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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-63915 April 24, 1985
LORENZO M. TAADA, ABRAHAM F. SARMIENTO, and MOVEMENT OF
ATTORNEYS FOR BROTHERHOOD, INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM,
INC. [MABINI], petitioners,
vs.
HON. JUAN C. TUVERA, in his capacity as Executive Assistant to the
President, HON. JOAQUIN VENUS, in his capacity as Deputy
Executive Assistant to the President , MELQUIADES P. DE LA CRUZ,
in his capacity as Director, Malacaang Records Office, and
FLORENDO S. PABLO, in his capacity as Director, Bureau of
Printing, respondents.

ESCOLIN, J.:
Invoking the people's right to be informed on matters of public concern, a
right recognized in Section 6, Article IV of the 1973 Philippine
Constitution, 1 as well as the principle that laws to be valid and enforceable
must be published in the Official Gazette or otherwise effectively
promulgated, petitioners seek a writ of mandamus to compel respondent
public officials to publish, and/or cause the publication in the Official Gazette
of various presidential decrees, letters of instructions, general orders,
proclamations, executive orders, letter of implementation and administrative
orders.
Specifically, the publication of the following presidential issuances is sought:
a] Presidential Decrees Nos. 12, 22, 37, 38, 59, 64, 103, 171,
179, 184, 197, 200, 234, 265, 286, 298, 303, 312, 324, 325, 326,
337, 355, 358, 359, 360, 361, 368, 404, 406, 415, 427, 429, 445,
447, 473, 486, 491, 503, 504, 521, 528, 551, 566, 573, 574, 594,
599, 644, 658, 661, 718, 731, 733, 793, 800, 802, 835, 836, 923,
935, 961, 1017-1030, 1050, 1060-1061, 1085, 1143, 1165, 1166,

1242, 1246, 1250, 1278, 1279, 1300, 1644, 1772, 1808, 1810,
1813-1817, 1819-1826, 1829-1840, 1842-1847.
b] Letter of Instructions Nos.: 10, 39, 49, 72, 107, 108, 116, 130,
136, 141, 150, 153, 155, 161, 173, 180, 187, 188, 192, 193, 199,
202, 204, 205, 209, 211-213, 215-224, 226-228, 231-239, 241245, 248, 251, 253-261, 263-269, 271-273, 275-283, 285-289,
291, 293, 297-299, 301-303, 309, 312-315, 325, 327, 343, 346,
349, 357, 358, 362, 367, 370, 382, 385, 386, 396-397, 405, 438440, 444- 445, 473, 486, 488, 498, 501, 399, 527, 561, 576, 587,
594, 599, 600, 602, 609, 610, 611, 612, 615, 641, 642, 665, 702,
712-713, 726, 837-839, 878-879, 881, 882, 939-940,
964,997,1149-1178,1180-1278.
c] General Orders Nos.: 14, 52, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 64 & 65.
d] Proclamation Nos.: 1126, 1144, 1147, 1151, 1196, 1270, 1281,
1319-1526, 1529, 1532, 1535, 1538, 1540-1547, 1550-1558,
1561-1588, 1590-1595, 1594-1600, 1606-1609, 1612-1628,
1630-1649, 1694-1695, 1697-1701, 1705-1723, 1731-1734,
1737-1742, 1744, 1746-1751, 1752, 1754, 1762, 1764-1787,
1789-1795, 1797, 1800, 1802-1804, 1806-1807, 1812-1814,
1816, 1825-1826, 1829, 1831-1832, 1835-1836, 1839-1840,
1843-1844, 1846-1847, 1849, 1853-1858, 1860, 1866, 1868,
1870, 1876-1889, 1892, 1900, 1918, 1923, 1933, 1952, 1963,
1965-1966, 1968-1984, 1986-2028, 2030-2044, 2046-2145,
2147-2161, 2163-2244.
e] Executive Orders Nos.: 411, 413, 414, 427, 429-454, 457- 471,
474-492, 494-507, 509-510, 522, 524-528, 531-532, 536, 538,
543-544, 549, 551-553, 560, 563, 567-568, 570, 574, 593, 594,
598-604, 609, 611- 647, 649-677, 679-703, 705-707, 712-786,
788-852, 854-857.
f] Letters of Implementation Nos.: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11-22, 25-27, 39,
50, 51, 59, 76, 80-81, 92, 94, 95, 107, 120, 122, 123.
g] Administrative Orders Nos.: 347, 348, 352-354, 360- 378, 380433, 436-439.

The respondents, through the Solicitor General, would have this case
dismissed outright on the ground that petitioners have no legal personality
or standing to bring the instant petition. The view is submitted that in the
absence of any showing that petitioners are personally and directly affected
or prejudiced by the alleged non-publication of the presidential issuances in
question 2 said petitioners are without the requisite legal personality to
institute this mandamus proceeding, they are not being "aggrieved parties"
within the meaning of Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, which we
quote:
SEC. 3. Petition for Mandamus.When any tribunal, corporation,
board or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act
which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an
office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes another from the
use a rd enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is
entitled, and there is no other plain, speedy and adequate
remedy in the ordinary course of law, the person aggrieved
thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court alleging
the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered
commanding the defendant, immediately or at some other
specified time, to do the act required to be done to Protect the
rights of the petitioner, and to pay the damages sustained by the
petitioner by reason of the wrongful acts of the defendant.
Upon the other hand, petitioners maintain that since the subject of the
petition concerns a public right and its object is to compel the performance
of a public duty, they need not show any specific interest for their petition to
be given due course.
The issue posed is not one of first impression. As early as the 1910 case
of Severino vs. Governor General, 3 this Court held that while the general
rule is that "a writ of mandamus would be granted to a private individual
only in those cases where he has some private or particular interest to be
subserved, or some particular right to be protected, independent of that
which he holds with the public at large," and "it is for the public officers
exclusively to apply for the writ when public rights are to be subserved
[Mithchell vs. Boardmen, 79 M.e., 469]," nevertheless, "when the question is
one of public right and the object of the mandamus is to procure the
enforcement of a public duty, the people are regarded as the real party in
interest and the relator at whose instigation the proceedings are instituted

need not show that he has any legal or special interest in the result, it being
sufficient to show that he is a citizen and as such interested in the execution
of the laws [High, Extraordinary Legal Remedies, 3rd ed., sec. 431].
Thus, in said case, this Court recognized the relator Lope Severino, a private
individual, as a proper party to the mandamus proceedings brought to
compel the Governor General to call a special election for the position of
municipal president in the town of Silay, Negros Occidental. Speaking for this
Court, Mr. Justice Grant T. Trent said:
We are therefore of the opinion that the weight of authority
supports the proposition that the relator is a proper party to
proceedings of this character when a public right is sought to be
enforced. If the general rule in America were otherwise, we think
that it would not be applicable to the case at bar for the reason
'that it is always dangerous to apply a general rule to a particular
case without keeping in mind the reason for the rule, because, if
under the particular circumstances the reason for the rule does
not exist, the rule itself is not applicable and reliance upon the
rule may well lead to error'
No reason exists in the case at bar for applying the general rule
insisted upon by counsel for the respondent. The circumstances
which surround this case are different from those in the United
States, inasmuch as if the relator is not a proper party to these
proceedings no other person could be, as we have seen that it is
not the duty of the law officer of the Government to appear and
represent the people in cases of this character.
The reasons given by the Court in recognizing a private citizen's legal
personality in the aforementioned case apply squarely to the present
petition. Clearly, the right sought to be enforced by petitioners herein is a
public right recognized by no less than the fundamental law of the land. If
petitioners were not allowed to institute this proceeding, it would indeed be
difficult to conceive of any other person to initiate the same, considering that
the Solicitor General, the government officer generally empowered to
represent the people, has entered his appearance for respondents in this
case.
Respondents further contend that publication in the Official Gazette is not a
sine qua non requirement for the effectivity of laws where the laws

themselves provide for their own effectivity dates. It is thus submitted that
since the presidential issuances in question contain special provisions as to
the date they are to take effect, publication in the Official Gazette is not
indispensable for their effectivity. The point stressed is anchored on Article 2
of the Civil Code:
Art. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the
completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is
otherwise provided, ...
The interpretation given by respondent is in accord with this Court's
construction of said article. In a long line of decisions, 4 this Court has ruled
that publication in the Official Gazette is necessary in those cases where the
legislation itself does not provide for its effectivity date-for then the date of
publication is material for determining its date of effectivity, which is the
fifteenth day following its publication-but not when the law itself provides for
the date when it goes into effect.
Respondents' argument, however, is logically correct only insofar as it
equates the effectivity of laws with the fact of publication. Considered in the
light of other statutes applicable to the issue at hand, the conclusion is easily
reached that said Article 2 does not preclude the requirement of publication
in the Official Gazette, even if the law itself provides for the date of its
effectivity. Thus, Section 1 of Commonwealth Act 638 provides as follows:
Section 1. There shall be published in the Official Gazette [1] all
important legisiative acts and resolutions of a public nature of
the, Congress of the Philippines; [2] all executive and
administrative orders and proclamations, except such as have no
general applicability; [3] decisions or abstracts of decisions of the
Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals as may be deemed by
said courts of sufficient importance to be so published; [4] such
documents or classes of documents as may be required so to be
published by law; and [5] such documents or classes of
documents as the President of the Philippines shall determine
from time to time to have general applicability and legal effect,
or which he may authorize so to be published. ...
The clear object of the above-quoted provision is to give the general public
adequate notice of the various laws which are to regulate their actions and
conduct as citizens. Without such notice and publication, there would be no

basis for the application of the maxim "ignorantia legis non excusat." It
would be the height of injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for
the transgression of a law of which he had no notice whatsoever, not even a
constructive one.
Perhaps at no time since the establishment of the Philippine Republic has the
publication of laws taken so vital significance that at this time when the
people have bestowed upon the President a power heretofore enjoyed solely
by the legislature. While the people are kept abreast by the mass media of
the debates and deliberations in the Batasan Pambansaand for the diligent
ones, ready access to the legislative recordsno such publicity accompanies
the law-making process of the President. Thus, without publication, the
people have no means of knowing what presidential decrees have actually
been promulgated, much less a definite way of informing themselves of the
specific contents and texts of such decrees. As the Supreme Court of Spain
ruled: "Bajo la denominacion generica de leyes, se comprenden tambien los
reglamentos, Reales decretos, Instrucciones, Circulares y Reales ordines
dictadas de conformidad con las mismas por el Gobierno en uso de su
potestad. 5
The very first clause of Section I of Commonwealth Act 638 reads: "There
shall be published in the Official Gazette ... ." The word "shall" used therein
imposes upon respondent officials an imperative duty. That duty must be
enforced if the Constitutional right of the people to be informed on matters of
public concern is to be given substance and reality. The law itself makes a list
of what should be published in the Official Gazette. Such listing, to our mind,
leaves respondents with no discretion whatsoever as to what must be
included or excluded from such publication.
The publication of all presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of
general applicability" is mandated by law. Obviously, presidential decrees
that provide for fines, forfeitures or penalties for their violation or otherwise
impose a burden or. the people, such as tax and revenue measures, fall
within this category. Other presidential issuances which apply only to
particular persons or class of persons such as administrative and executive
orders need not be published on the assumption that they have been
circularized to all concerned. 6
It is needless to add that the publication of presidential issuances "of a public
nature" or "of general applicability" is a requirement of due process. It is a

rule of law that before a person may be bound by law, he must first be
officially and specifically informed of its contents. As Justice Claudio
Teehankee said in Peralta vs. COMELEC 7:
In a time of proliferating decrees, orders and letters of
instructions which all form part of the law of the land, the
requirement of due process and the Rule of Law demand that the
Official Gazette as the official government repository promulgate
and publish the texts of all such decrees, orders and instructions
so that the people may know where to obtain their official and
specific contents.
The Court therefore declares that presidential issuances of general
application, which have not been published, shall have no force and effect.
Some members of the Court, quite apprehensive about the possible
unsettling effect this decision might have on acts done in reliance of the
validity of those presidential decrees which were published only during the
pendency of this petition, have put the question as to whether the Court's
declaration of invalidity apply to P.D.s which had been enforced or
implemented prior to their publication. The answer is all too familiar. In
similar situations in the past this Court had taken the pragmatic and realistic
course set forth in Chicot County Drainage District vs. Baxter Bank 8 to wit:
The courts below have proceeded on the theory that the Act of
Congress, having been found to be unconstitutional, was not a
law; that it was inoperative, conferring no rights and imposing no
duties, and hence affording no basis for the challenged decree.
Norton v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, 442; Chicago, 1. & L. Ry.
Co. v. Hackett, 228 U.S. 559, 566. It is quite clear, however, that
such broad statements as to the effect of a determination of
unconstitutionality must be taken with qualifications. The actual
existence of a statute, prior to such a determination, is an
operative fact and may have consequences which cannot justly
be ignored. The past cannot always be erased by a new judicial
declaration. The effect of the subsequent ruling as to invalidity
may have to be considered in various aspects-with respect to
particular conduct, private and official. Questions of rights
claimed to have become vested, of status, of prior
determinations deemed to have finality and acted upon
accordingly, of public policy in the light of the nature both of the

statute and of its previous application, demand examination.


These questions are among the most difficult of those which
have engaged the attention of courts, state and federal and it is
manifest from numerous decisions that an all-inclusive statement
of a principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be
justified.
Consistently with the above principle, this Court in Rutter vs.
Esteban 9 sustained the right of a party under the Moratorium Law, albeit
said right had accrued in his favor before said law was declared
unconstitutional by this Court.
Similarly, the implementation/enforcement of presidential decrees prior to
their publication in the Official Gazette is "an operative fact which may have
consequences which cannot be justly ignored. The past cannot always be
erased by a new judicial declaration ... that an all-inclusive statement of a
principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be justified."
From the report submitted to the Court by the Clerk of Court, it appears that
of the presidential decrees sought by petitioners to be published in the
Official Gazette, only Presidential Decrees Nos. 1019 to 1030, inclusive,
1278, and 1937 to 1939, inclusive, have not been so published. 10 Neither
the subject matters nor the texts of these PDs can be ascertained since no
copies thereof are available. But whatever their subject matter may be, it is
undisputed that none of these unpublished PDs has ever been implemented
or enforced by the government. In Pesigan vs. Angeles, 11 the Court, through
Justice Ramon Aquino, ruled that "publication is necessary to apprise the
public of the contents of [penal] regulations and make the said penalties
binding on the persons affected thereby. " The cogency of this holding is
apparently recognized by respondent officials considering the manifestation
in their comment that "the government, as a matter of policy, refrains from
prosecuting violations of criminal laws until the same shall have been
published in the Official Gazette or in some other publication, even though
some criminal laws provide that they shall take effect immediately.
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders respondents to publish in the Official
Gazette all unpublished presidential issuances which are of general
application, and unless so published, they shall have no binding force and
effect.
SO ORDERED.

Relova, J., concurs.


Aquino, J., took no part.
Concepcion, Jr., J., is on leave.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
G.R. No. L-63915 December 29, 1986

LORENZO M. TAADA, ABRAHAM F. SARMIENTO, and MOVEMENT OF


ATTORNEYS FOR BROTHERHOOD, INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM, INC.
(MABINI), petitioners,
vs.
HON. JUAN C. TUVERA, in his capacity as Executive Assistant to the President,
HON. JOAQUIN VENUS, in his capacity as Deputy Executive Assistant to the
President, MELQUIADES P. DE LA CRUZ, ETC., ET AL., respondents.
RESOLUTION
CRUZ, J.:
Due process was invoked by the petitioners in demanding the disclosure of a number of
presidential decrees which they claimed had not been published as required by law. The
government argued that while publication was necessary as a rule, it was not so when it
was otherwise provided, as when the decrees themselves declared that they were to
become effective immediately upon their approval. In the decision of this case on April
24, 1985, the Court affirmed the necessity for the publication of some of these decrees,
declaring in the dispositive portion as follows:
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders respondents to publish in the Official Gazette
all unpublished presidential issuances which are of general application, and unless so
published, they shall have no binding force and effect.
The petitioners are now before us again, this time to move for
reconsideration/clarification of that decision. Specifically, they ask the following
questions:
1

1. What is meant by law of public nature or general applicability?


2. Must a distinction be made between laws of general applicability and laws which are
not?
3. What is meant by publication?
4. Where is the publication to be made?
5. When is the publication to be made?
Resolving their own doubts, the petitioners suggest that there should be ; that
publication means complete publication; and that the publication must be made
forthwith in the Official Gazette.
2

In the Comment required of the then Solicitor General, he claimed first that the motion
was a request for an advisory opinion and should therefore be dismissed, and, on the
merits, that the clause unless it is otherwise provided in Article 2 of the Civil Code
meant that the publication required therein was not always imperative; that publication,
when necessary, did not have to be made in the Official Gazette; and that in any case
the subject decision was concurred in only by three justices and consequently not
binding. This elicited a Reply refuting these arguments. Came next the February
Revolution and the Court required the new Solicitor General to file a Rejoinder in view of
the supervening events, under Rule 3, Section 18, of the Rules of Court. Responding,
he submitted that issuances intended only for the internal administration of a
government agency or for particular persons did not have to be Published; that
publication when necessary must be in full and in the Official Gazette; and that,
however, the decision under reconsideration was not binding because it was not
supported by eight members of this Court.
3

The subject of contention is Article 2 of the Civil Code providing as follows:


ART. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their
publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided. This Code shall take
effect one year after such publication.
After a careful study of this provision and of the arguments of the parties, both on the
original petition and on the instant motion, we have come to the conclusion and so hold,
that the clause unless it is otherwise provided refers to the date of effectivity and not to
the requirement of publication itself, which cannot in any event be omitted. This clause
does not mean that the legislature may make the law effective immediately upon
approval, or on any other date, without its previous publication.
Publication is indispensable in every case, but the legislature may in its discretion
provide that the usual fifteen-day period shall be shortened or extended. An example, as
pointed out by the present Chief Justice in his separate concurrence in the original
decision, is the Civil Code which did not become effective after fifteen days from its
publication in the Official Gazette but one year after such publication. The general rule
did not apply because it was otherwise provided.
6

It is not correct to say that under the disputed clause publication may be dispensed with
altogether. The reason. is that such omission would offend due process insofar as it
would deny the public knowledge of the laws that are supposed to govern the legislature
could validly provide that a law e effective immediately upon its approval
notwithstanding the lack of publication (or after an unreasonably short period after
publication), it is not unlikely that persons not aware of it would be prejudiced as a result
and they would be so not because of a failure to comply with but simply because they

did not know of its existence, Significantly, this is not true only of penal laws as is
commonly supposed. One can think of many non-penal measures, like a law on
prescription, which must also be communicated to the persons they may affect before
they can begin to operate.
We note at this point the conclusive presumption that every person knows the law,
which of course presupposes that the law has been published if the presumption is to
have any legal justification at all. It is no less important to remember that Section 6 of
the Bill of Rights recognizes the right of the people to information on matters of public
concern, and this certainly applies to, among others, and indeed especially, the
legislative enactments of the government.
The term laws should refer to all laws and not only to those of general application, for
strictly speaking all laws relate to the people in general albeit there are some that do not
apply to them directly. An example is a law granting citizenship to a particular individual,
like a relative of President Marcos who was decreed instant naturalization. It surely
cannot be said that such a law does not affect the public although it unquestionably
does not apply directly to all the people. The subject of such law is a matter of public
interest which any member of the body politic may question in the political forums or, if
he is a proper party, even in the courts of justice. In fact, a law without any bearing on
the public would be invalid as an intrusion of privacy or as class legislation or as
an ultra vires act of the legislature. To be valid, the law must invariably affect the public
interest even if it might be directly applicable only to one individual, or some of the
people only, and t to the public as a whole.
We hold therefore that all statutes, including those of local application and private laws,
shall be published as a condition for their effectivity, which shall begin fifteen days after
publication unless a different effectivity date is fixed by the legislature.
Covered by this rule are presidential decrees and executive orders promulgated by the
President in the exercise of legislative powers whenever the same are validly delegated
by the legislature or, at present, directly conferred by the Constitution. administrative
rules and regulations must a also be published if their purpose is to enforce or
implement existing law pursuant also to a valid delegation.
Interpretative regulations and those merely internal in nature, that is, regulating only the
personnel of the administrative agency and not the public, need not be published.
Neither is publication required of the so-called letters of instructions issued by
administrative superiors concerning the rules or guidelines to be followed by their
subordinates in the performance of their duties.

Accordingly, even the charter of a city must be published notwithstanding that it applies
to only a portion of the national territory and directly affects only the inhabitants of that
place. All presidential decrees must be published, including even, say, those naming a
public place after a favored individual or exempting him from certain prohibitions or
requirements. The circulars issued by the Monetary Board must be published if they are
meant not merely to interpret but to fill in the details of the Central Bank Act which that
body is supposed to enforce.
However, no publication is required of the instructions issued by, say, the Minister of
Social Welfare on the case studies to be made in petitions for adoption or the rules laid
down by the head of a government agency on the assignments or workload of his
personnel or the wearing of office uniforms. Parenthetically, municipal ordinances are
not covered by this rule but by the Local Government Code.
We agree that publication must be in full or it is no publication at all since its purpose is
to inform the public of the contents of the laws. As correctly pointed out by the
petitioners, the mere mention of the number of the presidential decree, the title of such
decree, its whereabouts (e.g., with Secretary Tuvera), the supposed date of effectivity,
and in a mere supplement of the Official Gazette cannot satisfy the publication
requirement. This is not even substantial compliance. This was the manner, incidentally,
in which the General Appropriations Act for FY 1975, a presidential decree undeniably
of general applicability and interest, was published by the Marcos administration. The
evident purpose was to withhold rather than disclose information on this vital law.
7

Coming now to the original decision, it is true that only four justices were categorically
for publication in the Official Gazette and that six others felt that publication could be
made elsewhere as long as the people were sufficiently informed. One reserved his
vote and another merely acknowledged the need for due publication without indicating
where it should be made. It is therefore necessary for the present membership of this
Court to arrive at a clear consensus on this matter and to lay down a binding decision
supported by the necessary vote.
8

10

11

There is much to be said of the view that the publication need not be made in the
Official Gazette, considering its erratic releases and limited readership. Undoubtedly,
newspapers of general circulation could better perform the function of communicating,
the laws to the people as such periodicals are more easily available, have a wider
readership, and come out regularly. The trouble, though, is that this kind of publication is
not the one required or authorized by existing law. As far as we know, no amendment
has been made of Article 2 of the Civil Code. The Solicitor General has not pointed to
such a law, and we have no information that it exists. If it does, it obviously has not yet
been published.

