You are on page 1of 41

CIVIL LAW REVIEW I

Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

EFFECTIVITY OF LAWS (Art. 2)

TAÑADA vs. TUVERA

FACTS:

Invoking the people's right to be informed on matters of public concern, a right recognized in Section 6,
Article IV of the 1973 Philippine Constitution, as well as the principle that laws to be valid and enforceable
must be published in the Official Gazette or otherwise effectively promulgated, petitioners seek a writ of
mandamus to compel respondent public officials to publish, and/or cause the publication in the
Official Gazette of various presidential decrees, letters of instructions, general orders,
proclamations, executive orders, letter of implementation and administrative orders of the Marcos
administration.

Respondents contend that publication in the Official Gazette is not a sine qua non requirement for
the effectivity of laws where the laws themselves provide for their own effectivity dates. It is thus
submitted that since the presidential issuances in question contain special provisions as to the date
they are to take effect publication in the Official Gazette is not indispensable for their effectivity.

ISSUE:

WON publication is a condition sine qua non for the effectivity of laws

RULING:

YES.

1. Article 2 does not preclude the requirement of publication in the Official Gazette, even if the
law itself provides for the date of its effectivity.

The clear object of the above-quoted provision is to give the general public adequate notice
of the various laws which are to regulate their actions and conduct as citizens. Without such
notice and publication, there would be no basis for the application of the maxim "ignorantia
legis non excusat."

It would be the height of injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen for the transgression of a
law of which he had no notice whatsoever, not even a constructive one.

2. It is needless to add that the publication of presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of
general applicability" is a requirement of due process. It is a rule of law that before a person
may be bound by law, he must first be officially and specifically informed of its contents.

The Court therefore declares that presidential issuances of general application, which have not been
published, shall have no force and effect.

3. This Court in Rutter vs. Esteban sustained the right of a party under the Moratorium Law,
albeit said right had accrued in his favor before said law was declared unconstitutional by
this Court.

Similarly, the implementation/enforcement of presidential decrees prior to their


publication in the Official Gazette is "an operative fact which may have consequences
which cannot be justly ignored. The past cannot always be erased by a new judicial
declaration ... that an all-inclusive statement of a principle of absolute retroactive invalidity
cannot be justified."
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

CONCLUSION:

SC ordered respondents to publish in the Official Gazette all unpublished presidential issuances which are
of general application, and unless so published, they shall have no binding force and effect.

The publication of all presidential issuances "of a public nature" or "of general applicability" is
mandated by law. Obviously, presidential decrees that provide for fines, forfeitures or penalties for their
violation or otherwise impose a burden on the people, such as tax and revenue measures, fall within this
category.

Other presidential issuances which apply only to particular persons or class of persons such as
administrative and executive orders need not be published on the assumption that they have been
circularized to all concerned.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

GARCILLANO vs. THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES (G.R. No. 170338, December 23, 2008)

FACTS:

More than three years ago, tapes ostensibly containing a wiretapped conversation purportedly between the
President of the Philippines and a high-ranking official of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC)
surfaced.

The tapes, notoriously referred to as the "Hello Garci" tapes, allegedly contained the President’s
instructions to COMELEC Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano to manipulate in her favor results of the 2004
presidential elections. These recordings were to become the subject of heated legislative hearings
conducted separately by committees of both Houses of Congress.

In the House of Representatives (House), on June 8, 2005, then Minority Floor Leader Francis G. Escudero
delivered a privilege speech, "Tale of Two Tapes," and set in motion a congressional investigation.

Petitioner Virgilio O. Garcillano (Garcillano) filed with this Court a Petition for Prohibition and
Injunction, with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction
docketed as G.R. No. 170338. He prayed that the respondent House Committees be restrained from
using these tape recordings of the "illegally obtained" wiretapped conversations in their committee
reports and for any other purpose.

After more than two years, Senator Panfilo Lacson roused the slumbering issue with a privilege
speech, "The Lighthouse That Brought Darkness."

On motion of Senator Francis Pangilinan, Senator Lacson’s speech was referred to the Senate
Committee on National Defense and Security, chaired by Senator Rodolfo Biazon.

Petitioners Santiago Ranada and Oswaldo Agcaoili, retired justices of the Court of Appeals, filed
before this Court a Petition for Prohibition with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining
Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction, docketed as G.R. No. 179275, seeking to bar the Senate
from conducting its scheduled legislative inquiry. They argued in the main that the intended legislative
inquiry violates R.A. No. 4200 and Section 3, Article III of the Constitution.

As the Court did not issue an injunctive writ, the Senate proceeded with its public hearings on the
"Hello Garci" tapes.

SC consolidated G.R. Nos. 170338 and 179275.

It may be noted that while both petitions involve the "Hello Garci" recordings, they have different
objectives–the first is poised at preventing the playing of the tapes in the House and their subsequent
inclusion in the committee reports, and the second seeks to prohibit and stop the conduct of the Senate
inquiry on the wiretapped conversation.

The Court dismisses the first petition, G.R. No. 170338, and grants the second, G.R. No. 179275.

The Court dismisses G.R. No. 170338 for being moot and academic. The recordings were already played
in the House and heard by its members. There is also the widely publicized fact that the committee reports
on the "Hello Garci" inquiry were completed and submitted to the House in plenary by the respondent
committees.

ISSUE:

WON SC should grant the Petition for Prohibition to restrain the Senate from conducting an inquiry
on the wiretapped conversation.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

RULING:

YES.

1. The Senate cannot be allowed to continue with the conduct of the questioned legislative inquiry
without duly published rules of procedure, in clear derogation of the constitutional requirement.

 Section 21, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution explicitly provides that "[t]he Senate or the
House of Representatives, or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid
of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure." The requisite of
publication of the rules is intended to satisfy the basic requirements of due process.

Publication is indeed imperative, for it will be the height of injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen
for the transgression of a law or rule of which he had no notice whatsoever, not even a constructive one.

 What constitutes publication is set forth in Article 2 of the Civil Code, which provides that
"[l]aws shall take effect after 15 days following the completion of their publication either in
the Official Gazette, or in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines."

2. The respondents in G.R. No. 179275 admit that the Senate Rules of Procedure Governing
Inquiries in Aid of Legislation had been published in newspapers of general circulation only
in 1995 and in 2006. HOWEVER, with respect to the present Senate of the 14th Congress, of
which the term of half of its members commenced on June 30, 2007, no effort was
undertaken for the publication of these rules when they first opened their session.

 Neri v. Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations:

The phrase "duly published rules of procedure" requires the Senate of every
Congress to publish its rules of procedure governing inquiries in aid of legislation
because every Senate is distinct from the one before it or after it. Since Senatorial
elections are held every three (3) years for one-half of the Senate’s membership, the
composition of the Senate also changes by the end of each term. Each Senate may
thus enact a different set of rules as it may deem fit. Not having published its Rules of
Procedure, the subject hearings in aid of legislation conducted by the 14 th Senate, are
therefore, procedurally infirm.

 Justice Antonio T. Carpio, in his Dissenting and Concurring Opinion:

The Senate under the 1987 Constitution is not a continuing body because less than
majority of the Senators continue into the next Congress. The consequence is that
the Rules of Procedure must be republished by the Senate after every expiry of the
term of twelve Senators.

3. The invocation by the respondents of the provisions of R.A. No. 8792, otherwise known as
the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000, to support their claim of valid publication through the
internet is all the more incorrect.

R.A. 8792 considers an electronic data message or an electronic document as the functional
equivalent of a written document only for evidentiary purposes. In other words, the law
merely recognizes the admissibility in evidence (for their being the original) of electronic
data messages and/or electronic documents. It does not make the internet a medium for
publishing laws, rules and regulations.

4. Very recently, the Senate caused the publication of the Senate Rules of Procedure Governing
Inquiries in Aid of Legislation in the October 31, 2008 issues of Manila Bulletin and Malaya.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

While we take judicial notice of this fact, the recent publication does not cure the infirmity of
the inquiry sought to be prohibited by the instant petitions. Insofar as the consolidated
cases are concerned, the legislative investigation subject thereof still could not be
undertaken by the respondent Senate Committees, because no published rules governed it,
in clear contravention of the Constitution.

CONCLUSION:

Given this discussion, the respondent Senate Committees, therefore, could not, in violation of the
Constitution, use its unpublished rules in the legislative inquiry subject of these consolidated
cases. The conduct of inquiries in aid of legislation by the Senate has to be deferred until it shall
have caused the publication of the rules, because it can do so only "in accordance with its duly
published rules of procedure."
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

SEC vs GMA NETWORK (G.R. No. 164026, December 23, 2008)

FACTS:

GMA NETWORK, INC., filed an application for collective approval of various amendments to
its Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws with the respondent Securities and Exchange
Commission.

Petitioner had been assessed a separate filing fee for the application for extension of
corporate term in the amount of P1,212,200.00.

Petitioner formally protested the assessment but SEC upheld the validity of the questioned
assessment.

In its petition for review with the Court of Appeals, GMA averred that SEC Memorandum Circular No.
2, Series of 1994, which the SEC used as basis for assessing P1,212,200.00 as filing fee for the
extension of GMAs corporate term, is not valid.

Court of Appeals ruled that Memorandum Circular No. 2, Series of 1994 is legally invalid and
ineffective for not having been published in accordance with law. The challenged memorandum
circular, according to the appellate court, is not merely an internal or interpretative rule, but affects the
public in general. Hence, its publication is required for its effectivity.

ISSUE:
WON the imposition on the basis of the aforementioned memorandum circular is valid
RULING:
YES.

1. SC agreed with the Court of Appeals that the questioned memorandum circular is invalid as it
does not appear from the records that it has been published in the Official Gazette or in a
newspaper of general circulation.

Executive Order No. 200, which repealed Art. 2 of the Civil Code, provides that laws shall take effect
after fifteen days following the completion of their publication either in the Official Gazette or in a
newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines, unless it is otherwise provided.

2. Tañada v. Tuvera:
WHAT SHOULD BE PUBLISHED

 All statutes, including those of local application and private laws, shall be published as
a condition for their effectivity, which shall begin fifteen days after publication unless a
different effectivity date is fixed by the legislature.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

 Covered by this rule are (1) presidential decrees and executive orders promulgated by
the President in the exercise of legislative powers whenever the same are validly
delegated by the legislature, or, at present, directly conferred by the Constitution. (2)
Administrative rules and regulations must also be published if their purpose is to
enforce or implement existing law pursuant also to a valid delegation.

