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January 2014 Philippine Supreme Court Rulings

on Political Law
Posted on February 14, 2014 by Philbert E. Varona Posted in Constitutional Law, Philippines - Cases, Philippines - Law
Here are select January 2014 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on political law:
Absence of motion of reconsideration; effect of. The omission of the filing of a motion for reconsideration
poses no obstacle for the Courts review of its ruling on the whole case since a serious constitutional question
has been raised and is one of the underlying bases for the validity or invalidity of the presidential action. If the
President does not have any constitutional authority to discipline a Deputy Ombudsman and/or a Special
Prosecutor in the first place, then any ruling on the legal correctness of the OPs decision on the merits will be
an empty one. In other words, since the validity of the OPs decision on the merits of the dismissal is
inextricably anchored on the final and correct ruling on the constitutional issue, the whole case including the
constitutional issue remains alive for the Courts consideration on motion for reconsideration. Emilio A.
Gonzales III v. Office of the President, etc., et al./Wendell Bareras-Sulit v. Atty. Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., et
al., G.R. No. 196231/G.R. No. 196232, January 28, 2014.
Congress; power to determine modes of removal from office of public officers; must be consistent with the
core constitutional principle of independence of the Office of the Ombudsman. The intent of the framers of the
Constitution in providing that all other public officers and employees may be removed from office as
provided by law, but not by impeachment in the second sentence of Section 2, Article XI is to prevent
Congress from extending the more stringent rule of removal only by impeachment to favoured public
officers. Contrary to the implied view of the minority, in no way can this provision be regarded as blanket
authority for Congress to provide for any ground of removal it deems fit. While the manner and cause of
removal are left to congressional determination, this must still be consistent with constitutional guarantees and
principles, namely: the right to procedural and substantive due process; the constitutional guarantee of security
of tenure; the principle of separation of powers; and the principle of checks and balances. The authority
granted by the Constitution to Congress to provide for the manner and cause of removal of all other public
officers and employees does not mean that Congress can ignore the basic principles and precepts established
by the Constitution. Emilio A. Gonzales III v. Office of the President, etc., et al./Wendell Bareras-Sulit v.
Atty. Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., et al., G.R. No. 196231/G.R. No. 196232, January 28, 2014.
Constitutional bodies; concept of independence. The independence enjoyed by the Office of the Ombudsman
and by the Constitutional Commissions shares certain characteristics they do not owe their existence to any
act of Congress, but are created by the Constitution itself; additionally, they all enjoy fiscal autonomy. In
general terms, the framers of the Constitution intended that these independent bodies be insulated from
political pressure to the extent that the absence of independence would result in the impairment of their core
functions. The deliberative considerations abundantly show that the independent constitutional commissions
have been consistently intended by the framers to be independent from executive control or supervision or any
form of political influence. At least insofar as these bodies are concerned, jurisprudence is not scarce on how
the independence granted to these bodies prevents presidential interference.Emilio A. Gonzales III v. Office
of the President, etc., et al./Wendell Bareras-Sulit v. Atty. Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., et al., G.R. No. 196231/G.R.
No. 196232, January 28, 2014.
Gross negligence; concept of; not present when Deputy Ombudsman reviews a case for nine days. Gross
negligence refers to negligence characterized by the want of even the slightest care, acting or omitting to act in
a situation where there is a duty to act, not inadvertently but wilfully and intentionally, with a conscious
indifference to consequences insofar as other persons may be affected. In case of public officials, there is gross
negligence when a breach of duty is flagrant and palpable. The Deputy Ombudsman cannot be guilty of gross
neglect of duty and/or inefficiency since he acted on the case forwarded to him within nine days. The OPs
ruling that Gonzales had been grossly negligent for taking nine days, instead of five days as required for
Hearing Officers, is totally baseless.Emilio A. Gonzales III v. Office of the President, etc., et al./Wendell
Bareras-Sulit v. Atty. Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., et al., G.R. No. 196231/G.R. No. 196232, January 28, 2014.
Impeachment; concept of. Impeachment is the most difficult and cumbersome mode of removing a public
officer from office. It is, by nature, a sui generis politico-legal process that signals the need for a judicious and
careful handling as shown by the process required to initiate the proceeding; the one-year limitation or bar for
its initiation; the limited grounds for impeachment; the defined instrumentality given the power to try
impeachment cases; and the number of votes required for a finding of guilt. Emilio A. Gonzales III v. Office of
the President, etc., et al./Wendell Bareras-Sulit v. Atty. Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., et al., G.R. No. 196231/G.R.
No. 196232, January 28, 2014.
Judicial power; issuance of protection orders is in pursuance of the Courts authority to settle justiciable
controversies or disputes involving rights that are enforceable and demandable before the courts of justice or
the redress of wrongs for violations of such rights. The provision in R.A. 9262 allowing the issuance of
protection orders is not an invalid delegation of legislative power to the court and to barangay officials to issue
protection orders. Section 2 of Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution provides that the Congress shall have the
power to define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts but may not deprive the
Supreme Court of its jurisdiction over cases enumerated in Section 5 hereof. Hence, the primary judge of the
necessity, adequacy, wisdom, reasonableness and expediency of any law is primarily the function of the
legislature. The act of Congress entrusting us with the issuance of protection orders is in pursuance of our
authority to settle justiciable controversies or disputes involving rights that are enforceable and demandable
before the courts of justice or the redress of wrongs for violations of such rights. Ralph P. Tua v. Hon. Cesar
A. Mangrobang, Presiding Judge, Branch 22, RTC, Imus, Cavite; and Rossan Honrado-Tua, G.R. No. 170701.
January 22, 2014.
Just compensation; determination of just compensation is fundamentally a judicial function. In the exercise of
the Courts essentially judicial function of determining just compensation, the RTC-SACs are not granted
unlimited discretion and must consider and apply the enumerated factors in R.A. No. 6657 and the DAR
formula (in AO 5-98) that reflect these factors. These factors and formula provide the uniform framework or
structure for the computation of the just compensation for a property subject to agrarian reform. When acting
within the parameters set by the law itself, the RTC-SACs, however, are not strictly bound to apply the DAR
formula to its minute detail, particularly when faced with situations that do not warrant the formulas strict
application; they may, in the exercise of their discretion, relax the formulas application to fit the factual
situations before them. They must, however, clearly explain the reason for any deviation from the factors and
formula that the law and the rules have provided.Land Bank of the Philippines v. Yatco Agricultural
Enterprises, G.R. No. 172551, January 15, 2014.
Just compensation; fair market value of the expropriated property is determined as of the time of taking. The
time of taking refers to that time when the State deprived the landowner of the use and benefit of his
property, as when the State acquires title to the property or as of the filing of the complaint, per Section 4, Rule
67 of the Rules of Court. Land Bank of the Philippines v. Yatco Agricultural Enterprises, G.R. No. 172551,
January 15, 2014.
Justiciable question; definition of. A justiciable question is one which is inherently susceptible of being
decided on grounds recognized by law, as where the court finds that there are constitutionally-imposed limits
on the exercise of the powers conferred on a political branch of the government. Our inquiry is limited to
whether such statutory grant of disciplinary authority to the President violates the Constitution, particularly the
core constitutional principle of the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman. Emilio A. Gonzales III v.
Office of the President, etc., et al./Wendell Bareras-Sulit v. Atty. Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., et al., G.R. No.
196231/G.R. No. 196232, January 28, 2014.
Ombudsman; investigative and disciplinary powers; scope. The Ombudsmans broad investigative and
disciplinary powers include all acts of malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance of all public officials,
including Members of the Cabinet and key Executive officers, during their tenure. To support these broad
powers, the Constitution saw it fit to insulate the Office of the Ombudsman from the pressures and influences
of officialdom and partisan politics and from fear of external reprisal by making it an independent
office. Emilio A. Gonzales III v. Office of the President, etc., et al./Wendell Bareras-Sulit v. Atty. Paquito N.
Ochoa, Jr., et al., G.R. No. 196231/G.R. No. 196232, January 28, 2014.
Ombudsman; powers and functions. Under Section 12, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, the Office of the
Ombudsman is envisioned to be the protector of the people against the inept, abusive, and corrupt in the
Government, to function essentially as a complaints and action bureau. This constitutional vision of a
Philippine Ombudsman practically intends to make the Ombudsman an authority to directly check and guard
against the ills, abuses, and excesses of the bureaucracy. As the Ombudsman is expected to be an activist
watchman, the Court has upheld its actions, although not squarely falling under the broad powers granted it
by the Constitution and by R.A. No. 6770, if these actions are reasonably in line with its official function and
consistent with the law and the Constitution. Emilio A. Gonzales III v. Office of the President, etc., et
al./Wendell Bareras-Sulit v. Atty. Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., et al., G.R. No. 196231/G.R. No. 196232, January 28,
2014.
Private lands acquired for agrarian reform; primary jurisdiction. The Land Bank of the Philippines is primarily
charged with determining land valuation and compensation for all private lands acquired for agrarian reform
purposes. But this determination is only preliminary. The landowner may still take the matter of just
compensation to the court for final adjudication. Thus, we clarify and reiterate: the original and exclusive
jurisdiction over all petitions for the determination of just compensation under R.A. No. 6657 rests with the
RTC-SAC. But, in its determination, the RTC-SAC must take into consideration the factors laid down by law
and the pertinent DAR regulations. Land Bank of the Philippines v. Yatco Agricultural Enterprises, G.R. No.
172551, January 15, 2014.
Public officer; discourtesy in the performance of official duties. As a public officer and trustee for the public, it
is the ever existing responsibility of respondent sheriff to demonstrate courtesy and civility in his official
actuations with the public. Based on the transcript of the altercation, it is readily apparent that respondent has
indeed been remiss in the duty of observing courtesy in serving the public. He should have exercised restraint
in dealing with the complainant, instead of allowing the quarrel to escalate into a hostile encounter. The balm
of a clean conscience should have been sufficient to relieve any hurt or harm respondent felt from
complainants criticisms in the performance of his duties. On the contrary, respondents demeanor tarnished
the image not only of his office but that of the judiciary as a whole, exposing him to disciplinary measure. Atty.
Virgillo P. Alconera v. Alfredo T. Pallanan, A.M. No. P-12-3069, January 20, 2014.
Public officer; making untruthful statements. The charge of making untruthful statements must fail. While the
statements mentioned in respondents complaint-affidavit were not reflected in the transcript submitted by the
complainant, this actuality is not conclusive evidence that such event did not take place. As claimed by
respondent, complainants clerk was only able to record a part of the argument. We cannot then discount the
probability that there is more to the argument than what was caught on video and there remains the possibility
that what respondent narrated and what complainant recorded both actually transpired. Atty. Virgillo P.
Alconera v. Alfredo T. Pallanan,A.M. No. P-12-3069, January 20, 2014.
Section 8(2) of RA 6770; constitutional; the Office of the Special Prosecutor is not constitutionally within the
Office of the Ombudsman; not entitled to the independence the Office of the Ombudsman enjoys under the
Constitution. The Court resolved to maintain the validity of Section 8(2) of R.A. No. 6770 insofar as the
Special Prosecutor is concerned. The Court does not consider the Office of the Special Prosecutor to be
constitutionally within the Office of the Ombudsman and is, hence, not entitled to the independence the latter
enjoys under the Constitution. Emilio A. Gonzales III v. Office of the President, etc., et al./Wendell Bareras-
Sulit v. Atty. Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., et al.,G.R. No. 196231/G.R. No. 196232, January 28, 2014.
Section 8(2) of RA No. 6770; unconstitutional; vesting of disciplinary authority in the President over the
Deputy Ombudsman; violation of the independence of the Ombudsman. In more concrete terms, we rule that
subjecting the Deputy Ombudsman to discipline and removal by the President, whose own alter egos and
officials in the Executive department are subject to the Ombudsmans disciplinary authority, cannot but
seriously place at risk the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman itself. Section 8(2) of R.A. No. 6770
intruded upon the constitutionally-granted independence of the Office of the Ombudsman. By so doing, the
law directly collided not only with the independence that the Constitution guarantees to the Office of the
Ombudsman, but inevitably with the principle of checks and balances that the creation of an Ombudsman
office seeks to revitalize. What is true for the Ombudsman must equally and necessarily be true for her
Deputies who act as agents of the Ombudsman in the performance of their duties. The Ombudsman can hardly
be expected to place her complete trust in her subordinate officials who are not as independent as she is, if only
because they are subject to pressures and controls external to her Office. This need for complete trust is true in
an ideal setting and truer still in a young democracy like the Philippines where graft and corruption is still a
major problem for the government. For these reasons, Section 8(2) of R.A. No. 6770, providing that the
President may remove a Deputy Ombudsman, should be declared void. Emilio A. Gonzales III v. Office of the
President, etc., et al./Wendell Bareras-Sulit v. Atty. Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., et al., G.R. No. 196231/G.R. No.
196232, January 28, 2014.
Special Prosecutor; structural relationship with the Ombudsman; the Special Prosecutor is by no means an
ordinary subordinate but one who effectively and directly aids the Ombudsman in the exercise of his/her
duties, which include investigation and prosecution of officials in the Executive Department. Congress
recognized the importance of the Special Prosecutor as a necessary adjunct of the Ombudsman, aside from his
or her deputies, by making the Office of the Special Prosecutor and organic component of the Office of the
Ombudsman and by granting the Ombudsman control and supervision over that office. This power of control
and supervision includes vesting the Office of the Ombudsman with the power to assign duties to the Special
Prosecutor as he or she may deem fit. Even if the Office of the Special Prosecutor is not expressly made part of
the composition of the Office of the Ombudsman, the role it performs as an organic component of that Office
militates against a differential treatment between the Ombudsmans Deputies, on one hand, and the Special
Prosecutor himself, on the other. What is true for the Ombudsman must be equally true, not only for her
Deputies but, also for other lesser officials of that Office who act directly as agents of the Ombudsman herself
in the performance of her duties. Emilio A. Gonzales III v. Office of the President, etc., et al./Wendell Bareras-
Sulit v. Atty. Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., et al., G.R. No. 196231/G.R. No. 196232, January 28, 2014.
The invaluable help of Roshni V. Balani in the preparation of this post is gratefully acknowledged.

















March 2014 Philippine Supreme Court
Decisions on Civil Law
Posted on April 2, 2014 by Rose Marie M. King-Dominguez Posted in Civil Law, Philippines - Cases, Philippines - Law
Here are select March 2014 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on civil law:
CIVIL CODE
Action for quieting of title; trial court had no jurisdiction to determine who among the parties have better right
over the disputed property which is admittedly still part of the public domain. Having established that the
disputed property is public land, the trial court was therefore correct in dismissing the complaint to quiet title
for lack of jurisdiction. The trial court had no jurisdiction to determine who among the parties have better right
over the disputed property which is admittedly still part of the public domain. As held in Dajunos v.
Tandayag (G.R. Nos. L-32651-52, 31 August 1971, 40 SCRA 449):
x x x The Tarucs action was for quieting of title and necessitated determination of the respective rights of
the litigants, both claimants to a free patent title, over a piece of property, admittedly public land. The law,
administration, disposition and alienation of public lands with the Director of Lands subject, of course, to the
control of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
In sum, the decision rendered in Civil Case No. 1218 on October 28, 1968 is a patent nullity. The lower court
did not have power to determine who (the Firmalos or the Tarucs) were entitled to an award of free patent title
over that piece of property that yet belonged to the public domain. Neither did it have power to adjudge the
Tarucs as entitled to the true equitable ownership thereof, the latters effect being the same: the exclusion of
the Firmalos in favor of the Tarucs. Heirs of Pacifico Pocido, et al. v. Arsenia Avila and Emelinda Chua, G.R.
No. 199146, March 19, 2014.
Action for quieting of title. In an action for quieting of title, the complainant is seeking for an adjudication
that a claim of title or interest in property adverse to the claimant is invalid, to free him from the danger of
hostile claim, and to remove a cloud upon or quiet title to land where stale or unenforceable claims or demands
exist. Heirs of Pacifico Pocido, et al. v. Arsenia Avila and Emelinda Chua, G.R. No. 199146, March 19,
2014.
Action for quieting of title; two indispensable requisites. Under Articles 476 and 477 of the Civil Code, the
two indispensable requisites in an action to quiet title are: (1) that the plaintiff has a legal or equitable title to or
interest in the real property subject of the action; and (2) that there is a cloud on his title by reason of any
instrument, record, deed, claim, encumbrance or proceeding, which must be s
hown to be in fact invalid or inoperative despite its prima facie appearance of validity. Heirs of Pacifico
Pocido, et al. v. Arsenia Avila and Emelinda Chua, G.R. No. 199146, March 19, 2014.
Co-ownership; Article 493 of the Civil Code; rights of a co-owner of a certain property; each one of the co-
owners with full ownership of their parts can sell their fully owned part. Article 493 of the Code defines the
ownership of the co-owner, clearly establishing that each co-owner shall have full ownership of his part and of
its fruits and benefits. Pertinent to this case, Article 493 dictates that each one of the parties herein as co-
owners with full ownership of their parts can sell their fully owned part. The sale by the petitioners of their
parts shall not affect the full ownership by the respondents of the part that belongs to them. Their part which
petitioners will sell shall be that which may be apportioned to them in the division upon the termination of the
co-ownership. With the full ownership of the respondents remaining unaffected by petitioners sale of their
parts, the nature of the property, as co-owned, likewise stays. In lieu of the petitioners, their vendees shall be
co-owners with the respondents. The text of Article 493 says so. Raul V. Arambulo and Teresita Dela Cruz v.
Genaro Nolasco and Jeremy Spencer Nolasco, G.R. No. 189420, March 26, 2014.
Co-ownership; Article 494 of the Civil Code; partition. Article 494 of the Civil Code provides that no co-
owner shall be obliged to remain in the co-ownership, and that each co-owner may demand at any time
partition of the thing owned in common insofar as his share is concerned. Raul V. Arambulo and Teresita Dela
Cruz v. Genaro Nolasco and Jeremy Spencer Nolasco, G.R. No. 189420, March 26, 2014.
Co-ownership; Article 498 of the Civil Code; when this may be resorted to. Article 498 of the Civil Code
states that whenever the thing is essentially indivisible and the co-owners cannot agree that it be allotted to one
of them who shall indemnify the others, it shall be sold and its proceeds accordingly distributed. This is
resorted to (a) when the right to partition the property is invoked by any of the co-owners but because of the
nature of the property, it cannot be subdivided or its subdivision would prejudice the interests of the co-
owners, and (b) the co-owners are not in agreement as to who among them shall be allotted or assigned the
entire property upon proper reimbursement of the co-owners. Raul V. Arambulo and Teresita Dela Cruz v.
Genaro Nolasco and Jeremy Spencer Nolasco, G.R. No. 189420, March 26, 2014.
Damages; actual or compensatory damages. Article 2199 of the Civil Code states that [e]xcept as provided by
law or by stipulation, one is entitled to an adequate compensation only for such pecuniary loss suffered by him
a he has duly proved. Such compensation is referred to as actual or compensatory damages. Actual damages
are compensation for an injury that will put the injured party in the position where it was before the injury.
They pertain to such injuries or losses that are actually sustained and susceptible of measurement. Except as
provided by law or by stipulation, a party is entitled to adequate compensation only for such pecuniary loss as
is duly proven. Basic is the rule that to recover actual damages, not only must the amount of loss be capable of
proof; it must also be actually proven with a reasonable degree of certainty, premised upon competent proof or
the best evidence obtainable. International Container Terminal Services, Inc. v. Celeste M. Chua, G.R. No.
195031, March 26, 2014.
Damages; Attorneys fees; when allowed. Article 2208 of the Civil Code does not prohibit recovery of
attorneys fees if there is a stipulation in the contract for payment of the same. Thus, in Asian Construction and
Development Corporation v. Cathay Pacific SteelCorporation (CAPASCO), the Court, citing Titan
ConstructionCorporation v. Uni-Field Enterprises, Inc., noted that the law allows a party to recover attorneys
fees under a written agreement. In Barons Marketing Corporation v. Court of Appeals, the Court ruled that
attorneys fees are in the nature of liquidated damages and the stipulation therefor is aptly called a penal
clause. It has been said that so long as such stipulation does not contravene law, morals, or public order, it is
strictly binding upon defendant. The attorneys fees so provided areawarded in favor of the litigant, not
his counsel.On the other hand, the law also allows parties to a contract tostipulate on liquidated damages to be
paid in case of breach. A stipulationon liquidated damages is a penalty clause where the obligor assumes
agreater liability in case of breach of an obligation. The obligor is bound topay the stipulated amount without
need for proof on the existence and onthe measure of damages caused by the breach. However, even if such
attorneys fees are allowed by law, the courts still have the power to reduce the same if it is
unreasonable. Mariano Lim v. Security Bank Corporation,G.R. No. 188539, March 12, 2014.
Damages; Attorneys fees; when proper. An award of attorneys fees has always been the exception rather than
the rule and there must be some compelling legal reason to bring the case within the exception and justify the
award. In this case, none of the exceptions applies. Attorneys fees are not awarded every time a party
prevails in a suit. The policy of the Court is that no premium should be placed on the right to litigate. Even
when a claimant is compelled to litigate with third persons or to incur expenses to protect his rights, still,
attorneys fees may not be awarded where no sufficient showing of bad faith could be reflected in a partys
persistence in a case other than an erroneous conviction of the righteousness of his cause. International
Container Terminal Services, Inc. v. Celeste M. Chua, G.R. No. 195031, March 26, 2014.
