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Republic of the Philippines 349, 357, 358, 362, 367, 370, 382, 385, 386, 396-397, 405, 438-

SUPREME COURT 440, 444- 445, 473, 486, 488, 498, 501, 399, 527, 561, 576, 587,
Manila 594, 599, 600, 602, 609, 610, 611, 612, 615, 641, 642, 665, 702,
712-713, 726, 837-839, 878-879, 881, 882, 939-940,
964,997,1149-1178,1180-1278.
EN BANC

c] General Orders Nos.: 14, 52, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 64 & 65.
G.R. No. L-63915 April 24, 1985

d] Proclamation Nos.: 1126, 1144, 1147, 1151, 1196, 1270, 1281,


LORENZO M. TAÑADA, ABRAHAM F. SARMIENTO, and MOVEMENT OF
1319-1526, 1529, 1532, 1535, 1538, 1540-1547, 1550-1558,
ATTORNEYS FOR BROTHERHOOD, INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM, INC.
1561-1588, 1590-1595, 1594-1600, 1606-1609, 1612-1628, 1630-
[MABINI], petitioners,
1649, 1694-1695, 1697-1701, 1705-1723, 1731-1734, 1737-1742,
vs.
1744, 1746-1751, 1752, 1754, 1762, 1764-1787, 1789-1795,
HON. JUAN C. TUVERA, in his capacity as Executive Assistant to the President,
1797, 1800, 1802-1804, 1806-1807, 1812-1814, 1816, 1825-
HON. JOAQUIN VENUS, in his capacity as Deputy Executive Assistant to the
1826, 1829, 1831-1832, 1835-1836, 1839-1840, 1843-1844,
President , MELQUIADES P. DE LA CRUZ, in his capacity as Director,
1846-1847, 1849, 1853-1858, 1860, 1866, 1868, 1870, 1876-
Malacañang Records Office, and FLORENDO S. PABLO, in his capacity as
1889, 1892, 1900, 1918, 1923, 1933, 1952, 1963, 1965-1966,
Director, Bureau of Printing, respondents.
1968-1984, 1986-2028, 2030-2044, 2046-2145, 2147-2161, 2163-
2244.

e] Executive Orders Nos.: 411, 413, 414, 427, 429-454, 457- 471,
ESCOLIN, J.: 474-492, 494-507, 509-510, 522, 524-528, 531-532, 536, 538,
543-544, 549, 551-553, 560, 563, 567-568, 570, 574, 593, 594,
598-604, 609, 611- 647, 649-677, 679-703, 705-707, 712-786,
Invoking the people's right to be informed on matters of public concern, a right 788-852, 854-857.
recognized in Section 6, Article IV of the 1973 Philippine Constitution, 1 as well as the
principle that laws to be valid and enforceable must be published in the Official
Gazette or otherwise effectively promulgated, petitioners seek a writ of mandamus to f] Letters of Implementation Nos.: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11-22, 25-27, 39,
compel respondent public officials to publish, and/or cause the publication in the 50, 51, 59, 76, 80-81, 92, 94, 95, 107, 120, 122, 123.
Official Gazette of various presidential decrees, letters of instructions, general orders,
proclamations, executive orders, letter of implementation and administrative orders.
g] Administrative Orders Nos.: 347, 348, 352-354, 360- 378, 380-
433, 436-439.
Specifically, the publication of the following presidential issuances is sought:
The respondents, through the Solicitor General, would have this case dismissed
a] Presidential Decrees Nos. 12, 22, 37, 38, 59, 64, 103, 171, outright on the ground that petitioners have no legal personality or standing to bring
179, 184, 197, 200, 234, 265, 286, 298, 303, 312, 324, 325, 326, the instant petition. The view is submitted that in the absence of any showing that
337, 355, 358, 359, 360, 361, 368, 404, 406, 415, 427, 429, 445, petitioners are personally and directly affected or prejudiced by the alleged non-
447, 473, 486, 491, 503, 504, 521, 528, 551, 566, 573, 574, 594, publication of the presidential issuances in question 2 said petitioners are without the
599, 644, 658, 661, 718, 731, 733, 793, 800, 802, 835, 836, 923, requisite legal personality to institute this mandamus proceeding, they are not being
935, 961, 1017-1030, 1050, 1060-1061, 1085, 1143, 1165, 1166, "aggrieved parties" within the meaning of Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court,
1242, 1246, 1250, 1278, 1279, 1300, 1644, 1772, 1808, 1810, which we quote:
1813-1817, 1819-1826, 1829-1840, 1842-1847.
SEC. 3. Petition for Mandamus.—When any tribunal, corporation,
b] Letter of Instructions Nos.: 10, 39, 49, 72, 107, 108, 116, 130, board or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act
136, 141, 150, 153, 155, 161, 173, 180, 187, 188, 192, 193, 199, which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an
202, 204, 205, 209, 211-213, 215-224, 226-228, 231-239, 241- office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes another from the
245, 248, 251, 253-261, 263-269, 271-273, 275-283, 285-289, use a rd enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is
291, 293, 297-299, 301-303, 309, 312-315, 325, 327, 343, 346, entitled, and there is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy
in the ordinary course of law, the person aggrieved thereby may not the duty of the law officer of the Government to appear and
file a verified petition in the proper court alleging the facts with represent the people in cases of this character.
certainty and praying that judgment be rendered commanding the
defendant, immediately or at some other specified time, to do the
The reasons given by the Court in recognizing a private citizen's legal personality in
act required to be done to Protect the rights of the petitioner, and
the aforementioned case apply squarely to the present petition. Clearly, the right
to pay the damages sustained by the petitioner by reason of the
sought to be enforced by petitioners herein is a public right recognized by no less than
wrongful acts of the defendant.
the fundamental law of the land. If petitioners were not allowed to institute this
proceeding, it would indeed be difficult to conceive of any other person to initiate the
Upon the other hand, petitioners maintain that since the subject of the petition same, considering that the Solicitor General, the government officer generally
concerns a public right and its object is to compel the performance of a public duty, empowered to represent the people, has entered his appearance for respondents in
they need not show any specific interest for their petition to be given due course. this case.

The issue posed is not one of first impression. As early as the 1910 case of Severino Respondents further contend that publication in the Official Gazette is not a sine qua
vs. Governor General, 3 this Court held that while the general rule is that "a writ of non requirement for the effectivity of laws where the laws themselves provide for their
mandamus would be granted to a private individual only in those cases where he has own effectivity dates. It is thus submitted that since the presidential issuances in
some private or particular interest to be subserved, or some particular right to be question contain special provisions as to the date they are to take effect, publication in
protected, independent of that which he holds with the public at large," and "it is for the the Official Gazette is not indispensable for their effectivity. The point stressed is
public officers exclusively to apply for the writ when public rights are to be subserved anchored on Article 2 of the Civil Code:
[Mithchell vs. Boardmen, 79 M.e., 469]," nevertheless, "when the question is one of
public right and the object of the mandamus is to procure the enforcement of a public
Art. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the
duty, the people are regarded as the real party in interest and the relator at whose
completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is
instigation the proceedings are instituted need not show that he has any legal or
otherwise provided, ...
special interest in the result, it being sufficient to show that he is a citizen and as such
interested in the execution of the laws [High, Extraordinary Legal Remedies, 3rd ed.,
sec. 431]. The interpretation given by respondent is in accord with this Court's construction of
said article. In a long line of decisions, 4 this Court has ruled that publication in the
Official Gazette is necessary in those cases where the legislation itself does not
Thus, in said case, this Court recognized the relator Lope Severino, a private
provide for its effectivity date-for then the date of publication is material for determining
individual, as a proper party to the mandamus proceedings brought to compel the
its date of effectivity, which is the fifteenth day following its publication-but not when
Governor General to call a special election for the position of municipal president in
the law itself provides for the date when it goes into effect.
the town of Silay, Negros Occidental. Speaking for this Court, Mr. Justice Grant T.
Trent said:
Respondents' argument, however, is logically correct only insofar as it equates the
effectivity of laws with the fact of publication. Considered in the light of other statutes
We are therefore of the opinion that the weight of authority
applicable to the issue at hand, the conclusion is easily reached that said Article 2
supports the proposition that the relator is a proper party to
does not preclude the requirement of publication in the Official Gazette, even if the law
proceedings of this character when a public right is sought to be
itself provides for the date of its effectivity. Thus, Section 1 of Commonwealth Act 638
enforced. If the general rule in America were otherwise, we think
provides as follows:
that it would not be applicable to the case at bar for the reason
'that it is always dangerous to apply a general rule to a particular
case without keeping in mind the reason for the rule, because, if Section 1. There shall be published in the Official Gazette [1] all
under the particular circumstances the reason for the rule does important legisiative acts and resolutions of a public nature of the,
not exist, the rule itself is not applicable and reliance upon the rule Congress of the Philippines; [2] all executive and administrative
may well lead to error' orders and proclamations, except such as have no general
applicability; [3] decisions or abstracts of decisions of the
Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals as may be deemed by
No reason exists in the case at bar for applying the general rule
said courts of sufficient importance to be so published; [4] such
insisted upon by counsel for the respondent. The circumstances
documents or classes of documents as may be required so to be
which surround this case are different from those in the United
published by law; and [5] such documents or classes of
States, inasmuch as if the relator is not a proper party to these
documents as the President of the Philippines shall determine
proceedings no other person could be, as we have seen that it is
from time to time to have general applicability and legal effect, or process and the Rule of Law demand that the Official Gazette as
which he may authorize so to be published. ... the official government repository promulgate and publish the
texts of all such decrees, orders and instructions so that the
people may know where to obtain their official and specific
The clear object of the above-quoted provision is to give the general public adequate
contents.
notice of the various laws which are to regulate their actions and conduct as citizens.
Without such notice and publication, there would be no basis for the application of the
maxim "ignorantia legis non excusat." It would be the height of injustice to punish or The Court therefore declares that presidential issuances of general application, which
otherwise burden a citizen for the transgression of a law of which he had no notice have not been published, shall have no force and effect. Some members of the Court,
whatsoever, not even a constructive one. quite apprehensive about the possible unsettling effect this decision might have on
acts done in reliance of the validity of those presidential decrees which were published
only during the pendency of this petition, have put the question as to whether the
Perhaps at no time since the establishment of the Philippine Republic has the
Court's declaration of invalidity apply to P.D.s which had been enforced or
publication of laws taken so vital significance that at this time when the people have
implemented prior to their publication. The answer is all too familiar. In similar
bestowed upon the President a power heretofore enjoyed solely by the legislature.
situations in the past this Court had taken the pragmatic and realistic course set forth
While the people are kept abreast by the mass media of the debates and deliberations
in Chicot County Drainage District vs. Baxter Bank 8 to wit:
in the Batasan Pambansa—and for the diligent ones, ready access to the legislative
records—no such publicity accompanies the law-making process of the President.
Thus, without publication, the people have no means of knowing what presidential The courts below have proceeded on the theory that the Act of
decrees have actually been promulgated, much less a definite way of informing Congress, having been found to be unconstitutional, was not a
themselves of the specific contents and texts of such decrees. As the Supreme Court law; that it was inoperative, conferring no rights and imposing no
of Spain ruled: "Bajo la denominacion generica de leyes, se comprenden tambien los duties, and hence affording no basis for the challenged decree.
reglamentos, Reales decretos, Instrucciones, Circulares y Reales ordines dictadas de Norton v. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, 442; Chicago, 1. & L. Ry.
conformidad con las mismas por el Gobierno en uso de su potestad. 5 Co. v. Hackett, 228 U.S. 559, 566. It is quite clear, however, that
such broad statements as to the effect of a determination of
unconstitutionality must be taken with qualifications. The actual
The very first clause of Section I of Commonwealth Act 638 reads: "There shall be
existence of a statute, prior to such a determination, is an
published in the Official Gazette ... ." The word "shall" used therein imposes upon
operative fact and may have consequences which cannot justly
respondent officials an imperative duty. That duty must be enforced if the
be ignored. The past cannot always be erased by a new judicial
Constitutional right of the people to be informed on matters of public concern is to be
declaration. The effect of the subsequent ruling as to invalidity
given substance and reality. The law itself makes a list of what should be published in
may have to be considered in various aspects-with respect to
the Official Gazette. Such listing, to our mind, leaves respondents with no discretion
particular conduct, private and official. Questions of rights claimed
whatsoever as to what must be included or excluded from such publication.
to have become vested, of status, of prior determinations deemed
to have finality and acted upon accordingly, of public policy in the
The publication of all presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of general light of the nature both of the statute and of its previous
applicability" is mandated by law. Obviously, presidential decrees that provide for application, demand examination. These questions are among the
fines, forfeitures or penalties for their violation or otherwise impose a burden or. the most difficult of those which have engaged the attention of courts,
people, such as tax and revenue measures, fall within this category. Other presidential state and federal and it is manifest from numerous decisions that
issuances which apply only to particular persons or class of persons such as an all-inclusive statement of a principle of absolute retroactive
administrative and executive orders need not be published on the assumption that invalidity cannot be justified.
they have been circularized to all concerned. 6
Consistently with the above principle, this Court in Rutter vs. Esteban 9 sustained the
It is needless to add that the publication of presidential issuances "of a public nature" right of a party under the Moratorium Law, albeit said right had accrued in his favor
or "of general applicability" is a requirement of due process. It is a rule of law that before said law was declared unconstitutional by this Court.
before a person may be bound by law, he must first be officially and specifically
informed of its contents. As Justice Claudio Teehankee said in Peralta vs.
Similarly, the implementation/enforcement of presidential decrees prior to their
COMELEC 7:
publication in the Official Gazette is "an operative fact which may have consequences
which cannot be justly ignored. The past cannot always be erased by a new judicial
In a time of proliferating decrees, orders and letters of instructions declaration ... that an all-inclusive statement of a principle of absolute retroactive
which all form part of the law of the land, the requirement of due invalidity cannot be justified."
From the report submitted to the Court by the Clerk of Court, it appears that of the
presidential decrees sought by petitioners to be published in the Official Gazette, only
Presidential Decrees Nos. 1019 to 1030, inclusive, 1278, and 1937 to 1939, inclusive,
have not been so published. 10 Neither the subject matters nor the texts of these PDs
can be ascertained since no copies thereof are available. But whatever their subject
matter may be, it is undisputed that none of these unpublished PDs has ever been
implemented or enforced by the government. In Pesigan vs. Angeles, 11 the Court,
through Justice Ramon Aquino, ruled that "publication is necessary to apprise the
public of the contents of [penal] regulations and make the said penalties binding on
the persons affected thereby. " The cogency of this holding is apparently recognized
by respondent officials considering the manifestation in their comment that "the
government, as a matter of policy, refrains from prosecuting violations of criminal laws
until the same shall have been published in the Official Gazette or in some other
publication, even though some criminal laws provide that they shall take effect
immediately.

WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders respondents to publish in the Official Gazette
all unpublished presidential issuances which are of general application, and unless so
published, they shall have no binding force and effect.

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines However, section 11 of the Revised Administrative Code provides that statutes passed
SUPREME COURT by Congress shall, in the absence of special provision, take effect at the beginning of
Manila the fifteenth day after the completion of the publication of the statute in the Official
Gazette. Article 2 of the new Civil Code (Republic Act No. 386) equally provides that
laws shall take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in
EN BANC
the Official Gazette, unless it is otherwise provided. It is true that Circular No. 20 of the
Central Bank is not a statute or law but being issued for the implementation of the law
G.R. No. L-6791 March 29, 1954 authorizing its issuance, it has the force and effect of law according to settled
jurisprudence. (See U.S. vs. Tupasi Molina, 29 Phil., 119 and authorities cited therein.)
Moreover, as a rule, circulars and regulations especially like the Circular No. 20 of the
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
Central Bank in question which prescribes a penalty for its violation should be
vs. published before becoming effective, this, on the general principle and theory that
QUE PO LAY, defendant-appellant.
before the public is bound by its contents, especially its penal provisions, a law,
regulation or circular must first be published and the people officially and specifically
Prudencio de Guzman for appellant. informed of said contents and its penalties.
First Assistant Solicitor General Ruperto Kapunan, Jr., and Solicitor Lauro G. Marquez
for appellee.
Our Old Civil code, ( Spanish Civil Code of 1889) has a similar provision about the
effectivity of laws, (Article 1 thereof), namely, that laws shall be binding twenty days
MONTEMAYOR, J.: after their promulgation, and that their promulgation shall be understood as made on
the day of the termination of the publication of the laws in the Gazette. Manresa,
commenting on this article is of the opinion that the word "laws" include regulations
Que Po Lay is appealing from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila, and circulars issued in accordance with the same. He says:
finding him guilty of violating Central Bank Circular No. 20 in connection with section
34 of Republic Act No. 265, and sentencing him to suffer six months imprisonment, to
pay a fine of P1,000 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay El Tribunal Supremo, ha interpretado el articulo 1. del codigo Civil en
the costs. Sentencia de 22 de Junio de 1910, en el sentido de que bajo la
denominacion generica de leyes, se comprenden tambien los Reglamentos,
Reales decretos, Instrucciones, Circulares y Reales ordenes dictadas de
The charge was that the appellant who was in possession of foreign exchange conformidad con las mismas por el Gobierno en uso de su potestad.
consisting of U.S. dollars, U.S. checks and U.S. money orders amounting to about Tambien el poder ejecutivo lo ha venido entendiendo asi, como lo prueba el
$7,000 failed to sell the same to the Central Bank through its agents within one day hecho de que muchas de sus disposiciones contienen la advertencia de
following the receipt of such foreign exchange as required by Circular No. 20. the que empiezan a regir el mismo dia de su publicacion en la Gaceta,
appeal is based on the claim that said circular No. 20 was not published in the Official advertencia que seria perfectamente inutil si no fuera de aplicacion al caso
Gazette prior to the act or omission imputed to the appellant, and that consequently, el articulo 1.o del Codigo Civil. (Manresa, Codigo Civil Español, Vol. I. p.
said circular had no force and effect. It is contended that Commonwealth Act. No., 638 52).
and Act 2930 both require said circular to be published in the Official Gazette, it being
an order or notice of general applicability. The Solicitor General answering this
contention says that Commonwealth Act. No. 638 and 2930 do not require the In the present case, although circular No. 20 of the Central Bank was issued in the
publication in the Official Gazette of said circular issued for the implementation of a year 1949, it was not published until November 1951, that is, about 3 months after
law in order to have force and effect. appellant's conviction of its violation. It is clear that said circular, particularly its penal
provision, did not have any legal effect and bound no one until its publication in the
Official Gazzette or after November 1951. In other words, appellant could not be held
We agree with the Solicitor General that the laws in question do not require the liable for its violation, for it was not binding at the time he was found to have failed to
publication of the circulars, regulations and notices therein mentioned in order to sell the foreign exchange in his possession thereof.
become binding and effective. All that said two laws provide is that laws, resolutions,
decisions of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, notices and documents
required by law to be of no force and effect. In other words, said two Acts merely But the Solicitor General also contends that this question of non-publication of the
enumerate and make a list of what should be published in the Official Gazette, Circular is being raised for the first time on appeal in this Court, which cannot be done
presumably, for the guidance of the different branches of the Government issuing by appellant. Ordinarily, one may raise on appeal any question of law or fact that has
same, and of the Bureau of Printing. been raised in the court below and which is within the issues made by the parties in
their pleadings. (Section 19, Rule 48 of the Rules of Court). But the question of non-
publication is fundamental and decisive. If as a matter of fact Circular No. 20 had not
been published as required by law before its violation, then in the eyes of the law there
was no such circular to be violated and consequently appellant committed no violation
of the circular or committed any offense, and the trial court may be said to have had
no jurisdiction. This question may be raised at any stage of the proceeding whether or
not raised in the court below.

In view of the foregoing, we reverse the decision appealed from and acquit the
appellant, with costs de oficio.

Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Padilla, Reyes, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion and
Diokno, JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines c) Prescribed Importer-Exporter Agreement Form for non-
SUPREME COURT exporter-importer (Annex C, Id.);
Manila
d) Memorandum dated April 16, 1990 relative to amendments of
SECOND DIVISION Administrative Order No. SOCPEC 89-08-01 (Annex D, Id.);

G.R. No. 108461 October 21, 1996 e) Memorandum dated May 6, 1991 relative to Revised Schedule
of Fees for the processing of import applications (Annexes E, E-
1., Ind.);
PHILIPPINE INTERNATIONAL TRADING CORPORATION, petitioner,
vs.
HON. PRESIDING JUDGE ZOSIMO Z. ANGELES, BRANCH 58, RTC, MAKATI; f) Rules and Regulations relative to liquidation of unfulfilled
REMINGTON INDUSTRIAL SALES CORPORATION; AND FIRESTONE CERAMIC, Undertakings and expired export credits (Annex Z, Supplemental
INC., respondents. Petition),

the foregoing being all null and void and unconstitutional; and,

TORRES, JR., J.:p 2) Commanding respondent to approve forthwith all the pending
applications of, and all those that may hereafter be filed by, the
petitioner and the Intervenor, free from and without the
The PHILIPPINE INTERNATIONAL TRADING CORPORATION (PITC, for
requirements prescribed in the above-mentioned issuances.
brevity) filed this Petition for Review on Certiorari, seeking the reversal of
the Decision dated January 4, 1993 of public respondent Hon. Zosimo Z.
Angeles, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 58, IT IS SO ORDERED.
in Civil Case No. 92-158 entitled Remington Industrial Sales Corporation, et.
al. vs. Philippine Industrial Trading Corporation.
The controversy springs from the issuance by the PITC of Administrative
Order No. SOCPEC 89-08-01, 1under which, applications to the PITC for
The said decision upheld the Petition for Prohibition and Mandamus of importation from the People's Republic of China (PROC, for brevity) must
REMINGTON INDUSTRIAL SALES CORPORATION (Remington, for be accompanied by a viable and confirmed Export Program of Philippine
brevity) and FIRESTONE CERAMICS, INC. (Firestone, for brevity), and, in Products to PROC carried out by the improper himself or through a tie-up
the process, declared as null and void and unconstitutional, PITC's with a legitimate importer in an amount equivalent to the value of the
Administrative Order No. SOCPEC 89-08-01 and its appurtenant importation from PROC being applied for, or, simply, at one is to one ratio.
regulations. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
Pertinent provisions of the questioned administrative order read:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby
rendered in favor of Petitioner and Intervenor and against the
3. COUNTERPART EXPORTS TO PROC
Respondent, as follows:

In addition to existing requirements for the processing of import


1) Enjoining the further implementation by the respondent of the
application for goods and commodities originating from PROC, it
following issuances relative to the applications for importation of
is declared that:
products from the People's Republic of China, to wit:

3.1 All applications covered by these rules


a) Administrative Order No. SOCPEC 89-08-01 dated August 30,
must be accompanied by a viable and
1989 (Annex A, Amended Petition);
confirmed EXPORT PROGRAM of Philippine
products to PROC in an amount equivalent to
b) Prescribed Export Undertaking Form (Annex B, Id.); the value of the importation from PROC being
applied for. Such export program must be
carried out and completed within six (6) b) Export Performance
months from date of approval of the Import Guarantee (See Article 4
Application by PITC. PITC shall reject/deny hereof).
any application for importation from PROC
without the accompanying export program
c) IMPORTER-
mentioned above.
EXPORTER
AGREEMENT for non-
3.2 The EXPORT PROGRAM may be carried exporter IMPORTER
out by any of the following: (PITC Form No. M-
1006). This form should
be used if IMPORTER
a. By the IMPORTER
has tie-up with an
himself if he has the
exporter for the export of
capabilities and facilities
Philippine Products to
to carry out the export of
PROC.
Philippine products to
PROC in his own name;
or 4. EXPORT GUARANTEE

b. Through a tie-up To ensure that the export commitments of the IMPORTER are
between the IMPORTER carried out in accordance with these rules, all IMPORTERS
and a legitimate exporter concerned are required to submit an EXPORT PERFORMANCE
(of Philippine products) GUARANTEE (the "Guarantee") at the time of filing of the Import
who is willing to carry out Application. The amount of the guarantee shall be as follows:
the export commitments
of the IMPORTER under
For essential commodities: 15% of the value
these rules. The tie-up
of the imports applied for.
shall not make the
IMPORTER the exporter
of the goods but shall For other commodities: 50% of the value of
merely ensure that the the imports applied for.
importation sought to be
approved is matched
one-to-one (1:1) in value 4.1 The guarantee may be in the form of (i) a
with a corresponding non-interest bearing cash deposit; (ii) Bank
export of Philippine hold-out in favor of PITC (PITC Form No. M-
products to PROC. 2 1007) or (iii) a Domestic Letter of Credit (with
all bank opening charges for account of
Importer) opened in favor of PITC as
3.3 EXPORT PROGRAM DOCUMENTS beneficiary.
which are to be submitted by the improper
together with his Import Application are as
follows: 4.2 The guarantee shall be made in favor of
PITC and will be automatically forfeited in
favor of PITC, fully or partially, if the required
a) Firm Contract, Sales export program is not completed by the
Invoice or Letter of importer within six (6) months from date of
Credit. approval of the Import Application.
4.3 Within the six (6) months period above to balance their importations from PROC with corresponding export of
stated, the IMPORTER is entitled to a (i) Philippine products to PROC.
refund of the cash deposited without interest;
(ii) cancellation of the Bank holdout or (iii)
Private respondent Remington was allowed to import tools, machineries and
Cancellation of the Domestic Letter of Credit
other similar goods. Firestone, on the other hand, imported Calcine Vauxite,
upon showing that he has completed the
which it used for the manufacture of fire bricks, one of its products.
export commitment pertaining to his
importation and provided further that the
following documents are submitted to PITC: Subsequently, for failing to comply with their undertakings to submit export
credits equivalent to the value of their importations, further import
applications were withheld by petitioner PITC from private respondents,
a) Final Sales Invoice
such that the latter were both barred from importing goods from PROC. 3
b) Bill of lading or Airway
bill
c) Bank Certificate of Consequently, Remington filed a Petition for Prohibition and Mandamus,
Inward Remittance with prayer for issuance of Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of
d) PITC EXPORT Preliminary Injunction on January 20, 1992, against PITC in the RTC Makati
APPLICATION FOR NO. Branch 58. 4 The court issued a Temporary Restraining Order on January
M-1005 21, 1992, ordering PITC to cease from exercising any power to process
applications of goods from PROC. 5 Hearing on the application for writ of
preliminary injunction ensued.
5. MISCELLANEOUS

Private respondent Firstone was allowed to intervene in the petition on July


5.1 All other requirements for importations of
2, 1992, 6 thus joining Remington in the latter's charges against PITC. It
goods and commodities from PROC must be
specifically asserts that the questioned Administrative Order is an undue
complied with in addition to the above.
restriction of trade, and hence, unconstitutional.

5.2 PITC shall have the right to disapprove


Upon trial, it was agreed that the evidence adduced upon the hearing on the
any and all import applications not in
Preliminary Injunction was sufficient to completely adjudicate the case, thus,
accordance with the rules and regulations
the parties deemed it proper that the entire case be submitted for decision
herein prescribed.
upon the evidence so far presented.

5.3 Should the IMPORTER or any of his duly


The court rendered its Decision 7 on January 4, 1992. The court ruled that
authorized representatives make any false
PITC's authority to process and approve applications for imports from
statements or fraudulent misrepresentations
SOCPEC and to issue rules and regulations pursuant to LOI 444 and P.D.
in the Import/Export Application, or falsify,
No. 1071, has already been repealed by EO No. 133, issued on February
forge or simulate any document required
27, 1987 by President Aquino.
under these rules and regulations, PITC is
authorized to reject all pending and future
import/export applications of said IMPORTER The court observed:
and/or disqualify said IMPORTER from doing
any business with SOCPEC through PITC.
Given such obliteration and/or withdrawal of what used to be
PITC's regulatory authority under the Special provisions
Desiring to make importations from PROC, private respondents Remington embodied in LOI 444 from the enumeration of power that it could
and Firestone, both domestic corporations, organized and existing under exercise effective February 27, 1987 in virtue of Section 16 (d),
Philippine laws, individually applied for authority to import from PROC with EO No. 133, it may now be successfully argued that the PITC can
the petitioner. They were granted such authority after satisfying the no longer exercise such specific regulatory power in question
requirements for importers, and after they executed respective undertakings conformably with the legal precept "expresio unius est exclusio
alterius."
Moreover, the court continued, none of the Trade protocols of 1989, 1990 or 89-08-01. The Court directed the respondents to file their respective
1991, has empowered the PITC, expressly or impliedly to formulate or Comments.
promulgate the assailed Administrative Order. This fact, makes the
continued exercise by PITC of the regulatory powers in question unworthy
Subsequent events transpired, however, which affect to some extent, the
of judicial approval. Otherwise, it would be sanctioning an undue exercise of
submissions of the parties to the present petition.
legislative power vested solely in the Congress of the Philippines by
Section, 1, Article VII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
Following President Fidel V. Ramos' trip to Beijing, People's Republic of
China (PROC), from April 25 to 30, 1993, a new trade agreement was
The lower court stated that the subject Administrative Order and other
entered into between the Philippines and PROC, encouraging liberalization
similar issuances by PITC suffer from serious constitutional infirmity, having
of trade between the two countries. In line therewith, on April 20, 1993, the
been promulgated in pursuance of an international agreement (the
President, through Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Antonio T. Carpio,
Memorandum of Agreement between the Philippines and PROC), which has
directed the Department of Trade and Industry and the PITC to cease
not been concurred in by at least 2/3 of all the members of the Philippine
implementing Administrative Order No. SOCPEC 89-08-01, as amended by
Senate as required by Article VII, Section 21, of the 1987 Constitution, and
PITC Board Resolution Nos. 92-01-05 and 92-03-08. 9
therefore, null and void.

In the implementation of such order, PITC President Jose Luis U. Yulo, Jr.
Sec. 21. No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and
issued a corporate Memorandum10 instructing that all import applications for
effective unless concurred in by at least two-thirds of all the
the PROC filed with the PITC as of April 20, 1993 shall no longer be
Members of the Senate.
covered by the trade balancing program outlined in the Administrative
Order.
Furthermore, the subject Administrative Order was issued in restraint of
trade, in violation of Sections 1 and 19, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution,
Forthwith, the PITC allowed the private respondents to import anew from
which reads:
the PROC, without being required to comply anymore with the lifted
requirement of balancing its imports with exports of Philippine products to
Sec. 1. The goals of the national economy are a more equitable PROC. 11 In its Constancia 12 filed with the Court on November 22, 1993,
distribution of opportunities, income and wealth; a sustained Remington expressed its desire to have the present action declared moot
increase in the amount of goods and services produced by the and academic considering the new supervening developments. For its part,
nation for the benefit of the people; and, an expanding respondent Firestone made a Manifestation 13 in lieu of its Memorandum,
productivity as the key to raising the equality of life for all, informing the court of the aforesaid developments of the new trade program
especially the underprivileged. of the Philippines with China, and prayed for the court's early resolution of
the action.
Sec. 19. The State shall regulate or prohibit monopolies when the
public interest so requires. No combination in restraint of trade or To support its submission that the present action is now moot and
unfair competition shall be allowed. academic, respondent Remington cites Executive Order No. 244, 14 issued
by President Ramos on May 12, 1995. The Executive Order states:
Lastly, the court declared the Administrative Order to be null and void, since
the same was not published, contrary to Article 2 of the New Civil Code WHEREAS, continued coverage of the People's Republic of
which provides, that: China by Letter of Instructions No. 444 is no longer consistent
with the country's national interest, as coursing Republic of the
Philippines-People's Republic China Trade through the Philippine
Art. 2. Laws shall take effect fifteen (15) days following the
International Trading Corporations as provided for under Letter of
completion of their publication in the Official Gazette, unless the
Instructions No. 444 is becoming an unnecessary barrier to trade;
law otherwise provides. . . .

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the


Petitioner now comes to use on a Petition for Review
Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me
on Certiorari, 8 questioning the court's decision particularly on the propriety
by law, do hereby order;
of the lower court's declarations on the validity of Administrative Order No.
The Committee on Scientific and Technical Cooperation with of the Socialist and other Centrally Planned Economy Countries (SOCPEC),
Socialist Countries to delete the People's Republic of China from including the People's Republic of China (PROC) shall be undertaken or
the list of countries covered by Letter of Instructions No. 444. coursed through the PITC. Under the LOI, PITC was mandated to: 1)
participate in all official trade and economic discussions between the
Philippines and SOCPEC; 2) adopt such measures and issue such rules
Done in the City of Manila, this 12th day of May in the year of Our
and regulations as may be necessary for the effective discharge of its
Lord, Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-Five.
functions under its instructions; and, 3) undertake the processing and
approval of all applications for export to or import from the SOCPEC.
PITC filed its own Manifestation 15 on December 15, 1993, wherein it
adopted the arguments raised in its Petition as its Memorandum. PITC
Pertinent provisions of the Letter of Instruction are herein reproduced:
disagrees with Remington on the latter's submission that the case has
become moot and academic as a result of the abrogation of Administrative
Order SOCPEC No. 89-08-01, since respondent Remington had incurred LETTER OF INSTRUCTION 444
obligations to the petitioner consisting of charges for the 0.5% Counter
Export Development Service provided by PITC to Remington, which
xxx xxx xxx
obligations remain outstanding. 16 The propriety of such charges must still
be resolved, petitioner argues, thereby maintaining the issue of the validity
of SOCPEC Order No. 89-08-01, before it was abrogated by Executive fiat. II. CHANNELS OF TRADE

There is no question that from April 20, 1993, when trading balancing 1. The trade, direct or indirect, between the Philippines and any of
measures with PROC were lifted by the President, Administrative Order the Socialist and other centrally-planned economy countries shall
SOCPEC No. 89-08-01 no longer has force and effect, and respondents are upon issuance hereof, be undertaken by or coursed through the
thus entitled anew to apply for authority to import from the PROC, without Philippine International Trading Corporation. This shall apply to
the trade balancing requirements previously imposed on proposed the export and import of all commodities of products including
importers. Indeed, it appears that since the lifting of the trade balancing those specified for export or import by expressly authorized
measures, Remington had been allowed to import anew from PROC. government agencies.

There remains, however, the matter of the outstanding obligations of the xxx xxx xxx
respondent for the charges relating to the 0.5% Counter Export
Development Service in favor of PITC, for the period when the questioned
Administrative Order remained in effect. Is the obligation still subsisting, or 4. The Philippine International Trading Corporation shall
are the respondents freed from it? participate in all official trade and economic discussions between
the Philippines and other centrally-planned economy countries.

To resolve this issue, we are tasked to consider the constitutionality of


Administrative Order No. SOCPEC 89-08-01, based on the arguments set xxx xxx xxx
up by the parties in their Petition and Comment. In so doing, we must
inquire into the nature of the functions of the PITC, in the light of present V. SPECIAL PROVISIONS
realities.
The Philippine International Trading Corporation shall adopt such
The PITC is a government owned or controlled corporation created under measures and issue such rules and regulations as may be
P.D. No. 252 17 dated August 6, 1973. P.D. No. 1071, 18 issued on May 9, necessary for the effective discharge of its functions under these
1977 which revised the provisions of P.D. 252. The purposes and powers of instructions.In this connection, the processing and approval of
the said governmental entity were enumerated under Section 5 and 6 applications for export to or import from the Socialist and other
thereof. 19 centrally-planned economy countries shall, henceforth, be
performed by the said Corporation. (Emphasis ours)
On August 9, 1976, the late President Ferdinand Marcos issued Letter of
Instruction (LOI) No. 444, 20directing, inter alia, that trade (export or import of After the EDSA Revolution, or more specifically on February 27, 1987, then
all commodities), whether direct or indirect, between the Philippines and any President Corazon C. Aquino promulgated Executive Order (EO) No.
133 21 reorganizing the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) empowering a balance between the value of their imports and exports during the period,
the said department to be the "primary coordinative, promotive, facilitative agreeing for the purpose that upon the signing of the Memorandum, both
and regulatory arm of the government for the country's trade, industry and sides shall undertake to establish the necessary steps and procedures to be
investment activities" (Sec. 2, EO 133). The PITC was made one of DTI's adopted within the framework of the annual midyear review meeting under
line agencies. 22 the Trade Protocol, in order to monitor and ensure the implementation of the
MOU.
The Executive Order reads in part:
Conformably with the MOU, the Philippines and PROC entered into a Trade
Protocol for the years 1989, 1990 and 1991, 24 under which was specified
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 133
the commodities to be traded between them. The protocols affirmed their
agreement to jointly endeavor between them. The protocols affirmed their
xxx xxx xxx agreement to jointly endeavor to achieve more or less a balance between
the values of their imports and exports in their bilateral trade.
Sec. 16. Line Corporate Agencies and Government Entities.
It is allegedly in line with its powers under LOI 444 and in keeping with the
MOU and Trade Protocols with PROC that PITC issued its now assailed
The following line corporate agencies and government entities Administrative Order No. SOCPEC 89-08-01 25 on August 30, 1989
defined in Section 9 (c) of this Executive Order that will perform (amended in March, 1992).
their specific regulatory functions, particularly developmental
responsibilities and specialized business activities in a manner
consonant with the Department mandate, objectives, policies, Undoubtedly, President Aquino, in issuing EO 133, is empowered to modify
plans and programs: and amend the provisions of LOI 444, which was issued by then President
Marcos, both issuances being executive directives. As observed by us in
Philippine Association of Services Exporters, Inc. vs. Torres, 26
xxx xxx xxx

there is no need for legislative delegation of power to the


d) Philippine International Trading Corporation. — This
President to revoke the Letter of Instruction by way of an
corporation, which shall be supervised by the Undersecretary for Executive Order. This is notwithstanding the fact that the subject
International Trade, shall only engage in both export and trading LOI 1190 was issued by President Marcos, when he was
on new or non-traditional products and markets not normally
extraordinarily empowered to exercise legislative powers,
pursued by the private business sector; provide a wide range of whereas EO 450 was issued by Pres. Aquino when her
export oriented auxiliary services to the private sector; arrange for transitional legislative powers have already ceased, since it was
or establish comprehensive system and physical facilities for found that LOI 1190 was a mere administrative directive, hence,
handling the collection, processing, and distribution of cargoes may be repealed, altered, or modified by EO 450.
and other commodities; monitor or coordinate risk insurance
services for existing institutions; promote and organize, whenever
warranted, production enterprises and industrial establishments We do not agree, however, with the trial court's ruling PITC's authority to
and collaborate or associate in joint venture with any person, issue rules and regulations pursuant to the Special Provision of LOI 444 and
association, company or entity, whether domestic or foreign, in P.D. No. 1071, have already been repealed by EO 133.
the fields of production, marketing, procurement, and other relate
businesses; and provide technical advisory, investigatory,
While PITC's power to engage in commercial import and export activities is
consultancy and management services with respect to any and all
expressly recognized and allowed under Section 16 (d) of EO 133, the
of the functions, activities, and operations of the corporation.
same is not limited only to new or non-traditional products and markets not
normally pursued by the private business sector. There is not indication in
Sometime in April, 1988, following the State visit of President Aquino to the the law of the removal of the powers of the PITC to exercise its regulatory
PROC, the Philippines and PROC entered into a Memorandum of functions in the area of importations from SOCPEC countries. Though it
Understanding 23 (MOU) wherein the two countries agreed to make joint does not mention the grant of regulatory power, EO 133, as worded, is silent
efforts within the next five years to expand bilateral trade to US $600 — US as to the abolition or limitation of such powers, previously granted under
$800 Million by 1992, and to strive for a steady progress towards achieving P.D. 1071, from the PITC.
Likewise, the general repealing clause in EO 133 stating that "all laws, President intended merely to reorganize the Department of Trade and
ordinances, rules, and regulations, or other parts thereof, which are Industry to cope with the need of a streamlined bureaucracy. 31
inconsistent with the Executive Order are hereby repealed or modified
accordingly, cannot operate to abolish the grant of regulatory powers to the
Thus, there is not real inconsistency between LOI 444 and EO 133. There
PITC. There can be no repeal of the said powers, absent any cogency of
is, admittedly, a rearranging of the administrative functions among the
irreconcilable inconsistency or repugnancy between the issuances, relating
administrative bodies affective by the edict, but not an abolition of executive
to the regulatory power of the PITC.
power. Consistency in statutes as in executive issuances, is of prime
importance, and, in the absence of a showing to the contrary, all laws are
The President, in promulgating EO 133, had not intended to overhaul the presumed to be consistent with each other. Where it is possible to do so, it
functions of the PITC. The DTI was established, and was given powers and is the duty of courts, in the construction of statutes, to harmonize and
duties including those previously held by the PITC as an independent reconcile them, and to adopt a construction of a statutory provision which
government entity, under P.D. 1071 and LOI 444. The PITC was thereby harmonizes and reconciles it with other statutory provisions. 32 The fact that
attached to the DTI as an implementing arm of the said department. a later enactment may relate to the same subject matter as that of an earlier
statute is not of itself sufficient to cause an implied repeal of the latter, since
the law may be cumulative or a continuation of the old one. 33
EO 133 established the DTI as the primary coordinative, promotive,
facilitative and regulatory arm of government for the country's trade, industry
and investment activities, which shall act as a catalyst for intensified private Similarly, the grant of quasi-legislative powers in administrative bodies is not
sector activity in order to accelerate and sustain economic growth. 27 In unconstitutional. Thus, as a result of the growing complexity of the modern
furtherance of this mandate, the DTI was empowered, among others, to society, it has become necessary to create more and more administrative
plan, implement, and coordinate activities of the government related to trade bodies to help in the regulation of its ramified activities. Specialized in the
industry and investments; to formulate and administer policies and particular field assigned to them, they can deal within the problems thereof
guidelines for the investment priorities plan and the delivery of investment with more expertise and dispatch than can be expected from the legislature
incentives; to formulate country and product export strategies which will or the courts of justice. This is the reason for the increasing vesture of
guide the export promotion and development thrusts of the quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial powers in what is now not unreasonably
government. 28 Corollarily, the Secretary of Trade and Industry is given the called the fourth department of the government. 34 Evidently, in the exercise
power to promulgate rules and regulations necessary to carry out the of such powers, the agency concerned must commonly interpret and apply
department's objectives, policies, plans, programs and projects. contracts and determine the rights of private parties under such contracts.
One thrust of the multiplication of administrative agencies is that the
interpretation of contracts and the determination of private rights thereunder
The PITC, on the other hand, was attached as an integral part to the said
is no longer uniquely judicial function, exercisable only by our regular courts.
department as one of its line agencies, 29 and given the focal task of
(Antipolo Realty Corporation vs. National Housing Authority, G.R. No.
implementing the department's programs. 30 The absence of the regulatory
L-50444, August 31, 1987, 153 SCRA 399).
power formerly enshrined in the Special Provision of LOI 444, from Section
16 of EO 133, and the limitation of its previously wide range of functions, is
noted. This does not mean, however, that PITC has lost the authority to With global trade and business becoming more intricate may even with new
issue the questioned Administrative Order. It is our view that PITC still holds discoveries in technology and electronics notwithstanding, the time has
such authority, and may legally exercise it, as an implementing arm, and come to grapple with legislations and even judicial decisions aimed at
under the supervision of, the Department of Trade and Industry. resolving issues affecting not only individual rights but also activities of
which foreign governments or entities may have interests. Thus,
administrative policies and regulations must be devised to suit these
Furthermore, the lower court's ruling to the effect that the PITC's authority to
changing business needs in a faster rate than to resort to traditional acts of
process and approve applications for imports from SOCPEC and to issue
the legislature.
rules and regulations pursuant to LOI 444 and P.D. 1071 has been repealed
by EO 133, is misplaced, and did not consider the import behind the
issuance of the later presidential edict. This tendency finds support in a well-stated work on the subject, viz.:

The President could not have intended to deprive herself of the power to Since legislatures had neither the time nor the knowledge to
regulate the flow of trade between the Philippines and PROC under the two create detailed rules, however, it was soon clear that new
countries' Memorandum of Understanding, a power which necessarily flows governmental arrangements would be needed to handle the job of
from her office as Chief Executive. In issuing Executive Order 133, the rule-making. The courts, moreover, many of them already
congested, would have been swamped if they had to adjudicate We hold therefore that all statutes, including those of local
all the controversies that the new legislation was bound to create; application and private laws, shall be published as a condition for
and the judges, already obliged to handle a great diversity of their effectivity, which shall begin fifteen days after publication
cases, would have been hard pressed to acquire the knowledge unless a different effectivity is fixed by the legislature.
they needed to deal intelligently with all the new types of
controversy.
Covered by this rule are presidential decrees and executive
orders promulgated by the President in the exercise of legislative
So the need to "create a large number of specialized powers or, at present, directly conferred by the Constitution.
administrative agencies and to give them broader powers than Administrative Rules and Regulations must also be published if
administrators had traditionally exercised. These included the their purpose is to enforce or implement existing law pursuant
power to issue regulations having the force of law, and the power also to a valid delegation.
to hear and decide cases — powers that had previously been
reserved to the legislatures and the courts. (Houghteling/Pierce,
Interpretative regulations and those merely internal in nature, that
Lawmaking by Administrative Agencies, p. 166)
is, regulating only the personnel of the administrative agency and
not the public, need not be published. Neither is publication
The respondents likewise argue that PITC is not empowered to issue the required of the so-called letters of instructions issued by
Administrative Order because no grant of such power was made under the administrative superiors concerning the rules or guidelines to be
Trade Protocols of 1989, 1990 or 1991. We do not agree. The Trade followed by their subordinates in the performance of their duties
Protocols aforesaid, are only the enumeration of the products and goods
which signatory countries have agreed to trade. They do not bestow any
xxx xxx xxx
regulatory power, for executive power is vested in the Executive
Department, 35 and it is for the latter to delegate the exercise of such power
among its designated agencies. We agree that the publication must be in full or it is no publication
at all since its purpose is to inform the public of the contents of the
laws.
In sum, the PITC was legally empowered to issue Administrative Orders, as
a valid exercise of a power ancillary to legislation.
The Administrative Order under consideration is one of those issuances
which should be published for its effectivity, since its purpose is to enforce
This does not imply however, that the subject Administrative Order is a valid
and implement an existing law pursuant to a valid delegation, i.e., P.D.
exercise of such quasi-legislative power. The original Administrative Order
1071, in relation to LOI 444 and EO 133.
issued on August 30, 1989, under which the respondents filed their
applications for importation, was not published in the Official Gazette or in a
newspaper of general circulation. The questioned Administrative Order, Thus, even before the trade balancing measures issued by the petitioner
legally, until it is published, is invalid within the context of Article 2 of Civil were lifted by President Fidel V. Ramos, the same were never legally
Code, which reads: effective, and private respondents, therefore, cannot be made subject to
them, because Administrative Order 89-08-01 embodying the same was
never published, as mandated by law, for its effectivity. It was only on March
Art. 2. Laws shall take effect fifteen days following the completion
30, 1992 when the amendments to the said Administrative Order were filed
of their publication in the Official Gazette (or in a newspaper of
in the UP Law Center, and published in the National Administrative Register
general circulation in the Philippines), unless it is otherwise
as required by the Administrative Code of 1987.
provided. . . .

Finally, it is the declared Policy of the Government to develop and


The fact that the amendments to Administrative Order No. SOCPEC 89-08-
strengthen trade relations with the People's Republic of China. As declared
01 were filed with, and published by the UP Law Center in the National
by the President in EO 244 issued on May 12, 1995, continued coverage of
Administrative Register, does not cure the defect related to the effectivity of
the People's Republic of China by Letter of Instructions No. 444 is no longer
the Administrative Order.
consistent with the country's national interest, as coursing RP-PROC trade
through the PITC as provided for under Letter of Instructions No. 444 is
This court, in Tanada vs. Tuvera 36 stated, thus: becoming an unnecessary barrier to trade. 37
Conformably with such avowed policy, any remnant of the restrained
atmosphere of trading between the Philippines and PROC should be done
away with, so as to allow economic growth and renewed trade relations with
our neighbors to flourish and may be encouraged.

ACCORDINGLY, the assailed decision of the lower court is hereby


AFFIRMED, to the effect that judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the
private respondents, subject to the following MODIFICATIONS:

1) Enjoining the petitioner:

a) From further charging the petitioners the Counter Export Development


Service fee of 0.5% of the total value of the unliquidated or unfulfilled
Undertakings of the private respondents;

b) From further implementing the provisions of Administrative Order No.


SOCPEC 89-08-01 and its appurtenant rules; and,

2) Requiring petitioner to approve forthwith all the pending applications of,


and all those that may hereafter be filed by, the petitioner and the
Intervenor, free from and without complying with the requirements
prescribed in the above-stated issuances.