WHAT MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED

 Interpretative regulations and those merely internal in nature, that is, regulating only
the personnel of the administrative agency and not the public, need not be published.
Neither is publication required of the so-called letters of instructions issued by
administrative superiors concerning the rules or guidelines to be followed by their
subordinates in the performance of their duties.

3. The questioned memorandum circular, it should be emphasized, cannot be construed as


simply interpretative of R.A. No. 3531 (an Act amending the Corporation Code of the
Philippines). This administrative issuance is an implementation of the mandate of R.A. No.
3531 and indubitably regulates and affects the public at large. It cannot, therefore, be
considered a mere internal rule or regulation, nor an interpretation of the law, but a rule which
must be declared ineffective as it was neither published nor filed with the Office of the National
Administrative Register.

A related factor which precludes consideration of the questioned issuance as interpretative in nature
merely is the fact the SECs assessment amounting to P1,212,200.00 is exceedingly
unreasonable and amounts to an imposition.

CONCLUSION:

Rate-fixing is a legislative function which concededly has been delegated to the SEC by R.A. No. 3531 and
other pertinent laws. The due process clause, however, permits the courts to determine whether the
regulation issued by the SEC is reasonable and within the bounds of its rate-fixing authority and to strike it
down when it arbitrarily infringes on a persons right to property.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

NON-RETROACTIVITY OF LAWS (Art. 4)

LIAM LAW vs. OLYMPIC SAWMILL CO

FACTS:

Plaintiff loaned P10,000.00, without interest, to defendant partnership and defendant Elino Lee Chi, as the
managing partner. The parties executed another loan document. Payment of the P10,000.00 was extended
but the obligation was increased by P6,000.00.

Defendants again failed to pay their obligation, thus plaintiff instituted this collection case. Defendants
admitted the P10,000.00 principal obligation, but claimed that the additional P6,000.00 constituted usurious
interest.

The Trial Court rendered decision ordering defendants to pay plaintiff "the amount of P10,000.00 plus the
further sum of P6,000.00 by way of liquidated damages . . . with legal rate of interest on both amounts from
April 30, 1960."

It is from this judgment that defendants have appealed.

The main thrust of defendants' appeal is the allegation in their Answer that the P6,000.00 constituted
usurious interest. They insist the claim of usury should have been deemed admitted by plaintiff as it was
"not denied specifically and under oath" (Section 1, Rule 9).

ISSUE: WON defendants should pay the additional P6,000.00

RULING:

YES.

For sometime now, usury has been legally non-existent. Interest can now be charged as lender and
borrower may agree upon. (Central Bank Circular No. 905, Series of 1982, 78 Off. Gaz. 7336).

The Rules of Court in regards to allegations of usury, procedural in nature, should be considered
repealed with retroactive effect.

 Statutes regulating the procedure of the courts will be construed as applicable to actions pending
and undetermined at the time of their passage. Procedural laws are retrospective in that sense and
to that extent.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

RULE ON PERIODS (Art. 13)

QUIQUI vs. BONCAROS (G.R. No. L-51841 June 30, 1987)

FACTS:

Petitioners filed a Complaint in the Court of First Instance of Negros Oriental for "reconveyance and/or
annulment of Title with damages" against the private respondents.

In its Order dated July 16, 1979, the trial court, with respondent Judge Alejandro R. Boncaros
presiding, dismissed the Complaint for reconveyance on the ground that it had no jurisdiction over
the case. Counsel for the petitioners received a copy of the said Order on July 17, 1979.

On August 17, 1979, the petitioners filed a Motion for the reconsideration of the Order of the trial
court dismissing the Complaint. The said Motion for Reconsideration is dated August 16, 1979.

The private respondents opposed the Motion for Reconsideration, stating that the same had been filed
beyond the 30 day reglementary period under the Rules. The private respondents maintain that inasmuch
as the petitioners received their copy of the Order of dismissal on July 17, 1979, they had up to
August 16, 1979 to file the Motion for reconsideration, computed on the basis of the 30-day
reglementary period. They contend that since the said Motion was filed beyond the 30-day period,
the Order of dismissal has become final and executory and could no longer be the subject of a
Motion for reconsideration.

The trial court denied the Notice of Appeal, including the Motion to approve the Appeal Bond. The pertinent
portion of the said Order are as follows —

The order of dismissal of this Court which was dated July 16, 1979 was received by the plaintiffs
(the herein petitioners) on July 17, 1979. Under Section 3, Rule 41 of the Revised Rules of Court,
the period to appeal is thirty (30) days, so with the motion for a reconsideration so that (sic) under
Art. 13 of the Civil Code that in the computation of the period exclude the first (day), include the last
(sic), August 16, 1979 therefore was the last day to file the motion for reconsideration but it was filed
on August 17 or one day late and this motion for reconsideration was denied by this Court on
August 21, 1979 (sic). The reason for the denial was the motion for reconsideration was filed (sic)
beyond the reglementary period, in which case, the notice of appeal ... (was) likewise filed beyond
the reglementary period ....

Finding the action taken by the trial court unsatisfactory, the petitioners brought their case directly to this
Court by way of the instant Petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of
Court.

ISSUE: WON the MR was filed beyond the reglementary period

RULING:

YES.

At the time this litigation was instituted in the trial court, Section 3, Rule 41 of the Rules of Court was the
provision governing the period within which an Appeal may be taken to the Court of Appeals. Under this
cited provision, the Appeal may be taken within 30 days from notice of the judgment or order of the trial
court. In the event that the party aggrieved by the judgment or order of the trial court files a Motion to set
aside the judgment or order, i. e a Motion for Reconsideration, the time during which such Motion is
pending resolution shall, as a rule, be deducted from the 30-day period.

 In relation thereto, the New Civil Code states that in computing a period, the first day shall be
excluded and the last day included.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

The petitioners admit that they received their copy of the Order of dismissal of their Complaint on
July 17, 1979. Under Section 3, Rule 41, they had 30 days within which to appeal their case or to file
a Motion for Reconsideration of the judgment or order of the trial court.

In computing the 30-day period, July 17, 1979 (the first day) is excluded, pursuant to Article 13 of
the New Civil Code. Counting 30 days thereafter, beginning on July 18, 1979, the petitioners had up
to August 16, 1979 to file their Motion for Reconsideration. Their Motion for Reconsideration,
although dated August 16, 1979, was filed with the trial court on August 17, 1979 or one day beyond
the 30-day reglementary period prescribed by Section 3 of Rule 41.

CONCLUSION:

Under these circumstances, the order of the trial court dismissing the Complaint has become final
and executory. As such, it is beyond the reach of a Motion for consideration.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

PROVISION ON CONFLICT OF LAW (Art. 14-17)

LLORENTE vs. CA
FACTS:
Lorenzo and petitioner Paula Llorente got married in Nabua, Camarines Sur.
Lorenzo went to the United States and was admitted to United States citizenship.
When Lorenzo visited his wife in the Philippines, he discovered that his wife Paula was pregnant
and was living in and having an adulterous relationship with his brother.
Lorenzo returned to the United States and filed for divorce which was granted by Superior Court of the
State of California. The divorce decree became final.
Lorenzo returned to the Philippines.
Lorenzo married Alicia F. Llorente in Manila. Their twenty-five (25) year union produced three
children, Raul, Luz and Beverly, all surnamed Llorente.
Lorenzo executed a Last Will and Testament bequeathing all his property to Alicia and their three
children.
Lorenzo filed a petition for the probate and allowance of his last will and testament wherein Lorenzo
moved that Alicia be appointed Special Administratrix of his estate.
The trial court admitted the will to probate but before the proceedings could be terminated,
Lorenzo died.
Paula filed with the same court a petition for letters of administration over Lorenzo’s estate in
her favor.
Alicia filed in the testate proceeding, a petition for the issuance of letters testamentary.
Without terminating the testate proceedings, the trial court gave due course to Paulas petition.

REGIONAL TRIAL COURT rendered a joint decision:

1. finding the divorce decree granted to the late Lorenzo Llorente void and inapplicable in the
Philippines and therefore the marriage Lorenzo contracted with Alicia Fortunato is likewise
void.

The court thus denied the petition of Alicia F. Llorente for the issuance of letters
testamentary and declared Alicia not entitled to receive any share from the estate even if the
will especially said so her relationship with Lorenzo having gained the status of paramour
which is under Art. 739 (1).

2. finding the petition of Paula Titular Llorente, meritorious, and declares the intrinsic
disposition of the will of Lorenzo Llorente as void and declares her entitled as conjugal
partner and entitled to one-half of their conjugal properties, and one-third of the estate as
primary compulsory heir.

The court further declared that one-third should go to the illegitimate children, Raul, Luz and
Beverly plus the remaining free portion in equal shares.

The court appointed Paula Llorente is appointed legal administrator of the estate of the
deceased, Lorenzo Llorente. As such let the corresponding letters of administration issue in
her favor…
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

The trial court denied Alicias motion for reconsideration but modified its earlier decision, stating
that Raul and Luz Llorente are not children legitimate or otherwise of Lorenzo since they were not
legally adopted by him. The trial court declared Beverly Llorente as the only illegitimate child of
Lorenzo, entitling her to one-third (1/3) of the estate and one-third (1/3) of the free portion of the
estate.
COURT OF APPEALS affirmed with modification that Alicia is declared as co-owner of whatever
properties she and the deceased may have acquired during the twenty-five (25) years of
cohabitation.
Hence, this petition.

ISSUE:

Who are entitled to inherit from the late Lorenzo N. Llorente?


SC did not agree with the decision of the Court of Appeals but it did not resolve the issue but
instead remanded the case to the trial court for ruling on the intrinsic validity of the will of the
deceased.

1. The fact that the late Lorenzo N. Llorente became an American citizen long before and at the
time of: (1) his divorce from Paula; (2) marriage to Alicia; (3) execution of his will; and (4)
death, is duly established, admitted and undisputed.
Thus, as a rule, issues arising from these incidents are necessarily governed by foreign law.

 Art. 15. Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of
persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad.
 Art. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the country where it is
situated.

However, intestate and testamentary succession, both with respect to the order of succession and
to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions, shall be
regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is under consideration,
whatever may be the nature of the property and regardless of the country wherein said property
may be found.

Validity of the Foreign Divorce

2. In Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr. we held that owing to the nationality principle embodied in Article
15 of the Civil Code, only Philippine nationals are covered by the policy against absolute
divorces, the same being considered contrary to our concept of public policy and morality.
In the same case, the Court ruled that aliens may obtain divorces abroad, provided they are
valid according to their national law.
In Pilapil v. Ibay-Somera, we recognized the divorce obtained by the respondent in his country, the
Federal Republic of Germany. There, we stated that divorce and its legal effects may be
recognized in the Philippines insofar as respondent is concerned in view of the nationality
principle in our civil law on the status of persons.
SC held that the divorce obtained by Lorenzo H. Llorente from his first wife Paula was valid and
recognized in this jurisdiction AS A MATTER OF COMITY.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

Now, the effects of this divorce (as to the succession to the estate of the decedent) are matters
best left to the determination of the trial court).