Damages; moral damages. Certainly, an award of moral damages must be anchored on a clear showing that
the party claiming the same actually experienced mental anguish, besmirched reputation, sleepless
nights, wounded feelings, or similar injury. In the case herein under consideration, the records are bereft of
any proof that respondent in fact suffered moral damages as contemplated in the afore-quoted provision of the
Civil Code. The ruling of the trial court provides simply that: [Petitioners] outright denial and unjust refusal
to heed [respondents] claim for payment of the value of her lost/damaged shipment caus[ed] the latter to
suffer serious anxiety, mental anguish and wounded feelings warranting the award of moral damages x x x.
The testimony of respondent, on the other hand, merely states that when she failed to recover damages from
petitioner, she was saddened, had sleepless nights and anxiety without providing specific details of the
suffering she allegedly went through. Since an award of moral damages is predicated on a categorical
showing by the claimant that she actually experienced emotional and mental sufferings, it must be disallowed
absent any evidence thereon. International Container Terminal Services, Inc. v. Celeste M. Chua, G.R. No.
195031, March 26, 2014.
Damages; Nominal damages; when awarded; Network Bank did not violate any of Barics rights.Nominal
damages are recoverable where a legal right is technically violated and must be vindicated against an invasion
that has produced no actual present loss of any kind or where there has been a breach of contract and no
substantial injury or actual damages whatsoever have been or can be shown.
Under Article 2221 of the Civil Code, nominal damages may be awarded to a plaintiff whose right has been
violated or invaded by the defendant, for the purpose of vindicating or recognizing that right, not for
indemnifying the plaintiff for any loss suffered. Nominal damages are not for indemnification of loss suffered
but for the vindication or recognition of a right violated or invaded.
Network Bank did not violate any of Barics rights; it was merely a purchaser or transferee of the property.
Surely, it is not prohibited from acquiring the property even while the forcible entry case was pending, because
as the registered owner of the subject property, Palado may transfer his title at any time and the lease merely
follows the property as a lien or encumbrance. Any invasion or violation of Barics rights as lessee was
committed solely by Palado, and Network Bank may not be implicated or found guilty unless it actually took
part in the commission of illegal acts, which does not appear to be so from the evidence on record. On the
contrary, it appears that Barie was ousted through Palados acts even before Network Bank acquired the
subject property or came into the picture. Thus, it was error to hold the bank liable for nominal damages. One
Network Rural Bank, Inc. v. Danilo G. Baric,G.R. No. 193684, March 5, 2014.
Damages; Temperate damages. In the absence of competent proof on the amount of actual damages suffered, a
party is entitled to receive temperate damages. Article 2224 of the New Civil Code provides that: Temperate
or moderate damages, which are more than nominal but less than compensatory damages, may be
recovered when the court finds that some pecuniary loss has been suffered but its amount cannot, from the
nature of the case, be proved with certainty. The amount thereof is usually left to the sound discretion of the
courts but the same should be reasonable, bearing in mind that temperate damages should be more than
nominal but less than compensatory. International Container Terminal Services, Inc. v. Celeste M.
Chua, G.R. No. 195031, March 26, 2014.
Fraud; concept of; Article 1338 of the Civil Code. According to Article 1338 of the Civil Code, there is fraud
when one of the contracting parties, through insidious words or machinations, induces the other to enter into
the contract that, without the inducement, he would not have agreed to. Yet, fraud, to vitiate consent, must be
the causal (dolo causante), not merely the incidental (dolo incidente), inducement to the making of the
contract. In Samson v. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 108245, November 25, 1994, 238 SCRA 397), causal fraud
is defined as a deception employed by one party prior to or simultaneous to the contract in order to secure the
consent of the other.
Fraud cannot be presumed but must be proved by clear and convincing evidence. Whoever alleges fraud
affecting a transaction must substantiate his allegation, because a person is always presumed to take ordinary
care of his concerns, and private transactions are similarly presumed to have been fair and regular. To be
remembered is that mere allegation is definitely not evidence; hence, it must be proved by sufficient
evidence. Metropolitan Fabrics, Inc., et al. v. Prosperity Credit Resources, Inc. et al., G.R. No. 154390, March
17, 2014.
Fraud; Article 1390, in relation to Article 1391 of the Civil Code; consent obtained through fraud; action for
annulment; prescriptive period. Article 1390, in relation to Article 1391 of the Civil Code, provides that if the
consent of the contracting parties was obtained through fraud, the contract is considered voidable and may be
annulled within four years from the time of the discovery of the fraud. Metropolitan Fabrics, Inc., et al. v.
Prosperity Credit Resources, Inc. et al., G.R. No. 154390, March 17, 2014.
Mortgage; a higher degree of prudence must be exercised by the mortgagee in cases where he does not directly
deal with the registered owner of real property. In Bank of Commerce v. Spouses San Pablo, Jr. (550 Phil. 805,
821 (2007)), the court declared that a mortgagee has a right to rely in good faith on the certificate of title of the
mortgagor of the property offered as security, and in the absence of any sign that might arouse suspicion, the
mortgagee has no obligation to undertake further investigation.
However, in Bank of Commerce v. Spouses San Pablo, Jr. (550 Phil. 805, 821 (2007)), the court also ruled that
[i]n cases where the mortgagee does not directly deal with the registered owner of real property, the law
requires that a higher degree of prudence be exercised by the mortgagee. Specifically, the court cited Abad v.
Sps. Guimba (503 Phil. 321, 331-332 (2005)), where it held,
x x x While one who buys from the registered owner does not need to look behind the certificate of title, one
who buys from one who is not the registered owner is expected to examine not only the certificate of title but
all factual circumstances necessary for [one] to determine if there are any flaws in the title of the transferor, or
in [the] capacity to transfer the land.
Although the instant case does not involve a sale but only a mortgage, the same rule applies inasmuch as the
law itself includes a mortgagee in the term purchaser.
Thus, where the mortgagor is not the registered owner of the property but is merely an attorney-in-fact of the
same, it is incumbent upon the mortgagee to exercise greater care and a higher degree of prudence in dealing
with such mortgagor. Macaria Arguelles and the Heirs of the Deceased Petronio Arguelles v. Malarayat Rural
Bank, Inc., G.R. No. 200468, March 19, 2014.
Mortgage; banks are enjoined to exert a higher degree of diligence, care, and prudence than individuals in
handling real estate transactions; it cannot rely merely on the certificate of title. InUrsal v. Court of
Appeals (509 Phil. 628, 642 (2005)), the court held that where the mortgagee is a bank, it cannot rely merely
on the certificate of title offered by the mortgagor in ascertaining the status of mortgaged properties. Since its
business is impressed with public interest, the mortgagee-bank is duty-bound to be more cautious even in
dealing with registered lands. Indeed, the rule that person dealing with registered lands can rely solely on the
certificate of title does not apply to banks. Thus, before approving a loan application, it is a standard operating
practice for these institutions to conduct an ocular inspection of the property offered for mortgage and to verify
the genuineness of the title to determine the real owners thereof. The apparent purpose of an ocular inspection
is to protect the true owner of the property as well as innocent third parties with a right, interest or claim
thereon from a usurper who may have acquired a fraudulent certificate of title thereto. Macaria Arguelles and
the Heirs of the Deceased Petronio Arguelles v. Malarayat Rural Bank, Inc., G.R. No. 200468, March 19,
2014.
1. Negligence, the Court said in Layugan v. Intermediate Appellate Court (G.R. No. L-73998, November
14, 1988), is the omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided by those considerations
which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or the doing of something which a
prudent and reasonable man would not do, or as Judge Cooley defines it, (t)he failure to observe for
the protection of the interests of another person, that degree of care, precaution, and vigilance which
the circumstances justly demand, whereby such other person suffers injury. In order that a party
may be held liable for damages for any injury brought about by the negligence of another, the
claimant must prove that the negligence was the immediate and proximate cause of the injury. BJDC
Construction, represented by its Manager/Proprieto Janet S. Dela Cruz v. Nena E. Lanuzo, et
al., G.R. No. 161151, March 24, 2014.
Negligence; Medical negligence; four elements the plaintiff must prove by competent evidence. An action
upon medical negligence whether criminal, civil or administrative calls for the plaintiff to prove by
competent evidence each of the following four elements, namely: (a) the duty owed by the physician to the
patient, as created by the physician-patient relationship, to act in accordance with the specific norms or
standards established by his profession; (b) the breach of the duty by the physicians failing to act in
accordance with the applicable standard of care; (3) the causation, i.e., there must be a reasonably close and
causal connection between the negligent act or omission and the resulting injury; and (4) the damages suffered
by thepatient. Dr. Fernando P. Solidum v. People of the Philippines,G.R. No. 192123, March 10, 2014.
Negligence; Medical Negligence; standard of care of the medical profession; standard of care observed by
other members of the profession in good standing under similar circumstances. Negligence is defined as the
failure to observe for the protection of the interests of another person that degree of care, precaution, and
vigilance that the circumstances justly demand, whereby such other person suffers injury. Reckless
imprudence, on the other hand, consists of voluntarily doing or failing to do, without malice, an act from which
material damage results by reason of an inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person performing or
failing to perform such act.
The Court aptly explained in Cruz v. Court of Appeals that: Whether or not a physician has committed an
inexcusable lack of precaution in the treatment of his patient is to be determined according to the standard of
care observed by other members of the profession in good standing under similar circumstances bearing in
mind the advanced state of the profession at the time of treatment or the present state of medical science. In the
recent case of Leonila Garcia-Rueda v. Wilfred L. Pacasio,et. al., this Court stated that in accepting a case, a
doctor in effect represents that, having the needed training and skill possessed by physicians and surgeons
practicing in the same field, he will employ such training, care and skill in the treatment of his patients. He
therefore has a duty to use at least the same level of care that any other reasonably competent doctor would use
to treat a condition under the same circumstances. It is in this aspect of medical malpractice that expert
testimony is essential to establish not only the standard of care of the profession but also that the physicians
conduct in the treatment and care falls below such standard. Further, inasmuch as the causes of the injuries
involved in malpractice actions are determinable only in the light of scientific knowledge, it has been
recognized that expert testimony is usually necessary to support the conclusion as to causation. Dr. Fernando
P. Solidum v. People of the Philippines,G.R. No. 192123, March 10, 2014.
Negligence; Medical negligence; standard of care; an objective standard by which the conduct of a physician
sued for negligence or malpractice may be measured.In the medical profession, specific norms or standards to
protect the patient against unreasonable risk, commonly referred to asstandards of care, set the duty of the
physician to act in respect of the patient. Unfortunately, no clear definition of the duty of a particular physician
in a particular case exists. Because most medical malpractice cases are highly technical, witnesses with special
medical qualifications must provide guidance by giving the knowledge necessary to render a fair and just
verdict. As a result, the standard of medical care of a prudent physician must be determined from expert
testimony in most cases; and in the case of a specialist (like an anesthesiologist), the standard of care by which
the specialist is judged is the care and skill commonly possessed and exercised by similar specialists under
similar circumstances. The specialty standard ofcare may be higher than that required of the general
practitioner. Dr. Fernando P. Solidum v. People of the Philippines,G.R. No. 192123, March 10, 2014.
Negligence, test to determine its existence. The test by which the existence of negligence in a particular case is
determined is aptly stated in the leading case of Picart v. Smith (G.R. No. 12219, March 15, 1918).
According to this case, the test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case may be
stated as follows:
Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act use that reasonable care and caution which an
ordinarily prudent person would have used in the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence. The
law here in effect adopts the standard supposed to be supplied by the imaginary conduct of the discreet
paterfamilias of the Roman law. The existence of negligence in a given case is not determined by reference to
the personal judgment of the actor in the situation before him. The law considers what would be reckless,
blameworthy, or negligent in the man of ordinary intelligence and prudence and determines liability by that.
The question as to what would constitute the conduct of a prudent man in a given situation must of course be
always determined in the light of human experience and in view of the facts involved in the particular case.
Abstract speculation cannot here be of much value but this much can be profitably said: Reasonable men
govern their conduct by the circumstances which are before them or known to them. They are not, and are
not supposed to be, omniscient of the future. Hence they can be expected to take care only when there is
something before them to suggest or warn of danger. Could a prudent man, in the case under consideration,
foresee harm as a result of the course actually pursued? If so, it was the duty of the actor to take
precautions to guard against that harm. Reasonable foresight of harm, followed by the ignoring of the
suggestion born of this prevision, is always necessary before negligence can be held to exist. Stated in these
terms, the proper criterion for determining the existence of negligence in a given case is this: Conduct is said to
be negligent when a prudent man in the position of the tortfeasor would have foreseen that an effect harmful to
another was sufficiently probable to warrant his foregoing the conduct or guarding against its
consequences. BJDC Construction, represented by its Manager/Proprieto Janet S. Dela Cruz v. Nena E.
Lanuzo, et al.,G.R. No. 161151, March 24, 2014.
Property; Recovery of possession of real property; three kinds of actions available. In Sps. Bonifacio R. Valdez,
Jr. et al. vs. Hon. Court of Appeals, et al. (523 Phil. 39 (2006)), the Court is instructive anent the three kinds of
actions available to recover possession of real property, viz: (a) accion interdictal; (b) accion publiciana; and
(c) accion reivindicatoria.
Accion interdictal comprises two distinct causes of action, namely, forcible entry (detentacion) and unlawful
detainer (desahuico) [sic]. In forcible entry, one is deprived of physical possession of real property by means
of force, intimidation, strategy, threats, or stealth whereas in unlawful detainer, one illegally withholds
possession after the expiration or termination of his right to hold possession under any contract, express or
implied. The two are distinguished from each other in that in forcible entry, the possession of the defendant is
illegal from the beginning, and that the issue is which party has prior de facto possession while in unlawful
detainer, possession of the defendant is originally legal but became illegal due to the expiration or termination
of the right to possess.
The jurisdiction of these two actions, which are summary in nature, lies in the proper municipal trial court or
metropolitan trial court. Both actions must be brought within one year from the date of actual entry on the land,
in case of forcible entry, and from the date of last demand, in case of unlawful detainer. The issue in said cases
is the right to physical possession.
Accion publiciana is the plenary action to recover the right of possession which should be brought in the
proper regional trial court when dispossession has lasted for more than one year. It is an ordinary civil
proceeding to determine the better right of possession of realty independently of title. In other words, if at the
time of the filing of the complaint more than one year had elapsed since defendant had turned plaintiff out of
possession or defendants possession had become illegal, the action will be, not one of the forcible entry or
illegal detainer, but an accion publiciana. On the other hand, accion reivindicatoria is an action to recover
ownership also brought in the proper regional trial court in an ordinary civil proceeding. Carmencita Suarez v.
Mr. and Mrs. Felix E. Emboy, Jr. and Marilou P. Emboy-Delantar, G.R. No. 187944, March 12, 2014.
Res ipsa loquitor; a mode of proof or a mere procedural convenience.In Jarcia, Jr. v. People, the court has
underscored that the doctrine is not a rule of substantive law, but merely a mode of proof or a mere procedural
convenience. The doctrine, when applicable to the facts and circumstances of a given case, is not meant to and
does not dispense with the requirement of proof of culpable negligence against the party charged. It merely
determines and regulates what shall be prima facieevidence thereof, and helps the plaintiff in proving a breach
of the duty. The doctrine can be invoked when and only when, under the circumstances involved, direct
evidence is absent and not readily available. Dr. Fernando P. Solidum v. People of the Philippines,G.R. No.
192123, March 10, 2014.
Res ipsa loquitor; applicability in medical negligence cases. The applicability of the doctrine of res ipsa
loquitur in medical negligence cases was significantly and exhaustively explained in Ramos v. Court of
Appeals, where the Court saidMedical malpractice cases do not escape the application of this doctrine.
Thus, res ipsa loquitur has been applied when the circumstances attendant upon the harm are themselves of
such a character as to justify an inference of negligence as the cause of that harm. The application of resipsa
loquitur in medical negligence cases presents a question of law since it is a judicial function to determine
whether a certain set of circumstances does, as a matter of law, permit a given inference. Although generally,
expert medical testimony is relied upon in malpractice suits to prove that a physician has done a negligent act
or that he has deviated from the standard medical procedure, when the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is availed
by the plaintiff, the need for expert medical testimony is dispensed with because the injury itself provides the
proof of negligence. The reason is that the general rule on the necessity of expert testimony applies only to
such matters clearly within the domain of medical science, and not to matters that are within the common
knowledge of mankind which may be testified to by anyone familiar with the facts. Ordinarily, only physicians
and surgeons of skill and experience are competent to testify as to whether a patient has been treated or
operated upon with a reasonable degree of skill and care. However, testimony as to the statements and acts of
physicians and surgeons, external appearances, and manifest conditions which are observable by any one may
be given by non-expert witnesses. Hence, in cases where the res ipsa loquitur is applicable, the court is
permitted to find a physician negligent upon proper proof of injury to the patient, without the aid of expert
testimony, where the court from its fund of common knowledge can determine the proper standard of care.
Where common knowledge and experience teach that a resulting injury would not have occurred to the patient
if due care had been exercised, an inference of negligence may be drawn giving rise to an application of the
doctrine of res ipsa loquitur without medical evidence, which is ordinarily required to show not only what
occurred but how and why it occurred. When the doctrine is appropriate, all that the patient must do is prove a
nexus between the particular act or omission complained of and the injury sustained while under the custody
and management of the defendant without need to produce expert medical testimony to establish the standard
of care. Resort to res ipsa loquitur is allowed because there is no other way, under usual and ordinary
conditions, by which the patient can obtain redress for injury suffered by him. Dr. Fernando P. Solidum v.
People of the Philippines,G.R. No. 192123, March 10, 2014.
Res ipsa loquitur; applied in conjunction with the doctrine of common knowledge.It is simply a recognition of
the postulate that, as a matter of common knowledge and experience, the very nature of certain types of
occurrences may justify an inference of negligence on the part of the person who controls the instrumentality
causing the injury in the absence of some explanation by the defendant who is charged with negligence. It is
grounded in the superior logic of ordinary human experience and on the basis of such experience or common
knowledge, negligence may be deduced from the mere occurrence of the accident itself. Hence, res ipsa
loquitur is applied in conjunction with the doctrine ofcommon knowledge. Dr. Fernando P. Solidum v.
People of the Philippines,G.R. No. 192123, March 10, 2014.
Res ipsa loquitor. Res ipsa loquitur is literally translated as the thing or the transaction speaks for itself. The
doctrine res ipsa loquitur means that where the thing which causes injury is shown to be under the
management of the defendant, and the accident is such as in the ordinary course of things does not happen if
those who have the management use proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of an
explanation by the defendant, thatthe accident arose from want of care. Dr. Fernando P. Solidum v. People of
the Philippines,G.R. No. 192123, March 10, 2014.
Res ipsa loquitur. The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is based on the theory that the defendant either knows the
cause of the accident or has the best opportunity of ascertaining it and the plaintiff, having no knowledge
thereof, is compelled to allege negligence in general terms. In such instance, the plaintiff relies on proof of
the happening of the accident alone to establish negligence. The principle, furthermore, provides a means by
which a plaintiff can hold liable a defendant who, if innocent, should be able to prove that he exercised due
care to prevent the accident complained of from happening. It is, consequently, the defendants
responsibility to show that there was no negligence on his part. International Container Terminal Services,
Inc. v. Celeste M. Chua, G.R. No. 195031, March 26, 2014.
Res ipsa loquitur; concept of; requirements for the doctrine to apply. In Tan v. JAM Transit, Inc. (G.R. No.
183198, November 25, 2009), the Court noted that res ipsa loquitur is a Latin phrase that literally means the
thing or the transaction speaks for itself. It is a maxim for the rule that the fact of the occurrence of an injury,
taken with the surrounding circumstances, may permit an inference or raise a presumption of negligence, or
make out a plaintiffs prima facie case, and present a question of fact for defendant to meet with an
explanation. Where the thing that caused the injury complained of is shown to be under the management
of the defendant or his servants; and the accident, in the ordinary course of things, would not happen if those
who had management or control used proper care, it affords reasonable evidencein the absence of a
sufficient, reasonable and logical explanation by defendantthat the accident arose from or was caused by the
defendants want of care. This rule is grounded on the superior logic of ordinary human experience, and it is on
the basis of such experience or common knowledge that negligence may be deduced from the mere occurrence
of the accident itself. Hence, the rule is applied in conjunction with the doctrine of common knowledge.
For the doctrine to apply, the following requirements must be shown to exist, namely: (a) the accident is of a
kind that ordinarily does not occur in the absence of someones negligence; (b) it is caused by an
instrumentality within the exclusive control of the defendant or defendants; and (c) the possibility of
contributing conduct that would make the plaintiff responsible is eliminated. BJDC Construction, represented
by its Manager/Proprieto Janet S. Dela Cruz v. Nena E. Lanuzo, et al., G.R. No. 161151, March 24, 2014.
