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CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY.

BRONDIAL)

SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS GARCIA-QUIAZON v. QUIAZON


G.R. No. 189121 | July 31, 2013
Rules covered: Rule 73, 78, and 79 (and Marriages, FC)
RULE 73-90
*Similar ruling as the San Luis case re: residence and interested
parties (discussed here)
SAN LUIS v. SAN LUIS
G.R. No. 133743 | February 6, 2007 Viewed in light of the foregoing principles, the Court of Appeals
Rules covered: Rule 73, 78, and 79 (and Art. 26, FC) cannot be faulted for affirming the ruling of the RTC that the venue
for the settlement of the estate of Eliseo was properly laid in Las
Under Section 1, Rule 73 of the Rules of Court, the petition for letters Piñas City. It is evident from the records that during his lifetime, Eliseo
of administration of the estate of Felicisimo should be filed in the resided at No. 26 Everlasting Road, Phase 5, Pilar Village, Las Piñas
Regional Trial Court of the province "in which he resides at the time of City. For this reason, the venue for the settlement of his estate may be
his death." In the case of Garcia Fule v. Court of Appeals, we laid laid in the said city.
down the doctrinal rule for determining the residence – as
contradistinguished from domicile – of the decedent for purposes of An "interested party," in estate proceedings, is one who would be
fixing the venue of the settlement of his estate: benefited in the estate, such as an heir, or one who has a claim
against the estate, such as a creditor. Also, in estate proceedings, the
[T]he term "resides" connotes ex vi termini "actual residence" phrase "next of kin" refers to those whose relationship with the
as distinguished from "legal residence or domicile." This decedent Is such that they are entitled to share in the estate as
term "resides," like the terms "residing" and "residence," is distributees.
elastic and should be interpreted in the light of the object or
purpose of the statute or rule in which it is employed. In the In the instant case, Elise, as a compulsory heir who stands to be
application of venue statutes and rules – Section 1, Rule 73 benefited by the distribution of Eliseo’s estate, is deemed to be an
of the Revised Rules of Court is of such nature – residence interested party. With the overwhelming evidence on record
rather than domicile is the significant factor. Even where the produced by Elise to prove her filiation to Eliseo, the petitioners’
statute uses the word "domicile" still it is construed as pounding on her lack of interest in the administration of the
meaning residence and not domicile in the technical sense. decedent’s estate, is just a desperate attempt to sway this Court to
Some cases make a distinction between the terms reverse the findings of the Court of Appeals. Certainly, the right of
"residence" and "domicile" but as generally used in statutes Elise to be appointed administratix of the estate of Eliseo is on good
fixing venue, the terms are synonymous, and convey the grounds. It is founded on her right as a compulsory heir, who, under
same meaning as the term "inhabitant." In other words, the law, is entitled to her legitimate after the debts of the estate are
"resides" should be viewed or understood in its popular satisfied. Having a vested right in the distribution of Eliseo’s estate as
sense, meaning, the personal, actual or physical habitation one of his natural children, Elise can rightfully be considered as an
of a person, actual residence or place of abode. It signifies interested party within the purview of the law.
physical presence in a place and actual stay thereat. In this
popular sense, the term means merely residence, that is,
personal residence, not legal residence or domicile. AGTARAP v. AGTARAP
Residence simply requires bodily presence as an inhabitant G.R. No. 177099 | June 8, 2011
in a given place, while domicile requires bodily presence in Rules covered: Rule 73, 90, and Jurisdiction of Probate Court
that place and also an intention to make it one’s domicile.
No particular length of time of residence is required though; The general rule is that the jurisdiction of the trial court, either as a
however, the residence must be more than temporary. probate or an intestate court, relates only to matters having to do
(Emphasis supplied) with the probate of the will and/or settlement of the estate of
deceased persons, but does not extend to the determination of
questions of ownership that arise during the proceedings. The patent
It is incorrect for petitioners to argue that "residence," for purposes of rationale for this rule is that such court merely exercises special and
fixing the venue of the settlement of the estate of Felicisimo, is limited jurisdiction. As held in several cases, a probate court or one in
synonymous with "domicile." The rulings in Nuval and Romualdez are charge of estate proceedings, whether testate or intestate, cannot
inapplicable to the instant case because they involve election cases. adjudicate or determine title to properties claimed to be a part of
Needless to say, there is a distinction between "residence" for the estate and which are claimed to belong to outside parties, not by
purposes of election laws and "residence" for purposes of fixing the virtue of any right of inheritance from the deceased but by title
venue of actions. In election cases, "residence" and "domicile" are adverse to that of the deceased and his estate. All that the said court
treated as synonymous terms, that is, the fixed permanent residence to could do as regards said properties is to determine whether or not
which when absent, one has the intention of returning. However, for they should be included in the inventory of properties to be
purposes of fixing venue under the Rules of Court, the "residence" of a administered by the administrator. If there is no dispute, there poses
person is his personal, actual or physical habitation, or actual no problem, but if there is, then the parties, the administrator, and the
residence or place of abode, which may not necessarily be his legal opposing parties have to resort to an ordinary action before a court
residence or domicile provided he resides therein with continuity and exercising general jurisdiction for a final determination of the
consistency. Hence, it is possible that a person may have his residence conflicting claims of title.
in one place and domicile in another. In the instant case, while
petitioners established that Felicisimo was domiciled in Sta. Cruz, However, this general rule is subject to exceptions as justified by
Laguna, respondent proved that he also maintained a residence in expediency and convenience.
Alabang, Muntinlupa from 1982 up to the time of his death.
First, the probate court may provisionally pass upon in an intestate or
a testate proceeding the question of inclusion in, or exclusion from, the
inventory of a piece of property without prejudice to the final
determination of ownership in a separate action. Second, if the
interested parties are all heirs to the estate, or the question is one of
collation or advancement, or the parties consent to the assumption of
jurisdiction by the probate court and the rights of third parties are not
impaired, then the probate court is competent to resolve issues on
ownership. Verily, its jurisdiction extends to matters incidental or
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CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

collateral to the settlement and distribution of the estate, such as the SUNTAY III v. COJUANGCO-SUNTAY
determination of the status of each heir and whether the property in G.R. No. 183053 | October 10, 2012
the inventory is conjugal or exclusive property of the deceased Rules covered: Rule 78 and 82
spouse.
The general rule in the appointment of administrator of the estate of
We hold that the general rule does not apply to the instant case a decedent is laid down in Section 6, Rule 78 of the Rules of Court:
considering that the parties are all heirs of Joaquin and that no rights
of third parties will be impaired by the resolution of the ownership SEC. 6. When and to whom letters of administration granted.
issue. More importantly, the determination of whether the subject – If no executor is named in the will, or the executor or
properties are conjugal is but collateral to the probate court’s executors are incompetent, refuse the trust, or fail to give
jurisdiction to settle the estate of Joaquin. bond, or a person dies intestate, administration shall be
granted:
Section 2, Rule 73 of the Rules of Court provides that when the
marriage is dissolved by the death of the husband or the wife, the (a) To the surviving husband or wife, as the case may be, or
community property shall be inventoried, administered, and next of kin, or both, in the discretion of the court, or to such
liquidated, and the debts thereof paid; in the testate or intestate person as such surviving husband or wife, or next of kin,
proceedings of the deceased spouse, and if both spouses have died, requests to have appointed, if competent and willing to
the conjugal partnership shall be liquidated in the testate or intestate serve;
proceedings of either. Thus, the RTC had jurisdiction to determine
whether the properties are conjugal as it had to liquidate the conjugal (b) If such surviving husband or wife, as the case may be, or
partnership to determine the estate of the decedent. In fact, should next of kin, or the person selected by them, be incompetent
Joseph and Teresa institute a settlement proceeding for the intestate or unwilling, or if the husband or widow, or next of kin,
estate of Lucia, the same should be consolidated with the settlement neglects for thirty (30) days after the death of the person
proceedings of Joaquin, being Lucia’s spouse. Accordingly, the CA to apply for administration or to request that administration
correctly distributed the estate of Lucia, with respect to the properties be granted to some other person, it may be granted to one
covered by TCT Nos. 38254 and 38255 subject of this case, to her or more of the principal creditors, if competent and willing
compulsory heirs. to serve;

Neither can Sebastian’s claim that Joaquin’s estate could have (c) If there is not such creditor competent and willing to
already been settled in 1965 after the payment of the inheritance serve, it may be granted to such other person as the court
tax be upheld. Payment of the inheritance tax, per se, does not settle may select.
the estate of a deceased person. As provided in Section 1, Rule 90 of
the Rules of Court— Textually, the rule lists a sequence to be observed, an order of
preference, in the appointment of an administrator. This order of
SECTION 1. When order for distribution of residue made. -- preference, which categorically seeks out the surviving spouse, the
When the debts, funeral charges, and expenses of next of kin and the creditors in the appointment of an administrator,
administration, the allowance to the widow, and inheritance has been reinforced in jurisprudence.
tax, if any, chargeable to the estate in accordance with
law, have been paid, the court, on the application of the The paramount consideration in the appointment of an administrator
executor or administrator, or of a person interested in the over the estate of a decedent is the prospective administrator’s
estate, and after hearing upon notice, shall assign the interest in the estate. This is the same consideration which Section 6,
residue of the estate to the persons entitled to the same, Rule 78 takes into account in establishing the order of preference in
naming them and the proportions, or parts, to which each is the appointment of administrator for the estate. The rationale behind
entitled, and such persons may demand and recover their the rule is that those who will reap the benefit of a wise, speedy and
respective shares from the executor or administrator, or any economical administration of the estate, or, in the alternative, suffer
other person having the same in his possession. If there is a the consequences of waste, improvidence or mismanagement, have
controversy before the court as to who are the lawful heirs the highest interest and most influential motive to administer the estate
of the deceased person or as to the distributive share to correctly. In all, given that the rule speaks of an order of preference,
which each person is entitled under the law, the controversy the person to be appointed administrator of a decedent’s estate must
shall be heard and decided as in ordinary cases. demonstrate not only an interest in the estate, but an interest therein
greater than any other candidate.
No distribution shall be allowed until the payment of the obligations
above mentioned has been made or provided for, unless the The collected teaching is that mere demonstration of interest in the
distributees, or any of them, give a bond, in a sum to be fixed by the estate to be settled does not ipso facto entitle an interested person to
court, conditioned for the payment of said obligations within such time co-administration thereof. Neither does squabbling among the heirs
as the court directs. nor adverse interests necessitate the discounting of the order of
preference set forth in Section 6, Rule 78. Indeed, in the appointment
Thus, an estate is settled and distributed among the heirs only after of administrator of the estate of a deceased person, the principal
the payment of the debts of the estate, funeral charges, expenses of consideration reckoned with is the interest in said estate of the one to
administration, allowance to the widow, and inheritance tax. The be appointed as administrator. Given Isabel’s unassailable interest in
records of these cases do not show that these were complied with in the estate as one of the decedent’s legitimate grandchildren and
1965. undoubted nearest "next of kin," the appointment of Emilio III as co-
administrator of the same estate, cannot be a demandable right. It is
Pursuant to Section 1, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court, as cited above, a matter left entirely to the sound discretion of the Court and
the RTC was specifically granted jurisdiction to determine who are the depends on the facts and the attendant circumstances of the case.
lawful heirs of Joaquin, as well as their respective shares after the
payment of the obligations of the estate, as enumerated in the said
provision. The inclusion of Lucia, Jesus, Jose, Mercedes, and Gloria in
the distribution of the shares was merely a necessary consequence of
the settlement of Joaquin’s estate, they being his legal heirs.

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CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

LEE & AGGABAO v. RTC OF QUEZON CITY, BRANCH 85 that during the liquidation of the conjugal partnership, the deceased's
G.R. No. 146006 | February 23, 2004 legitimate spouse and children, regardless of their age, civil status or
Rules covered: Rule 89 and Art. 533, NCC gainful employment, are entitled to provisional support from the funds
of the estate. The law is rooted on the fact that the right and duty to
An heir can sell his right, interest, or participation in the property support, especially the right to education, subsist even beyond the
under administration under Art. 533 of the Civil Code which provides age of majority.
that possession of hereditary property is deemed transmitted to the
heir without interruption from the moment of death of the decedent. Be that as it may, grandchildren are not entitled to provisional
However, an heir can only alienate such portion of the estate that may support from the funds of the decedent's estate. The law clearly limits
be allotted to him in the division of the estate by the probate or the allowance to "widow and children" and does not extend it to the
intestate court after final adjudication, that is, after all debtors shall deceased's grandchildren, regardless of their minority or incapacity.
have been paid or the devisees or legatees shall have been given It was error, therefore, for the appellate court to sustain the probate
their shares. This means that an heir may only sell his ideal or court's order granting an allowance to the grandchildren of the
undivided share in the estate, not any specific property therein. In the testator pending settlement of his estate.
present case, Juliana Ortañez and Jose Ortañez sold specific
properties of the estate (1,014 and 1,011 shares of stock in An order releasing titles to properties of the estate amounts to an
Philinterlife) in favor of petitioner FLAG. This they could not lawfully advance distribution of the estate which is allowed only under the
do pending the final adjudication of the estate by the intestate court following conditions:
because of the undue prejudice it would cause the other claimants to
the estate, as what happened in the present case. Sec. 2. Advance distribution in special proceedings. —
Nothwithstanding a pending controversy or appeal in
Juliana Ortañez and Jose Ortañez sold specific properties of the proceedings to settle the estate of a decedent, the court
estate, without court approval. It is well-settled that court approval is may, in its discretion and upon such terms as it may deem
necessary for the validity of any disposition of the decedent’s estate. proper and just, permit that such part of the estate as may
In the early case of Godoy vs. Orellano, we laid down the rule that the not be affected by the controversy or appeal be
sale of the property of the estate by an administrator without the distributed among the heirs or legatees, upon compliance
order of the probate court is void and passes no title to the purchaser. with the conditions set forth in Rule 90 of these Rules.

There is hardly any doubt that the probate court can declare null and And Rule 90 provides that:
void the disposition of the property under administration, made by
private respondent, the same having been effected without authority Sec. 1. When order for distribution of residue made. —
from said court. It is the probate court that has the power to authorize When the debts, funeral charges, and expenses of
and/or approve the sale (Section 4 and 7, Rule 89), hence, a fortiori, administration the allowance to the widow, and inheritance
it is said court that can declare it null and void for as long as the tax if any, chargeable to the estate in accordance with law,
proceedings had not been closed or terminated. have been paid, the court, on the application of the
executor or administrator, or of a person interested in the
Our jurisprudence is therefore clear that (1) any disposition of estate estate, and after hearing upon notice shall assign the
property by an administrator or prospective heir pending final residue of the estate to the persons entitled to the same,
adjudication requires court approval and (2) any unauthorized naming them and the proportions or parts, to which each is
disposition of estate property can be annulled by the probate court, entitled, and such persons may demand and recover their
there being no need for a separate action to annul the unauthorized respective shares from the executor or administrator, or any
disposition. other person having the same in his possession. If there is a
controversy before the court as to who are the lawful heirs
The question now is: can the intestate or probate court execute its of the deceased person or as to the distributive shares to
order nullifying the invalid sale? We see no reason why it cannot. The which each person is entitled under the law, the controversy
intestate court has the power to execute its order with regard to the shall be heard and decided as in ordinary cases.
nullity of an unauthorized sale of estate property, otherwise its power
to annul the unauthorized or fraudulent disposition of estate property No distribution shall be allowed until the payment of the
would be meaningless. In other words, enforcement is a necessary obligations above-mentioned has been made or provided
adjunct of the intestate or probate court’s power to annul for, unless the distributees, or any of them, give a bond, in a
unauthorized or fraudulent transactions to prevent the dissipation of sum to be fixed by the court, conditioned for the payment
estate property before final adjudication. of said obligations within such time as the court directs.

In settlement of estate proceedings, the distribution of the estate


HEIRS OF HILARIO RUIZ v. RUIZ properties can only be made: (1) after all the debts, funeral charges,
G.R. No. 208828-29 | August 13, 2014 expenses of administration, allowance to the widow, and estate tax
Rules covered: Rule 83, 84, and 90 (and Art. 188, NCC) have been paid; or (2) before payment of said obligations only if the
distributees or any of them gives a bond in a sum fixed by the court
On the matter of allowance, Section 3 of Rule 83 of the Revised Rules conditioned upon the payment of said obligations within such time as
of Court provides: the court directs, or when provision is made to meet those obligations.

Sec. 3. Allowance to widow and family. — The widow and In the case at bar, the probate court ordered the release of the titles
minor or incapacitated children of a deceased person, to the Valle Verde property and the Blue Ridge apartments to the
during the settlement of the estate, shall receive therefrom private respondents after the lapse of six months from the date of
under the direction of the court, such allowance as are first publication of the notice to creditors. The questioned order
provided by law. speaks of "notice" to creditors, not payment of debts and obligations.
Hilario Ruiz allegedly left no debts when he died but the taxes on his
It is settled that allowances for support under Section 3 of Rule 83 estate had not hitherto been paid, much less ascertained. The estate
should not be limited to the "minor or incapacitated" children of the tax is one of those obligations that must be paid before distribution
deceased. Article 188 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, the of the estate. If not yet paid, the rule requires that the distributees
substantive law in force at the time of the testator's death, provides post a bond or make such provisions as to meet the said tax
obligation in proportion to their respective shares in the inheritance.

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CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

Notably, at the time the order was issued the properties of the estate preceding paragraph in favor of Edmund and Florence, my
had not yet been inventoried and appraised. children.”

Still and all, petitioner cannot correctly claim that the assailed order [T]he above-quoted is an all-encompassing provision embracing all
deprived him of his right to take possession of all the real and the properties left by the decedent which might have escaped his
personal properties of the estate. The right of an executor or mind at that time he was making his will, and other properties he may
administrator to the possession and management of the real and acquire thereafter. Included therein are the three (3) subject tractors.
personal properties of the deceased is not absolute and can only be This being so, any partition involving the said tractors among the heirs
exercised "so long as it is necessary for the payment of the debts and is not valid. The joint agreement executed by Edmund and Florence,
expenses of administration," Section 3 of Rule 84 of the Revised Rules partitioning the tractors among themselves, is invalid, specially so
of Court explicitly provides: since at the time of its execution, there was already a pending
proceeding for the probate of their late father’s holographic will
Sec. 3. Executor or administrator to retain whole estate to covering the said tractors.
pay debts, and to administer estate not willed. — An
executor or administrator shall have the right to the It must be stressed that the probate proceeding had already
possession and management of the real as well as the acquired jurisdiction over all the properties of the deceased, including
personal estate of the deceased so long as it is necessary the three (3) tractors. To dispose of them in any way without the
for the payment of the debts and expenses for probate court’s approval is tantamount to divesting it with jurisdiction
administration. which the Court cannot allow. Every act intended to put an end to
indivision among co-heirs and legatees or devisees is deemed to be a
It was relevantly noted by the probate court that petitioner had partition, although it should purport to be a sale, an exchange, a
deposited with it only a portion of the one-year rental income from compromise, or any other transaction. Thus, in executing any joint
the Valle Verde property. Petitioner did not deposit its succeeding agreement which appears to be in the nature of an extra-judicial
rents after renewal of the lease. Neither did he render an accounting partition, court approval is imperative, and the heirs cannot just divest
of such funds. the court of its jurisdiction over that part of the estate. Moreover, it is
within the jurisdiction of the probate court to determine the identity of
Petitioner must be reminded that his right of ownership over the the heirs of the decedent. In the instant case, there is no showing that
properties of his father is merely inchoate as long as the estate has the signatories in the joint agreement were the only heirs of the
not been fully settled and partitioned. As executor, he is a mere decedent. When it was executed, the probate of the will was still
trustee of his father's estate. The funds of the estate in his hands are pending before the court and the latter had yet to determine who the
trust funds and he is held to the duties and responsibilities of a trustee heirs of the decedent were. Thus, for Edmund and respondent
of the highest order. He cannot unilaterally assign to himself and Florence S. Ariola to adjudicate unto themselves the three (3) tractors
possess all his parents' properties and the fruits thereof without first was a premature act, and prejudicial to the other possible heirs and
submitting an inventory and appraisal of all real and personal creditors who may have a valid claim against the estate of the
properties of the deceased, rendering a true account of his deceased.
administration, the expenses of administration, the amount of the
obligations and estate tax, all of which are subject to a determination Perusing the joint agreement, it provides that the heirs as parties
by the court as to their veracity, propriety and justness. thereto "have agreed to divide between themselves and take
possession and use the above-described chattel and each of them to
assume the indebtedness corresponding to the chattel taken as herein
UNIONBANK v. SANTIBAÑEZ after stated which is in favor of First Countryside Credit Corp." The
G.R. No. 149926 | February 23, 2005 assumption of liability was conditioned upon the happening of an
Rules covered: Rule 86 and Jurisdiction of Probate Court event, that is, that each heir shall take possession and use of their
respective share under the agreement. It was made dependent on the
At the outset, well-settled is the rule that a probate court has the validity of the partition, and that they were to assume the
jurisdiction to determine all the properties of the deceased, to indebtedness corresponding to the chattel that they were each to
determine whether they should or should not be included in the receive. The partition being invalid as earlier discussed, the heirs in
inventory or list of properties to be administered. The said court is effect did not receive any such tractor. It follows then that the
primarily concerned with the administration, liquidation and assumption of liability cannot be given any force and effect.
distribution of the estate.
The Court notes that the loan was contracted by the decedent. The
In our jurisdiction, the rule is that there can be no valid partition petitioner, purportedly a creditor of the late Efraim Santibañez,
among the heirs until after the will has been probated: should have thus filed its money claim with the probate court in
accordance with Section 5, Rule 86 of the Revised Rules of Court,
“In testate succession, there can be no valid partition among which provides:
the heirs until after the will has been probated. The law
enjoins the probate of a will and the public requires it, Section 5. Claims which must be filed under the notice. If not
because unless a will is probated and notice thereof given filed barred; exceptions. — All claims for money against the
to the whole world, the right of a person to dispose of his decedent, arising from contract, express or implied, whether
property by will may be rendered nugatory. The the same be due, not due, or contingent, all claims for
authentication of a will decides no other question than such funeral expenses for the last sickness of the decedent, and
as touch upon the capacity of the testator and the judgment for money against the decedent, must be filed
compliance with those requirements or solemnities which the within the time limited in the notice; otherwise they are
law prescribes for the validity of a will. barred forever, except that they may be set forth as
counterclaims in any action that the executor or
This, of course, presupposes that the properties to be partitioned are administrator may bring against the claimants. Where an
the same properties embraced in the will. In the present case, the executor or administrator commences an action, or
deceased left a holographic will which contained, inter alia, the prosecutes an action already commenced by the deceased
provision which reads as follows: in his lifetime, the debtor may set forth by answer the
claims he has against the decedent, instead of presenting
“(e) All other properties, real or personal, which I own and them independently to the court as herein provided, and
may be discovered later after my demise, shall be mutual claims may be set off against each other in such
distributed in the proportion indicated in the immediately action; and if final judgment is rendered in favor of the

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CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

defendant, the amount so determined shall be considered As the foregoing generally speaks of "a creditor holding a claim
the true balance against the estate, as though the claim had against the deceased secured by a mortgage or other collateral
been presented directly before the court in the security" as above-highlighted, it may be reasonably concluded that
administration proceedings. Claims not yet due, or the aforementioned section covers all secured claims, whether by
contingent, may be approved at their present value. mortgage or any other form of collateral, which a creditor may
enforce against the estate of the deceased debtor. On the contrary,
The filing of a money claim against the decedent’s estate in the nowhere from its language can it be fairly deducible that the said
probate court is mandatory. As we held in the vintage case of Py Eng section would – as the CA interpreted – narrowly apply only to
Chong v. Herrera: mortgages made by the administrator over any property belonging
to the estate of the decedent. To note, mortgages of estate property
This requirement is for the purpose of protecting the estate executed by the administrator, are also governed by Rule 89 of the
of the deceased by informing the executor or administrator Rules, captioned as "Sales, Mortgages, and Other Encumbrances of
of the claims against it, thus enabling him to examine each Property of Decedent."
claim and to determine whether it is a proper one which
should be allowed. The plain and obvious design of the rule [T]he CA’s reliance on Philippine National Bank v. CA was misplaced
is the speedy settlement of the affairs of the deceased and as the said case did not, in any manner, limit the scope of Section 7,
the early delivery of the property to the distributees, Rule 86. It only stated that the aforesaid section equally applies to
legatees, or heirs. `The law strictly requires the prompt cases where the administrator mortgages the property of the estate
presentation and disposition of the claims against the to secure the loan he obtained. Clearly, the pronouncement was a
decedent's estate in order to settle the affairs of the estate ruling of inclusion and not one which created a distinction. It cannot,
as soon as possible, pay off its debts and distribute the therefore, be doubted that it is Section 7, Rule 86 which remains
residue. applicable in dealing with a creditor’s claim against the mortgaged
property of the deceased debtor, as in this case, as well as
Perusing the records of the case, nothing therein could hold private mortgages made by the administrator, as that in the PNB case.
respondent Florence S. Ariola accountable for any liability incurred
by her late father. The documentary evidence presented, particularly Jurisprudence breaks down the rule under Section 7, Rule 86 and
the promissory notes and the continuing guaranty agreement, were explains that the secured creditor has three remedies/options that he
executed and signed only by the late Efraim Santibañez and his son may alternatively adopt for the satisfaction of his indebtedness. In
Edmund. As the petitioner failed to file its money claim with the particular, he may choose to: (a) waive the mortgage and claim the
probate court, at most, it may only go after Edmund as co-maker of entire debt from the estate of the mortgagor as an ordinary claim;
the decedent under the said promissory notes and continuing (b) foreclose the mortgage judicially and prove the deficiency as an
guaranty, of course, subject to any defenses Edmund may have as ordinary claim; and (c) rely on the mortgage exclusively, or other
against the petitioner. As the court had not acquired jurisdiction over security and foreclose the same before it is barred by prescription,
the person of Edmund, we find it unnecessary to delve into the matter without the right to file a claim for any deficiency. It must, however,
further. be emphasized that these remedies are distinct, independent and
mutually exclusive from each other; thus, the election of one
effectively bars the exercise of the others. With respect to real
HEIRS OF MAGLASANG v. MANILA BANKING CORPORATION properties, the Court in Bank of America v. American Realty
G.R. No. 171206 | September 23, 2013 Corporation pronounced:
Rules covered: Rule 86 and 89
In our jurisdiction, the remedies available to the mortgage
Claims against deceased persons should be filed during the settlement creditor are deemed alternative and not cumulative.
proceedings of their estate. Such proceedings are primarily governed Notably, an election of one remedy operates as a waiver
by special rules found under Rules 73 to 90 of the Rules, although of the other. For this purpose, a remedy is deemed chosen
rules governing ordinary actions may, as far as practicable, apply upon the filing of the suit for collection or upon the filing of
suppletorily. Among these special rules, Section 7, Rule 86 of the Rules the complaint in an action for foreclosure of mortgage,
(Section 7, Rule 86) provides the rule in dealing with secured claims pursuant to the provision of Rule 68 of the 1997 Rules of
against the estate: Civil Procedure. As to extrajudicial foreclosure, such remedy
is deemed elected by the mortgage creditor upon filing of
SEC. 7. Mortgage debt due from estate. – A creditor holding the petition not with any court of justice but with the Office
a claim against the deceased secured by a mortgage or of the Sheriff of the province where the sale is to be made,
other collateral security, may abandon the security and in accordance with the provisions of Act No. 3135, as
prosecute his claim in the manner provided in this rule, and amended by Act No.4118.
share in the general distribution of the assets of the estate;
or he may foreclose his mortgage or realize upon his
security, by action in court, making the executor or PILAPIL v. HEIRS OF BRIONES
administrator a party defendant, and if there is a judgment G.R. No. 150175 | February 5, 2007
for a deficiency, after the sale of the mortgaged premises, Rules covered: Settlement of estate, nature; Publication
or the property pledged, in the foreclosure or other
proceeding to realize upon the security, he may claim his While it is true that since the CFI was not informed that Maximino still
deficiency judgment in the manner provided in the had surviving siblings and so the court was not able to order that
preceding section; or he may rely upon his mortgage or these siblings be given personal notices of the intestate proceedings, it
other security alone, and foreclose the same at any time should be borne in mind that the settlement of estate, whether testate
within the period of the statute of limitations, and in that or intestate, is a proceeding in rem, and that the publication in the
event he shall not be admitted as a creditor, and shall newspapers of the filing of the application and of the date set for the
receive no share in the distribution of the other assets of the hearing of the same, in the manner prescribed by law, is a notice to
estate; but nothing herein contained shall prohibit the the whole world of the existence of the proceedings and of the
executor or administrator from redeeming the property hearing on the date and time indicated in the publication. The
mortgaged or pledged, by paying the debt for which it is publication requirement of the notice in newspapers is precisely for
held as security, under the direction of the court, if the court the purpose of informing all interested parties in the estate of the
shall adjudged it to be for the best interest of the estate deceased of the existence of the settlement proceedings, most
that such redemption shall be made. especially those who were not named as heirs or creditors in the

5
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

petition, regardless of whether such omission was voluntarily or the Deed of Sale With Mortgage dated November 21, 1994, Lot 11
involuntarily made. is still deemed to be "in litigation" subject to the operation of Article
1491 (5) of the Civil Code.
This Court cannot stress enough that the CFI Order was the result of
the intestate proceedings instituted by Donata before the trial court. This notwithstanding, we hold that the sale of Lot 11 in favor of
As this Court pointed out in its earlier Decision, the manner by which respondent did not violate the rule on disqualification to purchase
the CFI judge conducted the proceedings enjoys the presumption of property because Sp. Proc. No. 1672 was then pending before
regularity, and encompassed in such presumption is the order of another court (RTC) and not MTCC where he was Clerk of Court.
publication of the notice of the intestate proceedings. A review of the
records fails to show any allegation or concrete proof that the CFI
also failed to order the publication in newspapers of the notice of the ARANAS v. MERCADO
intestate proceedings and to require proof from Donata of G.R. No. 156407 | January 15, 2014
compliance therewith. Neither can this Court find any reason or Rules covered: Rule 78 and 83
explanation as to why Maximino’s siblings could have missed the
published notice of the intestate proceedings of their brother. *Issue on jurisdiction of probate court to pass upon issue of ownership:
See Agtarap case above discussed.

SABIDONG v. SOLAS Under Section 6(a), Rule 78 of the Rules of Court, the letters of
A.M. No. P-01-1448 | June 25, 2013 administration may be granted at the discretion of the court to the
Rules covered: Art. 1491, NCC; Properties in litigation surviving spouse, who is competent and willing to serve when the
person dies intestate. Upon issuing the letters of administration to the
Article 1491, paragraph 5 of the Civil Code prohibits court officers surviving spouse, the RTC becomes duty-bound to direct the
such as clerks of court from acquiring property involved in litigation preparation and submission of the inventory of the properties of the
within the jurisdiction or territory of their courts. Said provision reads: estate, and the surviving spouse, as the administrator, has the duty
and responsibility to submit the inventory within three months from the
Article 1491. The following persons cannot acquire by issuance of letters of administration pursuant to Rule 83 of the Rules
purchase, even at a public or judicial auction, either in of Court, viz:
person or through the mediation of another: x x x
SEC. 1. Inventory and appraisal to be returned within three
(5) Justices, judges, prosecuting attorneys, clerks of superior months. – Within three (3) months after his appointment
and inferior courts, and other officers and employees every executor or administrator shall return to the court a
connected with the administration of justice, the property true inventory and appraisal of all the real and personal
and rights in litigation or levied upon an execution before estate of the deceased which has come into his possession
the court within whose jurisdiction or territory they exercise or knowledge. In the appraisement of such estate, the court
their respective functions; this prohibition includes the act of may order one or more of the inheritance tax appraisers to
acquiring by assignment and shall apply to lawyers, with give his or their assistance.
respect to the property and rights which may be the object
of any litigation in which they may take part by virtue of The usage of the word all in Section 1, supra, demands the inclusion
their profession. of all the real and personal properties of the decedent in the
inventory. However, the word all is qualified by the phrase which has
The rationale advanced for the prohibition is that public policy come into his possession or knowledge, which signifies that the
disallows the transactions in view of the fiduciary relationship properties must be known to the administrator to belong to the
involved, i.e., the relation of trust and confidence and the peculiar decedent or are in her possession as the administrator. Section 1
control exercised by these persons. In so providing, the Code tends to allows no exception, for the phrase true inventory implies that no
prevent fraud, or more precisely, tends not to give occasion for fraud, properties appearing to belong to the decedent can be excluded
which is what can and must be done. from the inventory, regardless of their being in the possession of
another person or entity.
For the prohibition to apply, the sale or assignment of the property
must take place during the pendency of the litigation involving the The objective of the Rules of Court in requiring the inventory and
property. Where the property is acquired after the termination of the appraisal of the estate of the decedent is "to aid the court in revising
case, no violation of paragraph 5, Article 1491 of the Civil Code the accounts and determining the liabilities of the executor or the
attaches. administrator, and in making a final and equitable distribution
(partition) of the estate and otherwise to facilitate the administration
In the case at bar, when respondent purchased Lot 11-A on November of the estate." Hence, the RTC that presides over the administration of
21, 1994, the Decision in Civil Case No. 14706 which was an estate is vested with wide discretion on the question of what
promulgated on May 31, 1983 had long become final. Be that as it properties should be included in the inventory. According to Peralta v.
may, it can not be said that the property is no longer "in litigation" at Peralta, the CA cannot impose its judgment in order to supplant that of
that time considering that it was part of the Hodges Estate then under the RTC on the issue of which properties are to be included or
settlement proceedings (Sp. Proc. No. 1672). excluded from the inventory in the absence of "positive abuse of
discretion," for in the administration of the estates of deceased
A thing is said to be in litigation not only if there is some contest or persons, "the judges enjoy ample discretionary powers and the
litigation over it in court, but also from the moment that it becomes appellate courts should not interfere with or attempt to replace the
subject to the judicial action of the judge. A property forming part of action taken by them, unless it be shown that there has been a
the estate under judicial settlement continues to be subject of litigation positive abuse of discretion." As long as the RTC commits no patently
until the probate court issues an order declaring the estate grave abuse of discretion, its orders must be respected as part of the
proceedings closed and terminated. The rule is that as long as the regular performance of its judicial duty.
order for the distribution of the estate has not been complied with, the
probate proceedings cannot be deemed closed and terminated. The There is no dispute that the jurisdiction of the trial court as an intestate
probate court loses jurisdiction of an estate under administration only court is special and limited. The trial court cannot adjudicate title to
after the payment of all the debts and the remaining estate delivered properties claimed to be a part of the estate but are claimed to
to the heirs entitled to receive the same. Since there is no evidence to belong to third parties by title adverse to that of the decedent and
show that Sp. Proc. No. 1672 in the RTC of Iloilo, Branch 27, had the estate, not by virtue of any right of inheritance from the decedent.
already been closed and terminated at the time of the execution of All that the trial court can do regarding said properties is to
6
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

determine whether or not they should be included in the inventory of


properties to be administered by the administrator. Such Section 1. Extrajudicial settlement by agreement between
determination is provisional and may be still revised. As the Court heirs. – If the decedent left no will and no debts and the
said in Agtarap v. Agtarap: heirs are all of age5 or the minors are represented by their
judicial or legal representatives duly authorized for the
The general rule is that the jurisdiction of the trial court, purpose, the parties may without securing letters of
either as a probate court or an intestate court, relates only administration, divide the estate among themselves as they
to matters having to do with the probate of the will and/or see fit by means of a public instrument filed in the office of
settlement of the estate of deceased persons, but does not the register of deeds, and should they disagree, they may
extend to the determination of questions of ownership that do so in an ordinary action of partition. If there is only one
arise during the proceedings. The patent rationale for this heir, he may adjudicate to himself the entire estate by
rule is that such court merely exercises special and limited means of an affidavit filled in the office of the register of
jurisdiction. deeds. The parties to an Extrajudicial settlement, whether
by public instrument or by stipulation in a pending action
However, this general rule is subject to exceptions as justified by for partition, or the sole heir who adjudicates the entire
expediency and convenience. estate to himself by means of an affidavit shall file,
simultaneously with and as a condition precedent to the
First, the probate court may provisionally pass upon in an intestate or filing of the public instrument, or stipulation in the action for
a testate proceeding the question of inclusion in, or exclusion from, the partition, or of the affidavit in the office of the register of
inventory of a piece of property without prejudice to final deeds, a bond with the said register of deeds, in an amount
determination of ownership in a separate action. Second, if the equivalent to the value of the personal property involved
interested parties are all heirs to the estate, or the question is one of as certified to under oath by the parties concerned and
collation or advancement, or the parties consent to the assumption of conditioned upon the payment of any just claim that may be
jurisdiction by the probate court and the rights of third parties are not filed under section 4 of this rule. It shall be presumed that
impaired, then the probate court is competent to resolve issues on the decedent left no debts if no creditor files a petition for
ownership. Verily, its jurisdiction extends to matters incidental or letters of administration within two (2) years after the death
collateral to the settlement and distribution of the estate, such as the of the decedent.
determination of the status of each heir and whether the property in
the inventory is conjugal or exclusive property of the deceased The fact of the Extrajudicial settlement or administration
spouse. shall be Published in a newspaper of general circulation in
the manner provided in the next succeeding section; but no
Extrajudicial settlement shall be binding upon any person
SILVERIO, SR. v. SILVERIO, JR. who has not participated therein or had no notice thereof.
G.R. No. 208828-29 | August 13, 2014
Rules covered: Rule 89; Authority to nullify sale of property of estate It must be recalled that the general rule is that when a person dies
intestate, or, if testate, failed to name an executor in his will or the
*Rationale and complete explanation is provided for in the Lee case executor o named is incompetent, or refuses the trust, or fails to
above. furnish the bond equipped by the Rules of Court, then the decedent's
estate shall be judicially administered and the competent court shall
At the outset, we emphasize that the probate court having jurisdiction appoint a qualified administrator the order established in Section 6
over properties under administration has the authority not only to of Rule 78 of the Rules of Court. An exception to this rule, however, is
approve any disposition or conveyance, but also to annul an found in the aforequoted Section 1 of Rule 74 wherein the heirs of a
unauthorized sale by the prospective heirs or administrator. decedent, who left no will and no debts due from is estate, may
divide the estate either extrajudicially or in an ordinary action or
It being settled that property under administration needs the partition without submitting the same for judicial administration nor
approval of the probate court before it can be disposed of, any applying for the appointment of an administrator by the court. The
unauthorized disposition does not bind the estate and is null and void. reason is that where the deceased dies without pending obligations,
As early as 1921 in the case of Godoy vs. Orellano, We laid down there is no necessity for the appointment of an administrator to
the rule that a sale by an administrator of property of the deceased, administer the estate for them and to deprive the real owners of their
which is not authorized by the probate court is null and void and title possession to which they are immediately entitled.
does not pass to the purchaser.
In this case, it was expressly alleged in the complaint, and was not
In this case, the sale of the subject properties was executed by disputed, that Pedro died without a will, leaving his estate without
respondent Silverio, Jr. with prior approval of the intestate court any ending obligations. Thus, contrary to petitioner’s contention,
under its Omnibus Order dated October 31, 2006. Subsequently, respondents were under no legal obligation to submit the subject
however, the sale was annulled by the said court on motion by properties of the estate of a special proceeding for settlement of
petitioner. intestate estate, and are, in fact, encouraged to have the same
partitioned, judicially or extrajudicially.

