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Acquisitions by Lucrative Title


Acquisitions by lucrative title
... refers to properties acquired gratuitously
... and include those acquired by either spouse during the marriage
... by inheritance, devise, legacy, or donation.

Reference:
Francisco vs CA (Evangelista, et al), G.R. No. 102330 November 25, 1998

What is an "Ancient Document"


"The affidavit cannot be considered an ancient document either.

An ancient document is one that is (1) more than 30 years old, (2) found in the proper custody, and (3)
unblemished by any alteration or by any circumstance of suspicion.[11] It must on its face appear to be
genuine.

Not all notarized documents are exempted from the rule on authentication. Thus, an affidavit does not
automatically become a public document just because it contains a notarial jurat. Furthermore, the
affidavit in question does not state how the ownership of the subject land was transferred from Sinforoso
Mendoza to Margarito Mendoza. By itself, an affidavit is not a mode of acquiring ownership."

source:
Cequena and Lirio vs Bolante, GR 137944 (April 6, 2000)

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Dead Man's Statute or Survivorship Rule


"Dead Man's Statute' or "Survivorship Rule" under Section 23, Rule 130 of the Rules of
Court

SEC. 23. Disqualification by reason of death or insanity of adverse party. Parties or


assignors of parties to a case, or persons in whose behalf a case is prosecuted, against an
executor or administrator or other representative of a deceased person, or against a person
of unsound mind, upon a claim or demand against the estate of such deceased person, or
against such person of unsound mind, cannot testify as to any matter of fact occurring
before the death of such deceased person or before such person became of unsound mind.

The "Dead Man's Statute" provides that if one party to the alleged transaction is precluded
from testifying by death, insanity, or other mental disabilities, the surviving party is not
entitled to the undue advantage of giving his own uncontradicted and unexplained account
of the transaction.9 But before this rule can be successfully invoked to bar the introduction
of testimonial evidence, it is necessary that:
1. The witness is a party or assignor of a party to case or persons in whose behalf a
case in prosecuted.

2. The action is against an executor or administrator or other representative of a


deceased person or a person of unsound mind;

3. The subject-matter of the action is a claim or demand against the estate of such
deceased person or against person of unsound mind;
4. His testimony refers to any matter of fact of which occurred before the death of
such deceased person or before such person became of unsound mind." 10
source:
Sunga-Chan and Sunga vs Chua, G.R. No. 143340 (August 15, 2001)

Principle of Ambulatory Nature of a Will


79 Am Jur 2d, Wills, 851: It seems clear that in the absence of statute expressly conferring such
jurisdiction, a court does not have the power to entertain a suit for the establishment or annulment of the
will of a living testator. The ambulatory nature of a will, and the absence of parties in interest, which
results from the rule that a living person has neither heirs nor legatees, render impossible the
assumption that a court has inherent power to determine the validity of a will prior to the death of the
maker. It has been held that a statute providing for the probate of a will before the death of the testator,
leaving him at liberty to alter or revoke it, or to escape the effect of any action under it by removal from
the jurisdiction, is alleged and void on the ground that such a proceeding is not within the judicial power.

source:

[G.R. No. 129505. January 31, 2000]


OCTAVIO S. MALOLES II, petitioner, vs. PACITA DE LOS REYES PHILLIPS, respondent.
[G.R. No. 133359. January 31, 2000]
OCTAVIO S. MALOLES II, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. FERNANDO V. GOROSPE,
JR., in his Official Capacity as Presiding Judge of RTC-Makati, Branch 61, and PACITA PHILLIPS
as the alleged executrix of the alleged will of the late Dr. Arturo de Santos, respondents.

AMBULATORY - capable of being altered


Ambulatory will refer to a will that can be altered during the testator's lifetime. Generally all
wills are considered ambulatory because as long as the person who made it lives, it can
always be changed or revoked.

Conflict of Laws: Lex Loci Celebrationis vs Lex Loci Contractus


Lex loci celebrationis relates to the law of the place of the ceremony or the law of the place where a
contract is made.

The doctrine of lex contractus or lex loci contractus means the law of the place where a contract is
executed or to be performed. It controls the nature, construction, and validity of the contract and it may
pertain to the law voluntarily agreed upon by the parties or the law intended by them either expressly or
implicitly.

Reference: GR 149177
Posted 18th November 2016 by Rem Ramirez, REBL No. 20231
Labels: Lex Loci Celebrationis Lex Loci Contractus
Conflict of Laws: Most Significant Relationship Rule
"Under the state of the most significant relationship rule, to ascertain what state law to apply to a dispute,
the court should determine which state has the most substantial connection to the occurrence and the
parties. In a case involving a contract, the court should consider where the contract was made, was
negotiated, was to be performed, and the domicile, place of business, or place of incorporation of the
parties. This rule takes into account several contacts and evaluates them according to their relative
importance with respect to the particular issue to be resolved."

Reference: GR 149177
Read Also:

Lex Loci Celebrationis


Lex Loci Contractus

Doctrine of Primary Jurisdiction


"The general rule is that before a party may seek the intervention of the court, he should first avail of all the
means afforded him by administrative processes. The issues which administrative agencies are authorized to decide
should not be summarily taken from them and submitted to a court without first giving such administrative agency
the opportunity to dispose of the same after due deliberation.

Corollary to the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is the doctrine of primary jurisdiction; that
is, courts cannot or will not determine a controversy involving a question which is within the jurisdiction of the
administrative tribunal prior to the resolution of that question by the administrative tribunal, where the question
demands the exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the special knowledge, experience and services of
the administrative tribunal to determine technical and intricate matters of fact."

source: Republic v. Lacap, G.R. No. 158253, March 2, 2007, 517 SCRA 255

Doctrine of Primacy of Administrative Remedies


"The general rule is that before a party may seek the intervention of the court, he should first avail of all the
means afforded him by administrative processes. The issues which administrative agencies are authorized to decide
should not be summarily taken from them and submitted to a court without first giving such administrative agency
the opportunity to dispose of the same after due deliberation.

Corollary to the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is the doctrine of primary jurisdiction; that is,
courts cannot or will not determine a controversy involving a question which is within the jurisdiction of the
administrative tribunal prior to the resolution of that question by the administrative tribunal, where the question
demands the exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the special knowledge, experience and services of
the administrative tribunal to determine technical and intricate matters of fact."

source: Republic v. Lacap, G.R. No. 158253, March 2, 2007, 517 SCRA 255

The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is a cornerstone of our judicial system. The thrust of the rule
is that courts must allow administrative agencies to carry out their functions and discharge their responsibilities
within the specialized areas of their respective competence. [42] It has been held, however, that the doctrine of
exhaustion of administrative remedies and the doctrine of primary jurisdiction are not ironclad rules. In the case
of Republic of the Philippines v. Lacap,[43] the Court enumerated the numerous exceptions to these rules, namely: (a)
where there is estoppel on the part of the party invoking the doctrine; (b) where the challenged administrative act is
patently illegal, amounting to lack of jurisdiction; (c) where there is unreasonable delay or official inaction that will
irretrievably prejudice the complainant; (d) where the amount involved is relatively so small as to make the rule
impractical and oppressive; (e) where the question involved is purely legal and will ultimately have to be decided by
the courts of justice; (f) where judicial intervention is urgent; (g) where the application of the doctrine may cause
great and irreparable damage; (h) where the controverted acts violate due process; (i) where the issue of non-
exhaustion of administrative remedies has been rendered moot; (j) where there is no other plain, speedy and
adequate remedy; (k) where strong public interest is involved; and (l) in quo warranto proceedings. [44] [Underscoring
supplied]

SC's Doctrine of Law


"[W]hen a doctrine of this Court is overruled
and a different view is adopted,
the new doctrine should be applied prospectively,
and should not apply to parties who had relied
on the old doctrine and acted on the faith thereof."

source: People vs Jabinal, 154 Phil. 565 (1974)

Condonation Doctrine: By reelection can no longer be used as a defense


"The condonation doctrine --- which connotes this same sense of complete extinguishment of liability as
will be herein elaborated upon --- is not based on statutory law. It is a jurisprudential creation from the
1959 case of Pascual vs Honorable Provincial Board of Nueva Ecija, (Pascual), which was therefore
decided under the 1935 Constitution."

Condonation Doctrine by reelection can no longer be used as a defense. SC's abandonment, however, is
prospective.

source: Morales vs Court of Appeals, GR 217126-27 (Nov. 10, 2015)

Constitutional Law: Doctrine of Vested Rights


A right is vested when the right to enjoyment has become the property of some particular person or
persons as a present interest. (16 C.J.S. 1173). It is the privilege to enjoy property legally vested, to
enforce contracts, and enjoy the rights of property conferred by existing law (12 C.J. 955, Note 46, No. 6)
or some right or interest in property which has become fixed and established and is no longer open to
doubt or controversy (Downs vs. Blount, 170 Fed. 15, 20, cited in Balboa vs. Farrales, 51 Phil. 498, 502).

The due process clause prohibits the annihilation of vested rights. A state may not impair vested rights by
legislative enactment, by the enactment or by the subsequent repeal of a municipal ordinance, or by a
change in the constitution of the State, except in a legitimate exercise of the police power (16 C.J.S.
1177-78).

It has been observed that, generally, the term vested right expresses the concept of present fixed
interest, which in right reason and natural justice should be protected against arbitrary State action, or an
innately just an imperative right which an enlightened free society, sensitive to inherent and irrefragable
individual rights, cannot deny (16 C.J.S. 1174, Note 71, No. 5, citing Pennsylvania Greyhound Lines, Inc.
vs. Rosenthal, 192 Atl. 2nd 587).

reference: Yinlu vs Trans-Asia, GR 207942 (January 12 2015)


Posted 11th January 2016 by Rem Ramirez, REBL No. 20231

SC, 1959: The Aguinaldo Doctrine


SC reverses ombudsman suspension of Junjun

Dismissed Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Junjun Binay Jr. has won his case in the Supreme Court (SC)
against the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to his earlier preventive suspension over alleged anomaly
in the Makati City Hall Building 2 project.
In its decision against the suspension order on Binay, the Supreme Court (SC) allowed the application of
the condonation doctrine or Aguinaldo doctrine.
The doctrine has been a common defense invoked by elected officials in evading liabilities for acts
committed in their previous terms in office.
It effectively extinguishes a reelected officials administrative liability from alleged wrongdoing during a
previous term.
The SC conceived of the doctrine in an October 1959 decision.
A court insider bared that the justices decided in session to abandon the doctrine, but only for future
cases.
Binay could use the latest SC ruling in questioning the Ombudsmans subsequent dismissal order against
him, the source stressed.
The SC insider further revealed that the high court also upheld the power of the Court of Appeals (CA) to
review and stop administrative orders of the Office of the Ombudsman on cases against officials.
The abandonment of the doctrine would be prospective in application, as agreed upon by the majority of
justices during the voting, the source said.
This means the doctrine will apply in Binays case but he will be the last to benefit from it.
The SC rejected the position of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales that the condonation doctrine
cannot apply in Binays case.
Binay invoked the doctrine in questioning the preventive suspension order issued by the Ombudsman.
Last month, the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal from service of Mayor Binay over the controversy.
Binay had argued that the alleged anomalies were committed during the first and second phases of the
project when he was not yet mayor of the city.
The third and fourth phases, on the other hand, were then undertaken during his previous term from
2010 to 2013.
The SC, the source said, has also rejected the position of Morales that only the high court can review and
stop her orders on administrative cases based on Section 14 of Republic Act No. 6770 (Ombudsman Act).
Such provision in the Ombudsman law was declared ineffective as Congress did not consult the SC in
approving it, according to the ruling penned by Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe.
No other details were available as the high court has not yet released a copy of the ruling as of press time.
The SC issued the ruling in response to a petition filed by the ombudsman questioning the orders of the
CA stopping the ombudsmans first preventive suspension order against Mayor Binay.
In her petition last March, Morales assailed the temporary restraining order (TRO) and writ of
preliminary injunction (WPI) issued by the CA stopping her suspension order against Binay.
The SC heard the case in oral arguments during summer session in Baguio City last April before four
justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Diosdado Peralta, Arturo Brion and Francis Jardeleza decided to
inhibit from the case.
Meanwhile, the Makati City police said the large presence of policemen around the Makati City Hall is
part of APEC preparations and not a reaction to the SC decision on Binay case.
They (police officers) are being billeted at the school. It has nothing to do with the Supreme Court
decision, Sr. Supt. Ernesto Barlam, chief of the Makati City Police, said, referring to the General Pio Del
Pilar National High School. The school is located near the city hall building on F. Zobel street. The Makati
City Hall building is not very far from the hotels where some of the APEC delegates would be staying
during the summit.
Binay spokesman Joey Salgado said they were not convinced of the city police chiefs explanation.
That is their version of things. But the timing is suspicious. APEC is still quite far away, Salgado
toldThe STAR.
He said the mayor will issue a statement only after getting his copy of the SC decision. With Mike
Frialde
source: Philippine Star

The 20-lender rule


BIRs power to interpret tax laws is not absolute

Another instance of overturned administrative issuances would be BIR Ruling Nos. 370-2011
and 378-2011.

In January 2015, the SC invalidated these tax rulings which covered the imposition of a
20% final withholding tax (FWT) on the interest income from the issuance of Poverty
Eradication and Alleviation Certificates (PEACe) Bonds by the Bureau of Treasury for being
deposit substitutes (G.R. No. 198756, 13 January 2015).

