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CASE: ALEJO VS.

ALDO
Plaintiffs Memorandum
Facts: Calisto Alejo was an inspector of the Bureau of Forestry stationed in Davao. Agapito
Aldo is engaged in the business of exporting logs from his lumber concession in Cotabato. Alejo
went to said concession upon instructions of his chief to classify the logs of Aldo which were
about to be loaded on a ship anchored in the Port of Parang. The work of Alejo lasted for six
days during which he contracted Malaria fever. In the morning of the seventh day, Alejo who in
a hurry to return to Davao asked Aldo if he could take him in his pick-up as there was then no
other means of transportation , to which Aldo agreed, and in that same morning the pick-up left
Parang bound for Davao taking along six passenger including Alejo.
On the day of the departure, Aldo also accommodated requests of other passengers. Before
leaving Parang, Aldo noticed that Alejo appeared weak, feverish and was shivering. Aldo invited
Alejo to sit with him on the front seat but Lara declined, and instead sat on an improvised bench
on the back of the pick-up. Upon reaching Km. 96, Barrio Catidtuan, Alejo accidentally fell from
the pick-up and as a result he suffered serious injuries. Aldo stopped the pick-up to see what
happened to Alejo. The latter was severely injured. Aldo brought Alejo to the nearest hospital
where the latter was declared dead upon arrival.
Issue:
(1) Whether or not Aldo is a common carrier under Art. 1732 of the New Civil Code.
(2) Whether or not Art. 1733 , 1755 and 1756 of the New Civil Code will apply.
(3) Whether or not Aldo is still liable under quasi-delicts under Art. 2176 of the New Civil Code
in case of a finding that the defendant is not a common carrier.
Arguments:
(1) The law on common carriers provide under Art. 1732 who are common carriers, it states:
Common carriers are persons, corporations, firms or associations engaged in the business of
carrying or transporting passengers or goods or both, by land, water, or air for compensation,
offering themselves to the public. Moreover, the case of De Guzman vs. Court of Appeals (168
SCRA 612) dictates that Art. 1732 does not make any distinction between one whose principal
business activity is the carrying of persons or goods or both, and one who does such carrying
only as an ancillary activity or a sideline. Furthermore, the case of Fabre, Jr. vs. Court of
Appeals (259 SCRA 426) provides that a person or an entity need not be engaged in the business
of public transportation for the provision of the Civil Code on common carriers to apply to them.
In the case at bar, defendant Aldo is a common carrier by the mere act of taking Alejo as a
passenger. The De Guzman case suggests that the law (Art. 1732 of the NCC) does not
specifically make a specific and firm description of who a public carrier is and it also does not
make a distinction as to one whose mains business is the carrying of persons and goods from
those who makes it a merely ancillary activity. Moreover, the Fabre case suggests that the law
on common carriers does not apply only to those who engage mainly in the business of public
transportation but also applies to other cases where one maybe considered a common carrier. The
two jurisprudence suggests mainly that there is no hard and fast rule as to determining whether
one is a common carrier or not and is subject to a strict scrutiny by the court and on a case to
case basis. The main contention here is that Aldo, although he is not engaged in the business of
public transportation and that such act was a mere ancillary act does not mean he is not a
common carrier.
(2) Under the Civil Code, Common Carriers are duty bound to exercise the utmost extent of
diligence and the integrity in delivering his passengers in the sense that they should not
encounter any harm or loss in case of passengers and be delivered in the same condition as they
were received in cases of goods. In the exercise of his obligation, the common carrier is
obligated to exercise extraordinary diligence by Article 1733 and 1755 of the Civil Code which
provide:
ARTICLE 1733. Common carriers, from the nature of their business and for
reasons of public policy, are bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the
vigilance over the goods and for the safety of the passengers transported by them,
according to all the circumstances of each case.
Such extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods is further expressed
in articles 1734, 1735, and 1745, Nos. 5, 6, and 7, while the extraordinary
diligence for the safety of the passengers is further set forth in articles 1755 and
1756.
ARTICLE 1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far
as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very
cautious persons, with a due regard for all the circumstances.
