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114 SCRA 77

1. Judge Elias Asuncion was the presiding Judge in Civil Case No. 3010 for
2. Among the parties thereto was Bernardita R. Macariola.
3. On June 8, 1863 respondent Judge rendered a decision, which became
final for lack of an appeal.
4. On October 16, 1963 a project of partition was submitted to Judge
Asuncion which he approved in an Order dated October 23, 1963, later
amended on November 11, 1963.
5. On March 6, 1965, a portion of lot 1184-E, one of the properties subject to
partition under Civil Case No. 3010, was acquired by purchase by respondent
Macariola and his wife, who were major stockholders of Traders
Manufacturing and Fishing Industries Inc.,
6. Bernardita Macariola thus charged Judge Asuncion of the CFI of Leyte, now
Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals “with acts unbecoming of a judge.”
7. Macariola alleged that Asuncion violated , among others, Art. 1491, par. 5
of the New Civil Code and Article 14 of the Code of Commerce.

Is the actuation of Judge Asuncion in acquiring by purchase a portion of
property in a Civil Case previously handled by him an act unbecoming of a

Article 1491 , par. 5 of the New Civil Code applies only to the sale or
assignment of the property which is the subject of litigation to the persons
disqualified therein. The Supreme Court held that for the prohibition to
operate, the sale or assignment must take place during the pendency of the
litigation involving the property.

In the case at bar, when respondent Judge purchased on March 6, 1965 a
portion of lot 1184-E, the decision in Civil Case No. 3010 which he rendered
on June 8, 1963 was already final because none of the parties filed an appeal
within the reglementary period hence, the lot in question was no longer
subject of litigation. Moreover at the time of the sale on March 6, 1965,
respondent’s order date October 23, 1963 and the amended order dated
November 11, 1963 approving the October 16, 1963 project of partition
made pursuant to the June 8, 1963 decision, had long been final for there
was no appeal from said orders.

Furthermore, respondent Judge did not buy the lot in question on March 6,
1965 directly from the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 3010 but from Dr. Arcadio
Galapon who earlier purchased on July 31, 1964 Lot 1184-E from three of the
plaintiffs after the finality of the decision in Civil Case No. 3010.

Consequently, the sale of a portion of Lot 1184-E to respondent Judge having
taken place over one year after the finality of the decision in Civil Case No.
3010 as well as the two orders approving the project of partition, and not
during the pendency of the litigation, there was no violation of paragraph 5,
Article 1491 of the New Civil Code.

Upon the transfer of sovereignty from Spain to the United States and later on
from the United States to the Republic of the Philippines, Art. 14 of the Code
of Commerce must be deemed to have been abrogated because where there
is a change of sovereignty , the political laws of the former sovereign ,
whether compatible or not with those of the new sovereign, are
automatically abrogated, unless they are expressly re-enacted by affirmative
act of the new sovereign.