At any rate, this Court is not called upon to rule upon the wisdom of a law or to repeal or
modify it if we find it impractical. That is not our function. That function belongs to the
legislature. Our task is merely to interpret and apply the law as conceived and approved
by the political departments of the government in accordance with the prescribed
procedure. Consequently, we have no choice but to pronounce that under Article 2 of
the Civil Code, the publication of laws must be made in the Official Gazett and not
elsewhere, as a requirement for their effectivity after fifteen days from such publication
or after a different period provided by the legislature.
We also hold that the publication must be made forthwith or at least as soon as
possible, to give effect to the law pursuant to the said Article 2. There is that possibility,
of course, although not suggested by the parties that a law could be rendered
unenforceable by a mere refusal of the executive, for whatever reason, to cause its
publication as required. This is a matter, however, that we do not need to examine at
this time.
Finally, the claim of the former Solicitor General that the instant motion is a request for
an advisory opinion is untenable, to say the least, and deserves no further comment.
The days of the secret laws and the unpublished decrees are over. This is once again
an open society, with all the acts of the government subject to public scrutiny and
available always to public cognizance. This has to be so if our country is to remain
democratic, with sovereignty residing in the people and all government authority
emanating from them.
Although they have delegated the power of legislation, they retain the authority to
review the work of their delegates and to ratify or reject it according to their lights,
through their freedom of expression and their right of suffrage. This they cannot do if the
acts of the legislature are concealed.
Laws must come out in the open in the clear light of the sun instead of skulking in the
shadows with their dark, deep secrets. Mysterious pronouncements and rumored rules
cannot be recognized as binding unless their existence and contents are confirmed by a
valid publication intended to make full disclosure and give proper notice to the people.
The furtive law is like a scabbarded saber that cannot feint parry or cut unless the naked
blade is drawn.
WHEREFORE, it is hereby declared that all laws as above defined shall immediately
upon their approval, or as soon thereafter as possible, be published in full in the Official
Gazette, to become effective only after fifteen days from their publication, or on another
date specified by the legislature, in accordance with Article 2 of the Civil Code.

SO ORDERED.
Teehankee, C.J., Feria, Yap, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Alampay, Gutierrez, Jr., and
Paras, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 18081

March 3, 1922

IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF CHEONG BOO, deceased.


MORA ADONG, petitioner-appellant,
vs.
CHEONG SENG GEE, opponent-appellant.
Kincaid, Perkins & Kincaid and P. J. Moore for petitioner-appellant.
Carlos A. Sobral for opponent-appellant.

MALCOLM, J.:
The two question presented for determination by these appeals may be
framed as follows: Is a marriage contracted in China and proven mainly by
an alleged matrimonial letter, valid in the Philippines? Are the marriage
performed in the Philippines according to the rites of the Mohammedan
religion valid? As the decision of the Supreme Court on the last point will
affect marriages consummated by not less than one hundred and fifty
thousand Moros who profess the Mohammedan faith, the transcendental
importance of the cause can be realized. We proposed to give to the subject
the serious consideration which it deserves.
Cheong Boo, a native of China, died intestate in Zamboanga, Philippine
Islands, on August 5, 1919. He left property worth nearly P100,000. The
estate of the deceased was claimed, on the one hand, by Cheong Seng Gee,
who alleged that he was a legitimate child by a marriage contracted by
Cheong Boo with Tan Dit in China in 1895. The estate was claimed, on the
other hand, by the Mora Adong who alleged that she had been lawfully
married to Cheong Boo in 1896 in Basilan, Philippine Islands, and her
daughters, Payang, married to Cheng Bian Chay, and Rosalia Cheong Boo,
unmarried.
The conflicting claims to the estate of Cheong Boo were ventilated in the
Court of First Instance of Zamboanga. The trial judge, the Honorable Quirico
Abeto, after hearing the evidence presented by both sides, reached the
conclusion, with reference to the allegations of Cheong Seng Gee, that the
proof did not sufficiently establish the Chinese marriage, but that because
Cheong Seng Gee had been admitted to the Philippine Islands as the son of
the deceased, he should share in the estate as a natural child. With reference
to the allegations of the Mora Adong and her daughters Payang and Rosalia,
the trial judge reached the conclusion that the marriage between the Mora
Adong and the deceased had been adequately proved but that under the
laws of the Philippine Islands it could not be held to be a lawful marriage;
accordingly, the daughters Payang and Rosalia would inherit as natural
children. The order of the trial judge, following these conclusions, was that
there should be a partition of the property of the deceased Cheong Boo
between the natural children, Cheong Seng Gee, Payang, and Rosalia.
From the judgment of the Judge of First Instance both parties perfected
appeals. As to the facts, we can say that we agree in substance with the
findings of the trial court. As to the legal issues submitted for decision by the
numerous assignments of error, these can best be resolved under two heads,
namely: (1) The validity of the Chinese marriage; and (2) the validity of the
Mohammedan marriage.
1. Validity of the Chinese Marriage

The theory advanced on behalf of the claimant Cheong Seng Gee was that
Cheong Boo was married in the city of Amoy, China, during the second moon
of the twenty-first year of the Emperor Quang Su, or, according to the
modern count, on February 16, 1985, to a young lady named Tan Dit.
Witnesses were presented who testified to having been present at the
marriage ceremony. There was also introduced in evidence a document in
Chinese which in translation reads as follows:
One
hundred
years of life
and health
for both.

Your nephew, Tan Chao,


respecfully answers the
venerable Chiong Ing, father of
the bridegroom, accepting his
offer of marriage, and let this
document serve as proof of the
acceptance of said marriage
which is to be celebrated during
the merry season of the
flowers.
I take advantage of this
occasion to wish for your and
the spouses much happiness, a
long life, and prolific issue, as
noble and great as that which
you brought forth. I consider
the marriage of your son Boo
with my sister Lit Chia as a
mandate of God and I hope that
they treat each other with great
love and mutual courtesy and
that both they and their parents
be very happy.
Given during the second moon
of the twenty-first year of the
reign of the Emperor Quang Su.

Cheong Boo is said to have remained in China for one year and four months
after his marriage during which time there was born to him and his wife a
child named Cheong Seng Gee. Cheong Boo then left China for the Philippine
Islands and sometime thereafter took to himself a concubine Mora by whom
he had two children. In 1910, Cheong Boo was followed to the Philippines by
Cheong Seng Gee who, as appears from documents presented in evidence,

was permitted to land in the Philippine Islands as the son of Cheong Boo. The
deceased, however, never returned to his native hearth and seems never to
have corresponded with his Chinese wife or to have had any further relations
with her except once when he sent her P10.
The trial judge found, as we have said, that the proof did not sustain the
allegation of the claimant Cheong Seng Gee, that Cheong Boo had married in
China. His Honor noted a strong inclination on the part of the Chinese
witnesses, especially the brother of Cheong Boo, to protect the interests of
the alleged son, Cheong Seng Gee, by overstepping the limits of
truthfulness. His Honor also noted that reliable witnesses stated that in the
year 1895, when Cheong Boo was supposed to have been in China, he was in
reality in Jolo, in the Philippine Islands. We are not disposed to disturb this
appreciation of fact by the trial court. The x documents only go to show the
relation of parent and child existing between the deceased Cheong Boo and
his son Cheong Seng Gee and do not establish the marriage between the
deceased and the mother of Cheong Seng Gee.
Section IV of the Marriage Law (General Order No. 68) provides that "All
marriages contracted without these Islands, which would be valid by the laws
of the country in which the same were contracted, are valid in these Islands."
To establish a valid foreign marriage pursuant to this comity provision, it is
first necessary to prove before the courts of the Islands the existence of the
foreign law as a question of fact, and it is then necessary to prove the
alleged foreign marriage by convincing evidence.
As a case directly in point is the leading one of Sy Joc Lieng vs. Encarnacion
([1910]), 16 Phil., 137; [1913], 228 U.S., 335). Here, the courts of the
Philippines and the Supreme Court of the United States were called upon to
decide, as to the conflicting claims to the estate of a Chinese merchant,
between the descendants of an alleged Chinese marriage and the
descendants of an alleged Philippine marriage. The Supreme Courts of the
Philippine Islands and the United States united in holding that the Chinese
marriage was not adequately proved. The legal rule was stated by the United
States Supreme Court to be this: A Philippine marriage, followed by forty
years of uninterrupted marital life, should not be impugned and discredited,
after the death of the husband and administration of his estate, though an
alleged prior Chinese marriage, "save upon proof so clear, strong, and
unequivocal as to produce a moral conviction of the existence of such
impediment." Another case in the same category is that of Son
Cui vs. Guepangco ([1912], 22 Phil., 216).
In the case at bar there is no competent testimony as to what the laws of
China in the Province of Amoy concerning marriage were in 1895. As in the
Encarnacion case, there is lacking proof so clear, strong, and unequivocal as
to produce a moral conviction of the existence of the alleged prior Chinese

marriage. Substitute twenty-three years for forty years and the two cases are
the same.
The lower court allowed the claimant, Cheong Seng Gee, the testamentary
rights of an acknowledged natural child. This finding finds some support in
Exhibit 3, the affidavit of Cheong Boo before the American Vice-Consul at
Sandakan, British North Borneo. But we are not called upon to make a
pronouncement on the question, because the oppositor-appellant indicates
silent acquiescence by assigning no error.
2. Validity of the Mohammedan Marriage
The biographical data relating to the Philippine odyssey of the Chinaman
Cheong Boo is fairly complete. He appears to have first landed on Philippine
soil sometime prior to the year 1896. At least, in the year las mentioned, we
find him in Basilan, Philippine Islands. There he was married to the Mora
Adong according to the ceremonies prescribed by the book on marriage of
the Koran, by the Mohammedan Iman (priest) Habubakar. That a marriage
ceremony took place is established by one of the parties to the marriage, the
Mora Adong, by the Iman who solemnized the marriage, and by other
eyewitnesses, one of whom was the father of the bride, and another, the
chief of the rancheria, now a municipal councilor. The groom complied with
Quranic law by giving to the bride a dowry of P250 in money and P250 in
goods.
The religious rites began with the bride and groom seating themselves in the
house of the father of the bride, Marahadja Sahibil. The Iman read from the
Koran. Then the Iman asked the parents if they had any objection to the
marriage. The marital act was consummated by the groom entering the
woman's mosquito net.
From the marriage day until the death of Cheong Boo, twenty-three years
later, the Chinaman and the Mora Adong cohabited as husband and wife. To
them were born five children, two of whom, Payang and Rosalia, are living.
Both in his relations with Mora Adong and with third persons during his
lifetime, Cheong Boo treated Adong as his lawful wife. He admitted this
relationship in several private and public documents. Thus, when different
legal documents were executed, including decrees of registration, Cheong
Boo stated that he was married to the Mora Adong while as late as 1918, he
gave written consent to the marriage of his minor daughter, Payang.
Notwithstanding the insinuation of counsel for the Chinese appellant that the
custom is prevalent among the Moros to favor in their testimony, a relative
or friend, especially when they do not swear on the Koran to tell the truth, it
seems to us that proof could not be more convincing of the fact that a

marriage was contracted by the Chinaman Cheong Boo and the Mora Adong,
according to the ceremonies of the Mohammedan religion.
It is next incumbent upon us to approach the principal question which we
announced in the very beginning of this decision, namely, Are the marriages
performed in the Philippines according to the rites of the Mohammedan
religion valid? Three sections of the Marriage Law (General Order No. 68)
must be taken into consideration.
Section V of the Marriage Law provides that "Marriage may be solemnized by
either a judge of any court inferior to the Supreme Court, justice of the
peace, or priest or minister of the Gospel of any denomination . . ." Counsel,
failing to take account of the word "priest," and only considering the phrase
"minister of the Gospel of any denomination" would limit the meaning of this
clause to ministers of the Christian religion. We believe this is a strained
interpretation. "Priest," according to the lexicographers, means one
especially consecrated to the service of a divinity and considered as the
medium through whom worship, prayer, sacrifice, or other service is to be
offered to the being worshipped, and pardon, blessing, deliverance, etc.,
obtained by the worshipper, as a priest of Baal or of Jehovah; a Buddhist
priest. "Minister of the Gospel" means all clergymen of every denomination
and faith. A "denomination" is a religious sect having a particular name.
(Haggin vs. Haggin [1892], 35 Neb., 375; In reReinhart, 9 O. Dec., 441;
Hale vs. Everett [1868], 53 N. H. 9.) A Mohammedan Iman is a "priest or
minister of the Gospel," and Mohammedanism is a "denomination," within
the meaning of the Marriage Law.
The following section of the Marriage Law, No. VI, provides that "No
particular form for the ceremony of marriage is required, but the parties
must declare, in the presence of the person solemnizing the marriage, that
they take each other as husband and wife." The law is quite correct in
affirming that no precise ceremonial is indispensable requisite for the
creation of the marriage contract. The two essentials of a valid marriage are
capacity and consent. The latter element may be inferred from the ceremony
performed, the acts of the parties, and habit or repute. In this instance, there
is no question of capacity. Nor do we think there can exist any doubt as to
consent. While it is true that during the Mohammedan ceremony, the
remarks of the priest were addressed more to the elders than to the
participants, it is likewise true that the Chinaman and the Mora woman did in
fact take each other to be husband and wife and did thereafter live together
as husband and wife. (Travers vs. Reinhardt [1907], 205 U.S., 423.
It would be possible to leave out of view altogether the two sections of the
Marriage Law which have just been quoted and discussed. The particular
portion of the law which, in our opinion, is controlling, is section IX, reading
as follows: "No marriage heretofore solemnized before any person professing

to have authority therefor shall be invalid for want of such authority or on


account of any informality, irregularity, or omission, if it was celebrated with
the belief of the parties, or either of them, that he had authority and that
they have been lawfully married."
The trial judge in construing this provision of law said that he did not believe
that the legislative intention in promulgating it was to validate marriages
celebrated between Mohammedans. To quote the judge:
This provisions relates to marriages contracted by virtue of the
provisions of the Spanish law before revolutionary authorized to
solemnized marriages, and it is not to be presumed that the legislator
intended by this law to validate void marriages celebrated during the
Spanish sovereignty contrary to the laws which then governed.
What authority there is for this statement, we cannot conceive. To our mind,
nothing could be clearer than the language used in section IX. Note for a
moment the all embracing words found in this section:
"No marriage" Could more inclusive words be found? "Heretofore
solemnized" Could any other construction than that of retrospective force
be given to this phrase? "Before any person professing to have authority
therefor shall be invalid for want of such authority" Could stronger
language than this be invoked to announce legislative intention? "Or on
account of any informality, irregularity, or omission" Could the legislative
mind frame an idea which would more effectively guard the marriage relation
against technicality? "If it was celebrated with the belief of the parties, or
either of them, that he had authority and that they have been lawfully
married" What was the purpose of the legislator here, if it was not to
legalize the marriage, if it was celebrated by any person who thought that he
had authority to perform the same, and if either of the parties thought that
they had been married? Is there any word or hint of any word which would
restrict the curative provisions of section IX of the Marriage Law to Christian
marriages? By what system of mental gymnastics would it be possible to
evolve from such precise language the curious idea that it was restricted to
marriages performed under the Spanish law before the revolutionary
authorities?
In view of the importance of the question, we do not desire to stop here but
would ascertain from other sources the meaning and scope of Section IX of
General Order No. 68.
The purpose of the government toward the Mohammedan population of the
Philippines has, time and again, been announced by treaty, organic law,
statutory law, and executive proclamation. The Treaty of Paris in its article X,
provided that "The inhabitants of the territories over which Spain

relinquishes or cedes her sovereignty shall be secured Instructions to the


Philippine Commission imposed on every branch of the Government of the
Philippine Islands the inviolable rule "that no law shall be made respecting an
establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and that the
free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without
discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed ... That no form of
religion and no minister of religion shall be forced upon any community or
upon any citizen of the Islands; that, upon the other hand, no minister of
religion shall be interfered with or molested in following his calling, and that
the separation between state and church shall be real, entire, and absolute."
The notable state paper of President McKinley also enjoined the Commission,
"to bear in mind that the Government which they are establishing is
designed . . . for the happiness, peace, and prosperity of the people of the
Philippine Islands" and that, therefore, "the measures adopted should be
made to conform to their customs, their habits, and even their
prejudices. . . . The Philippine Bill and the Jones Law reproduced the main
constitutional provisions establishing religious toleration and equality.
Executive and legislative policy both under Spain and the United States
followed in the same path. For instance, in the Treaty of April 30, 1851,
entered into by the Captain General of the Philippines and the Sultan of Sulu,
the Spanish Government guaranteed "with all solemnity to the Sultan and
other inhabitants of Sulu the free exercise of their religion, with which it will
not interfere in the slightest way, and it will also respect their customs." (See
furtherDecree of the Governor-General of January 14, 1881.) For instance,
Act No. 2520 of the Philippine Commission, section 3, provided that "Judges
of the Court of First Instance and justices of the peace deciding civil cases in
which the parties are Mohammedans or pagans, when such action is deemed
wise, may modify the application of the law of the Philippine Islands, except
laws of the United States applicable to the Philippine Islands, taking into
account local laws and customs. . . ." (See further Act No. 787, sec. 13 [ j];
Act No. 1283, sec. 6 [b]; Act No. 114 of the Legislative Council amended and
approved by the Philippine Commission; Cacho vs. Government of the United
States [1914], 28 Phil., 616.) Various responsible officials have so oft
announced the purpose of the Government not to interfere with the customs
of the Moros, especially their religious customs, as to make quotation of the
same superfluous.
The retrospective provisions of the Philippine Marriage Law undoubtedly were
inspired by the governmental policy in the United States, with regard to the
marriages of the Indians, the Quakers, and the Mormons. The rule as to
Indians marriages is, that a marriage between two Indians entered into
according to the customs and laws of the people at a place where such
customs and laws are in force, must be recognized as a valid marriage. The
rule as to the Society of Quakers is, that they will be left to their own
customs and that their marriages will be recognized although they use no

solemnization. The rule as to Mormon marriages is that the sealing ceremony


entered into before a proper official by members of that Church competent to
contract marriage constitutes a valid marriage.
The basis of human society throughout the civilized world is that of marriage.
Marriage in this jurisdiction is not only a civil contract, but, it is a new
relation, an institution in the maintenance of which the public is deeply
interested. Consequently, every intendment of the law leans toward
legalizing matrimony. Persons dwelling together in apparent matrimony are
presumed, in the absence of any counter-presumption or evidence special to
the case, to be in fact married. The reason is that such is the common order
of society, and if the parties were not what they thus hold themselves out as
being, they would be living in the constant violation of decency and of law. A
presumption established by our Code of Civil Procedure is "that a man and
woman deporting themselves as husband and wife have entered into a lawful
contract of marriage.:" (Sec. 334, No. 28.) Semper praesumitur pro
matrimonio Always presume marriage. (U. S. vs. Villafuerte and Rabano
[1905], 4 Phil., 476; Son Cui vs.Guepangco, supra; U.S. vs. Memoracion and
Uri [1916], 34 Phil., 633; Teter vs. Teter [1884], 101 Ind., 129.)
Section IX of the Marriage Law is in the nature of a curative provision
intended to safeguard society by legalizing prior marriages. We can see no
substantial reason for denying to the legislative power the right to remove
impediments to an effectual marriage. If the legislative power can declare
what shall be valid marriages, it can render valid, marriages which, when
they took place, were against the law. Public policy should aid acts intended
to validate marriages and should retard acts intended to invalidate
marriages. (Coghsen vs. Stonington [1822], 4 Conn, 209; Baity vs. Cranfill
[1884], 91 N. C., 273.)
The courts can properly incline the scales of their decisions in favors of that
solution which will most effectively promote the public policy. That is the true
construction which will best carry legislative intention into effect. And here
the consequences, entailed in holding that the marriage of the Mora Adong
and the deceased Cheong Boo, in conformity with the Mohammedan religion
and Moro customs, was void, would be far reaching in disastrous result. The
last census shows that there are at least one hundred fifty thousand Moros
who have been married according to local custom. We then have it within our
power either to nullify or to validate all of these marriages; either to make all
of the children born of these unions bastards or to make them legitimate;
either to proclaim immorality or to sanction morality; either to block or to
advance settled governmental policy. Our duty is a obvious as the law is
plain.
In moving toward our conclusion, we have not lost sight of the decisions of
this court in the cases of United Statesvs. Tubban ([1915]), 29 Phil., 434) and

United States vs. Verzola ([1916, 33 Phil., 285). We do not, however, believe
these decisions to be controlling. In the first place, these were criminal
actions and two Justice dissented.. In the second place, in the Tubban case,
the marriage in question was a tribal marriage of the Kalingas, while in the
Verzola case, the marriage had been performed during the
Spanish regime by a lieutenant of the Guardia Civil. In neither case, in
deciding as to whether or not the accused should be given the benefit of the
so-called unwritten law, was any consideration given to the provisions of
section IX of General Order No. 68. We are free to admit that, if necessary,
we would unhesitatingly revoke the doctrine announced in the two cases
above mentioned.
We regard the evidence as producing a moral conviction of the existence of
the Mohammedan marriage. We regard the provisions of section IX of the
Marriage law as validating marriages performed according to the rites of the
Mohammedan religion.
There are other questions presented in the various assignments of error
which it is unnecessary to decide. Inresume, we find the Chinese marriage
not to be proved and that the Chinaman Cheong Seng Gee has only the
rights of a natural child, and we find the Mohammedan marriage to be
proved and to be valid, thus giving to the widow and the legitimate children
of this union the rights accruing to them under the law.
Judgment is reversed in part, and the case shall be returned to the lower
court for a partition of the property in accordance with this decision, and for
further proceedings in accordance with law. Without special findings as to
costs in this instance, it is so ordered.
Araullo, C.J., Johnson, Street, Avancea, Villamor, Ostrand, Johns and
Romualdez, JJ., concur.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ALFONSO


PATALIN, JR., ALEX MIJAQUE, AND NESTOR RAS, accusedappellants.