The Tax Code defines deposit substitutes as an alternative form of obtaining funds from the
public (the term public means borrowing from twenty [20] or more individual or corporate
lenders at any one time), other than deposits, through the issuance, endorsement, or
acceptance of debt instruments for the borrowers own account.

In striking down these issuances, the SC applied the 20-lender rule (i.e., 20 or more lenders
at any one time) to determine whether a debt instrument is considered a deposit substitute,
subject to 20% FWT. The SC found that these rulings disregarded the 20-lender rule by
considering all treasury bonds, regardless of the number of purchasers/lenders at the time
of origination/issuances, to be deposit substitutes. As a result, the SC ruled that the BIRs
interpretation created a distinction between government debt instruments and private
bonds where there was none in the tax law.

The SC further explained that the phrase at any one time, for purposes of determining the
20-lender rule, would refer to every transaction executed in the primary or secondary
market relative to the purchase or sale of the securities. The SC also ruled that there is a
deemed public borrowing and the bonds are considered deposit substitutes when funds are
simultaneously obtained from 20 or more lenders through any of the transactions connected
in the issuance/trading of the government bonds (e.g., issuance by the Bureau of Treasury;
sale/distribution of government dealers; and trading in the secondary market).

Sylvia B. Salvador is a director at the tax services department of Isla Lipana & Co., the
Philippine member firm of PwC network.

source: Businessworld

Principle of Relativity of Contracts


Contract law; principle of relativity. The basic principle of relativity of contracts is that contracts can only
bind the parties who entered into it, and cannot favor or prejudice a third person, even if he is aware of
such contract and has acted with knowledge thereof Where there is no privity of contract, there is
likewise no obligation or liability to speak about. Philippine National Bank v. Teresita Tan Dee, et
al., G.R. No. 182128, February 19, 2014.

Doctrine of Judicial Stability (or non-interference)


doctrine of judicial stability or non-interference dictates that the assumption by the Makati RTC over the issue operates as an
insurmountable barrier to the subsequent assumption by the Paraaque RTC.[42] By insisting on ruling on the same issue, the
Paraaque RTC effectively interfered with the Makati RTCs resolution of the issue and created the possibility of conflicting
decisions. Cojuangco v. Villegas[43] states: The various branches of the [regional trial courts] of a province or city, having as
they have the same or equal authority and exercising as they do concurrent and coordinate jurisdiction, should not, cannot and are
not permitted to interfere with their respective cases, much less with their orders or judgments. A contrary rule would obviously
lead to confusion and seriously hamper the administration of justice. The matter is further explained thus:
It has been held that "even in cases of concurrent jurisdiction, it is, also, axiomatic that the court first acquiring jurisdiction
excludes the other courts."

In addition, it is a familiar principle that when a court of competent jurisdiction acquires jurisdiction over the subject
matter of a case, its authority continues, subject only to the appellate authority, until the matter is finally and completely disposed
of, and that no court of co-ordinate authority is at liberty to interfere with its action. This doctrine is applicable to civil cases, to
criminal prosecutions, and to courts-martial. The principle is essential to the proper and orderly administration of the laws; and
while its observance might be required on the grounds of judicial comity and courtesy, it does not rest upon such considerations
exclusively, but is enforced to prevent unseemly, expensive, and dangerous conflicts of jurisdiction and of the process.[44]

source: G.R. No. 175303 (April 11, 2012)

Doctrine of Immutability of Judgments


espouses that a judgment that has acquired finality becomes immutable and unalterable, and may
no longer be modified in any respect even if the modification is meant to correct erroneous conclusions of
fact or law and whether it will be made by the court that rendered it or by the highest court of the land
The significance of this rule was emphasized in Apo Fruits Corporation v. Court of Appeals, to wit:
The reason for the rule is that if, on the application of one party, the court could change its judgment to
the prejudice of the other, it could thereafter, on application of the latter, again change the judgment and
continue this practice indefinitely. The equity of a particular case must yield to the overmastering need of
certainty and unalterability of judicial pronouncements.
The doctrine of immutability and inalterability of a final judgment has a two-fold purpose: (1) to avoid
delay in the administration of justice and thus, procedurally, to make orderly the discharge of judicial
business and (2) to put an end to judicial controversies, at the risk of occasional errors, which is precisely
why courts exist. Controversies cannot drag on indefinitely. The rights and obligations of every litigant
must not hang in suspense for an indefinite period of time. The doctrine is not a mere technicality to be
easily brushed aside, but a matter of public policy as well as a time-honored principle of procedural
law.29 (Citations omitted)
source: G.R. No. 189316

Sub Judice Rule


The sub judice rule restricts comments and disclosures pertaining to judicial proceedings to avoid
prejudging the issue, influencing the court, or obstructing the administration of justice, the CA reminded
the parties.

Anyone violating the sub judice rule can be cited for indirect contempt of court under Section 3(d), Rule
71 of the Rules of Court.

source: 5-page CA resolution after its July 30 2013 ruling for Makati reversing the Pasig RTC on Taguig
Ownership of BGC,

Doctrine of Condonation
Suffice it to state that the Doctrine of Condonation as enunciated in several Supreme Court
decisions is explicit that reelection to office operates as condonation of the officers previous misconduct
to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor. Thus, reelection of a public official renders
the administrative case filed against the public official concerned moot and academic.

But what if he is elected to a different post, let us say, from being a vice mayor to mayor or vice
versa? Is the doctrine applicable? I often get an affirmative answer from local elective officials. Their
answer is basically premised on the following: (1) the same people vote for the local official whether he
runs for the mayoralty or vice mayoralty post; (2) the electorate belongs to the same local government
unit; and (3) the forgiveness factor is applicable as manifested by the election, although not reelection,
of the public official despite his previous misconduct, if any.

The Office of the Ombudsman had other view in mind. In its opinion dated March 09, 2012, the
Office of the Ombudsman opined that the doctrine applies only to reelection citing myriads of Supreme
Court rulings. It emphasized the textual language of the Supreme Court which is reelection and
therefore, there is no basis to deviate from the settled jurisprudential holdings and the clear meaning of
the same.

The position of the Office of the Ombudsman has been quoted in the recent DILG Opinion dated
March 09, 2013. In the words of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales:

xxx for condonation to apply, reelection should be to the same position for misconduct committed
during a prior term. Hence, there is no cogent reason for this Office to depart from the prevailing
jurisprudence and this Office is constrained to implement the penalty imposed xxx.
The term reelection has been construed to mean exactly what it says. Plain.

Willful Blindness Doctrine


MERE RELIANCE on another person in preparing, filing and paying income taxes is not a justification for
failure to file the right information on income taxes.

In People v. Gloria Kintanar (CTA EB Crim. No. 006, Dec. 3, 2010), Ms. Kintanar was charged with failure
to make or file her income tax returns (ITR), violating Section 255 of the 1997 National Internal Revenue
Code (NIRC), as amended. She claimed that she did not actively participate in the filing of her joint ITR
with her husband since she entrusted such duty to the latter who, in turn, hired an accountant to perform
their tax responsibilities. She testified that she did not know how much her tax obligation was; nor did she
bother to inquire or determine the facts surrounding the filing of her ITRs. Despite several notices and
subpoena received by the accused, only an unsupported protest letter made by her husband was filed
with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). The Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) En Banc found her neglect or
omission tantamount to deliberate ignorance or conscious avoidance. As an experienced
businesswoman, her reliance on her husband to file the required ITR without ensuring its full compliance
showed clear indication of deliberate lack of concern on her part to perform her tax obligations. This ruling
was sustained by the Supreme Court (SC) in 2012.

Based on the foregoing, the willful blindness doctrine was applied by the CTA, as sustained by SC on
cases where there is a natural presumption that the taxpayer knows his/her tax obligations under the law
considering the factual circumstances of the case, such as being a businesswoman or official of a
company. This case set a precedent that mere reliance on a representative or agent (i.e., accountant or
husband) is not a valid ground to justify any noncompliance in tax obligations. The taxpayer must inquire,
check and validate whether or not his/her representative or agent has complied with the taxpayers tax
responsibilities.
However, in the recent case of People v. Judy Ann Santos (CTA Crim. Case no. 012, Jan. 16, 2013), the
CTA Division seemed to have a change of heart and acquitted Ms. Santos despite having almost the
same circumstances as that of the case of Ms. Kintanar. In this case, Ms. Santos was accused of failure
to supply correct and accurate information in her ITR. She claimed that by virtue of trust, respect and
confidence, she has entrusted her professional, financial and tax responsibilities to her manager since
she was 12 years old. She participated and maintained her intention to settle the case, and thus provided
all the documents needed as well as payment of her taxes. The element of willfulness was not
established and the CTA found her to be merely negligent. The CTA also noted the intention of Ms.
Santos to settle the case, which negates any motive to commit fraud. This was affirmed by the SC in its
resolution issued April 2013.

THE DIFFERENCES

Willful blindness is defined in Blacks Law Dictionary as deliberate avoidance of knowledge of a crime,
especially by failing to make a reasonable inquiry about suspected wrongdoing, despite being aware that
it is highly probable. A willful act is described as one done intentionally, knowingly and purposely,
without justifiable excuse.

Willful in tax crimes means voluntary, intentional violation of a known legal duty, and bad faith or bad
purpose need not be shown. It is a state of mind that may be inferred from the circumstances of the case;
thus, proof of willfulness may be, and usually is, shown by circumstantial evidence alone. Therefore, to
convict the accused for willful failure to file ITR or submit accurate information, it must be shown that the
accused was (1) aware of his/her obligation to file annual ITR or submit accurate information, but that (2)
he/she, or his/her supposed agent, nevertheless voluntarily, knowingly and intentionally failed to file the
required ret urns or submit accurate information. Bad faith or intent to defraud need not be shown.

As can be observed in the first case, the accused knew that she had to timely file and supply correct and
accurate information of the joint ITR with the BIR in relation to the profession or the position she holds.
The knowledge was presumed based on the fact that Ms. Kintanar is an experienced businesswoman,
having been an independent distributor of a product for several years. However, despite this knowledge,
the CTA found that she voluntarily, knowingly and intentionally failed to fulfill her tax responsibilities by not
participating in the filing of the ITR and ensuring that everything was filed correctly and accurately. As
compared with the Santos case, which the SC affirmed, the element of voluntarily, knowingly and
intentionally was taken differently by the CTA in consideration of the facts of the case. Ms. Santos fully
entrusted her tax obligations and finances to her manager since she was a child. It can be said that she is
not an experienced manager of her finances and taxes since she never handled such task, as
compared with the situation of Ms. Kintanar, who is considered an experienced businesswoman who
manages her business as well as her financial and tax responsibilities -- which is expected of somebody
in her position (i.e., president and/or businessperson).

The concept of willful blindness doctrine is new in Philippine jurisprudence. The application of this
doctrine by the CTA in the said cases was guided by the appreciation of the facts and the pieces of
evidence produced by the prosecution and accused to prove the non-existence of willfulness. However,
defined and clear standards in its application must be done as guidance for future application. This is
necessary to avoid arbitrary application and to encourage proper use of the doctrine by both parties in the
case.

Statutes of Limitations
Statutes of limitations set the deadline or maximum period of time within which a lawsuit or legal claim may be
filed. They vary depending on the circumstances of the case, the type of case or claim involved, and whether the
lawsuit or claim is filed in state or federal court.

Notarized Document
"It is settled that absent any clear and convincing proof to the contrary, a notarized document enjoys the
presumption of regularity and is conclusive as to the truthfulness of its contents."

source:
Palada v. Solidbank Corporation, G.R. No. 172227, June 29, 2011, 653 SCRA 10, 21
ECE Realty vs Mandap, GR 196182 (September 01 2014).pdf

Doctrine of In Pari Delicto

Generally, parties to a void agreement cannot expect the aid of the law; the courts leave them as they are,
because they are deemed in pari delicto or "in equal fault."30

In pari delicto is "a universal doctrine which holds that no action arises, in equity or at law, from an illegal contract;
no suit can be maintained for its specific performance, or to recover the property agreed to be sold or delivered, or
the money agreed to be paid, or damages for its violation; and where the parties are in pari delicto, no affirmative
relief of any kind will be given to one against the other.

