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Law can be defined depending on what concept it is used. Specifically, it has two (2)
concepts. Firstly, law can be understood in its general or abstract sense as the science of moral
rules, founded on the rational nature of man, which govern his free activity, for the realization of
the individual and social ends, of a nature both demandable and reciprocal ( Sanchez Roman). It
is predicated on understanding of men of what is right or wrong as they perceive. Secondly, it is
understood in a specific or material sense as a rule of conduct, just, obligatory, promulgated by
the competent authority for the common good of a people or nation, which constitutes an
obligatory rule of conduct for all its members (Sanchez Roman).

Based on the foregoing definition, law is characterized as follows:

1. It is a rule of human conduct;
2. It is promulgated by competent authority;
3. It is obligatory; and
4. It is generally observed

Example: The New Civil Code of the Philippines is a set of rules
which governs the private relations of individuals, including family and
property relations (rule of human conduct). It is enacted by the legislative
branch of the government or Congress (promulgated by competent authority).
It provides for the rights and obligations which private individuals are bound to
comply and follow (obligatory). It generally applies to all members of a
particular group (generally observed).

Law is a product of social life and is a creation of human nature. It was intended by man
to serve man. It regulates the relations of human beings so that harmony can be maintained in
the social group, by placing restrictions on individual liberty in order to make co-existence
possible. Law, therefore, rests upon the concepts of order, co-existence, and liberty.(Dr. Arturo
Tolentino, Commentaries and Jurisprudence on Civil Code of the Philippines)


Law is generally divided into divine law, which is prescribed by God, and human
law, which is promulgated by human beings.

Human law is further classified as follows: Constitutional Law, Civil Law,
Commercial Law, Labor Law, Criminal Law, Remedial Law and Taxation Law.

Constitutional Law - refers to the body of rules and principles in accordance with
which the powers of sovereignty is regularly exercised. It contains the
fundamental political principles and establishes the structure, procedure, powers
and duties of a government.

Example: Powers of the branches of the government, Powers of the President

Civil Law - Branch of Law that treats the personal and family relations of a
person, his property and successional rights, and the effects of obligation and
contracts. "Civil" is derived from the Latin "civiles", a citizen. Originally, the word
pertained to a member of "civitas" or a free political community (Black's Law

Example: Persons and Family, Obligations and Contracts, Property, Wills and

Commercial Law- Branch of private law which regulates the juridical relations
arising from activities which bring products or services to the consumer through
operations habitually and with intent of gain such as letters of credit,
transportation, negotiable instruments.

Example: Corporation Law, Negotiable Instruments Law, Transportation
Laws, Intellectual Property Laws

Labor Law - The law that defines State policies on labor and employment and
governs the rights and duties of the employer and employees with respect to the
terms and conditions of employment and labor disputes arising from collective
bargaining or other concerted activity respecting such terms and conditions.

Example: Labor Standards, Labor Relations, SSS Law

Criminal Law - Criminal law is that branch of law, which defines crimes, treats of
their nature, and provides for their punishment.

Example: Revised Penal Laws, Anti-hazing law, Anti-bouncing check law

Remedial Law - Remedial law prescribes the methods of enforcing those rights
and obligations created by substantive law by providing a procedural system for
obtaining redress for the invasion of rights and violations of duties and by
prescribing rules as to how suits are filed, tried and decided by the courts.

Example: Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules of Criminal Procedure, Special

Taxation Law deals with the process or means by which the sovereign, through
its law-making body, raises income to defray the necessary expenses of the
government. It is merely a way of apportioning the cost if the government among
those who in some measures are privileged to enjoy its benefits and, therefore,
must bear its burdens. (71 Am Jur. 2nd 342; 1 Cooley 72-73).


The New Civil Code of the Philippines is a collection of laws which regulates the
private relations of the members of the society, such as family and property, including
the rights and obligations of the parties.