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines Resolution of September 30, 1987. Petitioners filed their motion for reconsideration on
SUPREME COURT September 24, 1987 but this was denied in the Resolution of October 27, 1987.
Manila
This Court finds that the Court of Appeals did not commit a grave abuse of discretion
THIRD DIVISION when it denied petitioners' motion for extension of time to file a motion for
reconsideration, directed entry of judgment and denied their motion for
reconsideration. It correctly applied the rule laid down in Habaluyas Enterprises, Inc. v.
G.R. No. 80718 January 29, 1988
Japzon, [G.R. No. 70895, August 5, 1985,138 SCRA 461, that the fifteen-day period
for appealing or for filing a motion for reconsideration cannot be extended. In its
FELIZA P. DE ROY and VIRGILIO RAMOS, petitioners, Resolution denying the motion for reconsideration, promulgated on July 30, 1986 (142
vs. SCRA 208), this Court en banc restated and clarified the rule, to wit:
COURT OF APPEALS and LUIS BERNAL, SR., GLENIA BERNAL, LUIS BERNAL,
JR., HEIRS OF MARISSA BERNAL, namely, GLICERIA DELA CRUZ BERNAL and
Beginning one month after the promulgation of this Resolution, the rule shall be strictly
LUIS BERNAL, SR., respondents.
enforced that no motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration may
be filed with the Metropolitan or Municipal Trial Courts, the Regional Trial Courts, and
RESOLUTION the Intermediate Appellate Court. Such a motion may be filed only in cases pending
with the Supreme Court as the court of last resort, which may in its sound discretion
either grant or deny the extension requested. (at p. 212)

Lacsamana v. Second Special Cases Division of the intermediate Appellate


CORTES, J.:
Court, [G.R. No. 73146-53, August 26, 1986, 143 SCRA 643], reiterated the rule and
went further to restate and clarify the modes and periods of appeal.
This special civil action for certiorari seeks to declare null and void two (2) resolutions
of the Special First Division of the Court of Appeals in the case of Luis Bernal, Sr., et Bacaya v. Intermediate Appellate Court, [G.R. No. 74824, Sept. 15, 1986,144 SCRA
al. v. Felisa Perdosa De Roy, et al., CA-G.R. CV No. 07286. The first resolution 161],stressed the prospective application of said rule, and explained the operation of
promulgated on 30 September 1987 denied petitioners' motion for extension of time to
the grace period, to wit:
file a motion for reconsideration and directed entry of judgment since the decision in
said case had become final; and the second Resolution dated 27 October 1987
denied petitioners' motion for reconsideration for having been filed out of time. In other words, there is a one-month grace period from the
promulgation on May 30, 1986 of the Court's Resolution in the
clarificatory Habaluyas case, or up to June 30, 1986, within which
At the outset, this Court could have denied the petition outright for not being verified the rule barring extensions of time to file motions for new trial or
as required by Rule 65 section 1 of the Rules of Court. However, even if the instant reconsideration is, as yet, not strictly enforceable.
petition did not suffer from this defect, this Court, on procedural and substantive
grounds, would still resolve to deny it.
Since petitioners herein filed their motion for extension on
February 27, 1986, it is still within the grace period, which expired
The facts of the case are undisputed. The firewall of a burned-out building owned by on June 30, 1986, and may still be allowed.
petitioners collapsed and destroyed the tailoring shop occupied by the family of private
respondents, resulting in injuries to private respondents and the death of Marissa
Bernal, a daughter. Private respondents had been warned by petitioners to vacate This grace period was also applied in Mission v. Intermediate Appellate Court [G.R.
their shop in view of its proximity to the weakened wall but the former failed to do so. No. 73669, October 28, 1986, 145 SCRA 306].]
On the basis of the foregoing facts, the Regional Trial Court. First Judicial Region,
Branch XXXVIII, presided by the Hon. Antonio M. Belen, rendered judgment finding
In the instant case, however, petitioners' motion for extension of time was filed on
petitioners guilty of gross negligence and awarding damages to private respondents.
September 9, 1987, more than a year after the expiration of the grace period on June
On appeal, the decision of the trial court was affirmed in toto by the Court of Appeals
30, 1986. Hence, it is no longer within the coverage of the grace period. Considering
in a decision promulgated on August 17, 1987, a copy of which was received by
the length of time from the expiration of the grace period to the promulgation of the
petitioners on August 25, 1987. On September 9, 1987, the last day of the fifteen-day
decision of the Court of Appeals on August 25, 1987, petitioners cannot seek refuge in
period to file an appeal, petitioners filed a motion for extension of time to file a motion
for reconsideration, which was eventually denied by the appellate court in the
the ignorance of their counsel regarding said rule for their failure to file a motion for
reconsideration within the reglementary period.

Petitioners contend that the rule enunciated in the Habaluyas case should not be
made to apply to the case at bar owing to the non-publication of
the Habaluyas decision in the Official Gazette as of the time the subject decision of
the Court of Appeals was promulgated. Contrary to petitioners' view, there is no law
requiring the publication of Supreme Court decisions in the Official Gazette before
they can be binding and as a condition to their becoming effective. It is the bounden
duty of counsel as lawyer in active law practice to keep abreast of decisions of the
Supreme Court particularly where issues have been clarified, consistently reiterated,
and published in the advance reports of Supreme Court decisions (G. R. s) and in
such publications as the Supreme Court Reports Annotated (SCRA) and law journals.

This Court likewise finds that the Court of Appeals committed no grave abuse of
discretion in affirming the trial court's decision holding petitioner liable under Article
2190 of the Civil Code, which provides that "the proprietor of a building or structure is
responsible for the damage resulting from its total or partial collapse, if it should be
due to the lack of necessary repairs.

Nor was there error in rejecting petitioners argument that private respondents had the
"last clear chance" to avoid the accident if only they heeded the. warning to vacate the
tailoring shop and , therefore, petitioners prior negligence should be disregarded,
since the doctrine of "last clear chance," which has been applied to vehicular
accidents, is inapplicable to this case.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court Resolved to DENY the instant
petition for lack of merit.
Republic of the Philippines Whether or not the above provisions are applicable to the case at bar is the lone issue
SUPREME COURT in this petition which assails the resolution of the respondent appellate court dated
Manila July 29, 1983.

THIRD DIVISION The dispositive part of the questioned resolution reads:

G.R. No. L-65894 September 24, 1987 WHEREFORE, notwithstanding the foregoing, in the broader
interest of justice and considering that under the present Interim
Rules a record on appeal is no longer necessary for taking an
THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF CORON, PALAWAN, duly represented by
appeal, the Court resolved to order the recall of the records of this
MAYOR RICARDO F. LIM,petitioner,
case from the Regional Trial Court of Palawan Branch I, Puerto
vs.
Princess for further proceedings before this Court. (Rollo, pp. 12-
JOSE CARINO, VICTORIANO DACULLA, BEN GUMASING, LUCENA CRUZ,
13)
HILARIA YALON, PEPITO YAMBAO, RIC GACUTAN, ANDRES DACULLA,
FELICISIMA URSAIS, PASTOR JOSOL, TEDDY ACTANG, CANDIDA MANALO,
LETICIA RAMAL, ASSOCIATE JUSTICES PORFIRIO V. SISON, ABDULWAHID A. Following are the pertinent facts of the case as culled from the records.
BIDIN, MARCELINO R. VELOSO and DESIDERIO P. JURADO, respondents.
Sometime in 1976, an action was filed by the petitioner before the Court of First
Instance of Palawan and Puerto Princess City, Branch IV where it was docketed as
Civil Case No. 35. The action sought authority from the court to demolish the
structures built by the private respondents alongside the rock causeway of the
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
petitioner's wharf. The complaint alleged, among others:

The second paragraph of Section 39, Batas Pambansa Bilang 129 provides that:
that the defendants' houses were constructed more than 3 years
before the filing of instant action (par. 2, Complaint),: that on
No record on appeal shall be required to take an appeal. In lieu August 19, 1974 the herein defendants undertook to remove their
thereof, the entire original record shall be transmitted with all the structures on space where they were then at that time and are
pages prominently numbered consecutively, together with an presently standing, when it will be needed by the government
index of the contents thereof. (par. 3, Ibid); that the space or area is needed by the plaintiff for
the docking or berthing of pumpboats (motorized bancas) and
fishing boats and for the loading and unloading of cargoes along
Likewise, Sections 18 and 19(b) of the Interim Rules of Court promulgated on January the pier on both sides thereof (par. 4, Ibid); and also to ease the
11, 1983 provide that: congested traffic along it (par. 10, Ibid); that his Excellency,
President Ferdinand E. Marcos had the Mayor of plaintiff-
Sec. 18. The filing of a record on appeal shall be dispensed with, municipality to demolish and remove all constructions along the
except in the cases referred to in sub-paragraph (b) of paragraph pier after giving the defendants one month notice (par. 5, Ibid)
(1) hereof. and aside from this directive of the President, the mayor of the
plaintiff-municipality is also authorized to remove the defendants'
illegal constructions under LOI 19 (par. 7, Ibid); that despite said
No appeal bond shall be required for an appeal. mayor's desire to comply immediately with the said presidential
directive, the defendants had already been given 3 extensions
xxx xxx xxx thereby delaying their ejectment therefrom (par. 6, Ibid); that most
of the defendants are affluent squatters (par. 9, Ibid); and that for
the indigent defendants, a surveyed area has already been made
Sec. 19 (b) In appeals in special proceedings in accordance with ready for their relocation (par. 12, Ibid). (Decision CFI, Palawan
Rule 109 of the Rules of Court and other cases wherein multiple and Puerto Princess City, Branch IV, p. 2; Reno, p. 15).
appeals are allowed, the period of appeal shall be thirty (30) days,
a record of appeal being required.
On the other hand, the private respondents, in their answer, counter-alleged, among 1. Dismissing the defendants'counterclaim for lack of merit;
others:
2. Confirming the power of plaintiff-municipality and authority of its
that their structures when made were covered by building permits incumbent mayor to demolish the defendants' structures along the
with the approval of the Bureau of Public Highways (par, 2, rock causeway or pier of Coron; and
Answer); that the area where their structures were located is a
foreshore area (Par. 4, Ibid); that a meeting was convened and
3. Ordering the said defendants to remove their structures in the
presided by Governor Socrates at Coron, the same having been
area in question within thirty (30) days from receipt of this
attended by the local representatives of the Philippine
decision and for their failure to do so, authorizing the herein
Constabulary, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Department (now
plaintiff represented by its incumbent mayor to demolish the said
Ministry) of Social Services and Development, the Sangguniang
structures at the expense of the said defendants.
Bayan and the defendants and it was agreed in this meeting that
the demolition of the defendants' houses will be suspended
pending action of the Office of the President (par. 15, 16, 17, Costs against all the defendants. (Rollo, pp. 28-29)
Ibid); and that the Chairman of the National Housing Authority had
sent a letter-advice to the mayor of the plaintiff-municipality to
On appeal, the private respondents on February 2, 1982 were required "to submit the
suspend the demolition of the houses of the defendants (par.
18, Ibid). (Rollo, pp. 15-16) forty (40) printed copies of their record on appeal together with the proof of service of
fifteen (15) copies thereof upon the appellee" within fifteen (15) days from receipt of
the notice of the appellate court's Acting Clerk of Court regarding their appeal. (Rollo,
After a series of postponements, the trial court, on January 16, 1979, reset the hearing p. 32)
of the case for the last time for three consecutive dates, March 20, 21, and 22, 1979
with further warning to the private respondents that no more postponements shall be
Upon motion by the private respondents, the appellate court granted an extension of
allowed.
sixty (60) days from April 7, 1982 within which the required printed copies of the
record on appeal may be submitted. However, despite the extended period given, the
On March 20, 1979, despite proper notice, the private respondents and their counsel private respondents were not able to comply with the appellate court's requirement.
failed to appear at the scheduled hearing. Consequently, the petitioner moved that
private respondents' non-appearance be considered as a waiver on their part of their
right to cross-examine the petitioner's witnesses and their right to present evidence. In a resolution dated July 19, 1982, the appellate court required the private
respondents to show cause why their appeal should not be dismissed for failure to file
The lower court issued an order granting the petitioner's motion and considered the
case submitted for decision. the printed copies of the record on appeal.

In view of the above order, the private respondents went to the appellate court on On August 31, 1982, the appellate court resolved to dismiss the private respondents'
certiorari. On June 9, 1979, the appellate court dismissed for lack of merit CA G.R. appeal docketed as CA G.R. No. 69052-R for failure to file the required record on
SP-09389-R captioned "Jose Carino, et al., petitioners v. Mayor Ricardo Lim and Hon. appeal.
Benjamin Vega, Judge CFI, Palawan, Branch IV."
On December 6, 1982, the Acting Clerk of Court of the appellate court, in an Entry of
Judgment, certified that the above resolution dismissing the private respondents'
On May 15, 1979, after the main case had been submitted for decision as aforestated,
the private respondents filed a notice to take deposition which the lower court appeal had become final and executory on September 27, 1982.
disregarded for being "irrelevant and for other obvious reasons."
Accordingly, on February 1, 1983, a writ of execution was issued to enforce the
On October 10, 1980, the lower court rendered its decision, the dispositive portion of October 10, 1980 decision of the Court of First Instance of Palawan and Puerto
which reads: Princesa City, Branch IV.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered in Before the Provincial Sheriff could proceed with the execution of the judgment, the
favor of the plaintiff-municipality of Coron, Palawan and against all private respondents, in a motion dated April 12, 1983 asked the appellate court that
the records of the case be recalled from the court of origin. In their supplemental
the herein defendants as follows:
motion, the private respondents argued that since under the present law, printed
records on appeal are no longer required, their right to be heard on appeal must be that the court's resolution must have been a result of oversight because they actually
upheld instead of the rule on technicalities. filed a record on appeal.

In its opposition to the private respondents' motion, the Petitioner pointed out that As a general rule, our policy towards an invocation of the right to appeal has been one
although the newly promulgated procedural rules invoked by the private respondents of liberality. (Castro vs. Court of Appeals, 123 SCRA 782 citing De Las Alas vs. Court
may be given retroactive effect, their applicability only covers pending actions and of Appeals, 83 SCRA 200). This is so because an appeal is an essential part of our
does not extend to those which had already become final and executory. judicial system and every party-litigant should be afforded the amplest opportunity for
the proper and just disposition of his cause freed from the constraints of technicalities.
(See Siguenza vs. Court of Appeals, 137 SCRA 570). However, it is an equally
As a consequence of the private respondents' motion to recall the records of the case,
established doctrine that the right to appeal is merely a statutory privilege and may be
a temporary restraining order dated April 29, 1983 was issued by the appellate court
exercised only in the manner and in accordance with the provisions of law. (See
directing the Provincial Sheriff of Palawan to desist from executing the October 10,
United CMC Textile Workers Union vs. Clave, 137 SCRA 346).
1980 decision.

For a proper exercise of their right to appeal, the private respondents should have
On July 29, 1983, the appellate court issued the disputed resolution. The subsequent
complied with Section 5, Rule 46 of the Rules of Court, as amended by our
denial of the petitioner's motion for reconsideration prompted the filing of this petition.
resolution en banc dated September 17, 1974, which partly provides that:

The petitioner maintains that the Interim Rules of Court promulgated on January 11,
Sec. 5. Duty of Appellant upon Receipt of Notice. — It shall be the
1983 to implement the provisions of Batas Pambansa Bilang 29 cannot apply to the
duty of the appellant, within fifteen (15) days from the date of the
case at bar for the simple reason that to revive or recall appealed cases which had
notice referred to in the preceding section, to pay to the Clerk of
been dismissed or which had become final and executory would cause a great
the Court of Appeals the fee for the docketing of the appeal, and
injustice to those in whose favor these cases had been decided. It is further contended
within sixty (60) days from such notice to submit to the court
that to allow its application would put no end to those appealed cases which are
twelve (12) printed copies of the record on appeal, or twelve (12)
otherwise considered as closed ones.
typewritten or mimeographed (on one side of good quality paper,
eleven inches in length by eight and a half inches in width —
We find merit in the petitioner's contentions. commonly known as letter size — written double spaced) copies
of said record on appeal together with proof of service of two (2)
printed, typewritten or mimeographed copies thereof upon the
We have resolved the issue as to the extent of the retroactive application of section 18
appellee.
of the Interim Rules of Court in Alday v. Camilon (120 SCRA 521). We reiterated the
rule that:
Thus, upon failure of the appellant to comply with the above rule, the Court of Appeals
may dismiss his appeal. Said provision implicitly grants the Court of Appeals the
Statutes regulating the procedure of the courts will be construed power to do so. (See Pfleider vs. Victoriano, 98 SCRA 491). The private respondents
as applicable to actions pending and undetermined at the time of in this case did not submit printed copies of their record on appeal. When the
their passage. Procedural laws are retrospective in that sense appellate court issued its July 19, 1982 resolution, it was to afford the private
and to that extent. (People vs. Sumilang, 77 Phil. 764 [1946]) respondents a chance to explain why they failed to comply with the applicable rule.
Emphasis supplied.
After having failed to submit the required printed copies of their record on appeal, they
cannot now rectify a clear non-compliance with the law by invoking the court's
The appellate court should have followed this time-honoured rule instead of issuing its liberality insofar as the application of remedial laws is concerned. The private
July 29, 1983 resolution seeking to revive a case already long final as evidenced by respondents even faulted the appellate court as having issued the July 19, 1982
the entry of judgment made by its Acting Clerk of Court on December 6, 1982. resolution through oversight. They alleged that they had filed the required record on
appeal when in fact what they referred to was the record on appeal from the lower
court to the appellate court and not the printed record on appeal.
The records of the instant case show that despite the 60-day extension period given to
the private respondents within which they could file their printed record of appeal as
then required, they still failed to do so. It was only after a writ of execution had been Since the private respondents failed to submit the required printed record on appeal,
issued on February 1, 1983 that the private respondents responded to the appellate the lower court's judgment in favor of the petitioner became final. and executory as an
court's resolution dated July 19, 1982 requiring them to show cause why their appeal eventual result of the dismissal of the appeal. Once a judgment becomes final the
should not be dismissed for failure to file the printed record on appeal. They claimed prevailing party, the petitioner in the instant case, is entitled as a matter of right to the
execution of the judgment in his favor. For the court, it becomes its ministerial duty to
order the execution of said judgment. (Santos, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R.
No. 56614, promulgated July 28, 1987 citing Agricultural and Industrial Marketing, Inc.
vs. Court of Appeals, 118 SCRA 49; Balintawak Construction Supply Corporation vs.
Valenzuela, 124 SCRA 331; Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation vs. Dayrit, 123
SCRA 203; Gonzales vs. Sayo, 122 SCRA 607).

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The resolution of respondent


appellate court dated July 29, 1983 is SET ASIDE. Let the records of this case be
remanded to the court of origin for enforcement of the writ of execution of the
judgment. This decision is immediately executory.

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines On February 24, 1970 or barely three months after he acquired the land, the
SUPREME COURT respondent mortgaged the lot in question, together with another lot covered by TCT
Manila No. 3614 and some chattels to secure a commercial loan of P978,920.00 from the
DBP. The lot was developed into a commercial-industrial complex with ricemill and
warehouse facilities, a solar drier, an office and residential building, roadway, garden,
THIRD DIVISION
depository, and dumping grounds for various materials.

When the private respondent failed to pay his loan after more than seven years had
passed, DBP foreclosed the mortgage on June 28, 1977. On that date, the total
G.R. No. 97973 January 27, 1992 obligation amounted to P1,114,913.34. DBP was the highest bidder. Certificates of
sale were issued in its favor; P452,995.00 was for the two lots and P108,450.00 for
the chattels. The certificate covering the disputed lot was registered with the Registry
SPOUSES GAUVAIN and BERNARDITA BENZONAN, petitioners,
of Deeds on January 24, 1978.
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, BENITO SALVANI PE and DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE
PHILIPPINES, respondents. After the foreclosure sale, respondent Pe leased the lot and its improvements from
DBP for P1,500.00 a month. Part of the property was also leased by DBP to the then
National Grains Authority.
G.R. No. 97998 January 27, 1992

The respondent failed to redeem the property within the one year period. On
DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
September 24, 1979 DBP sold the lot to the petitioner for P1,650,000.00 payable in
vs. quarterly amortizations over a five year period. The petitioners occupied the
COURT OF APPEALS and BENITO SALVANI PE, respondents.
purchased lot and introduced further improvements worth P970,000.00.

Ruben E. Agpalo for Sps. Gauvain and Bernardita Benzonan. On July 12, 1983, claiming that he was acting within the legal period given to him to
repurchase, respondent Pe offered in writing to repurchase the lot for P327,995.00.
Vicente R. Acsay for Benito Salvani Pe. DBP countered, however, that over the years a total of P3,056,739.52 had already
been incurred in the preservation, maintenance, and introduction of improvements.
Thomas T. Jacobo for DBP.
On October 4, 1983, Pe filed a complaint for repurchase under Section 119 of
Commonwealth Act No. 141 with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of General Santos
City.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: On November 27, 1986, the trial court rendered judgment. The dispositive portion
reads:
This is a petition to review the August 31, 1990 decision of the Court of Appeals which
sustained the right of respondent Benito Salvani Pe to repurchase a parcel of land WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the defendant
foreclosed by petitioner Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and sold to Development Bank of the Philippines is ordered:
petitioners Gauvain and Bernardita Benzonan.

1) to reconvey unto the plaintiff the parcel of land in question (Lot


Respondent Pe is a businessman in General Santos City who owns extensive No. P-2404) for the repurchase price of P327,995.00 plus legal
commercial and agricultural properties. He is the proprietor of the firm "Dadiangas interest from June 18, 1977 to June 19, 1978 only, and the
B.P. Trading." One of the properties he acquired through free patents and expenses of extrajudicial foreclosure of mortgage; expenses for
miscellaneous sales from the Bureau of Lands is a 26,064 square meters parcel registration and ten percent (10%) attorneys fees;
covered by Free Patent No. 46128 issued on October 29, 1969. OCT No. P-2404 was
issued on November 24, 1969.
2) ordering the defendants to vacate forever the premises of said for speculation or greater profits did not deprive him of the right to
property in favor of the plaintiff upon payment of the total repurchase under Sec. 119 of CA 141, and, as a result, in
repurchase price; ignoring or disregarding Pe's admissions and undisputed facts
establishing such circumstances, contrary to what this Court held
in Santana v.Mariñas, 94 SCRA 853 [1979], Vargas v. Court of
3) ordering the defendants, jointly and solidarily, to pay the
Appeals, 91 SCRA 195 [1979] and Simeon v. Peña,36 SCRA 610
plaintiff attorney's fees in the amount of P25,000.00;
[1970].

4) and to set an example to government banking and lending


2. Assuming, arguendo, that respondent Pe still had the right to
institutions not to take borrowers for granted by making it hard for
repurchase the land under Sec. 119 of CA 141, the Court of
them to repurchase by misleading them, the bank is hereby
Appeals erred in not counting the 5-year period from the date of
ordered to pay the plaintiff by way of exemplary damages in the
foreclosure sale on June 18, 1977 or at the very most from its
amount of P50,000.00;
registration on January 24, 1978, in accordance with the
prevailing doctrinal law at the time as enunciated in Monge
Ordering further the defendant DBP: v. Angeles, 101 Phil. 561 [1957],Oliva v. Lamadrid, 21 SCRA 737
[1967] and Tupas v. Damasco, 132 SCRA 593 [1984], pursuant to
which Pe's right to repurchase already expired.
5) to reimburse the co-defendants spouses Benzonan the amount
they have paid or advanced the defendant DBP for the purchase
of Lot O.C.T. No. P-2404; 3. The Court of Appeals erred in applying retroactively the ruling
in Belisario v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 165 SCRA 101
[1988], which held that the 5-year period is counted from the date
6) ordering the defendants to pay the cost of suit. (Rollo of G.R. after the one-year period to redeem foreclosed homestead
No. 97973, pp. 74-75)
expired, to the foreclosure of the land in question in 1977, as its
retroactive application revived Pe's lost right of repurchase and
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision with modifications as follows: defeated petitioners' right of ownership that already accrued
under the then prevailing doctrinal law.
xxx xxx xxx
4. Assuming, arguendo, that respondent Pe had the right to
repurchase the land in question and assuming, further, that the 5-
All the foregoing premises considered, judgment is hereby year period is to be counted from the consolidation of ownership
rendered AFFIRMING the decision rendered by the court a after the expiration of the one-year period to redeem, the Court of
quo with the modification that the defendant DBP shall reimburse Appeals erred in not holding that the mere filing of an action for
to its co-defendant Benzonan spouses all amounts that the latter repurchase without tendering or depositing the repurchase price
have paid for the land, minus interest, and that the Benzonan did not satisfy the requirements of repurchase, Pe's failure to
spouses shall be allowed to remove the improvement that they make the tender or deposit even up to the present being
have made on the property under litigation, without impairing or confirmatory of speculative motive behind his attempt to
damaging the same. (Rollo of G.R. No. 97973, p. 105) repurchase.

A motion for reconsideration was denied on March 19, 1991. 5. Assuming, finally, that respondent Pe is entitled to repurchase
the property, the Court of Appeals erred in not holding that
The petitioners-spouses in G.R. No. 97973 raise the following "legal issues, reasons, petitioners are possessors in good faith, similar to a vendee a
or errors" allegedly committed by the Court of Appeals, to wit: retro, entitled (a) to reimbursement of necessary and useful
expenses under Article 1616 of the Civil Code as held in Calagan
v. CFI of Davao, 95 SCRA 498 [1980] and in Lee v. Court of
1. The Court of Appeals erred in holding that conversion and use Appeals, 68 SCRA 196 [1975]; and (b) to refund of all amounts
of the land in question to industrial or commercial purposes, as a paid by them by reason of the sale of the property in their favor,
result of which it could no longer be used for cultivation, and the including interest payments, in both instances with right of
fact that respondent Pe has vast holdings whose motive in retention. (Rollo of G.R. No. 97973, pp. 14-16)
seeking to repurchase the property is to continue the business or
In G.R No. 97998, DBP limited its petition to the value of the repurchase price and the Q. What about the area occupied by the
nature of the contract between the parties. It framed the issues as follows: warehouse and the ricemill complex?

1. The Court of Appeals erred in not holding that Section 31 of A. The warehouse and ricemill complex is
Commonwealth Act No. 459 as amended is not applicable in the occupying about one and a half (1 1/2)
instant case to determine the repurchase price contrary to hectares.
decisions of the Honorable Supreme Court in the following
cases: DBP v. Jimenez, et al. (36 SCRA 426) andDBP
Q. What about the area occupied by the
v. Mirang (66 SCRA 141).
residence as well as the roadways?

2. The Court of Appeals erred in not holding that the law between
A. It covers about another half of a hectare
the contracting parties are the terms and conditions embodied in
again, Sir.
the contract signed by them. (Rollo of G.R. No. 97998, p. 12)

Q. Is any part of this two point six hectares


We find merit in the petitions.
devoted to agricultural production or
production of agricultural crops?
The determination of the main issues raised by the petitioners calls for the proper
application of Section 119 of CA 141 as amended which provides: "Every conveyance
A. None whatsoever because the other
of land acquired under the free patent or homestead provisions, when proper, shall be
portion is occupied as a dumping area for our
subject to repurchase by the applicant, his widow, or legal heirs, within a period of five
waste materials. (TSN, PP. 361-362, Sept. 3,
years from the date of conveyance."
1985).

There is no dispute over the fact that the Government awarded the land to respondent
The conversion of the lot for commercial purposes is understandable considering that
Pe so that he could earn a living by farming the land. Did respondent Pe lose his right
the heart of General Santos City developed in that area.
to repurchase the subject agricultural lot under the aforequoted law considering its
conversion for industrial or commercial purposes? The evidence relating to the
conversion is sufficiently established and yet was not properly appreciated by the The respondent does not deny that, he is using the land for purely commercial and
respondent court. industrial purposes. His explanation is that the land may be converted into agricultural
land in the future. He applies the Krivenko v.Register of Deeds of Manila (79 Phil. 461
[1947]) ruling that lands not mineral or forest are agricultural in nature and may be
Only three months after getting the free patent and the original certificate of title over
devoted to business purposes without losing their agricultural classification.
the subject lot, it was mortgaged by respondent Pe to get a commercial loan of nearly
P1 million from DBP. Pe spent the proceeds of the loan to construct permanent
improvements on the lot for his rice-mill and other businesses, i.e., two warehouse Indeed, the records show that it was never the intention of respondent Pe to utilize the
buildings; administration-residential building; perimeter fence; solar and concrete drier; land, given to him for free by the Government, for agricultural purposes. He was not
shed; machine shop; dirty kitchen; and machineries and equipments such as ricemill the kind of poor farmer for whom homesteads and free patents were intended by the
(TSN, August 13, 1984, pp. 173-174). The entire lot has been converted to serve law.
commercial and industrial purposes. The testimony of petitioners Gauvain Benzonan
on this score has not been successfully challenged, viz:
As stated by the petitioners:

Q. Out of this 2.6 hectares land area, how


much of this is devoted to the solar drier 1. Respondent Pe acquired by free patent the land in question
construction? with an area of 2.6064 hectares, which was issued Original
Certificate of Title No. P-2404 on November 24, 1969. Instead of
cultivating it for agricultural purposes, Pe mortgaged the land,
A. The solar drier is about one thousand along with another land, on February 24, 1970, or only three (3)
(1,000) square meters . . . ah no, about six months from issuance of OCT No.
thousand (6,000) square meters. P-2404, with the DBP for P978,920.00. (par. 4, complaint, Annex
"A"). Pe testified that his purpose was to construct in the land in sold to Norma Salvani and Carlos Salvani. (TSN, pp. 166-169,
question "bodega", an administration-residential building, a June 22, 1984); Exhs. 1, 1-A, 1-B, 1-C, 3, 6, 6-A-Benzonan).
perimeter fence, a concrete drier, and for some machineries and (Rollo of G.R. No. 97973, pp. 17-19)
equipment." (TSN, p. 95, June 22, 1984). He stated that the
improvements and facilities in the land included "the warehouse,
In the light of the records of these cases, we rule that respondent Pe cannot
the ricemill and a big warehouse housing the palay of stocks of
repurchase the disputed property without doing violence to everything that CA No. 141
the National Grains Authority and an administration-residential
(as amended) stands for.
building, a solar drier and a perimeter fence and some sheds or
garage . . . a small piggery pen of several compartments, a dirty
kitchen . . . a machine shop." (TSN, pp. 173-174, August 13, We ruled in Simeon v. Peña, 36 SCRA 610, 617 [1970] through Chief Justice Claudio
1984). Pe used the property for such purposes and operated the Teehankee, that:
ricemill business for a period of about nine (9) years until
September, 1979 (pars. 7 and 8, complaint, Annex "A"), without
xxx xxx xxx
paying the DBP of his mortgage indebtedness, as a result of
which DBP foreclosed the properties. (Annex "F")
These findings of fact of the Court of Appeals that "(E)vidently,
the reconveyance sought by the plaintiff (petitioner) is not in
2. Respondent Pe testified that the land in question with its
improvements has an appraised value of P1,347,860.00 in 1974, accordance with the purpose of the law, that is, "to preserve and
and P2,028,030.00 in 1976. (TSN, pp. 176, 177, August 13, keep in the family of the homesteader that portion of public land
which the State has gratuitously given to him"" and expressly
1984). Petitioner Gauvain Benzonan claimed it has a fair market
value, as of 1985, of P5,000,000.00. (p. 8, trial court decision, found by it to "find justification from the evidence of record. . . ."
Annex "F"). As against such value of the land and improvements,
respondent Pe insisted that the repurchase price should only be Under the circumstances, the Court is constrained to agree with
the principal sum of P327,995.00. (par. 10, complaint, Annex "A") the Court of Appeals that petitioners' proposed repurchase of the
property does not fall within the purpose, spirit and meaning of
section 119 of the Public Land Act, authorizing redemption of the
3. Respondent Pe, when he testified in 1984, said he was 60
years old; he is now therefore over 66 years old. He is a homestead from any vendee thereof.
"businessman and resident of Dadiangas, General Santos City"
(TSN, p. 3, June 20, 1984), doing business under the style, We reiterated this ruling in Vargas v. Court of Tax Appeals, 91 SCRA 195,
"Dadiangas B.P. Trading" (TSN, 144, June 22, 1984). In his 200, [1979] viz:
sworn declaration dated July 18, 1983, filed with the assessor's
office pursuant to P.D. No. 1612, he listed the following real
properties and their market value, all situated in General Santos As regards the case of Simeon v. Peña, petitioners ought to know
City, to wit (Exh. 11-Benzonan): that petitioner therein was not allowed to repurchase because the
lower court found that his purpose was only speculative and for
profit. In the present case, the Court of Appeals found that herein
(a) 447 sq. m. residential P 28,720.00 petitioners' purposes and motives are also speculative and for
(b) 11.9980 hectares of agri. lot P 23,880.00 profit.
(c) 2.000 hectares of agri. lot P 40,000.00
(d) 2.000 hectares of agri. lot P 40,000.00
(e) 6,064 sq. m. of industrial lot P303,200.00 It might be well to note that the underlying principle of Section 119
(f) Industrial building P434,130.00 of Commonwealth Act No. 141 is to give the homesteader or
(g) Industrial machinery P 96,000.00 patentee every chance to preserve for himself and his family the
land that the State had gratuitously given to him as a reward for
his labor in cleaning and cultivating it. (Simeon v. Peña, 36 SCRA
On June 22, 1984, when Pe testified, he said that "I own three (3) 617). As found by the Court of Appeals, the motive of the
residential lots," (TSN, p. 153, June 22, 1984) and that he and his petitioners in repurchasing the lots in question being one for
wife own in Antique Province "around twenty (20) hectares speculation and profit, the same therefore does not fall within the
planted to coconut and sugarcane" (ibid., p. 145); he used to have purpose, spirit and meaning of said section.
30 hectares of agricultural lands and 22 subdivision lots, which he
and in Santana et al. v. Mariñas, 94 SCRA 853, 861-862 [1979] to wit: The other major issue is when to count the five-year period for the repurchase by
respondent Pe — whether from the date of the foreclosure sale or from the expiration
of the one year period to redeem the foreclosed property.
In Simeon v. Peña we analyzed the various cases previously
decided, and arrived at the conclusion that the plain intent,
the raison d' etre, of Section 119, C.A. No. 141 ". . . is to give the The respondent court ruled that the period of repurchase should be counted from the
homesteader or patentee every chance to preserve for himself expiration of the one year period to redeem the foreclosed property. Since the one
and his family the land that the state had gratuitously given to him year period to redeem expired on January 24, 1979 and he filed Case No. 280 on
as a reward for his labor in cleaning and cultivating it." In the October 4, 1983 to enforce his right to repurchase the disputed property, the Court of
same breath, we agreed with the trial court, in that case, that "it is Appeals held that Pe exercised his right to repurchase within the five-year period
in this sense that the provision of law in question becomes provided by Section 119 of CA 141 as amended.
unqualified and unconditional. And in keeping with such reasons
behind the passage of the law, its basic objective is to promote
The respondent court cited Belisario, et al., v. Intermediate Appellate Court, et al., 165
public policy, that is, to provide home and decent living for
SCRA 101, 107 [1988] where we held:
destitutes, aimed at promoting a class of independent small
landholders which is the bulwark of peace and order.
. . . In addition, Section 119 of Commonwealth Act 141 provides
that every conveyance of land acquired under the free patent or
As it was in Simeon v. Peña, respondent Mariñas' intention in
homestead patent provisions of the Public Land Act, when proper,
exercising the right of repurchase "is not for the purpose of
shall be subject to repurchase by the applicant, his widow or legal
preserving the same within the family fold," but "to dispose of it
heirs within the period of five years from the date of conveyance.
again for greater profit in violation of the law's policy and spirit."
The five-year period of redemption fixed in Section 119 of the
The foregoing conclusions are supported by the trial court's
Public Land Law of homestead sold at extrajudicial foreclosure
findings of fact already cited, culled from evidence adduced. Thus
begins to run from the day after the expiration of the one-year
respondent Mariñas was 71 years old and a widower at the time
period of repurchase allowed in an extrajudicial foreclosure.
of the sale in 1956; that he was 78 when he testified on October
(Manuel v. PNB, et al., 101 Phil. 968) Hence, petitioners still had
24, 1963 (or over 94 years old today if still alive); that . . . he was
five (5) years from July 22, 1972 (the expiration of the redemption
not living on the property when he sold the same but was residing
period under Act 3135) within which to exercise their right to
in the poblacion attending to a hardware store, and that the
repurchase under the Public Land Act.
property was no longer agricultural at the time of the sale, but was
a residential and commercial lot in the midst of many
subdivisions. The profit motivation behind the effort to repurchase As noted by the respondent court, the 1988 case of Belisario reversed the previous
was conclusively shown when the then plaintiff's counsel, in the rulings of this Court enunciated in Monge, et al., v. Angeles, et al., 101 Phil. 563
case below, Atty. Loreto Castillo, in his presence, suggested to [1957] and Tupas v. Damasco, et al., 132 SCRA 593 [1984] to the effect that the five
herein petitioners' counsel, Atty. Rafael Dinglasan ". . . to just add year period of repurchase should be counted from the date of conveyance or
to the original price so the case would be settled." Moreover, Atty. foreclosure sale. The petitioners, however, urge that Belisario should only be applied
Castillo manifested in court that an amicable settlement was prospectively or after 1988 since it established a new doctrine.
possible, for which reason he asked for time "within which to
settle the terms thereof'" and that "the plaintiff . . . Mr. Mariñas,
has manifested to the Court that if the defendants would be willing We sustain the petitioners' position. It is undisputed that the subject lot was mortgaged
to pay the sum of One Peso and Fifty Centavos (P1.50) per to DBP on February 24, 1970. It was acquired by DBP as the highest bidder at a
foreclosure sale on June 18, 1977, and then sold to the petitioners on September 29,
square meter, he would be willing to accept the offer and dismiss
the case." 1979.

At that time, the prevailing jurisprudence interpreting section 119 of R.A. 141 as
Our decisions were disregarded by the respondent court which chose to adopt a Court
of Appeals ruling in Lim, et al. v. Cruz, et al., CA-G.R. No. 67422, November 25, 1983 amended was that enunciated inMonge and Tupas cited above. The petitioners
that the motives of the homesteader in repurchasing the land are inconsequential" and Benzonan and respondent Pe and the DBP are bound by these decisions for pursuant
to Article 8 of the Civil Code "judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the
that it does not matter even "when the obvious purpose is for selfish gain or personal
aggrandizement." Constitution shall form a part of the legal system of the Philippines." But while our
decisions form part of the law of the land, they are also subject to Article 4 of the Civil
Code which provides that "laws shall have no retroactive effect unless the contrary is
provided." This is expressed in the familiar legal maxim lex prospicit, non respicit, the
law looks forward not backward. The rationale against retroactivity is easy to perceive.
The retroactive application of a law usually divests rights that have already become
vested or impairs the obligations of contract and hence, is unconstitutional (Francisco
v. Certeza, 3 SCRA 565 [1961]).

The same consideration underlies our rulings giving only prospective effect to
decisions enunciating new doctrines. Thus, we emphasized in People v. Jabinal, 55
SCRA 607 [1974] ". . . when 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."

There may be special cases where weighty considerations of equity and social justice
will warrant a retroactive application of doctrine to temper the harshness of statutory
law as it applies to poor farmers or their widows and orphans. In the present petitions,
however, we find no such equitable considerations. Not only did the private
respondent apply for free agricultural land when he did not need it and he had no
intentions of applying it to the noble purposes behind the law, he would now
repurchase for only P327,995.00, the property purchased by the petitioners in good
faith for P1,650,000.00 in 1979 and which, because of improvements and the
appreciating value of land must be worth more than that amount now.

The buyers in good faith from DBP had a right to rely on our rulings
in Monge and Tupas when they purchased the property from DBP in 1979 or thirteen
(13) years ago. Under the rulings in these two cases, the period to repurchase the
disputed lot given to respondent Pe expired on June 18, 1982. He failed to exercise
his right. His lost right cannot be revived by relying on the 1988 case of Belisario. The
right of petitioners over the subject lot had already become vested as of that time and
cannot be impaired by the retroactive application of the Belisarioruling.

Considering our above findings, we find no need to resolve the other issues raised by
the petitioners in their petitions.

WHEREFORE, the questioned decision of the respondent court is hereby REVERSED


and SET ASIDE. The complaint for repurchase under Section 119 of Commonwealth
Act No. 141 as amended is DISMISSED. No pronouncement as to costs.
Republic of the Philippines Almost seven (7) years thereafter, or on June 5, 1990, Antonio Tujan was arrested on
SUPREME COURT the basis of the warrant of arrest in the subversion case. 4 When arrested, an
Manila unlicensed .38 caliber special revolver and six (6) rounds of live ammunition were
found in his possession. 5
EN BANC
Consequently, on June 14, 1990, Antonio Tujan was charged with Illegal Possession
of Firearm and Ammunition in Furtherance of Subversion under Presidential Decree
No. 1866, as amended, before the Regional Trial Court of Makati (Branch 148),
docketed as Criminal Case No. 1789. The Information reads:
G.R. No. 100210 April 1, 1998
That on or about the 5th day of June, 1990, in the Municipality of
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, Parañaque, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
vs. Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being a member of a
HON. OSCAR B. PIMENTEL, as Judge, RTC of Makati, Metro Manila, Branch 148 communist party of the Philippines, and its front organization, did then and
and ANTONIO A. TUJAN,respondents. there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession, control and
custody, in furtherance of or incident to, or in connection with the crime of
subversion, a special edition ARMSCOR PHILS. caliber .38 special revolver
with Serial No. 1026387 and with six (6) live ammunitions, without first
securing the necessary license or permit thereof from competent
MARTINEZ, J.: government authority. 6

Is the Court of Appeals, in affirming the order of the Regional Trial Court, correct in The above Information recommended no bail for Antonio Tujan, which
ruling that Subversion is the "main offense" in a charge of Illegal Possession of recommendation was approved by the trial court in an Order dated June 19,
Firearm and Ammunition in Furtherance of Subversion under P.D. No. 1866, as 1990. 7 The same order also directed the continued detention of Antonio Tujan at MIG
amended, and that, therefore, the said charge should be quashed in view of a 15 of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), Bago
previous charge of Subversion under R.A. No. 1700, as amended by P.D. No. 885, Bantay, Quezon City, while his case is pending.
against the same accused pending in another court?
On June 26, 1990, Antonio Tujan, through counsel, filed a motion 8 invoking his right to
Stated differently, is the accused charged with the same offense in both cases, which a preliminary investigation pursuant to Section 7, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules of
would justify the dismissal of the second charge on the ground of double jeopardy? Court and praying that his arraignment be held in abeyance until the preliminary
investigation is terminated.
This is the pith issue presented before us in this appeal by certiorari interposed by the
People under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, seeking a review of the However, on June 27, 1990, during the hearing of Antonio Tujan's motion for
decision 1 of the Court of Appeals (Sixteenth Division) dated May 27, 1991, in CA-G.R. preliminary investigation, his counsel withdrew the motion since he would file a motion
SP No. 24273, entitled "THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, versus to quash the Information, for which reason counsel requested a period of twenty (20)
HON. OSCAR B. PIMENTEL, as Judge, RTC of Makati, Metro Manila, Branch 148 days to do so. This was granted by the trial court on that same day. 9
and ANTONIO A. TUJAN, Respondents."
On July 16, 1990, Antonio Tujan did file the motion to quash 10 the Information in
The record discloses the following antecedent facts: Criminal Case No. 1789 on the ground that he "has been previously in jeopardy of
being convicted of the offense charged" in Criminal Case No. 64079 (for subversion)
of the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch 45). The said ground is based on
As early as 1983, private respondent Antonio Tujan was charged with Subversion Sections 3 (h) and 7, Rule 117 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure. In support of
under Republic Act No. 1700 (the Anti-Subversion Law), as amended, before the the motion, Antonio Tujan contends that "common crimes such as illegal possession
Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch 45), National Capital Region, docketed as of firearms and ammunition should actually be deemed absorbed in
Criminal Case No. 64079. 2 As a consequence thereof, a warrant for his arrest was subversion," 11 citing the cases of Misolas vs. Panga, et al. (G.R. No. 83341, January
issued on July 29, 1983, 3 but it remained unserved as he could not be found. 30, 1990, 181 SCRA 648) and Enrile vs. Salazar, et al. (G.R. No. 92163, June 5,
1990, 186 SCRA 217). Antonio Tujan then avers that "the present case is the twin
prosecution" of "the earlier subversion case" and, therefore, he "is entitled to invoke The court therefore cannot subscribe to the position taken by the
the constitutional protection against double jeopardy." 12 prosecution that this case is very different from the other case and that
double jeopardy will attach in this particular case.
The petitioner opposed 13 the motion to quash, arguing that Antonio Tujan does not
stand in jeopardy of being convicted a second time because: (a) he has not even been This court agrees with the position taken by the defense that double
arraigned in the subversion case, and (b) the offense charged against him in Criminal jeopardy will attach to the accusation of subversion, punishable now under
Case No. 64079 is for Subversion, punishable under Republic Act No. 1700; while the Republic Act 1700, as Rule 117 of the Rules of Court particularly Section 1
present case is for Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition in Furtherance of thereof, provides:
Subversion, punishable under a different law (Presidential Decree No. 1866).
Moreover, petitioner contends that Antonio Tujan's reliance on the Misolas and Enrile
Time to move to quash — At anytime before entering
cases "is misplaced." 14Tujan merely relies on the dissenting opinions in the Misolas
his plea, the accused may move to quash the complaint
case. Also, the Enrile case which involved a complex crime of rebellion with murder is
or information.(la)
inapplicable to the instant case which is not a complex offense. Thus, the "absorption
rule" as held applicable in the Enrile ruling "has no room for application in the present
case because (illegal) possession of firearm and ammunition is not a necessary In other words, there is no necessity that the accused should be arraigned
means of committing the offense of subversion, nor is subversion a necessary means first before he can move to quash the information. It is before he pleads
of committing the crime of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition." 15 which the accused did in this case.

The trial court, in an order dated October 12, 1990, granted the motion to quash the On the other submissions by the prosecution, that the possession of
Information in Criminal Case No. 1789, the dispositive portion of the order reading: firearms and ammunitions is not a necessary means of committing the
offense of subversion or vice versa, then if the court follows such argument,
there could be no offense of Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition
WHEREFORE, the motion to quash the information is hereby GRANTED,
in furtherance of Subversion, for even the prosecution admits also that in
but only in so far as the accused may be placed in jeopardy or in danger of
subversion which is an offense involving propaganda, counter propaganda,
being convicted or acquitted of the crime of Subversion and as a
a battle of the hearts and mind of the people does not need the possession
consequence the Information is hereby quashed and the case dismissed
or use of firearms and ammunitions.
without prejudice to the filing of Illegal Possession of Firearm.

The prosecution even admits and to quote:


SO ORDERED. 16

The defense of double jeopardy. while unquestionably


It is best to quote the disquisition of the respondent court in quashing the information
available to the accused, had not been clearly shown to
and dismissing the case:
be invokable(sic) at this point in time.

xxx xxx xxx


But the rule says otherwise as previously stated as provided for under
Section 1 of Rule 117 of the Rules of Court.
In other words, the main offense the accused is being charged in this case
is also Subversion considering that the alleged Illegal Possession of the
Thus, if ever the accused is caught in possession of a firearm and
Firearm and Ammunition is only in furtherance thereof.
ammunition which is separate and distinct from the crime of subversion and
is not a necessary ingredient thereof and the court believed so, the
Now, subversion being a continuing offense as has been previously held by prosecution will have to file another information as they may wish. The court
the Supreme Court, the fact that the accused has been previously charged therefore has to grant the motion to quash on the aforestated grounds,
of Subversion before another court before the institution of this instant case subject to Section 5 of Rule 117, considering that the only offense to which
is just a continuing offense of his former charge or that his acts constituting the accused in this case may be placed in jeopardy is Subversion and not
subversion is a continuation of the acts he committed before. Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunitions.
The prosecution may file any information as warranted within ten (10) days tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the manufacture of any
from receipt of this order otherwise the court will order the release of the firearm or ammunition.
accused, unless he is in custody for some other offense. 17(Emphasis ours)
If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearms,
Petitioner's motion for reconsideration 18 was also denied in an order dated December the penalty of death shall be imposed.
28, 1990. 19
If the violation of this Section is in furtherance of, or incident to, or in
The petitioner elevated the case to the Court of Appeals through a petition connection with the crimes of rebellion, insurrection or subversion, the
for certiorari, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 24273. However, the appellate court found penalty of death shall be imposed.
that the trial court did not commit any grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction in quashing the questioned Information. In dismissing the
The penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion
petition, the appellate court, in its decision dated May 27, 1991, basically reiterated the
perpetua shall be imposed upon the owner, president, manager, director or
aforequoted ruling of the trial court.
other responsible officer of any public or private firm, company, corporation
or entity, who shall willfully or knowingly allow any of the firearms owned by
Petitioner now comes to this Court, claiming that: (1) the decision of the Court of such firm, company, corporation or entity to be used by any person or
Appeals is not in accord with the law and applicable jurisprudence; and (2) it was persons found guilty of violating the provisions of the preceding paragraphs.
deprived of due process to prosecute and prove its case against private respondent
Antonio Tujan in Criminal Case No. 1789.
The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall
carry any licensed firearm outside his residence without legal authority
We agree with the petitioner. therefor. (Emphasis ours)

The Court of Appeals considered as duplicitous the Information for violation of P.D. The above-quoted provisions of P.D. No. 1866 are plain and simple. Under the first
No. 1866 filed against private respondent Antonio Tujan. It ruled: paragraph of Section 1, themere possession of an unlicensed firearm or ammunition is
the crime itself which carries the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period
to reclusion perpetua. The third paragraph of the same Section makes the use of said
The foregoing information (for Illegal Possession of Firearm and
firearm and ammunition "in furtherance of, or incident to, or in connection with the
Ammunition in Furtherance of Subversion) filed before the Makati court
crimes of rebellion, insurrection or subversion" a circumstance
shows that the main case is subversion considering that there is an
to increase the penalty to death. Thus, the allegation in the Information in Criminal
allegation that the alleged illegal possession of firearms was made "in
Case No. 1789 that the unlicensed firearm found in the possession of Antonio Tujan,
furtherance of or incident to, or in connection with the crime of subversion."
"a member of the communist party of the Philippines and its front organization," was
Also, the information alleged likewise that the accused is a member of a
used "in furtherance of or incident to, or in connection with the crime of
communist party of the Philippines and its front organization. Basically, the
subversion" does not charge him with the separate and distinct crime of Subversion in
information refers to the crime of Subversion qualified by Illegal Possession
the same Information, but simply describes the mode or manner by which the violation
of Firearms. . . . 20
of Section 1 of P.D. No.1866 was committed 21 so as to qualify the penalty to death.

The ruling of the Court of Appeals is erroneous.


