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Macariola vs.

114 SCRA 77 | May 31 1982

The case at bar involves a land partition issue concerning the properties left by deceased
Francisco Reyes docketed in Civil Case 3010 at the Court of First Instance of Leyte. On June 8,
1963, the case became final for lack of an appeal. Subsequently, a project of partition was
submitted to Honorable Judge Elias Asuncion. Believiing that defendants Sinfrosa Bales et al. and
complainant Bernardita Macariola gave full authority to their counsels to sign the project of
partition in behalf of them, Judge Asuncion gave his approval to the partition.

Lot 1184, one of the properties mentioned in the project of partition, was divided to five equal
shares, approved by the Trial Court to be distributed to the adjudicates of the deceased. Lot
1184E was then sold to Dr. Arcadio Galapon. Almost a year later, Dr. Galapon sold a portion of
the land he bought to Judge Asuncion and his wife, Victoria Asuncion. Subsequently, Spouses
Galapon and Spouses Asuncion conveyed lot 1184E to Traders Manufacturing and Fishing
Industries Inc. where Spouses Asuncion holds a position as President and Secretary.

Complainant Macariola charged Judge Asuncion with “acts unbecoming of a judge” allegedly
violating different provisions of law which includes a violation of Article 14, paragraphs 1 and 5,
of the Code of Commerce, which prohibits judges to engage in commerce that have direct
relation to their official duties in the place where they are assigned.

Whether Judge Asuncion violated the Article 14, paragraphs 1 and 5, of the Code of Commerce

No, Judge Asuncion did not violate the mentioned provision of the Code of Commerce as it has
no legal and binding effect at the time he was charged by Macariola. The Code of Commerce is
political in nature because it regulates the relationship of the government bodies and its
employees including judges. One of the scope of political law is administrative law, which is the
nature of Art 14 paragraph 1 and 5 of the Code of Commerce, as it deals with the engagement in
business of public officers. The Code of Commerce, which is sourced from the Spanish Code of
Commerce, is deemed abrogated upon the change of sovereignty from Spain to the United
States. It was ruled by the Supreme Court that whenever there is a change in sovereignty, political
laws of the former sovereign are automatically abrogated, unless they are reenacted by
Affirmative Act of the New Sovereign. Judge Asuncion was reminded to be discreet in his private
business dealings.