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ARTICLE 9
DUTY OF COURTS TO DECIDECHU JAN VS LUCIO
BERNAS GR NO L-10010 AUG 1, 1916
FACTS:
Plaintiff Chu Jan brought suit against the defendant
when on their cockfight match,defendant Lucio Bernas
was declared the winner. Each had put up a wager of
P160 beforethe cockfight. Justice of peace court
decided that bout was a draw. Defendant appealed
toCourt of First Instance praying judgment and
ordering defendant to abide and comply withrules and
regulations governing cockfights,to pay P160 and
return the other amount whichis in safekeeping of
Cockpit owner Tomas Almonte. Defendant denied
allegations and movedto dismiss cost against
plaintiff.Court of First Instance dismissed the appeal
without special findings. On plaintiff'smotion, an order
ordering provincial treasurer and if possible, Municipal
Treasurer of Tabacco to release Deposit of P160 and
return to plaintiff Chu Jan. Proceedings wasforwarded
to Supreme Court by means of the proper bill of
exceptions.
ISSUE:
Did Court of First Instance ere in dismissing the case
without findings since groundsfor dismissal
pronounced by lower court appealed from ere that
court has always dismissedcases of this nature, that he
is not familiar with the rules governing cockfights and

duties of referees; that he does not know where to find


the law and that he knows of no law thatgoverns the
right to plaintiff and defendants concerning cockfights.
Held:
Ignorance of the court or lack of knowledge regarding
law applicable to a case submitted to him for decision
are not reasons that can serve to excuse the court
forterminating the proceedings by dismissing them
without deciding on the issue. Such excuseis less
acceptable because foreseeing that a case may arise
to which no law would beapplicable, the Civil Code in
2nd paragraph of Art 6, provides that Customs of the
place shallbe observed and in absence thereof, the
general principles of law. Therefore, thejudgment and
order appealed from are reversed and to record of the
proceedings shallremanded to court from when they
came for due trial and judgment as provided by law.
Nospecial finding is made with regard to cost.

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Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-10010

August 1, 1916

CHU JAN, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
LUCIO BERNAS, defendant-appellant.
Sulpicio V. Cea for appellant.
ARAULLO, J.:
On the afternoon of June 26, 1913, a match was held in the cockpit of the
municipality of Tabaco, Albay, between two cocks belonging to the plaintiff
and to the defendant respectively. Each of said persons had put up a wager
of P160; and as the referee of the cockpit had declared the defendant's cock
the winner in the bout, the plaintiff brought suit against the defendant in the
justice of the peace court of the said pueblo, asking that his own rooster be
declared the winner. The justice of the peace court decided that the bout
was a draw. From this judgment the defendant appealed to the Court of First
Instance of the province. For the purposes of the appeal, the plaintiff filed his
complaint and prayed this court to render judgment ordering the defendant
to abide by and comply with the rules and regulations governing cockfights,
to pay the stipulated wager of P160; to return the other like amount (both
sums of wager being held for safe-keeping by the cockpit owner, Tomas
Almonte) and to assess the costs of both instances against the defendant.
The defendant denied each and all of the allegations of the complaint and
moved to dismiss with the costs against the plaintiff. On September 11,
1913, the said Court of First Instance rendered judgment dismissing the
appeal without special finding as to costs. The defendant excepted to this
judgment as well as to an order dictated by the same court on November 8th

of the same year, on the plaintiff's motion, ordering the provincial treasurer of
Albay and, if necessary, the municipal treasurer of Tabaco of the same
province, to release the deposit of P160 and return it to its owner, the plaintiff
Chinaman, Chu Jan. These proceedings have come before us on appeal by
means of the proper bill of exceptions.
The grounds for the dismissal pronounced by the lower court in the judgment
appealed from ere that the court has always dismissed cases of this nature,
that he is not familiar with the rules governing cockfights and the duties of
referees thereof; that he does not know where to find the law on the subject
and, finally, that he knows of no law whatever that governs the rights to the
plaintiff and the defendant in questions concerning cockfights.
The ignorance of the court or his lack of knowledge regarding the law
applicable to a case submitted to him for decision, the fact that the court
does not know the rules applicable to a certain matter that is the subject of
an appeal which must be decided by him and his not knowing where to find
the law relative to the case, are not reasons that can serve to excuse the
court for terminating the proceedings by dismissing them without deciding
the issues. Such an excuse is the less acceptable because, foreseeing that
a case might arise to which no law would be exactly applicable, the Civil
Code, in the second paragraph of article 6, provides that the customs of the
place shall be observed, and, in the absence thereof, the general principles
of law.
Therefore the judgment and the order appealed from, hereinbefore
mentioned, are reversed and to record of the proceedings shall remanded to
the court from whence they came for due trial and judgment as provided by
law. No special finding is made with regard to costs. So ordered.
Arellano, C. J., Torres, Johnson, and Trent, JJ., concur.
Moreland, J., took no part.