BUTIONG v. PLAZO Section 1, Rule 74 of the Revised Rules of Court, however,


G.R. No. 187524 | August 5, 2015 does not preclude the heirs from instituting administration
Rules covered: Rule 74 proceedings, even if the estate has no· debts or obligations,
if they do not desire to resort for good reasons to an
Petitioner is mistaken. It is true that some of respondents' causes of ordinary action for partition. While Section 1 allows the
action pertaining to the properties left behind by the decedent Pedro, heirs to divide the estate among themselves as they may
his known heirs, and the nature and extent of their interests thereon see fit, qr. to resort to an ordinary action for partition, the
may fall under an action for settlement of estate. However, a said provision does not compel them to do so if they have
complete reading of the complaint would readily show that, based on good reasons to take a different course of action. It should
the nature of the suit, the allegations therein, and the relief’s prayed be noted that recourse to an administration proceeding
for, the action, is clearly one for judicial partition with annulment of even if the estate has no debts is sanctioned only if the heirs
title and recovery of possession. have good reasons for not resorting to an action for
partition. Where partition is possible, either in or out of
Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court provides: court, the estate should not be burdened with an
7
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

administration proceeding without good and compelling


reasons.

Thus, it has been repeatedly held that when a person dies


without leaving pending obligations to be paid, his heirs,
whether of age or not, are not bound to submit the property
to a judicial administration, which is always long and costly,
or to apply for the appointment of an administrator by the
Court. It has been uniformly held that in such case the
judicial administration and the appointment of an
administrator are superfluous and unnecessary proceedings.

Thus, respondents committed no error in. filing an action for judicial


partition instead of a special proceeding for the settlement of estate
as law expressly permits the same. That the complaint contained
allegations inherent in an action for settlement of estate does not
mean that there was a prohibited joined of causes of action for
questions as to the estate's properties as well as a determination of
the heirs, their status as such, and the nature and extent of their title to
the estate, may also be properly ventilated in partition proceedings
alone. In fact, a complete inventory of the estate may likewise be
done during the partition proceedings, especially since the estate has
no debts. Indeed, where the more expeditious remedy of partition is
available to the heirs, then they may not be compelled to submit to
administration proceedings, dispensing of the risks of delay and of the
properties being dissipated

8
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

RULE 91 like what transpired in this case. Clearly, it is not within the
competence of any citizen to barter away what public
ALVARICO v. SOLA policy by law seeks to preserve.
G.R. No. 138953 | June 6, 2002
Rules covered: Sec. 101 of Public Land Act In Republic v. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. ), This court also discussed the
policy behind the five-year prohibitory period:
Even assuming that respondent Amelita Sola acquired title to the
disputed property in bad faith, only the State can institute reversion It is well-known that the homestead laws were designed to
proceedings under Sec. 101 of the Public Land Act. Thus: distribute disposable agricultural lots of the State to land-
destitute citizens for their home and cultivation. Pursuant to
Sec. 101.—All actions for reversion to the Government of such benevolent intention the State prohibits the sale or
lands of the public domain or improvements thereon shall be encumbrance of the homestead (Section 116 within five
instituted by the Solicitor General or the officer acting in his years after the grant of the patent. After that five-year
stead, in the proper courts, in the name of the Republic of period the law impliedly permits alienation of the
the Philippines. homestead; but in line with the primordial purpose to favor
the homesteader and his family the statute provides that
In other words, a private individual may not bring an action for such alienation or conveyance (Section 117) shall be subject
reversion or any action which would have the effect of canceling a to the right of repurchase by the homesteader, his widow or
free patent and the corresponding certificate of title issued on the heirs within five years. This section 117 is undoubtedly a
basis thereof, such that the land covered thereby will again form part complement of Section 116. It aims to preserve and keep in
of the public domain. Only the Solicitor General or the officer acting the family of the homesteader that portion of public land
in his stead may do so. Since Amelita Sola's title originated from a which the State had gratuitously given to him. It would,
grant by the government, its cancellation is a matter between the therefore, be in keeping with this fundamental idea to hold,
grantor and the grantee. Clearly then, petitioner has no standing at as we hold, that the right to repurchase exists not only when
all to question the validity of Amelita's title. It follows that he cannot the original homesteader makes the conveyance, but also
"recover" the property because, to begin with, he has not shown that when it is made by his widow or heirs. This construction is
he is the rightful owner thereof. clearly deducible from the terms of the statute.

The effect of violating the five-year prohibitory period is provided


MALTOS v. HEIRS OF BORROMEO under Section 124 of the Public Land Act, which provides:
G.R. No. 172720 | September 14, 2015
Rules covered: Sec. 29, 101, 118 and 124 of Public Land Act SECTION 124. Any acquisition, conveyance, alienation,
transfer, or other contract made or executed in violation of
*See Alvarico re: who may institute escheat/reversion proceedings any of the provisions of sections one hundred and eighteen,
one hundred and twenty, one hundred and twenty-one, one
The five-year period prohibiting the sale of land obtained under hundred and twenty-two, and one hundred and twenty-
homestead or free patent is provided under Section 118 of the Public three of this. Act shall be unlawful and null and void from its
Land Act, which states: execution and shall produce the effect of annulling and
cancelling the grant, title, patent, or permit originally
SECTION 118. Except in favor of the Government or any of issued, recognized or confirmed, actually or presumptively,
its branches, units, or institutions, or legally constituted and cause the reversion of the property and its
banking corporations, lands acquired under free patent or improvements to the State.
homestead provisions shall not be subject to encumbrance or
alienation from the date of the approval of the application In this case, Section 101 of the Public Land Act is applicable since title
and for a term of five years from and after the date of already vested in Eusebio Borromeo's name. Both the trial court and
issuance1 of the patent or grant, nor shall they become the Court of Appeals found that the sale was made within the five-
liable to the satisfaction of any debt contracted prior to the year prohibitory period. Thus, there is sufficient cause to revert the
expiration of said period; but the improvements or crops on property in favor of the state. However, this court cannot declare
the land may be mortgaged] or pledged to qualified reversion of the property in favor of the state in view of the limitation
persons, associations, or corporations. imposed by Section 101 that an action for reversion must first be filed
by the Office of the Solicitor General.
The reason for prohibiting the alienation or encumbrance of
properties covered by patent or grant was explained in Metropolitan Section 124 of the Public Land Act indeed provides that any
Bank and Trust Company v. Viray. acquisition, conveyance or transfer executed in violation of any of its
provisions shall be null and void and shall produce the effect of
[T]he main purpose in the grant of a freq patent of annulling and cancelling the grant or patent and cause the reversion
homestead is to preserve and keep in the family of the of the property to the State, and the principle of pari delicto has
homesteader that portion of public land which the State has been applied by this Court in a number of cases wherein the parties
given to him so he may have a place to live with his family to a transaction have proven to be guilty of effected the transaction
and become a happy citizen and a useful member of the with knowledge of the cause of its invalidity. But we doubt if these
society. In Jocson v. Soriano, we held that the conservation principles can now be invoked considering the philosophy and the
of a family home is the purpose of homestead laws. The policy behind the approval of the Public Land Act. The principle
policy of the state is to foster, families as the foundation of underlying pari delicto as known here and in the United States is not
society, and thus promote general welfare. absolute in its application. It recognizes certain exceptions one of
. . . them being when its enforcement or application runs counter to an
Section 118 of CA 141, therefore, is predicated on public avowed fundamental policy or to public interest. As stated by us in
policy. Its violation gives rise to the cancellation of the grant the Rellosa case, This doctrine is subject to one important limitation,
and the reversion of the land and its improvements to the namely, whenever public policy is considered advanced by allowing
government at the instance of the latter. The provision that either party to sue for relief against the transaction.
"nor shall they become liable to the satisfaction of any debt
contracted prior to that expiration of the five-year period" The case under consideration comes within the exception above
is mandatory and any sale made in violation of such adverted to. Here appellee desires to nullify a transaction which was
provision is void and produces no effect whatsoever, just

9
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

done in violation of the law. Ordinarily the principle of pari delicto explained that reversion under Section 29 is self-operative, unlike
would apply to her because her predecessor-in-interest has carried Section 101 which requires the Office of the Solicitor General to
out the sale with the presumed knowledge of its illegality, but institute reversion proceedings. Also, Section 101 applies in cases
because the subject of the transaction is a piece of public land, public where "title has already vested in the individual."
policy requires that she, as heir, be not prevented from re-acquiring it
because it was given by law to her family for her home and As a matter of fact, Section 29 of the Public Land Law
cultivation. This is the policy on which our homestead law is (Commonwealth Act No. 141) expressly ordains that any
predicated. This right cannot be waived. "It is not within the sale and encumbrance made without the previous approval
competence of any citizen to barter away what public policy by law of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources "shall
seeks to preserve." We are, therefore, constrained to hold that be null and void and shall produce the effect of annulling
appellee can maintain the present action it being in furtherance of this the acquisition and reverting property and all rights thereto
fundamental aim of our homestead law. to the State, and all payments on the purchase price
theretofore made to the Government shall be forfeited.
Reversion is a remedy provided under Section 101 of the Public Land
Act: In fact, even if a sales application were already given due
course by the Director of Lands, the applicant is not thereby
SECTION 101. All actions for the reversion to the conferred any right over the land covered by the
Government of lands of the public domain or improvements application. It is the award made by the Director to the
thereon shall be instituted by the Solicitor-General or the applicant (if he is the highest bidder) that confers upon him
officer acting in his stead, in the proper courts, in the name a certain right over the land, namely, "to take possession of
of Commonwealth of the Philippines. the land so that he could comply with the requirements
prescribed by law." It is at this stage, when the award is
The purpose of reversion is "to restore public land fraudulently made, that the land can be considered "disposed of by the
awarded and disposed of to private individuals or corporations to the Government," since the aforestated right of the applicant
mass of public domain." has the effect of withdrawing the land from the public
domain that is "disposable" by the Director of Lands under
The general rule is that reversion of lands to the state is not automatic, the provisions of the Public Land Act. x x x However, the
and the Office of the Solicitor General is the proper party to file an disposition is merely provisional because the applicant has
action for reversion. still to comply with the requirements prescribed by law
before x x x any patent is issued. After the requisites of the
[Reversion] is not automatic. The government has to take law are complied with by the applicant to the satisfaction of
action to cancel the patent and the certificate of title in the Director [of] Lands, the patent is issued. It is then that the
order that the land involved may be reverted to it. land covered by the application may be considered
Correspondingly, any new transaction would be subject to "permanently disposed of by the Government.
whatever steps the government may take for the reversion
to it.

We clarify that the remedy of reversion is not the same as the


remedy of declaration of nullity of free patents and certificate of
title. In reversion, the "allegations in the complaint would admit State
ownership of the disputed land," while in an action for the declaration
of nullity of free patent and certificate of title, the allegations would
include "plaintiffs ownership of the contested lot prior to the issuance
of [the] free patent and certificate of title."

Since an action for reversion presupposes that the property in dispute


is owned by the state, it is proper that the action be filed by the
Office of the Solicitor General, being the real party-in-interest.

There is, however, an exception to the rule that reversion is not


automatic. Section 29 of the Public Land Act provides:

SECTION 29. After the cultivation of the land has begun, the
purchaser, with the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture
and Commerce, may convey or encumber his rights to any
person, corporation, or association legally qualified under
this Act to purchase agricultural public lands, provided such
conveyance or encumbrance does not affect any right or
interest of the Government in the land: And provided,
further, That the transferee is not delinquent in the payment
of any installment due and payable. Any sale and
encumbrance made without the previous approval of the
Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce shall be null and
void and shall produce the effect of annulling the acquisition
and reverting the property and all rights to the State, and
all payments on the purchase price theretofore made to the
Government shall be forfeited. After the sale has been
approved, the vendor shall not lose his right to acquire
agricultural public lands under the provisions of this Act,
provided he has the necessary qualifications.

In Francisco v. Rodriguez, et.al, this court differentiated reversion


under Sections 29 and 101 of the Public Land Act. This court

10
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

RULE 92-97 profits be insufficient for that purpose, the guardian may
sell or encumber the real estate, upon being authorized by
order to do so, and apply to such of the proceeds as may
GOYENA v. LEDESMA-GUSTILO be necessary to such maintenance.
G.R. No. 147148 | January 13, 2003 While it is indeed well-established rule that the relationship of
Rules covered: Manner of selection of guardian (judicial discretion) guardian and ward is necessarily terminated by the death of either
the guardian or the ward, the rule affords no advantage to the
In the selection of a guardian, a large discretion must be allowed the Estradas. Amparo Evangelista, as niece of Carmen Cañiza, is one of
judge who deals directly with the parties. As this Court said: the latter’s only two (2) surviving heirs, the other being Cañiza’s
nephew, Ramon C. Nevado. On their motion and by Resolution of this
As a rule, when it appears that the judge has exercised Court of June 20, 1994, they were in fact substituted as parties in the
care and diligence in selecting the guardian, and has given appeal at bar in place of the deceased, in accordance with Section
due consideration to the reasons for and against his action 17, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, viz.:
which are urged by the interested parties, his action should
not be disturbed unless it is made very clear that he has Sec. 18. Death of a party. — After a party dies and the
fallen into grievous error. x x x claim is not thereby extinguished, the court shall order, upon
proper notice, the legal representative of the deceased to
Petitioner’s assertion that respondent’s intent in instituting the appear and be substituted for the deceased within a
guardianship proceedings is to take control of Julieta’s properties and period of thirty (30) days, or within such time as may be
use them for her own benefit is purely speculative and finds no granted. If the legal representative fails to appear within
support from the records. said time, the court may order the opposing party to
procure the appointment of a legal representative of the
The claim that respondent is hostile to the best interests of Julieta also deceased within a time to be specified by the court, and
lacks merit. That respondent removed Julieta from the Makati Medical the representative shall immediately appear for and on
Center where she was confined after she suffered a stroke does not behalf of the interest of the deceased. The court charges
necessarily show her hostility towards Julieta, given the observation involved in procuring such appointment, if defrayed by the
by the trial court, cited in the present petition, that Julieta was still opposing party, may be recovered as costs. The heirs of the
placed under the care of doctors after she checked out and was deceased may be allowed to be substituted for the deceased,
returned to the hospital when she suffered another stroke. without requiring the appointment of an executor or
administrator and the court may appoint guardian ad litem
Finally, this Court notes two undisputed facts in the case at bar, to wit: for the minor heirs.
1) Petitioner opposed the petition for the appointment of respondent
as guardian before the trial court because, among other reasons, she To be sure, an ejectment case survives the death of a party. Cañiza’s
felt she was disliked by respondent, a ground which does not render demise did not extinguish the desahucio suit instituted by her through
respondent unsuitable for appointment as guardian, and 2) Petitioner her guardian. That action, not being a purely personal one, survived
concealed the deteriorating state of mind of Julieta before the trial her death; her heirs have taken her place and now represent her
court, which is reflective of a lack of good faith. interests in the appeal at bar.

CAÑIZA v. CA & SPS. ESTRADA NERI v. HEIRS OF UY


G.R. No. 110427 | February 24, 1997 G.R. No. 194366 | October 10, 2012
Rules covered: Rule 96, Termination of Guardianship (in re: Rule 3) Rules covered: Rule 93, Art. 320 and 326, NCC

Amparo Evangelista was appointed by a competent court the general *Rule 74 is discussed with regard to validity of the extrajudicial
guardian of both the person and the estate of her aunt, Carmen settlement and its effect upon those who did not participate in the
Cañiza. Her Letters of Guardianship dated December 19, 1989 partition.
clearly installed her as the “guardian over the person and properties
of the incompetent CARMEN CANIZA with full authority to take With respect to Rosa and Douglas who were minors at the time of the
possession of the property of said incompetent in any province or execution of the settlement and sale, their natural guardian and
provinces in which it may be situated and to perform all other acts father, Enrique, represented them in the transaction. However, on the
necessary for the management of her properties…” By that basis of the laws prevailing at that time, Enrique was merely clothed
appointment, it became Evangelista’s duty to care for her aunt’s with powers of administration and bereft of any authority to dispose
person, to attend to her physical and spiritual needs, to assure her of their 2/16 shares in the estate of their mother, Anunciacion.
well-being, with right to custody of her person in preference to
relatives and friends. It also became her right and duty to get Articles 320 and 326 of the Civil Code, the laws in force at the time
possession of, and exercise control over, Cañiza’s property, both real of the execution of the settlement and sale, provide:
and personal, it being recognized principle that the ward has no right
to possession or control of his property during her incompetency. That ART. 320. The father, or in his absence the mother, is the
right to manage the ward’s estate carries with it the right to take legal administrator of the property pertaining to the child
possession thereof and recover it from anyone who retains it, and under parental authority. If the property is worth more
bring and defend such actions as may be needful for this purpose. than two thousand pesos, the father or mother shall give a
bond subject to the approval of the Court of First Instance.
Actually, in bringing the action of desahucio, Evangelista was merely
discharging the duty to attend to “the comfortable and suitable ART. 326. When the property of the child is worth more
maintenance of the ward” explicitly imposed on her by Section 4, Rule than two thousand pesos, the father or mother shall be
96 of the Rules of Court, viz.: considered a guardian of the child’s property, subject to
the duties and obligations of guardians under the Rules of
Sec. 4. Estate to be managed frugally, and proceeds applied Court.
to maintenance of ward. — A guardian must manage the
estate of his ward frugally and without waste, and apply Corollarily, Section 7, Rule 93 of the Rules of Court also provides:
the income and profits thereof, so far as maybe necessary,
to the comfortable and suitable maintenance of the ward SEC. 7. Parents as Guardians. – When the property of the
and his family, if there be any; and if such income and child under parental authority is worth two thousand pesos

11
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

or less, the father or the mother, without the necessity of


court appointment, shall be his legal guardian. When the In a guardianship proceeding, a court may appoint a
property of the child is worth more than two thousand qualified guardian if the prospective ward is proven to be a
pesos, the father or the mother shall be considered minor or an incompetent.
guardian of the child’s property, with the duties and
obligations of guardians under these Rules, and shall file the A reading of Section 2, Rule 92 of the Rules of Court tells us that
petition required by Section 2 hereof. For good reasons, the persons who, though of sound mind but by reason of age, disease,
court may, however, appoint another suitable persons. weak mind or other similar causes, are incapable of taking care of
themselves and their property without outside aid are considered as
Administration includes all acts for the preservation of the property incompetents who may properly be placed under guardianship. The
and the receipt of fruits according to the natural purpose of the thing. full text of the said provision reads:
Any act of disposition or alienation, or any reduction in the substance
of the patrimony of child, exceeds the limits of administration. 13 Thus, Sec. 2. Meaning of the word “incompetent.” – Under this
a father or mother, as the natural guardian of the minor under rule, the word “incompetent” includes persons suffering the
parental authority, does not have the power to dispose or encumber penalty of civil interdiction or who are hospitalized lepers,
the property of the latter. Such power is granted by law only to a prodigals, deaf and dumb who are unable to read and
judicial guardian of the ward’s property and even then only with write, those who are of unsound mind, even though they
courts’ prior approval secured in accordance with the proceedings set have lucid intervals, and persons not being of unsound mind,
forth by the Rules of Court. but by reason of age, disease, weak mind, and other
similar causes, cannot, without outside aid, take care of
Consequently, the disputed sale entered into by Enrique in behalf of themselves and manage their property, becoming thereby
his minor children without the proper judicial authority, unless ratified an easy prey for deceit and exploitation.
by them upon reaching the age of majority, is unenforceable in
accordance with Articles 1317 and 1403(1) of the Civil Code which We have held in the past that a “finding that a person is incompetent
provide: should be anchored on clear, positive and definite evidence.” We
consider that evidentiary standard unchanged and, thus, must be
ART. 1317. No one may contract in the name of another applied in the case at bar. x x x
without being authorized by the latter or unless he has by
law a right to represent him. In an analogous guardianship case wherein the soundness of mind of
the proposed ward was at issue, we had the occasion to rule that
A contract entered into in the name of another by one who “where the sanity of a person is at issue, expert opinion is not
has no authority or legal representation, or who has acted necessary [and that] the observations of the trial judge coupled with
beyond his powers, shall be unenforceable, unless it is evidence establishing the person’s state of mental sanity will suffice.”
ratified, expressly or impliedly, by the person on whose
behalf it has been executed, before it is revoked by the
other contracting party. ABAD v. BIASON
G.R. No. 191993 | December 5, 2012
ART. 1403. The following contracts are unenforceable, Rules covered: Termination of guardianship (death of ward)
unless they are ratified:
It is a well-established rule that the relationship of guardian and
(1) Those entered into the name of another person by one ward is necessarily terminated by the death of either the guardian or
who has been given no authority or legal representation, the ward. The supervening event of death rendered it pointless to
or who has acted beyond his powers; x x x delve into the propriety of Biason’s appointment since the juridical tie
between him and Maura has already been dissolved. The petition,
Ratification means that one under no disability voluntarily adopts and regardless of its disposition, will not afford Abad, or anyone else for
gives sanction to some unauthorized act or defective proceeding, that matter, any substantial relief.
which without his sanction would not be binding on him. It is this
voluntary choice, knowingly made, which amounts to a ratification of
what was theretofore unauthorized, and becomes the authorized act
of the party so making the ratification. Once ratified, expressly or
impliedly such as when the person knowingly received benefits from it,
the contract is cleansed from all its defects from the moment it was
constituted, as it has a retroactive effect.

OROPESA v. OROPESA
G.R. No. 184528 | April 25, 2012
Rules covered: Rule 92, Nature and purpose of guardianship

A guardianship is a trust relation of the most sacred


character, in which one person, called a “guardian” acts for
another called the “ward” whom the law regards as
incapable of managing his own affairs. A guardianship is
designed to further the ward’s well-being, not that of the
guardian. It is intended to preserve the ward’s property, as
well as to render any assistance that the ward may
personally require. It has been stated that while custody
involves immediate care and control, guardianship indicates
not only those responsibilities, but those of one in loco
parentis as well.

12
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

RULE 98
ADVENT CAPITAL & FINANCE CORP. v. ALCANTARA specified in the trust receipt, or for other purposes
G.R. No. 183050 | January 25, 2012 substantially equivalent to any of the following:
Rules covered: Parties, Nature of Proceedings
1. In the case of goods or documents, (a) to sell the goods
The trust property is only fictitiously attributed by law to the trustee or procure their sale; or (b) to manufacture or process the
"to the extent that the rights and powers vested in a nominal owner goods with the purpose of ultimate sale: Provided, That, in
shall be used by him on behalf of the real owner." the case of goods delivered under trust receipt for the
purpose of manufacturing or processing before its ultimate
The real owner of the trust property is the trustor-beneficiary. In this sale, the entruster shall retain its title over the goods
case, the trustors-beneficiaries are the Alcantaras. Thus, Advent whether in its original or processed form until the entrustee
Capital could not dispose of the Alcantaras’ portfolio on its own. The has complied fully with his obligation under the trust receipt;
income and principal of the portfolio could only be withdrawn upon or (c) to load, unload, ship or tranship or otherwise deal
the Alcantaras’ written instruction or order to Advent Capital. The with them in a manner preliminary or necessary to their
latter could not also assign or encumber the portfolio or its income sale.
without the written consent of the Alcantaras. All these are stipulated
in the Trust Agreement. There are two obligations in a trust receipt transaction. The first is
covered by the provision that refers to money under the obligation to
Ultimately, the issue is what court has jurisdiction to hear and deliver it (entregarla) to the owner of the merchandise sold. The
adjudicate the conflicting claims of the parties over the dividends that second is covered by the provision referring to merchandise received
Belson held in trust for their owners. Certainly, not the rehabilitation under the obligation to return it (devolvera) to the owner. Thus, under
court which has not been given the power to resolve ownership the Trust Receipts Law, intent to defraud is presumed when (1) the
disputes between Advent Capital and third parties. Neither Belson nor entrustee fails to turn over the proceeds of the sale of goods covered
the Alcantaras are its debtors or creditors with interest in the by the trust receipt to the entruster; or (2) when the entrustee fails to
rehabilitation. return the goods under trust, if they are not disposed of in accordance
with the terms of the trust receipts.
Advent Capital must file a separate action for collection to recover
the trust fees that it allegedly earned and, with the trial court’s In all trust receipt transactions, both obligations on the part of the
authorization if warranted, put the money in escrow for payment to trustee exist in the alternative – the return of the proceeds of the sale
whoever it rightly belongs. Having failed to collect the trust fees at or the return or recovery of the goods, whether raw or processed.
the end of each calendar quarter as stated in the contract, all it had When both parties enter into an agreement knowing that the return of
against the Alcantaras was a claim for payment which is a proper the goods subject of the trust receipt is not possible even without any
subject for an ordinary action for collection. It cannot enforce its fault on the part of the trustee, it is not a trust receipt transaction
money claim by simply filing a motion in the rehabilitation case for penalized under Section 13 of P.D. 115; the only obligation actually
delivery of money belonging to the Alcantaras but in the possession of agreed upon by the parties would be the return of the proceeds of
a third party. the sale transaction. This transaction becomes a mere loan, where the
borrower is obligated to pay the bank the amount spent for the
Rehabilitation proceedings are summary and non-adversarial in purchase of the goods.
nature, and do not contemplate adjudication of claims that must be
threshed out in ordinary court proceedings. Adversarial proceedings Article 1371 of the Civil Code provides that "[i]n order to judge the
similar to that in ordinary courts are inconsistent with the commercial intention of the contracting parties, their contemporaneous and
nature of a rehabilitation case. The latter must be resolved quickly subsequent acts shall be principally considered." Under this provision,
and expeditiously for the sake of the corporate debtor, its creditors we can examine the contemporaneous actions of the parties rather
and other interested parties. than rely purely on the trust receipts that they signed in order to
understand the transaction through their intent.

LANDBANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. PEREZ We note in this regard that at the onset of these transactions, LBP
G.R. No. 166884| June 13, 2012 knew that ACDC was in the construction business and that the
Rules covered: Trust Receipts Law (in re: Estafa under the RPC) materials that it sought to buy under the letters of credit were to be
used for the following projects: the Metro Rail Transit Project and the
Section 4 of P.D. 115 defines a trust receipt transaction in this manner: Clark Centennial Exposition Project. LBP had in fact authorized the
delivery of the materials on the construction sites for these projects, as
seen in the letters of credit it attached to its complaint. Clearly, they
Section 4. What constitutes a trust receipt transaction. A trust
were aware of the fact that there was no way they could recover the
receipt transaction, within the meaning of this Decree, is any
buildings or constructions for which the materials subject of the
transaction by and between a person referred to in this
alleged trust receipts had been used. Notably, despite the allegations
Decree as the entruster, and another person referred to in
in the affidavit-complaint wherein LBP sought the return of the
this Decree as entrustee, whereby the entruster, who owns or
construction materials, its demand letter dated May 4, 1999 sought
holds absolute title or security interests over certain
the payment of the balance but failed to ask, as an alternative, for
specified goods, documents or instruments, releases the
the return of the construction materials or the buildings where these
same to the possession of the entrustee upon the latter's
materials had been used.
execution and delivery to the entruster of a signed
document called a "trust receipt" wherein the entrustee
binds himself to hold the designated goods, documents or Based on these premises, we cannot consider the agreements between
instruments in trust for the entruster and to sell or otherwise the parties in this case to be trust receipt transactions because (1)
dispose of the goods, documents or instruments with the from the start, the parties were aware that ACDC could not possibly
obligation to turn over to the entruster the proceeds thereof be obligated to reconvey to LBP the materials or the end product for
to the extent of the amount owing to the entruster or as which they were used; and (2) from the moment the materials were
appears in the trust receipt or the goods, documents or used for the government projects, they became public, not LBP’s,
instruments themselves if they are unsold or not otherwise property. Since these transactions are not trust receipts, an action for
disposed of, in accordance with the terms and conditions estafa should not be brought against the respondents, who are liable
only for a loan.

13
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

The Trust Receipts Law punishes the dishonesty and abuse of


confidence in the handling of money or goods to the prejudice of
another, regardless of whether the latter is the owner or not. The law
does not singularly seek to enforce payment of the loan, as "there can
be no violation of [the] right against imprisonment for non-payment of
a debt."

In order that the respondents "may be validly prosecuted for estafa


under Article 315, paragraph 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code, in
relation with Section 13 of the Trust Receipts Law, the following
elements must be established: (a) they received the subject goods in
trust or under the obligation to sell the same and to remit the
proceeds thereof to [the trustor], or to return the goods if not sold; (b)
they misappropriated or converted the goods and/or the proceeds of
the sale; (c) they performed such acts with abuse of confidence to the
damage and prejudice of Metrobank; and (d) demand was made on
them by [the trustor] for the remittance of the proceeds or the return
of the unsold goods."

In this case, no dishonesty or abuse of confidence existed in


the handling of the construction materials. In this case, the
misappropriation could be committed should the entrustee fail to
turn over the proceeds of the sale of the goods covered by the
trust receipt transaction or fail to return the goods themselves. The
respondents could not have failed to return the proceeds since their
allegations that the clients of ACDC had not paid for the projects it
had undertaken with them at the time the case was filed had never
been questioned or denied by LBP. What can only be attributed to
the respondents would be the failure to return the goods subject of the
trust receipts.

14
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

ADOPTION adoption statute, alleging all facts necessary to give the


court jurisdiction.