Furthermore, a common carrier is presumed to be negligent in cases or injuries or death resulting
to their passengers. Art. 1756 of the Civil Code provides:
ARTICLE 1756. In case of death of or injuries to passengers, common carriers
are presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove
that they observed extraordinary diligence as prescribed in articles 1733 and 1755.
In the case at bar, upon finding the Court that Aldo is a common carrier, Articles 1733, 1755 and
1756 is applicable. Being a common carrier, it is incumbent upon Aldo to exercise not only
reasonable diligence but rather extraordinary diligence. Common carriers, from the nature of
their business and for reasons of public policy, are bound to observe extraordinary diligence in
the vigilance over the passengers and goods transported by them. According to Aquino (2011),
this business is impressed with a special public duty. Moreover, the responsibility of a common
carrier is not only limited to exercising due to diligence but is imposed with a presumption
contrary to its interest. According to Art. 1756, common carriers are presumed to be negligent in
case of death or injuries to passengers and such may only be rebutted by convincing proof that
they have exercised the degree of diligence required which is extraordinary diligence. Applying
the case at bar, noticing the appearance of Alejo of being weak and feverish, Aldo merely invited
the former to sit with him in the front seat. It simply shows that as a common carrier, Aldo failed
to exercise extraordinary diligence in ascertaining the safety of Alejo before going on track. Aldo
could have mandatorily or to an extent forcibly placed Alejo in the front of the seat to secure its
safety considering its weak appearance and bad condition but he did not. In any case, the act
becomes moot by the presumption that since death occurred due to the passenger Alejo, then
Aldo is presumed negligent and worse having no proof to rebut such presumption as he too failed
to exercise extraordinary diligence as stated above.
(3) In case the Court finds Aldo not a common carrier, he is still liable under Aticle 2176 of the
Civil Code on quasi-delicts. Generally, the rule is that the relationship between the common
carrier and the passenger is contractual in nature, the contract to carry the passenger to the
desired destination upon payment of a consideration in the form of fare. On the contrary, if there
is no contractual obligation on both the parties, then Article 2176 on quasi-delicts will govern. It
states:
Art. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being
fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or
negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is
called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.
Manresa (in Taylor vs. Manila Electric Co.) further provides that in order that liability under
Art.2176 of the Civil Code will arise, the following requisites must exist: (a) There must be
damage or prejudice which must be proven by the party claiming it; (b) There must be an
unlawful act or omission amounting to fault or negligence; and (c) There must be a direct causal
connection between the damage or prejudice and the act or omission.
In applying it in the case at bar, it is better to consider first the requisites. First, there is certainly
damage or prejudice since death occurred on the part of Alejo. Second, there was an omission on
the part of Aldo to exercise even to the extent of merely reasonable diligence since he knew the
circumstances surrounding the situation of Alejo, yet he still failed to put said person into safety
and still put the latter at risk of falling, thus he is negligent. Third there is indeed a direct causal
relationship between the negligence or omission of Aldo to the resulting death of Alejo since had
he performed even just reasonable negligence to put the former to safety, knowing that he was
not feeling well, then death could not have occurred to the latter which was caused by the latter
falling. Alejo then is still liable under quasi-delicts, in the absence of finding that a contract of
carriage exists between them. This liability is often times referred to specifically as Culpa
Aquiliana where the liability is often attached to a driver who is an agent of a carrier, in relation
to damages done to a passenger or between a driver and a pedestrian.


CASE: ALEJO VS. ALDO
Defendants Memorandum
Facts: Calisto Alejo was an inspector of the Bureau of Forestry stationed in Davao. Agapito
Aldo is engaged in the business of exporting logs from his lumber concession in Cotabato. Alejo
went to said concession upon instructions of his chief to classify the logs of Aldo which were
about to be loaded on a ship anchored in the Port of Parang. The work of Alejo lasted for six
days during which he contracted Malaria fever. In the morning of the seventh day, Alejo who in
a hurry to return to Davao asked Aldo if he could take him in his pick-up as there was then no
other means of transportation , to which Aldo agreed, and in that same morning the pick-up left
Parang bound for Davao taking along six passenger including Alejo.
