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DAUDEN-HERNAEZ vs DE LOS ANGELES G.R. No. L-27010 April 30, 1960 MARLENE DAUDEN-HERNAEZ, petitioner, vs. HON.

WALFRIDO DE LOS ANGELES, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Quezon City, HOLLYWOOD FAR EAST PRODUCTIONS, INC., and RAMON VALENZUELA, respondents. FACTS Marlene Dauden-Hernaez, a movie actress, filed a case against Hollywood Far East Productions its President and General Manager, Ramon Valenzuela, to recover P14,700 allegedly the balance due for her services as leading actress in two motion pictures. The complaint was dismissed by Judge De Los Angeles mainly because her claim was not supported by an written document, public or private in violation of Articles 1356 and 1358 of the Civil Code. Upon a motion for reconsideration, the respondent judged dismissed the same because the allegations were the same as the first motion. According to Judge De Los Angeles, the contract sued upon was not alleged to be in writing when Article 1358 requires it to be so because the amount involved exceeds P500. ISSUE: Whether or not a contract for personal services involving more than P500.00 was either invalid or unenforceable under the last paragraph of Article 1358? HELD No. The order dismissing the complaint is set aside and the case is remanded to the CFI. RATIO Consistent with the Spanish Civil Code in upholding spirit and intent of the parties over formalities, in general, contracts are valid and binding from their perfection regardless of whether they are oral or written. However, as provided in the 2nd sentence of Art. 1356:

ART. 1356. Contracts shall be obligatory in whatever form they may have been entered into, provided all the essential requisites for their validity are present. However, when the law requires that a contract be in some form in order that it may be valid or enforceable, or that a contract be proved in a certain way, that requirement is absolute and indispensable.... Thus, the two exceptions to the general rule that the form is irrelevant to the binding effect of a contract are: (a) Solemn Contracts - contracts which the law requires to be in some particular form (writing) in order to make them valid and enforceable. Examples: 1. Donation of immovable property (Art. 749) which must be in a public instrument to be valid. in order "that the donation may be valid", i.e., existing or binding. 2. Donation of movables worth more than P5,000 (Art. 748) which must be in writing otherwise they are void. (b) Contracts that the law requires to be proved by some writing (memorandum) of its terms, i.e. those covered by the old Statute of Frauds, now Article 1403(2) of the Civil Code. For the latter example, their existence are not provable by mere oral testimony (unless wholly or partly executed) and are required to be in writing to be enforceable by action in court. However, the contract sued upon (compensation for services) does not come under either exception. While the last clause of Article 1358 provides that "all other contracts where the amount involved exceeds five hundred pesos must appear in writing, even a private one." Said Article does not provide that the absence of a written form in this case will make the agreement invalid or unenforceable. On the contrary, Article 1357 clearly indicates that contracts covered by Article 1358 are binding and enforceable by action or suit despite the absence of writing.