Validity of the Will

3. The Civil Code provides:

Art. 17. The forms and solemnities of contracts, wills, and other public instruments shall be
governed by the laws of the country in which they are executed.

When the acts referred to are executed before the diplomatic or consular officials of the Republic of
the Philippines in a foreign country, the solemnities established by Philippine laws shall be observed
in their execution.

Whether the will was executed in accordance with the formalities required is answered by
referring to Philippine law. In fact, the will was duly probated.
Whether the will is intrinsically valid and who shall inherit from Lorenzo are issues best proved
by foreign law which must be pleaded and proved.

4. True, foreign laws do not prove themselves in our jurisdiction and our courts are not
authorized to take judicial notice of them. Like any other fact, they must be alleged and
proved.
While the substance of the foreign law was pleaded, the Court of Appeals did not admit the
foreign law. The Court of Appeals and the trial court called to the fore the renvoi doctrine, where the
case was referred back to the law of the decedents domicile, in this case, Philippine law.
We note that while the trial court stated that the law of New York was not sufficiently proven, in
the same breath it made the categorical, albeit equally unproven statement that American law
follows the domiciliary theory hence, Philippine law applies when determining the validity of
Lorenzos will.
First, there is no such thing as one American law. The "national law" indicated in Article 16 of the Civil
Code cannot possibly apply to general American law. There is no such law governing the validity of
testamentary provisions in the United States. Each State of the union has its own law applicable to its
citizens and in force only within the State. It can therefore refer to no other than the law of the State of
which the decedent was a resident.
Second, there is no showing that the application of the renvoi doctrine is called for or required by New
York State law.
The trial court held that the will was intrinsically invalid since it contained dispositions in favor of Alice,
who in the trial courts opinion was a mere paramour. The trial court threw the will out, leaving Alice, and her
two children, Raul and Luz, with nothing.
The Court of Appeals also disregarded the will. It declared Alice entitled to one half (1/2) of
whatever property she and Lorenzo acquired during their cohabitation, applying Article 144 of the
Civil Code of the Philippines.
The hasty application of Philippine law and the complete disregard of the will, already probated
as duly executed in accordance with the formalities of Philippine law, is fatal, especially in light of
the factual and legal circumstances here obtaining.

CONCLUSION:
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

SC RECOGNIZES as VALID the decree of divorce granted in favor of the deceased Lorenzo N.
Llorente by the Superior Court of the State of California in and for the County of San Diego; and
REMANDS the cases to the court of origin for determination of the intrinsic validity of Lorenzo
N. Llorentes will and determination of the parties successional rights allowing proof of foreign law
with instructions that the trial court shall proceed with all deliberate dispatch to settle the estate of
the deceased within the framework of the Rules of Court.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

Not Contrary to Law but to Morals (Art. 21)


- doctrines on breach of contract to marry

WASSMER vs. VELEZ

FACTS:

The facts that culminated in this case started with dreams and hopes, followed by appropriate
planning and serious endeavors, but terminated in frustration and, what is worse, complete public
humiliation.

Francisco X. Velez and Beatriz P. Wassmer decided to get married and set September 4, 1954 as the
big day. On September 2, 1954 Velez left this note for his bride-to-be:

Dear Bet —

Will have to postpone wedding — My mother opposes it. Am leaving on the Convair
today.

Please do not ask too many people about the reason why — That would only create a
scandal.

Paquing

But the next day, September 3, he sent her the following telegram:

NOTHING CHANGED REST ASSURED RETURNING VERY SOON APOLOGIZE MAMA


PAPA LOVE .

PAKING

Thereafter Velez did not appear nor was he heard from again.

Sued by Beatriz for damages, Velez filed no answer and was declared in default. Plaintiff adduced
evidence before the clerk of court as commissioner, and on April 29, 1955, judgment was rendered
ordering defendant to pay plaintiff P2,000.00 as actual damages; P25,000.00 as moral and
exemplary damages; P2,500.00 as attorney's fees; and the costs.

Defendant filed a "petition for relief from orders, judgment and proceedings and motion for new trial
and reconsideration."

In support of his "motion for new trial and reconsideration," defendant asserts that the judgment is
contrary to law.

The reason given is that "there is no provision of the Civil Code authorizing" an action for breach of
promise to marry.

SC:

Indeed, our ruling in Hermosisima vs. Court of Appeals (L-14628, Sept. 30, 1960), as reiterated
in Estopa vs. Biansay (L-14733, Sept. 30, 1960), is that "mere breach of a promise to marry" is NOT
an actionable wrong.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

HOWEVER, that the extent to which acts not contrary to law may be perpetrated with impunity, is not
limitless for Article 21 of said Code provides that "any person who willfully causes loss or injury to
another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the
latter for the damage."

 Plaintiff and defendant applied for a license to contract marriage, which was subsequently
issued.
 Their wedding was set for September 4, 1954. Invitations were printed and distributed to
relatives, friends and acquaintances.
 The bride-to-be's trousseau, party drsrses and other apparel for the important occasion were
purchased. Dresses for the maid of honor and the flower girl were prepared.
 A matrimonial bed, with accessories, was bought. Bridal showers were given and gifts
received.
 AND THEN, with but two days before the wedding, defendant, who was then 28 years old,:
simply left a note for plaintiff stating: "Will have to postpone wedding — My mother opposes
it ... " He enplaned to his home city in Mindanao, and the next day, the day before the
wedding, he wired plaintiff: "Nothing changed rest assured returning soon." But he never
returned and was never heard from again.

Surely this is not a case of mere breach of promise to marry.

As stated, mere breach of promise to marry is not an actionable wrong. But to formally set a wedding and go
through all the above-described preparation and publicity, only to walk out of it when the matrimony is about
to be solemnized, is quite different. This is palpably and unjustifiably contrary to good customs for
which defendant must be held answerable in damages in accordance with Article 21 aforesaid.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

BUNAG, JR. vs. COURT OF APPEALS

FACTS:

Defendant-appellant Bunag, Jr. brought plaintiff-appellant to a motel or hotel where they had sexual
intercourse. Later that evening, said defendant-appellant brought plaintiff-appellant to the house of his
grandmother Juana de Leon in Pamplona, Las Piñas, Metro Manila, where they lived together as husband
and wife for 21 days. During which they filed their respective applications for a marriage license with the
Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Bacoor, Cavite.

But after leaving plaintiff, defendant Bunag, Jr. filed an affidavit withdrawing his application for a marriage
license.

Plaintiff contends that defendant abducted her and brought her to a motel where she was raped.

After that outrage on her virginity, plaintiff asked Bunag, Jr. to allow her to go home but the latter would not
consent and stated that he would only let her go after they were married as he intended to marry her, so
much so that she promised not to make any scandal and to marry him. Thereafter, they proceeded to the
house of Juana de Leon, Bunag, Jr.'s grandmother in Pamplona, Las Piñas, Metro Manila. Defendant
Conrado Bunag, Sr., father of Bunag, Jr. arrived and assured plaintiff that the following day which was a
Monday, she and Bunag, Jr. would go to Bacoor, to apply for a marriage license, which they did. They filed
their applications for marriage license and after that plaintiff and defendant Bunag, Jr. returned to the house
of Juana de Leon and lived there as husband and wife from September 8, 1973 to September 29, 1973.

On September 29, 1973 defendant Bunag, Jr. left and never returned, humiliating plaintiff and compelled
her to go back to her parents on October 3, 1973. Plaintiff was ashamed when she went home and could
not sleep and eat because of the deception done against her by defendants-appellants.

Defendant-appellants claim that defendant-appellant Bunag, Jr. and plaintiff-appellant had earlier made
plans to elope and get married and that bitter disagreements with the plaintiff-appellant over money and the
threats made to his life prompted him to break off their plan to get married.

A complaint for damages for alleged breach of promise to marry was filed by herein private
respondent Zenaida B. Cirilo against petitioner Conrado Bunag, Jr. and his father, Conrado Bunag,
Sr.

On a finding, inter alia, that petitioner had forcibly abducted and raped private respondent, the trial
court rendered a decision ordering petitioner Bunag, Jr. to pay private respondent P80,000.00 as
moral damages, P20,000.00 as exemplary damages, P20,000.00 by way of temperate damages, and
P10,000.00 for and as attorney's fees, as well as the costs of suit. Defendant Conrado Bunag, Sr.
was absolved from any and all liability.

Petitioner asserts that since action involves a breach of promise to marry, the trial court erred in
awarding damages.

ISSUE:

WON plaintiff is entitled to the award of damages

RULING:

1. It is true that in this jurisdiction, we adhere to the time-honored rule that an action for breach
of promise to marry has no standing in the civil law, apart from the right to recover money or
property advanced by the plaintiff upon the faith of such promise.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

GENERALLY, therefore, a breach of promise to marry per se is not actionable, EXCEPT where the
plaintiff has actually incurred expenses for the wedding and the necessary incidents thereof.

HOWEVER, the award of moral damages is allowed in cases specified in or analogous to those
provided in Article 2219 of the Civil Code.

Correlatively, under Article 21 of said Code, in relation to paragraph 10 of said Article 2219, any
person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good
customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for moral damages.

Article 21 was adopted to remedy the countless gaps in the statutes which leave so many victims of moral
wrongs helpless even though they have actually suffered material and moral injury, and is intended to
vouchsafe adequate legal remedy for that untold number of moral wrongs which is impossible for human
foresight to specifically provide for in the statutes.

Under the circumstances obtaining in the case at bar, the acts of petitioner in forcibly abducting
private respondent and having carnal knowledge with her against her will, and thereafter promising
to marry her in order to escape criminal liability, only to thereafter renege on such promise after
cohabiting with her for twenty-one days, irremissibly constitute acts contrary to morals and good
customs. These are grossly insensate and reprehensible transgressions which indisputably warrant
and abundantly justify the award of moral and exemplary damages, pursuant to Article 21 in relation
to paragraphs 3 and 10, Article 2219, and Article 2229 and 2234 of Civil Code.

2. Petitioner would, however, belabor the fact that said damages were awarded by the trial
court on the basis of a finding that he is guilty of forcible abduction with rape, despite the
prior dismissal of the complaint therefor filed by private respondent with the Pasay City
Fiscal's Office.