On the day of the departure, Aldo also accommodated requests of other passengers. Before
leaving Parang, Aldo noticed that Alejo appeared weak, feverish and was shivering. Aldo invited
Alejo to sit with him on the front seat but Lara declined, and instead sat on an improvised bench
on the back of the pick-up. Upon reaching Km. 96, Barrio Catidtuan, Alejo accidentally fell from
the pick-up and as a result he suffered serious injuries. Aldo stopped the pick-up to see what
happened to Alejo. The latter was severely injured. Aldo brought Alejo to the nearest hospital
where the latter was declared dead upon arrival.
Issue:
(1) Whether or not defendant is a common carrier under Art. 1732 of the New Civil Code.
(2) Whether or not Articles 1755, 1756 and 1733 of the same code is not applicable in the case at
bar.
(3) Whether or not Alejo himself was negligent or was guilty of contributory negligence.
Arguments:
(1) Aldo is not the common carrier described under Article 1732 of the Civil Code. The Code
states that:
ARTICLE 1732. Common carriers are persons, corporations, firms or
associations engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passengers or
goods or both, by land, water, or air for compensation, offering themselves to the
public.
Moreover, in the case of First Philippine Industrial Corp vs. CA (300 SCRA 66), the Supreme
Court reiterated a test for determining whether a party is a common carrier:
(1) He must be engaged in the business or carrying goods for others as a public employment,
and must hold himself out as ready to engage in the transportation of goods for persons
generally as a business and not as a casual occupation;
(2) He must undertake to carry the passengers and goods of the kind to which his business is
confined;
(3) He must undertake to carry by the method by which his business is conducted and over
his established roads;
(4) The transportation must be for hire.
Clearly, by the very provision of Article 1732, Aldo does not fall as one of a common carrier.
First, the act of Aldo in carrying Aleja was not set out due to his being engaged in public
employment of transporting passengers but as a mere acquiescence to the request of the latter to
be accommodated in the trip. Second, his business was not confined to the business of
transportation but rather to a lumber concession. Third requisite need not be described since no
established method nor route can be made since as earlier described, Aldos business did not
correlate to his act of accommodating Alejo. Fourth, the act of transporting the passenger was
not for hire but rather mere accommodation. In the case of Lara vs. Valencia (1958), it can be
noted that the Court said that the deceased, as well his companions who rode in the pick-up of
defendant, were merely accommodation passengers who paid nothing for the service and so they
can be considered as invited guests within the meaning of the law. Therefore, Aldo, in his act of
carrying Alejo was not acting as a common carrier descried under Art. 1732 of the Civil Code
but rather can be described as an accommodation passenger by the mere act acquiescence to the
accommodation requested by the latter.
(2) Under the Civil Code, Common Carriers are duty bound to exercise the utmost extent of
diligence and the integrity in delivering his passengers in the sense that they should not
encounter any harm or loss in case of passengers and be delivered in the same condition as they
were received in cases of goods. In the exercise of his obligation, the common carrier is
obligated to exercise extraordinary diligence by Article 1733 and 1755 of the Civil Code which
provide:
ARTICLE 1733. Common carriers, from the nature of their business and for
reasons of public policy, are bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the
vigilance over the goods and for the safety of the passengers transported by them,
according to all the circumstances of each case.
Such extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods is further expressed
in articles 1734, 1735, and 1745, Nos. 5, 6, and 7, while the extraordinary
diligence for the safety of the passengers is further set forth in articles 1755 and
1756.
ARTICLE 1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far
as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very
cautious persons, with a due regard for all the circumstances.
Furthermore, a common carrier is presumed to be negligent in cases or injuries or death resulting
to their passengers. Art. 1756 of the Civil Code provides:
ARTICLE 1756. In case of death of or injuries to passengers, common carriers
are presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove
that they observed extraordinary diligence as prescribed in articles 1733 and 1755.
In the case at bar, however, such provisions does not find any application. It can be noted in the
case of Lara vs. Valencia (1958) that the deceased in the case was considered as a mere
accommodation passengers who paid nothing for the service and so they can be considered as
invited guests within the meaning of the law. The same case enunciated that as accommodation
passengers or invited guests, defendant as owner and driver of the pick-up owes to them merely
the duty to exercise reasonable care so that they may be transported safely to their destination.
