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CO KIM CHAM vs. EUSEBIO VALDEZ TAN KEH and ARSENIO P.

DIZON
G.R. No. L-5 September 17, 1945

FACTS: Petition for mandamus in which petitioner (Co Kim Cham) plead that the respondent
judge of the lower court be ordered to continue the proceedings in civil case No. 3012 of said
court, which were initiated under the regime of the so-called Republic of the Philippines
established during the Japanese military occupation of these Islands.
The respondent judge refused to take cognizance of and continue the proceedings in said
case on the ground that the proclamation issued by General Douglas MacArthur had the effect
of invalidating and nullifying all judicial proceedings and judgments of the court of the
Philippines under the Philippine Executive Commission and the Republic of the Philippines
established during the Japanese military occupation, and that, furthermore, the lower courts
have no jurisdiction to take cognizance of and continue judicial proceedings pending in the
courts of the defunct Republic of the Philippines in the absence of an enabling law granting
such authority.
During the Japanese occupation, no substantial change was effected in the organization and
jurisdiction of the different courts that functioned during the Philippine Executive Commission,
and in the laws they administered and enforced.
ISSUES:
1. Whether or not under the rules of international law the judicial acts and proceedings of
the courts during a de facto government are good and valid.
2. Whether the proclamation issued by General Douglas MacArthur , in which he declared
that all laws, regulations and processes of any of the government in the Philippines
than that of the said Commonwealth are null and void and without legal effect in the
areas of the Philippines free of enemy occupation and control, has invalidated all
judgments and judicial acts and proceedings of the said courts; and
3. Whether or not the courts of the Commonwealth, which are the same as those existing
prior to, and continued during, the Japanese military occupation by the Philippine
Executive Commission and by the so-called Republic of the Philippines, have jurisdiction
to continue now the proceedings in actions pending in said courts at the time the
Philippine Islands were reoccupied or liberated by the American and Filipino forces, and
the Commonwealth Government was restored.

DECISION: It was adjudged and decreed that a writ of mandamus issue, directed to the
respondent judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila, ordering him to take cognizance and
continue to final judgment the proceedings in Civil Case No. 3012.

RATIO DECIDENDI:
1. YES. In political and international law, all acts and proceedings of the legislative,
executive and judicial departments of a de facto government are valid. Being a de facto
government, judicial acts done under its control, when they are not political in nature,
to the extent that they effect during the continuance and control of said government
remain good. All judgment and judicial proceedings which are not of political
complexion were good and valid before and remained as such even after the occupied
territory had come again into power of true and original sovereign.

2. NO. The proclamation has not invalidated all the judgments and proceedings of the
courts of justice during the Japanese regime, and this is impliedly confirmed by
Executive Order No. 37, which has the force of law, issued by the President of the
Philippines on March 10, 1945, by virtue of the emergency legislative power vested in
him by the Constitution and the laws of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. Said
Executive order abolished the Court of Appeals, and provided "that all case which have
heretofore been duly appealed to the Court of Appeals shall be transmitted to the
Supreme Court final decision." This provision impliedly recognizes that the judgments
and proceedings of the courts during the Japanese military occupation have not been
invalidated by the proclamation of General MacArthur of October 23, because the said
Order does not say or refer to cases which have been duly appealed to said court prior
to the Japanese occupation, but to cases which had therefore, that is, up to March 10,
1945, been duly appealed to the Court of Appeals; and it is to be presumed that almost
all, if not all, appealed cases pending in the Court of Appeals prior to the Japanese
military occupation of Manila on January 2, 1942, had been disposed of by the latter
before the restoration of the Commonwealth Government in 1945; while almost all, if
not all, appealed cases pending on March 10, 1945, in the Court of Appeals were from
judgments rendered by the Court of First Instance during the Japanese regime.

3. YES. If the proceedings pending in the different courts of the Islands prior to the
Japanese military occupation had been continued during the Japanese military
administration, the Philippine Executive Commission, and the so-called Republic of the
Philippines, it stands to reason that the same courts, which had become reestablished
and conceived of as having in continued existence upon the reoccupation and liberation
of the Philippines by virtue of the principle of postliminy, may continue the proceedings
in cases then pending in said courts, without necessity of enacting a law conferring
jurisdiction upon them to continue said proceedings. As Taylor graphically points out in
speaking of said principles a state or other governmental entity, upon the removal of a
foreign military force, resumes its old place with its right and duties substantially
unimpaired. Furthermore, it is a legal maxim, that excepting that of a political nature,
"Law once established continues until changed by the some competent legislative
power. It is not change merely by change of sovereignty."