Res ipsa loquitor; doctrine does not automatically apply to all cases of medical negligence as to mechanically
shift the burden of proof to the defendant.Despite the fact that the scope of res ipsa loquitur has been
measurably enlarged, it does not automatically apply to all cases of medical negligence as to mechanically shift
the burden of proof to the defendant to show that he is not guilty of the ascribed negligence. Res ipsa
loquitur is not a rigid or ordinary doctrine to be perfunctorily used but a rule to be cautiously applied,
depending upon the circumstances of each case. It is generally restricted to situations in malpractice cases
where a layman is able to say, as a matter of common knowledge and observation, that the consequences of
professional care were not as such as would ordinarily have followed if due care had been exercised. A
distinction must be made between the failure to secure results, and the occurrence of something more unusual
and not ordinarily found if the service or treatment rendered followed the usual procedure of those skilled in
that particular practice. It must be conceded that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur can have no application in a
suit against a physician or surgeon which involves the merits of a diagnosis or of a scientific treatment. The
physician or surgeon is not required at his peril to explain why any particular diagnosis was not correct, or why
any particular scientific treatment did not produce the desired result. Thus, res ipsa loquitur is not available in
a malpractice suit if the only showing is that the desired result of an operation or treatment was not
accomplished. The real question, therefore, is whether or not in the process of the operation any extraordinary
incident or unusual event outside of the routine performance occurred which is beyond the regular scope of
customary professional activity in such operations, which, if unexplained would themselves reasonably speak
to the average man as the negligent cause or causes of the untoward consequence. If there was such extraneous
intervention, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur may be utilized and the defendant is calledupon to explain the
matter, by evidence of exculpation, if he could. Dr. Fernando P. Solidum v. People of the Philippines,G.R. No.
192123, March 10, 2014.
Res ipsa loquitor; essential requisites.In order to allow resort to the doctrine, therefore, the following essential
requisites must first be satisfied, to wit: (1) the accident was of a kind that does not ordinarily occur unless
someone is negligent; (2) the instrumentality or agency that caused the injury was under the exclusive control
of the person charged; and (3) the injury suffered must not have been due to any voluntary action or
contribution of the person injured. Dr. Fernando P. Solidum v. People of the Philippines,G.R. No. 192123,
March 10, 2014.
Res ipsa loquitur; when may be invoked. The doctrine can be invoked when and only when, under the
circumstances involved, direct evidence is absent and not readily available. Here, there was no evidence as
to how or why the fire in the container yard of petitioner started; hence, it was up to petitioner to satisfactorily
prove that it exercised the diligence required to prevent the fire from happening. International Container
Terminal Services, Inc. v. Celeste M. Chua, G.R. No. 195031, March 26, 2014.
Suretyship; Continuing suretyship; nature of; example of.A Continuing Suretyship, which the Court described
in Saludo, Jr. v. Security Bank Corporation as follows:
The essence of a continuing surety has been highlighted in the case of Totanes v. China Banking
Corporation in this wise: Comprehensive or continuing surety agreements are, in fact, quite commonplace in
present day financial and commercial practice. A bank or financing companywhich anticipates entering into a
series of credit transactions with a particular company, normallyrequires the projected principal debtor to
execute acontinuing surety agreement along with its sureties. Byexecuting such an agreement, the principal
places itselfin a position to enter into the projected series oftransactions with its creditor; with such
suretyshipagreement, there would be no need to execute a separatesurety contract or bond for each financing or
creditaccommodation extended to the principal debtor.
The terms of the Continuing Suretyship executed by petitioner are very clear. It states that petitioner, as surety,
shall, without need for any notice, demand or any other act or deed, immediately become liable and shall pay
all credit accommodations extended by the Bank to the Debtor, including increases, renewals, roll-overs,
extensions, restructurings, amendments or novations thereof, as well as (i) all obligations of theDebtor
presently or hereafter owing to the Bank, as appears in the accounts, books and records of the Bank,
whether direct or indirect, and (ii) any and all expenses which the Bank may incur in enforcing any of its
rights, powers and remedies under the Credit Instruments as defined hereinbelow. Mariano Lim v. Security
Bank Corporation,G.R. No. 188539, March 12, 2014.
Suretyship. A contract of suretyship is an agreement whereby a party, called the surety, guarantees the
performance by another party, called the principal or obligor, of an obligation or undertaking in favor of
another party, called the obligee. Although the contract of a surety is secondary only to a valid principal
obligation, the surety becomes liable for the debt or duty of another although it possesses no direct or personal
interest over the obligations nor does it receive any benefit therefrom. This was explained in the case
of Stronghold Insurance Company, Inc. v. Republic-Asahi Glass Corporation, where it was written: The
suretys obligation is not an original and direct one for the performance of his own act, but merely accessory or
collateral to the obligation contracted by the principal. Nevertheless, although the contract of a suretyis in
essence secondary only to a valid principalobligation, his liability to the creditor or promisee of
theprincipal is said to be direct, primary and absolute; inother words, he is directly and equally bound
with theprincipal.
Thus, suretyship arises upon the solidary binding of a person deemed the surety with the principal debtor for
the purpose of fulfilling an obligation. A surety is considered in law as being the same party asthe debtor
in relation to whatever is adjudged touching the obligationof the latter, and their liabilities are
interwoven as to be inseparable. Mariano Lim v. Security Bank Corporation,G.R. No. 188539, March 12,
2014.
SPECIAL LAWS
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL); Section 65 of R.A. 6657; DAR is empowered to authorize,
under certain conditions, the reclassification or conversion of agricultural lands. Under Section 65 of R.A.
No. 6657, the DAR is empowered to authorize, under certain conditions, the reclassification or conversion of
agricultural lands. Pursuant to this authority and in the exercise of its rulemaking power under Section 49 of
R.A. No. 6657, the DAR issued Administrative Order No. 12, series of 1994 (DAR A.O. 12-94) (the then
prevailing administrative order), providing the rules and procedure governing agricultural land conversion.
Item VII of DAR A.O. 12-94 enumerates the documentary requirements for approval of an application for
land conversion.35Notably, Item VI-E provides that no application for conversion shall be given due course if:
(1) the DAR has issued a Notice of Acquisition under the compulsory acquisition process; (2) a Voluntary
Offer to Sell covering the subject property has been received by the DAR; or (3) there is already a perfected
agreement between the landowner and the beneficiaries under Voluntary Land Transfer.Heirs of Teresita
Montoya, et al. v. National Housing Authority, et al., G.R. No. 181055, March 19, 2014.
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL); Section 6 of R.A. 6657; retention limits. Section 6 of R.A. No.
6657 specifically governs retention limits. Under its last paragraph, any sale, disposition, lease, management,
contract or transfer of possession of private lands executed by the original landowner in violation of [R.A. No.
6657] is considered null and void. A plain reading of the last paragraph appears to imply that the CARL
absolutely prohibits sales or dispositions of private agricultural lands. The interpretation or construction of this
prohibitory clause, however, should be made within the context of Section 6, following the basic rule in
statutory construction that every part of the statute be interpreted with reference to the context, i.e., that every
part of the statute must be considered together with the other parts, and kept subservient to the general intent of
the whole enactment. Notably, nothing in this paragraph, when read with the entire section, discloses any
legislative intention to absolutely prohibit the sale or other transfer agreements of private agricultural lands
after the effectivity of the Act.
In other words, therefore, the sale, disposition, etc. of private lands that Section 6 of R.A. No. 6657
contextually prohibits and considers as null and void are those which the original owner executes in violation
of this provision, i.e., sales or dispositions executed with the intention of circumventing the retention limits set
by R.A. No. 6657. Consistent with this interpretation, the proscription in Section 6 on sales or dispositions of
private agricultural lands does not apply to those that do not violate or were not intended to circumvent the
CARLs retention limits. Heirs of Teresita Montoya, et al. v. National Housing Authority, et al., G.R. No.
181055, March 19, 2014.
Emancipation of Tenants; P.D. 27; CLT; legal effects of issuance; tenant-farmer does not acquire full
ownership of the covered landholding simply by the issuance of a CLT. A CLT is a document that the
government issues to a tenant-farmer of an agricultural land primarily devoted to rice and corn production
placed under the coverage of the governments OLT program pursuant to P.D. No. 27. It serves as the tenant-
farmers (grantee of the certificate) proof of inchoate right over the land covered thereby.
A CLT does not automatically grant a tenant-farmer absolute ownership of the covered landholding. Under PD
No. 27, land transfer is effected in two stages: (1) issuance of the CLT to the tenant-farmer in recognition that
said person is a deemed owner; and (2) issuance of an Emancipation Patent (EP) as proof of full ownership
upon the tenant-farmers full payment of the annual amortizations or lease rentals.
As a preliminary step, therefore, the issuance of a CLT merely evinces that the grantee thereof is qualified to
avail of the statutory mechanism for the acquisition of ownership of the land tilled by him, as provided under
P.D. No. 27. The CLT is not a muniment of title that vests in the tenant-farmer absolute ownership of his
tillage. It is only after compliance with the conditions which entitle the tenant-farmer to an EP that the tenant-
farmer acquires the vested right of absolute ownership in the landholding. Stated otherwise, the tenant-farmer
does not acquire full ownership of the covered landholding simply by the issuance of a CLT. The tenant-
farmer must first comply with the prescribed conditions and procedures for acquiring full ownership but until
then, the title remains with the landowner. Heirs of Teresita Montoya, et al. v. National Housing Authority, et
al., G.R. No. 181055, March 19, 2014.
Land registration; Classification of land; evidence of a positive act from the government reclassifying the lot as
alienable and disposable agricultural land of the public domain. Accordingly, jurisprudence has required that
an applicant for registration of title acquired through a public land grant must present incontrovertible
evidence that the land subject of the application is alienable or disposable by establishing the existence of
a positive act of the government, such as a presidential proclamation or an executive order; an administrative
action; investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators; and a legislative act or a statute. Sps. Antonio
Fortuna and Erlinda Fortuna v. Republic of the Philippines,G.R. No. 173423, March 5, 2014.
Land registration; Classification of land; Executive prerogative.Under Section 6 of the Public Land Act, the
classification and the reclassification of public lands are the prerogative of the Executive Department. The
President, through a presidential proclamation or executive order, can classify or reclassify a land to be
included or excluded from the public domain. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Secretary is likewise empowered by law to approve a land classification and declare such land as alienable and
disposable. Sps. Antonio Fortuna and Erlinda Fortuna v. Republic of the Philippines,G.R. No. 173423, March
5, 2014.
Land registration; it is essential for any applicant for registration of title to land derived through a public grant
to establish foremost the alienable and disposable nature of the land. The Constitution declares that all lands of
the public domain are owned by the State. Of the four classes of public land, i.e., agricultural lands, forest or
timber lands, mineral lands, and national parks, only agricultural lands may be alienated. Public land that has
not been classified as alienable agricultural land remains part of the inalienable public domain. Thus, it is
essential for any applicant for registration of title toland derived through a public grant to establish
foremost the alienableand disposable nature of the land. The Public Land Act provisions on the grant and
disposition of alienable public lands, specifically, Sections 11 and 48(b), will find application only from the
time that a public land has been classified as agricultural and declared as alienable and disposable. Sps.
Antonio Fortuna and Erlinda Fortuna v. Republic of the Philippines,G.R. No. 173423, March 5, 2014.
Land registration; Judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete title; cut-off date for applications. As
mentioned, the Public Land Act is the law that governs the grant and disposition of alienable agricultural lands.
Under Section 11 of the PLA, alienable lands of the public domain may be disposed of, among others,
by judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete title. This mode of acquisition of title is governed by
Section 48(b) of the PLA, the original version of which states:
Sec. 48. The following-described citizens of the Philippines, occupying lands of the public domain or claiming
to own any such lands or an interest therein, but whose titles have not been perfected or completed, may apply
to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the
issuance of a certificate of title therefor, under the Land Registration Act, to wit:
x x x x
(b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous,
exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain, under a bona
fide claim of acquisition or ownership, except as against the Government,since July twenty-sixth, eighteen
hundred and ninety-four, except when prevented by war or force majeure. These shall be conclusively
presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a government grant and shall be entitled to a
certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter. [emphasis supplied]
On June 22, 1957, the cut-off date of July 26, 1894 was replaced by a 30-year period of possession under RA
No. 1942. Section 48(b) of the PLA, as amended by RA No. 1942, read:
(b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive
and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of
acquisition of ownership, for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for
confirmation of title, except when prevented by war or force majeure.
On January 25, 1977, PD No. 1073 replaced the 30-year period of possession by requiring possession since
June 12, 1945. Section 4 of PD No. 1073 reads:
SEC. 4. The provisions of Section 48(b) and Section 48(c), Chapter VIII of the Public Land Act are hereby
amended in the sense that these provisions shall apply only to alienable and disposable lands of the public
domain which have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation by the
applicant himself or thru his predecessor-in-interest, under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership, since
June 12, 1945.
Under the P.D. No. 1073 amendment, possession of at least 32 years from 1945 up to its enactment in 1977
is required. This effectively impairs the vested rights of applicants who had complied with the 30-year
possession required under the RA No. 1942 amendment, but whose possession commenced only after the cut-
off date of June 12, 1945 was established by the PD No. 1073 amendment. To remedy this, the Court ruled
in Abejaron v. Nabasa that Filipino citizens who by themselves or their predecessors-in-interest have
been, prior to the effectivity of P.D. 1073on J anuary 25, 1977, in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious
possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition of
ownership, for at least 30 years, or atleast since January 24, 1947 may apply for judicial confirmation of
their imperfect or incomplete title under Sec. 48(b) of the [PLA]. January 24,1947 was considered as the
cut off date as this was exactly 30 yearscounted backward from January 25, 1977 the effectivity date of
PDNo. 1073.
It appears, however, that January 25, 1977 was the date PD No. 1073 was enacted; based on the certification
from the National PrintingOffice, PD No. 1073 was published in Vol. 73, No. 19 of the Official Gazette,
months later than its enactment or on May 9, 1977. Thisuncontroverted fact materially affects the cut-off date
for applications forjudicial confirmation of incomplete title under Section 48(b) of the PLA.Although Section
6 of PD No. 1073 states that [the] Decree shalltake effect upon its promulgation, the Court has declared
in Taada, et al.v. Hon. Tuvera, etc., et al. that the publication of laws is an indispensablerequirement for its
effectivity. [A]ll statutes, including those of localapplication and private laws, shall be published as a
condition for theireffectivity, which shall begin fifteen days after publication unless a differenteffectivity date
is fixed by the legislature. Accordingly, Section 6 of PDNo. 1073 should be understood to mean that the
decree took effect onlyupon its publication, or on May 9, 1977. This, therefore, moves the cut-off date for
applications for judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete title under Section 48(b) of the PLA to
May 8, 1947. In otherwords, applicants must prove that they have been in open, continuous,exclusive and
notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands ofthe public domain, under a bona fide claim of
acquisition of ownership,for at least 30 years, or at least since May 8, 1947.Sps. Antonio Fortuna and
Erlinda Fortuna v. Republic of the Philippines,G.R. No. 173423, March 5, 2014.
Land registration; Possession; as a requirement for the application for registration of title.Notably, Section
48(b) of the PLA speaks of possession and occupation. Since these words are separated by the
conjunction and, the clear intention of the law is not to make one synonymous with the other. Possession is
broader than occupation because it includes constructive possession. When, therefore, the law adds the
word occupation, it seeks to delimit the all-encompassing effect of constructive possession. Taken together
with the words open, continuous, exclusive and notorious, the word occupation serves to highlight the fact that
for an applicant to qualify, his possession must not be a mere fiction. Nothing in Tax Declaration No. 8366
shows that Pastora exercised acts of possession and occupation such as cultivation of or fencing off the land.
Indeed, the lot was described as cogonal. Sps. Antonio Fortuna and Erlinda Fortuna v. Republic of the
Philippines,G.R. No. 173423, March 5, 2014.
Public Land Act; Sec 48(b), as amended by P.D. 1073; requirements for judicial confirmation of title.The
requirements for judicial confirmation of imperfect title are found in Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act, as
amended by Presidential Decree No. 1073, as follows:
Sec. 48. The following described citizens of the Philippines, occupying lands of the public domain or
claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein, but whose titles have not been perfected or completed,
may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their
claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor, under the Land Registration Act, to wit:
x x x x
(b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in the open, continuous,
exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain,
under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership, since June 12, 1945, or earlier, immediately preceding the
filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. These shall
be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be
entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter.
Republic of the Philippines represented by Aklan National Colleges of Fisheries (ANCF) and Dr. Elenita R.
Adrade, in her capacity as ANCF Superintendent v. Heirs of Maxima Lachica Sin, namely: Salvacion L. Sin,
Rosario S. Enriquez, Francisco L. Sin, Maria S. Yuchintat, Manuel L. Sin, Jaime Cardinal Sin, Ramon L. Sin,
and Ceferina S. Vita,G.R. No. 157485, March 26, 2014.
Regalian Doctrine; all lands of the public domain belong to the State and that lands not appearing to be clearly
within private ownership are presumed to belong to the State. As this Court held in the fairly recent case of
Valiao v. Republic (G.R. No. 170757, November 28, 2011,): Under the Regalian doctrine, which is embodied
in our Constitution, all lands of the public domain belong to the State, which is the source of any asserted right
to any ownership of land. All lands not appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed to
belong to the State. Accordingly, public lands not shown to have been reclassified or released as alienable
agricultural land or alienated to a private person by the State remain part of the inalienable public domain.
Unless public land is shown to have been reclassified as alienable or disposable to a private person by the
State, it remains part of the inalienable public domain. Property of the public domain is beyond the commerce
of man and not susceptible of private appropriation and acquisitive prescription. Occupation thereof in the
concept of owner no matter how long cannot ripen into ownership and be registered as a title. The burden of
proof in overcoming the presumption of State ownership of the lands of the public domain is on the person
applying for registration (or claiming ownership), who must prove that the land subject of the application is
alienable or disposable. To overcome this presumption, incontrovertible evidence must be established that the
land subject of the application (or claim) is alienable or disposable. Republic of the Philippines represented
by Aklan National Colleges of Fisheries (ANCF) and Dr. Elenita R. Adrade, in her capacity as ANCF
Superintendent v. Heirs of Maxima Lachica Sin, namely: Salvacion L. Sin, Rosario S. Enriquez, Francisco L.
Sin, Maria S. Yuchintat, Manuel L. Sin, Jaime Cardinal Sin, Ramon L. Sin, and Ceferina S. Vita, G.R. No.
157485, March 26, 2014.
Public Land Act; two requisites for judicial confirmation of title. The two requisites for judicial confirmation
of imperfect or incomplete title under CA No. 141, namely: (1) open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious
possession and occupation of the subject land by himself or through his predecessors-in-interest under a bona
fide claim of ownership since time immemorial or from June 12, 1945; and (2) the classification of the land as
alienable and disposable land of the public domain. Republic of the Philippines represented by Aklan National
Colleges of Fisheries (ANCF) and Dr. Elenita R. Adrade, in her capacity as ANCF Superintendent v. Heirs of
Maxima Lachica Sin, namely: Salvacion L. Sin, Rosario S. Enriquez, Francisco L. Sin, Maria S. Yuchintat,
Manuel L. Sin, Jaime Cardinal Sin, Ramon L. Sin, and Ceferina S. Vita, G.R. No. 157485, March 26, 2014.
Regalian Doctrine; failure of Republic to show competent evidence that the subject land was declared a
timberland before its formal classification as such in 1960 does not lead to the presumption that said land was
alienable and disposable prior to said date. Accordingly, in the case at bar, the failure of petitioner Republic to
show competent evidence that the subject land was declared a timberland before its formal classification as
such in 1960 does not lead to the presumption that said land was alienable and disposable prior to said
date. On the contrary, the presumption is that unclassified lands are inalienable public lands. It is therefore the
respondents which have the burden to identify a positive act of the government, such as an official
proclamation, declassifying inalienable public land into disposable land for agricultural or other purposes.
Since respondents failed to do so, the alleged possession by them and by their predecessors-in-interest is
inconsequential and could never ripen into ownership. Republic of the Philippines represented by Aklan
National Colleges of Fisheries (ANCF) and Dr. Elenita R. Adrade, in her capacity as ANCF Superintendent v.
Heirs of Maxima Lachica Sin, namely: Salvacion L. Sin, Rosario S. Enriquez, Francisco L. Sin, Maria S.
Yuchintat, Manuel L. Sin, Jaime Cardinal Sin, Ramon L. Sin, and Ceferina S. Vita, G.R. No. 157485, March
26, 2014.
(Rose thanks Anna Katerina Rodriguez for assisting in the preparation of this post.)
Changing Rules on the Party List System
Posted on May 1, 2013 by Vicente D. Gerochi IV Posted in Constitutional Law, Philippines - Cases, Philippines - Law
Much like a swinging pendulum, the decision of the Supreme Court on which parties compose the party list
system swings from one side to the other. Previously, the Supreme Court limited the party list system to
representatives of marginalized and underprivileged sectors. In Atong Paglaum v. COMELEC (G.R. Nos.
203766, et al., April 2, 2013), the latest in the series of party list cases, the pendulum now points to the
opposite side.
The New Ruling
Atong Paglaum involved 54 Petitions for Certiorari and Petitions for Certiorari and Prohibition filed by 52
party-list groups against COMELEC for disqualifying them from participating in the May 13, 2013 party-list
elections. One of the main reasons for the disqualification was their failure to represent the marginalized and
underrepresented.
Two issues were presented:
(1) Whether COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying the petitioners from
participating in the May 2013 elections; and
(2) Whether the criteria for participating in the party-list system laid down in Ang Bagong Bayani v.
COMELEC (ABB) and BANAT v. COMELEC (BANAT) should be applied by the COMELEC in the coming
May 2013 elections.
The Supreme Court ruled that COMELEC did not commit grave abuse of discretion because it merely
followed the rulings laid down in ABB and BANAT. However, the Court decided to abandon these rulings and
adopted new parameters for the upcoming elections; thus, it remanded the case to COMELEC so the latter can
determine the status of the petitioners based on the following new guidelines:
1. Three different groups may participate in the party-list system: (1) national parties or organizations, (2)
regional parties or organizations, and (3) sectoral parties or organizations.