DECISION

MELO, J.:
Accused-appellants Alex Mijaque and Alfonso Patalin, Jr. were charged
before Branch 25 of the Regional Trial Court of the 6th Judicial Region
stationed in Iloilo City, with the crime of robbery. * The Amended Information
dated October 11, 1985 charged:
That on or about August 11, 1984, in the municipality of Lambunao, province
of Iloilo, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the above
named two (2) accused, conspiring, confederating and cooperating with
three (3) others whose identities are still unknown and who are still at large,
armed with bladed weapons by means of force, violence and intimidation,
taking advantage of the nighttime to better realize their purpose, and in the
dwelling of the offended party, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously take, steal and carry away, with intent to gain, cash amount of
Three Hundred (P300.00) Pesos, Philippine Currency, owned by the victim
Corazon Aliman and the following personal property: one (1) adjustable
wrench, one (1) vise grip, one (1) screw driver, one (1) pair of levis pants,
one (1) travelling bag and one (1) wallet containing ten (P10.00) pesos, with
a total value of Four Hundred (P400.00) Pesos, Philippine Currency, owned by
the victims Reynaldo Aliman and Josephine Belesario, the over all total of
cash and personal property being SEVEN HUNDRED (P700.00) PESOS,
Philippine Currency, without the consent of the above-mentioned offended
parties and to their damage and prejudice in the aforestated amount; that by
reason or on the occasion of said Robbery, the above named two (2) accused
did then and there hack victim Reynaldo Aliman twice hitting him and
inflicting wounds which required medical attendance of more than thirty (30)
days, as well as inflict physical injuries to the other victims Corazon Aliman
and Josephine Belesario causing them to sustain injuries requiring medical
attendance for several number of days.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
(pp. 92-93, II Record.)
In a Second Amended Information also dated October 11, 1985 and
docketed as Criminal Case No. 18305, accused-appellants Alex Mijaque,
Alfonso Patalin, Jr., and Nestor Ras were charged before the same court with
the crime of robbery with multiple rape, thusly:

That on or about August 11, 1984, in the municipality of Lambunao, province


of Iloilo, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the abovenamed three (3) accused, with deliberate intent, and without any justifiable
motive, conspiring, confederating and working together with Richard Doe,
Philip Doe and Robert Doe who are still at large, all armed with firearms and
other deadly weapons, thereby performing [sic] themselves into a band,
entered the dwelling of Jesusa Carcillar, and once inside, with intent to gain
and with violence against, and/or intimidation of persons, did then and there
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steal and carry away Five Hundred
(P500.00) Pesos in cash, one (1) ring worth Two Thousand (P2,000.00) Pesos,
one (1) pair of earrings worth One Thousand (P1,000.00) Pesos, and one (1)
Seiko wrist watch worth Three Thousand (P3,000.00) Pesos, making a total of
Six Thousand Five Hundred (P6,500.00) Pesos, against the will and/or
consent of the owner; that on the occasion thereof, the above-named three
(3) accused, conspiring and working together with their companions who are
still at large, by means of force and intimidation, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously have sexual intercourse with Perpetua Carcillar,
Juliana Carcillar, Rogelia Carcillar and Josephine Belesario, against their will
and consent.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
(pp. 90-91, II Record.)
Upon arraignment on November 12, 1985, accused-appellants entered a
plea of not guilty to both crimes charged (p. 103, II Record).
After trial on the merits, a joint judgment was rendered, disposing:
Wherefore, premises considered there being sufficient and satisfactory proof
showing that the accused in these two cases are guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the charges filed against them, they are hereby sentenced as
follows:
a) In Crim. Case No. 18376 for Robbery with Physical Injuries, accused
Alfonso Patalin, Jr. and Alex Mijaque are penalized to suffer the indeterminate
penalty of imprisonment of Ten (10) years, and One (1) day of Prision Mayor,
as minimum, to Seventeen (17) years and Four (4) months of Reclusion
Temporal, as maximum, to indemnify Corazon Aliman the amount of P700.00
representing the value of her property robbed from her and also to indemnify
Reynaldo Aliman the amount of P8,000.00 representing the expenses he

incurred for his medication and hospitalization due to the wounds he


suffered.
b) In Criminal Case No. 18305 for Robbery with Multiple Rapes, accused
Alfonso Patalin, Jr., Alex Mijaque and Nestor Ras are sentenced to a death
penalty and to indemnify the members of the Carcillar family the amount of
P6,500.00 representing the cash and articles taken from them.
In both cases the accused are also ordained to pay the costs.
SO ORDERED.
(p. 80, Rollo.)
The trial court arrived at the aforestated conclusion based on the
following findings:
Criminal Case No. 18376
The crime of robbery (with physical injuries) was indeed committed by
accused-appellants Alfonso Patalin, Jr. and Alex Mijaque, as well as by their
unidentified companions, based on the positive identification made by
complaining witness Corazon Aliman, and corroborated by her son Reynaldo
and the latters half sister Josephine Belisario (p. 77, Rollo).
Criminal Case No. 18305
Accused-appellants Alfonso Patalin, Jr., Alex Mijaque, and Nestor Ras, as
well as an unidentified companion, acted in concert to commit the crime of
robbery with multiple rape. They were positively identified by the following
witnesses: Juliana Carcillar who was raped twice by Alex Mijaque; Josephine
Belisario who was raped once by Alex Mijaque; Rogelia Carcillar who was
raped by Alex Mijaque; and Perpetua Carcillar, who was raped by Nestor Ras,
after Alfonso Patalin, Jr. failed in his attempt to rape her. Accused-appellant
Patalin was likewise identified by Reynaldo Aliman who personally knew him
as a former barangay-mate for along time, as well as by Corazon Aliman,
mother of Reynaldo. The identification of accused-appellants was facilitated
and aided by a bright full moon and due to the fact that they tarried in the
crime scene for a long period of time, thus allowing their victims to imprint in
their memory the countenance or visage of accused-appellants. Said
positive and clear identification by the complaining witnesses, who were not

shown to have any ill motive to falsify the truth and to implicate accusedappellants, prevails over the latters defense of denial. Band, nocturnity, and
dwelling, were likewise appreciated against accused-appellants (pp. 78-79,
Rollo).
The errors assigned by accused-appellants in their individual briefs are
summarized as follows: (1) The trial court erred in finding that accusedappellants are responsible for the crimes charged; (2) The trial court erred in
convicting accused-appellant Patalin notwithstanding the fact that the latter
was arrested without a warrant; (3) Assuming without conceding that
accused-appellants (Patalin and Ras) committed the crimes charged, the trial
court erred in imposing the penalty of death as the same was suspended
upon the ratification of the 1987 Constitution (pp. 86, 146, 204, Rollo).
The prosecutions version of the August 11, 1984 incident, based on the
testimony of prosecution witnesses Dr. Edgardo Carmelo, Dra. Leticia Sitchon
Santiago, Reynaldo Aliman, Corazon Aliman, Josephine Belisario, Juliana
Carcillar, Rogelia Carcillar, and Perpetua Carcillar, is summarized in the
Solicitor Generals consolidated Brief, as follows:
At about 7:30 in the evening of August 11, 1984, while Reynaldo Aliman, his
half sister Josephine Belisario, and their mother Corazon Aliman were having
a conversation inside their house at Barangay Lumanay, municipality of
Lambunao, province of Iloilo, appellant Alfonso Patalin, Jr., who was outside
the fenced perimeter of said house, called out Reynaldo Aliman by his
nickname and asked the latter to let him and the other persons with him in
(pp. 5-6, TSN, Dec. 16, 1986).
Reynaldo Aliman opened the window and, because of the moonlight, saw
appellant Alfonso Patalin, Jr. with (2) other persons. Appellant Alfonso
Patalin, Jr. asked again Reynaldo Aliman to let them in (pp. 7-8,
ibid.). Reynaldo Aliman opened the gate and Alfonso Patalin together with his
companions, one of whom is appellant Alex Mijaque, entered the premises
(pp. 8, 10-11, ibid.). Immediately upon entering, appellant Alfonso Patalin, Jr.
pointed the beam of his flashlight at Reynaldo Aliman. At this juncture,
appellant Alex Mijaque hacked Reynaldo Aliman twice with a bolo hitting the
latter at the neck, right arm, and the chest (pp. 14-16, ibid.). Thereupon,
Reynaldo Aliman immediately ran away (p. 17, ibid.).
Corazon Aliman and Josephine Belisario, who went to the balcony of their
house, witnessed the hacking incident and the former shouted for help (p. 6,

TSN, July 21, 1987; pp. 8-9, TSN, June 30, 1988). Two of the assailants, one
of whom is appellant Alex Mijaque, pushed Corazon Aliman and Josephine
Belisario inside their house, covered their mouth and told them not to make
any noise. Later, appellant Alex Mijaque dragged Josephine Belisario to the
house of the latters aunt (sister of Corazon Aliman) which is beside their
house. The other man stayed put and while holding a double-bladed knife,
threatened to kill Corazon Aliman if the latter will not give him money. After
Corazon Aliman gave him three hundred pesos (P300.00) cash, he ransacked
the house and took one (1) wrist watch, one (1) vise grip, one (1) screw
driver, one (1) pair of Levis trousers, one (1) travelling bag, and one (1)
wallet containing ten pesos (P10.00); the total value thereof is seven
hundred pesos (P700.00) inclusive of the three hundred pesos (P300.00)
cash. Thereafter, the man also dragged Corazon Aliman to her sisters house
(pp. 6-8, TSN, July 21, 1987; pp. 11-12, TSN, June 30, 1988).
Josephine Belisario, who was dragged by Alex Mijaque to her aunts house
which is just twenty (20) meters away, saw six (6) persons, one of whom is
appellant Alfonso Patalin, Jr., outside the house of her aunt. Josephine
Belisario was forced to call out her aunts name and ask that the door be
opened for her. While the door was being opened, it was kicked by one of
the six (6) persons. Alfonso Patalin immediately went in, boxed the aunt of
Josephine Belisario on the body and announced that they are staging a holdup. The other companions of appellant Alfonso Patalin, Jr., including
appellant Alex Mijaque, who were armed with knives, a bolo, and a gun also
went in and restrained Josephine Belisarios cousins, namely Rogelia, Juliana,
Perpetua, Roy, and Victoriano, who are all surnamed Carcillar (pp. 11-15,
TSN, June 30, 1988; p. 11, TSN, June 29, 1989). Josephine Belisario together
with her aunt and cousins were all forced to lie face down on the floor of the
sala (p. 15, TSN, June 30, 1988; p. 7, TSN, Feb. 15, 1990). Appellant Alfonso
Patalin got hold of Mrs. Carcillar (Josephine Belisarios aunt and the mother of
her cousins), kicked and boxed the latter and exclaimed: Money,
money. It is money we want. Appellant Alfonso Patalin forced Mrs.
Carcillar into a room where the latter gave him money (p. 16, TSN, June 30,
1988; pp. 7-8, February 15, 1990). Then, appellants and their companions
seized the following personalities of the Carcillars: (1) one Seiko 5
wristwatch worth three thousand pesos (P3,000.00), (2) two (2) pairs of
ladys rings worth two thousand (P2,000.00), (3) one (1) pair of earrings, and
(4) two (2) travelling bags (p. 9, TSN, February 15, 1990).

Rogelia Carcillar was brought outside their house by appellant Alex Mijaque
who was armed with a butchers knife and threatened to kill her if she will
not lie down. Because of fear, she did as she was told (pp. 10, 16-17, TSN,
February 15, 1990). Appellant Alex Mijaque forcibly removed her underwear
and placed himself on top of Rogelia. She tried to resist but appellant Alex
Mijaque pressed the tip of his knife at the formers neck and succeeded in
having sexual intercourse with her (pp. 11-12, ibid.). Thereafter, appellant
Alex Mijaque brought her inside the house and ordered her to lie face down
on the floor again (pp. 13-14, ibid.). Then, one of the companions of
appellant Alex Mijaque who was armed with a gun took her outside and
brought her to a place not far from where she was raped (p. 14, ibid.). This
man, at the point of a gun, threatened to kill her if she will not obey his
orders. Rogelia Carcillar, who feared for her life, was left with no choice but
to obey the mans orders. There, she was raped for the second time by this
gun-wielding man (pp. 15-16, ibid.). While Rogelia Carcillar was being raped,
appellant Alfonso Patalin was also outside the house standing on guard (p.
18, ibid.).
Juliana Carcillar was likewise brought outside the house by appellant Alex
Mijaque who, with his knife, tried to rape her but he initially failed because of
her resistance. This angered appellant Alex Mijaque and he tried to kill
Juliana Carcillar by stabbing the latter but was prevailed upon not to do so by
one of his companions (pp. 12-15, TSN, June 29, 1989).
Appellant Alex Mijaque, after delivering fist blows on the body of Juliana
Carcillar, turned her over to one of his companions who was in the garden
outside the house and armed with a gun. This man threatened her with the
gun and mauled her. She was overpowered and he undressed her. He
inserted his finger on her sex organ and eventually succeeded in having
sexual intercourse with her (pp. 15-17, ibid.). Then, this companion of
appellant Alex Mijaque brought Juliana Carcillar back inside the house and
ordered to look for money. When she told him that they have no more
money, he kept on harming her. In the course thereof, he found and took a
Seiko wristwatch owned by Perpetua Carcillar. Then, he brought her outside
the house again where he had a brief conversation with appellants Nestor
Ras and Alfonso Patalin. She was then brought back inside the house and
ordered to lie face down on the floor again. While at this position, appellant
Alex Mijaque approached her and brought her outside the house. She
refused to obey appellant Alex Mijaques order to lie down on the ground so
he pushed her downwards. Her strength gave out and he succeeded in

raping her twice. She was then brought back inside the house (pp. 18-21,
TSN, June 29, 1989).
Josephine Belisario, while laying face down on the floor of the sala, was
dragged by appellant Alex Mijaque inside one of the rooms. He threatened
her with his knife and was able to undress her. He fondled her breasts,
pulled her pubic hair and eventually succeeded in having sexual intercourse
with her. She was then left inside the room. Two companions of appellant
Alex Mijaque came in bringing with them her cousins Rogelia and Perpetua
Carcillar. One of them saw Josephine Belisario and brought her to another
room. The man demanded money from her but she was not able to give him
money. The man was also carrying a knife and threatened her with the
same. She resisted when he was forcing her to lie down on the bed but her
strength finally gave out. He likewise succeeded in having sexual
intercourse with her. After raping her, the man took a piggy bank which was
at the foot of the bed and brought her back to the room where she was first
raped. Her aunt and cousins were also inside the said room (pp. 17-25, TSN,
June 30, 1988).
Perpetua Carcillar suffered the same fate. While laying face down on the
floor of the living room, she was pulled by the heir by appellant Alfonso
Patalin and ordered to stand up. When she stood up, she realized that her
sister were no longer there. Appellant Alfonso Patalin, armed with a doublebladed knife, brought her outside the house, ordered her to undress and lie
down. Because of fear, Perpetua Carcillar, who was then only thirteen (13)
years old, obeyed appellant Alfonso Patalin. He tried to force his penis into
her vagina but did not succeed. Then, appellant Alfonso Patalin handed her
over to appellant Nestor Ras, a member of their group who was only about
two (2) arms length away. Appellant Nestor Ras, armed with a double-bladed
knife which he was pointing at Perpetua Carcillar, ordered her to lie
down. He fondled her breasts, kissed her, and succeeded in having sexual
intercourse with her. After raping her, appellant Nestor Ras brought her back
inside the house. When she was returned inside the house, the intruders
were still demanding for money from her mother and were taking turns in
beating the latter (pp. 4, 15-23, TSN, July 12, 1990).
Appellants left, together with the other assailants, taking with them the
valuables stated earlier after threatening them not to report the matter to
the police or else they will return and kill all of them (p. 19, TSN, February 15,
1990).

Reynaldo Aliman was brought to Ricardo Ladrido Memorial Hospital where he


received first aid. He was then brought to West Visayas Medical Center
located in Manduriao, Iloilo (pp. 18-20, TSN, December 16, 1986) and was
treated by Dr. Edgardo Carmelo (p. 4, TSN, May 14, 1986). Reynaldo Aliman
sustained the following injuries: (1) hack wound, mid forearm, area ulnar
side middle third forearm, and (2) hack wound, left side of neck (pp. 5-6, ibid;
Exhibit A). Reynaldo Aliman was confined in the hospital for almost three (3)
months and he spent more than eight thousand pesos (P8,000.00) for
medicines, food and other expenditures (p. 19, TSN, December 16, 1986).
Dr. Leticia Sitchon Santiago examined and treated Josephine Belisario two
days after she was raped. A hematoma, about 3x4 inches in diameter, was
found on the left shoulder of Josephine Belisario which could have been
caused by forcing the latter to lie down on the ground. Josephine Belisario
vagina admits two (2) fingers. Further, hematoma was noted in the hymen
at nine oclock and three oclock positions and fresh lacerations was also
noted at nine, eleven, and three oclock positions. These are indications that
a foreign object, which could be a human penis, was inserted in the vagina
and caused the lacerations of the hymen (pp. 6-9, TSN, September 3, 1986).
Rogelia Carcillar, Juliana Carcillar and Perpetua Carcillar were also examined
and treated by Dr. Leticia Santiago but such was conducted three days after
the incident (p. 17, ibid).
A hematoma was noted in the occipital region of the head of Rogelia Carcillar
(p. 18, ibid). Her vagina admits two fingers snugly and the perineum has a
lacerated wound which is one centimeter in length (pp. 18-19, ibid; pp. 2-3,
TSN, November 10, 1986). Fresh lacerations were likewise noted in her
hymen at eight, eleven and three oclock positions (p. 3, TSN, November 10,
1986). Dr. Santiago further testified that a foreign object was inserted in the
vagina of Rogelia Carcillar (p. 19, TSN, September 3, 1986; p. 3, TSN,
November 10, 1986).
Juliana Carcillar, 22 years old, sustained a hematoma in the forehead, left
and right side of the face, upper right arm, uppermost and lower portions of
the left thigh, occipital region of the head and left side of the mouth. She
also sustained the following injuries: (1) cm. lacerated wound on the left
side of the lower lip, (2) bite mark with hematoma on the left shoulder, (3) 1
cm. incised wounds on the right index finger and right thumb, (4) 4 inches
incised wound on the right forearm, and (5) multiple abrasions at the back

including the portion below the waistline, her vagina admits two fingers and
fresh lacerations in the hymen were noted at eight, eleven, and four oclock
positions (pp. 10-15, TSN, November 10, 1986).
Perpetua Carcillar, 13 years old, sustained a 1 centimeter lacerated wound
on the perineum which was also swollen. Her vagina admits two fingers
snugly (pp. 8-9, ibid). A fresh laceration at six oclock position and a
hematoma also at six oclock position were noted on her hymen (Exhibit C, p.
15, Record).
(pp. 300-311, Rollo.)
Denial and alibi were set up by accused-appellants based on their
testimony and that of their witnesses, Alejandro Tabucan, Felizardo Lebona,
Rhodora Losaria, and Cristina Gumban. The denials, together with other
arguments, are summarized as follows:
Alfonso Patalin
Accused-appellant Alfonso Patalin alleges that his name was only
included by Jesus Larang, whom he described as the landlord of Jesusa
Carcillar and the Carcillar sisters, to force him to reveal the names of the
persons who staged the robbery and rape. Verily, he declared on the stand
that when the victims saw him at the police station, two of them (Josephine
Belisario and Reynaldo Aliman) even smiled at him (tsn, August 13, 1993, pp.
10-11, 19-20).
In his brief, he argues that he was not positively identified, rationalizing
that when prosecution witness Josephine Belisario was asked on the stand if
she recognized the person who called [her] brother Reynaldo, said witness
responded that she did not know the person who called her brother, and that
she only recognized the callers voice (tsn, August 11, 1988, pp. 3031). Further, accused-appellant Patalin also alleges that he was arrested
without a warrant.
Alex Mijaque
Accused-appellant Alex Mijaque argues that in the sworn statement of
Reynaldo Aliman (p. 3, II Record), there is no mention of his name nor that of
accused-appellant
Patalin
as
the
perpetrators
of
the
crimes
charged. Moreover, during the preliminary examination in the lower court,

accused-appellant Mijaque was also not named as one of the


malefactors. He likewise points out that in the police blotter, the first report
mentioned that the alleged offenders were unknown persons. No rape was
reported. In the second report, it was blottered that the alleged offenders
were four unidentified persons. Again, no rape was reported. Accusedappellant Mijaque likewise takes note of the report given by Rogelia Carcillar
who merely narrated the robbery but did not report any rape.
According to this accused-appellant, the police authorities of Iloilo,
Manduriao (also referred to in the record as Mandurriao) received a
complaint from a resident thereat that his television set was stolen previous
to the incidents herein involved. Accused-appellant Mijaque was suspected
as the thief and was picked up by the agents of the Manduriao Police Station
without any warrant of arrest and was thence detained for three days
without any complaint (p. 93, Rollo). Meanwhile, the robbery at Lambunao,
Iloilo was being flashed at all police stations in Iloilo. The arresting officers of
the Manduriao Police Station, so accused-appellant Mijaque contends, in
order to save themselves from charges of arbitrary detention, immediately
referred him for custodial investigation in regard to the Lambunao
robbery. Consequently, three days after his confinement, a criminal
complaint for robbery with physical injuries and another for robbery with
rape was filed against him by the Chief of Police of Lambunao, Iloilo.
Nestor Ras
The third accused-appellant, Nestor Ras, argues that his name was never
mentioned by Dr. Edgardo Carmelo, and that Josephine Belisario was merely
led by the public prosecutor into mentioning his name. He also states that
the witnesses declarations as regards his identification are confusing and
inconsistent (pp. 208-210, Rollo).
Further, it is contended that Rogelio Carcillar himself, when asked by the
public prosecutor about what happened to his sister Perpetua Carcillar,
testified that Nothing happened to them (p. 210, id). And when Perpetua
Carcillar and the other female prosecution witnesses reported the alleged
incident to the police authorities, they never mentioned that they were
raped.
As mentioned, all three accused-appellants, aside from denying the
charges, also presented their respective alibis. Accused-appellant Patalin
testified that he was at home with his parents, wife, and children, at Pandan,