There is, therefore, only one offense charged in the questioned information, that is, the
illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, qualified by its being used in furtherance
Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1866, under which Antonio Tujan is charged in of subversion. 22 There is nothing in P.D. No. 1866, specifically Section 1 thereof,
Criminal Case No. 1789 before the Regional Trial Court of Makati (Branch 148), which decrees categorically or by implication that the crimes of rebellion, insurrection
provides as follows: or subversion are the very acts that are being penalized. This is clear from the title of
the law itself which boldly indicates the specific acts penalized under it:
Sec. 1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sales, Acquisition, Disposition or Possession
of Firearms or Ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to be Used in CODIFYING THE LAWS ON ILLEGAL/UNLAWFUL
the Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition. — The penalty ofreclusion POSSESSION, MANUFACTURE, DEALING IN,
temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed ACQUISITION OR DISPOSITION, OF FIREARMS,
upon any person who shall unlawfully manufacture, deal in, acquire, AMMUNITION OR EXPLOSIVES OR INSTRUMENTS
dispose, or posses any firearms, part of firearm, ammunition, or machinery, USED IN THE MANUFACTURE OF FIREARMS,
AMMUNITION OR EXPLOSIVES, AND IMPOSING The right of an accused against double jeopardy is a matter which he may raise in a
STIFFER PENALTIES FOR CERTAIN VIOLATIONS motion to quash to defeat a subsequent prosecution for the same offense. The
THEREOF AND FOR RELEVANT PURPOSES. pertinent provision of Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Court provides:
(Emphasis ours)
Sec. 3. Grounds. — The accused may move to quash the complaint or
On the other hand, the previous subversion charge against Antonio Tujan in Criminal information on any of the following grounds:
Case No. 64079, before the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch 45), is based on a
different law, that is, Republic Act No. 1700, as amended. Section 3 thereof penalizes
xxx xxx xxx
any person who "knowingly, willfully and by overt act affiliates with, becomes or
remains a member of a subversive association or organization . . ." Section 4 of said
law further penalizes "such member [of the Communist Party of the Philippines and/or (h) That the accused has been previously convicted or in jeopardy of being
its successor or of any subversive association] (who) takes up arms against the convicted, or acquitted of the offense charged. (2a) (Emphasis ours)
Government." Thus, in the present case, private respondent Antonio Tujan could be
charged either under P.D. No. 1866 or R.A. No. 1700, 23 or both.
In order that the protection against double jeopardy may inure to the benefit of an
accused, the following requisites must have obtained in the first criminal action: (a) a
This leads us to the issue of whether or not private respondent Antonio Tujan was valid complaint or information; (b) a competent court; (c) the defendant had pleaded to
placed in double jeopardy with the filing of the second Information for Illegal the charge; 24 and (d) the defendant was acquitted, or convicted, or the case against
Possession of Firearm and Ammunition in Furtherance of Subversion. him was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent. 25

We rule in the negative. Suffice it to say that in the present case, private respondent's motion to quash filed in
the trial court did not actually raise the issue of double jeopardy simply because it had
not arisen yet. It is noteworthy that the private respondent has not even been
Article III of the Constitution provides:
arraigned in the first criminal action for subversion. Besides, as earlier discussed, the
two criminal charges against private respondent are not of the same offense as
Sec. 21. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for required by Section 21, Article III of the Constitution.
the same offense. If an act is punished by a law and an ordinance,
conviction or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another
It is clear from the foregoing, that the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is not
prosecution for the same act. (Emphasis ours)
in accordance with the law and jurisprudence and thus should be reversed.

Complementing the above constitutional provision, Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of
While we hold that both the subversion charge under R.A. No. 1700, as amended, and
Court states:
the one for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition in furtherance of subversion
under P.D. No. 1866, as amended, can co-exist, the subsequent enactment of
Sec. 7. Former conviction or acquittal; double jeopardy. — When an Republic Act No. 7636 on September 22, 1992, totally repealing R.A. No. 1700, as
accused has been convicted or acquitted, or the case against him dismissed amended, has substantially changed the complexion of the present case, inasmuch as
or otherwise terminated without his express consent by a court of competent the said repealing law being favorable to the accused-private respondent, who is not a
jurisdiction, upon a valid complaint or information or other formal charge habitual delinquent, should be given retroactive effect. 26
sufficient in form and substance to sustain a conviction and after the
accused had pleaded to the charge, the conviction or acquittal of the
Although this legal effect of R.A. No. 7636 on private-respondent's case has never
accused or the dismissal of the case shall be a bar to another prosecution
been raised as an issue by the parties — obviously because the said law came out
for the offense charged, or for any attempt to commit the same or frustration
only several months after the questioned decision of the Court of Appeals was
thereof, or for any offense which necessarily includes or is necessarily
promulgated and while the present petition is pending with this Court — we should
included in the offense charged in the former complaint or information.
nonetheless fulfill our duty as a court of justice by applying the law to whomsoever is
benefited by it regardless of whether or not the accused or any party has sought the
xxx xxx xxx application of the beneficent provisions of the repealing law. 27

That R.A. No. 7636 should apply retroactively to accused-private respondent is


beyond question. The repeal by said law of R.A. No. 1700, as amended, was
categorical, definite and absolute. There was no saving clause in the repeal. The The subversion charge against accused-private respondent Antonio A. Tujan in
legislative intent of totally abrogating the old anti-subversion law is clear. Thus, it Criminal Case No. 64079 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 45, is hereby
would be illogical for the trial courts to try and sentence the accused-private DISMISSED.
respondent for an offense that no longer exists. 28
The other Information for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition in furtherance
As early as 1935, we ruled in People vs. Tamayo: 29 of subversion against the same accused in Criminal Case No. 1789 of the Regional
Trial Court of Makati, Branch 148, is DEEMED AMENDED to Simple Illegal
Possession of Firearm and Ammunition. The accused-appellant is hereby ordered
There is no question that at common law and in America a much more
RELEASED IMMEDIATELY from detention for the reason stated above, unless he is
favorable attitude towards the accused exists relative to statutes that have
being detained for any other offense.
been repealed than has been adopted here. Our rule is more in conformity
with the Spanish doctrine, but even in Spain, where the offense ceases to
be criminal, prosecution cannot be had. (1 Pacheco Commentaries, 296) This decision is IMMEDIATELY EXECUTORY.
(Emphasis ours)
No pronouncement as to costs.
Where, as here, the repeal of a penal law is total and absolute and the act with was
penalized by a prior law ceases to be criminal under the new law, the previous offense
SO ORDERED.
is obliterated. 30 It is a recognized rule in this jurisdiction that a total repeal deprives the
courts of jurisdiction to try, convict and sentence persons charged with violation of the
old law prior to the repeal. 31

With the enactment of R.A. No. 7636, the charge of subversion against the accused-
private respondent has no more legal basis and should be dismissed.

As regards the other charge of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, qualified
by subversion, this charge should be amended to simple illegal possession of firearm
and ammunition since, as earlier discussed, subversion is no longer a crime.

Moreover, the offense of simple illegal possession of firearm and ammunition is now
bailable under Republic Act No. 8294 which was enacted on June 6, 1997. R.A. No.
8294 has amended Presidential Decree No. 1866, as amended, by eliminating the
provision in said P.D. that if the unlicensed firearm is used in furtherance of
subversion, the penalty of death shall he imposed. 32 Under the new law (R.A. No.
8294), the penalty prescribed for simple illegal possession of firearm (.38 caliber) is
now reduced to prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine of not less than
Fifteen thousand pesos (P15,000.00). 33 The reduced penalty of imprisonment —
which is four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day to six (6) years — entitles the
accused-private respondent to bail. Considering, however, that the accused-private
respondent has been detained since his arrest on June 5, 1990 up to the present (as
far as our record has shown), or more than seven (7) years now, his immediate
release is in order. This is so because even if he were convicted for illegal possession
of firearm and ammunition, the length of his detention while his case is pending has
already exceeded the penalty prescribed by the new law.

WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals dated May 27, 1991, in
CA-G.R. SP No. 24273, including the orders dated October 12, 1990 and December
28, 1990 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati (Branch 148), National Capital Region,
in Criminal Case No. 1789, are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
Republic of the Philippines Said Act No. 1875 took effect upon the 1st of July, 1908. The petition in the present
SUPREME COURT case was presented upon the 29th of July, 1908. Said Act was, therefore, in effect at
Manila the time of the presentation of the petition. Section 4 of said Act is as follows:

EN BANC The surveyor who is employed to prepare surveys, maps, and plats of
property shall give due notice in advance to the adjoining owners, whose
addresses are known, of the date and hour when they shall present
G.R. No. L-5448 December 16, 1910
themselves on the property for the purpose of making such objections to the
boundaries of the property to be surveyed as they consider necessary for
SEVERO AGUILLON, petitioner-appellee, the protection of their rights. The surveyor shall report all objections made to
vs. him by adjoining property owners at the time of the survey and demarcation,
THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, opponents-appellant. giving a proper description of the boundaries claimed by the protestant or
protestants.
Attorney-General Villamor, for appellant.
Silvino Lopez y de Jesus, for appellee. The surveyor shall define the boundaries of the lands submitted for
registration by means of temporary monuments placed on the land and he
shall designate on the map or plat the boundaries as claimed by the
applicant for registration and the boundaries as claimed by protesting
adjoining property owners. In case the court shall find that the boundary line
JOHNSON, J.: claimed by the protestant or protestants and that that designated by the
applicant is correct, the cost of making any extra survey over that required
by the applicant shall be assessed against the protestant or protestants.
On the 29th of July, 1908, Severo Aguillon, the petitioner, presented a petition in the Should the boundary line designated that of the applicant incorrect the court
Court of Land Registration for the registration of certain parcels of land described in shall assess the cost of making the survey to the applicant. The usual
the said petition. process of the court shall be available for collecting such costs. The work of
survey and demarcation shall not be suspended because of the
On the 14th of November, 1908, the Attorney-General, representing the Insular presentation of any complaint or objection.
Government, opposed the registration of the parcels of land in question, upon the
theory that the said land belonged to the Government. Section 5 of said Act is as follows:

At the time of the trial of the cause the Director of Lands amended his opposition to It shall be the duty of private surveyors who make surveys, maps, or plats of
the registration of the parcels of land in question, alleging that the plans presented by property for which registration of title is requested to comply with the
the petitioner had not been prepared in conformity with the provisions of sections 4 requirements of the preceding section and to promptly send their reports,
and 5 of Act No. 1875 of the Philippine Agriculture. surveys, maps, and plats of such property to the Bureau of Lands for
verification. Private surveyors shall not be authorized to make surveys for
Notwithstanding the opposition of the Director of Lands, the Court of Land Registration the Court of Land Registration unless they shall have passed either a civil
ordered the registration of the parcels of land in question. From that decision the service examination or an examination by the Bureau of Lands for the
Director of Lands appealed and assigned as error in this court that the lower court purpose of determining their qualifications.
committed an error in admitting the plans Exhibits A and B, upon the ground that they
had been prepared in conformity with the provisions of said Act No. 1875. The plans The appellee contends that, inasmuch as his plans had been prepared long before the
marked "Exhibits A and B" were made long before the presentation of the said petition enactment of the said Act No. 1875, the same was not applicable, for the reason that
for registration and were made by private surveyors who had not been authorized by to make the law applicable to the present case would be giving to said law a
the Director of Lands or the Governor-General to make surveys for the registration of retroactive effect, and cites article 3 of the Civil Code and rules 1 and 2 De las
property in the Land Court. Exhibit A was prepared and finished on the 10th of Disposiciones Transitorias of the Civil Code, as well as volume 12 of Manresa, page
November, 1906, Exhibit B was prepared and finished upon the same day. 922, in support of his contention.
In our opinion the law does not have a retroactive effect. It only applied to cases which
were begun in the Court of Land Registration after its enactment. The law had been in
force nearly a month prior to the commencement of the present action. And moreover
the law only related to the procedure — to the character of the evidence which the
petitioner must present in support of his claim. It is a doctrine well established that the
procedure of the court may be changed at any time and become effective at once, so
long as it does not affect or change vested rights.

We are of the opinion that the judgment of the lower court should be reversed and
stand reversed until with the provisions of Act No. 1875, and the case is hereby
ordered to be returned to the lower court with direction that the petitioner present his
plans in accordance with said Act. If, however, when the plans shall have been
presented, the lower court finds that the same conform to the plans already presented,
then the judgment heretofore rendered may be affirmed without further procedure. If,
however, the new plans when presented do not conform to the plans heretofore
presented and shall affect the rights of any persons who have not heretofore been
heard, then notice shall be given them and an opportunity to present whatever
opposition they may have to the registration of the land included in the new plans. It is
so ordered.
Republic of the Philippines wounds which required medical attendance of more than thirty
SUPREME COURT (30) days, as well as inflict physical injuries to the other victims
Manila Corazon Aliman and Josephine Belesario causing them to sustain
injuries requiring medical attendance for several number of days.
EN BANC
CONTRARY TO LAW.

G.R. No. 125539 July 27, 1999

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ALFONSO PATALIN, JR., ALEX MIJAQUE, AND NESTOR RAS, accused-
appellants.

MELO, J.:

Accused-appellants Alex Mijaque and Alfonso Patalin, Jr, were charged before Branch
25 of the Regional Trial Court of the 6th Judicial Region stationed in Iloilo City, with
the crime of robbery.* The Amended information dated October 11, 1985 charged:

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


Lambunao, province of Iloilo, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Court, the above named two (2) accused,
conspiring, confederating and cooperating with three (3) others
whose identities are still unknown and who are still at large,
armed with bladed weapons by means of force, violence and In a Second Amended Information also dated October 11, 1985 and docketed as
intimidation, taking advantage of the nighttime to better realize Criminal Case No. 18305, accused-appellants Alex Mijaque, Alfonso Patalin, Jr., and
their purpose, and in the dwelling of the offended party, did then Nestor Ras were charged before the same court with the crime of robbery with
and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steal and carry multiple rape, thusly:
away, with intent to gain, cash amount of Three Hundred
(P300,00) Pesos, Philippine Currency, owned by the victim
Corazon Aliman and the following personal property: one (1) That on or about August 11, 1984, in the municipality of
adjustable wrench, one (l) vise grip, one (1) screw driver, one (1) Lambunao, province of Iloilo, Philippines, and within the
pair of levis pants, one (1) travelling bag and one (1) wallet jurisdiction of this Court, the above-named three (3) accused, with
containing ten (P10,00) pesos, with a total value of Four Hundred deliberate intent, and without any justifiable motive, conspiring,
(P400.00) Pesos, Philippine Currency, owned by the victims confederating and working together with Richard Doe, Philip Doe
Reynaldo Aliman and Josephine Belesario, the over all total of and Robert Doe who are still at large, all armed with firearms and
cash and personal property being SEVEN HUNDRED (P700.00) other deadly weapons, thereby performing [sic] themselves into a
PESOS, Philippine Currency, without the consent of the above- band, entered the dwelling of Jesusa Carcillar, and once inside,
mentioned offended parties and to their damage and prejudice in with intent to gain and with violence against, and/or intimidation of
the aforestated amount; that by reason or on the occasion of said persons, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
Robbery, the above named two (2) accused did then and there take, steal and carry away Five Hundred (P500.00) Pesos in
hack victim Reynaldo Aliman twice hitting him and inflicting cash, one (1) ring worth Two Thousand (P2,000.00) Pesos, one
(1) pair of earrings worth One Thousand (P1,000.00) Pesos, and a) In Crim. Case No. 18376 for Robbery with Physical Injuries,
one (1) Seiko wrist watch worth Three Thousand (P3,000.00) accused Alfonso Patalin, Jr. and Alex Mijaque are penalized to
Pesos, making a total of Six Thousand Five Hundred (P6,500.00) suffer the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of Ten (10)
Pesos, against the will and/or consent of the owner; that on the years, and One (1) day of Prision Mayor, as minimum, to
occasion thereof, the above-named three (3) accused, conspiring Seventeen (17) years and Four (4) months of Reclusion
and working together with their companions who are still at large, Temporal, as maximum, to indemnify Corazon Aliman the amount
by means of force and intimidation, did then and there wilfully, of P700.00 representing the value of her property robbed from her
unlawfully and feloniously have sexual intercourse with Perpetua and also to indemnify Reynaldo Aliman the amount of P8,000.00
Carcillar, Juliana Carcillar, Rogelia Carcillar, and Josephine representing the expenses he incurred for his medication and
Belesario, against their will and consent.1âwphi1.nêt hospitalization due to the wounds he suffered.

CONTRARY TO LAW. b) In Criminal Case No. 18305 for Robbery with Multiple Rapes,
accused Alfonso Patalin, Jr. Alex Mijaque and Nestor Ras are
sentenced to a death penalty and to indemnify the members of
(
the Carcillar family the amount of P6,500.00 representing the
p
cash and articles taken from them.
p
.
In both cases the accused are also ordained to pay the costs.
9
0
SO ORDERED.
-
9
1
,

I
I

R
e
c
o
r
d
.
)

Upon arraignment on November 12, 1985, accused-appellants entered a plea of "not


guilty" to both crimes charged (p. 103, II Record). The trial court arrived at the aforestated conclusion based on the following findings:

After trial on the merits, a joint judgment was rendered, disposing: Criminal Case No. 18376

Wherefore, premises considered there being sufficient and The crime of robbery (with physical injuries) was indeed committed by accused-
satisfactory proof showing that the accused in these two cases appellants Alfonso Patalin, Jr. and Alex Mijaque, as well as by their unidentified
are guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the charges filed against companions, based on the positive identification made by complaining witness
them, they are hereby sentenced as follows: Corazon Aliman, and corroborated by her son Reynaldo and the latter's half-sister
Josephine Belisario (p. 77, Rollo).
Criminal Case No. 18305 Jr. pointed the beam of his flashlight at Reynaldo Aliman. At this
juncture, appellant Alex Mijaque hacked Reynaldo Aliman twice
with a bolo hitting the latter at the neck, right arm, and the chest
Accused-appellants Alfonso Patalin, Jr., Alex Mijaque, and Nestor Ras, as well as an
(pp. 14-16, ibid.). Thereupon, Reynaldo Aliman immediately ran
unidentified companion, acted in concert to commit the crime of robbery with multiple
away (p. 17, ibid.).
rape. They were positively identified by the following witnesses. Juliana Carcillar who
was raped twice by Alex Mijaque; Josephine Belisario who was raped once by Alex
Mijaque; Rogelia Carcillar who was raped by Alex Mijaque; and Perpetua Carcillar, Corazon Aliman and Josephine Belisario, who went to the
who was raped by Nestor Ras, after Alfonso Patalin, Jr. failed in his attempt to rape balcony of their house, witnessed the hacking incident and the
her. Accused-appellant Patalin was likewise identified by Reynaldo Aliman who former shouted for help (p. 6, TSN, July 21, 1987; pp. 8-9, TSN,
personally knew him as former barangay-mate for a long time, as well as by Corazon June 30, 1988). Two of the assailants, one of whom is appellant
Aliman, mother of Reynaldo. The identification of accused-appellants was facilitated Alex Mijaque, pushed Corazon Aliman and Josephine Belisario
and aided by a bright full moon and due to the fact that they tarried in the crime scene inside their house, covered their mouth and told them not to make
for a long period of time, thus allowing their victims to imprint in their memory the any noise. Later, appellant Alex Mijaque dragged Josephine
countenance or visage of accused-appellants. Said positive and clear identification by Belisario to the house of the latter's aunt (sister of Corazon
the complaining witnesses, who were not shown to have ill motive to falsify the truth Aliman) which is beside their house. The other man stayed put
and to implicate accused-appellants, prevail over the latter's defense of denial. Band, and while holding a double-bladed knife, threatened to kill
nocturnity, and dwelling, were likewise appreciated against accused-appellant (pp. 78- Corazon Aliman if the latter will not give him money. After
79, Rollo). Corazon Aliman gave him three hundred pesos (P300.00) cash,
he ransacked the house and took one (1) wrist watch, one (1) vise
grip, one (1) screw driver one, (1) pair of Levis trousers, one (1)
The errors assigned by the accused-appellant in their individual briefs are summarized
travelling bag, and one (1) wallet containing ten pesos (P10.00);
as follows: (1) The trial court erred in finding that accused-appellants are responsible
the total value thereof is seven hundred pesos (P700.00) inclusive
for the crimes charged; (2) The trial court erred in convicting accused-appellant Patalin
of the three hundred pesos (P300.00) cash. Thereafter, the man
notwithstanding the fact that the latter was arrested without a warrant; (3) Assuming
also dragged Corazon Aliman to her sister's house (pp. 6-8, TSN,
without conceding that accused-appellants (Patalin and Ras) committed the crimes
July 21, 1987; pp. 11-12, TSN, June 30, 1988).
charged, the trial court in erred in imposing the penalty of death as the same was
suspended upon the ratification of the 1987 Constitution (pp. 86, 146, 204, Rollo).
Josephine Belisario, who was dragged by Alex Mijaque to her
aunt's house which is just twenty (20) meters away, saw six (6)
The prosecution's version of the August 11, 1984 incident, based on the testimony of
persons, one of whom is appellant, Alfonso Patalin, Jr., outside
prosecution witnesses Dr. Edgardo Carmelo, Dra. Leticia Sitchon Santiago, Reynaldo
the house of her aunt. Josephine Belisario was forced to call out
Aliman, Josephine Belisario, Juliana Carcillar, Rogelia Carcillar, and Perpetua
her aunt's name and ask that the door be opened for her. While
Carcillar, is summarized in the Solicitor General's consolidated Brief, as follows:
the door was being opened, it was kicked by one of the six (6)
persons. Alfonso Patalin immediately went in, boxed the aunt of
At about 7:30 in the evening of August 11, 1984, while Reynaldo Josephine Belisario on the body and announced that they are
Aliman, his half sister Josephine Belisario, and their mother staging a hold-up. The other companions of appellant Alfonso
Corazon Aliman were having a conversation inside their house at Patalin, Jr., including appellant Alex Mijaque, who were armed
Barangay Lumanay, municipality of Lambunao, province of Iloilo, with knive's a bolo and a gun also went in and restrained
appellant Alfonso Patalin, Jr., who was outside the fenced Josephine Belisario's cousins, namely Rogelio, Juliana, Perpetua,
perimeter of said house, called out Reynaldo Aliman by his Roy, and Victoriano, who are all surnamed Carcillar, (pp. 11-15,
nickname and asked the latter to let him and the other persons TSN, June 30, 1988; p. 11, TSN, June 29, 1989). Josephine
with him in (pp. 5-6, TSN, Dec. 16, 1986). Belisario together with her aunt and cousins were all forced to lie
face down on the floor of the sala (p. 15, TSN, June 30, 1998; p.
7, TSN, Feb. 15, 1990). Appellant Alfonso Patalin got hold of Mrs.
Reynaldo Aliman opened the window and, because of the Carcillar (Josephine Belisario's aunt and the mother of her
moonlight, saw appellant Alfonso Patalin, Jr. with (2) other cousins), kicked and boxed the latter and exclaimed: "Money,
persons. Appellant Alfonso Patalin, Jr. asked again Reynaldo
money". "It is money we want." Appellant Alfonso Patalin forced
Aliman to let them in (pp. 7-8, ibid.). Reynaldo Aliman opened the Mrs. Carcillar into a room where the latter gave him money (p. 16,
gate and Alfonso Patalin together with his companions, one of TSN, June 30, 1988; pp. 7-8, February 15, 1990.). Then,
whom is appellant Alex Mijaque, entered the premises (pp. 8, 10-
appellants and their companions seized the following
11, ibid.). Immediately upon entering, appellant Alfonso Patalin,
personalities of the Carcillars: (1) one Seiko 5 wristwatch worth ground so he pushed her downwards. Her strength gave out and
three thousand pesos (P3,000.00), (2) two (2) pairs of lady's rings he succeeded in raping her twice. She was then brought back
worth two thousand (P2,000.00), (3) one (1) pair of earrings, and inside the house (pp. 18-21, TSN, June 29, 1989).
(4) two (2) travelling bags (p. 9, TSN, February 15, 1990).
Josephine Belisario, while laying face down on the floor of the
Rogelia Carcillar was brought outside their house by appellant sala, was dragged by appellant Alex Mijaque inside one of the
Alex Mijaque who was armed with a butcher's knife and rooms. He threatened her with his knife and was able to undress
threatened to kill her if she will not lie down. Because of fear, she her. He fondled her breasts, pulled her pubic hair and eventually
did as she was told (pp. 10, 16-17, TSN, February 15, 1990). succeeded in having sexual intercourse with her. She was then
Appellant Alex Mijaque forcibly removed her underwear and left inside the room. Two companions of appellant Alex Mijaque
placed himself on top of Rogelia. She tried to resist but appellant came in bringing with them her cousins Rogelia and Perpetua
Alex Mijaque pressed the tip of his knife at the former's neck and Carcillar. One of them saw Josephine Belisario and brought her to
succeeded in having sexual intercourse with her (pp. 11-12, ibid.). another room. The man demanded money from her but she was
Thereafter, appellant Alex Mijaque brought her inside the house not able to give him money. The man was also carrying a knife
and ordered her to lie face down on the floor again (pp. 13- and threatened her with the same. She resisted when he was
14, ibid.). Then, one of the companions of appellant Alex Mijaque forcing her to lie down on the bed but her strength finally gave out
who was armed with a gun took her outside and brought her to a . He likewise succeeded in having sexual intercourse with her.
place not far from where she was raped (p. 14, ibid.). This man, at After raping her, the man took a piggy bank which was at the foot
the point of a gun, threatened to kill her if she will not obey his of the bed and brought her back to the room where she was first
orders. Rogelia Carcillar, who feared for her life, was left with no raped. Her aunt and cousins were also inside the said room (pp.
choice but to obey the man's orders. There, she was raped for the 17-25, TSN, June 30, 1988).
second time by this gun-wielding man (pp. 15-16, ibid.). While
Rogelia Carcillar was being raped, appellant Alfonso Patalin was
Perpetua Carcillar suffered the same fate. While laying face down
also outside the house standing on guard (p. 18, ibid.).
on the floor of the living room, she was pulled by the hair by
appellant Alfonso Patalin and ordered to stand up. When she
Juliana Carcillar was likewise brought outside the house by stood up, she realized that her sister were no longer there.
appellant Alex Mijaque who, with his knife, tried to rape her but he Appellant Alfonso Patalin, armed with a double-bladed knife,
initially failed because of her resistance. This angered appellant brought her outside the house, ordered her to undress and lie
Alex Mijaque and he tried to kill Juliana Carcillar by stabbing the down. Because of fear, Perpetua Carcillar, who was then only
latter but was prevailed upon not to do so by one of his thirteen (13) years old, obeyed appellant Alfonso Patalin. He tried
companions (pp. 12-15, TSN, June 29, 1989). to force his penis into her vagina but did not succeed. Then,
appellant Alfonso Patalin handed her over to appellant Nestor
Ras, a member of their group who was only about two (2) arms
Appellant Alex Mijaque, after delivering fist blows on the body of
length away. Appellant Nestor Ras, armed with a double-bladed
Juliana Carcillar, turned her over to one of his companions who
knife which he was pointing at Perpetua Carcillar, ordered her to
was in the garden outside the house and armed with a gun. This
lie down. He fondled her breasts, kissed her, and succeeded in
man threatened her with the gun and mauled her. She was
having sexual intercourse with her. After raping her, appellant
overpowered and he undressed her. He inserted his finger on her
Nestor Ras brought her back inside the house. When she was
sex organ and eventually succeeded in having sexual intercourse
returned inside the house, the intruders were still demanding for
with her (pp. 15-17, ibid.). Then, this companion of appellant Alex
money from her mother and were taking turns in beating the latter
Mijaque brought Juliana Carcillar back inside the house and
(pp.4, 15-23, TSN, July 12, 1990).
ordered to look for money. When she told him that they have no
more money, he kept on harming her. In the course thereof, he
found and took a Seiko wristwatch owned by Perpetua Carcillar. Appellants left, together with the other assailants, taking with
Then, he brought her outside the house again where he had a them the valuables stated earlier after threatening them not to
brief conversation with appellants Nestor Ras and Alfonso Patalin. report the matter to the police or else they will return and kill all of
She was then brought back inside the house and ordered to lie them (p.19, TSN, February 15, 1990).
face down on the floor again. While at this position, appellant Alex
Mijaque approached her and brought her outside the house. She
refused to obey appellant Alex Mijaque's order to lie down on the
Reynaldo Aliman was brought to Ricardo Ladrido Memorial were noted at eight, eleven, and four o'clock positions (pp. 10-15,
Hospital where he received first aid. He was then brought to West TSN, November 10, 1986).
Visayas Medical Center located in Manduriao, Iloilo (pp. 18-20,
TSN, December 16, 1986) and was treated by Dr. Edgardo
Perpetua Carcillar, 13 years old, sustained a centimeter lacerated
Carmelo (p. 4, TSN, May 14, 1986). Reynaldo Aliman sustained
wound on the perineum which was also swollen. Her vagina
the following injuries: (1) hackwound, mid forearm, area ulnar side
admits two fingers snugly (pp. 8-9, ibid). A fresh laceration at six
middle third forearm, and (2) hack wound, left side of neck (pp. 5-
o'clock position and a hematoma also at six o'clock position were
6, ibid; Exhibit A). Reynaldo Aliman was confined in the hospital
noted on her hymen (Exhibit C, p. 15, Record).
for almost three (3) months and he spent more than eight
thousand pesos (P8,000.00) for medicines, food and other
expenditures (p. 19, TSN, December 16, 1986).

Dr. Leticia Sitchon Santiago examined and treated Josephine


Belisario two days after she was raped. A hematoma, about 3x4
inches in diameter, was found on the left shoulder of Josephine
Belisario which could have been caused by forcing the latter to lie
down on the ground. Josephine Belisario "vagina admits two (2)
fingers". Further, hematoma was noted in the hymen at nine
o'clock and three o'clock positions and fresh lacerations was also
noted at nine, eleven, and three o'clock positions. These are
indications that a foreign object, which could be a human penis,
was inserted in the vagina and caused the lacerations of the
hymen (pp. 6-9, TSN, September 3, 1986).1âwphi1.nêt

Rogelia Carcillar, Juliana Carcillar and Perpetua Carcillar were


also examined and treated by Dr. Leticia Santiago but such was
conducted three days after the incident (p. 17, ibid).

A hematoma was noted in the occipital region of the head of


Rogelia Carcillar (p. 18, ibid). Her vagina admits two fingers
snugly and the perineum has a lacerated wound which is one
centimeter in length (pp. 18-19, ibid; pp. 2-3, TSN, November 10, Denial and alibi were set up by accused-appellants based on their testimony and that
1986). Fresh lacerations were likewise noted in her hymen at of their witnesses, Alejandro Tabucan, Felizardo Lebona, Rhodora Losaria, and
eight, eleven and three o'clock positions (p. 3, TSN, November Cristina Gumban. The denials, together with other arguments, are summarized as
10, 1986). Dr. Santiago further testified that a foreign object was follows:
inserted in the vagina of Rogelia Carcillar (p. 19, TSN, September
3, 1986; p. 3, TSN, November 10, 1986).
Alfonso Patalin

Juliana Carcillar, 22 years old, sustained a hematoma in the


Accused-appellant Alfonso Patalin alleges that his name was only included by Jesus
forehead, left and right side of the face, upper right arm,
Larang, whom he described as the land lord of Jesusa Carcillar and the Carcillar
uppermost and lower portions of the left thigh, occipital region of
sisters, to force him to reveal the names of the persons who staged the robbery and
the head and left side of the mouth. She also sustained the
rape. Verily, he declared on the stand that when the victims saw him at the police
following injuries: (1) 1/2 cm. lacerated wound on the left side of
station, two of them (Josephine Belisario and Reynaldo Aliman) even smiled at him
the lower lip, (2) bite mark with hematoma on the left shoulder, (3)
(tsn, August 13, 1993, pp. 10-11, 19-20).
1 cm. incised wounds on the right index finger and right thumb,
(4) 4 inches incised wound on the right forearm, and (5) multiple
abrasions at the back including the portion below the waistline, In his brief, he argues that he was not positively identified, rationalizing that when
her vagina admits two fingers and fresh lacerations in the hymen prosecution witness Josephine Belisario was asked on the stand if she recognized
"the person who called [her] brother Reynaldo," said witness responded that she did 1993, pp. 16-17) at the time of the incident. As corroborative witness, he presented
not know the person who called her brother, and that she only recognized the caller's Felizardo Lebona, the person in charge of the plantation where he was working, who
voice (tsn, August 11, 1988, pp. 30-31). Further, accused-appellant Patalin also testified that accused-appellant Patalin did not leave the plantation house from August
alleges that he was arrested without a warrant. 9 to 12, 1984 (tsn, October 15, 1993, pp. 4-5).

Alex Mijaque For his part, accused-appellant Mijaque insists that he had no opportunity to get out of
the farm where he was working which was located in Manduriao, Iloilo (tsn, May 6,
1993, p. 6). In July, 1985, he was arrested for theft of a television set and detained in
Accused-appellant Alex Mijaque argues that in the sworn statement of Reynaldo
the Lambunao jail for investigation. Although three of the herein complainants were
Aliman (p. 3, II Record), there is no mention of his name nor that of accused-appellant
brought in front of his detention cell, he was not identified. Instead, the policemen
Patalin as the perpetrators of the crimes charged. Moreover, during the preliminary
pointed to him and said, "That is Alex Mijaque who raped you. If you will not include
examination in the lower court, accused-appellant Mijaque was also not named as one
him, he will file a case against you." Moreover, he testified that he was mauled in jail
of the malefactors. He likewise points out that in the police blotter, the first report
(tsn, July 29, 1993, pp. 10-13). Defense witness, Alejandro Tabucan, neighbor of
mentioned that the alleged offenders were unknown persons. No rape was reported.
accused-appellant Mijaque, corroborated the latter's alibi that on August 11, 1984,
In the second report, it was blottered that the alleged offenders were four unidentified
they had a drinking spree from 6 o'clock in the evening to 12 o'clock midnight, and
persons. Again, no rape was reported. Accused-appellant Mijaque likewise takes note
accused-appellant Mijaque was not able to leave the premises in Manduriao. Tabucan
of the report given by Rogelia Carcillar who merely narrated the robbery but did not
also said that he saw Mijaque still asleep the following morning (tsn, August 6, 1993,
report any rape.
pp. 4-5, 10).

According to this accused-appellant, the police authorities of Iloilo, Manduriao (also


Lastly, accused-appellant Nestor Ras declared that he was in the province of Antique
referred to in the record as "Mandurriao") received a complaint from a resident thereat
(particularly, in Igbangkal, Dao) on August 11, 1984 (tsn, December 17, 1993, p. 4).
that his television set was stolen previous to the incidents herein involved. Accused-
As corroborative witness, he presented Cristina Gumban, a vendor who testified that
appellant Mijaque was suspected as the thief and was picked up by the agents of the
on August 11, 1984, she bought cassava and sweet potatoes from accused-appellant
Manduriao Police Station without any warrant of arrest and was thence detained for
Ras in Igbangkal, Dao, Antique from 3 o'clock to 5 o'clock in the afternoon, and that he
three days without any complaint (p. 93, Rollo). Meanwhile, the robbery at Lambunao,
saw Ras put the purchased items in a sack (tan, March 4, 1994, p. 4).
Iloilo was being flashed at all police stations in Iloilo. The arresting officers of the
Manduriao Police Station, so accused-appellant Mijaque contends, in order to save
themselves from charges of arbitrary detention, immediately referred him for custodial We are not persuaded by the above posturing and are compelled to affirm.
investigation in regard to the Lambunao robbery. Consequently, three days after his
confinement, a criminal complaint for robbery with physical injuries and another for
Of primordial consideration in appellate matters is the legal principle that the
robbery with rape was filed against him by the Chief of Police of Lambunao, Iloilo.
assessment of the credibility of witnesses and their testimony is a matter best
undertaken by the trial court because of its unique opportunity to observe the
Nestor Pas witnesses firsthand and to note their demeanor, conduct, and attitude under grilling
examination (People vs. Ombrog, 268 SCRA 93 [1997]). We generally uphold and
respect this appraisal since, as an appellate court, we do not deal with live witnesses
The third accused-appellant, Nestor Pas, argues that his name was never mentioned
but only with the cold pages of a written record (People vs. Herbieto, 269 SCRA 472
by Dr. Edgardo Carmelo, and that Josephine Belisario was merely led by the public
[1997]).
prosecutor into mentioning his name. He also states that the witnesses' declarations
as regards his identification are confusing and inconsistent (pp. 208-210, Rollo).
A close examination of the record convinces us of the prosecution witnesses'
credibility, particularly the ravished victims, who, for approximately two agonizing
Further, it is contended that Rogelio Carcillar himself, when asked by the public
hours, were subjected to a hellish nightmare occurring in the very privacy of their own
prosecutor about what happened to his sister Perpetua Carcillar, testified that
homes.
"Nothing happened to them" (p. 210, id). And when Perpetua Carcillar and the other
female prosecution witnesses reported the alleged incident to the police authorities,
they never mentioned that they were raped. As pointed out by the Office of the Solicitor General in its consolidated brief, the
defense was not able to prove any motive on the part of the private complainants to
falsely testify that they were robbed and raped by accused-appellants. In fact, two of
As mentioned, all three accused-appellants, aside from denying the charges, also
the rape victims, Josephine Belisario and Rogelia Carcillar, were even married to first
presented their respective alibis. Accused-appellant Patalin testified that he was at
cousins of accused-appellant Patalin (pp. 327-328, Rollo), and would not ordinarily
home with his parents, wife, and children, at Pandan, Lambunao (tsn, August 13,
turn against a relative although this be by mere affinity unless they really suffered the identification of the assailant (Sumalpong vs. Court of Appeals, 268 SCRA 764
fate they narrated. [1997]). In fact, honest inconsistencies on minor and trivial matters serve to strengthen
rather than destroy the credibility of a witness to a crime, especially so when the crime
is shocking to the conscience and numbing to the senses (People vs. Agunias, 279
Accused-appellants rely on the delay or vacillation on the part of the complaining
SCRA 52 [1997]).
witnesses. As discussed above in their individual defenses, they emphasize that
Reynaldo Aliman failed to mention the names of the perpetrators in his sworn
statement; that on August 11, 1984, Reynaldo instructed a relative, Jesus Larang, to With respect to the defenses of denial and alibi, significantly, these defenses, if
report the hacking and robbery incidents at the Lambunao Police Department, as well unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, are negative and self-serving,
as the robbery committed in the Carcillar household, and that the police blotter stated deserve no weight in law, and cannot be given evidentiary value over the testimony of
that the alleged offenders were unknown persons but contained no report of any rape; credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters (People vs. Gayon, 269 SCRA
and that Rogelia Carcillar's report did not mention that she was raped. 587 [1997]). Positive identification, where categorical and consistent and without any
showing of ill motive on the part of the eyewitnesses testifying on the matter, prevails
over alibi and denial (People vs. Javier, 269 SCRA 181 [1997]). Verily, even if the
Time and again, we have ruled that delay in lodging a criminal accusation does not
defense of denial is supported by the testimony of friends of the accused, it deserves
impair the credibility of a witness if such delay is satisfactorily explained (People vs.
the barest consideration (People vs. Gamiao, 240 SCRA 254 [1995]). It will be given
Bugarin, 273 SCRA 384 [1997]). An examination of Reynaldo Aliman's sworn
weight only if it would preclude any doubt that the accused could not have been
statement (p. 3, I Record) shows that he clearly identified one of the callers as
physically present at the place of the crime or its vicinity at the time of commission
accused-appellant Alfonso Patalin. Anent his failure to mention accused-appellant
(People vs. Daquipil, 240 SCRA 314 [1995]; People vs. De Roxas, 241 SCRA 369
Mijaque's name, he explained on cross-examination that he did not know yet the
[1995]; People vs. Morin, 241 SCRA 709 [1995]; People vs. Rivera, 242 SCRA 26
name of the person who attacked him with the bolo at the time he executed his sworn
[1995]; People vs. Dela Iglesia, 241 SCRA 718 [1995]; People vs. Umali, 242 SCRA
statement (tsn, Dec. 16, 1986, pp. 35, 38-39). It was only later that he found out that
17 [1995]; People vs. Dayson, 242 SCRA 124 [1995]; People vs. Espinosa, Jr. 243
the name of his assailant was Alex Mijaque. As regards Jesus Larang, the fact that he
SCRA 7 [1995]; People vs. Parica, 243 SCRA 557 [1995]; People vs. Escoto, 244
mentioned "unknown persons" in his report does not affect Reynaldo's categorical and
SCRA 87 [1995]).
positive identification of accused-appellants Patalin and Mijaque as the perpetrators of
the hacking and robbery incidents at his home.
Accused-appellant Mijaque testified that on August 11, 1984, he was in Manduriao,
Iloilo. The overland travel time from the town of Manduriao to Lambunao is
Anent the rape victims, it was clearly explained that their assailants told them not to
approximately one hour and twenty minutes. Accused-appellant Patalin testified that
report the matter to the police, otherwise, the assailants will return and kill them (tsn,
he was in Barangay Pandan, which is merely adjacent to Lambunao. Lastly, accused-
Feb. 15, 1990, p. 19). The victims were overcome by fear and shame (ibid., p. 31).
appellant Nestor Ras testified that he was in Antique, a province neighboring Iloilo,
Besides, the delay in reporting the multiple rapes was not procrastination as this was
which is approximately two hours away therefrom via overland transportation. The
only 3 days from the date of the incident (tsn, June 30, 1988, p. 22), a far shorter
defense tried to corroborate these alibis by presenting witnesses who testified on
period than those mentioned inPeople vs. Gecomo (254 SCRA 82 [1996]) where we
details which happened ten years prior to the date their testimony was given, and
held that a delay of 17 or 35 days, or even 6 months, by a victim of rape in reporting
hence of naturally doubtful credibility.
the attack on her honor, does not detract from the veracity of her charge.

Mutatis mutandi People vs. Queliza (279 SCRA 145 [1997]), considering that the
The defense also notes certain inconsistencies in the testimony of the complaining
places where accused-appellants alleged they were at could be traversed by
witnesses, as follows: (1) Juliana Carcillar testified earlier that the only light in the
motorized vehicles, it was not impossible that accused-appellants could not have been
house came from a kerosene lamp placed on a small table which was extinguished as
at the crime scene by 7 o'clock or 7:30 o'clock in the evening on August 11, 1984.
a result of it being knocked down, thus placing the house in darkness, while on the
More importantly and damning yet is the positive identification of their presence
other hand, Perpetua Carcillar, earlier said that although there was no more light in the
thereat by the victims.
house coming from the lamp, yet she could still see because the light of the moon still
illuminated their house, allegedly through the plastic roofing; and (2) the prosecution
witnesses could not agree concerning the date they went to San Dionisio, Iloilo to The trial court correctly appreciated the aggravating circumstances of nighttime and
identify accused-appellant Nestor Ras, as well as the date when Ras was arrested. dwelling in Criminal Case No. 18376 considering that nighttime facilitated the
commission of the crime and the evidence shows that accused-appellants took
advantage of the darkness to successfully consummate their plans (People vs.
Inconsistencies in the testimony of witnesses, when referring only to minor details and
Apduhan, Jr., 24 SCRA 798 [1968]). Dwelling is clear from the abuse of confidence
collateral matters do not affect either the substance of their declaration, their veracity,
which the victims reposed in the offenders by opening the door to them, as well as the
or the weight of their testimony, and do not impair the credibility of such witnesses
violation of the sanctity of privacy in the victims' homes. He who goes to another's
where there is consistency in relating the principal occurrence and the positive
house to slander him, hurt him, or do him wrong, is more guilty than he who offends express terms to enter into and pursue a common design. The
him elsewhere (Reyes, The Revised Penal Code — Criminal Law, Vol. I, 1993 existence of the assent of minds which is involved in a conspiracy
ed., citing the dissenting opinion of Justice Villareal in People vs. Ambis, 68 Phil. 635 maybe, and from the secrecy of the crime, usually must be,
[1939] and Viada, 5th ed., Vol. II, pp. 323-324). We further affirm the trial court's inferred by the court from proof of facts and circumstances which,
finding on the presence of the aggravating circumstance of band considering that taken together, apparently indicate that they are merely parts of
Reynaldo Aliman testified that accused-appellants Patalin and two other companions some complete whole. If it is proved that two or more persons
(one of whom was later identified as accused-appellant Mijaque) entered his home aimed by their acts towards the accomplishment of the same
(tsn, p. 7, Dec. 16, 1986). This was corroborated by Josephine Belisario who even unlawful object, each doing a part so that their acts, though
saw four (4) persons enter their gate, one of whom was accused-appellant Patalin apparently independent, were in fact connected and cooperative,
(tsn, p.10, June 30, 1988). These same aggravating circumstances likewise attended indicating a closeness of personal association and a concurrence
the commission of the crime of robbery with multiple rape in Criminal Case No. 18305 of sentiment, then a conspiracy maybe inferred though no actual
and this was clearly testified to by the victims thereof who stated that five persons, meeting among them to concert means is proved (People vs.
including accused-appellant Patalin, armed with a bolo, a knife, and a long gun, Carbonel, 48 Phil. 868; See also People vs. Viray, 147 SCRA
entered their dwelling that unfortunate night (tsn, June 29, 1989, p. 10; February 15, 146; People vs. Balignasay, G.R. No. 76743, May 22, 1992;
1990, p. 5). People vs. Galit, 230 SCRA 486). . .

With respect to accused-appellants Patalin and Mijaque's defense that they were ( People vs. Miranday, 242 SCRA 620
arrested without warrants, suffice it to say that any objection, defect, or irregularity [1995]).
attending an arrest must be made before the accused enters his plea (Padilla vs. CA,
269 SCRA 402 [1997]). As correctly pointed out in the People's consolidated brief, the
Verily, the participation of each of the accused-appellants was exhibited by the
record shows no objection was ever interposed prior to arraignment and trial (p.
straightforward testimony of the victims themselves.
324, Rollo).

This brings us to the crucial issue raised by accused-appellants on the death penalty.
It is indubitable that there was conspiracy in the commission of the crimes in both
At the time the crimes charged were committed in 1984, robbery with rape was
Criminal Cases No. 18376 and 18305. In the first criminal case, the evidence clearly
punishable by death (Art. 294, Revised Penal Code). However, by virtue of the
shows that accused-appellants Patalin and Mijaque, together with unidentified
ratification of the 1987 Constitution, specifically Paragraph (1), Section 19 of Article III
companions, committed the crime charged. Said culprits shared the common criminal
thereof, the death penalty was abolished. Hence, the argument that it could not be
objective of robbing the victims and inflicting wounds upon Reynaldo Aliman on the
imposed upon accused-appellants. Said provision reads as follows:
occasion of the robbery. In the second case, all three accused-appellants (together
with unidentified companions), who were positively identified by the victims
themselves, undoubtedly had the common criminal design of robbing the household of Sec. 19 (1) Excessive fines shall not be imposed nor cruel,
Jesusa Carcillar, and of committing multiple rape on the occasion of the robbery. degrading or inhuman punishment inflicted. Neither shall death
Accused-appellant Mijaque dragged Josephine Belisario to her aunt's house and the penalty be imposed, unless, for compelling reasons involving
other culprits followed suit. Accused-appellant Patalin boxed Jesusa Carcillar and heinous crimes, the Congress hereafter provides for it. Any death
announced that they were staging a hold-up. After robbing the household, they penalty already imposed shall be reduced to reclusion perpetua.
proceeded in ravishing the four young female victims, Rogelia, Juliana, Josephine,
and Perpetua, one after the other, thus truly exhibiting their concerted acts.
The constitutional abolition of the death penalty immediately took effect upon the
ratification of the 1987 Constitution. However, said provision left the matter open for
Conspiracy exists when two or more persons came to an agreement concerning the Congress to revive capital punishment at its discretion, "for compelling reasons
commission of a felony and decide to commit it (People vs. Abarri, 242 SCRA 39 involving heinous crimes." Simply stated, it did not prevent the legislature from
[1995]). It cannot be merely presumed. Similar to the physical act constituting the reimposing the death penalty at some future time (Bernas, The 1987 Constitution of
crime itself, the elements of conspiracy must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. the Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary, 1996 ed., pp. 507-508).

In the case at bar, although there was no proof of previous actual agreement among Congress eventually restored the death penalty by virtue of Republic Act No. 7659 or
accused-appellants adduced at the trial — the Death Penalty Law which took effect on January 1, 1994.