2. National parties or organizations and regional parties or organizations do not need to organize along sectoral
lines and do not need to represent any marginalized and underrepresented sector.
3. Political parties can participate in party-list elections provided they register under the party-list system and
do not field candidates in legislative district elections. A political party, whether major or not, that fields
candidates in legislative district elections can participate in partylist elections only through its sectoral wing
that can separately register under the party-list system. The sectoral wing is by itself an independent sectoral
party, and is linked to a political party through a coalition.
4. Sectoral parties or organizations may either be marginalized and underrepresented or lacking in well-
defined political constituencies. It is enough that their principal advocacy pertains to the special interest and
concerns of their sector. The sectors that are marginalized and underrepresented include labor, peasant,
fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, and overseas workers. The
sectors that lack well-defined political constituencies include professionals, the elderly, women, and the
youth.
5. A majority of the members of sectoral parties or organizations that represent the marginalized and
underrepresented must belong to the marginalized and underrepresented sector they represent. Similarly, a
majority of the members of sectoral parties or organizations that lack well-defined political constituencies
must belong to the sector they represent. The nominees of sectoral parties or organizations that represent the
marginalized and underrepresented, or that represent those who lack well-defined political constituencies,
either must belong to their respective sectors, or must have a track record of advocacy for their respective
sectors. The nominees of national and regional parties or organizations must be bona-fide members of such
parties or organizations.
6. National, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations shall not be disqualified if some of their nominees
are disqualified, provided that they have at least one nominee who remains qualified.
It is clear from the foregoing that a new rule has been set: not all parties in the party-list system have to
represent a sector that is marginalized and underrepresented.
According to the Supreme Court, the framers of the Constitution never intended the party-list system to be
reserved for sectoral parties. The latter were only part of the party-list system not the entirety of it. There were
two more groups composing the system national and regional parties. This is evident from the phrasing of
Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution, which states that:
The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless
otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districtsand those who, as provided by law,
shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or
organizations. (emphasis supplied)
National and regional parties are different from sectoral parties such that the former need not organize along
sectoral lines and represent a particular sector. Hence, it is not necessary for these parties to be representative
of the marginalized and underrepresented. In fact, Republic Act No. 7941, the enabling law of the party-list
elections under the Constitution, does not require these parties to fall under this criterion. The Supreme Court
emphasized that the phrase marginalized and underrepresented appeared only once in R.A. No. 7941,
particularly in the Declaration of Policy. The section provides:
The State shall promote proportional representation in the election of representatives to the House of
Representatives through a party-list system of registered national, regional and sectoral parties or organizations
or coalitions thereof, which will enable Filipino citizens belonging to marginalized and underrepresented
sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could
contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to
become members of the House of Representatives. Towards this end, the State shall develop and guarantee a
full, free and open party system in order to attain the broadest possible representation of party, sectoral or
group interests in the House of Representatives by enhancing their chances to compete for and win seats in the
legislature, and shall provided the simplest scheme possible.
The oft-quoted phrase neither appeared in the specific implementing provisions of R.A. No. 7941 nor did it
require sectors, organizations, or parties to fall under the criterion as well. In this regard, how then should the
broad policy declaration in Section 2 of R.A. No. 7941 be harmonized with its specific implementing
provisions, bearing in mind the applicable provisions of the 1987 Constitution on the matter?
The Supreme Court answered in this wise:
The phrase marginalized and underrepresented should refer only to the sectors in Section 5 that are, by
their nature, economically marginalized and underrepresented. These sectors are: labor, peasant,
fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, overseas workers, and other
similar sectors. For these sectors, a majority of the members of the sectoral party must belong to the
marginalized and underrepresented.The nominees of the sectoral party either must belong to the
sector, or must have a track record of advocacy for the sector represented
The recognition that national and regional parties, as well as sectoral parties of professionals, the elderly,
women and the youth, need not be marginalized and underrepresented will allow small ideology-based and
cause-oriented parties who lack well-defined political constituencies a chance to win seats in the House of
Representatives. On the other hand, limiting to the marginalized and underrepresented the sectoral parties
for labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, overseas
workers, and other sectors that by their nature are economically at the margins of society, will give the
marginalized and underrepresented an opportunity to likewise win seats in the House of Representatives.
This interpretation will harmonize the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941 and will give rise to a multi-party
system where those marginalized and underrepresented, both in economic and ideological status, will have
the opportunity to send their own members to the House of Representatives. This interpretation will also make
the party-list system honest and transparent, eliminating the need for relatively well-off party-list
representatives to masquerade as wallowing in poverty, destitution and infirmity, even as they attend
sessions in Congress riding in SUVs.
Based on the Courts ratiocination, only sectoral parties for labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous
cultural communities, handicapped, veterans, overseas workers, and other sectors that by their nature are
economically at the margins of society must comply with the criterion of representing the marginalized and
underrepresented. For national, regional, and sectoral parties of professionals, the elderly, women and the
youth, it is sufficient that they consist of citizens who advocate the same ideology or platform, or the same
governance principles and policies, regardless of their economic status as citizens.
Consequently, since political parties are essentially national and regional parties, the Supreme Court
categorically stated that they may participate in the party-list elections. The rules for their participation are
found under guideline number three.
Evolution of Party-List Cases
ABB and BANAT were the prevailing jurisprudence prior to Atong Paglaum.
In ABB, the Supreme Court recognized that even major political parties may join the party list elections.
However, the Supreme Court went on saying that although they may participate, it does not mean that any
political party or group for that matter may do so. It is essential for these parties to be consistent with the
purpose of the party-list system, as laid down in the Constitution and R.A. No. 7941.
According to the Supreme Court, the purpose of the party-list system is clear: to give genuine power to the
people, not only by giving more law to those who have less in life, but more so by enabling them to become
veritable lawmakers themselves. Essentially, the goal is to give voice to the voiceless to enable Filipino
citizens belonging to the marginalized and underrepresented to become members of Congress.
Hence, only parties representing the marginalized and underrepresented may join the party-list elections. The
Supreme Court stressed that the party-list system cannot be exclusive to marginalized and underrepresented
because if the rich and overrepresented can participate, it would desecrate the spirit of the party-list system.
In BANAT where the Supreme Court again had the opportunity to deal with the matter, it categorically
declared, by a vote of 8-7, that major political parties are barred from participating either directly or indirectly
from the party-list elections.
Clearly, the doctrine in Atong Paglaum is in stark contrast with the former interpretation of the party-list
system. The Supreme Courts reasoning in both decisions also sits at opposite sides of the scale. In ABB and
BANAT, the Supreme Court concentrated on the spirit and purpose of the party-list system while in Atong
Paglaum, it focused on the letter of the law and the intent of the Constitutions framers and Congress.
No wonder this decision has sparked intense debate and passionate reaction from the stakeholders. These
party-list cases constitute three decisions with two exceptionally different doctrines. Which then is correct?
Should the spirit of the law prevail over the letter? Should the party-list system be really open to all? Should
the court engage in socio-political engineering as it did in the first two cases or should it remain as neutral
magistrates of the law, blindfolded like lady justice, interpreting the letter of the law strictly according to its
words?
The decision in Atong Paglaum is not yet final and executory. The case is still, if not already, subject to a
motion for reconsideration. It is still possible for the pendulum to swing back to its former side or it may
remain suspended where it is now.
(Teng Gerochi and Tanya Baldovino co-authored this post.)
















2013 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Commercial Law
Posted on January 10, 2014 by lexposition Posted in Commercial Law, Philippines - Cases, Philippines - Law
Here are select December 2013 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on commercial law:
Corporations; doctrine of apparent authority. The doctrine of apparent authority provides that a corporation
will be estopped from denying the agents authority if it knowingly permits one of its officers or any other
agent to act within the scope of an apparent authority, and it holds him out to the public as possessing the
power to do those acts. The doctrine of apparent authority does not apply if the principal did not commit any
acts or conduct which a third party knew and relied upon in good faith as a result of the exercise of reasonable
prudence. Moreover, the agents acts or conduct must have produced a change of position to the third partys
detriment. Advance Paper Corporation and George Haw, in his capacity as President of Advance Paper
Corporation v. Arma Traders Corporation, Manuel Ting, et al., G.R. No. 176897, December 11, 2013.
Corporations; doctrine of apparent authority . In Peoples Aircargo and Warehousing Co., Inc. v. Court of
Appeals, we ruled that the doctrine of apparent authority is applied when the petitioner, through its president
Antonio Punsalan Jr., entered into the First Contract without first securing board approval. Despite such lack
of board approval, petitioner did not object to or repudiate said contract, thus clothing its president with the
power to bind the corporation. Inasmuch as a corporate president is often given general supervision and
control over corporate operations, the strict rule that said officer has no inherent power to act for the
corporation is slowly giving way to the realization that such officer has certain limited powers in the
transaction of the usual and ordinary business of the corporation.
In the absence of a charter or bylaw provision to the contrary, the president is presumed to have the authority
to act within the domain of the general objectives of its business and within the scope of his or her usual
duties. Advance Paper Corporation and George Haw, in his capacity as President of Advance Paper
Corporation v. Arma Traders Corporation, Manuel Ting, et al., G.R. No. 176897, December 11, 2013.
(Hector thanks Miracle Rodriguez and Camille Maria M. Castolo for their assistance to Lexoterica.)












December 2013 Philippine Supreme Court
Decisions on Civil Law
Posted on January 15, 2014 by Rose Marie M. King-Dominguez Posted in Civil Law, Philippines - Cases, Philippines - Law
Here are seclect December 2013 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on civil law:
Civil Code
Contracts; concept of contracts. A contract is what the law defines it to be, taking into consideration its
essential elements, and not what the contracting parties call it. The real nature of a contract may be determined
from the express terms of the written agreement and from the contemporaneous and subsequent acts of the
contracting parties. However, in the construction or interpretation of an instrument, the intention of the parties
is primordial and is to be pursued. The denomination or title given by the parties in their contract is not
conclusive of the nature of its contents. ACE Foods, Inc. v. Micro Pacific Technologies Co., Ltd., G.R. No.
200602, December 11, 2013.
Contracts; contract of loan; interest stipulated; reduced for being iniquitous and unconscionable. Parties to a
loan contract have wide latitude to stipulate on any interest rate in view of the Central Bank Circular No. 905 s.
1982 which suspended the Usury Law ceiling on interest effective January 1, 1983. It is, however, worth
stressing that interest rates whenever unconscionable may still be declared illegal. There is nothing in the
circular which grants lenders carte blanche authority to raise interest rates to levels which will either enslave
their borrowers or lead to a hemorrhaging of their assets.In Menchavez v. Bermudez, the interest rate of 5% per
month, which when summed up would reach 60% per annum, is null and void for being excessive, iniquitous,
unconscionable and exorbitant, contrary to morals, and the law. Florpina Benvidez v. Nestor Salvador, G.R.
No. 173331, December 11, 2013.
Damages; award of costs; when entitled. Costs shall be allowed to the prevailing party as a matter of course
unless otherwise provided in the Rules of Court. The costs Ramirez may recover are those stated in Section 10,
Rule 142 of the Rules of Court. For instance, Ramirez may recover the lawful fees he paid in docketing his
action for annulment of sale before the trial court. The court adds thereto the amount of P3,530 or the amount
of docket and lawful fees paid by Ramirez for filing this petition before this Court. 35(35) The court deleted
the award of moral and exemplary damages; hence, the restriction under Section 7, Rule 142 of the Rules of
Courtwould have prevented Ramirez to recover any cost of suit. But the court certifies, in accordance with said
Section 7, that Ramirezs action for annulment of sale involved a substantial and important right such that he is
entitled to an award of costs of suit. Needless to stress, the purpose of paragraph N of the real estate mortgage
is to apprise the mortgagor, Ramirez, of any action that the mortgagee-bank might take on the subject
properties, thus according him the opportunity to safeguard his rights. Jose T. Ramirez v. The Manila Banking
Corporation, G.R. No. 198800, December 11, 2013.
Damages; exemplary damages; when entitled. No exemplary damages can be awarded since there is no basis
for the award of moral damages and there is no award of temperate, liquidated or compensatory
damages.Exemplary damages are imposed by way of example for the public good, in addition to moral,
temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages. Jose T. Ramirez v. The Manila Banking Corporation, G.R.
No. 198800, December 11, 2013.
Damages; moral damages; when entitled. Nothing supports the trial courts award of moral damages. There
was no testimony of any physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation,
wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injury suffered by Ramirez. The award of
moral damages must be anchored on a clear showing that Ramirez actually experienced mental anguish,
besmirched reputation, sleepless nights, wounded feelings or similar injury. Ramirezs testimony is also
wanting as to the moral damages he suffered.Jose T. Ramirez v. The Manila Banking Corporation, G.R. No.
198800, December 11, 2013.
Foreclosure; extrajudicial foreclosure; notice of extrajudicial foreclosure proceedings not necessary unless
stipulated by the parties. In Carlos Lim, et al. v. Development Bank of the Philippines, the court held that
unless the parties stipulate, personal notice to the mortgagor in extrajudicial foreclosure proceedings is not
necessary because Section 3 of Act No. 3135 only requires the posting of the notice of sale in three public
places and the publication of that notice in a newspaper of general circulation. In this case, the parties
stipulated in paragraph N of the real estate mortgage that all correspondence relative to the mortgage including
notifications of extrajudicial actions shall be sent to mortgagor Ramirez at his given address. Respondent had
no choice but to comply with this contractual provision it has entered into with Ramirez. The contract is the
law between them. Hence, the court cannot agree with the bank that paragraph N of the real estate mortgage
does not impose an additional obligation upon it to provide personal notice of the extrajudicial foreclosure sale
to the mortgagor Ramirez. Jose T. Ramirez v. The Manila Banking Corporation, G.R. No. 198800, December
11, 2013.
Foreclosure of mortgage; proceeds; obligations covered. The petitioner contends that there was no excess or
surplus that needs to be returned to the respondent because her other outstanding obligations and those of her
attorney-in-fact were paid out of the proceeds.
The relevant provision, Section 4 of Rule 68 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, mandates that:
Section 4. Disposition of proceeds of sale. The amount realized from the foreclosure sale of the mortgaged
property shall, after deducting the costs of the sale, be paid to the person foreclosing the mortgage, and when
there shall be any balance or residue, after paying off the mortgage debt due, the same shall be paid to junior
encumbrancers in the order of their priority, to be ascertained by the court, or if there be no such
encumbrancers or there be a balance or residue after payment to them, then to the mortgagor or his duly
authorized agent, or to the person entitled to it.
Thus, in the absence of any evidence showing that the mortgage also covers the other obligations of the
mortgagor, the proceeds from the sale should not be applied to them. Philippine Bank of Communication v.
Mary Ann O. Yeung, G.R. No. 179691, December 4, 2013.
Laches; concept of. Well settled is the rule that the elements of laches must be proven positively. Laches is
evidentiary in nature, a fact that cannot be established by mere allegations in the pleadings and cannot be
resolved in a motion to dismiss. At this stage therefore, the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of laches
is premature. Those issues must be resolved at the trial of the case on the merits, wherein both parties will be
given ample opportunity to prove their respective claims and defenses. Modesto Sanchez v. Andrew
Sanchez, G.R. No. 187661, December 4, 2013.
Mortgage; redemption period; reckoning of the period of redemption by the mortgagor or his successor-in-
interest starts from the registration of the sale in the Register of Deeds. The reckoning of the period of
redemption by the mortgagor or his successor-in-interest starts from the registration of the sale in the Register
of Deeds. Although Section 6 of Act No. 3135, as amended, specifies that the period of redemption
starts from and after the date of the sale, jurisprudence has since settled that such period is more appropriately
reckoned from the date of registration.United Coconut Planters Bank v. Christopher Lumbo and Milagros
Lumbo, G.R. No. 162757, December 11, 2013.
Obligations; force majeure; concept of force majeure. Anent petitioners reliance on force majeure, suffice it to
state that Peakstars breach of its obligations to Metro Concast arising from the MoA cannot be classified as a
fortuitous event under jurisprudential formulation.
Fortuitous events by definition are extraordinary events not foreseeable or avoidable. It is therefore, not
enough that the event should not have been foreseen or anticipated, as is commonly believed but it must be one
impossible to foresee or to avoid. The mere difficulty to foresee the happening is not impossibility to foresee
the same.
To constitute a fortuitous event, the following elements must concur: (a) the cause of the unforeseen and
unexpected occurrence or of the failure of the debtor to comply with obligations must be independent of
human will; (b) it must be impossible to foresee the event that constitutes the caso fortuito or, if it can be
foreseen, it must be impossible to avoid; (c) the occurrence must be such as to render it impossible for the
debtor to fulfill obligations in a normal manner; and, (d) the obligor must be free from any participation in the
aggravation of the injury or loss. Metro Concast Steel Corp., Spouses Jose S. Dychiao and Tiu Oh Yan, et al. v.
Allied Bank Corporation, G.R. No. 177921, December 4, 2013.
Obligations; modes of extinguishment. Article 1231 of the Civil Code states that obligations are extinguished
either by payment or performance, the loss of the thing due, the condonation or remission of the debt, the
confusion or merger of the rights of creditor and debtor, compensation or novation. Metro Concast Steel Corp.,
Spouses Jose S. Dychiao and Tiu Oh Yan, et al. v. Allied Bank Corporation, G.R. No. 177921, December 4,
2013.
Obligations; novation; extinctive novation distinguished from modificatory novation.To be sure, novation, in
its broad concept, may either be extinctive or modificatory. It is extinctive when an old obligation is terminated
by the creation of a new obligation that takes the place of the former; it is merely modificatory when the old
obligation subsists to the extent it remains compatible with the amendatory agreement. In either case, however,
novation is never presumed, and the animus novandi, whether totally or partially, must appear by express
agreement of the parties, or by their acts that are too clear and unequivocal to be mistaken. ACE Foods, Inc. v.
Micro Pacific Technologies Co., Ltd., G.R. No. 200602, December 11, 2013.
Property; action for reconveyance; prescriptive period; exception. The Court likewise takes note that
Paraguyas complaint is likewise in the nature of an action for reconveyance because it also prayed for the trial
court to order Sps. Crucillo to surrender ownership and possession of the properties in question to [Paraguya],
vacating them altogether . . . . Despite this, Paraguyas complaint remains dismissible on the same ground
because the prescriptive period for actions for reconveyance is ten (10) years reckoned from the date of
issuance of the certificate of title, except when the owner is in possession of the property, in which case the
action for reconveyance becomes imprescriptible. Laura F. Paraguya v. Sps. Alma Escurel-Crucillo and
Emeterio Crucillo and the Register of Deeds of Sorsogon, G.R. No. 200265, December 2, 2013.
Property; possessor in good faith; reimbursement of necessary and useful expenses. Dionisio was well aware
that this temporary arrangement may be terminated at any time. Respondents cannot now refuse to vacate the
property or eventually demand reimbursement of necessary and useful expenses under Articles 448 and 546 of
the New Civil Code, because the provisions apply only to a possessor in good faith, i.e., one who builds on
land with the belief that he is the owner thereof. Persons who occupy land by virtue of tolerance of the owners
are not possessors in good faith.Heirs of Cipriano Trazona, et al. v. Heirs of Dionisio Caada, et al., G.R. No.
175874, December 11, 2013.
Property; Spanish titles can no longer be used as evidence of ownership after six (6) months from the
effectivity of PD 892. Based on Section 1 of PD 892, entitled Discontinuance of the Spanish Mortgage
System of Registration and of the Use of Spanish Titles as Evidence in Land Registration Proceedings,
Spanish titles can no longer be used as evidence of ownership after six (6) months from the effectivity of the
law, or starting August 16, 1976. Laura F. Paraguya v. Sps. Alma Escurel-Crucillo and Emeterio Crucillo and
the Register of Deeds of Sorsogon, G.R. No. 200265, December 2, 2013.
Property; waiver of interest; when absolute and unconditional.Lucila did not say, to put everything in proper
order, I promise to waive my right to the property, which is a future undertaking, one that is demandable only
when everything is put in proper order. But she instead said, to put everything in proper order, I hereby
waive etc. The phrase hereby waive means that Lucila was, by executing the affidavit, already waiving her
right to the property, irreversibly divesting herself of her existing right to the same. After he and his co-owner
Emelinda accepted the donation, Isabelo became the owner of half of the subject property having the right to
demand its partition.Isabelo C. Dela Cruz v. Lucila C. Dela Cruz, G.R. No. 192383, December 4, 2013.
Quasi-contract; unjust enrichment; concept of; elements.In light of the foregoing, it is unfair to deny petitioner
a refund of all his contributions to the car plan. Under Article 22 of the Civil Code, [e]very person who
through an act of performance by another, or any other means, acquires or comes into possession of something
at the expense of the latter without just or legal ground, shall return the same to him. Antonio Locsin II v.
Mekeni Food Corporation, G.R. No. 192105, December 9, 2013.
Quasi-contract; concept of quasi-contract. Article 2142 of the same Code likewise clarifies that there are
certain lawful, voluntary and unilateral acts which give rise to the juridical relation of quasi-contract, to the end
that no one shall be unjustly enriched or benefited at the expense of another. In the absence of specific terms
and conditions governing the car plan arrangement between the petitioner and Mekeni, a quasi-contractual
relation was created between them.Antonio Locsin II v. Mekeni Food Corporation, G.R. No. 192105,
December 9, 2013.