This rule, however, is subject to exceptions32 that permit the return of that which may have been given
under a void contract to: (a) the innocent party (Arts. 1411-1412, Civil Code);33
(b) the debtor who pays usurious interest (Art. 1413, Civil Code);34
(c) the party repudiating the void contract before the illegal purpose is accomplished or before damage is
caused to a third person and if public interest is subserved by allowing recovery (Art. 1414, Civil Code); 35
(d) the incapacitated party if the interest of justice so demands (Art. 1415, Civil Code);36
(e) the party for whose protection the prohibition by law is intended if the agreement is not illegal per se
but merely prohibited and if public policy would be enhanced by permitting recovery (Art. 1416, Civil
Code);37 and
(f) the party for whose benefit the law has been intended such as in price ceiling laws (Art. 1417, Civil
Code)38 and labor laws (Arts. 1418-1419, Civil Code).39

source: Hulst vs PR Builders, GR 156364 (September 3, 2007)

Doctrine of Estoppel

Despite his passionate arguments, we are constrained to rule against petitioner on grounds of fairness
and equity particularly on the principle of estoppel. In PNB v. CA,[17] we held:

"The doctrine of estoppel is based upon the grounds of public policy, fair dealing, good faith and justice, and its
purpose is to forbid one to speak against his own act, representations, or commitments to the injury of one to whom
they were directed and who reasonably relied thereon. The doctrine of estoppel springs from equitable principles
and the equities in the case. It is designed to aid the law in the administration of justice where without its aid
injustice might result. It has been applied by this Court wherever and whenever special circumstances of a case so
demand."

source: Ysmael vs CA (HLURB - Jamlang), GR 96999 (June 10, 1997)

Doctrine of Corporate Opportunity


The doctrine of "corporate opportunity" 29 is precisely a recognition by the courts that the fiduciary
standards could not be upheld where the fiduciary was acting for two entities with competing interests.
This doctrine rests fundamentally on the unfairness, in particular circumstances, of an officer or director
taking advantage of an opportunity for his own personal profit when the interest of the corporation justly
calls for protection.

source:

G.R. No. L-45911 April 11, 1979


JOHN GOKONGWEI, JR., petitioner,

vs.

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, ANDRES M. SORIANO, JOSE M. SORIANO,


ENRIQUE ZOBEL, ANTONIO ROXAS, EMETERIO BUNAO, WALTHRODE B. CONDE, MIGUEL
ORTIGAS, ANTONIO PRIETO, SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION, EMIGDIO TANJUATCO, SR., and
EDUARDO R. VISAYA, respondents.

Why no supremacy clause in our Constitution?


When Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno last week told President Benigno Aquino 3rd, that The Constitution
is supreme, everyone, this writer included, wholeheartedly agreed.
But did you know that nowhere in the 21,000-word charter will you find a clause that proclaims the
Constitution as the supreme law of the land? Or even just the law of the land. Look for the clause in the
text and you will look in vain.
In contrast, the American Constitution contains an explicit supremacy clause, article VI, clause 2, which
reads,
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all
treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law
of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of
any state to the contrary notwithstanding.
This command speaks volumes about the US charter. When it makes the claim of supremacy, you know it
is supreme in the United States of America.
Since our charter neglected to provide a similar supremacy clause for itself, its not surprising that it failed
to provide a clause proclaiming the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of law and the Constitution in our
political system.
It appears that the 48 commissioners whom President Cory Aquino tasked to write the Constitution forgot
this provision that in the constitutions of other states is considered fundamental.
Power of judicial review in PH charter
But then, to the lasting credit of our charter framers, they did something more than the drafters of the US
Constitution.
They wrote into our fundamental law the power of judicial review by the Judiciary.
As several readers, some writing from across the seas, have ably pointed out to me, certain provisions in
Article VIII of our charter spell out the power of judicial review and imply judicial supremacy. These are:
Article VIII, Sec.1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as
may be established by law.
Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights
which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality
of the government.
Article VIII, sec.5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers.
(2) review, revise, reverse, or affirm on appeal or certiorari. As the law or the rules of court may provide,
final judgments and orders of lower courts, in:
(a) all cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement,
law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question.
In contrast, the US constitution stopped short of recognizing judicial review.

Learning from my readers


I must admit here that the many letters I received in response to my column (The disputed doctrine of
judicial supremacy, Times, August 28), have helped clarify the key points where my analysis was
wanting, and my error in assigning too much importance to the continuing US debate on the doctrine of
judicial supremacy.
All the comments received were helpful and instructive; alas I can only cite and quote a few here, and will
have to content myself with just thanking everyone for writing.
The high degree of public feeling and understanding of the issues of judicial independence and judicial
supremacy is remarkable.
To quote some of the letters:
1. Reader Jun Adan sent me the following comment, which is incisive and persuasive.
Judicial Supremacy only means that the judicial branch of the government, of which the Supreme Court
is the highest, has the ultimate power to interpret the laws and Constitution of the land, as emanating
from the Judicial Review power granted to it by the Constitution, which the two other branches must
obey. It means the Judiciary has the exclusive jurisdiction, to the exclusion of the two other branches, to
decide on what the law or the Constitution means which form part of the law of the land and must prevail
over the two other branches.
In relation to the power of the Legislative to enact and make laws, including appropriation acts, such
power must conform to the Constitution.
On the other hand, in relation to the power of the Executive to enforce and implement the laws and the
Constitution, such executive acts must conform to laws and the Constitution.
The three branches are co-equal in terms of eachs power to exercise it within its exclusive jurisdiction
and no one reigns supreme over the other. All three branches must respect and obey the Constitution, as
the supreme law of the land, the soul and spirit of which fully resides in the people.
Applying the current Supreme Court (SC) rulings on the PDAF and DAP, the SC is not asserting its
supremacy but has merely exerted its Constitutional-given power of judicial review by way of interpreting
the law and the Constitution as it relates to the power of the purse of Congress and the Executive (Order)
on implementation of the budget GAA.
In the proper exercise of its power, the SC found PDAF and DAP unconstitutional for reasons therein
explained. As such, the Legislative and Executive must obey and respect such SC decisions and must
stop actions therein forbidden. It is not an exertion of Judicial Supremacy but a proper exercise of the
Judicial Review power mandated by the Constitution.
2. Reader Raymart Anthony Hernaez helped to clarify why I got caught between Philippine and US
jurisprudence. He wrote:
We have based our Constitution and early jurisprudence on American roots but I believe that we have
already departed from the US, at least jurisprudentially.
The basis of judicial review in the US Judiciary, especially that of their Supreme Court, is solely
established by a legal precedent while ours was established by none other than the supreme law of our
land. The power of judicial review is explicitly mentioned and even expanded in our Constitution. While
the US Judiciary cannot touch purely political questions, our courts can and should as it is their
constitutional duty.
Supremacists vs. departmentalists
Michael Dorff of Cornell University, in an interesting essay on the US debate over judicial supremacy,
says that debaters/combatants tend to be either supremacists or departmentalists.
Supremacists believe that the Supreme Courts interpretation of the Constitution prevails over contrary
interpretations by Congress, the President, and just about everyone else, unless and until the Court
overrules its precedent or the People amend the Constitution.
Through much of US history, many have differed with this position. And they include such giants as
Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.
According to Professor Dorff, Jefferson adhered to a view that Stanford Law School Dean Larry Kramer
has called departmentalism, under which each branch (or department) of government has the power
and duty to construe the Constitution for itself.
The danger of this, says Dorff, is that departmentalism can undermine judicial independence.
He cites a famous case where Congress disagreed with a Supreme Court ruling invalidating a law, as
Congress did in the 1989 ruling in Texas v. Johnson that the First Amendments protection for freedom of
speech includes the right to burn an American flag. Congress responded by passing a new law banning
flag burning, acting on its different interpretation of the First Amendment.
The Court accepted the invitation to reconsider but then reaffirmed the Johnson ruling. Congress then
took no for an answer and stopped enacting statutes that it knew would be struck down. Eventually, the
issue died because Congress was not willing to insist on an all-out confrontation with the Supreme Court.
We could be headed in this direction, if Congress presses on with Aquinos demand for a redefinition of
savings and the legalization of DAP.
In all likelihood, the SC will reaffirm its earlier ruling on the DAP.
Our childish president could insist on revising the Constitution so he can win the argument. Drilon and
Belmonte, for their own selfish reasons, may indulge him.
And public funds will be commandeered and impounded to raise the wherewithal to secure congressional
support. Legislators will join the battle as mercenaries fighting on Aquinos side.
I think I already know on which side the public will stand in this fight. Most Filipinos are supremacists
when it comes to judicial supremacy. They believe in their Supreme Court.
Aquino is fighting a losing battle here because he is on the clock. He will be out of office by June 30,
2016.
In contrast, SC Justices will be around for much, much longer, until they are ready to retire.
Executive supremacy is a fight Aquino will have to fight alone. He cannot win this one.
yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

source: Manila Times Column of Yen Makabenta

Rem Ramirez says:


September 2, 2014 at 9:44 pm
Judiciary interprets the Law; Legislative writes the Law; and, the Executive implements the Law.
What gives the Supreme Court ultimate power is that they can interpret a Law not only on how the
Congress intended it to be written but if such has been written in accordance with the Constitution.
While the President and the Congress can work together and passed whatever new laws or repeal
existing laws, Supreme Court holds the exclusive and final interpretation of any law by virtue of its
constitutionality.
Pen is, indeed, mightier than the sword.
The disputed doctrine of judicial supremacy
THIS may disappoint some of my readers, or lead others to wonder whether I have abandoned
constitutional principles.
But in the interest of fairness and objectivity, I feel duty-bound to state that I do not believe the Supreme
Courts decision on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is the absolutely final word on the
subject, even though I have hailed it as a landmark ruling and a possible tipping point in national politics
and governance.
After the decision was handed down, I embarked on a search for authoritative materials that will shed
light on the issue. I did so out of both curiosity and skepticism, and the distant possibility that the court
may revise or reverse its ruling. Philconsa on judicial supremacy
When the president and chairman of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) Rep. Martin
Romualdez and former presidential legal counsel Justice Manuel Lazaro declared the other week that
there is such a thing as judicial supremacy, which should leave in no doubt the finality of the SC ruling, I
thought their opinion might render my research moot and academic.
My readings say otherwise, however. Indeed, the claim of supremacy only makes the matter more
debatable.
Constitution silent on SC as final arbiter
I began my research with Philippine sources, particularly the 1987 constitution and certain rulings of the
SC. The following points were quickly established:
First, The Constitution is silent on SC as final arbiter on judicial supremacy. The powers of the SC are
expressly enumerated in Section 5, Article VIII of the charter, and nowhere affirms either.
Second, The Constitution introduced some new provisions (as distinct from the 1935 and 1973
constitutions), notably The provision that judicial power now includes the duty of the Supreme Court not to
refuse to decide a case on the ground that the question or issue raised involves a political question.
Third, In his separate and dissenting opinion in the DAP case, Associate Justice Arturo Brion underscores
the importance of keeping all three branches of the government in balance. He wrote:
While we have the duty to pass upon the validity of the DAP, we must, at the same time, do so fully
aware of the consequences of our decision. As I have said, the highest stakes are involved for the
country
If the DAP is unconstitutional, then we should unequivocally so declare as we did in the PDAF case, but
we should do this with an eye on consciously protecting our institutions, whether they be executive,
legislative or judicial; we cannot aim to destroy or weaken, or impose the superiority that the Constitution
did not grant us. Our aim should be to maintain the balance intended by our Constitution, the guiding
instrument that must at all times reign supreme.
The superiority that the Constitution did not grant us shows plainly that Justice Brion does not entertain
any claim of judicial supremacy for the High Court.
The US and judicial review
The Philconsa position is more widely discussed in American politics and US jurisprudence.
US chief justice John Marshall affirmed the judiciarys leading role in interpreting laws and determining
their constitutionality with his courts unanimous assertion of judicial review in Marbury v. Madison (1803).
First, the decision declared that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say
what the law is.
Second, it declared that the Supreme Court has the duty of weighing laws against the Constitution, and
invalidating those that are inconsistent with it.
In their authoritative book on the US Congress and its members (CQ Press, 2008), professors Roger
Davidson, Walter Oleszek and Frances Lee provide an informative discussion of judicial review and the
following findings:
1. Although since the US civil war, the Supreme Court has invalidated 159 congressional statutes, in
whole or in part, the court does not necessarily have the last word in saying what the law is. Its
interpretation of laws may be questioned and even reversed.
One study found that 121 of the courts interpretive decisions had been overriden in the 1967-1990
period, an average of ten per Congress.
2. The US high court is not the sole judge of what is or is not constitutional. Courts routinely accept
customs and practices developed by the other two branches. When courts do strike down an enactment,
Congress may turn around and pass laws that meet the courts objections or achieve the same goal by
different means.