Lambunao (tsn, August 13, 1993, pp. 16-17) at the time of the incident. As
corroborative witness, he presented Felizardo Lebona, the person in charge
of the plantation where he was working, who testified that accused-appellant
Patalin did not leave the plantation house from August 9 to 12, 1984 (tsn,
October 15, 1993, pp. 4-5).
For his part, accused-appellant Mijaque insists that he had no opportunity
to get out of the farm where he was working which was located in Manduriao,
Iloilo (tsn, May 6, 1993, p. 6). In July, 1985, he was arrested for theft of a
television set and detained in the Lambunao jail for investigation. Although
three of the herein complainants were brought in front of his detention cell,
he was not identified. Instead, the policemen pointed to him and said, That
is Alex Mijaque who raped you. If you will not include him, he will file a case
against you. Moreover, he testified that he was mauled in jail (tsn, July 29,
1993, pp. 10-13). Defense witness, Alejandro Tabucan, neighbor of accusedappellant Mijaque, corroborated the latters alibi that on August 11, 1984,
they had a drinking spree from 6 oclock in the evening to 12 oclock
midnight, and accused-appellant Mijaque was not able to leave the premises
in Manduriao. Tabucan also said that he saw Mijaque still asleep the
following morning (tsn, August 6, 1993, pp. 4-5, 10).
Lastly, accused-appellant Nestor Ras declared that he was in the province
of Antique (particularly, in Igbangkal, Dao) on August 11, 1984 (tsn,
December 17, 1993, p. 4). As corroborative witness, he presented Cristina
Gumban, a vendor who testified that on August 11, 1984, she bought
cassava and sweet potatoes from accused-appellant Ras in Igbangkal, Dao,
Antique from 3 oclock to 5 oclock in the afternoon, and that he saw Ras put
the purchased items in a sack (tsn, March 4, 1994, p. 4).
We are not persuaded by the above posturings and are compelled to
affirm.
Of primordial consideration in appellate matters is the legal principle that
the assessment of the credibility of witnesses and their testimony is a matter
best undertaken by the trial court because of its unique opportunity to
observe the witnesses firsthand and to note their demeanor, conduct, and
attitude under grilling examination (People vs. Ombrog, 268 SCRA 93
[1997]). We generally uphold and respect this appraisal since, as an
appellate court, we do not deal with live witnesses but only with the cold
pages of a written record (People vs. Herbieto, 269 SCRA 472 [1997]).

A close examination of the record convinces us of the prosecution


witnesses credibility, particularly the ravished victims, who, for
approximately two agonizing hours, were subjected to a hellish nightmare
occurring in the very privacy of their own homes.
As pointed out by the Office of the Solicitor General in its consolidated
brief, the defense was not able to prove any motive on the part of the private
complainants to falsely testify that they were robbed and raped by accusedappellants. In fact, two of the rape victims, Josephine Belisario and Rogelia
Carcillar, were even married to first cousins of accused-appellant Patalin (pp.
327-328, Rollo), and would not ordinarily turn against a relative although this
be by mere affinity unless they really suffered the fate they narrated.
Accused-appellants rely on the delay or vacillation on the part of the
complaining witnesses. As discussed above in their individual defenses, they
emphasize that Reynaldo Aliman failed to mention the names of the
perpetrators in his sworn statement; that on August 11, 1984, Reynaldo
instructed a relative, Jesus Larang, to report the hacking and robbery
incidents at the Lambunao Police Department, as well as the robbery
committed in the Carcillar household, and that the police blotter stated that
the alleged offenders were unknown persons but contained no report of any
rape; and that Rogelia Carcillars report did not mention that she was raped.
Time and again, we have ruled that delay in lodging a criminal accusation
does not impair the credibility of a witness if such delay is satisfactorily
explained (People vs. Bugarin, 273 SCRA 384 [1997]). An examination of
Reynaldo Alimans sworn statement (p. 3, I Record) shows that he clearly
identified one of the callers as accused-appellant Alfonso Patalin. Anent his
failure to mention accused-appellant Mijaques name, he explained on crossexamination that he did not know yet the name of the person who attacked
him with the bolo at the time he executed his sworn statement (tsn, Dec. 16,
1986, pp. 35, 38-39). It was only later that he found out that the name of his
assailant was Alex Mijaque. As regards Jesus Larang, the fact that he
mentioned unknown persons in his report does not affect Reynaldos
categorical and positive identification of accused-appellants Patalin and
Mijaque as the perpetrators of the hacking and robbery incidents at his
home.
Anent the rape victims, it was clearly explained that their assailants told
them not to report the matter to the police, otherwise, the assailants will

return and kill them (tsn, Feb. 15, 1990, p. 19). The victims were overcome
by fear and shame (ibid., p. 31). Besides, the delay in reporting the multiple
rapes was not procrastination as this was only 3 days from the date of the
incident (tsn, June 30, 1988, p. 22), a far shorter period than those
mentioned in People vs. Gecomo (254 SCRA 82 [1996]) where we held that a
delay of 17 or 35 days, or even 6 months, by a victim of rape in reporting the
attack on her honor, does not detract from the veracity of her charge.
The defense also notes certain inconsistencies in the testimony of the
complaining witnesses, as follows: (1) Juliana Carcillar testified earlier that
the only light in the house came from a kerosene lamp placed on a small
table which was extinguished as a result of it being knocked down, thus
placing the house in darkness, while on the other hand, Perpetua Carcillar,
earlier said that although there was no more light in the house coming from
the lamp, yet she could still see because the light of the moon still
illuminated their house, allegedly through the plastic roofing; and (2) the
prosecution witnesses could not agree concerning the date they went to San
Dionisio, Iloilo to identify accused-appellant Nestor Ras, as well as the date
when Ras was arrested.
Inconsistencies in the testimony of witnesses, when referring only to
minor details and collateral matters do not affect either the substance of
their declaration, their veracity, or the weight of their testimony, and do not
impair the credibility of such witnesses where there is consistency in relating
the principal occurrence and the positive identification of the assailant
(Sumalpong vs. Court of Appeals, 268 SCRA 764 [1997]). In fact, honest
inconsistencies on minor and trivial matters serve to strengthen rather than
destroy the credibility of a witness to a crime, especially so when the crime is
shocking to the conscience and numbing to the senses (People vs. Agunias,
279 SCRA 52 [1997]).
With respect to the defenses of denial and alibi, significantly, these
defenses, if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, are negative
and self-serving, deserve no weight in law, and cannot be given evidentiary
value over the testimony of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative
matters (People vs. Gayon, 269 SCRA 587 [1997]). Positive identification,
where categorical and consistent and without any showing of ill motive on
the part of the eyewitnesses testifying on the matter, prevails over alibi and
denial (People vs. Javier, 269 SCRA 181 [1997]). Verily, even if the defense
of denial is supported by the testimony of friends of the accused, it deserves

the barest consideration (People vs. Gamiao, 240 SCRA 254 [1995]). It will
be given weight only if it would preclude any doubt that the accused could
not have been physically present at the place of the crime or its vicinity at
the time of commission (People vs. Daquipil, 240 SCRA 314 [1995]; People
vs. De Roxas, 241 SCRA 369 [1995]; People vs. Morin, 241 SCRA 709
[1995]; People vs. Rivera, 242 SCRA 26 [1995]; People vs. Dela Iglesia, 241
SCRA 718 [1995]; People vs. Umali, 242 SCRA 17 [1995]; People vs. Dayson,
242 SCRA 124 [1995]; People vs. Espinosa, Jr. 243 SCRA 7 [1995]; People vs.
Parica, 243 SCRA 557 [1995]; People vs. Escoto, 244 SCRA 87 [1995]).
Accused-appellant Mijaque testified that on August 11, 1984, he was in
Manduriao, Iloilo. The overland travel time from the town of Manduriao to
Lambunao is approximately one hour and twenty minutes. Accusedappellant Patalin testified that he was in Barangay Pandan, which is merely
adjacent to Lambunao. Lastly, accused-appellant Nestor Ras testified that he
was in Antique, a province neighboring Iloilo, which is approximately two
hours away therefrom via overland transportation. The defense tried to
corroborate these alibis by presenting witnesses who testified on details
which happened ten years prior to the date their testimony was given, and
hence of naturally doubtful credibility.
Mutatis Mutandi People vs. Queliza (279 SCRA 145 [1997]), considering
that the places where accused-appellants alleged they were at could be
traversed by motorized vehicles, it was not impossible that accusedappellants could not have been at the crime scene by 7 oclock or 7:30
o'clock in the evening on August 11, 1984. More importantly and damming
yet is the positive identification of their presence thereat by the victims.
The trial court correctly appreciated the aggravating circumstances of
nighttime and dwelling in Criminal Case No. 18376 considering that
nighttime facilitated the commission of the crime and the evidence shows
that accused-appellants took advantage of the darkness to successfully
consummate their plans (People vs. Apduhan, Jr., 24 SCRA 798
[1968]). Dwelling is clear from the abuse of confidence which the victims
reposed in the offenders by opening the door to them, as well as the
violation of the sanctity of privacy in the victims homes. He who goes to
anothers house to slander him, hurt him, or do him wrong, is more guilty
than he who offends him elsewhere (Reyes, The Revised Penal Code
Criminal Law, Vol. I, 1993 ed., citing the dissenting opinion of Justice Villareal
in People vs. Ambis, 68 Phil. 635 [1939] and Viada, 5th ed., Vol. II, pp. 323-

324). We further affirm the trial courts finding on the presence of the
aggravating circumstance of band considering that Reynaldo Aliman testified
that accused-appellants Patalin and two other companions (one of whom was
later identified as accused-appellant Mijaque) entered his home (tsn, p. 7,
Dec. 16, 1986). This was corroborated by Josephine Belisario who even saw
four (4) persons enter their gate, one of whom was accused-appellant Patalin
(tsn, p. 10, June 30, 1988). These same aggravating circumstances likewise
attended the commission of the crime of robbery with multiple rape in
Criminal Case No. 18305 and this was clearly testified to by the victims
thereof who stated that five persons, including accused-appellant Patalin,
armed with a bolo, a knife, and a long gun, entered their dwelling that
unfortunate night (tsn, June 29, 1989, p. 10; February 15, 1990, p. 5).
With respect to accused-appellants Patalin and Mijaques defense that
they were arrested without warrants, suffice it to say that any objection,
defect, or irregularity attending an arrest must be made before the accused
enters his plea (Padilla vs. CA, 269 SCRA 402 [1997]). As correctly pointed
out in the Peoples consolidated brief, the record shows no objection was
ever interposed prior to arraignment and trial (p. 324, Rollo).
It is indubitable that there was conspiracy in the commission of the
crimes in both Criminal Cases No. 18376 and 18305. In the first criminal
case, the evidence clearly shows that accused-appellants Patalin and
Mijaque, together with unidentified companions, committed the crime
charged. Said culprits shared the common criminal objective of robbing the
victims and inflicting wounds upon Reynaldo Aliman on the occasion of the
robbery. In the second case, all three accused-appellants (together with
unidentified companions), who were positively identified by the victims
themselves, undoubtedly had the common criminal design of robbing the
household of Jesusa Carcillar, and of committing multiple rape on the
occasion of the robbery. Accused-appellant Mijaque dragged Josephine
Belisario to her aunts house and the other culprits followed suit. Accusedappellant Patalin boxed Jesusa Carcillar and announced that they were
staging a hold-up. After robbing the household, they proceeded in ravishing
the four young female victims, Rogelia, Juliana, Josephine, and Perpetua, one
after the other, thus truly exhibiting their concerted acts.
Conspiracy exists when two or more persons came to an agreement
concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it (People vs.
Abarri, 242 SCRA 39 [1995]). It cannot be merely presumed. Similar to the

physical act constituting the crime itself, the elements of conspiracy must be
proven beyond reasonable doubt.
In the case at bar, although there was no proof of previous actual
agreement among accused-appellants adduced at the trial
...direct proof is not essential to show conspiracy. It need not be shown that
the parties actually came together and agreed in express terms to enter into
and pursue a common design. The existence of the assent of minds which is
involved in a conspiracy maybe, and from the secrecy of the crime, usually
must be, inferred by the court from proof of facts and circumstances which,
taken together, apparently indicate that they are merely parts of some
complete whole. If it is proved that two or more persons aimed by their acts
towards the accomplishment of the same unlawful object, each doing a part
so that their acts, though apparently independent, were in fact connected
and cooperative, indicating a closeness of personal association and a
concurrence of sentiment, then a conspiracy maybe inferred though no
actual meeting among them to concert means is proved (People vs.
Carbonel, 48 Phil. 868; See also People vs. Viray, 147 SCRA 146; People vs.
Balignasay, G.R. No. 76743, May 22, 1992; People vs. Galit, 230 SCRA 486)...
(People vs. Miranday, 242 SCRA 620 [1995]).
Verily, the participation of each of the accused-appellants was exhibited
by the straightforward testimony of the victims themselves.
This brings us to the crucial issue raised by accused-appellants on the
death penalty. At the time the crimes charged were committed in 1984,
robbery with rape was punishable by death (Art. 294, Revised Penal
Code). However, by virtue of the ratification of the 1987 Constitution,
specifically Paragraph (1), Section 19 of Article III thereof, the death penalty
was abolished. Hence, the argument that it could not be imposed upon
accused-appellants. Said provision reads as follows:
Sec. 19 (1) Excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel, degrading or
inhuman punishment inflicted. Neither shall death penalty be imposed,
unless, for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes, the Congress
hereafter provides for it. Any death penalty already imposed shall be
reduced to reclusion perpetua.

The constitutional abolition of the death penalty immediately took effect


upon the ratification of the 1987 Constitution. However, said provision left
the matter open for Congress to revive capital punishment at its discretion,
for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes. Simply stated, it did not
prevent the legislature from reimposing the death penalty at some future
time (Bernas, The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines: A
Commentary, 1996 ed., pp. 507-508).
Congress eventually restored the death penalty by virtue of Republic Act
No. 7659 or the Death Penalty Law which took effect on January 1, 1994.
Accused-appellants are of the position that since the Constitutions
abolition of the death penalty had retroactive effect, being beneficial to the
accused, the restoration or imposition of the death penalty on January 1,
1994 would no longer cover them notwithstanding the fact that the decision
was rendered by the trial court on June 14, 1995, when the Death Penalty
Law had already taken effect.
Article 21 of the Revised Penal Code provides that no felony shall be
punishable by any penalty not prescribed by law prior to its commission. At
the time of the commission of the crime in 1984, as held by the trial court,
robbery with rape, if committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or
more persons, was punishable by reclusion perpetua to death (Article 294[2],
Revised Penal Code [as amended by Presidential Decree No. 767]).
True, in 1987, the Constitution abolished the death penalty subject to
Congress future restoration thereof for compelling reasons involving
heinous crimes. At the time of such ratification, the instant case was still at
its trial stage. No penalty had as yet then been imposed. Considering that
the provision provides that [a]ny death penalty already imposed shall be
reduced to reclusion perpetua, it is clear that the framers intended said
provision to have a retroactive effect on cases pending without any penalty
of death having been imposed yet. Consequently, upon ratification of the
1987 Constitution, any death penalty already imposed is automatically
without need for any executive action commuted (Bernas, The 1987
Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary, 1996 ed., p.
508).
The instant case poses the following issue: When the death penalty was
abolished in 1987 and was retroactively applied to herein accusedappellants, did they gain a vested right thereto so that any future act

restoring the death penalty would no longer cover them? An affirmative


answer would free accused-appellants from the fatal clutches of the death
penalty.
Ours is a government of laws and not of men. The idea that an individual
may be compelled to hold his life (or lose it), or the means of living, at the
mere will of another, is intolerable in any country where freedom prevails
(Villavicencio vs. Lukban, 39 Phil 778 [1919]). Before us is a heinous crime
indeed where People were harmed, robbed, ravished, and abused in the
defaced sanctity of their own homes. It is but human nature to feel some
measure of loathing, disgust, and hatred for the offenders considering the
inhuman aspect of the crime committed. However, the ascendancy of the
law is axiomatic in our type of government. Every official act must be based
on and must conform to the authority of a valid law, lacking which the act
must be rejected (Cruz, Phil. Political Law, 1996 ed., p. 51). The nobility of
our intention is insufficient.
There is no doubt that the abolition of the death penalty in 1987
retroactively affected and benefited accused-appellants. Article 22 of the
Revised Penal Code provides that [p]enal laws shall have a retroactive effect
insofar as they favor the person guilty of a felony, who is not a habitual
criminal . . . although at the time of the publication of such laws a final
sentence has been pronounced and the convict is serving the same.
A statute is penal when it imposes punishment for an offense committed
against the state (Aquino, The Revised Penal Code, Vol. I, 1987 ed., p.
5). The above-cited provision of the Constitution is penal in character since
it deals with the penalty to be imposed for capital crimes. This penal
provision may be given retroactive effect during three possible stages of a
criminal prosecution: (a) when the crime has been committed and the
prosecution began; (b) when sentence has been passed but the service has
not begun; and (c) when the sentence is being carried out
(Gregorio, Fundamentals of Criminal Law Review, 1988 ed., p. 167,
citing Escalante vs. Santos, 56 Phil 483 [1932]).
In the light of the discussion above, there is no question that the abolition
of the death penalty benefits herein accused-appellants. Perforce, the
subsequent reimposition of the death penalty will not affect them. The
framers of the Constitution themselves state that the law to be passed by
Congress reimposing the death penalty (Republic Act 7659) can only have

prospective application (Bernas, The 1987 Constitution the Republic of the


Philippines: A Commentary, 1996 ed., p. 508, citing I RECORD, p.
748; Bernas, The Intent of the 1986 Constitution Writers, 1995 ed., p. 227,
citing I Record, p. 747-748).
There is no question that a person has no vested right in any rule of law
which entitles him to insists that it shall remain unchanged for his benefit,
nor has he a vested right in the continued existence of a statute which
precludes its change or repeal, nor in any omission to legislate on a
particular matter. However, a subsequent statute cannot be so applied
retroactively as to impair a right that accrued under the old law
(Agpalo, Statutory Construction, 1986 ed., p. 264, citing Benguet
Consolidated Mining Co. vs. Pineda, 98 Phil 711 [1956]; Laurel vs. Misa, 76
Phil 372 [1946]). Courts have thus given statutes strict construction to
prevent their retroactive operation in order that the statutes would not
impair or interfere with vested or existing rights. Clearly, accusedappellants right to be benefited by the abolition of the death penalty
accrued or attached by virtue of Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code. This
benefit cannot be taken away from them.
Since the retroactive application of a law usually divests rights that have
already become vested (Benzonan vs. Court of Appeals, 205 SCRA 515
[1992]), the rule in statutory construction is that all statutes are to be
construed as having only a prospective operation unless the purpose and
intention of the legislature to give them a retrospective effect is expressly
declared or is necessarily implied from the language used (Balatbat vs. Court
of Appeals, 205 SCRA 419 [1992]).
By analogy, we apply the rule in labor law which provides that benefits
accruing to workmen under the old law cannot be taken away from them by
a succeeding law. In the case at bar, there is greater reason to apply this
principle since the very taking of life is involved and is at issue.
As regards accused-appellants civil liability, the trial court, in Criminal
Case No. 18376, correctly awarded P700.00 to Corazon Aliman representing
the total value of the cash and personal property forcibly taken, and
P8,000.00 to Reynaldo Aliman representing expenses incurred for medication
and hospitalization. However, in Criminal Case No. 18305, the trial court
failed to order indemnification for the multiple rapes. Thus, in line with the

pronouncement in People vs. Victor (G.R. No. 127903, July 9, 1998) wherein
we said:
One other point of concern has to be addressed. Indictments for rape
continue unabated and the legislative response has been in the form of
higher penalties. The Court believes that, on like considerations, the
jurisprudential path on the civil aspect should follow the same
direction. Hence, starting with the case at bar, if the crime of rape is
committed or effectively qualified by any of the circumstances under which
the death penalty is authorized by the present amended law, the indemnity
for the victim shall be in the increased amount of not less than
P75,000.00. this is not only a reaction to the apathetic societal perception of
the penal law and the financial fluctuations over time, but also an expression
of the displeasure of the Court over the incidence of heinous crimes against
chastity.
accused-appellants should be made to pay P375,000.00 as indemnification
for five counts of rape (considering that Juliana Carcillar was twice raped by
accused-appellant Mijaque) in addition to the sum of P6,500.00 representing
the value of the cash and articles that were taken from the victims. In line
with the recent ruling in People vs. Prades (G.R. No. 127569, July 30, 1998),
moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00 for each count of rape, or a
total of P250,000.00 is likewise awarded. Lastly, so that the instant case
may serve as an object lesson to the public, exemplary damages in the
amount of P10,000 per count of rape is further awarded (People vs. Burce,
269 SCRA 293 [1997]).
Because of the findings of conspiracy, accused-appellants Patalin and
Mijaque are jointly and severally liable for the amounts awarded in Criminal
Case No. 18376; whereas all three accused-appellants are solidarily liable for
the amounts awarded in Criminal Case No. 18305.
WHEREFORE, finding the conviction of accused-appellants justified by
the evidence on record, the Court hereby AFFIRMS said judgment, with the
following modifications:
(a) In Criminal Case No. 18376, for purposes of the Indeterminate
Sentence Law, considering that the aggravating circumstances of band,
nighttime, and dwelling attended the commission of the crime, accusedappellants Patalin and Mijaque are hereby sentenced to an indeterminate
penalty ranging from six (6) years of prision correccional, as minimum, to

fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months, and one (1) day of reclusion
temporal, as maximum;
(b) Accused-appellants Patalin and Mijaque are jointly and severally held
liable for the amounts awarded by the trial court in said criminal case,
particularly, the amount of P700.00 representing the total value of the cash
and articles taken from Corazon Aliman, and P8,000.00 representing the
expenses incurred by Reynaldo Aliman for medication and hospitalization;
(c) In Criminal Case No. 18305, the penalty imposed is reduced
to reclusion perpetua; and
(d) Aside from the amount of P6,500.00 already awarded by the trial
court to the Carcillar family representing the value of the cash and articles
taken, the victims in Criminal Case No. 18305 are hereby awarded an
additional P75,000 as indemnity for each count of rape, P50,000.00 for each
count of rape as moral damages, and P10,000 for each count of rape as
exemplary damages, for which amounts all three accused-appellants are
jointly and severally liable.
SO ORDERED.
Romero, Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban,
Quisumbing, Purisima, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, and Ynares-Santiago,
JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J., on leave.
SYNOPSIS
Accused-appellants Alex Mijaque, Alfonso Patalin Jr. and Nestor Ras were
charged before Branch 25 of the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City with the
crime of robbery with physical injuries and robbery with multiple rape. Upon
arraignment on November 12, 1985, accused-appellants entered a plea of
not guilty to both crimes charged. After trial on the merits, a joint judgment
was rendered finding herein appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the charges filed against them and sentenced them to suffer the penalty of
ten years and one day of prision mayor as minimum to seventeen years and
four months of reclusion temporal as maximum for the crime of robbery with
physical injuries and death penalty for the crime of robbery with multiple
rape. Because of the penalty imposed, the case was forwarded to the

