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Special Proceedings Recent Digested Cases (20102011)
CONTENTS: 1. Settlement of Estate of Deceased Person a. Probate of the will in the foreign country where the alien deceased resides condition sine qua non for Reprobate of the will in the Philippines IN RE: In the Matter of the Petition to approve the will of Ruperta Palaganas with prayer for the appointment of Special Administrator, Manuel Miguel Palaganas and Benjamin Palaganas vs. Ernesto Palaganas, G.R. No. 169144, January 26, 2011 2. Guardianship a. Guardianship of Minor Cabales vs. Court of Appeal, G.R. No. 162421, August 31, 2007
Appointment of a Guardian: Court Authority Required People vs. Flores, G.R. No. 188315, August 25, 2010
c. Fiduciary Funds Shall Remain With Court Posted January 31, 2011; By Anna Katrina M. Martinez (SC Website)
Legal Guardian: When one of the spouse is incapacitated – Sole Administration Jose Uy vs. Court of Appeals, GR No. 109557, November 29, 2000
Guardian over Incompetent Person: Who is an incompetent person Hernandez, et.al. vs. San Juan-Santos, G.R. Nos. 166470 and 169217, August 7, 2009
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Escheat Proceeding: Proper Party and Citizenship of the owner of the property to be escheated. Balais-Mabanag vs. Registry of Deeds of Quezon City, G.R. No. 153142, March 29, 2010
5. Adoption a. Validity of Adoption when the Surviving Spouse remarries IN RE: Petition for Adoption OF Michael Jude P. Lim, G.R. Nos. 168992-93, May 21, 2009
Adoption under Article 33, New Civil Code and SC Cir. No.12: decree of Adoption cannot be made solely by
case study reports made by a social welfare officer of the court
DSWD vs. Judge Antonio M. Belen, A.M. No. RTJ-961362 July 18, 1997
Penalty for a public officer for simulating birth certificate: Application of the Civil Service Rules Anonymous vs. Emma Curamen, A.M. No. P-082549, June 18, 2010
6. Habeas Corpus a. Grant of Writ of Habeas Corpus ancillary to a Criminal Case: Dismissal of the latter rendered moot and academic of the former So vs. Hon. Esteban A. Tacla, Jr., G.R. No. 190108, 19 October 2010 b. Writ of Habeas Corpus: Not proper pending Special Civil Action for Certiorari before the Court of Appeals 7th Division. In the matter of the Petition for Habeas Corpus of CEZARI GONZALES and JULIUS MESA: ROBERTO RAFAEL PULIDO vs. Gen. EFREN ABU, et al., G.R. No. 170924, July 4, 2007
A detention previously invalid becomes valid upon the application, issuance of the writ of Habeas Corpus denied. (Section 4 of Rule 102)
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Ampatuan vs. Judge Virgilio V. Macaraig, G.R. No. 182497, 29 June 2010
Writ of Amparo and Habeas Data: a. Command Responsibility b. Amparo: Not applied to those instances other than right to life, liberty or security (i.e. personal property) In the Matter of the Petition for the Writ of Amparo and the Writ of Habeas Data in Favor of Melissa C. Roxas, G. R. No. 189155 September 7, 2010
103: Change of Sufficiency of Evidence
Republic vs. Roselie Eloisa Bringas Bolante a.k.a. MARIA ELOISA BRINGAS BOLANTE, G.R. No. 160597, July 20, 2006 9. Rule 108 a. Authority of the trial courts to make judicial corrections of entries in the civil registry. RE: FINAL REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED AT THE RTC BRANCH 67, PANIQUI, TARLAC, A.M.No.06-7-414-RTC, October 19, 2007
When civil status affects the changes in the entry in civil registry, adversarial proceedings applied – Jurisdictional and Notice are essential
Republic vs. Julian Edward Emerson CosetengMagpayo (A.K.A. JULIAN EDWARD EMERSON MARQUEZLIM COSETENG), G.R. No. 189476, February 2, 2011
Change of Status: Alien Spouse failed to comply on the Jurisdictional Requirement Corpuz vs. Sto. Tomas, G.R. No. 186571, August 11,
RULE 103, 108 and RA 9048: Distinguished Republic vs. Mercadera, G.R. No. 186027, December 8, 2010
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A. SETTLEMENT OF ESTATE OF DECEASED PERSON Probate of the will in the foreign country where the alien deceased resides condition sine qua non for Reprobate of the will in the Philippines
IN RE: IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION TO APPROVE THE WILL OF RUPERTA PALAGANAS WITH PRAYER FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL ADMINISTRATOR, MANUEL MIGUEL PALAGANAS AND BENJAMIN GREGORIO PALAGANAS VS. ERNESTO PALAGANAS G.R. No. 169144, January 26, 2011 FACTS: Ruperta C. Palaganas (Ruperta), a Filipino who became a naturalized United States (U.S.) citizen, died single and childless. In the last will and testament she executed in California, she designated her brother, Sergio C. Palaganas (Sergio), as the executor of her will for she had left properties in the Philippines and in the U.S. Respondent Ernesto C. Palaganas (Ernesto), another brother of Ruperta, filed with the a petition for the probate of Ruperta’s will and for his appointment as special administrator of her estate. However, petitioners Manuel Miguel Palaganas (Manuel) and Benjamin Gregorio Palaganas (Benjamin), nephews of Ruperta, opposed the petition on the ground that Ruperta’s will should not be probated in the Philippines but in the U.S. where she executed it The RTC issued an order: (a) admitting to probate Ruperta’s last will; (b) appointing respondent Ernesto as special administrator at the request of Sergio, the U.S.-based executor designated in the will; and (c) issuing the Letters of Special Administration to Ernesto. Manuel and Benjamin appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA), arguing that an unprobated will executed by an American citizen in the U.S. cannot be probated for the first time in the Philippines. The CA affirmed order of the RTC, holding that the RTC properly allowed the probate of the will. The CA pointed out that Section 2, Rule 76 of the Rules of Court does not require prior probate and allowance of the will in the country of its execution, before it can be probated in the Philippines. The present case is different from reprobate, which refers to a will already probated and allowed abroad. Reprobate is governed by different rules or procedures. ISSUE: Whether or not a will executed by a foreigner abroad may be probated in the Philippines although it has not been previously probated and allowed in the country where it was executed. HELD: Section 1, Rule 73 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides that if the decedent is an inhabitant of a foreign country, the RTC of the province where he has an estate may take cognizance of the settlement of such estate. Sections 1 and
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2 of Rule 76 further state that the executor, devisee, or legatee named in the will, or any other person interested in the estate, may, at any time after the death of the testator, petition the court having jurisdiction to have the will allowed, whether the same be in his possession or not, or is lost or destroyed. Our rules require merely that the petition for the allowance of a will must show, so far as known to the petitioner: (a) the jurisdictional facts; (b) the names, ages, and residences of the heirs, legatees, and devisees of the testator or decedent; (c) the probable value and character of the property of the estate; (d) the name of the person for whom letters are prayed; and (e) if the will has not been delivered to the court, the name of the person having custody of it. Jurisdictional facts refer to the fact of death of the decedent, his residence at the time of his death in the province where the probate court is sitting, or if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country, the estate he left in such province. The rules do not require proof that the foreign will has already been allowed and probated in the country of its execution. In insisting that Ruperta’s will should have been first probated and allowed by the court of California, petitioners Manuel and Benjamin obviously have in mind the procedure for the reprobate of will before admitting it here. But, reprobate or reauthentication of a will already probated and allowed in a foreign country is different from that probate where the will is presented for the first time before a competent court. Reprobate is specifically governed by Rule 77 of the Rules of Court. Contrary to petitioners’ stance, since this latter rule applies only to reprobate of a will, it cannot be made to apply to the present case. In reprobate, the local court acknowledges as binding the findings of the foreign probate court provided its jurisdiction over the matter can be established. Besides, petitioners’ stand is fraught with impractically. If the instituted heirs do not have the means to go abroad for the probate of the will, it is as good as depriving them outright of their inheritance, since our law requires that no will shall pass either real or personal property unless the will has been proved and allowed by the proper court.
B. GUARDIANSHIP Guardianship of Minor: AM. No. 03-02-05-SC
NELSON CABALES and RITO CABALES vs. COURT OF APPEALS, JESUS FELIANO and ANUNCIANO FELIANO G.R. No. 162421, August 31, 2007 Puno, C.J. FACTS: Sometime in 1964, Rurfino Cabales died leaving behind a parcel of land in Southern Leyte to his wife, Saturnina and six children, namely, Bonifacio, Francisco, Alberto, Albino, Lenora, and Rito. On 1971, the brothers and co-owners Bonifacio, Alberto and Albino sold the property to Dr. Corrompido with a right to repurchase within eight (8) years. On 1972, prior to the redemption of the property, Alberto died leaving behind his wife and son, Nelson, herein petitioner.
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Sometime later and within the redemption period, the said brothers and their mother, in lieu of Alberto, tendered their payment to Dr. Corrompido. Subsequently, Saturnina, and her four children, Bonifacio, Albino, Francisco and Leonora sold the said land to Spouses Feliano. It was provided in the deed of sale that the shares of Nelson and Rito, being minor at the time of the sale, will be held in trust by the vendee and will paid upon them reaching the age of 21. In 1986, Rito received the sum of 1,143 pesos from the Spouses Feliano representing his share from the proceeds of the sale of the property. It was only in 1988, that Nelson learned of the sale from his uncle, Rito. He signified his intention to redeem the property in 1993 but it was only in 1995 that he filed a complaint for redemption against the Spouses Feliano. The respondent Spouses averred that the petitioners are estopped from denying the sale since: (1) Rito already received his share; and (2) Nelson, failed to tender the total amount of the redemption price. The Regional Trial Court ruled in favour of Spouses Feliano on the ground that Nelson was no longer entitled to the property since, his right was subrogated by Saturnina upon the death of his father, Alberto. It also alleged that Rito had no more right to redeem since Saturnina, being his legal guardian at the time of the sale was properly vested with the right to alienate the same. The Court of Appeals modified the decision of the trial court stating that the sale made by Saturnina in behalf of Rito and Nelson were unenforceable. ISSUE: Whether or not the sale made by a legal guardian (Saturnina) in behalf of the minors were binding upon them. HELD: With regard to the share of Rito, the contract of sale was valid. Under Section 1, Rule 96 “A guardian shall have the care and custody of the person of his ward, and the management of his estate, or the management of the estate only. x x x” Indeed, the legal guardian only has the plenary power of administration of the minor’s property. It does not include the power of alienation which needs judicial authority. Thus, when Saturnina, as legal guardian of petitioner Rito, sold the latter’s pro indiviso share in subject land, she did not have the legal authority to do so. Accordingly, the contract as to the share of Rito was unenforceable. However, when he received the proceeds of the sale, he effectively ratified it. This act of ratification rendered the sale valid and binding as to him. With respect to petitioner Nelson, the contract of sale was void. He was a minor at the time of the sale. Saturnina or any and all the other co-owners were not his legal guardians; rather it was his mother who if duly authorized by the courts, could validly sell his share in the property. Consequently, petitioner Nelson retained ownership over their undivided share in the said property. However, Nelson can no longer redeem the property since the thirty day redemption period has expired and thus he remains as co-owner of the property with the Spouses Feliano.