Judicial supremacy: A doctrine challenged


Turning now to the doctrine of judicial supremacy, theres no question that it is widely popular in this
country. Most Filipinos look at the idea as reassuring.
The doctrine is of vital importance today, because many burning issues in our public life are hanging upon
the question of whether the Supreme Court can be challenged in its recent rulings on the constitutionality
of the DAP and PDAF. And whether the tag-team of President Aquino and Congress can legally clip the
powers of the SC.
In this light, judicial supremacy sounds like a neat solution. But significantly, there is much disagreement
over the doctrine.
Author William J. Watkins, Jr. writes: JUDICIAL SUPREMACY IS THE gospel of modern American
constitutional law. It is the doctrine that the Supreme Court has the last word on most of the countrys
important issues from electing a president to campaign finance reform to treatment of the Guantanamo
detainees.
Watkins reports that in recent years there have been few critics of judicial supremacy. When someone of
influence has questioned the doctrine, they have been excoriated in the media and academic press. For
example, when then-Attorney General Edwin Meese questioned the doctrine in 1986, academe all but
called for his political exile. Faced with criticism from left and right, Meese backpedaled.
Some American legal scholars have criticized judicial supremacy as a case of judicial over-extension.
Even more critical is Professor Larry D. Kramer, dean of the Stanford Law School, whose 2005 book,
The People Themselves: Popular Constitutionalism and Judicial Review (Oxford University Press, 2005)
is a comprehensive attack on the doctrine of judicial supremacy.
Kramer contends that the standard interpretation of Marbury that John Marshall declared the Court to be
the final arbiter of the Constitution is erroneous. At most, the Court may make reference to the
Constitution when deciding a case.
Had Marshall truly declared the Supreme Court to be the final arbiter, President Jefferson would likely
have had him sent to federal jail.
Jefferson denied that the judiciary was the final arbiter of the Constitution. To give any one co-equal
branch such a power would make it despotic. Of course, a final arbiter is needed if the branches cannot
reach an accommodation on certain issues. And for Jefferson this ultimate power resided in the people
the ultimate sovereign in the American system.
A tripartite system: No one supreme
What emerged from my research is the fact that the contentions between the Supreme Court and
Congress and the Executive are even more intense in the US than here in the Philippines.
The tension between policymaking by lawmakers versus judge-made decisions is perennial.
The most sensible conclusion I reached is this:
The Judiciary, like congress and the president, is an important forum for resolving the political, social and
economic conflicts in Philippine society.
All three branches of government constantly interact to shape and influence the laws our people will live
under.
Through this process of interaction, says legal scholar Louis Fisher, all three institutions are able to
expose weaknesses, hold excesses in check, and gradually forge a consensus on constitutional values.
All this just brings us back to the premise where our political system begins. Ours is a system of three
separate powers and branches of government: the legislative, the executive and the judicial.
No branch is supreme over the others. And all must protect and obey the Constitution.
yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

source: Manila Times Column of Yen Makabenta

Scrutinizing Sereno, one year after


If she learns from these 'rookie mistakes,' Sereno would be able to do more in the years to come
18 years. President Aquino and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno after her oath-taking on Aug 25,
2012. File photo by EPA
MANILA, Philippines - Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is, in the words of retired Chief Justice Artemio
Panganiban, both an insider and outsider. Sereno, who took her oath as chief justice on August 25,
2012, had enough time to know the internal dynamics, habits and processes of the Supreme Court,
Panganiban said in a speech last year. Sereno, after all, served for two years as an associate justice
before taking on the highest post in the judiciary.

But she is also an outsider, given her short time in the SC, which would work to her advantage,
Panganiban added. She could see afresh the judiciary, think outside the box and transform the courts
without being tied to past practices and traditions.

As it turns out, this was a double-edged sword.

One year into her term as chief justice, Sereno, the first junior justice to be appointed to lead the Court, is
continuing earlier reforms in the institution, but it is far from easy. The pace has been slow as she wades
through difficult terrain in the hierarchy-steeped Court, meeting up with strong resistance from some of
her colleagues.

READ: Sereno is first female justice

Decentralization was a priority in Serenos reform agenda. She wanted to restore the regional court
administrators office (RCAO), which was launched in 2008, to make operations of the court more
efficient. Past chief justices, Reynato Puno and Renato Corona, were not keen on this project as its initial
implementation showed problems in the coordination between the central court administrators office and
RCAO; it also drew opposition from some court employees in Cebu.

But Sereno erred when she unilaterally issued a resolution in November 2012 which ordered the re-
opening of RCAO under a new name, the Judiciary Decentralized Office. Justice Teresita de Castro, who
has been at odds with Sereno even before the latter became chief justice, issued a memorandum saying
that Serenos resolution did not reflect the views of the en banc on the issue. De Castro said the en banc
opposed RCAOs restoration.

To avoid an impasse, the en banc decided to establish a committee that will study the re-opening of
RCAO. The project is on hold.

Other reforms appear to proceeding smoothly.

Under Serenos watch, the SC launched the electronic Court (eCourt) system in June, which records
information about cases, from the date they were filed to their status. The assignment of cases is also
done electronically. The eCourt is being pilot-tested at the Quezon City regional trial court.

It was also under her term when the judicial affidavit rule which aims to cut trial time by 50% was
implemented, though it was developed during the time of her predecessor, impeached Chief Justice
Corona. The judicial affidavit rule will do away with direct testimonies and instead use affidavits in criminal
cases. It was modified, however, after the Prosecutors League of the Philippines and the Department of
Justice complained that the judicial affidavit rule would only worsen the delay in the resolution of cases
because prosecutors would still have to prepare the affidavits.

Minority CJ?

When it comes to her voting record in high-profile cases, Sereno is often with the minority.

The status quo ante order that the High Court issued in the case of the Senior Citizens party-list group in
was enmeshed in a backdrop of internal fissure, one that has hounded Sereno since her appointment as
chief justice.

Sereno first issued a temporary restraining order stopping Comelec from proclaiming winning party-list
groups in May.

READ: SC reverses Comelec on Senior Citizens party-list

Reports said that Justice De Castro, however, only wanted the TRO to cover the Senior Citizens party-list
group and not other groups that also sought remedy from the Court after they were disqualified by the poll
body.

In a letter to Sereno, De Castro said that issuing a blanket TRO would be deemed as an overbroad
restriction on the constitutional authority of the Comelec to proclaim winners in the party-list elections.

In Maliksi v. Saquilayan, Sereno was in the minority. The SC, voting 8-7 in April 2013, initially upheld the
Comelec decision declaring Homer Saquilayan as the rightful winner in the 2010 mayoralty elections in
Imus, Cavite.

The poll body said Saquilayan beat Maliksi by 8,429 votes. Maliksi got 40,092 votes while Saquilayan got
48,521 votes.

The SC changed its vote, however and granted the motion for reconsideration filed by Saquilayans rival,
Emmanuel Maliksi, Aquinos party-mate in the Liberal party. In the final decision, Sereno voted with the
minority.

READ: SC flip-flops; Maliksi still mayor

In Atong Paglaum v. Comelec, Sereno also voted with the minority where the SC said not only
marginalized sectors could participate in the party-list system. The ruling paves the way for national and
regional political parties and organizations to register under the party-list system and seek seats in
Congress as long as they do not field candidates in legislative district elections.
READ: SC shakes up party list in new verdict

The decision widened the playing field for groups that aimed to participate in the party-list elections, but
organizations representing marginalized sectors said it put them at a disadvantage.

Voting with the minority, Sereno said the decision may have further marginalized the already
marginalized and underrepresented of this country. In the guise of political plurality, it allows national and
regional parties or organizations to invade what is and should be constitutionally and statutorily protected
space."

Sereno was in the minority as well when the SC ruled against San Roque Power Corp in its claim for a
P560-million tax refund. The SC said the corporation should have waited for the Bureau of Internal
Revenue to first decide on the firms demand for a tax refund before going to the Court of Tax Appeals in
2003. The High Court voted 9-4, with Sereno dissenting with Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Jose
Mendoza and Estela Perlas-Bernabe.

Being part of the minority is not new for Sereno she is a known dissenter, her opinions laced with frank
and strong language.

READ: Justice Sereno: Defying tradition

But that was when she was a junior magistrate. Now that she is chief justice, even if she only has one
vote, as primus inter pares (first among equals), shes expected to hold sway over the court and establish
near-consensus.

No predictability yet

A paramount measure of the Courts unity is the quality of its decisions.

Sereno took on the High Courts headship when it was reeling from criticisms that its decisions lacked
predictability and were heavily influenced by politics.

Under the time of Chief Justice Reynato Puno from 2007-2010, up until Coronas short-lived leadership,
the SC flip-flopped on various cases it changed its decision in the case of League of Cities of the
Philippines v. Comelec thrice, where it initially ruled that the laws converting 16 towns into cities were
unconstitutional.

READ: League of Cities finally recognizes 16 'unqualified' cities


The SC also reversed its decision on the constitutionality of declaring Dinagat islands as a province. In
another case, it made a turnaround when it exempted the judiciary from the appointment ban in 2010,
something it chastised the executive for in 1998 in De Castro v. JBC.

The Sereno court has its own share of flip-flops: in Maliksi v. Saquilayan, the SC, voting 8-7, initially
declared Homer Saquilayan as the rightful winner in the 2010 mayoralty elections in Imus, Cavite. This
was in March.

A month later, it changed its vote and granted the motion for reconsideration filed by Saquilayans rival,
Emmanuel Maliksi, who belongs to the Liberal party.

The SC also allowed the live coverage of the Ampatuan trial but reversed itself and granted the motion for
reconsideration filed by Andal Ampatuan Jr., one of the main suspects in the killing of about 58 people in
Maguindanao in 2009.

READ: SC flip-flops: No more live broadcast of Ampatuan trial

One case that does not involve flip-flopping but which cast a shadow on the integrity of the Sereno court
involved Justice Velascos son, Allan, who lost to Regina Reyes in the 2013 elections. Reyes defeated
the younger Velasco for the post of representative of the lone district of Marinduque.

Velasco questioned her citizenship before Comelec, which ruled in his favor. Comelec said Reyes should
be disqualified because she is an American citizen and has failed to meet the one-year residency
requirement for candidates. Reyes elevated the case to the High Court which acted immediately, voting
7-4-3 in favor of Comelec; Sereno was with the majority.

READ: Marinduque rep threatens to impeach Velasco

Critics said the SC lacked jurisdiction over the case, as it should have been resolved by the House of
Representatives Electoral Tribunal and not by the High Court.

Serenos vote favoring Allan was seen as her way of strengthening her ties with his father and have him
as an ally amid the infighting in the SC.

READ: Dark clouds in the Supreme Court

Majority vote

The SC was not as split, however, in its decision invalidating the 2009 conferment of the National Artist
Award to comic strip artist and filmmaker Carlo J. Caparas, fashion designer Jose Pitoy Moreno, theater
artist Cecile Guidote-Alvarez and architect Francisco Maosa. The SC voted 12-1.
The SC also voted 13-2 when it upheld the constitutionality of the joint panel of the Department of Justice
and the Comelec which filed a case of electoral sabotage against former President Arroyo.

The High Court has yet to decide on a slew of major cases.

It will be interesting to see if Sereno will be in the minority when the SC votes on the constitutionality of
the following: a. authority of the Department of Justice to issue hold departure orders b. Republic Act
10175 or the Cybercrime law c. Republic Act 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive
Health Act of 2012 d. Republic Act 9742 or the Mining Act of 1995

These would also show how Sereno, Aquinos first appointee in the High Tribunal, will vote on cases that
would impact the Aquino administration.

But one case has become urgent in the light of the multi-billion pork barrel scandal that has shocked and
angered the publicand Sereno is the justice assigned to the case. She inherited it in 2010 when she
was appointed to the Court.

READ: Pork for the President

The Malampaya fund case, which has been pending in the SC for 7 years, involves billions of revenues
from the Malampaya natural gas field in Palawan, P900 million of which allegedly went to a fake NGOs
linked to Janet Lim-Napoles. The law provides a 60-40 revenue sharing between the national government
and Palawan in Malampaya, but Palawans share is now the subject of the case. Petitioners headed by
Puerto Princesa Bishop Pedro Dulay Arigo pressed the SC to act on the case following the emergence of
reports on the pork barrel scam.

Dulay and other petitioners have sought the abolition of Executive Order 386, which was issued by
President Arroyo in 2008. The order allowed the use of revenues from Malampaya for development
projects in Palawan.

Seniority and squabbling

Sereno had to fight fires early in her term as her bypassed more senior justices like De Castro, Carpio,
Roberto Abad, Arturo Brion and Presbitero Velasco. The four have been appointed to the SC prior to
Sereno, with Carpio being the most senior as he has been in the Court since 2001. Tradition dictates that
seniority should be a prime consideration in choosing the head of the judiciary.

Panganiban wrote in the Inquirer that he understands why the senior justices of the Supreme Court are
disappointed, even dismayed, by the choice of a junior justice as the new chief. For years, they have
patiently lined up in faithful observance of the century-old tradition that only the most senior and second
most senior are chosen to lead the judiciary. Tradition, seniority and rank are sacred in the judiciary, as
they are in the military and in the Church.

The reports on the tension within the Court ranged from justices not showing up during flag ceremonies to
skipping weekly lunches after their en banc meetings. For one, the SC en banc wanted to have the
results of the psychological exams of applicants for the post of chief justice released to the respective
aspirants following reports that Sereno recorded a low grade of 4. The psychological exam is a
requirement of the Judicial and Bar Council, the body that screens and vets nominees to judicial posts.

When she became the bodys head, Sereno reportedly proposed the removal of psychological tests as a
requirement to expedite the selection process of judges and justices.

Lawyer Rene Saguisag though said that this would have to change. The initial cat fights and intramural
have been reduced but as the new kid on the block, the elders should discreetly advise her, instead of
showing her up in a shame campaign, he told Rappler.

The polls show, however, an increase in public approval of Sereno.

According to the June 2013 Pulse Asia performance survey, Serenos approval rating increased to 37%
from 32% in March. Her predecessor, Corona, enjoyed a slightly higher approval rating at 38% in his first
year as chief justice but saw it dip to 14% in March 2012. Serenos trust rating also rose to 38% in June
from 29% in March.

Dignified silence

As chief justice, Serenos first order of the day then was to bring back the SC to days of dignified
silence, when the justices were heard through their decisions and not through the media.

READ: SC must return to dignified days of silence

While it was lauded by court observers, it caused problems when lack of media access led to confusion in
decisions. The Public Information Office, for one, erred in saying that a TRO issued by the SC in a
plunder case covers Arroyo.

In 2012, Sereno made UP law professor Theodore Te head of the SC PIO.