An obligation is a juridical necessity to give, to do or not to do (Article 1156). The
law does not regard obligation as a mere necessity. It is a juridical necessity, which
means it is sanctioned by law, such that when you breach it, the aggrieved party has a
recourse in court to enforce it. Stated otherwise, it is impressed with a character of
Example. A girl finally said yes to a boy who has been courting him for years.
After sometime, the boy becomes demanding. He would require the girl to inform him
of her whereabouts; to inform him what she had for breakfast, lunch, dinner, bruch,
and midnight snack. If the girlfriend did not comply with the boys wishes, can the boy
sue her in court? Of course not, because her obligation is not one contemplated by law.
In fact it is not even an obligation.
Example: Another, your parents sent you to school. One day, they abandoned
you. They stopped sending you money for your tuition, and refused to support you.
Can you sue them in court? Yes, because that is an obligation sanction by law. In fact,
the Family Code of the Philippines obligates your parents to give you support,
including that one for your education (cite law here).
Example. A promised B to construct a house. However, come the agreed date to
turn over the house, B failed reneged on his promise. Can A sue in court? Yes, because
it is an obligation that is enforceable in court. Cite law here.
Hence, the conclusion is that an obligation refers only to that which is
enforceable in court when breached. It does not cover natural obligations (Arts. 1423-
1430) because these are obligations based merely on equity and natural law and not on
positive law. (Pineda, Obligations and Contracts, 2000 ed., p3).
Going back to our definition, obligation is defined as a juridical necessity to give
to do or not to do. While our law provides a definition of an obligation, the definition is
inaccurate, as it focuses only on the person performing his obligation. So what about the
recipient of the obligation. So, some of the great civilists, or experts in civil code define it
as follows.
It is a juridical relation whereby a person (creditor) may demand from another
(debtor) the observance of a determinative conduct (giving, doing, or not doing), and in
case of breach, may demand satisfaction from the assets of the latter. (Arias Ramos).

To further understand the definition of obligation, lets check its requisites.
Requisites means, elements


The following are elements of an obligation: (a) active subject, (b) passive subject,
(c) object or prestation and (d) juridical tie.

First, the active subject, also known as the creditor or obligee. He is the one who
is demanding the performance of the obligation. It is he who in his favor the obligation
is constituted, established or created. (Pineda, Obligations and Contracts, 2000, p.2).

For example, your uncle obliged himself that he will give you a car if you finished
college. Come March of 2015, you finally graduated. Question, in the scenario, who is
the active subject? Answer: you. You can demand your uncle to perform his obligation to
you to give you car. It is in your favor that the obligation is established.

Second, the passive subject, also known as the debtor or creditor. He is the one
who is bound to perform the prestation to give, to do, or not to do. (Pineda, Obligations
and Contracts, 2000 ed., p. 2)

In the foregoing example, who is the passive subject? Your uncle. Why? Because
it is your uncle who must perform his obligation, that is to give you a car, after you
finished college.

Third is the object or prestation. It is the subject matter of the obligation which
has an economic value or susceptible of pecuniary substitution in case of
noncompliance. (Pineda, Obligations and Contracts, p. 2, 2000) It is a conduct that
may consist of giving, doing, or not doing something. (Pineda, Obligations and
Contracts, p. 2, 2000)

In the foregoing example, what is the object or prestation? Is it the car? No.
Remember that when we speak of an object here, it does not refer to a thing. It refers to
a conduct, that is to give, to do, or not to do. Hence, What is the object here? That is, to
deliver the car. Your uncle is bound to perform his obligation to give you a car.

There are three kinds of prestation: to give to do or not to do.

To give - Consists in the delivery of a movable or immovable thing to the creditor
(Example: Sale, deposit, pledge, donation, antichresis)

To do - Covers all kinds of works or services whether physical or mental
(Example: Contract for professional services like painting)

Not to do - Consists in refraining from doing some acts. (Example: Easement
prohibiting building proprietor or possessor from committing nuisance,
restraining order or injunction)
Note that Article 1156 does not mention an obligation not to give. This is because
an obligation not to give is an obligation not to do.

Example: The depositary, in the contract of deposit, binds himself not to deliver
the thing deposited to any person without the written authority of the depositor.
Such obligation not to give (not to deliver the thing) is an obligation not todo.


Civil action gives a right of action to compel performance. It is based on the
sources of obligations such as law, contract, quasi-contract, delicts, and quasi-delicts.
On the other hand, natural law is not based on positive law but on equity and natural
law; does not grant a right of action to enforce their performance, but after voluntary
fulfillment by the obligor, they authorize retention of what has been delivered/ rendered
by reason thereof. They are real obligations to which the law denies an action, but which
the debtor may perform voluntarily. Stated otherwise, it cannot be enforced in court
because the obligee has no right of action to compel its performance.

For natural obligations to arise, the following conditions must be present: (1) The
obligation is not prohibited by law or contrary to morals and good customs and (2) there
must be a previous juridical relationship between two persons but due to certain
intervening circumstances, it lost its legal enforceability leaving its fulfillment entirely to
the free will or discretion of the supposed debtor. (Pineda, Obligations and Contracts,
2000 ed, p. 633)

For example: C and D entered into a contract of loan for P10,000. After 10 years
without demand. Under the law, oral contract prescribes in four years while written
contract prescribes in 10 years. In the present case, since C has not demanded from D
the payment of loan, it has prescribed. C cannot compel D to pay him. However, D
remains to have a natural obligation which he can voluntarily fulfill.