Supreme Court for automatic review. The errors assigned by appellants in


their individual briefs are summarized as follows: (1) The trial court erred in
finding that the appellants are responsible for the crimes charged; (2) The
trial court erred in convicting appellant Patalin notwithstanding the fact that
the latter was arrested without a warrant; (3) Assuming without conceding
that herein appellants committed the crimes charged, the trail court erred in
imposing the penalty of death as the same was suspended upon the
ratification of the 1987 Constitution.
The Court found appellants contention not tenable. A close examination
of the records convinced the Court of the prosecution witnesses credibility,
particularly the ravished victims who, for approximately two agonizing hours,
were subjected to hellish nightmare occurring in the very privacy of their
homes. As pointed out by the OSG in its consolidated brief, the defense was
not able to prove any motive on the part of the private complainants to
falsely testify that they were robbed and raped by the appellants. In fact,
the rape victims, were even married to first cousins of the appellant Patalin
and would not ordinarily turn against a relative although this be by mere
affinity unless they really suffered the fate they narrated. Concerning
accused-appellants defense that they were arrested without warrants,
suffice it to say that any objection, defect or irregularity attending the arrest
must be made before the accused enters his plea. As correctly pointed out
in the Peoples consolidated brief, the record shows no objection was ever
interposed prior to the arraignment and trial. However, the Court agrees
with the appellants that the abolition of the death penalty retroactively
affected and benefited them as mandated by Article 22 of the Revised penal
Code and the subsequent reimposition of the death penalty did not affect
them. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the challenged decision with the
modification that the penalty imposed for the crime of robbery with physical
injuries was increased due to the presence of several aggravating
circumstances. Likewise, the penalty imposed for the crime of robbery with
multiple rape was reduced to reclusion perpetua.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-15127
May 30, 1961
EMETERIO CUI, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
ARELLANO UNIVERSITY, defendant-appellee.
G.A.S. Sipin, Jr., for plaintiff-appellant.
E. Voltaire Garcia for defendant-appellee.
CONCEPCION, J.:
Appeal by plaintiff Emeterio Cui from a decision of the Court of First Instance of
Manila, absolving defendant Arellano University from plaintiff's complaint, with costs
against the plaintiff, and dismissing defendant's counter claim, for insufficiency of
proof thereon.
In the language of the decision appealed from:
The essential facts of this case are short and undisputed. As established by the
agreement of facts Exhibits X and by the respective oral and documentary evidence
introduced by the parties, it appears conclusive that plaintiff, before the school year
1948-1949 took up preparatory law course in the defendant University. After
finishing his preparatory law course plaintiff enrolled in the College of Law of the
defendant from the school year 1948-1949. Plaintiff finished his law studies in the
defendant university up to and including the first semester of the fourth year.
During all the school years in which plaintiff was studying law in defendant law

college, Francisco R. Capistrano, brother of the mother of plaintiff, was the dean of
the College of Law and legal counsel of the defendant university. Plaintiff enrolled
for the last semester of his law studies in the defendant university but failed to pay
his tuition fees because his uncle Dean Francisco R. Capistrano having severed his
connection with defendant and having accepted the deanship and chancellorship of
the College of Law of Abad Santos University, plaintiff left the defendant's law
college and enrolled for the last semester of his fourth year law in the college of law
of the Abad Santos University graduating from the college of law of the latter
university. Plaintiff, during all the time he was studying law in defendant university
was awarded scholarship grants, for scholastic merit, so that his semestral tuition
fees were returned to him after the ends of semester and when his scholarship
grants were awarded to him. The whole amount of tuition fees paid by plaintiff to
defendant and refunded to him by the latter from the first semester up to and
including the first semester of his last year in the college of law or the fourth year, is
in total P1,033.87. After graduating in law from Abad Santos University he applied to
take the bar examination. To secure permission to take the bar he needed the
transcripts of his records in defendant Arellano University. Plaintiff petitioned the
latter to issue to him the needed transcripts. The defendant refused until after he
had paid back the P1,033 87 which defendant refunded to him as above stated. As
he could not take the bar examination without those transcripts, plaintiff paid to
defendant the said sum under protest. This is the sum which plaintiff seeks to
recover from defendant in this case.

Before defendant awarded to plaintiff the scholarship grants as above


stated, he was made to sign the following contract covenant and
agreement:
"In consideration of the scholarship granted to me by the University, I
hereby waive my right to transfer to another school without having
refunded to the University (defendant) the equivalent of my
scholarship cash.

(Sgd.) Emeterio Cui".

It is admitted that, on August 16, 1949, the Director of Private Schools issued
Memorandum No. 38, series of 1949, on the subject of "Scholarship,"
addressed to "All heads of private schools, colleges and universities,"
reading:
1. School catalogs and prospectuses submitted to this, Bureau show
that some schools offer full or partial scholarships to deserving
students for excellence in scholarship or for leadership in extracurricular activities. Such inducements to poor but gifted students
should be encouraged. But to stipulate the condition that such
scholarships are good only if the students concerned continue in the

same school nullifies the principle of merit in the award of these


scholarships.
2. When students are given full or partial scholarships, it is understood
that such scholarships are merited and earned. The amount in tuition
and other fees corresponding to these scholarships should not be
subsequently charged to the recipient students when they decide to
quit school or to transfer to another institution. Scholarships should not
be offered merely to attract and keep students in a school.
3. Several complaints have actually been received from students who
have enjoyed scholarships, full or partial, to the effect that they could
not transfer to other schools since their credentials would not be
released unless they would pay the fees corresponding to the period of
the scholarships. Where the Bureau believes that the right of the
student to transfer is being denied on this ground, it reserves the right
to authorize such transfer.
that defendant herein received a copy of this memorandum; that plaintiff
asked the Bureau of Private Schools to pass upon the issue on his right to
secure the transcript of his record in defendant University, without being
required to refund the sum of P1,033.87; that the Bureau of Private Schools
upheld the position taken by the plaintiff and so advised the defendant; and
that, this notwithstanding, the latter refused to issue said transcript of
records, unless said refund were made, and even recommended to said
Bureau that it issue a written order directing the defendant to release said
transcript of record, "so that the case may be presented to the court for
judicial action." As above stated, plaintiff was, accordingly, constrained to
pay, and did pay under protest, said sum of P1,033.87, in order that he could
take the bar examination in 1953. Subsequently, he brought this action for
the recovery of said amount, aside from P2,000 as moral damages, P500 as
exemplary damages, P2,000 as attorney's fees, and P500 as expenses of
litigation.
In its answer, defendant reiterated the stand it took, vis-a-vis the Bureau of
Private Schools, namely, that the provisions of its contract with plaintiff are
valid and binding and that the memorandum above-referred to is null and
void. It, likewise, set up a counterclaim for P10,000.00 as damages, and
P3,000 as attorney's fees.
The issue in this case is whether the above quoted provision of the contract
between plaintiff and the defendant, whereby the former waived his right to
transfer to another school without refunding to the latter the equivalent of
his scholarships in cash, is valid or not. The lower court resolved this
question in the affirmative, upon the ground that the aforementioned
memorandum of the Director of Private Schools is not a law; that the

provisions thereof are advisory, not mandatory in nature; and that, although
the contractual provision "may be unethical, yet it was more unethical for
plaintiff to quit studying with the defendant without good reasons and simply
because he wanted to follow the example of his uncle." Moreover, defendant
maintains in its brief that the aforementioned memorandum of the Director
of Private Schools is null and void because said officer had no authority to
issue it, and because it had been neither approved by the corresponding
department head nor published in the official gazette.
We do not deem it necessary or advisable to consider as the lower court did,
the question whether plaintiff had sufficient reasons or not to transfer from
defendant University to the Abad Santos University. The nature of the issue
before us, and its far reaching effects, transcend personal equations and
demand a determination of the case from a high impersonal plane. Neither
do we deem it essential to pass upon the validity of said Memorandum No.
38, for, regardless of the same, we are of the opinion that the stipulation in
question is contrary to public policy and, hence, null and void. The aforesaid
memorandum merely incorporates a sound principle of public policy. As the
Director of Private Schools correctly pointed, out in his letter, Exhibit B, to
the defendant,
There is one more point that merits refutation and that is whether or
not the contract entered into between Cui and Arellano University on
September 10, 1951 was void as against public policy. In the case of
Zeigel vs. Illinois Trust and Savings Bank, 245 Ill. 180, 19 Ann. Case
127, the court said: 'In determining a public policy of the state, courts
are limited to a consideration of the Constitution, the judicial decisions,
the statutes, and the practice of government officers.' It might take
more than a government bureau or office to lay down or establish a
public policy, as alleged in your communication, but courts consider
the practices of government officials as one of the four factors in
determining a public policy of the state. It has been consistently held in
America that under the principles relating to the doctrine of public
policy, as applied to the law of contracts, courts of justice will not
recognize or uphold a transaction which its object, operation, or
tendency is calculated to be prejudicial to the public welfare, to sound
morality or to civic honesty (Ritter vs. Mutual Life Ins. Co., 169 U.S.
139; Heding vs. Gallaghere 64 L.R.A. 811; Veazy vs. Allen, 173 N.Y.
359). If Arellano University understood clearly the real essence of
scholarships and the motives which prompted this office to issue
Memorandum No. 38, s. 1949, it should have not entered into a
contract of waiver with Cui on September 10, 1951, which is a direct
violation of our Memorandum and an open challenge to the authority
of the Director of Private Schools because the contract was repugnant
to sound morality and civic honesty. And finally, in Gabriel vs. Monte
de Piedad, Off. Gazette Supp. Dec. 6, 1941, p. 67 we read: 'In order to

declare a contract void as against public policy, a court must find that
the contract as to consideration or the thing to be done, contravenes
some established interest of society, or is inconsistent with sound
policy and good morals or tends clearly to undermine the security of
individual rights. The policy enunciated in Memorandum No. 38, s.
1949 is sound policy. Scholarship are awarded in recognition of merit
not to keep outstanding students in school to bolster its prestige. In the
understanding of that university scholarships award is a business
scheme designed to increase the business potential of an education
institution. Thus conceived it is not only inconsistent with sound policy
but also good morals. But what is morals? Manresa has this definition.
It is good customs; those generally accepted principles of morality
which have received some kind of social and practical confirmation.
The practice of awarding scholarships to attract students and keep
them in school is not good customs nor has it received some kind of
social and practical confirmation except in some private institutions as
in Arellano University. The University of the Philippines which
implements Section 5 of Article XIV of the Constitution with reference
to the giving of free scholarships to gifted children, does not require
scholars to reimburse the corresponding value of the scholarships if
they transfer to other schools. So also with the leading colleges and
universities of the United States after which our educational practices
or policies are patterned. In these institutions scholarships are
granted not to attract and to keep brilliant students in school for their
propaganda mine but to reward merit or help gifted students in whom
society has an established interest or a first lien. (Emphasis supplied.)
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed and another one
shall be entered sentencing the defendant to pay to the plaintiff the sum of
P1,033.87, with interest thereon at the legal rate from September 1, 1954,
date of the institution of this case, as well as the costs, and dismissing
defendant's counterclaim. It is so ordered.
Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Labrador, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Parades, Dizon, De
Leon and Natividad, JJ., concur.
Bautista Angelo, J., reserves his vote.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 75860 September 17, 1987
ANG PING and CARMEN PIMENTEL, petitioners,
vs.
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MANILA, Branch 40; and JULIO and
ZENAIDA KO, respondents.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:


The issue in this petition is whether or not the execution of a final judgment
in an ejectment case which has gone all the way to the Supreme Court may
be stayed by a trial court on the ground of a supervening event, namely a
decision by a regional trial court ordering the nullification of sale and title
and granting legal redemption in favor of the private respondents.
On November 13, 1985, in G. R. No. 70581, (Ang Ping, et al. v. Intermediate
Appellate Court, et al.), we issued a resolution which reads in part:
On October 25, 1983, the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila
rendered judgment in an ejectment case filed by the petitioners
Ang Ping and Carmen Pimentel against private respondents Julio
Ko and Zenaida Ko. The trial court ordered the respondents to
vacate the disputed premises, pay P5,000.00 a month in rentals
from March 1, 1981 until they vacate minus whatever payments
may have been made in the meantime, and pay P3,000.00
attorney's fees and costs.
On appeal to the Regional Trial Court of Manila, the decision was
affirmed in toto on March 26, 1984.

On July 5, 1984, RTC Judge Conrado T. Limcaoco partially granted a motion


for reconsideration by reducing to P500.00 monthly rentals, the rate of
monthly rentals agreed upon from June, 1979 or earlier when the
respondents and their parents were leasing the premises from Uy Chaco
Sons and Co., Inc. The Regional Trial Court of Manila sustained the MTC
findings that B.P. No. 25 is not applicable because (1) the monthly rental is
more than then P300.00 rental covered by the law and (2) the respondents
use the (sic) commercial reasons and not for a residence. The Urban Land
Reform Law, P.D. 1517 was likewise not deemed applicable, a finding
impliedly accepted by the respondents when they abandoned this ground.
In their petition for review filed with the Intermediate Appellate
Court, the respondent questioned the validity of the October 25,
1983 decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court on the ground that it
was released only on January 24, 1984 when Judge J. Cesar
Sangco had already retired. (p. 9, Rollo)
We resolved affirmatively the issue of whether or not the October 25, 1983
decision of Judge J. Cesar Sangco in the ejectment case was valid. Instead of
remanding the case for a re-promulgation of the same judgment, this Court
affirmed the decisions of the courts below as modified, i.e. reducing the
P5,000.00 per month rentals to their pre-litigation level of P500.00 per
month.
After a motion for reconsideration was denied and entry of judgment was
made, the petitioners returned to the metropolitan trial court where they
filed a motion for execution of the judgment. The private respondents
opposed the motion on the ground that a complaint for annulment of sale
which they filed with the Regional Trial Court of Manila had, in the meantime,
been decided in their favor.
The Regional Trial Court of Manila in Civil Case No. 13911 declared null and
void the sale by the earlier owner, T & C Corporation, to the petitioners on
grounds of equity under Article 19 of the Civil Code and ordered the
petitioners to sell 190 square meters of the land they had purchased to the
respondents upon Julio Ko's paying them P190,000.00. The petitioners filed a
motion to set aside and/or reconsider the decision.
According to a manifestation filed September 1, 1987, the motion for
reconsideration was denied, whereupon the matter was raised to the Court of
Appeals where the case is now pending.

Going back to the ejectment case, the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila
denied the respondents' opposition and granted the motion for execution.
On April 28, 1986, respondents Julio and Zenaida Ko filed a petition for
certiorari with prayer for a temporary restraining order or preliminary
injunction to stop the implementation of the writ of execution in the
ejectment case. It is the preliminary injunction issued by Branch 40 of the
Regional Trial Court of Manila in Civil Case No. 86-35622 which is now before
us.
The bases for the decision in the ejectment case are summarized by the
Regional Trial Court of Manila as follows:
Defendants contend that they cannot be ejected because: (1)
they are subsisting lessees at the time of the purchase of the
property in question by the plaintiffs from T & L Development
Corporation, under Sec. 5 of B.P. No. 15; (2) plaintiffs' need of the
leased premises is not for use as a residential unit as required by
said law, but as an office and bodega; and (3) since they were
not given an opportunity to exercise their right of first refusal
before the leased premises were sold to the plaintiffs, the sale
thereof to the latter is null and void and in fact filed a complaint
for annulment thereof on that ground.
As to the first two grounds the basic issue is whether or not B.P.
No. 25 is applicable to this case. The coverage of said law is
defined in Sec. 7 thereof according to which said law applies only
to "All residential units the total monthly rental of which does not
exceed three hundred pesos (P300.00) as of the effectivity of this
Act ..." The undisputed fact is that at the time of the purchase of
the premises in question defendants were paying a monthly
rental of P500.00. Moreover, it is even doubtful whether the
leased premises may be considered as a residential unit under
Sec. 2(b) of B.P. No. 25, considering that defendants are
undeniably using the same for commercial purposes because it is
there where they do business under the name of Johnson
Blacksmith & Machine Shop.
As to the third ground, while it is not necessary to resolve it, it is
just as obvious that P.D. 1517 is likewise not applicable, as
correctly pointed out by counsel for the plaintiff and as indicated

by the plaintiff and as indicated by defendants' abandonment of


this ground.
Since neither B.P. No. 25 nor P.D. 1517 are applicable, the settled
rule that a month to month contract of lease is a contract for a
fixed period, expires at the end of every month and may be
terminated on any month, applies. Plaintiff did so when it served
notice of termination thereof dated February 20, 1981, effective
30 days thereafter.
Premises considered the court finds and so declares that
plaintiffs have satisfactorily established their causes of action.
(Annex J, Rollo, p. 75-76) (Rollo, pp. 5-6).
On the other hand, the decision in Civil Case No. 139111, nullifying the sale
in favor of petitioners Ang Ping and Carmen Pimentel is based on a finding
that justice and equity would be served by allowing Julio and Zenaida Ko to
buy the properties already sold to the petitioners.
Among the findings in Civil Case No. 139111 are:
(1) Julio Ko has been operating his Johnson Blacksmith and Machine Shop in
the disputed premises since 1965.
(2) The respondents have religiously paid the monthly rentals of P500.00 for
the premises.
(3) The respondents were never informed that T & L Development
Corporation intended to sell the premises. They claimed a right to priority in
the purchase of the lot and the corresponding part of the building and on
April 24, 1981 deposited with Equitable Banking Corporation the amount of
P192,161.78 in trust for Ang Ping for the redemption or repurchase of the lot
and apartment door sold to Ang Ping and Carmen Pimentel.
The court stated that there is nothing legally wrong in an owner of a leased
property selling it without notifying the tenant. However, it found a failure of
the owner and the buyers to observe honesty and good faith because other
tenants were informed of the proposed sale but not Julio and Zenaida Ko.
The petitioners raise two grounds for the allowance of their petition, namely:

A
The respondent court gravely abused its discretion and/or acted
without or in excess of jurisdiction in issuing the temporary
restraining order of April 28, 1986 and the Order of May 16,
1986, denying petitioners' Motion to Dismiss and directing the
issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to stop the
implementation of the writ of execution issued by the MTC of
Manila (Rollo, p. 13)
B
The respondent court committed grave abuse of discretion
and/or acted without or in excess of jurisdiction in issuing the
writ of preliminary injunction, thereby depriving the petitioners
of the fruits of their legal victory through the implementation of
the final and executory decision. (pp. 13 and 18, Rono)
The petitioners contend that the decision of Branch 9 of the Regional Trial
Court of Manila in the nullification of sale and title and reconveyance case
does not as yet confer on the respondents any enforceable right whereas this
Court has already entered judgment in the ejectment case.
The petitioners also point out that we were fully aware of the pending
nullification and reconveyance case because the same was brought to our
attention in G.R. No. 70581. Yet, we denied a motion for reconsideration of
our decision in the petition for review of the ejectment case.
We agree with the petitioners.
The principle enunciated in Ramirez v. Bleza (106 SCRA 187) applies. We
ruled in Ramirez:
Moreover, the pendency of Civil Case No. R436, an "accion
publiciana", where ownership is concededly the principal issue,
(Rollo, p. 59.) before the Court of First Instance of Oriental
Mindoro, does not preclude nor bar the execution of the
judgment rendered in Civil Case No. R184, where the action was
for forcible entry and the only issue involved was the material
possession or possession de facto of the land under litigation.

