly parked at No. 71-B11 Street, New Manila where as he was later learn sometime in April 2001, Irene was already residing. He also learned still later that when his friends saw Irene on about January 18, 2002 together with respondent during a concert, she was pregnant.

Issue: Whether Concubinage or Adulterous relationship, be the reason for the disbarment of Atty. Jose Emmanuel Eala.

Held: Lawyer’s oath stated that a lawyer should support the Constitution and obey the laws, Meaning he shall not make use of deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct, grossly immoral conduct, or be convicted in any crime involving moral turpitude. In the case at bar Atty. Eala was accused of Concubinage, under ART. 334 of the Revised Penal Code, “ Any husband who shall keep a mistress in a conjugal dwelling, or, shall have sexual intercourse, under scandalous circumstances, with a woman who is not his wife, or shall cohabit with her in any other place, shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum and medium period. Section 2 of ART. XV states that “Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the state. Respondent’s grossly immoral conduct runs afoul of the constitution and the laws, that he as a lawyer has sworn to uphold. Hence the court declared Atty. Jose Emmanul M. Eala DISBARRED for grossly immoral conduct, violation of his oath of office, and violation of canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 7, Rule 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

CRUZ vs. NLRC [G.R. No. 116384. February 7, 2000]

February 7, 2000

The private respondent Norkis Distributors Inc., is a domestic corporation. It is engaged in the business of selling motorcycles and household appliances. It was operating in Mandaue City, Cebu; it had its branch in Valencia, Bukidnon where the petitioner Cruz was employed. On October 14, 1990, while petitioners and her co-employees were busy working, petitioner collapsed and was brought to the hospital. From then on, she was not able to report for work. On December 28, 1990, she sent a letter to respondent Norkis to verify her status of employment but as an answer, she received a termination letter dated November 2, 1990 citing health reasons for the dismissal.
On March 18, 1991, they filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against the private respondent praying for payment of separation pay and other money claims before the NLRC Branch of Cayagan de Oro City. The Labor Arbitration Branch ruled in favor of the petitioner. From the said decision, both parties appealed to the NLRC where the decision was reversed and set aside.

Whether or not the dismissal of petitioner is legal.

Under Section 8, Rule 1 Book VI of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Labor Code, for a disease to be a valid ground for the dismissal of the employee, the continued employment of such employee is prohibited by law or prejudicial to his health or to the health of his co-employees and there must be a certification by a competent public health authority that the disease is of such nature or at such a stage that it cannot be cured within a period of six months even with proper medical treatment.
There is merit in petitioner’s submission that the award of moral and exemplary damages in her favor is warranted by her unjustified dismissal. Award of moral and exemplary damages for an illegally dismissed employee is proper where the employee had been harassed and arbitrarily terminated by the employer.
The Court has consistently accorded the working class a right to recover damages for unjust dismissals tainted with bad faith, where the motive of the employer in dismissing the employee is far from noble. The petition is granted.

VAN DORN vs. ROMILLO, G.R. No. L-68470 October 8, 1985

ALICE REYES VAN DORN, petitioner, VS. HON. MANUEL ROMILLO JR., as Presiding Judge of
Branch CX, Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Region Pasay City and RICHARD
UPTON, respondents
October 8, 1985

Alice Reyes, the petitioner is a citizen of the Philippines while private respondent Richard Upton is a citizen of the United States. They were married in Hong Kong in 1972 and they established residence in the Philippines. They had two children and they were divorced in Nevada, USA in 1982. The petitioner remarried in Nevada to Theodore Van Dorn. The private responded filed against petitioner stating that the petitioner’s business is a conjugal property of the parties and that respondent is declared with right to manage the conjugal property. Petitioner moved to dismiss the case on the ground that the cause of action is barred by previous judgment in the divorce proceedings before the Nevada Court, where respondent acknowledged that they had no community property as of June 11, 1982.

Whether or not the private respondent as petitioner’s husband is entitled to exercise control over conjugal assets?

The petition is granted. Complaint is dismissed.
The policy against absolute divorce cover only Philippine nationals. However, aliens may obtain divorce abroad, which may be recognized in the Philippines provided they are valid according to their national law.
From the standards of American law, under which divorce dissolves marriage, the divorce in Nevada released private respondent from the marriage between them with the petitioner. Thus, pursuant to his national law, private respondent is no longer the husband of petitioner. He would have no standing to sue in the case as petitioner’s husband entitled to exercise control over conjugal assets. He is estopped by his own representation before said court from asserting his right over the alleged conjugal property.

LLORENTE vs. CA, G.R. No. 124371. November 23, 2000

November 23, 2000

Lorenzo Llorente and petitioner Paula Llorente were married in 1937 in the Philippines. Lorenzo was an enlisted serviceman of the US Navy. Soon after, he left for the US where through naturalization, he became a US Citizen. Upon his visitation of his wife, he discovered that she was living with his brother and a child was born. The child was registered as legitimate but the name of the father was left blank. Llorente filed a divorce in California, which later on became final. He married Alicia and they lived together for 25 years bringing 3 children. He made his last will and testament stating that all his properties will be given to his second marriage. He filed a petition of probate that made or appointed Alicia his special administrator of his estate. Before the
proceeding could be terminated, Lorenzo died. Paula filed a letter of administration over Llorente’s estate. The trial granted the letter and denied the motion for reconsideration. An appeal was made to the Court of Appeals, which affirmed and modified the judgment of the Trial Court that she be declared co-owner of whatever properties, she and the deceased, may have acquired during their 25 years of cohabitation.

