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A.M. No.

133-J May 31, 1982

114 SCRA 77


Petioner is an heir to contested properties involving parcels of land. The respondent judge, then a judge
of the of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, decided the case distributing and dividing the contested
properties among the heirs of the original property which is the subject of contention. Furthermore,
respondent judge required the parties concerned to submit a project of partition agreed upon by them.
The decision became final for lack of an appeal.

Lot 1184-E, which was part of the properties subdivided and distributed by the court, according to the
project of partition submitted and signed by counsels of the contending parties and approved by the
court, was sold to Dr. Arcadio Galapon, who after almost a year, sold a portion of it to respondent judge
and her wife. After more than a year, respondent judge and his wife conveyed their respective shares
and interest in the said lot to The Traders Manufacturing and Fisheries Inc.

Petitioner filed a case against respondent judge with “acts unbecoming a judge,” specifically for
violation of paragraphs 1 and 5 Article 14 of the Code of Commerce for being a ranking officer and
stockholder of a corporation while at the same time performing the duties of a judge. Said corporation
having been organized to engage in business.

Issue: Whether or not judge respondent is guilty of acts unbecoming a judge by violating the provisions
of Article 14 of the Code of Commerce.

Held: No. Article 14 while being part of the Code of Commerce, partakes of the nature of a political law
as it regulates the relationship between the government and certain public officers and employees, like
justices and judges. Political law embraces constitutional law, law of public corporations, administrative
law including the law on public officers and elections. Thus, Article 14 partakes of the nature of
administrative law since it regulates the conduct of certain public officers and employees with respect to
engaging in business; hence political law in essence.

The present Code of Commerce is the Spanish Code of Commerce of 1885. Upon the transfer of
sovereignty from Spain to the United States and later from the United States to the Republic of the
Philippines, Article 14 of the said code is deemed to have been abrogated since it is the political law of
the former sovereign. Political laws of the sovereign are automatically abrogated unless they are
expressly re-enacted by affirmative act of the new sovereign.

There being no enabling or affirmative act that continued the effectivity of Article 14 of the Code of
Commerce after the changes in sovereignty, it has no legal and binding effect and cannot apply to the