Generally, the basis of civil liability from crime is the fundamental postulate of our law that every person
criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. In other words, criminal liability will give rise to civil
liability ex delicto only if the same felonious act or omission results in damage or injury to another and is the
direct and proximate cause thereof. Hence, extinction of the penal action does not carry with it the
extinction of civil liability unless the extinction proceeds from a declaration in a final judgment that
the fact from which the civil might arise did not exist.

In the instant case, the dismissal of the complaint for forcible abduction with rape was by mere
resolution of the fiscal at the preliminary investigation stage. There is no declaration in a final
judgment that the fact from which the civil case might arise did not exist. Consequently, the dismissal
did not in any way affect the right of herein private respondent to institute a civil action arising from the
offense because such preliminary dismissal of the penal action did not carry with it the extinction of the civil
action.

The reason most often given for this holding is that the two proceedings involved are not between the same
parties. Furthermore, it has long been emphasized, with continuing validity up to now, that there are
different rules as to the competency of witnesses and the quantum of evidence in criminal and civil
proceedings. In a criminal action, the State must prove its case by evidence which shows the guilt of the
accused beyond reasonable doubt, while in a civil action it is sufficient for the plaintiff to sustain his cause
by preponderance of evidence only. Thus, in Rillon, et al. vs. Rillon, we stressed that it is not now
necessary that a criminal prosecution for rape be first instituted and prosecuted to final judgment before a
civil action based on said offense in favor of the offended woman can likewise be instituted and prosecuted
to final judgment.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

GASHEM SHOOKAT BAKSH, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and MARILOU T.
GONZALES

FACTS:

Private filed with the aforesaid trial court a complaint 2 for damages against the petitioner for the
alleged violation of their agreement to get married.

She alleges in said complaint that:

1) Petitioner is an Iranian citizen residing at the Lozano Apartments, Guilig, Dagupan City, and
is an exchange student taking a medical course at the Lyceum Northwestern Colleges in
Dagupan City
2) The latter courted and proposed to marry her
3) She accepted his love on the condition that they would get married; they therefore agreed
to get married after the end of the school semester, which was in October of that year;
4) Petitioner then visited the private respondent's parents in Bañaga, Bugallon, Pangasinan to
secure their approval to the marriage;
5) Petitioner forced her to live with him in the Lozano Apartments;
6) She was a virgin before she began living with him;
7) A week before the filing of the complaint, petitioner's attitude towards her started to change;
he maltreated and threatened to kill her; as a result of such maltreatment, she sustained
injuries;
8) During a confrontation with a representative of the barangay captain of Guilig a day before
the filing of the complaint, petitioner repudiated their marriage agreement and asked her not
to live with him anymore and; the petitioner is already married to someone living in Bacolod
City.

Petitioner claimed that he never proposed marriage to or agreed to be married with the private
respondent; he neither sought the consent and approval of her parents nor forced her to live in his
apartment; he did not maltreat her, but only told her to stop coming to his place because he
discovered that she had deceived him by stealing his money and passport; and finally, no
confrontation took place with a representative of the barangay captain.

After conducting a pre-trial on 25 January 1988, the trial court issued a Pre-Trial
Order4 embodying the stipulated facts which the parties had agreed upon, to wit:

1. That the plaintiff is single and resident (sic) of Bañaga, Bugallon, Pangasinan,
while the defendant is single, Iranian citizen and resident (sic) of Lozano Apartment,
Guilig, Dagupan City since September 1, 1987 up to the present;

2. That the defendant is presently studying at Lyceum Northwestern, Dagupan City,


College of Medicine, second year medicine proper;

3. That the plaintiff is (sic) an employee at Mabuhay Luncheonette , Fernandez


Avenue, Dagupan City since July, 1986 up to the present and a (sic) high school
graduate;

4. That the parties happened to know each other when the manager of the Mabuhay
Luncheonette, Johhny Rabino introduced the defendant to the plaintiff on August 3,
1986.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

The lower court, applying Article 21 of the Civil Code, rendered on 16 October 1989 a
decision favoring the private respondent. The petitioner was thus ordered to pay the latter
damages and attorney's fees.

The decision is anchored on the trial court's findings and conclusions that

(a) petitioner and private respondent were lovers,

(b) private respondent is not a woman of loose morals or questionable virtue who readily
submits to sexual advances,

(c) petitioner, through machinations, deceit and false pretenses, promised to marry private
respondent,

d) because of his persuasive promise to marry her, she allowed herself to be deflowered by
him,

(e) by reason of that deceitful promise, private respondent and her parents — in
accordance with Filipino customs and traditions — made some preparations for the
wedding that was to be held at the end of October 1987 by looking for pigs and chickens,
inviting friends and relatives and contracting sponsors,

(f) petitioner did not fulfill his promise to marry her and

(g) such acts of the petitioner, who is a foreigner and who has abused Philippine
hospitality, have offended our sense of morality, good customs, culture and traditions.

The trial court gave full credit to the private respondent's testimony because, inter alia, she
would not have had the temerity and courage to come to court and expose her honor and
reputation to public scrutiny and ridicule if her claim was false.7

CA affirmed in toto the trial court's ruling

ISSUE:

WON damages may be recovered for a breach of promise to marry on the basis of Article
21 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.

RULING:

YES.

The existing rule is that a breach of promise to marry per se is not an actionable wrong. Congress
deliberately eliminated from the draft of the New Civil Code the provisions that would have made it
so.

The reason therefor is set forth in the report of the Senate Committees on the Proposed Civil
Code, from which We quote:

The elimination of this chapter is proposed. That breach of promise to marry is not
actionable has been definitely decided in the case of De Jesus vs. Syquia. 18 The
history of breach of promise suits in the United States and in England has shown
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

that no other action lends itself more readily to abuse by designing women and
unscrupulous men. It is this experience which has led to the abolition of rights of
action in the so-called Heart Balm suits in many of the American states. . . .

This notwithstanding, the said Code contains a provision, Article 21, which is designed to
expand the concept of torts or quasi-delict in this jurisdiction by granting adequate legal
remedy for the untold number of moral wrongs which is impossible for human foresight to
specifically enumerate and punish in the statute books.

As the Code Commission itself stated in its Report:

But the Code Commission had gone farther than the sphere of wrongs defined or
determined by positive law. Fully sensible that there are countless gaps in the
statutes, which leave so many victims of moral wrongs helpless, even though they
have actually suffered material and moral injury, the Commission has deemed it
necessary, in the interest of justice, to incorporate in the proposed Civil Code the
following rule:

Art. 23. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a
manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall
compensate the latter for the damage.

An example will illustrate the purview of the foregoing norm: "A" seduces the
nineteen-year old daughter of "X". A promise of marriage either has not been made,
or can not be proved. The girl becomes pregnant. Under the present laws, there is
no crime, as the girl is above nineteen years of age. Neither can any civil action for
breach of promise of marriage be filed. Therefore, though the grievous moral wrong
has been committed, and though the girl and family have suffered incalculable moral
damage, she and her parents cannot bring action for damages. But under the
proposed article, she and her parents would have such a right of action.

Thus at one stroke, the legislator, if the forgoing rule is approved, would vouchsafe
adequate legal remedy for that untold number of moral wrongs which it is impossible
for human foresight to provide for specifically in the statutes.

Article 2176 of the Civil Code, which defines a quasi-delict thus:

Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or


negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there
is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and
is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.

is limited to negligent acts or omissions and excludes the notion of willfulness or


intent. Quasi-delict, known in Spanish legal treatises as culpa aquiliana, is a civil law
concept while torts is an Anglo-American or common law concept. Torts is much broader
than culpa aquiliana because it includes not only negligence, but international criminal acts
as well such as assault and battery, false imprisonment and deceit. In the general scheme
of the Philippine legal system envisioned by the Commission responsible for drafting the
New Civil Code, intentional and malicious acts, with certain exceptions, are to be governed
by the Revised Penal Code while negligent acts or omissions are to be covered by Article
2176 of the Civil Code. 22 In between these opposite spectrums are injurious acts which, in
the absence of Article 21, would have been beyond redress. Thus, Article 21 fills that
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

vacuum. It is even postulated that together with Articles 19 and 20 of the Civil Code, Article
21 has greatly broadened the scope of the law on civil wrongs; it has become much more
supple and adaptable than the Anglo-American law on torts.

DOCTRINE:

In the light of the above laudable purpose of Article 21, We are of the opinion, and so hold, that
where a man's promise to marry is in fact the proximate cause of the acceptance of his love
by a woman and his representation to fulfill that promise thereafter becomes the proximate
cause of the giving of herself unto him in a sexual congress, proof that he had, in reality,
no intention of marrying her and that the promise was only a subtle scheme or deceptive
device to entice or inveigle her to accept him and to obtain her consent to the sexual act,
could justify the award of damages pursuant to Article 21 not because of such promise to
marry but because of the fraud and deceit behind it and the willful injury to her honor and
reputation which followed thereafter.

It is essential, however, that such injury should have been committed in a manner contrary
to morals, good customs or public policy.

In the instant case, respondent Court found that it was the petitioner's "fraudulent and
deceptive protestations of love for and promise to marry plaintiff that made her surrender
her virtue and womanhood (virginity) to him and to live with him on the honest and sincere
belief that he would keep said promise, and it was likewise these fraud and deception on
appellant's part that made plaintiff's parents agree to their daughter's living-in with him
preparatory to their supposed marriage."

In short, the private respondent surrendered her virginity, the cherished possession of every
single Filipina, not because of lust but because of moral seduction — the kind illustrated by the
Code Commission in its example earlier adverted to. The petitioner could not be held liable for
criminal seduction punished under either Article 337 or Article 338 of the Revised Penal Code
because the private respondent was above eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the seduction.

Prior decisions of this Court clearly suggest that Article 21 may be applied in a breach of
promise to marry where the woman is a victim of moral seduction.

 Hermosisima vs. Court of Appeals, this Court denied recovery of damages to the woman
because:

. . . we find ourselves unable to say that petitioner is morally guilty of seduction, not
only because he is approximately ten (10) years younger than the complainant —
who was around thirty-six (36) years of age, and as highly enlightened as a former
high school teacher and a life insurance agent are supposed to be — when she
became intimate with petitioner, then a mere apprentice pilot, but, also, because the
court of first instance found that, complainant "surrendered herself" to petitioner
because, "overwhelmed by her love" for him, she "wanted to bind" him by
having a fruit of their engagement even before they had the benefit of clergy.