Example: C and D entered into a contract of loan without stipulation as to the
interest in writing. Since there is no stipulation in writing, D cannot demand C to pay
the interest. However, interest voluntarily paid for the use of money.

Note also that natural obligations may be converted into civil obligations by way
of novation such as when the parties so stipulates. Novation is mode of extinguishing of
contract, in which the existing obligation is terminated while giving rise to a new one.

Example: C and D entered into a contract of loan. After the contract has
prescribed having no demand made for more than 10 years, D nevertheless promised C
that he will pay to which C acknowledges. In this case, C and D has affirmed and ratified
the existence of obligation.


The following are the sources of obligation: law, contracts, quasi contracts, acts or
omissions punished by law, and delict (Article 1157).

LAW (Ex lege)

The law establishes an obligation by setting for the rules or condition must be complied
with. The obligation it created is perfected from the time designated by the law creating
or regulating them.

Example: The National Internal Revenue provides that taxpayers should pay their
annual income tax on or before April 15 of the following year. The obligation created
arising from NIRC is to pay tax.

Example: Support

Obligations derived from law are not presumed. Only those expressly determined in the
Code or in special laws are demandable and shall be regulated by the precepts of the law
which establishes them and as to what has not been foreseen by the provisions of Book
IV of NCC. (Art. 1158). Obligations derived from law are not presumed because they are
mere limitations to individual freedom by imposing responsibility to everyone. The
general rule is that all are free to do whatever he wants, and the law serves as limitation.
That is why it is not presumed.

For example: The parents-in-law brought the daughter-in-law to the hospital. The
parents-in-law are not bound to pay the hospital bills because they are not in the first
place bound by law to support the daughter-in-law. It should be the husband that
should pay because the husband is bound to support the wife under the law.

If there is conflict between the NCC and a special law, the latter prevails unless the
contrary has been expressly stipulated in the NCC. (Art. 18

Q: What are the characteristics of a legal obligation or an obligation ex lege?

1. Does not need the consent of the obligor;
2. Must be expressly set forth in the law creating it and not merely presumed; and
3. In order that the law may be a source of obligation, it should be the creator of the
obligation itself. (Art. 1158)

CONTRACT (Ex contractu)

It is perfected From the time of the perfection of the contract (i.e. meeting of the minds. However, by way of exception,
When the parties made stipulation on the right of the creditor to the fruits of the thing
When the obligation is subject to a suspensive condition or period; arises upon fulfillment of the condition or expiration of the

Autonomy of contracts
A: It is the freedom of the parties to contract and includes the freedom to stipulate provided the stipulations are not contrary
to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy. (Art. 1306)

A: The contracting parties may establish such as stipulations, clauses, terms and conditions as they may deem convenient,
provided they are not contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy. (Art. 1306)

Q: State the essential elements of contracts.

1. Consent;
2. Object or subject matter; and
3. Cause or consideration.

Q: Do obligations arising from contracts have the force of law between the parties?

A: Yes. Obligations arising from contracts have the force of law between the parties and should be complied with in good faith.
(Art. 1159)

Q: What are the requisites for a contract to give rise to obligations ex contractu?

1. It must contain all the essential requisites of a contract; (Art. 1318) and
2. It must not be contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order, and public policy. (Art. 1306)

Q: What is compliance in good faith?

A: It is performance in accordance with the stipulation, clauses, terms and conditions of the contract. (Pineda, Obligations and
Contracts, 2000 ed., p. 12)

Note: The contract is the law between the parties. (Art. 1159)

Q: May a party unilaterally evade his obligation in the contract?

A:GR:Neither party may unilaterally evade his obligation in the contract.

XPNs:Unilateral evasion is allowed when the:
1. contract authorizes such evasion
2. other party assents thereto

Q: What governs obligations arising from contracts?

A: GR:These obligations shall be governed primarily by the stipulations, clauses, terms and conditions of the parties

XPN:Contracts with prestations that are unconscionable or unreasonable. (Pineda, Obligations and Contracts, 2000 ed., p.

QUASI-CONTRACT (Ex quasi-contractu)

It is perfected From the time designated by the law creating or regulating them.

1. contract authorizes such evasion
2. other party assents thereto

Q: What governs obligations arising from contracts?

A: GR:These obligations shall be governed primarily by the stipulations, clauses, terms and conditions of the parties

XPN:Contracts with prestations that are unconscionable or unreasonable. (Pineda, Obligations and Contracts, 2000 ed., p. A
Q: What is a Quasi-Contract?