Whether or not the National Law shall apply.

Lorenzo Llorente was already an American citizen when he divorced Paula. Such was also the situation when he married Alicia and executed his will. As stated in Article 15 of the civil code, aliens may obtain divorces abroad, provided that they are validly required in their National Law. Thus the divorce obtained by Llorente is valid because the law that governs him is not Philippine Law but his National Law since the divorce was contracted after he became an American citizen. Furthermore, his National Law allowed divorce.
The case was remanded to the court of origin for determination of the intrinsic validity of Lorenzo Llorente’s will and determination of the parties’ successional rights allowing proof of foreign law.

GARCIA vs. RECIO G.R. No. 138322. October 2, 2001

October 2, 2001

The respondent, a Filipino was married to Editha Samson, an Australian citizen, in Rizal in 1987. They lived together as husband and wife in Australia. In 1989, the Australian family court issued a decree of divorce supposedly dissolving the marriage. In 1992, respondent acquired Australian citizenship. In 1994, he married Grace Garcia, a Filipina, herein petitioner, in Cabanatuan City. In their application for marriage license, respondent was declared as “single” and “Filipino”. Since October 1995, they lived separately; and in 1996 while in Autralia, their conjugal assets were divided. In 1998, petitioner filed Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage on the ground of bigamy, claiming that she learned of the respondent’s former marriage only in November. On the other hand, respondent claims that he told petitioner of his prior marriage in 1993, before they were married. Respondent also contended that his first marriage was dissolved by a divorce decree obtained in Australia in 1989 and hence, he was legally capacitated to marry petitioner in 1994. The trial court declared that the first marriage was dissolved on the ground of the divorce issued in Australia as valid and recognized in the Philippines. Hence, this petition was forwarded before the Supreme Court.

1. Whether or not the divorce between respondent and Editha Samson was proven.
2. Whether or not respondent has legal capacity to marry Grace Garcia.

The Philippine law does not provide for absolute divorce; hence, our courts cannot grant it. In mixed marriages involving a Filipino and a foreigner, Article 26 of the Family Code allows the former to contract a subsequent marriage in case the divorce is “validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry”. A divorce obtained abroad by two aliens, may be recognized in the Philippines, provided it is consistent with their respective laws. Therefore, before our courts can recognize a foreign divorce, the party pleading it must prove the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law allowing it.
In this case, the divorce decree between the respondent and Samson appears to be authentic, issued by an Australian family court. Although, appearance is not sufficient; and compliance with the rules on evidence regarding alleged foreign laws must be demonstrated, the decree was admitted on account of petitioner’s failure to object properly because he objected to the fact that it was not registered in the Local Civil Registry of Cabanatuan City, not to its admissibility.
Respondent claims that the Australian divorce decree, which was validly admitted as evidence, adequately established his legal capacity to marry under Australian law. However, there are two types of divorce, absolute divorce terminating the marriage and limited divorce merely suspending the marriage. In this case, it is not known which type of divorce the respondent procured.
Even after the divorce becomes absolute, the court may under some foreign statutes, still restrict remarriage. Under the Australian divorce decree “a party to a marriage who marries again before this decree becomes absolute commits the offense of bigamy”. This shows that the divorce obtained by the respondent might have been restricted. Respondent also failed to produce sufficient evidence showing the foreign law governing his status. Together with other evidences submitted, they don’t absolutely establish his legal capacity to remarry according to the alleged foreign law.
Case remanded to the court a quo. The marriage between the petitioner and respondent can not be declared null and void based on lack of evidence conclusively showing the respondent’s legal capacity to marry petitioner. With the lack of such evidence, the court a quo may declare nullity of the parties’ marriage based on two existing marriage certificates.

Suntay vs. Suntay GR No. 132524 December 29, 1998

Suntay vs. Suntay GR No. 132524

Petitioner Federico is the oppositor to respondent Isabel’s Petition for Letters of Administration over the estate of Cristina A. Suntay who had died without leaving a will. The decedent is the wife of Federico and the grandmother of Isabel. Isabel’s father Emilio, had predeceased his mother Cristina.
The marriage of Isabel’s parents had previously been decalred by the CFI as “null and void.” Federico anchors his oppostion on this fact, alleging based on Art. 992 of the CC, that Isabel has no right to succeed by right of representation as she is an illegitimate child. The trial court had denied Federico’s Motion to Dismiss, hence this petition for certiorari. Federico contends that, inter alia, that the dispositive portion of the the decision declaring the marriage of Isabel’s parents “null and void” be upheld.

In case of conflict between the body of the decision and the dispostive portion thereof, which should prevail? Related thereto, was the marriage of Isabel’s parents a case of a void or voidable marriage?
Whether or not Isabel is an legitimate child?

