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Civil Personality


General Provisions

Persons may be natural and juridical. Juridical persons include the State and its political
subdivisions, private corporations, cooperatives and partnership.
Birth determines personality.

ARTICLE 37. Juridical capacity, which is the fitness to be the subject of legal
relations, is inherent in every natural person and is lost only through death.
Capacity to act, which is the power to do acts with legal effect, is acquired and
may be lost. (n)

Juridical Capacity Capacity to Act

Concept Fitness to be the subject Power to do acts with
of legal relations legal effect
Whether Inherent or not Inherent in every natural Not inherent in a person
person but acquired
Effect of Death Lost only upon death May be lost upon and
even before death
through valid causes
Provisional Existence Exists provisionally in an Does not exist even
unborn child for provisionally in an
purposes of support and unborn child
ARTICLE 38. Minority, insanity or imbecility, the state of being a deaf-mute,
prodigality and civil interdiction are mere restrictions on capacity to act, and
do not exempt the incapacitated person from certain obligations, as when the
latter arise from his acts or from property relations, such as easements. (32a)

Restriction on capacity to act do not exempt from certain obligations:

1) Minority (Republic Act 6809 is the act lowering the majority age from 21 yrs. To 18
a. Civil Acts
i. Article 797 of NCC states that person of either sex under 18 years
cannot make a will.
ii. Article 1489 paragraph 2 of NCC provides that when necessaries are
sold and delivered to a minor or other persons without capacity to
act, he must pay a reasonable price therefor. Necessaries are those
referred to in Article 290.
iii. Article 14 of the Family Code provides that consent to their marriage
by their father, mother, surviving parent or guardian, or persons
having legal charge, is necessary.
b. Delicts
i. Article 101, par. 3, RPC provides that the property of the minor,
insane or imbecile shall answer for civil liability for crimes committed
by them, if they have no guardian or the latter is insolvent.
c. Quai-Delicts
i. Article 2182 of the NCC provides that if the minor or insane person
causing damage has no parent or guardian, the minor or insane shall
be answerable with his property.

2) Insanity or imbecility
a. Civil Acts
i. Article 1328 of the NCC provides that contracts entered into during a
lucid interval are valid.
ii. Article 1399 of the NCC provides that when the defect of the contract
consists in the incapacity of one of the parties, the incapacitated
person is not obliged to make any restitution except insofar as he has
been benefited by the thing or price received by him,
b. Delicts same as the minor
c. Quasi-Delicts same as the minor.

3) The state of being deaf-mute

a. Civil Acts
i. Article 1327 of the NCC provides that the following cannot give
consent to contracts: (a) minor; (b) insane or demented persons, and
deaf-mutes who do not know how to write.
ii. Article 820 of the NCC provides that Blind, deaf or dumb persons
cannot be a witness to a notarial will.

4) Prodigality regulated under Rule 92, Sec. 2 of the Rules of Court where the person
is assigned a guardian by the court.

5) Civil Interdiction as expressly provided under Article 34 of the Revised Penal Code
will result to a ground for dissolution of partnership (Article 1830(7)) and the
extinguishment of the contract of agency (Article 1919(3)). It is also a ground for
judicial separation of property under the Family Code (Article 135(1)), and he can be
placed under guardianship.

6) Judicially-Declared Insolvency

Section 70 of the Insolvency Law (Act 1056, as amended) renders void any fraudulent
transfers made by an insolvent or one in contemplation of insolvency within 30 days
before the filing of any insolvency proceedings made in favor of a creditor who has
reasonable grounds to believe that the debtor is insolvent.

It is also a ground for the dissolution of a partnership or extinguishment of the

contract of agency (Article 1810, 1919 of the New Civil Code).

7) Alienage

The alien is disqualified to engage in retail trade or engage in professions, with few
exceptions. He is also disqualified, under the 1987 Constitution to acquire lands of
the public domain or operate a public utility (Article XII, sections 2, 7, 8, 11), own or
manage mass media (Article XVI, section 11), or own, control or administer
educational institutions, with certain exceptions (Article XIV, section 4).