READ: Incoming SC spokesman on the Court's 'dignified silence'

The SC has now become more accessible. Its website has been revamped to include not only the Courts
financial reports, which were first uploaded when Carpio was acting chief justice, but also audio files of
oral arguments. The SC en banc issued new guidelines for the release of their SALNs. Once the
requirements for the release of the public document have been met, the justices would approve the
release of their respective SALNs.

Rookie mistakes

For Rose Beatrix Cruz-Angeles, former spokeswoman of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, one of the
most important actions of the Sereno court, is the revision of the code of civil procedure. Its conceived to
shorten the proceedings, she said.

Angeles added that the Courts willingness, under Serenos leadership, to change its rules is one of its
strengths. Hence if one looks at the big picture, Angeles said Serenos mishaps do not necessarily show
weak leadership: They are what we call 'rookie mistakes.'

If she learns from them, Sereno would be able to do more in the years to come. Sereno is the longest to
serve under the 1987 Constitution at 18 years and also the youngest at 52. As Angeles said, Time is on
her side. - Rappler.com

Natural Law in Consideration in Jurisprudence


Our natural Constitution

TO MY MIND, what ironically went below many peoples radar are the most
damaging portions of the April 8 Reproductive Health (RH) Law decision penned
by Justice Jose Mendoza: With respect to the argument that the RH Law violates
natural law, suffice it to say that the Court does not duly recognize it as a legal
basis for upholding or invalidating a law. Our only guidepost is the Constitution.

It then goes on to say: While every law enacted by man emanated from what is perceived
as natural law, the Court is not obliged to see if a statute, executive issuance or ordinance
is in conformity to it. To begin with, it is not enacted by an acceptable legitimate body.
Moreover, natural laws are mere thoughts and notions on inherent rights espoused by
theorists, philosophers and theologists. The jurists of the philosophical school are interested
in the law as an abstraction, rather than in the actual law of the past or present.

Unless, a natural right has been transformed into a written law, it cannot serve as a basis
to strike down a law. In Republic v. Sandiganbayan, the very case cited by the petitioners, it
was explained that the Court is not duty-bound to examine every law or action and whether
it conforms with both the Constitution and natural law. Rather, natural law is to be used
sparingly only in the most peculiar of circumstances involving rights inherent to man where
no law is applicable.

The foregoing, with all due respect, evokes a substantial misappreciation of natural law. To
say that natural law is to be used sparingly only in the most peculiar of circumstances
involving rights inherent to man where no law is applicable is itself contradicted by the
ruling. Setting aside precisely the fact that the Constitution is silent on the subject of
contraception, Justice Mendoza himself declares: Even if not formally established, the right
to life, being grounded on natural law, is inherent and, therefore, not a creation of, or
dependent upon a particular law, custom, or belief. It precedes and transcends any
authority or the laws of men.

The ruling also seems to be saying that our Constitution has no philosophy, without history,
and has vacuum as context.

Had the ruling been within the parameters of the US Constitution, the above statements
would be correct. US constitutional law places strict boundaries on the US Supreme Courts
jurisdiction. Nevertheless, the US SC employed natural law in a number of cases.

Our Supreme Court, on the other hand, has the power to strike down laws considered done
with grave abuse of discretion. This serves as basis for our Supreme Court to examine the
wisdom of a law (a power not normally given to judicial bodies of other countries), whether
the law is in conformity with reason, and complies with the overall objectives of the
Constitution.

Our Supreme Court itself knowingly employed the natural law (or reasoning involving or
related to it) in many past decisions. Our domestic laws, such as the Civil Code, in fact
contain provisions in which the natural law is expressly mentioned. The international law
system, which the Philippines is part of, considers natural law as basis for determining
whether other international law norms (such as treaties) are valid, a fact constantly
recognized by previous Supreme Courts.

Instead, the present Supreme Court seemed to have mixed natural law with a religious
freedom argument, a point which Hugo Grotius (the father of international law) sought to
dispel: Natural law would maintain its objective validity even if we should assume the
impossible, that there is no God or that he does not care for human affairs.

The saving grace in all this is found in the dissenting opinion of Justice Mariano Del Castillo:
the statements in the ruling quoted earlier are not necessary in the disposition of this case
and appear to be an inaccurate description of natural law. The Court need not foreclose the
usefulness of natural law in resolving future cases.

Hopefully, Justice Del Castillos more considered statements could serve as an opening for
natural law to be considered in future cases, particularly on legislation involving same-sex
marriage, divorce, stem cells, and euthanasia -- all of which the Constitution is silent on and
for which only the natural law and the invocation of the common good (found in the
Preamble) stand as reasonable standards.

And, since natural law has been a part of our constitutional system, resort to it by the
Supreme Court can in no way be considered as judicial activism.

Finally, this also tells us that our political system is dominated almost exclusively by
positivists that ignore the culture, history, and philosophy upon which Philippine society is
based. There is therefore a need to work harder in correcting this imbalance that has
resulted in so much inconsistency in our legal system.

Jemy Gatdula specializes in international economic law (WTO and ASEAN), and teaches
international law and legal philosophy at the UA&P School of Law and Governance.
Civil Law: Trust Pursuit Rule
Third, there is a fundamental principle in agency that where certain property entrusted to an agent and
impressed by law with a trust in favor of the principal is wrongfully diverted, such trust follows the property in the
hands of a third person and the principal is ordinarily entitled to pursue and recover it so long as the property can be
traced and identified, and no superior equities have intervened. This principle is actually one of trusts, since
the wrongful conversion gives rise to a constructive trust which pursues the property, its product or proceeds, and
permits the beneficiary to recover the property or obtain damages for the wrongful conversion of the
property. Aptly called the trust pursuit rule, it applies when a constructive or resulting trust has once affixed
itself to property in a certain state or form.[74]

Hence, a trust will follow the property through all changes in its state and form as long as such property,
its products or its proceeds, are capable of identification, even into the hands of a transferee other than a bona
fide purchaser for value, or restitution will be enforced at the election of the beneficiary through recourse against the
trustee or the transferee personally. This is grounded on the principle in property law that ownership continues and
can be asserted by the true owner against any withholding of the object to which the ownership pertains, whether
such object of the ownership is found in the hands of an original owner or a transferee, or in a different form, as long
as it can be identified.[75] Accordingly, the person to whom is made a transfer of trust property constituting a
wrongful conversion of the trust property and a breach of the trust, when not protected as a bona fide purchaser for
value, is himself liable and accountable as a constructive trustee. The liability attaches at the moment of the transfer
of trust property and continues until there is full restoration to the beneficiary. Thus, the transferee is charged with,
and can be held to the performance of the trust, equally with the original trustee, and he can be compelled to execute
a reconveyance.[76]

This scenario is characteristic of a constructive trust imposed by Article 1456 [77] of the Civil Code, which
impresses upon a person obtaining property through mistake or fraud the status of an implied trustee for the benefit
of the person from whom the property comes. Petitioner, in laying claim against respondents who are concededly
transferees who professed having validly derived their ownership from Roberto, is in effect enforcing against
respondents a constructive trust relation that arose by virtue of the wrongful and fraudulent transfer to them of the
subject properties by Roberto.

source: CABACUNGAN vs LAIGO, et al, G.R. No. 175073 (August 15, 2011)
Doctrine of Representation

In an agent-principal relationship, the personality of the principal is extended through the facility of the
agent. In so doing, the agent, by legal fiction, becomes the principal, authorized to perform all acts which
the latter would have him do. Such a relationship can only be effected with the consent of the principal,
which must not, in any way, be compelled by law or by any court.

source:
G.R. No. 76931 May 29, 1991

ORIENT AIR SERVICES & HOTEL REPRESENTATIVES, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and AMERICAN AIR-LINES INCORPORATED, respondents.

Principle in Interpreting a Contract


It is a well settled legal principle that in the interpretation of a contract, the entirety thereof
must be taken into consideration to ascertain the meaning of its provisions. 12 The various
stipulations in the contract must be read together to give effect to all.

... any ambiguity in this "contract of adhesion" is to be taken "contra proferentem", i.e.,
construed against the party who caused the ambiguity and could have avoided it by the
exercise of a little more care. Thus, Article 1377 of the Civil Code provides that the
interpretation of obscure words or stipulations in a contract shall not favor the party who
caused the obscurity. 14

To put it differently, when several interpretations of a provision are otherwise equally


proper, that interpretation or construction is to be adopted which is most favorable to the
party in whose favor the provision was made and who did not cause the ambiguity.

source:

G.R. No. 76931 May 29, 1991


ORIENT AIR SERVICES & HOTEL REPRESENTATIVES, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and AMERICAN AIR-LINES INCORPORATED, respondents.

Posted 5th August 2014 by Rem Ramirez, REBL No. 20231

Doctrine of Lack of Capacity to Sue


The doctrine of lack of capacity to sue based on the failure to acquire a local license is based on
considerations of sound public policy.The license requirement was imposed to subject the foreign
corporation doing business in the Philippines to the jurisdiction of its courts. This was never intended to
favor domestic corporations who enter into solitary transactions with unwary foreign firms and then
repudiate their obligations simply because the latter are not licensed to do business in this country. -
Marshall-Wells Co. v. Elser and Co., G.R. No. 22015, 1 September 1924, 46 Phil. 71

... If, on the other hand, the foreign corporation is not doing business in the Philippines, it does not need a
license to sue before Philippine courts, This is so because what the law prevents is a foreign corporation
doing business in the Philippines without a license from gaining access to Philippine courts.5 It is not
therefore the absence of the prescribed license, but "doing business" in the Philippines without the proper
license which bars the foreign corporation from gaining access to Philippine courts. In other words,
although a foreign corporation has no license to do business in the Philippines, it does not necessarily
follow that it has no capacity to bring an action because a license is not necessary if the foreign
corporation is not doing business in the Philippines.

* A Branch Office of a foreign corporation "carries out the business activities of the head office and
derives income from the host country." (Section l(c) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of
the Foreign Investments Act (R.A. 7042).

* A Representative or Liaison Office of a foreign corporation "deals directly, with the clients of the of
the parent company but does not derive income from the host country and is fully subsidized by its
heal office. It undertakes activities such as but not limited to information dissemination and
promotion of the company's products as well as quality control of products."

Tax Refund: 2 years Prescriptive Period


SUMMARY:

Section 112(A) of the Tax Code - claim for refund of excessively paid input VAT
claim for excess input VAT should be filed within two years from the close of the taxable quarter when the
sales were made
when to reckon the two-year prescriptive period, in a 2013 Decision, SC already drew a distinction
between claims for refund under Section 112(A) and Section 229 of the Tax Code
Section 112(A) applies in the case of a taxpayer who is engaged in zero-rated or effectively zero-rated
sales.
By contrast, Section 229 may still apply to a refund of input VAT, but only in cases where the amount is
excessively or wrongfully collected.
The prescriptive period for filing a judicial claim for refund for erroneously paid tax (including erroneously
paid input VAT, if applicable) under Section 229 is two years from the date of the erroneous payment.
Sec 112 (A): Administrative Claim = 2-year period reckoned from the close of the taxable quarter when
the zero-rated sales were made. Consequently, an appeal or judicial claim before CTA may still be filed
outside of the two-year period.
Sec 112 (A): Judicial Claims = taxpayer may file an appeal to the CTA under 2 scenarios, i.e., in case of
a denial of the claim for refund or due to inaction by the BIR Commissioner. The Supreme Court also
explained the remedies of a taxpayer as consisting of: 1) filing a judicial claim with the CTA within 30 days
from receipt of the denial by the BIR Commissioner, or (2) filing the judicial claim within 30 days from the
expiration of the 120-day period in case of inaction by the BIR Commissioner.
The 30-day period mentioned under the 2 scenarios is mandatory and jurisdictional
An appeal before the expiration of the 120-day period in the 2nd scenario is likewise prejudicial to the
claim

Section 112(A) of the Tax Code

"any VAT-registered person, whose sales are zero-rated or effectively zero-rated may, within two (2)
years after the close of the taxable quarter when the sales were made, apply for the issuance of a tax
credit certificate or refund of creditable input tax due or paid attributable to such sales."

Supplemented by Section 112(C)


"the Commissioner shall grant a refund or issue the tax credit certificate within one hundred twenty (120)
days from the date of submission of complete documents. In case of full or partial denial of the claim for
tax refund or tax credit, or the failure on the part of the Commissioner to act on the application, the
taxpayer affected may, within thirty (30) days, appeal the decision or the unacted claim with the Court of
Tax Appeals."

Right Timing

THERE is great truth in the biblical passage about there being a time for everything, and a season for
every activity under the heavens. This also applies to tax refund claims in the Philippines.

Tax refunds are based on the general premise that taxes have either been erroneously or excessively
paid. Though the Tax Code recognizes the right of taxpayers to request the return of such
excess/erroneous payments from the government, they must do so within a prescribed period.

Not a few have expressed the sentiment that obtaining tax refunds from the Philippine government is a
difficult and drawn-out process. Often, it leads to failure due to confusion in terms of the prescriptive
period for filing such claims.

Take, for instance, the claim for refund of excessively paid input value-added taxes (input VAT). Cursorily,
the relevant provision under Section 112(A) of the Tax Code seems simple enough. It states that "any
VAT-registered person, whose sales are zero-rated or effectively zero-rated may, within two (2) years
after the close of the taxable quarter when the sales were made, apply for the issuance of a tax credit
certificate or refund of creditable input tax due or paid attributable to such sales."

