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Persons and Family Relations

Digest by Kelly Ortiz

I. Modern Constitutional Developments and Traditional Family Law
2. Overview of Due Process and Equal Protection
Facts: Appellants were convicted as accessories for giving married persons information and medical advice
on how to prevent conception and, following examination prescribing a contraceptive device or material for the
wife’s use. They said it violated the 14 th Amendment, which speaks of no person shall be deprived of life,
liberty without due process of law.
Issue: (1) Whether appellant has standing to assert constitutional rights of married people; (2)Whether the
Connecticut statute forbidding use of contraceptives violates the right of marital privacy.
Griswold v. Connecticut Held: USSC sustained that petitioners have legal standing. Looking at the aspect of substantive due process,
they held that the law operates directly on an intimate relation of husband and wife and their physician’s role
in it. Marriage is an association, and the courts protect this freedom to associate, as well as the privacy in
association, far from governmental intrusion. Principle: “Governmental purpose to control or prevent activities
constitutionally subject to state regulation may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly
and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms.”
Facts: Appellee, during a lecture, personally handed contraceptive foam to woman. As a result, he was
convicted in Mass. for violating a statute which made it a crime to sell, distribute contraceptive drug,
instrument; except that only a physician may validly administer or prescribe contraceptive articles for married
persons, and a pharmacist. US District court of Mass dismissed appellee’s petition for habeas corpus,
whereas CA reversed DA, stating the statute did not consider the promotion of health, rather as a measure of
preventing fornication.
Issue: Whether there is some ground of difference that rationally explains the different treatment accorded to
Eisenstadt v. Baird married and unmarried persons under Mass. General Laws.
Held: Acquittal. The SC held that the statue violates the rights of single persons under EPC. By providing
dissimilar treatment for married and unmarried persons who are similarly situated, the statute violates the
Equal Protection Clause of the 14 th Amendment. The purpose of protecting purity and chastity is abandoned
when it failed to address the possibility of married people using the contraceptives for extramarital sex, or
other possible misuse like protection from diseases, not just pregnancy. As the CA stated, §21&§21A has no
public health purpose. If there is a need to have a physician prescribe, the need is as great for unmarried as
married persons.
II. Civil Personality
A. Concept and Classes of Persons
Facts: Nita Villanueva had 3 abortions done by the same doctor, Geluz. Husband Oscar Lazo sued Geluz on
the 3rd abortion (2 mo.), seeking damages. CA sustained claim of Lazo for P3,000.
Issue: Whether or not the husband can claim damages from the abortionist.
Held: No, he cannot. Award for death of a person does not cover unborn fetus because it is still not vested
with legal personality. According to Article 40, birth determines personality. In this case, the fetus does not
Geluz v. CA yet possess a personality to speak of because it was aborted in utero. The child should be born before the
parents can seek any recovery for damages.
Action for pecuniary damages on account of personal injury or death pertains primarily to the one injured.
There could be no action for such damages that can be instituted on behalf of the unbord child for the injuries
it received because it lacked juridical personality. Moral damages cannot also be recovered because the wife
willingly sought the abortion, and the husband did not further investigate on the causes of the abortion.
Facts: Kosain Manibpol and his family were sleeping when he heard the dog bark. When we went to
investigate, 2 persons have already come up to their house, asking if they can borrow his land. After he gave
his consent, Kulas arrived, flashed the light in his face and boxed him. When he fell, the assailant’s
companions (more than 10 armed men) came in hacked him and his wife and 7 children. His wife died, 6
kids. Of the 14 suspects, only 2 were apprehended, Ciriaco Baldesco and Bonifacio Tirol. After they were
found guilty of the crime of murder of 7 persons, they filed an appeal, during which Baldesco died.
People v. Tirol Issue: Whether or not Baldesco will be liable for civil damages
Held: The courts dismissed the case insofar as the criminal liability of Baldesco is concerned. However
following the doctrine in People vs. Sendaydiego, the appeal will be resolved only for the purpose of
determining his criminal liability which is the basis of the civil liability for which his estate is liable. Art 42 states
that criminal liability is extinguished in death. The effect of death upon rights and obligations of the deceased
is determined by law, by contract and by will. Civil liability is not extngsh’d.