Such action which involves the title over the premises is entirely
independent from forcible entry. (at p. 194)
Justice Ramon C. Aquino was more emphatic in his concurrence:
I concur. Respondent judge of first instance acted with grave
abuse of discretion in preventing the execution of the final and
executory judgment of the municipal court in the ejectment case
on the flimsy pretext that another possessory action was pending
in his court involving the same land.
The judgment of the municipal court is res judicata as to the
issue of possession de facto but it not conclusive as to the title or
ownership (Sec. 7, Rule 70, Rules of Court; Pealosa v. Tuason, 22
Phil. 303).
Possession and ownership of a parcel of land may be held by
different persons. The winning party is entitled to the execution
of the municipal court's final judgment as to possession. The
enforcement of that judgment would not cause "chaos and
confusion". (id. at p. 195).
In De la Cruz v. Court of Appeals (133 SCRA 520), we had a similar ruling:
We find no merit in petitioners' aforesaid submission. An unlawful
detainer action has an entirely different subject from that of an
action for reconveyance of title. What is involved in unlawful
detainer case is merely the issue of material possession or
possession de facto; whereas in an action for reconveyance,
ownership is the issue. So much so that the pendency of an
action for reconveyance of title over the same property does not
divest the city or municipal court of its jurisdiction to try the
forcible entry or unlawful detainer case, nor will it preclude or bar
execution of judgment in the ejectment case where the only
issue involved is material possession or possession de
facto. (Ramirez v. Bleza, L-45640, July 30, 1981, 106 SCRA 187).
This is so because:
The judgment rendered in an action for forcible entry
or detainer shall be effective with respect to the

possession only and in no case bind the title or affect


the ownership of the land or building. Such judgment
shall not bar an action between the same parties
respecting title to the land or building nor shall it be
held conclusive of the facts therein found in case
between the same parties upon a different cause of
action involving possession. (Section 7, Rule 70,
Rules of Court).
The rationale is that forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases
are summary proceedings designed to provide for an expeditious
means of protecting actual possession or the right to possession
of the property involved. (Republic v. Guarin, supra). It does not
admit of a delay in the determination thereof. It is a "time
procedure" designed to remedy the situation. (Mabalot v. Madela,
Jr., 121 SCRA 347). Procedural technicality is therefore obviated
and reliance thereon to stay eviction from the property should
not be tolerated and cannot override substantial justice.
(Dakudao v. Consolacion, 122 SCRA 877). So much so that
judgment must be executed immediately when it is in favor of
the plaintiff in order to prevent further damages arising from loss
of possession. (Salinas v. Navarro, 126 SCRA 167). (At pp. 527528).
As early as 1922, this Court declared in Shioji v. Harvey (43 Phil. 333) that
"the only function of a lower court, when the judgment of a higher court is
returned to it, is the ministerial one of issuing the order of execution. A lower
court is without supervisory jurisdiction to interpret or to reverse the
judgment of the higher court."
This is especially true where it is a Supreme Court decision or resolution
which states with finality how the particular case before it has been resolved.
We ruled in Tugade v. Court of Appeals (85 SCRA 226):
Respondent Court of Appeals really was devoid of any choice at
all. It could not have ruled in any other way on the legal question
raised. This Tribunal having spoken, its duty was to obey. It is as
simple as that. There is relevance to this excerpt from Barrera v.
Barrera (L-31589, July 31, 1970, 34 SCRA 98). "The delicate task
of ascertaining the significance that attaches to a constitutional

or statutory provision, an executive order, a procedural norm or a


municipal ordinance is committed to the judiciary. It thus
discharges a role no less crucial than that appertaining to the
other two departments in the maintenance of the rule of law. To
assure stability in legal relations and avoid confusion, it has to
speak with one voice. It does so with finality, logically and rightly,
through the highest judicial organ, this Court. What it says then
should be definitive and authoritative, binding on those
occupying the lower ranks in the judicial hierarchy. They have to
defer and to submit." (ibid., 107. The opinion of Justice Laurel in
People v. Vera, 65 Phil. 56 [1937] was cited.) The ensuing
paragraph of the opinion in Barrera further emphasizes the point:
Such a thought was reiterated in an opinion of Justice J.B.L. Reyes
and further emphasized in these words: "Judge Gaudencio
Cloribel need not be reminded that the Supreme Court, by
tradition and in our system of judicial administration, has the last
word on what the law is; it is the final arbiter of any justifiable
controversy. There is only one Supreme Court from whose
decisions all other courts should take their bearings." (Justice
J.B.L. Reyes spoke thus in Albert v. Court of First Instance of
Manila [Branch VI], L-26364, May 29, 1968, 23 SCRA 948, 961.)
(at pp. 230-231).
We refrain from expressing any opinion on the merits of the decision in the
nullification of sale and reconveyance of property case. The merits will have
to be threshed out by the proper court on a full consideration of the evidence
and the law upon which it is based. Our decision here is limited to the
execution of the decision in the ejectment case.
From the foregoing, it is plain that the law is on the side of the petitioners.
The injunction was improperly issued.
Do the equities of the case warrant a disregard of established precedents? It
is true that the private respondents would suffer painful consequences if
they are ejected now only to be reinstated if they eventually win the
nullification of sale case. However, the petitioners are also suffering an
injustice. The ejectment case in their favor was decided as early as 1983.
The regional trial court affirmed the decision. The Intermediate Appellate
Court ruled that the promulgation of the trial court's decision was defective

and ordered it repromulgated but this Court set aside the appellate decision
and reinstated the metropolitan trial court and regional trial court decisions.
There being no final decision in the annulment of sale case, the petitioners
have equal chances with the private respondents of also winning that case.
The private respondents cannot claim to have overriding considerations of
equity on their side, sufficient to stop the execution of a final judgment in the
ejectment proceedings.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The orders dated April 28,
1986 and May 16, 1986 of the respondent court are SET ASIDE. The
Metropolitan Trial Court is ORDERED to immediately execute the decision in
the ejectment case. No motion for extension of time to file a motion for
reconsideration of this decision will be granted.
SO ORDERED.
Fernan (Chairman), Feliciano, Bidin and Cortes, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-6355-56

August 31, 1953

PASTOR M. ENDENCIA and FERNANDO JUGO, plaintiffs-appellees,


vs.

SATURNINO DAVID, as Collector of Internal Revenue, defendantappellant.


Office of the Solicitor General Juan R. Liwag and Solicitor Jose P. Alejandro for
appellant.
Manuel O. Chan for appellees.
MONTEMAYOR, J.:
This is a joint appeal from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila
declaring section 13 of Republic Act No. 590 unconstitutional, and ordering
the appellant Saturnino David as Collector of Internal Revenue to re-fund to
Justice Pastor M. Endencia the sum of P1,744.45, representing the income
tax collected on his salary as Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals in
1951, and to Justice Fernando Jugo the amount of P2,345.46, representing
the income tax collected on his salary from January 1,1950 to October 19,
1950, as Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals, and from October 20, 1950
to December 31,1950, as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, without
special pronouncement as to costs.
Because of the similarity of the two cases, involving as they do the same
question of law, they were jointly submitted for determination in the lower
court. Judge Higinio B. Macadaeg presiding, in a rather exhaustive and well
considered decision found and held that under the doctrine laid down by this
Court in the case of Perfecto vs. Meer, 85 Phil., 552, the collection of income
taxes from the salaries of Justice Jugo and Justice Endencia was a diminution
of their compensation and therefore was in violation of the Constitution of
the Philippines, and so ordered the refund of said taxes.
We see no profit and necessity in again discussing and considering the
proposition and the arguments pro and cons involved in the case of Perfecto
vs. Meer, supra, which are raised, brought up and presented here. In that
case, we have held despite the ruling enunciated by the United States
Federal Supreme Court in the case of O 'Malley vs. Woodrought 307 U. S.,
277, that taxing the salary of a judicial officer in the Philippines is a
diminution of such salary and so violates the Constitution. We shall now
confine our-selves to a discussion and determination of the remaining
question of whether or not Republic Act No. 590, particularly section 13, can
justify and legalize the collection of income tax on the salary of judicial
officers.

According to the brief of the Solicitor General on behalf of appellant Collector


of Internal Revenue, our decision in the case of Perfecto vs. Meer, supra, was
not received favorably by Congress, because immediately after its
promulgation, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 590. To bring home his
point, the Solicitor General reproduced what he considers the pertinent
discussion in the Lower House of House Bill No. 1127 which became Republic
Act No. 590.
For purposes of reference, we are reproducing section 9, Article VIII of our
Constitution:.
SEC. 9. The members of the Supreme Court and all judges of inferior
courts shall hold office during good behavior, until they reach the age
of seventy years, or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of
their office. They shall receive such compensation as may be fixed by
law, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
Until the Congress shall provide otherwise, the Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court shall receive an annual compensation of sixteen
thousand pesos, and each Associate Justice, fifteen thousand pesos.
As already stated construing and applying the above constitutional provision,
we held in the Perfecto case that judicial officers are exempt from the
payment of income tax on their salaries, because the collection thereof by
the Government was a decrease or diminution of their salaries during their
continuance in office, a thing which is expressly prohibited by the
Constitution. Thereafter, according to the Solicitor General, because
Congress did not favorably receive the decision in the Perfecto case,
Congress promulgated Republic Act No. 590, if not to counteract the ruling in
that decision, at least now to authorize and legalize the collection of income
tax on the salaries of judicial officers. We quote section 13 of Republic Act
No. 590:
SEC 13. No salary wherever received by any public officer of the
Republic of the Philippines shall be considered as exempt from the
income tax, payment of which is hereby declared not to be dimunition
of his compensation fixed by the Constitution or by law.
So we have this situation. The Supreme Court in a decision interpreting the
Constitution, particularly section 9, Article VIII, has held that judicial officers
are exempt from payment of income tax on their salaries, because the
collection thereof was a diminution of such salaries, specifically prohibited by

the Constitution. Now comes the Legislature and in section 13, Republic Act
No. 590, says that "no salary wherever received by any public officer of the
Republic (naturally including a judicial officer) shall be considered as exempt
from the income tax," and proceeds to declare that payment of said income
tax is not a diminution of his compensation. Can the Legislature validly do
this? May the Legislature lawfully declare the collection of income tax on the
salary of a public official, specially a judicial officer, not a decrease of his
salary, after the Supreme Court has found and decided otherwise? To
determine this question, we shall have to go back to the fundamental
principles regarding separation of powers.
Under our system of constitutional government, the Legislative department
is assigned the power to make and enact laws. The Executive department is
charged with the execution of carrying out of the provisions of said laws. But
the interpretation and application of said laws belong exclusively to the
Judicial department. And this authority to interpret and apply the laws
extends to the Constitution. Before the courts can determine whether a law
is constitutional or not, it will have to interpret and ascertain the meaning
not only of said law, but also of the pertinent portion of the Constitution in
order to decide whether there is a conflict between the two, because if there
is, then the law will have to give way and has to be declared invalid and
unconstitutional.
Defining and interpreting the law is a judicial function and the
legislative branch may not limit or restrict the power granted to the
courts by the Constitution. (Bandy vs. Mickelson et al., 44N. W., 2nd
341, 342.)
When it is clear that a statute transgresses the authority vested in the
legislature by the Constitution, it is the duty of the courts to declare
the act unconstitutional because they cannot shrink from it without
violating their oaths of office. This duty of the courts to maintain the
Constitution as the fundamental law of the state is imperative and
unceasing; and, as Chief Justice Marshall said, whenever a statute is in
violation of the fundamental law, the courts must so adjudge and
thereby give effect to the Constitution. Any other course would lead to
the destruction of the Constitution. Since the question as to the
constitutionality of a statute is a judicial matter, the courts will not
decline the exercise of jurisdiction upon the suggestion that action

might be taken by political agencies in disregard of the judgment of


the judicial tribunals. (11 Am. Jur., 714-715.)
Under the American system of constitutional government, among the
most important functions in trusted to the judiciary are the interpreting
of Constitutions and, as a closely connected power, the determination
of whether laws and acts of the legislature are or are not contrary to
the provisions of the Federal and State Constitutions. (11 Am. Jur.,
905.).
By legislative fiat as enunciated in section 13, Republic Act NO. 590,
Congress says that taxing the salary of a judicial officer is not a decrease of
compensation. This is a clear example of interpretation or ascertainment of
the meaning of the phrase "which shall not be diminished during their
continuance in office," found in section 9, Article VIII of the Constitution,
referring to the salaries of judicial officers. This act of interpreting the
Constitution or any part thereof by the Legislature is an invasion of the welldefined and established province and jurisdiction of the Judiciary.
The rule is recognized elsewhere that the legislature cannot pass any
declaratory act, or act declaratory of what the law was before its
passage, so as to give it any binding weight with the courts. A
legislative definition of a word as used in a statute is not conclusive of
its meaning as used elsewhere; otherwise, the legislature would be
usurping a judicial function in defining a term. (11 Am. Jur., 914,
emphasis supplied)
The legislature cannot, upon passing a law which violates a
constitutional provision, validate it so as to prevent an attack thereon
in the courts, by a declaration that it shall be so construed as not to
violate the constitutional inhibition. (11 Am. Jur., 919, emphasis
supplied)
We have already said that the Legislature under our form of government is
assigned the task and the power to make and enact laws, but not to interpret
them. This is more true with regard to the interpretation of the basic law, the
Constitution, which is not within the sphere of the Legislative department. If
the Legislature may declare what a law means, or what a specific portion of
the Constitution means, especially after the courts have in actual case
ascertain its meaning by interpretation and applied it in a decision, this
would surely cause confusion and instability in judicial processes and court

decisions. Under such a system, a final court determination of a case based


on a judicial interpretation of the law of the Constitution may be undermined
or even annulled by a subsequent and different interpretation of the law or of
the Constitution by the Legislative department. That would be neither wise
nor desirable, besides being clearly violative of the fundamental, principles
of our constitutional system of government, particularly those governing the
separation of powers.
So much for the constitutional aspect of the case. Considering the practical
side thereof, we believe that the collection of income tax on a salary is an
actual and evident diminution thereof. Under the old system where the income tax was paid at the end of the year or sometime thereafter, the
decrease may not be so apparent and clear. All that the official who had
previously received his full salary was called upon to do, was to fulfill his
obligation and to exercise his privilege of paying his income tax on his salary.
His salary fixed by law was received by him in the amount of said tax comes
from his other sources of income, he may not fully realize the fact that his
salary had been decreased in the amount of said income tax. But under the
present system of withholding the income tax at the source, where the full
amount of the income tax corresponding to his salary is computed in
advance and divided into equal portions corresponding to the number of paydays during the year and actually deducted from his salary corresponding to
each payday, said official actually does not receive his salary in full, because
the income tax is deducted therefrom every payday, that is to say, twice a
month. Let us take the case of Justice Endencia. As Associate Justice of the
Court of Appeals, his salary is fixed at p12,000 a year, that is to say, he
should receive P1,000 a month or P500 every payday, fifteenth and end of
month. In the present case, the amount collected by the Collector of Internal
Revenue on said salary is P1,744.45 for one year. Divided by twelve (months)
we shall have P145.37 a month. And further dividing it by two paydays will
bring it down to P72.685, which is the income tax deducted form the
collected on his salary each half month. So, if Justice Endencia's salary as a
judicial officer were not exempt from payment of the income tax, instead of
receiving P500 every payday, he would be actually receiving P427.31 only,
and instead of receiving P12,000 a year, he would be receiving but
P10,255.55. Is it not therefor clear that every payday, his salary is actually
decreased by P72.685 and every year is decreased by P1,744.45?
Reading the discussion in the lower House in connection with House Bill No.
1127, which became Republic Act No. 590, it would seem that one of the

main reasons behind the enactment of the law was the feeling among certain
legislators that members of the Supreme Court should not enjoy any
exemption and that as citizens, out of patriotism and love for their country,
they should pay income tax on their salaries. It might be stated in this
connection that the exemption is not enjoyed by the members of the
Supreme Court alone but also by all judicial officers including Justices of the
Court of Appeals and judges of inferior courts. The exemption also extends to
other constitutional officers, like the President of the Republic, the Auditor
General, the members of the Commission on Elections, and possibly
members of the Board of Tax Appeals, commissioners of the Public Service
Commission, and judges of the Court of Industrial Relations. Compares to the
number of all these officials, that of the Supreme Court Justices is relatively
insignificant. There are more than 990 other judicial officers enjoying the
exemption, including 15 Justices of the Court of Appeals, about 107 Judges of
First Instance, 38 Municipal Judges and about 830 Justices of the Peace. The
reason behind the exemption in the Constitution, as interpreted by the
United States Federal Supreme Court and this Court, is to preserve the
independence of the Judiciary, not only of this High Tribunal but of the other
courts, whose present membership number more than 990 judicial officials.
The exemption was not primarily intended to benefit judicial officers, but was
grounded on public policy. As said by Justice Van Devanter of the United
States Supreme Court in the case of Evans vs. Gore (253 U. S., 245):
The primary purpose of the prohibition against diminution was not to
benefit the judges, but, like the clause in respect of tenure, to attract
good and competent men to the bench and to promote that
independence of action and judgment which is essential to the
maintenance of the guaranties, limitations and pervading principles of
the Constitution and to the administration of justice without respect to
person and with equal concern for the poor and the rich. Such being its
purpose, it is to be construed, not as a private grant, but as a limitation
imposed in the public interest; in other words, not restrictively, but in
accord with its spirit and the principle on which it proceeds.
Having in mind the limited number of judicial officers in the Philippines
enjoying this exemption, especially when the great bulk thereof are justices
of the peace, many of them receiving as low as P200 a month, and
considering further the other exemptions allowed by the income tax law,
such as P3,000 for a married person and P600 for each dependent, the

amount of national revenue to be derived from income tax on the salaries of


judicial officers, were if not for the constitutional exemption, could not be
large or substantial. But even if it were otherwise, it should not affect, much
less outweigh the purpose and the considerations that prompted the
establishment of the constitutional exemption. In the same case of Evans vs.
Gore, supra, the Federal Supreme Court declared "that they (fathers of the
Constitution) regarded the independence of the judges as far as greater
importance than any revenue that could come from taxing their salaries.
When a judicial officer assumed office, he does not exactly ask for exemption
from payment of income tax on his salary, as a privilege . It is already
attached to his office, provided and secured by the fundamental law, not
primarily for his benefit, but based on public interest, to secure and preserve
his independence of judicial thought and action. When we come to the
members of the Supreme Court, this excemption to them is relatively of
short duration. Because of the limited membership in this High Tribunal,
eleven, and due to the high standards of experience, practice and training
required, one generally enters its portals and comes to join its membership
quite late in life, on the aver-age, around his sixtieth year, and being
required to retire at seventy, assuming that he does not die or become
incapacitated earlier, naturally he is not in a position to receive the benefit of
exemption for long. It is rather to the justices of the peace that the
exemption can give more benefit. They are relatively more numerous, and
because of the meager salary they receive, they can less afford to pay the
income tax on it and its diminution by the amount of the income tax if paid
would be real, substantial and onerous.
Considering exemption in the abstract, there is nothing unusual or abhorrent
in it, as long as it is based on public policy or public interest. While all other
citizens are subject to arrest when charged with the commission of a crime,
members of the Senate and House of Representatives except in cases of
treason, felony and breach of the peace are exempt from arrest, during their
attendance in the session of the Legislature; and while all other citizens are
generally liable for any speech, remark or statement, oral or written, tending
to cause the dishonor, discredit or contempt of a natural or juridical person
or to blacken the memory of one who is dead, Senators and Congressmen in
making such statements during their sessions are extended immunity and
exemption.

And as to tax exemption, there are not a few citizens who enjoy this
exemption. Persons, natural and juridical, are exempt from taxes on their
lands, buildings and improvements thereon when used exclusively for
educational purposes, even if they derive income therefrom. (Art. VI, Sec. 22
[3].) Holders of government bonds are exempted from the payment of taxes
on the income or interest they receive therefrom (sec. 29 (b) [4], National
Internal Revenue Code as amended by Republic Act No. 566). Payments or
income received by any person residing in the Philippines under the laws of
the United States administered by the United States Veterans Administration
are exempt from taxation. (Republic Act No. 360). Funds received by officers
and enlisted men of the Philippine Army who served in the Armed Forces of
the United States, allowances earned by virtue of such services
corresponding to the taxable years 1942 to 1945, inclusive, are exempted
from income tax. (Republic Act No. 210). The payment of wages and
allowances of officers and enlisted men of the Army Forces of the Philippines
sent to Korea are also exempted from taxation. (Republic Act No. 35). In
other words, for reasons of public policy and public interest, a citizen may
justifiably by constitutional provision or statute be exempted from his
ordinary obligation of paying taxes on his income. Under the same public
policy and perhaps for the same it not higher considerations, the framers of
the Constitution deemed it wise and necessary to exempt judicial officers
from paying taxes on their salaries so as not to decrease their compensation,
thereby insuring the independence of the Judiciary.
In conclusion we reiterate the doctrine laid down in the case of Perfecto vs.
Meer, supra, to the effect that the collection of income tax on the salary of a
judicial officer is a diminution thereof and so violates the Constitution. We
further hold that the interpretation and application of the Constitution and of
statutes is within the exclusive province and jurisdiction of the Judicial
department, and that in enacting a law, the Legislature may not legally
provide therein that it be interpreted in such a way that it may not violate a
Constitutional prohibition, thereby tying the hands of the courts in their task
of later interpreting said statute, specially when the interpretation sought
and provided in said statute runs counter to a previous interpretation already
given in a case by the highest court of the land.
In the views of the foregoing considerations, the decision appealed from is
hereby affirmed, with no pronouncement as to costs.
Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Tuason, Reyes, and Labrador, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. L-62577 September 21, 1987
ESTELITA, ROBERTO, LEONARD, REYNALDO, ELY, MYRNA,
MICHAELANGELO, ROMEO and LEONOR, all surnamed
ROSALES, petitioners,
vs.