RULE 99-100 The allegations of abandonment in the petition for adoption, even
DOMESTIC ADOPTION ACT (R.A. 8552) absent the written consent of petitioner, sufficiently vested the lower
INTER-COUNTRY ADOPTION ACT (R.A. 8043) court with jurisdiction since abandonment of the child by his natural
RULE ON ADOPTION (A.M. NO. 02-6-02-SC) parents is one of the circumstances under which our statutes and
jurisprudence dispense with the requirement of written consent to the
CANG v. COURT OF APPEALS adoption of their minor children.
G.R. No. 105308 | September 25, 1998
Rules covered: Consent, when necessary (in re: Art. 188, FC); However, in cases where the father opposes the adoption primarily
Abandonment; Physical estrangement alone, not abandonment; Effect because his consent thereto was not sought, the matter of whether he
of legal separation; Joint parental authority had abandoned his child becomes a proper issue for determination.
The issue of abandonment by the oppositor natural parent is a
As amended by the Family Code, the statutory provision on consent preliminary issue that an adoption court must first confront. Only upon,
for adoption now reads: failure of the oppositor natural father to prove to the satisfaction of
the court that he did not abandon his child may the petition for
Art. 188. The written consent of the following to the adoption be considered on its merits. x x x
adoption shall be necessary:
In its ordinary sense, the word "abandon'' means to forsake entirely,
(1) The person to be adopted, if ten years of age or over; to forsake or renounce utterly. The dictionaries trace this word to the
root idea of "putting under a ban." The emphasis is on the finality and
(2) The parents by nature of the child, the legal guardian, publicity with which a thing or body is thus put in the control of
or the proper government instrumentality; another, hence, the meaning of giving up absolutely, with intent never
to resume or claim one's rights or interests. In reference to
(3) The legitimate and adopted children, ten years of age abandonment of a child by his parent, the act of abandonment
or over, of the adopting parent or parents; imports "any conduct of the parent which evinces a settled purpose to
forego all parental duties and relinquish all parental claims to the
(4) The illegitimate children, ten years of age or over, of the child." It means "neglect or refusal to perform the natural and legal
adopting parents, if living with said parent and the latter's obligations of care and support which parents owe their children."
spouse, if any; and
In the instant case, records disclose that petitioner's conduct did not
(5) The spouse, if any, of the person adopting or to be manifest a settled purpose to forego all parental duties and relinquish
adopted. all parental claims over his children as to, constitute abandonment.
Physical estrangement alone, without financial and moral desertion, is
Based on the foregoing, it is thus evident that notwithstanding the not tantamount to abandonment. While admittedly, petitioner was
amendments to the law, the written consent of the natural parent to physically absent as he was then in the United States, he was not
the adoption has remained a requisite for its validity. Notably, such remiss in his natural and legal obligations of love, care and support
requirement is also embodied in Rule 99 of the Rules of Court as for his children. He maintained regular communication with his wife
follows: and children through letters and telephone. He used to send packages
by mail and catered to their whims. x x x
Sec. 3. Consent to adoption. — There shall be filed with the
petition a written consent to the adoption signed by the In a number of cases, this Court has held that parental authority
child, if fourteen years of age or over and not incompetent, cannot be entrusted to a person simply because he could give the
and by the child's spouse, if any, and by each of its known child a larger measure of material comfort than his natural parent. x x
living parents who is not insane or hopelessly intemperate or x Indeed, it would be against the spirit of the law if financial
has not abandoned the child, or if the child is in the custody consideration were to be the paramount consideration in deciding
of an orphan asylum, children's home, or benevolent society whether to deprive a person of parental authority over his children.
or person, by the proper officer or officers of such asylum, There should be a holistic approach to the matter, taking into account
home, or society, or by such persons; but if the child is the physical, emotional, psychological, mental, social and spiritual
illegitimate and has not been recognized, the consent of its needs of the child. x x x
father to the adoption shall not be required.
The liberality with which this Court treats matters leading to adoption
As clearly inferred from the foregoing provisions of law, the written insofar as it carries out the beneficent purposes of the law to ensure
consent of the natural parent is indispensable for the validity of the the rights and privileges of the adopted child arising therefrom, ever
decree of adoption. Nevertheless, the requirement of written consent mindful that the paramount consideration is the overall benefit and
can be dispensed with if the parent has abandoned the child 13 or interest of the adopted child, should be understood in its proper
that such parent is "insane or hopelessly intemperate." The court may context and perspective. The Court's position, should not be
acquire jurisdiction over the case even, without the written consent of misconstrued or misinterpreted as to extend to inferences beyond the
the parents or one of the parents provided that the petition for contemplation of law and jurisprudence. The discretion to approve
adoption alleges facts sufficient to warrant exemption from adoption proceedings is not to be anchored solely on best interests of
compliance therewith. This is in consonance with the liberality with the child but likewise, with due regard to the natural rights of the
which this Court treats the procedural aspect of adoption. Thus, the parents over the child.
Court declared:
The transfer of custody over the children to Anna Marie by virtue of
The technical rules of pleading should not be stringently the decree of legal separation did not, of necessity; deprive
applied to adoption proceedings, and it is deemed more petitioner of parental authority for the purpose of placing the children
important that the petition should contain facts relating to up for adoption. Article 213 of the Family Code states: "in case of
the child and its parents, which may give information to legal separation of parents, parental authority shall be exercised by
those interested, than that it should be formally correct as a the parent designated by the court." In awarding custody, the court
pleading. Accordingly, it is generally held that a petition shall take into account "all relevant considerations, especially the
will confer jurisdiction if it substantially complies with the choice of the child over seven years of age, unless the parent chosen is
unfit."
15
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

Central to the present question is the authenticity of Judge Moya's


If should be noted, however, that the law only confers on the innocent signature on the questioned Order of Adoption. x x x Judge Moya's
spouse the "exercise" of parental authority. Having custody of the statements contained no ambiguity.
child, the innocent spouse shall implement the sum of parental rights
with respect to his rearing and care. The innocent spouse shall have The answer "I do not remember" did not suggest that Judge Moya
the right to the child's services and earnings, and the right to direct his was unsure of what he was declaring. Clearly, Judge Moya could not
activities and make decisions regarding his care and control, recall having ever issued the Order of Adoption. More importantly,
education, health and religion. when shown the signature over his name, he positively declared that it
was not his.
In a number of cases, this Court has considered parental authority,
the joint exercise of which is vested by the law upon the parents, as: Other considerations also cast doubt on the claim of respondent. The
alleged Order was purportedly made in open court. In his Deposition,
“x x x a mass of rights and obligations which the law however, Judge Moya declared that he did not dictate decisions in
grants to parents for the purpose of the children's physical adoption cases. The only decisions he made in open court were
preservation and development, as well as the cultivation of criminal cases, in which the accused pleaded guilty. Moreover, Judge
their intellect and the education of their hearts and senses. Moya insisted that the branch where he was assigned was always
As regards parental authority, "there is no power, but a indicated in his decisions and orders; yet the questioned Order did
task; no complex of rights, but a sum of duties; no not contain this information. Furthermore, Pilapil’s conduct gave no
sovereignty but a sacred trust for the welfare of the indication that he recognized his own alleged adoption, as shown by
minor." the documents that he signed and other acts that he performed
thereafter. In the same vein, no proof was presented that Dr. Jacob
Parental authority and responsibility are inalienable and had treated him as an adopted child. Likewise, both the Bureau of
may not be transferred or renounced except in cases Records Management in Manila and the Office of the Local Civil
authorized by law. The right attached to parental Registrar of Tigaon, Camarines Sur, issued Certifications that there
authority, being purely personal, the law allows a waiver was no record that Pedro Pilapil had been adopted by Dr. Jacob.
of parental authority only in cases of adoption, Taken together, these circumstances inexorably negate the alleged
guardianship and surrender to a children's home or an adoption of respondent.
orphan institution. When a parent entrusts the custody of a
minor to another, such as a friend or godfather, even in a The burden of proof in establishing adoption is upon the person
document, what is given is merely temporary custody and claiming such relationship.50 This Respondent Pilapil failed to do.
it does not constitute a renunciation of parental Moreover, the evidence presented by petitioner shows that the
authority. Even if a definite renunciation is manifest, the alleged adoption is a sham.
law still disallows the same.

The father and mother, being the natural guardians of REPUBLIC v. HERNANDEZ
unemancipated children, are duty-bound and entitled to G.R. No. 117209 | February 9, 1996
keep them in their custody and company.” Rules covered: Effects of adoption (Art. 189, FC) in re: change of
name (Rule 103, ROC); Separate and distinct proceedings; Joinder of
As such, in instant case, petitioner may not be deemed as having been causes of action, when allowed (“Conceptual Unity” Rule)
completely deprived of parental authority, notwithstanding the award
of custody to Anna Marie in the legal separation case. To reiterate, Art. 189 of the Family Code enumerates in no uncertain terms the
that award was arrived at by the lower court on the basis of the legal effects of adoption:
agreement of the spouses. x x x
(1) For civil purposes, the adopted shall be deemed to be a
The law is clear that either parent may lose parental authority over legitimate child of the adopters and both shall acquire the
the child only for a valid reason. No such reason was established in reciprocal rights and obligations arising from the
the legal separation case. In the instant case for adoption, the issue is relationship of parent and child, including the right of the
whether or not petitioner had abandoned his children as to warrant adopted to use the surname of the adopters;
dispensation of his consent to their adoption. Deprivation of parental
authority is one of the effects of a decree of adoption. But there (2) The parental authority of the parents by nature over the
cannot be a valid decree of adoption in this case precisely because, adopted shall terminate and be vested in the adopters,
as this Court has demonstrated earlier, the finding of the courts below except that if the adopter is the spouse of the parent by
on the issue of petitioner's abandonment of his family was based on a nature of the adopted, parental authority over the adopted
misappreciation that was tantamount to non-appreciation, of facts on shall be exercised jointly by both spouses; and
record.
(3) The adopted shall remain an intestate heir of his parents
and other blood relatives.
VDA. DE JACOB v. COUR OF APPEALS
G.R. No. 135216 | August 19, 1999 Clearly, the law allows the adoptee, as a matter of right and
Rules covered: Burden of proof obligation, to bear the surname of the adopter, upon issuance of the
decree of adoption. It is the change of the adoptee's surname to
As a rule, the factual findings of the trial court are accorded great follow that of the adopter which is the natural and necessary
weight and respect by appellate courts, because it had the consequence of a grant of adoption and must specifically be
opportunity to observe the demeanor of witnesses and to note telltale contained in the order of the court, in fact, even if not prayed for by
signs indicating the truth or the falsity of a testimony. The rule, petitioner.
however, is not applicable to the present case, because it was Judge
Augusto O. Cledera, not the ponente, who heard the testimonies of the However, the given or proper name, also known as
two expert witnesses. Thus, the Court examined the records and found the first or Christian name, of the adoptee must remain as it was
that the Court of Appeals and the trial court "failed to notice certain originally registered in the civil register. The creation of an adoptive
relevant facts which, if properly considered, will justify a different relationship does not confer upon the adopter a license to change the
conclusion." adoptee's registered Christian or first name. The automatic change
thereof, premised solely upon the adoption thus granted, is beyond
the purview of a decree of adoption. Neither is it a mere incident in
16
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

nor an adjunct of an adoption proceeding, such that a prayer therefor law, which conjointly would warrant their joinder. In short, these
furtively inserted in a petition for adoption, as in this case, cannot petitions do not rightly meet the underlying test of conceptual unity
properly be granted. demanded to sanction their joinder under our Rules. x x x
The name of the adoptee as recorded in the civil register should be The practically unrestricted freedom of the natural parent to select the
used in the adoption proceedings in order to vest the court with proper or given name of the child presupposes that no other name for
jurisdiction to hear and determine the same, and shall continue to be it has theretofore been entered in the civil register. Once such name is
so used until the court orders otherwise. Changing the given or proper registered, regardless of the reasons for such choice and even if it be
name of a person as recorded in the civil register is a substantial solely for the purpose of identification, the same constitutes the official
change in one's official or legal name and cannot be authorized name. This effectively authenticates the identity of the person and
without a judicial order. The purpose of the statutory procedure must remain unaltered save when, for the most compelling reasons
authorizing a change of name is simply to have, wherever possible, a shown in an appropriate proceeding, its change may merit judicial
record of the change, and in keeping with the object of the statute, a approval.
court to which the application is made should normally make its
decree recording such change. While the right of a natural parent to name the child is recognized,
guaranteed and protected under the law, the so-called right of an
The official name of a person whose birth is registered in the civil adoptive parent to re-name an adopted child by virtue or as a
register is the name appearing therein. If a change in one's name is consequence of adoption, even for the most noble intentions and
desired, this can only be done by filing and strictly complying with the moving supplications, is unheard of in law and consequently cannot be
substantive and procedural requirements for a special proceeding for favorably considered. To repeat, the change of the surname of the
change of name under Rule 103 of the Rules of Court, wherein the adoptee as a result of the adoption and to follow that of the adopter
sufficiency of the reasons or grounds therefor can be threshed out and does not lawfully extend to or include the proper or given name.
accordingly determined. x x x Furthermore, factual realities and legal consequences, rather than
sentimentality and symbolisms, are what are of concern to the Court.
A petition for change of name being a proceeding in rem, strict
compliance with all the requirements therefor is indispensable in order
to vest the court with jurisdiction for its adjudication. It is an REYES v. MAURICIO
independent and discrete special proceeding, in and by itself, G.R. No. 175080 | November 24, 2010
governed by its own set of rules. A fortiori, it cannot be granted by Rules covered: Collateral and direct attack in re: filiation, legitimacy,
means of any other proceeding. To consider it as a mere incident or and adoption
an offshoot of another special proceeding would be to denigrate its
role and significance as the appropriate remedy available under our Eugenio contended that Leonida is a mere ward of Godofredo and
remedial law system. Librada, thus, not a legal heir.

The Solicitor General correctly points out the glaring defects of the We are in full accord with the Court of Appeals when it ruled that
subject petition insofar as it seeks the change of name of the adoptee, Eugenio cannot collaterally attack the status of Leonida in the instant
all of which taken together cannot but lead to the conclusion that there petition.
was no petition sufficient in form and substance for change of name as
would rightfully deserve an order therefor. It would be procedurally It is settled law that filiation cannot be collaterally attacked.20 Well-
erroneous to employ a petition for adoption to effect a change of known civilist Dr. Arturo M. Tolentino, in his book "Civil Code of the
name in the absence of the corresponding petition for the latter relief Philippines, Commentaries and Jurisprudence," noted that the
at law. aforecited doctrine is rooted from the provisions of the Civil Code of
the Philippines. He explained thus:
Neither can the allowance of the subject petition, by any stretch of
imagination and liberality, be justified under the rule allowing The legitimacy of the child cannot be contested by way of
permissive joinder of causes of action. defense or as a collateral issue in another action for a
different purpose. The necessity of an independent action
By a joinder of actions, or more properly, a joinder of causes of directly impugning the legitimacy is more clearly expressed
action, is meant the uniting of two or more demands or rights of action in the Mexican code (article 335) which provides: "The
in one action; the statement of more than one cause of action in a contest of the legitimacy of a child by the husband or his
declaration. It is the union of two or more civil causes of action, each heirs must be made by proper complaint before the
of which could be made the basis of a separate suit, in the same competent court; any contest made in any other way is
complaint, declaration or petition. A plaintiff may under certain void." This principle applies under our Family Code. Articles
circumstances join several distinct demands, controversies or rights of 170 and 171 of the code confirm this view, because they
action in one declaration, complaint or petition. x x x refer to "the action to impugn the legitimacy." This action
can be brought only by the husband or his heirs and within
While joinder of causes of action is largely left to the option of a the periods fixed in the present articles.
party litigant, Section 5, Rule 2 of our present Rules allows causes of
action to be joined in one complaint conditioned upon the following In Braza, the Court stated that legitimacy and filiation can be
requisites: (a) it will not violate the rules on jurisdiction, venue and questioned only in a direct action seasonably filed by the proper
joinder of parties; and (b) the causes of action arise out of the same party, and not through collateral attack.
contract, transaction or relation between the parties, or are for
demands for money or are of the same nature and character. x x x The same rule is applied to adoption such that it cannot also be made
subject to a collateral attack. In Reyes v. Sotero, this Court reiterated
Our rule on permissive joinder of causes of action, with that adoption cannot be assailed collaterally in a proceeding for the
the proviso subjecting it to the correlative rules on jurisdiction, venue settlement of a decedent’s estate. Furthermore, in Austria v. Reyes, the
and joinder of parties 31 and requiring a conceptual unity in the Court declared that the legality of the adoption by the testatrix can
problems presented, effectively disallows unlimited joinder. be assailed only in a separate action brought for that purpose and
cannot be subject to collateral attack.
Turning now to the present petition, while it is true that there is no
express prohibition against the joinder of a petition for adoption and
for change of name, we do not believe that there is any relation
between these two petitions, nor are they of the same nature or
character, much less do they present any common question of fact or
17
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF STEPHANIE NATHY surname of her father and her mother, as discussed above. This is
ASTORGA GARCIA consistent with the intention of the members of the Civil Code and
G.R. No. 148311 | March 31, 2005 Family Law Committees as earlier discussed. In fact, it is a Filipino
Rules covered: Use of surname and middle name by adopted child; custom that the initial or surname of the mother should immediately
Adoption, defined; Adoption proceedings in favor of the adopted precede the surname of the father. x x x

The name of an individual has two parts: (1) the given or proper It is a settled rule that adoption statutes, being humane and salutary,
name and (2) the surname or family name. The given or proper name should be liberally construed to carry out the beneficent purposes of
is that which is given to the individual at birth or at baptism, to adoption. The interests and welfare of the adopted child are of
distinguish him from other individuals. The surname or family name is primary and paramount consideration, hence, every reasonable
that which identifies the family to which he belongs and is continued intendment should be sustained to promote and fulfill these noble and
from parent to child. The given name may be freely selected by the compassionate objectives of the law. x x x
parents for the child, but the surname to which the child is entitled is
fixed by law. Hence, since there is no law prohibiting an illegitimate child adopted
by her natural father, like Stephanie, to use, as middle name her
Thus, Articles 364 to 380 of the Civil Code provides the substantive mother’s surname, we find no reason why she should not be allowed to
rules which regulate the use of surname of an individual whatever do so.
may be his status in life, i.e., whether he may be legitimate or
illegitimate, an adopted child, a married woman or a previously
married woman, or a widow, thus: IN RE: PETITION FOR ADOPTION OF MICHELLE P. LIM &
MICHEAL JUDE P. LIM
Art. 364. Legitimate and legitimated children shall G.R. No. 168992-93 | May 21, 2009
principally use the surname of the father. Rules covered: Who may adopt; Joint adoption by husband and wife;

Art. 365. An adopted child shall bear the surname of the It is undisputed that, at the time the petitions for adoption were filed,
adopter. x x x petitioner had already remarried. She filed the petitions by herself,
without being joined by her husband Olario. We have no other
As correctly submitted by both parties, there is no law regulating the recourse but to affirm the trial court’s decision denying the petitions
use of a middle name. Even Article 176 of the Family Code, as for adoption. Dura lex sed lex. The law is explicit. Section 7, Article III
amended by Republic Act No. 9255, otherwise known as "An Act of RA 8552 reads:
Allowing Illegitimate Children To Use The Surname Of Their Father," is
silent as to what middle name a child may use. SEC. 7. Who May Adopt. - The following may adopt:

The middle name or the mother’s surname is only considered in Article (a) Any Filipino citizen of legal age, in possession of full civil
375(1), quoted above, in case there is identity of names and capacity and legal rights, of good moral character, has not
surnames between ascendants and descendants, in which case, the been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude,
middle name or the mother’s surname shall be added. emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for
children, at least sixteen (16) years older than the adoptee,
Notably, the law is likewise silent as to what middle name an adoptee and who is in a position to support and care for his/her
may use. Article 365 of the Civil Code merely provides that "an children in keeping with the means of the family. The
adopted child shall bear the surname of the adopter." Also, Article requirement of sixteen (16) year difference between the
189 of the Family Code, enumerating the legal effects of adoption, is age of the adopter and adoptee may be waived when the
likewise silent on the matter, thus: adopter is the biological parent of the adoptee, or is the
spouse of the adoptee’s parent;
"(1) For civil purposes, the adopted shall be deemed to be
a legitimate child of the adopters and both shall acquire the (b) Any alien possessing the same qualifications as above
reciprocal rights and obligations arising from the stated for Filipino nationals: Provided, That his/her country
relationship of parent and child, including the right of the has diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines,
adopted to use the surname of the adopters; x x x" that he/she has been living in the Philippines for at least
three (3) continuous years prior to the filing of the
However, as correctly pointed out by the OSG, the members of the application for adoption and maintains such residence until
Civil Code and Family Law Committees that drafted the Family the adoption decree is entered, that he/she has been
Code recognized the Filipino custom of adding the surname of the certified by his/her diplomatic or consular office or any
child’s mother as his middle name. appropriate government agency that he/she has the legal
capacity to adopt in his/her country, and that his/her
Adoption is defined as the process of making a child, whether related government allows the adoptee to enter his/her country as
or not to the adopter, possess in general, the rights accorded to a his/her adopted son/daughter: Provided, further, That the
legitimate child. It is a juridical act, a proceeding in rem which creates requirements on residency and certification of the alien’s
between two persons a relationship similar to that which results from qualification to adopt in his/her country may be waived for
legitimate paternity and filiation. The modern trend is to consider the following:
adoption not merely as an act to establish a relationship of paternity
and filiation, but also as an act which endows the child with a (i) a former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a
legitimate status. x x x Republic Act No. 8552, otherwise known as the relative within the fourth (4th) degree of
"Domestic Adoption Act of 1998," secures these rights and privileges consanguinity or affinity; or
for the adopted. (ii) one who seeks to adopt the legitimate
son/daughter of his/her Filipino spouse; or
One of the effects of adoption is that the adopted is deemed to be a (iii) one who is married to a Filipino citizen and
legitimate child of the adopter for all intents and purposes pursuant to seeks to adopt jointly with his/her spouse a
Article 189 of the Family Code and Section 17 Article V of RA 8552. relative within the fourth (4th) degree of
consanguinity or affinity of the Filipino spouses; or
Being a legitimate child by virtue of her adoption, it follows that xxx
Stephanie is entitled to all the rights provided by law to a legitimate
child without discrimination of any kind, including the right to bear the
18
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

Husband and wife shall jointly adopt, except in the of the effects of legal adoption. Article V of RA 8552 enumerates the
following cases: effects of adoption, thus:

(i) if one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate


son/daughter of the other; or ARTICLE V: EFFECTS OF ADOPTION
(ii) if one spouse seeks to adopt his/her own
illegitimate son/daughter: Provided, however that SEC. 16. Parental Authority. - Except in cases where the
the other spouse has signified his/her consent biological parent is the spouse of the adopter, all legal ties
thereto; or between the biological parent(s) and the adoptee shall be
(iii) if the spouses are legally separated from severed and the same shall then be vested on the
each other. adopter(s).
SEC. 17. Legitimacy. - The adoptee shall be considered the
In case husband and wife jointly adopt, or one spouse legitimate son/daughter of the adopter(s) for all intents and
adopts the illegitimate son/daughter of the other, joint purposes and as such is entitled to all the rights and
parental authority shall be exercised by the spouses. obligations provided by law to legitimate sons/daughters
born to them without discrimination of any kind. To this end,
The use of the word "shall" in the above-quoted provision means that the adoptee is entitled to love, guidance, and support in
joint adoption by the husband and the wife is mandatory. This is in keeping with the means of the family.
consonance with the concept of joint parental authority over the child SEC. 18. Succession. - In legal and intestate succession, the
which is the ideal situation. As the child to be adopted is elevated to adopter(s) and the adoptee shall have reciprocal rights of
the level of a legitimate child, it is but natural to require the spouses succession without distinction from legitimate filiation.
to adopt jointly. The rule also insures harmony between the spouses. However, if the adoptee and his/her biological parent(s)
had left a will, the law on testamentary succession shall
The law is clear. There is no room for ambiguity. Petitioner, having govern.
remarried at the time the petitions for adoption were filed, must
jointly adopt. Since the petitions for adoption were filed only by Adoption has, thus, the following effects: (1) sever all legal ties
petitioner herself, without joining her husband, Olario, the trial court between the biological parent(s) and the adoptee, except when the
was correct in denying the petitions for adoption on this ground. biological parent is the spouse of the adopter; (2) deem the adoptee
as a legitimate child of the adopter; and (3) give adopter and
Neither does petitioner fall under any of the three exceptions adoptee reciprocal rights and obligations arising from the relationship
enumerated in Section 7. First, the children to be adopted are not the of parent and child, including but not limited to: (i) the right of the
legitimate children of petitioner or of her husband Olario. Second, the adopter to choose the name the child is to be known; and (ii) the right
children are not the illegitimate children of petitioner. And third, of the adopter and adoptee to be legal and compulsory heirs of each
petitioner and Olario are not legally separated from each other. other. Therefore, even if emancipation terminates parental authority,
the adoptee is still considered a legitimate child of the adopter with
The fact that Olario gave his consent to the adoption as shown in his all the rights of a legitimate child such as: (1) to bear the surname of
Affidavit of Consent does not suffice. There are certain requirements the father and the mother; (2) to receive support from their parents;
that Olario must comply being an American citizen. He must meet the and (3) to be entitled to the legitime and other successional rights.
qualifications set forth in Section 7 of RA 8552 such as: (1) he must Conversely, the adoptive parents shall, with respect to the adopted
prove that his country has diplomatic relations with the Republic of the child, enjoy all the benefits to which biological parents are
Philippines; (2) he must have been living in the Philippines for at least entitled such as support and successional rights.
three continuous years prior to the filing of the application for
adoption; (3) he must maintain such residency until the adoption We are mindful of the fact that adoption statutes, being humane and
decree is entered; (4) he has legal capacity to adopt in his own salutary, hold the interests and welfare of the child to be of
country; and (5) the adoptee is allowed to enter the adopter’s country paramount consideration. They are designed to provide homes,
as the latter’s adopted child. None of these qualifications were shown parental care and education for unfortunate, needy or orphaned
and proved during the trial. children and give them the protection of society and family, as well as
to allow childless couples or persons to experience the joys of
These requirements on residency and certification of the alien’s parenthood and give them legally a child in the person of the
qualification to adopt cannot likewise be waived pursuant to Section adopted for the manifestation of their natural parental instincts. Every
7. The children or adoptees are not relatives within the fourth degree reasonable intendment should be sustained to promote and fulfill
of consanguinity or affinity of petitioner or of Olario. Neither are the these noble and compassionate objectives of the law. But, as we have
adoptees the legitimate children of petitioner. ruled in Republic v. Vergara:

As to the effects of adoption, Petitioner contends that joint parental We are not unmindful of the main purpose of adoption
authority is not anymore necessary since the children have been statutes, which is the promotion of the welfare of the
emancipated having reached the age of majority. This is untenable. children. Accordingly, the law should be construed liberally,
in a manner that will sustain rather than defeat said
Parental authority includes caring for and rearing the children for civic purpose. The law must also be applied with compassion,
consciousness and efficiency and the development of their moral, understanding and less severity in view of the fact that it is
mental and physical character and well-being.13 The father and the intended to provide homes, love, care and education for
mother shall jointly exercise parental authority over the persons of less fortunate children. Regrettably, the Court is not in a
their common children. Even the remarriage of the surviving parent position to affirm the trial court’s decision favoring adoption
shall not affect the parental authority over the children, unless the in the case at bar, for the law is clear and it cannot be
court appoints another person to be the guardian of the person or modified without violating the proscription against judicial
property of the children. legislation. Until such time however, that the law on the
matter is amended, we cannot sustain the respondent-
It is true that when the child reaches the age of emancipation — that spouses’ petition for adoption.
is, when he attains the age of majority or 18 years of age16 —
emancipation terminates parental authority over the person and Petitioner, being married at the time the petitions for adoption were
property of the child, who shall then be qualified and responsible for filed, should have jointly filed the petitions with her husband. x x x
all acts of civil life.17 However, parental authority is merely just one Until and unless there is a judicial decree for the dissolution of the
marriage between petitioner and Olario, the marriage still subsists.
19
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

That being the case, joint adoption by the husband and the wife is (iii) if the spouses are legally separated from each other x
required. We reiterate our ruling above that since, at the time the xx
petitions for adoption were filed, petitioner was married to Olario,
joint adoption is mandatory. The provision is mandatory. As a general rule, the husband and wife
must file a joint petition for adoption. The rationale for this is stated
NERY v. SAMPANA in In Re: Petition for Adoption of Michelle P. Lim:
A.C. No. 10196 | September 9, 2014 The use of the word "shall" in the above-quoted provision
Rules covered: Adoption of aliens, qualifications; Waiver of means that joint adoption by the husband and the wife is
qualifications (as to alien adopter) mandatory. This is in consonance with the concept of joint
parental authority over the child which is the ideal
*This is a disbarment proceeding. The case involves duties of a situation. As the child to be adopted is elevated to the
lawyer. level of a legitimate child, it is but natural to require the
spouses to adopt jointly. The rule also insures harmony
In the present case, Sampana admitted that he received "one between the spouses.
package fee" for both cases of annulment and adoption. Despite
receiving this fee, he unjustifiably failed to file the petition for The law provides for several exceptions to the general
adoption and fell short of his duty of due diligence and candor to his rule, as in a situation where a spouse seeks to adopt his or
client. Sampana’s proffered excuse of waiting for the certification her own children born out of wedlock. In this instance, joint
before filing the petition for adoption is disingenuous and flimsy. Inhis adoption is not necessary. However, the spouse seeking to
position paper, he suggested to Nery that if the alien adopter would adopt must first obtain the consent of his or her spouse.
be married to her close relative, the intended adoption could be
possible. Under the Domestic Adoption Act provision, which Sampana In the absence of any decree of legal separation or annulment, Jose
suggested, the alien adopter can jointly adopt a relative within the and Rosario remained legally married despite their de
fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity of his/her Filipino spouse, facto separation. For Jose to be eligible to adopt Jed and Regina,
and the certification of the alien’s qualification to adopt is waived. Rosario must first signify her consent to the adoption. Jose, however,
did not validly obtain Rosario’s consent. His submission of a fraudulent
Having no valid reason not to file the petition for adoption, Sampana affidavit of consent in her name cannot be considered compliance of
misinformed Nery of the status of the petition. He then conceded that the requisites of the law. Had Rosario been given notice by the trial
the annulment case overshadowed the petition for adoption. Verily, court of the proceedings, she would have had a reasonable
Sampana neglected the legal matter entrusted to him. opportunity to contest the validity of the affidavit. Since her consent
was not obtained, Jose was ineligible to adopt.

CASTRO v. GREGORIO The law also requires the written consent of the adopter’s children if
G.R. No. 188801 | October 15, 2014 they are 10 years old or older. In Article III, Section 9 of Republic Act
Rules covered: Jurisdiction; Consent required, when vitiated (fraud); No. 8552:
Annulment of judgment in re: adoption proceedings
SEC. 9. Whose Consent is Necessary to the Adoption. —
*Annulment of judgment under Rule 47 is also discussed. After being properly counseled and informed of his/her
right to give or withhold his/her approval of the adoption,
The policy of the law is clear. In order to maintain harmony, there must the written consent of the following to the adoption is
be a showing of notice and consent. This cannot be defeated by mere hereby required: x x x
procedural devices. In all instances where it appears that a spouse
attempts to adopt a child out of wedlock, the other spouse and other (c) The legitimate and adopted sons/daughters, ten (10)
legitimate children must be personally notified through personal years of age or over, of the adopter(s) and adoptee, if
service of summons. It is not enough that they be deemed notified any;
through constructive service. x x x
The consent of the adopter’s other children is necessary as it ensures
It is settled that "the jurisdiction of the court is determined by the harmony among the prospective siblings. It also sufficiently puts the
statute in force at the time of the commencement of the action." As other children on notice that they will have to share their parent’s love
Jose filed the petition for adoption on August 1, 2000, it is Republic and care, as well as their future legitimes, with another person.
Act No. 855256 which applies over the proceedings. The law on
adoption requires that the adoption by the father of a child born out It is undisputed that Joanne was Jose and Rosario’s legitimate child
of wedlock obtain not only the consent of his wife but also the consent and that she was over 10 years old at the time of the adoption
of his legitimate children. proceedings. Her written consent, therefore, was necessary for the
adoption to be valid.
Under Article III, Section 7 of Republic Act No. 8552, the husband
must first obtain the consent of his wife if he seeks to adopt his own To circumvent this requirement, however, Jose manifested to the trial
children born out of wedlock: court that he and Rosario were childless, thereby preventing Joanne
from being notified of the proceedings. As her written consent was
ARTICLE III: ELIGIBILITY never obtained, the adoption was not valid.

SEC. 7. Who May Adopt. — The following may adopt: x x For the adoption to be valid, petitioners’ consent was required by
x Republic Act No. 8552. Personal service of summons should have been
effected on the spouse and all legitimate children to ensure that their
Husband and wife shall jointly adopt, except in the substantive rights are protected. It is not enough to rely on constructive
following cases: notice as in this case. Surreptitious use of procedural technicalities
cannot be privileged over substantive statutory rights.
(i) if one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate
son/daughter of the other; or Since the trial court failed to personally serve notice on Rosario and
(ii) if one spouse seeks to adopt his/her own illegitimate Joanne of the proceedings, it never validly acquired jurisdiction.
son/daughter: Provided, however, That the other spouse
has signified his/her consent thereto; or There was extrinsic fraud

20
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

The appellate court, in denying the petition, ruled that while fraud G.R. No. 192531 | November 12, 2014
may have been committed in this case, it was only intrinsic fraud, Rules covered: Parents by “adoption” in re: LC and ECC Rules;
rather than extrinsic fraud. This is erroneous. Rescission, when allowed; Death of adoptee (in re: successional rights)

In People v. Court of Appeals and Socorro Florece: Extrinsic fraud In the same vein, the term "parents" in the phrase "dependent parents"
refers to any fraudulent act of the prevailing party in litigation in the aforequoted Article 167 (j) of the Labor Code is used and
committed outside of the trial of the case, whereby the defeated ought to be taken in its general sense and cannot be unduly limited to
party is prevented from fully exhibiting his side of the case by fraud "legitimate parents" as what the ECC did. The phrase "dependent
or deception practiced on him by his opponent, such as by keeping parents" should, therefore, include all parents, whether legitimate or
him away from court, by giving him a false promise of a compromise, illegitimate and whether by nature or by adoption. When the law
or where the defendant never had the knowledge of the suit, being does not distinguish, one should not distinguish. Plainly, "dependent
kept in ignorance by the acts of the plaintiff, or where an attorney parents" are parents, whether legitimate or illegitimate, biological or
fraudulently or without authority connives at his defeat. by adoption, who are in need of support or assistance. x x x

An action for annulment based on extrinsic fraud must be brought In the instant case, there is no compelling reasonable basis to
within four years from discovery. Petitioners alleged that they were discriminate against illegitimate parents. Simply put, the above-cited
made aware of the adoption only in 2005. The filing of this petition rule promulgated by the ECC that limits the claim of benefits to the
on October 18, 2007 is within the period allowed by the rules. legitimate parents miserably failed the test of reasonableness since
The badges of fraud are present in this case. the classification is not germane to the law being implemented. We
see no pressing government concern or interest that requires
When fraud is employed by a party precisely to prevent the protection so as to warrant balancing the rights of unmarried parents
participation of any other interested party, as in this case, then the on one hand and the rationale behind the law on the other. On the
fraud is extrinsic, regardless of whether the fraud was committed contrary, the SSS can better fulfill its mandate, and the policy of PD
through the use of forged documents or perjured testimony during the 626 - that employees and their dependents may promptly secure
trial. adequate benefits in the event of work-connected disability or death
- will be better served if Article 167 (j) of the Labor Code is not so
Jose’s actions prevented Rosario and Joanne from having a narrowly interpreted.
reasonable opportunity to contest the adoption. Had Rosario and
Joanne been allowed to participate, the trial court would have There being no justification for limiting secondary parent beneficiaries
hesitated to grant Jose’s petition since he failed to fulfill the necessary to the legitimate ones, there can be no other course of action to take
requirements under the law. There can be no other conclusion than that other than to strike down as unconstitutional the phrase "illegitimate"
because of Jose’s acts, the trial court granted the decree of adoption as appearing in Rule XV, Section 1(c)(1) of the Amended Rules on
under fraudulent circumstances. Employees’ Compensation.