Quasi-delict; elements. Article 2176 of the Civil Code provides that [w]hoever 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 a quasi-delict. Under this
provision, the elements necessary to establish a quasi-delict case are: (1) damages to the plaintiff; (2)
negligence, by act or omission, of the defendant or by some person for whose acts the defendant must respond,
was guilty; and (3) the connection of cause and effect between such negligence and the damages. These
elements show that the source of obligation in a quasi-delict case is the breach or omission of mutual duties
that civilized society imposes upon its members, or which arise from non-contractual relations of certain
members of society to others.Dra. Leila A. Dela Llana v. Rebecca Biong, doing business under the name and
style of Pongkay Trading,G.R. No. 182356, December 4, 2013.
Quasi-delict; quantum of proof; preponderance of evidence. Based on these requisites, Dra. dela Llana must
first establish by preponderance of evidence the three elements of quasi-delict before we determine Rebeccas
liability as Joels employer. She should show the chain of causation between Joels reckless driving and her
whiplash injury. Only after she has laid this foundation can the presumption that Rebecca did not exercise
the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of Joel arise.Once negligence, the
damages and the proximate causation are established, this Court can then proceed with the application and the
interpretation of the fifth paragraph of Article 2180 of the Civil Code. Under Article 2176 of the Civil Code, in
relation with the fifth paragraph of Article 2180, an action predicated on an employees act or omission may
be instituted against the employer who is held liable for the negligent act or omission committed by his
employee.The rationale for these graduated levels of analyses is that it is essentially the wrongful or negligent
act or omission itself which creates the vinculum juris in extra-contractual obligations. Dra. Leila A. Dela
Llana v. Rebecca Biong, doing business under the name and style of Pongkay Trading, G.R. No. 182356,
December 4, 2013.
Sales; car plan benefit; contributions as installment payments distinguished from rental payments. From the
evidence on record, it is seen that the Mekeni car plan offered to petitioner was subject to no other term or
condition than that Mekeni shall cover one-half of its value, and petitioner shall in turn pay the other half
through deductions from his monthly salary. Mekeni has not shown, by documentary evidence or otherwise,
that there are other terms and conditions governing its car plan agreement with petitioner. There is no evidence
to suggest that if petitioner failed to completely cover one-half of the cost of the vehicle, then all the
deductions from his salary going to the cost of the vehicle will be treated as rentals for his use thereof while
working with Mekeni, and shall not be refunded. Indeed, there is no such stipulation or arrangement between
them. Thus, the CAs reliance on Elisco Tool is without basis, and its conclusions arrived at in the questioned
decision are manifestly mistaken. To repeat what was said in Elisco Tool, [P]etitioner does not deny that
private respondent Rolando Lantan acquired the vehicle in question under a car plan for executives of the
Elizalde group of companies. Under a typical car plan, the company advances the purchase price of a car to be
paid back by the employee through monthly deductions from his salary. The company retains ownership of the
motor vehicle until it shall have been fully paid for. However, retention of registration of the car in the
companys name is only a form of a lien on the vehicle in the event that the employee would abscond before he
has fully paid for it. There are also stipulations in car plan agreements to the effect that should the employment
of the employee concerned be terminated before all installments are fully paid, the vehicle will be taken by the
employer and all installments paid shall be considered rentals per agreement.
It was made clear in this pronouncement that installments made on the car plan may be treated as rentals only
when there is an express stipulation in the car plan agreement to such effect. It was therefore patent error for
the appellate court to assume that, even in the absence of express stipulation, petitioners payments. Antonio
Locsin II v. Mekeni Food Corporation, G.R. No. 192105, December 9, 2013.
Sales; contract of sale; elements; distinguished from contract to sell. Corollary thereto, a contract of sale is
classified as a consensual contract, which means that the sale is perfected by mere consent. No particular form
is required for its validity. Upon perfection of the contract, the parties may reciprocally demand
performance, i.e., the vendee may compel transfer of ownership of the object of the sale, and the vendor may
require the vendee to pay the thing sold.
In contrast, a contract to sell is defined as a bilateral contract whereby the prospective seller, while expressly
reserving the ownership of the property despite delivery thereof to the prospective buyer, binds himself to sell
the property exclusively to the prospective buyer upon fulfillment of the condition agreed upon, i.e., the full
payment of the purchase price. A contract to sell may not even be considered as a conditional contract of sale
where the seller may likewise reserve title to the property subject of the sale until the fulfillment of a
suspensive condition, because in a conditional contract of sale, the first element of consent is present, although
it is conditioned upon the happening of a contingent event which may or may not occur. ACE Foods, Inc. v.
Micro Pacific Technologies Co., Ltd., G.R. No. 200602, December 11, 2013.
Sales; contract to sell; concept of.Verily, in a contract to sell, the prospective seller binds himself to sell the
property subject of the agreement exclusively to the prospective buyer upon fulfillment of the condition
agreed upon which is the full payment of the purchase price but reserving to himself the ownership of the
subject property despite delivery thereof to the prospective buyer.The full payment of the purchase price in a
contract to sell is a suspensive condition, the non-fulfillment of which prevents the prospective sellers
obligation to convey title from becoming effective, as in this case. Optimum Development Bank v. Spouses
Benigno v. Jovellanos and Lourdes R. Jovellanos, G.R. No. 189145, December 4, 2013.
Sales; contract to sell; real property in installments; covered by Realty Installment Buyer Protection Act.
Further, it is significant to note that given that the Contract to Sell in this case is one which has for its object
real property to be sold on an installment basis, the said contract is especially governed by and thus, must
be examined under the provisions of RA 6552, or the Realty Installment Buyer Protection Act, which
provides for the rights of the buyer in case of his default in the payment of succeeding installments. Optimum
Development Bank v. Spouses Benigno v. Jovellanos and Lourdes R. Jovellanos, G.R. No. 189145, December
4, 2013.
SPECIAL LAWS
Property Registration Decree; alienable lands of public domain; proof of; to prove that the land subject of an
application for registration is alienable, an applicant must establish the existence of a positive act of the
Government. The burden of proof in overcoming the presumption of State ownership of lands of the public
domain is on the person applying for registration, or in this case, for homestead patent. The applicant must
show that the land subject of the application is alienable or disposable. It must be stressed that incontrovertible
evidence must be presented to establish that the land subject of the application is alienable or disposable.
As the court pronounced in Republic of the Phils. v. Tri-Plus Corporation, to prove that the land subject of an
application for registration is alienable, an applicant must establish the existence of a positive act of the
Government such as a presidential proclamation or an executive order, an administrative action, investigation
reports of Bureau of Lands investigators, and a legislative act or statute. The applicant may also secure a
certification from the Government that the lands applied for are alienable and disposable. Republic of the
Philippines-Bureau of Forest Development v. Vicente Roxas, et al./Provident Tree Farms, Inc. v. Vicente
Roxas, et al., G.R. Nos. 157988/160640, December 11, 2013.
Property Registration Decree; estoppel; the principle of estoppel does not operate against the Government for
the act of its agents. Neither can respondent Roxas successfully invoke the doctrine of estoppel against
petitioner Republic. While it is true that respondent Roxas was granted Homestead Patent No. 111598 and
OCT No. P-5885 only after undergoing appropriate administrative proceedings, the Government is not now
estopped from questioning the validity of said homestead patent and certificate of title. It is, after all, hornbook
law that the principle of estoppel does not operate against the Government for the act of its agents. And while
there may be circumstances when equitable estoppel was applied against public authorities, i.e., when the
Government did not undertake any act to contest the title for an unreasonable length of time and the lot was
already alienated to innocent buyers for value, such are not present in this case. More importantly, we cannot
use the equitable principle of estoppel to defeat the law. Republic of the Philippines-Bureau of Forest
Development v. Vicente Roxas, et al./Provident Tree Farms, Inc. v. Vicente Roxas, et al., G.R. Nos.
157988/160640, December 11, 2013.
Property Registration Decree; homestead patent; once registered, the certificate of title issued by virtue of said
patent has the force and effect of a Torrens title issued under said registration laws; provided that the land
covered by said certificate is a disposable public land within the contemplation of the Public Land Law.It is
true that once a homestead patent granted in accordance with the Public Land Act is registered pursuant to Act
496, otherwise known as The Land Registration Act, or Presidential Decree No. 1529, otherwise known as The
Property Registration Decree, the certificate of title issued by virtue of said patent has the force and effect of a
Torrens title issued under said registration laws.We expounded in Ybaez v. Intermediate Appellate Court that:
The certificate of title serves as evidence of an indefeasible title to the property in favor of the person whose
name appears therein. After the expiration of the one (1) year period from the issuance of the decree of
registration upon which it is based, it becomes incontrovertible. The settled rule is that a decree of registration
and the certificate of title issued pursuant thereto may be attacked on the ground of actual fraud within one (1)
year from the date of its entry and such an attack must be direct and not by a collateral proceeding. The
validity of the certificate of title in this regard can be threshed out only in an action expressly filed for the
purpose.
It must be emphasized that a certificate of title issued under an administrative proceeding pursuant to a
homestead patent, as in the instant case, is as indefeasible as a certificate of title issued under a judicial
registration proceeding, provided the land covered by said certificate is a disposable public land within the
contemplation of the Public Land Law. Republic of the Philippines-Bureau of Forest Development v. Vicente
Roxas, et al./Provident Tree Farms, Inc. v. Vicente Roxas, et al.,G.R. Nos. 157988/160640, December 11,
2013.
Property Registration Decree; reversion; nature of; grounds. We do not find evidence indicating that
respondent Roxas committed fraud when he applied for homestead patent over the subject property. It does not
appear that he knowingly and intentionally misrepresented in his application that the subject property was
alienable and disposable agricultural land. Nonetheless, we recognized in Republic of the Phils. v.
Mangotara that there are instances when we granted reversion for reasons other than fraud:
Reversion is an action where the ultimate relief sought is to revert the land back to the government under the
Regalian doctrine. Considering that the land subject of the action originated from a grant by the government,
its cancellation is a matter between the grantor and the grantee. In Estate of the Late Jesus S. Yujuico v.
Republic (Yujuico case), reversion was defined as an action which seeks to restore public land fraudulently
awarded and disposed of to private individuals or corporations to the mass of public domain. It bears to point
out, though, that the Court also allowed the resort by the Government to actions for reversion to cancel titles
that were void for reasons other than fraud, i.e., violation by the grantee of a patent of the conditions imposed
by law; and lack of jurisdiction of the Director of Lands to grant a patent covering inalienable forest land or
portion of a river, even when such grant was made through mere oversight. In Republic v. Guerrero, the Court
gave a more general statement that the remedy of reversion can be availed of only in cases of fraudulent or
unlawful inclusion of the land in patents or certificates of title.Republic of the Philippines-Bureau of Forest
Development v. Vicente Roxas, et al./Provident Tree Farms, Inc. v. Vicente Roxas, et al., G.R. Nos.
157988/160640, December 11, 2013.
Property Registration Decree; Torrens certificate of title is not conclusive proof of ownership. It is an
established rule that a Torrens certificate of title is not conclusive proof of ownership. Verily, a party may seek
its annulment on the basis of fraud or misrepresentation. However, such action must be seasonably filed, else
the same would be barred. Laura F. Paraguya v. Sps. Alma Escurel-Crucillo and Emeterio Crucillo and the
Register of Deeds of Sorsogon, G.R. No. 200265, December 2, 2013.
Property Registration Decree; Torrens certificate of title is not conclusive proof of ownership becomes
incontrovertible and indefeasible after one (1) year from the date of its entry. In this relation, Section 32 of PD
1529 provides that the period to contest a decree of registration shall be one (1) year from the date of its entry
and that, after the lapse of the said period, the Torrens certificate of title issued thereon becomes
incontrovertible and indefeasible, viz.:
Sec. 32. Review of decree of registration; Innocent purchaser for value. The decree of registration shall not
be reopened or revised by reason of absence, minority, or other disability of any person adversely affected
thereby, nor by any proceeding in any court for reversing judgments, subject, however, to the right of any
person, including the government and the branches thereof, deprived of land or of any estate or interest therein
by such adjudication or confirmation of title obtained by actual fraud, to file in the proper Court of First
Instance a petition for reopening and review of the decree of registration not later than one year from and after
the date of the entry of such decree of registration, but in no case shall such petition be entertained by the court
where an innocent purchaser for value has acquired the land or an interest therein, whose rights may be
prejudiced. Whenever the phrase innocent purchaser for value or an equivalent phrase occurs in this Decree,
it shall be deemed to include an innocent lessee, mortgagee, or other encumbrancer for value.
Upon the expiration of said period of one year, the decree of registration and the certificate of title issued shall
become incontrovertible. Any person aggrieved by such decree of registration in any case may pursue his
remedy by action for damages against the applicant or any other persons responsible for the fraud. (Emphases
and underscoring supplied) Laura F. Paraguya v. Sps. Alma Escurel-Crucillo and Emeterio Crucillo and the
Register of Deeds of Sorsogon, G.R. No. 200265, December 2, 2013.
(Rose thanks Anna Lorraine Mendoza for assisting in the preparation of this post.)
December 2013 Philippine Supreme Court
Decisions on Legal and Judicial Ethics
Posted on January 13, 2014 by Ramon G. Songco Posted in Legal Ethics, Philippines - Cases, Philippines - Law, Philippines -
Regulation
Here are select December 2013 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on legal and judicial ethics:
Attorney; Applicability of the Code of Professional Responsibility to lawyers in government service in the
discharge of their official tasks. Private respondents were charged before the Court of Tax Appeals for
violation of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, as amended. However, the CTA dismissed the
case since the prosecution failed to present certified true copies of the documentary evidence submitted
contrary to Section 7, Rule 130 and Section 127, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court. The Run After the Smugglers
(RATS) Group, Revenue Collection Monitoring Group (RCMG), as counsel for the BOC, filed a petition for
certiorari but the petition was filed beyond the reglementary period.
The Supreme Court held that the display of patent violations of even the elementary rules shows that the case
against respondents was doomed by design from the start. This stance taken by the lawyers in government
service rouses the Courts vigilance against inefficiency in the administration of justice. Verily, the lawyers
representing the offices under the executive branch should be reminded that they still remain as officers of the
court from whom a high sense of competence and fervor is expected. The Court will not close its eyes to this
sense of apathy in RATS lawyers, lest the governments goal of revenue enhancement continues to suffer the
blows of smuggling and similar activities. The Court reminded the lawyers in the BOC that the canons
embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility equally apply to lawyers in government service in the
discharge of their official tasks. Thus, RATS lawyers should exert every effort and consider it their duty to
assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice. People of the Philippines v. The Hon. Juanito C.
Castaneda, Jr., et al., G.R. No. 208290, December 11, 2013.
Attorney; Champertous contract. Complainants engaged the legal services of Atty. Baez, Jr. in connection
with the recovery of their properties from Fevidal. Complainants signed a contract of legal services, where
they would not pay acceptance and appearance fees to Atty. Baez Jr., but that the docket fees would instead
be shared by the parties. Under the contract, complainants would pay him 50% of whatever would be
recovered of the properties. Later, however, complainants terminated his services and entered into an amicable
settlement with Fevidal. Atty. Baez, Jr. opposed the withdrawal of their complaint in court. Thus,
complainants filed a case against him alleging that the motion of Atty. Baez, Jr. for the recording of his
attorneys charging lien was the legal problem preventing them from enjoying the fruits of their property.
Section 26, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court allows an attorney to intervene in a case to protect his rights
concerning the payment of his compensation. According to the discretion of the court, the attorney shall have a
lien upon all judgments for the payment of money rendered in a case in which his services have been retained
by the client. In this case, however, the contract for legal services is in the nature of a champertous contract
an agreement whereby an attorney undertakes to pay the expenses of the proceedings to enforce the clients
rights in exchange for some bargain to have a part of the thing in dispute. Such contracts are contrary to public
policy and are thus void or inexistent. They are also contrary to Canon 16.04 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, which states that lawyers shall not lend money to a client, except when in the interest of justice,
they have to advance necessary expenses in a legal matter they are handling for the client. Thus, the Court held
that Atty. Baez, Jr. violated Canon 16.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Conchita Baltazar,et al.
v. Atty. Juan B. Baez, Jr., A.C. No. 9091, December 11, 2013.
Attorney; Disbarment proceedings. A disbarment case was filed against Atty. Macapagal. He was charged with
dishonesty (1) when he stated in the defendants Answer in Civil Case No. A-95-22906 that the parties therein
are strangers to each other; (2) when he introduced a falsified Certificate of Marriage as part of his evidence in
Civil Case No. A-95-22906; and (3) when he knowingly filed a totally baseless pleading captioned as Urgent
Motion to Recall Writ of Execution of the Writ of Preliminary Injunction in the same case. The Supreme Court
held that these issues are proper subjects of and must be threshed out in a judicial action. However, since Atty.
Macapagal failed to file a comment and his position paper despite his receipt of Notice, he was reprimanded
for failing to give due respect to the Court and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Nestor V. Felipe, et al. v.
Atty. Ciriaco A. Macapagal, A.C. No. 4549, December 2, 2013.
Attorney; Disobedience to court directives. Complainant Sy charged Respondent Esponilla, Legal Researcher
and then Officer-In-Charge of Br. 54 of RTC Manila, and Atty. Buendia, clerk of court and ex-officio sheriff
of RTC Manila with Gross Misconduct, Negligence and Dishonesty. The complaint was in connection with the
irregular withdrawal of deposits for monthly rentals in a civil case based on a purported Ex-Parte Motion to
Withdraw Rental Deposits filed by Atty. Bayhon in the civil case. The Supreme Court held that Atty. Bayhon
violated the Lawyers Oath and Canon 10, Rule 10.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for failing to
explain, in good faith the circumstances surrounding the filing of the Ex-Parte Motion which he himself filed,
for proffering misleading claims in the course of the subject administrative investigation, and for not having
shown and proved that he exerted his best efforts to secure and submit a copy of the Ex-Parte Motion all in
violation of the resolutions issued by the Court. Atty. Bayhon was suspended for six (6) months from the
practice of law. Elpidio Sy, President, Systems Realty Development Corporation v. Edgar Esponilla, Legal
Researcher and Officer-in-Charge, et al., A.M. No. P-06-2261, December 11, 2013.
Attorney; Due diligence in handling clients case. Respondents were charged for gross negligence in handling
the labor complaints of complainant. The Supreme Court held that the relationship between a lawyer and his
client is one imbued with utmost trust and confidence. In this regard, clients are led to expect that lawyers
would be ever-mindful of their cause and accordingly exercise the required degree of diligence in handling
their affairs. For his part, the lawyer is required to maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency,
and to devote his full attention, skill, and competence to the case, regardless of its importance and whether he
accepts it for a fee or for free. He is likewise expected to act with honesty in all his dealings, especially with
the courts. These principles are embodied in Rule 1.01 of Canon 1, Rule 10.01 of Canon 10, Canon 17 and
Rule 18.03 of Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. In this case, Atty. Quesadas failure to
attend the scheduled conference hearings, despite due notice and without any proper justification, exhibits his
inexcusable lack of care and diligence in managing his clients cause in violation of Canon 17 and Rule 18.03,
Canon 18 of the Code. Felipe C. Dagala v. Atty. Jose C. Quesada, Jr. and Atty. Amado T. Adquilen, A.C. No.
5044, December 2, 2013.
Attorney; Duty to represent a client must be within the bounds of law. The Supreme Court issued a Resolution
dismissing the administrative complaint of Tomas Merdegia against Court of Appeals Justice Veloso. The
Resolution directed Atty. Adaza II, Merdegias counsel, to show cause why he should not be cited for
contempt. The Supreme Court held Atty. Adaza II guilty of indirect contempt. Atty. Adaza prepared the
administrative complaint after Justice Veloso refused to inhibit himself from a case he was handling. The
complaint and the motion for inhibition were both based on the same main cause: the alleged partiality of
Justice Veloso during the oral arguments of Merdegias case. The resolution dismissing the motion for
inhibition should have disposed of the issue of Justice Velosos bias. If they doubted the legality of the
Resolution, they could have filed a petition for certiorari.
Administrative complaints against justices cannot and should not substitute for appeal and other judicial
remedies against an assailed decision or ruling. While a lawyer has a duty to represent his client with zeal, he
must do so within the bounds provided by law. He is also duty-bound to impress upon his client the propriety
of the legal action the latter wants to undertake, and to encourage compliance with the law and legal processes.
Atty. Adaza failed to impress upon his client the features of the Philippine adversarial system, the substance of
the law on ethics and respect for the judicial system, and his own failure to heed what his duties as a
professional and as an officer of the Court demand of him in acting for his client before the courts. Re: Verified
Complaint of Tomas S. Merdegia against Hon. Vicente S.E. Veloso, etc./Re: Resolution dated October 8, 2013
in OCA IPI No. 12-205-CA-J against Atty. Homobono Adaza II, IPI No. 12-205-CA-J/A.C. No. 10300,
December 10, 2013.