The above is supplemented by Section 112(C) of the same Code, which provides that "the Commissioner
shall grant a refund or issue the tax credit certificate within one hundred twenty (120) days from the date
of submission of complete documents. In case of full or partial denial of the claim for tax refund or tax
credit, or the failure on the part of the Commissioner to act on the application, the taxpayer affected may,
within thirty (30) days, appeal the decision or the unacted claim with the Court of Tax Appeals."

Easily, taxpayers can discern from reading Section 112 that the claim for excess input VAT should be
filed within two years from the close of the taxable quarter when the sales were made; otherwise, the right
to claim for refund becomes invalid. In the past, however, the two-year period was interpreted by the
courts to cover both administrative and judicial claims. The evolution of case law, particularly Supreme
Court decisions, in interpreting the prescriptive period has, in large part, added to the confusion on when
and where to file the claim for refund.

To clarify the fundamental question of when to reckon the two-year prescriptive period, in a decision
promulgated early last year, the Supreme Court already drew a distinction between claims for refund
under Section 112(A) and Section 229 of the Tax Code. Generally, claims for excess input VAT would fall
under Section 112(A). The input VAT covered under that section is the correct and proper amount.
However, it contemplates a situation where the input VAT available as credit exceeds the output VAT
payable. Thus, Section 112(A) applies in the case of a taxpayer who is engaged in zero-rated or
effectively zero-rated sales. By contrast, Section 229 may still apply to a refund of input VAT, but only in
cases where the amount is excessively or wrongfully collected. This means that the taxpayer paid more
than what is legally due.

Proceeding from the foregoing discussion, the prescriptive period for filing a judicial claim for refund for
erroneously paid tax (including erroneously paid input VAT, if applicable) under Section 229 is two years
from the date of the erroneous payment. In contrast, the two-year period under Section 112(A) covers
only the administrative claim filed with the BIR; it excludes the judicial claim. This two-year period is
reckoned from the close of the taxable quarter when the zero-rated sales were made. Consequently, an
appeal or judicial claim before the Court of Tax Appeals ("CTA") may still be filed outside of the two-year
period.

For judicial claims filed under Section 112(A), the taxpayer may file an appeal to the CTA under two
scenarios, i.e., in case of a denial of the claim for refund or due to inaction by the BIR Commissioner. The
Supreme Court also explained the remedies of a taxpayer as consisting of: 1) filing a judicial claim with
the CTA within 30 days from receipt of the denial by the BIR Commissioner, or (2) filing the judicial claim
within 30 days from the expiration of the 120-day period in case of inaction by the BIR Commissioner.

The 30-day period mentioned under the two scenarios is mandatory and jurisdictional; this means that the
filing of the appeal with the CTA beyond this prescribed period is fatal to the claim. In the same manner,
filing of an appeal before the expiration of the 120-day period in the second scenario is likewise
prejudicial to the claim.

The above doctrine was reiterated by the Supreme Court in another decision promulgated early this year.

Hopefully, the consistency of these last two decisions can be taken as a sign of stability in the application
of the prescriptive periods in claiming input VAT refunds. Consistency in interpreting Tax Code provisions
is an important attribute inherent in the right to claim tax refunds. Otherwise, it would just negate the
fundamental principle of fairness in taxation.

The author is a senior manager at the tax services department of Isla Lipana & Co., the Philippine
member firm of the PwC network. Readers may call (02) 845-2728 or e-mail the author
at susan.m.aquino@ph.pwc.com for questions or feedback. The views or opinions presented in this
article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Isla Lipana & Co. The firm
will not accept any liability arising from the article.

source: Businessworld

International Doctrine of Pacta Sunt Servanda

Deutsche Bank wins tax case with finality vs BIR

The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld with finality the tax-treaty relief of Deutsche Bank AG Manila branch.
It was, thus, cleared to collect refund from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
In the Entry of Judgment dated January 24, 2014, the SC First Division denied with finality a motion for
reconsideration filed by the BIR on the High Courts decision, dated August 19, 2013, granting tax-treaty
relief to Deutsche Bank.

The SC ordered the respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue to refund or issue a tax credit
certificate in favor of petitioner Deutsche the amount of P22.562 million, representing the erroneously
paid BPRT [branch profits remittance tax ] for 2002 and prior taxable years.
SCs decision should prompt the Philippines to start honoring international agreements and stop the BIRs
practice of consistently denying tax-treaty relief applications on the grounds of noncompliance of the 15-
day-period requirement.

The case stemmed from global financial-services provider Deutsche Banks initial noncompliance with the
BIR procedure under Revenue Memorandum Order (RMO) 01-2000, requiring that an application to claim
tax treaty benefits should be filed at least 15 days prior to a transaction.

The SC nullified the rule in RMO 072-2010, which contends that failure to file a tax treaty relief application
within the prescribed period will result in its disqualification.

The High Tribunal explained that the BIR must not impose additional requirements that would negate
access to relief as provided under international agreements.

The SC held that the period of application of tax treaty compliance as outlined in RMO 01-2000 should
not operate to divest entitlement to the relief.

It added that to deny access would constitute a violation of the time-honored international doctrine of
pactasuntservanda (Latin for agreements must be kept) whereby agreeing states or nations comply in
good faith with their treaty obligations.

The obligation to comply with a tax treaty must take precedence over administrative rules and procedural
requirements.

Doctrine of Absolute Privileged Communication and Qualifiedly Privileged Communications


NCC, Art. 354. Requirement of publicity. - Every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious,
even if it be true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown, except in the following
cases:

1. A private communication made by any person to another in the performance of any legal, moral or
social duty; and

2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or remarks, of any judicial, legislative
or other official proceedings which are not of confidential nature, or of any statement, report or speech
delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by public officers in the exercise of their
functions.

There is, thus, a presumption of malice in the case of every defamatory imputation, where there is no
showing of a good intention or justifiable motive for making such imputation.

11. The exceptions provided in Article 354 are also known as qualifiedly privileged communications.
The enumeration under said article is, however, not an exclusive list of qualifiedly privileged
communications since fair commentaries on matters of public interest are likewise privileged. They are
known as qualifiedly privileged communications, since they are merely exceptions to the general
rule requiring proof of actual malice in order that a defamatory imputation may be held actionable. In other
words, defamatory imputations written or uttered during any of the three classes of qualifiedly privileged
communications enumerated above (1) a private communication made by any person to another in the
performance of any legal, moral or social duty; (2) a fair and true report, made in good faith, without any
comments or remarks, of any judicial, legislative or other official proceedings which are not of confidential
nature, or of any statement, report or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed
by public officers in the exercise of their functions; and (3) fair commentaries on matters of public interest
may still be considered actionable if actual malice is proven. This is in contrast with absolutely
privileged communications, wherein the imputations are not actionable, even if attended by actual malice:

12. A communication is said to be absolutely privileged when it is not actionable, even if its author has
acted in bad faith. This class includes statements made by members of Congress in the discharge of their
functions as such, official communications made by public officers in the performance of their duties, and
allegations or statements made by the parties or their counsel in their pleadings or motions or during the
hearing of judicial proceedings, as well as the answers given by witnesses in reply to questions
propounded to them, in the course of said proceedings, provided that said allegations or statements are
relevant to the issues, and the answers are responsive or pertinent to the questions propounded to said
witnesses. Upon the other hand, conditionally or qualifiedly privileged communications are those which,
although containing defamatory imputations, would not be actionable unless made with malice or bad
faith.

Doctrine of Libelous Speech


Libel - Guingguing vs CA, G.R. No. 128959 (September 30, 2005)

Criminal libel laws present a special problem. At face value, they might strike as laws passed that
abridge the freedom of speech, expression, or the press. Whatever seeming conflict between these two
precepts has long been judicially resolved with the doctrine that libelous speech does not fall within the
ambit of constitutional protection. Nonetheless, in ascertaining what class of materials may be considered
as libelous, the freedom of expression clause, its purposes as well as the evils it guards against, warrant
primordial consideration and application.

NCC - Art 19 : Principle of Abuse of Rights


Libel - Yuchengco vs The Manila Chronicle, G.R. No. 184315 (November 28, 2011)

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.

This article, known to contain what is commonly referred to as the PRINCIPLE OF ABUSE OF
RIGHTS, sets certain standards which must be observed not only in the exercise of one's rights, but also
in the performance of one's duties. These standards are the following: to act with justice; to give everyone
his due; and to observe honesty and good faith. The law, therefore, recognizes a primordial limitation on
all rights; that in their exercise, the norms of human conduct set forth in Article 19 must be observed. A
right, though by itself legal because recognized or granted by law as such, may nevertheless become the
source of some illegality. When a right is exercised in a manner which does not conform with the norms
enshrined in Article 19 and results in damage to another, a legal wrong is thereby committed for which the
wrongdoer must be held responsible. But while Article 19 lays down a rule of conduct for the government
of human relations and for the maintenance of social order, it does not provide a remedy for its violation.
Generally, an action for damages under either Article 20 or Article 21 would be proper.[1][19]

xxx

The question of whether or not the principle of abuse of rights has been violated resulting in damages under
Article 20 or other applicable provision of law, depends on the circumstances of each case.

xxx

Such damages may be awarded when the transgression is the cause of petitioners anguish. Further, converse to
Coyiuto, Jr.s argument, although petitioner is claiming damages for violation of Articles 19 and 20 of the Civil
Code, still such violations directly resulted in the publication of the libelous articles in the newspaper, which, by
analogy, is one of the ground for the recovery of moral damages under (7) of Article 2219.

Willful Blindness Doctrine - People v. Gloria Kintanar (CTA EB Crim. No. 006, Dec. 3, 2010)
The Supreme Court recently introduced the "Doctrine of Willful Blindness" in a landmark tax evasion case
decided in year 2012. Under this doctrine, the taxpayers deliberate refusal or avoidance to verify the
contents of his or her ITR and other documents constitutes "willful blindness" on his or her part. It is by
reason of this doctrine that taxpayers cannot simply invoke reliance on mere representations of their
accountants or authorized representatives in order to avoid liability for failure to pay the correct taxes.

As they say, "ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith." In order to be liable, it is
enough that the taxpayer knows his or her obligation to file the required return and he has failed to
comply thereto in the manner required by law.

Evidently, it is imperative for individual taxpayers like professionals to be knowledgeable with their tax
obligations, to be compliant with tax rules and regulations, and to be responsible for all information
reported in his or her ITR.

And as previously mentioned, the "Doctrine of Willful Blindness" is already part of our jurisprudence, and
it can be used as a precedent for future tax evasion cases.

----------------

Willful blindness doctrine by: Maridelle M. Ramos (Punongbayan & Araullo)

MERE RELIANCE on another person in preparing, filing and paying income taxes is not a justification for
failure to file the right information on income taxes.

In People v. Gloria Kintanar (CTA EB Crim. No. 006, Dec. 3, 2010), Ms. Kintanar was charged with failure
to make or file her income tax returns (ITR), violating Section 255 of the 1997 National Internal Revenue
Code (NIRC), as amended. She claimed that she did not actively participate in the filing of her joint ITR
with her husband since she entrusted such duty to the latter who, in turn, hired an accountant to perform
their tax responsibilities. She testified that she did not know how much her tax obligation was; nor did she
bother to inquire or determine the facts surrounding the filing of her ITRs. Despite several notices and
subpoena received by the accused, only an unsupported protest letter made by her husband was filed
with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). The Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) En Banc found her neglect or
omission tantamount to deliberate ignorance or conscious avoidance. As an experienced
businesswoman, her reliance on her husband to file the required ITR without ensuring its full compliance
showed clear indication of deliberate lack of concern on her part to perform her tax obligations. This ruling
was sustained by the Supreme Court (SC) in 2012.

Based on the foregoing, the willful blindness doctrine was applied by the CTA, as sustained by SC on
cases where there is a natural presumption that the taxpayer knows his/her tax obligations under the law
considering the factual circumstances of the case, such as being a businesswoman or official of a
company. This case set a precedent that mere reliance on a representative or agent (i.e., accountant or
husband) is not a valid ground to justify any noncompliance in tax obligations. The taxpayer must inquire,
check and validate whether or not his/her representative or agent has complied with the taxpayers tax
responsibilities.

However, in the recent case of People v. Judy Ann Santos (CTA Crim. Case no. 012, Jan. 16, 2013), the
CTA Division seemed to have a change of heart and acquitted Ms. Santos despite having almost the
same circumstances as that of the case of Ms. Kintanar. In this case, Ms. Santos was accused of failure
to supply correct and accurate information in her ITR. She claimed that by virtue of trust, respect and
confidence, she has entrusted her professional, financial and tax responsibilities to her manager since
she was 12 years old. She participated and maintained her intention to settle the case, and thus provided
all the documents needed as well as payment of her taxes. The element of willfulness was not
established and the CTA found her to be merely negligent. The CTA also noted the intention of Ms.
Santos to settle the case, which negates any motive to commit fraud. This was affirmed by the SC in its
resolution issued April 2013.

THE DIFFERENCES

Willful blindness is defined in Blacks Law Dictionary as deliberate avoidance of knowledge of a crime,
especially by failing to make a reasonable inquiry about suspected wrongdoing, despite being aware that
it is highly probable. A willful act is described as one done intentionally, knowingly and purposely,
without justifiable excuse.