Joaquin v. Navarro Facts: This was a summary proceeding to resolve the order of the deaths of Joaquin Navarro Jr and his
Angela. While the battle for the liberation of Manila was raging, the whole family sought refuge at the German
Club. While staying there, it was set on fire and the Japs were shooting at the fleeing refugees. 3 daughters
were shot dead, Angela refused to leave the place while JN Jr, wife, FL & JN Sr fled. JN jr was shot while
coming out. Moments later, the German Club collapsed. CA said that the mother died before the son on the
basis that she could have died immediately after for a variety of causes.
Issue: Whether the mother died before JN Jr.
Held: In light of the conditions painted by FL, a fair inference can be arrived at that JN Jr died before his
mother. The presumption that AJ died before her son was based on speculations, not evidence. Gauged by
the doctrine of preponderance of evidence by which civil cases are decided, this inference should prevail.
Evidence of survivorship may be (1) direct (2) indirect (3) circumstantial or (4) inferential.
Art. 43 Speaks about resolving doubt when 2 or more persons are called to succeed each other as to which
of them died first. In the Civil Code, in the absence of proof, it is presumed that they died at the same time,
and there shall be no transmission of rights from one to another. In the Rules of Court, in cases of calamity,
there is a hierarchy of survivorship.
B. Capacity to Act and Restrictions Thereon
Facts: The SOCNY sued the 5 debtors for payment, including the appellant Vicente Villanueva who acted as
surety to the loan. The CFI of Manila ordered the defendants to pay jointly and severally to the plaintiffs
SOCNY. While the judgment was in the course of execution, Elisa Villanueva, wife of Vicente appeared and
alleged that her husband was declared insane on July 24, 1909, and that on Oct. 11, she was authorized by
the court as guardian to institute the proper legal proceedings for the annulment of several bonds given by her
husband while in a state of insanity.
Issues: (1)Whether or not suffering from monomania of wealth necessarily warrants the conclusion that the
person does not have capacity to act. (2) Whether or not the appellant, was incapable of entering into contract
at the time the bond was executed on December 15, 1908.
Held: The court affirmed the trial court decision that Villanueva possessed the capacity to act. The SC held
Standard Oil Co. v. Arenas that there is no evidence to warrant the conclusion, in a judicial decision, that a person suffering from
monomania of wealth is really insane and therefore is deranged and incapable of binding himself in a contract.
From the testimony of his wife, it seemed that Vicente has the liberty to go wherever he wished, that he had
property of his own and was not deprived of its management, as well as the fact that he had never
squandered any large sum of money.
As for the 2nd issue, there was no direct proof that showed that at the date of the giving of the bond, December
15, 1908, the appellant was incapable of acting because of insanity. The witnesses who as physicians,
testified that they observed insane periods in Villanueva twice prior to 1903, once on 1908, but none at the
time of the execution of the said bond on December 15, 1908. It was also shown that the wife never before
sought to legally deprive her husband management over his estate knowing full well that he was insane.
Facts: The plaintiffs alleged that as the sole heirs, along with their two sisters, to a 48 hectare tract of land
which belonged to their mother the sister of the defendant. The defendant cajoled, induced, and fraudulently
succeeded in getting the plaintiffs to sell their land for a sum of P400 as opposed to its original value. The
plaintiffs demand the annulment of the sale, the return of the land, and the remuneration of the thing benefited
by the defendant.
According to the Defendant, the plaintiff’s mother had sold a portion of the original land to the defendant for a
Mercado v. Espiritu sum. (instrument exhibit 1)The plaintiff’s father subsequently, mortgaged the remaining parcel to the
defendant for a sum to cover his children’s welfare after his wife’s death. (Pacto de retro; instrument exhibit 2)
The plaintiffs had alleged themselves of legal age and ratified the absolute and perpetual sale of the land in
consideration of the P400 (instrument exhibit 3). Cross-complaint filed for damages due to the malicious and
unfounded complaint by the plaintiffs.