Appointment of Guardian: Court authority required
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. ISIDRO FLORES y LAGUA G.R. No. 188315, August 25, 2010
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FACTS: AAA lived with her adoptive mother, BBB, since she was just a few months old. BBB is married to appellant, who was working abroad for six years. Appellant came home in 1997 and lived with AAA and BBB. BBB was working as a restaurant supervisor from 4pm to 2am for six days a week. In February 1999 at around 9:30 pm, AAA then 11 yrs old, was sleeping inside the house when she felt and saw appellant touch her thighs. The following day, at around the same time and while BBB was at work, appellant again touched AAA from her legs up to her breast. Two weeks after the incident, AAA was already asleep when she suddenly woke up and saw appellant holding a knife, then appellant was able to penetrate her. Two days after, appellant again raped her. AAA recounted that appellant raped her at least 3 times a week at the same time until October 15, 2002, when she was 14 yrs. old. RTC rendered judgment finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of 181 counts of rape.CA affirmed the finding that AAA was raped by appellant, but did so only on 2 counts and consider the qualifying circumstances of minority and relationship. ISSUE: Whether or not appellant should be consider as a guardian of the victim even without court authority Whether that the qualifying/aggravating circumstances of relationship is applicable. HELD: To justify the death penalty, the prosecution must specifically allege in the information and prove during the trial the qualifying circumstances of minority of the victim and her relationship to the offender. Jurisprudence dictates that the guardian must be a person who has a legal relationship with his ward. The theory that a guardian must be legally appointed was first enunciated in the early case of People vs. Dela Cruz which held that the guardian referred to in the law is either a legal or judicial guardian as understood in the rules on Civil Procedure. The law requires a legal or judicial guardian since it is the consanguineous relation or the solemnity of judicial appointment which impresses upon the guardian the lofty purpose of his office and normally deters him from violating its objectives. The appellant cannot be considered as the guardian falling within the ambit of the amendatory provision introduced by RA 7659.Since both logic and fact conjointly demonstrate that he is actually only a custodian, that is, a mere caretaker of the children over whom he exercises a limited degree of authority for a temporary period, we cannot impose death penalty contemplated for a real guardian under RA 7659, since he does not fit into that category. Be that as it may, this qualifying circumstance of being a guardian was not even mentioned in the Information. What was clearly stated was that appellant was the “adopting father” of AAA, which the prosecution nonetheless failed to establish.
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For failure of the prosecution to prove the qualifying circumstance of relationship, appellant could only be convicted for two counts of simple rape, and not qualified rape.
Fiduciary Funds Shall Remain With Court
Posted January 31 , 2011; By Anna Katrina M. Martinez The deposit of the Judiciary’s Fiduciary Funds, amounting to more than PhP4.8 billion, and all subsequent collections of trust and other receipts with the Bureau of Treasury “has no legal basis,” and the remittance of interests of the Fiduciary Funds to the national government “is erroneous and must be discontinued.” Thus said the Supreme Court as it ruled that Fiduciary Funds in custodialegis shall remain under the custody and control of the courts, to be deposited and disposed of as the courts may direct in the exercise of their judicial functions, while Fiduciary Funds deposited with the Court in its administrative capacity, and not in custodialegis, shall be remitted to the National Treasury. In its 2008 Annual Audit Report, the COA recommended that the Court deposit the amount of P4,838,976,011.86 “and all subsequent collections of trust and other receipts with the Bureau of Treasury” in conformity with Executive Order 338 (EO 338), Sections 7 and 8 of the General Provisions of the General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (2008 GAA), and COA-DOF-DBM Joint Circular No. 1-97. EO 338 directs government offices and agencies to immediately transfer all public moneys deposited with depository banks and other institutions to the Bureau of Treasury, regardless of income source, while the 2008 GAA directs government agencies to book trust and other receipts “which have been received as guaranty for the fulfilment of an obligation” with the National Treasury. Joint Circular No. 197, on the other hand, requires that all National Government cash balances be deposited with the National Treasury. In an En Banc Resolution, the Supreme Court clarified whether the deposits in its Fiduciary Funds and in those of the lower courts as well as the Philippine Mediation Center should be remitted to the National Treasury, as suggested by COA. The Court said while funds that properly accrue to the General Fund must be turned over to the Bureau of Treasury, which is under the Executive branch, the custody and disposition of any fund of whatever nature that is in custodia legis (custody of the law) is under the exclusive control of the courts in the exercise of their judicial functions. “The control of funds in custodia legis is an exercise of judicial power, and under the Constitution, ‘[T]he judicial power is vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law,’” said the Court. “Neither the Executive nor Legislative branch can encroach on the power of the courts to control custody or disposition of funds in custodia legis,” adding that upon termination of the case, or earlier as the courts may direct, the funds in custodia legis will be returned to their rightful owners, subject to a service fee of 10% per annum of the interests earned, which shall accrue to the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF).
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The High Court said that while Batas Pambansa Blg. 325 provides that, unless otherwise provided, all collections from fees and charges of government agencies, including the Supreme Court, shall accrue to the General Fund of the National Government, an exemption is provided under Presidential Decree No. 1949 (PD 1949), which established the JDF “for the benefit of the members and personnel of the Judiciary to help ensure and guarantee the independence of the Judiciary.” PD 1949 provides that the Chief Justice shall administer and allocate the JDF and shall have the sole exclusive power and duty to approve the authorized disbursement and expenditures of the Fund. “Thus, the JDF, although derived from legal fees and charges, does not accrue to the General Fund by express provision of PD 1949,” said the Court. The High Court added that Fiduciary Funds also do not accrue to the General Fund as these are not “collections from fees and charges” but are funds that are deposited in court which are held in trust for the parties and litigants. The Court also ruled that its own practice of remitting the interests of the Fiduciary Funds to the national government is erroneous and must be discontinued. “Following the right of accession conferred on the owner of the property under Article 440 of the Civil Code, the interests on these fiduciary funds also belong to the parties who own the principal amount. Upon termination of the case, the interests should be returned to the parties together with the principal. The interests should not accrue to the General Fund because it is tantamount to taking private property for public use without just compensation,” the Court held. It added that interests on deposits of the JDF accrue to the JDF for the benefit of the members and personnel of the Judiciary. The Court, however, ruled that forfeited cash deposits made to guarantee undertakings in favor of the government, and the interests thereon, are income of the government and shall be remitted to the National Treasury and that unclaimed fiduciary funds of private parties, including interests, shall remain with the courts until a law is passed authorizing the escheat or forfeiture of such unclaimed funds in favor of the State. Finally, the Supreme Court ruled that the amounts it previously remitted to the National Treasury representing interest earned on the Fiduciary Fund and forfeited/confiscated bonds covering the period from 2004 to 2007, under the staggered payments proposed by retired Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno to the COA in 2009, shall be credited to whatever amounts the Court is required to remit to the National Treasury. (Min. Res., AM No. 05-3-35-SC, Re: Audit Observation Memorandum; Min. Res., AM No. 10-8-3-SC, Re: Fiduciary Fund Deposits Not Remitted to the Bureau of Treasury, January 18, 2011)
Legal Guardian: When one of the spouse is incapacitated – Sole Administration
Jose Uy vs. Court of Appeals and Teodoro Jardeleza GR No. 109557. November 29, 2000 Facts: Dr. Jardeleza suffered a stroke which left him comatose and depriving him of his mental and physical capability to act. Upon learning that the real property he
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owned is about to be sold, Teodoro filed a petition for the issuance of the letter of guardianship of his father. In the petition, he prayed for the issuance of the letters of guardianship in favor of his mother and petitioner, Gilda. Days later, Gilda filed a petition for the declaration of incapacity of Dr. Jardeleza, administration of conjugal properties, and authority of sell the same. In the said petition, she prayed for such reliefs because of the increasing hospital bills due to the fact that Dr. Jardeleza is confined in an intensive care unit (ICU). Upon the finding of the petition to be in form, the RTC issued a notice for hearing, which happened few days after. On the same date of the hearing, the RTC, upon hearing the witnesses presented by Gilda, granted such petition. Teodoro filed an Opposition contending that he was unaware that the case was already decided. He also filed a Motion for Reconsideration contending that the proper remedy in the case is not the petition filed by his mother, but the petition for guardianship proceedings. As such, the case cannot be heard under the rules of summary proceedings as contemplated in Article 253 of the Family Code. He also noted that the provisions on summary proceedings, found in Chapter 2 of the Family Code, comes under the heading on “Separation in Fact Between Husband and Wife” which contemplates of a situation where both spouses are of disposing mind. Thus, he argued that were one spouse is “comatose without motor and mental faculties,” the said provisions cannot be made to apply. Issue: Whether the provision of Article 124 of the Family Code applies in this case when one of the spose is incapacitated to give his consent? Held: No. Article 124 of the Family Code provides as follows: “ART. 124. The administration and enjoyment of the conjugal partnership property shall belong to both spouses jointly. In case of disagreement, the husband’s decision shall prevail, subject to recourse to the court by the wife for a proper remedy which must be availed of within five years from the date of the contract implementing such decision. “In the event that one spouse is incapacitated or otherwise unable to participate in the administration of the conjugal properties, the other spouse may assume sole powers of administration. These powers do not include the powers of disposition or encumbrance which must have the authority of the court or the written consent of the other spouse. In the absence of such authority or consent, the disposition or encumbrance shall be void. However, the transaction shall be construed as a continuing offer on the part of the consenting spouse and the third person, and may be perfected as a binding contract upon the acceptance by the other spouse or authorization by the court before the offer is withdrawn by either or both offerors. (165a).” In regular manner, the rules on summary judicial proceedings under the Family Code govern the proceedings under Article 124 of the Family Code. The situation contemplated is one where the spouse is absent, or separated in fact or has abandoned the other or consent is withheld or cannot be obtained. Such rules do not apply to cases where the non-consenting spouse is incapacitated or incompetent to give consent. In this case, the trial court found that the subject spouse "is an incompetent" who was in comatose or semi-comatose condition, a victim of stroke, cerebrovascular accident, without motor and mental faculties, and
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with a diagnosis of brain stem infarct. In such case, the proper remedy is a judicial guardianship proceedings under Rule 93 of the 1964 Revised Rules of Court. Even assuming that the rules of summary judicial proceedings under the Family Code may apply to the wife's administration of the conjugal property, the law provides that the wife who assumes sole powers of administration has the same powers and duties as a guardian under the Rules of Court. Consequently, a spouse who desires to sell real property as such administrator of the conjugal property must observe the procedure for the sale of the ward’s estate required of judicial guardians under Rule 95, 1964 Revised Rules of Court, not the summary judicial proceedings under the Family Code. In the case at bar, the trial court did not comply with the procedure under Revised Rules of Court. Indeed, the trial court did not even observe requirements of the summary judicial proceedings under the Family Code. Thus, trial court did not serve notice of the petition to the incapacitated spouse; it did require him to show cause why the petition should not be granted. the the the not
Guardianship over Incompetent Person: Who is an Incompetent Person?