 Tanjanco vs. Court of Appeals, while this Court likewise hinted at possible recovery if
there had been moral seduction, recovery was eventually denied because We were not
convinced that such seduction existed. The following enlightening disquisition and
conclusion were made in the said case:
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

The Court of Appeals seem to have overlooked that the example set forth in the
Code Commission's memorandum refers to a tort upon a minor who had
been seduced. The essential feature is seduction, that in law is more than mere
sexual intercourse, or a breach of a promise of marriage; it connotes
essentially the idea of deceit, enticement, superior power or abuse of
confidence on the part of the seducer to which the woman has yielded (U.S. vs.
Buenaventura, 27 Phil. 121; U.S. vs. Arlante, 9 Phil. 595).

It has been ruled in the Buenaventura case (supra) that —

To constitute seduction there must in all cases be some sufficient


promise or inducement and the woman must yield because of the
promise or other inducement. If she consents merely from carnal
lust and the intercourse is from mutual desire, there is no
seduction (43 Cent. Dig. tit. Seduction, par. 56) She must be induced
to depart from the path of virtue by the use of some species of arts,
persuasions and wiles, which are calculated to have and do have that
effect, and which result in her person to ultimately submitting her
person to the sexual embraces of her seducer (27 Phil. 123).

In his annotations on the Civil Code, Associate Justice Edgardo L. Paras, who recently retired
from this Court, opined that in a breach of promise to marry where there had been carnal
knowledge, moral damages may be recovered:

. . . if there be criminal or moral seduction, but not if the intercourse was due
to mutual lust. (Hermosisima vs. Court of Appeals,
L-14628, Sept. 30, 1960; Estopa vs. Piansay, Jr., L-14733, Sept. 30, 1960; Batarra
vs. Marcos, 7 Phil. 56 (sic); Beatriz Galang vs. Court of Appeals, et al., L-17248, Jan.
29, 1962). (In other words, if the CAUSE be the promise to marry, and the EFFECT
be the carnal knowledge, there is a chance that there was criminal or moral
seduction, hence recovery of moral damages will prosper. If it be the other way
around, there can be no recovery of moral damages, because here mutual lust has
intervened). . . .

together with "ACTUAL damages, should there be any, such as the expenses for the
wedding presentations (See Domalagon v. Bolifer, 33 Phil. 471).

Senator Arturo M. Tolentino 29 is also of the same persuasion:

It is submitted that the rule in Batarra vs. Marcos, 30 still subsists, notwithstanding the
incorporation of the present article31 in the Code. The example given by the Code
Commission is correct, if there was seduction, not necessarily in the legal sense, but
in the vulgar sense of deception. But when the sexual act is accomplished without
any deceit or qualifying circumstance of abuse of authority or influence, but the
woman, already of age, has knowingly given herself to a man, it cannot be said that
there is an injury which can be the basis for indemnity.

But so long as there is fraud, which is characterized by willfulness (sic), the action
lies. The court, however, must weigh the degree of fraud, if it is sufficient to deceive
the woman under the circumstances, because an act which would deceive a girl
sixteen years of age may not constitute deceit as to an experienced woman thirty
years of age. But so long as there is a wrongful act and a resulting injury, there
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

should be civil liability, even if the act is not punishable under the criminal law and
there should have been an acquittal or dismissal of the criminal case for that reason.

We are unable to agree with the petitioner's alternative proposition to the effect that
granting, for argument's sake, that he did promise to marry the private respondent, the
latter is nevertheless also at fault. According to him, both parties are in pari delicto; hence,
pursuant to Article 1412(1) of the Civil Code and the doctrine laid down in Batarra
vs. Marcos, the private respondent cannot recover damages from the petitioner. The latter
even goes as far as stating that if the private respondent had "sustained any injury or
damage in their relationship, it is primarily because of her own doing, for:

. . . She is also interested in the petitioner as the latter will become a doctor
sooner or later. Take notice that she is a plain high school graduate and a
mere employee . . . (Annex "C") or a waitress (TSN, p. 51, January 25, 1988) in
a luncheonette and without doubt, is in need of a man who can give her
economic security. Her family is in dire need of financial assistance. (TSN, pp.
51-53, May 18, 1988). And this predicament prompted her to accept a
proposition that may have been offered by the petitioner.

These statements reveal the true character and motive of the petitioner. It is clear that he harbors
a condescending, if not sarcastic, regard for the private respondent on account of the latter's
ignoble birth, inferior educational background, poverty and, as perceived by him, dishonorable
employment. Obviously then, from the very beginning, he was not at all moved by good faith and
an honest motive. Marrying with a woman so circumstances could not have even remotely
occurred to him. Thus, his profession of love and promise to marry were empty words directly
intended to fool, dupe, entice, beguile and deceive the poor woman into believing that indeed, he
loved her and would want her to be his life's partner. His was nothing but pure lust which he
wanted satisfied by a Filipina who honestly believed that by accepting his proffer of love and
proposal of marriage, she would be able to enjoy a life of ease and security. Petitioner clearly
violated the Filipino's concept of morality and brazenly defied the traditional respect Filipinos have
for their women. It can even be said that the petitioner committed such deplorable acts in blatant
disregard of Article 19 of the Civil Code which directs every person to act with justice, give
everyone his due and observe honesty and good faith in the exercise of his rights and in the
performance of his obligations.

No foreigner must be allowed to make a mockery of our laws, customs and traditions.

The pari delicto rule does not apply in this case for while indeed, the private respondent
may not have been impelled by the purest of intentions, she eventually submitted to the
petitioner in sexual congress not out of lust, but because of moral seduction. In fact, it is
apparent that she had qualms of conscience about the entire episode for as soon as she found out
that the petitioner was not going to marry her after all, she left him. She is not, therefore, in pari
delicto with the petitioner. Pari delicto means "in equal fault; in a similar offense or crime;
equal in guilt or in legal fault." At most, it could be conceded that she is merely in delicto.

Equity often interferes for the relief of the less guilty of the parties, where his
transgression has been brought about by the imposition of undue influence of the
party on whom the burden of the original wrong principally rests, or where his
consent to the transaction was itself procured by
fraud.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

ARTICLE 32

MITA PARDO DE TAVERA vs. PHILIPPINE TUBERCULOSIS SOCIETY, INC.

FACTS:

Plaintiff-appellant Mita Pardo de Tavera filed with the Court of First Instance of Rizal a complaint against
the Philippine Tuberculosis Society, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as the Society), et al.

The complaint alleged that plaintiff was duly appointed as Executive Secretary of the Society but the past
Board of Directors removed her summarily from her position, the lawful cause of which she was not
informed, through the simple expedient of declaring her position vacant and that individual defendants not
being members of defendant Society when they were elevated to the position of members of the Board of
Directors, are not qualified to be elected as such and hence, all their acts in the meeting that concluded in
the plaintiff’s removal are null and void.

Defendant Adil filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the complaint states no cause of action, or if it
does, the same has prescribed. Inasmuch as plaintiff seeks reinstatement, he argued that the complaint is
an action for quo warranto and hence, the same should be commenced within one year from May 29, 1974
when the plaintiff was ousted from her position.

Plaintiff filed an Opposition to Motion to Dismiss on May 28, 1976, stating that the complaint is a suit for
damages filed under the authority of Section 6, Article 11 of the present Constitution in relation to Articles
12 and 32(6) of the New Civil Code, and her constitutional right to equal protection of the law, as
guaranteed by Section 1, Article IV of the present Constitution.

On June 2, 1976, defendant Adil filed a Reply to Plaintiff's Opposition to Motion to Dismiss arguing that
since there is an averment of plaintiff's right to office, and that defendant Romulo is unlawfully in
possession thereof, their it is indeed, a case for quo warranto; and that assuming that it is merely a suit for
damages, then, the same is premature, pursuant to Section 16, Rule 66 of the Rules of Court.

The court a quo rendered a decision holding that the present suit being one for quo warranto it should be
filed within one year from plaintiff's outer from office.

Plaintiff filed a Motion for Reconsideration to which defendants filed an Opposition. On November 25, 1976,
the court a quo denied the motion for Reconsideration.

Dissatisfied with the decision and the order denying the motion for reconsideration. plaintiff filed a Notice of
Appeal and an Urgent Motion for Extension of Time to File Record on Appeal, which was granted in an
order dated December 15, 1976. However, on December 20, 1976, the court a quo issued an amended
order where it qualified the action as principally one for quo warranto and hence, dispensed with the filing of
a record on appeal as the original records of the case are required to be elevated to the Court of Appeals.

On August 8, 1978, the Court of Appeals issued a resolution certifying this case to this Court considering
that the appeal raises no factual issues and involves only issues of law, as may be

ISSUE:

Whether the present case is one for quo warranto or an action for damages.

Whether the suit should prosper

RULING:
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

1. While it is true that the complaint questions petitioner's removal from the position of
Executive Secretary and seeks her reinstatement thereto, the nature of the suit is not
necessarily one of quo warranto. The nature of the instant suit is one involving a violation of
the rights of the plaintiff under the By-Laws of the Society, the Civil Code and the
Constitution, which allegedly renders the individuals responsible therefore, accountable for
damages

Furthermore, the respondents, except for one, are not actually holding the office in question, the
suit could not be one for quo warranto.

2. Nonetheless, although the action is not barred by the statute of limitations, SC RULED THAT
IT WILL NOT PROSPER.

a. Contrary to her claim, petitioner was not illegally removed or from her position as Executive
Secretary in violation of Code of By-laws of the Society, the New Civil Code and the pertinent
provisions of the Constitution.

Petitioner was informed in writing of her appointment. The absence of a fixed term in the letter
addressed to petitioner informing her of her appointment as Executive Secretary is very significant.
This could have no other implication than that petitioner held an appointment at the pleasure of the
appointing power.

An appointment held at the pleasure of the appointing power is in essence temporary in nature. It is
co-extensive with the desire of the Board of Directors. Hence, when the Board opts to replace the
incumbent, technically there is no removal but only an expiration of term and in an expiration of
term, there is no need of prior notice, due hearing or sufficient grounds before the incumbent can
be separated from office. The protection afforded by Section 7.04 of the Code of By-Laws on
Removal of Officers and Employees, therefore, cannot be claimed by petitioner.

b. Petitioner cannot likewise seek relief from the general provisions of the New Civil Code on
Human Relations nor from the fundamental principles of the New Constitution on
preservation of human dignity.

While these provisions present some basic principles that are to be observed for the rightful
relationship between human beings and the stability of social order, these are merely guides for
human conduct in the absence of specific legal provisions and definite contractual stipulations.

In the case at bar, the Code of By-Laws of the Society contains a specific provision governing the
term of office of petitioner. The same necessarily limits her rights under the New Civil Code and the
New Constitution upon acceptance of the appointment.