Willful in tax crimes means voluntary, intentional violation of a known legal duty, and bad faith or bad
purpose need not be shown. It is a state of mind that may be inferred from the circumstances of the case;
thus, proof of willfulness may be, and usually is, shown by circumstantial evidence alone. Therefore, to
convict the accused for willful failure to file ITR or submit accurate information, it must be shown that the
accused was (1) aware of his/her obligation to file annual ITR or submit accurate information, but that (2)
he/she, or his/her supposed agent, nevertheless voluntarily, knowingly and intentionally failed to file the
required ret urns or submit accurate information. Bad faith or intent to defraud need not be shown.

As can be observed in the first case, the accused knew that she had to timely file and supply correct and
accurate information of the joint ITR with the BIR in relation to the profession or the position she holds.
The knowledge was presumed based on the fact that Ms. Kintanar is an experienced businesswoman,
having been an independent distributor of a product for several years. However, despite this knowledge,
the CTA found that she voluntarily, knowingly and intentionally failed to fulfill her tax responsibilities by not
participating in the filing of the ITR and ensuring that everything was filed correctly and accurately. As
compared with the Santos case, which the SC affirmed, the element of voluntarily, knowingly and
intentionally was taken differently by the CTA in consideration of the facts of the case. Ms. Santos fully
entrusted her tax obligations and finances to her manager since she was a child. It can be said that she is
not an experienced manager of her finances and taxes since she never handled such task, as
compared with the situation of Ms. Kintanar, who is considered an experienced businesswoman who
manages her business as well as her financial and tax responsibilities -- which is expected of somebody
in her position (i.e., president and/or businessperson).

The concept of willful blindness doctrine is new in Philippine jurisprudence. The application of this
doctrine by the CTA in the said cases was guided by the appreciation of the facts and the pieces of
evidence produced by the prosecution and accused to prove the non-existence of willfulness. However,
defined and clear standards in its application must be done as guidance for future application. This is
necessary to avoid arbitrary application and to encourage proper use of the doctrine by both parties in the
case.

Doctrine of operative fact


THE ADAGE that "nothing is constant except change" holds most true for tax rules and regulations. We,
as taxpayers, have to be constantly vigilant not just of changing rules and regulations but of changing
interpretations of old rules and regulations. Most of us are now reeling from the realization that some
practices that we hold sacrosanct are actually erroneous interpretations of the Tax Code.

One case in point is the practice relevant to the filing of the judicial claim for refund of input value-added
tax (VAT). Prior to Oct. 6, 2010, taxpayers would rush to the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) to file the judicial
claim for refund prior to the lapse of the two-year period believing that the prescriptive period is
mandatory and jurisdictional.

However, said practice was struck down by the Supreme Court (SC) in the Aichi case where it declared
that the judicial claim for input VAT refund does not follow the two-year prescriptive period but the
120+30-days rule. In the Aichi case, the SC held that the taxpayers must file the judicial claim within 30
days from the issuance of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) decision or after the lapse of 120 days in
case of inaction by the BIR. Thus, the prior practice of filing the judicial claim within the two-year period
was held in most cases as either premature or delayed. As a result, a number of pending CTA cases
have been denied for failure to observe the 120+30-days rule. This meant loss of millions of pesos for
some taxpayers.

The Aichi case was further reiterated in the consolidated cases of San Roque, Taganito and Philex, which
were decided by the SC on Feb. 12 this year. As expected, the parties filed a motion for reconsideration.

In its motion, San Roque Power Corp. prayed that the new 120+30-day rule be given only a prospective
effect, arguing that the manner by which the BIR and the CTA actually treated the 120+30-days periods
prior to the controversial Aichi decision constitutes an operative fact, the effects and consequences of
which cannot be erased or undone.

Deciding on the case, the SC denied the motion for reconsideration on Oct. 8, 2013. It held that the
doctrine of operative fact does not apply in this case.

Under the general rule, a void law or an administrative act cannot be the source of legal rights or duties.
However, the doctrine of operative fact is an exception to the general rule. Under the doctrine, a judicial
declaration of invalidity may not necessarily eliminate all the effects and consequences of a void act prior
to such declaration.

Prior to the declaration of nullity, such challenged legislative or executive act must have been in force and
had to be complied with as they were presumed to be valid. Only the courts can declare a law invalid, and
without such declaration, taxpayers would have had no other choice but to follow the existing rules or in
this case the practice of filing the judicial claim within the two-year period.

In rejecting the application of the doctrine of operative fact, the SC emphasized that there must be a law
or executive issuance that is invalidated by the court for the doctrine to apply. In the present case,
however, there is no such law or executive issuance that has been invalidated. What were held erroneous
were the BIR and the CTAs actual practice of not observing and requiring taxpayers to comply with the
120- and 30-day periods.

The SC reiterated that the 120- and 30-day rules are in accordance with Section 112(C) of the Tax Code
and must be applied exactly as worded since it is clear, plain, and unequivocal. The taxpayer cannot
simply file a petition with the CTA as there will be no decision or deemed denial decision by the BIR
Commissioner for the CTA to review.

The SCs decision emphasized that tax refunds are construed strictly against the taxpayers. Therefore,
taxpayers should now be able to interpret tax laws and regulations and not just rely on the existing
practices upheld by the BIR and the CTA. We should now meticulously examine every law and regulation
as if we are the SC and anticipate if the current practice runs counter to the strict interpretation of the law.
And if we have somehow decided that the current interpretation is incorrect, we must now bravely go
where others have not dared tread and pray most heartily that our interpretation will be upheld by the SC.
Such daunting burden we all must face every day as we diligently pay our taxes and painstakingly seek
our refunds.

The author is a head of the tax advisory & compliance division of Punongbayan & Araullo. P&A is a
member firm within Grant Thornton International Ltd.

Filipino justicefrom concept to practice


Interesting, challenging and at times intriguing were the readers replies to the query I posed last Sunday
on whether our present justice system reflects the Filipino concept of justice articulated by Dean Jose
Manuel I. Diokno. These replies were posted on this papers website (www.inquirer.net). More numerous
and many from abroad were those e-mailed directly to me. They could fill up several columns. For all
these, I am grateful.

Ferdinand and Cory. Meanwhile, as promised, let me take up Dean Dioknos answer to the query. He
began with a brief history of our judiciary, from the 1936 Constitution which required jurists to be
appointed by the president with the consent of the Commission on Appointments.

He rued that when martial law was imposed in 1972, the judiciarys independence suffered three
assaults(1) at the beginning of the iron rule, all judges were required to resign; (2) then, under the
1973 Constitution, they were authorized to continue in office until they reach[ed] the age of 70 unless
sooner replaced by law or presidential decree; and (3) the Judiciary Act of 1980 allowed President
Ferdinand Marcos to remove judges perceived to be against his regime.

After the fall of Marcos, President Cory Aquino purged the judiciary of many judges identified with
Marcos. The 1987 Constitution tried to restore judicial independence by vetting judicial nominations via
the newly-conceived Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

However, Diokno grieved that the JBC has not lived up to its intended purpose. Judges who had been
purged by President Aquino managed to find their way back into the judiciary Judges who applied for
promotion often spoke of the need for political backers.

SALNs and PDS. He lamented that during the last 20 years, the Supreme Court has made it very difficult
to obtain the SALNs (Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth) of justices and judges by imposing
additional conditions for access not found in the SALN laws (RA 3019 and 6713).

May I, however, interject that on June 11, 2013, the Court granted the request of the Philippine Center for
Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and authorized the release to PCIJ of the SALNs and Personal Data
Sheets (PDS) of all sitting justices from their appointment to 2011.

Veering to another topic, Diokno said the Court disturbed a basic, time-honored principleimmutability
of final judgments in the Sixteen Cities case and soon spread to other cases The demolition of the
immutability of final judgments doctrine was institutionalized by the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court
promulgated on May 4, 2010, (specifically) Section 3 of Rule 15 allowing second motions for
reconsideration under certain conditions.

Diokno also decried congestion and delay in our courts, noting that 26 percent of our courtsmore
than one out of every four courtshave no judges The problem is compounded by the cumbersome
court procedures which we took from the United States and which were designed for a jury system when
we have no juries here Isnt it about time that we develop[ed] court rules that are consistent with the
Filipino concept of justice?

He also criticized chambers practice in which cases are sometimes decided via the old boys network,
political connections, school chums, relatives and friends. To avoid this, he proposed that justices and
judges be required to disclose their clients and other potential conflicts of interest.

Still hopeful. Though he believed the judiciary had not lived up to the Filipino concept of justice, Diokno
was still hopeful of the reforms proposed by the Supreme Court. He recalled that in 1981, Ka Pepe
submitted an amicus curiae memorandum to the Supreme Court in De La Llana vs Alba (March 12,
1982), involving the constitutionality of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1981 (BP 129). What he said
21 years ago about the judiciaryon who is to blame for its sorry statestill holds true today:

One last word [C]ounsel had laid the blame for the sorry state of the Judiciary mainly on the policies of
the present regime and partly on some acts of members of the Court. But they are not alone to blame
We all must bear some share of responsibility for the present situation. Because by act or omission,
at one time or another, we have all contributed to it; most of us by unnecessary delays, some in more
reprehensible ways, and all by not speaking out as often and as forcefully as we could

That is why I have chosen to focus my attention on this subject. The problems and prospects of the
Philippine Judiciary are actually a challenge not only to my generation but to succeeding generations of
Filipino lawyers.

But can we really expect genuine changes to take place in our lifetime?

Concluding his thesis, Diokno remained hopeful: I will leave you as I started, with the words of Ka Pepe:
If you mean meet completely and immediately, they are. But only yesterday in world time, it was thought
impossible to land on the moon. And not too long ago, Aristotleone of the wisest of menjustified
slavery as natural and listed torture as a source of evidence. Standards thought too high today may well
turn out to be too low tomorrow. But whether they do so or not is not really important. What Nikos
Kazantzakis said of freedom can be said of justice: the superior virtue is not to receive justice, it is to fight
relentlessly for itto struggle for justice in time, yet under the aspect of eternity.
* * *
Comments to chiefjusticepanganiban@hotmail.com

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer Column of Former CJ Artemio V. Panganiban

Doctrine of Operative Fact


Under the operative fact doctrine, the law is recognized as unconstitutional but the effects of the
unconstitutional law, prior to its declaration of nullity, may be left undisturbed as a matter of equity and fair
play. In fact, the invocation of the operative fact doctrine is an admission that the law is
unconstitutional.[1] The Supreme Court stated in Planters Products, Inc. vs. Fertiphil Corporation,[2] that:
The general rule is that an unconstitutional law is void. It produces no rights, imposes no duties and
affords no protection. It has no legal effect. It is, in legal contemplation, inoperative as if it has not been
passed. Being void, Fertiphil is not required to pay the levy. All levies paid should be refunded in
accordance with the general civil code principle against unjust enrichment. The general rule is supported
by Article 7 of the Civil Code, which provides:
ART. 7. Laws are repealed only by subsequent ones, and their violation or non-observance shall not be
excused by disuse or custom or practice to the contrary.
When the courts declare a law to be inconsistent with the Constitution, the former shall be void and the
latter shall govern.
The doctrine of operative fact, as an exception to the general rule, only applies as a matter of equity and
fair play. It nullifies the effects of an unconstitutional law by recognizing that the existence of a statute
prior to a determination of unconstitutionality is an operative fact and may have consequences which
cannot always be ignored. The past cannot always be erased by a new judicial declaration.
The doctrine is applicable when a declaration of unconstitutionality will impose an undue burden on those
who have relied on the invalid law. Thus, it was applied to a criminal case when a declaration of
unconstitutionality would put the accused in double jeopardy or would put in limbo the acts done by a
municipality in reliance upon a law creating it.
The "operative fact" doctrine realizes that in declaring a law or rule null and void, undue harshness and
resulting unfairness must be avoided.[3] In a labor case involving the computation of holiday pay, the court
held that it is "now almost the end of 1991 . . and [t]o require various companies to reach back to 1975
now and nullify acts done in good faith is unduly harsh. [4]

RA 386, Article 429: Doctrine of Self-Help


RA 386, Article 429
The owner or lawful possessor of a thing has the right to exclude any person from the enjoyment and
disposal thereof. For this purpose, he may use such force as may be reasonably necessary to repel or
prevent an actual or threatened unlawful physical invasion or usurpation of his property. (n)

Reference Case: People vs Depante, C.A., 58 O.G. 926

Tolentino's Comment (Vl II, p54, citing 3-1 Ennecerrus, Kipp & Wolff 92-93):
If the propety is immovable, there should be no delay in the use of force to recover it; a delay, even if
excusable, such as when is due to the ignorance of the dispossession, will bar the right to the use of
force.

Once the usurper's possession has become firm by the lapse of time, the lawful possessor must resort to
the competent authority to recover his property."

Principle of Self-Help: GermanManagement Services, Inc. vs CA, G.R. No. 76217 September 14, 1989

Writ of Habeas Data


Death threat and resort to the Writ of Habeas Data

I was one of those who filed yesterday a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas data against
Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brilliantes and Deputy Presidential Mouth Abigal Valte. I
decided to join the petition because last Monday, my law office received a registered mail which
contained a letter threatening my life. The letter asked me not to allow myself to be used and to refrain
from wasting my intelligence. It was signed by the Rodante Untal Command which purportedly is part of
the New Peoples Army.