Bambalan v. Maramba Issue:
Facts: Rosario Braganza and her sons loaned from De Villa Abrille P70,000 in Japanese war notes and in
consideration thereof, promised in writing to pay him P10,00 + 2% per annum in legal currency of the
Philippines 2 years after the cessation of the war. Because they have no paid, Abrille is sued them in March
1949. The Manila court of first instance and CA held the family solidarily liable to pay according to the contract
they signed.The family petitioned to review the decision of the CA whereby they were ordered to solidarily pay
De Villa Abrille P10,000 + 2% interest, praying for consideration of the minority of the Braganza sons when
they signed the contract.
Issue: Whether or not the boys, who were 16 and 18 respectively, are to be bound by the contract of loan
they have signed.
Held: The SC found that Rosario will still be liable to pay her share in the contract because they minority of her
Braganza v. Villa Abrille sons does not release her from liability. She is ordered to pay 1/3 of P10,000 + 2% interest.
However with her sons, the SC reversed the decision of the CA which found them similarly liable due to their
failure to disclose their minority. The SC sustained previous sources in Jurisprudence – “in order to hold the
infant liable, the fraud must be actual and not constructive. It has been held that his mere silence when
making a contract as to his age does not constitute a fraud which can be made the basis of an action of
The boys, though not bound by the provisions of the contract, are still liable to pay the actual amount they
have profited from the loan. Art. 1340 states that even if the written contract is unenforceable because of their
non-age, they shall make restitution to the extent that they may have profited by the money received. In this
case, 2/3 of P70,00, which is P46,666.66, which when converted to Philippine money is equivalent to
Shields v. Gross Facts: Brooke Shields, when she was 10 years old had a photo shoot wherein she was required to pose nude
in a bathtub for a magazine. Before the shoot, her mother executed consent forms on behalf of her daughter,
giving the photographer the copyrights to the photograph. The photo appeared in various magazines and
advertisements. 5 years later, she attempted to buy the negatives of that photograph, as well as filed an
action in tort and contract to permanently prevent defendant from using the photos, on the ground that her
mother’s consent was invalid.
Issue: Whether or not parents can sign contracts on behalf of the unemancipated child.
Held: Yes, parental consent is binding upon both parties. Construing Sec. 50 & 41 of the Civil Rights Law
strictly, the parent’s consent is binding on the infant and no words prohibiting disaffirmance are necessary to
effectuate the legislative intent. Neither is a prior court approval of the employment contract for child models
is necessary to validate the contract, since the statute requiring such applies only to child performers.
Facts: Plaintiffs seek judgment declaring unconstitutional, and enjoining the enforcement of a statue requiring
parental consent of both parents prior to marriage of unemancipated minors. (males, 16-18; females, 14-18).
They raised the issue of the statute impeding the exercise of their liberty, and they do not want to have their
child stigmatized as illegitimate. Plaintiff Maria got pregnant at 15, and her mother refused to give consent
because she wished to continue receiving welfare benefits for Maria. Intervenors Cristina Coe and Pedro Doe
also raised the same issues.
Issue: Whether or not the statute is unconstitutional on the basis of substantive issues. (Whether there exists
a rational relation between the mean chosen b the NY legislature and the legitimate state objective)
Held: The statute is upheld. It is the state’s interest to protect the minors from immature decision-making and
Moe v. Dinkins preventing unstable marriages. The state, in its exercise of parens patriae, possess the power to protect and
promote the welfare of the children who lack the capacity to act in their own best interests. The requirement
of parental consent ensures that at least 1 mature person will participate in the decision of a minor to marry.
Though petitioners suggest that the courts are in a better position to judge whether a minor is prepared to
marry, the law presumes that the parents possess what the child lacks in maturity, and that parents are more
capable to act in their best interests.