The law itself provides for penal sanctions for those who violate its Petitioner qualifies as John’s dependent parent. To begin with,
provisions. Under Article VII, Section 21 of Republic Act No. 8552: nowhere in the law nor in the rules does it say that "legitimate
parents" pertain to those who exercise parental authority over the
ARTICLE VII: VIOLATIONS AND PENALTIES employee enrolled under the ECP. It was only in the assailed Decision
wherein such qualification was made. In addition, assuming arguendo
SEC. 21. Violations and Penalties. — that the ECC did not overstep its boundaries in limiting the adverted
(a) The penalty of imprisonment ranging from six (6) years Labor Code provision to the deceased’s legitimate parents, and that
and one (1) day to twelve (12) years and/or a fine not less the commission properly equated legitimacy to parental authority,
than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00), but not more than petitioner can still qualify as John’s secondary beneficiary.
Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) at the
discretion of the court shall be imposed on any person who True, when Cornelio, in 1985, adopted John, then about two (2) years
shall commit any of the following acts: old, petitioner’s parental authority over John was severed. However,
lest it be overlooked, one key detail the ECC missed, aside from
(i) obtaining consent for an adoption through coercion, Cornelio’s death, was that when the adoptive parent died less than
undue influence, fraud, improper material inducement, or three (3) years after the adoption decree, John was still a minor, at
other similar acts; about four (4) years of age.
(ii) non-compliance with the procedures and safeguards
provided by the law for adoption; or John’s minority at the time of his adopter’s death is a significant factor
(iii)subjecting or exposing the child to be adopted to in the case at bar. Under such circumstance, parental authority should
danger, abuse, or exploitation. be deemed to have reverted in favor of the biological parents.
Otherwise, taking into account Our consistent ruling that adoption is a
(b) Any person who shall cause the fictitious registration of personal relationship and that there are no collateral relatives by
the birth of a child under the name(s)of a person(s) who is virtue of adoption, who was then left to care for the minor adopted
not his/her biological parents(s) shall be guilty of simulation child if the adopter passed away?
of birth, and shall be punished by prision mayorin its
medium period and a fine not exceeding Fifty thousand To be sure, reversion of parental authority and legal custody in favor
peso (P50,000.00). of the biological parents is not a novel concept. Section 20 of
Republic Act No. 855222 (RA 8552), otherwise known as the Domestic
Unfortunately, Jose's death carried with it the extinguishment of any Adoption Act, provides:
of his criminal liabilities. Republic Act No. 8552 also fails to provide
any provision on the status of adoption decrees if the adoption is Section 20. Effects of Rescission.– If the petition [for
found to have been obtained fraudulently. Petitioners also cannot rescission of adoption] is granted, the parental authority of
invoke Article VI, Section 19 of Republic Act No. 855279 since the adoptee's biological parent(s), if known, or the legal
rescission of adoption can only be availed of by the adoptee. custody of the Department shall be restored if the adoptee
Petitioners, therefore, are left with no other remedy in law other than is still a minor or incapacitated. The reciprocal rights and
the annulment of the judgment. obligations of the adopter(s) and the adoptee to each other
shall be extinguished.

BARTOLOME v. SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM


21
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

The provision adverted to is applicable herein by analogy insofar as evidence submitted to the ECC. As it appears in the records,
the restoration of custody is concerned. The manner herein of petitioner, prior to John’s adoption, was a housekeeper. Her late
terminating the adopter’s parental authority, unlike the grounds for husband died in 1984, leaving her to care for their seven (7) children.
rescission, justifies the retention of vested rights and obligations But since she was unable to "give a bright future to her growing
between the adopter and the adoptee, while the consequent children" as a housekeeper, she consented to Cornelio’s adoption of
restoration of parental authority in favor of the biological parents, Johnand Elizabeth in 1985.
simultaneously, ensures that the adoptee, who is still a minor, is not left
to fend for himself at such a tender age. Following Cornelio’s death in 1987, so records reveal, both petitioner
and John repeatedly reported "Brgy. Capurictan, Solsona, Ilocos
To emphasize, We can only apply the rule by analogy, especially Norte" as their residence. In fact, this very address was used in John’s
since RA 8552 was enacted after Cornelio’s death. Truth be told, Death Certificate executed in Brazil, and in the Report of Personal
there is a lacuna in the law as to which provision shall govern Injury or Loss of Life accomplished by the master of the vessel
contingencies in all fours with the factual milieu of the instant petition. boarded by John. Likewise, this is John’s known address as per the
Nevertheless, We are guided by the catena of cases and the state ECC’s assailed Decision. Similarly, this same address was used by
policies behind RA 855224 wherein the paramount consideration is petitioner in filing her claim before the SSS La Union branch and,
the best interest of the child, which We invoke to justify this disposition. thereafter, in her appeal with the ECC. Hence, it can be assumed that
It is, after all, for the best interest of the child that someone will aside from having been restored parental authority over John,
remain charged for his welfare and upbringing should his or her petitioner indeed actually execised the same, and that they lived
adopter fail or is rendered incapacitated to perform his duties as a together under one roof.
parent at a time the adoptee is still in his formative years, and, to Our
mind, in the absence or, as in this case, death of the adopter, no one Moreover, John, in his SSS application, named petitioner as one of his
else could reasonably be expected to perform the role of a parent beneficiaries for his benefits under RA 8282, otherwise known as the
other than the adoptee’s biological one. "Social Security Law." While RA 8282 does not cover compensation
for work-related deaths or injury and expressly allows the
Moreover, this ruling finds support on the fact that even though designation of beneficiaries who are not related by blood to the
parental authority is severed by virtue of adoption, the ties between member unlike in PD 626, John’s deliberate act of indicating
the adoptee and the biological parents are not entirely eliminated. To petitioner as his beneficiary at least evinces that he, in a way,
demonstrate, the biological parents, in some instances, are able to considered petitioner as his dependent. Consequently, the confluence
inherit from the adopted, as can be gleaned from Art. 190 of the of circumstances – from Cornelio’s death during John’s minority, the
Family Code: restoration of petitioner’s parental authority, the documents showing
singularity of address, and John’s clear intention to designate
Art. 190. Legal or intestate succession to the estate of the petitioner as a beneficiary - effectively made petitioner, to Our mind,
adopted shall be governed by the following rules: x x x entitled to death benefit claims as a secondary beneficiary under PD
626 as a dependent parent.
(2) When the parents, legitimate or illegitimate, or the
legitimate ascendants of the adopted concur with the All told, the Decision of the ECC dated March 17, 2010 is bereft of
adopter, they shall divide the entire estate, one-half to be legal basis. Cornelio’s adoption of John, without more, does not
inherited by the parents or ascendants and the other half, deprive petitioner of the right to receive the benefits stemming from
by the adopters; x x x John’s death as a dependent parent given Cornelio’s untimely demise
during John’s minority. Since the parent by adoption already died,
(6) When only collateral blood relatives of the adopted then the death benefits under the Employees' Compensation Program
survive, then the ordinary rules of legal or intestate shall accrue solely to herein petitioner, John's sole remaining
succession shall apply. beneficiary.

Similarly, at the time of Cornelio Colcol’s death, which was prior to the
effectivity of the Family Code, the governing provision is Art. 984 of
the New Civil Code, which provides:

Art. 984. In case of the death of an adopted child, leaving


no children or descendants, his parents and relatives by
consanguinity and not by adoption, shall be his legal heirs.

From the foregoing, it is apparent that the biological parents retain


their rights of succession to the estate of their child who was the
subject of adoption. While the benefits arising from the death of an
SSS covered employee do not form part of the estate of the adopted
child, the pertinent provision on legal or intestate succession at least
reveals the policy on the rights of the biological parents and those by
adoption vis-à-vis the right to receive benefits from the adopted. In
the same way that certain rights still attach by virtue of the blood
relation, so too should certain obligations, which, We rule, include the
exercise of parental authority, in the event of the untimely passing of
their minor offspring’s adoptive parent. We cannot leave
undetermined the fate of a minor child whose second chance at a
better life under the care of the adoptive parents was snatched from
him by death’s cruel grasp. Otherwise, the adopted child’s quality of
life might have been better off not being adopted at all if he would
only find himself orphaned in the end. Thus, We hold that Cornelio’s
death at the time of John’s minority resulted in the restoration of
petitioner’s parental authority over the adopted child.

On top of this restoration of parental authority, the fact of petitioner’s


dependence on John can be established from the documentary
22
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

CHANGE OF NAME REPUBLIC v. KHO


G.R. No. 170340 | June 29, 2007
Rules covered: Rule 108 (Sec. 3-5); Adversarial proceedings;
RULE 103 and 108 Rule 108 as action in rem;

ELEOSIDA v. LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR OF Q.C. It cannot be gainsaid that the petition, insofar as it sought to change
G.R. No. 130277 | May 9, 2002 the citizenship of Carlito’s mother as it appeared in his birth
Rules covered: Rule 108 (Section 3, 4, 5); Adversarial proceedings certificate and delete the "married" status of Carlito’s parents in his
and his siblings’ respective birth certificates, as well as change the
Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of Court provides the procedure for date of marriage of Carlito and Marivel involves the correction of not
cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry. The just clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous nature. Rather, the
proceedings under said rule may either be summary or adversary in changes entail substantial and controversial amendments.
nature. If the correction sought to be made in the civil register is
clerical, then the procedure to be adopted is summary. If the For the change involving the nationality of Carlito’s mother as
rectification affects the civil status, citizenship or nationality of a reflected in his birth certificate is a grave and important matter that
party, it is deemed substantial, and the procedure to be adopted is has a bearing and effect on the citizenship and nationality not only of
adversary. This is our ruling in Republic v. Valencia where we held that the parents, but also of the offspring.
even substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and the
true facts established under Rule 108 provided the parties aggrieved Further, the deletion of the entry that Carlito’s and his siblings’ parents
by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary were "married" alters their filiation from "legitimate" to "illegitimate,"
proceeding. An appropriate adversary suit or proceeding is one with significant implications on their successional and other rights.
where the trial court has conducted proceedings where all relevant
facts have been fully and properly developed, where opposing Clearly, the changes sought can only be granted in an adversary
counsel have been given opportunity to demolish the opposite party's proceeding. Labayo-Rowe v. Republic explains the raison d’etre:
case, and where the evidence has been thoroughly weighed and
considered. The Court further laid down the procedural requirements “The philosophy behind this requirement lies in the fact that the books
to make the proceedings under Rule 108 adversary, thus: making up the civil register and all documents relating thereto shall
be prima facie evidence of the facts therein contained. If the entries in
"The pertinent sections of Rule 108 provide: the civil register could be corrected or changed through mere
summary proceedings and not through appropriate action wherein all
SEC. 3. Parties.—When cancellation or correction of an parties who may be affected by the entries are notified or
entry in the civil register is sought, the civil registrar and all represented, the door to fraud or other mischief would be set open,
persons who have or claim any interest which would be the consequence of which might be detrimental and far reaching.”
affected thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding.
In Republic v. Valencia, however, this Court ruled, and has since
SEC. 4. Notice and publication.—Upon the filing of the repeatedly ruled, that even substantial errors in a civil registry may
petition, the court shall, by an order, fix the time and place be corrected through a petition filed under Rule 108.
for the hearing of the same, and cause reasonable notice
thereof to be given to the persons named in the petition. “It is undoubtedly true that if the subject matter of a
The court shall also cause the order to be published once in petition is not for the correction of clerical errors of a
a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of harmless and innocuous nature, but one involving nationality
general circulation in the province. or citizenship, which is indisputably substantial as well as
controverted, affirmative relief cannot be granted in a
SEC. 5. Opposition.—The civil registrar and any person proceeding summary in nature. However, it is also true that
having or claiming any interest under the entry whose a right in law may be enforced and a wrong may be
cancellation or correction is sought may, within fifteen (15) remedied as long as the appropriate remedy is used. This
days from notice, file his opposition thereto. Court adheres to the principle that even substantial errors in
a civil registry may be corrected and the true facts
Thus, the persons who must be made parties to a established provided the parties aggrieved by the error
proceeding concerning the cancellation or correction of an avail themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding.
entry in the civil register are—(1) the civil registrar, and (2) xxx
all persons who have or claim any interest which would be
affected thereby. Upon the filing of the petition, it becomes What is meant by "appropriate adversary proceeding?"
the duty of the court to—(1) issue an order fixing the time Black’s Law Dictionary defines "adversary proceeding" as
and place for the hearing of the petition, and (2) cause the follows:
order for hearing to be published once a week for three (3)
consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in One having opposing parties; contested, as distinguished
the province. The following are likewise entitled to oppose from an ex parte application, one of which the party
the petition: (1) the civil registrar, and (2) any person seeking relief has given legal warning to the other party,
having or claiming any interest under the entry whose and afforded the latter an opportunity to contest it.
cancellation or correction is sought.
The enactment in March 2001 of Republic Act No. 9048,
If all these procedural requirements have been followed, a otherwise known as "An Act Authorizing the City or
petition for correction and/or cancellation of entries in the Municipal Civil Registrar or the Consul General to Correct a
record of birth even if filed and conducted under Rule 108 Clerical or Typographical Error in an Entry and/or Change
of the Revised Rules of Court can no longer be described as of First Name or Nickname in the Civil Register Without
'summary'. Need of Judicial Order," has been considered to lend
legislative affirmation to the judicial precedence that
substantial corrections to the civil status of persons recorded
in the civil registry may be effected through the filing of a
petition under Rule 108.”

23
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

Thus, this Court in Republic v. Benemerito observed that the obvious identification, and that a change of name is a privilege and not a
effect of Republic Act No. 9048 is to make possible the administrative right, so that before a person can be authorized to change his name
correction of clerical or typographical errors or change of first name given him either in his certificate of birth or civil registry, he must show
or nickname in entries in the civil register, leaving to Rule 108 the proper or reasonable cause, or any compelling reason which may
correction of substantial changes in the civil registry in appropriate justify such change. Otherwise, the request should be denied.
adversarial proceedings.
The touchstone for the grant of a change of name is that there be
When all the procedural requirements under Rule 108 are ‘proper and reasonable cause’ for which the change is sought. To
thus followed, the appropriate adversary proceeding justify a request for change of name, petitioner must show not only
necessary to effect substantial corrections to the entries of some proper or compelling reason therefore but also that he will be
the civil register is satisfied. x x x prejudiced by the use of his true and official name. Among the
grounds for change of name which have been held valid are: (a)
The essential requisite for allowing substantial corrections of when the name is ridiculous, dishonorable or extremely difficult to
entries in the civil registry is that the true facts be write or pronounce; (b) when the change results as a legal
established in an appropriate adversarial proceeding. This consequence, as in legitimation; (c) when the change will avoid
is embodied in Section 3, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, confusion; (d) when one has continuously used and been known since
which states: childhood by a Filipino name, and was unaware of alien parentage;
(e) a sincere desire to adopt a Filipino name to erase signs of former
Section 3. Parties. – When cancellation or correction of an alienage, all in good faith and without prejudicing anybody; and (f)
entry in the civil register is sought, the civil registrar and all when the surname causes embarrassment and there is no showing that
persons who have or claim any interest which would be the desired change of name was for a fraudulent purpose or that the
affected thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding. change of name would prejudice public interest.
xxx
In granting or denying petitions for change of name, the question of
The purpose precisely of Section 4, Rule 108 is to bind the proper and reasonable cause is left to the sound discretion of the
whole world to the subsequent judgment on the petition. The court. The evidence presented need only be satisfactory to the court
sweep of the decision would cover even parties who should and not all the best evidence available. What is involved is not a
have been impleaded under Section 3, Rule 108, but were mere matter of allowance or disallowance of the request, but a
inadvertently left out. x x x judicious evaluation of the sufficiency and propriety of the
justifications advanced in support thereof, mindful of the consequent
Verily, a petition for correction is an action in rem, an action results in the event of its grant and with the sole prerogative for
against a thing and not against a person. The decision on making such determination being lodged in the courts.
the petition binds not only the parties thereto but the whole
world. An in rem proceeding is validated essentially through The petition before us is unlike other petitions for change of name, as
publication. Publication is notice to the whole world that the it does not simply seek to change the name of the minor petitioner
proceeding has for its object to bar indefinitely all who and adopt another, but instead seeks to drop the middle name
might be minded to make an objection of any sort against altogether. Decided cases in this jurisdiction involving petitions for
the right sought to be established. It is the publication of change of name usually deal with requests for change of surname.
such notice that brings in the whole world as a party in the There are only a handful of cases involving requests for change of the
case and vests the court with jurisdiction to hear and decide given name18 and none on requests for changing or dropping of the
it.” middle name. Does the law allow one to drop the middle name from
his registered name? We have to answer in the negative.
With respect to the correction in Carlito’s birth certificate of his name
from "Carlito John" to "Carlito," the same was properly granted For all practical and legal purposes, a man's name is the
under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. As correctly pointed out by the designation by which he is known and called in the
CA, the cancellation or correction of entries involving changes of name community in which he lives and is best known. It is defined
falls under letter "o" of the following provision of Section 2 of Rule as the word or combination of words by which a person is
108: distinguished from other individuals and, also, as the label
or appellation which he bears for the convenience of the
Section 2. Entries subject to cancellation or correction. — Upon good world at large addressing him, or in speaking of or dealing
and valid grounds, the following entries in the civil register may be with him. Names are used merely as one method of
cancelled or corrected: (a) births; (b) marriages; (c) deaths; (d) legal indicating the identity of persons; they are descriptive of
separation; (e) judgments of annulment of marriage; (f) judgments persons for identification, since, the identity is the essential
declaring marriages void from the beginning; (g) legitimations; (h) thing and it has frequently been held that, when identity is
adoptions; (i) acknowledgments of natural children; (j) naturalization; certain, a variance in, or misspelling of, the name is
(k) election, loss or recovery of citizenship; (l) civil interdiction; (m) immaterial.
judicial determination of filiation; (n) voluntary emancipation of a
minor; and (o) changes of name. The names of individuals usually have two parts: the given
name or proper name, and the surname or family name.
Hence, while the jurisdictional requirements of Rule 103 (which The given or proper name is that which is given to the
governs petitions for change of name) were not complied with, individual at birth or baptism, to distinguish him from other
observance of the provisions of Rule 108 suffices to effect the individuals. The name or family name is that which identifies
correction sought for. the family to which he belongs and is continued from parent
to child. The given name may be freely selected by the
parents for the child; but the surname to which the child is
IN RE: PETITION FOR CHANGE OF NAME AND/OR entitled is fixed by law.
CANCELLATION OF ENTRY, JULIAN LIN CARULASAN WANG
G.R. No. 159966 | March 30, 2005 A name is said to have the following characteristics: (1) It is
Rules covered: Rationale for grant of change of name; Characteristics absolute, intended to protect the individual from being
of a name; RA 9255 (amending Art. 176, FC); Art. 174, 364, FC confused with others. (2) It is obligatory in certain respects,
for nobody can be without a name. (3) It is fixed,
The Court has had occasion to express the view that the State has an unchangeable, or immutable, at least at the start, and may
interest in the names borne by individuals and entities for purposes of be changed only for good cause and by judicial

24
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

proceedings. (4) It is outside the commerce of man, and, bigamous and impugn Patrick’s legitimacy, which causes of action are
therefore, inalienable and intransmissible by act inter vivos governed not by Rule 108 but by A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC which took
or mortis causa. (5) It is imprescriptible. effect on March 15, 2003, and Art. 17118 of the Family Code,
respectively, hence, the petition should be filed in a Family Court as
Our laws on the use of surnames state that legitimate and legitimated expressly provided in said Code.
children shall principally use the surname of the father. The Family
Code gives legitimate children the right to bear the surnames of the It is well to emphasize that, doctrinally, validity of marriages as well
father and the mother, while illegitimate children shall use the as legitimacy and filiation can be questioned only in a direct action
surname of their mother, unless their father recognizes their filiation, in seasonably filed by the proper party, and not through collateral
which case they may bear the father’s surname. attack such as the petition filed before the court a quo.

Applying these laws, an illegitimate child whose filiation is not


recognized by the father bears only a given name and his mother’s SILVERIO v. REPUBLIC
surname, and does not have a middle name. The name of the G.R. No. 174689 | October 22, 2007
unrecognized illegitimate child therefore identifies him as such. It is Rules covered: RA 9048 in re: Art. 376, 406-407, 412-413; Grounds
only when the illegitimate child is legitimated by the subsequent for change of name; Sex reassignment not included
marriage of his parents or acknowledged by the father in a public
document or private handwritten instrument that he bears both his A person’s first name cannot be changed on the ground of sex
mother’s surname as his middle name and his father’s surname as his reassignment. x x x
surname, reflecting his status as a legitimated child or an
acknowledged illegitimate child. The State has an interest in the names borne by individuals and
entities for purposes of identification. A change of name is a
Accordingly, the registration in the civil registry of the birth of such privilege, not a right. Petitions for change of name are controlled by
individuals requires that the middle name be indicated in the statutes. In this connection, Article 376 of the Civil Code provides:
certificate. The registered name of a legitimate, legitimated and
recognized illegitimate child thus contains a given or proper name, a ART. 376. No person can change his name or surname
middle name, and a surname. x x x without judicial authority.

In the case at bar, the only reason advanced by petitioner for the This Civil Code provision was amended by RA 9048 (Clerical Error
dropping his middle name is convenience. However, how such change Law). In particular, Section 1 of RA 9048 provides:
of name would make his integration into Singaporean society easier
and convenient is not clearly established. That the continued use of his SECTION 1. Authority to Correct Clerical or Typographical
middle name would cause confusion and difficulty does not constitute Error and Change of First Name or Nickname. – No entry in
proper and reasonable cause to drop it from his registered complete a civil register shall be changed or corrected without a
name. judicial order, except for clerical or typographical errors
and change of first name or nickname which can be
corrected or changed by the concerned city or municipal
BRAZA v. CITY CIVIL REGISTRAR OF HIMAMAYLAN civil registrar or consul general in accordance with the
NEGROS OCCIDENTAL provisions of this Act and its implementing rules and
G.R. No. 181174 | December 4, 2009 regulations.
Rules covered: Rule 108 in re: Art. 412, NCC; Nullification of
marriages via correction of entries RA 9048 now governs the change of first name. It vests the power
and authority to entertain petitions for change of first name to the city
The petition fails. In a special proceeding for correction of entry or municipal civil registrar or consul general concerned. Under the
under Rule 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Original law, therefore, jurisdiction over applications for change of first name
Registry), the trial court has no jurisdiction to nullify marriages and is now primarily lodged with the aforementioned administrative
rule on legitimacy and filiation. officers. The intent and effect of the law is to exclude the change of
first name from the coverage of Rules 103 (Change of Name) and
Rule 108 of the Rules of Court vis a vis Article 412 of the Civil 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry) of the
Code charts the procedure by which an entry in the civil registry may Rules of Court, until and unless an administrative petition for change
be cancelled or corrected. The proceeding contemplated therein may of name is first filed and subsequently denied. It likewise lays down
generally be used only to correct clerical, spelling, typographical and the corresponding venue, form and procedure. In sum, the remedy
other innocuous errors in the civil registry. A clerical error is one which and the proceedings regulating change of first name are primarily
is visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding; an error made administrative in nature, not judicial.
by a clerk or a transcriber; a mistake in copying or writing, or a
harmless change such as a correction of name that is clearly RA 9048 likewise provides the grounds for which change of first name
misspelled or of a misstatement of the occupation of the parent. may be allowed:
Substantial or contentious alterations may be allowed only in
adversarial proceedings, in which all interested parties are SECTION 4. Grounds for Change of First Name or
impleaded and due process is properly observed. Nickname. – The petition for change of first name or
nickname may be allowed in any of the following cases:
The allegations of the petition filed before the trial court clearly show
that petitioners seek to nullify the marriage between Pablo and (1) The petitioner finds the first name or nickname to be
Lucille on the ground that it is bigamous and impugn Patrick’s filiation ridiculous, tainted with dishonor or extremely difficult to
in connection with which they ask the court to order Patrick to be write or pronounce;
subjected to a DNA test.
(2) The new first name or nickname has been habitually and
Petitioners insist, however, that the main cause of action is for the continuously used by the petitioner and he has been
correction of Patrick’s birth records and that the rest of the prayers publicly known by that first name or nickname in the
are merely incidental thereto. community; or

Petitioners’ position does not lie. Their cause of action is actually to (3) The change will avoid confusion.
seek the declaration of Pablo and Lucille’s marriage as void for being

25
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

Petitioner’s basis in praying for the change of his first name was his ART. 407. Acts, events and judicial decrees concerning the
sex reassignment. He intended to make his first name compatible with civil status of persons shall be recorded in the civil register.
the sex he thought he transformed himself into through surgery.
However, a change of name does not alter one’s legal capacity or ART. 408. The following shall be entered in the civil
civil status. RA 9048 does not sanction a change of first name on the register: (1) Births; (2) marriages; (3) deaths; (4) legal
ground of sex reassignment. Rather than avoiding confusion, changing separations; (5) annulments of marriage; (6) judgments
petitioner’s first name for his declared purpose may only create declaring marriages void from the beginning; (7)
grave complications in the civil registry and the public interest. legitimations; (8) adoptions; (9) acknowledgments of
natural children; (10) naturalization; (11) loss, or (12)
Before a person can legally change his given name, he must present recovery of citizenship; (13) civil interdiction; (14) judicial
proper or reasonable cause or any compelling reason justifying such determination of filiation; (15) voluntary emancipation of a
change. In addition, he must show that he will be prejudiced by the minor; and (16) changes of name.
use of his true and official name. In this case, he failed to show, or
even allege, any prejudice that he might suffer as a result of using his The acts, events or factual errors contemplated under Article 407 of
true and official name. the Civil Code include even those that occur after birth. However, no
In sum, the petition in the trial court in so far as it prayed for the reasonable interpretation of the provision can justify the conclusion
change of petitioner’s first name was not within that court’s primary that it covers the correction on the ground of sex reassignment.
jurisdiction as the petition should have been filed with the local civil To correct simply means "to make or set aright; to remove the faults
registrar concerned, assuming it could be legally done. It was an or error from" while to change means "to replace something with
improper remedy because the proper remedy was administrative, something else of the same kind or with something that serves as a
that is, that provided under RA 9048. It was also filed in the wrong substitute." The birth certificate of petitioner contained no error. All
venue as the proper venue was in the Office of the Civil Registrar of entries therein, including those corresponding to his first name and
Manila where his birth certificate is kept. More importantly, it had no sex, were all correct. No correction is necessary.
merit since the use of his true and official name does not prejudice him
at all. For all these reasons, the Court of Appeals correctly dismissed Article 407 of the Civil Code authorizes the entry in the civil registry
petitioner’s petition in so far as the change of his first name was of certain acts (such as legitimations, acknowledgments of illegitimate
concerned. children and naturalization), events (such as births, marriages,
naturalization and deaths) and judicial decrees (such as legal
No law allows the change of entry in the birth certificate as to sex on separations, annulments of marriage, declarations of nullity of
the ground of sex reassignment. marriages, adoptions, naturalization, loss or recovery of citizenship,
civil interdiction, judicial determination of filiation and changes of
The determination of a person’s sex appearing in his birth certificate name). These acts, events and judicial decrees produce legal
is a legal issue and the court must look to the statutes. In this consequences that touch upon the legal capacity, status and
connection, Article 412 of the Civil Code provides: nationality of a person. Their effects are expressly sanctioned by the
laws. In contrast, sex reassignment is not among those acts or events
ART. 412. No entry in the civil register shall be changed or mentioned in Article 407. Neither is it recognized nor even mentioned
corrected without a judicial order. by any law, expressly or impliedly.

Together with Article 376 of the Civil Code, this provision was "Status" refers to the circumstances affecting the legal situation (that
amended by RA 9048 in so far as clerical or typographical errors is, the sum total of capacities and incapacities) of a person in view of
are involved. The correction or change of such matters can now be his age, nationality and his family membership.
made through administrative proceedings and without the need for a
judicial order. In effect, RA 9048 removed from the ambit of Rule The status of a person in law includes all his personal qualities and
108 of the Rules of Court the correction of such errors. Rule 108 now relations, more or less permanent in nature, not ordinarily terminable
applies only to substantial changes and corrections in entries in the at his own will, such as his being legitimate or illegitimate, or his being
civil register. married or not. The comprehensive term status… include such matters
as the beginning and end of legal personality, capacity to have rights
Section 2(c) of RA 9048 defines what a "clerical or typographical in general, family relations, and its various aspects, such as birth,
error" is: legitimation, adoption, emancipation, marriage, divorce, and
sometimes even succession.
SECTION 2. Definition of Terms. – As used in this Act, the
following terms shall mean: x x x A person’s sex is an essential factor in marriage and family relations.
It is a part of a person’s legal capacity and civil status. In this
(3) "Clerical or typographical error" refers to a mistake connection, Article 413 of the Civil Code provides:
committed in the performance of clerical work in writing,
copying, transcribing or typing an entry in the civil register ART. 413. All other matters pertaining to the registration of
that is harmless and innocuous, such as misspelled name or civil status shall be governed by special laws.
misspelled place of birth or the like, which is visible to the
eyes or obvious to the understanding, and can be corrected But there is no such special law in the Philippines governing sex
or changed only by reference to other existing record or reassignment and its effects. This is fatal to petitioner’s cause.
records: Provided, however, That no correction must involve
the change of nationality, age, status or sex of the Moreover, Section 5 of Act 3753 (the Civil Register Law) provides:
petitioner.
SEC. 5. Registration and certification of births. – The
Under RA 9048, a correction in the civil registry involving the change declaration of the physician or midwife in attendance at the
of sex is not a mere clerical or typographical error. It is a substantial birth or, in default thereof, the declaration of either parent
change for which the applicable procedure is Rule 108 of the Rules of of the newborn child, shall be sufficient for the registration
Court. of a birth in the civil register. Such declaration shall be
exempt from documentary stamp tax and shall be sent to
The entries envisaged in Article 412 of the Civil Code and the local civil registrar not later than thirty days after the
correctable under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court are those provided birth, by the physician or midwife in attendance at the birth
in Articles 407 and 408 of the Civil Code: or by either parent of the newborn child.

26
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

In such declaration, the person above mentioned shall The entries envisaged in Article 412 of the Civil Code and
certify to the following facts: (a) date and hour of birth; correctable under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court are those provided
(b) sex and nationality of infant; (c) names, citizenship and in Articles 407 and 408 of the Civil Code:
religion of parents or, in case the father is not known, of
the mother alone; (d) civil status of parents; (e) place ART. 407. Acts, events and judicial decrees concerning the
where the infant was born; and (f) such other data as may civil status of persons shall be recorded in the civil register.
be required in the regulations to be issued.
ART. 408. The following shall be entered in the civil
Under the Civil Register Law, a birth certificate is a historical record register: (1) Births; (2) marriages; (3) deaths; (4) legal
of the facts as they existed at the time of birth. Thus, the sex of a separations; (5) annulments of marriage; (6) judgments
person is determined at birth, visually done by the birth attendant declaring marriages void from the beginning; (7)
(the physician or midwife) by examining the genitals of the infant. legitimations; (8) adoptions; (9) acknowledgments of
Considering that there is no law legally recognizing sex reassignment, natural children; (10) naturalization; (11) loss, or (12)
the determination of a person’s sex made at the time of his or her recovery of citizenship; (13) civil interdiction; (14) judicial
birth, if not attended by error, is immutable. determination of filiation; (15) voluntary emancipation of a
minor; and (16) changes of name.
When words are not defined in a statute they are to be given their
common and ordinary meaning in the absence of a contrary The acts, events or factual errors contemplated under Article 407 of
legislative intent. The words "sex," "male" and "female" as used in the the Civil Code include even those that occur after birth.
Civil Register Law and laws concerning the civil registry (and even all
other laws) should therefore be understood in their common and Respondent undisputedly has CAH. This condition causes the early or
ordinary usage, there being no legislative intent to the contrary. In this "inappropriate" appearance of male characteristics. A person, like
connection, sex is defined as "the sum of peculiarities of structure and respondent, with this condition produces too much androgen, a male
function that distinguish a male from a female" or "the distinction hormone. A newborn who has XX chromosomes coupled with CAH
between male and female." Female is "the sex that produces ova or usually has a (1) swollen clitoris with the urethral opening at the base,
bears young" and male is "the sex that has organs to produce an ambiguous genitalia often appearing more male than female; (2)
spermatozoa for fertilizing ova." Thus, the words "male" and "female" normal internal structures of the female reproductive tract such as the
in everyday understanding do not include persons who have ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes; as the child grows older, some
undergone sex reassignment. Furthermore, "words that are employed features start to appear male, such as deepening of the voice, facial
in a statute which had at the time a well-known meaning are hair, and failure to menstruate at puberty. About 1 in 10,000 to
presumed to have been used in that sense unless the context compels 18,000 children are born with CAH.
to the contrary." Since the statutory language of the Civil Register
Law was enacted in the early 1900s and remains unchanged, it CAH is one of many conditions that involve intersex anatomy. During
cannot be argued that the term "sex" as used then is something the twentieth century, medicine adopted the term "intersexuality" to
alterable through surgery or something that allows a post-operative apply to human beings who cannot be classified as either male or
male-to-female transsexual to be included in the category "female." female. The term is now of widespread use. According to Wikipedia,
intersexuality "is the state of a living thing of a gonochoristic species
For these reasons, while petitioner may have succeeded in altering his whose sex chromosomes, genitalia, and/or secondary sex
body and appearance through the intervention of modern surgery, no characteristics are determined to be neither exclusively male nor
law authorizes the change of entry as to sex in the civil registry for female. An organism with intersex may have biological characteristics
that reason. Thus, there is no legal basis for his petition for the of both male and female sexes." x x x
correction or change of the entries in his birth certificate.
In deciding this case, we consider the compassionate calls for
recognition of the various degrees of intersex as variations which
REPUBLIC v. CAGANDAHAN should not be subject to outright denial. "It has been suggested that
G.R. No. 166676 | September 12, 2008 there is some middle ground between the sexes, a ‘no-man’s land’ for
Rules covered: Rule 103 and 108 in re: 407-408, 412-413, NCC; those individuals who are neither truly ‘male’ nor truly ‘female’." The
Art. 376, NCC (as amended by RA 9048); Intersex (CAH) as ground current state of Philippine statutes apparently compels that a person
be classified either as a male or as a female, but this Court is not
*The court cited Rule 103 and Rule 108 in full. controlled by mere appearances when nature itself fundamentally
negates such rigid classification.
The determination of a person’s sex appearing in his birth certificate
is a legal issue and the court must look to the statutes. In this In the instant case, if we determine respondent to be a female, then
connection, Article 412 of the Civil Code provides: there is no basis for a change in the birth certificate entry for gender.
But if we determine, based on medical testimony and scientific
ART. 412. No entry in a civil register shall be changed or development showing the respondent to be other than female, then a
corrected without a judicial order. change in the subject’s birth certificate entry is in order.