I do not know who sent the letter. I can think of no less than four sensitive cases that I am involved with
that could have occasioned the treat. Theres the Ampatuan massacre case, the Gerry Ortega murder
case, the Evangelista torture case, and the murder case of Manolo Daza, brother of former Deputy
Speaker Raul Daza. And yet, despite the fact that the threat may have come from anyone connected with
any of these cases, I opted to join the Habeas Data petition against the Comelec, if only to eliminate the
poll body as being the source of this latest threat to my life and security.

The writ of habeas data was enacted by the Supreme Court under then Chief Justice Reynato
Puno as a means of utilizing the Courts rule-making powers to protect and promote the right to
life. It was promulgated by the Supreme Court after it declared all branches of government to be in
breach of the duty to protect and promote the right to life. This right is undoubtedly the most
important of all rights since without it, no exercise of any other human right could be possible. It
was intended for people whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an
unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, x x x engaged in the gathering, collecting or
storing of data or information regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved
party. The relief that may be ordered when the writ is issued includes: updating, rectification,
suppression or destruction of the database or information or files kept by the respondent. In case of
threats, the relief may include a prayer for an order enjoining the act complained of.

I suspect both Brilliantes and Valte as among those behind the threat because both have
made statements to the media acknowledging the use of no less than P30 million in intelligence funds to
surveil election saboteurs such as the AES Watch. I am a founding convenor of this group. Said
Brillantes to the media : Bakit sila matatakot kung wala silang ginawang masama? Talaga namang
ginagamit ang intel fund sa mga nagsasabotahe ng election or only to those out to sabotage the polls.
Kapag natatakot sila, ibig sabihin meron sila sigurong ginagawang masama. Later Brilliantes added:
They made our life difficult. Now, they should watch out how I get payback.

Valte for her part, confirmed that it was the President that gave Comelec the P30 million in intelligence
fund: The justification is supposed to be utilized for intelligence, counter-intelligence activities and
gathering of information relative to the activities of certain groups, individuals and technology experts
suspected of conducting overt and covert operations to sabotage the results of the elections.

I repeat, I do not have evidence on who was responsible for the latest threat on my life. But because I
consider this as serious, lest I end up as part of the growing statistics of victims of extra-legal killings,
I filed the petition to narrow down the possibilities.

Under the writ, I hope to obtain the information gathered by the COMELEC, which prompted Brilliantes to
label us in AES watch as a group of saboteurs. Note that Brilliantes has also said that he will expose
the groups behind us. He has never made that disclosure. Meanwhile, I am entitled to know exactly what
information the Comelec has to rule out the possibility that the COMELEC or Valte is responsible for the
latest threat against me.

In any case, I would like to assure everyone that since the time we filed our petition impugning the
constitutionality of the use of the precinct count optical scan machines in 2009, we have been guided
solely by the concern that the chosen automated election system, the PCOS, violates the constitutional
right to secret voting and public counting. Our concern currently is unless the safeguards provided by law
are complied with, to wit: examination of the source code, use of digital signatures, and enabling vote
verification, are implemented by the Comelec; the right of the people to a clean elections would be the
subject of continuing violation. For what it is worth, the contractor, Smartmatic, had already earned
its profit. Presumably, all those who made money from the use of the PCOS have also already cashed
in. Isnt it time now that the voters are accorded their right to public counting of their ballots?
I do not know how the Supreme Court will resolve the petition. All that I can do as one whose life and
security is under threat is to avail of all legal remedies to protect my rights.

I leave the rest to God.

source: Manila Standard's Column of Atty Harry Roque, Jr.

SC justice chides MT senior reporter


[Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen addresses the letter below to Jomar Canlas,
one of our senior reporters.]

I refer to your article, SC Justice slammed for misbehavior, which appeared in the online edition of The
Manila Times on June 16, 2013, and on the front page of the broadsheet edition on June 17, 2013. It is
unfortunate that the article is inaccurate and a misrepresentation of the events that transpired during my
trip to The Netherlands last month, as well as the response of my colleagues to what had taken place.
It is true that I had been incorrectly registered as a Justice of the Court of Appeals, instead of the
Supreme Court, during the International Judicial Colloquium on Insolvency organized by the International
Association of Restructuring, Insolvency & Bankrupcy Professionals (and not, as your article claims, by
the American Bar Association). Although a number of my colleagues have served as Justices of the Court
of Appeals before serving the Supreme Court, I did not have that honor. It was improper for me to
misrepresent myself as having served as a Justice of that Court. It is in this context that I had sought to
correct the mistake. Through telephone conversations and email, we quietly consulted with the
conference organizer, and the American Bar Association, which had assisted in registering conference
participants from the Philippines. In this way, we were able to reach a solution. The error was corrected
even before the conference started.
I did not boycott the conference to dramatize my discontent. As a matter of fact, upon being apprised
of the error, the conference secretariat offered to revise the directory to correct the error in my
designation. I, however, suggested it would be unnecessary. Up to this day, the directory lists my position
as Court of Appeals Justice.

More worrisome to me, however, is your account of how my colleagues at the Supreme Court reacted to
these events. Contrary to your assertions, I was not slammed for misbehavior by my colleagues, some
of whom had approached me to clarify what had actually transpired, and then affirmed that I had done the
right thing in requesting the conference organizers to correct the mistake.

One of the things I have learned in my first few months with the Court is that its Members are candid
toward each other, and quick to point out any concern they might have with each other. Your report,
which claims to carry the opinion of some of my colleagues, suggest otherwise. But based on my own
experience with the Court, I do not believe that Justices of the Supreme Court would stoop so low as to
use the media to air personal grievances, when they regularly communicate their views candidly toward
each other.

I respect the right and power of the media to report stories that they believe are important. That you have
characterized me as a complainer is your prerogative. I, however, think that there is a difference
between one who simply complains and another who believes that there are more efficient and effective
ways of doing thingsand then does something about it. I hope you do not mean to suggest that Justices
of the Supreme Court should timidly accept the status quo, especially if they have the opportunity to
change things. Complainers have a huge role to play to make our world a better place to live in.

Humility is a difficult human trait to master. Public officials who are entrusted with correcting wrongs and
doing justice can be vulnerable to losing that valuable human trait. That is why I give time to reading
criticisms whether right or wrong, honest or dishonest. I try to see beyond the inaccuracy in some
criticisms to discern kernels of truth that I can learn from. I am willing to accept this burden of public office.
It is my hope that you and your editors accept the burden of good journalism toothat is, the duty to be
objective when presenting a story. My understanding is that it is good journalistic practice to hear every
side of a story, to give every side an opportunity to respond. Unfortunately, only one side of the story was
presented in your report, and an incorrect one at that. One wishes that you might have tried to verify your
story with our office, or with the Supreme Court Public Information Office. You failed to do so.
Through acceptance of criticisms, I think we can help achieve the level of humility that public service
requires.

With you in service,


Marvic M. V. F. Leonen
Associate Justice

source: Manila Times

General Principle of Good Faith, Bad Faith


Good Faith is ALWAYS presumed and upon him who alleges vd faith, on the part of the possessor rests
the burden of proof.

RA 386 - New Civil Code


Article 527. Good faith is always presumed, and upon him who alleges bad faith on the part of a
possessor rests the burden of proof.

Latins
Juris Tantum - Both in common law and in civil law, a rebuttable presumption (in Latin, praesumptio
iuris tantum) is an assumption made by a court, one that is taken to be true unless someone comes
forward to contest it and prove otherwise. For example, a defendant in a criminal case is presumed
innocent until proved guilty. A rebuttable presumption is often associated with prima facie evidence.
/ legal but rebuttable /

Expropriation and Just Compensation Landmark Cases


Valhueza ... non-payment of JC for 57 years = construed as deliberate refusal >>> Law on Property by Dean Pineda,
p81 - 82
Republic vs PNB, 1 SCRA 957 ... When is JC determined? >>> Law on Property by Dean Pineda, p81 - 82
MIAA vs Rodriguez, 483, SCR 619 ... taking precedes the filing >>> Law on Property by Dean Pineda, p88
Phil. Exe. Commission vs Estacio, 98 Phil 18 ... payment of legal interest (6%) >>> Law on Property by Dean
Pineda, p88
Between Power of Eminent Domain and Constitutional Prohibition Against Impairment of Contracts, the former
prevails except when one of the parties is the Government
Noble vs City of Manila, 38 OG 2770 ... Expropriation cannot be resorted to as a way of repudiating the contract
agreed upon which is validly and legally contracted
MANOSCA VS. COURT OF APPEALS [252 SCRA 412; G.R. NO. 106440, 29 JAN. 1996] - Concept of
Extraordinary Expropriation ... for private use (i.e. expropriation of estate for sundivision nto lots and
sales to

Doctrine of Governmental Immunity from Suit


Posted 26th January 2013 by Rem Ramirez, REBL No. 20231

Doctrine of Laches
LACHES is the failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do
that which by exercising due diligence could or should have been done earlier; it is
negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption
that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it.

San Roque Realty vs Republic

Doctrine of Laches or Doctrine of Stale Demand

G.R. No. 112519 November 14, 1996


CATHOLIC BISHOP OF BALANGA, respresented by CRISPULO TORRICO, petitioner,
vs.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and AMANDO DE LEON, respond

Laches means the failure or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which,
by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier; it is negligence or omission to assert
a right within a reasonable time, warranting the presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has
abandoned or declined to assert it. 25 It has also been defined as such neglect or omission to assert a
right taken in conjunction with the lapse of time and other circumstances causing prejudice to an adverse
party, as will operate as a bar in equity. 26
The principle of laches is a creation of equity which, as such, is applied not really to penalize neglect or
sleeping upon one's right, but rather to avoid recognizing a right when to do so would result in a clearly
inequitable
situation. 27 As an equitable defense, laches does not concern itself with the character of the defendant's
title, but only with whether or not by reason of the plaintiff's long in action or inexcusable neglect, he
should be barred from asserting this claim at all, because to allow him to do so would be inequitable and
unjust to the defendant. 28
The doctrine of laches or of stale demands is based upon grounds of public policy which requires, for the
peace of society, the discouragement of stale claims and . . . is principally a question of the inequity or
unfairness of permitting a right or claim to be enforced or asserted. 29
The time-honored rule anchored on public policy is that relief will be denied to a litigant whose claim or
demand has become "stale", or who has acquiesced for an unreasonable length of time, or who has not
been vigilant or who has slept on his rights either by negligence, folly or inattention. 30 In other words,
public policy requires, for the peace of society, the discouragement of claims grown stale for non-
assertion; thus laches is an impediment to the assertion or enforcement of a right which has become,
under the circumstances, inequitable or unfair to permit. 31
The following are the essential elements of laches:
(1) Conduct on the part of the defendant, or of one under whom he claims, giving rise to the situation
complained of;
(2) Delay in asserting complainant's right after he had knowledge of the defendant's conduct and after he
has an opportunity to sue;
(3) Lack of knowledge or notice on the part of the defendant that the complainant would assert the right
on which he bases his suit; and
(4) Injury or prejudice to the defendant in the event relief is accorded to the complainant. 32
Under the present circumstances, all of the aforegoing elements are attendant in this case.

Doctrine of Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies


Doctrine of Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies is a cornerstone of our judicial system. The thrust of the rule is
that courts must allow administrative agencies to carry out their functions and discharge their responsibilities within
the specialized areas of their respective competence.

Republic v. Lacap,
Courts cannot or will not determine a controversy involving a question which is within the jurisdiction of the
administrative tribunal prior to the resolution of that question by the administrative tribunal, where the question
demands the exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the special knowledge, experience and services of
the administrative tribunal to determine technical and intricate matters of fact

Nonetheless, the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies and the corollary doctrine of primary
jurisdiction, which are based on sound public policy and practical considerations, are not inflexible rules. There are
many accepted exceptions, such as: (a) where there is estoppel on the part of the party invoking the doctrine; (b)
where the challenged administrative act is patently illegal, amounting to lack of jurisdiction; (c) where there is
unreasonable delay or official inaction that will irretrievably prejudice the complainant; (d) where the amount
involved is relatively small so as to make the rule impractical and oppressive; (e) where the question involved is
purely legal and will ultimately have to be decided by the courts of justice; (f) where judicial intervention is urgent;
(g) when its application may cause great and irreparable damage; (h) where the controverted acts violate due
process; (i) when the issue of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies has been rendered moot; (j) when there is
no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy; (k) when strong public interest is involved; and, (l) in quo
warranto proceedings.

a litigant cannot go around the authority of the concerned administrative agency and directly seek redress from the
courts. Thus, when the law provides for a remedy against a certain action of an administrative board, body, or
officer, relief to the courts can be made only after exhausting all remedies provided therein. It is settled that the non-
observance of the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies results in lack of cause of action, which is one
of the grounds in the Rules of Court justifying the dismissal of the complaint.

(GR No. 175039 - April 2012)

Doctrine of Apparent Authority


Referece Case: Professional Services, Inc. vs. Agana, G.R. No. 126297, 31 January 2007
Also: Holding Out Theory, Doctrine of Ostensible Agency or Agency by Estoppel
Posted 21st January 2013 by Rem Ramirez, REBL No. 20231