Moreover, the act of the Board in declaring her position as vacant is not only in accordance with the
Code of By-Laws of the Society but also meets the exacting standards of honesty and good faith.
The meeting of May 29, 1974, at which petitioner, petitioner's position was declared vacant, was
caged specifically to take up the unfinished business of the Reorganizational Meeting of the Board
of April 30, 1974. Hence, and act cannot be said to impart a dishonest purpose or some moral
obliquity and conscious doing to wrong but rather emanates from the desire of the Board to
reorganize itself.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

CHATO vs. FORTUNE TOBACCO CORPORATION

FACTS:

Petitioner Liwayway Vinzons-Chato was then the Commissioner of Internal Revenue when BIR
assessed respondent for ad valorem tax deficiency computed on the basis of RMC 37-93.

CTA ruled that RMC 37-93 is defective, invalid, and unenforceable and further enjoined petitioner
from collecting the deficiency tax assessment issued pursuant to RMC No. 37-93. This ruling was
affirmed by the Court of Appeals, and finally by SC in Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Court of
Appeals. It was held, among others, that RMC 37-93, has fallen short of the requirements for a valid
administrative issuance.

Respondent filed before the RTC a complaint for damages against petitioner in her private capacity.
Respondent contended that the latter should be held liable for damages under Article 32 of the Civil
Code considering that the issuance of RMC 37-93 violated its constitutional right against
deprivation of property without due process of law and the right to equal protection of the laws.

Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss contending that: (1) respondent has no cause of action against
her because she issued RMC 37-93 in the performance of her official function and within the scope
of her authority. She claimed that she acted merely as an agent of the Republic and therefore the
latter is the one responsible for her acts; (2) the complaint states no cause of action for lack of
allegation of malice or bad faith; and (3) the certification against forum shopping was signed by
respondent’s counsel in violation of the rule that it is the plaintiff or the principal party who should
sign the same.

RTC denied petitioner’s motion to dismiss.

The case was elevated to the Court of Appeals via a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. However, same
was dismissed on the ground that under Article 32 of the Civil Code, liability may arise even if the
defendant did not act with malice or bad faith. The appellate court ratiocinated that Section 38,
Book I of the Administrative Code is the general law on the civil liability of public officers while
Article 32 of the Civil Code is the special law that governs the instant case. Consequently, malice or
bad faith need not be alleged in the complaint for damages.

Undaunted, petitioner filed the instant recourse contending that the suit is grounded on her acts done in the
performance of her functions as a public officer, hence, it is Section 38, Book I of the Administrative Code
which should be applied. Under this provision, liability will attach only when there is a clear showing of bad
faith, malice, or gross negligence. She further averred that the Civil Code, specifically, Article 32 which
allows recovery of damages for violation of constitutional rights, is a general law on the liability of public
officers; while Section 38, Book I of the Administrative Code is a special law on the superior public officers’
liability, such that, if the complaint, as in the instant case, does not allege bad faith, malice, or gross
negligence, the same is dismissible for failure to state a cause of action.

ISSUES:

1) May a public officer be validly sued in his/her private capacity for acts done in connection with
the discharge of the functions of his/her office?

2) Which as between Article 32 of the Civil Code and Section 38, Book I of the Administrative Code
should govern in determining whether the instant complaint states a cause of action?

RULING:

1. YES.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

GENERAL RULE:

A public officer is not liable for damages which a person may suffer arising from the just performance of his
official duties and within the scope of his assigned tasks. An officer who acts within his authority to
administer the affairs of the office which he/she heads is not liable for damages that may have been caused
to another, as it would virtually be a charge against the Republic, which is not amenable to judgment for
monetary claims without its consent.

EXCEPTION:

However, a public officer is by law not immune from damages in his/her personal capacity for acts done in
bad faith which, being outside the scope of his authority, are no longer protected by the mantle of immunity
for official actions.

Specifically, under Section 38, Book I of the Administrative Code, civil liability may arise where there is bad
faith, malice, or gross negligence on the part of a superior public officer. And, under Section 39 of the same
Book, civil liability may arise where the subordinate public officer’s act is characterized by willfulness or
negligence. Thus –

Sec. 38. Liability of Superior Officers. – (1) A public officer shall not be civilly liable for acts done
in the performance of his official duties, unless there is a clear showing of bad faith, malice or gross
negligence.

xxxx

Section 39. Liability of Subordinate Officers. – No subordinate officer or employee shall be civilly
liable for acts done by him in good faith in the performance of his duties. However, he shall be liable
for willful or negligent acts done by him which are contrary to law, morals, public policy and good
customs even if he acts under orders or instructions of his superior.

Cojuangco, Jr. v. Court of Appeals, that a public officer who directly or indirectly violates the
constitutional rights of another, may be validly sued for damages under Article 32 of the Civil Code
even if his acts were not so tainted with malice or bad faith.

Thus, the rule in this jurisdiction is that a public officer may be validly sued in his/her private
capacity for acts done in the course of the performance of the functions of the office, where said
public officer:

(1) acted with malice, bad faith, or negligence; or

(2) where the public officer violated a constitutional right of the plaintiff.

2. The complaint filed by respondent stated a cause of action and that the decisive provision
thereon is Article 32 of the Civil Code.

A general statute is one which embraces a class of subjects or places and does not omit any subject or
place naturally belonging to such class. A special statute, as the term is generally understood, is one which
relates to particular persons or things of a class or to a particular portion or section of the state only.

The rule is that where there are two acts, one of which is special and particular and the other
general which, if standing alone, would include the same matter and thus conflict with the special
act, the special law must prevail since it evinces the legislative intent more clearly than that of a
general statute and must not be taken as intended to affect the more particular and specific
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

provisions of the earlier act, unless it is absolutely necessary so to construe it in order to give its words
any meaning at all.

The circumstance that the special law is passed before or after the general act does not change the
principle. Where the special law is later, it will be regarded as an exception to, or a qualification of, the prior
general act; and where the general act is later, the special statute will be construed as remaining an
exception to its terms, unless repealed expressly or by necessary implication.

 City of Manila v. Teotico:

Article 2189 of the Civil Code which holds provinces, cities, and municipalities civilly liable for
death or injuries by reason of defective conditions of roads and other public works, is a special
provision and should prevail over Section 4 of Republic Act No. 409, the Charter of Manila,
in determining the liability for defective street conditions. Under said Charter, the city shall not
be held for damages or injuries arising from the failure of the local officials to enforce the provision
of the charter, law, or ordinance, or from negligence while enforcing or attempting to enforce the
same.

Manila maintains that the former provision should prevail over the latter, because Republic
Act 409 is a special law, intended exclusively for the City of Manila, whereas the Civil Code is
a general law, applicable to the entire Philippines.

It is true that, insofar as its territorial application is concerned, Republic Act No. 409 is a
special law and the Civil Code a general legislation; but, as regards the subject matter of the
provisions above quoted, Section 4 of Republic Act 409 establishes a general rule regulating
the liability of the City of Manila for "damages or injury to persons or property arising from the failure
of" city officers "to enforce the provisions of" said Act "or any other law or ordinance, or from
negligence" of the city "Mayor, Municipal Board, or other officers while enforcing or attempting to
enforce said provisions." Upon the other hand, Article 2189 of the Civil Code constitutes a
particular prescription making "provinces, cities and municipalities . . . liable for damages for the
death of, or injury suffered by, any person by reason" — specifically — "of the defective condition of
roads, streets, bridges, public buildings, and other public works under their control or supervision."

In other words, said section 4 refers to liability arising from negligence, in general,
regardless of the object thereof, whereas Article 2189 governs liability due to "defective
streets," in particular. Since the present action is based upon the alleged defective condition
of a road, said Article 2189 is decisive thereon.

 Bagatsing v. Ramirez:

The issue was which law should govern the publication of a tax ordinance, the City Charter of
Manila, a special act which treats ordinances in general and which requires their publication before
enactment and after approval, or the Tax Code, a general law, which deals in particular with
"ordinances levying or imposing taxes, fees or other charges," and which demands publication only
after approval.

It is the Tax Code which should prevail.

There is no question that the Revised Charter of the City of Manila is a special act since it relates
only to the City of Manila, whereas the Local Tax Code is a general law because it applies
universally to all local governments. Blackstone defines general law as a universal rule affecting the
entire community and special law as one relating to particular persons or things of a class. And the
rule commonly said is that a prior special law is not ordinarily repealed by a subsequent general law.
The fact that one is special and the other general creates a presumption that the special is to
be considered as remaining an exception of the general, one as a general law of the land, the
other as the law of a particular case.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

However, the rule readily yields to a situation where the special statute refers to a subject in
general, which the general statute treats in particular.

This exactly is the circumstance obtaining in the case at bar. Section 17 of the Revised
Charter of the City of Manila speaks of "ordinance" in general, i.e., irrespective of the nature
and scope thereof, whereas, Section 43 of the Local Tax Code relates to "ordinances levying
or imposing taxes, fees or other charges" in particular. In regard, therefore, to ordinances in
general, the Revised Charter of the City of Manila is doubtless dominant, but, that dominant
force loses its continuity when it approaches the realm of "ordinances levying or imposing
taxes, fees or other charges" in particular. There, the Local Tax Code controls.

Here, as always, a general provision must give way to a particular provision. Special
provision governs.

Let us examine the provisions involved in the case at bar.

Article 32 of the Civil Code provides:

ART. 32. Any public officer or employee, or any private individual, who directly or indirectly
obstructs, defeats, violates, or in any manner impedes or impairs any of the following rights and
liberties of another person shall be liable to the latter for damages:

xxxx

(6) The right against deprivation of property without due process of law;

xxxx

(8) The right to the equal protection of the laws;

xxxx

Article 32 was patterned after the "tort" in American law. A tort is a wrong, a tortious act which has been
defined as the commission or omission of an act by one, without right, whereby another receives some
injury, directly or indirectly, in person, property, or reputation. 28 There are cases in which it has been stated
that civil liability in tort is determined by the conduct and not by the mental state of the tortfeasor, and there
are circumstances under which the motive of the defendant has been rendered immaterial. The reason
sometimes given for the rule is that otherwise, the mental attitude of the alleged wrongdoer, and not the act
itself, would determine whether the act was wrongful. Presence of good motive, or rather, the absence
of an evil motive, does not render lawful an act which is otherwise an invasion of another’s legal
right; that is, liability in tort is not precluded by the fact that defendant acted without evil intent.

The clear intention therefore of the legislature was to create a distinct cause of action in the nature
of tort for violation of constitutional rights, irrespective of the motive or intent of the
defendant. This is a fundamental innovation in the Civil Code, and in enacting the Administrative
Code pursuant to the exercise of legislative powers, then President Corazon C. Aquino, could not
have intended to obliterate this constitutional protection on civil liberties.