CECILIO C. HERNANDEZ, MA. VICTORIA C. HERNANDEZ-SAGUN, TERESA C. HERNANDEZ-VILLA ABRILLE and NATIVIDADCRUZ-HERNANDEZ vs. JOVITA SAN JUAN-SANTOS G.R. No. 166470 and G.R. No. 169217 August 7, 2009 FACTS: Maria Lourdes San Juan Hernandez (or Lulu) was born on February 14, 1947 to the spouses Felix Hernandez and Maria San Juan Hernandez. Unfortunately, the latter died due to complications during childbirth. After Maria's death, Felix left Lulu in the care of her maternal uncle, Sotero C. San Juan. On December 16, 1951, Felix married Natividad Cruz. The union produced three children, herein petitioners. Meanwhile, as the only child of Maria and the sole testate heir of Sotero, Lulu inherited valuable real properties from the San Juan family. In 1968, upon reaching the age of majority, Lulu was given full control of her estate. Nevertheless, because Lulu did not even finish her elementary education, Felix continued to exercise actual administration of Lulu’s properties. Upon Felix's death in 1993, petitioners took over the task of administering Lulu's properties. During the period of their informal administration (from 1968 until 1993), Felix and petitioners undertook various “projects” involving Lulu’s real properties. In 1974, Felix allegedly purchased one of Lulu’s properties for an undisclosed amount to develop the Marilou Subdivision. Thus, Lulu signed a special power of attorney (SPA) believing that she was authorizing Ma. Victoria to appear in court on her behalf when she was in fact unknowingly authorizing her half-sister to sell the said property to the Manila Electric Company for P18,206,400. In September 1998, Lulu sought the assistance of her maternal first cousin, respondent Jovita San JuanSantos, after learning that petitioners had been dissipating her estate. She confided to Jovita that she was made to live in the basement of petitioners’ home and was receiving a measly daily allowance of P400 for her food and medication. Respondent was appalled as Lulu was severely overweight, unkempt and smelled of urine. She later found out that Lulu was occupying a cramped room lit by
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a single fluorescent lamp without running water. Due to Lulu's poor hygiene, respondent brought her to several physicians for medical examination. Lulu was found to be afflicted with tuberculosis, rheumatism and diabetes from which she was suffering several complications. On October 2, 1998, respondent filed a petition for guardianship in the RTC of San Mateo, Rizal, Branch 76. She alleged that Lulu was incapable of taking care of herself and managing her estate because she was of weak mind. Subsequently, petitioners moved to intervene in the proceedings to oppose the same. Cecilio, Teresa and Ma. Victoria, for their part, claimed that the issue of Lulu’s competency had been settled in 1968 (upon her emancipation) when the court ordered her legal guardian and maternal uncle, Ciriaco San Juan, to deliver the properties for her to manage. They likewise asserted that Lulu was literate and, for that reason, aware of the consequences of executing an SPA. During the hearing, Lulu was presented and asked to testify on her genealogy and experiences with the San Juan and Hernandez families. Lulu identified and described her parents, stepmother, half-siblings and maternal relatives. Medical specialists testified to explain the results of Lulu’s examinations which revealed the alarming state of her health. Furthermore, they unanimously opined that in view of Lulu’s intelligence level (which was below average) and fragile mental state, she would not be able to care for herself and self-administer her medications. ISSUE: Whether or not Lulu is an incompetent and the appointment of a judicial guardian over her person and property is necessary. HELD: YES. Under Section 2, Rule 92 of the Rules of Court, persons who, though of sound mind but by reason of age, disease, weak mind or other similar causes are incapable of taking care of themselves and their property without outside aid, are considered as incompetents who may properly be placed under guardianship. The RTC and the CA both found that Lulu was incapable of taking care of herself and her properties without outside aid due to her ailments and weak mind. Thus, since determining whether or not Lulu is in fact an incompetent would require a reexamination of the evidence presented in the courts a quo, it undoubtedly involves questions of fact. Petitioners are furthermore ordered to render to respondent, Lulu’s legal guardian, an accurate and faithful accounting of all the properties and funds they unlawfully appropriated for themselves from the estate of Maria Lourdes San Juan Hernandez, within thirty (30) days from receipt of this decision. If warranted, the proper complaints should also be filed against them for any criminal liability in connection with the dissipation of Maria Lourdes San Juan Hernandez’s estate and her unlawful abduction from the custody of her legal guardian.
C. ESCHEAT Escheat Proceeding: Proper Party and Citizenship of the owner of the real property to be escheated
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CATALINA BALAIS-MABANAG v. THE REGISTRY OF DEEDS OF QUEZON CITY, CONCEPTION D. ALCARAZ AND RAMONA ALCARAZ G.R. No. 153142, March 29, 2010 Facts: The Coronel brothers executed a document entitled “Receipt of Down payment” in favor of Ramona Alcaraz upon the receiving P50,000.00 as a down payment for the sale of their inherited house and lot in Quezon City. In the agreement with Ramona, they will execute a deed of absolute sale immediately upon the transfer of the TCT to the name of the brothers Coronel because the same was named to their father. On Feb.18, 1985, they sold the same property to petitioner herein for a higher contract price than that of Ramona. For this reason, Coronel rescinded the first agreement with Ramona by depositing to her the down payment of P50, 000.00. Consequently, respondents filed a case for specific performance and caused the annotation of lis pendens over the property. On June 5, 1985, TCT 351382 was issued in the name of petitioner herein. RTC ruled in favor of respondents herein ordering the cancellation of the TCT in the name of petitioner. Hence, this petition. Issue: Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in sustaining the registration by the Registry of Deeds of the DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE despite the lack of indication of citizenship of the buyer. Ruling: The High Court ruled that it should be pointed out that the petitioner was not the proper party to challenge Ramona’s qualification to acquire land. Only the Government through the Solicitor General has the personality to file the case challenging the capacity of person to acquire or own land based on non-citizenship. The limitation is based on the fact that the violation is committed against the State and not against individual. And that in the event that the transferee is adjudged to be not a Filipino citizen, the affected property reverts to the State, not to the previous owner or individual. It will not inure to the benefit of the petitioner, instead the subject property will be escheated in favor of the State according to BP Blg. 185.
D.ADOPTION Validity of Adoption in case the surviving spouse remarries
IN RE: PETITION FOR ADOPTION OF MICHAEL JUDE P. LIM G.R. Nos. 168992-93, May 21, 2009 CARPIO, J.: Facts On 23 June 1974, Petitioner Monina P. Lim married Primo Lim. They were childless. Subsequently, minor children, whose parents were unknown, were entrusted to them by a certain Lucia Ayuban. Being so eager to have a child of their own, Monina and Primo registered the children to make it appear that they were the
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children’s parents. The children were named Michelle P. Lim and Michael Jude P. Lim. The spouses reared and cared for the children as if they were their own. They sent the children to exclusive schools. They used the surname "Lim" in all their school records and documents. Unfortunately, on 28 November 1998, Primo died. On 27 December 2000, petitioner married Angel Olario, an American citizen. Thereafter, petitioner decided to adopt the children by availing of the amnesty given under Republic Act No. 8552 (RA 8552) to those individuals who simulated the birth of a child. Thus, on 24 April 2002, petitioner filed separate petitions for the adoption of Michelle and Michael, who was already 25 years old and already married and 18 years and seven months, before the trial court. Michelle, together with her husband and Michael, gave their consent to the adoption as evidenced by their Affidavits of Consent. Monina’s husband Angel likewise executed an Affidavit of Consent for the adoption of Michelle and Michael. On 15 September 2004, the trial court rendered judgment dismissing the petitions. On the ground that since petitioner having remarried, should have filed the petition jointly with her new husband. The trial court ruled that joint adoption by the husband and the wife is mandatory citing Section 7(c), Article III of RA 8552 and Article 185 of the Family Code. Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the decision but the motion was denied. In denying the motion, the trial court ruled that petitioner did not fall under any of the exceptions under Section 7(c), Article III of RA 8552. Issue: Whether or not petitioner Monina Lim, who has remarried, can singly adopt. Held: Joint Adoption by Husband and Wife It is undisputed that, at the time the petitions for adoption were filed, petitioner had already remarried. She filed the petitions by herself, without being joined by her husband Angel Olario. We have no other recourse but to affirm the trial court’s decision denying the petitions for adoption. Dura lex sed lex. The law is explicit. Section 7, Article III of RA 8552 reads: SEC. 7. Who May Adopt. - The following may adopt: (a) Any Filipino citizen of legal age, in possession of full civil capacity and legal rights, of good moral character, has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude, emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children, at least sixteen (16) years older than the adoptee, and who is in a position to support and care for his/her children in keeping with the means of the family. The requirement of sixteen (16) year difference between the age of the adopter and adoptee may be waived when the adopter is the biological parent of the adoptee, or is the spouse of the adoptee’s parent; (b) Any alien possessing the same qualifications as above stated for Filipino nationals: Provided, That his/her country has diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines, that he/she has been living in the Philippines for at least three (3) continuous years prior to the filing of the application for adoption and maintains such residence until the adoption decree is entered, that he/she has been certified by his/her diplomatic or consular office or any appropriate government agency that
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he/she has the legal capacity to adopt in his/her country, and that his/her government allows the adoptee to enter his/her country as his/her adopted son/daughter: Provided, further, That the requirements on residency and certification of the alien’s qualification to adopt in his/her country may be waived for the following: (i) a former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity; or (ii) one who seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of his/her Filipino spouse; or (iii) one who is married to a Filipino citizen and seeks to adopt jointly with his/her spouse a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity of the Filipino spouses; or (c) The guardian with respect to the ward after the termination of the guardianship and clearance of his/her financial accountabilities. Husband and wife shall jointly adopt, except in the following cases: (i) if one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of the other; or (ii) if one spouse seeks to adopt his/her own illegitimate son/daughter: Provided, however, That the other spouse has signified his/her consent thereto; or (iii) if the spouses are legally separated from each other. In case husband and wife jointly adopt, or one spouse adopts the illegitimate son/daughter of the other, joint parental authority shall be exercised by the spouses. The use of the word "shall" in the above-quoted provision means that joint adoption by the husband and the wife is mandatory. This is in consonance with the concept of joint parental authority over the child which is the ideal situation. As the child to be adopted is elevated to the level of a legitimate child, it is but natural to require the spouses to adopt jointly. The rule also insures harmony between the spouses. Petitioner, having remarried at the time the petitions for adoption were filed, must jointly adopt. Since the petitions for adoption were filed only by petitioner herself, without joining her husband, Angel Olario, the trial court was correct in denying the petitions for adoption on this ground. Neither does petitioner fall under any of the three exceptions enumerated in Section 7. Effects of Adoption Petitioner contention that joint parental authority is not anymore necessary since the children have been emancipated having reached the age of majority is untenable. It is true that when the child reaches the age of emancipation — that is, when he attains the age of majority or 18 years of age — emancipation terminates parental authority over the person and property of the child, who shall then be qualified and responsible for all acts of civil life. However, parental authority is merely just one of the effects of legal adoption. Article V of RA 8552 enumerates the effects of adoption, thus:
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Joint adoption of the husband and wife may not be dispensed. Adoption has, thus, the following effects: (1) sever all legal ties between the biological parent(s) and the adoptee, except when the biological parent is the spouse of the adopter; (2) deem the adoptee as a legitimate child of the adopter; and (3) give adopter and adoptee reciprocal rights and obligations arising from the relationship of parent and child, including but not limited to: (i) the right of the adopter to choose the name the child is to be known; and (ii) the right of the adopter and adoptee to be legal and compulsory heirs of each other. Therefore, even if emancipation terminates parental authority, the adoptee is still considered a legitimate child of the adopter with all the rights of a legitimate child such as: (1) to bear the surname of the father and the mother; (2) to receive support from their parents; and (3) to be entitled to the legitime and other successional rights. Conversely, the adoptive parents shall, with respect to the adopted child, enjoy all the benefits to which biological parents are entitled such as support and successional rights. Petitioner, in her Memorandum, insists that subsequent events would show that joint adoption could no longer be possible because Angel Olario has filed a case for dissolution of his marriage to petitioner in the Los Angeles Superior Court. We disagree. The filing of a case for dissolution of the marriage between petitioner and Angel Olario is of no moment. Until and unless there is a judicial decree for the dissolution of the marriage between petitioner and Angel Olario, the marriage still subsists. That being the case, joint adoption by the husband and the wife is required. We reiterate our ruling above that since, at the time the petitions for adoption were filed, petitioner was married to Olario, joint adoption is mandatory.