Attorney; Gross misconduct. Heenan filed a complaint against Atty. Espejo for violation of the Lawyers Oath
due to the latters failure to pay a loan. The Supreme Court found Atty. Espejo guilty of gross misconduct. The
deliberate failure to pay just debts and the issuance of worthless checks constitute gross misconduct, for which
a lawyer may be sanctioned. Verily, lawyers must at all times faithfully perform their duties to society, to the
bar, to the courts and to their clients. The prompt payment of financial obligations is one of the duties of a
lawyer. The fact that Atty. Espejo obtained the loan and issued the worthless checks in her private capacity and
not as an attorney of Heenan is of no moment. A lawyer may be disciplined not only for malpractice and
dishonesty in his profession but also for gross misconduct outside of his professional capacity. While the Court
may not ordinarily discipline a lawyer for misconduct committed in his non-professional or private capacity,
the Court may be justified in suspending or removing him as an attorney where his misconduct outside of the
lawyer professional dealings is so gross in character as to show him morally unfit and unworthy of the
privilege which his licenses and the law confer. Thus, Atty. Espejo was suspended from the practice of law for
two (2) years. Victoria C. Heenan v. Atty. Erlinda Espejo, A.C. No. 10050, December 3, 2013.
Judge; Gross Ignorance of the Law. Complainant claimed that since Judge Cajigals appointment as presiding
judge of RTC, Branch 96, Quezon City, the latter has displayed gross inefficiency by failing to resolve within
the prescribed period a number of incidents. Moreover, complainant questions the propriety of the Judges
decision in a case he is involved in. The Supreme Court held that the charges of ignorance of the law are bereft
of merit. Judge Cajigals order was issued in the proper exercise of his judicial functions, and as such, is not
subject to administrative disciplinary action; especially considering that the complainant failed to establish bad
faith on the part of the judge. Well entrenched is the rule that a judge may not be administratively sanctioned
for mere errors of judgment in the absence of showing of any bad faith, fraud, malice, gross ignorance, corrupt
purpose, or a deliberate intent to do an injustice on his or her part. Moreover, as a matter of public policy, a
judge cannot be subjected to liability for any of his official acts, no matter how erroneous, as long as he acts in
good faith. To hold otherwise would be to render judicial office untenable, for no one called upon to try the
facts or interpret the law in the process of administering justice can be infallible in his judgment. Narciso G.
Dulalia v. Judge Afable E. Cajigal, RTC, Br. 96, Quezon City, A.M. No. OCA IPI No. 10-3492-RTJ,
December 4, 2013.
Judge; Voluntary inhibition. Rallos charges Justice Hernando with bias because he voluntarily inhibited
himself in CA-G.R. CEB SP. No. 06676 only after the promulgation of the March 28, 2012 and April 13, 2012
resolutions. The Supreme Court held that the fact that Justice Hernando voluntarily inhibited himself after
writing the assailed resolutions did not establish his bias against Rallos and her co-heirs considering that the
inhibition was for the precise objective of eliminating suspicions of undue influence. The justification of
Justice Hernando was commendable, and should be viewed as a truly just and valid ground for his self-
disqualification as a judicial officer in a specific case. Further, Rallos insists that she was entitled to be
informed about the inhibitions of the Justices and about their reasons for the inhibitions. The Court held that
there is nothing in Rule V or in any other part of the Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals that specifically
requires that the party-litigants be informed of the mandatory or voluntary inhibition of a Justice. Nevertheless,
a party-litigant who desires to be informed of the inhibition of a Justice and of the reason for the inhibition
must file a motion for inhibition in the manner provided under Section 3, Rule V of the Internal Rules of the
Court of Appeals.
However, the Court held that henceforth all the parties in any action or proceedings should be immediately
notified of any mandatory disqualification or voluntary inhibition of the Justice who has participated in any
action of the court, stating the reason for the mandatory disqualification or voluntary inhibition. The
requirement of notice is a measure to ensure that the disqualification or inhibition has not been resorted to in
order to cause injustice to or to prejudice any party or cause.Re: Letters of Lucena B. Rallos, for alleged
acts/incidents/occurences relative to the resolutions(s) issued in CA-G.R. SP No. 06676 by Court of Appeals
Executive Justice Pampio Abarintos and Associate Justices Ramol Paul Hernando and Victoria Isabel
Paredes/Re: Complaint filed by Lucena B. Rallos against Justices Gabriel T. Ingles, Pamela Ann Maxino, and
Carmelita S. Manahan, IPI No. 12-203-CA-J/A.M. No. 12-9-08-CA, December 10, 2013.
(Mon thanks Ros Nonato for her assistance in the preparation of this post.)





December 2013 Philippine Supreme Court
Decisions on Labor Law
Posted on January 17, 2014 by Leslie C. Dy Posted in Labor Law, Philippines - Cases, Philippines - Law
Here are select December 2013 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on labor law:
Appeal; NLRC; accredited bonding company; revocation of authority is prospective in application. The
respondents filed a surety bond issued by Security Pacific Assurance Corporation (Security Pacific) on June
28, 2002. At that time, Security Pacific was still an accredited bonding company. However, the NLRC revoked
its accreditation on February 16, 2003. This subsequent revocation should not prejudice the respondents who
relied in good faith on the then subsisting accreditation of Security Pacific. In Del Rosario v. Philippine
Journalists, Inc. (G.R. No. 181516, August 19, 2009), it was held that a bonding companys revocation of
authority is prospective in application. Nonetheless, the respondents should post a new bond issued by an
accredited bonding company in compliance with paragraph 4, Section 6, Rule 6 of the NLRC Rules of
Procedure, which states that [a] cash or surety bond shall be valid and effective from the date of deposit or
posting, until the case is finally decided, resolved or terminated or the award satisfied. Wilgen Loon, et al. v.
Power Master, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 189404, December 11, 2013.
Appeal; NLRC; bond; jurisdictional. Paragraph 2, Article 223 of the Labor Code provides that [i]n case of a
judgment involving a monetary award, an appeal by the employer may be perfected only upon the posting of a
cash or surety bond issued by a reputable bonding company duly accredited by the NLRC in the amount
equivalent to the monetary award in the judgment appealed from. Contrary to the respondents claim, the
issue of the appeal bonds validity may be raised for the first time on appeal since its proper filing is a
jurisdictional requirement. The requirement that the appeal bond should be issued by an accredited bonding
company is mandatory and jurisdictional. The rationale of requiring an appeal bond is to discourage the
employers from using an appeal to delay or evade the employees just and lawful claims. It is intended to
assure the workers that they will receive the money judgment in their favor if the employers appeal is
dismissed. Wilgen Loon, et al. v. Power Master, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 189404, December 11, 2013.
Appeal; NLRC; verification; formal requisite, not jurisdictional. Neither the laws nor the rules require the
verification of the supplemental appeal. Furthermore, verification is a formal, not a jurisdictional, requirement.
It is mainly intended to give assurance that the matters alleged in the pleading are true and correct and not of
mere speculation. Also, a supplemental appeal is merely an addendum to the verified memorandum on appeal
that was earlier filed in the case; hence, the requirement for verification has been substantially
complied. Wilgen Loon, et al. v. Power Master, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 189404, December 11, 2013.
Appeal; Rule 45; limited to review of questions of law. In this Rule 45 petition for review on certiorari, the
Supreme Court (SC) reviewed the Court of Appeals (CA) decision of a Rule 65 petition for certiorari. The
Supreme Courts power of review in such case is limited to legal errors that the CA might have committed in
issuing its assailed decision, in contrast with the review for jurisdictional errors which it undertakes in an
original certiorari (Rule 65) action filed with it. The SC examines the CA decision based on how it determined
the presence or absence of grave abuse of discretion in the manner by which the NLRC rendered its decision
and not on the basis of whether the NLRC decision on the merits of the case was correct. Moreover, the
Courts power in a Rule 45 petition limits it to a review of questions of law raised against the assailed CA
decision. Baguio Central University v. Ignacio Gallente, G.R. No. 188267, December 2, 2013.
Attorneys fees; when entitled. An employee is entitled to an award of attorneys fees equivalent to ten percent
(10%) of the amount of the wages in actions for unlawful withholding of wages pursuant to Article 111 of the
Labor Code. Wilgen Loon, et al. v. Power Master, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 189404, December 11, 2013.
Backwages; when entitled. In termination cases, the burden of proving just and valid cause for dismissing an
employee from his employment rests upon the employer. The employers failure to discharge this burden in the
instant case arising from their non-submission of evidence at the proceedings before the labor arbiter resulted
in the finding that the dismissal is unjustified. Thus, the employees are entitled to the payment of backwages.
Wilgen Loon, et al. v. Power Master, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 189404, December 11, 2013.
Deeds of release and quitclaim; grounds to invalidate. As a rule, deeds of release and quitclaim cannot bar
employees from demanding benefits to which they are legally entitled or from contesting the legality of their
dismissal. The acceptance of those benefits would not amount to estoppel. To excuse respondents from
complying with the terms of their waivers, any one of the following grounds must exist: (1) the employer used
fraud or deceit in obtaining the waivers; (2) the consideration the employer paid is incredible and
unreasonable; or (3) the terms of the waiver are contrary to law, public order, public policy, morals, or good
customs or prejudicial to a third person with a right recognized by law. The Court concluded that the instant
case falls under the first situation.
As the ground for termination of employment was illegal, the quitclaims are deemed illegal because the
employees consent had been vitiated by mistake or fraud. The law looks with disfavor upon quitclaims and
releases by employees pressured into signing by unscrupulous employers minded to evade legal
responsibilities. The circumstances show that petitioners misrepresentation led its employees, specifically
respondents herein, to believe that the company was suffering losses which necessitated the implementation of
the voluntary retirement and retrenchment programs, and eventually the execution of the deeds of release,
waiver and quitclaim. The amounts already received by respondents as consideration for signing the releases
and quitclaims, however, should be deducted from their respective monetary awards. Philippine Carpet
Manufacturing Corporation, et al. v. Ignacio B. Tagyamon, et al., G.R. No. 191475, December 11, 2013.
Disability benefits; principle of work-aggravation; concept of. Compensability may be established on the basis
of the theory of work aggravation if, by substantial evidence, it can be demonstrated that the working
conditions aggravated or at least contributed in the advancement of respondents cancer. As held in Rosario v.
Denklav Marine, the burden is on the beneficiaries to show a reasonable connection between the causative
circumstances in the employment of the deceased employee and his death or permanent total disability. In the
present case, both parties failed to discharge their respective burdens for petitioners, they failed to prove the
non-work-relatedness of the disease; and for respondent, he failed to prove that his work aggravated his
condition. Thus, the Court had to resolve the case on some other basis. The Court held that disability should be
understood not more on its medical significance, but on the loss of earning capacity. Permanent total disability
means disablement of an employee to earn wages in the same kind of work or work of similar nature that he
was trained for or accustomed to perform, or any kind of work which a person of his mentality and attainment
could do. It does not mean absolute helplessness. Evidence of this condition can be found in a certification of
fitness/unfitness to work issued by the company-designated physician. In this case, records reveal that the
medical report issued by the company-designated oncologist was bereft of any certification that respondent
remained fit to work as a seafarer despite his cancer. This is important, according to the Court, since the
certification is the document that contains the assessment of his disability which can be questioned in case of
disagreement as provided under Section 20 (B) (3) of the POEA-SEC. In the absence of any certification, the
law presumes that the employee remains in a state of temporary disability. Should no certification be issued
within 240 day maximum period, as in this case, the pertinent disability becomes permanent in nature.
Accordingly, the Court affirmed respondents entitlement to permanent total disability benefits awarded to
him. Jebsens Maritime, Inc., et al. v. Eleno A. Baol, G.R. No. 204076, December 4, 2013.
Disability benefits; principle of work-relation; concept of. As a general rule, the principle of work-relation
requires that the disease in question must be one of those listed as an occupational disease under Sec. 32-A of
the POEA-SEC. Nevertheless, should it be not classified as occupational in nature, Section 20 (B) paragraph 4
of the POEA-SEC provides that such diseases are disputably presumed as work-related.
In this case, it is undisputed that Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma (NPC) afflicted respondent while on board the
petitioners vessel. As a non-occupational disease, it has the disputable presumption of being work-related.
This presumption obviously works in the seafarers favor. Hence, unless contrary evidence is presented by the
employers, the work-relatedness of the disease must be sustained. The Court held that the petitioners, as
employers, failed to disprove the presumption of NPCs work-relatedness. The petitioners primarily relied on
the medical report issued by Dr. Co Pefia which, however, failed to make a categorical statement confirming
the total absence of work relation. As the doctor opined only a probability, there was no certainty that his
condition was not work related. There being no certainty, the Court will lean in favor of the seafarer consistent
with the mandate of POEA-SEC to secure the best terms and conditions of employment for Filipino workers.
Hence, the presumption of NPCs work-relatedness stays. Jebsens Maritime, Inc., et al. v. Eleno A. Baol, G.R.
No. 204076, December 4, 2013.
Illegal dismissal; burden of proof. In termination cases, the burden of proving just and valid cause for
dismissing an employee from his employment rests upon the employer. The employers failure to discharge
this burden results in the finding that the dismissal is unjustified.
Failing to prove just and valid cause for the dismissal, the Court held that the petitioners are entitled to salary
differential, service incentive, holiday, and thirteenth month pays. As in illegal dismissal cases, the general
rule is that the burden rests on the defendant to prove payment rather than on the plaintiff to prove non-
payment of these money claims. However, the Court decided that they are not entitled to overtime and
premium pays. The burden of proving entitlement to overtime pay and premium pay for holidays and rest days
rests on the employee because these are not incurred in the normal course of business. In the present case, the
petitioners failed to adduce any evidence that would show that they actually rendered service in excess of the
regular eight working hours a day, and that they in fact worked on holidays and rest days. Wilgen Loon, et al.
v. Power Master, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 189404, December 11, 2013.
Labor cases; strict adherence to the technical rules of procedure is not required; when liberality allowed. In
labor cases, strict adherence to the technical rules of procedure is not required. Time and again, the Court has
allowed evidence to be submitted for the first time on appeal with the NLRC in the interest of substantial
justice. Thus, it has consistently supported the rule that labor officials should use all reasonable means to
ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objectively, without regard to technicalities of law or procedure, in
the interest of due process. However, this liberal policy should still be subject to rules of reason and fairplay.
The liberality of procedural rules is qualified by two requirements: (1) a party should adequately explain any
delay in the submission of evidence; and (2) a party should sufficiently prove the allegations sought to be
proven. The reason for these requirements is that the liberal application of the rules before quasi-judicial
agencies cannot be used to perpetuate injustice and hamper the just resolution of the case. Neither is the rule
on liberal construction a license to disregard the rules of procedure. In the present case, the Court held that the
respondents failed to adequately explain their delay in the submission of evidence and prove the allegations
sought to be proven. Wilgen Loon, et al. v. Power Master, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 189404, December 11, 2013.
Labor; ground for valid dismissal; loss of trust and confidence; requisites. Loss of trust and confidence is a just
cause for dismissal under Article 282(c) of the Labor Code. Article 282(c) provides that an employer may
terminate an employment for fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his
employer or duly authorized representative. However, in order for the employer to properly invoke this
ground, the employer must satisfy two conditions. First, the employer must show that the employee concerned
holds a position of trust and confidence. Second, the employer must establish the existence of an act justifying
the loss of trust and confidence. To be a valid cause for dismissal, the act that betrays the employers trust must
be real, i.e., founded on clearly established facts, and the employees breach of the trust must be willful, i.e., it
was done intentionally, knowingly and purposely, without justifiable excuse.
In Lopez v. Keppel Bank Philippines, Inc. (G.R. No. 176800, September 5, 2011), the Court repeated the
guidelines for the application of loss of confidence as follows: (1) loss of confidence should not be simulated;
(2) it should not be used as a subterfuge for causes which are improper, illegal or unjustified; (3) it may not be
arbitrarily asserted in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary; and (4) it must be genuine, not a
mere afterthought to justify an earlier action taken in bad faith.
As applied to the dismissal of managerial employees, employers as a rule enjoy wider latitude of
discretion. They are not required to present proof beyond reasonable doubt as the mere existence of a basis for
believing that such employee has breached the trust of the employer would suffice for the dismissal. Thus, as
long as the employer has reasonable ground to believe that the employee concerned is responsible for the
purported misconduct, and the nature of his participation therein renders him unworthy of the trust and
confidence demanded of his position, the dismissal on this ground is valid.
The Court held that there was sufficient basis to dismiss the respondent for loss of trust and confidence. First,
the Court believed that the respondent held a position of trust and confidence because he was a managerial
employee of the petitioner. As the Dean of two of the petitioners departments, he was tasked, among others,
to assist the school head in all matters affecting the general policies of the entire institution, to direct and
advise the students in their programs of study and to approve their subject load and exercise educational
leadership among his faculty. These tasks involved the exercise of powers and prerogatives equivalent to
managerial actions. Second, the Court ruled that the respondent committed wilful breach of trust sufficient to
justify dismissal. The heart of the loss-of-trust charge is the employees betrayal of the employers trust.
Damage aggravates the charge but its absence does not mitigate nor negate the employees liability. The
respondent betrayed his owed fidelity the moment he engaged in a venture that required him to perform tasks
and make calculated decisions which his duty to the petitioner would have equally required him to perform or
would have otherwise required him to oppose. The Court was convinced that actual conflict of interest existed
when respondent sought to conduct review courses for nursing examination knowing that the petitioner was
already offering similar classes. The respondents good intentions were beside the point. Ultimately, the
determinant is his deliberate engagement in a venture that would have directly conflicted with the petitioners
interests. If respondent merely intended to help the petitioner and its students in increasing their chances of
passing the Civil Service Examination, he could have just offered, as part of the BCUs course curriculum,
review classes for the Civil Service Examination instead of altogether organizing a review center that
obviously will offer the course to everyone minded to enroll. Baguio Central University v. Ignacio
Gallente, G.R. No. 188267, December 2, 2013.
Labor; valid dismissal; requisites. Our Constitution, statutes and jurisprudence uniformly guarantee to every
employee or worker tenurial security. What this means is that an employer shall not dismiss an employee
except for just or authorized cause and only after due process is observed. Thus, for an employees dismissal to
be valid, the employer must meet these basic requirements of: (1) just or authorized cause (which constitutes
the substantive aspect of a valid dismissal); and (2) observance of due process (the procedural aspect). Baguio
Central University v. Ignacio Gallente, G.R. No. 188267, December 2, 2013.
Petition for review on certiorari; only questions of law can be reviewed; exceptions.The well-entrenched rule
in this jurisdiction is that only questions of law may be entertained by the SC in a petition for review on
certiorari under Rule 45. This rule, however, is not absolute and admits certain exceptions, such as when the
petitioner persuasively alleges that there is insufficient or insubstantial evidence on record to support the
factual findings of the tribunal or court a quo as Section 5, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court states in express
terms that in cases filed before administrative or quasi-judicial bodies, a fact may be deemed established only
if supported by substantial evidence. Jebsens Maritime, Inc., et al. v. Eleno A. Baol, G.R. No. 204076,
December 4, 2013.
Probationary employment; concept of; probationer can only qualify upon fulfillment of the reasonable
standards set for permanent employment of a teaching personnel. Probationary employment refers to the trial
stage or period during which the employer examines the competency and qualifications of job applicants, and
determines whether they are qualified to be extended permanent employment status. Such an arrangement
affords an employer the opportunity before the full force of the guarantee of security of tenure comes into
play to fully scrutinize and observe the fitness and worth of probationers while on the job and to determine
whether they would become proper and efficient employees. It also gives the probationers the chance to prove
to the employer that they possess the necessary qualities and qualifications to meet reasonable standards for
permanent employment.
Mere completion of the three-year probation, even with an above-average performance, does not guarantee that
the employee will automatically acquire a permanent employment status. It is settled jurisprudence that the
probationer can only qualify upon fulfillment of the reasonable standards set for permanent employment of a
teaching personnel.
The Court ruled that the requirement to obtain a masters degree was made known to the petitioner. The
contract she signed clearly incorporates the rules, regulations, and employment conditions contained in the
SSC Faculty Manual. The Manual provided for a criteria for permanency which includes, among others, the
requirement that the faculty member must have completed at least a masters degree. Viewed next to the
statements and actions of Manaois i.e., the references to obtaining a masters degree in her application letter,
in the subsequent correspondences between her and SSC, and in the letter seeking the extension of a teaching
load for the school year 2003-2004; and her submission of certifications from UP and from her thesis adviser
the Court found that there is indeed substantial evidence proving that she knew about the necessary academic
qualifications to obtain the status of permanency. Jocelyn Herrera-Manaois v. St. Scholasticas College, G.R.
No. 188914, December 11, 2013.
Probationary employment; part-time member of the academic personnel; requisites to acquire permanence of
employment and security of tenure. Pursuant to the 1992 Manual of Regulations for Private Schools, private
educational institutions in the tertiary level may extend full-time faculty status only to those who possess,
inter alia, a masters degree in the field of study that will be taught. This minimum requirement is neither
subject to the prerogative of the school nor to the agreement between the parties. For all intents and purposes,
this qualification must be deemed impliedly written in the employment contracts between private educational
institutions and prospective faculty members. The issue of whether probationers were informed of this
academic requirement before they were engaged as probationary employees is thus no longer material, as those
who are seeking to be educators are presumed to know these mandated qualifications. Thus, all those who fail
to meet the criteria under the 1992 Manual cannot legally attain the status of permanent full-time faculty
members, even if they have completed three years of satisfactory service.
Further, the Court stated that in line with academic freedom and constitutional autonomy, an institution of
higher learning has the discretion and prerogative to impose standards on its teachers and determine whether
these have been met. Upon conclusion of the probation period, the college or university, being the employer,
has the sole prerogative to make a decision on whether or not to re-hire the probationer. The probationer
cannot automatically assert the acquisition of security of tenure and force the employer to renew the
employment contract. In the case at bar, petitioner failed to comply with the stated academic qualifications
required for the position of a permanent full-time faculty member. Jocelyn Herrera-Manaois v. St.