ARTICLE 39. The following circumstances, among others, modify or limit

capacity to act: age, insanity, imbecility, the state of being a deaf-mute,
penalty, prodigality, family relations, alienage, absence, insolvency and
trusteeship. The consequences of these circumstances are governed in this Code,
other codes, the Rules of Court, and in special laws. Capacity to act is not limited
on account of religious belief or political opinion.
A married woman, twenty-one years of age or over, is qualified for all acts of civil
life, except in cases specified by law. (n)

Circumstances that modify or limit capacity to act:

a) Age
b) Insanity
c) Imbecility
d) The state of being deaf-mute
e) Penalty
f) Prodigality
g) Family relations
h) Alienage
i) Absence
j) Insolvency
k) Trusteeship
But capacity to act is not limited by sex or on account of religious belief or political


CONCEPT Fitness to be subject of legal Power to do acts with legal

relations effect
WHETHER INHERENT OR NOT Inherent in every natural person Not inherent in a person but
EFFECT OF DEATH Lost only upon death May be lost upon and even
before death through valid
PROVISIONAL EXISTENCE Exists provisionally in an unborn Does not exist even
child for purposes of support provisionally in an unborn child
and donation


Natural Persons

ARTICLE 40. Birth determines personality; but the conceived child (presumptive
personality) shall be considered born for all purposes that are favorable to it,
provided it be born later with the conditions specified in the following article.

Characteristic of Presumptive Personality: (1) It is limited; and (2) provisional or conditional because the
child must be borne alive --- Quimiguing v. Icao, 34 SCRA 134.

Thus, an unborn child is not entitled to damages. The action for damages of a husband against an
abortionist may proper with respect to his own damage --- moral damages, etc. However, the unborn
child whose personality never existed may not be entitled to damages for breach of his right to life and

Article 742 on Donation provides that donation made to conceived and unborn children may be accepted
by those persons who would legally represent them if they were already born.

Article 1025 also provides that a child already conceived at the time of death of the decedent is capable
of succeeding provided it be born later under the condition prescribed in Article 41 of the NCC.

In the case of Geluz vs. Court of Appeals, L-16439, July 20, 1961, 2 SCRA 801 (1961), the Supreme Court
held that the minimum award for the death of a person pertains personally to the injured in favor of his
heirs, and does not cover the case of unborn foetus, as it is not endowed with personality and is incapable
of having rights and obligation (no damages for death of foetus).
ARTICLE 41. For civil purposes, the foetus is considered born if it is alive at the
time it is completely delivered from the mother's womb. However, if the foetus
had an intra-uterine life of less than seven months, it is not deemed born if it dies
within twenty-four hours after its complete delivery from the maternal womb.

Note that there are three type of foetus contemplated in this provision and they are:

1. Foetus with an intra-uterine life of seven months or more --- thus, when born alive regardless
of the number of minutes of hours, the foetus is considered alive for legal purposes.

2. Foetus with an intra-uterine life of less than seven months --- must be born alive and must be
able to live a life span of more than twenty four hours to be considered alive for legal

3. Foetus with an intra-uterine life of less than seven months --- born alive but died within 24
hours after its complete delivery from the maternal womb, the foetus is not deemed born
and has not acquire a personality.

ARTICLE 42. Civil personality is extinguished by death.

The effect of death upon the rights and obligations of the deceased is determined
by law, by contract and by will. (32a)

Extinguishment of personality will result to:

Contracts and will:

Article 777 of the NCC provides that the right to succession are transmitted from the
moment of the death of the decedent.
Article 776 also provides that the inheritance includes all the property, rights and
obligations of a person which are not extinguished by his death.
However, Article 1919 also provides among other that Agency is extinguished by the
death, civil interdiction, insanity or insolvency of the principal or of the agent, and Article 1830
also provides that death cause the dissolution of a partnership.
It is also provided that death of the usufructuary, unless a contrary intention clearly
appears shall cause the Usufruct to be extinguished --- Article 603 of the NCC. It is also provided
under Article 1311 that the heirs are not liable beyond the value of the property he has received
from the decedent.
Criminal Liability

Article 89 of the RPC also provides that criminal liability is extinguished by death, but the death
of the convict, as to personal penalties, and as to pecuniary penalties, liability therefore is
extinguished only when the death of the offender occurs before final judgment. However, under
Rule 111 it is also provided that the independent civil action instituted under section 3 of this rule
(Article 32, 33, 34 and 2176 of the Civil Code) or which thereafter arising from other sources of
obligation may be continued against the estate or legal representative of the accused after
proper substitution or against said estate, as the case may be.
Thus, in the case of Rufo Mauricio Const. vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, L-75357 the Supreme
Court held that the death of the accused before judgment of conviction became final and
executory extinguishes his criminal liability and pecuniary liability for fines, but not liability for
quasi-delict under Article 2180 of the NCC.