There is no denial of right to marry. The Statue merely delays plaintiff’ access to the institution of marriage
until they comply with the necessary requirements of parental consent, or emancipation. The illegitimacy of
the child would only be a temporary situation. Subsequent marriage of the parents legitimizes the child.
Facts: Adriana Carillo executed a sale of land 33 hectares to Marcos Jaojaoco for the sum of P4,000. 9 days
later, she was declared mentally incapacitated by the court and later on died. Her sister, as administratrix of
her estate, brought an action for the annulment of the sale of land on the basis of Adriana’s mental incapacity.
Issue: Whether or not Adriana was incapacitated to effect a valid sale of land.
Carillo v. Jaojaco Held: There is no record of evidence to show that Adriana has been incapacitated before the execution of the
deed of sale. Though she was confined in a hospital for cerebral hemorrhage on Nov. 13,1819, there was no
proof of any mental abnormality, as testified by the notary public who attended to her on Dec. 8,1819. The
burden of proof in establishing mental incapacity is upon him who alleges it.
Facts: Evaristo Vaquilar was found guilty of killing his wife and his daughter, as well as injuring other persons
with a bolo. Eyewitnesses testified that the defendant appeared to be insane prior to the commission of the
crimes. They also testified that the appellant was complaining of pains in his head and stomach prior to the
killing. The witnesses’ evidence for insanity include:
• “appellants eyes were very big and red with his sight penetrating at the time he was killing his wife.”
• “he looked at me he was crazy because if he was not, he wouldn’t have killed his family”
• at the moment of cutting those people, “he looked like a madman; crazy because he would cut
anybody at random”
• sister said, “…then he pursued me….he must have been crazy because he cut me”
Issue: Whether or not these pieces of evidence are sufficient to declare the accused as insane, therefore
US v. Vaquilar exempt from criminal liability.
Held: The evidence is insufficient to declare him insane. The appellant’s conduct was consistent with the acts
of an enraged criminal, not of a person with an unsound mind at the time he committed the crimes. The fact
that a person acts crazy is not conclusive that he is insane. The popular meaning of “crazy” is not
synonymous with the legal terms “insane”. The conduct of the appellant after he was confined in jail is not
inconsistent with the actions of a sane person (not saying a word in the cell, crying out loud at night) who has
reflected and felt remorse after the commission of the crime.
The court further held that mere mental depravity, or moral insanity which results not from any disease of the
mind, but from a perverted condition of the moral system where the person is mentally sane, does not exempt
one from criminal responsibility. In the absence of proof that the defendant had lost his reason or became
demented after a few moments prior to or during the perpetration of the crime, it is presumed that he was in a
normal state of mind.
C. State of Being Deaf-mute
Facts: Defendant was charged with the crime of rape of a deaf and dumb girl. Sasota, found guilty of the
crime because of the victim’s testimony, now posits that the testimony of the deaf and dumb should not have
been accepted by the court at its full value.
Issue: Whether or not a deaf and dumb person is considered a competent witness by the court.
Held: There is no merit in the contention of the defendant that deaf and dumb persons are to be considered
People v. Sasota incompetent witnesses. Though formerly, deaf and dump persons were considered incompetent, experience
and observation have shown conclusively that the mere fact that a person is deaf and dumb is not sufficient to
justify the finding that he is incompetent as a witness. When such a witness is produced, the court may
ascertain whether he has the requisite intelligence, and the judge will allow the witness to adopt such mode of
communicating his ideas, whether by signs or writing as he deems most satisfactory.
Director of Lands v. Facts: The case revolves around proving the ownership of 2 parcels of lands, which were properties subject
in a successional litigation. Siblings Fulgencia and Jose Dino are contesting the ownership of subject
Abelardo properties in Manuel Libunao’s possession. They further claim that as deaf-mutes, they should not be barred
by prescription in filing the case.