. . . direct proof is not essential to show conspiracy. It need not be Accused-appellants are of the position that since the Constitution's abolition of the
shown that the parties actually came together and agreed in death penalty had retroactive effect, being beneficial to the accused, the restoration or
imposition of the death penalty on January 1, 1994 would no longer cover them A statute is penal when it imposes punishment for an offense committed against the
notwithstanding the fact that the decision was rendered by the trial court on June 14, state (Aquino, The Revised Penal Code, Vol. I, 1987 ed., p. 5). The above-cited
1995, when the Death Penalty Law had already taken effect. provision of the Constitution is penal in character since it deals with the penalty to be
imposed for capital crimes. This penal provision may be given retroactive effect during
three possible stages of a criminal prosecution: (a) when the crime has been
Article 21 of the Revised Penal Code provides that no felony shall be punishable by
committed and the prosecution began; (b) when sentence has been passed but the
any penalty not prescribed by law prior to its commission. At the time of the
service has not begun; and (c) when the sentence is being carried out (Gregorio,
commission of the crime in 1984, as held by the trial court, robbery with rape, if
Fundamentals of Criminal Law Review, 1988 ed., p. 167, citing Escalante vs. Santos,
committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons, was
56 Phil. 483 [1932]).
punishable by reclusion perpetua to death (Article 294[2], Revised Penal Code [as
amended by Presidential Decree No. 767]).
In the light of the discussion above, there is no question that the abolition of the death
penalty benefits herein accused-appellants. Perforce, the subsequent reimposition of
True, in 1987, the Constitution abolished the death penalty subject to Congress' future
the death penalty will not affect them. The framers of the Constitution themselves
restoration thereof "for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes." At the time of
state that the law to be passed by Congress reimposing the death penalty (Republic
such ratification, the instant case was still at its trial stage. No penalty had as yet then
Act 7659) can only have prospective application (Bernas, The 1987 Constitution the
been imposed. Considering that the provision provides that "[a]ny death penalty
Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary, 1996 ed., p. 508, citing I RECORD, p.
already imposed shall be reduced to reclusion perpetua," it is clear that the framers
748; Bernas, The Intent of the 1986 Constitution Writers, 1995 ed., p. 227, citing I
intended said provision to have a retroactive effect on cases pending without any
Record, p. 747-748).
penalty of death having been imposed yet. Consequently, upon ratification of the 1987
Constitution, any death penalty already imposed is automatically — without need for
any executive action — commuted (Bernas, The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of There is no question that a person has no vested right in any rule of law which entitles
the Philippines: A Commentary, 1996 ed., p. 508). him to insist that it shall remain unchanged for his benefit, nor has he a vested right in
the continued existence of a statute which precludes its change or repeal, nor in any
omission to legislate on a particular matter. However, a subsequent statute cannot be
The instant case poses the following issue: When the death penalty was abolished in
so applied retroactively as to impair a right that accrued under the old law (Agpalo,
1987 and was retroactively applied to herein accused-appellants, did they gain a
Statutory Construction, 1986 ed., p. 264, citing Benguet Consolidated Mining Co. vs.
vested right thereto so that any future act restoring the death penalty would no longer
Pineda, 98 Phil. 711 [1956]; Laurel vs. Misa, 76 Phil. 372 [1946]). Courts have thus
cover them? An affirmative answer would free accused-appellants from the fatal
given statutes strict construction to prevent their retroactive operation in order that the
clutches of the death penalty.
statutes would not impair or interfere with vested or existing rights. Clearly, accused-
appellants' right to be benefited by the abolition of the death penalty accrued or
Ours is a government of laws and not of men. The idea that an individual may be attached by virtue of Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code. This benefit cannot be
compelled to hold his life (or lose it), or the means of living, at the mere will of another, taken away from them.
is intolerable in any country where freedom prevails (Villavicencio vs. Lukban, 39 Phil.
778 [1919]). Before us is a heinous crime indeed where people were harmed, robbed,
Since the retroactive application of a law usually divests rights that have already
ravished, and abused in the defaced sanctity of their own homes. It is but human
become vested (Benzonan vs. Court of Appeals, 205 SCRA 515 [1992]), the rule in
nature to feel some measure of loathing, disgust, and hatred for the offenders
statutory construction is that all statutes are to be construed as having only a
considering the inhuman aspect of the crime committed. However, the ascendancy of
prospective operation unless the purpose and intention of the legislature to give them
the law is axiomatic in our type of government. Every official act must be based on
a retrospective effect is expressly declared or is necessarily implied from the language
and must conform to the authority of a valid law, lacking which the act must be
used (Balatbat vs. Court of Appeals, 205 SCRA 419 [1992]).
rejected (Cruz, Phil. Political Law, 1996 ed., p. 51). The nobility of our intention is
insufficient.
By analogy, we apply the rule in labor law which provides that benefits accruing to
workmen under the old law cannot be taken away from them by a succeeding law. In
There is no doubt that the abolition of the death penalty in 1987 retroactively affected
the case at bar, there is greater reason to apply this principle since the very taking of
and benefited accused-appellants. Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code provides that
life is involved and is at issue.
"[p]enal laws shall have a retroactive effect insofar as they favor the person guilty of a
felony, who is not a habitual criminal . . . although at the time of the publication of such
laws a final sentence has been pronounced and the convict is serving the same." As regards accused-appellant's civil liability, the trial court, in Criminal Case No.
18376, correctly awarded P700.00 to Corazon Aliman representing the total value of
the cash and personal property forcibly taken, and P8,000.00 to Reynaldo Aliman
representing expenses incurred for medication and hospitalization. However, in
Criminal Case No. 18305, the trial court failed to order indemnification for the multiple Aliman, and P8,000.00 representing the expenses incurred by Reynaldo Aliman for
rapes. Thus, in line with the pronouncement in People vs. Victor (G.R. No. 127903, medication and hospitalization;
July 9, 1998) wherein we said:
(c) In Criminal Case No. 18305, the penalty imposed is reduced to reclusion perpetua;
One other point of concern has to be addressed. Indictments for and
rape continue unabated and the legislative response has been in
the form of higher penalties. The Court believes that, on like
(d) Aside from the amount of P6,500.00 already awarded by the trial court to the
considerations, the jurisprudential path on the civil aspect should
Carcillar family representing the value of the cash and articles taken, the victims in
follow the same direction. Hence, starting with the case at bar, if
Criminal Case No. 18305 are hereby awarded an additional P75,000 as indemnity for
the crime of rape is committed or effectively qualified by any of
each count of rape, P50,000.00 for each count of rape as moral damages, and
the circumstances under which the death penalty is authorized by
P10,000 for each count of rape as exemplary damages, for which amounts all the
the present amended law, the indemnity for the victim shall be in
three accused-appellant are jointly and severally liable.
the increased amount of not less than P75,000.00. This is not
only a reaction to the apathetic societal perception of the penal
law and the financial fluctuations over time, but also an SO ORDERED.1âwphi1.nêt
expression of the displeasure of the Court over the incidence of
heinous crimes against chastity.

accused-appellants should be made to pay P375,000.00 as indemnification for five


counts of rape (considering that Juliana Carcillar was twice raped by accused-
appellant Mijaque) in addition to the sum of P6,500.00 representing the value of the
cash and articles that were taken from the victims. In line with the recent ruling
inPeople vs. Prades (G.R. No. 127569, July 30, 1998), moral damages in the amount
of P50,000.00 for each count of rape, or a total of P250,000.00 is likewise awarded.
Lastly, so that the instant case may serve as an object lesson to the public, exemplary
damages in the amount of P10,000 per count of rape is further awarded (People vs.
Burce, 269 SCRA 293 [1997]).

Because of the findings of conspiracy, accused-appellants Patalin and Mijaque are


jointly and severally liable for the amounts awarded in Criminal Case No. 18376;
whereas all three accused-appellants are solidarily liable for the amounts awarded in
Criminal Case No. 18305.

WHEREFORE, finding the conviction of accused-appellants justified by the evidence


on record, the Court hereby AFFIRMS said judgment, with the following modifications:

(a) In Criminal Case No. 18376, for purposes of the Indeterminate Sentence Law,
considering that the aggravating circumstances of band, nighttime, and dwelling
attended the commission of the crime, accused-appellants Patalin and Mijaque are
hereby sentenced to an indeterminate penalty ranging from six (6) years of prision
correccional, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months, and one (1) day
of reclusion temporal, as maximum;

(b) Accused-appellants Patalin and Mijaque are jointly and severally held liable for the
amounts awarded by the trial court in said criminal case, particularly, the amount of
P700.00 representing the total value of the cash and articles taken from Corazon
Republic of the Philippines plaintiff to defendant and refunded to him by the latter from the first
SUPREME COURT semester up to and including the first semester of his last year in the college
Manila of law or the fourth year, is in total P1,033.87. After graduating in law from
Abad Santos University he applied to take the bar examination. To secure
permission to take the bar he needed the transcripts of his records in
EN BANC
defendant Arellano University. Plaintiff petitioned the latter to issue to him
the needed transcripts. The defendant refused until after he had paid back
G.R. No. L-15127 May 30, 1961 the P1,033 87 which defendant refunded to him as above stated. As he
could not take the bar examination without those transcripts, plaintiff paid to
defendant the said sum under protest. This is the sum which plaintiff seeks
EMETERIO CUI, plaintiff-appellant,
to recover from defendant in this case.
vs.
ARELLANO UNIVERSITY, defendant-appellee.
Before defendant awarded to plaintiff the scholarship grants as above
stated, he was made to sign the following contract covenant and agreement:
G.A.S. Sipin, Jr., for plaintiff-appellant.
E. Voltaire Garcia for defendant-appellee.
"In consideration of the scholarship granted to me by the University, I
hereby waive my right to transfer to another school without having refunded
CONCEPCION, J.:
to the University (defendant) the equivalent of my scholarship cash.

Appeal by plaintiff Emeterio Cui from a decision of the Court of First Instance of
Manila, absolving defendant Arellano University from plaintiff's complaint, with costs (Sgd.) Emeterio Cui".
against the plaintiff, and dismissing defendant's counter claim, for insufficiency of
proof thereon.

It is admitted that, on August 16, 1949, the Director of Private Schools issued
In the language of the decision appealed from: Memorandum No. 38, series of 1949, on the subject of "Scholarship," addressed to
"All heads of private schools, colleges and universities," reading:
The essential facts of this case are short and undisputed. As established by
the agreement of facts Exhibits X and by the respective oral and 1. School catalogs and prospectuses submitted to this, Bureau show that
documentary evidence introduced by the parties, it appears conclusive that some schools offer full or partial scholarships to deserving students — for
plaintiff, before the school year 1948-1949 took up preparatory law course in excellence in scholarship or for leadership in extra-curricular activities. Such
the defendant University. After finishing his preparatory law course plaintiff inducements to poor but gifted students should be encouraged. But to
enrolled in the College of Law of the defendant from the school year 1948- stipulate the condition that such scholarships are good only if the students
1949. Plaintiff finished his law studies in the defendant university up to and concerned continue in the same school nullifies the principle of merit in the
including the first semester of the fourth year. During all the school years in award of these scholarships.
which plaintiff was studying law in defendant law college, Francisco R.
Capistrano, brother of the mother of plaintiff, was the dean of the College of
Law and legal counsel of the defendant university. Plaintiff enrolled for the 2. When students are given full or partial scholarships, it is understood that
last semester of his law studies in the defendant university but failed to pay such scholarships are merited and earned. The amount in tuition and other
his tuition fees because his uncle Dean Francisco R. Capistrano having fees corresponding to these scholarships should not be subsequently
severed his connection with defendant and having accepted the deanship charged to the recipient students when they decide to quit school or to
and chancellorship of the College of Law of Abad Santos University, plaintiff transfer to another institution. Scholarships should not be offered merely to
left the defendant's law college and enrolled for the last semester of his attract and keep students in a school.
fourth year law in the college of law of the Abad Santos University
graduating from the college of law of the latter university. Plaintiff, during all 3. Several complaints have actually been received from students who have
the time he was studying law in defendant university was awarded enjoyed scholarships, full or partial, to the effect that they could not transfer
scholarship grants, for scholastic merit, so that his semestral tuition fees to other schools since their credentials would not be released unless they
were returned to him after the ends of semester and when his scholarship would pay the fees corresponding to the period of the scholarships. Where
grants were awarded to him. The whole amount of tuition fees paid by
the Bureau believes that the right of the student to transfer is being denied 1951 was void as against public policy. In the case of Zeigel vs. Illinois Trust
on this ground, it reserves the right to authorize such transfer. and Savings Bank, 245 Ill. 180, 19 Ann. Case 127, the court said: 'In
determining a public policy of the state, courts are limited to a consideration
of the Constitution, the judicial decisions, the statutes, and the practice of
that defendant herein received a copy of this memorandum; that plaintiff asked the
government officers.' It might take more than a government bureau or office
Bureau of Private Schools to pass upon the issue on his right to secure the transcript
to lay down or establish a public policy, as alleged in your communication,
of his record in defendant University, without being required to refund the sum of
but courts consider the practices of government officials as one of the four
P1,033.87; that the Bureau of Private Schools upheld the position taken by the plaintiff
factors in determining a public policy of the state. It has been consistently
and so advised the defendant; and that, this notwithstanding, the latter refused to
held in America that under the principles relating to the doctrine of public
issue said transcript of records, unless said refund were made, and even
policy, as applied to the law of contracts, courts of justice will not recognize
recommended to said Bureau that it issue a written order directing the defendant to
or uphold a transaction which its object, operation, or tendency is calculated
release said transcript of record, "so that the case may be presented to the court for
to be prejudicial to the public welfare, to sound morality or to civic
judicial action." As above stated, plaintiff was, accordingly, constrained to pay, and did
honesty (Ritter vs. Mutual Life Ins. Co., 169 U.S. 139; Heding vs.
pay under protest, said sum of P1,033.87, in order that he could take the bar
Gallaghere 64 L.R.A. 811; Veazy vs. Allen, 173 N.Y. 359). If Arellano
examination in 1953. Subsequently, he brought this action for the recovery of said
University understood clearly the real essence of scholarships and the
amount, aside from P2,000 as moral damages, P500 as exemplary damages, P2,000
motives which prompted this office to issue Memorandum No. 38, s. 1949, it
as attorney's fees, and P500 as expenses of litigation.
should have not entered into a contract of waiver with Cui on September 10,
1951, which is a direct violation of our Memorandum and an open challenge
In its answer, defendant reiterated the stand it took, vis-a-vis the Bureau of Private to the authority of the Director of Private Schools because the contract was
Schools, namely, that the provisions of its contract with plaintiff are valid and binding repugnant to sound morality and civic honesty. And finally, in Gabriel vs.
and that the memorandum above-referred to is null and void. It, likewise, set up a Monte de Piedad, Off. Gazette Supp. Dec. 6, 1941, p. 67 we read: 'In order
counterclaim for P10,000.00 as damages, and P3,000 as attorney's fees. to declare a contract void as against public policy, a court must find that the
contract as to consideration or the thing to be done, contravenes some
established interest of society, or is inconsistent with sound policy and good
The issue in this case is whether the above quoted provision of the contract between morals or tends clearly to undermine the security of individual rights. The
plaintiff and the defendant, whereby the former waived his right to transfer to another
policy enunciated in Memorandum No. 38, s. 1949 is sound
school without refunding to the latter the equivalent of his scholarships in cash, is valid policy. Scholarship are awarded in recognition of merit not to keep
or not. The lower court resolved this question in the affirmative, upon the ground that outstanding students in school to bolster its prestige. In the understanding of
the aforementioned memorandum of the Director of Private Schools is not a law; that that university scholarships award is a business scheme designed to
the provisions thereof are advisory, not mandatory in nature; and that, although the increase the business potential of an education institution. Thus conceived it
contractual provision "may be unethical, yet it was more unethical for plaintiff to quit is not only inconsistent with sound policy but also good morals. But what is
studying with the defendant without good reasons and simply because he wanted to morals? Manresa has this definition. It is good customs; those generally
follow the example of his uncle." Moreover, defendant maintains in its brief that the accepted principles of morality which have received some kind of social and
aforementioned memorandum of the Director of Private Schools is null and void
practical confirmation. The practice of awarding scholarships to attract
because said officer had no authority to issue it, and because it had been neither students and keep them in school is not good customs nor has it received
approved by the corresponding department head nor published in the official gazette. some kind of social and practical confirmation except in some private
institutions as in Arellano University. The University of the Philippines which
We do not deem it necessary or advisable to consider as the lower court did, the implements Section 5 of Article XIV of the Constitution with reference to the
question whether plaintiff had sufficient reasons or not to transfer from defendant giving of free scholarships to gifted children, does not require scholars to
University to the Abad Santos University. The nature of the issue before us, and its far reimburse the corresponding value of the scholarships if they transfer to
reaching effects, transcend personal equations and demand a determination of the other schools. So also with the leading colleges and universities of the
case from a high impersonal plane. Neither do we deem it essential to pass upon the United States after which our educational practices or policies are
validity of said Memorandum No. 38, for, regardless of the same, we are of the opinion patterned. In these institutions scholarships are granted not to attract and to
that the stipulation in question is contrary to public policy and, hence, null and void. keep brilliant students in school for their propaganda mine but to reward
The aforesaid memorandum merely incorporates a sound principle of public policy. As merit or help gifted students in whom society has an established interest or
the Director of Private Schools correctly pointed, out in his letter, Exhibit B, to the a first lien. (Emphasis supplied.)
defendant,
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed and another one shall
There is one more point that merits refutation and that is whether or not the be entered sentencing the defendant to pay to the plaintiff the sum of P1,033.87, with
contract entered into between Cui and Arellano University on September 10,
interest thereon at the legal rate from September 1, 1954, date of the institution of this
case, as well as the costs, and dismissing defendant's counterclaim. It is so ordered.
Republic of the Philippines subject lands were inherited by his six children, who are among the petitioners, and
SUPREME COURT who caused the consolidation and subdivision of the properties among themselves.
Manila
Between the years 1960 and 1965, the properties were either mortgaged or leased by
SECOND DIVISION the petitioners-children of Cirilo Leal — to their co-petitioners.

G.R. No. L-65425 November 5, 1987 Sometime before the agricultural year 1966-1967, Vicente Santiago approached the
petitioners and offered re- repurchase the subject properties. Petitioners, however,
refused the offer. Consequently, Vicente Santiago instituted a complaint for specific
IRENEO LEAL, JOSE LEAL, CATALINA LEAL, BERNABELA LEAL, VICENTE
performance before the then Court of First Instance of Quezon City on August 2,
LEAL EUIOGIA LEAL PATERNO RAMOS, MACARIO DEL ROSARIO,
1967.
MARGARITA ALBERTO, VICTORIA TORRES, JUSTINA MANUEL, JULIAN
MANUEL, MELANIA SANTOS, CLEMENTE SAMARIO, MARIKINA VALLEY, INC.,
MIGUELA MENDOZA, and REGISTER OF DEEDS OF RIZAL, petitioners, All the trial, the court a quo rendered its decision,-dismissing the complaint on the
vs. ground that the same was still premature considering that there was, as yet, no sale
THE HONORABLE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT (4th Civil Cases nor any alienation equivalent to a sale. Not satisfied with this decision, the private
Division), and VICENTE SANTIAGO (Substituted by SALUD M. respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals and the latter, acting through the Fourth
SANTIAGO), respondents. Division and with Justice Edgardo Paras as ponente affirmed the decision of the
court a quo.

The petitioners seasonably filed a motion to amend the dispositive portion of the
decision so as to include an order for the cancellation of the annotations at the back of
SARMIENTO, J.:
the Transfer certificates of Title issued in their favor. The private respondent,-on the
other hand, filed a-timely motion for reconsideration of the above decision and an
In its resolution dated September 27, 1983, the respondent Intermediate Appellate opposition to petitioners' motion to amend. These incidents were not resolved until
Court, 1 speaking through Justice Porfirio V, Sison, ordered, in part, the petitioners to then Court of Appeals was abolished and in lieu of which the Intermideate Appellate
accept the sum of P5,600.00 from the private respondent as repurchase price of the Court was established In view of the said reorganization, case was reassigned to the
lots described in the "Compraventa" and, thereafter, to execute a Deed of Repurchase Fourth Civil in this cases Division.
to effect transfer over ownership over the same properties to the private respondent.
Resolving the abovestated motion for reconsideration, the respondent court, in a
This ruling was a complete reversal of the earlier decision, 2 dated June 28, 1.978, resolution penned by Justice Sison and promulgated on September 27, 1983, ruled,
penned by Justice Paras, of the Court of Appeals, in the same case, affirming the trial as follows:
court's dismissal of the private respondent's complaint.
WHEREFORE, Our decision of June 28, 1978 is hereby reversed
The petitioners, feeling aggrieved and astonished by the complete turnaround of the and set aside and another one is rendered ordering: (1)
respondent court, come to Us with this petition for review by certiorari. defendants-appellees surnamed Leal to accept the sum of
P5,600.00 from plaintiff-appellant (substituted by Salud M.
Santiago) as repurchase price of the lots described in the
The antecedent facts are undisputed. "Compraventa" of March 21, 1941, and thereafter to execute a
deed of repurchase sufficient in law to transfer ownership of the
This case brings us back almost half a century ago, on March 21, 1941, when a properties to appellant Salud M. Santiago, the same to be done
document entitled "Compraventa," written entirely in the Spanish language, involving within five (5) days from payment; (2) ordering the same
three parcels of land, was executed by the private respondent's predecessors-in- defendants Leals and defendant Clemente Samario to indemnify
interest, Vicente Santiago and his brother, Luis Santiago, in favor of Cirilio Leal the appellant in the sum of P3,087.50 as rental for the year 1967-
deceased father of some of the petitioners, Pursuant to this "Compraventa," the title 1968 and the same amount every year thereafter; (3) ordering an
over the three parcels of land in the name of the vendors was cancelled and a new the defendants jointly and severally to pay the sum of Pl,500.00
one was issued in the name of Cirilo Leal who immediately took possession and as attorney's fees and other expenses of litigation; and (4)
exercised ownership over the said lands. When Cirilo died on December 10, 1959, the ordering defendant Register of Deeds of Rizal to cancel Transfer
Certificate of Title No. 42535 in the names of Vicente Santiago We agree with the Paras ponencia.
and Luis Santiago upon presentation of the deed of sale herein
ordered to be executed by the appellees in favor of Salud M.
Contracts are generally binding between the parties, their assigns and heirs; however,
Santiago and to issue thereof another Transfer Certificate of Title
under Art. 1255 of the Civil Code of Spain, which is applicable in this instance, pacts,
in the name alone of Salud M. Santiago. No costs here and in the
clauses, and conditions which are contrary to public order are null and void, thus,
courts (sic) below.
without any binding effect.

SO ORDERED.
Parenthetically, the equivalent provision in the Civil Code of the Philippines is that of
Art. 1306, which states: "That contracting parties may establish such stipulations,
Verily, the well-spring whence the present controversy arose is the abovementioned clauses, terms and conditions as they may deem convenient, provided they are not
"Compraventa," more particularly paragraph (b) thereof, to wit: contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order, or public policy. Public order
signifies the public weal — public policy. 5 Essentially, therefore, public order and
public policy mean one and the same thing. Public policy is simply the English
xxx xxx xxx
equivalent of "order publico" in Art. 1255 of the Civil Code of Spain. 6

(b) En caso de venta, no podran vender a otros dichos tres lotes


One such condition which is contrary to public policy is the present prohibition to self
de terreno sino al aqui vendedor Vicente Santiago, o los
to third parties, because the same virtually amounts to a perpetual restriction to the
herederos o sucesores de este por el niismo precio de CINCO
right of ownership, specifically the owner's right to freely dispose of his properties.
MIL SEISCIENTOS PESOS (P5,600.00) siempre y cuando estos
This, we hold that any such prohibition, indefinite and stated as to time, so much so
ultimos pueden hacer la compra. 3
that it shall continue to be applicable even beyond the lifetime of the original parties to
the contract, is, without doubt, a nullity. In the light of this pronouncement, we grant
xxx xxx xxx the petitioners' prayer for the cancellation of the annotations of this prohibition at the
back of their Transfer Certificates 'Title.
which is now the subject of varying and conflicting interpretations.
It will be noted, moreover, that the petitioners have never sold, or even attempted to
sell, the properties subject of the "Compraventa. "
xxx xxx xxx

We now come to what we believe is the very issue in this case which is, whether or
It is admitted by both parties that the phrase "they shall not sell to others these three
not under the aforequoted paragraph (b) of the "Compraventa" a right of repurchase in
lots but only to the seller Vicente Santiago or to his heirs or successors" is an express favor of the private respondent exist.
prohibition against the sale of the lots described in the "Compraventa" to third persons
or strangers to the contract. However, while private respondent naturally lauds the
resolution of Justice Sison, which sustains the validity of this prohibition, the The ruling of the Fourth Division (Justice Paras) is that the said stipulation does not
petitioners, on the other hand, endorse the decision penned by Justice Paras, which grant a right to repurchase. Contrarily, the resolution of the Fourth Civil Cases Division
states, in part: (Justice P. V. Sison) interpreted the same provision as granting the right to repurchase
subject to a condition precedent.
xxx xxx xxx
Thus, the assailed Resolution, reversing the earlier decision of the same respondent
court, ruled
Finally, there is grave doubt re the validity of the ostensible
resolutory condition here, namely, the prohibition to sell the lots to
persons other than the vendor (appellant); uncertainly, a xxx xxx xxx
prohibition to alienate should not exceed at most a period of
twenty years, otherwise there would be subversion of public
The all-importartant phrase "en caso de venta," must of necessity
policy, which naturally frowns on unwarranted restrictions on the
refer to the sale of the properties either by Cirilo or his heirs to the
right of ownership. 4
Santiago brothers themselves or to their heirs, including
appellants Vicente Santiago including appellants Vicente
xxx xxx xxx Santiago and Salud M Santiago, for the same sum of P5,600.00,
"siempre y cuando estos ultimos pueden hacer la compra" (when WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Resolution dated September 27, 1983, of
the latter shall be able to buy it). the respondent court is SET ASIDE and the Decision promulgated on June 28, 1978 is
hereby REINSTATED. The annotations of the prohibition to sell at the back of TCT
Nos. 138837, 138838, 138839, 138840, 138841, and 138842 are hereby ordered
xxx xxx xxx
CANCELLED. Costs against the private respondent.

... We repeat, The words envision the situation contemplated by


SO ORDERED.
the contracting parties themselves, the resale of the lots to their
owners, and NOT to a sale of the lots to third parties or strangers
to the contracts. ... 7

xxx xxx xxx

The law provides that for conventional redemption to take place, the vendor should
reserve, in no uncertain terms, the right to repurchase the thing sold. 8 Thus, the right
to redeem must be expressly stipulated in the contract of sale in order that it may have
legal existence.

In the case before us, we cannot and any express or implied grant of a right to
repurchase, nor can we infer, from any word or words in the questioned paragraph,
the existence of any such right. The interpretation in the resolution (Justice Sison) is
rather strained. The phrase "in case case" of should be construed to mean "should the
buyers wish to sell which is the plain and simple import of the words, and not "the
buyers should sell," which is clearly a contorted construction of the same phrase. The
resort to Article 1373 of the Civil Code of the Philippines is erroneous. The subject
phrase is patent and unambiguous, hence, it must not be given another interpretation

But even assuming that such a right of repurchase is granted under the
"Compraventa," the petitioner correctly asserts that the same has already prescribed.
Under Art. 1508 of the Civil Code of Spain (Art,. 1606 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines), the right to redeem or repurchase, in the absence of an express
agreement as to time, shall last four years from the date of the contract. In this case
then, the right to repurchase, if it was at four guaranteed under in the "Compraventa,"
should have been exercise within four years from March 21, 1941 (indubitably the date
of execution of the contract), or at the latest in 1945.

In the respondent court's resolution, it is further ruled that the right to repurchase was
given birth by the condition precedent provided for in the phrase "siempre y cuando
estos ultimos pueden hacer la compra" (when the buyer has money to buy). In other
words, it is the respondent court's contention that the right may be exercised only
when the buyer has money to buy. If this were so, the second paragraph of Article
1508 would apply — there is agreement as to the time, although it is indefinite,
therefore, the right should be exercised within ten years, because the law does not
favor suspended ownership. Since the alleged right to repurchase was attempted to
be exercised by Vicente Santiago only in 1966, or 25 years from the date of the
contract, the said right has undoubtedly expired.
Republic of the Philippines SO ORDERED. 5
SUPREME COURT
Manila
The Antecedent Facts

THIRD DIVISION
The facts are narrated by the Court of Appeals as follows:

[Herein private respondent] Rosalia S. Lugod is the only child of


spouses Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca while [herein
G.R. No. 108947 September 29, 1997 private respondents] Arturo S. Lugod, Evelyn L. Ranises and
Roberto S. Lugod are the legitimate children of [herein private
respondent] Rosalia.
ROLANDO SANCHEZ, FLORIDA MIERLY SANCHEZ, ALFREDO T. SANCHEZ and
MYRNA T. SANCHEZ,petitioners,
vs. [Herein petitioners] Rolando, Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myrna, all
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, ROSALIA S. LUGOD, ARTURO S. surnamed Sanchez, are the illegitimate children of Juan C.
LUGOD, EVELYN LUGOD-RANISES and ROBERTO S. LUGOD, respondents. Sanchez.

Following the death of her mother, Maria Villafranca, on


September 29, 1967, [herein private respondent] Rosalia filed on
January 22, 1968, thru counsel, a petition for letters of
PANGANIBAN, J.:
administration over the estate of her mother and the estate of her
father, Juan C. Sanchez, who was at the time in state of senility
Is a petition for certiorari, in lieu of appeal, the proper remedy to correct orders of a (Annex "B", Petition).
probate court nullifying certain deeds of sale and, thus, effectively passing upon title to
the properties subject of such deeds? Is a compromise agreement partitioning
On September 30, 1968, [herein private respondent] Rosalia, as
inherited properties valid even without the approval of the trial court hearing the
administratrix of the intestate estate of her mother, submitted an
intestate estate of the deceased owner?
inventory and appraisal of the real and personal estate of her late
mother (Annex "C", Petition).
The Case
Before the administration proceedings Special in Proceedings No.
These questions are answered by this Court as it resolves the petition for review 44-M could formally be terminated and closed, Juan C. Sanchez,
on certiorari before us assailing the November 23, 1992 Decision 1 of the Court of [herein private respondent] Rosalia's father, died on October 21,
Appeals 2 in CA-G.R. SP No. 28761 which annulled the decision 3 of the trial 1968.
court 4 and which declared the compromise agreement among the parties valid and
binding even without the said trial court's approval. The dispositive portion of the
On January 14, 1969, [herein petitioners] as heirs of Juan C.
assailed Decision reads:
Sanchez, filed a petition for letters of administration (Special
Proceedings No. 1022) over the intestate estate of Juan C.
WHEREFORE, for the reasons hereinabove set forth and Sanchez, which petition was opposed by (herein private
discussed, the instant petition is GRANTED and the challenged respondent) Rosalia. 6
decision as well as the subsequent orders of the respondent court
are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The temporary restraining order
On October 30, 1969, however, [herein private respondent]
issued by this Court on October 14, 1992 is made PERMANENT.
Rosalia and [herein petitioners] assisted by their respective
The compromise agreement dated October 30, 1969 as modified
counsels executed a compromise agreement (Annex "D",
by the memorandum of agreement of April 13, 1970 is
Petition) wherein they agreed to divide the properties enumerated
DECLARED valid and binding upon herein parties. And Special
therein of the late Juan C. Sanchez.
Proceedings No. 44-M and 1022 are deemed CLOSED and
TERMINATED.
On November 3, 1969, petitioner Rosalia was appointed by [the promulgated its decision on June 26, 1991, the dispositive portion
trial court], and took her oath as the administratrix of her father's of which states:
intestate estate.
WHEREFORE, premises considered,
On January 19, 1970, [herein petitioners] filed a motion to require judgment is hereby rendered as follows by
administratrix, [herein private respondent] Rosalia, to deliver declaring and ordering:
deficiency of 24 hectares and or to set aside compromise
agreement (Annex "E", Petition).
1. That the entire intestate estate of Maria
Villafranca Sanchez under Special
Under date of April 13, 1970, (herein private respondent) Rosalia Proceedings No. 44-M consists of all her
and [herein petitioners] entered into and executed a paraphernal properties and one-half (1/2) of
memorandum of agreement which modified the compromise the conjugal properties which must be divided
agreement (Annex "F". Petition) equally between Rosalia Sanchez de Lugod
and Juan C. Sanchez;
On October 25, 1979, or nine years later, [herein petitioners] filed,
thru counsel, a motion to require [herein private respondent] 2. That the entire intestate estate of Juan C.
Rosalia to submit a new inventory and to render an accounting Sanchez under Special Proceedings No.
over properties not included in the compromise agreement 1022 consists of all his capital properties,
(Annex "G", Petition). They likewise filed a motion to defer the one-half (1/2) from the conjugal partnership
approval of the compromise agreement (Annex "H", Ibid), in which of gains and one-half (1/2) of the intestate
they prayed for the annulment of the compromise agreement on estate of Maria Villafranca under Special
the ground of fraud. Proceedings No. 44-M;

On February 4, 1980, however, counsel for [herein petitioners] 3. That one-half (1/2) of the entire intestate
moved to withdraw his appearance and the two motions he flied, estate of Juan C. Sanchez shall be inherited
Annex "G" and "H" (Annex "I", Petition). by his only legitimate daughter, Rosalia V.
Sanchez de Lugod while the other one-half
(1/2) shall be inherited and be divided equally
On February 28, 1980, the [trial] court issued an order directing
by, between and among the six (6)
[herein private respondent] Rosalia to submit a new inventory of
illegitimate children, namely: Patricia Alburo,
properties under her administration and an accounting of the fruits
Maria Ramuso Sanchez, Rolando Pedro T.
thereof, which prompted [herein private respondent] Rosalia to file
Sanchez, Florida Mierly T. Sanchez, Alfredo
a rejoinder on March 31, 1980 (Annex "K", Petition).
T. Sanchez and Myrna T. Sanchez;

On May 12, 1980, [herein petitioners], thru new counsel, filed a


4. That all the Deed (sic) of Absolute Sales
motion to change administratrix (Annex "L", Petition) to which
executed by Juan C. Sanchez and Maria
[herein private respondent] Rosalia filed an opposition (Annex
Villafranca in favor of Rosalia Sanchez
"M", Ibid).
Lugod, Arturo S. Lugod, Evelyn S. Lugod and
Roberto S. Lugod on July 26, 1963 and June
The parties were subsequently ordered to submit their respective 26, 1967 are all declared simulated and
position papers, which they did (Annexes "N" and "O", Petition). fictitious and must be subject to collation and
On September 14, 1989, former counsel of (herein petitioners) partition among all heirs;
entered his re-appearance as counsel for (herein petitioners).
5. That within thirty (30) days from finality of
On the bases of memoranda submitted by the parties, the [trial this decision, Rosalia Sanchez Lugod is
court], this time presided by Judge Vivencio A. Galon, hereby ordered to prepare a project of
partition of the intestate estate of Juan C.
Sanchez under Special Proceedings No. 8. Upon release of this decision and during its
1022 and distribute and deliver to all heirs pendency, should appeal be made, the
their corresponding shares. If she fails to do Register of Deeds and Assessors of the
so within the said thirty (30) days, then a Provinces and Cities where the properties of
Board of Commissioners is hereby Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca are
constituted, who are all entitled to honorarium located, are all ordered to register and
and per diems and other necessary expenses annotate in the title and/or tax declarations,
chargeable to the estate to be paid by the dispositive portion of this decision for the
Administratrix Rosalia S. Lugod, appointing protection of all heirs and all those who may
the Community Environment and Natural be concerned.
Resources Officer (CENRO) of Gingoog City
as members thereof, with the task to prepare
SO ORDERED.
the project of partition and deliver to all heirs
their respective shares within ninety (90)
days from the finality of said decision; [Herein private respondent] Rosalia filed a motion for
reconsideration dated July 17, 1991 (Annex "P", Petition) on
August 6, 1991.
6. That within thirty (30) days from receipt of
this decision, Administratrix Rosalia Sanchez
Vda. de Lugod is hereby ordered to submit On August 13, 1991, [herein petitioners] filed a motion for
two (2) separate certified true and correct execution and opposition to [herein private respondent] Rosalia's
accounting, one for the income of all the motion for reconsideration (Annex "Q", Petition).
properties of the entire intestate estate of
Maria Villafranca under Special Proceedings
No. 44-M, and another for the properties of On September 3, 1991, [the trial court] issued an Omnibus Order
the entire intestate estate of Juan C. Sanchez (Annex "S", Petition) declaring, among other things, that the
decision at issue had become final and executory.
under Special Proceedings No. 1022 duly
both signed by her and both verified by a
Certified Public Accountant and distribute and [Herein private respondent] Rosalia then filed a motion for
deliver to her six (6) illegitimate brothers and reconsideration of said Omnibus Order (Annex "T", Petition). Said
sisters in equal shares, one-half (1/2) of the [herein private respondent] was allowed to file a memorandum in
net income of the estate of Juan C. Sanchez support of her motion (Annex "V", Petition).
from October 21, 1968 up to the finality of this
decision;
On June 26, 1991, [the trial court] issued and Order denying
petitioner Rosalia's motion for reconsideration (Annex "W",
7. For failure to render an accounting report Petition). 7
and failure to give cash advances to the
illegitimate children of Juan C. Sanchez
during their minority and hour of need from Thereafter, private respondents elevated the case to the Court of Appeals via a
the net income of the estate of Juan C. petition for certiorari and contended:
Sanchez, which adversely prejudiced their
social standing and pursuit of college I
education, (the trial court) hereby orders
Rosalia Sanchez Vda. de Lugod to pay her
six (6) illegitimate brothers and sisters the The [trial court] has no authority to disturb the compromise
sum of Five Hundred Thousand agreement.
(P500,000.00) Pesos, as exemplary
damages, and also the sum of One Hundred II
Fifty Thousand (P150,000.00) Pesos for
attorney's fees;
The [trial court] has arbitrarily faulted [herein private respondent] 2. That the said deceased Juan C. Sanchez, left illegitimate
Rosalia S. Lugod for alleged failure to render an accounting which children, Intervenors-Oppositors and Petitioners, respectively,
was impossible. herein namely;

III (1) Patricio Alburo, born


out of wedlock on March
17, 1926 at Cebu City,
The [trial court] acted without jurisdiction in derogation of the
Philippines, to Emilia
constitutional rights of [herein private respondents] Arturo S.
Alburo;
Lugod, Evelyn L. Ranises and Roberto S. Lugod when [the trial
court] decided to annul the deed of sale between the said [herein
private respondents] and Juan C. Sanchez without affording them (2) Maria Ramoso
their day in court. Sanchez, born out of
wedlock on May 9, 1937
at Gingoog, Misamis
IV
Oriental, now, Gingoog
City, to Alberta Ramoso;
[The trial court judge] defied without rhyme or reason well-
established and entrenched jurisprudence when he determined
(3) (a) Rolando Pedro
facts sans any evidence thereon.
Sanchez, born on May
19, 1947,
V
(b) Florida Mierly
[The trial court] grossly misinterpreted [herein private respondent] Sanchez, born on
Rosalia S. Lugod's right to appeal.8 February 16, 1949,

For clarity's sake, this Court hereby reproduces verbatim the compromise (c) Alfredo Sanchez,
agreement 9 of the parties: born on July 21, 1950,
and
COMPROMISE AGREEMENT
(d) Myrna Sanchez, born
on June 16, 1952, all
COME NOW, the parties in the above-entitled case, motivated by
born out of wedlock to
their mutual desire to preserve and maintain harmonious relations Laureta Tampus in
between and among themselves, for mutual valuable Gingoog City,
considerations and in the spirit of good will and fair play, and, for Philippines.
the purpose of this Compromise Agreement, agree to the
following:
3. That the deceased Juan C. Sanchez left the following
properties, to wit:
1. That the deceased Juan C. Sanchez who died intestate on
October 21, 1968 was legally married to Maria Villafranca de
Sanchez, who predeceased her on September 29, 1967, out of I. SEPARATE CAPITAL OF JUAN C. SANCHEZ
whose wedlock Rosalia Sanchez Lugod, Oppositor herein, was
born, thus making her the sole and only surviving legitimate heir
NATURE, DESCRIPTION AND AREA ASSESSED VALUE
of her deceased parents;

(1) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax. Decl. No. 06458, Cad. Lot
No. 1041 C-2, located at Murallon, Gingoog City and bounded on
the North by Lot Nos. 1033, 1035, 1036, 1037, 1039, 1040, 1042 P2,370.00
& 1043; South by Lot No. 1080, 1088, 1087 & 1084; East by Lot
Nos. 1089, 1061 & 2319; West by Lot Nos. 954, 1038, 1057 &
(5) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06453, Cad. Lot
1056, containing an area of ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY THREE
No. 3270 Case 7, located at Sunog, Lunao, Gingoog City and
THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED SEVENTY TWO (183, 672) sq. ms.
bounded on the North by Samay Creek & Lot 3267; South by Lot
more or less.
Nos. 3271 & 3272; East by Lot Nos. 3269 & 3273; and West by
Samay Creek, containing an area of FOUR HUNDRED EIGHT
P21,690.00 THREE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED (483,600) sq. ms. more or
less.
II. CONJUGAL PROPERTY OF JUAN C. SANCHEZ AND MARIA
VILLAFRANCA DE SANCHEZ P61,680.00

(1) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06447, Cad. Lot (6) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06457, Cad. Lot
No. 2745, C-7 located at Agay-ayan, Gingoog City and bounded No. 3273, C-7 Part 2 located at Panyangan, Lunao, Gingoog City
on the North by Lot Nos. 2744, 2742, 2748; South by Lot No. and bounded on the North by Lot No. 3269; South by Lot No.
2739; East by Lot No. 2746; West by Lot No. 2741, containing an 3272; East by Panyangan River; and West by Lot No. 3270,
area of FOURTEEN THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED (14,700) containing an area of THIRTY FOUR THOUSAND THREE
sq. ms. more or less. HUNDRED (34,300) sq. ms. more or less, being claimed by
Miguel Tuto.
P1,900.00
P3,880.00
(2) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06449, Cad, Lot
No. 3271 C-7 located at Panyangan, Lanao, Gingoog City and (7) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 12000, Cad. Lot
bounded on the North by Lot No. 3270; South by Lot Nos. 2900 & No. 2806, Case 7 located at Agayayan, Gingoog City and
3462; East by Panyangan River & F. Lumanao; and Part of Lot bounded on the North by Agayayan River; South by Victoriano
3272; and West by Samay Creek, containing an area of ONE Barbac; East by Isabelo Ramoso; and West by Restituto Baol,
HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED (104,600) sq. ms. containing an area of SIX THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED SEVENTY
more or less. SIX (6,676) sq. ms. more or less.

P11,580.00 P380.00

(3) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06449, Cad. Lot (8) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 12924, Cad. Lot
No. 2319, Case 2, located at Murallon, Gingoog City and bounded No. 1206 C-1 located at Cahulogan, Gingoog City and bounded
on the North by Lot No. 1061; South by Hinopolan Creek; East by on the NW., by Lot No. 1209; SW., by Lot No. 1207; Eastby
Lot No. 1044; and West by Lot No. 1041, containing an area of National Highway; and West by Lot No. 1207; containing an area
THREE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE (3,225) sq. of FOUR THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED THIRTEEN (4,513) sq.
ms. more or less. ms. more or less.

(4) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06452, Cad. Lot P740.00
No. 3272, C-7 Part 4 located at Panyangan, Lunao, Gingoog City
and bounded on the North by Lot Nos. 3270 & 3273; East by
(9) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 12925, Cad. Lot
Panyangan River; South by Panyangan River; and West by Lot
No. 5554, located at Tinaytayan, Pigsalohan, Gingoog City and
Nos. 3270 & 3271, containing an area of FIFTY FIVE
bounded on the North by Lot Nos. 5559 & 5558; South by Lot No.
THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED (55,600) sq. ms. more or less, being
3486; East by Lot No. 5555; and West by Lot No. 5355,
claimed by Damian Querubin.
containing an area of EIGHTEEN THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED
TWENTY EIGHT (18,528) sq. ms. more or less.
P320.00 P3,370.00

(10) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 12926, Cad. Lot III. PERSONAL ESTATE (CONJUGAL)
No. 5555 C-7 located at Tinaytayan, Pigsalojan, Gingoog City and
bounded on the North by Tinaytayan Creek & Lot Nos. 5557 &
NATURE AND DESCRIPTION LOCATION APPRAISAL
5558; South by Lot Nos. 3486, 3487, 3488, 3491 & 3496; East by
Cr. & Lot No. 3496; and West by Lot No. 5554, containing an area
of SEVENTY SEVEN THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED SEVENTY 1. Fifty (50) shares of stock
SIX (77,776) sq. ms. more or less. Rural Bank of Gingoog, Inc.
at P100.00 per share P5,000.00
P1,350.00
2. Four (4) shares of Preferred Stock
with San Miguel Corporation 400.00
(11) A Commercial Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06454, Cad.
Lot No. 61-C-1 located at Guno-Condeza Sts., Gingoog City and
bounded on the North by Lot 64; South by Road-Lot 613 Condeza 4. That, the parties hereto have agreed to divide the above-
St; East by Lot Nos. 63, and 62; West by Road-Lot 614-Guno St., enumerated properties in the following manner, to wit:
containing an area of ONE THOUSAND FORTY TWO (1,042) sq.
ms. more or less.
(a) To Patricio Alburo,
Maria Ramoso Sanchez,
P9,320.00 Roland Pedro T.
Sanchez, Florida Mierly
Sanchez, Alfredo T.
(12) A Commercial Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 06484, Lot
Sanchez and Myrna T.
No. 5, Block 2, located at Cabuyoan, Gingoog City and bounded
Sanchez, in equal pro-
on the North by Lot No. 4, block 2; South by Lot No. 8, block 2;
indiviso shares,
East by Lot No. 6, block 2, West by Subdivision Road, containing
considering not only their
an area of FOUR HUNDRED (400) sq. ms. more or less.
respective areas but also
the improvements
P12,240.00 existing thereon, to wit:

(13) A Commercial Land. Covered by Tax Decl. No. 15798, Block Agricultural Land.
No. 7-A-16-0 located at Cabuyoan, Gingoog City and bounded on Covered by Tax Decl.
the North by Lot No. 7-A-16-0; South by Lot No. 7-16-0; East by No. 06453, Cad. Lot No.
Lot No. 7-A-18-Road; West by Lot No. 8, PSU-120704- 3270 Case 7, located at
Julito Arengo vs. Restituto Baol, containing an area of TWO Sunog, Lunao, Gingoog
HUNDRED SIXTEEN (216) sq. ms. more or less. City and bounded on the
North by Samay Creek &
Lot 3267; South by Lot
P1,050.00
Nos. 3271 and 3272;
East by Lot Nos. 3269 &
(14) Agricultural Land. Covered by Tax, Decl. No. 06789, Cad. Lot 3273; and West by
No. 5157-C-7, located at Kiogat, Agayayan, Gingoog City and Samay Creek, containing
bounded on the North by Lot No. 5158, 5159, 5156; South by SE- an area of FOUR
Steep Bank; East by NW, by Lot No. 5158, Villafranca, containing HUNDRED EIGHTY
an area of NINETY SIX THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED (96,200) THREE THOUSAND SIX
sq. ms. more or less. HUNDRED (483,600) sq.
ms. and assessed in the
sum of P61,680.00.
(b) To Rosalia Sanchez of
Lugod all the rest of the Patri
properties, both real and cio
personal, enumerated Albu
above with the exception ro;
of the following:
(2)
(1) The
Two hous
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5. That Rolando Pedro, Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myrna, all
of
surnamed Sanchez hereby acknowledge to have received jointly
prop
and severally in form of advances after October 21, 1968 the
ertie
aggregate sum of EIGHT THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY-
s,
THREE PESOS (P8,533.94) and NINETY-FOUR CENTAVOS;
whic
6. That the parties hereto likewise acknowledge and recognize in Rosalia S. Lugod, warranting that the parcel of land ceded to the
the indebtedness of the deceased Juan G. Sanchez and his other parties herein contains 48 hectares and 36 ares.
deceased wife Maria Villafranca Sanchez to the Lugod
Enterprises, Inc., in the sum of P43,064.99;
12. That, Rosalia S. Lugod shall assume as she hereby assumes
the payment to Lugod Enterprises, Inc., of the sum of P51,598.93
7. That the parties hereto shall be responsible for the payment of representing the indebtedness of the estate of Juan C. Sanchez
the estate and inheritance taxes proportionate to the value of their and Maria Villafranca de Sanchez and the advances made to
respective shares as may be determined by the Bureau of Internal Rolando Pedro, Mierly, Alfredo, and Myna all surnamed Sanchez,
Revenue and shall likewise be responsible for the expenses of mentioned in paragraphs 5 hereto agree to have letters of
survey and segregation of their respective shares; administration issued in favor of Rosalia S. Lugod without any
bond.
8. That Patricio Alburo, Maria Ramoso Sanchez, Roland Pedro
Sanchez, Florida Mierly Sanchez, Alfredo Sanchez and Myrna That Rosalia S. Lugod likewise agrees to deliver possession and
Sanchez hereby waive, relinquish and renounce, jointly and enjoyment of the parcel of land herein ceded to petitioners and
individually, in a manner that is absolute and irrevocable, all their intervenors immediately after the signing of this agreement and
rights and interests, share and participation which they have or that the latter also mutually agree among themselves to have the
might have in all the properties, both real and personal, known or said lot subdivided and partitioned immediately in accordance
unknown and/or which may not be listed herein, or in excess of with the proportion of one sixth (1/6) part for every petitioner and
the areas listed or mentioned herein, and/or which might have intervenor and that in the meantime that the partition and
been, at one time or another, owned by, registered or placed in subdivision is not yet effected, the administrations of said parcel
the name of either of the spouses Juan C. Sanchez or Maria of land shall be vested jointly with Laureta Tampos, guardian ad
Villafranca de Sanchez or both, and which either one or both litem of petitioners and Maria Ramoso, one of the intervenors who
might have sold, ceded, transferred, or donated to any person or shall see to it that each petitioner and intervenor is given one sixth
persons or entity and which parties hereto do hereby confirm and (1/6) of the net proceeds of all agricultural harvest made thereon.
ratify together with all the improvements thereon, as well as all the
produce and proceeds thereof, and particularly of the properties,
WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that the foregoing
real and personal listed herein, as well as demandable obligations
compromise agreement be approved.
due to the deceased spouses Juan C. Sanchez, before and after
the death of the aforementioned spouses Juan C. Sanchez and
Maria Villafranca de Sanchez, in favor of oppositor Rosalia S. Medina, Misamis Oriental, October 30, 1969.
Lugod;
(Sgd.) (Sgd.)
9. That the expenses of this litigation including attorney's fees PATRICIO ALBURO ROSALIA S. LUGOD
shall be borne respectively by the parties hereto; Intervenor-Oppositor Oppositor

10. That Laureta Tampus for herself and guardian ad-litem of her (Sgd.)
minor children, namely: Florida Mierly, Alfredo, and Myrna, all MARIA RAMOSO SANCHEZ ASSISTED BY:
surnamed Sanchez, hereby declare that she has no right, interest, Intervenor-Oppositor
share and participation whatsoever in the estate left by Juan C.
Sanchez and/or Maria Villafranca de Sanchez, or both, and that
she likewise waives, renounces, and relinquishes whatever rigid, (Sgd.)
share, participation or interest therein which she has or might ASSISTED BY: PABLO S. REYES
R-101-Navarro Bldg.
have in favor of Rosalia S. Lugod;
(Sgd.) Don A. Velez St.
REYNALDO L. FERNANDEZ Cagayan de Oro City
11. That, the parties hereto mutually waive and renounce in favor Gingoong City
of each other any whatever claims or actions, arising from,
connected with, and as a result of Special Proceedings Nos. 44-M
and 1022 of the Court of First Instance of Misamis Oriental,
(Sgd.) (Sgd.) In due course, the Court of Appeals, as earlier stated, rendered its assailed Decision
ROLANDO PEDRO T. SANCHEZ ALFREDO T. SANCHEZ granting the petition, setting aside the trial court's decision and declaring the modified
Petitioner Petitioner compromise agreement valid and binding.

(Sgd.) (Sgd.) Hence, this appeal to this Court under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
FLORIDA MIERLY T. SANCHEZ MYRNA T. SANCHEZ
Petitioner Petitioner
The Issues

(Sgd.)
In this appeal, petitioners invite the Court's attention to the following issues:
LAURETA TAMPUS
For herself and as Guardian
Ad-Litem of the minors I
Florida Mierly, Alfredo, and
Myrna, all surnamed Sanchez
The respondent court grossly erred in granting the petition
for certiorari under Rule 65 considering that the special civil action
ASSISTED BY: of certiorari may not be availed of as a substitute for an appeal
and that, in any event, the grounds invoked in the petition are
merely alleged errors of judgment which can no longer be done in
TEOGENES VELEZ, JR.
view of the fact that the decision of the lower court had long
Counsel for Petitioners
become final and executory.
Cagayan de Oro City

II
The Clerk of Court
Court of First Instance
Branch III, Medina, Mis. Or. Prescinding from the foregoing, the respondent court erred in
annulling the decision of the lower court for the reason that a
compromise agreement or partition as the court construed the
Greetings:
same to be, executed by the parties on October 30, 1969 was
void and unenforceable the same not having been approved by
Please set the foregoing compromise agreement for the approval the intestate court and that the same having been seasonably
of the Honorable Court today, Oct. 30, 1969. repudiated by petitioners on the ground of fraud.