Scholasticas College,G.R. No. 188914, December 11, 2013.
Question of law; distinguished from a question of fact. A question of law arises when the doubt or controversy
concerns the correct application of law or jurisprudence to a certain set of facts. In contrast, a question of fact
exists when a doubt or difference arises as to the truth or falsehood of facts.
In this petition, the petitioner essentially asks the question whether, under the circumstances and the
presented evidence, the termination of respondents employment was valid. As framed, therefore, the question
before the Court is a proscribed factual issue that it cannot generally consider in this Rule 45 petition, except to
the extent necessary to determine whether the CA correctly found the NLRC in grave abuse of its discretion in
considering and appreciating this factual issue.
Nonetheless, as an exception to the Rule 45 requirement, the Court deemed it proper to review the conflicting
factual findings of the LA and the CA, on the one hand, and the NLRC, on the other. Such exception applies
when, based on the records, the factual findings of the tribunals below are in conflict. Baguio Central
University v. Ignacio Gallente, G.R. No. 188267, December 2, 2013.
Stare decisis; doctrine of. Under the doctrine of stare decisis, when a court has laid down a principle of law as
applicable to a certain state of facts, it will adhere to that principle and apply it to all future cases in which the
facts are substantially the same, even though the parties may be different. Where the facts are essentially
different, however, stare decisis does not apply because a perfectly sound principle as applied to one set of
facts might be entirely inappropriate when a factual variant is introduced.
This case and the Philippine Carpet Employees Association (PHILCEA) v. Hon. Sto. Tomas case (Philcea
case; G.R. No. 168719, February 22, 2006), involve the same period which is March to April 2004; the
issuance of the Memorandum to employees informing them of the implementation of the cost reduction
program; the implementation of the voluntary retirement program and retrenchment program, except that this
case involves different employees; the execution of deeds of release, waiver, and quitclaim, and the acceptance
of separation pay by the affected employees. As the respondents here were similarly situated as the union
members in the Philcea case, and considering that the questioned dismissal from the service was based on the
same grounds under the same circumstances, there is no need to re-litigate the issues presented herein. In
short, stare decisis applies and the Court deems it wise to adopt its earlier findings in the Philcea case that
there was no valid ground to terminate the services of the employees. Philippine Carpet Manufacturing
Corporation, et al. v. Ignacio B. Tagyamon, et al., G.R. No. 191475, December 11, 2013.
Substantial evidence; definition of. The assertions of respondent do not constitute as substantial evidence that a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support the conclusion that there is a causal relationship between
his illness and the working conditions on board the petitioners vessel. Although the Court has recognized as
sufficient that work conditions are proven to have contributed even to a small degree, such must, however, be
reasonable, and anchored on credible information. The claimant must, therefore, prove a convincing
proposition other than by his mere allegations. Jebsens Maritime, Inc., et al. v. Eleno A. Baol, G.R. No.
204076, December 4, 2013.
Termination of employment; authorized causes; retrenchment. The illegality of the basis of the implementation
of both voluntary retirement and retrenchment programs of petitioners had been thoroughly ruled upon by the
Court in Philippine Carpet Employees Association (PHILCEA) v. Hon. Sto. Tomas (G.R. No. 168719,
February 22, 2006). It discussed the requisites of both retrenchment and redundancy as authorized causes of
termination and concluded that petitioners failed to substantiate them. In ascertaining the bases of the
termination of employees, it took into consideration petitioners claim of business losses; the purchase of
machinery and equipment after the termination, the declaration of cash dividends to stockholders, the hiring of
100 new employees after the retrenchment, and the authorization of full blast overtime work for six hours
daily. These, said the Court, are inconsistent with petitioners claim that there was a slump in the demand for
its products which compelled them to implement the termination programs. In arriving at its conclusions, the
Court took note of petitioners net sales, gross and net profits, as well as net income. The Court, thus, reached
the conclusion that the retrenchment effected by the company is invalid due to a substantive defect. Philippine
Carpet Manufacturing Corporation, et al. v. Ignacio B. Tagyamon, et al., G.R. No. 191475, December 11,
2013.
Termination of employment; ground; closure of business due to serious business losses; notice requirement.
Article 297 of the Labor Code provides that before any employee is terminated due to closure of business, it
must give one (1) months prior written notice to the employee and to the Department of Labor and
Employment. In this relation, case law instructs that it is the personal right of the employee to be personally
informed of his proposed dismissal as well as the reasons therefor; and such requirement of notice is not a
mere technicality or formality which the employer may dispense with. Since the purpose of previous notice is
to, among others, give the employee some time to prepare for the eventual loss of his job, the employer has the
positive duty to inform each and every employee of their impending termination of employment. To this end,
jurisprudence states that an employers act of posting notices to this effect in conspicuous areas in the
workplace is not enough. Verily, for something as significant as the involuntary loss of ones employment,
nothing less than an individually-addressed notice of dismissal supplied to each worker is proper. The Court
held that the Labor Arbiter, NLRC, and Court of Appeals erred in ruling that SPI complied with the notice
requirement when it merely posted various copies of its notice of closure in conspicuous places within the
business premises. SPI is required to serve individual written notices of termination to its
employees. Sangwoo Philippines, Inc. and/or Sang Ik Jang, Jisso Jang, et al. v. Sangwoo Philippines, Inc.
Employees Union-OLALIA, rep. by Porferia Salibongcogon/Sangwoo Philippines, Inc. Employees Union-
OLALIA, rep. by Porferia Salibongcogon v. Sangwoo Philippines, Inc. and/or Sang Ik Jang, Jisso Jang, et
al., G.R. No. 173154./G.R. No. 173229, December 9, 2013
Termination of employment; authorized cause; closure of business due to serious business losses; separation
pay. Closure of business is the reversal of fortune of the employer whereby there is a complete cessation of
business operations and/or an actual locking-up of the doors of establishment, usually due to financial losses.
Closure of business, as an authorized cause for termination of employment, aims to prevent further financial
drain upon an employer who cannot pay anymore his employees since business has already stopped. In such a
case, the employer is generally required to give separation benefits to its employees, unless the closure is due
to serious business losses. As explained in the case of Galaxie Steel Workers Union (GSWU-NAFLU-KMU)
v. NLRC (G.R. No. 165757, October 17, 2006): The Constitution, while affording full protection to labor,
nonetheless, recognizes the right of enterprises to reasonable returns on investments, and to expansion and
growth. In line with this protection afforded to business by the fundamental law, Article [297] of the Labor
Code clearly makes a policy distinction. It is only in instances of retrenchment to prevent losses and in cases
of closures or cessation of operations of establishment or undertaking not due to serious business losses or
financial reverses that employees whose employment has been terminated as a result are entitled to separation
pay. In other words, Article [297] of the Labor Code does not obligate an employer to pay separation benefits
when the closure is due to serious losses. To require an employer to be generous when it is no longer in a
position to do so, in our view, would be unduly oppressive, unjust, and unfair to the employer. Ours is a
system of laws, and the law in protecting the rights of the working man, authorizes neither the oppression nor
the self-destruction of the employer.
In this case, the Labor Arbiter, NLRC, and the Court of Appeals all consistently found that petitioners indeed
suffered from serious business losses which resulted in its permanent shutdown and accordingly, held the
companys closure to be valid. It is a rule that absent any showing that the findings of fact of the labor
tribunals and the appellate court are not supported by evidence on record or the judgment is based on a
misapprehension of facts, the Court shall not examine anew the evidence submitted by the parties. Perforce,
without any cogent reason to deviate from the findings on the validity of respondents closure, the Court held
that it is not obliged to give separation benefits to minority employees pursuant to Article 297 of the Labor
Code. Sangwoo Philippines, Inc. and/or Sang Ik Jang, Jisso Jang, et al. v. Sangwoo Philippines, Inc.
Employees Union-OLALIA, rep. by Porferia Salibongcogon/Sangwoo Philippines, Inc. Employees Union-
OLALIA, rep. by Porferia Salibongcogon v. Sangwoo Philippines, Inc. and/or Sang Ik Jang, Jisso Jang, et
al.,G.R. No. 173154./G.R. No. 173229, December 9, 2013.
Termination of employment due to closure; procedural infirmity; nominal damages as sanction. It is well to
stress that while respondent had a valid ground to terminate its employees, i.e., closure of business, its failure
to comply with the proper procedure for termination renders it liable to pay the employee nominal damages for
such omission. Based on existing jurisprudence, an employer which has a valid cause for dismissing its
employee but conducts the dismissal with procedural infirmity is liable to pay the employee nominal damages
in the amount of P30,000.00 if the ground for dismissal is a just cause, or the amount of P50,000.00 if the
ground for dismissal is an authorized cause. However, case law exhorts that in instances where the payment of
such damages becomes impossible, unjust, or too burdensome, modification becomes necessary in order to
harmonize the disposition with the prevailing circumstance. In this case, considering that SPI closed down its
operations due to serious business losses and that said closure appears to have been done in good faith, the
Court as in the case of Industrial Timber Corporation v. Ababon (G.R. No. 164518, March 30, 2006), deems it
just to reduce the amount of nominal damages to be awarded to each of the minority employees from
P50,000.00 to Pl0,000.00. Sangwoo Philippines, Inc. and/or Sang Ik Jang, Jisso Jang, et al. v. Sangwoo
Philippines, Inc. Employees Union-OLALIA, rep. by Porferia Salibongcogon/Sangwoo Philippines, Inc.
Employees Union-OLALIA, rep. by Porferia Salibongcogon v. Sangwoo Philippines, Inc. and/or Sang Ik Jang,
Jisso Jang, et al., G.R. No. 173154./G.R. No. 173229, December 9, 2013.
(Leslie thanks Mae Grace June C. Nillama for assisting in the preparation of this post.)












December 2013 Philippine Supreme Court
Decisions on Criminal Law and Procedure
Posted on January 20, 2014 by Dominador Maphilindo O. Carrillo Posted in Criminal Law, Philippines - Cases, Remedial Law

Here are select December 2013 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on criminal law and procedure:
1. REVISED PENAL CODE
Falsification of public documents; falsification of local budget preparation forms. To warrant the suspension of
a public officer under section 13 of R.A. 3019, he must be charged with an offense (1) under R.A. 3019, or (2)
under Title Seven, Book II of the RPC, or (3) involving fraud upon government or public funds or property.
Admittedly, petitioner in this case was not charged under R.A. 3019. Neither was he charged under Title
Seven, Book II of the RPC as the crime of falsification of public documents under Article 171 of the RPC is
covered by Title Four, Book II thereof. The relevant question now is whether falsification of public documents
is considered as fraud upon government or public funds or property. To address the issue, the Supreme Court
(SC) cited Bustillo v. Sandiganbayan. Petitioner therein was charged with falsifying municipal vouchers
which, as used in government, are official documents. He asserted the said offense does not involve fraud or
property; hence, his suspension finds no basis in section 13 of R.A. 3019. In construing the term fraud as
used in section 13 of R.A. 3019, the SC held in said case that the same is understood in its general sense, that
is, referring to an instance or an act of trickery or deceit especially when involving misrepresentation. And
since vouchers are official documents signifying a cash outflow from government coffers, falsification thereof
invariably involves fraud upon public funds. In the same vein, the act imputed against petitioner constitutes
fraud upon government or public funds.Hadjim Hashim Abdul v. Sandiganbayan (Fifth Division) and People
of the Philippines, G.R. No. 184496, December 2, 2013.
Kidnapping for ransom; elements. In proving the crime of kidnapping for ransom, the prosecution has to show
that: (a) the accused was a private person; (b) he kidnapped or detained or in any manner deprived another of
his or her liberty; (c) the kidnapping or detention was illegal; and (d) the victim was kidnapped or detained for
ransom. All these were proven in the criminal case on review. The testimony of Alejandro and Marvelous
sufficiently established the commission of the crime and the accused-appellants culpability. Maca was
positively identified by Marvelous as one of the men who collared her, Marelie and Mae by the bedroom, tied
them up and brought them to the mountains of Bagyangon. He was also identified as the one who left the
group when they were on the mountains to buy food after Con-ui refused. Con-ui, on the other hand, was
identified by Alejandro as the one who was addressed by one of the abductors with the statement, why did it
take you so long in coming back? We were already tired of waiting for you. Con-ui was also identified by
Marvelous as the one who took the key to the drawer, opened it and took the money in it. Their testimony also
established the fact that they were deprived of their liberty when they were all hogtied and forcibly brought out
of the house and into the mountains. That the deprivation of their liberty was for the purpose of extorting
ransom was confirmed by Alejandro who testified that the abductors asked him for money and even let him off
so he can come up with the P300,000.00 ransom. People of the Philippines v. Jonathan Con-U and Ramil
Maca, G.R. No. 205442, December 11, 2013.
Libel; privileged communication. No libel was committed in this case. The Court of Appeals (CA) acquitted
Muoz of libel because his statement constitutes privileged communication. In libel, the existence of malice is
essential as it is an element of the crime. The law presumes that every imputation is malicious; this is referred
to as malice in law. There are few circumstances wherein malice in law is inapplicable. Article 354 of the
Revised Penal Code (RPC) states the instances when malice is not presumed. Jurisprudence supplements the
enumeration in Article 354 of the RPC.Borjal v. CA and Guingguing v. CA hold that in order to justify a
conviction in libel involving privileged communication, the prosecution must establish that the libelous
statements were made or published with actual malice or malice in fact the knowledge that the statement is
false or with reckless disregard as to whether or not it was true. Elizalde S. Co v. Ludolfo P. Muoz Jr., G.R.
No. 181986, December 4, 2013.
Libel; privileged communication. In this case, the Court of Appeals (CA) declared that the libelous remarks are
privileged. The legal conclusion was arrived at from the fact that Co is a public figure, the subject matter of the
libelous remarks was of public interest, and the context of Munoz statements were fair comments.
Consequently, malice is no longer presumed and the prosecution has the burden of proving that Munoz acted
with malice in fact. The CA found that the prosecution failed in this respect. Co assails the CAs ruling by
raising arguments that essentially require a review of the CAs factual and legal findings. However, the
Supreme Court cannot, through the present petition, review these findings without going against the
requirements of Rule 45 with respect to factual matters, and without violating Munoz right against double
jeopardy given that the acquittal is essentially anchored on questions of fact. Elizalde S. Co v. Ludolfo P.
Muoz Jr., G.R. No. 181986, December 4, 2013.
Qualified theft; elements.The elements of qualified theft punishable under Article 310 in relation to Article 308
of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) are as follows: (1) there was a taking of personal property; (2) the said
property belongs to another; (3) the taking was done without the consent of the owner; (4) the taking was done
with intent to gain; (5) the taking was accomplished without violence or intimidation against person, or force
upon things; and (6) the taking was done under any of the circumstances enumerated in Article 310 of the
RPC, i.e., with grave abuse of confidence. Delia Ines Ringor v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 198904,
December 11, 2013.
Qualified theft; elements.All elements for the felony of qualified theft under Article 310 in relation to Article
308 of the RPC are present in this case. As to the first element, the prosecution was able to establish that the
petitioner, as part of her duty as sales clerk/agent of PCS, received the payment from LACS in the amount
of P66,860.90 for the merchandise delivered to it and that she failed to remit the same to Ingan. The second,
third and fifth elements of qualified theft were likewise established by the prosecution; that the amount paid by
LACS, taken by the petitioner without authority and consent, belongs to PCS, and that the taking was
accomplished without the use of violence or intimidation against persons, or force upon things, is not disputed.
Anent thefourth element, intent to gain on the part of the petitioner was likewise established. Intent to gain
or animus lucrandi is an internal act that is presumed from the unlawful taking by the offender of the thing
subject of asportation. Intent to gain on the part of the petitioner is readily apparent from the testimonies of the
prosecutions witnesses. Particularly, Ibarra, Ingans brother, testified that the petitioner told him and his sister
that she lost the money she collected from LACS. At first, the petitioner claimed that she was robbed. Later,
she changed her story and claimed that she lost the money when she rode a mini-bus. Curiously, once Ingan
discovered that her story did not check out, the petitioner no longer reported for work. The foregoing
circumstances, coupled with the fact that the petitioner took the money paid by LACS and failed to remit the
same to PCS, clearly evince intent to gain on the part of the petitioner. As regards the sixth element, the
petitioner claims that the prosecution failed to show that there was grave abuse of confidence on her part.
Grave abuse of confidence, as an element of the felony of qualified theft, must be the result of the relation by
reason of dependence, guardianship, or vigilance, between the appellant and the offended party that might
create a high degree of confidence between them which the appellant abused. The element of grave abuse of
confidence is present in this case. Verily, the petitioner, as sales clerk/agent of PCS, is duty-bound to remit to
Ingan the payments which she collected from the customers of PCS. She would not have been able to take the
money paid by LACS if it were not for her position in PCS. In failing to remit to Ingan the money paid by
LACS, the petitioner indubitably gravely abused the confidence reposed on her by PCS. Delia Ines Ringor v.
People of the Philippines,G.R. No. 198904, December 11, 2013.
Rape; elements.For the charge of rape under Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), as amended, to
prosper, the prosecution must prove that: (1) the offender had carnal knowledge of a woman; and (2) he
accomplished this act through force, threat or intimidation, when she was deprived of reason or otherwise
unconscious, or when she was under 12 years of age or was demented. In the present case, the prosecution
established the elements of rape required under Article 266-A of the RPC. First, the appellant had carnal
knowledge of the victim. AAA was straightforward when she testified that the appellant inserted his penis into
her vagina. Her testimony was supported by Medico Legal Report No. M-257-01 dated April 29, 2001,
reflecting the victims non-virgin physical state. It has been previously held that when the testimony of a rape
victim is consistent with the medical findings, there is sufficient basis to conclude that there has been carnal
knowledge. Second, the appellant employed threat, force and intimidation to satisfy his lust. AAA
categorically testified that she resisted when the appellant pulled her inside his house. She also recalled that
she cried when the appellant inserted his penis into her vagina. Nonetheless, she was helpless and afraid to
make further noise because the appellant threatened to kill her. These facts sufficiently indicate that the
appellants acts were against AAAs will. People of the Philippines v. Rogelio Manicat y De Guzman, G.R.
No. 205413, December 2, 2013.
Rape; rape charge doubtful only when the delay or inaction in revealing its commission is unreasonable and
unexplained. Jurisprudence states that a rape charge becomes doubtful only when the delay or inaction in
revealing its commission is unreasonable and unexplained. Those conditions do not obtain in the case at bar
since, during the trial, AAA testified that she did not tell anyone in her boarding house about what happened to
her right after the terrible encounter with appellant because she was afraid of her father. This candid statement
from the victim not only discloses a plausible justification for the delay but it also further manifests her youth
or immaturity which is a personal circumstance that has never prevented the Supreme Court from upholding
the credibility of a witness. Instead, such a condition has been considered as a cornerstone of a testimony that
is worthy of belief. People of the Philippines v. Dalton Laurian Jr. y Pugsot, G.R. No. 199868, December 11,
2013.
Rape; statutory rape; elements. Consented or unconsented sexual intercourse with a woman below 12 years of
age is punishable as rape. As such, proof of force, threat, or intimidation is unnecessary in cases of statutory
rape, they, not being elements of the crime. When the complainant is below 12 years old, the absence of free
consent is conclusively presumed as the law supposes that a woman below this age does not possess
discernment and is incapable of giving intelligent consent to the sexual act. In order to successfully convict an
accused of statutory rape, the prosecution must prove the following: 1.The age of the complainant; 2.The
identity of the accused; and 3.The carnal knowledge between the accused and the complainant. People of the
Philippines v. Ferdinand Banzuela, G.R. No. 202060, December 11, 2013.
Rape; statutory rape; elements. The first element was established by the prosecution upon the presentation and
submission to the court of a Certification from the Office of the Municipal Civil Registrar of Mandaluyong
City dated August24, 2004 stating that AAA was born on September 10, 1996. Hence, she was only 6 years
old when the rape was committed in February 2003. The second element was clearly satisfied when AAA
positively and consistently identified Banzuela as her offender. As regards the third element, it is instructive to
define carnal knowledge in the context it is used in the Revised Penal Code: Carnal knowledge, unlike its
ordinary connotation of sexual intercourse, does not necessarily require that the vagina be penetrated or that
the hymen be ruptured. The crime of rape is deemed consummated even when the mans penis merely enters
the labia or lips of the female organ or, as once so said in a case, by the mere touching of the external genitalia
by a penis capable of consummating the sexual act. This element was proven when AAA detailed in open court
how Banzuela forcefully inserted his sex organ into her genitalia in February 2003 and how she felt pain
during her ordeal. People of the Philippines v. Ferdinand Banzuela, G.R. No. 202060, December 11, 2013.