Adoption under Article 33, New Civil Code and SC Cir. No.12: Decree of Adoption cannot be made solely by case
study reports made by a social welfare officer of the court DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT vs. JUDGE ANTONIO M. BELEN A.M. No. RTJ-96-1362, July 18, 1997 FACTS: Spouses Desiderio Soriano and Aurora Bernardo-Soriano, both of whom are naturalized American citizens, filed a verified petition for adoption of their niece, the minor Zhedell Bernardo Ibea. Respondent Judge Belen granted the petition after finding that petitioner spouses were highly qualified to adopt the child as their own, basing his decree primarily on the "findings and recommendation of the DSWD that the adopting parents on the one hand and the adoptee on the other hand have already developed love and emotional attachment and parenting rules have been demonstrated to the minor." On these considerations, respondent judge decided and proceeded to dispense with trial custody. He asserted that the DSWD findings
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and recommendations are contained in the "Adoptive Home Study Report" and "Child Study Report" prepared by the local office of the DSWD through respondent Elma P. Vedaña. However, when the minor Zhedell Bernardo Ibea sought to obtain the requisite travel clearance from the DSWD in order to join her adoptive parents in the United States, the DSWD found that it did not have any record in its files regarding the adoption and that there was never any order from respondent judge for the DSWD to conduct a "Home and Child Study Report" in the case. Furthermore, there was no directive from respondent judge for the social welfare officer of the lower court to coordinate with the DSWD on the matter of the required reports for said minor's adoption. ISSUE: May a decree of adoption be granted on the basis of case study reports made by a social welfare officer of the court? RULING: No. Article 33 of the Child and Youth Welfare Code provides in no uncertain terms that: No petition for adoption shall be granted unless the Department of Social Welfare, or the Social Work and Counseling Division, in case of Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts, has made a case study of the child to be adopted, his natural parents as well as the prospective adopting parents, and has submitted its report and recommendations on the matter to the court hearing such petition. The Department of Social Welfare shall intervene on behalf of the child if it finds, after such case study, that the petition should be denied. Circular No. 12, as a complementary measure, was issued by this Court precisely to obviate the mishandling of adoption cases by judges, particularly in respect to the aforementioned case study to be conducted in accordance with Article 33 of Presidential Decree No. 603 by the DSWD itself and involving the child to be adopted, its natural parents, and the adopting parents. It definitively directs Regional Trial Courts hearing adoption cases: (1) to NOTIFY the Ministry of Social Services and Development, thru its local agency, of the filing of adoption cases or the pendency thereof with respect to those cases already filed; (2) to strictly COMPLY with the requirement in Article 33 of the aforesaid decree . . . xxx xxx xxx The Staff Assistant V. (Social Worker) of the Regional Trial Courts, if any, shall coordinate with the Ministry of Social Services and Development representatives in the preparation and submittal of such case study. . . . The error on the part of both respondent judge and social worker is thus all too evident. Pursuant to Circular No. 12, the proper course that respondent judge should have taken was to notify the DSWD at the outset about the commencement of Special Proceeding No. 5830 so that the corresponding case study could have been accordingly conducted by said department which undoubtedly has the necessary competence, more than that possessed by the court social welfare officer, to make the proper recommendation. Moreover, respondent judge should
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never have merely presumed that it was routinary for the social welfare officer to coordinate with the DSWD regarding the adoption proceedings. It was his duty to exercise caution and to see to it that such coordination was observed in the adoption proceedings, together with all the other requirements of the law. By respondent's failure to do so, he may well have wittingly or unwittingly placed in jeopardy the welfare and future of the child whose adoption was under consideration. Adoption, after all, is in a large measure a legal device by which a better future may be accorded an unfortunate child like Zhedell Bernardo Ibea in this case. Treading on equally sensitive legal terrain, the social welfare officer concerned, respondent Elma P. Vedaña, arrogated unto herself a matter that pertained exclusively to the DSWD, her task being to coordinate with the DSWD in the preparation and submission of the relevant case study reports, and not to make the same and recommend by herself the facts on which the court was to act. ACCORDINGLY, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely by this Court, respondent Judge Antonio M. Belen of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 38, of Lingayen, Pangasinan is hereby CENSURED for violating Article 33 of Presidential Decree No. 603 and Circular No. 12 of this Court; and respondent Elma P. Vedaña, Social Welfare Officer II of the Office of the Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court of Lingayen, Pangasinan, is REPRIMANDED for violating Circular No. 12.
Simulation of Birth: Penalty of a public officer who registers a child to the Civil Registry not of the child’s biological parents. Sec. 21, Article VII of Domestic Adoption Act: Rules on Civil Service Applied
Anonymous vs. Emma Curamen A.M. No. P-08-2549, June 18, 2010 Facts: This is an administrative case against Emma Baldonado Curamen, Court Interpreter I in the Municipal Trial Court of Rizal in Nueva Ecija, for dishonesty and falsification of a public document. On 6 March 2007, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) received an anonymous complaint charging respondent with falsification of a public document and simulation of birth. The complaint alleged that respondent registered the birth of a child supposedly named Rica Mae Baldonado Curamen in the local civil registry of Rizal, Nueva Ecija. Complainant submitted the child’s purported birth certificate to show respondent misrepresented that she was the child’s biological mother and her husband, Ricardo Curamen, was the biological father. Complainant claimed respondent was, in fact, the child’s maternal grandmother. Complainant submitted the child’s original birth certificate to show that the child’s real name was Rinea Mae Curamen Aquino and that her parents were spouses Olga Mae Baldonado Curamen Aquino and Jun Aquino. According to complainant, respondent included the child as additional dependent in her income tax declaration.
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In his Report, Executive Judge Rodrigo S. Caspillo of the Regional Trial Court (Branch 24) of Cabanatuan City verified that Rinea Mae Curamen Aquino and Rica Mae Baldonado Curamen were the same child. Judge Caspillo confirmed that the child was, in fact, respondent’s granddaughter. The child’s real mother, Olga, was one of respondent’s children. Judge Caspillo verified that on 31 March 2006, respondent executed an affidavit for delayed registration of the alleged birth of her child. Respondent claimed that her supposed child, Rica Mae Baldonado Curamen, was born on 30 November 2005. Respondent’s application was given due course and the supposed birth of Rica Mae Baldonado Curamen was registered in the Civil Registry of Rizal, Nueva Ecija under Registry No. 2006-507. This second birth certificate of the child indicated that the child’s parents were respondent and her husband. Issue: Whether Curamen is liable for simulation of birth by falsification. Held: With respect to the alleged falsification of the child’s birth certificate, we find respondent guilty of dishonesty and falsification of a public document. A birth certificate, being a public document, serves as prima facie evidence of filiation. The making of a false statement therein constitutes dishonesty and falsification of a public document. Respondent cannot escape liability by claiming that she did not have any intention to conceal the identity of the child nor cause the loss of any trace as to the child’s true filiation to the child’s prejudice. When public documents are falsified, the intent to injure a third person need not be present because the principal thing punished is the violation of the public faith and the destruction of the truth the document proclaims. However, the extreme penalty of dismissal is not automatically imposed, especially where mitigating circumstances exist. Although under the schedule of penalties adopted by the Civil Service, dishonesty and falsification of a public document are classified as grave offenses punishable by dismissal, the fact that this is respondent’s first offense may be considered a mitigating circumstance in her favor. The law requires that the mitigating circumstance must first be pleaded by the proper party. But in the interest of substantial justice, we may appreciate the mitigating circumstance in the imposition of penalty, even if not raised by respondent. We thus impose on respondent the penalty next lower in degree, which is suspension for six months and one day without pay with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.
E. WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS: Grant of Writ of Habeas Corpus ancillary to a Criminal Case: Dismissal of the latter rendered moot and academic of the former
DAVID E. SO v. HON. ESTEBAN A. TACLA, JR. G.R. No. 190108, 19 October 2010
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NACHURA, J.: FACTS: Petitioner David E. So (So) filed the petition for the writs of habeas corpus and amparo on behalf of his daughter, Ma. Elena So Guisande (Guisande), accused of Qualified Theft in the criminal case pending before Judge Tacla. Petitioner So alleged, among others, that Guisande was under a life-threatening situation while confined at the NCMH, the government hospital ordered by the RTC Mandaluyong City to ascertain the actual psychological state of Guisande, who was being charged with a non-bailable offense. The case arose from the following facts. Prior to the institution of the criminal proceedings, Guisande was committed by So for psychiatric treatment and care at the Makati Medical Center (MMC). Thus, the return of the warrant for the arrest of Guisande, issued by Judge Tacla which states that the former was confined at MMC for Bipolar Mood Disorder and that she was "not ready for discharge". Judge Tacla ordered Guisande’s referral to the NCMH for an independent forensic assessment of Guisande’s mental health to determine if she would be able to stand arraignment and undergo trial for Qualified Theft. Subsequently, Judge Tacla, upon motion of the NCMH, ordered that accused Guisande be physically brought to the NCMH to have temporary legal custody of the accused, and thereafter, Judge Tacla would issue the corresponding order of confinement of Guisande in a regular jail facility upon the NCMHs determination that she was ready for trial. Eventually, claiming "life-threatening" circumstances surrounding her confinement at the NCMH which supposedly worsened her mental condition and violated her constitutional rights against solitary detention and assistance of counsel, accused Guisande and her father filed a Motion for Relief from Solitary Confinement and the present petition for the issuance of the writs of habeas corpus and amparo. The court granted the Motion for Relief. On the petition for habeas corpus and amparo, the court resolved to issue a joint writ of habeas corpus and amparo and refer the petition to the Court of Appeals for decision. Meanwhile, NCMH submitted its Evaluation Report according to which, Guisande is competent to stand the rigors of court trial. Hence, the petition for review on certiorari. During the pendency of these consolidated cases, various events occurred which ultimately led to the incident before this Court. Public respondent Judge ordered the dismissal of Criminal Case for Qualified Theft against Guisande. In view of such dismissal, Judge Tacla contends that the cases for issuance of the writs of habeas corpus and amparo and the petition for review on certiorari should be dismissed for having been rendered moot and academic. ISSUE: WHETHER THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS SHOULD BE DISMISSED FOR HAVING BEEN RENDERED MOOT AND ACADEMIC HELD: The petition should be dismissed. The petition for the writs of habeas corpus and amparo was based on the criminal case for Qualified Theft against petitioner Sos daughter, Guisande. There is no affirmation of petitioner So’s claim that the confinement of accused Guisande at the NCMH was illegal. Neither were the respective acts performed by respondents Judge Tacla and Dr. Vicente in ascertaining the mental condition of accused Guisande to withstand trial declared unlawful. On the contrary, the NCMH, a well-reputed government forensic facility, albeit not held in high regard by petitioner Sos and accused Guisandes family, had assessed Guisande fit for trial. The Rules on the Writs of Habeas Corpus and Amparo are clear; the act or omission or the threatened act or omission complained of - confinement and custody for habeas corpus and violations of, or threat to violate, a persons life, liberty, and security for amparo cases - should be illegal or unlawful. The most basic criterion for the issuance of the writ, therefore, is that the individual seeking such relief is illegally deprived of his freedom of movement or place under some form of illegal restraint. If an individual’s liberty is restrained via
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some legal process, the writ of habeas corpus is unavailing. Fundamentally, in order to justify the grant of the writ of habeas corpus, the restraint of liberty must be in the nature of an illegal and involuntary deprivation of freedom of action. While habeas corpus is a writ of right, it will not issue as a matter of course or as a mere perfunctory operation on the filing of the petition. Judicial discretion is called for in its issuance and it must be clear to the judge to whom the petition is presented that, prima facie, the petitioner is entitled to the writ. It is only if the court is satisfied that a person is being unlawfully restrained of his liberty will the petition for habeas corpus be granted. If the respondents are not detaining or restraining the applicant of the person in whose behalf the petition is filed, the petition should be dismissed. In the cases at bar, the question before the CA was correctly limited to which hospital, the NCMH or a medical facility of accused’s own choosing, accused Guisande should be referred for treatment of a supposed mental condition. In addition, it was procedurally proper for the RTC to ask the NCMH for a separate opinion on accused’s mental fitness to be arraigned and stand trial. Certainly, with the dismissal of the non-bailable case against accused Guisande, she is no longer under peril to be confined in a jail facility, much less at the NCMH. Effectively, accused Guisande’s person, and treatment of any medical and mental malady she may or may not have, can no longer be subjected to the lawful processes of the RTC Mandaluyong City. In short, the cases have now been rendered moot and academic which, in the often cited David v. MacapagalArroyo, is defined as "one that ceases to present a justiciable controversy by virtue of supervening events, so that a declaration thereon would be of no practical use or value."
Writ of Habeas Corpus: Not proper pending Special Civil Action for Certiorari before the Court of Appeals 7th Division.
In the matter of the Petition for Habeas Corpus of CEZARI GONZALES and JULIUS MESA: ROBERTO RAFAEL PULIDO vs. Gen. EFREN ABU, as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and all persons acting in his stead and under his authority, and GEN. ERNESTO DE LEON, in his capacity as the Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy, and all persons acting in his stead and under his authority, respondents. G.R. No. 170924, July 4, 2007 Facts: In line with their participation in the “Oakwood Mutiny” that led to Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s issuance of Proclamation No. 427 declaring the country to be under a "state of rebellion” and General Order No. 4 directing the AFP and the PNP to carry out all reasonable measures, giving due regard to constitutional rights, to suppress and quell the "rebellion.", petitioners were taken into custody by their Service Commander. Gonzales and Mesa were not charged before a court martial with violation of the Articles of War. They were, however, among the soldiers charged before Branch 61 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, with the crime of Coup D’etat as defined under Article 134-A of the Revised Penal Code. They were consequently detained in Fort Bonifacio under the custody of the Philippine Marines. A petition for bail was filed by the accused soldiers which the RTC subsequently granted. Despite of the order and the service thereof, petitioners were not released. As a response, the People of the Philippines moved for partial reconsideration of the order granting bail. With the denial of the Motion for Partial Reconsideration, the People filed with the Court of Appeals on 4 February 2005 a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with urgent
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prayer for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction. Moreover, since Gonzales and Mesa continued to be in detention, a Petition for Habeas Corpus was filed by petitioner Pulido on their behalf. In response, Respondents prayed that the Petition for Habeas Corpus be dismissed primarily on two grounds: (1) the continued detention of Gonzales and Mesa is justified because of the pendency of the Petition for Certiorari questioning the order dated 8 July 2004 of the RTC granting bail to Gonzales and Mesa before the 7th Division of the Court of Appeals and (2) petitioner is guilty of forum shopping because of his failure to state in the petition that the order granting bail has been elevated to the Court of Appeals and pending before its 7th Division. Thus, we have this case. Issue: Whether or not the petition for habeas corpus was proper despite of the pending special civil action for certiorari before the Court of Appeals 7th Division. Held: No. That the present petition has direct and intimate links with the certiorari case is beyond doubt as they involve two sides of the same coin. The certiorari case filed by the People seeks to prevent the release of Gonzales and Mesa by annulling the lower court’s grant of bail. The present petition, on the other hand, was filed in behalf of Gonzales and Mesa to secure their immediate release because the order granting bail is already executory. In effect, the petitioner seeks to implement through a petition for habeas corpus the provisional release from detention that the lower court has ordered. The question this immediately raises is: can this be done through a petition for habeas corpus when the validity of the grant of bail and the release under bail are live questions before another Division of this Court? We believe and so hold that his cannot and should not be done as this is precisely the reason why the rule against forum shopping has been put in place. The remedies sought being two sides of the same coin (i.e., the release of Gonzales and Mesa), they cannot be secured through separately-filed cases where issues of jurisdiction may arise and whose rulings may conflict with one another. To be sure, we clearly heard the petitioner say that there can be no conflict because the effectiveness of our ruling in this petition will depend on the nature and tenor of the ruling in the certiorari case; there is no basis for a release on habeas corpus if this same Court will rule in the certiorari case that the grant of bail is improper. For this very same reason, we should not entertain the present petition as the matter before us is already before another co-equal body whose ruling will be finally determinative of the issue of Gonzales’ and Mesa’s release. The Decision of the Seventh Division of this Court, heretofore footnoted, ordering the release on bail of Gonzales and Mesa drives home this point. XXX XXX XXX
When the release of the persons in whose behalf the application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus was filed is effected, the Petition for the issuance of the writ becomes moot and academic. With the release of both Mesa and Gonzales, the Petition for Habeas Corpus has, indeed, been rendered moot. Courts of justice constituted to pass upon substantial rights will not consider questions where no actual interests are involved. Thus, the well-settled rule that courts will not determine a moot question. Where the issues have become moot and academic, there ceases to be any justiciable controversy, thus rendering the resolution of the same of no practical value. This Court will therefore abstain from expressing its opinion in a case where no legal relief is needed or called for.
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Writ of Habeas Corpus: Section 4 of Rule 102 A detention previously invalid becomes valid upon the application, issuance of the writ of Habeas Corpus denied.
NURHIDA JUHURI AMPATUAN vs. JUDGE VIRGILIO V. MACARAIG G.R. No. 182497, 29 June 2010 PEREZ, J.: FACTS: Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Head of the COMELEC Legal Department, was killed at the corner of M. H. Del Pilar and Pedro Gil Streets, Ermita, Manila. Investigation conducted by the Manila Police District Homicide Section yielded the identity of the male perpetrator as PO1 Ampatuan. Consequently, PO1 Ampatuan was commanded to the MPD District Director for proper disposition. Likewise, inquest proceedings were conducted by the Manila Prosecutor’s Office. On 18 April 2008, Police Senior Superintendent Guinto, rendered his PreCharge Evaluation Report against PO1 Ampatuan, finding probable cause to charge PO1 Ampatuan with Grave Misconduct (Murder) and recommending that said PO1 Ampatuan be subjected to summary hearing. Meanwhile, on 21 April 2008, the City Prosecutor of Manila recommended that the case against PO1 Ampatuan be set for further investigation and that the latter be released from custody unless he is being held for other charges/legal grounds Armed with the 21 April 2008 recommendation of the Manila City’s Prosecution Office, petitioner, who is the wife of PO1 Ampatuan, filed a Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of Habeas Corpus before the RTC of Manila on 22 April 2008. On 24 April 2008, RTC ordered the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus commanding therein respondents to produce the body of PO1 Ampatuan and directing said respondents to show cause why they are withholding or restraining the liberty of PO1 Ampatuan. Seeking the reversal of RTC, the respondents averred that the filing of the administrative case against PO1 Ampatuan is a process done by the PNP and this Court has no authority to order the release of the subject police officer. The petitioner countered that the letter resignation of PO1 Ampatuan has rendered the administrative case moot and academic. Respondent however stressed that the resignation has not been acted by the appropriate police officials of the PNP, and that the administrative case was filed while PO1 Ampatuan is still in the active status of the PNP. The RTC reversed and dismissed the petition. ISSUE: THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT FAILED TO CONSIDER THAT THE ARREST AND DETENTION OF PO1 BASSER B. AMPATUAN WAS MADE WITHOUT ANY WARRANT AND THEREFORE, ILLEGAL. HELD: The objective of the writ is to determine whether the confinement or detention is valid or lawful. If it is, the writ cannot be issued. What is to be inquired into is the legality of a person's detention as of, at the earliest, the filing of the application for the writ of habeas corpus, for even if the detention is at its inception illegal, it may, by reason of some supervening events, such as the instances mentioned in Section 4 of Rule 102, be no longer illegal at the time of the filing of the application In this case, PO1 Ampatuan has been placed under Restrictive Custody. Republic Act No. 6975 (also known as the Department of Interior and Local Government Act of 1990), as amended by Republic Act No. 8551 (also known as the Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998), clearly provides that members of the police force are subject to the administrative disciplinary machinery of the PNP. Given that PO1 Ampatuan has been placed under restrictive custody, such constitutes a valid argument for his continued detention. This Court has held that a restrictive custody and monitoring of movements or whereabouts of police officers
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under investigation by their superiors is not a form of illegal detention or restraint of liberty. Restrictive custody is, at best, nominal restraint which is beyond the ambit of habeas corpus. It is neither actual nor effective restraint that would call for the grant of the remedy prayed for. It is a permissible precautionary measure to assure the PNP authorities that the police officers concerned are always accounted for. In sum, petitioner is unable to discharge the burden of showing that she is entitled to the issuance of the writ prayed for in behalf of her husband, PO1 Ampatuan. The petition fails to show on its face that the latter is unlawfully deprived of his liberty guaranteed and enshrined in the Constitution.