(Sgd.) (Sgd.) (Sgd.) III


PABLO S. REYES TEOGENES VELEZ, JR. REYNALDO L.
FERNANDEZ
The respondent court grossly erred in ignoring and disregarding
findings of facts of the lower court that the alleged conveyances of
The Memorandum of Agreement dated April 13, 1970, which the parties entered into real properties made by the spouses Juan C. Sanchez and Maria
with the assistance of their counsel, amended the above compromise. (It will be Villafranca just before their death in favor of their daughter and
reproduced later in our discussion of the second issue raised by the petitioners.) grandchildren, private respondents herein, are tainted with fraud
or made in contemplation of death, hence, collationable.
The Court of Appeals, in a Resolution 10 dated September 4, 1992, initially dismissed
private respondents' petition. Acting, however, on a motion for reconsideration and a IV
supplemental motion for reconsideration dated September 14, 1992 and September
25, 1992, respectively, 11 Respondent Court thereafter reinstated private respondents'
In any event, the respondent court grossly erred in treating the
petition in a resolution12 dated October 14, 1992.
lower court's declaration of fictitiousness of the deeds of sale as a
final adjudication of annulment.
V 231985); (3) for certain special consideration, as public welfare or public policy (See
Jose vs. Zulueta, et al. 16598, May 31, 1961 and the cases cited therein); (4) where in
criminal actions, the court rejects rebuttal evidence for the prosecution as, in case of
The respondent court grossly erred in declaring the termination of
acquittal, there could be no remedy (People vs. Abalos, L029039, Nov. 28, 1968); (5)
the intestate proceedings even as the lower court had not made a
where the order is a patent nullity (Marcelo vs. De Guzman, et al., L-29077, June 29,
final and enforceable distribution of the estate of the deceased
1982); and (6) where the decision in the certiorari case will avoid future litigations (St.
Juan C. Sanchez.
Peter Memorial Park, Inc. vs. Campos, et al., L-38280, Mar. 21, 1975)." 16 Even in a
case where the remedy of appeal was lost, the Court has issued the writ
VI ofcertiorari where the lower court patently acted in excess of or outside its
jurisdiction, 17 as in the present case.
Prescinding from the foregoing, the respondent court grossly
erred in not at least directing respondent Rosalia S. Lugod to A petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is appropriate and
deliver the deficiency of eight (8) hectares due petitioners under allowable when the following requisites concur: (1) the writ is directed against a
the compromise agreement and memorandum of agreement, and tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions; (2) such tribunal,
in not further directing her to include in the inventory properties board or officer has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of
conveyed under the deeds of sale found by the lower court to be discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (3) there is no appeal or any
part of the estate of Juan C. Sanchez. 13 plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. 18 After a thorough
review of the case at bar, we are convinced that all these requirements were met.
The salient aspects of some issues are closely intertwined; hence, they are hereby
consolidated into three main issues specifically dealing with the following subjects: (1) As a probate court, the trial court was exercising judicial functions when it issued its
the propriety of certiorari as a remedy before the Court of Appeals, (2) the validity of assailed resolution. The said court had jurisdiction to act in the intestate proceedings
the compromise agreement, and (3) the presence of fraud in the execution of the involved in this case with the caveat that, due to its limited jurisdiction, it could resolve
compromise and/or collation of the properties sold. questions of title only provisionally. 19 It is hornbook doctrine that "in a special
proceeding for the probate of a will, the question of ownership is an extraneous matter
which the probate court cannot resolve with finality. This pronouncement no doubt
The Court's Ruling applies with equal force to an intestate proceeding as in the case at bar." 20 In the
instant case, the trial court rendered a decision declaring as simulated and fictitious all
The petition is not meritorious. the deeds of absolute sale which, on July 26, 1963 and June 26, 1967, Juan C.
Sanchez and Maria Villafranca executed in favor of their daughter, Rosalia Sanchez
Lugod; and grandchildren, namely, Arturo S. Lugod, Evelyn S. Lugod and Roberto S.
First Issue: Propriety of Certiorari Lugod. The trial court ruled further that the properties covered by the said sales must
Before the Court of Appeals be subject to collation. Citing Article 1409 (2) of the Civil Code, the lower court nullified
said deeds of sale and determined with finality the ownership of the properties subject
Since private respondents had neglected or failed to file an ordinary appeal within the thereof . In doing so, it clearly overstepped its jurisdiction as a probate court.
reglementary period, petitioners allege that the Court of Appeals erred in allowing Jurisprudence teaches:
private respondent's recourse to Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. They contend that
private respondents' invocation of certiorari was "procedurally defective." 14 They [A] probate court or one in charge of proceedings whether testate
further argue that private respondents, in their petition before the Court of Appeals, or intestate cannot adjudicate or determine title to properties
alleged errors of the trial court which, being merely errors of judgment and not errors claimed to be a part of the estate and which are claimed to belong
of jurisdiction, were not correctable by certiorari. 15 This Court disagrees. to outside parties. All that the said court could do as regards said
properties is to determine whether they should or should not be
Doctrinally entrenched is the general rule that certiorari is not a substitute for a lost included in the inventory or list of properties to be administered by
appeal. However, Justice Florenz D. Regalado lists several exceptions to this the administrator. If there is not dispute, well and good, but if
rule, viz.: "(1) where the appeal does not constitute a speedy and adequate remedy there is, then the parties, the administrator, and the opposing
(Salvadades vs. Pajarillo, et al., 78 Phil. 77), as where 33 appeals were involved from parties have to resort to an ordinary action for a final
orders issued in a single proceeding which will inevitably result in a proliferation of determination of the conflicting claims of title because the probate
more appeals (PCIB vs. Escolin, et al., L-27860 and 27896, Mar. 29, 1974); (2) where court cannot do so. 21
the orders were also issued either in excess of or without jurisdiction (Aguilar vs. Tan,
L-23600, Jun 30, 1970, Cf. Bautista, et al. vs. Sarmiento, et al., L-45137, Sept.
Furthermore, the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion when it rendered its Petitioners contend that, because the compromise agreement was executed during
decision in disregard of the parties' compromise agreement. 22 Such disregard, on the the pendency of the probate proceedings, judicial approval is necessary to shroud it
ground that the compromise agreement "was nor approved by the court," 23 is with validity. They stress that the probate court had jurisdiction over the properties
tantamount to "an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty covered by said agreement. They add that Petitioners Florida Mierly, Alfredo and
enjoined or to act in contemplation and within the bounds of law. " 24 Myrna were all miners represented only by their mother/natural guardian, Laureta
Tampus. 30
The foregoing issues clearly involve not only the correctness of the trial court's
decision but also the latter's jurisdiction. They encompass plain errors of jurisdiction These contentions lack merit. Article 2028 of the Civil Code defines a compromise
and grave abuse of discretion, not merely errors of judgment. 25 Since the trial court agreement as "a contract whereby the parties, by making reciprocal concessions,
exceeded its jurisdiction, a petition for certiorari is certainly a proper remedy. Indeed, it avoid a litigation or put an end to one already commenced." Being a consensual
is well-settled that "(a)n act done by a probate court in excess of its jurisdiction may be contract, it is perfected upon the meeting of the minds of the parties. Judicial approval
corrected by certiorari." 26 is not required for its perfection. 31 Petitioners' argument that the compromise was not
valid for lack of judicial approval is not novel; the same was raised in Mayuga
vs. Court of Appeals, 32 where the Court, through Justice Irene R. Cortes, ruled:
Consistent with the foregoing, the following disquisition by respondent appellate court
is apt:
It is alleged that the lack of judicial approval is fatal to the
compromise. A compromise is a consensual contract. As such, it
As a general proposition, appeal is the proper remedy of
is perfected upon the meeting of the minds of the parties to the
petitioner Rosalia here under Rule 109 of the Revised Rules of
contract. (Hernandez v. Barcelon, 23 Phil. 599 [1912]; see also
Court. But the availability of the ordinary course of appeal does
De los Reyes v. de Ugarte, 75 Phil. 505 [1945].) And from that
not constitute sufficient ground to [prevent] a party from making
moment not only does it become binding upon the parties (De los
use of the extraordinary remedy of certiorari where appeal is not
Reyes v. De Ugarte, supra ), it also has upon them the effect and
an adequate remedy or equally beneficial, speedy and sufficient
authority of res judicata (Civil Code, Art. 2037),even if not
(Echauz vs. Court of Appeals, 199 SCRA 381). Here, considering
judicially approved (Meneses v. De la Rosa, 77 Phil. 34 [1946];
that the respondent court has disregarded the compromise
Vda. De Guilas v. David, 132 Phil. 241, L-24280, 23 SCRA 762
agreement which has long been executed as early as October,
[May 27, 1968]; Cochingyan v. Cloribel, L-27070-71 [April 22,
1969 and declared null and void the deeds of sale with finality,
1977], 76 SCRA 361). (Emphasis found in the original.)
which, as a probate court, it has no jurisdiction to do, We deem
ordinary appeal is inadequate. Considering further the [trial
court's] granting of [herein petitioners') motion for execution of the In the case before us, it is ineludible that the parties knowingly and freely entered into
assailed decision, 27 [herein private respondent] Rosalia's resort a valid compromise agreement. Adequately assisted by their respective counsels, they
to the instant petition [for review on certiorari] is all the more each negotiated its terms and provisions for four months; in fact, said agreement was
warranted under the circumstances. 28 executed only after the fourth draft. As noted by the trial court itself, the first and
second drafts were prepared successively in July, 1969; the third draft on September
25, 1969; and the fourth draft, which was finally signed by the parties on October 30,
We thus hold that the questioned decision and resolutions of the trial court may be
1969, 33 followed. Since this compromise agreement was the result of a long drawn
challenged through a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of
out process, with all the parties ably striving to protect their respective interests and to
Court. At the very least, this case is a clear exception to the general rule
come out with the best they could, there can be no doubt that the parties entered into
that certiorari is not a substitute for a lost appeal because the trial court's decision and
it freely and voluntarily. Accordingly, they should be bound thereby. 34 To be valid, it is
resolutions were issued without or in excess of jurisdiction, which may thus be
merely required under the law to be based on real claims and actually agreed upon in
challenged or attacked at any time. "A void judgment for want of jurisdiction is no
good faith by the parties thereto. 35
judgment at all. It cannot be the source of any right nor the creator of any obligation.
All acts performed pursuant to it and all claims emanating from it have no legal effect.
Hence, it can never become final and any writ of execution based on it is void; ' . . . it Indeed, compromise is a form of amicable settlement that is not only allowed but also
may be said to be a lawless thing which can be treated as an outlaw and slain at sight, encouraged in civil cases. 36Article 2029 of the Civil Code mandates that a "court shall
or ignored wherever and whenever it exhibits its head.' " 29 endeavor to persuade the litigants in a civil case to agree upon some fair
compromise."
Second Issue: Validity of Compromise Agreement
In opposing the validity and enforcement of the compromise agreement, petitioners
harp on the minority of Florida Mierly, Alfredo and Myna. Citing Article 2032 of the Civil
Code, they contend that the court's approval is necessary in compromises entered Questions raised on appeal must be within the issues framed by the parties and,
into by guardians and parents in behalf of their wards or children. 37 consequently, issues not raised in the trial court cannot be raised for the first time on
appeal." 46
However, we observe that although denominated a compromise agreement, the
document in this case is essentially a deed of partition, pursuant to Article 1082 of the The petitioners likewise assail as void the provision on waiver contained in No. 8 of
Civil Code which provides that "[e]very act which is intended to put an end to indivision the aforequoted compromise, because it allegedly constitutes a relinquishment by
among co-heirs and legatees or devisees is deemed to be a partition, although it petitioners of "a right to properties which were not known." 47They argue that such
should purport to be a sale, an exchange, a compromise, or any other transaction." waiver is contrary to law, public policy, morals or good custom. The Court disagrees.
The assailed waiver pertained to their hereditary right to properties belonging to the
decedent's estate which were not included in the inventory of the estate's properties. It
For a partition to be valid, Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court, requires the
also covered their right to other properties originally belonging to the spouses Juan
concurrence of the following conditions: (1) the decedent left no will; (2) the decedent
Sanchez and Maria Villafranca de Sanchez which have been transferred to other
left no debts, or if there were debts left, all had been paid; (3) the heirs and liquidators
persons. In addition, the parties agreed in the compromise to confirm and ratify said
are all of age, or if they are minors, the latter are represented by their judicial guardian
transfers. The waiver is valid because, contrary to petitioners' protestation, the parties
or legal representatives; and (4) the partition was made by means of a public
waived a known and existing interest — their hereditary right which was already
instrument or affidavit duly filed with the Register of Deeds. 38 We find that all the
vested in them by reason of the death of their father. Article 777 of the Civil Code
foregoing requisites are present in this case. We therefore affirm the validity of the
provides that "(t)he rights to the succession are transmitted from the moment of death
parties' compromise agreement/partition in this case.
of the decedent." Hence, there is no legal obstacle to an heir's waiver of his/her
hereditary share "even if the actual extent of such share is not determined until the
In any event, petitioners neither raised nor ventilated this issue in the trial court. This subsequent liquidation of the estate." 48 At any rate, such waiver is consistent with the
new question or matter was manifestly beyond the pale of the issues or questions intent and letter of the law advocating compromise as a vehicle for the settlement of
submitted and threshed out before the lower court which are reproduced below, viz.: civil disputes. 49

I Are the properties which are the object of Finally, petitioners contend that Private Respondent Rosalia T. Lugod's alleged
the sale by the deceased spouses to their fraudulent acts, specifically her concealment of some of the decedent's properties,
grandchildren collationable? attended the actual execution of the compromise agreement.50 This argument is
debunked by the absence of any substantial and convincing evidence on record
showing fraud on her part. As aptly observed by the appellate court:
II Are the properties which are the object of
the sale by the deceased spouses to their
legitimate daughter also collationable? [Herein petitioners] accuse [herein private respondent] Rosalia of
fraud or deception by alleging, inter alia, that the parcel of land
given to them never conformed to the stated area, i.e., forty-eight
III The first and second issues being (48) hectares, as stated in the compromise agreement. We find
resolved, how much then is the rightful share this argument unconvincing and unmeritorious. [Herein
of the four (4) recognized illegitimate petitioners'] averment of fraud on the part of [herein private
children? 39
respondent] Rosalia becomes untenable when We consider the
memorandum of agreement they later executed with [herein
Furthermore, the 27-page Memorandum dated February 17, 1990 filed by petitioners private respondent] Rosalia wherein said compromise agreement
before the Regional Trial Court 40 readily reveals that they never questioned the was modified by correcting the actual area given to [herein
validity of the compromise. In their comment before the Court of Appeals, 41 petitioners petitioners] from forty-eight (48) hectares to thirty-six (36)
based their objection to sad compromise agreement on the solitary "reason that it was hectares only. If the actual area allotted to them did not conform
tainted with fraud and deception," zeroing specifically on the alleged fraud committed to the 48 hectare area stated in the compromise agreement, then
by private respondent Rosalia S. Lugod. 42 The issue of minority was first raised only why did they agree to the memorandum of agreement whereby
in petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration of the Court of Appeals' Decision; 43 thus, it their share in the estate of their father was even reduced to just
"is as if it was never duly raised in that court at all." 44 Hence, this Court cannot now, 36 hectares? Where is fraud or deception there? Considering that
for the first time on appeal, entertain this issue, for to do so would plainly violate the [herein petitioners] were ably represented by their lawyers in
basic rule of fair play, justice and due process. 45 We take this opportunity to reiterate executing these documents and who presumably had explained
and emphasize the well-settled rule that "(a)n issue raised for the first time on appeal to them the import and consequences thereof, it is hard to believe
and not raised timely in the proceedings in the lower court is barred by estoppel.
their charge that they were defrauded and deceived by [herein this case prepared by Geodetic Engineer
private respondent] Rosalia. Olegario E. Zalles pursuant to the Court's
commission of March 10, 1970 provided,
however, that if the said 36-hectare area
If the parcel of land given to [herein petitioners], when actually
could not be found after adding thereto the
surveyed, happened to be different in area to the stated area of
areas of said lots A and C, then the additional
48 hectares in the compromise agreement, this circumstance is
area shall be taken from what is designated
not enough proof of fraud or deception on [herein private
as Lot B, likewise also reflected in the said
respondent] Rosalia's part. Note that Tax Declaration No. 06453
sketch plan attached to the records;
plainly discloses that the land transferred to [herein petitioners]
pursuant to the compromise agreement contained an area of 48
hectares (Annex "A", Supplemental Reply). And when [herein c. That the partition among the six illegitimate
petitioners] discovered that the land allotted to them actually children of the late Juan C. Sanchez
contained only 24 hectares, a conference between the parties (petitioners and intervenors) shall be effective
took place which led to the execution and signing of the among themselves in such a manner to be
memorandum of agreement wherein [herein petitioners'] agreed upon by them, each undertaking to
distributive share was even reduced to 36 hectares. In the assume redemption of whatever plants found
absence of convincing and clear evidence to the contrary, the in their respective shares which need
allegation of fraud and deception cannot be successfully imputed redemption from the tenants thereof as well
to [herein private respondent] Rosalia who must be presumed to as the continuity of the tenancy agreements
have acted in good faith. 51 now existing and covering the said shares or
areas.
The memorandum of agreement freely and validly entered into by the parties on April
13, 1970 and referred to above reads: d. The subdivision survey shall be at the
expense of the said petitioners and
intervenors prorata.
MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT

e. That the administratrix agrees to deliver


The parties assisted by their respective counsel have agreed as
temporary administration of the area
they hereby agree:
designated as Lot 5 of the Valles Sketch Plan
pending final survey of the said 36-hectare
1. To amend the compromise agreement executed by them on area.
October 30, 1969 so as to include the following:
Cagayan de Oro City, April 13, 1970.
a. Correction of the actual area being given to
the petitioners and intervenors, all illegitimate
(Sgd.)
children of the late Juan C. Sanchez, forty-
LAURETA TAMPOS
eight (48) hectares, thirty-six (36) ares as
For herself and as Guardian
embodied in the aforementioned compromise
ad-litem of Rolando, Mierly,
agreement to thirty-six (36) hectares only,
Alfredo and Myrna, all
thus enabling each of them to get six (6)
surnamed Sanchez
hectares each.

Assisted by:
b. That the said 36-hectare area shall be
taken from that parcel of land which is now
covered by O.C.T. No. 146 (Patent No. (Sgd.)
30012) and the adjoining areas thereof TEOGENES VELEZ, Jr.
designated as Lot A and Lot C as reflected Counsel for Petitioners
on the sketch plan attached to the record of
(Sgd.) any," had been paid. This order for the distribution of the estate's residue must contain
ROSALIA S. LUGOD the names and shares of the persons entitled thereto. A perusal of the whole record,
Administratrix particularly the trial court's conclusion, 60 reveals that all the foregoing requirements
already concurred in this case. The payment of the indebtedness of the estates of
Juan C. Sanchez and Maria Villafranca in the amount of P51,598.93 was shouldered
Assisted by:
by Private Respondent Rosalia, who also absorbed or charged against her share the
advances of Rolando T. Lugod in the sum of P8,533.94, in compliance with Article
(Sgd.) 1061 of the Civil Code on collation. 61 Furthermore, the compromise of the parties,
PABLO S. REYES which is the law between them, already contains the names and shares of the heirs to
Counsel for Administratrix the residual estate, which shares had also been delivered. On this point, we agree
(Sgd.) with the following discussion of the Court of Appeals:
MARIA RABOSO SANCHEZ
Intervenor 52
But what the (trial court) obviously overlooked in its appreciation
of the facts of this case are the uncontroverted facts that (herein
Not only did the parties knowingly enter into a valid compromise agreement; they even petitioners) have been in possession and ownership of their
amended it when they realized some errors in the original. Such correction respective distributive shares as early as October 30, 1969 and
emphasizes the voluntariness of said deed. they have received other properties in addition to their distributive
shares in consideration of the compromise agreement which they
now assail. Proofs thereof are Tax Declarations No. 20984,
It is also significant that all the parties, including the then minors, had
20985, 20986, 20987, 20988, 20989 and 20990 (Annexes "B" to
already consummated and availed themselves of the benefits of their "H", Supplemental Reply) in the respective names of (herein
compromise. 53 This Court has consistently ruled that "a party to a compromise cannot
petitioners), all for the year 1972. (Herein petitioners) also
ask for a rescission after it has enjoyed its benefits." 54 By their acts, the parties are
retained a house and lot, a residential lot and a parcel of
ineludibly estopped from questioning the validity of their compromise agreement. agricultural land (Annexes "I", "J" and "K", Ibid.) all of which were
Bolstering this conclusion is the fact that petitioners questioned the compromise not considered in the compromise agreement between the
only nine years after its execution, when they filed with the trial court their Motion to
parties. Moreover, in the compromise agreement per se, it is
Defer Approval of Compromise Agreement, dated October 26, 1979. 55 In hindsight, it
undoubtedly stated therein that cash advances in the aggregate
is not at all farfetched that petitioners filed said motion for the sole reason that they sum of P8,533.94 were received by (herein petitioners) after
may have felt shortchanged in their compromise agreement or partition with private October 21, 1968 (Compromise Agreement, par. 5) 62
respondents, which in their view was unwise and unfair. While we may sympathize
with this rueful sentiment of petitioners, we can only stress that this alone is not
sufficient to nullify or disregard the legal effects of said compromise which, by its very All the foregoing show clearly that the probate court had essentially finished said
nature as a perfected contract, is binding on the parties. Moreover, courts have no intestate proceedings which, consequently, should be deemed closed and terminated.
jurisdiction to look into the wisdom of a compromise or to render a decision different In view of the above discussion, the Court sees no reversible error on the part of the
therefrom. 56 It is a well-entrenched doctrine that "the law does not relieve a party from Court of Appeals.
the effects of an unwise, foolish, or disastrous contract, entered into with all the
required formalities and with full awareness of what he was doing" 57 and "a
Third Issue: Fraud and Collation
compromise entered into and carried out in good faith will not be discarded even if
there was a mistake of law or fact, (McCarthy vs. Barber Steamship Lines, 45 Phil.
488) because courts have no power to relieve parties from obligations voluntarily Petitioners fault Respondent Court for not ordering Private Respondent Rosalia T.
assumed, simply because their contracts turned out to be disastrous deals or unwise Lugod to deliver to them the deficiency as allegedly provided under the compromise
investments." 58 Volenti non fit injuria. agreement. They further contend that said court erred in not directing the provisional
inclusion of the alleged deficiency in the inventory for purposes of collating the
properties subject of the questioned deeds of sale. 63 We see no such error. In the trial
Corollarily, the petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals gravely abused its
court, there was only one hearing conducted, and it was held only for the reception of
discretion in deeming Special Proceedings Nos. 44-M and 1022 "CLOSED and
the evidence of Rosalia S. Lugod to install her as administratrix of the estate of Maria
TERMINATED," arguing that there was as yet no order of distribution of the estate
Villafranca. There was no other evidence, whether testimonial or otherwise, "received,
pursuant to Rule 90 of the Rules of Court. They add that they had not received their
formally offered to, and subsequently admitted by the probate court below"; nor was
full share thereto. 59 We disagree. Under Section 1, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court, an
there "a trial on the merits of the parries' conflicting claims." 64 In fact, the petitioners
order for the distribution of the estate may be made when the "debts, funeral charges,
"moved for the deferment of the compromise agreement on the basis of alleged
and expenses of administration, the allowance to the widow, and inheritance tax, if
fraudulent concealment of properties — NOT because of any deficiency in the land
conveyed to them under the agreements." 65Hence, there is no hard evidence on
record to back up petitioners' claims.

In any case, the trial court noted Private Respondent Rosalia's willingness to
reimburse any deficiency actually proven to exist. It subsequently ordered the geodetic
engineer who prepared the certification and the sketch of the lot in question, and who
could have provided evidence for the petitioners, "to bring records of his relocation
survey." 66 However, Geodetic Engineer Idulsa did not comply with the
court's subpoena duces tecum and ad testificandum. Neither did he furnish the
required relocation survey. 67 No wonder, even after a thorough scrutiny of the
records, this Court cannot find any evidence to support petitioners' allegations of fraud
against Private Respondent Rosalia.

Similarly, petitioners' allegations of fraud in the execution of the questioned deeds of


sale are bereft of substance, in view of the palpable absence of evidence to support
them. The legal presumption of validity of the questioned deeds of absolute sale,
being duly notarized public documents, has not been overcome. 68 On the other hand,
fraud is not presumed. It must be proved by clear and convincing evidence, and not by
mere conjectures or speculations. We stress that these deeds of sale did not involve
gratuitous transfers of future inheritance; these were contracts of sale perfected by the
decedents during their lifetime. 69 Hence, the properties conveyed thereby are not
collationable because, essentially, collation mandated under Article 1061 of the Civil
Code contemplates properties conveyed inter vivos by the decedent to an heir by way
of donation or other gratuitous title.

In any event, these alleged errors and deficiencies regarding the delivery of shares
provided in the compromise, concealment of properties and fraud in the deeds of sale
are factual in nature which, as a rule, are not reviewable by this Court in petitions
under Rule 45. 70 Petitioners have failed to convince us that this case constitutes an
exception to such rule. All in all, we find that the Court of Appeals has sufficiently
addressed the issues raised by them. Indeed, they have not persuaded us that said
Court committed any reversible error to warrant a grant of their petition.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED and the assailed Decision of the Court
of Appeals is AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines herein Oscar D. Tanqueco, Lucia Tanqueco-Matias, Ruben D. Tanqueco and Nestor
SUPREME COURT D. Tanqueco, who accepted the donation in the same public instrument.
Manila
On 13 February 1991, a year before the expiration of the contract of lease, the
FIRST DIVISION Tanquecos notified petitioner ALLIED that they were no longer interested in renewing
the lease. 2 ALLIED replied that it was exercising its option to renew their lease under
the same terms with additional proposals. 3 Respondent Ruben D. Tanqueco, acting in
behalf of all the donee-lessors, made a counter-proposal. 4 ALLIED however rejected
the counter-proposal and insisted on Provision No. 1 of their lease contract.
G.R. No. 124290 January 16, 1998
When the lease contract expired in 1992 private respondents demanded that ALLIED
ALLIED BANKING CORPORATION, petitioner, vacate the premises. But the latter asserted its sole option to renew the lease and
vs. enclosed in its reply letter a cashier's check in the amount of P68,400.00 representing
COURT OF APPEALS , HON. JOSE C. DE GUZMAN, OSCAR D. TAN-QUECO, the advance rental payments for six (6) months taking into account the escalation
LUCIA D. TANQUECO-MATIAS, RUBEN D. TANQUECO and NESTOR D. clause. Private respondents however returned the check to ALLIED, prompting the
TANQUECO, respondents. latter to consign the amount in court.

An action for ejectment was commenced before the Metropolitan Trial Court of
Quezon City. After trial, the MeTC-Br. 33 declared Provision No. 1 of the lease
contract void for being violative of Art. 1308 of the Civil Code thus —
BELLOSILLO, J.:

. . . but such provision [in the lease contract], to the mind of the
There are two (2) main issues in this petition for review: namely, (a) whether a
Court, does not add luster to defendant's cause nor constitutes as
stipulation in a contract of lease to the effect that the contract "may be renewed for a an unbridled or unlimited license or sanctuary of the defendants to
like term at the option of the lessee" is void for being potestative or violative of the perpetuate its occupancy on the subject property. The basic
principle of mutuality of contracts under Art. 1308 of the Civil Code and, corollarily,
intention of the law in any contract is mutuality and equality. In
what is the meaning of the clause "may be renewed for a like term at the option of the other words, the validity of a contract cannot be left at (sic) the will
lessee;" and, (b) whether a lessee has the legal personality to assail the validity of a of one of the contracting parties. Otherwise, it infringes (upon)
deed of donation executed by the lessor over the leased premises.
Article 1308 of the New Civil Code, which provides: The contract
must bind both contracting parties; its validity or compliance
Spouses Filemon Tanqueco and Lucia Domingo-Tanqueco owned a 512-square cannot be left to the will of one of them . . . Using the principle laid
meter lot located at No. 2 Sarmiento Street corner Quirino Highway, Novaliches, down in the case of Garcia v. Legarda as cornerstone, it is
Quezon City, covered by TCT No. 136779 in their name. On 30 June 1978 they evident that the renewal of the lease in this case cannot be left at
leased the property to petitioner Allied Banking Corporation (ALLIED) for a monthly the sole option or will of the defendant notwithstanding provision
rental of P1,000.00 for the first three (3) years, adjustable by 25% every three (3) no. 1 of their expired contract. For that would amount to a
years thereafter. 1 The lease contract specifically states in its Provision No. 1 that "the situation where the continuance and effectivity of a contract will
term of this lease shall be fourteen (14) years commencing from April 1, 1978 and depend only upon the sole will or power of the lessee, which is
may be renewed for a like term at the option of the lessee." repugnant to the very spirit envisioned under Article 1308 of the
New Civil Code . . . . the theory adopted by this Court in the case
at bar finds ample affirmation from the principle echoed by the
Pursuant to their lease agreement, ALLIED introduced an improvement on the Supreme Court in the case of Lao Lim v. CA, 191 SCRA 150,
property consisting of a concrete building with a floor area of 340-square meters which 154, 155.
it used as a branch office. As stipulated, the ownership of the building would be
transferred to the lessors upon the expiration of the original term of the lease.
On appeal to the Regional Trial Court, and later to the Court of Appeals, the assailed
decision was affirmed. 5
Sometime in February 1988 the Tanqueco spouses executed a deed of donation over
the subject property in favor of their four (4) children, namely, private respondents
On 20 February 1993, while the case was pending in the Court of Appeals ALLIED Likewise, reliance by the trial court on the 1967 case of Garcia v. Rita Legarda,
vacated the leased premises by reason of the controversy. 6 Inc., 9 is misplaced. In that case, what was involved was a contract to sell involving
residential lots, which gave the vendor the right to declare the contract called and of
no effect upon the failure of the vendee to fulfill any of the conditions therein set forth.
ALLIED insists before us that Provision No. 1 of the lease contract was mutually
In the instant case, we are dealing with a contract of lease which gives the lessee the
agreed upon hence valid and binding on both parties, and the exercise by petitioner of
right to renew the same.
its option to renew the contract was part of their agreement and in pursuance thereof.

With respect to the meaning of the clause "may be renewed for a like term at the
We agree with petitioner. Article 1308 of the Civil Code expresses what is known in
option of the lessee," we sustain petitioner's contention that its exercise of the option
law as the principle of mutuality of contracts. It provides that "the contract must bind
resulted in the automatic extension of the contract of lease under the same terms and
both the contracting parties; its validity or compliance cannot be left to the will of one
conditions. The subject contract simply provides that "the term of this lease shall be
of them." This binding effect of a contract on both parties is based on the principle that
fourteen (14) years and may be renewed for a like term at the option of the lessee." As
the obligations arising from the contracts have the force of law between the
we see it, the only term on which there has been a clear agreement is the period of
contracting parties, and there must be mutuality between them based essentially on
the new contract, i.e., fourteen (14) years, which is evident from the clause "may be
their equality under which it is repugnant to have one party bound by the contract
renewed for a like term at the option of the lessee," the phrase "for a like
while leaving the other free therefrom. The ultimate purpose is to render void a
term"referring to the period. It is silent as to what the specific terms and conditions of
contract containing a condition which makes its fulfillment dependent solely upon the
the renewed lease shall be. Shall it be the same terms and conditions as in the
uncontrolled will of one of the contracting parties.
original contract, or shall it be under the terms and conditions as may be mutually
agreed upon by the parties after the expiration of the existing lease?
An express agreement which gives the lessee the sole option to renew the lease is
frequent and subject to statutory restrictions, valid and binding on the parties. This
In Ledesma v. Javellana 10 this Court was confronted with a similar problem. In the
option, which is provided in the same lease agreement, is fundamentally part of the
case the lessee was given the sole option to renew the lease, but the contract failed to
consideration in the contract and is no different from any other provision of the lease
specify the terms and conditions that would govern the new contract. When the lease
carrying an undertaking on the part of the lessor to act conditioned on the
expired, the lessee demanded an extension under the same terms and conditions.
performance by the lessee. It is a purely executory contract and at most confers a
The lessor expressed conformity to the renewal of the contract but refused to accede
right to obtain a renewal if there is compliance with the conditions on which the rights
to the claim of the lessee that the renewal should be under the same terms and
is made to depend. The right of renewal constitutes a part of the lessee's interest in
conditions as the original contract. In sustaining the lessee, this Court made the
the land and forms a substantial and integral part of the agreement.
following pronouncement:

The fact that such option is binding only on the lessor and can be exercised only by
. . . in the case of Hicks v. Manila Hotel Company, a similar issue
the lessee does not render it void for lack of mutuality. After all, the lessor is free to
was resolved by this Court. It was held that "such a clause relates
give or not to give the option to the lessee. And while the lessee has a right to elect
to the very contract in which it is placed, and does not permit the
whether to continue with the lease or not, once he exercises his option to continue and
defendant upon the renewal of the contract in which the clause is
the lessor accepts, both parties are thereafter bound by the new lease agreement.
found, to insist upon different terms and those embraced in the
Their rights and obligations become mutually fixed, and the lessee is entitled to retain
contract to be renewed;" and that "a stipulation to renew always
possession of the property for the duration of the new lease, and the lessor may hold
relates to the contract in which it is found and the rights granted
him liable for the rent therefor. The lessee cannot thereafter escape liability even if he
thereunder, unless it expressly provides for variations in the terms
should subsequently decide to abandon the premises. Mutuality obtains in such a
of the contract to be renewed."
contract and equality exists between the lessor and the lessee since they remain with
the same faculties in respect to fulfillment. 7
The same principle is upheld in American Law regarding the
renewal of lease contracts. In 50 Am. Jur. 2d, Sec. 1159, at p. 45,
The case of Lao Lim v. Court of Appeals 8 relied upon by the trial court is not
we find the following citations: "The rule is well-established that a
applicable here. In that case, the stipulation in the disputed compromise agreement
general covenant to renew or extend a lease which makes no
was to the effect that the lessee would be allowed to stay in the premises "as long as
provision as to the terms of a renewal or extension implies a
he needs it and can pay the rents." In the present case, the questioned provision
renewal or extension upon the same terms as provided in the
states that the lease "may be renewed for a like term at the option of the lessee." The
original lease."
lessor is bound by the option he has conceded to the lessee. The lessee likewise
becomes bound only when he exercises his option and the lessor cannot thereafter be
executed from performing his part of the agreement.
In the lease contract under consideration, there is no provision to Finally, ALLIED cannot assail the validity of the deed of donation, not being a party
indicate that the renewal will be subject to new terms and thereto. A person who is not principally or subsidiarily bound has no legal capacity to
conditions that the parties may yet agree upon. It is to renewal challenge the validity of the contract. 12 He must first have an interest in it. "Interest"
provisions of lease contracts of the kind presently considered that within the meaning of the term means material interest, an interest to be affected by
the principles stated above squarely apply. We do not agree with the deed, as distinguished from a mere incidental interest. Hence, a person who is not
the contention of the appellants that if it was intended by the a party to a contract and for whose benefit it was not expressly made cannot maintain
parties to renew the contract under the same terms and an action on it, even if the contract, if performed by the parties thereto would
conditions stipulated in the contract of lease, such should have incidentally affect him, 13 except when he is prejudiced in his rights with respect to one
expressly so stated in the contract itself. The same argument of the contracting parties and can show the detriment which could positively result to
could easily be interposed by the appellee who could likewise him from the contract in which he had no intervention. 14 We find none in the instant
contend that if the intention was to renew the contract of lease case.
under such new terms and conditions that the parties may agree
upon, the contract should have so specified. Between the two
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
assertions, there is more logic in the latter.
Considering that petitioner ALLIED BANKING CORPORATION already vacated the
leased premises as of 20 February 1993, the renewed lease contract is deemed
The settled rule is that in case of uncertainty as to the meaning of terminated as of that date. However, petitioner is required to pay rentals to respondent
a provision granting extension to a contract of lease, the tenant is lessors at the rate provided in their existing contract, subject to computation in view of
the one favored and not the landlord. "As a general rule, in the consignment in court of P68,400.00 by petitioner, and of such other amounts it
construing provisions relating to renewals or extensions, where may have deposited or advanced in connection with the lease.
there is any uncertainty, the tenants is favored, and not the
landlord, because the latter, having the power of stipulating in his
SO ORDERED.
own favor, has neglected to do so; and also upon the principle
that every man's grant is to be taken most strongly against
himself (50 Am Jur. 2d, Sec. 1162, p. 48; see also 51 C.J.S. 599).

Besides, if we were to adopt the contrary theory that the terms and conditions to be
embodied in the renewed contract were still subject to mutual agreement by and
between the parties, then the option — which is an integral part of the consideration
for the contract — would be rendered worthless. For then, the lessor could easily
defeat the lessee's right of renewal by simply imposing unreasonable and onerous
conditions to prevent the parties from reaching an agreement, as in the case at bar.
As in a statute no word, clause, sentence, provision or part of a contract shall be
considered surplusage or superfluous, meaningless, void, insignificant or nugatory, if
that can be reasonably avoided. To this end, a construction which will render every
word operative is to be preferred over that which would make some words idle and
nugatory. 11

Fortunately for respondent lessors, ALLIED vacated the premises on 20 February


1993 indicating its abandonment of whatever rights it had under the renewal clause.
Consequently, what remains to be done is for ALLIED to pay rentals for the continued
use of premises until it vacated the same, computed from the expiration of the original
term of the contract on 31 March 1992 to the time it actually left the premises on 20
February 1993, deducting therefrom the amount of P68,400.00 consigned in court by
ALLIED and any other amount which it may have deposited or advanced in connection
with the lease. Since the old lease contract was deemed renewed under the same
terms and conditions upon the exercise by ALLIED of its option, the basis of the
computation of rentals should be the rental rate provided for in the existing contract.
Republic of the Philippines In its assailed Decision, Respondent Court of Appeals held:
SUPREME COURT
Manila
WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment is hereby AFFIRMED
except in so far (sic) as the liability of the Seven Brothers
THIRD DIVISION Shipping Corporation to the plaintiff is concerned which is hereby
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. 3

The Facts
G.R. No. 102316 June 30, 1997
The factual antecedents of this case as narrated in the Court of Appeals Decision are
as follows:
VALENZUELA HARDWOOD AND INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY INC., petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS AND SEVEN BROTHERS SHIPPING It appears that on 16 January 1984, plaintiff (Valenzuela
CORPORATION, respondents. Hardwood and Industrial Supply, Inc.) entered into an agreement
with the defendant Seven Brothers (Shipping Corporation)
whereby the latter undertook to load on board its vessel M/V
Seven Ambassador the former's lauan round logs numbering 940
at the port of Maconacon, Isabela for shipment to Manila.
PANGANIBAN, J.:
On 20 January 1984, plaintiff insured the logs against loss and/or
Is a stipulation in a charter party that the "(o)wners shall not be responsible for loss, damage with defendant South Sea Surety and Insurance Co., Inc.
split, short-landing, breakages and any kind of damages to the cargo" 1 valid? This is for P2,000,000.00 and the latter issued its Marine Cargo
the main question raised in this petition for review assailing the Decision of Insurance Policy No. 84/24229 for P2,000,000.00 on said date.
Respondent Court of Appeals 2 in CA-G.R. No. CV-20156 promulgated on October 15,
1991. The Court of Appeals modified the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of
On 24 January 1984, the plaintiff gave the check in payment of
Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Branch 171, the dispositive portion of which reads:
the premium on the insurance policy to Mr. Victorio Chua.

WHEREFORE, Judgment is hereby rendered ordering South Sea


In the meantime, the said vessel M/V Seven Ambassador sank on
Surety and Insurance Co., Inc. to pay plaintiff the sum of TWO
25 January 1984 resulting in the loss of the plaintiff's insured logs.
MILLION PESOS (P2,000,000.00) representing the value of the
policy of the lost logs with legal interest thereon from the date of
demand on February 2, 1984 until the amount is fully paid or in On 30 January 1984, a check for P5,625.00 (Exh. "E") to cover
the alternative, defendant Seven Brothers Shipping Corporation to payment of the premium and documentary stamps due on the
pay plaintiff the amount of TWO MILLION PESOS (2,000,000.00) policy was tendered due to the insurer but was not accepted.
representing the value of lost logs plus legal interest from the date Instead, the South Sea Surety and Insurance Co., Inc. cancelled
of demand on April 24, 1984 until full payment thereof; the the insurance policy it issued as of the date of the inception for
reasonable attorney's fees in the amount equivalent to five (5) non-payment of the premium due in accordance with Section 77
percent of the amount of the claim and the costs of the suit. of the Insurance Code.

Plaintiff is hereby ordered to pay defendant Seven Brothers On 2 February 1984, plaintiff demanded from defendant South
Shipping Corporation the sum of TWO HUNDRED THIRTY Sea Surety and Insurance Co., Inc. the payment of the proceeds
THOUSAND PESOS (P230,000.00) representing the balance of of the policy but the latter denied liability under the policy. Plaintiff
the stipulated freight charges. likewise filed a formal claim with defendant Seven Brothers
Shipping Corporation for the value of the lost logs but the latter
denied the claim.
Defendant South Sea Surety and Insurance Company's
counterclaim is hereby dismissed.
After due hearing and trial, the court a quo rendered judgment in B. The trial court erred in holding that Victorio Chua received
favor of plaintiff and against defendants. Both defendants compensation/commission on the premiums paid on the policies
shipping corporation and the surety company appealed. issued by the defendant-appellant South Sea Surety and
Insurance Company, Inc.
Defendant-appellant Seven Brothers Shipping Corporation impute
(sic) to the court a quo the following assignment of errors, to wit: C. The trial court erred in not applying Section 77 of the Insurance
Code.
A. The lower court erred in holding that the proximate cause of
the sinking of the vessel Seven Ambassadors, was not due to D. The trial court erred in disregarding the "receipt of payment
fortuitous event but to the negligence of the captain in stowing clause" attached to and forming part of the Marine Cargo
and securing the logs on board, causing the iron chains to snap Insurance Policy No. 84/24229.
and the logs to roll to the portside.
E. The trial court in disregarding the statement of account or bill
B. The lower court erred in declaring that the non-liability clause stating the amount of premium and documentary stamps to be
of the Seven Brothers Shipping Corporation from logs (sic) of the paid on the policy by the plaintiff-appellee.
cargo stipulated in the charter party is void for being contrary to
public policy invoking article 1745 of the New Civil Code.
F. The trial court erred in disregarding the endorsement of
cancellation of the policy due to non-payment of premium and
C. The lower court erred in holding defendant-appellant Seven documentary stamps.
Brothers Shipping Corporation liable in the alternative and
ordering/directing it to pay plaintiff-appellee the amount of two
G. The trial court erred in ordering defendant-appellant South Sea
million (2,000,000.00) pesos representing the value of the logs
Surety and Insurance Company, Inc. to pay plaintiff-appellee
plus legal interest from date of demand until fully paid.
P2,000,000.00 representing value of the policy with legal interest
from 2 February 1984 until the amount is fully paid,
D. The lower court erred in ordering defendant-appellant Seven
Brothers Shipping Corporation to pay appellee reasonable
H. The trial court erred in not awarding to the defendant-appellant
attorney's fees in the amount equivalent to 5% of the amount of
the attorney's fees alleged and proven in its counterclaim.
the claim and the costs of the suit.

The primary issue to be resolved before us is whether defendants


E. The lower court erred in not awarding defendant-appellant
shipping corporation and the surety company are liable to the
Seven Brothers Corporation its counter-claim for attorney's fees.
plaintiff for the latter's lost logs. 4

F. The lower court erred in not dismissing the complaint against


The Court of Appeals affirmed in part the RTC judgment by sustaining the liability of
Seven Brothers Shipping Corporation.
South Sea Surety and Insurance Company ("South Sea"), but modified it by holding
that Seven Brothers Shipping Corporation ("Seven Brothers") was not liable for the
Defendant-appellant South Sea Surety and Insurance Co., Inc. assigns the following lost cargo. 5 In modifying the RTC judgment, the respondent appellate court
errors: ratiocinated thus:

A. The trial court erred in holding that Victorio Chua was an agent It appears that there is a stipulation in the charter party that the
of defendant-appellant South Sea Surety and Insurance ship owner would be exempted from liability in case of loss.
Company, Inc. and likewise erred in not holding that he was the
representative of the insurance broker Columbia Insurance
The court a quo erred in applying the provisions of the Civil Code
Brokers, Ltd.
on common carriers to establish the liability of the shipping
corporation. The provisions on common carriers should not be
applied where the carrier is not acting as such but as a private It should be noted at the outset that there is no dispute between the parties that the
carrier. proximate cause of the sinking of M/V Seven Ambassadors resulting in the loss of its
cargo was the "snapping of the iron chains and the subsequent rolling of the logs to
the portside due to the negligence of the captain in stowing and securing the logs on
Under American jurisprudence, a common carrier undertaking to
board the vessel and not due to fortuitous event." 11 Likewise undisputed is the status
carry a special cargo or chartered to a special person only,
of Private Respondent Seven Brothers as a private carrier when it contracted to
becomes a private carrier.
transport the cargo of Petitioner Valenzuela. Even the latter admits this in its
petition. 12
As a private carrier, a stipulation exempting the owner from
liability even for the negligence of its agent is valid (Home
The trial court deemed the charter party stipulation void for being contrary to public
Insurance Company, Inc. vs. American Steamship Agencies, Inc.,
policy, 13 citing Article 1745 of the Civil Code which provides:
23 SCRA 24).

Art. 1745. Any of the following or similar stipulations shall be


The shipping corporation should not therefore be held liable for
considered unreasonable, unjust and contrary to public policy:
the loss of the logs. 6

(1) That the goods are transported at the risk of the owner or
South Sea and herein Petitioner Valenzuela Hardwood and Industrial Supply, Inc.
shipper;
("Valenzuela") filed separate petitions for review before this Court. In a Resolution
dated June 2, 1995, this Court denied the petition of South
Sea. 7 There the Court found no reason to reverse the factual findings of the trial court (2) That the common carrier will not be liable for any loss,
and the Court of Appeals that Chua was indeed an authorized agent of South Sea destruction, or deterioration of the goods;
when he received Valenzuela's premium payment for the marine cargo insurance
policy which was thus binding on the insurer. 8
(3) That the common carrier need not observe any diligence in the
custody of the goods;
The Court is now called upon to resolve the petition for review filed by Valenzuela
assailing the CA Decision which exempted Seven Brothers from any liability for the
(4) That the common carrier shall exercise a degree of diligence
lost cargo.
less than that of a good father of a family, or of a man of ordinary
prudence in the vigilance over the movables transported;
The Issue
(5) That the common carrier shall not be responsible for the acts
Petitioner Valenzuela's arguments resolve around a single issue: "whether or not or omissions of his or its employees;
respondent Court (of Appeals) committed a reversible error in upholding the validity of
the stipulation in the charter party executed between the petitioner and the private
(6) That the common carrier's liability for acts committed by
respondent exempting the latter from liability for the loss of petitioner's logs arising
thieves, or of robbers who do not act with grave or irresistible
from the negligence of its (Seven Brothers') captain." 9
threat, violence or force, is dispensed with or diminished;

The Court's Ruling


(7) That the common carrier is not responsible for the loss,
destruction, or deterioration of goods on account of the defective
The petition is not meritorious. condition of the car, vehicle, ship, airplane or other equipment
used in the contract of carriage.
Validity of Stipulation is Lis Mota
Petitioner Valenzuela adds that the stipulation is void for being contrary to Articles 586
and 587 of the Code of Commerce 14 and Articles 1170 and 1173 of the Civil Code.
The charter party between the petitioner and private respondent stipulated that the
Citing Article 1306 and paragraph 1, Article 1409 of the Civil Code, 15 petitioner further
"(o)wners shall not be responsible for loss, split, short-landing, breakages and any
contends that said stipulation "gives no duty or obligation to the private respondent to
kind of damages to the cargo." 10 The validity of this stipulation is the lis mota of this
case.
observe the diligence of a good father of a family in the custody and transportation of totally chartered for the used of a single party. 19(Emphasis
the cargo." supplied.)

The Court is not persuaded. As adverted to earlier, it is undisputed that private Indeed, where the reason for the rule ceases, the rule itself does not apply. The
respondent had acted as a private carrier in transporting petitioner's lauan logs. Thus, general public enters into a contract of transportation with common carriers without a
Article 1745 and other Civil Code provisions on common carriers which were cited by hand or a voice in the preparation thereof. The riding public merely adheres to the
petitioner may not be applied unless expressly stipulated by the parties in their charter contract; even if the public wants to, it cannot submit its own stipulations for the
party. 16 approval of the common carrier. Thus, the law on common carriers extends its
protective mantle against one-sided stipulations inserted in tickets, invoices or other
documents over which the riding public has no understanding or, worse, no choice.
In a contract of private carriage, the parties may validly stipulate that responsibility for
Compared to the general public, a charterer in a contract of private carriage is not
the cargo rests solely on the charterer, exempting the shipowner from liability for loss
similarly situated. It can — and in fact it usually does — enter into a free and voluntary
of or damage to the cargo caused even by the negligence of the ship captain.
agreement. In practice, the parties in a contract of private carriage can stipulate the
Pursuant to Article 1306 17 of the Civil Code, such stipulation is valid because it is
carrier's obligations and liabilities over the shipment which, in turn, determine the price
freely entered into by the parties and the same is not contrary to law, morals, good
or consideration of the charter. Thus, a charterer, in exchange for convenience and
customs, public order, or public policy. Indeed, their contract of private carriage is not
economy, may opt to set aside the protection of the law on common carriers. When
even a contract of adhesion. We stress that in a contract of private carriage, the
the charterer decides to exercise this option, he takes a normal business risk.
parties may freely stipulate their duties and obligations which perforce would be
binding on them. Unlike in a contract involving a common carrier, private carriage
does not involve the general public. Hence, the stringent provisions of the Civil Code Petitioner contends that the rule in Home Insurance is not applicable to the present
on common carriers protecting the general public cannot justifiably be applied to a case because it "covers only a stipulation exempting a private carrier from liability for
ship transporting commercial goods as a private carrier. Consequently, the public the negligence of his agent, but it does not apply to a stipulation exempting a private
policy embodied therein is not contravened by stipulations in a charter party that carrier like private respondent from the negligence of his employee or servant which is
lessen or remove the protection given by law in contracts involving common carriers. the situation in this case." 20 This contention of petitioner is bereft of merit, for it raises
a distinction without any substantive difference. The case Home Insurance specifically
dealt with "the liability of the shipowner for acts or negligence of its captain and
The issue posed in this case and the arguments raised by petitioner are not novel;
crew" 21 and a charter party stipulation which "exempts the owner of the vessel from
they were resolved long ago by this Court in Home Insurance Co. vs. American
any loss or damage or delay arising from any other source, even from the neglect or
Steamship Agencies, Inc. 18 In that case, the trial court similarly nullified a stipulation
fault of the captain or crew or some other person employed by the owner on
identical to that involved in the present case for being contrary to public policy based
board, for whose acts the owner would ordinarily be liable except for said
on Article 1744 of the Civil Code and Article 587 of the Code of Commerce.
paragraph." 22 Undoubtedly, Home Insurance is applicable to the case at bar.
Consequently, the trial court held the shipowner liable for damages resulting for the
partial loss of the cargo. This Court reversed the trial court and laid down, through Mr.
Justice Jose P. Bengzon, the following well-settled observation and doctrine: The naked assertion of petitioner that the American rule enunciated in Home
Insurance is not the rule in the Philippines 23 deserves scant consideration. The Court
there categorically held that said rule was "reasonable" and proceeded to apply it in
The provisions of our Civil Code on common carriers were taken
the resolution of that case. Petitioner miserably failed to show such circumstances or
from Anglo-American law. Under American jurisprudence, a
arguments which would necessitate a departure from a well-settled rule.
common carrier undertaking to carry a special cargo or chartered
Consequently, our ruling in said case remains a binding judicial precedent based on
to a special person only, becomes a private carrier. As a private
the doctrine of stare decisis and Article 8 of the Civil Code which provides that
carrier, a stipulation exempting the owner from liability for the
"(j)udicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form part
negligence of its agent is not against public policy, and is deemed
of the legal system of the Philippines."
valid.