A: Quasi-contracts are lawful, voluntary, and unilateral acts which generally require a person to reimburse or compensate
another in accordance with the principle that no one shall be unjustly enriched at the expense of another. (Art. 2142, NCC)

Q: What are the bases for quasi-contracts?

1. No one must unjustly enrich himself at anothers expense
2. if one benefits, he must reimburse
3. justice and equity
4. presumed consent of the person obliged to compensate (p. 347 Pineda)


Q: What is Negotiorum Gestio?

A: This is a kind of quasi-contract where someone called the gestor takes the management of the business or property of
another person known as owner without the consent or authority of the latter.

Q: What are the essential requisites for negostiorum gestio?

1. Taking charge of anothers business or property
2. The property or business must have been abandoned or neglected
3. The officious manager (gestor) must nothave been expressly or implicitly authorized
4. The officious manager (gestor) must have voluntarily taken charge
5. The officious manager or gestor must not be acting erroneously on the belief that he is the owner of the property or

Q: What is the required diligence from a gestor?

A: Diligence of a good father of a family (Art. 2145, NCC). Hence, a gestor is liable for the acts or negligence of his employees
(MRR Co. v. Compania Transatlantica, 38 Phil. 875).

Note: If there are two or more officious managers, their liability for their acts is solidary.

Exception: When the management was assumed by the officious managers to save the property or business from imminent danger, in
which case, the liability is only joint.

Q: What is the effect of ratification of the owner of the business?

A: Ratification produces the effect of an express agency; and this is true even if the business is not successful (Art 2149, NCC).

Q: What are the liabilities of the owner even if there is no ratification?

1. Liability for the obligation incurred in his interest.
2. Liability for necessary and useful expenses and for damages.
3. Damages suffered by the gestor while performing his duties as such. (Art 2150, NCC)
Q: What is the rule if the owner is a minor?

A: Even if the owner is a minor, he is still liable under the article for he should not be unjustly enriched at anothers expense.
(Rotea v. Delupio, 67 Phil. 330)

Q: What are the causes for extinguishment of management?

1. Repudiation or termination of the management by the owner himself;
2. Withdrawal of gestor from the management; and
3. Death, civil interdiction, insanity or insolvency of either party.

Q: What is Solutio Indebiti?

A: Solutio indebiti is the quasi-contract that arises when a person is obliged to return whatever was received by him through
error or mistake or received by him although there was no right to demand it.

Q: What are the requisites for solution indebiti?

1. Receipt of something.
2. There was no right to demand it
3. Undue delivery was because of mistake.

Q: Can solutio indebiti be applied because of doubtful or difficult question of law?

A: Yes, there can be payment because of doubtful or difficult question of law may lead to solutio indebiti because of the
mistake committed. (Art. 2155, NCC)

Q: What is the liability of a payee in good faith?

1. In case of impairment or loss, liability is only to the extent of benefit.
2. In case of alienation, the price is to be reimbursed, or in case of credit, the same should be assigned.


DELICT (Ex-Delicto)

It is perfected From the time designated by the law creating or regulating them.
Q: What is delict?

A: It is an act or omission punished by law.

Q: What is the basis for civil liability arising from delicts as according to the penal code?

A: Art. 100 of the Revised Penal Code provides that: Every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable.

A crime has dual character: (1) as an offense against the state because of the disturbance of the social order; and (2) an offense
against the private person injured unless it involves the crime of treason, rebellion, espionage, contempt and others wherein no
civil liability arises on the part of the offender either because there are no damages to be compensated or there is no private
person injured by the crime. (Reyes, The Revised Penal Code, Criminal Law, Book One, 2008, ed., p. 875)

Q: What is the scope of civil liability?

1. Restitution;
2. Reparation for damage caused; and
3. Indemnity for consequential damages. (Art. 104, RPC)

Q: Is civil action implicitly instituted in criminal case?

A: GR: Yes. When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of the civil liability arising from the offense
charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action. (Rule 111, Sec. 1, Rules of Court)

XPNs: No. When the offended party:
1. Waives the civil action
2. Reserves the right to institute it separately
3. Institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action. (Rule 111, Sec. 1, Rules of Court)

Q: What is the effect of acquittal in criminal case?

A: GR: The acquittal of the accused in criminal case on ground of reasonable doubt does not preclude the filing of a subsequent
civil action and only preponderance of evidence is required to prove the case.

XPN: When the acquittal is based on the reason that:
1. The accused did not commit the crime charged; or
2. There is a declaration in the decision of acquittal that no negligence can be attributed to the accused and that the fact
from which the civil action might arise did not exist. (Art. 29)

QUASI-DELICT (Ex quasi-delicto)

It is perfected From the time designated by the law creating or regulating them.