On the other hand, Sections 38 and 39, Book I of the Administrative Code, laid down the rule on the
civil liability of superior and subordinate public officers for acts done in the performance of their
duties. For both superior and subordinate public officers, the presence of bad faith, malice, and
negligence are vital elements that will make them liable for damages. Note that while said
provisions deal in particular with the liability of government officials, the subject thereof is
general, i.e., "acts" done in the performance of official duties, without specifying the action or
omission that may give rise to a civil suit against the official concerned.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

Contrarily, Article 32 of the Civil Code specifies in clear and unequivocal terms a particular specie
of an "act" that may give rise to an action for damages against a public officer, and that is, a tort for
impairment of rights and liberties. Indeed, Article 32 is the special provision that deals specifically
with violation of constitutional rights by public officers. All other actionable acts of public officers
are governed by Sections 38 and 39 of the Administrative Code.

While the Civil Code, specifically, the Chapter on Human Relations is a general law, Article 32 of the
same Chapter is a special and specific provision that holds a public officer liable for and allows
redress from a particular class of wrongful acts that may be committed by public officers.
Compared thus with Section 38 of the Administrative Code, which broadly deals with civil liability
arising from errors in the performance of duties, Article 32 of the Civil Code is the specific provision
which must be applied in the instant case precisely filed to seek damages for violation of
constitutional rights.

CONCLUSION:

The complaint in the instant case was brought under Article 32 of the Civil Code. Considering that
bad faith and malice are not necessary in an action based on Article 32 of the Civil Code, the failure
to specifically allege the same will not amount to failure to state a cause of action. The courts below
therefore correctly denied the motion to dismiss on the ground of failure to state a cause of action,
since it is enough that the complaint avers a violation of a constitutional right of the plaintiff.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

ABERCA vs. FABIAN VER

FACTS:

This case stems from alleged illegal searches and seizures and other violations of the
rights and liberties of plaintiffs by various intelligence units of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines, known as Task Force Makabansa (TFM) ordered by General Fabian Ver "to
conduct pre-emptive strikes against known communist-terrorist (CT) underground houses
in view of increasing reports about CT plans to sow disturbances in Metro Manila."

Plaintiffs allege, among others, that complying with said order, elements of the TFM raided
several places, employing in most cases defectively issued judicial search warrants; that
during these raids, certain members of the raiding party confiscated a number of purely
personal items belonging to plaintiffs; that plaintiffs were arrested without proper warrants
issued by the courts; that for some period after their arrest, they were denied visits of
relatives and lawyers; that plaintiffs were interrogated in violation of their rights to silence
and counsel; that military men who interrogated them employed threats, tortures and other
forms of violence on them in order to obtain incriminatory information or confessions and
in order to punish them; that all violations of plaintiffs constitutional rights were part of a
concerted and deliberate plan to forcibly extract information and incriminatory statements
from plaintiffs and to terrorize, harass and punish them, said plans being previously known
to and sanctioned by defendants.

A motion to dismiss was filed by defendants which was granted by the Regional Trial Court.

Hence, petitioners filed the instant petition for certiorari.

At the heart of petitioners' complaint is Article 32 of the Civil Code.

It is obvious that the purpose of the above codal provision is to provide a sanction to the
deeply cherished rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution. Its message is clear;
no man may seek to violate those sacred rights with impunity. In times of great upheaval or of
social and political stress, when the temptation is strongest to yield — borrowing the words of
Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee — to the law of force rather than the force of law, it is necessary
to remind ourselves that certain basic rights and liberties are immutable and cannot be sacrificed
to the transient needs or imperious demands of the ruling power. The rule of law must prevail, or
else liberty will perish. Our commitment to democratic principles and to the rule of law compels us
to reject the view which reduces law to nothing but the expression of the will of the predominant
power in the community. "Democracy cannot be a reign of progress, of liberty, of justice, unless
the law is respected by him who makes it and by him for whom it is made. Now this respect
implies a maximum of faith, a minimum of Idealism. On going to the bottom of the matter, we
discover that life demands of us a certain residuum of sentiment which is not derived from reason,
but which reason nevertheless controls.

Seeking to justify the dismissal of plaintiffs' complaint, the respondents postulate the view
that as public officers they are covered by the mantle of state immunity from suit for acts
done in the performance of official duties or function. In support of said contention,
respondents maintain that —

Respondents are members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Their primary
duty is to safeguard public safety and order. The Constitution no less provides that
the President may call them "to prevent or supress lawless violence, invasion,
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

insurrection or rebellion, or imminent danger thereof." (Constitution, Article VII,


Section 9).

On January 17, 1981, the President issued Proclamation No. 2045 lifting martial
law but providing for the continued suspension of the privilege of the writ of
habeas corpus in view of the remaining dangers to the security of the nation.
The proclamation also provided "that the call to the Armed Forces of the Philippines
to prevent or suppress lawless violence, insuitection rebellion and subversion shall
continue to be in force and effect."

ISSUE:

WON respondent may not be held liable under the doctrine of state immunity

RULING:

NO.

Respondents' invocation of the doctrine of state immunity from suit totally misplaced. The
cases invoked by respondents actually involved acts done by officers in the performance
of official duties written the ambit of their powers.

 Forbes, etc. vs. Chuoco Tiaco and Crossfield:

No one can be held legally responsible in damages or otherwise for doing in a legal
manner what he had authority, under the law, to do. Therefore, if the Governor-
General had authority, under the law to deport or expel the defendants, and
circumstances justifying the deportation and the method of carrying it out are left to
him, then he cannot be held liable in damages for the exercise of this power.
Moreover, if the courts are without authority to interfere in any manner, for the
purpose of controlling or interferring with the exercise of the political powers vested
in the chief executive authority of the Government, then it must follow that the courts
cannot intervene for the purpose of declaring that he is liable in damages for the
exeercise of this authority.

It may be that the respondents, as members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, were
merely responding to their duty, as they claim, "to prevent or suppress lawless violence,
insurrection, rebellion and subversion" in accordance with Proclamation No. 2054 of
President Marcos, despite the lifting of martial law on January 27, 1981, and in pursuance
of such objective, to launch pre- emptive strikes against alleged communist terrorist
underground houses.

But this cannot be construed as a blanket license or a roving commission untramelled by


any constitutional restraint, to disregard or transgress upon the rights and liberties of the
individual citizen enshrined in and protected by the Constitution. The Constitution remains
the supreme law of the land to which all officials, high or low, civilian or military, owe
obedience and allegiance at all times.

Article 32 of the Civil Code which renders any public officer or employee or any private
individual liable in damages for violating the Constitutional rights and liberties of another,
as enumerated therein, does not exempt the respondents from responsibility.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

Only judges are excluded from liability under the said article, provided their acts or
omissions do not constitute a violation of the Penal Code or other penal statute.

This is not to say that military authorities are restrained from pursuing their assigned task or
carrying out their mission with vigor. We have no quarrel with their duty to protect the Republic
from its enemies, whether of the left or of the right, or from within or without, seeking to destroy or
subvert our democratic institutions and imperil their very existence. What we are merely trying to
say is that in carrying out this task and mission, constitutional and legal safeguards must be
observed, otherwise, the very fabric of our faith will start to unravel. In the battle of competing
Ideologies, the struggle for the mind is just as vital as the struggle of arms. The linchpin in that
psychological struggle is faith in the rule of law. Once that faith is lost or compromised, the
struggle may well be abandoned.

We do not find merit in respondents' suggestion that plaintiffs' cause of action is barred by
the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

The suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus does not destroy petitioners'
right and cause of action for damages for illegal arrest and detention and other violations
of their constitutional rights. The suspension does not render valid an otherwise illegal
arrest or detention. What is suspended is merely the right of the individual to seek release
from detention through the writ of habeas corpus as a speedy means of obtaining his
liberty.

Moreover, as pointed out by petitioners, their right and cause of action for damages are explicitly
recognized in P.D. No. 1755 which amended Article 1146 of the Civil Code by adding the following
to its text:

However, when the action (for injury to the rights of the plaintiff or for a quasi-delict)
arises from or out of any act, activity or conduct of any public officer involving the
exercise of powers or authority arising from Martial Law including the arrest,
detention and/or trial of the plaintiff, the same must be brought within one (1) year.

Petitioners have a point in contending that even assuming that the suspension of the privilege of
the writ of habeas corpus suspends petitioners' right of action for damages for illegal arrest and
detention, it does not and cannot suspend their rights and causes of action for injuries suffered
because of respondents' confiscation of their private belongings, the violation of their right to
remain silent and to counsel and their right to protection against unreasonable searches and
seizures and against torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment.

This brings us to the crucial issue raised in this petition.

ISSUE 2:

May a superior officer under the notion of respondent superior be answerable for damages,
jointly and severally with his subordinates, to the person whose constitutional rights and
liberties have been violated?

RULING:

Respondents contend that the doctrine of respondent superior is applicable to the case. We agree.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

The doctrine of respondent superior has been generally limited in its application to
principal and agent or to master and servant (i.e. employer and employee) relationship. No
such relationship exists between superior officers of the military and their subordinates.

Be that as it may, however, the decisive factor in this case, in our view, is the language of
Article 32. The law speaks of an officer or employee or person 'directly' or "indirectly"
responsible for the violation of the constitutional rights and liberties of another.

Thus, it is not the actor alone (i.e. the one directly responsible) who must answer for
damages under Article 32; the person indirectly responsible has also to answer for the
damages or injury caused to the aggrieved party.

By this provision, the principle of accountability of public officials under the Constitution acquires
added meaning and asgilrnes a larger dimension. No longer may a superior official relax his
vigilance or abdicate his duty to supervise his subordinates, secure in the thought that he does not
have to answer for the transgressions committed by the latter against the constitutionally protected
rights and liberties of the citizen. Part of the factors that propelled people power in February 1986
was the widely held perception that the government was callous or indifferent to, if not actually
responsible for, the rampant violations of human rights.

While it would certainly be go naive to expect that violators of human rights would easily be
deterred by the prospect of facing damage suits, it should nonetheless be made clear in no
one’s terms that Article 32 of the Civil Code makes the persons who are directly, as well as
indirectly, responsible for the transgression joint tortfeasors.

In the case at bar, the trial court dropped defendants General Fabian Ver, Col. Fidel
Singson, Col. Rolando Abadilla, Col. Gerardo Lantoria, Jr., Col. Galileo Kintanar, Col.
Panfilo Lacson, Capt. Danilo Pizarro, lst Lt. Pedro Tango, Lt. Romeo Ricardo and Lt.
Ricardo Bacalso from the acts of their subordinates. Only Major Rodolfo Aguinaldo and
Master Sgt. Bienvenido Balaba were kept as defendants on the ground that they alone
'have been specifically mentioned and Identified to have allegedly caused injuries on the
persons of some of the plaintiff which acts of alleged physical violence constitute a delict
or wrong that gave rise to a cause of action. But such finding is not supported by the
record, nor is it in accord with law and jurisprudence.

