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Co Kim Cham vs.

Valdez Tan Keh

75 Phil. 113


Petitioner Co Kim Cham had as pending civil Case initiated during the time of the Japanese
occupation. After the liberation of Manila Judge Arsenio Dizon refused to continue hearings
on his case saying that the proclamation of Gen Douglas MacArthur has invalidated and
nullified all judicial proceedings and judgements of the courts of the Philippines and without
the enabling law, lower courts have no jurisdiction to take cognizance of proceedings pending
in the courts of the defunct Republic of the Philippines under the Japanese.

1. Whether or Not judicial proceedings and decisions during the Japanese Occupation
were valid and remained valid.

2. Whether or not the proclamation of General MacArthur declared that all laws,
regulations and processes of any other Government other than that of the
commonwealth are null and void, invalidated and all judgements and judicial acts
proceeding from the courts.

3. Whether or not of they were invalidated (reference to No.2), the courts can continue
hearing the cases pending before them.


1. It is a legal truism in political and international law that all acts and proceedings and non-
political judgements of a de facto government are good and valid. The governments by the
Philippine Executive Commission and the Republic of the Philippines during the Japanese
military occupation being de facto governments, it necessarily follows that the judicial acts
and proceedings of the courts of justice of those governments, which are not of a political
complexion, were good and valid, and, by virtue of the well-known principle of postliminy
(postliminium) in international law, remained good and valid after the liberation or
reoccupation of the Philippines by the American and Filipino forces under the leadership of
General Douglas MacArthur.

2. It should be presumed that it was not, and could not have been, the intention of General
Douglas MacArthur, in using the phrase "processes of any other government" in said
proclamation, to refer to judicial processes, in violation of said principles of international law.
The only reasonable construction of the said phrase is that it refers to governmental processes
other than judicial processes of court proceedings.

"A statute ought never to be construed to violate the law of nations if any other possible
construction remains."

If a belligerent occupant is required to establish courts of justice in the territory occupied, and
forbidden to prevent the nationals thereof from asserting or enforcing therein their civil
rights, by necessary implication, the military commander of the forces of liberation or the
restored government is restrained from nullifying or setting aside the judgments rendered by
said courts in their litigation during the period of occupation.
3. The proceedings in cases then pending in said court may continue, without necessity of
enacting a law conferring jurisdiction upon them to continue said proceedings. The laws and
courts of the Philippines did not become the laws and courts of Japan by being continued as
required by the law of nations. Same courts may continue exercising the same jurisdictions
and cases pending therein before the restoration of the commonwealth until abolished and
replaced by the said government.

DECISION: WRIT OF MANDAMUS IS ISSUED to the judge of the Court of First Instance
of Manila ordering him to take cognizance and continue to final judgement the proceedings in
Case No. 3012.

3 Kinds of De Facto Government:

1. Established through Rebellion Governments gets possession and control through the
force of the voice of the majority and maintains itself rightful government.

2. Established through Occupation (PARAMOUNT FORCE) Maintained by the

military forces who invade and occupy the territory of the enemy.

3. Established through Insurrection Established as an independent government by the

inhabitants of the country who rise in insurrection against the parent state.