Defendant Aldo, therefore, is only required to observe ordinary care, and is not in duty bound to
exercise extraordinary diligence as required of a common carrier by our law. Applying such in
the facts of the case, it can be noted that Aldo, noticing the appearance of Aleja, invited the latter
to sit with him on the front but the latter declined an instead sat on the improvised bench on the
back of the pick-up. It can therefore be concluded that Aldo did not failed to exercise ordinary
diligence required of him by his act of inviting the deceased due to his concerns of the latters
appearance. Moreover, since the defendant is not a carrier then a presumption of negligence
under Art. 1756 does not arise but rather need to be proven by one claiming such negligence.
Thus, the burden of proving negligence is upon the plaintiff since no presumption of negligence
can arise from the case at bar due to the fact that defendant is not a common carrier. Lastly, the
Court stated in the same case that, there is every reason to believe that the unfortunate
happening was only due to an unforeseen accident accused by the fact that at the time the
deceased was half asleep and must have fallen from the pick-up when it ran into some stones
causing it to jerk considering that the road was then bumpy, rough and full of stones. The Court
did not rule out the possibility of an accident which is similar in the case at bar in the absence of
proof of negligence on the part of the defendant.
(3) In a relationship between a common carrier with their passenger, not only does the former
has the responsibility to exercise a degree of diligence but also the former is also required to
exercise a certain degree of diligence. This degree of diligence is described in Art. 1761 of the
Civil Code which states that, The passenger must observe the diligence of a good father of a
family to avoid injury to himself. The passenger therefore is also tasked to exercise reasonable
diligence to avoid injury. In the case of Lara vs. Sarmiento (1958), the court said, We may
rather attribute the incident to lack of care on the part of the deceased considering that the pick-
up was open and he was then in a crouching position. It simply means that when the proximate
cause of the injury to the passenger was caused by his own negligence then the carrier cannot be
held liable. In the case at bar, Aleja can then be considered negligent in his acts by the fact that
he knew that he was already feeling bad and even sick but still he chose to sit at the back of the
bench on an improvised chair despite invitation by Aldo to sit in front with him. It can be
concluded therefore that, it was Aleja who put himself in danger by doing such acts stated.
However, under Article 1762 it states that , The contributory negligence of the passenger does
not bar recovery of damages for his death or injuries, if the proximate cause thereof is the
negligence of the common carrier, but the amount of damages shall be equitably reduced. This
article simply talks about contributory negligence on the part of the passenger. It however
presumes that the carrier was negligent in his acts only that the passenger contributed to the
negligence of the carrier which cause the damages to be equitably reduced. In the case at bar, if
Aldo be found to be negligent in his acts, it cannot be denied also that the passenger himself was
negligent since he chose to sit at the back, then the damages that are recoverable can be equitably
reduced.
In re: Disbarment of Raul Fernando
Complainants memorandum
Facts: A disbarment proceeding was filed against Atty. Raul Fernando. The complaint alleges
that Atty. Fernando has been cohabiting with a woman named Patricia Jorge who is not his wife.
Atty. Fernando stated that he was already a widower when he was admitted to the practice of
law. He admitted that he started living with Patricia Jorge, without the benefit of marriage, more
than twenty (20) years ago when his wife was still alive but living with another man. On the
other hand, Jorge is legally married to another man who is now living with another woman. Atty.
Fernando also admitted that he and Jorge have a child. But as a member of the religious sect
known as the Jehovahs Witnesses and the Watch Tower and Bible Tract Society, Atty. Fernando
asserted that their conjugal arrangement is with conformity with their religious beliefs and has
approval of his congregation. In fact, after ten years of living together, he executed a
Declaration of Pledging Faithfulness.