F. WRIT OF AMPARO AND HABEAS DATA
In the Matter of the Petition for the Writ of Amparo and the Writ of Habeas Data in Favor of Melissa C. Roxas Melissa C. Roxas vs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, et al. G. R. No. 189155, September 7, 2010, En Banc Perez, J. FACTS: Roxas is an American citizen of Filipino descent. While in the United States, she is enrolled in an exposure program to the Philippines with the group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan- United States of America (BAYAN-USA) of which she is a member. During the course of her immersion, Roxas toured various provinces and towns in Central Luzon and, in April of 2009, she volunteered to join members of BAYAN-Tarlac in conducting an initial health survey in La Paz, Tarlac for a future medical mission. After doing survey work on 19 May 2009, Roxas and her companions, Carabeo amd Jandoc, decided to rest in the house of Mr. Paolo in Sitio Bagong Sikat, Barangay Kapanikian, La Paz, Tarlac. At around 1:30 in the afternoon, however, Roxas, her companions and Mr. Paolo were startled by the loud sounds of someone banging at the front door and a voice demanding that they open-up. Suddenly 15 heavily armed men forcibly opened the door, banged inside, tied and blindfolded Roxas and her companions, Carabeo and Jandoc, then dragged them inside a van parked outside the house. The armed men were all in civilian clothes and were wearing bonnets to conceal their faces. After about an hour of travelling, the van stopped. Roxas, Carabeo and Jandoc were ordered to alight. After she was informed that she was detained for being a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), Roxas was separated from her companions and was escorted to a room which she believed is a jail cell from the sound of the metal doors. From there she could hear the sounds of gunfire, the noise of planes taking off and landing and some construction bustle. Roxas inferred that she was taken to the military camp of Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija. On May 25, 2009, Roxas was finally released and returned to her uncle’s house in Quezon City. Before being release, the abductors gave her a cellphone with a sim card, a slip of paper cantaining an email address with password, a plastic bag containing biscuits and books, the handcuffs used on her, a blouse and a pair of shoes. She was also sternly warned not to report the incident to the group
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Karapatan or else something bad will happen to her and her family. Sometime after her release, Roxas continued to receive calls from one of her abductors via the cellular phone given to her. Out of apprehension that she was being monitored and also fearing for the safety of her family, Roxas threw away the cellphone. Roxas fied a petition for writ of amparo and writ of habeas data. The Court of Appeals granted her petition for writ of amparo and writ of habeas data. However, the appellate court absolved the respondents from the petition. Her prayer for the return of her personal belongings and for the inspection order and production order were denied. Roxas invokes he doctrine of command responsibility to implicate the high-ranking civilian and military authorities. ISSUES: a. Whether or not the principle of command responsibility shall apply in writ of amparo? b. Whether or not the respondents are liable in her abduction and torture? c. Whether or not her prayer for the return of her personal belongings be granted? d. Whether or not her prayer for inspection order be granted? e. Whether or not the grant of writ of habeas data is proper? RULING: a. It must be stated at the outset that the use by the petitioner of the doctrine of command responsibility as the justification in impleading the public respondents in her amparo petition, is legally inaccurate, if not incorrect. The doctrine of command responsibility is a rule of substantive law that establishes liability and, by this account, cannot be a proper legal basis to implead a party-respondent in an amparo petition. According to Fr. Bernas, "command responsibility," in its simplest terms, means the "responsibility of commanders for crimes committed by subordinate members of the armed forces or other persons subject to their control in international wars or domestic conflict." In this sense, command responsibility is properly a form of criminal complicity. Since the application of command responsibility presupposes an imputation of individual liability, it is more aptly invoked in a full-blown criminal or administrative case rather than in a summary amparo proceeding. The obvious reason lies in the nature of the writ itself: The writ of amparo is a protective remedy aimed at providing judicial relief consisting of the appropriate remedial measures and directives that may be crafted by the court, in order to address specific violations or threats of violation of the constitutional rights to life, liberty or security. While the principal objective of its proceedings is the initial determination of whether an enforced disappearance, extralegal killing or threats thereof had transpired—the writ does not, by so doing, fix liability for such disappearance, killing or threats, whether that may be criminal, civil or administrative under the applicable substantive law. It must be clarified, however, that the inapplicability of the doctrine of command responsibility in an amparo proceeding does not, by any measure, preclude impleading military or police commanders on the ground that the complained acts in the petition were committed with their direct or indirect acquiescence. In which case, commanders may be impleaded—not actually on the basis of command responsibility—but rather on the ground of their responsibility, or at least accountability.
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b. The totality of the evidence presented by the petitioner does not inspire reasonable conclusion that her abductors were military or police personnel and that she was detained at Fort Magsaysay. First. In amparo proceedings, the weight that may be accorded to parallel circumstances as evidence of military involvement depends largely on the availability or non-availability of other pieces of evidence that has the potential of directly proving the identity and affiliation of the perpetrators. Direct evidence of identity, when obtainable, must be preferred over mere circumstantial evidence based on patterns and similarity, because the former indubitably offers greater certainty as to the true identity and affiliation of the perpetrators. An amparo court cannot simply leave to remote and hazy inference what it could otherwise clearly and directly ascertain. In the case at bench, petitioner was, in fact, able to include in her Offer of Exhibits, the cartographic sketches of several of her abductors whose faces she managed to see. To the mind of the Court, these cartographic sketches have the undeniable potential of giving the greatest certainty as to the true identity and affiliation of petitioner’s abductors. Unfortunately for the petitioner, this potential has not been realized in view of the fact that the faces described in such sketches remain unidentified, much less have been shown to be that of any military or police personnel. Bluntly stated, the abductors were not proven to be part of either the military or the police chain of command. Second. The claim of the petitioner that she was taken to Fort Magsaysay was not adequately established by her mere estimate of the time it took to reach the place where she was detained and by the sounds that she heard while thereat. Like the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court are not inclined to take the estimate and observations of the petitioner as accurate on its face—not only because they were made mostly while she was in blindfolds, but also in view of the fact that she was a mere sojourner in the Philippines, whose familiarity with Fort Magsaysay and the travel time required to reach it is in itself doubtful. With nothing else but obscure observations to support it, petitioner’s claim that she was taken to Fort Magsaysay remains a mere speculation. c. In an order directing the public respondents to return the personal belongings of the petitioner is already equivalent to a conclusive pronouncement of liability. The order itself is a substantial relief that can only be granted once the liability of the public respondents has been fixed in a full and exhaustive proceeding. As already discussed above, matters of liability are not determinable in a mere summary amparo proceeding. But perhaps the more fundamental reason in denying the prayer of the petitioner, lies with the fact that a person’s right to be restituted of his property is already subsumed under the general rubric of property rights—which are no longer protected by the writ of amparo. Section 1 of the Amparo Rule, which defines the scope and extent of the writ, clearly excludes the protection of property rights. d. The prayer of Roxas for the grant of the inspection order is equivalent to sanctioning a "fishing expedition," which was never intended by the Amparo Rule in providing for the interim relief of inspection order. An inspection order is an interim relief designed to give support or strengthen the claim of a petitioner in an amparo petition, in order to aid the court before making a decision. A basic requirement before an amparo court may grant an inspection order is that the place to be inspected is reasonably determinable from the allegations of the party seeking the order. While the Amparo Rule does not require that the place to be inspected be identified with clarity and precision, it is, nevertheless, a minimum for the issuance of an inspection
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order that the supporting allegations of a party be sufficient in itself, so as to make a prima facie case. This, as was shown above, petitioner failed to do. Since the very estimates and observations of the petitioner are not strong enough to make out a prima facie case that she was detained in Fort Magsaysay, an inspection of the military camp cannot be ordered. An inspection order cannot issue on the basis of allegations that are, in themselves, unreliable and doubtful. e. The writ of habeas data was conceptualized as a judicial remedy enforcing the right to privacy, most especially the right to informational privacy of individuals. The writ operates to protect a person’s right to control information regarding himself, particularly in the instances where such information is being collected through unlawful means in order to achieve unlawful ends. Needless to state, an indispensable requirement before the privilege of the writ may be extended is the showing, at least by substantial evidence, of an actual or threatened violation of the right to privacy in life, liberty or security of the victim. This, in the case at bench, the petitioner failed to do. The main problem behind the ruling of the Court of Appeals is that there is actually no evidence on record that shows that any of the public respondents had violated or threatened the right to privacy of the petitioner. The act ascribed by the Court of Appeals to the public respondents that would have violated or threatened the right to privacy of the petitioner, i.e., keeping records of investigations and other reports about the petitioner’s ties with the CPP-NPA, was not adequately proven—considering that the origin of such records were virtually unexplained and its existence, clearly, only inferred by the appellate court from the video and photograph released by Representatives Palparan and Alcover in their press conference. No evidence on record even shows that any of the public respondents had access to such video or photograph. In view of the above considerations, the directive by the Court of Appeals enjoining the public respondents from "distributing or causing the distribution to the public any records in whatever form, reports, documents or similar papers" relative to the petitioner’s "alleged ties with the CPP-NPA," appears to be devoid of any legal basis. The public respondents cannot be ordered to refrain from distributing something that, in the first place, it was not proven to have.
G. Rule 103: Change of Name: Jurisdiction
and Sufficiency of Evidence
ROSELIE ELOISA BRINGAS BOLANTE a.k.a. MARIA ELOISA BRINGAS BOLANTE G.R. No. 160597, July 20, 2006 FACTS: A petition for change of name was commenced by respondent Roselie Eloisa Bringas Bolante also known as Maria Eloisa Bringas Bolante on October 18, 2000. In her petition before the RTC, respondent alleged, among other things, the following: 1. That she is a Filipino, of legal age, married, born to spouses Floriano B. Bolante and Paula B. Bringas and a resident since birth of Bangued, Abra;
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2. That per records in the Office of the Municipal Civil Registrar, Bangued, Abra, her registered name is Roselie Eloisa Bringas Bolante which name, as far as she can remember, she did not use but instead the name Maria Eloisa Bringas Bolante; 3. That the name Maria Eloisa appears in all her school as well as in her other public and private records; and 4. That her married name is Maria Eloisa B. Bolante-Marbella. Thus, to prevent confusion, Ms. Bolante prayed that her registered name be changed to conform to the name she has always carried and used. The trial court ordered respondent, as petitioner, to comply with the jurisdictional requirements of notice and publication, and set the hearing on February 20, 2001. At the scheduled February 20, 2001 initial hearing, the trial court issued an Order giving respondent five (5) days within which to file a written formal offer of evidence to establish jurisdictional facts and set the presentation of evidence proper on March 26, 2001. On June 5, 2001, the branch clerk of court, acting upon the trial court's express March 26, 2001 directive for a resetting, issued a notice for a July 18, 2001 hearing. Following another resetting, what actually would be the initial hearing was, after notice, scheduled on September 25, 2001 and actually held. At that session, respondent presented and marked in evidence several documents without any objection on the part of petitioner Republic, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), thru the duly deputized provincial prosecutor of Abra. Shortly after the trial court has declared its acquisition of jurisdiction over the case, respondent took the witness stand to state that the purpose of her petition was to have her registered name changed to that which she had actually been using thru the years. She also categorically stated she had not been accused of any crime under either her registered name or her present correct name. On cross she stated that the purpose of filing the petition is that, she wanted to secure a passport and wanted that the same be issued in her correct name and that she would not have filed the petition was it not for the passport. On clarificatory question by the Court she said that her reason in filing the petition is her realization that there will be a complication upon her retirement. On January 23, 2002, the trial court rendered judgment granting the basic petition. In time, the Republic, through the OSG, went to the Court of Appeals and the latter affirmed the decision of the trial court. ISSUES: I. WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT'S SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE WITH SEC. 3, RULE 103 OF THE RULES OF COURT IS SUFFICIENT TO VEST THE TRIAL COURT WITH JURISDICTION TO TAKE COGNIZANCE OF THE PETITION A QUO. II. WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT'S BARE TESTIMONY, UNSUPPORTED BY ANY OTHER EVIDENCE, IS SUFFICIENT TO PROVE THAT THE CHANGE OF HER NAME IS NOT RESORTED FOR ILLEGAL PURPOSES. RULING:
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I. YES. There is a substantial compliance with Sec. 3, Rule 103 of the rules of court with respect to the jurisdictional requirements of notice and publication in Petition for Change of Name. Sections 2 and 3, Rule 103 of the Rules of Court prescribe the procedural and jurisdictional requirements for a change of name. In Republic v. Hon. Judge of Branch III of the CFI of Cebu, citing pertinent jurisprudence, non-compliance with these requirements would be fatal to the jurisdiction of the lower court to hear and determine a petition for change of name. SEC. 2. Contents of petition. - A petition for change of name shall be signed and verified by the person desiring his name changed, or some other person on his behalf, and shall set forth: (a) That the petitioner has been a bona fide resident of the province where the petition is filed for at least three (3) years prior to the date of such filing; (b) The cause for which the change of the petitioner's name is sought; (c) The name asked for.