Together with Article 376 of the Civil Code, this provision was Biologically, nature endowed respondent with a mixed (neither
amended by Republic Act No. 9048 in so far as clerical or consistently and categorically female nor consistently and
typographical errors are involved. The correction or change of such categorically male) composition. Respondent has female (XX)
matters can now be made through administrative proceedings and chromosomes. However, respondent’s body system naturally produces
without the need for a judicial order. In effect, Rep. Act No. 9048 high levels of male hormones (androgen). As a result, respondent has
removed from the ambit of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the ambiguous genitalia and the phenotypic features of a male.
correction of such errors. Rule 108 now applies only to substantial
changes and corrections in entries in the civil register. Ultimately, we are of the view that where the person is biologically or
naturally intersex the determining factor in his gender classification
Under Rep. Act No. 9048, a correction in the civil registry involving would be what the individual, like respondent, having reached the
the change of sex is not a mere clerical or typographical error. It is a age of majority, with good reason thinks of his/her sex. Respondent
substantial change for which the applicable procedure is Rule 108 of here thinks of himself as a male and considering that his body
the Rules of Court. produces high levels of male hormones (androgen) there is
preponderant biological support for considering him as being male.
Sexual development in cases of intersex persons makes the gender

27
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

classification at birth inconclusive. It is at maturity that the gender of the same affects her rights and obligations in this country. Clearly, the
such persons, like respondent, is fixed. changes are substantial.

Respondent here has simply let nature take its course and has not It has been settled in a number of cases starting with Republic v.
taken unnatural steps to arrest or interfere with what he was born Valencia that even substantial errors in a civil registry may be
with. And accordingly, he has already ordered his life to that of a corrected and the true facts established provided the parties
male. Respondent could have undergone treatment and taken steps, aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate
like taking lifelong medication, to force his body into the categorical adversary proceeding. x x x
mold of a female but he did not. He chose not to do so. Nature has
instead taken its due course in respondent’s development to reveal In this case, it was only the Local Civil Registrar of Gingoog City who
more fully his male characteristics. was impleaded as respondent in the petition below. This,
notwithstanding, the RTC granted her petition and allowed the
correction sought by respondent, which decision was affirmed in toto
REPUBLIC v. UY by the CA.
G.R. No. 198010 | August 12, 2013
Rules covered: Rule 108 in re: interested parties; Failure to implead The fact that the notice of hearing was published in a newspaper of
necessary/indispensable parties, effects general circulation and notice thereof was served upon the State will
not change the nature of the proceedings taken. A reading of
*The court cited the case of Republic v. Valencia, as cited in the cases Sections 4 and 5, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court shows that the Rules
above. Rule 108 was cited in full. Here, only the pertinent provision mandate two sets of notices to different potential oppositors: one
will be cited. given to the persons named in the petition and another given to other
persons who are not named in the petition but nonetheless may be
Hence, the present petition on the sole ground that the petition is considered interested or affected parties. Summons must, therefore,
dismissible for failure to implead indispensable parties. be served not for the purpose of vesting the courts with jurisdiction but
to comply with the requirements of fair play and due process to
Cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry is governed by afford the person concerned the opportunity to protect his interest if
Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, to wit: x x x he so chooses.

SEC. 2. Entries subject to cancellation or correction. – Upon While there may be cases where the Court held that the failure to
good and valid grounds, the following entries in the civil implead and notify the affected or interested parties may be cured
register may be cancelled or corrected: (a) births; (b) by the publication of the notice of hearing, earnest efforts were made
marriages; (c) deaths; (d) legal separations; (e) judgments by petitioners in bringing to court all possible interested parties. Such
of annulments of marriage; (f) judgments declaring failure was likewise excused where the interested parties themselves
marriages void from the beginning; (g) legitimations; (h) initiated the corrections proceedings; when there is no actual or
adoptions; (i) acknowledgments of natural children; (j) presumptive awareness of the existence of the interested parties; or
naturalization; (k) election, loss or recovery of citizenship; (l) when a party is inadvertently left out.
civil interdiction; (m) judicial determination of filiation; (n)
voluntary emancipation of a minor; and (o) changes of It is clear from the foregoing discussion that when a petition for
name. cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register involves
substantial and controversial alterations, including those on citizenship,
SEC. 3. Parties. – When cancellation or correction of an legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, a strict
entry in the civil register is sought, the civil registrar and all compliance with the requirements of Rule 108 ofthe Rules of Court is
persons who have or claim any interest which would be mandated. If the entries in the civil register could be corrected or
affected thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding. changed through mere summary proceedings and not through
appropriate action wherein all parties who may be affected by the
SEC. 4. Notice and Publication. – Upon the filing of the entries are notified or represented, the door to fraud or other
petition, the court shall, by an order, fix the time and place mischief would be set open, the consequence of which might be
for the hearing of the same, and cause reasonable notice detrimental and far reaching.
thereof to be given to the persons named in the petition.
The court shall also cause the order to be published once a
week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of FUJIKI v. MARINAY
general circulation in the province. G.R. No. 196049 | June 26, 2013
Rules covered: Rule 108; Interested parties
SEC. 5. Opposition. – The civil registrar and any person
having or claiming any interest under the entry whose *The case also discusses recognition of foreign judgments.
cancellation or correction is sought may, within fifteen (15)
days from notice of the petition, or from the last date of Since the recognition of a foreign judgment only requires proof of
publication of such notice, file his opposition thereto. x x x fact of the judgment, it may be made in a special proceeding for
cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry under Rule 108
In this case, respondent sought the correction of entries in her birth of the Rules of Court. Rule 1, Section 3 of the Rules of Court provides
certificate, particularly those pertaining to her first name, surname that "[a] special proceeding is a remedy by which a party seeks to
and citizenship. She sought the correction allegedly to reflect the establish a status, a right, or a particular fact." Rule 108 creates a
name which she has been known for since childhood, including her remedy to rectify facts of a person’s life which are recorded by the
legal documents such as passport and school and professional State pursuant to the Civil Register Law or Act No. 3753. These are
records. She likewise relied on the birth certificates of her full blood facts of public consequence such as birth, death or marriage,66 which
siblings who bear the surname "Lugsanay" instead of "Sy" and the State has an interest in recording. As noted by the Solicitor
citizenship of "Filipino" instead of "Chinese." The changes, however, General, in Corpuz v. Sto. Tomas this Court declared that "[t]he
are obviously not mere clerical as they touch on respondent’s filiation recognition of the foreign divorce decree may be made in a Rule 108
and citizenship. In changing her surname from "Sy" (which is the proceeding itself, as the object of special proceedings (such as that in
surname of her father) to "Lugsanay" (which is the surname of her Rule 108 of the Rules of Court) is precisely to establish the status or
mother), she, in effect, changes her status from legitimate to right of a party or a particular fact."
illegitimate; and in changing her citizenship from Chinese to Filipino,
Rule 108, Section 1 of the Rules of Court states:

28
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

he can petition a court to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying the


Sec. 1. Who may file petition. — Any person interested in bigamous marriage and judicially declare as a fact that such
any act, event, order or decree concerning the civil status of judgment is effective in the Philippines. Once established, there should
persons which has been recorded in the civil register, may be no more impediment to cancel the entry of the bigamous marriage
file a verified petition for the cancellation or correction of in the civil registry. x x x
any entry relating thereto, with the Regional Trial Court of
the province where the corresponding civil registry is To be sure, a petition for correction or cancellation of an entry in the
located. civil registry cannot substitute for an action to invalidate a marriage.
A direct action is necessary to prevent circumvention of the substantive
Fujiki has the personality to file a petition to recognize the Japanese and procedural safeguards of marriage under the Family Code, A.M.
Family Court judgment nullifying the marriage between Marinay and No. 02-11-10-SC and other related laws. Among these safeguards
Maekara on the ground of bigamy because the judgment concerns his are the requirement of proving the limited grounds for the dissolution
civil status as married to Marinay. For the same reason he has the of marriage, support pendente lite of the spouses and children, the
personality to file a petition under Rule 108 to cancel the entry of liquidation, partition and distribution of the properties of the
marriage between Marinay and Maekara in the civil registry on the spouses, and the investigation of the public prosecutor to determine
basis of the decree of the Japanese Family Court. collusion. A direct action for declaration of nullity or annulment of
marriage is also necessary to prevent circumvention of the jurisdiction
There is no doubt that the prior spouse has a personal and material of the Family Courts under the Family Courts Act of 1997 (R.A. 8369),
interest in maintaining the integrity of the marriage he contracted and as a petition for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil
the property relations arising from it. There is also no doubt that he is registry may be filed in the Regional Trial Court "where the
interested in the cancellation of an entry of a bigamous marriage in corresponding civil registry is located." In other words, a Filipino
the civil registry, which compromises the public record of his marriage. citizen cannot dissolve his marriage by the mere expedient of
The interest derives from the substantive right of the spouse not only changing his entry of marriage in the civil registry.
to preserve (or dissolve, in limited instances68) his most intimate
human relation, but also to protect his property interests that arise by However, this does not apply in a petition for correction or
operation of law the moment he contracts marriage.69 These cancellation of a civil registry entry based on the recognition of a
property interests in marriage include the right to be supported "in foreign judgment annulling a marriage where one of the parties is a
keeping with the financial capacity of the family" and preserving the citizen of the foreign country. There is neither circumvention of the
property regime of the marriage. substantive and procedural safeguards of marriage under Philippine
law, nor of the jurisdiction of Family Courts under R.A. No. 8369. A
Property rights are already substantive rights protected by the recognition of a foreign judgment is not an action to nullify a
Constitution, but a spouse’s right in a marriage extends further to marriage. It is an action for Philippine courts to recognize the
relational rights recognized under Title III ("Rights and Obligations effectivity of a foreign judgment, which presupposes a case which
between Husband and Wife") of the Family Code. A.M. No. 02-11- was already tried and decided under foreign law. The procedure in
10-SC cannot "diminish, increase, or modify" the substantive right of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not apply in a petition to recognize a
the spouse to maintain the integrity of his marriage. In any case, foreign judgment annulling a bigamous marriage where one of the
Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC preserves this substantive right parties is a citizen of the foreign country. Neither can R.A. No. 8369
by limiting the personality to sue to the husband or the wife of the define the jurisdiction of the foreign court.
union recognized by law.

Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not preclude a spouse of REPUBLIC v. OLAYBAR
a subsisting marriage to question the validity of a subsequent G.R. No. 189538 | February 10, 2014
marriage on the ground of bigamy. On the contrary, when Section Rules covered: Rule 108; Summary v. adversarial proceedings;
2(a) states that "[a] petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void
marriage may be filed solely by the husband or the wife"—it refers *Here, the court cited the case of Fujiki v. Marinay.
to the husband or the wife of the subsisting marriage. Under Article
35(4) of the Family Code, bigamous marriages are void from the At the outset, it is necessary to stress that a direct recourse to this
beginning. Thus, the parties in a bigamous marriage are neither the Court from the decisions and final orders of the RTC may be taken
husband nor the wife under the law. The husband or the wife of the where only questions of law are raised or involved. There is a
prior subsisting marriage is the one who has the personality to file a question of law when the doubt arises as to what the law is on a
petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage under certain state of facts, which does not call for the examination of the
Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC. probative value of the evidence of the parties. Here, the issue raised
by petitioner is whether or not the cancellation of entries in the
Article 35(4) of the Family Code, which declares bigamous marriages marriage contract which, in effect, nullifies the marriage may be
void from the beginning, is the civil aspect of Article 349 of the undertaken in a Rule 108 proceeding. Verily, petitioner raised a pure
Revised Penal Code, which penalizes bigamy. Bigamy is a public question of law. x x x
crime. Thus, anyone can initiate prosecution for bigamy because any
citizen has an interest in the prosecution and prevention of crimes. If Rule 108 of the Rules of Court provides the procedure for
anyone can file a criminal action which leads to the declaration of cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry. The
nullity of a bigamous marriage, there is more reason to confer proceedings may either be summary or adversary. If the correction is
personality to sue on the husband or the wife of a subsisting clerical, then the procedure to be adopted is summary. If the
marriage. The prior spouse does not only share in the public interest rectification affects the civil status, citizenship or nationality of a
of prosecuting and preventing crimes, he is also personally interested party, it is deemed substantial, and the procedure to be adopted is
in the purely civil aspect of protecting his marriage. adversary. Since the promulgation of Republic v. Valencia in 1986, the
Court has repeatedly ruled that "even substantial errors in a civil
When the right of the spouse to protect his marriage is violated, the registry may be corrected through a petition filed under Rule 108,
spouse is clearly an injured party and is therefore interested in the with the true facts established and the parties aggrieved by the error
judgment of the suit. Juliano-Llave ruled that the prior spouse "is availing themselves of the appropriate adversarial proceeding." An
clearly the aggrieved party as the bigamous marriage not only appropriate adversary suit or proceeding is one where the trial court
threatens the financial and the property ownership aspect of the prior has conducted proceedings where all relevant facts have been fully
marriage but most of all, it causes an emotional burden to the prior and properly developed, where opposing counsel have been given
spouse." Being a real party in interest, the prior spouse is entitled to opportunity to demolish the opposite party’s case, and where the
sue in order to declare a bigamous marriage void. For this purpose, evidence has been thoroughly weighed and considered.

29
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

general in accordance with the provisions of this Act and its


It is true that in special proceedings, formal pleadings and a hearing implementing rules and regulations.
may be dispensed with, and the remedy is granted upon mere
application or motion. However, a special proceeding is not always In Silverio v. Republic, we held that under R.A. No. 9048, jurisdiction
summary. The procedure laid down in Rule 108 is not a summary over applications for change of first name is now primarily lodged
proceeding per se. It requires publication of the petition; it mandates with administrative officers. The intent and effect of said law is to
the inclusion as parties of all persons who may claim interest which exclude the change of first name from the coverage of Rules 103
would be affected by the cancellation or correction; it also requires (Change of Name) and 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in
the civil registrar and any person in interest to file their opposition, if the Civil Registry) of the Rules of Court, until and unless an
any; and it states that although the court may make orders administrative petition for change of name is first filed and
expediting the proceedings, it is after hearing that the court shall subsequently denied. The remedy and the proceedings regulating
either dismiss the petition or issue an order granting the same. Thus, as change of first name are primarily administrative in nature, not
long as the procedural requirements in Rule 108 are followed, it is the judicial. In Republic v. Cagandahan, we said that under R.A.No. 9048,
appropriate adversary proceeding to effect substantial corrections the correction of clerical or typographical errors can now be made
and changes in entries of the civil register. through administrative proceedings and without the need for a
judicial order. The law removed from the ambit of Rule 108 of the
In this case, the entries made in the wife portion of the certificate of Rules of Court the correction of clerical or typographical errors. Thus
marriage are admittedly the personal circumstances of respondent. petitioner can avail of this administrative remedy for the correction of
The latter, however, claims that her signature was forged and she was his and his mother’s first name.
not the one who contracted marriage with the purported husband. In
other words, she claims that no such marriage was entered into or if On the second issue, we also agree with the RTC in ruling that
there was, she was not the one who entered into such contract. It must correcting the entry on petitioner’s birth certificate that his parents
be recalled that when respondent tried to obtain a CENOMAR from were married on December 23, 1983 in Bicol to "not married" is a
the NSO, it appeared that she was married to a certain Ye Son Sune. substantial correction requiring adversarial proceedings. Said
She then sought the cancellation of entries in the wife portion of the correction is substantial as it will affect his legitimacy and convert him
marriage certificate. from a legitimate child to an illegitimate one. In Republic v. Uy, we
held that corrections of entries in the civil register including those on
Aside from the certificate of marriage, no such evidence was citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of
presented to show the existence of marriage. Rather, respondent marriage,involve substantial alterations. Substantial errors in a civil
showed by overwhelming evidence that no marriage was entered into registry may be corrected and the true facts established provided the
and that she was not even aware of such existence. The testimonial parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate
and documentary evidence clearly established that the only adversary proceedings.
"evidence" of marriage which is the marriage certificate was a
forgery. While we maintain that Rule 108 cannot be availed of to On the third issue, we likewise affirm the RTC in dismissing the petition
determine the validity of marriage, we cannot nullify the proceedings for correction of entries. As mentioned, petitioner no longer contested
before the trial court where all the parties had been given the the RTC ruling that the correction he sought on his and his mother’s first
opportunity to contest the allegations of respondent; the procedures name can be done by the city civil registrar. Under the circumstances,
were followed, and all the evidence of the parties had already been we are constrained to deny his prayer that the petition for correction
admitted and examined. Respondent indeed sought, not the of entries before the RTC bereinstated since the same petition includes
nullification of marriage as there was no marriage to speak of, but the correction he sought on his and his mother’s first name.
the correction of the record of such marriage to reflect the truth as set
forth by the evidence. Otherwise stated, in allowing the correction of We clarify, however, that the RTC’s dismissal is without prejudice. As
the subject certificate of marriage by canceling the wife portion we said, petitioner can avail of the administrative remedy for the
thereof, the trial court did not, in any way, declare the marriage void correction of his and his mother’s first name. He can also file a new
as there was no marriage to speak of. petition before the RTC to correct the alleged erroneous entry on his
birth certificate that his parents were married on December 23, 1983
in Bicol. This substantial correction is allowed under Rule 108 of the
ONDE v. OFFICE OF THE LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR LAS PIÑAS Rules of Court. x x x
G.R. No. 197174 | September 10, 2014
Rules covered: R.A. 9048, as amended by R.A. 10172; Clerical and In Eleosida, we cited Section 3, and Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 108 of
typographical errors; Substantial errors the Rules of Court, as the procedural requirements laid down by the
Court to make the proceedings under Rule 108 adversary. In Uy, we
*The case cited Eleosida, Silverio, Cagandahan, and Uy. have similarly ruled that when a petition for cancellation or correction
of an entry in the civil register involves substantial and controversial
On the first issue, we agree with the RTC that the first name of alterations, including those on citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or
petitioner and his mother as appearing in his birth certificate can be filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, a strict compliance with the
corrected by the city civil registrar under R.A. No. 9048. We note requirements of the Rules of Court is mandated. Thus, in his new
that petitioner no longer contested the RTC’s ruling on this petition, petitioner should at least implead his father and mother as
point.4 Indeed, under Section 15 of R.A. No. 9048, clerical or parties since the substantial correction he is seeking will also affect
typographical errors on entries in a civil register can be corrected them.
and changes of first name can be done by the concerned city civil
registrar without need of a judicial order. Aforesaid Section 1, as
amended by R.A. No. 10172, now reads:

SECTION 1. Authority to Correct Clerical or Typographical


Error and Change of First Name or Nickname. – No entry in
a civil register shall be changed or corrected without a
judicial order, except for clerical or typographical errors
and change of first name or nickname, the day and month
in the date of birth or sex of a person where it is patently
clear that there was a clerical or typographical error or
mistake in the entry, which can be corrected or changed by
the concerned city or municipal civil registrar or consul

30
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

PREROGATIVE WRITS SERAPIO v. SANDIGANBAYAN (THIRD DIVISION)


G.R. No. 148468 | January 28, 2003
Rules covered: Issuance of writ, when allowed/not;
WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS Issuance in re: bail proceedings; Remedies available

*The Writ of Habeas Corpus was discussed after Rule 103 & 108 Anent the issue of the propriety of the issuance of a writ of habeas
(Change of Name), together with other prerogative writs. corpus for petitioner, he contends that he is entitled to the issuance of
said writ because the State, through the prosecution's refusal to
ILUSORIO v. BILDNER present evidence and by the Sandiganbayan's refusal to grant a bail
G.R. No. 139789 | May 12, 2000 hearing, has failed to discharge its burden of proving that as against
Rules covered: When issued; Object and purpose of the writ; him, evidence of guilt for the capital offense of plunder is strong.
Habeas corpus in re: marriage; Petitioner contends that the prosecution launched "a seemingly endless
barrage of obstructive and dilatory moves" to prevent the conduct of
May a wife secure a writ of habeas corpus to compel her husband to bail hearings.
live with her in conjugal bliss? The answer is no. Marital rights
including coverture and living in conjugal dwelling may not be However, the People insist that habeas corpus is not proper because
enforced by the extra-ordinary writ of habeas corpus. petitioner was arrested pursuant to the amended information which
was earlier filed in court, the warrant of arrest issued pursuant
A writ of habeas corpus extends to all cases of illegal confinement or thereto was valid, and petitioner voluntarily surrendered to the
detention, or by which the rightful custody of a person is withheld authorities.
from the one entitled thereto.
As a general rule, the writ of habeas corpus will not issue where the
"Habeas corpus is a writ directed to the person detaining another, person alleged to be restrained of his liberty in custody of an officer
commanding him to produce the body of the prisoner at a designated under a process issued by the court which jurisdiction to do so. In
time and place, with the day and cause of his capture and detention, exceptional circumstances, habeas corpus may be granted by the
to do, submit to, and receive whatsoever the court or judge awarding courts even when the person concerned is detained pursuant to a
the writ shall consider in that behalf." valid arrest or his voluntary surrender, for this writ of liberty is
recognized as "the fundamental instrument for safeguarding
It is a high prerogative, common-law writ, of ancient origin, the great individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action" due to
object of which is the liberation of those who may be imprisoned "its ability to cut through barriers of form and procedural
without sufficient cause. It is issued when one is deprived of liberty or mazes." Thus, in previous cases, we issued the writ where the
is wrongfully prevented from exercising legal custody over another deprivation of liberty, while initially valid under the law, had later
person. x x x become invalid, and even though the persons praying for its issuance
were not completely deprived of their liberty.
As heretofore stated, a writ of habeas corpus extends to all cases of
illegal confinement or detention, or by which the rightful custody of a The Court finds no basis for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus in
person is withheld from the one entitled thereto. It is available where favor of petitioner. The general rule that habeas corpus does not lie
a person continues to be unlawfully denied of one or more of his where the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the
constitutional freedoms, where there is denial of due process, where custody of an officer under process issued by a court which had
the restraints are not merely involuntary but are unnecessary, and jurisdiction to issue the same applies, because petitioner is under
where a deprivation of freedom originally valid has later become detention pursuant to the order of arrest issued by the
arbitrary. It is devised as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve Sandiganbayan on April 25, 2001 after the filing by the
persons from unlawful restraint, as the best and only sufficient Ombudsman of the amended information for plunder against
defense of personal freedom. petitioner and his co-accused. Petitioner had in fact voluntarily
surrendered himself to the authorities on April 25, 2001 upon
The essential object and purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to learning that a warrant for his arrest had been issued.
inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint, and to relieve a
person therefrom if such restraint is illegal. The ruling in Moncupa vs. Enrile that habeas corpus will lie where the
deprivation of liberty which was initially valid has become arbitrary
To justify the grant of the petition, the restraint of liberty must be an in view of subsequent developments finds no application in the
illegal and involuntary deprivation of freedom of action. The illegal present case because the hearing on petitioner's application for bail
restraint of liberty must be actual and effective, not merely nominal has yet to commence. As stated earlier, they delay in the hearing of
or moral. petitioner's petition for bail cannot be pinned solely on the
Sandiganbayan or on the prosecution for that matter. Petitioner
The evidence shows that there was no actual and effective detention himself is partly to be blamed. Moreover, a petition for habeas
or deprivation of lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio’s liberty that would corpus is not the appropriate remedy for asserting one's right to
justify the issuance of the writ. The fact that lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio bail. It cannot be availed of where accused is entitled to bail not as a
is about 86 years of age, or under medication does not necessarily matter of right but on the discretion of the court and the latter has not
render him mentally incapacitated. Soundness of mind does not hinge abused such discretion in refusing to grant bail, or has not even
on age or medical condition but on the capacity of the individual to exercised said discretion. The proper recourse is to file an application
discern his actions. for bail with the court where the criminal case is pending and to allow
hearings thereon to proceed.
No court is empowered as a judicial authority to compel a husband to
live with his wife. Coverture cannot be enforced by compulsion of a The issuance of a writ of habeas corpus would not only be unjustified
writ of habeas corpus carried out by sheriffs or by any other means but would also preempt the Sandiganbayan's resolution of the
or process. That is a matter beyond judicial authority and is best left pending application for bail of petitioner. The recourse of petitioner
to the man and woman’s free choice. is to forthwith proceed with the hearing on his application for bail.

31
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

LACSON v. PEREZ violence, invasion or rebellion. As Justice Mendoza observed during


G.R. No. 147780 | May 10, 2001 the hearing of this case, such a declaration is "legal surplusage." But
Rules covered: Issuance of the writ; Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court whatever the term means, it cannot diminish or violate constitutionally-
protected rights, such as the right to due process, the rights to free
Anent petitioners' allegations ex abundante ad cautelam in support speech and peaceful assembly to petition the government for redress
of their application for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, it is of grievances, and the right against unreasonable searches and
manifest that the writ is not called for since its purpose is to relieve seizures, among others.
petitioners from unlawful restraint (Ngaya-an v. Balweg), a matter
which remains speculative up to this very day. In Integrated Bar of the Philippines vs. Zamora, et al., the Court held
that:
Section 5(1), Article VIII of the Constitution limits the original
jurisdiction of the Court to cases affecting ambassadors, other public x x x The distinction (between the calling out power, on one
ministers and consuls, and over petitions for certiorari, hand, and the power to suspend the privilege of the writ
prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus. of habeas corpus and to declare martial law, on the other
hand) places the calling out power in a different category
*The opinion of Justice Kapunan is relevant, in my opinion. from the power to declare martial law and the power to
suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus,
Separate Opinion: Kapunan, J. otherwise, the framers of the Constitution would have simply
lumped together the three powers and provided for their
The declaration of a "state of rebellion" is supposedly based on revocation and review without any qualification. x x x the
Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution which reads: "calling out" power (because it) is considered as the lesser
and more benign power compared to the power to suspend
The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and the power to
armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes impose martial law, both of which involve the curtailment
necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or and suppression of certain basic civil rights and individual
suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of freedoms, and thus necessitating affirmation by Congress
invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he and, in appropriate cases, review by this Court.
may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the In an ironic sense, a "state of rebellion" declared as a subterfuge to
Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within effect warrantless arrest and detention for an unbailable offense
forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or places a heavier burden on the people's civil liberties than the
the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, the President suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus the
shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. declaration of martial law because in the latter case, built-in
The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority safeguards are automatically set on motion: (1) The period for
of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke martial law or suspension is limited to a period not exceeding sixty
such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not day; (2) The President is mandated to submit a report to Congress
be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the within forty-eight hours from the proclamation or suspension; (3) The
President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend proclamation or suspension is subject to review by Congress, which
such proclamation or suspension for a period to be may revoke such proclamation or suspension. If Congress is not in
determined by the Congress if the invasion or rebellion shall session, it shall convene in 24 hours without need for call; and (4) The
persist and public safety requires it. sufficiency of the factual basis thereof or its extension is subject to
review by the Supreme Court in an appropriate proceeding.
The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours
following such proclamation or suspension, convene in Indeed, there is nothing in Section 18 which authorizes the President
accordance with its rules without need of a call. or any person acting under her direction to make unwarranted
arrests. The existence of "lawless violence, invasion or rebellion" only
The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate authorizes the President to call out the "armed forces to prevent or
proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion."
factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the
suspension of the privilege of the writ or the extension Not even the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas
thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within corpus or the declaration of martial law authorizes the President to
thirty days from its filing. order the arrest of any person. The only significant consequence of
the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus is to divest the courts of
A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the power to issue the writ whereby the detention of the person is put
the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil in issue. It does not by itself authorize the President to order the arrest
courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the of a person. And even then, the Constitution in Section 18, Article VII
conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies makes the following qualifications:
over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor
automatically suspend the privilege of the writ. x x x The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only
to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses
Section 18 grants the President, as Commander-in-Chief, the power to inherent in or directly connected with invasion.
call out the armed forces in cases of (1) lawless violence, (2) rebellion
and (3) invasion. In the latter two cases, i.e., rebellion or invasion, the During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any
President may, when public safety requires, also (a) suspend the person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or (b) place the Philippines or within three days, otherwise he shall be released.
any part thereof under martial law. However, in the exercise of this
calling out power as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, the In the instant case, the President did not suspend the writ of habeas
Constitution does not require the President to make a declaration of a corpus. Nor did she declare martial law. A declaration of a "state of
"state of rebellion" (or, for that matter, of lawless violence or rebellion," at most, only gives notice to the nation that it exists, and
invasion). The term "state of rebellion" has no legal significance. It is that the armed forces may be called to prevent or suppress it, as in
vague and amorphous and does not give the President more power fact she did. Such declaration does not justify any deviation from the
than what the Constitution says, i. e, whenever it becomes necessary, Constitutional proscription against unreasonable searches and
he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless seizures.

32
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

SANGCA v. CITY PROSECUTOR OF CEBU CITY habeas corpus does not act upon the prisoner who seeks relief, but
G.R. No. 175864 | June 8, 2007 upon the person who holds him in what is alleged to be the unlawful
Rules covered: Object and purpose; When issued authority. Hence, the only parties before the court are the petitioner
(prisoner) and the person holding the petitioner in custody, and the
Finding that Adam could not be held liable for the crime charged, only question to be resolved is whether the custodian has authority to
Judge Ingles issued an Order on January 26, 2007 granting the deprive the petitioner of his liberty. The writ may be denied if the
Motion to Withdraw Information and ordering the release of the petitioner fails to show facts that he is entitled thereto ex merito
accused, unless otherwise held for another valid ground. justicias.

A writ of habeas corpus extends to all cases of illegal confinement or A writ of habeas corpus, which is regarded as a "palladium of
detention in which any person is deprived of his liberty, or in which liberty," is a prerogative writ which does not issue as a matter of right
the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled but in the sound discretion of the court or judge. It is, however, a writ
to it. Its essential object and purpose is to inquire into all manner of of right on proper formalities being made by proof. Resort to the writ
involuntary restraint and to relieve a person from it if such restraint is is not to inquire into the criminal act of which a complaint is made but
illegal. The singular function of a petition for habeas corpus is to unto the right of liberty, notwithstanding the act, and the immediate
protect and secure the basic freedom of physical liberty. purpose to be served is relief from illegal restraint. The primary, if
not the only object of the writ of habeas corpus ad subjuciendum, is to
In the instant case, records show that Adam has been released upon determine the legality of the restraint under which a person is held.
order of the trial judge on January 26, 2007. Therefore, the petition
has become moot. The object of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into the legality
of the detention, and, if the detention is found to be illegal, to require
the release of the detainee. Equally well-settled however, is that the
MANGILA v. PANGILINAN writ will not issue where the person in whose behalf the writ is sought
G.R. No. 160739 | July 17, 2013 is out on bail, or is in the custody of an officer under process issued by
Rules covered: Nature, not a writ of error; Issuance, when not a court or judge with jurisdiction or by virtue of a judgment or order
available (restraint lawful); Remedy available of a court of record.