Firstly, it is wrong to at the plaintiffs' action for damages 5 Section 1, Article 19. to 'acts of
alleged physical violence" which constituted delict or wrong. Article 32 clearly specifies as
actionable the act of violating or in any manner impeding or impairing any of the
constitutional rights and liberties enumerated therein, among others —

1. Freedom from arbitrary arrest or illegal detention;

2. The right against deprivation of property without due process of law;

3. The right to be secure in one's person, house, papers and effects against
unreasonable searches and seizures;

4. The privacy of communication and correspondence;

5. Freedom from being compelled to be a witness against one's self, or from being
forced to confess guilt, or from being induced by a promise of immunity or reward to
make a confession, except when the person confessing becomes a state witness.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

The complaint in this litigation alleges facts showing with abundant clarity and details, how
plaintiffs' constitutional rights and liberties mentioned in Article 32 of the Civil Code were
violated and impaired by defendants. The complaint speaks of, among others, searches made
without search warrants or based on irregularly issued or substantially defective warrants; seizures
and confiscation, without proper receipts, of cash and personal effects belonging to plaintiffs and
other items of property which were not subversive and illegal nor covered by the search warrants;
arrest and detention of plaintiffs without warrant or under irregular, improper and illegal
circumstances; detention of plaintiffs at several undisclosed places of 'safehouses" where they
were kept incommunicado and subjected to physical and psychological torture and other inhuman,
degrading and brutal treatment for the purpose of extracting incriminatory statements. The
complaint contains a detailed recital of abuses perpetrated upon the plaintiffs violative of their
constitutional rights.

Secondly, neither can it be said that only those shown to have participated "directly"
should be held liable. Article 32 of the Civil Code encompasses within the ambit of its
provisions those directly, as well as indirectly, responsible for its violation.

The responsibility of the defendants, whether direct or indirect, is amply set forth in the
complaint. It is well established in our law and jurisprudence that a motion to dismiss on the
ground that the complaint states no cause of action must be based on what appears on the face of
the complaint. To determine the sufficiency of the cause of action, only the facts alleged in the
complaint, and no others, should be considered. 7 For this purpose, the motion to dismiss must
hypothetically admit the truth of the facts alleged in the complaint.

Applying this test, it is difficult to justify the trial court's ruling, dismissing for lack of cause
of action the complaint against all the defendants, except Major Rodolfo Aguinaldo and
Master Sgt. Bienvenido Balaba. The complaint contained allegations against all the
defendants which, if admitted hypothetically, would be sufficient to establish a cause or
causes of action against all of them under Article 32 of the Civil Code.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

Undue Injury/Bad Faith


LLORENTE vs. SANDIGANBAYAN

FACTS:

Llorente, then municipal mayor of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte, was charged with
violation of Sec. 3[e] of Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act.
The Sandiganbayan held that the delay or withholding of complainants salaries and
emoluments was unreasonable and caused complainant undue injury. Being then the sole
breadwinner in their family, the withholding of her salaries caused her difficulties in meeting her
family’s financial obligations like paying for the tuition fees of her four children.Petitioners defense
that complainant failed to attach the required money and property clearance to her vouchers was
held to be an afterthought that was brought about, in the first place, by his own failure to issue any
memorandum requiring its submission.
The Sandiganbayan also ruled that the petitioner’s evident bad faith was the direct and
proximate cause of Fuertes undue injury. Complainant’s salaries and allowances were
withheld for no valid or justifiable reasons. Such delay was intended to harass
complainant, because petitioner wanted to replace her with his political protege whom he
eventually designated as municipal treasurer, bypassing Fuertes who was next in
seniority. Bad faith was further evidenced by petitioner’s instructions to the outgoing
municipal treasurer not to give the complaining witness any work assignment, not to
provide her with office table and chair, not to act on her daily time record and application
for leave of absence, instructions which were confirmed in the municipal treasurer’s
certification.
ISSUE:
WON Llorente should be held criminally liable for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act
RULING:
NO.
The petition is meritorious. SC agrees with the solicitor general’s assessment that the prosecution
failed to establish the elements of the crime charged.

First Issue: Undue Injury

Petitioner was charged with violation of Section 3[e] of R.A. 3019, which states:
SEC. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. In addition to acts or omissions of
public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute
corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful:
xxx xxx xxx
(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving
any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the
discharge of his official, administrative or judicial functions through manifest
partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall
apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged
with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

To hold a person liable under this section, the concurrence of the following elements must be
established beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution:
(1) that the accused is a public officer or a private person charged in conspiracy
with the former;
(2) that said public officer commits the prohibited acts during the performance of
his or her official duties or in relation to his or her public positions;
(3) that he or she causes undue injury to any party, whether the government or a
private party; and
(4) that the public officer has acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross
inexcusable negligence.
The solicitor general, in his manifestation, points out that undue injury requires proof of
actual injury or damage, citing our ruling in Alejandro vs. People and Jacinto vs.
Sandiganbayan. Inasmuch as complainant was actually paid all her claims, there was thus
no undue injury established.
This point is well-taken.
Unlike in actions for torts, undue injury in Sec. 3[e] cannot be presumed even after a
wrong or a violation of a right has been established. Its existence must be proven as one of
the elements of the crime. In fact, the causing of undue injury, or the giving of any
unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference through manifest partiality, evident bad
faith or gross inexcusable negligence constitutes the very act punished under this
section. Thus, it is required that the undue injury be specified, quantified and proven to the
point of moral certainty.
In jurisprudence, undue injury is consistently interpreted as actual damage. Undue has
been defined as more than necessary, not proper, [or] illegal; and injury as any wrong or
damage done to another, either in his person, rights, reputation or property[;] [that is, the]
invasion of any legally protected interest of another. Actual damage, in the context of these
definitions, is akin to that in civil law.
In turn, actual or compensatory damages is defined by Article 2199 of the Civil Code as
follows:
Art. 2199. Except as provided by law or by stipulation, one is entitled to an
adequate compensation only for such pecuniary loss suffered by him as he has
duly proved. Such compensation is referred to as actual or compensatory
damages.
Fundamental in the law on damages is that one injured by a breach of a contract, or by
a wrongful or negligent act or omission shall have a fair and just compensation
commensurate to the loss sustained as a consequence of the defendants act. Actual
pecuniary compensation is awarded as a general rule, except where the circumstances
warrant the allowance of other kinds of damages. Actual damages are primarily intended to
simply make good or replace the loss caused by the wrong.
Furthermore, damages must not only be capable of proof, but must be actually proven
with a reasonable degree of certainty. They cannot be based on flimsy and non-substantial
evidence or upon speculation, conjecture or guesswork. They cannot include speculative
damages which are too remote to be included in an accurate estimate of the loss or injury.
In this case, the complainant testified that her salary and allowance for the period beginning
July 1990 were withheld, and that her family underwent financial difficulty which resulted from the
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

delay in the satisfaction of her claims. As regards her money claim, payment of her salaries from
January 1991 until November 19, 1991 was evidenced by the Sheriffs Return dated November 19,
1991 (Exh. D). She also admitted having been issued a check on January 4, 1994 to cover her
salary from June 1 to June 30, 1990; her salary differential from July 1, 1989 to April 30, 1990; her
thirteenth-month pay; her cash gift; and her clothing allowances.
Respondent Court found that all her monetary claims were satisfied. After she fully
received her monetary claims, there is no longer any basis for compensatory damages or
undue injury, there being nothing more to compensate.
Complainant’s testimony regarding her family’s financial stress was inadequate and
largely speculative. Without giving specific details, she made only vague references to the
fact that her four children were all going to school and that she was the breadwinner in the
family. She, however, did not say that she was unable to pay their tuition fees and the
specific damage brought by such nonpayment. The fact that the injury to her family was
unspecified or unquantified does not satisfy the element of undue injury, as akin to actual
damages. As in civil cases, actual damages, if not supported by evidence on record, cannot
be considered.
Other than the amount of the withheld salaries and allowances which were eventually
received, the prosecution failed to specify and to prove any other loss or damage sustained
by the complainant. Respondent Court insists that complainant suffered by reason of the
long period of time that her emoluments were withheld.
This inconvenience, however, is not constitutive of undue injury.
In Jacinto, this Court held that the injury suffered by the complaining witness, whose salary
was eventually released and whose position was restored in the plantilla, was negligible; undue
injury entails damages that are more than necessary or are excessive, improper or
illegal. In Alejandro, the Court held that the hospital employees were not caused undue injury, as
they were in fact paid their salaries.

Second Issue: No Evident Bad Faith

In the challenged Decision, Respondent Court found evident bad faith on the part of the
petitioner, holding that, without any valid or justifiable reason, accused withheld the
payment of complainant’s salaries and other benefits for almost two (2) years,
demonstrating a clear manifestation of bad faith.
Respondent Court cannot shift the blame on the petitioner, when it was the
complainant who failed to submit the required clearance. This requirement, which the
complainant disregarded, was even printed at the back of the very vouchers sought to be
approved. As assistant municipal treasurer, she ought to know that this is a condition for
the payment of her claims. This clearance is required by Article 443 of the Implementing
Rules and Regulations of the Local Government Code of 1991.
For her own failure to submit the required clearance, complainant is not entirely
blameless for the delay in the approval of her claims.
Also, given the lack of corresponding appropriation ordinance and certification of
availability of funds for such purpose, petitioner had the duty not to sign the vouchers. As
chief executive of the municipality Llorente could not have approved the voucher for the
payment of complainant’s salaries under Sec. 344, Local Government Code of 1991. The
petitioner’s failure to approve the complainant’s vouchers was therefore due to some legal
obstacles, and not entirely without reason. Thus, evident bad faith cannot be completely
imputed to him.
CIVIL LAW REVIEW I
Prepared by: Claudine Sumalinog (XU LAW-LLB)

Bad faith does not simply connote bad judgment or negligence; it imputes a dishonest
purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious doing of a wrong; a breach of sworn duty
through some motive or intent or ill will; it partakes of the nature of fraud. It contemplates a
state of mind affirmatively operating with furtive design or some motive of self-interest or ill
will for ulterior purposes. Evident bad faith connotes a manifest deliberate intent on the
part of the accused to do wrong or cause damage.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. Petitioner is ACQUITTED of violating


Section 3[e] of R.A. 3019, as amended. No costs.