SEC. 3. Order for hearing. - If the petition filed is sufficient in form and substance, the court, by an order reciting the purpose of the petition, shall fix a date and place for the hearing thereof, and shall direct that a copy of the order be published before the hearing at least once a week for three (3) successive weeks in some newspaper of general circulation published in the province, …. The date set for the hearing shall not be within thirty (30) days prior to an election nor within four (4) months after the last publication of the notice. (Underscoring added.) As gleaned from the records, the basic petition for change of name was filed on October 18, 2000 and set for hearing on February 20, 2001. The notice of hearing was published in the November 23, and 30, 2000 and December 7, 2000 issues of the Norluzonian Courier. Counted from the last day, December 7, 2000, of publication of the Order, the initial hearing scheduled on February 20, 2001 is indeed within the four-month prohibited period prescribed under Section 3, Rule 103 of the Rules. The Court, as did the CA, must emphasize, however, that the trial court, evidently upon realizing the error committed respecting the 4-month limitation, lost no time in rectifying its mistake by rescheduling, with due notice to all concerned, the initial hearing for several times, finally settling for September 25, 2001. In the context of Section 3, Rule 103 of the Rules, publication is valid if the following requisites concur: (1) the petition and the copy of the order indicating the date and place for the hearing must be published; (2) the publication must be at least once a week for three successive weeks; and, (3) the publication must be in some newspaper of general circulation published in the province, as the court shall deem best. Another validating ingredient relates to the caveat against the petition being heard within 30 days prior to an election or within four (4) months after the last publication of the notice of the hearing. It cannot be over-emphasized that in a petition for change of name, any interested person may appear at the hearing and oppose the petition. Likewise, the Solicitor General or his deputy shall appear on behalf of the Government. The government, as an agency of the people, represents the public and, therefore, the Solicitor General, who appears on behalf of the government, effectively represents
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the public. In this case, the Solicitor General deputized the provincial prosecutor of Abra for the purpose of appearing in the trial on his behalf. As it were, the provincial prosecutor of Abra was fully apprised of the new dates of the initial hearing. Accordingly, there was no actual need for a republication of the initial notice of the hearing. Furthermore, during the September 25, 2001 initial hearing which, to reiterate is already outside the 4-month limitation prescribed by the Rules, the provincial prosecutor of Abra interposed no objection as to the genuineness, authenticity, relevancy or sufficiency of the exhibits presented to prove the jurisdictional requirements exacted by the Rules. In a very real sense, therefore, the petitioner Republic fully and knowingly acquiesced in the jurisdiction of the trial court. The peculiar circumstances obtaining in this case and the requirements of fair dealing demand that we accord validity to the proceedings a quo. II. YES. Respondent's bare testimony, unsupported by any other evidence, such as NBI clearance and Police clearance, is sufficient to grant the Petition for change of name. The State has an interest in the names borne by individuals for purposes of identification, and that changing one's name is a privilege and not a right. Accordingly, a person can be authorized to change his name appearing in either his certificate of birth or civil registry upon showing not only of reasonable cause, or any compelling reason which may justify such change, but also that he will be prejudiced by the use of his true and official name. Jurisprudence has recognized certain justifying grounds to warrant a change of name. Among these are: (a) when the name is ridiculous, dishonorable or extremely difficult to write or pronounce; (b) when the change will avoid confusion; (c) when one has been continuously used and been known since childhood by a Filipino name, and was unaware of alien parentage; (d) when the surname causes embarrassment and there is no showing that the desired change of name was for a fraudulent purpose or that the change of name will prejudice public interest. The matter of granting or denying petitions for change of name and the corollary issue of what is a proper and reasonable cause therefore rests on the sound discretion of the court. The evidence presented need only be satisfactory to the court; it need not be the best evidence available. With the view we take of the case, respondent's submission for a change of name is with proper and reasonable reason. As it were, she has, since she started schooling, used the given name and has been known as Maria Eloisa, albeit the name Roselie Eloisa is written on her birth record. Her scholastic records, as well as records in government offices, including that of her driver's license, professional license as a certified public accountant issued by the Professional Regulation Commission, and the "Quick Count" document of the COMELEC, all attest to her having used practically all her life the name Maria Eloisa Bringas Bolante. The imperatives of avoiding confusion dictate that the instant petition is granted. But beyond practicalities, simple justice dictates that every person shall be allowed to avail himself of any opportunity to improve his social standing, provided he does so without causing prejudice or injury to the interests of the State or of other people. The OSG's argument that respondent's bare testimony is insufficient to show that the requested name is not sought for any illegal purpose and/or in avoidance of any entanglement with the law deserves scant consideration. Surely, the issuance
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of a police and NBI clearance or like certification, while perhaps apropos,cannot, as the OSG suggests, be a convincing norm of one's good moral character or compelling evidence to prove that the change of name is not sought for any evil motive or fraudulent intent. Respondent's open court testimony, given under pain of perjury and for which she was cross-examined, that she had not been accused of any crime under her registered name or under her present name (name that she is using) had convinced the trial court of the bona fides of her request for change of name. The petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.
H.RULE 108 Authority of the trial courts to make judicial corrections of entries in the civil registry.
RE: FINAL REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED AT THE RTC BRANCH 67, PANIQUI, TARLAC, A.M.No.06-7-414-RTC October 19, 2007 Facts: A judicial audit and physical inventory of cases was conducted on 20-24 June 2005 at the RTC, Paniqui, Tarlac, Branch 67, then presided by Judge Cesar M. Sotero who compulsorily retired on 23 February 2006. The audit team noticed that there were no special proceedings case records presented. Upon inquiry, the Clerk of Court Paulino Saguyod asserted that most of these cases are for Petitions for Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry and gave the audit team copies of the decisions. The audit team observed that almost all of the petitions have no hearings conducted and that the date of filing indicated in the docket books and the date of the decision was so near that it will be improbable to comply with the publication requirement under the Rules of Court. In view of these observations, the Judge Sotero and Clerk of Court Saguyod were made to explain why these petitions for change of name and/ or correction of entries in the civil registry were granted without the required hearing. In their answer, they explained that these petitions may be covered by RA 9048 which authorized city or municipal registrar to correct clerical or typographical errors in the civil registry without need for a judicial order. They further averred that these petitions were filed before the trial court because there was no incumbent Local Civil Registrar and the OIC-Civil Registrar could not act on these petitions. Since RA 9048 allows correction of entries without hearing and publication, the trial court considered the same procedure. The trial court also adopted the procedure in civil cases where the defendant is declared in default and the court renders judgment based on the pleadings filed by the plaintiff. Issue: Whether trial court still have jurisdiction over petitions on change of name and correction of entries. Whether the summary procedure prescribed in RA No. 9048 should be adopted in cases filed before the courts, or should the proceeding under Rule 108 be followed.
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Held: During the deliberation, it was clear that the local civil registrar is given the authority to act on petitions for corrections of entries and change of first name or nicknames, yet there was no mention that such petition can no longer be filed with the regular courts. There was no intent on the part of the lawmakers to remove the authority of the trial courts to make judicial corrections of entries in the civil registry. It can thus be concluded that the local civil registry has primary, not exclusive jurisdiction over such petitions for correction of clerical errors and change of first name or nickname. Since RA 9048 refers specifically to the administrative summary proceedings before the local civil registrar it would be inappropriate to apply the same procedure to petitions for correction of entries in the civil registry before the courts. The promulgation of rules of procedure for court of justice is the exclusive domain of the Supreme Court. Moreover, as observed by the Office of the Court Administrator, there is nothing in RA 9048 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations that warrants the adoption of the procedure set therein for petitions before the court even for purposes of expediting the resolution of said petitions. Thus, there should be recourse to the procedure prescribed for the courts as if RA 9048 were not enacted at all. In other words, the procedure provided in the Revised Rules of Court for such petitions remains binding and should be followed by the courts. The procedural requirements laid down in Rules 103 and 108 still have to be complied with.
When civil status affects the changes in the entry in civil registry, adversarial proceedings applied – Jurisdictional and Notice are essential
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. JULIAN EDWARD EMERSON COSETENGMAGPAYO (A.K.A. JULIAN EDWARD EMERSON MARQUEZ-LIM COSETENG) G.R. No. 189476, February 2, 2011 FACTS: Born in Makati on September 9, 1972, Julian Edward Emerson Coseteng Magpayo (respondent) is the son of Fulvio M. Magpayo Jr. and Anna Dominique Marquez-Lim Coseteng who, as respondent’s certificate of live birth shows, contracted marriage on March 26, 1972. Claiming, however, that his parents were never legally married, respondent filed on July 22, 2008 at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City a Petition to change his name to Julian Edward Emerson Marquez Lim Coseteng. The petition, docketed as SPP No. Q-0863058, was entitled "IN RE PETITION FOR CHANGE OF NAMEOF JULIAN EDWARD EMERSON COSETENG MAGPAYO TO JULIAN EDWARD EMERSON MARQUEZ-LIM COSETENG." In support of his petition, respondent submitted a certification from the National Statistics Office stating that his mother Anna Dominique "does not appear in [its] National Indices of Marriage.” Respondent also submitted his academic records from elementary up to college showing that he carried the surname
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"Coseteng," and the birth certificate of his child where "Coseteng" appears as his surname. In the 1998, 2001 and 2004 Elections, respondent ran and was elected as Councilor of Quezon City’s 3rd District using the name "JULIAN M.L. COSETENG." On order of Branch 77 of the Quezon City RTC, respondent amended his petition by alleging therein compliance with the 3-year residency requirement under Section 2, Rule 103] of the Rules of Court. The notice setting the petition for hearing on November 20, 2008 was published in the newspaper Broadside in its issues of October 31-November 6, 2008, November 7-13, 2008, and November 14-20, 2008. And a copy of the notice was furnished the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). No opposition to the petition having been filed, an order of general default was entered by the trial court which then allowed respondent to present evidence ex parte By Decision of January 8, 2009, the trial court granted respondent’s petition and directed the Civil Registrar ofMakati City to: 1. Delete the entry "March 26, 1972" in Item 24 for "DATE AND PLACE OF MARRIAGE OF PARTIES" [in herein respondent’s Certificate of live Birth]; 2. Correct the entry "MAGPAYO" in the space for the Last Name of the [respondent] to "COSETENG"; 3. Delete the entry "COSETENG" in the space for Middle Name of the [respondent]; and 4. Delete the entry "Fulvio Miranda Magpayo, Jr." in the space for FATHER of the [respondent]… (emphasis and underscoring supplied; capitalization in the original) The Republic of the Philippines (Republic) filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied by the trial court by Order of July 2, 2009, hence, it, thru the OSG, lodged the present petition for review to the Court on pure question of law.