For Jehovahs Witnesses, the Declaration allows members of the congregation who have
been abandoned by their spouses to enter into marital relations. The Declaration thus makes the
resulting union moral and binding within the congregation all over the world except in countries
where divorce is allowed. As laid out by the tenets of their faith, the Jehovahs congregation
requires that at the time the declarations are executed, the couple cannot secure the civil
authorities approval of the marital relationship because of legal impediments. Only the couples
who have been baptized and in good standing may execute the Declaration, which requires the
approval of the elders of the congregation. As a matter of practice, the marital status of the
declarants and their respective spouses commission of adultery are investigated beforev the
declarations are executed. Atty. Fernando and Jorges declarations were executed in the usual
and approved form prescribed by the Jehovahs Witnesses, approved by the elders of the
congregation where the declarations were executed, and recorded in the Watch Tower Central
Office.
Issue:
Whether or not defendant is guilty of gross immorality and disbarment is proper.
Arguments:
The defendant is guilty of gross immorality so as to render the penalty of disbarment proper.
Under the Code of Professional Responsibility, specifically Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 provides:
RULE 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct.
The rule specifically means that a lawyer must constantly be of good moral character. Moreover,
the moral character he displayed when he applied for admission to the Bar must be maintained
incessantly. The same rule mandates specifically that a lawyer must do away with immoral
conduct. Pineda (2009) citing Arciga vs. Maniwang (106 SCRA 591) describes immoral conduct
as that conduct which is willful, flagrant or shameless, and which shows a moral indifference to
the opinion of the good and respectable members of the community. The same author suggests
that for immorality to be a ground for disciplinary action, it must not be merely immoral but also
grossly immoral or one which is unquestionably so corrupt or unprincipled. Pineda (2009) in his
book Legal Ethics provided some instances of gross immorality and their resulting
consequences:
1. Abandonment of wife and cohabiting with another woman. Disbarred. (Toledo vs.
Toledo, 7 SCRA 757; Obusan vs. Obusan, 128 SCRA 485)
2. A lawyer who had carnal knowledge with a woman through a promise of marriage which
he did not fulfill. Disbarred. (Quingwa vs. Puno, 19 SCRA 439)
3. Concubinage coupled with failure to support illegitimate children. Suspended
indefinitely. (Laguitan vs. Tinio, 179 SCRA 837)
The case at bar however does not find precedence in such cases listed but it only gives the idea
of how gross immoral conducts were committed by some lawyers and the consequences that
were brought upon them. However, applying the provision of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, Atty. Fernando is guilty of violation of said provision specifically of
gross immoral conduct. It can clearly be established from the facts that he cohabited with a
woman who is not his wife while he was legally married although it was living with another
man. Second, he knew that the woman, whom he cohabited with, Patricia Jorge, was also legally
married when they committed such act. Such acts simply purports that both Atty. Fernando and
Jorge entered into adulterous relationship. Under Art. 333 of the Revise Penal Code, it states
that:
Art. 333. Who are guilty of adultery. Adultery is committed by any married
woman who shall have sexual intercourse with a man not her husband and by the
man who has carnal knowledge of her knowing her to be married, even if the
marriage be subsequently declared void.
Adultery shall be punished by prision correccional in its medium and
maximum periods.
If the person guilty of adultery committed this offense while being
abandoned without justification by the offended spouse, the penalty next lower in
degree than that provided in the next preceding paragraph shall be imposed.
In cases of adultery, not only the woman is guilty of committing such crime but also his
paramour, provided that he knew that she was legally married. Both Atty. Fernando and Jorge is
guilty of the crime of Adultery since when they started cohabiting, Jorge was legally married
with another man and moreover the relationship produced an heir outside their marriages which
is strictly the intent of why the law punishes such act.
On the contrary, Atty. Fernando submits that he was already a widower at the time he was
admitted in the practice of law. Rebutting such defense, it can be noted that even though there
was no legal impediment on his part still the fact exists that a legal impediment exists on the part
of Jorge since she too was legally married but the two continued such adulterous relationship
despite such fact. Taken all together, defendant in the case at bar is clearly guilty of committing
grossly immoral acts by continuously maintain an adulterous relationship which is even
punishable also under the Revised penal code. Moreover, It can be noted that good moral
character is a requirement upon an applicant for admission to the Bar. Sec. 2, Rule 138 of the
Revised Rules of Court states that:
Section 2.Requirements for all applicants for admission to the bar. Every
applicant for admission as a member of the bar must be a citizen of the
Philippines, at least twenty-one years of age, of good moral character, and
resident of the Philippines; and must produce before the Supreme Court
satisfactory evidence of good moral character, and that no charges against him,
involving moral turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any court in the
Philippines.