ARTICLE 43. If there is a doubt, as between two or more persons who are called
to succeed each other, as to which of them died first, whoever alleges the death
of one prior to the other, shall prove the same; in the absence of proof, it is
presumed that they died at the same time and there shall be no transmission of
rights from one to the other. (33)

How do you reconcile Article 43 with Rule 131, Sec. 3 (jj) of the Rules of Court?


Article 43 applies when the following elements are present:

(a) There is doubt as to who died first;

(b) The parties are heirs of each other --- they are called to succeed each other; and
(c) There is no proof as to who died first.

Rule 131, Sec 3 (jj) applies only when the persons involved are not heirs of each other.


Juridical Persons

ARTICLE 44. The following are juridical persons:

(1) The State and its political subdivisions;
(2) Other corporations, institutions and entities for public interest or purpose,
created by law; their personality begins as soon as they have been constituted
according to law;
(3) Corporations, partnerships and associations for private interest or purpose
to which the law grants a juridical personality, separate and distinct from that of
each shareholder, partner or member. (35a)

Though registered in the paramour's name, property acquired with the salaries and earnings of
a husband belongs to his conjugal partnership with the legal spouse. The filiation of the
paramour's children must be settled in a probate or special proceeding instituted for the purpose,
not in an action for recovery of property ---- Milagros Joaquino vs. Lourdes Reyes, G.R. No. 154645,
July 13, 2004

On the second issue, the petitioner claims that respondent SSHA failed to present any evidence
showing that it is a legally organized juridical entity, authorized by law to sue or be sued in its
own name. Thus, pursuant to Section 1, Rule 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, it has no legal
capacity to file this suit before the HLURB and the Court of Appeals.
SSHA counters that it has the capacity to sue as an association, since it is a member of the
Federation of Valenzuela Homeowners Association, Inc., which is registered with the Securities
and Exchange Commission. In the alternative, the individual members of SSHA who signed both
the resolution and the complaint in this case may, as natural persons, pursue the action.
There is merit in petitioner's contention. Under Section 1, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court,
only natural or juridical persons, or entities authorized by law may be parties in a civil action.
Article 44 of the Civil Code enumerates the various classes of juridical persons. Under said Article,
an association is considered a juridical person if the law grants it a personality separate and
distinct from that of its members. The records of the present case are bare of any showing by
SSHA that it is an association duly organized under Philippine law. It was thus an error for the
HLURB-NCR Office to give due course to the complaint in HLURB Case No. REM-070297-9821,
given the SSHA's lack of capacity to sue in its own name. Nor was it proper for said agency to
treat the complaint as a suit by all the parties who signed and verified the complaint. The
members cannot represent their association in any suit without valid and legal authority. Neither
can their signatures confer on the association any legal capacity to sue. Nor will the fact that
SSHA belongs to the Federation of Valenzuela Homeowners Association, Inc., suffice to endow
SSHA with the personality and capacity to sue. Mere allegations of membership in a federation
are insufficient and inconsequential. The federation itself has a separate juridical personality and
was not impleaded as a party in HLURB Case No. REM-070297-9821 nor in this case. Neither was
it shown that the federation was authorized to represent SSHA. Facts showing the capacity of a
party to sue or be sued or the authority of a party to sue or be sued in a representative capacity
or the legal existence of an organized association of persons that is made a party, must be
averred. Hence, for failing to show that it is a juridical entity, endowed by law with capacity to
bring suits in its own name, SSHA is devoid of any legal capacity, whatsoever, to institute any
action. ----- Gloria Santos Dueas vs. Santos Subdivision Homeowners Assn., G.R. No. 149417, June 4,

Genlite Industries is merely the DTI-registered trade name or style of the respondent by which he
conducted his business. As such, it does not exist as a separate entity apart from its owner, and therefore
it has no separate juridical personality to sue or be sued. As the sole proprietor of Genlite Industries, there
is no question that the respondent is the real party in interest who stood to be directly benefited or injured
by the judgment in the complaint below. There is then no necessity for Genlite Industries to be impleaded
as a party-plaintiff, since the complaint was already filed in the name of its proprietor, Engr. Luis U. Parada.
To heed the petitioner's sophistic reasoning is to permit a dubious technicality to frustrate the ends of
substantial justice. ---- S.C. Megaworld Construction Development Corp. v. Parada, G.R. No. 183804,
September 11, 2013