ISSUE: 1. Whether or not the petition for change of name involving change of civil status should be made through appropriate adversarial proceedings. 2. Whether or not the trial court exceeded its jurisdiction when it directed the deletion of the name of respondent’s father from his birth certificate. HELD: The petition is impressed with merit. (in favor of the Republic) 1. A person can effect a change of name under Rule 103 (CHANGE OF NAME) using valid and meritorious grounds including (a) when the name is ridiculous, dishonorable or extremely difficult to write or pronounce; (b) when the change results as a legal consequence such as legitimation; (c) when the change will avoid confusion; (d) when one has continuously used and been known since childhood by a Filipino name, and was unaware of alien parentage; (e) a sincere desire to adopt a Filipino name to erase signs of former alienage, all in good faith and without prejudicing anybody; and (f) when the surname causes embarrassment and there is
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no showing that the desired change of name was for a fraudulent purpose or that the change of name would prejudice public interest. *** Respondent’s reason for changing his name cannot be considered as one of, or analogous to, recognized grounds, however. The present petition must be differentiated from Alfon v. Republic of the Philippines. In Alfon, the Court allowed the therein petitioner, Estrella Alfon, to use the name that she had been known since childhood in order to avoid confusion. Alfon did not deny her legitimacy, however. She merely sought to use the surname of her mother which she had been using since childhood. Ruling in her favor, the Court held that she was lawfully entitled to use her mother’s surname, adding that the avoidance of confusion was justification enough to allow her to do so. In the present case, however, respondent denies his legitimacy. The change being sought in respondent’s petition goes so far as to affect his legal status in relation to his parents. It seeks to change his legitimacy to that of illegitimacy. Rule 103 then would not suffice to grant respondent’s supplication. Labayo-Rowe v. Republic categorically holds that "changes which may affect the civil status from legitimate to illegitimate . . . are substantial and controversial alterations which can only be allowed after appropriate adversary proceedings . . ." ******** Since respondent’s desired change affects his civil status from legitimate to illegitimate, Rule 108 applies. It reads: SECTION 1. Who may file petition.—Any person interested in any act, event, order or decree concerning the civil status of persons which has been recorded in the civil register, may file a verified petition for the cancellation or correction of any entry relating thereto, with the [RTC] of the province where the corresponding civil registry is located. SEC. 3. Parties.—When cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register is sought, the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding. SEC. 4. Notice and publication. –Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall, by an order, fix the time and place for the hearing of the same, and cause reasonable notice thereof to be given to the persons named in the petition. The court shall also cause the order to be published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the province. (emphasis, italics and underscoring supplied) 2. Rule 108 clearly directs that a petition which concerns one’s civil status should be filed in the civil registry in which the entry is sought to be cancelled or corrected – that of Makati in the present case, and "all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected thereby" should be made parties to the proceeding. As earlier stated, however, the petition of respondent was filed not in Makati where his birth certificate was registered but in Quezon City. And as the above-mentioned title of the petition filed by respondent
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before the RTC shows, neither the civil registrar of Makati nor his father and mother were made parties thereto. Rule 103 regarding change of name and in Rule 108 concerning the cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry are separate and distinct. Aside from improper venue, he failed to implead the civil registrar of Makati and all affected parties as respondents in the case."A petition for a substantial correction or change of entries in the civil registry should have as respondents the civil registrar, as well as all other persons who have or claim to have any interest that would be affected thereby." Rule 108 clearly mandates two sets of notices to different "potential oppositors." The first notice is that given to the "persons named in the petition" and the second (which is through publication) is that given to other persons who are not named in the petition but nonetheless may be considered interested or affected parties, such as creditors. That two sets of notices are mandated under the above-quoted Section 4 is validated by the subsequent Section 5, also above-quoted, which provides for two periods (for the two types of "potential oppositors") within which to file an opposition (15 days from notice or from the last date of publication). The purpose precisely of Section 4, Rule 108 is to bind the whole world to the subsequent judgment on the petition. The sweep of the decision would cover even parties who should have been impleaded under Section 3, Rule 108 but were inadvertently left out
Change of Status: Alien Spouse failed to comply on the Jurisdictional Requirement
GERBERT CORPUZ VS. DAISYLYN STO. TOMAS G.R. No. 186571, August 11, 2010 FACTS: Gerbert Corpuz was a former Filipino citizen who acquired Canadian citizenship through naturalization on Nov. 2000. On, Jan. 18 2005, he married a Filipina named Daisylyn Sto. Tomas. Due to work and other professional commitments, Gerbert left for Canada soon after their wedding. He returned to the Philippines sometime in April 2005 to surprise her wife but was shocked to discover that Daisylyn was having an affair with another man. Hurt and disappointed, Gerbert went back to Canada and filed a petition for divorce and was granted. Two years after, Gerbert fell in love with another Filipina. In his desire to marry his new Filipina fiancée, Gerbert went to Pasig City Civil Registry Office and registered the Canadian divorce decree on their marriage certificate. Despite its registration, an NSO official informed Gerbert that their marriage still exists under Philippine Law; and to be enforceable, the foreign divorce decree must be judicially recognized by a Philippine court. Gerbert filed a petition for judicial recognition of foreign divorce and/or declaration of marriage as dissolved, with the RTC. Daisylyn offered no opposition and requested for the same prayer.
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RTC denied Gerbert’s petition contending that Art. 26 (2) applies only to Filipinos and not to aliens. Gerbert appealed by certiorari to the Supreme Court under Rule 45. ISSUE: Whether the registration of the foreign divorce decree was properly made. HELD: Supreme Court held in the negative. Article 412 of the Civil Code declares that “no entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected, without judicial order.” The Rules of Court supplements Article 412 of the Civil Code by specifically providing for a special remedial proceeding by which entries in the civil registry may be judicially cancelled or corrected. Rule 108 of the Rules of Court sets in detail the jurisdictional and procedural requirements that must be complied with before a judgment, authorizing the cancellation or correction, may be annotated in the civil registry. I.
RULE 103, 108, RA 9048: Distinguished
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. MERLYN MERCADERA G.R. No. 186027, December 8, 2010 FACTS: On June 6, 2005, Merlyn Mercadera (Mercadera), represented by her sister and duly constituted Attorney-in-Fact, Evelyn M. Oga (Oga), sought the correction of her given name as it appeared in her Certificate of Live Birth from Marilyn L. Mercadera to Merlyn L. Mercadera before the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Dipolog City pursuant to Republic Act No. 9048. Under R.A. No. 9048, the city or municipal civil registrar or consul general is now authorized to effect the change of first name or nickname and the correction of clerical or typographical errors in civil registry entries. The Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Dipolog City, however, refused to effect the correction unless a court order was obtained "because the Civil Registrar therein is not yet equipped with a permanent appointment before he can validly act on petitions for corrections filed before their office as mandated by R.A. No. 9048." Mercadera then filed a Petition For Correction of Some Entries as Appearing in the Certificate of Live Birth under Rule 108 before the Regional Trial Court of Dipolog City (RTC). Upon receipt of the petition for correction of entry, the RTC issued an order, dated June 10, 2005, for the hearing of said petition. The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) deputized the Office of the City Prosecutor to assist in the case. Without any objection from the City Prosecutor, the testimony of Oga and several photocopies of documents were formally offered and marked as evidence to prove that Mercadera never used the name "Marilyn" in any of her public or private transactions. In its September 28, 2005 Decision, the RTC granted the petition and ruled that the documentary evidence presented by Mercadera sufficiently supported the circumstances alleged in her petition. Considering that she had used "Merlyn" as her given name since childhood until she discovered the discrepancy in her Certificate of Live Birth, the RTC was convinced that the correction was justified.
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The OSG timely appealed praying for the reversal and setting aside of the RTC decision. For the OSG, the correction in the spelling of Mercadera’s given name "is in truth a material correction as it would modify or increase substantive rights", which would have been proper had she filed a petition under Rule 103 and proved any of the grounds therefor. The CA was not persuaded. In its December 9, 2008 Decision, the appellate court affirmed the questioned RTC order. On March 6, 2009, the OSG filed the present petition. On behalf of Mercadera, the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) filed its Comment on July 3, 2009. ISSUES: WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN GRANTING THE CHANGE IN RESPONDENT’S NAME UNDER RULE 103. HELD: Rule 103 procedurally governs judicial petitions for change of given name or surname, or both, pursuant to Article 376 of the Civil Code. This rule provides the procedure for an independent special proceeding in court to establish the status of a person involving his relations with others, that is, his legal position in, or with regard to, the rest of the community. Essentially, a change of name does not define or effect a change of one’s existing family relations or in the rights and duties flowing therefrom. It does not alter one’s legal capacity or civil status. Rule 108, on the other hand, implements judicial proceedings for the correction or cancellation of entries in the civil registry pursuant to Article 412 of the Civil Code. Entries in the civil register refer to "acts, events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons," also as enumerated in Article 408 of the same law. In the case at bench, the OSG posits that the conversion from "MARILYN" to "MERLYN" is not a correction of an innocuous error but a material correction tantamount to a change of name which entails a modification or increase in substantive rights. For the OSG, this is a substantial error that requires compliance with the procedure under Rule 103, and not Rule 108. A change of one’s name under Rule 103 can be granted, only on grounds provided by law, there must be a proper and compelling reason for the change and proof that the person requesting will be prejudiced by the use of his official name. In petitions for correction, only clerical, spelling, typographical and other innocuous errors in the civil registry may be raised. Considering that the enumeration in Section 2, Rule 108 also includes "changes of name," the correction of a patently misspelled name is covered by Rule 108. Suffice it to say, not all alterations allowed in one’s name are confined under Rule 103. Corrections for clerical errors may be set right under Rule 108. Thus, the petition filed by Mercadera before the RTC correctly falls under Rule 108 as it simply sought a correction of a misspelled given name. To correct simply means "to make or set aright; to remove the faults or error from." To change means "to replace something with something else of the same kind or with something that serves as a substitute." From the allegations in her petition, Mercadera clearly prayed for the lower court "to remove the faults or error" from her registered given name "MARILYN," and "to make or set aright" the same to conform to the one she grew up to, "MERLYN." The CA did not allow Mercadera the change of her name.
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What it did allow was the correction of her misspelled given name which she had been using ever since she could remember. Mercadera complied with the requirement for an adversarial proceeding before the lower court. The publication and posting of the notice of hearing in a newspaper of general circulation and the notices sent to the OSG and the Local Civil Registry are sufficient indicia of an adverse proceeding. Considering that the OSG did not oppose the petition and the motion to present its evidence ex parte when it had the opportunity to do so, it cannot now complain that the proceedings in the lower court were procedurally defective. Wherefore, the December 9, 2008 Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.
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