In fine, the respondent appellate court aptly stated that "[in the case of] a private
Such doctrine We find reasonable. The Civil Code provisions on
carrier, a stipulation exempting the owner from liability even for the negligence of its
common carriers should not be applied where the carrier is not
agents is valid." 24
acting as such but as a private carrier. The stipulation in the
charter party absolving the owner from liability for loss due to the
negligence of its agent would be void if the strict public policy Other Arguments
governing common carriers is applied. Such policy has no force
where the public at large is not involved, as in this case of a ship
On the basis of the foregoing alone, the present petition may already be denied; the is not an obligor in respect of the cargo, for this obligation to bear the loss was shifted
Court, however, will discuss the other arguments of petitioner for the benefit and to petitioner by virtue of the charter party. This shifting of responsibility, as earlier
satisfaction of all concerned. observed, is not void. The provisions cited by petitioner are, therefore, inapplicable to
the present case.
Articles 586 and 587, Code of Commerce
Moreover, the factual milieu of this case does not justify the application of the second
paragraph of Article 1173 of the Civil Code which prescribes the standard of diligence
Petitioner Valenzuela insists that the charter party stipulation is contrary to Articles
to be observed in the event the law or the contract is silent. In the instant case, Article
586 and 587 of the Code of Commerce which confer on petitioner the right to recover
362 of the Code of Commerce 28 provides the standard of ordinary diligence for the
damages from the shipowner and ship agent for the acts or conduct of the
carriage of goods by a carrier. The standard of diligence under this statutory provision
captain. 25 We are not persuaded. Whatever rights petitioner may have under the
may, however, be modified in a contract of private carriage as the petitioner and
aforementioned statutory provisions were waived when it entered into the charter
private respondent had done in their charter party.
party.

Cases Cited by Petitioner Inapplicable


Article 6 of the Civil Code provides that "(r)ights may be waived, unless the waiver is
contrary to law, public order, public policy, morals, or good customs, or prejudicial to a
person with a right recognized by law." As a general rule, patrimonial rights may be Petitioner cites Shewaram vs. Philippine Airlines, Inc. 29 which, in turn, quoted Juan
waived as opposed to rights to personality and family rights which may not be made Ysmael & Co. vs. Gabino Barreto & Co. 30 and argues that the public policy
the subject of waiver. 26 Being patently and undoubtedly patrimonial, petitioner's right considerations stated there vis-a-vis contractual stipulations limiting the carrier's
conferred under said articles may be waived. This, the petitioner did by acceding to liability be applied "with equal force" to this case. 31 It also cites Manila Railroad
the contractual stipulation that it is solely responsible or any damage to the cargo, Co. vs. Compañia Transatlantica 32 and contends that stipulations exempting a party
thereby exempting the private carrier from any responsibility for loss or damage from liability for damages due to negligence "should not be countenanced" and should
thereto. Furthermore, as discussed above, the contract of private carriage binds be "strictly construed" against the party claiming its benefit. 33 We disagree.
petitioner and private respondent alone; it is not imbued with public policy
considerations for the general public or third persons are not affected thereby.
The cases of Shewaram and Ysmael both involve a common carrier; thus, they
necessarily justify the application of such policy considerations and concomitantly
Articles 1170 and 1173, Civil Code stricter rules. As already discussed above, the public policy considerations behind the
rigorous treatment of common carriers are absent in the case of private carriers.
Hence, the stringent laws applicable to common carriers are not applied to private
Petitioner likewise argues that the stipulation subject of this controversy is void for
carries. The case of Manila Railroad is also inapplicable because the action for
being contrary to Articles 1170 and 1173 of the Civil Code 27 which read:
damages there does not involve a contract for transportation. Furthermore, the
defendant therein made a "promise to use due care in the lifting operations" and,
Art. 1170. Those who in the performance of their obligations are consequently, it was "bound by its undertaking"'; besides, the exemption was intended
guilty of fraud, negligence, or delay, and those who in any manner to cover accidents due to hidden defects in the apparatus or other unforseeable
contravene the tenor thereof, are liable for damages occurrences" not caused by its "personal negligence." This promise was thus
constructed to make sense together with the stipulation against liability for
damages. 34 In the present case, we stress that the private respondent made no such
Art. 1173. The fault or negligence of the obligor consists in the
promise. The agreement of the parties to exempt the shipowner from responsibility for
omission of that diligence which is required by the nature of the any damage to the cargo and place responsibility over the same to petitioner is the
obligation and corresponds with the circumstances of the lone stipulation considered now by this Court.
persons, of the time and of the place. When negligence shows
bad faith, the provisions of articles 1171 and 2201, shall apply.
Finally, petitioner points to Standard Oil Co. of New York vs. Lopez Costelo, 35 Walter
A. Smith & Co. vs.Cadwallader Gibson Lumber Co., 36 N. T . Hashim and
If the law does not state the diligence which is to be observed in Co. vs. Rocha and Co., 37 Ohta Development Co. vs. Steamship
the performance, that which is expected of a good father of a "Pompey" 38 and Limpangco Sons vs. Yangco Steamship Co. 39 in support of its
family shall be required. contention that the shipowner be held liable for damages. 40 These however are not on
all fours with the present case because they do not involve a similar factual milieu or
The Court notes that the foregoing articles are applicable only to the obligor or the one an identical stipulation in the charter party expressly exempting the shipowner form
with an obligation to perform. In the instant case, Private Respondent Seven Brothers responsibility for any damage to the cargo.
Effect of the South Sea Resolution

In its memorandum, Seven Brothers argues that petitioner has no cause of action
against it because this Court has earlier affirmed the liability of South Sea for the loss
suffered by petitioner. Private respondent submits that petitioner is not legally entitled
to collect twice for a single loss. 41 In view of the above disquisition upholding the
validity of the questioned charter party stipulation and holding that petitioner may not
recover from private respondent, the present issue is moot and academic. It suffices to
state that the Resolution of this Court dated June 2, 1995 42 affirming the liability of
South Sea does not, by itself, necessarily preclude the petitioner from proceeding
against private respondent. An aggrieved party may still recover the deficiency for the
person causing the loss in the event the amount paid by the insurance company does
not fully cover the loss. Article 2207 of the Civil Code provides:

Art. 2207. If the plaintiff's property has been insured, and he has
received indemnity for the insurance company for the injury or
loss arising out of the wrong or breach of contract complained of,
the insurance company shall be subrogated to the rights of the
insured against the wrongdoer or the person who has violated the
contract. If the amount paid by the insurance company does not
fully cover the injury or loss, the aggrieved party shall be entitled
to recover the deficiency form the person causing the loss or
injury.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby DENIED for its utter failure
to show any reversible error on the part of Respondent Court. The assailed Decision is
AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines before the completion of all installment payments. On January 20, 1975, Kee paid
SUPREME COURT CTTEI the relocation fee of P50.00 and another P50.00 on January 27, 1975, for the
Manila preparation of the lot plan. These amounts were paid prior to Kee's taking actual
possession of Lot 8. After the preparation of the lot plan and a copy thereof given to
Kee, CTTEI through its employee, Zenaida Octaviano, accompanied Kee's wife,
THIRD DIVISION
Donabelle Kee, to inspect Lot 8. Unfortunately, the parcel of land pointed by
Octaviano was Lot 9. Thereafter, Kee proceeded to construct his residence, a store,
G.R. No. 79688 February 1, 1996 an auto repair shop and other improvements on the lot.

PLEASANTVILLE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, petitioner, After discovering that Lot 9 was occupied by Kee, Jardinico confronted him. The
vs. parties tried to reach an amicable settlement, but failed.
COURT OF APPEALS, WILSON KEE, C.T. TORRES ENTERPRISES, INC. and
ELDRED JARDINICO,respondents.
On January 30, 1981, Jardinico's lawyer wrote Kee, demanding that the latter remove
all improvements and vacate Lot 9. When Kee refused to vacate Lot 9, Jardinico filed
DECISION with the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 3, Bacolod City (MTCC), a complaint
for ejectment with damages against Kee.
PANGANIBAN, J.:
Kee, in turn, filed a third-party complaint against petitioner and CTTEI.
Is a lot buyer who constructs improvements on the wrong property erroneously
delivered by the owner's agent, a builder in good faith? This is the main issue resolved The MTCC held that the erroneous delivery of Lot 9 to Kee was attributable to CTTEI.
in this petition for review on certiorari to reverse the Decision1 of the Court of It further ruled that petitioner and CTTEI could not successfully invoke as a defense
Appeals2 in CA-G.R. No. 11040, promulgated on August 20, 1987. the failure of Kee to give notice of his intention to begin construction required under
paragraph 22 of the Contract to Sell on Installment and his having built a sari-sari
store without the prior approval of petitioner required under paragraph 26 of said
By resolution dated November 13, 1995, the First Division of this Court resolved to contract, saying that the purpose of these requirements was merely to regulate the
transfer this case (along with several others) to the Third Division. After due
type of improvements to be constructed on the Lot.3
deliberation and consultation, the Court assigned the writing of this Decision to the
undersigned ponente.
However, the MTCC found that petitioner had already rescinded its contract with Kee
over Lot 8 for the latter's failure to pay the installments due, and that Kee had not
The Facts contested the rescission. The rescission was effected in 1979, before the complaint
was instituted. The MTCC concluded that Kee no longer had any right over the lot
The facts, as found by respondent Court, are as follows: subject of the contract between him and petitioner. Consequently, Kee must pay
reasonable rentals for the use of Lot 9, and, furthermore, he cannot claim
reimbursement for the improvements he introduced on said lot.
Edith Robillo purchased from petitioner a parcel of land designated as Lot 9, Phase II
and located at Taculing Road, Pleasantville Subdivision, Bacolod City. In 1975,
respondent Eldred Jardinico bought the rights to the lot from Robillo. At that time, Lot The MTCC thus disposed:
9 was vacant.
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered as
Upon completing all payments, Jardinico secured from the Register of Deeds of follows:
Bacolod City on December 19, 1978 Transfer Certificate of Title No. 106367 in his
name. It was then that he discovered that improvements had been introduced on Lot 9 1. Defendant Wilson Kee is ordered to vacate the premises of Lot 9,
by respondent Wilson Kee, who had taken possession thereof. covered by TCT No. 106367 and to remove all structures and improvements
he introduced thereon;
It appears that on March 26, 1974, Kee bought on installment Lot 8 of the same
subdivision from C.T. Torres Enterprises, Inc. (CTTEI), the exclusive real estate agent 2. Defendant Wilson Kee is ordered to pay to the plaintiff rentals at the rate
of petitioner. Under the Contract to Sell on Installment, Kee could possess the lot even
of P15.00 a day computed from the time this suit was filed on March 12,
1981 until he actually vacates the premises. This amount shall bear WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED, the appealed decision is
interests (sic) at the rate of 12 per cent (sic) per annum. REVERSED, and judgment is rendered as follows:

3. Third-Party Defendant C.T. Torres Enterprises, Inc. and Pleasantville 1. Wilson Kee is declared a builder in good faith with respect to the
Subdivision are ordered to pay the plaintiff jointly and severally the sum of improvements he introduced on Lot 9, and is entitled to the rights granted
P3,000.00 as attorney's fees and P700.00 as cost and litigation expenses.4 him under Articles 448, 546 and 548 of the New Civil Code.

On appeal, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 48, Bacolod City (RTC) ruled that 2. Third-party defendants C.T. Torres Enterprises, Inc. and Pleasantville
petitioner and CTTEI were not at fault or were not negligent, there being no Development Corporation are solidarily liable under the following
preponderant evidence to show that they directly participated in the delivery of Lot 9 to circumstances:
Kee5. It found Kee a builder in bad faith. It further ruled that even
assuming arguendo that Kee was acting in good faith, he was, nonetheless, guilty of
A. If Eldred Jardinico decides to appropriate the
unlawfully usurping the possessory right of Jardinico over Lot 9 from the time he was
improvements and, thereafter, remove these structures, the third-
served with notice to vacate said lot, and thus was liable for rental.
party defendants shall answer for all demolition expenses and the
value of the improvements thus destroyed or rendered useless;
The RTC thus disposed:
b. If Jardinico prefers that Kee buy the land, the third-party
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is affirmed with respect to the defendants shall answer for the amount representing the value of
order against the defendant to vacate the premises of Lot No. 9 covered by Lot 9 that Kee should pay to Jardinico.
Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-106367 of the land records of Bacolod
City; the removal of all structures and improvements introduced thereon at
3. Third-party defendants C.T. Torres Enterprises, Inc. and Pleasantville
his expense and the payment to plaintiff (sic) the sum of Fifteen (P15.00)
Development Corporation are ordered to pay in solidum the amount of
Pesos a day as reasonable rental to be computed from January 30, 1981,
P3,000.00 to Jardinico as attorney's fees, as well as litigation expenses.
the date of the demand, and not from the date of the filing of the complaint,
until he had vacated (sic) the premises, with interest thereon at 12% per
annum. This Court further renders judgment against the defendant to pay 4. The award of rentals to Jardinico is dispensed with.
the plaintiff the sum of Three Thousand (P3,000.00) Pesos as attorney's
fees, plus costs of litigation.
Furthermore, the case is REMANDED to the court of origin for the
determination of the actual value of the improvements and the property (Lot
The third-party complaint against Third-Party Defendants Pleasantville 9), as well as for further proceedings in conformity with Article 448 of the
Development Corporation and C.T. Torres Enterprises, Inc. is dismissed. New Civil Code.7
The order against Third-Party Defendants to pay attorney's fees to plaintiff
and costs of litigation is reversed.6
Petitioner then filed the instant petition against Kee, Jardinico and CTTEI.

Following the denial of his motion for reconsideration on October 20, 1986, Kee
appealed directly to the Supreme Court, which referred the matter to the Court of The Issues
Appeals.
The petition submitted the following grounds to justify a review of the respondent
The appellate court ruled that Kee was a builder in good faith, as he was unaware of Court's Decision, as follows:
the "mix-up" when he began construction of the improvements on Lot 8. It further ruled
that the erroneous delivery was due to the negligence of CTTEI, and that such wrong 1. The Court of Appeals has decided the case in a way probably not in
delivery was likewise imputable to its principal, petitioner herein. The appellate court accord with law or the the (sic) applicable decisions of the Supreme Court
also ruled that the award of rentals was without basis. on third-party complaints, by ordering third-party defendants to pay the
demolition expenses and/or price of the land;
Thus, the Court of Appeals disposed:
2. The Court of Appeals has so far departed from the accepted course of improvements thereon, not to mention the social humiliation that would
judicial proceedings, by granting to private respondent-Kee the rights of a follow.
builder in good faith in excess of what the law provides, thus enriching
private respondent Kee at the expense of the petitioner;
Under the circumstances, Kee had acted in the manner of a prudent man in
ascertaining the identity of his property. Lot 8 is covered by Transfer
3. In the light of the subsequent events or circumstances which changed the Certificate of Title No. T-69561, while Lot 9 is identified in Transfer
rights of the parties, it becomes imperative to set aside or at least modify the Certificate of Title No. T-106367. Hence, under the Torrens system of land
judgment of the Court of Appeals to harmonize with justice and the facts; registration, Kee is presumed to have knowledge of the metes and bounds
of the property with which he is dealing. . . .
4. Private respondent-Kee in accordance with the findings of facts of the
lower court is clearly a builder in bad faith, having violated several xxx xxx xxx
provisions of the contract to sell on installments;
But as Kee is a layman not versed in the technical description of his
5. The decision of the Court of Appeals, holding the principal, Pleasantville property, he had to find a way to ascertain that what was described in TCT
Development Corporation (liable) for the acts made by the agent in excess No. 69561 matched Lot 8. Thus, he went to the subdivision developer's
of its authority is clearly in violation of the provision of the law; agent and applied and paid for the relocation of the lot, as well as for the
production of a lot plan by CTTEI's geodetic engineer. Upon Kee's receipt of
the map, his wife went to the subdivision site accompanied by CTTEI's
6. The award of attorney's fees is clearly without basis and is equivalent to
employee, Octaviano, who authoritatively declared that the land she was
putting a premium in (sic) court litigation.
pointing to was indeed Lot 8. Having full faith and confidence in the
reputation of CTTEI, and because of the company's positive identification of
From these grounds, the issues could be re-stated as follows: the property, Kee saw no reason to suspect that there had been a
misdelivery. The steps Kee had taken to protect his interests were
reasonable. There was no need for him to have acted ex-abundantia
(1) Was Kee a builder in good faith? cautela, such as being present during the geodetic engineer's relocation
survey or hiring an independent geodetic engineer to countercheck for
(2) What is the liability, if any, of petitioner and its agent, C.T. Torres errors, for the final delivery of subdivision lots to their owners is part of the
Enterprises, Inc.? and regular course of everyday business of CTTEI. Because of CTTEI's blunder,
what Kee had hoped to forestall did in fact transpire. Kee's efforts all went to
naught.8
(3) Is the award of attorney's fees proper?

Good faith consists in the belief of the builder that the land he is building on is his and
The First Issue: Good Faith his ignorance of any defect or flaw in his title 9. And as good faith is presumed,
petitioner has the burden of proving bad faith on the part of Kee 10.
Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the RTC's ruling that
Kee was a builder in bad faith. At the time he built improvements on Lot 8, Kee believed that said lot was what he
bought from petitioner. He was not aware that the lot delivered to him was not Lot 8.
Petitioner fails to persuade this Court to abandon the findings and conclusions of the Thus, Kee's good faith. Petitioner failed to prove otherwise.
Court of Appeals that Kee was a builder in good faith. We agree with the following
observation of the Court of Appeals: To demonstrate Kee's bad faith, petitioner points to Kee's violation of paragraphs 22
and 26 of the Contract of Sale on Installment.
The roots of the controversy can be traced directly to the errors committed
by CTTEI, when it pointed the wrong property to Wilson Kee and his wife. It We disagree. Such violations have no bearing whatsoever on whether Kee was a
is highly improbable that a purchaser of a lot would knowingly and willingly builder in good faith, that is, on his state of mind at the time he built the improvements
build his residence on a lot owned by another, deliberately exposing himself on Lot 9. These alleged violations may give rise to petitioner's cause of action against
and his family to the risk of being ejected from the land and losing all Kee under the said contract (contractual breach), but may not be bases to negate the
presumption that Kee was a builder in good faith.
Petitioner also points out that, as found by the trial court, the Contract of Sale on The rule is that the principal is responsible for the acts of the agent, done within the
Installment covering Lot 8 between it and Kee was rescinded long before the present scope of his authority, and should bear the damage caused to third persons 14. On the
action was instituted. This has no relevance on the liability of petitioner, as such fact other hand, the agent who exceeds his authority is personally liable for the damage 15
does not negate the negligence of its agent in pointing out the wrong lot. to Kee. Such
circumstance is relevant only as it gives Jardinico a cause of action for unlawful
CTTEI was acting within its authority as the sole real estate representative of
detainer against Kee.
petitioner when it made the delivery to Kee. In acting within its scope of authority, it
was, however, negligent. It is this negligence that is the basis of petitioner's liability, as
Petitioner next contends that Kee cannot "claim that another lot was erroneously principal of CTTEI, per Articles 1909 and 1910 of the Civil Code.
pointed out to him" because the latter agreed to the following provision in the Contract
of Sale on installment, to wit:
Pending resolution of the case before the Court of Appeals, Jardinico and Kee on July
24, 1987 entered into a deed of sale, wherein the former sold Lot 9 to Kee. Jardinico
13. The Vendee hereby declares that prior to the execution of his contract and Kee did not inform the Court of Appeals of such deal.
he/she has personally examined or inspected the property made subject-
matter hereof, as to its location, contours, as well as the natural condition of
The deed of sale contained the following provision:
the lots and from the date hereof whatever consequential change therein
made due to erosion, the said Vendee shall bear the expenses of the
necessary fillings, when the same is so desired by him/her.11 1. That Civil Case No. 3815 entitled "Jardinico vs. Kee" which is now
pending appeal with the Court of Appeals, regardless of the outcome of the
decision shall be mutually disregarded and shall not be pursued by the
The subject matter of this provision of the contract is the change of the location,
parties herein and shall be considered dismissed and without effect whatso-
contour and condition of the lot due to erosion. It merely provides that the vendee,
ever; 16
having examined the property prior to the execution of the contract, agrees to shoulder
the expenses resulting from such change.
Kee asserts though that the "terms and conditions in said deed of sale are strictly for
the parties thereto" and that "(t)here is no waiver made by either of the parties in said
We do not agree with the interpretation of petitioner that Kee contracted away his right
deed of whatever favorable judgment or award the honorable respondent Court of
to recover damages resulting from petitioner's negligence. Such waiver would be
Appeals may make in their favor against herein petitioner Pleasantville Development
contrary to public policy and cannot be allowed. "Rights may be waived, unless the
Corporation and/or private respondent C.T. Torres Enterprises; Inc." 17
waiver is contrary to law, public order, public policy, morals, or good customs, or
prejudicial to a third person with a right recognized by law." 12
Obviously, the deed of sale can have no effect on the liability of petitioner. As we have
earlier stated, petitioner's liability is grounded on the negligence of its agent. On the
The Second Issue: Petitioner's Liability
other hand, what the deed of sale regulates are the reciprocal rights of Kee and
Jardinico; it stressed that they had reached an agreement independent of the outcome
Kee filed a third-party complaint against petitioner and CTTEI, which was dismissed of the case.
by the RTC after ruling that there was no evidence from which fault or negligence on
the part of petitioner and CTTEI can be inferred. The Court of Appeals disagreed and
Petitioner further assails the following holding of the Court of Appeals:
found CTTEI negligent for the erroneous delivery of the lot by Octaviano, its
employee.
2. Third-party defendants C.T. Torres Enterprises, Inc. and Pleasantville
Development Corporation are solidarily liable under the following
Petitioner does not dispute the fact that CTTEI was its agent. But it contends that the
circumstances:
erroneous delivery of Lot 9 to Kee was an act which was clearly outside the scope of
its authority, and consequently, CTTEI I alone should be liable. It asserts that "while
[CTTEI] was authorized to sell the lot belonging to the herein petitioner, it was never a. If Eldred Jardinico decides to appropriate the improvements
authorized to deliver the wrong lot to Kee" 13. and, thereafter, remove these structures, the third-party
defendants shall answer for all demolition expenses and the value
of the improvements thus destroyed or rendered useless;
Petitioner's contention is without merit.
b. If Jardinico prefers that Kee buy the land, the third-party In sum, we rule that Kee is a builder in good faith. The disposition of the Court of
defendants shall answer for the amount representing the value of Appeals that Kee "is entitled to the rights granted him under Articles 448, 546 and 548
Lot 9 that Kee should pay to Jardinico. 18 of the New Civil Code" is deleted, in view of the deed of sale entered into by Kee and
Jardinico, which deed now governs the rights of Jardinico and Kee as to each other.
There is also no further need, as ruled by the appellate Court, to remand the case to
the court of origin "for determination of the actual value of the improvements and the
property (Lot 9), as well as for further proceedings in conformity with Article 448 of the
Petitioner contends that if the above holding would be carried out, Kee would be New Civil Code."
unjustly enriched at its expense. In other words, Kee would be able to own the lot, as
buyer, without having to pay anything on it, because the aforequoted portion of
WHEREFORE , the petition is partially GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of
respondent Court's Decision would require petitioner and CTTEI jointly and solidarily
Appeals is hereby MODIFIED as follows:
to "answer" or reimburse Kee therefor.

(1) Wilson Kee is declared a builder in good faith;


We agree with petitioner.

(2) Petitioner Pleasantville Development Corporation and respondent C.T.


Petitioner' s liability lies in the negligence of its agent CTTEI. For such negligence, the
Torres Enterprises, Inc. are declared solidarily liable for damages due to
petitioner should be held liable for damages. Now, the extent and/or amount of
negligence; however, since the amount and/or extent of such damages was
damages to be awarded is a factual issue which should be determined after evidence
not proven during the trial, the same cannot now be quantified and awarded;
is adduced. However, there is no showing that such evidence was actually presented
in the trial court; hence no damages could flow be awarded.
(3) Petitioner Pleasantville Development Corporation and respondent C.T.
Torres Enterprises, Inc. are ordered to pay in solidum the amount of
The rights of Kee and Jardinico vis-a-vis each other, as builder in good faith and
P3,000.00 to Jardinico as attorney's fees, as well as litigation expenses; and
owner in good faith, respectively, are regulated by law (i.e., Arts. 448, 546 and 548 of
the Civil Code). It was error for the Court of Appeals to make a "slight modification" in
the application of such law, on the ground of "equity". At any rate, as it stands now, (4) The award of rentals to Jardinico is dispensed with.
Kee and Jardinico have amicably settled through their deed of sale their rights and
obligations with regards to Lot 9. Thus, we delete items 2 (a) and (b) of the dispositive
SO ORDERED.
portion of the Court of Appeals' Decision [as reproduced above] holding petitioner and
CTTEI solidarily liable.

The Third Issue: Attorney's Fees

The MTCC awarded Jardinico attorney's fees and costs in the amount of P3,000.00
and P700.00, respectively, as prayed for in his complaint. The RTC deleted the award,
consistent with its ruling that petitioner was without fault or negligence. The Court of
Appeals, however, reinstated the award of attorney's fees after ruling that petitioner
was liable for its agent's negligence.

The award of attorney's fees lies within the discretion of the court and depends upon
the circumstances of each case 19. We shall not interfere with the discretion of the
Court of Appeals. Jardinico was compelled to litigate for the protection of his interests
and for the recovery of damages sustained as a result of the negligence of petitioner's
agent 20.
Republic of the Philippines dated August 8, 1994 filed with the Regional Trial Court of Manila, National Capital
SUPREME COURT Judicial Region. Said Information, docketed as Criminal Case No. 94-138071, reads:
Manila
That on or about August 2, 1994, in the City of Manila,
EN BANC Philippines, the said accused, conspiring and confederating
together with one alias "LANDO" and other persons whose true
names, identifies and present whereabouts are still unknown and
helping one another, with treachery, taking advantage of their
superior strength and nocturnity, and ignominy, and with the use
G.R. Nos. 119987-88 October 12, 1995 of force and violence, that is, by taking ANGEL ALQUIZA y
LAGMAN into a warehouse, covering her mouth, slashing her
vagina, hitting her head with a thick piece of wood and stabbing
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
her neck did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
vs.
have carnal knowledge of the person of said ANGEL ALQUIZA y
HON. LORENZO B. VENERACION, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court,
LAGMAN, a minor, seven (7) years of age, against the latter's will
National Capital Judicial Region, Branch 47, Manila, HENRY LAGARTO y
and consent and on said occasion the said ABUNDIO
PETILLA and ERNESTO CORDERO, respondents.
LAGUNDAY, a.k.a. "LANDO" and others, caused her fatal injuries
which were the direct cause of her death immediately thereafter.

CONTRARY TO LAW.
KAPUNAN, J.:
Subsequently thereafter, Ernesto Cordero y Maristela, a.k.a.
The sole issue in the case at bench involves a question of law. After finding that an "Booster," of 1198 Sunflower St., Tondo, Manila, Rolando
accused individual in a criminal case has, on the occasion of Rape, committed Manlangit y Mamerta, a.k.a. "Lando," of 1274 Kagitingan St.,
Homicide, is the judge allowed any discretion in imposing either the penalty Tondo, Manila, Richard Baltazar y Alino, a.k.a. "Curimao," also of
of Reclusion Perpetua or Death? 1274 Kagitingan St., Tondo, Manila, and Catalino Yaon y Aberin,
a.k.a. "Joel," of 1282 Lualhati St., Tondo, Manila were accused of
the same crime of Rape with Homicide in an Information dated
The facts antecedent to the case before this Court, as narrated by petitioner, 1 involve August 11, 1994, docketed as Criminal Case No. 94-138138,
the perpetration of acts so bizarre and devoid of humanity as to horrify and numb the allegedly committed as follows:
senses of all civilized men:

That on or about the 2nd day of August,


On August 2, 1994, the cadaver of a young girl, later identified as 1994, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the
Angel Alquiza wrapped in a sack and yellow table cloth tied with a said accused conspiring and confederating
nylon cord with both feet and left hand protruding from it was seen with ABUNDIO LAGUNDAY Alias "JR,"
floating along Del Pan St. near the corner of Lavesares St., JEOFREY and HENRY LAGARTO y
Binondo, Manila. PETILLA who have already been charged in
the Regional Trial Court of Manila of the
When untied and removed from its cover, the lifeless body of the same offense under Criminal Case No. 94-
victim was seen clad only in a light colored duster without her 138071, and helping one another, with
panties, with gaping wounds on the left side of the face, the left treachery, taking advantage of their superior
chin, left ear, lacerations on her genitalia, and with her head strength and nocturnity and ignominy, and
bashed in. with the use of force and violence, that is, by
taking ANGEL ALQUIZA y LAGMAN into a
pedicab, and once helpless, forcibly bringing
On the basis of sworn statements of witnesses, booking sheets, arrest reports and the her to a nearby warehouse, covering her
necropsy report of the victim, Abundio Lagunday, a.k.a. Jr. Jeofrey of no fixed mouth, slashing her vagina, hitting her head
address, and Henry Lagarto y Petilla, of 288 Area H. Parola Compound, Tondo, with a thick piece of wood and stabbing her
Manila were later charged with the crime of Rape with Homicide in an Information
neck, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully Honorable Supreme Court, in accordance with Sec. 8, Rule 122
and feloniously have carnal knowledge of the of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.
person of said ANGEL ALQUIZA y LAGMAN,
a minor, seven (7) years of age, against the
SO ORDERED.
latter's will and consent and on said occasion
the said accused together with their
confederates ABUNDIO LAGARTO y Hence, the instant petition.
PETILLA caused her fatal injuries which were
the direct cause of her death immediately
thereafter. The trial court's finding of guilt is not at issue in the case at bench. The basis of the
trial court's determination of guilt and its conclusions will only be subject to our
scrutiny at an appropriate time on appeal. We have thus clinically limited our narration
CONTRARY TO LAW. of events to those cold facts antecedent to the instant case relevant to the
determination of the legal question at hand, i.e., whether or not the respondent judge
acted with grave abuse of discretion and in excess of jurisdiction when he failed
The two criminal cases were consolidated to Branch 47 of the
and/or refused to impose the mandatory penalty of death under Republic Act No.
Regional Trial Court of Manila, presided over by respondent
7659, after finding the accused guilty of the crime of Rape with Homicide.
Judge.

We find for petitioner.


Duly arraigned, all the accused, except Abundio Lagunday who
was already dead, (allegedly shot by police escorts after
attempting to fire a gun he was able to grab from SPO1 D. Vidad Obedience to the rule of law forms the bedrock of our system of justice. If judges,
on August 12, 1994), pleaded "Not Guilty." Abundio Lagunday under the guise of religious or political beliefs were allowed to roam unrestricted
was dropped from the Information. beyond boundaries within which they are required by law to exercise the duties of their
office, then law becomes meaningless. A government of laws, not of men excludes the
exercise of broad discretionary powers by those acting under its authority. Under this
After trial and presentation of the evidence of the prosecution and the defense, the
system, judges are guided by the Rule of Law, and ought "to protect and enforce it
trial court rendered a decision2 on January 31, 1995 finding the defendants Henry
without fear or favor," 4 resist encroachments by governments, political parties, 5 or
Lagarto y Petilla and Ernesto Cordero y Maristela guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
even the interference of their own personal beliefs.
the crime of Rape with Homicide and sentenced both accused with the "penalty
of reclusion perpetuawith all the accessories provided for by law." 3 Disagreeing with
the sentence imposed, the City Prosecutor of Manila on February 8, 1995, filed a In the case at bench, respondent judge, after weighing the evidence of the prosecution
Motion for Reconsideration, praying that the Decision be "modified in that the penalty and the defendant at trial found the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
of death be imposed" against respondents Lagarto and Cordero, in place of the crime of Rape with Homicide. Since the law in force at the time of the commission of
original penalty (reclusion perpetua). Refusing to act on the merits of the said Motion the crime for which respondent judge found the accused guilty was Republic Act No.
for Reconsideration, respondent Judge, on February 10, 1995, issued an Order 7659, he was bound by its provisions.
denying the same for lack of jurisdiction. The pertinent portion reads:
Section 11 of R.A. No. 7659 provides:
The Court believes that in the above-entitled cases, the accused
Lagarto and Cordero have complied with the legal requirements
for the perfection of an appeal. Consequently, for lack of Sec. 11. Article 335 of the same Code is hereby amended to read
jurisdiction, this Court cannot take cognizance of the Motion for as follows:
Reconsideration of the Public Prosecutor of Manila.
Art. 335. When and how rape is committed. — Rape is committed
WHEREFORE, the order earlier issued by this Court regarding by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the
following circumstances:
the Notices of Appeal filed by both herein accused is hereby
reiterated.
1. By using force or intimidation.
The Clerk of this Court is hereby directed to transmit the complete
records of these cases, together with the notices of appeal, to the
2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise courts. We have no quarrel with the trial judge or with anyone
unconscious; and else, layman or jurist as to the wisdom or folly of the death
penalty. Today there are quite a number of people who honestly
believe that the supreme penalty is either morally wrong or
3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.
unwise or ineffective. However,as long as that penalty remains in
the statute books, and as long as our criminal law provides for its
The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua. imposition in certain cases, it is the duty of judicial officers to
respect and apply the law regardless of their private opinions. It is
a well settled rule that the courts are not concerned with the
Whenever the crime of rape is committed with the use of a deadly wisdom, efficacy or morality of laws. That question falls
weapon or by two or more persons, the penalty shall be reclusion
exclusively within the province of the Legislature which enacts
perpetua to death. them and the Chief Executive who approves or vetoes them. The
only function of the judiciary is to interpret the laws and, if not in
When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, the victim has disharmony with the Constitution, to apply them. And for the
become insane, the penalty shall be death. guidance of the members of the judiciary we feel it incumbent
upon us to state that while they as citizens or as judges may
regard a certain law as harsh, unwise or morally wrong, and may
When the rape is attempted or frustrated and a homicide is recommend to the authority or department concerned, its
committed by reason or on the occasion thereof, the penalty shall amendment, modification, or repeal, still, as long as said law is in
be reclusion perpetua to death. force, they must apply it and give it effect as decreed by the law-
making body. 8
When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, a homicide is
committed, the penalty shall be death. . . . 6 Finally, the Rules of Court mandates that after an adjudication of guilt, the judge
should impose "the proper penalty and civil liability provided for by the law on the
Clearly, under the law, the penalty imposable for the crime of Rape with Homicide is accused." 9 This is not a case of a magistrate ignorant of the law. This is a case in
not Reclusion Perpetua but Death. While Republic Act 7659 punishes cases of which a judge, fully aware of the appropriate provisions of the law, refuses to impose a
ordinary rape with the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua, it allows judges the discretion — penalty to which he disagrees. In so doing, respondent judge acted without or in
depending on the existence of circumstances modifying the offense committed — to excess of his jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to a lack of
impose the penalty of either Reclusion Perpetua only in the three instances mentioned jurisdiction in imposing the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua where the law clearly
therein. Rape with homicide is not one of these three instances. The law plainly and imposes the penalty of Death.
unequivocably provides that "[w]hen by reason or on the occasion of rape, a homicide
is committed, the penalty shall be death." The provision leaves no room for the WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, the instant petition is GRANTED. The
exercise of discretion on the part of the trial judge to impose a penalty under the case is hereby REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court for the imposition of the
circumstances described, other than a sentence of death. penalty of death upon private respondents in consonance with respondent judge's
finding that the private respondents in the instant case had committed the crime of
We are aware of the trial judge's misgivings in imposing the death sentence because Rape with Homicide under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by
of his religious convictions. While this Court sympathizes with his predicament, it is its Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659, subject to automatic review by this Court of the
bounden duty to emphasize that a court of law is no place for a protracted debate on decision imposing the death penalty.
the morality or propriety of the sentence, where the law itself provides for the sentence
of death as a penalty in specific and well-defined instances. The discomfort faced by SO ORDERED.
those forced by law to impose the death penalty is an ancient one, but it is a matter
upon which judges have no choice. Courts are not concerned with the wisdom,
efficacy or morality of laws. In People vs. Limaco 7 we held that:

[W]hen . . . private opinions not only form part of their decision but
constitute a decisive factor in arriving at a conclusion and
determination of a case or the penalty imposed, resulting in an
illegality and reversible error, then we are constrained to state our
opinion, not only to correct the error but for the guidance of the
Republic of the Philippines shall henceforth be the petitioner’s legitimate child and legal heir. Pursuant to Article
SUPREME COURT 189 of the Family Code of the Philippines, the minor shall be known as STEPHANIE
NATHY CATINDIG.
THIRD DIVISION
Upon finality of this Decision, let the same be entered in the Local Civil Registrar
concerned pursuant to Rule 99 of the Rules of Court.
G.R. No. 148311. March 31, 2005

Let copy of this Decision be furnished the National Statistics Office for record
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF STEPHANIE NATHY ASTORGA GARCIA
purposes.

HONORATO B. CATINDIG, petitioner.


SO ORDERED."4

DECISION
On April 20, 2001, petitioner filed a motion for clarification and/or
reconsideration5 praying that Stephanie should be allowed to use the surname of her
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: natural mother (GARCIA) as her middle name.

May an illegitimate child, upon adoption by her natural father, use the surname of On May 28, 2001,6 the trial court denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration holding
her natural mother as her middle name? This is the issue raised in the instant case. that there is no law or jurisprudence allowing an adopted child to use the surname of
his biological mother as his middle name.
The facts are undisputed.
Hence, the present petition raising the issue of whether an illegitimate child may use
the surname of her mother as her middle name when she is subsequently adopted by
On August 31, 2000, Honorato B. Catindig, herein petitioner, filed a petition1 to adopt
her natural father.
his minor illegitimate childStephanie Nathy Astorga Garcia. He alleged therein,
among others, that Stephanie was born on June 26, 1994;2 that her mother is Gemma
Astorga Garcia; that Stephanie has been using her mother’s middle name and Petitioner submits that the trial court erred in depriving Stephanie of a middle name as
surname; and that he is now a widower and qualified to be her adopting parent. He a consequence of adoption because: (1) there is no law prohibiting an adopted child
prayed that Stephanie’s middle name Astorga be changed to "Garcia," her mother’s from having a middle name in case there is only one adopting parent; (2) it is
surname, and that her surname "Garcia" be changed to "Catindig," his surname. customary for every Filipino to have as middle name the surname of the mother; (3)
the middle name or initial is a part of the name of a person; (4) adoption is for the
benefit and best interest of the adopted child, hence, her right to bear a proper name
On March 23, 2001,3 the trial court rendered the assailed Decision granting the should not be violated; (5) permitting Stephanie to use the middle name "Garcia" (her
adoption, thus:
mother’s surname) avoids the stigma of her illegitimacy; and; (6) her continued use of
"Garcia" as her middle name is not opposed by either the Catindig or Garcia families.
"After a careful consideration of the evidence presented by the petitioner, and in the
absence of any opposition to the petition, this Court finds that the petitioner possesses The Republic, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), agrees with petitioner
all the qualifications and none of the disqualification provided for by law as an adoptive that Stephanie should be permitted to use, as her middle name, the surname of her
parent, and that as such he is qualified to maintain, care for and educate the child to natural mother for the following reasons:
be adopted; that the grant of this petition would redound to the best interest and
welfare of the minor Stephanie Nathy Astorga Garcia. The Court further holds that the
petitioner’s care and custody of the child since her birth up to the present constitute First, it is necessary to preserve and maintain Stephanie’s filiation with her natural
more than enough compliance with the requirement of Article 35 of Presidential mother because under Article 189 of the Family Code, she remains to be an intestate
Decree No. 603. heir of the latter. Thus, to prevent any confusion and needless hardship in the future,
her relationship or proof of that relationship with her natural mother should be
maintained.
WHEREFORE, finding the petition to be meritorious, the same is GRANTED.
Henceforth, Stephanie Nathy Astorga Garcia is hereby freed from all obligations of
obedience and maintenance with respect to her natural mother, and for civil purposes,
Second, there is no law expressly prohibiting Stephanie to use the surname of her (1) Her maiden first name and surname and add her husband's surname, or
natural mother as her middle name. What the law does not prohibit, it allows.
(2) Her maiden first name and her husband's surname or
Last, it is customary for every Filipino to have a middle name, which is ordinarily the
surname of the mother. This custom has been recognized by the Civil Code and
(3) Her husband's full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife, such
Family Code. In fact, the Family Law Committees agreed that"the initial or surname of
as ‘Mrs.’
the mother should immediately precede the surname of the father so that the second
name, if any, will be before the surname of the mother."7
Art. 371. In case of annulment of marriage, and the wife is the guilty party, she shall
resume her maiden name andsurname. If she is the innocent spouse, she may
We find merit in the petition.
resume her maiden name and surname. However, she may choose to continue
employing her former husband's surname, unless:
Use Of Surname Is Fixed By Law –
(1) The court decrees otherwise, or
For all practical and legal purposes, a man's name is the designation by which he is
known and called in the community in which he lives and is best known. It is defined
(2) She or the former husband is married again to another person.
as the word or combination of words by which a person is distinguished from other
individuals and, also, as the label or appellation which he bears for the convenience of
the world at large addressing him, or in speaking of or dealing with him. 8 It is both of Art. 372. When legal separation has been granted, the wife shall continue using her
personal as well as public interest that every person must have a name. name and surnameemployed before the legal separation.

The name of an individual has two parts: (1) the given or proper name and (2) Art. 373. A widow may use the deceased husband's surname as though he were still
the surname or family name. The given or proper name is that which is given to the living, in accordance with Article 370.
individual at birth or at baptism, to distinguish him from other individuals. The surname
or family name is that which identifies the family to which he belongs and is continued
Art. 374. In case of identity of names and surnames, the younger person shall be
from parent to child. The given name may be freely selected by the parents for the
obliged to use such additional name or surname as will avoid confusion.
child, but the surname to which the child is entitled is fixed by law. 9

Thus, Articles 364 to 380 of the Civil Code provides the substantive rules which Art. 375. In case of identity of names and surnames between ascendants and
descendants, the word ‘Junior’ can be used only by a son. Grandsons and other direct
regulate the use of surname10 of an individual whatever may be his status in life, i.e.,
whether he may be legitimate or illegitimate, an adopted child, a married woman or a male descendants shall either:
previously married woman, or a widow, thus:
(1) Add a middle name or the mother's surname,
"Art. 364. Legitimate and legitimated children shall principally use the surname of the
father. (2) Add the Roman numerals II, III, and so on.

Art. 365. An adopted child shall bear the surname of the adopter. x x x"

xxx Law Is Silent As To The Use Of

Art. 369. Children conceived before the decree annulling a voidable marriage shall Middle Name –
principally use the surname of the father.
As correctly submitted by both parties, there is no law regulating the use of a middle
Art. 370. A married woman may use: name. Even Article 17611 of the Family Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 9255,
otherwise known as "An Act Allowing Illegitimate Children To Use The Surname Of
Their Father," is silent as to what middle name a child may use.
The middle name or the mother’s surname is only considered in Article 375(1), quoted Justice Caguioa suggested that the proposed Article (12) be modified to the
above, in case there is identity of names and surnames between ascendants and effect that it shall be mandatory on the child to use the surname of the father
descendants, in which case, the middle name or the mother’s surname shall be but he may use the surname of the mother by way of an initial or a middle name.
added. Prof. Balane stated that they take note of this for inclusion in the Chapter on Use of
Surnames since in the proposed Article (10) they are just enumerating the rights of
legitimate children so that the details can be covered in the appropriate chapter.
Notably, the law is likewise silent as to what middle name an adoptee may use.
Article 365 of the Civil Code merely provides that "an adopted child shall bear the
surname of the adopter." Also, Article 189 of the Family Code, enumerating the legal xxx
effects of adoption, is likewise silent on the matter, thus:
Justice Puno remarked that there is logic in the simplification suggested by Justice
"(1) For civil purposes, the adopted shall be deemed to be a legitimate child of the Caguioa that the surname of the father should always be last because there are so
adopters and both shall acquire the reciprocal rights and obligations arising from the many traditions like the American tradition where they like to use their second given
relationship of parent and child, including the right of the adopted to use the name and the Latin tradition, which is also followed by the Chinese wherein they even
surname of the adopters; include the Clan name.

x x x" xxx

However, as correctly pointed out by the OSG, the members of the Civil Code and Justice Puno suggested that they agree in principle that in the Chapter on the
Family Law Committees that drafted the Family Code recognized the Filipino Use of Surnames, they should say that initial or surname of the mother should
custom of adding the surname of the child’s mother as his middle name. In the immediately precede the surname of the father so that the second name, if any,
Minutes of the Joint Meeting of the Civil Code and Family Law Committees, the will be before the surname of the mother. Prof. Balane added that this is really
members approved the suggestion that the initial or surname of the mother should the Filipino way. The Committee approved the suggestion."12 (Emphasis supplied)
immediately precede the surname of the father, thus
In the case of an adopted child, the law provides that "the adopted shall bear the
"Justice Caguioa commented that there is a difference between the use by the wife of surname of the adopters."13Again, it is silent whether he can use a middle name. What
the surname and that of the child because the father’s surname indicates the it only expressly allows, as a matter of right and obligation, is for the adoptee to bear
family to which he belongs, for which reason he would insist on the use of the the surname of the adopter, upon issuance of the decree of adoption.14
father’s surname by the child but that, if he wants to, the child may also use the
surname of the mother.
The Underlying Intent of

Justice Puno posed the question: If the child chooses to use the surname of the
Adoption Is In Favor of the
mother, how will his name be written? Justice Caguioa replied that it is up to him but
that his point is that it should be mandatory that the child uses the surname of the
father and permissive in the case of the surname of the mother. Adopted Child –

Prof. Baviera remarked that Justice Caguioa’s point is covered by the present Article Adoption is defined as the process of making a child, whether related or not to the
364, which reads: adopter, possess in general, the rights accorded to a legitimate child. 15 It is a juridical
act, a proceeding in rem which creates between two persons a relationship similar to
that which results from legitimate paternity and filiation.16 The modern trend is to
Legitimate and legitimated children shall principally use the surname of the father.
consider adoption not merely as an act to establish a relationship of paternity and
filiation, but also as an act which endows the child with a legitimate status.17 This was,
Justice Puno pointed out that many names change through no choice of the person indeed, confirmed in 1989, when the Philippines, as aState Party to the Convention
himself precisely because of this misunderstanding. He then cited the following of the Rights of the Child initiated by the United Nations, accepted the principle
example: Alfonso Ponce Enrile’s correct surname is Ponce since the mother’s that adoption is impressed with social and moral responsibility, and that its
surname is Enrile but everybody calls him Atty. Enrile. Justice Jose Gutierrez David’s underlying intent is geared to favor the adopted child.18 Republic Act No. 8552,
family name is Gutierrez and his mother’s surname is David but they all call him otherwise known as the "Domestic Adoption Act of 1998,"19 secures these rights and
Justice David. privileges for the adopted.20
One of the effects of adoption is that the adopted is deemed to be a legitimate child of This provision, according to the Code Commission, "is necessary so that it may tip the
the adopter for all intents and purposes pursuant to Article 18921 of the Family Code scales in favor of right and justice when the law is doubtful or obscure. It will
and Section 1722 Article V of RA 8552.23 strengthen the determination of the courts to avoid an injustice which may apparently
be authorized by some way of interpreting the law."28
Being a legitimate child by virtue of her adoption, it follows that Stephanie is
entitled to all the rights provided by law to a legitimate child without Hence, since there is no law prohibiting an illegitimate child adopted by her natural
discrimination of any kind, including the right to bear the surname of her father father, like Stephanie, to use, as middle name her mother’s surname, we find no
and her mother, as discussed above. This is consistent with the intention of the reason why she should not be allowed to do so.
members of the Civil Code and Family Law Committees as earlier discussed. In fact, it
is a Filipino custom that the initial or surname of the mother should immediately
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Decision is partly MODIFIED
precede the surname of the father.
in the sense that Stephanie should be allowed to use her mother’s surname "GARCIA"
as her middle name.
Additionally, as aptly stated by both parties, Stephanie’s continued use of her mother’s
surname (Garcia) as her middle name will maintain her maternal lineage. It is to be
Let the corresponding entry of her correct and complete name be entered in the
noted that Article 189(3) of the Family Code and Section 1824, Article V of RA 8552
decree of adoption.
(law on adoption) provide that the adoptee remains an intestate heir of his/her
biological parent. Hence, Stephanie can well assert or claim her hereditary rights from
her natural mother in the future. SO ORDERED.