Restraint that is lawful and pursuant to a court process cannot be There is no question that when the criminal complaints were lodged
inquired into through habeas corpus. x x x against Mangila and her cohorts on June 16, 2003, Judge Pangilinan,
as the Presiding Judge of the MTCC, was empowered to conduct
The high prerogative writ of habeas corpus has been devised as a preliminary investigations involving "all crimes cognizable by the
speedy and effective remedy to relieve persons from unlawful proper court in their respective territorial jurisdictions." x x x
restraint. In Caballes v. Court of Appeals, the Court discoursed on the
nature of the special proceeding of habeas corpus x x x With Mangila’s arrest and ensuing detention being by virtue of the
order lawfully issued by Judge Pangilinan, the writ of habeas corpus
A petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus is a special was not an appropriate remedy to relieve her from the restraint on
proceeding governed by Rule 102 of the Rules of Court, as amended. her liberty. This is because the restraint, being lawful and pursuant to
In Ex Parte Billings, it was held that habeas corpus is that of a civil a court process, could not be inquired into through habeas corpus. To
proceeding in character. It seeks the enforcement of civil rights. quote the dictum enunciated by Justice Malcolm in Quintos v. Director
Resorting to the writ is not to inquire into the criminal act of which the of Prisons:
complaint is made, but into the right of liberty, notwithstanding the act
and the immediate purpose to be served is relief from illegal The writ of habeas corpus secures to a prisoner the right to
restraint. The rule applies even when instituted to arrest a criminal have the cause of his detention examined and determined
prosecution and secure freedom. When a prisoner petitions for a writ by a court of justice, and to have ascertained if he is held
of habeas corpus, he thereby commences a suit and prosecutes a case under lawful authority. The function of habeas corpus,
in that court. where the party who has appealed to its aid is in custody
under process, does not extend beyond an inquiry into the
Habeas corpus is not in the nature of a writ of error; nor intended as jurisdiction of the court by which it was issued and the
substitute for the trial court’s function. It cannot take the place of validity of the process upon its face. It is not a writ of error.
appeal, certiorari or writ of error. The writ cannot be used to
investigate and consider questions of error that might be raised Accordingly, Section 4, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court explicitly
relating to procedure or on the merits. The inquiry in a habeas corpus states:
proceeding is addressed to the question of whether the proceedings
and the assailed order are, for any reason, null and void. The writ is Section 4. When writ not allowed or discharge authorized.- If
not ordinarily granted where the law provides for other remedies in it appears that the person alleged to be restrained of his
the regular course, and in the absence of exceptional circumstances. liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued
Moreover, habeas corpus should not be granted in advance of trial. by a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of
The orderly course of trial must be pursued and the usual remedies a court of record, and that the court or judge had
exhausted before resorting to the writ where exceptional jurisdiction to issue the process, render the judgment, or
circumstances are extant. In another case, it was held that habeas make the order, the writ shall not be allowed; or if the
corpus cannot be issued as a writ of error or as a means of reviewing jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed, the person
errors of law and irregularities not involving the questions of shall not be discharged by reason of any informality or
jurisdiction occurring during the course of the trial, subject to the defect in the process, judgment, or order. Nor shall anything
caveat that constitutional safeguards of human life and liberty must in this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a person
be preserved, and not destroyed. It has also been held that where charged with or convicted of an offense in the Philippines,
restraint is under legal process, mere errors and irregularities, which or of a person suffering imprisonment under lawful
do not render the proceedings void, are not grounds for relief by judgment.
habeas corpus because in such cases, the restraint is not illegal.
Still, Mangila harps on the procedural flaws supposedly committed by
Habeas corpus is a summary remedy. It is analogous to a proceeding Judge Pangilinan in her attempt to convince the Court on her
in rem when instituted for the sole purpose of having the person of entitlement to the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus. She insists
restraint presented before the judge in order that the cause of his that the illegality and invalidity of the warrant of arrest because of
detention may be inquired into and his statements final. The writ of its having been issued without an exhaustive examination of the

33
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

complainants and the witnesses in writing and under oath; without a Section 13. Creation of Regional Trial Courts. – There are
prior finding of probable cause; and without consideration of the hereby created thirteen Regional Trial Courts, one for each
necessity for its issuance in order not to frustrate the ends of justice of the following judicial regions: x x x
were enough reasons for granting the writ of habeas corpus.
The National Capital Judicial Region, consisting of the cities
Mangila fails to persuade. Judge Pangilinan issued the order of of Manila, Quezon, Pasay, Caloocan and Mandaluyong,
arrest after examining Palayon, one of the complainants against and the municipalities of Navotas, Malabon, San Juan,
Mangila and her cohorts. If he, as the investigating judge, considered Makati, Pasig, Pateros, Taguig, Marikina, Parañaque, Las
Palayon’s evidence sufficient for finding probable cause against her Piñas, Muntinlupa, and Valenzuela.
and her cohorts, which finding the Court justifiably presumes from his
act of referring the case and its records to the Office of the City In view of the aforequoted provision, it is indubitable that the filing of
Prosecutor on the day immediately following the preliminary a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus before a family
investigation he conducted, her petition for habeas corpus could not court in any of the cities enumerated is proper as long as the writ is
be the proper remedy by which she could assail the adequacy of the sought to be enforced within the National Capital Judicial Region, as
adverse finding. Even granting that there was a failure to adhere to here.
the law or rule, such failure would not be the equivalent of a violation
of her constitutional rights. In the case at bar, respondent filed the petition before the family
court of Caloocan City. Since Caloocan City and Quezon City both
belong to the same judicial region, the writ issued by the RTC-
TUJAN-MILITANTE v. CADA-DEAPERA Caloocan can still be implemented in Quezon City. Whether petitioner
G.R. No. 210636 | July 28, 2014 resides in the former or the latter is immaterial in view of the above
Rules covered: Writ in re: Custody of Minors (A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC); rule.
Jurisdiction in re: B.P. 129; Writ similar to summons
Anent petitioner’s insistence on the application of Section 3 of A.M.
In the case at bar, what respondent filed was a petition for the No. 03-04-04-SC, a plain reading of said provision reveals that the
issuance of a writ of habeas corpus under Section 20 of A.M. No. 03- provision invoked only applies to petitions for custody of minors, and
04-04-SC and Rule 102 of the Rules of Court. As provided: not to habeas corpus petitions. Thus:

Section 20. Petition for writ of habeas corpus.- A verified Section 3. Where to file petition.- The petition for custody of
petition for a writ of habeas corpus involving custody of minors shall be filed with the Family Court of the province
minors shall be filed with the Family Court. The writ shall be or city where the petitioner resides or where the minor may
enforceable within its judicial region to which the Family be found.
Court belongs.
Lastly, as regards petitioner’s assertion that the summons was
However, the petition may be filed with the regular court in improperly served, suffice it to state that service of summons, to begin
the absence of the presiding judge of the Family Court, with, is not required in a habeas corpus petition, be it under Rule 102
provided, however, that the regular court shall refer the of the Rules of Court or A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC. As held in Saulo v.
case to the Family Court as soon as its presiding judge Cruz, a writ of habeas corpus plays a role somewhat comparable to
returns to duty. a summons, in ordinary civil actions, in that, by service of said writ, the
court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the respondent.
The petition may also be filed with the appropriate regular
courts in places where there are no Family Courts.
IN MATTER OF PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF DATUKAN
The writ issued by the Family Court or the regular court MALANG SALIBO v. WARDEN
shall be enforceable in the judicial region where they G.R. No. 197597 | April 8, 2015
belong. Rules covered: Petition for issuance of the writ; Where to file, where
to appeal; Final decision on petition for issuance vs. Issuance;
The petition may likewise be filed with the Supreme Court, Remedies (when restraint lawful)
Court of Appeals, or with any of its members and, if so
granted, the writ shall be enforceable anywhere in the Contrary to petitioner Salibo's claim, respondent Warden correctly
Philippines. The writ may be made returnable to a Family appealed before the Court of Appeals.
Court or to any regular court within the region where the
petitioner resides or where the minor may be found for An application for a writ of habeas corpus may be made through a
hearing and decision on the merits. petition filed before this court or any of its members, the Court of
Appeals or any of its members in instances authorized by law, or the
Upon return of the writ, the court shall decide the issue on Regional Trial Court or any of its presiding judges. The court or judge
custody of minors. The appellate court, or the member grants the writ and requires the officer or person having custody of
thereof, issuing the writ shall be furnished a copy of the the person allegedly restrained of liberty to file a return of the
decision. writ. A hearing on the return of the writ is then conducted.
Considering that the writ is made enforceable within a judicial region, The return of the writ may be heard by a court apart from that which
petitions for the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus, whether they issued the writ. Should the court issuing the writ designate a lower
be filed under Rule 102 of the Rules of Court or pursuant to Section court to which the writ is made returnable, the lower court shall
20 of A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC, may therefore be filed with any of the proceed to decide the petition of habeas corpus. By virtue of the
proper RTCs within the judicial region where enforcement thereof is designation, the lower court "acquires the power and authority to
sought. determine the merits of the petition for habeas corpus." Therefore, the
decision on the petition is a decision appealable to the court that has
On this point, Section 13 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 (BP 129), appellate jurisdiction over decisions of the lower court. x x x
otherwise known as the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, finds
relevance. Said provision, which contains the enumeration of judicial In this case, petitioner Salibo filed his Petition for Habeas Corpus
regions in the country, states: before the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals issued a Writ of
Habeas Corpus, making it returnable to the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 153, Pasig City. The trial court then heard respondent
34
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

Warden on his Return and decided the Petition on the merits. (a) That the facts charged do not constitute an offense
(b) That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the
Applying Saulo and Medina, we rule that the trial court "acquired the offense charged
power and authority to determine the merits" of petitioner Salibo's (c) That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the
Petition. The decision on the Petition for Habeas Corpus, therefore, person of the accused
was the decision of the trial court, not of the Court of Appeals. Since (d) That the officer who filed the information had no
the Court of Appeals is the court with appellate jurisdiction over authority to do so;
decisions of trial courts, respondent Warden correctly filed the (e) That it does not conform substantially to
appeal before the Court of Appeals. x x x the prescribed form;
(f) That more than one offense is charged except when a
Called the "great writ of liberty," the writ of habeas corpus "was single punishment for various offenses is prescribed by law;
devised and exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve (g) That the criminal action or liability has
persons from unlawful restraint, and as the best and only sufficient been extinguished;
defense of personal freedom." The remedy of habeas corpus is (h) That it contains averments which, if true, would constitute
extraordinary and summary in nature, consistent with the law's a legal excuse or justification; and
"zealous regard for personal liberty." (i) That the accused has been previously convicted or
acquitted of the offense charged, or the case against him
Under Rule 102, Section 1 of the Rules of Court, the writ of habeas was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express
corpus "shall extend to all cases of illegal confinement or detention consent.
by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful
custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled In filing a motion to quash, the accused "assails the validity of a
thereto." The primary purpose of the writ "is to inquire into all manner criminal complaint or information filed against him [or her] for
of involuntary restraint as distinguished from voluntary, and to relieve insufficiency on its face in point of law, or for defects which are
a person therefrom if such restraint is illegal." "Any restraint which will apparent in the face of the information." If the accused avails himself
preclude freedom of action is sufficient." or herself of a motion to quash, the accused "hypothetically admits the
facts alleged in the information." "Evidence aliunde or matters
The nature of the restraint of liberty need not be related to any extrinsic from the information are not to be considered."
offense so as to entitle a person to the efficient remedy of habeas
corpus. It may be availed of as a post-conviction remedy or when "If the motion to quash is based on an alleged defect of the complaint
there is an alleged violation of the liberty of abode. In other words, or information which can be cured by amendment, the court shall
habeas corpus effectively substantiates the implied autonomy of order [the] amendment [of the complaint or information]." If the
citizens constitutionally protected in the right to liberty in Article III, motion to quash is based on the ground that the facts alleged in the
Section 1 of the Constitution. Habeas corpus being a remedy for a complaint or information do not constitute an offense, the trial court
constitutional right, courts must apply a conscientious and deliberate shall give the prosecution "an opportunity to correct the defect by
level of scrutiny so that the substantive right to liberty will not be amendment." If after amendment, the complaint or information still
further curtailed in the labyrinth of other processes. x x x suffers from the same defect, the trial court shall quash the complaint
or information.
The writ of habeas corpus is different from the final decision on the
petition for the issuance of the writ. It is the writ that commands the However, Ilagan and Umil do not apply to this case. Petitioner Salibo
production of the body of the person allegedly restrained of his or was not arrested by virtue of any warrant charging him of an offense.
her liberty. On the other hand, it is in the final decision where a court He was not restrained under a lawful process or an order of a court.
determines the legality of the restraint. He was illegally deprived of his liberty, and, therefore, correctly
availed himself of a Petition for Habeas Corpus.
Between the issuance of the writ and the final decision on the petition
for its issuance, it is the issuance of the writ that is essential. The
issuance of the writ sets in motion the speedy judicial inquiry on the
legality of any deprivation of liberty. Courts shall liberally issue writs
of habeas corpus even if the petition for its issuance "on its face is
devoid of merit." Although the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus
may be suspended in cases of invasion, rebellion, or when the public
safety requires it, the writ itself may not be suspended. x x x

It is to be noted that, in all the petitions here considered, criminal


charges have been filed in the proper courts against the petitioners.
The rule is, that if a person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in
the custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge,
and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the process or
make the order, or if such person is charged before any court, the
writ of habeas corpus will not be allowed.

In such cases, instead of availing themselves of the extraordinary


remedy of a petition for habeas corpus, persons restrained under a
lawful process or order of the court must pursue the orderly course of
trial and exhaust the usual remedies. This ordinary remedy is to file a
motion to quash the information or the warrant of arrest.

At any time before a plea is entered, the accused may file a motion
to quash complaint or information based on any of the grounds
enumerated in Rule 117, Section 3 of the Rules of Court:

SEC. 3. Grounds.—The accused may move to quash the


complaint or information on any of the following grounds:

35
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

WRIT OF AMPARO weapons. Notably, none of the supporting affidavits compellingly


show that the threat to the rights to life, liberty and security of the
TAPUZ v. DEL ROSARIO petitioners is imminent or is continuing. x x x
G.R. No. 182484 | June 17, 2008
Rules covered: What is covered by the writ; Allegations; Writ does Under these legal and factual situations, we are far from satisfied
not cover matters which concern purely property rights with the prima facie existence of the ultimate facts that would justify
the issuance of a writ of amparo. Rather than acts of terrorism that
*The Writ of Habeas Data was discussed by the Court, but the same is pose a continuing threat to the persons of the petitioners, the violent
herein omitted. incidents alleged appear to us to be purely property-related and
focused on the disputed land. Thus, if the petitioners wish to seek
To start off with the basics, the writ of amparo was originally redress and hold the alleged perpetrators criminally accountable, the
conceived as a response to the extraordinary rise in the number of remedy may lie more in the realm of ordinary criminal prosecution
killings and enforced disappearances, and to the perceived lack of rather than on the use of the extraordinary remedy of the writ of
available and effective remedies to address these extraordinary amparo. x x x
concerns. It is intended to address violations of or threats to the rights
to life, liberty or security, as an extraordinary and independent Separately from these considerations, we cannot fail but consider too
remedy beyond those available under the prevailing Rules, or as a at this point the indicators, clear and patent to us, that the petitioners'
remedy supplemental to these Rules. What it is not, is a writ to protect present recourse via the remedy of the writ of amparo is a mere
concerns that are purely property or commercial. Neither is it a writ subterfuge to negate the assailed orders that the petitioners sought
that we shall issue on amorphous and uncertain grounds. and failed to nullify before the appellate court because of the use of
Consequently, the Rule on the writ of amparo - in line with the an improper remedial measure. We discern this from the petitioners'
extraordinary character of the writ and the reasonable certainty that misrepresentations pointed out above; from their obvious act of forum
its issuance demands - requires that every petition for the issuance of shopping; and from the recourse itself to the extraordinary remedies
the writ must be supported by justifying allegations of fact, to wit: of the writs of certiorari and amparo based on grounds that are far
from forthright and sufficiently compelling. To be sure, when recourses
"(a) The personal circumstances of the petitioner; in the ordinary course of law fail because of deficient legal
representation or the use of improper remedial measures, neither the
(b) The name and personal circumstances of the respondent writ of certiorari nor that of amparo - extraordinary though they may
responsible for the threat, act or omission, or, if the name is be - will suffice to serve as a curative substitute. The writ of amparo,
unknown or uncertain, the respondent may be described by particularly, should not issue when applied for as a substitute for the
an assumed appellation; appeal or certiorari process, or when it will inordinately interfere with
these processes - the situation obtaining in the present case.
(c) The right to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved
party violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful While we say all these, we note too that the Rule on the writ of
act or omission of the respondent, and how such threat or amparo provides for rules on the institution of separate actions, for
violation is committed with the attendant circumstances the effect of earlier-filed criminal actions, and for the consolidation of
detailed in supporting affidavits; petitions for the issuance of a writ of amparo with a subsequently filed
criminal and civil action. These rules were adopted to promote an
(d) The investigation conducted, if any, specifying the orderly procedure for dealing with petitions for the issuance of the
names, personal circumstances, and addresses of the writ of amparo when the parties resort to other parallel recourses.
investigating authority or individuals, as well as the manner
and conduct of the investigation, together with any report; Where, as in this case, there is an ongoing civil process dealing
directly with the possessory dispute and the reported acts of violence
(e) The actions and recourses taken by the petitioner to and harassment, we see no point in separately and directly
determine the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party intervening through a writ of amparo in the absence of any
and the identity of the person responsible for the threat, act clear prima facie showing that the right to life, liberty or security -
or omission; and the personal concern that the writ is intended to protect - is
immediately in danger or threatened, or that the danger or threat is
(f) The relief prayed for. continuing. We see no legal bar, however, to an application for the
issuance of the writ, in a proper case, by motion in a pending case on
The petition may include a general prayer for other just appeal or on certiorari, applying by analogy the provisions on the
and equitable reliefs." co-existence of the writ with a separately filed criminal case.

The writ shall issue if the Court is preliminarily satisfied with the prima
facie existence of the ultimate facts determinable from the supporting CANLAS v. NAPICO HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION (I-XII), INC.
affidavits that detail the circumstances of how and to what extent a G.R. No. 182795 | June 5, 2008
threat to or violation of the rights to life, liberty and security of the Rules covered: To whom available; What is covered by the writ
aggrieved party was or is being committed.
The Rule on the writ of amparo provides:
The issuance of the writ of amparo in the present case is anchored on
the factual allegations heretofore quoted, that are essentially Section 1. Petition. – The petition for a writ of amparo is a
repeated in paragraph 54 of the petition. These allegations are remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty
supported by the following documents: x x x and security is violated or threatened with violation by an
unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or
On the whole, what is clear from these statements - both sworn and of a private individual or entity.
unsworn - is the overriding involvement of property issues as the
petition traces its roots to questions of physical possession of the The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced
property disputed by the private parties. If at all, issues relating to disappearances or threats thereof.
the right to life or to liberty can hardly be discerned except to the
extent that the occurrence of past violence has been alleged. The The threatened demolition of a dwelling by virtue of a final judgment
right to security, on the other hand, is alleged only to the extent of the of the court, which in this case was affirmed with finality by this Court
threats and harassments implied from the presence of "armed men in G.R. Nos. 177448, 180768, 177701, 177038, is not
bare to the waist" and the alleged pointing and firing of included among the enumeration of rights as stated in the above-

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CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

quoted Section 1 for which the remedy of a writ of amparo is made person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved
available. Their claim to their dwelling, assuming they still have any party.
despite the final and executory judgment adverse to them, does not
constitute right to life, liberty and security. There is, therefore, no From the above-quoted provisions, the coverage of the writs is limited
legal basis for the issuance of the writ of amparo. to the protection of rights to life, liberty and security. And the writs
cover not only actual but also threats of unlawful acts or omissions.
Besides, the factual and legal basis for petitioners’ claim to the land
in question is not alleged in the petition at all. The Court can only Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo teaches:
surmise that these rights and interest had already been threshed out
and settled in the four cases cited above. No writ of amparo may be As the Amparo Rule was intended to address the
issued unless there is a clear allegation of the supposed factual and intractable problem of "extralegal killings" and "enforced
legal basis of the right sought to be protected. disappearances," its coverage, in its present form, is
confined to these two instances or to threats
Under Section 6 of the same rules, the court shall issue the writ upon thereof. "Extralegal killings" are "killings committed without
the filing of the petition, only if on its face, the court ought to issue due process of law, i.e., without legal safeguards or judicial
said writ. proceedings." On the other hand, "enforced
disappearances" are "attended by the following
Section 6. Issuance of the Writ. – Upon the filing of the characteristics: an arrest, detention or abduction of a
petition, the court, justice or judge shall immediately order person by a government official or organized groups or
the issuance of the writ if on its face it ought to issue. The private individuals acting with the direct or indirect
clerk of court shall issue the writ under the seal of the court; acquiescence of the government; the refusal of the State to
or in case of urgent necessity, the justice or the judge may disclose the fate or whereabouts of the person concerned or
issue the writ under his or her own hand, and may deputize a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty which
any officer or person to serve it. places such persons outside the protection of law.

The writ shall also set the date and time for summary To thus be covered by the privilege of the writs, respondents must
hearing of the petition which shall not be later than seven meet the threshold requirement that their right
(7) days from the date of its issuance. to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with an unlawful
act or omission. Evidently, the present controversy arose out of a
Considering that there is no legal basis for its issuance, as in this case, property dispute between the Provincial Government and
the writ will not be issued and the petition will be dismissed outright. respondents. Absent any considerable nexus between the acts
complained of and its effect on respondents’ right to life, liberty and
This new remedy of writ of amparo which is made available by this security, the Court will not delve on the propriety of petitioners’ entry
Court is intended for the protection of the highest possible rights of into the property.
any person, which is his or her right to life, liberty and security. The
Court will not spare any time or effort on its part in order to give Apropos is the Court’s ruling in Tapuz v. Del Rosario:
priority to petitions of this nature. However, the Court will also not
waste its precious time and effort on matters not covered by the writ. What it is not, is a writ to protect concerns that are purely
property or commercial. Neither is it a writ that we shall
issue on amorphous and uncertain grounds. Consequently,
CASTILLO v. CRUZ the Rule on the Writ of Amparo – in line with the
G.R. No. 182165 | November 25, 2009 extraordinary character of the writ and the reasonable
Rules covered: To whom available; What is covered by the writ; Writ certainty that its issuance demands – requires that every
does not cover matters which concern purely property rights petition for the issuance of the writ must be supported by
justifying allegations of fact, to wit: x x x
The Court is, under the Constitution, empowered to promulgate rules
for the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights. In view of The writ shall issue if the Court is preliminarily satisfied
the heightening prevalence of extrajudicial killings and enforced with the prima facie existence of the ultimate facts
disappearances, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo was issued and took determinable from the supporting affidavits that detail the
effect on October 24, 2007 which coincided with the celebration of circumstances of how and to what extent a threat to or
United Nations Day and affirmed the Court’s commitment towards violation of the rights to life, liberty and security of the
internationalization of human rights. More than three months later or aggrieved party was or is being committed.
on February 2, 2008, the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data was
promulgated. It bears emphasis that respondents’ petition did not show any actual
violation, imminent or continuing threat to their life, liberty and
Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo provides: security. Bare allegations that petitioners "in unison, conspiracy and in
contempt of court, there and then willfully, forcibly and feloniously
Section 1. Petition. – The petition for a writ of amparo is a with the use of force and intimidation entered and forcibly, physically
remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty manhandled the petitioners (respondents) and arrested the herein
and security is violated or threatened with violation by an petitioners (respondents)" will not suffice to prove entitlement to the
unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or remedy of the writ of amparo. No undue confinement or detention
of a private individual or entity. The writ shall cover was present. In fact, respondents were even able to post bail for the
extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats offenses a day after their arrest.
thereof.
Although respondents’ release from confinement does not necessarily
Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data provides: hinder supplication for the writ of amparo, absent any evidence or
even an allegation in the petition that there is undue and continuing
Section 1. Habeas Data. – The writ of habeas data is a restraint on their liberty, and/or that there exists threat or
remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in intimidation that destroys the efficacy of their right to be secure in
life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an their persons, the issuance of the writ cannot be justified.
unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee or
of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering,
collecting or storing of data or information regarding the

37
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

RAZON, JR. v. TAGITIS To read the Rules of Court requirement on pleadings while addressing
G.R. No. 182498 | December 3, 2009 the unique Amparo situation, the test in reading the petition should be
Rules covered: Section 5(c), (d), and (e); Sufficiency in form and to determine whether it contains the details available to the petitioner
substance of petition; Enforced disappearances, elements; under the circumstances, while presenting a cause of action showing a
Characteristics of the writ; Quantum of evidence required; violation of the victim’s rights to life, liberty and security through State
Totality Rule or private party action. The petition should likewise be read in its
totality, rather than in terms of its isolated component parts, to
In questioning the sufficiency in form and substance of the determine if the required elements – namely, of the disappearance,
respondent’s Amparo petition, the petitioners contend that the petition the State or private action, and the actual or threatened violations of
violated Section 5(c), (d), and (e) of the Amparo Rule. Specifically, the the rights to life, liberty or security – are present.
petitioners allege that the respondent failed to:
In the present case, the petition amply recites in its paragraphs 4 to
1) allege any act or omission the petitioners committed in 11 the circumstances x x x.
violation of Tagitis’ rights to life, liberty and security;
These allegations, in our view, properly pleaded ultimate facts within
2) allege in a complete manner how Tagitis was abducted, the pleader’s knowledge about Tagitis’ disappearance, the
the persons responsible for his disappearance, and the participation by agents of the State in this disappearance, the failure
respondent’s source of information; of the State to release Tagitis or to provide sufficient information
about his whereabouts, as well as the actual violation of his right to
3) allege that the abduction was committed at the liberty. Thus, the petition cannot be faulted for any failure in its
petitioners’ instructions or with their consent; statement of a cause of action.

4) implead the members of CIDG regional office in If a defect can at all be attributed to the petition, this defect is its
Zamboanga alleged to have custody over her husband; lack of supporting affidavit, as required by Section 5(c) of the
Amparo Rule. Owing to the summary nature of the proceedings for
5) attach the affidavits of witnesses to support her the writ and to facilitate the resolution of the petition, the Amparo
accusations; Rule incorporated the requirement for supporting affidavits, with the
annotation that these can be used as the affiant’s direct
6) allege any action or inaction attributable to the testimony. This requirement, however, should not be read as an
petitioners in the performance of their duties in the absolute one that necessarily leads to the dismissal of the petition if
investigation of Tagitis’ disappearance; and not strictly followed. Where, as in this case, the petitioner has
substantially complied with the requirement by submitting a verified
7) specify what legally available efforts she took to petition sufficiently detailing the facts relied upon, the strict need for
determine the fate or whereabouts of her husband. the sworn statement that an affidavit represents is essentially fulfilled.
We note that the failure to attach the required affidavits was fully
A petition for the Writ of Amparo shall be signed and verified and cured when the respondent and her witness (Mrs. Talbin) personally
shall allege, among others (in terms of the portions the petitioners testified in the CA hearings held on January 7 and 17 and February
cite): 18, 2008 to swear to and flesh out the allegations of the petition.
Thus, even on this point, the petition cannot be faulted.
(c) The right to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved
party violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful Section 5(d) of the Amparo Rule requires that prior investigation of an
act or omission of the respondent, and how such threat or alleged disappearance must have been made, specifying the manner
violation is committed with the attendant circumstances and results of the investigation. Effectively, this requirement seeks to
detailed in supporting affidavits; establish at the earliest opportunity the level of diligence the public
authorities undertook in relation with the reported disappearance.
(d) The investigation conducted, if any, specifying the
names, personal circumstances, and addresses of the These allegations, to our mind, sufficiently specify that reports have
investigating authority or individuals, as well as the manner been made to the police authorities, and that investigations should
and conduct of the investigation, together with any report; have followed. That the petition did not state the manner and results
of the investigation that the Amparo Rule requires, but rather
(e) The actions and recourses taken by the petitioner to generally stated the inaction of the police, their failure to perform
determine the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party their duty to investigate, or at the very least, their reported failed
and the identity of the person responsible for the threat, act efforts, should not be a reflection on the completeness of the petition.
or omission; and x x x To require the respondent to elaborately specify the names, personal
circumstances, and addresses of the investigating authority, as well
The framers of the Amparo Rule never intended Section 5(c) to be the manner and conduct of the investigation is an overly strict
complete in every detail in stating the threatened or actual violation interpretation of Section 5(d), given the respondent’s frustrations in
of a victim’s rights. As in any other initiatory pleading, the pleader securing an investigation with meaningful results. Under these
must of course state the ultimate facts constituting the cause of action, circumstances, we are more than satisfied that the allegations of the
omitting the evidentiary details. In an Amparo petition, however, this petition on the investigations undertaken are sufficiently complete for
requirement must be read in light of the nature and purpose of the purposes of bringing the petition forward.
proceeding, which addresses a situation of uncertainty; the petitioner
may not be able to describe with certainty how the victim exactly Section 5(e) is in the Amparo Rule to prevent the use of a petition –
disappeared, or who actually acted to kidnap, abduct or arrest him that otherwise is not supported by sufficient allegations to constitute a
or her, or where the victim is detained, because these information may proper cause of action – as a means to "fish" for evidence.81 The
purposely be hidden or covered up by those who caused the petitioners contend that the respondent’s petition did not specify what
disappearance. In this type of situation, to require the level of "legally available efforts were taken by the respondent," and that
specificity, detail and precision that the petitioners apparently want there was an "undue haste" in the filing of the petition when, instead
to read into the Amparo Rule is to make this Rule a token gesture of of cooperating with authorities, the respondent immediately invoked
judicial concern for violations of the constitutional rights to life, liberty the Court’s intervention. x x x
and security.
Section 5(e) merely requires that the Amparo petitioner (the
respondent in the present case) allege "the actions and recourses

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CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

taken to determine the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party importance of investigation in the Velasquez Rodriguez
and the identity of the person responsible for the threat, act or Case, viz:
omission." The following allegations of the respondent’s petition duly
outlined the actions she had taken and the frustrations she (The duty to investigate) must be undertaken in a serious
encountered, thus compelling her to file her petition. x x x manner and not as a mere formality preordained to be
ineffective. An investigation must have an objective and be
The Amparo Rule expressly provides that the "writ shall cover assumed by the State as its own legal duty, not as a step
extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats taken by private interests that depends upon the initiative
thereof." We note that although the writ specifically covers "enforced of the victim or his family or upon their offer of proof,
disappearances," this concept is neither defined nor penalized in this without an effective search for the truth by the government.
jurisdiction. x x x
Sections 13, 17 and 18 of the Amparo Rule define the nature of
Even without the benefit of directly applicable substantive laws on an Amparo proceeding and the degree and burden of proof the
extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances, however, the parties to the case carry, as follows:
Supreme Court is not powerless to act under its own constitutional
mandate to promulgate "rules concerning the protection and Section 13. Summary Hearing. The hearing on the petition
enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice and procedure shall be summary. However, the court, justice or judge may
in all courts," since extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, call for a preliminary conference to simplify the issues and
by their nature and purpose, constitute State or private party determine the possibility of obtaining stipulations and
violation of the constitutional rights of individuals to life, liberty and admissions from the parties.
security. Although the Court’s power is strictly procedural and as such
does not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights, the legal Section 17. Burden of Proof and Standard of Diligence
protection that the Court can provide can be very meaningful through Required. – The parties shall establish their claims
the procedures it sets in addressing extrajudicial killings and enforced by substantial evidence.
disappearances. The Court, through its procedural rules, can set the
procedural standards and thereby directly compel the public The respondent who is a private individual must prove that
authorities to act on actual or threatened violations of constitutional ordinary diligence as required by applicable laws, rules
rights. To state the obvious, judicial intervention can make a and regulations was observed in the performance of duty.
difference – even if only procedurally – in a situation when the very
same investigating public authorities may have had a hand in the The respondent who is a public official or employee must
threatened or actual violations of constitutional rights. prove that extraordinary diligence as required by
applicable laws, rules and regulations was observed in the
Lest this Court intervention be misunderstood, we clarify once again performance of duty.
that we do not rule on any issue of criminal culpability for the
extrajudicial killing or enforced disappearance. This is an issue that The respondent public official or employee cannot invoke
requires criminal action before our criminal courts based on our the presumption that official duty has been regularly
existing penal laws. Our intervention is in determining whether an performed or evade responsibility or liability.
enforced disappearance has taken place and who is responsible or
accountable for this disappearance, and to define and impose the Section 18. Judgment. – x x x If the allegations in the
appropriate remedies to address it. The burden for the public petition are proven by substantial evidence, the court
authorities to discharge in these situations, under the Rule on the Writ shall grant the privilege of the writ and such reliefs as may
of Amparo, is twofold. The first is to ensure that all efforts at be proper and appropriate; otherwise, the privilege shall
disclosure and investigation are undertaken under pain of indirect be denied.
contempt from this Court when governmental efforts are less than
what the individual situations require. The second is to address the These characteristics – namely, of being summary and the use of
disappearance, so that the life of the victim is preserved and his or substantial evidence as the required level of proof (in contrast to the
her liberty and security restored. In these senses, our orders and usual preponderance of evidence or proof beyond reasonable doubt
directives relative to the writ are continuing efforts that are not truly in court proceedings) – reveal the clear intent of the framers of the
terminated until the extrajudicial killing or enforced disappearance is Amparo Rule to have the equivalent of an administrative proceeding,
fully addressed by the complete determination of the fate and the albeit judicially conducted, in addressing Amparo situations. The
whereabouts of the victim, by the production of the disappeared standard of diligence required – the duty of public officials and
person and the restoration of his or her liberty and security, and, in employees to observe extraordinary diligence – point, too, to the
the proper case, by the commencement of criminal action against the extraordinary measures expected in the protection of constitutional
guilty parties. x x x rights and in the consequent handling and investigation of extra-
judicial killings and enforced disappearance cases.
In Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo, this Court, in ruling that the
right to security of persons is a guarantee of the protection of one’s Thus, in these proceedings, the Amparo petitioner needs only to
right by the government, held that: properly comply with the substance and form requirements of a Writ
of Amparo petition, as discussed above, and prove the allegations by
The right to security of person in this third sense is a substantial evidence. Once a rebuttable case has been proven, the
corollary of the policy that the State "guarantees full respondents must then respond and prove their defenses based on the
respect for human rights" under Article II, Section 11 of the standard of diligence required. The rebuttable case, of course, must
1987 Constitution. As the government is the chief guarantor show that an enforced disappearance took place under circumstances
of order and security, the Constitutional guarantee of the showing a violation of the victim’s constitutional rights to life, liberty or
rights to life, liberty and security of person is rendered security, and the failure on the part of the investigating authorities to
ineffective if government does not afford protection to appropriately respond.
these rights especially when they are under
threat. Protection includes conducting effective The landmark case of Ang Tibay v. CIR provided the Court its first
investigations, organization of the government apparatus to opportunity to define the substantial evidence required to arrive at a
extend protection to victims of extralegal killings or valid decision in administrative proceedings:
enforced disappearances (or threats thereof) and/or their
families, and bringing offenders to the bar of justice. The Substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla. It means such
Inter-American Court of Human Rights stressed the relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to

39
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

support a conclusion. The statute provides that ‘the rules of evidence Strictly speaking, we are faced here with a classic case of hearsay
prevailing in courts of law and equity shall not be controlling.’ The evidence – i.e., evidence whose probative value is not based on the
obvious purpose of this and similar provisions is to free administrative personal knowledge of the witnesses (the respondent, Mrs. Talbin and
boards from the compulsion of technical rules so that the mere Col. Kasim himself) but on the knowledge of some other person not on
admission of matter which would be deemed incompetent in judicial the witness stand (the informant).
proceedings would not invalidate the administrative order. But this
assurance of a desirable flexibility in administrative procedure does To say that this piece of evidence is incompetent and inadmissible
not go so far as to justify orders without a basis in evidence having evidence of what it substantively states is to acknowledge – as the
rational probative force. petitioners effectively suggest – that in the absence of any direct
evidence, we should simply dismiss the petition. To our mind, an
In Secretary of Defense v. Manalo, which was the Court’s first petition immediate dismissal for this reason is no different from a statement
for a Writ of Amparo, we recognized that the full and exhaustive that the Amparo Rule – despite its terms – is ineffective, as it cannot
proceedings that the substantial evidence standard regularly requires allow for the special evidentiary difficulties that are unavoidably
do not need to apply due to the summary nature of Amparo present in Amparo situations, particularly in extrajudicial killings and
proceedings. We said: enforced disappearances. The Amparo Rule was not promulgated
with this intent or with the intent to make it a token gesture of concern
The remedy of the writ of amparo provides rapid judicial for constitutional rights. It was promulgated to provide effective and
relief as it partakes of a summary proceeding that requires timely remedies, using and profiting from local and international
only substantial evidence to make the appropriate reliefs experiences in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, as
available to the petitioner; it is not an action to determine the situation may require. Consequently, we have no choice but to
criminal guilt requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt, or meet the evidentiary difficulties inherent in enforced disappearances
liability for damages requiring preponderance of with the flexibility that these difficulties demand. x x x
evidence, or administrative responsibility requiring
substantial evidence that will require full and exhaustive In the present case, we should at least determine whether the Kasim
proceedings. evidence before us is relevant and meaningful to the disappearance
of Tagistis and reasonably consistent with other evidence in the case.
Not to be forgotten in considering the evidentiary aspects of Amparo xxx
petitions are the unique difficulties presented by the nature of
enforced disappearances, heretofore discussed, which difficulties this Based on these considerations, we conclude that Col. Kasim’s
Court must frontally meet if the Amparo Rule is to be given a chance disclosure, made in an unguarded moment, unequivocally point to
to achieve its objectives. These evidentiary difficulties compel the some government complicity in the disappearance. The consistent but
Court to adopt standards appropriate and responsive to the unfounded denials and the haphazard investigations cannot but point
circumstances, without transgressing the due process requirements that to this conclusion. For why would the government and its officials
underlie every proceeding. engage in their chorus of concealment if the intent had not been to
deny what they already knew of the disappearance? Would not an
The fair and proper rule, to our mind, is to consider all the pieces of in-depth and thorough investigation that at least credibly determined
evidence adduced in their totality, and to consider any evidence the fate of Tagitis be a feather in the government’s cap under the
otherwise inadmissible under our usual rules to be admissible if it is circumstances of the disappearance? From this perspective, the
consistent with the admissible evidence adduced. In other words, we evidence and developments, particularly the Kasim evidence, already
reduce our rules to the most basic test of reason – i.e., to the establish a concrete case of enforced disappearance that the Amparo
relevance of the evidence to the issue at hand and its consistency with Rule covers. From the prism of the UN Declaration, heretofore cited
all other pieces of adduced evidence. Thus, even hearsay evidence and quoted, the evidence at hand and the developments in this case
can be admitted if it satisfies this basic minimum test. confirm the fact of the enforced disappearance and government
complicity, under a background of consistent and unfounded
The Convention defines enforced disappearance as "the arrest, government denials and haphazard handling. The disappearance as
detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by well effectively placed Tagitis outside the protection of the law – a
agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the situation that will subsist unless this Court acts. x x x
authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a
refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment [W]e believe and so hold that the government in general, through the
of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place PNP and the PNP-CIDG, and in particular, the Chiefs of these
such a person outside the protection of the law." Under this definition, organizations together with Col. Kasim, should be held fully
the elements that constitute enforced disappearance are essentially accountable for the enforced disappearance of Tagitis.
fourfold:

(a) arrest, detention, abduction or any form of deprivation ROXAS v. MACAPAGAL-ARROYO


of liberty; G.R. No. 189155 | September 7, 2010
Rules covered: Writ of Amparo in re: Command Responsibility;
(b) carried out by agents of the State or persons or groups Totality of Evidence Rule; Inspection orders, nature
of persons acting with the authorization, support or
acquiescence of the State; *The Writ of Habeas Data was discussed in the case, which will be
provided in the following topic.
(c) followed by a refusal to acknowledge the detention, or
a concealment of the fate of the disappeared person; and It must be stated at the outset that the use by the petitioner of the
doctrine of command responsibility as the justification in impleading
(d) placement of the disappeared person outside the the public respondents in her amparo petition, is legally inaccurate, if
protection of the law. not incorrect. The doctrine of command responsibility is a rule of
substantive law that establishes liability and, by this account, cannot
We find no direct evidence indicating how the victim actually be a proper legal basis to implead a party-respondent in an amparo
disappeared. x x x petition.