Analyzing the facts of the case suggests that since it was 20 years ago that Atty. Fernando and
Jorge started cohabiting and he admitted that her wife was still alive when it occurred, besides,
he also admitted that he was already a widower when he was admitted to the practice of law, thus
brings us to the conclusion that when Atty. Fernando before being admitted to the bar the
cohabitation with Jorge had already simultaneously occurred. It can therefore be suggested that
as a condition sine qua non for being admitted to the bar, Atty. Fernando was then and there unfit
to be admitted to the practice of law even due to the acts of cohabitation with a married woman
which run against his claim of possession of good moral character. To simply put, the defendant
was morally unfit even prior to his admission to the Bar, and thus such admission needs to be
voided by the Court by any means on how it sees fit.












In re: Disbarment of Raul Fernando
Defendants Memorandum
Facts: A disbarment proceeding was filed against Atty. Raul Fernando. The complaint alleges
that Atty. Fernando has been cohabiting with a woman named Patricia Jorge who is not his wife.
Atty. Fernando stated that he was already a widower when he was admitted to the practice of
law. He admitted that he started living with Patricia Jorge, without the benefit of marriage, more
than twenty (20) years ago when his wife was still alive but living with another man. On the
other hand, Jorge is legally married to another man who is now living with another woman. Atty.
Fernando also admitted that he and Jorge have a child. But as a member of the religious sect
known as the Jehovahs Witnesses and the Watch Tower and Bible Tract Society, Atty. Fernando
asserted that their conjugal arrangement is with conformity with their religious beliefs and has
approval of his congregation. In fact, after ten years of living together, he executed a
Declaration of Pledging Faithfulness.
For Jehovahs Witnesses, the Declaration allows members of the congregation who have
been abandoned by their spouses to enter into marital relations. The Declaration thus makes the
resulting union moral and binding within the congregation all over the world except in countries
where divorce is allowed. As laid out by the tenets of their faith, the Jehovahs congregation
requires that at the time the declarations are executed, the couple cannot secure the civil
authorities approval of the marital relationship because of legal impediments. Only the couples
who have been baptized and in good standing may execute the Declaration, which requires the
approval of the elders of the congregation. As a matter of practice, the marital status of the
declarants and their respective spouses commission of adultery are investigated beforev the
declarations are executed. Atty. Fernando and Jorges declarations were executed in the usual
and approved form prescribed by the Jehovahs Witnesses, approved by the elders of the
congregation where the declarations were executed, and recorded in the Watch Tower Central
Office.
Issue: Defendant is not guilty due to his right of freedom of religion guaranteed by the Bill of
Rights.
Argument: Defendant is not guilty of immorality vis--vis her right to religious freedom
guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and taking precedence from the case of Estrada vs. Escritor
(2006) .
Under Art. III of the 1987 Constitution specifically Section 5, guarantees freedom of Religion.
Said provision states that:
Section 5. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious
profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be
allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political
rights.
The said provision in the constitution can simply be broke down into two concepts: (1)the
separation of the church and the state; (2)the freedom of religious profession and worship which
involves (a)freedom to believe in a religion and (b)freedom to act in accordance to such belief.
1

What is sought to be applied in the case at bar is the second one which is the freedom of religious
profession and worship and the freedom to act in accordance to such belief. In the case of
Estrada vs. Escritor (2006), in its 2003 decision decided that in resolving religious freedoms
case the compelling state doctrine must be used from a stance of benevolent neutrality or
accommodation theory, the government was given an opportunity to prove its case. It simply
means that should the government succeed in demonstrating a more compelling state interest and
entertaining the possibility that Escritors claim of religious freedom would then warrant carving
out an exception from the Civil Service Law; necessarily, her defense of religious freedom will
be unavailing.
2
Moreover, the benevolent neutrality theory believes that with respect to these
governmental actions, accommodation of religion may be allowed, not to promote the
governments favored form of religion, but to allow individuals and groups to exercise their
religion without hindrance.