Petition dismissed
Art. 10 of the Civil Code states that in case of doubt in the interpretation and application of laws, it is presumed that the lawmaking body intended right and justice to prevail. This is also applicable and binding upon courts in relation to its judgment. While the dispositive portion of the CFI decision states that the marriage be “declared null and void,” the body had shown that the legal basis was par. 3 Art. 85 of the Civil Code, which was in effect at the time. Art. 85 enumerates the causes for which a marriage may be annulled. As such the conflict between the body and the dispositive portion of the decision may be reconcilable as noted by the Supreme Court. The fundamental distinction between void and voidable marriages is that void marriage is deemed never to have taken place at all. The effects of void marriages, with respect to property relations of the spouses are provided for under Article 144 of the Civil Code. Children born of such marriages who are called natural children by legal fiction have the same status, rights and obligations as acknowledged natural children under Article 89 irrespective of whether or not the parties to the void marriage are in good faith or in bad faith. On the other hand, a voidable marriage, is considered valid and produces all its civil effects, until it is set aside by final judgment of a competent court in an action for annulment. Juridically, the
annulment of a marriage dissolves the special contract as if it had never been entered into but the law makes express provisions to prevent the effects of the marriage from being totally wiped out.
The status of children born in voidable marriages is governed by the second paragraph of Article 89 which provides that:
Children conceived of voidable marriages before the decree of annulment shall be considered legitimate; and children conceived thereafter shall have the same status, rights and obligations as acknowledged natural children, and are also called natural children by legal fiction. In view thereof, the status of Isabel would be covered by the second paragraph of Article 89 of the Civil Code which provides that “ children conceived of voidable marriages before the decree of annulment shall be considered legitimate.”

Friday, September 10, 2010

Veterans Federation Party v. COMELEC [G.R. No. 136781. October 6, 2000]

Veterans Federation Party v. COMELEC
[G.R. No. 136781. October 6, 2000]

COMELEC proclaimed 14 party-list representatives from 13 parties which obtained at least 2% of the total number of votes cast for the party-list system as members of the House of Representatives. Upon petition for respondents, who were party-list organizations, it proclaimed 38 additional party-list representatives although they obtained less than 2% of the total number of votes cast for the party-list system on the ground that under the Constitution, it is mandatory that at least 20% of the members of the House of Representatives come from the party-list representatives.

Is the twenty percent allocation for party-list representatives mentioned in Section 5 (2), Article VI of the Constitution, mandatory or is it merely a ceiling? In other words, should the twenty percent allocation for party-list solons be filled up completely and all the time?

It is not mandatory. It merely provides a ceiling for the party-list seats in the House of Representatives. The Constitution vested Congress with the broad power to define and prescribe the mechanics of the party-list system of representatives. In the exercise of its constitutional prerogative, Congress deemed it necessary to require parties participating in the system to obtain at least 2% of the total votes cast for the party list system to be entitled to a party-list seat. Congress wanted to ensure that only those parties having a sufficient number of constituents deserving of representation are actually represented in Congress.


determination of total number of party-list representatives =  #district representatives/.80 x .20

additional representatives of first party =  # of votes of first party/ # of votes of party list system

additional seats for concerned party =  # of votes of concerned party/ # votes of first party x additional seats for concerned party

Are the two percent threshold requirement and the three-seat limit provided in Section 11 (b) of RA 7941 constitutional?

Yes. In imposing a two percent threshold, Congress wanted to ensure that only those parties, organizations and coalitions having a sufficient number of constituents deserving of representation are actually represented in Congress. This intent can be gleaned from the deliberations on the proposed bill. The two percent threshold is consistent not only with the intent of the framers of the Constitution and the law, but with the very essence of "representation." Under a republican or representative state, all government authority emanates from the people, but is exercised by representatives chosen by them. But to have meaningful representation, the elected persons must have the mandate of a sufficient number of people. Otherwise, in a legislature that features the party-list system, the result might be the proliferation of small groups which are incapable of contributing significant legislation, and which might even pose a threat to the stability of Congress. Thus, even legislative districts are apportioned according to "the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio" to ensure meaningful local representation.

How should the additional seats of a qualified party be determined?

Step One. There is no dispute among the petitioners, the public and the private respondents, as well as the members of this Court that the initial step is to rank all the participating parties, organizations and coalitions from the highest to the lowest based on the number of votes they each received. Then the ratio for each party is computed by dividing its votes by the total votes cast for all the parties participating in the system. All parties with at least two percent of the total votes are guaranteed one seat each. Only these parties shall be considered in the computation of additional seats. The party receiving the highest number of votes shall thenceforth be referred to as the “first” party.
Step Two. The next step is to determine the number of seats the first party is entitled to, in order to be able to compute that for the other parties. Since the distribution is based on proportional representation, the number of seats to be allotted to the other parties cannot possibly exceed that to which the first party is entitled by virtue of its obtaining the most number of votes.
Step Three The next step is to solve for the number of additional seats that the other qualified parties are entitled to, based on proportional representation.
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