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF LANAO DEL NORTE, BRANCH III,


Presided by the HONORABLE MAGADAPA I. RASUMAN, CITY COURT
OF ILIGAN CITY, Presided by the HONORABLE POMPEYO L. PALARCA
AND GREGORIO ORELLANA, respondents.

CRUZ, J.:
The basic issue in this case is whether or not the contract of lease between
the petitioners and the private respondent has already expired according to
their stipulations. However, that is not what we are called upon to decide at
this time. What is raised in this petition is a question of procedure, viz., which
of two cases involving the same parties and the same subject shall have
precedence over the other. That is what we shall determine now.
The antecedents are as follows: The petitioners and the respondent entered
into a contract of lease over the former's property for the expressed period
of three years beginning March 1, 1977. 1 On January 12, 1980, the
petitioners advised the private respondent that he would have to vacate the
leased premises on March 1, 1980, not only because of the lapse of the
agreed term but also because he had subleased the property in violation of
their agreement. 2 The private respondent objected, claiming that his verbal
agreement with them was for a period of ten years, which was the reason he
had introduced permanent and costly improvements in the building, and
moreover they had also consented to his sublease of the property. 3 As no
agreement between the parties appeared in sight, the private respondents
beat his adversaries to the draw, so to speak, by filing on February 21, 1980,
with the Court of First Instance of Iligan City an action 4 for the continued
enforcement of the lease contract and for damages. 5 The said court on
February 28, 1980, one day before the expiration of the lease, issued a
restraining order that maintained the status quo between the parties. 6 Ten
days later, the petitioners filed their own complaint, this time for unlawful
detainer, 7 with the City Court of Iligan City. 8 This was followed two days
later with a motion to dismiss the private respondents' complaint before the
Court of First Instance on the ground inter alia of the pendency of the
ejectment case, and for the lifting of the temporary restraining order. 9 For
his part, the private respondent moved to dismiss the ejectment suit also on
the ground of lis pendens, his argument being that the case he had filed

earlier should be decided first before the petitioners' complaint could be


entertained. 10
In the Court of First Instance, the petitioners' motion was in effect denied
with its Order dated May 27, 1981, that the "determination of the said
motion is hereby deferred until the trial. " 11 The motion for reconsideration
was denied in an Order dated September 14, 1982. 12 In the City Court, the
petitioners fared no better when the ejectment case was on April 24, 1980,
"ordered held in abeyance until the case in the Court of First Instance is
finally resolved." 13 The motion for reconsideration was denied in an Order
dated October 4, 1982. 14 Thus failing in both courts, the petitioners have
come to this Court, praying for a reversal of the said orders on the ground
that they were issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of
jurisdiction.
Specifically, the petitioners ask us to enjoin the trial of the enforcement suit
before the Court of First Instance and to order the City Court to proceed with
the ejectment case.
The facts of this case are practically the same as those of Pardo vs.
Encarnacion 15 decided in 1968, which is itself a reaffirmation of several
earlier decisions. The present case must be examined in accordance with
these precedents.
In Pardo, the lessor and the lessee had stipulated on an initial period of
twelve years for their lease, subject to extension by another eight years
upon subsequent agreement of the parties. Negotiations for this purpose
having failed, the lessee filed in the Court of First Instance of Cavite an action
for the renewal of the lease at a reduced rental. This the lessor sought to
dismiss by questioning the jurisdiction of the court and the venue of the
case. One day after the expiration of the lease, the lessor commenced an
ejectment case in the City Court of Quezon City, and this time it was the
lessee who moved to dismiss, on the ground of the pendency of his own
complaint in the Court of First Instance of Cavite. The City Court ruled it had
jurisdiction. However, in a petition for certiorari and prohibition, the Court of
First Instance of Quezon City issued a temporary restraining order that
maintained the status quo between the parties pending action on the
petition on the merits. Eventually, the Court of First Instance of Cavite,
resolving the challenge to its own jurisdiction, declared it was competent to

proceed with the specific performance case filed by the lessee. The lessor
then came to us.
Speaking for a unanimous Court, Justice Angeles declared:
The lessor, Carmen Pardo de Tavera, has brought the case
directly to this Court on petition: (a) for certiorari to annul the
order of the respondent judge of the Court of First Instance of
Cavite, declaring itself with jurisdiction to take cognizance of Civil
Case No. N-872, and to likewise annul the orders of the
respondent judge of the Court of First Instance of Quezon City in
its Civil Case No. Q-10710 restraining the Quezon City Court from
trying the ejectment case and denying the lessor's motion to
dismiss; (b) for prohibition, to restrain the respondents judges of
said Courts of First Instance from further proceeding with the
aforesaid cases before them; and (c) for mandamus, to order the
respondent judge of the Quezon City court to proceed with the
hearing of the unlawful detainer-ejectment case pending therein
until its final termination.
We find the petition to be meritorious.
The provision of the lease contract entered into between
petitioner and respondent is apparently clear that unless the
lessor and lessee agreed to a renewal thereof at least thirty days
prior to the date of expiration, the lease shall not be renewed.
The facts on record show that despite the exchange of
communication, proposals and counter-proposals, between the
parties regarding a renewal of the lease, they were not able to
arrive at an agreement within said period for while the lessor
wanted an increased rental the lessee, on the other hand,
proposed for a reduction. With this failure of an agreement, it is
to be presumed that the lessee was aware that an ejectment
case against him was forthcoming. Whether or not the case filed
before the Cavite Court of First Instance, just one day before the
expiration of the lease contract, was an anticipation to block the
action for ejectment which the lessor was to take against the
lessee, the fact, however, is that the lessee was not disposed to
leave the premises. At any rate, while the said case before the
Court of First Instance of Cavite appears to be one for specific

performance with damages, it cannot be denied that the real


issue between the parties is whether or not the lessee should be
allowed to continue occupying the land as lessee.
The situation is not novel to Us.
It has been settled in a number of cases that the right of a lessee
to occupy the land lease as against the demand of the lessor
should be decided under Rule 70 (formerly Rule 72) of the Rules
of Court.
There is no merit to the contention that the lessee's supposed
right to a renewal of the lease contract can not be decided in the
ejectment suit. In the case of Teodoro vs. Mirasol, supra, this
Court held that "if the plaintiff has any right to the extension of
the lease at all, such right is a proper and legitimate issue that
could be raised in the unlawful detainer case because it may be
used as a defense to the action." In other words, the matter
raised in the Court of First Instance of Cavite may be threshed
out in the ejectment suit, in consonance with the principle
prohibiting multiplicity of suits. And the mere fact that the
unlawful detainer-ejectment case was filed later, would not
change the situation to depart from the application of the
foregoing ruling.
It is to be noted that the Rules do not require as a
ground for dismissal of a complaint that there is a
prior pending action. They provide that there is
pending action, not a pending prior action. The fact
that the unlawful detainer suit was of a later date is
no bar to the dismissal of the present action
(Teodoro, Jr. v. Mirasol, supra.). 16
Precedents are helpful in deciding cases when they are on all fours or at least
substantially identical with previous litigations. Argumentum a simili valet in
lege. Earlier decisions are guideposts that can lead us in the right direction
as we tread the highways and byways of the law in the search for truth and
justice. These pronouncements represent the wisdom of the past. They are
the voice of vanished judges talking to the future. Except where there is a
need to reverse them because of an emergent viewpoint or an altered
situation, they urge us strongly that, indeed, the trodden path is best.

We have reviewed the ruling announced in the abovementioned cases and


we see no reason to deviate from it. Its logic remains valid and no change in
the law or in the condition of the times calls for its revision or reversal. It is
still sound doctrine and so we continue to apply it, remembering that via
trita est tutissima
WHEREFORE, the petition is granted and judgment is hereby rendered: a)
SETTING ASIDE the Orders of the respondent Court of First Instance dated
February 28, 1980, May 27,1981, and September 14,1982, in Civil Case No.
1352-80 and of the respondent City Court dated April 24, 1980 and October
4, 1982, in Civil Case No. 8174-AF; b) DIRECTING the respondent Court of
First Instance to dismiss Civil Case G.R. No. 1352-80; and c) ORDERING the
respondent City Court to commence hearing Civil Case No. 8174-AF without
further delay. No costs. It is so ordered.
Teehankee, C.J., Narvasa and Paras, JJ., concur.
Gancayco, J., is on leave.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 74122 March 15, 1988

GUILLERMO NACTOR, SPS. ANSELMO & ELENA NACTOR, PRECILIANO


NACTOR, JOSE NACTOR & GLORIA NACTOR assisted by her husband
MANUEL CLAYTOS, petitioners,
vs.
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, * HON. NICOLAS A. GEROCHI, JR.,
Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 139 &
SPS. CLARO & MAGDALENA MELCHOR respondents.
PARAS, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to set aside or reverse the
decision of the Intermediate Appellate Court ***(now Court of Appeals) dated
January 30,1986 in ACG.R. SPNo.07595 entitled Guillermo Nactor, et al. vs.
Nicolas A. Gerochi, Jr. affirming the decision of the Regional Trial Court,
National Capital Region, Br. 139 in Civil Case No. 9307 on June 4,1985, which
in turn affirmed in toto the appealed decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court
in Civil Case No. 25607 dated September 5,1984. Respondent Court of
appeals dismissed the petition seeking to set aside the Omnibus Order of the
Regional Trial Court not only because the decision of the said court had
already become final but also because on the merits of said decision, the
affirmance thereof was in complete accord both with the facts and the law on
the matter.
The antecedent facts of this case as found by the Metropolitan Trial Court are
as follows:
Sometime in 1962, the herein plaintiffs-respondents (Spouses Melchor)
allowed Guillermo Nactor (one of the defendants-petitioners) to build a
shanty on their property as at that time they were intending to go abroad.
Guillermo Nactor occupied the premises without any contract and without
any rental, but with the understanding that he would watch over the
property of the plaintiffs so as to prevent squatters from entering the said
property. Instead of complying with the said agreement, Guillermo Nactor
allowed his relatives to build houses inside the said property without the
knowledge and consent of the Melchor spouses, so that when the latter
returned to the Philippines, they discovered that many people were squatting
inside their property. Hence, they lost no time in demanding that Guillermo
Nactor and his group vacate the property in question. When petitioners
refused to vacate the premises, the Melchor spouses filed a complaint with
the Barangay, which was later elevated to the Metropolitan Trial Court,

Branch 64, Makati, Metro Manila. The trial court decided the case in favor of
the Melchor spouses on September 5, 1984, the dispositive portion of the
decision reading as follows:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the
defendants and any and all persons claiming right/title under
them to vacate the lot at 7713 St. Paul Street, Barangay San
Antonio Village, Makati, Metro Manila and surrender peaceful
occupation and possession thereof to plaintiffs and to pay jointly
and severally to the latter a monthly rental of P100.00 from the
date of the filing of the complaint on 30 August 1983 until they
finally vacate the premises and to demolish and/or transfer all
the improvements they have introduced thereon. Defendants are
likewise ordered to pay the Plaintiffs P2,000.00 as attorney's fees
and litigation expenses plus costs of suit. (Rollo, p. 17)
On appeal, the Regional Trial Court of Makati affirmed in toto the
decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court on June 4,1985, with the
following observations and conclusions:
After a careful perusal of the evidence on record and the
supporting arguments proffered by plaintiffs-appellees in their
memorandum, this court finds no cogent reason to disturb the
decision of the Court a quo, to which reference is hereby made.
Furthermore, as admitted by the defendants, particularly,
defendant-appellant Guillermo Nactor, that his occupancy of the
said land was by mere tolerance and generosity of plaintiffsappellees, allowing him to have a temporary place to build his
abode, while the couple-plaintiffs-appellees--were still abroad.
Evidently, while the actual physical possession might have been
temporarily transferred to defendant-appellant Guillermo Nactor
as a caretaker thereof for almost 20 years, the legal and juridical
possession thereof remains in the hands of plaintiffs-appellees,
more especially so that the land in question of within the
protective mantle of indefeasibility of the torrens system.
Acts merely tolerated, and those executed clandestinely and
without the knowledge of the possessor of a thing or by

violence, do not affect possession (Art. 537, New Civil Code;


Mercedes vs. Go Bio, et al., 78 Phil. 279).
Acts of possessory character executed in virtue of license or by
mere tolerance of the owner shall not be available for the
purpose of possession.' (Art. 1119, New Civil Code) (Emphasis
supplied)
To deny plaintiffs-appellees of their right to physically repossess
the said land as uncontested and uncontroverted lawful owners
thereof, would be tantamount to extending premium, if not
license, to a pretender of lawful possession' arising only from the
charity and benevolence of its owners.
This Court, both in law and equity, under these antecedents, and
after having extended benevolence to defendants-appellants for
so long, should now allow plaintiffs the full enjoyment and use of
their property.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, decision appealed from is
hereby AFFIRMED IN TOTO, with costs against defendantsappellants. (pp. 17-18, Rollo).
The defendants-petitioners moved for reconsideration on June 24,1985,
which motion was denied by respondent Judge, in an Omnibus Order dated
October 22,1985, for having been filed after the decision had become final
and executory. Simultaneously, on motion of plaintiffs-appellees, a writ of
execution was issued.
The motion for reconsideration having been denied, defendants-petitioners
filed a petition for review on certiorari on October 31, 1985 with the Court of
Appeals.
On January 30, 1986, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the
Regional Trial Court, the pertinent portion of the affirmance reading:
The petition is thus without merit. Not only had the respondent
Judge's decision become final, and beyond the respondent
Judge's competence to vary, set aside or modify, but that on the
merits of the said decision, the affirmance thereof by the
respondent Judge is in complete accord both with the facts and

the law applicable on the matter. No reversible error has,


therefore, been committed.
WHEREFORE, the petition for review is hereby DISMISSED, with
costs."
The defendant-petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration dated February
22,1986 which motion was denied on March 21, 1986 for lack of merit.
Hence, this petition.
In the resolution dated June 11, 1986, the Second Division of this Court,
before acting on the petition, required the petitioners to comply with the
rules by submitting to the court proof of service of the petition on the
Intermediate Appellate Court and the adverse party and to sign the petition,
the verification and the jurat (Rollo, p. 22). However, before petitioners could
comply with said requirement which were filed on August 26, 1986, (Rollo,
pp. 40-47; 56) respondents filed their comment dated June 30,1986 (Rollo, p.
23). In the Resolution of October 15,1986, the court required the petitioners
to file a reply to the comment of counsel for respondent (Rollo, p. 58). On
October 28, 1986, respondents filed an urgent Motion for Exigent Resolution
and Refutal to the Petition for Review on certiorari (Rollo, p. 59).
The resolution of November 10, 1986, gave due course to the petition and
required both parties to file their respective memoranda (Rollo, p. 67). On
that same date, however, the petitioners thru counsel filed their
manifestations/explanation (Rollo, p. 68) stating that they are therewith
submitting the attached Supplemental Reply to the comment of counsel for
the respondents (Rollo, p. 78, Annex "D"). Respondents filed their
memorandum on December 15, 1986 (Rollo, p. 91), and a motion for early
conclusive resolution and/or final resolution on February 19, 1987 (Rollo, p.
98), followed by another motion reiterating early conclusive resolution and/or
final decision by the same respondents on March 23, 1987 (Rollo, p. 100).
On April 8,1987, petitioners filed their comment on the motion for early
resolution while respondents filed their urgent ex-parte motion to withdraw
deposit and [rayed that the amount be released through their authorized
representative and attorney-in-fact (Rollo, p. 107). A special power of
attorney was attached thereto (Rollo, p. 110). In the resolution of June
3,1987, the court required the private respondents to file a reply to the
comments on the motion for early resolution filed by counsel for petitioners

and petitioners to comment on the urgent ex-parte motion of private


respondents to withdraw deposit. The latter was filed on July 3,1987 (Rollo, p.
114).
Petitioners raised the following assignments of error:
I
THE DECISION ERRED IN RULING THAT THE MOTION FOR
RECONSIDERATION FILED ON THE 24 OF JUNE 1985 IS ALREADY
LATE BY ONE DAY, THE PRECEDING DAY, JUNE 23 BEING A
SUNDAY.
II
THE DECISION ERRED IN BINDING THEREIN THE DEFENDANTS IN
THE FORCIBLE ENTRY CASE WHICH WAS PREVIOUSLY DISMISSED.
III
THE DECISION ERRED IN NOT DISMISSING THE CASE FOR WANT
OF JURISDICTION.
Otherwise stated, the issues raised in this case are two fold: (1) as regards
the timeliness of the motion for reconsideration filed and (2) the lack of
cause of action on the part of the complainants and lack of jurisdiction to try
the case on the part of the court a quo.
Petitioners contend that the motion for reconsideration was filed on time with
the Regional Trial Court on June 24, 1985 because the fifteenth day, June 23,
1985 is a Sunday. There is merit in this contention.
Pertinent thereto, Section 39 of the Judiciary Reorganization Act, B.P. 129
provides:
The period for appeal from final orders, resolutions, awards
judgments, or decisions of any court in all cases shall be fifteen
(15) days counted from the notice of the final order, resolution,
award judgment or decision appealed from: ...

On the other hand, the rule on the computation of periods for filing of
pleadings is now embodied in Article 13 of the Civil Code of the Philippines
which provides:
Art. 13. ...
In computing a period, the first day shall be excluded, and the
last day included.
and also in the Revised Administrative Code which likewise provides:
Section 13. Computation of time in computing any fixed period-of
time, with reference to the performance of an act required by law
or contract to be done at a certain time or within a certain limit
of time, the day or date, or day from which the time is reckoned,
is to be excluded and the date of performance, included, unless
otherwise provided.
However, in case the last day is a Sunday or a legal holiday, it is understood
that where the time refers to a period prescribed or allowed by the Rules of
Court, by an order of the court, or by any other applicable statute, the last
day should really be the next day, provided said day is neither a Sunday nor
a legal holiday. The law cannot require compliance on a day when entities
supposed to receive pleadings or documents are closed in view of the
holiday.
Thus, as authoritatively formulated by this Court, the computation of the
appeal periods is to the effect that the first day shall be excluded but the last
day of the period so computed is to be included unless it is a Sunday or a
legal holiday in which event the time shall run until the end of the next day
which is neither a Sunday nor a holiday (Kabigting v. Acting Director of
Prisons, 6 SCRA 281 [1962]; De las Alas v. Court of Appeals, 83 SCRA 200
[1978]. Accordingly, in said cases, the period to perfect an appeal is
extended ipso jure to the first working day immediately following.
It will be noted, however, that petitioners' motion for reconsideration was
denied by the Regional Trial Court in its Omnibus Order, not only because
said motion was purportedly filed late but also for lack of merit. Thus, in said
Order, the Court ruled as follows:

In passing though, even a careful consideration of the grounds


relied upon by defendants-appellants in their Motion for
Reconsideration as well as the opposition thereto by plaintiffsappellees, thru counsel, this Court finds no cogent reason to alter
its aforesaid decision sought to be reconsidered, as the main
grounds relied upon by defendants-appellants had been amply
discussed in the decision of this Court in affirmance of the one
rendered by the court a quo." (Original Records, p. 20).
On review, the Court of Appeals was even more specific in denying the
petition which seeks, to set aside aforesaid Order, not only because the
decision of the Regional Trial Court has ostensibly become final but for lack of
merit.
All these notwithstanding, petitioners would have this Court review the
findings and conclusions of the court a quo which have been affirmed in
toto not only by the Regional Trial Court but also by the Court of Appeals, on
the basis of technicalities obviously resorted to only for purposes of delay.
Petitioners allege that it is only Guillermo Nactor whose entrance into the
premises was with the knowledge and consent of the plaintiffs who can be
bound by the judgment in the unlawful detainer case but not the rest of the
defendants whose occupancy was termed by the plaintiffs as unlawful and/or
illegal, without any written consent and/or authority from them. They claim
that such defendants should therefore be charged with forcible entry, but
without compliance with the Rules on Forcible Entry cases among which are,
a written demand to vacate which must be definite, petitioners claim that
the complaint is devoid of a sufficient cause of action and invests upon the
court no jurisdiction to try and decide the case (Rollo, pp. 10-11).
Such allegation is untenable.
Aside from the findings of the trial court itself, that there is no contract at all
between the plaintiffs and defendants and that the occupation of the
property by the latter was only by tolerance of the former, such fact was
confirmed by the testimony of the principal defendant Guillermo Nactor,
whose testimony was quoted in the decision of the court a quo as follows:
Q. You mean to tell the Honorable Court all the
defendants in this case were allowed to silly in this
place?