ARTICLE 45. Juridical persons mentioned in Nos. 1 and 2 of the preceding article
are governed by the laws creating or recognizing them.
Private corporations are regulated by laws of general application on the subject.
Partnerships and associations for private interest or purpose are governed by the
provisions of this Code concerning partnerships. (36 and 37a)

ARTICLE 46. Juridical persons may acquire and possess property of all kinds, as
well as incur obligations and bring civil or criminal actions, in conformity with the
laws and regulations of their organization. (38a)

ARTICLE 47. Upon the dissolution of corporations, institutions and other entities
for public interest or purpose mentioned in No. 2 of article 44, their property and
other assets shall be disposed of in pursuance of law or the charter creating them.
If nothing has been specified on this point, the property and other assets shall be
applied to similar purposes for the benefit of the region, province, city or
municipality which during the existence of the institution derived the principal
benefits from the same. (39a)


Citizenship and Domicile

ARTICLE 48. The following are citizens of the Philippines:

(1) Those who were citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of
the Constitution of the Philippines;
(2) Those born in the Philippines of foreign parents who, before the adoption
of said Constitution, had been elected to public office in the Philippines;
(3) Those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines;
(4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and, upon reaching the
age of majority, elect Philippine citizenship;
(5) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law. (n)

ARTICLE 49. Naturalization and the loss and reacquisition of citizenship of the
Philippines are governed by special laws. (n)

ARTICLE 50. For the exercise of civil rights and the fulfillment of civil obligations,
the domicile of natural persons is the place of their habitual residence. (40a)

Element of Domicile:

1) The person must be physically present in a fixed place;

2) Animus Manendi There must be intent to remain their permanently.

Kinds of Domicile:

1) Domicile of origin --- assigned by law to a person at birth

2) Domicile of choice --- the place chosen by a person who does not suffer any legal disability; and
3) Constructive domicile or Domicile by Operation of Law --- assigned by law to a child who is
suffering from legal disability at the time of his birth.

Domicile distinguished from Residence:

Residence involves factual relationship of an individual with a certain place. It is the physical
presence of a person in a given area, community or country. If the intent of the person is to remain in the
residence, then it becomes a domicile --- Marcos vs. Comelec, G.R. No. 119976, September 18, 1995, to

DOMICILE; CONSTRUED. Article 50 of the Civil Code decrees that "[f]or the exercise of
civil rights and the fulfillment of civil obligations, the domicile of natural persons is their
place of habitual residence." In Ong vs. Republic this court took the concept of domicile
to mean an individual's "permanent home," "a place to which, whenever absent for
business or for pleasure, one intends to return, and depends on facts and circumstances
in the sense that they disclose intent." Based on the foregoing, domicile includes the twin
elements of "the fact of residing or physical presence in a fixed place" and animus
manendi, or the intention of returning there permanently.|

RESIDENCE, CONSTRUED. Residence, in its ordinary conception, implies the factual

relationship of an individual to a certain place. It is the physical presence of a person in a
given area, community or country.

DIFFERENTIATED FROM RESIDENCE. The essential distinction between residence and

domicile in law is that residence involves the intent to leave when the purpose for which
the resident has taken up his abode ends. One may seek a place for purposes such as
pleasure, business, or health. If a person's intent be to remain, it becomes his domicile;
if his intent is to leave as soon as his purpose is established it is residence. It is thus, quite
perfectly normal for an individual to have different residences in various places.
However, a person can only have a single domicile, unless, for various reasons, he
successfully abandons his domicile in favor of another domicile of choice.
political purposes the concepts of residence and domicile are dictated by the peculiar
criteria of political laws. As these concepts have evolved in our election law, what has
clearly and unequivocally emerged is the fact that residence for election purposes is
used synonymously with domicile.
NOT RESULT IN LOSS OR CHANGE OF DOMICILE. So settled is the concept (of domicile)
in our election law that in these and other election law cases, this Court has stated that
the mere absence of an individual from his permanent residence without the intention
to abandon it does not result in a loss or change of domicile. The deliberations of the
1987 Constitution on the residence qualification for certain elective positions have placed
beyond doubt the principle that when the Constitution speaks of "residence" in election
law, it actually means only "domicile."


ARTICLE 51. When the law creating or recognizing them, or any other provision
does not fix the domicile of juridical persons, the same shall be understood to be
the place where their legal representation is established or where they exercise
their principal functions. (41a)