2. SPECIAL PENAL LAWS
Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; in connection with a contract or transaction. In issuing the questioned
resolution, the Sandiganbayan applied the restrictive meaning of the term transactionas used in section 3(b) of
R.A. 3019 adopted in Soriano Jr. v. Sandiganbayan. In Soriano Jr., the Supreme Court (SC) pronounced that
the investigation conducted by the petitioner was not a contract. Neither was it a transaction because this term
must be construed as analogous to the term which precedes it. A transaction, like a contract, is one which
involves some consideration as in credit transactions and this element (consideration) is absent in the
investigation conducted by the petitioner. The State here argues that the Sandiganbayan committed grave
abuse of discretion resulting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction for applying the interpretation of the
term transaction inSoriano Jr. considering that the term transaction should be construed more liberally. The
SC did not give credence to the States position. It held that it does not help the State any that the
termtransaction as used in section 3(b) of R.A. 3019 is susceptible of being interpreted both restrictively and
liberally, considering that laws creating, defining or punishing crimes and laws imposing penalties and
forfeitures are to be construed strictly against the State or against the party seeking to enforce them, and
liberally against the party sought to be charged. Hence, the SC ruled that the Sandiganbayan did not arbitrarily,
or whimsically, or capriciously quash the information for failing to properly state the fourth element of the
violation of section 3(b) of R.A. 3019. People of the Philippines v. Hon. Sandiganbayan, First Division and
Third Division Hernando Benito Perez, Rosario Perez, Ramon Arceo and Enest Escaler/People of the
Philippines v. Hon. Sandiganbayan, First Division and Third Division Hernando Benito Perez, Rosario Perez,
Ramon Arceo, Enest Escaler and Ramon Castillo Arceo, Jr.,G.R. No. 188165/G.R. No. 189063, December 11,
2013.
Evidence; non-compliance of chain of custody rule does not necessarily void the seizure and custody of the
dangerous drugs. In this case, the Supreme Court found that the prosecution failed to prove the corpus
delicti. As a result,the State was unable to discharge its basic duty of proving the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonable doubt. Although the prosecution witnesses averred that the physical inventory of the seized items
was recorded in the police blotter, it did not bother to present a copy of the same with the required signatures
or submit some valid justification for the omission. What is more, both PO1 Tadeo and PO1 Viesca were
uncertain regarding whether they photographed the seized items. In fact, they failed to produce any such
photograph. This is either sloppy police work or utter refusal to comply with what is required of them. The
prosecution should not have filed the case absent proof of compliance with what the law requires. The
Supreme Court (SC) has of course held that non-compliance with the procedural safeguards provided in
section 21 of R.A. 9165 and its IRR would not necessarily void the seizure and custody of the dangerous drugs
for as long as there is a justifiable ground for it and the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items
are properly preserved. Here, however, the buy-bust team did not bother to show that they intended to comply
with the procedure but where thwarted by some justifiable reason or consideration. Accordingly, despite the
presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty, the SC stressed that the step-by-step procedure
outlined under R.A. 9165 is a matter of substantive law, which cannot be simply brushed aside as a simple
procedural technicality. Due to the gross disregard of the buy-bust team of the procedural safeguards mandated
by section 21 of R.A. 9165 and its IRR, and its failure to give justifiable reasons for it, the SC, thus, concluded
that the integrity and identity of the corpus delicti have been compromised. People of the Philippines v.
Ferdinand Bautista y Sinaon, G.R. No. 198113, December 11, 2013.
Illegal possession of dangerous drugs; elements. In prosecuting a case for illegal possession of dangerous
drugs under section 11, Article II of R.A. 9165, the following elements must concur: (1) the accused is in
possession of an item or object, which is identified as a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not authorized
by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the drug. All the elements in the prosecution for
illegal possession of dangerous drugs were established in this case. First, the two plastic sachets
containing shabu subject of the case for the illegal possession of drugs were found in appellants pocket after a
search on his person was made following his arrest in flagrante delicto for the illegal sale of shabu. It must be
remembered that a person lawfully arrested may be searched for anything which may have been used or
constitute proof in the commission of an offense without a warrant. Second, appellant did not adduce evidence
showing his legal authority to possess the shabu. Third, appellants act of allowing the poseur-buyer to choose
one from among the three sachets and putting back into his pocket the two sachets of shabu not chosen clearly
shows that he freely and consciously possessed the illegal drugs. Hence, appellant was correctly charged and
convicted for illegal possession of shabu. People of the Philippines v. Jay Montevirgen y Ozaraga, G.R. No.
189840, December 11, 2013.
Illegal sale and possession of dangerous drugs; buy-bust operation; elements.What determines if there was,
indeed, a sale of dangerous drugs in a buy-bust operation is proof of the concurrence of all the elements of the
offense, to wit: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the
delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor, which the prosecution has satisfactorily established. Here,
the prosecution satisfactorily proved the illegal sale of dangerous drugs and presented in court the evidence of
corpus delicti. PO1 Montefrio positively identified the appellant as the person who sold to him one plastic
sachet of shabu worthP100 in a buy-bust operation conducted by the police officers in this case. PO1
Montefrio also identified in court the plastic sachet of shabu he bought from the appellant. The testimony of
PO1 Montefrio was in turn corroborated by the testimony of PO3 Antonio, a member of the buy-bust team
who also categorically pointed to the appellant as the person whom he saw PO1 Montefrio bought illegal drugs
from. To further prove that a buy-bust operation was actually conducted, the prosecution also presented the
testimony of P/Insp. Calabocal, the forensic chemist assigned to the case. P/Insp. Calabocal testified that he
dusted the P100 bill buy-bust money with ultraviolet fluorescent powder prior to the conduct of the buy-bust
operation. After the operation, he again examined the P100 bill buy-bust money, as well as the living persons
of PO1 Montefrio and the appellant for the presence of ultraviolet fluorescent powder. He stated that he found
traces of said powder on the hands of both PO1 Montefrio and the appellant, which in this case meant that
theP100 buy-bust money was indeed passed on from PO1 Montefrio to the appellant. People of the Philippines
v. Roselito Taculod y Elle, G.R. No. 198108, December 11, 2013.
Illegal sale and possession of dangerous drugs; buy-bust operation; elements. For an accused to be convicted
of illegal possession of prohibited or regulated drugs, the following elements must concur: (1) the accused is in
possession of an item or object which is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not
authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possesses the said drug. To prove the charge of
illegal possession of dangerous drugs, PO1 Montefrio testified that when he bought shabu from the appellant,
the latter took out from his pocket four plastic sachets. The appellant gave one sachet to PO1 Montefrio and
put the rest back in his left pocket. After the arrest of the appellant, PO1 Montefrio relayed this information to
PO3 Antonio and the latter ordered the appellant to empty the contents of his pocket. The appellant then
brought out the three remaining plastic sachets of shabu, which PO3 Antonio marked accordingly. PO3
Antonio gave similar account of the events that led to the discovery and seizure of the three remaining plastic
sachets of shabu. Both police officers also identified the said items in court. People of the Philippines v.
Roselito Taculod y Elle, G.R. No. 198108, December 11, 2013
Illegal sale of shabu; elements.In every prosecution for the illegal sale of shabu, under section 5, Article II of
RA 9165, the following elements must be proved: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object and
the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. What is material in a
prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place,
coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti or the illicit drug in evidence. In this case, all the
elements for the illegal sale of shabu were established. PO3 Ruiz, the poseur-buyer, positively identified
appellant as the person he caught inflagrante delicto selling a white crystalline substance believed to
be shabu in the entrapment operation conducted by the police and MADAC operatives. Upon receipt of
the P200 buy-bust money, appellant handed to PO3 Ruiz the sachet containing 0.04 gram of white crystalline
substance which later tested positive for shabu. The delivery of the contraband to the poseur-buyer and the
receipt by the seller of the marked money successfully consummated the buy-bust transaction.People of the
Philippines v. Jay Montevirgen y Ozaraga, G.R. No. 189840, December 11, 2013.
Illegal sale of prohibited drugs; elements; corpus delicti. Illegal sale of prohibited drugs, like shabu, is
committed upon the consummation of the sale transaction which happens at the moment the buyer receives the
drug from the seller. If a police officer goes through the operation as a buyer, the crime is consummated when
he makes an offer to buy that is accepted by the accused, and there is an ensuing exchange between them
involving the delivery of the dangerous drugs to the police officer. In any case, the successful prosecution of
the offense must be anchored on a proof beyond reasonable doubt of two elements, to wit: (a) the identity of
the buyer and the seller, the identity of the object and the consideration of the sale; and (b) the delivery of the
thing sold and of the payment for the thing. What is material is the proof showing that the transaction or sale
actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of the thing sold as evidence of the corpus
delicti. People of the Philippines v. Erlinda Mali y Quimno a.k.a. Linda, G.R. No. 206738, December 11,
2013.
Illegal sale of prohibited drugs; elements; corpus delicti. The confluence of the above requisites is
unmistakable from the testimony of the poseur-buyer herself, PO1 Montuno, who positively testified that the
illegal sale actually took place when she gave the P100 marked money to the accused-appellant in exchange
for the shabu. The straightforward testimony of PO1 Montuno about the details of her transaction with the
accused-appellant passed the objective test in buy-bust operations. It is clear from her narration that the
following elements occurred: the initial contact between the poseur-buyer and the pusher, the offer to purchase,
the promise or payment of the consideration and the consummation of the sale by the delivery of the illegal
drug subject of the sale. People of the Philippines v. Erlinda Mali y Quimno a.k.a. Linda, G.R. No. 206738,
December 11, 2013.
Sexual abuse under R.A. 7610; elements. The recital of the ultimate facts and circumstances in the Information
that was filed against Roallos clearly makes out a case for the offense of sexual abuse under section 5(b),
Article III of R.A. 7610. The elements of sexual abuse under section 5(b), Article III of R.A. 7610 are as
follows: 1. The accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct; 2. The said act is
performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse; and 3. The child, whether
male or female, is below 18 years of age. The Information that was filed against Roallos alleged that he
committed lascivious acts towards AAA, i.e., that he mashed the breasts and kissed the cheeks of the latter. It
likewise alleged that AAA, at the time she was subjected to sexual abuse by Roallos, was only 15 years of age.
Clearly, all the elements of sexual abuse under section 5(b), Article III of R.A. No. 7610 are set out in the
Information that was filed against Roallos. Vivencio Roallos y Trillanes v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No.
198389, December 11, 2013.
3. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
Alibi. To counter the clear and categorical declarations of AAA that accused-appellant raped her, accused-
appellant proffered the defense of denial and alibi, totally denying that he was at their house in when the rape
happened. The Supreme Court had consistently held that for alibi to prosper, it is not enough to prove that the
defendant was somewhere else when the crime was committed, but he must likewise demonstrate that it was
physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime at the time. This, accused-appellant failed
to do. Although defense witness Guinonoy testified that he was with accused-appellant in Chapeh on March
10, 2001, he also acknowledged that the travel time of one to two hours from Chapeh to does not pose an
insurmountable barrier for accused-appellant to actually take the trip from Chapeh to and back after
committing the crime. Clearly, it was not physically impossible for accused-appellant to be present at the scene
of the crime at the time of its commission. People of the Philippines v. Lino Paldo, G.R. No. 200515,
December 11, 2013.
Certiorari; reglementary period to file certiorari; recognized exceptions. Section 4, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules
of Civil Procedure is explicit in stating that certiorari should be instituted within a period of 60 days from
notice of the judgment, order or resolution sought to be assailed. While there are recognized exceptions to such
strict observance, there should be an effort on the part of the party invoking liberality to advance a reasonable
or meritorious explanation for his/her failure to comply with the rules. In the case at bench, no convincing
justification for the belated filing of the petition was advanced to warrant the relaxation of the Rules. Notably,
the records show that the petition was filed only on August 12, 2013, or almost a month late from the due date
which fell on July 16, 2013. To excuse this grave procedural lapse will not only be unfair to the other party,
but it will also sanction a seeming rudimentary attempt to circumvent standing rules of procedure. Suffice it to
say, the reasons proffered by the petitioner do not carry even a tinge of merit that would deserve leniency. The
late filing of the petition was borne out of the petitioners failure to monitor incoming court processes that
needed to be addressed by the office. Clearly, this is an admission of inefficiency, if not lack of zeal, on the
part of an office tasked to effectively curb smuggling activities which rob the government of millions of
revenue every year. The display of patent violations of even the elementary rules leads the Court to suspect
that the case against Garcia and Vestidas Jr. was doomed by design from the start. The failure to present the
certified true copies of documentary evidence; the failure to competently and properly identify the misdeclared
goods; the failure to identify the accused in court; and, worse, the failure to file this petition on time
challenging a judgment of acquittal, are tell-tale signs of a reluctant and subdued attitude in pursuing the case.
This stance taken by the lawyers in government service rouses the Supreme Courts vigilance against
inefficiency in the administration of justice. Verily, the lawyers representing the offices under the executive
branch should be reminded that they still remain as officers of the court from whom a high sense of
competence and fervor is expected. People of the Philippines v. The Hon. Juanito C. Castaneda Jr., et al, G.R.
No. 208290, December 11, 2013.
Civil liability of the accused; appeal of by private party. The parties here have conflicting interpretations of
the last paragraph of section 2, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court (ROC), which states: The extinction of the penal
action does not carry with it extinction of the civil action. However, the civil action based on delict shall be
deemed extinguished if there is a finding in a final judgment in the criminal action that the act or omission
from which the civil liability may arise did not exist. Muoz claims that the last paragraph of section 2, Rule
111 of the ROC applies only if the civil liability ex delicto is separately instituted or when the right to file it
separately was properly reserved. In contrast, Co claims that Muoz acquittal of the crime of libel did not
extinguish the civil aspect of the case because Muoz utterance of the libelous remarks remains undisputed.
The Supreme Court rejected Muoz claim. The last paragraph of section 2, Rule 111 of the ROC applies to
civil actions to claim civil liability arising from the offense charged regardless if the action is instituted with or
filed separately from the criminal action. Undoubtedly, section 2, Rule 111 of the ROC governs situations
when the offended party opts to institute the civil action separately from the criminal action; hence, its title
When separate civil action is suspended. Despite this wording, the last paragraph, by its terms, governs all
claims for civil liability ex delicto. Elizalde S. Co v. Ludolfo P. Muoz, Jr., G.R. No. 181986, December 4,
2013.
Criminal complaint; crime charged determined by allegations in the complaint or information. The Supreme
Court here held that Roallos claim that the Information filed against him is duplicitous as it charged him with
the commission of two crimes is plainly untenable. The designation of the crime in the Information is clear
Roallos was charged with the crime of acts of lasciviousness in relation to section 5(b), Article III of R.A.
7610. The mention of the phrase acts of lasciviousness in the Information does not mean that Roallos was
charged with the felony of acts of lasciviousness under Article 336 of the RPC. The charge of acts of
lasciviousness against Roallos is specifically delimited to that committed in relation to section 5(b), Article III
of R.A. 7610. In any case, the real nature of the criminal charge is determined not from the caption or
preamble of the information, or from the specification of the provision of law alleged to have been violated,
which are mere conclusions of law, but by the actual recital of the facts in the complaint or
information. Vivencio Roallos y Trillanes v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 198389, December 11, 2013.
Evidence; testimonies of rape victims given full weight and credit. Well-established is the rule that testimonies
of rape victims, especially child victims, are given full weight and credit. In this case, the victim AAA was
barely eight years old when raped by accused-appellant. In a litany of cases, the Supreme Court has ruled that
when a woman, more so if she is a minor, says she has been raped, she says, in effect, all that is necessary to
prove that rape was committed. Youth and immaturity are generally badges of truth. Courts usually give
greater weight to the testimony of a girl who is a victim of sexual assault, especially a minor, particularly in
cases of incestuous rape, because no woman would be willing to undergo a public trial and put up with the
shame, humiliation and dishonor of exposing her own degradation were it not to condemn an injustice and to
have the offender apprehended and punished. People of the Philippines v. Lino Paldo, G.R. No. 200515,
December 11, 2013.
Ombudsman; Ombudsman can file appeal or certiorari from the Sandiganbayan to the Supreme Court.
Respondents contend that the Office of the Ombudsman has no authority to file the petitions for
certioraribecause only the Solicitor General could file the petitions in this Court pursuant to section 35,
Chapter 12, Title III, Book IV of the Administrative Code as amended by E.O. 292. The Supreme Court found
respondents contention grossly erroneous. That only the Solicitor General may represent the People on appeal
or certiorariin the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals in all criminal proceedings is the general rule, but
the rule admits the exception concerning all cases elevated to the Sandiganbayan and from the Sandiganbayan
to the Supreme Court, the Office of the Ombudsman, through its special prosecutor, shall represent the People
of the Philippines, except in cases filed pursuant to E.O. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986. More specifically,
section 4(c) of R.A. 8249 authorizes the exception, viz: c. Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in
connection with [E.O.] 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986. Consequently, the filing of the petitions in these
cases by the Office of the Ombudsman, through the Office of the Special Prosecutor, was authorized by
law. People of the Philippines v. Hon. Sandiganbayan, First Division and Third Division Hernando Benito
Perez, Rosario Perez, Ramon Arceo and Enest Escaler/People of the Philippines v. Hon. Sandiganbayan, First
Division and Third Division Hernando Benito Perez, Rosario Perez, Ramon Arceo, Enest Escaler and Ramon
Castillo Arceo, Jr., G.R. No. 188165/G.R. No. 189063, December 11, 2013.
Preliminary investigation; lack of timely objection. The Supreme Court here held that Roallos claim that he
was denied due process since he was arrested without any warrant of arrest and that he was not afforded a
preliminary investigation is untenable. Here, it is conceded that Villarin raised the issue of lack of a
preliminary investigation in his Motion for Reinvestigation. However, when the Ombudsman denied the
motion, he never raised this issue again. He accepted the Ombudsmans verdict, entered a plea of not guilty
during his arraignment and actively participated in the trial on the merits by attending the scheduled hearings,
conducting cross-examinations and testifying on his own behalf. It was only after the trial court rendered
judgment against him that he once again assailed the conduct of the preliminary investigation in the Motion for
Reconsideration. Whatever argument Villarin may have regarding the alleged absence of a preliminary
investigation has therefore been mooted. By entering his plea, and actively participating in the trial, he is
deemed to have waived his right to preliminary investigation.It is undisputed that, at the time of his
arraignment, Roallos did not raise any objection to the supposed illegality of his arrest and the lack of a proper
preliminary investigation. Indeed, he actively participated in the proceedings before the Regional Trial Court
(RTC). Thus, he is deemed to have waived any perceived irregularity in his arrest and has effectively
submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the RTC. He is likewise deemed to have waived his right to
preliminary investigation. Vivencio Roallos y Trillanes v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 198389,
December 11, 2013.
Warrantless arrests; arrests in flagrante delicto. Section 5(a), Rule 113 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure
provides that a peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person when, in his presence,
the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense. This is
an arrest in flagrante delicto. The overt act constituting the crime is done in the presence or within the view of
the arresting officer. The circumstances here do not make out a case of arrest made in flagrante delicto, to wit:
(1) The police officers claim that they were alerted when they saw two unidentified men suddenly rush out of
107 David Street, Pasay City. Since they suspected that a crime had been committed, the natural thing for them
to do was to give chase to the jeep that the two fleeing men boarded, given that the officers were in a patrol car
and a tricycle. Running after the fleeing suspects was the more urgent task but the officers instead gave priority
to the house even when they heard no cry for help from it; (2) Admittedly, the police officers did not notice
anything amiss going on in the house from the street where they stood. Indeed, even as they peeked through its
partially opened door, they saw no activity that warranted their entering it. Clearly, no crime was plainly
exposed to the view of the arresting officers that authorized the arrest of accused Antiquera without warrant
under the above-mentioned rule. George Antiquera y Codes v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 180661,
December 11, 2013.
(Lindy thanks Izabel F. Seria for assisting in the preparation of this post.)
















December 2013 Philippine Supreme Court
Decisions on Tax Law
Posted on January 22, 2014 by Carina C. Laforteza Posted in Philippines - Cases, Philippines - Law, Tax Law
National Internal Revenue Code; value-added tax; claim for input value-added tax refund; prescriptive period.
Taxpayer filed its monthly and quarterly value-added tax (VAT) returns for the period beginning January 1,
2003 and ending on June 30, 2003. On August 9, 2004, it filed a claim for refund for its unutilized input VAT
attributable to its zero-rated sales. Due to the failure of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue (CIR) to act on
the claim, the taxpayer filed a petition for review with the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) on May 5, 2005. The
CIR argued that the period within which to file the petition for review had prescribed based on Section 112(D)
(now 112 (C)) of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC). The taxpayer, on the other hand, argued that the
period had not yet prescribed based on Section 229 of the NIRC.The Court ruled that Section 112(D) (now 112
(C)) of the NIRC is the applicable provision. Section 229 applies only to erroneously or excessively collected
taxes and input VAT is not an erroneously or excessively collected tax. Therefore, Section 112(D) (now 112
(C)) prevails. In accordance with the case of Commissioner of Internal Revenue vs. San Roque Power
Corporation, the taxpayers judicial claim for refund must be denied for having been filed late. Although
taxpayer filed its administrative claim with the Bureau of Internal Revenue before the expiration of the two-
year period in Section 112 (A) of the NIRC, it failed to comply with the 120 + 30 day period in Section 112
(D) (now 112 (C)) which requires that upon the inaction of the CIR for 120 days after the submission of the
documents in support of the claim, the taxpayer has to file its judicial claim within 30 days from the lapse of
the said period. In this case, the 120 days granted to the CIR to decide the case ended on December 7, 2004.
Thus, taxpayer had 30 days therefrom, or until January 6, 2005 to file a petition for review with the CTA.
Unfortunately, taxpayer only sought judicial relief on May 5, 2005 when it belatedly filed its petition to the
CTA. Thus, CTA did not properly acquire jurisdiction over the claim. Commissioner of Internal Revenue vs.
Dash Engineering Philippines, Inc., G.R.No. 184145, December 11,2013.
(Caren thanks Carlos P. Garcia for assisting in the preparation of this post.)