Q: What is quasi-delict or tort?

A: It is an act or omission arising from fault or negligence which causes damage to another, there being no pre-existing
contractual relations between the parties. (Art. 2176)

Q: What are the elements of a quasi-delict?

1. Negligent or wrongful act or omission;
2. Damage or injury caused to another;
3. Causal relation between such negligence or fault and damage;
4. No pre-exisitng contractual relationship between the parties (Article 2176).

Contractual Negligence

Contracting party must prove:
1. The existence of the contract;
The breach thereof.

There is pre-existing contract

But this is not a source of obligation. It merely makes debtor liable for damages, in view of having fulfilled his preexisting
obligation with negligenve. Negligence here in the performance of obli
Civil Negligence,Quasi-Delict,
Tort,or Culpa Extra-Contractual

Victim must prove:
1. The damage suffered;
2. The negligence of the defendant;
The causal connection between the damage and the negligence.

No pre-existing contract

Example: Passenger in the jeepney owned by ABC corp driver is negligent, accident. P
can sue ABC for culpa contractual because there is a contract of carriage between them

Can P sue the driver? Yes, culpa aquiliana.


Duty of debtor is to give, to do or not to do.

To give. Two kinds

a. Determinate/specific particularly designated or physically segregated from all others of the same class.
b. Indeterminate/Generic is designated merely by its class or genus.

Deliver the thing agreed upon specific performance (Art. 1165)
Deliver the thing which is neither of superior nor inferior quality if
quality and circumstances have not be stated by the partiies (Art.
Take care of the thing with the proper diligence of a good father of
a family unless the law requires or parties stipulate another
standard of care (Art.1163)
Specific performance i.e. delivery of another thing within the same
genus as the thing promised if such thing is damaged due to lack
of care or a general breach is committed
Deliver all accessions, accessories and fruits of the thing even
though they may not have been mentioned (Art. 1166)
If the object is generic, but the source is specified or delimited, the
obligation is to preserve the source
Pay damages in case of breach of obligation by reason of delay,
fraud, negligence, contravention of the tenor thereof (Art. 1170,)
Pay damages in case of breach of obligation by reason of delay,
fraud, negligence, contravention of the tenor thereof (Art. 1170)
Fortuitous event extinguishes the obligation
Obligation is not extinguished (genus nunquamperuit genus
never perishes)

Q: When is the debtor obliged to deliver the thing and the fruits?

1. When obligation is based on law, quasi-delict, quasi-contract or crime, the specific provisions of the applicable law, shall
determine when the delivery shall be done or effected.
2. When the obligation is subject to a suspensive condition, the obligation to deliver arises from the happening of the
3. When the obligation is subject to a suspensive term or period, the obligation arises from the constitution, creation or
perfection of the obligation.
4. When there is no condition or term (period), the obligation to deliver arises from the constitution, creation or perfection
of the obligation. (Pineda, Obligations and Contracts, 2000 ed, p. 31)
Q: What is the nature of the right of the creditor with respect to the fruits?

1. Before delivery personal right
2. After delivery real right

Note: The creditor has a right to the fruits of the thing from the time the obligation to deliver it arises. However, he shall acquire no
real right over it until the same has been delivered to him (Art. 1164).

Q: Distinguish personal right from real right.

Jus ad rem Jus in re
Enforceable only against a definite person/group of persons Enforceable against the whole world
Right to demand from another, as a definite passive subject, the
fulfillment of the prestation to give, to do or not to do.
Right over a specific thing, without a definite passive subject
against whom the right may be personally enforced.
Has a definite passive subject
No definite passive subject
(Pineda, Obligations and Contracts, 2000 ed., p. 34-35)


Q: What are the types of personal obligations?

1. Positive- to do
2. Negative- not to do

Q: What are the remedies in personal obligations?

1. Positive personal obligations
a. not purely personal act- to have obligation executed at debtor's expenseplus damages
b. purely personal act- damages only.

Note: Same rule applies if obligation is done in contravention of the terms of the obligation. Furthermore, it may be decreed that
what has been poorly done be undone. (Art. 1167)

2. Negative personal obligation tohave the prohibited thing undone at the expense of the debtor plus damages.However, if
thing cannot be physically or legally undone, only damages may be demanded. (8 Manresa 58)

Q: Is specific performance a remedy in personal obligations?

A: No. Otherwise this may amount to involuntary servitude which is prohibited by the Constitution. (Pineda, Obligations and
Contracts, 2000 ed., p. 41)

Q: When may a thing be ordered undone?

1. If made poorly
2. Negative personal obligations provided that the undoing is possible