3
In determining the outcome of the said case, using the compelling
state interest in a benevolent neutrality stance, the court had to inquire first whether her right to
religious freedom was burdened. There is no doubt that choosing between keeping her

1
Legal notes. http://legalnotes.wordpress.com/2007/03/01/article-iii-section-5-freedom-of-religion/ (last accessed
May 18, 2014)
2
UST Law Review. http://ustlawreview.com/pdf/vol.LI/Cases/Estrada_v._Escritor.pdf (last accessed May 18, 2014)
3
Id.
employment and abandoning her religious belief and practice and family on the one hand, and
giving up her employment and keeping her religious practice and family on the other hand, puts
a burden on her free exercise of religion.
4
Second, the Court had to inquire on the sincerity of
Escitor in the practice of her religious belief and not merely using it to avoid punishment for
immorality. In its 2006 Ruling, the Supreme Court held that Escritors sincerity is beyond serious
doubt.
5
The Supreme Court in this case held that:
She did not secure the Declaration only after entering the judiciary where the
moral standards are strict and defined, much less only after an administrative case
for immorality was filed against her. The Declaration was issued to her by her
congregation after ten years of living together with her partner, Quilapio, and ten
years before she entered the judiciary. Ministers from her congregation testified
on the authenticity of the Jehovahs Witnesses practice of securing a Declaration
and their doctrinal or scriptural basis for such a practice. As the ministers
testified, the Declaration is not whimsically issued to avoid legal punishment for
illicit conduct but to make the union of their members under Escritors
circumstances honorable before God and men.
6

Having proven the facts of her sincerity in practicing her own religion, the Supreme Court
declared that the burden of proving that there is a compelling state interest shifts to the
government. The Office of the Solicitor General interposed an intervention; it is briefly
described:
In its Memorandum-In-Intervention, the OSG contends that the State has a
compelling interest to override Escritors claimed religious belief and practice, in
order to protect marriage and the family as basic social institutions. The Solicitor
General, quoting the Constitution and the Family Code, argues that marriage and
the family are so crucial to the stability and peace of the nation that the conjugal
arrangement embraced in the Declaration of Pledging Faithfulness should not be
recognized or given effect, as it is utterly destructive of the avowed institutions

4
Id.
5
Estrada vs. Escritor. http://www.scribd.com/doc/37159723/Estrada-v-Escritor-Digest (last accessed May 18,
2014)
6
UST Law Review, supra note 2, at 14.
of marriage and the family for it reduces to a mockery these legally exalted and
socially significant institutions which in their purity demand respect and
dignity.
7


The Court nevertheless turned down the theory of the Solicitor General which is described as
follows:
Be that as it may, the free exercise of religion is specifically articulated as one of
the fundamental rights in our Constitution. It is a fundamental right that enjoys a
preferred position in the hierarchy of rights the most inalienable and sacred of
human rights, in the words of Jefferson. Hence, it is not enough to contend that
the states interest is important, because our Constitution itself holds the right to
religious freedom sacred.
8

Moreover, the Supreme Court also added that the Solicitor General failed to use the least
intrusive means to achieve the goal of the state:
Finally, even assuming that the OSG has proved a compelling state interest, it has
to further demonstrate that the state has used the least intrusive means possible so
that the free exercise is not infringed any more than necessary to achieve the
legitimate goal of the state, i.e., it has chosen a way to achieve its legitimate state
end that imposes as little as possible on religious liberties.
9

The Supreme Court therefore upheld Escritors claim of exemption based on her fundamental
right to freedom of religion in the absence of proof that the government failed to adduce
evidence that there was a compelling state interest and that it has used the least restrictive means
in achieving the governments goal, then she should be allowed to subscribe to the infinite.

In the case at bar, taking precedence from the case of Estrada vs. Escritor (2006), it is believed
that the ruling favors the defendant. Moreover, it is basic in the rules of statutory construction
that in case of conflict between the Constitution and a general law (Code of Professional Ethics;
Family Code) the former should prevail.

7
UST Law Review, supra note 2, at 14.
8
Id.
9
Id.