We likewise find no direct evidence showing that operatives of PNP The case of Rubrico v. Arroyo, which was the first to examine
CIDG Zamboanga abducted or arrested Tagitis. x x x command responsibility in the context of an amparo proceeding,

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CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

observed that the doctrine is used to pinpoint liability. Rubrico notes enforced disappearance without bringing the level of their
that: complicity to the level of responsibility defined above; or
The evolution of the command responsibility doctrine finds who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced
its context in the development of laws of war and armed disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or
combats. According to Fr. Bernas, "command responsibility," those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden
in its simplest terms, means the "responsibility of of extraordinary diligence in the investigation of the
commanders for crimes committed by subordinate members enforced disappearance. x x x
of the armed forces or other persons subject to their control
in international wars or domestic conflict." In this sense, The totality of the evidence presented by the petitioner does not
command responsibility is properly a form of criminal inspire reasonable conclusion that her abductors were military or
complicity. The Hague Conventions of 1907 adopted the police personnel and that she was detained at Fort Magsaysay.
doctrine of command responsibility, foreshadowing the
present-day precept of holding a superior accountable for First. The similarity between the circumstances attending a particular
the atrocities committed by his subordinates should he be case of abduction with those surrounding previous instances of
remiss in his duty of control over them. As then formulated, enforced disappearances does not, necessarily, carry sufficient weight
command responsibility is "an omission mode of individual to prove that the government orchestrated such abduction. We opine
criminal liability," whereby the superior is made responsible that insofar as the present case is concerned, the perceived similarity
for crimes committed by his subordinates for failing to cannot stand as substantial evidence of the involvement of the
prevent or punish the perpetrators (as opposed to crimes he government.
ordered).
In amparo proceedings, the weight that may be accorded to parallel
Since the application of command responsibility presupposes an circumstances as evidence of military involvement depends largely on
imputation of individual liability, it is more aptly invoked in a full- the availability or non-availability of other pieces of evidence that
blown criminal or administrative case rather than in a summary has the potential of directly proving the identity and affiliation of the
amparo proceeding. The obvious reason lies in the nature of the writ perpetrators. Direct evidence of identity, when obtainable, must be
itself: preferred over mere circumstantial evidence based on patterns and
similarity, because the former indubitably offers greater certainty as
The writ of amparo is a protective remedy aimed at to the true identity and affiliation of the perpetrators. An amparo
providing judicial relief consisting of the appropriate court cannot simply leave to remote and hazy inference what it could
remedial measures and directives that may be crafted by otherwise clearly and directly ascertain. x x x
the court, in order to address specific violations or threats
of violation of the constitutional rights to life, liberty or Considering the dearth of evidence concretely pointing to any military
security. While the principal objective of its proceedings is involvement in petitioner’s ordeal, this Court finds no error on the part
the initial determination of whether an enforced of the Court of Appeals in denying an inspection of the military camp
disappearance, extralegal killing or threats thereof had at Fort Magsaysay. We agree with the appellate court that a
transpired—the writ does not, by so doing, fix liability for contrary stance would be equivalent to sanctioning a "fishing
such disappearance, killing or threats, whether that may be expedition," which was never intended by the Amparo Rule in
criminal, civil or administrative under the applicable providing for the interim relief of inspection order.122 Contrary to
substantive law. the explicit position123 espoused by the petitioner, the Amparo Rule
does not allow a "fishing expedition" for evidence.
The rationale underpinning this peculiar nature of an amparo writ has
been, in turn, clearly set forth in the landmark case of Secretary of An inspection order is an interim relief designed to give support or
National Defense v. Manalo: strengthen the claim of a petitioner in an amparo petition, in order to
aid the court before making a decision.124 A basic requirement
The remedy provides rapid judicial relief as it partakes of before an amparo court may grant an inspection order is that the
a summary proceeding that requires only substantial place to be inspected is reasonably determinable from the
evidence to make the appropriate reliefs available to the allegations of the party seeking the order. While the Amparo Rule
petitioner; it is not an action to determine criminal guilt does not require that the place to be inspected be identified with
requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt, or liability for clarity and precision, it is, nevertheless, a minimum for the issuance of
damages requiring preponderance of evidence, or an inspection order that the supporting allegations of a party be
administrative responsibility requiring substantial evidence sufficient in itself, so as to make a prima facie case. This, as was
that will require full and exhaustive proceedings. shown above, petitioner failed to do.

It must be clarified, however, that the inapplicability of the doctrine Since the very estimates and observations of the petitioner are not
of command responsibility in an amparo proceeding does not, by any strong enough to make out a prima facie case that she was detained
measure, preclude impleading military or police commanders on the in Fort Magsaysay, an inspection of the military camp cannot be
ground that the complained acts in the petition were committed with ordered. An inspection order cannot issue on the basis of allegations
their direct or indirect acquiescence. In which case, commanders may that are, in themselves, unreliable and doubtful. x x x
be impleaded—not actually on the basis of command responsibility—
but rather on the ground of their responsibility, or at least Ironic as it seems, but part and parcel of the reason why the
accountability. In Razon v. Tagitis, the distinct, but interrelated petitioner was not able to adduce substantial evidence proving her
concepts of responsibility and accountability were given special and allegations of government complicity in her abduction and torture,
unique significations in relation to an amparo proceeding, to wit: may be attributed to the incomplete and one-sided investigations
conducted by the government itself. This "awkward" situation, wherein
Responsibility refers to the extent the actors have been the very persons alleged to be involved in an enforced
established by substantial evidence to have participated in disappearance or extralegal killing are, at the same time, the very
whatever way, by action or omission, in an enforced ones tasked by law to investigate the matter, is a unique
disappearance, as a measure of the remedies this Court characteristic of these proceedings and is the main source of the
shall craft, among them, the directive to file the "evidentiary difficulties" faced by any petitioner in any amparo case.
appropriate criminal and civil cases against the responsible
parties in the proper courts. Accountability, on the other Cognizant of this situation, however, the Amparo Rule placed a potent
hand, refers to the measure of remedies that should be safeguard—requiring the "respondent who is a public official or
addressed to those who exhibited involvement in the employee" to prove that no less than "extraordinary diligence as

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CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

required by applicable laws, rules and regulations was observed in


the performance of duty." Thus, unless and until any of the public We also emphasize that the CA in its March 18, 2013 decision
respondents is able to show to the satisfaction of the amparo court already ruled with finality on the entities responsible and accountable
that extraordinary diligence has been observed in their investigations, (as these terms are defined in Razon, Jr. v. Tagitis) for the enforced
they cannot shed the allegations of responsibility despite the disappearance of Jonas. In its March 18, 2013 decision, the CA
prevailing scarcity of evidence to that effect. found, by substantial evidence, that Lt. Baliaga participated in the
abduction on the basis of Cabintoy’s positive identification that he
With this in mind, We note that extraordinary diligence, as required was one of the abductors of Jonas who told him not to interfere
by the Amparo Rule, was not fully observed in the conduct of the because the latter had been under surveillance for drugs. In the same
police and military investigations in the case at bar. x x x Decision, the CA also held the AFP and the PNP accountable for
having failed to discharge the burden of extraordinary diligence in
In light of these considerations, We agree with the Court of Appeals the investigation of the enforced disappearance of Jonas. Thus, the
that further investigation under the norm of extraordinary diligence CA issued the following directives to address the enforced
should be undertaken. This Court simply cannot write finis to this case, disappearance of Jonas:
on the basis of an incomplete investigation conducted by the police
and the military. In a very real sense, the right to security of the (1) DIRECT the PNP through its investigative arm, the PNP-
petitioner is continuously put in jeopardy because of the deficient CIDG, to identify and locate the abductors of Jonas Burgos
investigation that directly contributes to the delay in bringing the real who are still at large and to establish the link between the
perpetrators before the bar of justice. abductors of Jonas Burgos and those involved in the ERAP 5
incident;
(2) DIRECT the incumbent Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces
BURGOS v. ESPERON, JR. of the Philippines and the Director General of the
G.R. No. 178497 | February 4, 2014 Philippines National Police, and their successors, to ensure
Rules covered: Role of the writ; Responsibility in re: writ of amparo; the continuance of their investigation and coordination on
Role of courts in amparo proceedings; Satisfaction of the writ the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos until the
persons found responsible are brought before the bar of
After reviewing the newly discovered evidence submitted by the justice;
petitioner and considering all the developments of the case, including (3) DIRECT the Commission on Human Rights to continue with
the March 18, 2013 CA decision that confirmed the validity of the its own independent investigation on the enforced
issuance of the Writ of Amparo in the present case, we resolve to disappearance of Jonas Burgos with the same degree of
deny the petitioner’s Urgent Ex Parte Motion Ex Abundanti Cautela. diligence required under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo;
(4) DIRECT the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the
We note and conclude, based on the developments highlighted Philippine National Police to extend full assistance to the
above, that the beneficial purpose of the Writ of Amparo has been Commission on Human Rights in the conduct of the latter’s
served in the present case. As we held in Razon, Jr. v. Tagitis, the writ investigation; and
merely embodies the Court’s directives to police agencies to (5) DIRECT the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the
undertake specified courses of action to address the enforced Philippines, the Director General, Philippine National Police
disappearance of an individual. The Writ of Amparo serves both a and the Chairman, Commission on Human Rights to submit a
preventive and a curative role. It is curative as it facilitates the quarterly report to the Court on the results of their
subsequent punishment of perpetrators through the investigation and respective investigation.
remedial action that it directs. The focus is on procedural curative
remedies rather than on the tracking of a specific criminal or the We note that the respondents did not appeal the March 18, 2013
resolution of administrative liabilities. The unique nature of Amparo CA decision and the May 23, 2013 CA resolution denying their
proceedings has led us to define terms or concepts specific to what motion for partial reconsideration.
the proceedings seek to achieve. In Razon Jr., v. Tagitis, we defined
what the terms "responsibility" and "accountability" signify in an Based on the above considerations, in particular, the final ruling of
Amparo case. We said: the CA that confirmed the validity of the issuance of the Writ of
Amparo and its determination of the entities responsible for the
Responsibility refers to the extent the actors have been enforced disappearance of Jonas, we resolve to deny the petitioner’s
established by substantial evidence to have participated in prayer to issue the writ of Amparo anew and to refer the case to the
whatever way, by action or omission, in an enforced CA based on the newly discovered evidence. We so conclude as the
disappearance, as a measure of the remedies this Court petitioner’s request for the reissuance of the writ and for the
shall craft, among them, the directive to file the rehearing of the case by the CA would be redundant and superfluous
appropriate criminal and civil cases against the responsible in light of: (1) the ongoing investigation being conducted by the DOJ
parties in the proper courts. Accountability, on the other through the NBI; (2) the CHR investigation directed by the Court in this
hand, refers to the measure of remedies that should be Resolution; and (3) the continuing investigation directed by the CA in
addressed to those who exhibited involvement in the its March 18, 2013 decision.
enforced disappearance without bringing the level of their
complicity to the level of responsibility defined above; or We emphasize that while the Rule on the Writ of Amparo accords the
who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced Court a wide latitude in crafting remedies to address an enforced
disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or disappearance, it cannot (without violating the nature of the writ of
those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden Amparo as a summary remedy that provides rapid judicial relief)
of extraordinary diligence in the investigation of the grant remedies that would complicate and prolong rather than
enforced disappearance. expedite the investigations already ongoing. Note that the CA has
already determined with finality that Jonas was a victim of enforced
In the present case, while Jonas remains missing, the series of disappearance.
calculated directives issued by the Court outlined above and the
extraordinary diligence the CHR demonstrated in its investigations We clarify that by denying the petitioner’s motion, we do not thereby
resulted in the criminal prosecution of Lt. Baliaga. We take judicial rule on the admissibility or the merits of the newly discovered
notice of the fact that the Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch evidence submitted by the petitioner. We likewise do not foreclose
216, has already found probable cause for arbitrary detention any investigation by the proper investigative and prosecutory
against Lt. Baliaga and has ordered his arrest in connection with agencies of the other entities whose identities and participation in the
Jonas’ disappearance. enforced disappearance of Jonas may be disclosed in future

42
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

investigations and proceedings. Considering that the present case has


already reached the prosecution stage, the petitioner’s motion should
have been filed with the proper investigative and prosecutory
agencies of the government. x x x

As mentioned, we take judicial notice of the ongoing investigation by


the DOJ, through the NBI, of the disappearance of Jonas.

As a final note, we emphasize that our ROLE in a writ of Amparo


proceeding is merely to determine whether an enforced
disappearance has taken place; to determine who is responsible or
accountable; and to define and impose the appropriate remedies to
address the disappearance.

As shown above, the beneficial purpose of the Writ of Amparo has


been served in the present case with the CA’s final determination of
the persons responsible and accountable for the enforced
disappearance of Jonas and the commencement of criminal action
against Lt. Baliaga. At this stage, criminal, investigation and
prosecution proceedings are already beyond the reach of the Writ of
Amparo proceeding now before us.

Based on the above developments, we now hold that the full extent of
the remedies envisioned by the Rule on the Writ of Amparo has been
served and exhausted.

43
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

WRIT OF HABEAS DATA the respondent DSWD officers presented Baby Julian before the RTC
during the hearing held in the afternoon of August 5, 2010. There is
CARAM v. SEGUI therefore, no "enforced disappearance" as used in the context of the
G.R. No. 193652 | August 5, 2014 Amparo rule as the third and fourth elements are missing.
Rules covered: Elements of enforced disappearance; Writ of amparo,
when available Christina's directly accusing the respondents of forcibly separating her
from her child and placing the latter up for adoption, supposedly
*This case should have been included in the topic of Writ of Amparo. without complying with the necessary legal requisites to qualify the
child for adoption, clearly indicates that she is not searching for a lost
Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo provides as follows: child but asserting her parental authority over the child and contesting
custody over him. Since it is extant from the pleadings filed that what
SECTION 1. Petition. – The petition for a writ of amparo is is involved is the issue of child custody and the exercise of parental
a remedy available to any person whose right to life, rights over a child, who, for all intents and purposes, has been legally
liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation considered a ward of the State, the Amparo rule cannot be properly
by an unlawful actor omission of a public official or applied.
employee, or of a private individual or entity.
To reiterate, the privilege of the writ of amparo is a remedy
The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced available to victims of extra-judicial killings and enforced
disappearances or threats thereof. disappearances or threats of a similar nature, regardless of whether
the perpetrator of the unlawful act or omission is a public official or
In the landmark case of Secretary of National Defense, et al. v. employee or a private individual. It is envisioned basically to protect
Manalo, this Court held: and guarantee the right to life, liberty and security of persons, free
from fears and threats that vitiate the quality of life.
The Amparo Rule was intended to address the intractable
problem of "extralegal killings" and "enforced
disappearances," its coverage, in its present form, is VIVARES v. ST. THERESA’S COLLEGE
confined to these two instances or to threats thereof. G.R. No. 202666 | September 29, 2014
"Extralegal killings" are "killings committed without due Rules covered: Cases covered by the writ of habeas data; Actual
process of law, i.e., without legal safeguards or judicial threat; Nexus Rule; Habeas data in re: Informational privacy and
proceedings." On the other hand, "enforced OSN; Expectation of privacy
disappearances" are "attended by the following
characteristics: an arrest, detention or abduction of a The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person whose
person by a government official or organized groups or right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by
private individuals acting with the direct or indirect an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a
acquiescence of the government; the refusal of the State to private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or
disclose the fate or whereabouts of the person concerned or storing of data or information regarding the person, family, home
a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty which and correspondence of the aggrieved party. It is an independent and
places such persons outside the protection of law. summary remedy designed to protect the image, privacy, honor,
information, and freedom of information of an individual, and to
This pronouncement on the coverage of the writ was further cemented provide a forum to enforce one’s right to the truth and to
in the latter case of Lozada, Jr. v. Macapagal-Arroyo where this Court informational privacy. It seeks to protect a person’s right to control
explicitly declared that as it stands, the writ of amparo is confined information regarding oneself, particularly in instances in which such
only to cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, information is being collected through unlawful means in order to
or to threats thereof. As to what constitutes "enforced achieve unlawful ends.
disappearance," the Court in Navia v. Pardico enumerated the
elements constituting "enforced disappearances" as the term is In developing the writ of habeas data, the Court aimed to protect an
statutorily defined in Section 3(g) of R.A. No. 9851 to wit: individual’s right to informational privacy, among others. A
comparative law scholar has, in fact, defined habeas data as "a
(a) that there be an arrest, detention, abduction or any procedure designed to safeguard individual freedom from abuse in
form of deprivation of liberty; the information age." The writ, however, will not issue on the basis
merely of an alleged unauthorized access to information about a
(b) that it be carried out by, or with the authorization, person. Availment of the writ requires the existence of a nexus
support or acquiescence of, the State or a political between the right to privacy on the one hand, and the right to life,
organization; liberty or security on the other. Thus, the existence of a person’s right
to informational privacy and a showing, at least by substantial
(c) that it be followed by the State or political evidence, of an actual or threatened violation of the right to privacy
organization’s refusal to acknowledge or give information in life, liberty or security of the victim are indispensable before the
on the fate or whereabouts of the person subject of the privilege of the writ may be extended. x x x
amparo petition; and,
The writ of habeas data is not only confined to cases of extralegal
(d) that the intention for such refusal is to remove subject killings and enforced disappearances
person from the protection of the law for a prolonged
period of time. Contrary to respondents’ submission, the Writ of Habeas Data was
not enacted solely for the purpose of complementing the Writ of
In this case, Christina alleged that the respondent DSWD officers Amparo in cases of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.
caused her "enforced separation" from Baby Julian and that their
action amounted to an "enforced disappearance" within the context Section 2 of the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data provides:
of the Amparo rule. Contrary to her position, however, the respondent
DSWD officers never concealed Baby Julian's whereabouts. In fact, Sec. 2. Who May File. – Any aggrieved party may file a
Christina obtained a copy of the DSWD's May 28, 2010 petition for the writ of habeas data. However, in cases of
Memorandum explicitly stating that Baby Julian was in the custody of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances, the
the Medina Spouses when she filed her petition before the RTC. petition may be filed by:
Besides, she even admitted in her petition for review on certiorari that
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CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

(a) Any member of the immediate family of the aggrieved technology––a right which a great majority of the users of technology
party, namely: the spouse, children and parents; or themselves are not capable of protecting. x x x

(b) Any ascendant, descendant or collateral relative of the The concept of privacy has, through time, greatly evolved, with
aggrieved party within the fourth civil degree of technological advancements having an influential part therein. This
consanguinity or affinity, in default of those mentioned in evolution was briefly recounted in former Chief Justice Reynato S.
the preceding paragraph. Puno’s speech, The Common Right to Privacy, where he explained the
three strands of the right to privacy, viz: (1) locational or situational
Had the framers of the Rule intended to narrow the operation of the privacy; (2) informational privacy; and (3) decisional privacy. Of the
writ only to cases of extralegal killings or enforced disappearances, three, what is relevant to the case at bar is the right to informational
the above underscored portion of Section 2, reflecting a variance of privacy––usually defined as the right of individuals to control
habeas data situations, would not have been made. information about themselves.

Habeas data, to stress, was designed "to safeguard individual With the availability of numerous avenues for information gathering
freedom from abuse in the information age." As such, it is erroneous to and data sharing nowadays, not to mention each system’s inherent
limit its applicability to extralegal killings and enforced vulnerability to attacks and intrusions, there is more reason that every
disappearances only. In fact, the annotations to the Rule prepared by individual’s right to control said flow of information should be
the Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court, after explaining protected and that each individual should have at least a reasonable
that the Writ of Habeas Data complements the Writ of Amparo, expectation of privacy in cyberspace. x x x
pointed out that:
The question now though is up to what extent is the right to privacy
The writ of habeas data, however, can be availed of as an protected in OSNs? Bear in mind that informational privacy involves
independent remedy to enforce one’s right to privacy, more personal information. At the same time, the very purpose of OSNs is
specifically the right to informational privacy. The remedies socializing––sharing a myriad of information, some of which would
against the violation of such right can include the updating, have otherwise remained personal.
rectification, suppression or destruction of the database or
information or files in possession or in control of Briefly, the purpose of an OSN is precisely to give users the ability to
respondents. Clearly then, the privilege of the Writ of interact and to stay connected to other members of the same or
Habeas Data may also be availed of in cases outside of different social media platform through the sharing of statuses,
extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. photos, videos, among others, depending on the services provided by
the site. x x x
What is the meaning of “engaged” in the gathering, collecting or
storing of data or information? Facebook connections are established through the process of
"friending" another user. By sending a "friend request," the user
To be sure, nothing in the Rule would suggest that the habeas data invites another to connect their accounts so that they can view any and
protection shall be available only against abuses of a person or all "Public" and "Friends Only" posts of the other. Once the request is
entity engaged in the business of gathering, storing, and collecting of accepted, the link is established and both users are permitted to view
data. As provided under Section 1 of the Rule: the other user’s "Public" or "Friends Only" posts, among others.
"Friending," therefore, allows the user to form or maintain one-to-one
Section 1. Habeas Data. – The writ of habeas data is a relationships with other users, whereby the user gives his or her
remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in "Facebook friend" access to his or her profile and shares certain
life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an information to the latter.
unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or
of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, The foregoing are privacy tools, available to Facebook users,
collecting or storing of data or information regarding the designed to set up barriers to broaden or limit the visibility of his or
person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved her specific profile content, statuses, and photos, among others, from
party. another user’s point of view. In other words, Facebook extends its
users an avenue to make the availability of their Facebook activities
The provision, when taken in its proper context, as a whole, irresistibly reflect their choice as to "when and to what extent to disclose facts
conveys the idea that habeas data is a protection against unlawful about [themselves] – and to put others in the position of receiving such
acts or omissions of public officials and of private individuals or confidences." x x x Needless to say, as the privacy setting becomes
entities engaged in gathering, collecting, or storing data about the more limiting, fewer Facebook users can view that user’s particular
aggrieved party and his or her correspondences, or about his or her post.
family. Such individual or entity need not be in the business of
collecting or storing data. STC did not violate petitioners’ daughters’ right to privacy. It is
through the availability of said privacy tools that many OSN users
To "engage" in something is different from undertaking a business are said to have a subjective expectation that only those to whom
endeavour. To "engage" means "to do or take part in something." It they grant access to their profile will view the information they post or
does not necessarily mean that the activity must be done in pursuit of upload thereto.
a business. What matters is that the person or entity must be
gathering, collecting or storing said data or information about the Before one can have an expectation of privacy in his or her OSN
aggrieved party or his or her family. Whether such undertaking activity, it is first necessary that said user, in this case the children of
carries the element of regularity, as when one pursues a business, and petitioners, manifest the intention to keep certain posts private,
is in the nature of a personal endeavour, for any other reason or even through the employment of measures to prevent access thereto or to
for no reason at all, is immaterial and such will not prevent the writ limit its visibility. And this intention can materialize in cyberspace
from getting to said person or entity. through the utilization of the OSN’s privacy tools. In other words,
utilization of these privacy tools is the manifestation, in cyber world,
To agree with respondents’ above argument, would mean unduly of the user’s invocation of his or her right to informational privacy.
limiting the reach of the writ to a very small group, i.e., private
persons and entities whose business is data gathering and storage, Therefore, a Facebook user who opts to make use of a privacy tool to
and in the process decreasing the effectiveness of the writ as an grant or deny access to his or her post or profile detail should not be
instrument designed to protect a right which is easily violated in view denied the informational privacy right which necessarily accompanies
of rapid advancements in the information and communications said choice. Otherwise, using these privacy tools would be a feckless

45
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

exercise, such that if, for instance, a user uploads a photo or any MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY v. LIM
personal information to his or her Facebook page and sets its privacy G.R. No. 184769 | October 5, 2010
level at "Only Me" or a custom list so that only the user or a chosen Rules covered: What is covered by the writ of amparo and habeas
few can view it, said photo would still be deemed public by the courts data; Concerns purely property or commercial in nature, not covered;
as if the user never chose to limit the photo’s visibility and Labor-related issues not included
accessibility. Such position, if adopted, will not only strip these privacy
tools of their function but it would also disregard the very intention of Respondent’s plea that she be spared from complying with
the user to keep said photo or information within the confines of his or MERALCO’s Memorandum directing her reassignment to the Alabang
her private space. Sector, under the guise of a quest for information or data allegedly in
possession of petitioners, does not fall within the province of a writ of
We must now determine the extent that the images in question were habeas data.
visible to other Facebook users and whether the disclosure was
confidential in nature. In other words, did the minors limit the Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data provides:
disclosure of the photos such that the images were kept within their
zones of privacy? This determination is necessary in resolving the issue Section 1. Habeas Data. – The writ of habeas data is a
of whether the minors carved out a zone of privacy when the photos remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in
were uploaded to Facebook so that the images will be protected life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an
against unauthorized access and disclosure. x x x unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee or
of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering,
Considering that the default setting for Facebook posts is "Public," it collecting or storing of data or information regarding the
can be surmised that the photographs in question were viewable to person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved
everyone on Facebook, absent any proof that petitioners’ children party.
positively limited the disclosure of the photograph. If such were the
case, they cannot invoke the protection attached to the right to The habeas data rule, in general, is designed to protect by means of
informational privacy. The ensuing pronouncement in US v. Gines- judicial complaint the image, privacy, honor, information, and
Perez is most instructive: freedom of information of an individual. It is meant to provide a
forum to enforce one’s right to the truth and to informational privacy,
A person who places a photograph on the Internet precisely thus safeguarding the constitutional guarantees of a person’s right to
intends to forsake and renounce all privacy rights to such life, liberty and security against abuse in this age of information
imagery, particularly under circumstances such as here, technology.
where the Defendant did not employ protective measures
or devices that would have controlled access to the Web It bears reiteration that like the writ of amparo, habeas data was
page or the photograph itself. x x x conceived as a response, given the lack of effective and available
remedies, to address the extraordinary rise in the number of killings
As applied, even assuming that the photos in issue are visible only to and enforced disappearances. Its intent is to address violations of or
the sanctioned students’ Facebook friends, respondent STC can hardly threats to the rights to life, liberty or security as a remedy
be taken to task for the perceived privacy invasion since it was the independently from those provided under prevailing Rules.
minors’ Facebook friends who showed the pictures to Tigol.
Respondents were mere recipients of what were posted. They did not Castillo v. Cruz underscores the emphasis laid down in Tapuz v. del
resort to any unlawful means of gathering the information as it was Rosario that the writs of amparo and habeas data will NOT issue to
voluntarily given to them by persons who had legitimate access to the protect purely property or commercial concerns nor when the grounds
said posts. Clearly, the fault, if any, lies with the friends of the minors. invoked in support of the petitions therefor are vague or
Curiously enough, however, neither the minors nor their parents doubtful. Employment constitutes a property right under the context of
imputed any violation of privacy against the students who showed the the due process clause of the Constitution. It is evident that
images to Escudero. respondent’s reservations on the real reasons for her transfer - a
legitimate concern respecting the terms and conditions of one’s
Furthermore, petitioners failed to prove their contention that employment - are what prompted her to adopt the extraordinary
respondents reproduced and broadcasted the photographs. In fact, remedy of habeas data. Jurisdiction over such concerns is inarguably
what petitioners attributed to respondents as an act of offensive lodged by law with the NLRC and the Labor Arbiters.
disclosure was no more than the actuality that respondents appended
said photographs in their memorandum x x x These are not In another vein, there is no showing from the facts presented that
tantamount to a violation of the minor’s informational privacy rights, petitioners committed any unjustifiable or unlawful violation of
contrary to petitioners’ assertion. respondent’s right to privacy vis-a-vis the right to life, liberty or
security. To argue that petitioners’ refusal to disclose the contents of
In sum, there can be no quibbling that the images in question, or to be reports allegedly received on the threats to respondent’s safety
more precise, the photos of minor students scantily clad, are personal amounts to a violation of her right to privacy is at best speculative.
in nature, likely to affect, if indiscriminately circulated, the reputation Respondent in fact trivializes these threats and accusations from
of the minors enrolled in a conservative institution. However, the unknown individuals in her earlier-quoted portion of her July 10,
records are bereft of any evidence, other than bare assertions that 2008 letter as "highly suspicious, doubtful or are just mere jokes if
they utilized Facebook’s privacy settings to make the photos visible they existed at all." And she even suspects that her transfer to another
only to them or to a select few. Without proof that they placed the place of work "betrays the real intent of management]" and could be
photographs subject of this case within the ambit of their protected a "punitive move." Her posture unwittingly concedes that the issue is
zone of privacy, they cannot now insist that they have an expectation labor-related.
of privacy with respect to the photographs in question.

Had it been proved that the access to the pictures posted were
limited to the original uploader, through the "Me Only" privacy
setting, or that the user’s contact list has been screened to limit access
to a select few, through the "Custom" setting, the result may have
been different, for in such instances, the intention to limit access to the
particular post, instead of being broadcasted to the public at large
or all the user’s friends en masse, becomes more manifest and
palpable.

46
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

LEE v. ILAGAN
G.R. No. 203254 | October 8, 2014
Rules covered: Nexus Rule; Informational privacy

A.M. No. 08-1-16-SC, or the Rule on the Writ of Habeas


Data (Habeas Data Rule), was conceived as a response, given the
lack of effective and available remedies, to address the
extraordinary rise in the number of killings and enforced
disappearances. It was conceptualized as a judicial remedy enforcing
the right to privacy, most especially the right to informational
privacy of individuals, which is defined as "the right to control the
collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of data about
oneself."

As defined in Section 1 of the Habeas Data Rule, the writ of habeas


data now stands as "a remedy available to any person whose right
to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an
unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a
private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or
storing of data or information regarding the person, family, home,
and correspondence of the aggrieved party." Thus, in order to
support a petition for the issuance of such writ, Section 6 of
the Habeas Data Rule essentially requires that the petition sufficiently
alleges, among others, "[t]he manner the right to privacy is violated or
threatened and how it affects the right to life, liberty or security of
the aggrieved party." In other words, the petition must adequately
show that there exists a nexus between the right to privacy on the one
hand, and the right to life, liberty or security on the other. Corollarily,
the allegations in the petition must be supported by substantial
evidence showing an actual or threatened violation of the right to
privacy in life, liberty or security of the victim.[20] In this relation, it
bears pointing out that the writ of habeas data will not issue to
protect purely property or commercial concerns nor when the grounds
invoked in support of the petitions therefor are vague and doubtful.

In this case, the Court finds that Ilagan was not able to sufficiently
allege that his right to privacy in life, liberty or security was or would
be violated through the supposed reproduction and threatened
dissemination of the subject sex video. While Ilagan purports a
privacy interest in the suppression of this video which he fears would
somehow find its way to Quiapo or be uploaded in the internet for
public consumption he failed to explain the connection between such
interest and any violation of his right to life, liberty or security.
Indeed, courts cannot speculate or contrive versions of possible
transgressions. As the rules and existing jurisprudence on the matter
evoke, alleging and eventually proving the nexus between one's
privacy right to the cogent rights to life, liberty or security are crucial
in habeas data cases, so much so that a failure on either account
certainly renders a habeas data petition dismissible, as in this case.

In fact, even discounting the insufficiency of the allegations, the


petition would equally be dismissible due to the inadequacy of the
evidence presented. As the records show, all that Ilagan submitted in
support of his petition was his self-serving testimony which hardly
meets the substantial evidence requirement as prescribed by
the Habeas Data Rule. This is because nothing therein would indicate
that Lee actually proceeded to commit any overt act towards the end
of violating Ilagan's right to privacy in life, liberty or security. Nor
would anything on record even lead a reasonable mind to
conclude that Lee was going to use the subject video in order to
achieve unlawful ends say for instance, to spread it to the public so as
to ruin Ilagan's reputation. Contrastingly, Lee even made it clear in
her testimony that the only reason why she reproduced the subject
video was to legitimately utilize the same as evidence in the criminal
and administrative cases that she filed against Ilagan. Hence, due to
the insufficiency of the allegations as well as the glaring absence of
substantial evidence, the Court finds it proper to reverse the RTC
Decision and dismiss the habeas data petition.