Moreover, records show that Stephanie and her mother are living together in the
house built by petitioner for them at 390 Tumana, San Jose, Baliuag, Bulacan.
Petitioner provides for all their needs. Stephanie is closely attached to both her mother
and father. She calls them "Mama" and "Papa". Indeed, they are one normal happy
family. Hence, to allow Stephanie to use her mother’s surname as her middle name
will not only sustain her continued loving relationship with her mother but will also
eliminate the stigma of her illegitimacy.

Liberal Construction of

Adoption Statutes In Favor Of

Adoption –

It is a settled rule that adoption statutes, being humane and salutary, should be
liberally construed to carry out the beneficent purposes of adoption. 25 The interests
and welfare of the adopted child are of primary and paramount consideration, 26 hence,
every reasonable intendment should be sustained to promote and fulfill these noble
and compassionate objectives of the law.27

Lastly, Art. 10 of the New Civil Code provides that:

"In case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws, it is presumed that the
lawmaking body intended right and justice to prevail."
Republic of the Philippines discretion was patently committed, or the lower Court acted capriciously and
SUPREME COURT whimsically, then it devolves upon this Court in a certiorari proceeding to exercise its
Manila supervisory authority and to correct the error committed which, in such a case, is
equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. 1 Prohibition would then lie since it would be useless
and a waste of time to go ahead with the proceedings. 2 Weconsider the petition filed
FIRST DIVISION
in this case within the exception, and we have given it due course.

G.R. No. L-68470 October 8, 1985


For resolution is the effect of the foreign divorce on the parties and their alleged
conjugal property in the Philippines.
ALICE REYES VAN DORN, petitioner,
vs.
Petitioner contends that respondent is estopped from laying claim on the alleged
HON. MANUEL V. ROMILLO, JR., as Presiding Judge of Branch CX, Regional
conjugal property because of the representation he made in the divorce proceedings
Trial Court of the National Capital Region Pasay City and RICHARD
before the American Court that they had no community of property; that the Galleon
UPTON respondents.
Shop was not established through conjugal funds, and that respondent's claim is
barred by prior judgment.

For his part, respondent avers that the Divorce Decree issued by the Nevada Court
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:\ cannot prevail over the prohibitive laws of the Philippines and its declared national
policy; that the acts and declaration of a foreign Court cannot, especially if the same is
contrary to public policy, divest Philippine Courts of jurisdiction to entertain matters
In this Petition for certiorari and Prohibition, petitioner Alice Reyes Van Dorn seeks to within its jurisdiction.
set aside the Orders, dated September 15, 1983 and August 3, 1984, in Civil Case
No. 1075-P, issued by respondent Judge, which denied her Motion to Dismiss said
case, and her Motion for Reconsideration of the Dismissal Order, respectively. For the resolution of this case, it is not necessary to determine whether the property
relations between petitioner and private respondent, after their marriage, were upon
absolute or relative community property, upon complete separation of property, or
The basic background facts are that petitioner is a citizen of the Philippines while
upon any other regime. The pivotal fact in this case is the Nevada divorce of the
private respondent is a citizen of the United States; that they were married in parties.
Hongkong in 1972; that, after the marriage, they established their residence in the
Philippines; that they begot two children born on April 4, 1973 and December 18,
1975, respectively; that the parties were divorced in Nevada, United States, in 1982; The Nevada District Court, which decreed the divorce, had obtained jurisdiction over
and that petitioner has re-married also in Nevada, this time to Theodore Van Dorn. petitioner who appeared in person before the Court during the trial of the case. It also
obtained jurisdiction over private respondent who, giving his address as No. 381 Bush
Street, San Francisco, California, authorized his attorneys in the divorce case, Karp &
Dated June 8, 1983, private respondent filed suit against petitioner in Civil Case No. Gradt Ltd., to agree to the divorce on the ground of incompatibility in the
1075-P of the Regional Trial Court, Branch CXV, in Pasay City, stating that petitioner's understanding that there were neither community property nor community
business in Ermita, Manila, (the Galleon Shop, for short), is conjugal property of the obligations. 3 As explicitly stated in the Power of Attorney he executed in favor of the
parties, and asking that petitioner be ordered to render an accounting of that business, law firm of KARP & GRAD LTD., 336 W. Liberty, Reno, Nevada, to represent him in
and that private respondent be declared with right to manage the conjugal property.
the divorce proceedings:
Petitioner moved to dismiss the case on the ground that the cause of action is barred
by previous judgment in the divorce proceedings before the Nevada Court wherein
respondent had acknowledged that he and petitioner had "no community property" as xxx xxx xxx
of June 11, 1982. The Court below denied the Motion to Dismiss in the mentioned
case on the ground that the property involved is located in the Philippines so that the
You are hereby authorized to accept service of Summons, to file
Divorce Decree has no bearing in the case. The denial is now the subject of this
an Answer, appear on my behalf and do an things necessary and
certiorari proceeding.
proper to represent me, without further contesting, subject to the
following:
Generally, the denial of a Motion to Dismiss in a civil case is interlocutory and is not
subject to appeal. certiorari and Prohibition are neither the remedies to question the
propriety of an interlocutory order of the trial Court. However, when a grave abuse of
1. That my spouse seeks a divorce on the ground of obliged to live together with, observe respect and fidelity, and render support to private
incompatibility. respondent. The latter should not continue to be one of her heirs with possible rights
to conjugal property. She should not be discriminated against in her own country if the
ends of justice are to be served.
2. That there is no community of property to be adjudicated by the
Court.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is granted, and respondent Judge is hereby ordered to
dismiss the Complaint filed in Civil Case No. 1075-P of his Court.
3. 'I'hat there are no community obligations to be adjudicated by
the court.
Without costs.
4
xxx xxx xxx
SO ORDERED.
There can be no question as to the validity of that Nevada divorce in any of the States
of the United States. The decree is binding on private respondent as an American
citizen. For instance, private respondent cannot sue petitioner, as her husband, in any
State of the Union. What he is contending in this case is that the divorce is not valid
and binding in this jurisdiction, the same being contrary to local law and public policy.

It is true that owing to the nationality principle embodied in Article 15 of the Civil
Code, 5 only Philippine nationals are covered by the policy against absolute divorces
the same being considered contrary to our concept of public police and morality.
However, aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which may be recognized in the
Philippines, provided they are valid according to their national law. 6 In this case, the
divorce in Nevada released private respondent from the marriage from the standards
of American law, under which divorce dissolves the marriage. As stated by the Federal
Supreme Court of the United States in Atherton vs. Atherton, 45 L. Ed. 794, 799:

The purpose and effect of a decree of divorce from the bond of


matrimony by a court of competent jurisdiction are to change the
existing status or domestic relation of husband and wife, and to
free them both from the bond. The marriage tie when thus
severed as to one party, ceases to bind either. A husband without
a wife, or a wife without a husband, is unknown to the law. When
the law provides, in the nature of a penalty. that the guilty party
shall not marry again, that party, as well as the other, is still
absolutely freed from the bond of the former marriage.

Thus, pursuant to his national law, private respondent is no longer the husband of
petitioner. He would have no standing to sue in the case below as petitioner's
husband entitled to exercise control over conjugal assets. As he is bound by the
Decision of his own country's Court, which validly exercised jurisdiction over him, and
whose decision he does not repudiate, he is estopped by his own representation
before said Court from asserting his right over the alleged conjugal property.

To maintain, as private respondent does, that, under our laws, petitioner has to be
considered still married to private respondent and still subject to a wife's obligations
under Article 109, et. seq. of the Civil Code cannot be just. Petitioner should not be
Republic of the Philippines spouses. The custody of the child was granted to petitioner. The records show that
SUPREME COURT under German law said court was locally and internationally competent for the divorce
Manila proceeding and that the dissolution of said marriage was legally founded on and
authorized by the applicable law of that foreign jurisdiction. 4
SECOND DIVISION
On June 27, 1986, or more than five months after the issuance of the divorce decree,
private respondent filed two complaints for adultery before the City Fiscal of Manila
G.R. No. 80116 June 30, 1989
alleging that, while still married to said respondent, petitioner "had an affair with a
certain William Chia as early as 1982 and with yet another man named Jesus Chua
IMELDA MANALAYSAY PILAPIL, petitioner, sometime in 1983". Assistant Fiscal Jacinto A. de los Reyes, Jr., after the
vs. corresponding investigation, recommended the dismissal of the cases on the ground
HON. CORONA IBAY-SOMERA, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of the of insufficiency of evidence. 5 However, upon review, the respondent city fiscal
Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch XXVI; HON. LUIS C. VICTOR, in his approved a resolution, dated January 8, 1986, directing the filing of two complaints for
capacity as the City Fiscal of Manila; and ERICH EKKEHARD adultery against the petitioner. 6 The complaints were accordingly filed and were
GEILING, respondents. eventually raffled to two branches of the Regional Trial Court of Manila. The case
entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Imelda Pilapil and William Chia", docketed as
Criminal Case No. 87-52435, was assigned to Branch XXVI presided by the
respondent judge; while the other case, "People of the Philippines vs. Imelda Pilapil
and James Chua", docketed as Criminal Case No. 87-52434 went to the sala of Judge
REGALADO, J.: Leonardo Cruz, Branch XXV, of the same court. 7

An ill-starred marriage of a Filipina and a foreigner which ended in a foreign absolute On March 14, 1987, petitioner filed a petition with the Secretary of Justice asking that
divorce, only to be followed by a criminal infidelity suit of the latter against the former, the aforesaid resolution of respondent fiscal be set aside and the cases against her be
provides Us the opportunity to lay down a decisional rule on what hitherto appears to dismissed. 8 A similar petition was filed by James Chua, her co-accused in Criminal
be an unresolved jurisdictional question. Case No. 87-52434. The Secretary of Justice, through the Chief State Prosecutor,
gave due course to both petitions and directed the respondent city fiscal to inform the
Department of Justice "if the accused have already been arraigned and if not yet
On September 7, 1979, petitioner Imelda Manalaysay Pilapil, a Filipino citizen, and arraigned, to move to defer further proceedings" and to elevate the entire records of
private respondent Erich Ekkehard Geiling, a German national, were married before both cases to his office for review. 9
the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths at Friedensweiler in the Federal
Republic of Germany. The marriage started auspiciously enough, and the couple lived
together for some time in Malate, Manila where their only child, Isabella Pilapil Geiling, Petitioner thereafter filed a motion in both criminal cases to defer her arraignment and
was born on April 20, 1980. 1 to suspend further proceedings thereon. 10 As a consequence, Judge Leonardo Cruz
suspended proceedings in Criminal Case No. 87-52434. On the other hand,
respondent judge merely reset the date of the arraignment in Criminal Case No. 87-
Thereafter, marital discord set in, with mutual recriminations between the spouses, 52435 to April 6, 1987. Before such scheduled date, petitioner moved for the
followed by a separation de facto between them. cancellation of the arraignment and for the suspension of proceedings in said Criminal
Case No. 87-52435 until after the resolution of the petition for review then pending
After about three and a half years of marriage, such connubial disharmony eventuated before the Secretary of Justice. 11 A motion to quash was also filed in the same case
in private respondent initiating a divorce proceeding against petitioner in Germany on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, 12 which motion was denied by the respondent
before the Schoneberg Local Court in January, 1983. He claimed that there was judge in an order dated September 8, 1987. The same order also directed the
failure of their marriage and that they had been living apart since April, 1982. 2 arraignment of both accused therein, that is, petitioner and William Chia. The latter
entered a plea of not guilty while the petitioner refused to be arraigned. Such refusal of
the petitioner being considered by respondent judge as direct contempt, she and her
Petitioner, on the other hand, filed an action for legal separation, support and counsel were fined and the former was ordered detained until she submitted herself
separation of property before the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch XXXII, on for arraignment. 13 Later, private respondent entered a plea of not guilty. 14
January 23, 1983 where the same is still pending as Civil Case No. 83-15866. 3

On October 27, 1987, petitioner filed this special civil action for certiorari and
On January 15, 1986, Division 20 of the Schoneberg Local Court, Federal Republic of prohibition, with a prayer for a temporary restraining order, seeking the annulment of
Germany, promulgated a decree of divorce on the ground of failure of marriage of the
the order of the lower court denying her motion to quash. The petition is anchored on The absence of an equivalent explicit rule in the prosecution of criminal cases does
the main ground that the court is without jurisdiction "to try and decide the charge of not mean that the same requirement and rationale would not apply. Understandably, it
adultery, which is a private offense that cannot be prosecuted de officio (sic), since the may not have been found necessary since criminal actions are generally and
purported complainant, a foreigner, does not qualify as an offended spouse having fundamentally commenced by the State, through the People of the Philippines, the
obtained a final divorce decree under his national law prior to his filing the criminal offended party being merely the complaining witness therein. However, in the so-
complaint." 15 called "private crimes" or those which cannot be prosecuted de oficio, and the present
prosecution for adultery is of such genre, the offended spouse assumes a more
predominant role since the right to commence the action, or to refrain therefrom, is a
On October 21, 1987, this Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the
matter exclusively within his power and option.
respondents from implementing the aforesaid order of September 8, 1987 and from
further proceeding with Criminal Case No. 87-52435. Subsequently, on March 23,
1988 Secretary of Justice Sedfrey A. Ordoñez acted on the aforesaid petitions for This policy was adopted out of consideration for the aggrieved party who might prefer
review and, upholding petitioner's ratiocinations, issued a resolution directing the to suffer the outrage in silence rather than go through the scandal of a public
respondent city fiscal to move for the dismissal of the complaints against the trial. 20 Hence, as cogently argued by petitioner, Article 344 of the Revised Penal Code
petitioner. 16 thus presupposes that the marital relationship is still subsisting at the time of the
institution of the criminal action for, adultery. This is a logical consequence since
the raison d'etre of said provision of law would be absent where the supposed
We find this petition meritorious. The writs prayed for shall accordingly issue.
offended party had ceased to be the spouse of the alleged offender at the time of the
filing of the criminal case. 21
Under Article 344 of the Revised Penal Code, 17 the crime of adultery, as well as four
other crimes against chastity, cannot be prosecuted except upon a sworn written
In these cases, therefore, it is indispensable that the status and capacity of the
complaint filed by the offended spouse. It has long since been established, with
complainant to commence the action be definitely established and, as already
unwavering consistency, that compliance with this rule is a jurisdictional, and not
demonstrated, such status or capacity must indubitably exist as of the time he initiates
merely a formal, requirement. 18 While in point of strict law the jurisdiction of the court
the action. It would be absurd if his capacity to bring the action would be determined
over the offense is vested in it by the Judiciary Law, the requirement for a sworn
by his status before or subsequent to the commencement thereof, where such
written complaint is just as jurisdictional a mandate since it is that complaint which
capacity or status existed prior to but ceased before, or was acquired subsequent to
starts the prosecutory proceeding 19 and without which the court cannot exercise its
but did not exist at the time of, the institution of the case. We would thereby have the
jurisdiction to try the case.
anomalous spectacle of a party bringing suit at the very time when he is without the
legal capacity to do so.
Now, the law specifically provides that in prosecutions for adultery and concubinage
the person who can legally file the complaint should be the offended spouse, and
To repeat, there does not appear to be any local precedential jurisprudence on the
nobody else. Unlike the offenses of seduction, abduction, rape and acts of
specific issue as to when precisely the status of a complainant as an offended spouse
lasciviousness, no provision is made for the prosecution of the crimes of adultery and
must exist where a criminal prosecution can be commenced only by one who in law
concubinage by the parents, grandparents or guardian of the offended party. The so-
can be categorized as possessed of such status. Stated differently and with reference
called exclusive and successive rule in the prosecution of the first four offenses above
to the present case, the inquiry ;would be whether it is necessary in the
mentioned do not apply to adultery and concubinage. It is significant that while the
commencement of a criminal action for adultery that the marital bonds between the
State, as parens patriae, was added and vested by the 1985 Rules of Criminal
complainant and the accused be unsevered and existing at the time of the institution
Procedure with the power to initiate the criminal action for a deceased or incapacitated
of the action by the former against the latter.
victim in the aforesaid offenses of seduction, abduction, rape and acts of
lasciviousness, in default of her parents, grandparents or guardian, such amendment
did not include the crimes of adultery and concubinage. In other words, only the American jurisprudence, on cases involving statutes in that jurisdiction which are in
offended spouse, and no other, is authorized by law to initiate the action therefor. pari materia with ours, yields the rule that after a divorce has been decreed, the
innocent spouse no longer has the right to institute proceedings against the
offenders where the statute provides that the innocent spouse shall have the exclusive
Corollary to such exclusive grant of power to the offended spouse to institute the
right to institute a prosecution for adultery. Where, however, proceedings have been
action, it necessarily follows that such initiator must have the status, capacity or legal
properly commenced, a divorce subsequently granted can have no legal effect on the
representation to do so at the time of the filing of the criminal action. This is a familiar
prosecution of the criminal proceedings to a conclusion. 22
and express rule in civil actions; in fact, lack of legal capacity to sue, as a ground for a
motion to dismiss in civil cases, is determined as of the filing of the complaint or
petition. In the cited Loftus case, the Supreme Court of Iowa held that —
'No prosecution for adultery can be commenced except on the Thus, pursuant to his national law, private respondent is no longer
complaint of the husband or wife.' Section 4932, Code. Though the husband of petitioner. He would have no standing to sue in
Loftus was husband of defendant when the offense is said to the case below as petitioner's husband entitled to exercise control
have been committed, he had ceased to be such when the over conjugal assets. ... 25
prosecution was begun; and appellant insists that his status was
not such as to entitle him to make the complaint. We have
Under the same considerations and rationale, private respondent, being no longer the
repeatedly said that the offense is against the unoffending
husband of petitioner, had no legal standing to commence the adultery case under the
spouse, as well as the state, in explaining the reason for this
imposture that he was the offended spouse at the time he filed suit.
provision in the statute; and we are of the opinion that the
unoffending spouse must be such when the prosecution is
commenced. (Emphasis supplied.) The allegation of private respondent that he could not have brought this case before
the decree of divorce for lack of knowledge, even if true, is of no legal significance or
consequence in this case. When said respondent initiated the divorce proceeding, he
We see no reason why the same doctrinal rule should not apply in this case and in our
obviously knew that there would no longer be a family nor marriage vows to protect
jurisdiction, considering our statutory law and jural policy on the matter. We are
once a dissolution of the marriage is decreed. Neither would there be a danger of
convinced that in cases of such nature, the status of the complainant vis-a-vis the
introducing spurious heirs into the family, which is said to be one of the reasons for the
accused must be determined as of the time the complaint was filed. Thus, the person
particular formulation of our law on adultery, 26 since there would thenceforth be no
who initiates the adultery case must be an offended spouse, and by this is meant that
spousal relationship to speak of. The severance of the marital bond had the effect of
he is still married to the accused spouse, at the time of the filing of the complaint.
dissociating the former spouses from each other, hence the actuations of one would
not affect or cast obloquy on the other.
In the present case, the fact that private respondent obtained a valid divorce in his
country, the Federal Republic of Germany, is admitted. Said divorce and its legal
The aforecited case of United States vs. Mata cannot be successfully relied upon by
effects may be recognized in the Philippines insofar as private respondent is
private respondent. In applying Article 433 of the old Penal Code, substantially the
concerned 23 in view of the nationality principle in our civil law on the matter of status
same as Article 333 of the Revised Penal Code, which punished adultery "although
of persons.
the marriage be afterwards declared void", the Court merely stated that "the
lawmakers intended to declare adulterous the infidelity of a married woman to her
Thus, in the recent case of Van Dorn vs. Romillo, Jr., et al., 24 after a divorce was marital vows, even though it should be made to appear that she is entitled to have her
granted by a United States court between Alice Van Dornja Filipina, and her American marriage contract declared null and void, until and unless she actually secures a
husband, the latter filed a civil case in a trial court here alleging that her business formal judicial declaration to that effect". Definitely, it cannot be logically inferred
concern was conjugal property and praying that she be ordered to render an therefrom that the complaint can still be filed after the declaration of nullity because
accounting and that the plaintiff be granted the right to manage the business. such declaration that the marriage is void ab initio is equivalent to stating that it never
Rejecting his pretensions, this Court perspicuously demonstrated the error of such existed. There being no marriage from the beginning, any complaint for adultery filed
stance, thus: after said declaration of nullity would no longer have a leg to stand on. Moreover, what
was consequently contemplated and within the purview of the decision in said case is
the situation where the criminal action for adultery was filed before the termination of
There can be no question as to the validity of that Nevada divorce
the marriage by a judicial declaration of its nullity ab initio. The same rule and requisite
in any of the States of the United States. The decree is binding on
would necessarily apply where the termination of the marriage was effected, as in this
private respondent as an American citizen. For instance, private
case, by a valid foreign divorce.
respondent cannot sue petitioner, as her husband, in any State of
the Union. ...
Private respondent's invocation of Donio-Teves, et al. vs. Vamenta, hereinbefore
cited, 27 must suffer the same fate of inapplicability. A cursory reading of said case
It is true that owing to the nationality principle embodied in Article
reveals that the offended spouse therein had duly and seasonably filed a complaint for
15 of the Civil Code, only Philippine nationals are covered by the
adultery, although an issue was raised as to its sufficiency but which was resolved in
policy against absolute divorces the same being considered
favor of the complainant. Said case did not involve a factual situation akin to the one
contrary to our concept of public policy and morality. However,
at bar or any issue determinative of the controversy herein.
aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which may be recognized in
the Philippines, provided they are valid according to their national
law. ... WHEREFORE, the questioned order denying petitioner's motion to quash is SET
ASIDE and another one enteredDISMISSING the complaint in Criminal Case No. 87-
52435 for lack of jurisdiction. The temporary restraining order issued in this case on
October 21, 1987 is hereby made permanent.

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines Upon the liberation of the Philippines by the American Forces in 1945, Lorenzo was
SUPREME COURT granted an accrued leave by the U. S. Navy, to visit his wife and he visited the
Manila Philippines.7 He discovered that his wife Paula was pregnant and was "living in" and
having an adulterous relationship with his brother, Ceferino Llorente.8
FIRST DIVISION
On December 4, 1945, Paula gave birth to a boy registered in the Office of the
Registrar of Nabua as "Crisologo Llorente," with the certificate stating that the child
G.R. No. 124371 November 23, 2000
was not legitimate and the line for the father’s name was left blank. 9

PAULA T. LLORENTE, petitioner,


Lorenzo refused to forgive Paula and live with her. In fact, on February 2, 1946, the
vs.
couple drew a written agreement to the effect that (1) all the family allowances allotted
COURT OF APPEALS and ALICIA F. LLORENTE, respondents.
by the United States Navy as part of Lorenzo’s salary and all other obligations for
Paula’s daily maintenance and support would be suspended; (2) they would dissolve
DECISION their marital union in accordance with judicial proceedings; (3) they would make a
separate agreement regarding their conjugal property acquired during their marital life;
and (4) Lorenzo would not prosecute Paula for her adulterous act since she voluntarily
PARDO, J.:
admitted her fault and agreed to separate from Lorenzo peacefully. The agreement
was signed by both Lorenzo and Paula and was witnessed by Paula’s father and
The Case stepmother. The agreement was notarized by Notary Public Pedro Osabel. 10

The case raises a conflict of laws issue. Lorenzo returned to the United States and on November 16, 1951 filed for divorce with
the Superior Court of the State of California in and for the County of San Diego. Paula
was represented by counsel, John Riley, and actively participated in the proceedings.
What is before us is an appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeals 1 modifying On November 27, 1951, the Superior Court of the State of California, for the County of
that of the Regional Trial Court, Camarines Sur, Branch 35, Iriga City2 declaring San Diego found all factual allegations to be true and issued an interlocutory judgment
respondent Alicia F. Llorente (herinafter referred to as "Alicia"), as co-owners of of divorce.11
whatever property she and the deceased Lorenzo N. Llorente (hereinafter referred to
as "Lorenzo") may have acquired during the twenty-five (25) years that they lived
together as husband and wife. On December 4, 1952, the divorce decree became final. 12

The Facts In the meantime, Lorenzo returned to the Philippines.

The deceased Lorenzo N. Llorente was an enlisted serviceman of the United States On January 16, 1958, Lorenzo married Alicia F. Llorente in Manila.13 Apparently, Alicia
Navy from March 10, 1927 to September 30, 1957.3 had no knowledge of the first marriage even if they resided in the same town as Paula,
who did not oppose the marriage or cohabitation.14
On February 22, 1937, Lorenzo and petitioner Paula Llorente (hereinafter referred to
as "Paula") were married before a parish priest, Roman Catholic Church, in Nabua, From 1958 to 1985, Lorenzo and Alicia lived together as husband and wife. 15 Their
Camarines Sur.4 twenty-five (25) year union produced three children, Raul, Luz and Beverly, all
surnamed Llorente.16
Before the outbreak of the Pacific War, Lorenzo departed for the United States and
Paula stayed in the conjugal home in barrio Antipolo, Nabua, Camarines Sur. 5 On March 13, 1981, Lorenzo executed a Last Will and Testament. The will was
notarized by Notary Public Salvador M. Occiano, duly signed by Lorenzo with attesting
witnesses Francisco Hugo, Francisco Neibres and Tito Trajano. In the will, Lorenzo
On November 30, 1943, Lorenzo was admitted to United States citizenship and bequeathed all his property to Alicia and their three children, to wit:
Certificate of Naturalization No. 5579816 was issued in his favor by the United States
District Court, Southern District of New York.6
"(1) I give and bequeath to my wife ALICIA R. FORTUNO exclusively my residential
house and lot, located at San Francisco, Nabua, Camarines Sur, Philippines, including
ALL the personal properties and other movables or belongings that may be found or On January 24, 1984, finding that the will was duly executed, the trial court admitted
existing therein; the will to probate.20

"(2) I give and bequeath exclusively to my wife Alicia R. Fortuno and to my children, On June 11, 1985, before the proceedings could be terminated, Lorenzo died. 21
Raul F. Llorente, Luz F. Llorente and Beverly F. Llorente, in equal shares, all my real
properties whatsoever and wheresoever located, specifically my real properties
On September 4, 1985, Paula filed with the same court a petition22 for letters of
located at Barangay Aro-Aldao, Nabua, Camarines Sur; Barangay Paloyon, Nabua,
administration over Lorenzo’s estate in her favor. Paula contended (1) that she was
Camarines Sur; Barangay Baras, Sitio Puga, Nabua, Camarines Sur; and Barangay
Lorenzo’s surviving spouse, (2) that the various property were acquired during their
Paloyon, Sitio Nalilidong, Nabua, Camarines Sur;
marriage, (3) that Lorenzo’s will disposed of all his property in favor of Alicia and her
children, encroaching on her legitime and 1/2 share in the conjugal property.23
"(3) I likewise give and bequeath exclusively unto my wife Alicia R. Fortuno and unto
my children, Raul F. Llorente, Luz F. Llorente and Beverly F. Llorente, in equal shares,
On December 13, 1985, Alicia filed in the testate proceeding (Sp. Proc. No. IR-755), a
my real properties located in Quezon City Philippines, and covered by Transfer
petition for the issuance of letters testamentary.24
Certificate of Title No. 188652; and my lands in Antipolo, Rizal, Philippines, covered
by Transfer Certificate of Title Nos. 124196 and 165188, both of the Registry of Deeds
of the province of Rizal, Philippines; On October 14, 1985, without terminating the testate proceedings, the trial court gave
due course to Paula’s petition in Sp. Proc. No. IR-888.25
"(4) That their respective shares in the above-mentioned properties, whether real or
personal properties, shall not be disposed of, ceded, sold and conveyed to any other On November 6, 13 and 20, 1985, the order was published in the newspaper "Bicol
persons, but could only be sold, ceded, conveyed and disposed of by and among Star".26
themselves;
On May 18, 1987, the Regional Trial Court issued a joint decision, thus:
"(5) I designate my wife ALICIA R. FORTUNO to be the sole executor of this my Last
Will and Testament, and in her default or incapacity of the latter to act, any of my
children in the order of age, if of age; "Wherefore, considering that this court has so found that the divorce decree granted to
the late Lorenzo Llorente is void and inapplicable in the Philippines, therefore the
marriage he contracted with Alicia Fortunato on January 16, 1958 at Manila is likewise
"(6) I hereby direct that the executor named herein or her lawful substitute should void. This being so the petition of Alicia F. Llorente for the issuance of letters
served (sic) without bond; testamentary is denied. Likewise, she is not entitled to receive any share from the
estate even if the will especially said so her relationship with Lorenzo having gained
the status of paramour which is under Art. 739 (1).
"(7) I hereby revoke any and all my other wills, codicils, or testamentary dispositions
heretofore executed, signed, or published, by me;
"On the other hand, the court finds the petition of Paula Titular Llorente, meritorious,
and so declares the intrinsic disposition of the will of Lorenzo Llorente dated March 13,
"(8) It is my final wish and desire that if I die, no relatives of mine in any degree in the
1981 as void and declares her entitled as conjugal partner and entitled to one-half of
Llorente’s Side should ever bother and disturb in any manner whatsoever my wife
their conjugal properties, and as primary compulsory heir, Paula T. Llorente is also
Alicia R. Fortunato and my children with respect to any real or personal properties I
entitled to one-third of the estate and then one-third should go to the illegitimate
gave and bequeathed respectively to each one of them by virtue of this Last Will and
children, Raul, Luz and Beverly, all surname (sic) Llorente, for them to partition in
Testament."17
equal shares and also entitled to the remaining free portion in equal shares.

On December 14, 1983, Lorenzo filed with the Regional Trial Court, Iriga, Camarines
"Petitioner, Paula Llorente is appointed legal administrator of the estate of the
Sur, a petition for the probate and allowance of his last will and testament wherein
deceased, Lorenzo Llorente. As such let the corresponding letters of administration
Lorenzo moved that Alicia be appointed Special Administratrix of his estate. 18
issue in her favor upon her filing a bond in the amount (sic) of P100,000.00
conditioned for her to make a return to the court within three (3) months a true and
On January 18, 1984, the trial court denied the motion for the reason that the testator complete inventory of all goods, chattels, rights, and credits, and estate which shall at
Lorenzo was still alive.19 any time come to her possession or to the possession of any other person for her, and
from the proceeds to pay and discharge all debts, legacies and charges on the same,
or such dividends thereon as shall be decreed or required by this court; to render a
true and just account of her administration to the court within one (1) year, and at any We do not agree with the decision of the Court of Appeals. We remand the case to the
other time when required by the court and to perform all orders of this court by her to trial court for ruling on the intrinsic validity of the will of the deceased.
be performed.
The Applicable Law
"On the other matters prayed for in respective petitions for want of evidence could not
be granted.
The fact that the late Lorenzo N. Llorente became an American citizen long before and
at the time of: (1) his divorce from Paula; (2) marriage to Alicia; (3) execution of his
"SO ORDERED."27 will; and (4) death, is duly established, admitted and undisputed.

In time, Alicia filed with the trial court a motion for reconsideration of the aforequoted Thus, as a rule, issues arising from these incidents are necessarily governed by
decision.28 foreign law.

On September 14, 1987, the trial court denied Alicia’s motion for reconsideration but The Civil Code clearly provides:
modified its earlier decision, stating that Raul and Luz Llorente are not children
"legitimate or otherwise" of Lorenzo since they were not legally adopted by
"Art. 15. Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal
him.29 Amending its decision of May 18, 1987, the trial court declared Beverly Llorente
capacity of persons arebinding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living
as the only illegitimate child of Lorenzo, entitling her to one-third (1/3) of the estate
abroad.
and one-third (1/3) of the free portion of the estate.30

"Art. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country
On September 28, 1987, respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals.31
where it is situated.

On July 31, 1995, the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision, affirming with
"However, intestate and testamentary succession, both with respect to the order of
modification the decision of the trial court in this wise:
succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of
testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person
"WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED with the whose succession is under consideration, whatever may be the nature of the
MODIFICATION that Alicia is declared as co-owner of whatever properties she and property and regardless of the country wherein said property may be found."
the deceased may have acquired during the twenty-five (25) years of cohabitation. (emphasis ours)

"SO ORDERED."32 True, foreign laws do not prove themselves in our jurisdiction and our courts are not
authorized to take judicial notice of them. Like any other fact, they must be alleged
and proved.37
On August 25, 1995, petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a motion for
reconsideration of the decision.33
While the substance of the foreign law was pleaded, the Court of Appeals did not
admit the foreign law. The Court of Appeals and the trial court called to the fore
On March 21, 1996, the Court of Appeals,34 denied the motion for lack of merit.
the renvoi doctrine, where the case was "referred back" to the law of the decedent’s
domicile, in this case, Philippine law.
Hence, this petition.35
We note that while the trial court stated that the law of New York was not sufficiently
The Issue proven, in the same breath it made the categorical, albeit equally unproven statement
that "American law follows the ‘domiciliary theory’ hence, Philippine law applies when
determining the validity of Lorenzo’s will.38
Stripping the petition of its legalese and sorting through the various arguments
raised,36 the issue is simple. Who are entitled to inherit from the late Lorenzo N.
Llorente? First, there is no such thing as one American law.1ªwph!1 The "national law" indicated
in Article 16 of the Civil Code cannot possibly apply to general American law. There is
no such law governing the validity of testamentary provisions in the United States.
Each State of the union has its own law applicable to its citizens and in force only "Art. 17. The forms and solemnities of contracts, wills, and other public instruments
within the State. It can therefore refer to no other than the law of the State of which the shall be governed by the laws of the country in which they are executed.
decedent was a resident.39Second, there is no showing that the application of
the renvoi doctrine is called for or required by New York State law.
"When the acts referred to are executed before the diplomatic or consular officials of
the Republic of the Philippines in a foreign country, the solemnities established by
The trial court held that the will was intrinsically invalid since it contained dispositions Philippine laws shall be observed in their execution." (underscoring ours)
in favor of Alice, who in the trial court’s opinion was a mere paramour. The trial court
threw the will out, leaving Alice, and her two children, Raul and Luz, with nothing.
The clear intent of Lorenzo to bequeath his property to his second wife and children by
her is glaringly shown in the will he executed. We do not wish to frustrate his wishes,
The Court of Appeals also disregarded the will. It declared Alice entitled to one half since he was a foreigner, not covered by our laws on "family rights and duties, status,
(1/2) of whatever property she and Lorenzo acquired during their cohabitation, condition and legal capacity."44
applying Article 144 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.
Whether the will is intrinsically valid and who shall inherit from Lorenzo are issues best
The hasty application of Philippine law and the complete disregard of the will, already proved by foreign law which must be pleaded and proved. Whether the will was
probated as duly executed in accordance with the formalities of Philippine law, is executed in accordance with the formalities required is answered by referring to
fatal, especially in light of the factual and legal circumstances here obtaining. Philippine law. In fact, the will was duly probated.

Validity of the Foreign Divorce As a guide however, the trial court should note that whatever public policy or good
customs may be involved in our system of legitimes, Congress did not intend to
extend the same to the succession of foreign nationals. Congress specifically left the
In Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr.40 we held that owing to the nationality principle embodied in
amount of successional rights to the decedent's national law.45
Article 15 of the Civil Code, only Philippine nationals are covered by the policy against
absolute divorces, the same being considered contrary to our concept of public policy
and morality. In the same case, the Court ruled that aliens may obtain divorces Having thus ruled, we find it unnecessary to pass upon the other issues raised.
abroad, provided they are valid according to their national law.
The Fallo
Citing this landmark case, the Court held in Quita v. Court of Appeals,41 that once
proven that respondent was no longer a Filipino citizen when he obtained the divorce
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-
from petitioner, the ruling in Van Dorn would become applicable and petitioner could
G. R. SP No. 17446 promulgated on July 31, 1995 is SET ASIDE.
"very well lose her right to inherit" from him.

In lieu thereof, the Court REVERSES the decision of the Regional Trial Court and
In Pilapil v. Ibay-Somera,42 we recognized the divorce obtained by the respondent in
RECOGNIZES as VALID the decree of divorce granted in favor of the deceased
his country, the Federal Republic of Germany. There, we stated that divorce and its
Lorenzo N. Llorente by the Superior Court of the State of California in and for the
legal effects may be recognized in the Philippines insofar as respondent is concerned
County of San Diego, made final on December 4, 1952.
in view of the nationality principle in our civil law on the status of persons.

Further, the Court REMANDS the cases to the court of origin for determination of the
For failing to apply these doctrines, the decision of the Court of Appeals must be
intrinsic validity of Lorenzo N. Llorente’s will and determination of the parties’
reversed.43 We hold that the divorce obtained by Lorenzo H. Llorente from his first wife
successional rights allowing proof of foreign law with instructions that the trial court
Paula was valid and recognized in this jurisdiction as a matter of comity. Now, the
shall proceed with all deliberate dispatch to settle the estate of the deceased within
effects of this divorce (as to the succession to the estate of the decedent) are matters
the framework of the Rules of Court.
best left to the determination of the trial court.

No costs.
Validity of the Will

SO ORDERED.
The Civil Code provides:
Republic of the Philippines – a Filipina – and respondent were married on January 12, 1994 in Our Lady of
SUPREME COURT Perpetual Help Church in Cabanatuan City.7 In their application for a marriage license,
Manila respondent was declared as "single" and "Filipino."8

THIRD DIVISION Starting October 22, 1995, petitioner and respondent lived separately without prior
judicial dissolution of their marriage. While the two were still in Australia, their conjugal
assets were divided on May 16, 1996, in accordance with their Statutory Declarations
G.R. No. 138322 October 2, 2001
secured in Australia.9

GRACE J. GARCIA, a.k.a. GRACE J. GARCIA-RECIO, petitioner,


On March 3, 1998, petitioner filed a Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of
vs.
Marriage10 in the court a quo, on the ground of bigamy – respondent allegedly had a
REDERICK A. RECIO, respondents.
prior subsisting marriage at the time he married her on January 12, 1994. She claimed
that she learned of respondent's marriage to Editha Samson only in November, 1997.
PANGANIBAN, J.:
In his Answer, respondent averred that, as far back as 1993, he had revealed to
A divorce obtained abroad by an alien may be recognized in our jurisdiction, provided petitioner his prior marriage andits subsequent dissolution.11 He contended that his
such decree is valid according to the national law of the foreigner. However, the first marriage to an Australian citizen had been validly dissolved by a divorce decree
divorce decree and the governing personal law of the alien spouse who obtained the obtained in Australian in 1989;12 thus, he was legally capacitated to marry petitioner in
divorce must be proven. Our courts do not take judicial notice of foreign laws and 1994.1âwphi1.nêt
judgment; hence, like any other facts, both the divorce decree and the national law of
the alien must be alleged and proven according to our law on evidence.
On July 7, 1998 – or about five years after the couple's wedding and while the suit for
the declaration of nullity was pending – respondent was able to secure a divorce
The Case decree from a family court in Sydney, Australia because the "marriage ha[d]
irretrievably broken down."13
Before us is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking to
nullify the January 7, 1999 Decision1 and the March 24, 1999 Order2 of the Regional Respondent prayed in his Answer that the Complained be dismissed on the ground
Trial Court of Cabanatuan City, Branch 28, in Civil Case No. 3026-AF. The assailed that it stated no cause of action.14 The Office of the Solicitor General agreed with
Decision disposed as follows: respondent.15 The court marked and admitted the documentary evidence of both
parties.16 After they submitted their respective memoranda, the case was submitted
for resolution.17
"WHEREFORE, this Court declares the marriage between Grace J. Garcia
and Rederick A. Recio solemnized on January 12, 1994 at Cabanatuan City
as dissolved and both parties can now remarry under existing and Thereafter, the trial court rendered the assailed Decision and Order.
applicable laws to any and/or both parties."3
Ruling of the Trial Court
The assailed Order denied reconsideration of the above-quoted Decision.
The trial court declared the marriage dissolved on the ground that the divorce issued
The Facts in Australia was valid and recognized in the Philippines. It deemed the marriage
ended, but not on the basis of any defect in an essential element of the marriage; that
is, respondent's alleged lack of legal capacity to remarry. Rather, it based its Decision
Rederick A. Recio, a Filipino, was married to Editha Samson, an Australian citizen, in
on the divorce decree obtained by respondent. The Australian divorce had ended the
Malabon, Rizal, on March 1, 1987.4 They lived together as husband and wife in marriage; thus, there was no more martial union to nullify or annual.
Australia. On May 18, 1989,5 a decree of divorce, purportedly dissolving the marriage,
was issued by an Australian family court.
Hence, this Petition.18
On June 26, 1992, respondent became an Australian citizen, as shown by a
"Certificate of Australian Citizenship" issued by the Australian government. 6 Petitioner Issues
Petitioner submits the following issues for our consideration: First Issue:

"I Proving the Divorce Between Respondent and Editha Samson

The trial court gravely erred in finding that the divorce decree obtained in Petitioner assails the trial court's recognition of the divorce between respondent and
Australia by the respondent ipso facto terminated his first marriage to Editha Editha Samson. Citing Adong v. Cheong Seng Gee,20 petitioner argues that the
Samson thereby capacitating him to contract a second marriage with the divorce decree, like any other foreign judgment, may be given recognition in this
petitioner. jurisdiction only upon proof of the existence of (1) the foreign law allowing absolute
divorce and (2) the alleged divorce decree itself. She adds that respondent miserably
failed to establish these elements.
"2

Petitioner adds that, based on the first paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code,
The failure of the respondent, who is now a naturalized Australian, to
marriages solemnized abroad are governed by the law of the place where they were
present a certificate of legal capacity to marry constitutes absence of a
celebrated (the lex loci celebrationist). In effect, the Code requires the presentation of
substantial requisite voiding the petitioner' marriage to the respondent.
the foreign law to show the conformity of the marriage in question to the legal
requirements of the place where the marriage was performed.
"3
At the outset, we lay the following basic legal principles as the take-off points for our
The trial court seriously erred in the application of Art. 26 of the Family Code discussion. Philippine law does not provide for absolute divorce; hence, our courts
in this case. cannot grant it.21 A marriage between two Filipinos cannot be dissolved even by a
divorce obtained abroad, because of Articles 1522 and 1723 of the Civil Code.24 In
mixed marriages involving a Filipino and a foreigner, Article 2625 of the Family Code
"4
allows the former to contract a subsequent marriage in case the divorce is "validly
obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry."26 A divorce
The trial court patently and grievously erred in disregarding Arts. 11, 13, 21, obtained abroad by a couple, who are both aliens, may be recognized in the
35, 40, 52 and 53 of the Family Code as the applicable provisions in this Philippines, provided it is consistent with their respective national laws. 27
case.
A comparison between marriage and divorce, as far as pleading and proof are
"5 concerned, can be made. Van Dorn v. Romillo Jr. decrees that "aliens may obtain
divorces abroad, which may be recognized in the Philippines, provided they are valid
according to their national law."28 Therefore, before a foreign divorce decree can be
The trial court gravely erred in pronouncing that the divorce gravely erred in recognized by our courts, the party pleading it must prove the divorce as a fact and
pronouncing that the divorce decree obtained by the respondent in demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law allowing it.29 Presentation solely of the
Australia ipso facto capacitated the parties to remarry, without first securing divorce decree is insufficient.
a recognition of the judgment granting the divorce decree before our
courts."19
Divorce as a Question of Fact
The Petition raises five issues, but for purposes of this Decision, we shall concentrate
on two pivotal ones: (1) whether the divorce between respondent and Editha Samson Petitioner insists that before a divorce decree can be admitted in evidence, it must first
was proven, and (2) whether respondent was proven to be legally capacitated to comply with the registration requirements under Articles 11, 13 and 52 of the Family
marry petitioner. Because of our ruling on these two, there is no more necessity to Code. These articles read as follows:
take up the rest.
"ART. 11. Where a marriage license is required, each of the contracting
The Court's Ruling parties shall file separately a sworn application for such license with the
proper local civil registrar which shall specify the following:
The Petition is partly meritorious.
xxx xxx xxx
"(5) If previously married, how, when and where the previous marriage was Indeed, petitioner's failure to object properly rendered the divorce decree admissible
dissolved or annulled; as a written act of the Family Court of Sydney, Australia.38

xxx xxx xxx Compliance with the quoted articles (11, 13 and 52) of the Family Code is not
necessary; respondent was no longer bound by Philippine personal laws after he
acquired Australian citizenship in 1992.39 Naturalization is the legal act of adopting an
"ART. 13. In case either of the contracting parties has been previously
alien and clothing him with the political and civil rights belonging to a
married, the applicant shall be required to furnish, instead of the birth of
citizen.40 Naturalized citizens, freed from the protective cloak of their former states,
baptismal certificate required in the last preceding article, the death
don the attires of their adoptive countries. By becoming an Australian, respondent
certificate of the deceased spouse or the judicial decree of annulment or
severed his allegiance to the Philippines and the vinculum juris that had tied him to
declaration of nullity of his or her previous marriage. x x x.
Philippine personal laws.

"ART. 52. The judgment of annulment or of absolute nullity of the marriage,


Burden of Proving Australian Law
the partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses, and the
delivery of the children's presumptive legitimes shall be recorded in the
appropriate civil registry and registries of property; otherwise, the same shall Respondent contends that the burden to prove Australian divorce law falls upon
not affect their persons." petitioner, because she is the party challenging the validity of a foreign judgment. He
contends that petitioner was satisfied with the original of the divorce decree and was
cognizant of the marital laws of Australia, because she had lived and worked in that
Respondent, on the other hand, argues that the Australian divorce decree is a public
country for quite a long time. Besides, the Australian divorce law is allegedly known by
document – a written official act of an Australian family court. Therefore, it requires no
Philippine courts: thus, judges may take judicial notice of foreign laws in the exercise
further proof of its authenticity and due execution.
of sound discretion.

Respondent is getting ahead of himself. Before a foreign judgment is given


We are not persuaded. The burden of proof lies with "the party who alleges the
presumptive evidentiary value, the document must first be presented and admitted in
existence of a fact or thing necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action."41 In
evidence.30 A divorce obtained abroad is proven by the divorce decree itself. Indeed
civil cases, plaintiffs have the burden of proving the material allegations of the
the best evidence of a judgment is the judgment itself.31 The decree purports to be a
complaint when those are denied by the answer; and defendants have the burden of
written act or record of an act of an officially body or tribunal of a foreign country. 32
proving the material allegations in their answer when they introduce new
matters.42 Since the divorce was a defense raised by respondent, the burden of
Under Sections 24 and 25 of Rule 132, on the other hand, a writing or document may proving the pertinent Australian law validating it falls squarely upon him.
be proven as a public or official record of a foreign country by either (1) an official
publication or (2) a copy thereof attested33 by the officer having legal custody of the
It is well-settled in our jurisdiction that our courts cannot take judicial notice of foreign
document. If the record is not kept in the Philippines, such copy must be (a)
laws.43 Like any other facts, they must be alleged and proved. Australian marital laws
accompanied by a certificate issued by the proper diplomatic or consular officer in the
are not among those matters that judges are supposed to know by reason of their
Philippine foreign service stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept
judicial function.44 The power of judicial notice must be exercised with caution, and
and (b) authenticated by the seal of his office.34
every reasonable doubt upon the subject should be resolved in the negative.

The divorce decree between respondent and Editha Samson appears to be an


Second Issue:
authentic one issued by an Australian family court.35 However, appearance is not
sufficient; compliance with the aforemetioned rules on evidence must be
demonstrated. Respondent's Legal Capacity to Remarry

Fortunately for respondent's cause, when the divorce decree of May 18, 1989 was Petitioner contends that, in view of the insufficient proof of the divorce, respondent
submitted in evidence, counsel for petitioner objected, not to its admissibility, but only was legally incapacitated to marry her in 1994.
to the fact that it had not been registered in the Local Civil Registry of Cabanatuan
City.36 The trial court ruled that it was admissible, subject to petitioner's
Hence, she concludes that their marriage was void ab initio.
qualification.37Hence, it was admitted in evidence and accorded weight by the judge.
Respondent replies that the Australian divorce decree, which was validly admitted in We clarify. To repeat, the legal capacity to contract marriage is determined by the
evidence, adequately established his legal capacity to marry under Australian law. national law of the party concerned. The certificate mentioned in Article 21 of the
Family Code would have been sufficient to establish the legal capacity of respondent,
had he duly presented it in court. A duly authenticated and admitted certificate is prima
Respondent's contention is untenable. In its strict legal sense, divorce means the legal
facie evidence of legal capacity to marry on the part of the alien applicant for a
dissolution of a lawful union for a cause arising after marriage. But divorces are of
marriage license.50
different types. The two basic ones are (1) absolute divorce or a vinculo
matrimonii and (2) limited divorce or a mensa et thoro. The first kind terminates the
marriage, while the second suspends it and leaves the bond in full force. 45 There is no As it is, however, there is absolutely no evidence that proves respondent's legal
showing in the case at bar which type of divorce was procured by respondent. capacity to marry petitioner. A review of the records before this Court shows that only
the following exhibits were presented before the lower court: (1) for petitioner: (a)
Exhibit "A" – Complaint;51 (b) Exhibit "B" – Certificate of Marriage Between Rederick A.
Respondent presented a decree nisi or an interlocutory decree – a conditional or
Recto (Filipino-Australian) and Grace J. Garcia (Filipino) on January 12, 1994 in
provisional judgment of divorce. It is in effect the same as a separation from bed and
Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija;52(c) Exhibit "C" – Certificate of Marriage Between
board, although an absolute divorce may follow after the lapse of the prescribed
Rederick A. Recio (Filipino) and Editha D. Samson (Australian) on March 1, 1987 in
period during which no reconciliation is effected.46
Malabon, Metro Manila;53 (d) Exhibit "D" – Office of the City Registrar of Cabanatuan
City Certification that no information of annulment between Rederick A. Recto and
Even after the divorce becomes absolute, the court may under some foreign statutes Editha D. Samson was in its records;54 and (e) Exhibit "E" – Certificate of Australian
and practices, still restrict remarriage. Under some other jurisdictions, remarriage may Citizenship of Rederick A. Recto;55 (2) for respondent: (Exhibit "1" – Amended
be limited by statute; thus, the guilty party in a divorce which was granted on the Answer;56 (b) Exhibit "S" – Family Law Act 1975 Decree Nisi of Dissolution of Marriage
ground of adultery may be prohibited from remarrying again. The court may allow a in the Family Court of Australia;57 (c) Exhibit "3" – Certificate of Australian Citizenship
remarriage only after proof of good behavior.47 of Rederick A. Recto;58 (d) Exhibit "4" – Decree Nisi of Dissolution of Marriage in the
Family Court of Australia Certificate;59 and Exhibit "5" – Statutory Declaration of the
Legal Separation Between Rederick A. Recto and Grace J. Garcia Recio since
On its face, the herein Australian divorce decree contains a restriction that reads: October 22, 1995.60

"1. A party to a marriage who marries again before this decree becomes
Based on the above records, we cannot conclude that respondent, who was then a
absolute (unless the other party has died) commits the offence of bigamy." 48 naturalized Australian citizen, was legally capacitated to marry petitioner on January
12, 1994. We agree with petitioner's contention that the court a quo erred in finding
This quotation bolsters our contention that the divorce obtained by respondent may that the divorce decree ipso facto clothed respondent with the legal capacity to
have been restricted. It did not absolutely establish his legal capacity to remarry remarry without requiring him to adduce sufficient evidence to show the Australian
according to his national law. Hence, we find no basis for the ruling of the trial court, personal law governing his status; or at the very least, to prove his legal capacity to
which erroneously assumed that the Australian divorce ipso facto restored contract the second marriage.
respondent's capacity to remarry despite the paucity of evidence on this matter.
Neither can we grant petitioner's prayer to declare her marriage to respondent null and
We also reject the claim of respondent that the divorce decree raises a disputable void on the ground of bigamy. After all, it may turn out that under Australian law, he
presumption or presumptive evidence as to his civil status based on Section 48, Rule was really capacitated to marry petitioner as a direct result of the divorce decree.
3949 of the Rules of Court, for the simple reason that no proof has been presented on Hence, we believe that the most judicious course is to remand this case to the trial
the legal effects of the divorce decree obtained under Australian laws. court to receive evidence, if any, which show petitioner's legal capacity to marry
petitioner. Failing in that, then the court a quo may declare a nullity of the parties'
marriage on the ground of bigamy, there being already in evidence two existing
Significance of the Certificate of Legal Capacity marriage certificates, which were both obtained in the Philippines, one in Malabon,
Metro Manila dated March 1, 1987 and the other, in Cabanatuan City dated January
Petitioner argues that the certificate of legal capacity required by Article 21 of the 12, 1994.
Family Code was not submitted together with the application for a marriage license.
According to her, its absence is proof that respondent did not have legal capacity to WHEREFORE, in the interest of orderly procedure and substantial justice,
remarry. we REMAND the case to the court a quo for the purpose of receiving evidence which
conclusively show respondent's legal capacity to marry petitioner; and failing in that, of
declaring the parties' marriage void on the ground of bigamy, as above discussed. No
costs.