A. Yes, Sir, spouses Melchor told us that we can stay


there so that nobody will stay in the place. (TSN
dated May 9, 1984):
It will likewise be noted that defendants, all surnamed Nactor are the
relatives of Guillermo Nactor who was the caretaker thereof. It is obvious that
they gained access to the property through him and occupied the same
under his responsibility. Consequently, if Guillermo Nactor has admittedly lost
the right to stay on or occupy the property in question, with all the more
reason have the rest of the defendants who are only occupying the property
under him, no right to stay on the premises.
Thus, the trial court in unmistakable language, in ordering that the property
be vacated and possession thereof surrendered peacefully to the plaintiffs,
included all the defendants and any and all persons claiming right/title under
Guillermo Nactor.
While it is true that the instant case was tried by the court a quo on the basis
of the unlawful detainer charge instead of forcible entry for the rest of the
defendants excluding Guillermo, it is an elementary rule of procedure that
what is controlling is not the caption of the case which does not materially
alter the situation but the allegations therein that determine the nature of
the action and even without the prayer for a specific remedy, proper relief
may nevertheless be granted by the court if the facts alleged in the
complaint and the evidence introduced so warrant (Ras v. Sua, 25 SCRA 155159 [1968]). Besides since the rest of the petitioners were on the property
under the apparent protection of Guillermo, an unlawful detainer case (and
not necessarily one of forcible entry) may properly be used against them.
Still further, petitioners claim that they fall within the protective mantle of
P.D. No. 1517 "Urban Land Reform" as per Proclamation Nos. 1767 and 1967,
as amended by Proclamation No. 2284, However, the records show that the
property in question is outside the DECLARED URBAN LAND REFORM ZONE"
(ULRZ), and situated on the northeast side along Saint Paul Road, has never
been within the areas covered by "BOUNDARY DESCRIPTION PURSUANT TO
PROCLAMATION NO. 1967," as certified by the Human Settlements
Regulation Commission. (Annexes "A" and "A-l," Rollo, pp. 28 & 29).
In resume, petitioners did not dispute the fact that private respondents are
the lawful owners of the property in question, that Guillermo Nactor and the
rest of the defendants are occupying the property only by tolerance of the

owners and that under whatever remedy private respondents may avail
themselves of, to enforce their rights, petitioners have to vacate the property
because they have no right to stay therein. The main thrust therefore, of
their objection is not on the merits of their claim but on the technicality that
the nature of the action taken by the private respondents is erroneous. That
the position of petitioners is totally devoid of merit, is shown by the fact that
the end result would be the same.
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is
AFFIRMED.
This Decision is immediately executory.
SO ORDERED.
Yap (Chairman), Melencio-Herrera, Padilla and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-23678

June 6, 1967

TESTATE ESTATE OF AMOS G. BELLIS, deceased.


PEOPLE'S BANK and TRUST COMPANY, executor.
MARIA CRISTINA BELLIS and MIRIAM PALMA BELLIS, oppositorsappellants,
vs.
EDWARD A. BELLIS, ET AL., heirs-appellees.

Vicente R. Macasaet and Jose D. Villena for oppositors appellants.


Paredes, Poblador, Cruz and Nazareno for heirs-appellees E. A. Bellis, et al.
Quijano and Arroyo for heirs-appellees W. S. Bellis, et al.
J. R. Balonkita for appellee People's Bank & Trust Company.
Ozaeta, Gibbs and Ozaeta for appellee A. B. Allsman.
BENGZON, J.P., J.:
This is a direct appeal to Us, upon a question purely of law, from an order of
the Court of First Instance of Manila dated April 30, 1964, approving the
project of partition filed by the executor in Civil Case No. 37089
therein.1wph1.t
The facts of the case are as follows:
Amos G. Bellis, born in Texas, was "a citizen of the State of Texas and of the
United States." By his first wife, Mary E. Mallen, whom he divorced, he had
five legitimate children: Edward A. Bellis, George Bellis (who pre-deceased
him in infancy), Henry A. Bellis, Alexander Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman; by
his second wife, Violet Kennedy, who survived him, he had three legitimate
children: Edwin G. Bellis, Walter S. Bellis and Dorothy Bellis; and finally, he
had three illegitimate children: Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and
Miriam Palma Bellis.
On August 5, 1952, Amos G. Bellis executed a will in the Philippines, in which
he directed that after all taxes, obligations, and expenses of administration
are paid for, his distributable estate should be divided, in trust, in the
following order and manner: (a) $240,000.00 to his first wife, Mary E. Mallen;
(b) P120,000.00 to his three illegitimate children, Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria
Cristina Bellis, Miriam Palma Bellis, or P40,000.00 each and (c) after the
foregoing two items have been satisfied, the remainder shall go to his seven
surviving children by his first and second wives, namely: Edward A. Bellis,
Henry A. Bellis, Alexander Bellis and Anna Bellis Allsman, Edwin G. Bellis,
Walter S. Bellis, and Dorothy E. Bellis, in equal shares.1wph1.t
Subsequently, or on July 8, 1958, Amos G. Bellis died a resident of San
Antonio, Texas, U.S.A. His will was admitted to probate in the Court of First
Instance of Manila on September 15, 1958.
The People's Bank and Trust Company, as executor of the will, paid all the
bequests therein including the amount of $240,000.00 in the form of shares

of stock to Mary E. Mallen and to the three (3) illegitimate children, Amos
Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis, various amounts
totalling P40,000.00 each in satisfaction of their respective legacies, or a
total of P120,000.00, which it released from time to time according as the
lower court approved and allowed the various motions or petitions filed by
the latter three requesting partial advances on account of their respective
legacies.
On January 8, 1964, preparatory to closing its administration, the executor
submitted and filed its "Executor's Final Account, Report of Administration
and Project of Partition" wherein it reported, inter alia, the satisfaction of the
legacy of Mary E. Mallen by the delivery to her of shares of stock amounting
to $240,000.00, and the legacies of Amos Bellis, Jr., Maria Cristina Bellis and
Miriam Palma Bellis in the amount of P40,000.00 each or a total of
P120,000.00. In the project of partition, the executor pursuant to the
"Twelfth" clause of the testator's Last Will and Testament divided the
residuary estate into seven equal portions for the benefit of the testator's
seven legitimate children by his first and second marriages.
On January 17, 1964, Maria Cristina Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis filed their
respective oppositions to the project of partition on the ground that they
were deprived of their legitimes as illegitimate children and, therefore,
compulsory heirs of the deceased.
Amos Bellis, Jr. interposed no opposition despite notice to him, proof of
service of which is evidenced by the registry receipt submitted on April 27,
1964 by the executor.1
After the parties filed their respective memoranda and other pertinent
pleadings, the lower court, on April 30, 1964, issued an order overruling the
oppositions and approving the executor's final account, report and
administration and project of partition. Relying upon Art. 16 of the Civil Code,
it applied the national law of the decedent, which in this case is Texas law,
which did not provide for legitimes.
Their respective motions for reconsideration having been denied by the
lower court on June 11, 1964, oppositors-appellants appealed to this Court to
raise the issue of which law must apply Texas law or Philippine law.
In this regard, the parties do not submit the case on, nor even discuss, the
doctrine of renvoi, applied by this Court in Aznar v. Christensen Garcia, L-

16749, January 31, 1963. Said doctrine is usually pertinent where the
decedent is a national of one country, and a domicile of another. In the
present case, it is not disputed that the decedent was both a national of
Texas and a domicile thereof at the time of his death.2 So that even assuming
Texas has a conflict of law rule providing that the domiciliary system (law of
the domicile) should govern, the same would not result in a reference back
(renvoi) to Philippine law, but would still refer to Texas law. Nonetheless, if
Texas has a conflicts rule adopting the situs theory (lex rei sitae) calling for
the application of the law of the place where the properties are situated,
renvoi would arise, since the properties here involved are found in the
Philippines. In the absence, however, of proof as to the conflict of law rule of
Texas, it should not be presumed different from ours.3Appellants' position is
therefore not rested on the doctrine of renvoi. As stated, they never invoked
nor even mentioned it in their arguments. Rather, they argue that their case
falls under the circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of Article 17
in relation to Article 16 of the Civil Code.
Article 16, par. 2, and Art. 1039 of the Civil Code, render applicable the
national law of the decedent, in intestate or testamentary successions, with
regard to four items: (a) the order of succession; (b) the amount of
successional rights; (e) the intrinsic validity of the provisions of the will; and
(d) the capacity to succeed. They provide that
ART. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law
of the country where it is situated.
However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect to
the order of succession and to the amount of successional rights and to
the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by
the national law of the person whose succession is under
consideration, whatever may he the nature of the property and
regardless of the country wherein said property may be found.
ART. 1039. Capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the nation of
the decedent.
Appellants would however counter that Art. 17, paragraph three, of the Civil
Code, stating that
Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and those
which have for their object public order, public policy and good

customs shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or judgments


promulgated, or by determinations or conventions agreed upon in a
foreign country.
prevails as the exception to Art. 16, par. 2 of the Civil Code afore-quoted.
This is not correct. Precisely, Congress deleted the phrase, "notwithstanding
the provisions of this and the next preceding article" when they incorporated
Art. 11 of the old Civil Code as Art. 17 of the new Civil Code, while
reproducing without substantial change the second paragraph of Art. 10 of
the old Civil Code as Art. 16 in the new. It must have been their purpose to
make the second paragraph of Art. 16 a specific provision in itself which
must be applied in testate and intestate succession. As further indication of
this legislative intent, Congress added a new provision, under Art. 1039,
which decrees that capacity to succeed is to be governed by the national law
of the decedent.
It is therefore evident that whatever public policy or good customs may be
involved in our System of legitimes, Congress has not intended to extend the
same to the succession of foreign nationals. For it has specifically chosen to
leave, inter alia, the amount of successional rights, to the decedent's
national law. Specific provisions must prevail over general ones.
Appellants would also point out that the decedent executed two wills one
to govern his Texas estate and the other his Philippine estate arguing from
this that he intended Philippine law to govern his Philippine estate. Assuming
that such was the decedent's intention in executing a separate Philippine
will, it would not alter the law, for as this Court ruled in Miciano v. Brimo, 50
Phil. 867, 870, a provision in a foreigner's will to the effect that his properties
shall be distributed in accordance with Philippine law and not with his
national law, is illegal and void, for his national law cannot be ignored in
regard to those matters that Article 10 now Article 16 of the Civil Code
states said national law should govern.
The parties admit that the decedent, Amos G. Bellis, was a citizen of the
State of Texas, U.S.A., and that under the laws of Texas, there are no forced
heirs or legitimes. Accordingly, since the intrinsic validity of the provision of
the will and the amount of successional rights are to be determined under
Texas law, the Philippine law on legitimes cannot be applied to the testacy of
Amos G. Bellis.

Wherefore, the order of the probate court is hereby affirmed in toto, with
costs against appellants. So ordered.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez
and Castro, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 132344

February 17, 2000

UNIVERSITY OF THE EAST, petitioner,


vs.
ROMEO A. JADER, respondent.
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
May an educational institution be held liable for damages for misleading a
student into believing that the latter had satisfied all the requirements for
graduation when such is not the case? This is the issue in the instant petition
for review premised on the following undisputed facts as summarized by the
trial court and adopted by the Court of Appeals (CA),1 to wit:

Plaintiff was enrolled in the defendants' College of Law from 1984 up to


1988. In the first semester of his last year (School year 1987-1988), he
failed to take the regular final examination in Practice Court I for which
he was given an incomplete grade (Exhibits "2", also Exhibit "H"). He
enrolled for the second semester as fourth year law student (Exhibit
"A") and on February 1, 1988 he filed an application for the removal of
the incomplete grade given him by Professor Carlos Ortega (Exhibits
"H-2", also Exhibit "2") which was approved by Dean Celedonio
Tiongson after payment of the required fee. He took the examination
on March 28, 1988. On May 30, 1988, Professor Carlos Ortega
submitted his grade. It was a grade of five (5). (Exhibits "H-4", also
Exhibits "2-L", "2-N").1wphi1.nt
In the meantime, the Dean and the Faculty Members of the College of
Law met to deliberate on who among the fourth year students should
be allowed to graduate. The plaintiff's name appeared in the Tentative
List of Candidates for graduation for the Degree of Bachelor of Laws
(LL.B) as of Second Semester (1987-1988) with the following
annotation:
JADER ROMEO A.
Def. Conflict of Laws x-1-87-88, Practice Court I Inc., 1-87-88 C-1 to
submit transcript with S.O. (Exhibits "3", "3-C-1", "3-C-2").
The 35th Investitures & Commencement Ceremonies for the
candidates of Bachelor of Laws was scheduled on the 16th of April
1988 at 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon, and in the invitation for that
occasion the name of the plaintiff appeared as one of the candidates.
(Exhibits "B", "B-6", "B-6-A"). At the foot of the list of the names of the
candidates there appeared however the following annotation:
This is a tentative list Degrees will be conferred upon these
candidates who satisfactorily complete requirements as stated in
the University Bulletin and as approved of the Department of
Education, Culture and Sports (Exhibit "B-7-A").
The plaintiff attended the investiture ceremonies at F. dela Cruz
Quadrangle, U.E., Recto Campus, during the program of which he went
up the stage when his name was called, escorted by her (sic) mother
and his eldest brother who assisted in placing the Hood, and his Tassel

was turned from left to right, and he was thereafter handed by Dean
Celedonio a rolled white sheet of paper symbolical of the Law Diploma.
His relatives took pictures of the occasion (Exhibits "C" to "C-6", "D-3"
to "D-11").
He tendered a blow-out that evening which was attended by neighbors,
friends and relatives who wished him good luck in the forthcoming bar
examination. There were pictures taken too during the blow-out
(Exhibits "D" to "D-1").
He thereafter prepared himself for the bar examination. He took a
leave of absence without pay from his job from April 20, 1988 to
September 30, 1988 (Exhibit "G") and enrolled at the pre-bar review
class in Far Eastern University. (Exhibits "F" to "F-2"). Having learned of
the deficiency he dropped his review class and was not able to take the
bar examination.2
Consequently, respondent sued petitioner for damages alleging that he
suffered moral shock, mental anguish, serious anxiety, besmirched
reputation, wounded feelings and sleepless nights when he was not able to
take the 1988 bar examinations arising from the latter's negligence. He
prayed for an award of moral and exemplary damages, unrealized income,
attorney's fees, and costs of suit.
In its answer with counterclaim, petitioner denied liability arguing mainly that
it never led respondent to believe that he completed the requirements for a
Bachelor of Laws degree when his name was included in the tentative list of
graduating students. After trial, the lower court rendered judgment as
follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing judgment is hereby rendered in
favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant ordering the latter to
pay plaintiff the sum of THIRTY FIVE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED
SEVENTY PESOS (P35,470.00) with legal rate of interest from the filing
of the complaint until fully paid, the amount of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS
(P5,000.00) as attorney's fees and the cost of suit.
Defendant's counterclaim is, for lack of merit, hereby dismissed.
SO ORDERED.3

which on appeal by both parties was affirmed by the Court of Appeals (CA)
with modification. The dispositive portion of the CA decision reads:
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the lower Court's Decision is
hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that defendant-appellee, in
addition to the sum adjudged by the lower court in favor of plaintiffappellant, is also ORDERED to pay plaintiff-appellant the amount of
FIFTY THOUSAND (P50,000.00) PESOS for moral damages. Costs
against defendant-appellee.
SO ORDERED.4
Upon the denial of its motion for reconsideration, petitioner UE elevated the
case to this Court on a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court, arguing that it has no liability to respondent Romeo A. Jader,
considering that the proximate and immediate cause of the alleged damages
incurred by the latter arose out of his own negligence in not verifying from
the professor concerned the result of his removal exam.
The petition lacks merit.
When a student is enrolled in any educational or learning institution, a
contract of education is entered into between said institution and the
student. The professors, teachers or instructors hired by the school are
considered merely as agents and administrators tasked to perform the
school's commitment under the contract. Since the contracting parties are
the school and the student, the latter is not duty-bound to deal with the
former's agents, such as the professors with respect to the status or result of
his grades, although nothing prevents either professors or students from
sharing with each other such information. The Court takes judicial notice of
the traditional practice in educational institutions wherein the professor
directly furnishes his/her students their grades. It is the contractual
obligation of the school to timely inform and furnish sufficient notice and
information to each and every student as to whether he or she had already
complied with all the requirements for the conferment of a degree or
whether they would be included among those who will graduate. Although
commencement exercises are but a formal ceremony, it nonetheless is not
an ordinary occasion, since such ceremony is the educational institution's
way of announcing to the whole world that the students included in the list of
those who will be conferred a degree during the baccalaureate ceremony
have satisfied all the requirements for such degree. Prior or subsequent to

the ceremony, the school has the obligation to promptly inform the student
of any problem involving the latter's grades and performance and also most
importantly, of the procedures for remedying the same.
Petitioner, in belatedly informing respondent of the result of the removal
examination, particularly at a time when he had already commenced
preparing for the bar exams, cannot be said to have acted in good faith.
Absence of good faith must be sufficiently established for a successful
prosecution by the aggrieved party in a suit for abuse of right under Article
19 of the Civil Code. Good faith connotes an honest intention to abstain from
taking undue advantage of another, even though the forms and technicalities
of the law, together with the absence of all information or belief of facts,
would render the transaction unconscientious.5 It is the school that has
access to those information and it is only the school that can compel its
professors to act and comply with its rules, regulations and policies with
respect to the computation and the prompt submission of grades. Students
do not exercise control, much less influence, over the way an educational
institution should run its affairs, particularly in disciplining its professors and
teachers and ensuring their compliance with the school's rules and orders.
Being the party that hired them, it is the school that exercises general
supervision and exclusive control over the professors with respect to the
submission of reports involving the students' standing. Exclusive control
means that no other person or entity had any control over the
instrumentality which caused the damage or injury.6
The college dean is the senior officer responsible for the operation of an
academic program, enforcement of rules and regulations, and the
supervision of faculty and student services.7 He must see to it that his own
professors and teachers, regardless of their status or position outside of the
university, must comply with the rules set by the latter. The negligent act of
a professor who fails to observe the rules of the school, for instance by not
promptly submitting a student's grade, is not only imputable to the professor
but is an act of the school, being his employer.
Considering further, that the institution of learning involved herein is a
university which is engaged in legal education, it should have practiced what
it inculcates in its students, more specifically the principle of good dealings
enshrined in Articles 19 and 20 of the Civil Code which states:

Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the
performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and
observe honesty and good faith.
Art. 20. Every person who, contrary to law, wilfully or negligently
causes damage to another, shall indemnify the latter for the same.
Art. 19 was intended to expand the concept of torts by granting adequate
legal remedy for the untold number of moral wrongs which is impossible for
human foresight to provide specifically in statutory law.8 In civilized society,
men must be able to assume that others will do them no intended injury
that others will commit no internal aggressions upon them; that their
fellowmen, when they act affirmatively will do so with due care which the
ordinary understanding and moral sense of the community exacts and that
those with whom they deal in the general course of society will act in good
faith. The ultimate thing in the theory of liability is justifiable reliance under
conditions of civilized society.9 Schools and professors cannot just take
students for granted and be indifferent to them, for without the latter, the
former are useless.
Educational institutions are duty-bound to inform the students of their
academic status and not wait for the latter to inquire from the former. The
conscious indifference of a person to the rights or welfare of the
person/persons who may be affected by his act or omission can support a
claim for damages.10 Want of care to the conscious disregard of civil
obligations coupled with a conscious knowledge of the cause naturally
calculated to produce them would make the erring party liable.11 Petitioner
ought to have known that time was of the essence in the performance of its
obligation to inform respondent of his grade. It cannot feign ignorance that
respondent will not prepare himself for the bar exams since that is precisely
the immediate concern after graduation of an LL.B. graduate. It failed to act
seasonably. Petitioner cannot just give out its student's grades at any time
because a student has to comply with certain deadlines set by the Supreme
Court on the submission of requirements for taking the bar. Petitioner's
liability arose from its failure to promptly inform respondent of the result of
an examination and in misleading the latter into believing that he had
satisfied all requirements for the course. Worth quoting is the following
disquisition of the respondent court:

It is apparent from the testimony of Dean Tiongson that defendantappellee University had been informed during the deliberation that the
professor in Practice Court I gave plaintiff-appellant a failing grade. Yet,
defendant-appellee still did not inform plaintiff-appellant of his failure
to complete the requirements for the degree nor did they remove his
name from the tentative list of candidates for graduation. Worse,
defendant-appellee university, despite the knowledge that plaintiffappellant failed in Practice Court I, again included plaintiff-appellant's
name in the "tentative list of candidates for graduation which was
prepared after the deliberation and which became the basis for the
commencement rites program. Dean Tiongson reasons out that
plaintiff-appellant's name was allowed to remain in the tentative list of
candidates for graduation in the hope that the latter would still be able
to remedy the situation in the remaining few days before graduation
day. Dean Tiongson, however, did not explain how plaintiff appellant
Jader could have done something to complete his deficiency if
defendant-appellee university did not exert any effort to inform
plaintiff-appellant of his failing grade in Practice Court I.12
Petitioner cannot pass on its blame to the professors to justify its own
negligence that led to the delayed relay of information to respondent. When
one of two innocent parties must suffer, he through whose agency the loss
occurred must bear it.13 The modern tendency is to grant indemnity for
damages in cases where there is abuse of right, even when the act is not
illicit.14 If mere fault or negligence in one's acts can make him liable for
damages for injury caused thereby, with more reason should abuse or bad
faith make him liable. A person should be protected only when he acts in the
legitimate exercise of his right, that is, when he acts with prudence and in
good faith, but not when he acts with negligence or abuse.15
However, while petitioner was guilty of negligence and thus liable to
respondent for the latter's actual damages, we hold that respondent should
not have been awarded moral damages. We do not agree with the Court of
Appeals' findings that respondent suffered shock, trauma and pain when he
was informed that he could not graduate and will not be allowed to take the
bar examinations. At the very least, it behooved on respondent to verify for
himself whether he has completed all necessary requirements to be eligible
for the bar examinations. As a senior law student, respondent should have
been responsible enough to ensure that all his affairs, specifically those
pertaining to his academic achievement, are in order. Given these

considerations, we fail to see how respondent could have suffered untold


embarrassment in attending the graduation rites, enrolling in the bar review
classes and not being able to take the bar exams. If respondent was indeed
humiliated by his failure to take the bar, he brought this upon himself by not
verifying if he has satisfied all the requirements including his school records,
before preparing himself for the bar examination. Certainly, taking the bar
examinations does not only entail a mental preparation on the subjects
thereof; there are also prerequisites of documentation and submission of
requirements which the prospective examinee must meet.
WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATION. Petitioner is ORDERED to PAY respondent the sum of Thirtyfive Thousand Four Hundred Seventy Pesos (P35,470.00), with legal interest
of 6% per annum computed from the date of filing of the complaint until fully
paid; the amount of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) as attorney's fees; and
the costs of the suit. The award of moral damages is DELEIED.1wphi1.nt
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Kapunan and Pardo, JJ., concur.
Puno, J., took no part.