47
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

WRIT OF KALIKASAN On matters of form, the petition must be verified and must contain
supporting evidence as well as a sworn certification of non-forum
DOLOT v. PAJE shopping. It is also necessary that the petitioner must be one who is
G.R. No. 199199 | August 27, 2013 aggrieved by an act or omission of the government agency,
Rules covered: Writ of Continuing Mandamus (specified in syllabus); instrumentality or its officer concerned. Sufficiency of substance, on
Venue for action of continuing mandamus the other hand, necessitates that the petition must contain substantive
allegations specifically constituting an actionable neglect or omission
Venue relates only to the place of trial or the geographical location and must establish, at the very least, a prima facie basis for the
in which an action or proceeding should be brought and does not issuance of the writ, viz: (1) an agency or instrumentality of
equate to the jurisdiction of the court. It is intended to accord government or its officer unlawfully neglects the performance of an
convenience to the parties, as it relates to the place of trial, and does act or unlawfully excludes another from the use or enjoyment of a
not restrict their access to the courts. x x x right; (2) the act to be performed by the government agency,
instrumentality or its officer is specifically enjoined by law as a duty;
At most, the error committed by the petitioners in filing the case with (3) such duty results from an office, trust or station in connection with
the RTC of Sorsogon was that of improper venue. A.M. No. 09-6-8- the enforcement or violation of an environmental law, rule or
SC or the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases (Rules) regulation or a right therein; and (4) there is no other plain, speedy
specifically states that a special civil action for continuing mandamus and adequate remedy in the course of law.
shall be filed with the "[RTC] exercising jurisdiction over the territory
where the actionable neglect or omission occurred x x x." In this case, The writ of continuing mandamus is a special civil action that may be
it appears that the alleged actionable neglect or omission occurred in availed of "to compel the performance of an act specifically enjoined
the Municipality of Matnog and as such, the petition should have been by law." The petition should mainly involve an environmental and
filed in the RTC of Irosin. But even then, it does not warrant the other related law, rule or regulation or a right therein. The RTC’s
outright dismissal of the petition by the RTC as venue may be mistaken notion on the need for a final judgment, decree or order is
waived. Moreover, the action filed by the petitioners is not criminal in apparently based on the definition of the writ of continuing
nature where venue is an essential element of jurisdiction. In Gomez- mandamus under Section 4, Rule 1 of the Rules, to wit:
Castillo v. Commission on Elections, the Court even expressed that
what the RTC should have done under the circumstances was to (c) Continuing mandamus is a writ issued by a court in an
transfer the case (an election protest) to the proper branch. Similarly, environmental case directing any agency or instrumentality
it would serve the higher interest of justice if the Court orders the of the government or officer thereof to perform an act or
transfer of Civil Case No. 2011 8338 to the RTC of Irosin for proper series of acts decreed by final judgment which shall remain
and speedy resolution, with the RTC applying the Rules in its effective until judgment is fully satisfied.
disposition of the case.
The final court decree, order or decision erroneously alluded to by
The concept of continuing mandamus was first introduced in the RTC actually pertains to the judgment or decree that a court
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority v. Concerned Residents of would eventually render in an environmental case for continuing
Manila Bay. Now cast in stone under Rule 8 of the Rules, the writ of mandamus and which judgment or decree shall subsequently become
continuing mandamus enjoys a distinct procedure than that of final.
ordinary civil actions for the enforcement/violation of environmental
laws, which are covered by Part II (Civil Procedure). Similar to the Under the Rules, after the court has rendered a judgment in
procedure under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court for special civil actions conformity with Rule 8, Section 7 and such judgment has become final,
for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, Section 4, Rule 8 of the the issuing court still retains jurisdiction over the case to ensure that the
Rules requires that the petition filed should be sufficient in form and government agency concerned is performing its tasks as mandated by
substance before a court may take further action; otherwise, the court law and to monitor the effective performance of said tasks. It is only
may dismiss the petition outright. Courts must be cautioned, however, upon full satisfaction of the final judgment, order or decision that a
that the determination to give due course to the petition or dismiss it final return of the writ shall be made to the court and if the court finds
outright is an exercise of discretion that must be applied in a that the judgment has been fully implemented, the satisfaction of
reasonable manner in consonance with the spirit of the law and judgment shall be entered in the court docket. A writ of continuing
always with the view in mind of seeing to it that justice is served. mandamus is, in essence, a command of continuing compliance with a
final judgment as it "permits the court to retain jurisdiction after
Sufficiency in form and substance refers to the contents of the petition judgment in order to ensure the successful implementation of the
filed under Rule 8, Section 1: reliefs mandated under the court’s decision."

When any agency or instrumentality of the government or The Court, likewise, cannot sustain the argument that the petitioners
officer thereof unlawfully neglects the performance of an should have first filed a case with the Panel of Arbitrators (Panel),
act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting which has jurisdiction over mining disputes under R.A. No. 7942.
from an office, trust or station in connection with the
enforcement or violation of an environmental law rule or Indeed, as pointed out by the respondents, the Panel has jurisdiction
regulation or a right therein, or unlawfully excludes another over mining disputes. But the petition filed below does not involve a
from the use or enjoyment of such right and there is no other mining dispute. What was being protested are the alleged negative
plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course environmental impact of the small-scale mining operation being
of law, the person aggrieved thereby may file a verified conducted x x x. Resolution of these matters does not entail the
petition in the proper court, alleging the facts with certainty, technical knowledge and expertise of the members of the Panel but
attaching thereto supporting evidence, specifying that the requires an exercise of judicial function.
petition concerns an environmental law, rule or regulation,
and praying that judgment be rendered commanding the Arbitration before the Panel of Arbitrators is proper only
respondent to do an act or series of acts until the judgment when there is a disagreement between the parties as to
is fully satisfied, and to pay damages sustained by the some provisions of the contract between them, which needs
petitioner by reason of the malicious neglect to perform the the interpretation and the application of that particular
duties of the respondent, under the law, rules or regulations. knowledge and expertise possessed by members of that
The petition shall also contain a sworn certification of non- Panel. It is not proper when one of the parties repudiates
forum shopping. the existence or validity of such contract or agreement on
the ground of fraud or oppression as in this case. The
validity of the contract cannot be subject of arbitration

48
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

proceedings. Allegations of fraud and duress in the grant of this extraordinary remedy. The gravity of environmental
execution of a contract are matters within the jurisdiction of damage sufficient to grant the writ is, thus, to be decided on a case-
the ordinary courts of law. These questions are legal in to-case basis.
nature and require the application and interpretation of
laws and jurisprudence which is necessarily a judicial If the petitioner successfully proves the foregoing requisites, the court
function. shall render judgment granting the privilege of the writ of kalikasan.
Otherwise, the petition shall be denied. If the petition is granted, the
Consequently, resort to the Panel would be completely useless and court may grant the reliefs provided for under Section 15of Rule 7, to
unnecessary. wit:
Section 15. Judgment.- Within sixty (60) days from the time
The Court also finds that the RTC erred in ruling that the petition is the petition is submitted for decision, the court shall render
infirm for failure to attach judicial affidavits. As previously stated, judgment granting or denying the privilege of the writ of
Rule 8 requires that the petition should be verified, contain supporting kalikasan.
evidence and must be accompanied by a sworn certification of non-
forum shopping. There is nothing in Rule 8 that compels the inclusion of The reliefs that may be granted under the writ are the following:
judicial affidavits, albeit not prohibited. It is only if the evidence of
the petitioner would consist of testimony of witnesses that it would be (a) Directing respondent to permanently cease and desist
the time that judicial affidavits (affidavits of witnesses in the question from committing acts or neglecting the performance of a
and answer form) must be attached to the petition/complaint. duty in violation of environmental laws resulting in
environmental destruction or damage;

PAJE v. CASIÑO (b) Directing the respondent public official, government


G.R. No. 207257 | February 3, 2015 agency, private person or entity to protect, preserve,
Rules covered: Writ of Kalikasan (specified in syllabus), rehabilitate or restore the environment;
in re: P.D. 1151 and 1598 (as to issuance of ECC);
Requisites for issuance of the writ; Utilization of “expert” witnesses (c) Directing the respondent public official, government
agency, private person or entity to monitor strict compliance
*The discussion on the issue of the ECC/EIS will not be discussed. with the decision and orders of the court;
Please refer to full text.
(d) Directing the respondent public official, government
The Rules on the Writ of Kalikasan, which is Part III of the Rules of agency, or private person or entity to make periodic
Procedure for Environmental Cases, was issued by the Court pursuant reports on the execution of the final judgment; and
to its power to promulgate rules for the protection and enforcement
of constitutional rights, in particular, the individual’s right to a (e) Such other reliefs which relate to the right of the people
balanced and healthful ecology. Section 1 of Rule 7 provides: to a balanced and healthful ecology or to the protection,
preservation, rehabilitation or restoration of the
Section 1. Nature of the writ.- The writ is a remedy environment, except the award of damages to individual
available to a natural or juridical person, entity authorized petitioners.
by law, people’s organization, nongovernmental
organization, or any public interest group accredited by or It must be noted, however, that the above enumerated reliefs are
registered with any government agency, on behalf of non-exhaustive. The reliefs that may be granted under the writ are
persons whose constitutional right to a balanced and broad, comprehensive and non-exclusive.
healthful ecology is violated, or threatened with violation
by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or Prescinding from the above, the DENR, SBMA and RP Energy are one
employee, or private individual or entity, involving in arguing that the reliefs granted by the appellate court, i.e.
environmental damage of such magnitude as to prejudice invalidating the ECC and its amendments, are improper because it
the life, health or property of inhabitants in two or more had denied the Petition for Writ of Kalikasan upon a finding that the
cities or provinces. Casiño Group failed to prove the alleged environmental damage,
actual or threatened, contemplated under the Rules.
The writ is categorized as a special civil action and was, thus,
conceptualized as an extraordinary remedy, which aims to provide Ordinarily, no reliefs could and should be granted. But the question
judicial relief from threatened or actual violation/s of the may be asked, could not the appellate court have granted the
constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology of a Petition for Writ of Kalikasan on the ground of the invalidity of the
magnitude or degree of damage that transcends political and ECC for failure to comply with certain laws and rules?
territorial boundaries. It is intended "to provide a stronger defense
for environmental rights through judicial efforts where institutional This question is the starting point for setting up the framework of
arrangements of enforcement, implementation and legislation have analysis which should govern writ of kalikasan cases.
fallen short" and seeks "to address the potentially exponential nature
of large-scale ecological threats." The power of the courts to nullify an ECC existed even prior to the
promulgation of the Rules on the Writ of Kalikasan for judicial review
Under Section 1 of Rule 7, the following requisites must be present to of the acts of administrative agencies or bodies has long been
avail of this extraordinary remedy: (1) there is an actual or recognized subject, of course, to the doctrine of exhaustion of
threatened violation of the constitutional right to a balanced and administrative remedies.
healthful ecology; (2) the actual or threatened violation arises from
an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or But the issue presented before us is not a simple case of reviewing the
private individual or entity; and (3) the actual or threatened violation acts of an administrative agency, the DENR, which issued the ECC and
involves or will lead to an environmental damage of such magnitude its amendments. The challenge to the validity of the ECC was raised in
as to prejudice the life, health or property of inhabitants in two or the context of a writ of kalikasan case. The question then is, can the
more cities or provinces. validity of an ECC be challenged via a writ of kalikasan?

Expectedly, the Rules do not define the exact nature or degree of We answer in the affirmative subject to certain qualifications.
environmental damage but only that it must be sufficiently grave, in
terms of the territorial scope of such damage, so as to call for the

49
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

As earlier noted, the writ of kalikasan is principally predicated on an compliance before the courts, as the case may be. However, the writ
actual or threatened violation of the constitutional right to a balanced of kalikasan would not be the appropriate remedy to address and
and healthful ecology, which involves environmental damage of a resolve such issues. x x x
magnitude that transcends political and territorial boundaries. A
party, therefore, who invokes the writ based on alleged defects or Indeed, the three witnesses presented by the Casiño Group are not
irregularities in the issuance of an ECC must not only allege and prove experts on the CFB technology or on environmental matters. These
such defects or irregularities, but must also provide a causal link or, at witnesses even admitted on cross-examination that they are not
least, a reasonable connection between the defects or irregularities in competent to testify on the environmental impact of the subject
the issuance of an ECC and the actual or threatened violation of the project. What is wanting in their testimonies is their technical
constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology of the knowledge of the project design/implementation or some other
magnitude contemplated under the Rules. Otherwise, the petition aspects of the project, even those not requiring expert knowledge,
should be dismissed outright and the action re-filed before the proper vis-à-vis the significant negative environmental impacts which the
forum with due regard to the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative Casiño Group alleged will occur. Clearly, the Casiño Group failed to
remedies. This must be so if we are to preserve the noble and carry the onus of proving the alleged significant negative
laudable purposes of the writ against those who seek to abuse it. environmental impacts of the project. In comparison, RP Energy
presented several experts to refute the allegations of the Casiño
An example of a defect or an irregularity in the issuance of an ECC, Group. x x x
which could conceivably warrant the granting of the extraordinary
remedy of the writ of kalikasan, is a case where there are serious In upholding the evidence and arguments of RP Energy, relative to the
and substantial misrepresentations or fraud in the application for the lack of proof as to the alleged significant environmental damage that
ECC, which, if not immediately nullified, would cause actual negative will be caused by the project, the appellate court relied mainly on the
environmental impacts of the magnitude contemplated under the testimonies of experts, which we find to be in accord with judicial
Rules, because the government agencies and LGUs, with the final precedents. Thus, we ruled in one case:
authority to implement the project, may subsequently rely on such
substantially defective or fraudulent ECC in approving the Although courts are not ordinarily bound by testimonies of
implementation of the project. experts, they may place whatever weight they choose upon
such testimonies in accordance with the facts of the case.
To repeat, in cases of defects or irregularities in the issuance of an The relative weight and sufficiency of expert testimony is
ECC, it is not sufficient to merely allege such defects or irregularities, peculiarly within the province of the trial court to decide,
but to show a causal link or reasonable connection with the considering the ability and character of the witness, his
environmental damage of the magnitude contemplated under the actions upon the witness stand, the weight and process of
Rules. In the case at bar, no such causal link or reasonable connection the reasoning by which he has supported his opinion, his
was shown or even attempted relative to the aforesaid second set of possible bias in favor of the side for whom he testifies, the
allegations. It is a mere listing of the perceived defects or fact that he is a paid witness, the relative opportunities for
irregularities in the issuance of the ECC. This would have been study and observation of the matters about which he
sufficient reason to disallow the resolution of such issues in a writ of testifies, and any other matters which serve to illuminate his
kalikasan case. statements. The opinion of the expert may not be arbitrarily
rejected; it is to be considered by the court in view of all
However, inasmuch as this is the first time that we lay down this the facts and circumstances in the case and when common
principle, we have liberally examined the alleged defects or knowledge utterly fails, the expert opinion may be given
irregularities in the issuance of the ECC and find that there is only one controlling effects (20 Am. Jur., 1056-1058). The problem
group of allegations, relative to the ECC, that can be reasonably of the credibility of the expert witness and the evaluation
connected to an environmental damage of the magnitude of his testimony is left to the discretion of the trial court
contemplated under the Rules. This is with respect to the allegation whose ruling thereupon is not reviewable in the absence of
that there was no environmental impact assessment relative to the first an abuse of that discretion. x x x
and second amendments to the subject ECC. If this were true, then the
implementation of the project can conceivably actually violate or The Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases liberally provide the
threaten to violate the right to a healthful and balanced ecology of courts with means and methods to obtain sufficient information in
the inhabitants near the vicinity of the power plant. Thus, the order to adequately protect or safeguard the right to a healthful and
resolution of such an issue could conceivably be resolved in a writ of balanced ecology. In Section 6 (l)140 of Rule 3 (Pre-Trial), when
kalikasan case provided that the case does not violate, or is an there is a failure to settle, the judge shall, among others, determine
exception to the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies the necessity of engaging the services of a qualified expert as a
and primary jurisdiction. friend of the court (amicus curiae). While, in Section 12141 of Rule 7
(Writ of Kalikasan), a party may avail of discovery measures: (1)
As to the claims that the issuance of the ECC violated the IPRA Law ocular inspection and (2) production or inspection of documents or
and LGC and that the LDA, likewise, violated the IPRA Law, we find things. The liberality of the Rules in gathering and even compelling
the same not to be within the coverage of the writ of kalikasan information, specifically with regard to the Writ of Kalikasan, is
because, assuming there was non-compliance therewith, no explained in this wise: The writ of kalikasan was refashioned as a tool
reasonable connection can be made to an actual or threatened to bridge the gap between allegation and proof by providing a
violation of the right to a balanced and healthful ecology of the remedy for would-be environmental litigants to compel the production
magnitude contemplated under the Rules. of information within the custody of the government. The writ would
effectively serve as a remedy for the enforcement of the right to
To elaborate, the alleged lack of approval of the concerned information about the environment. The scope of the fact-finding
sanggunians over the subject project would not lead to or is not power could be: (1) anything related to the issuance, grant of a
reasonably connected with environmental damage but, rather, it is an government permit issued or information controlled by the government
affront to the local autonomy of LGUs. Similarly, the alleged lack of a or private entity and (2) information contained in documents such as
certificate precondition that the project site does not overlap with an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) and other government
ancestral domain would not result in or is not reasonably connected records. In addition, the writ may also be employed to compel the
with environmental damage but, rather, it is an impairment of the production of information, subject to constitutional limitations. This
right of Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples function is analogous to a discovery measure, and may be availed of
(ICCs/IPs) to their ancestral domains. These alleged violations could upon application for the writ.
be the subject of appropriate remedies before the proper
administrative bodies (like the NCIP) or a separate action to compel

50
CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

Clearly, in environmental cases, the power to appoint friends of the In any case, it is our considered view that a ruling on the application
court in order to shed light on matters requiring special technical or non-application of criminal jurisdiction provisions of the VF A to US
expertise as well as the power to order ocular inspections and personnel who may be found responsible for the grounding of the
production of documents or things evince the main thrust of, and the USS Guardian, would be premature and beyond the province of a
spirit behind, the Rules to allow the court sufficient leeway in petition for a writ of Kalikasan. We also find it unnecessary at this
acquiring the necessary information to rule on the issues presented for point to determine whether such waiver of State immunity is indeed
its resolution, to the end that the right to a healthful and balanced absolute. In the same vein, we cannot grant damages which have
ecology may be adequately protected. To draw a parallel, in the resulted from the violation of environmental laws. The Rules allows the
protection of the constitutional rights of an accused, when life or recovery of damages, including the collection of administrative fines
liberty is at stake, the testimonies of witnesses may be compelled as under R.A. No. 10067, in a separate civil suit or that deemed
an attribute of the Due Process Clause. instituted with the criminal action charging the same violation of an
environmental law.

ARIGO v. SWIFT Section 15, Rule 7 enumerates the reliefs which may be granted in a
G.R. No. 206510 | September 16, 2014 petition for issuance of a writ of Kalikasan, to wit:
Rules covered: Locus standi in environmental cases; Mediation and
settlement in environmental cases; “Consent Decree” SEC. 15. Judgment.-Within sixty (60) days from the time the
petition is submitted for decision, the court shall render
*The case discussed the concept of state immunity in re: UNCLOS and judgment granting or denying the privilege of the writ of
other international agreements kalikasan.

Locus standi is "a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given The reliefs that may be granted under the writ are the
question." Specifically, it is "a party's personal and substantial interest following:
in a case where he has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a
result" of the act being challenged, and "calls for more than just a (a) Directing respondent to permanently cease and desist
generalized grievance." However, the rule on standing is a from committing acts or neglecting the performance of a
procedural matter which this Court has relaxed for non-traditional duty in violation of environmental laws resulting in
plaintiffs like ordinary citizens, taxpayers and legislators when the environmental destruction or damage;
public interest so requires, such as when the subject matter of the (b) Directing the respondent public official, government
controversy is of transcendental importance, of overreaching agency, private person or entity to protect, preserve,
significance to society, or of paramount public interest. rehabilitate or restore the environment;
(c) Directing the respondent public official, government
In the landmark case of Oposa v. Factoran, Jr., we recognized the agency, private person or entity to monitor strict compliance
"public right" of citizens to "a balanced and healthful ecology which, with the decision and orders of the court;
for the first time in our constitutional history, is solemnly incorporated (d) Directing the respondent public official, government
in the fundamental law." We declared that the right to a balanced agency, or private person or entity to make periodic
and healthful ecology need not be written in the Constitution for it is reports on the execution of the final judgment; and
assumed, like other civil and political rights guaranteed in the Bill of (e) Such other reliefs which relate to the right of the people
Rights, to exist from the inception of mankind and it is an issue of to a balanced and healthful ecology or to the protection,
transcendental importance with intergenerational implications. Such preservation, rehabilitation or restoration of the
right carries with it the correlative duty to refrain from impairing the environment, except the award of damages to individual
environment. petitioners.

On the novel element in the class suit filed by the petitioner minors in We agree with respondents (Philippine officials) in asserting that this
Oposa, this Court ruled that not only do ordinary citizens have legal petition has become moot in the sense that the salvage operation
standing to sue for the enforcement of environmental rights, they can sought to be enjoined or restrained had already been accomplished
do so in representation of their own and future generations. x x x when petitioners sought recourse from this Court. But insofar as the
directives to Philippine respondents to protect and rehabilitate the
The VFA is an agreement which defines the treatment of United States coral reef structure and marine habitat adversely affected by the
troops and personnel visiting the Philippines to promote "common grounding incident are concerned, petitioners are entitled to these
security interests" between the US and the Philippines in the region. It reliefs notwithstanding the completion of the removal of the USS
provides for the guidelines to govern such visits of military personnel, Guardian from the coral reef. However, we are mindful of the fact
and further defines the rights of the United States and the Philippine that the US and Philippine governments both expressed readiness to
government in the matter of criminal jurisdiction, movement of vessel negotiate and discuss the matter of compensation for the damage
and aircraft, importation and exportation of equipment, materials caused by the USS Guardian. The US Embassy has also declared it is
and supplies. The invocation of US federal tort laws and even closely coordinating with local scientists and experts in assessing the
common law is thus improper considering that it is the VF A which extent of the damage and appropriate methods of rehabilitation.
governs disputes involving US military ships and crew navigating
Philippine waters in pursuance of the objectives of the agreement. Exploring avenues for settlement of environmental cases is not
proscribed by the Rules. As can be gleaned from the following
As it is, the waiver of State immunity under the VF A pertains only to provisions, mediation and settlement are available for the
criminal jurisdiction and not to special civil actions such as the present consideration of the parties, and which dispute resolution methods are
petition for issuance of a writ of Kalikasan. In fact, it can be inferred encouraged by the court, to wit:
from Section 17, Rule 7 of the Rules that a criminal case against a
person charged with a violation of an environmental law is to be filed RULE 3
separately:
SEC. 3. Referral to mediation.-At the start of the pre-trial
SEC. 17. Institution of separate actions.-The filing of a conference, the court shall inquire from the parties if they
petition for the issuance of the writ of kalikasan shall not have settled the dispute; otherwise, the court shall
preclude the filing of separate civil, criminal or immediately refer the parties or their counsel, if authorized
administrative actions. by their clients, to the Philippine Mediation Center (PMC)
unit for purposes of mediation. If not available, the court

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CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

shall refer the case to the clerk of court or legal researcher RESIDENT MARINE MAMMALS v. REYES, ET AL.
for mediation. G.R. No. 180771 | April 21, 2015
Rules covered: Locus standi; “Stewards” as representatives
Mediation must be conducted within a non-extendible (in re: Parties-in-interest, Civil Procedure); Citizen suit
period of thirty (30) days from receipt of notice of referral
to mediation. The primary reason animal rights advocates and environmentalists
seek to give animals and inanimate objects standing is due to the
The mediation report must be submitted within ten (10) days need to comply with the strict requirements in bringing a suit to court.
from the expiration of the 30-day period. Our own 1997 Rules of Court demand that parties to a suit be either
natural or juridical persons, or entities authorized by law. It further
SEC. 4. Preliminary conference.-If mediation fails, the court necessitates the action to be brought in the name of the real party-in-
will schedule the continuance of the pre-trial. Before the interest, even if filed by a representative, viz.:
scheduled date of continuance, the court may refer the case
to the branch clerk of court for a preliminary conference for Rule 3: Parties to Civil Actions
the following purposes:
(a) To assist the parties in reaching a settlement; x x x Sec. 2. Parties in interest. - A real party in interest is the
party who stands to be benefited or injured by the
SEC. 5. Pre-trial conference; consent decree.-The judge judgment in the suit, or the party entitled to the avails of
shall put the parties and their counsels under oath, and they the suit. Unless otherwise authorized by law or these Rules,
shall remain under oath in all pre-trial conferences. every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name
of the real party in interest.
The judge shall exert best efforts to persuade the parties to
arrive at a settlement of the dispute. The judge may issue a Sec. 3. Representatives as parties. - Where the action is
consent decree approving the agreement between the allowed to be prosecuted or defended by a
parties in accordance with law, morals, public order and representative or someone acting in a fiduciary capacity,
public policy to protect the right of the people to a the beneficiary shall be included in the title of the case
balanced and healthful ecology. x x x and shall be deemed to be the real party in interest. A
representative may be a trustee of an express trust, a
SEC. 10. Efforts to settle.- The court shall endeavor to make guardian, an executor or administrator, or a party
the parties to agree to compromise or settle in accordance authorized by law or these Rules. An agent acting in his
with law at any stage of the proceedings before rendition own name and for the benefit of an undisclosed principal
of judgment. may sue or be sued without joining the principal except
when the contract involves things belonging to the
The Court takes judicial notice of a similar incident in 2009 when a principal.
guided-missile cruiser, the USS Port Royal, ran aground about half a
mile off the Honolulu Airport Reef Runway and remained stuck for It had been suggested by animal rights advocates and
four days. After spending $6.5 million restoring the coral reef, the US environmentalists that not only natural and juridical persons should be
government was reported to have paid the State of Hawaii $8.5 given legal standing because of the difficulty for persons, who cannot
million in settlement over coral reef damage caused by the show that they by themselves are real parties-in-interests, to bring
grounding. actions in representation of these animals or inanimate objects. For
this reason, many environmental cases have been dismissed for failure
To underscore that the US government is prepared to pay of the petitioner to show that he/she would be directly injured or
appropriate compensation for the damage caused by the USS affected by the outcome of the case. However, in our jurisdiction,
Guardian grounding, the US Embassy in the Philippines has announced locus standi in environmental cases has been given a more liberalized
the formation of a US interdisciplinary scientific team which will approach. x x x
"initiate discussions with the Government of the Philippines to review
coral reef rehabilitation options in Tubbataha, based on assessments Recently, the Court passed the landmark Rules of Procedure for
by Philippine-based marine scientists." The US team intends to "help Environmental Cases, which allow for a "citizen suit," and permit any
assess damage and remediation options, in coordination with the Filipino citizen to file an action before our courts for violations of our
Tubbataha Management Office, appropriate Philippine government environmental laws:
entities, non-governmental organizations, and scientific experts from
Philippine universities." SEC. 5. Citizen suit. - Any Filipino citizen in representation
of others, including minors or generations yet unborn, may
A rehabilitation or restoration program to be implemented at the cost file an action to enforce rights or obligations under
of the violator is also a major relief that may be obtained under a environmental laws. Upon the filing of a citizen suit, the
judgment rendered in a citizens' suit under the Rules, viz: court shall issue an order which shall contain a brief
description of the cause of action and the reliefs prayed
RULES for, requiring all interested parties to manifest their
interest to intervene in the case within fifteen (15) days
SECTION 1. Reliefs in a citizen suit.-If warranted, the court from notice thereof. The plaintiff may publish the order
may grant to the plaintiff proper reliefs which shall include once in a newspaper of a general circulation in the
the protection, preservation or rehabilitation of the Philippines or furnish all affected barangays copies of
environment and the payment of attorney's fees, costs of said order. x x x
suit and other litigation expenses. It may also require the
violator to submit a program of rehabilitation or restoration Explaining the rationale for this rule, the Court, in the Annotations to
of the environment, the costs of which shall be borne by the the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases, commented:
violator, or to contribute to a special trust fund for that
purpose subject to the control of the court. Citizen suit. To further encourage the protection of the
environment, the Rules enable litigants enforcing
In the light of the foregoing, the Court defers to the Executive Branch environmental rights to file their cases as citizen suits. This
on the matter of compensation and rehabilitation measures through provision liberalizes standing for all cases filed enforcing
diplomatic channels. environmental laws and collapses the traditional rule on
personal and direct interest, on the principle that humans

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CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

are stewards of nature. The terminology of the text In the case at bar, there can be no quibble that the oil leak from the
reflects the doctrine first enunciated in Oposa v. Factoran, WOPL affected all the condominium unit owners and residents of
insofar as it refers to minors and generations yet West Tower as, in fact, all had to evacuate their units at the wee
unborn.53 (Emphasis supplied, citation omitted.) Although hours in the morning of July 23, 2010, when the condominium's
this petition was filed in 2007, years before the effectivity electrical power was shut down. Until now, the unit owners and
of the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases, it has residents of West Tower could still not return to their condominium
been consistently held that rules of procedure "may be units. Thus, there is no gainsaying that the residents of West Tower
retroactively applied to actions pending and are real parties-in-interest.
undetermined at the time of their passage and will not
violate any right of a person who may feel that he is There can also be no denying that West Tower Corp. represents the
adversely affected, inasmuch as there is no vested rights in common interest of its unit owners and residents, and has the legal
rules of procedure." standing to file and pursue the instant petition. While a condominium
corporation has limited powers under RA 4726, otherwise known as
Elucidating on this doctrine, the Court, in Systems Factors Corporation The Condominium Act, it is empowered to pursue actions in behalf of
v. National Labor Relations Commission held that: its members. In the instant case, the condominium corporation .is the
management body of West Tower and deals with everything that
Remedial statutes or statutes relating to remedies or may affect some or all of the condominium unit owners or users.
modes of procedure, which do not create new or take
away vested rights, but only operate in furtherance of the It is of no moment that only five residents of West Tower signed their
remedy or confirmation of rights already existing, do not acquiescence to the filing of the petition for the issuance of the Writ
come within the legal conception of a retroactive law, or of Kalikasan, as the merits of such petition is, as aptly put by the CA,
the general rule against retroactive operation of statutes. not measured by the number of persons who signified their assent
Statutes regulating the procedure of the courts will be thereto, but on the existence of a prima facie case of a massive
construed as applicable to actions pending and environmental disaster.
undetermined at the time of their passage. Procedural
laws are retroactive in that sense and to that extent. x x x. As to the residents of Barangay Bangkal, they are similarly situated
with the unit owners and residents of West Tower and are real
Moreover, even before the Rules of Procedure for Environmental · parties-in-interest to the instant case, i.e., if they so wish to join the
Cases became effective, this Court had already taken a permissive petitioners.
position on the issue of locus standi in environmental cases. In Oposa,
we allowed the suit to be brought in the name of generations yet Organizations have indicated their intention to join the petition and
unborn "based on the concept of intergenerational responsibility submitted proof of juridical personality. x x x
insofar as the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is
concerned." Furthermore, we said that the right to a balanced and This is so considering that the filing of a petition for the issuance of a
healthful ecology, a right that does not even need to be stated in our writ of kalikasan under Sec. 1, Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure for
Constitution as it is assumed to exist from the inception of humankind, Environmental Cases does not require that a petitioner be directly
carries with it the correlative duty to refrain from impairing the affected by an environmental disaster. The rule clearly allows
environment. juridical persons to file the petition on behalf of persons whose
constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology is violated, or
In light of the foregoing, the need to give the Resident Marine threatened with violation.
Mammals legal standing has been eliminated by our Rules, which
allow any Filipino citizen, as a steward of nature, to bring a suit to Thus, as parties to the case, they are entitled to be furnished copies of
enforce our environmental laws. It is worth noting here that the all the submissions to the Court, including the periodic reports of FPIC
Stewards are joined as real parties in the Petition and not just in and the results of the evaluations and tests conducted on the WOPL.
representation of the named cetacean species. The Stewards, Ramos
and Eisma-Osorio, having shown in their petition that there may be Section 1, Rule 20 of A.M. No. 09-6-8-SC or the Rules of Procedure
possible violations of laws concerning the habitat of the Resident for Environmental Cases, on the Precautionary Principle, provides that
Marine Mammals, are therefore declared to possess the legal "when there is lack of full scientific certainty in establishing a causal
standing to file this petition. link between human activity and environmental effect, the court shall
apply the precautionary principle in resolving the case before it."

WEST TOWER CONDOMINIUM CORPORATION v. The precautionary principle only applies when the link between the
FIRST PHILIPPINE INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION cause, that is the human activity sought to be inhibited, and the effect,
G.R. No. 194239 | June 16, 2015 that is the damage to the environment, cannot be established with full
Rules covered: Parties-in-interest; Precautionary principle; scientific certainty. Here, however, such absence of a link is not an
Special trust funds issue. Detecting the existence of a leak or the presence of defects in
the WOPL, which is the issue in the case at bar, is different from
We agree with the CA that petitioners who are affected residents of determining whether the spillage of hazardous materials into the
West Tower and Barangay Bangkal have the requisite concern to be surroundings will cause environmental damage or will harm human
real parties-in-interest to pursue the instant petition. x x x health or that of other organisms. As a matter of fact, the petroleum
leak and the harm that it caused to the environment and to the
As defined, a real party-in-interest is the party who stands to be residents of the affected areas is not even questioned by FPIC.
benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or the party entitled
to the avails of the suit. Generally, every action must be prosecuted Anent petitioners' prayer for the creation of a special trust fund, We
or defended in the name of the real parties-in-interest. In other note that under Sec. 1, Rule 5 of the Rules of Procedure for
words, the action must be brought by the person who, by substantive Environmental Cases, a trust fund is limited solely for the purpose of
law, possesses the right sought to be enforced. Alternatively, one who rehabilitating or restoring the environment. Said proviso pertinently
has no right or interest to protect cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the provides:
court as party-plaintiff-in-action for it is jurisprudentially ordained
that every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the SEC. 1. Reliefs in a citizen suit. - If warranted, the court
real party-in-interest. may grant to the plaintiff proper reliefs which shall include
the protection, preservation or rehabilitation of the
environment and the payment of attorney's fees, costs of

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CASE DOCTRINES – REMEDIAL LAW SYLLABUS (ATTY. BRONDIAL)

suit and other litigation expenses. It may also require the


violator to submit a program of rehabilitation or
restoration of the environment, the costs of which shall be
borne by the violator, or to contribute to a special trust
fund for that purpose subject to the control of the court.

Furthermore, Sec. 15(e), Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure for


Environmental Cases expressly prohibits the grant of damages to
petitioners in a petition for the issuance of a writ of kalikasan, viz:

Section 15. Judgment. - Within sixty (60) days from the


time the petition is submitted for decision, the court shall
render judgment granting or denying the privilege of the
writ of kalikasan.

The reliefs that may be granted under the writ are the
following:

(e) Such other reliefs which relate to the right of the people
to a balanced and healthful ecology or to the protection,
preservation, rehabilitation or restoration of the
environment, except the award of damages to individual
petitioners.

A reading of the petition and the motion for partial reconsideration


readily reveals that the prayer is for the creation of a trust fund for
similar future contingencies. This is clearly outside the limited purpose
of a special trust fund under the Rules of Procedure for Environmental
Cases, which is to rehabilitate or restore the environment that has
presumably already suffered. Hence, the Court affirms with
concurrence the observation of the appellate court that the prayer is
but a claim for damages, which is prohibited by the Rules of
Procedure for Environmental Cases. As such, the Court is of the
considered view that the creation of a special trust fund is misplaced.
The present ruling on petitioners' prayer for the creation of a special
trust fund in the instant recourse, however, is without prejudice to the
judgment/s that may be rendered in the civil and/or criminal cases
filed by petitioners arising from the same incident if the payment of
damages is found warranted.

54