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines The decree provides in part:
SUPREME COURT
Manila
[T]he Court of First Instance, Hamburg-Blankenese, Branch 513, has ruled
through Judge van Buiren of the Court of First Instance on the basis of the
SECOND DIVISION oral proceedings held on 4 Nov. 1997:

G.R. No. 142820 June 20, 2003 The marriage of the Parties contracted on 11 December 1980 before the
Civil Registrar of Hamburg-Altona is hereby dissolved.
WOLFGANG O. ROEHR, petitioner,
vs. The parental custody for the children
MARIA CARMEN D. RODRIGUEZ, HON. JUDGE JOSEFINA GUEVARA-
SALONGA, Presiding Judge of Makati RTC, Branch 149, respondents.
Carolynne Roehr, born 18 November 1981

QUISUMBING, J.:
Alexandra Kristine Roehr, born on 25 October 1987

At the core of the present controversy are issues of (a) grave abuse of discretion
is granted to the father.
allegedly committed by public respondent and (b) lack of jurisdiction of the regional
trial court, in matters that spring from a divorce decree obtained abroad by petitioner.
The litigation expenses shall be assumed by the Parties.9
In this special civil action for certiorari, petitioner assails (a) the order1 dated
September 30, 1999 of public respondent Judge Josefina Guevara-Salonga, Presiding In view of said decree, petitioner filed a Second Motion to Dismiss on May 20, 1999 on
Judge of Makati Regional Trial Court,2 Branch 149, in Civil Case No. 96-1389 for the ground that the trial court had no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action
declaration of nullity of marriage, and (b) the order3 dated March 31, 2000 denying his or suit as a decree of divorce had already been promulgated dissolving the marriage
motion for reconsideration. The assailed orders partially set aside the trial court’s of petitioner and private respondent.
order dismissing Civil Case No. 96-1389, for the purpose of resolving issues relating
to the property settlement of the spouses and the custody of their children.
On July 14, 1999, Judge Guevara-Salonga issued an order granting petitioner’s
motion to dismiss. Private respondent filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration, with a
Petitioner Wolfgang O. Roehr, a German citizen and resident of Germany, married prayer that the case proceed for the purpose of determining the issues of custody of
private respondent Carmen Rodriguez, a Filipina, on December 11, 1980 in Hamburg, children and the distribution of the properties between petitioner and private
Germany. Their marriage was subsequently ratified on February 14, 1981 in Tayasan, respondent.
Negros Oriental.4 Out of their union were born Carolynne and Alexandra Kristine on
November 18, 1981 and October 25, 1987, respectively.
On August 18, 1999, an Opposition to the Motion for Partial Reconsideration was filed
by the petitioner on the ground that there is nothing to be done anymore in the instant
On August 28, 1996, private respondent filed a petition5 for declaration of nullity of case as the marital tie between petitioner Wolfgang Roehr and respondent Ma.
marriage before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City. On February 6, 1997, Carmen D. Rodriguez had already been severed by the decree of divorce
petitioner filed a motion to dismiss,6 but it was denied by the trial court in its promulgated by the Court of First Instance of Hamburg, Germany on December 16,
order7 dated May 28, 1997. 1997 and in view of the fact that said decree of divorce had already been recognized
by the RTC in its order of July 14, 1999, through the implementation of the mandate of
Article 26 of the Family Code,10 endowing the petitioner with the capacity to remarry
On June 5, 1997, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but was also denied in
under the Philippine law.
an order8 dated August 13, 1997. On September 5, 1997, petitioner filed a petition for
certiorari with the Court of Appeals. On November 27, 1998, the appellate court
denied the petition and remanded the case to the RTC. On September 30, 1999, respondent judge issued the assailed order partially setting
aside her order dated July 14, 1999 for the purpose of tackling the issues of property
relations of the spouses as well as support and custody of their children. The pertinent
Meanwhile, petitioner obtained a decree of divorce from the Court of First Instance of
portion of said order provides:
Hamburg-Blankenese, promulgated on December 16, 1997.
Acting on the Motion for Partial Reconsideration of the Order dated July 14, On the first issue, petitioner asserts that the assailed order of respondent judge is
1999 filed by petitioner thru counsel which was opposed by respondent and completely inconsistent with her previous order and is contrary to Section 3, Rule 16,
considering that the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code was Rules of Civil Procedure, which provides:
included as an amendment thru Executive Order 227, to avoid the absurd
situation of a Filipino as being still married to his or her alien spouse though
Sec. 3. Resolution of motion - After the hearing, the court may dismiss the
the latter is no longer married to the Filipino spouse because he/she had
action or claim, deny the motion, or order the amendment of the pleading.
obtained a divorce abroad which is recognized by his/her national law, and
considering further the effects of the termination of the marriage under
Article 43 in relation to Article 50 and 52 of the same Code, which include The court shall not defer the resolution of the motion for the reason that the
the dissolution of the property relations of the spouses, and the support and ground relied upon is not indubitable.
custody of their children, the Order dismissing this case is partially set aside
with respect to these matters which may be ventilated in this Court.
In every case, the resolution shall state clearly and distinctly the reasons
therefor. (Emphasis supplied.)
SO ORDERED.11 (Emphasis supplied.)
Petitioner avers that a court’s action on a motion is limited to dismissing the action or
Petitioner filed a timely motion for reconsideration on October 19, 1999, which was claim, denying the motion, or ordering the amendment of the pleading.
denied by respondent judge in an order dated March 31, 2000.12
Private respondent, on her part, argues that the RTC can validly reconsider its order
Petitioner ascribes lack of jurisdiction of the trial court and grave abuse of discretion dated July 14, 1999 because it had not yet attained finality, given the timely filing of
on the part of respondent judge. He cites as grounds for his petition the following: respondent’s motion for reconsideration.

1. Partially setting aside the order dated July 14, 1999 dismissing the instant Pertinent to this issue is Section 3 in relation to Section 7, Rule 37 of the 1997 Rules
case is not allowed by 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.13 of Civil Procedure, which provides:

2. Respondent Maria Carmen Rodriguez by her motion for Partial Sec. 3. Action upon motion for new trial or reconsideration.—The trial court
Reconsideration had recognized and admitted the Divorce Decision may set aside the judgment or final order and grant a new trial, upon such
obtained by her ex-husband in Hamburg, Germany.14 terms as may be just, or may deny the motion. If the court finds that
excessive damages have been awarded or that the judgment or final order
is contrary to the evidence or law, it may amend such judgment or final
3. There is nothing left to be tackled by the Honorable Court as there are no
order accordingly.
conjugal assets alleged in the Petition for Annulment of Marriage and in the
Divorce petition, and the custody of the children had already been awarded
to Petitioner Wolfgang Roehr.15 Sec. 7. Partial new trial or reconsideration.—If the grounds for a motion
under this Rule appear to the court to affect the issues as to only a part, or
less than all of the matters in controversy, or only one, or less than all, of the
Pertinent in this case before us are the following issues:
parties to it, the court may order a new trial or grant reconsideration as to
such issues if severable without interfering with the judgment or final order
1. Whether or not respondent judge gravely abused her discretion in issuing upon the rest. (Emphasis supplied.)
her order dated September 30, 1999, which partially modified her order
dated July 14, 1999; and
It is clear from the foregoing rules that a judge can order a partial reconsideration of a
case that has not yet attained finality. Considering that private respondent filed a
2. Whether or not respondent judge gravely abused her discretion when she motion for reconsideration within the reglementary period, the trial court's decision of
assumed and retained jurisdiction over the present case despite the fact July 14, 1999 can still be modified. Moreover, in Sañado v. Court of Appeals,16we held
that petitioner has already obtained a divorce decree from a German court. that the court could modify or alter a judgment even after the same has become
executory whenever circumstances transpire rendering its decision unjust and
inequitable, as where certain facts and circumstances justifying or requiring such
modification or alteration transpired after the judgment has become final and
executory17 and when it becomes imperative in the higher interest of justice or when
supervening events warrant it.18 In our view, there are even more compelling reasons It is essential that there should be an opportunity to challenge the foreign judgment, in
to do so when, as in this case, judgment has not yet attained finality. order for the court in this jurisdiction to properly determine its efficacy. In this
jurisdiction, our Rules of Court clearly provide that with respect to actions in
personam, as distinguished from actions in rem, a foreign judgment merely
Anent the second issue, petitioner claims that respondent judge committed grave
constitutes prima facieevidence of the justness of the claim of a party and, as such, is
abuse of discretion when she partially set aside her order dated July 14, 1999, despite
subject to proof to the contrary.24
the fact that petitioner has already obtained a divorce decree from the Court of First
Instance of Hamburg, Germany.
In the present case, it cannot be said that private respondent was given the
opportunity to challenge the judgment of the German court so that there is basis for
In Garcia v. Recio,19 Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr.,20 and Llorente v. Court of Appeals,21 we
declaring that judgment as res judicata with regard to the rights of petitioner to have
consistently held that a divorce obtained abroad by an alien may be recognized in our
parental custody of their two children. The proceedings in the German court were
jurisdiction, provided such decree is valid according to the national law of the
summary. As to what was the extent of private respondent’s participation in the
foreigner. Relevant to the present case is Pilapil v. Ibay-Somera,22 where this Court
proceedings in the German court, the records remain unclear. The divorce decree
specifically recognized the validity of a divorce obtained by a German citizen in his
itself states that neither has she commented on the proceedings 25 nor has she given
country, the Federal Republic of Germany. We held in Pilapil that a foreign divorce
her opinion to the Social Services Office.26 Unlike petitioner who was represented by
and its legal effects may be recognized in the Philippines insofar as respondent is
two lawyers, private respondent had no counsel to assist her in said
concerned in view of the nationality principle in our civil law on the status of persons.
proceedings.27 More importantly, the divorce judgment was issued to petitioner by
virtue of the German Civil Code provision to the effect that when a couple lived
In this case, the divorce decree issued by the German court dated December 16, 1997 separately for three years, the marriage is deemed irrefutably dissolved. The decree
has not been challenged by either of the parties. In fact, save for the issue of parental did not touch on the issue as to who the offending spouse was. Absent any finding
custody, even the trial court recognized said decree to be valid and binding, thereby that private respondent is unfit to obtain custody of the children, the trial court was
endowing private respondent the capacity to remarry. Thus, the present controversy correct in setting the issue for hearing to determine the issue of parental custody,
mainly relates to the award of the custody of their two children, Carolynne and care, support and education mindful of the best interests of the children. This is in
Alexandra Kristine, to petitioner. consonance with the provision in the Child and Youth Welfare Code that the child’s
welfare is always the paramount consideration in all questions concerning his care
and custody. 28
As a general rule, divorce decrees obtained by foreigners in other countries are
recognizable in our jurisdiction, but the legal effects thereof, e.g. on custody, care and
support of the children, must still be determined by our courts.23 Before our courts can On the matter of property relations, petitioner asserts that public respondent exceeded
give the effect of res judicata to a foreign judgment, such as the award of custody to the bounds of her jurisdiction when she claimed cognizance of the issue concerning
petitioner by the German court, it must be shown that the parties opposed to the property relations between petitioner and private respondent. Private respondent
judgment had been given ample opportunity to do so on grounds allowed under Rule herself has admitted in Par. 14 of her petition for declaration of nullity of marriage
39, Section 50 of the Rules of Court (now Rule 39, Section 48, 1997 Rules of Civil dated August 26, 1996 filed with the RTC of Makati, subject of this case, that:
Procedure), to wit: "[p]etitioner and respondent have not acquired any conjugal or community property
nor have they incurred any debts during their marriage."29Herein petitioner did not
contest this averment. Basic is the rule that a court shall grant relief warranted by the
SEC. 50. Effect of foreign judgments. - The effect of a judgment of a tribunal allegations and the proof.30 Given the factual admission by the parties in their
of a foreign country, having jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment is as
pleadings that there is no property to be accounted for, respondent judge has no basis
follows: to assert jurisdiction in this case to resolve a matter no longer deemed in controversy.

(a) In case of a judgment upon a specific thing, the judgment is conclusive


In sum, we find that respondent judge may proceed to determine the issue regarding
upon the title to the thing; the custody of the two children born of the union between petitioner and private
respondent. Private respondent erred, however, in claiming cognizance to settle the
(b) In case of a judgment against a person, the judgment is presumptive matter of property relations of the parties, which is not at issue.
evidence of a right as between the parties and their successors in interest
by a subsequent title; but the judgment may be repelled by evidence of a WHEREFORE, the orders of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 149, issued
want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear on September 30, 1999 and March 31, 2000 are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION.
mistake of law or fact. We hereby declare that the trial court has jurisdiction over the issue between the
parties as to who has parental custody, including the care, support and education of
the children, namely Carolynne and Alexandra Kristine Roehr. Let the records of this
case be remanded promptly to the trial court for continuation of appropriate
proceedings. No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines abandoned respondent Crasus, and there was no more possibility of reconciliation
SUPREME COURT between them. Respondent Crasus finally alleged in his Complaint that Fely’s acts
brought danger and dishonor to the family, and clearly demonstrated her
psychological incapacity to perform the essential obligations of marriage. Such
SECOND DIVISION
incapacity, being incurable and continuing, constitutes a ground for declaration of
nullity of marriage under Article 36, in relation to Articles 68, 70, and 72, of the Family
G.R. No. 152577 September 21, 2005 Code of the Philippines.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioners, Fely filed her Answer and Counterclaim 4 with the RTC on 05 June 1997. She asserted
vs. therein that she was already an American citizen since 1988 and was now married to
CRASUS L. IYOY, Respondent. Stephen Micklus. While she admitted being previously married to respondent Crasus
and having five children with him, Fely refuted the other allegations made by
respondent Crasus in his Complaint. She explained that she was no more hot-
DECISION
tempered than any normal person, and she may had been indignant at respondent
Crasus on certain occasions but it was because of the latter’s drunkenness,
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: womanizing, and lack of sincere effort to find employment and to contribute to the
maintenance of their household. She could not have been extravagant since the family
hardly had enough money for basic needs. Indeed, Fely left for abroad for financial
In this Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, petitioner reasons as respondent Crasus had no job and what she was then earning as the sole
Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, prays breadwinner in the Philippines was insufficient to support their family. Although she left
for the reversal of the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 62539, all of her children with respondent Crasus, she continued to provide financial support
dated 30 July 2001,1 affirming the Judgment of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of to them, as well as, to respondent Crasus. Subsequently, Fely was able to bring her
Cebu City, Branch 22, in Civil Case No. CEB-20077, dated 30 October children to the U.S.A., except for one, Calvert, who had to stay behind for medical
1998,2 declaring the marriage between respondent Crasus L. Iyoy and Fely Ada reasons. While she did file for divorce from respondent Crasus, she denied having
Rosal-Iyoy null and void on the basis of Article 36 of the Family Code of the herself sent a letter to respondent Crasus requesting him to sign the enclosed divorce
Philippines. papers. After securing a divorce from respondent Crasus, Fely married her American
husband and acquired American citizenship. She argued that her marriage to her
The proceedings before the RTC commenced with the filing of a Complaint 3 for American husband was legal because now being an American citizen, her status shall
declaration of nullity of marriage by respondent Crasus on 25 March 1997. According be governed by the law of her present nationality. Fely also pointed out that
to the said Complaint, respondent Crasus married Fely on 16 December 1961 at respondent Crasus himself was presently living with another woman who bore him a
Bradford Memorial Church, Jones Avenue, Cebu City. As a result of their union, they child. She also accused respondent Crasus of misusing the amount of P90,000.00
had five children – Crasus, Jr., Daphne, Debbie, Calvert, and Carlos – who are now all which she advanced to him to finance the brain operation of their son, Calvert. On the
of legal ages. After the celebration of their marriage, respondent Crasus discovered basis of the foregoing, Fely also prayed that the RTC declare her marriage to
that Fely was "hot-tempered, a nagger and extravagant." In 1984, Fely left the respondent Crasus null and void; and that respondent Crasus be ordered to pay to
Philippines for the United States of America (U.S.A.), leaving all of their five children, Fely the P90,000.00 she advanced to him, with interest, plus, moral and exemplary
the youngest then being only six years old, to the care of respondent Crasus. Barely a damages, attorney’s fees, and litigation expenses.
year after Fely left for the U.S.A., respondent Crasus received a letter from her
requesting that he sign the enclosed divorce papers; he disregarded the said request. After respondent Crasus and Fely had filed their respective Pre-Trial Briefs,5 the RTC
Sometime in 1985, respondent Crasus learned, through the letters sent by Fely to afforded both parties the opportunity to present their evidence. Petitioner Republic
their children, that Fely got married to an American, with whom she eventually had a participated in the trial through the Provincial Prosecutor of Cebu.6
child. In 1987, Fely came back to the Philippines with her American family, staying at
Cebu Plaza Hotel in Cebu City. Respondent Crasus did not bother to talk to Fely
because he was afraid he might not be able to bear the sorrow and the pain she had Respondent Crasus submitted the following pieces of evidence in support of his
caused him. Fely returned to the Philippines several times more: in 1990, for the Complaint: (1) his own testimony on 08 September 1997, in which he essentially
wedding of their eldest child, Crasus, Jr.; in 1992, for the brain operation of their fourth reiterated the allegations in his Complaint;7 (2) the Certification, dated 13 April 1989,
child, Calvert; and in 1995, for unknown reasons. Fely continued to live with her by the Health Department of Cebu City, on the recording of the Marriage Contract
American family in New Jersey, U.S.A. She had been openly using the surname of her between respondent Crasus and Fely in the Register of Deeds, such marriage
American husband in the Philippines and in the U.S.A. For the wedding of Crasus, Jr., celebration taking place on 16 December 1961;8 and (3) the invitation to the wedding
Fely herself had invitations made in which she was named as "Mrs. Fely Ada Micklus." of Crasus, Jr., their eldest son, wherein Fely openly used her American husband’s
At the time the Complaint was filed, it had been 13 years since Fely left and surname, Micklus.9
Fely’s counsel filed a Notice,10 and, later on, a Motion,11 to take the deposition of the time of the marriage in question is shown by defendant’s own attitude towards her
witnesses, namely, Fely and her children, Crasus, Jr. and Daphne, upon written marriage to plaintiff. And for these reasons there is a legal ground to declare the
interrogatories, before the consular officers of the Philippines in New York and marriage of plaintiff Crasus L. Iyoy and defendant Fely Ada Rosal Iyoy null and
California, U.S.A, where the said witnesses reside. Despite the Orders 12 and void ab initio.15
Commissions13 issued by the RTC to the Philippine Consuls of New York and
California, U.S.A., to take the depositions of the witnesses upon written
Petitioner Republic, believing that the afore-quoted Judgment of the RTC was contrary
interrogatories, not a single deposition was ever submitted to the RTC. Taking into
to law and evidence, filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals. The appellate court,
account that it had been over a year since respondent Crasus had presented his
though, in its Decision, dated 30 July 2001, affirmed the appealed Judgment of the
evidence and that Fely failed to exert effort to have the case progress, the RTC issued
RTC, finding no reversible error therein. It even offered additional ratiocination for
an Order, dated 05 October 1998,14 considering Fely to have waived her right to
declaring the marriage between respondent Crasus and Fely null and void, to wit –
present her evidence. The case was thus deemed submitted for decision.

Defendant secured a divorce from plaintiff-appellee abroad, has remarried, and is now
Not long after, on 30 October 1998, the RTC promulgated its Judgment declaring the
permanently residing in the United States. Plaintiff-appellee categorically stated this as
marriage of respondent Crasus and Fely null and void ab initio, on the basis of the
one of his reasons for seeking the declaration of nullity of their marriage…
following findings –


The ground bearing defendant’s psychological incapacity deserves a reasonable
consideration. As observed, plaintiff’s testimony is decidedly credible. The Court finds
that defendant had indeed exhibited unmistakable signs of psychological incapacity to Article 26 of the Family Code provides:
comply with her marital duties such as striving for family unity, observing fidelity,
mutual love, respect, help and support. From the evidence presented, plaintiff
adequately established that the defendant practically abandoned him. She obtained a "Art. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws
in force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also
divorce decree in the United States of America and married another man and has
establish [sic] another family of her own. Plaintiff is in an anomalous situation, wherein be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4), (5) and (6),
he is married to a wife who is already married to another man in another country. 36, 37 and 38.

Defendant’s intolerable traits may not have been apparent or manifest before the "WHERE A MARRIAGE BETWEEN A FILIPINO CITIZEN AND A FOREIGNER IS
marriage, the FAMILY CODE nonetheless allows the annulment of the marriage VALIDLY CELEBRATED AND A DIVORCE IS THEREAFTER VALIDLY OBTAINED
ABROAD BY THE ALIEN SPOUSE CAPACITATING HIM OR HER TO REMARRY,
provided that these were eventually manifested after the wedding. It appears to be the
case in this instance. THE FILIPINO SPOUSE SHALL LIKEWISE HAVE CAPACITY TO REMARRY
UNDER PHILIPPINE LAW."

Certainly defendant’s posture being an irresponsible wife erringly reveals her very low
regard for that sacred and inviolable institution of marriage which is the foundation of The rationale behind the second paragraph of the above-quoted provision is to avoid
human society throughout the civilized world. It is quite evident that the defendant is the absurd and unjust situation of a Filipino citizen still being married to his or her alien
bereft of the mind, will and heart to comply with her marital obligations, such spouse, although the latter is no longer married to the Filipino spouse because he or
incapacity was already there at the time of the marriage in question is shown by she has obtained a divorce abroad. In the case at bench, the defendant has
undoubtedly acquired her American husband’s citizenship and thus has become an
defendant’s own attitude towards her marriage to plaintiff.
alien as well. This Court cannot see why the benefits of Art. 26 aforequoted can not be
extended to a Filipino citizen whose spouse eventually embraces another citizenship
In sum, the ground invoked by plaintiff which is defendant’s psychological incapacity to and thus becomes herself an alien.
comply with the essential marital obligations which already existed at the time of the
marriage in question has been satisfactorily proven. The evidence in herein case
establishes the irresponsibility of defendant Fely Ada Rosal Iyoy, firmly. It would be the height of unfairness if, under these circumstances, plaintiff would still
be considered as married to defendant, given her total incapacity to honor her marital
covenants to the former. To condemn plaintiff to remain shackled in a marriage that in
Going over plaintiff’s testimony which is decidedly credible, the Court finds that the truth and in fact does not exist and to remain married to a spouse who is incapacitated
defendant had indeed exhibited unmistakable signs of such psychological incapacity to discharge essential marital covenants, is verily to condemn him to a perpetual
to comply with her marital obligations. These are her excessive disposition to material disadvantage which this Court finds abhorrent and will not countenance. Justice
things over and above the marital stability. That such incapacity was already there at
dictates that plaintiff be given relief by affirming the trial court’s declaration of the In Santos v. Court of Appeals,20 the term psychological incapacity was defined, thus –
nullity of the marriage of the parties.16
". . . [P]sychological incapacity" should refer to no less than a mental (not physical)
After the Court of Appeals, in a Resolution, dated 08 March 2002, 17 denied its Motion incapacity that causes a party to be truly cognitive of the basic marital covenants that
for Reconsideration, petitioner Republic filed the instant Petition before this Court, concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage which,
based on the following arguments/grounds – as so expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to
live together, observe love, respect and fidelity and render help and support. There is
hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of
I. Abandonment by and sexual infidelity of respondent’s wife do not per se constitute
"psychological incapacity" to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly
psychological incapacity.
demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to
the marriage. This psychological condition must exist at the time the marriage is
II. The Court of Appeals has decided questions of substance not in accord with law celebrated…21
and jurisprudence considering that the Court of Appeals committed serious errors of
law in ruling that Article 26, paragraph 2 of the Family Code is inapplicable to the case
The psychological incapacity must be characterized by –
at bar.18

(a) Gravity – It must be grave or serious such that the party would be incapable of
In his Comment19 to the Petition, respondent Crasus maintained that Fely’s
carrying out the ordinary duties required in a marriage;
psychological incapacity was clearly established after a full-blown trial, and that
paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code of the Philippines was indeed applicable
to the marriage of respondent Crasus and Fely, because the latter had already (b) Juridical Antecedence – It must be rooted in the history of the party antedating the
become an American citizen. He further questioned the personality of petitioner marriage, although the overt manifestations may emerge only after the marriage; and
Republic, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, to institute the instant
Petition, because Article 48 of the Family Code of the Philippines authorizes the
(c) Incurability – It must be incurable or, even if it were otherwise, the cure would be
prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to the trial court, not the Solicitor General, to
beyond the means of the party involved.22
intervene on behalf of the State, in proceedings for annulment and declaration of
nullity of marriages.
More definitive guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the
Family Code of the Philippines were handed down by this Court in Republic v. Court of
After having reviewed the records of this case and the applicable laws and
Appeals and Molina,23 which, although quite lengthy, by its significance, deserves to
jurisprudence, this Court finds the instant Petition to be meritorious.
be reproduced below –

I
(1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. Any
doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage
The totality of evidence presented during trial is insufficient to support the finding of and against its dissolution and nullity. This is rooted in the fact that both our
psychological incapacity of Fely. Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity of the family. Thus,
our Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family, recognizing it "as the
foundation of the nation." It decrees marriage as legally "inviolable," thereby protecting
Article 36, concededly one of the more controversial provisions of the Family Code of
it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both the family and marriage are to be
the Philippines, reads –
"protected" by the state.

ART. 36. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was
The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the family and
psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of
emphasizes their permanence, inviolability and solidarity.
marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its
solemnization.
(2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a) medically or clinically
identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly
Issues most commonly arise as to what constitutes psychological incapacity. In a
explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the incapacity
series of cases, this Court laid down guidelines for determining its existence.
must be psychological - not physical, although its manifestations and/or symptoms
may be physical. The evidence must convince the court that the parties, or one of
them, was mentally or psychically ill to such an extent that the person could not have A later case, Marcos v. Marcos,25 further clarified that there is no requirement that the
known the obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid defendant/respondent spouse should be personally examined by a physician or
assumption thereof. Although no example of such incapacity need be given here so as psychologist as a condition sine qua non for the declaration of nullity of marriage
not to limit the application of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis, based on psychological incapacity. Such psychological incapacity, however, must be
nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a psychological illness and its established by the totality of the evidence presented during the trial.
incapacitating nature fully explained. Expert evidence may be given by qualified
psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
Using the guidelines established by the afore-mentioned jurisprudence, this Court
finds that the totality of evidence presented by respondent Crasus failed miserably to
(3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the celebration" of the establish the alleged psychological incapacity of his wife Fely; therefore, there is no
marriage. The evidence must show that the illness was existing when the parties basis for declaring their marriage null and void under Article 36 of the Family Code of
exchanged their "I do's." The manifestation of the illness need not be perceivable at the Philippines.
such time, but the illness itself must have attached at such moment, or prior thereto.
The only substantial evidence presented by respondent Crasus before the RTC was
(4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or his testimony, which can be easily put into question for being self-serving, in the
incurable. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative only in regard to the absence of any other corroborating evidence. He submitted only two other pieces of
other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the same sex. evidence: (1) the Certification on the recording with the Register of Deeds of the
Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of marriage Marriage Contract between respondent Crasus and Fely, such marriage being
obligations, not necessarily to those not related to marriage, like the exercise of a celebrated on 16 December 1961; and (2) the invitation to the wedding of Crasus, Jr.,
profession or employment in a job… their eldest son, in which Fely used her American husband’s surname. Even
considering the admissions made by Fely herself in her Answer to respondent
Crasus’s Complaint filed with the RTC, the evidence is not enough to convince this
(5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to
Court that Fely had such a grave mental illness that prevented her from assuming the
assume the essential obligations of marriage. Thus, "mild characteriological
essential obligations of marriage.
peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts" cannot be accepted as
root causes. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability, not a
refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other words, there is a natal or It is worthy to emphasize that Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines
supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse integral element in the contemplates downright incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to assume
personality structure that effectively incapacitates the person from really accepting and the basic marital obligations; not a mere refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less, ill will,
thereby complying with the obligations essential to marriage. on the part of the errant spouse.26 Irreconcilable differences, conflicting personalities,
emotional immaturity and irresponsibility, physical abuse, habitual alcoholism, sexual
infidelity or perversion, and abandonment, by themselves, also do not warrant a
(6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up to 71
finding of psychological incapacity under the said Article.27
of the Family Code as regards the husband and wife as well as Articles 220, 221 and
225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children. Such non-complied
marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by evidence and As has already been stressed by this Court in previous cases, Article 36 "is not to be
included in the text of the decision. confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at the time the causes therefore
manifest themselves. It refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a party even
before the celebration of marriage. It is a malady so grave and so permanent as to
(7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic
deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond
Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be given great
one is about to assume."28
respect by our courts…

The evidence may have proven that Fely committed acts that hurt and embarrassed
(8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor
respondent Crasus and the rest of the family. Her hot-temper, nagging, and
General to appear as counsel for the state. No decision shall be handed down unless
extravagance; her abandonment of respondent Crasus; her marriage to an American;
the Solicitor General issues a certification, which will be quoted in the decision, briefly
and even her flaunting of her American family and her American surname, may indeed
stating therein his reasons for his agreement or opposition, as the case may be, to the
be manifestations of her alleged incapacity to comply with her marital obligations;
petition. The Solicitor General, along with the prosecuting attorney, shall submit to the
nonetheless, the root cause for such was not identified. If the root cause of the
court such certification within fifteen (15) days from the date the case is deemed
incapacity was not identified, then it cannot be satisfactorily established as a
submitted for resolution of the court. The Solicitor General shall discharge the
psychological or mental defect that is serious or grave; neither could it be proven to be
equivalent function of the defensor vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095.24
in existence at the time of celebration of the marriage; nor that it is incurable. While
the personal examination of Fely by a psychiatrist or psychologist is no longer Invoking Article 48 of the Family Code of the Philippines, respondent Crasus argued
mandatory for the declaration of nullity of their marriage under Article 36 of the Family that only the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to the RTC may intervene on
Code of the Philippines, by virtue of this Court’s ruling in Marcos v. behalf of the State in proceedings for annulment or declaration of nullity of marriages;
Marcos,29 respondent Crasus must still have complied with the requirement laid down hence, the Office of the Solicitor General had no personality to file the instant Petition
in Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina30 that the root cause of the incapacity be on behalf of the State. Article 48 provides –
identified as a psychological illness and that its incapacitating nature be fully
explained.
ART. 48. In all cases of annulment or declaration of absolute nullity of marriage, the
Court shall order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to it to appear on behalf
In any case, any doubt shall be resolved in favor of the validity of the marriage. 31 No of the State to take steps to prevent collusion between the parties and to take care
less than the Constitution of 1987 sets the policy to protect and strengthen the family that the evidence is not fabricated or suppressed.
as the basic social institution and marriage as the foundation of the family. 32
That Article 48 does not expressly mention the Solicitor General does not bar him or
II his Office from intervening in proceedings for annulment or declaration of nullity of
marriages. Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the Administrative Code of
1987, appoints the Solicitor General as the principal law officer and legal defender of
Article 26, paragraph 2 of the Family Code of the Philippines is not applicable to the
the Government.33 His Office is tasked to represent the Government of the Philippines,
case at bar.
its agencies and instrumentalities and its officials and agents in any litigation,
proceeding, investigation or matter requiring the services of lawyers. The Office of the
According to Article 26, paragraph 2 of the Family Code of the Philippines – Solicitor General shall constitute the law office of the Government and, as such, shall
discharge duties requiring the services of lawyers.34
Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a
divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or The intent of Article 48 of the Family Code of the Philippines is to ensure that the
her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall likewise have capacity to remarry under interest of the State is represented and protected in proceedings for annulment and
Philippine law. declaration of nullity of marriages by preventing collusion between the parties, or the
fabrication or suppression of evidence; and, bearing in mind that the Solicitor General
is the principal law officer and legal defender of the land, then his intervention in such
As it is worded, Article 26, paragraph 2, refers to a special situation wherein one of the proceedings could only serve and contribute to the realization of such intent, rather
couple getting married is a Filipino citizen and the other a foreigner at the time the than thwart it.
marriage was celebrated. By its plain and literal interpretation, the said provision
cannot be applied to the case of respondent Crasus and his wife Fely because
at the time Fely obtained her divorce, she was still a Filipino citizen. Although the Furthermore, the general rule is that only the Solicitor General is authorized to bring or
exact date was not established, Fely herself admitted in her Answer filed before the defend actions on behalf of the People or the Republic of the Philippines once the
RTC that she obtained a divorce from respondent Crasus sometime after she left for case is brought before this Court or the Court of Appeals. 35 While it is the prosecuting
the United States in 1984, after which she married her American husband in 1985. In attorney or fiscal who actively participates, on behalf of the State, in a proceeding for
the same Answer, she alleged that she had been an American citizen since 1988. At annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage before the RTC, the Office of the
the time she filed for divorce, Fely was still a Filipino citizen, and pursuant to the Solicitor General takes over when the case is elevated to the Court of Appeals or this
nationality principle embodied in Article 15 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, she Court. Since it shall be eventually responsible for taking the case to the appellate
was still bound by Philippine laws on family rights and duties, status, condition, and courts when circumstances demand, then it is only reasonable and practical that even
legal capacity, even when she was already living abroad. Philippine laws, then and while the proceeding is still being held before the RTC, the Office of the Solicitor
even until now, do not allow and recognize divorce between Filipino spouses. Thus, General can already exercise supervision and control over the conduct of the
Fely could not have validly obtained a divorce from respondent Crasus. prosecuting attorney or fiscal therein to better guarantee the protection of the interests
of the State.
III
In fact, this Court had already recognized and affirmed the role of the Solicitor General
in several cases for annulment and declaration of nullity of marriages that were
The Solicitor General is authorized to intervene, on behalf of the Republic, in appealed before it, summarized as follows in the case of Ancheta v. Ancheta36 –
proceedings for annulment and declaration of nullity of marriages.
In the case of Republic v. Court of Appeals [268 SCRA 198 (1997)], this Court laid without leave of court. After the lapse of the period herein provided, the case will be
down the guidelines in the interpretation and application of Art. 48 of the Family Code, considered submitted for decision, with or without the memoranda.
one of which concerns the role of the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor
General to appear as counsel for the State:
Sec. 19. Decision. –

(8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor

General to appear as counsel for the state. No decision shall be handed down unless
the Solicitor General issues a certification, which will be quoted in the decision, briefly
stating therein his reasons for his agreement or opposition, as the case may be, to the (2) The parties, including the Solicitor General and the public prosecutor, shall be
petition. The Solicitor General, along with the prosecuting attorney, shall submit to the served with copies of the decision personally or by registered mail. If the respondent
court such certification within fifteen (15) days from the date the case is deemed summoned by publication failed to appear in the action, the dispositive part of the
submitted for resolution of the court. The Solicitor General shall discharge the decision shall be published once in a newspaper of general circulation.
equivalent function of the defensor vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095. [Id., at
213]
(3) The decision becomes final upon the expiration of fifteen days from notice to the
parties. Entry of judgment shall be made if no motion for reconsideration or new trial,
This Court in the case of Malcampo-Sin v. Sin [355 SCRA 285 (2001)] reiterated its or appeal is filed by any of the parties, the public prosecutor, or the Solicitor General.
pronouncement in Republic v. Court of Appeals [Supra.] regarding the role of the
prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the
State…37 …

Finally, the issuance of this Court of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Sec. 20. Appeal. –
Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages,38 which became effective on 15
March 2003, should dispel any other doubts of respondent Crasus as to the authority …
of the Solicitor General to file the instant Petition on behalf of the State. The Rule
recognizes the authority of the Solicitor General to intervene and take part in the
proceedings for annulment and declaration of nullity of marriages before the RTC and (2) Notice of Appeal. – An aggrieved party or the Solicitor General may appeal from
on appeal to higher courts. The pertinent provisions of the said Rule are reproduced the decision by filing a Notice of Appeal within fifteen days from notice of denial of the
below – motion for reconsideration or new trial. The appellant shall serve a copy of the notice
of appeal on the adverse parties.

Sec. 5. Contents and form of petition. –


Given the foregoing, this Court arrives at a conclusion contrary to those of the RTC
and the Court of Appeals, and sustains the validity and existence of the marriage
… between respondent Crasus and Fely. At most, Fely’s abandonment, sexual infidelity,
and bigamy, give respondent Crasus grounds to file for legal separation under Article
(4) It shall be filed in six copies. The petitioner shall serve a copy of the petition on the 55 of the Family Code of the Philippines, but not for declaration of nullity of marriage
Office of the Solicitor General and the Office of the City or Provincial Prosecutor, under Article 36 of the same Code. While this Court commiserates with respondent
within five days from the date of its filing and submit to the court proof of such service Crasus for being continuously shackled to what is now a hopeless and loveless
within the same period. marriage, this is one of those situations where neither law nor society can provide the
specific answer to every individual problem.39


WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED and the assailed Decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 62539, dated 30 July 2001, affirming the Judgment of the
Sec. 18. Memoranda. – The court may require the parties and the public prosecutor, in RTC of Cebu City, Branch 22, in Civil Case No. CEB-20077, dated 30 October 1998,
consultation with the Office of the Solicitor General, to file their respective memoranda is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
in support of their claims within fifteen days from the date the trial is terminated. It may
require the Office of the Solicitor General to file its own memorandum if the case is of
significant interest to the State. No other pleadings or papers may be submitted The marriage of respondent Crasus L. Iyoy and Fely Ada Rosal-Iyoy remains valid
and subsisting.
SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines Sometime in 2000, Cipriano learned from his son that his wife had obtained a divorce
SUPREME COURT decree and then married a certain Innocent Stanley. She, Stanley and her child by him
currently live at 5566 A. Walnut Grove Avenue, San Gabriel, California.
FIRST DIVISION
Cipriano thereafter filed with the trial court a petition for authority to remarry invoking
Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code. No opposition was filed. Finding merit in
G.R. No. 154380 October 5, 2005
the petition, the court granted the same. The Republic, herein petitioner, through the
Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), sought reconsideration but it was denied.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner,
vs.
In this petition, the OSG raises a pure question of law:
CIPRIANO ORBECIDO III, Respondent.

WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT CAN REMARRY UNDER ARTICLE 26 OF THE


DECISION
FAMILY CODE4

QUISUMBING, J.:
The OSG contends that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code is not applicable
to the instant case because it only applies to a valid mixed marriage; that is, a
Given a valid marriage between two Filipino citizens, where one party is later marriage celebrated between a Filipino citizen and an alien. The proper remedy,
naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a valid divorce decree capacitating him or according to the OSG, is to file a petition for annulment or for legal
her to remarry, can the Filipino spouse likewise remarry under Philippine law? separation.5 Furthermore, the OSG argues there is no law that governs respondent’s
situation. The OSG posits that this is a matter of legislation and not of judicial
determination.6
Before us is a case of first impression that behooves the Court to make a definite
ruling on this apparently novel question, presented as a pure question of law.
For his part, respondent admits that Article 26 is not directly applicable to his case but
1 insists that when his naturalized alien wife obtained a divorce decree which
In this petition for review, the Solicitor General assails the Decision dated May 15,
capacitated her to remarry, he is likewise capacitated by operation of law pursuant to
2002, of the Regional Trial Court of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, Branch 23 and
Section 12, Article II of the Constitution.7
its Resolution2 dated July 4, 2002 denying the motion for reconsideration. The court a
quo had declared that herein respondent Cipriano Orbecido III is capacitated to
remarry. The fallo of the impugned Decision reads: At the outset, we note that the petition for authority to remarry filed before the trial
court actually constituted a petition for declaratory relief. In this connection, Section 1,
Rule 63 of the Rules of Court provides:
WHEREFORE, by virtue of the provision of the second paragraph of Art. 26 of the
Family Code and by reason of the divorce decree obtained against him by his
American wife, the petitioner is given the capacity to remarry under the Philippine Law. RULE 63

IT IS SO ORDERED.3 DECLARATORY RELIEF AND SIMILAR REMEDIES

The factual antecedents, as narrated by the trial court, are as follows. Section 1. Who may file petition—Any person interested under a deed, will, contract or
other written instrument, or whose rights are affected by a statute, executive order or
regulation, ordinance, or other governmental regulation may, before breach or
On May 24, 1981, Cipriano Orbecido III married Lady Myros M. Villanueva at the violation thereof, bring an action in the appropriate Regional Trial Court to determine
United Church of Christ in the Philippines in Lam-an, Ozamis City. Their marriage was any question of construction or validity arising, and for a declaration of his rights or
blessed with a son and a daughter, Kristoffer Simbortriz V. Orbecido and Lady duties, thereunder.
Kimberly V. Orbecido.

...
In 1986, Cipriano’s wife left for the United States bringing along their son Kristoffer. A
few years later, Cipriano discovered that his wife had been naturalized as an
American citizen.
The requisites of a petition for declaratory relief are: (1) there must be a justiciable celebration of the marriage, the parties are a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. The
controversy; (2) the controversy must be between persons whose interests are instant case is one where at the time the marriage was solemnized, the parties were
adverse; (3) that the party seeking the relief has a legal interest in the controversy; two Filipino citizens, but later on, the wife was naturalized as an American citizen and
and (4) that the issue is ripe for judicial determination.8 subsequently obtained a divorce granting her capacity to remarry, and indeed she
remarried an American citizen while residing in the U.S.A.
This case concerns the applicability of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 to a marriage
between two Filipino citizens where one later acquired alien citizenship, obtained a Noteworthy, in the Report of the Public Hearings9 on the Family Code, the Catholic
divorce decree, and remarried while in the U.S.A. The interests of the parties are also Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) registered the following objections to
adverse, as petitioner representing the State asserts its duty to protect the institution Paragraph 2 of Article 26:
of marriage while respondent, a private citizen, insists on a declaration of his capacity
to remarry. Respondent, praying for relief, has legal interest in the controversy. The
1. The rule is discriminatory. It discriminates against those whose spouses are
issue raised is also ripe for judicial determination inasmuch as when respondent
Filipinos who divorce them abroad. These spouses who are divorced will not be able
remarries, litigation ensues and puts into question the validity of his second marriage.
to re-marry, while the spouses of foreigners who validly divorce them abroad can.

Coming now to the substantive issue, does Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family
2. This is the beginning of the recognition of the validity of divorce even for Filipino
Code apply to the case of respondent? Necessarily, we must dwell on how this
citizens. For those whose foreign spouses validly divorce them abroad will also be
provision had come about in the first place, and what was the intent of the legislators
considered to be validly divorced here and can re-marry. We propose that this be
in its enactment?
deleted and made into law only after more widespread consultation. (Emphasis
supplied.)
Brief Historical Background
Legislative Intent
On July 6, 1987, then President Corazon Aquino signed into law Executive Order No.
209, otherwise known as the "Family Code," which took effect on August 3, 1988.
Records of the proceedings of the Family Code deliberations showed that the intent of
Article 26 thereof states:
Paragraph 2 of Article 26, according to Judge Alicia Sempio-Diy, a member of the Civil
Code Revision Committee, is to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse
All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in force remains married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a divorce, is no longer
in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also be valid married to the Filipino spouse.
in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35, 37, and 38.
Interestingly, Paragraph 2 of Article 26 traces its origin to the 1985 case of Van Dorn
On July 17, 1987, shortly after the signing of the original Family Code, Executive v. Romillo, Jr.10 The Van Dorn case involved a marriage between a Filipino citizen and
Order No. 227 was likewise signed into law, amending Articles 26, 36, and 39 of the a foreigner. The Court held therein that a divorce decree validly obtained by the alien
Family Code. A second paragraph was added to Article 26. As so amended, it now spouse is valid in the Philippines, and consequently, the Filipino spouse is capacitated
provides: to remarry under Philippine law.

ART. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws Does the same principle apply to a case where at the time of the celebration of the
in force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also marriage, the parties were Filipino citizens, but later on, one of them obtains a foreign
be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4), (5) and (6), citizenship by naturalization?
36, 37 and 38.
The jurisprudential answer lies latent in the 1998 case of Quita v. Court of
Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a Appeals.11 In Quita, the parties were, as in this case, Filipino citizens when they got
divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or married. The wife became a naturalized American citizen in 1954 and obtained a
her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law. divorce in the same year. The Court therein hinted, by way of obiter dictum, that a
(Emphasis supplied) Filipino divorced by his naturalized foreign spouse is no longer married under
Philippine law and can thus remarry.
On its face, the foregoing provision does not appear to govern the situation presented
by the case at hand. It seems to apply only to cases where at the time of the
Thus, taking into consideration the legislative intent and applying the rule of reason, However, we note that the records are bereft of competent evidence duly submitted by
we hold that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 should be interpreted to include cases involving respondent concerning the divorce decree and the naturalization of respondent’s wife.
parties who, at the time of the celebration of the marriage were Filipino citizens, but It is settled rule that one who alleges a fact has the burden of proving it and mere
later on, one of them becomes naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a divorce allegation is not evidence.13
decree. The Filipino spouse should likewise be allowed to remarry as if the other party
were a foreigner at the time of the solemnization of the marriage. To rule otherwise
Accordingly, for his plea to prosper, respondent herein must prove his allegation that
would be to sanction absurdity and injustice. Where the interpretation of a statute
his wife was naturalized as an American citizen. Likewise, before a foreign divorce
according to its exact and literal import would lead to mischievous results or
decree can be recognized by our own courts, the party pleading it must prove the
contravene the clear purpose of the legislature, it should be construed according to its
divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law allowing it. 14 Such
spirit and reason, disregarding as far as necessary the letter of the law. A statute may
foreign law must also be proved as our courts cannot take judicial notice of foreign
therefore be extended to cases not within the literal meaning of its terms, so long as
laws. Like any other fact, such laws must be alleged and proved.15 Furthermore,
they come within its spirit or intent.12
respondent must also show that the divorce decree allows his former wife to remarry
as specifically required in Article 26. Otherwise, there would be no evidence sufficient
If we are to give meaning to the legislative intent to avoid the absurd situation where to declare that he is capacitated to enter into another marriage.
the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a divorce
is no longer married to the Filipino spouse, then the instant case must be deemed as
Nevertheless, we are unanimous in our holding that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the
coming within the contemplation of Paragraph 2 of Article 26.
Family Code (E.O. No. 209, as amended by E.O. No. 227), should be interpreted to
allow a Filipino citizen, who has been divorced by a spouse who had acquired foreign
In view of the foregoing, we state the twin elements for the application of Paragraph 2 citizenship and remarried, also to remarry. However, considering that in the present
of Article 26 as follows: petition there is no sufficient evidence submitted and on record, we are unable to
declare, based on respondent’s bare allegations that his wife, who was naturalized as
an American citizen, had obtained a divorce decree and had remarried an American,
1. There is a valid marriage that has been celebrated between a Filipino citizen and a
that respondent is now capacitated to remarry. Such declaration could only be made
foreigner; and
properly upon respondent’s submission of the aforecited evidence in his favor.

2. A valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to
ACCORDINGLY, the petition by the Republic of the Philippines is GRANTED. The
remarry.
assailed Decision dated May 15, 2002, and Resolution dated July 4, 2002, of the
Regional Trial Court of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, Branch 23, are hereby SET
The reckoning point is not the citizenship of the parties at the time of the celebration of ASIDE.
the marriage, but their citizenship at the time a valid divorce is obtained abroad by the
alien spouse capacitating the latter to remarry.
No pronouncement as to costs.

In this case, when Cipriano’s wife was naturalized as an American citizen, there was
SO ORDERED.
still a valid marriage that has been celebrated between her and Cipriano. As fate
would have it, the naturalized alien wife subsequently obtained a valid divorce
capacitating her to remarry. Clearly, the twin requisites for the application of
Paragraph 2 of Article 26 are both present in this case. Thus Cipriano, the "divorced"
Filipino spouse, should be allowed to remarry.

We are also unable to sustain the OSG’s theory that the proper remedy of the Filipino
spouse is to file either a petition for annulment or a petition for legal separation.
Annulment would be a long and tedious process, and in this particular case, not even
feasible, considering that the marriage of the parties appears to have all the badges of
validity. On the other hand, legal separation would not be a sufficient remedy for it
would not sever the marriage tie; hence, the legally separated Filipino spouse would
still remain married to the naturalized alien spouse.