Issue: Whether or not the prescription period in filing the case should be relaxed due to their being deaf-
Held: No, they are not. The SC ruled that the subject lands are still and should still be owned by Manuel
Libuano and family due to the following reasons (1) the preponderance of evidence as to the ownership of the
lands are in favor of Libunao, (2) the action for filing a claim regarding the partition of the estate has already
Being a deaf-mute is not by itself alone, without the concurrence of any of the incapacities recognized by law,
considered included among the exceptions which in matters of prescription, are granted to incapacitated
persons, in connection with the running of the prescriptive period.
D. Prodigality
Facts: Pedro Martinez Ilustre brought an action against his father Francisco for a declaration of prodigality
against him. Pedro alleges that his father has been dissipating and squandering his estate by making
donations to his 2nd wife, as well as the administration of his estate. The father denied such allegations,
instead he posted that his son was actually mismanaging and misappropriating the property of the estate.
Issue: What constitutes prodigality?
Held: Since prodigality is not defined in our law, it may be inferred that the acts of prodigality must show a
Martinez v. Martinez morbid state of bind and a disposition to spend, waste, and lessen the estate to such an extent as is likely to
expose the family to want of support, or to deprive the forced heirs of their undisposable part of the estate.
The testimony of the plaintiff was insufficient to support his allegations against his father. There was no
evidence to show his father has been transferring by sale or mortgage any property, which will reflect in the
city record of public deeds. The court found the defendant is far from being prodigal, and is still in the full
exercise of his faculties and still possess the industry, thrift and ability in managing the estate.
Facts: Francisco Velez and Beatriz Wassmer are to be wed. 2 days prior the ceremony, Francisco left,
leaving a telegram he will come back but never did. Beatriz filed for damages, and judgment was rendered
ordering defendant to pay actual, moral and exemplary damages. Defendant now asserts that the judgment
against him is contrary to law, given that there is no provision in the Civil Code authorizing an action for
breach of promise to marry.
Issue: Whether or not breach of promise to marry is actionable.
Held: No it is not, but this case is not a mere breach of promise to marry. He must be held answerable for
the damages in accordance with Art. 21.
Wassmer v. Velez The SC maintained that though breach of promise to marry is not actionable, the defendant’s act is still
punishable under Article 21 of the Civil Code which states that “any person who willfully causes loss or
injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the
latter for the damage.” In this case, plaintiff already arranged everything for the wedding, like the wedding
gowns, invitations, matrimonial bed, etc. The SC held that this is not a case of mere breach of promise to
marry - A wedding has been formally set and all the preparations have been made, only for the groom to walk
out 2 days before. This is contrary to good customs, since defendant acted in a reckless and oppressive
Facts: Apolonio Trajanco courted Araceli Santos. Since he promised her marriage, she consented to his pleas
for carnal knowledge. As a result, she conceived a child, and due to her condition, she had to resign from her
work. Because she was unable to support herself and the baby, and the Apolonio refused to marry her, she
instituted an action for damages, compelling the defendant to recognize the unborn child, pay her monthly
support, plus P100,000 in moral and exemplary damages.
Issue: Whether or not the acts of petitioner constitute seduction as contemplated in Art. 21.
Tranjanco v. CA Held: No, it is not. Seduction is more than mere sexual intercourse or a breach of promise to marry. It
connotes essentially the idea of deceit, enticement superior power or abuse of confidence on the part of the
seducer to which the woman has yielded. In this case, for 1 whole year, the woman maintained intimate
sexual relations with the defendant, and such conduct is incompatible with the idea of seduction. Plainly here
there is voluntariness and mutual passion, for had the plaintiff been deceived, she would not have again
yielded to his embraces for a year.
Facts: This is an action by Antonia Loanco de Jesus, as mother of two infants, for the purpose of recovering
from the defendant, Cesar Syquia damages arising from (1) breach of promise to marry, (2) to compel the
defendant to recognize Ismael and Pacita as natural children and pay maintenance for them. Cesar met
Antonia at the barbership where she works as a cashier. Soon, she became pregnant. Cesar was a constant
visitor at her home, and wrote a letter to the priest saying that if the child was a boy, it will be christened in his
name. On his trip to China, he was writing letters to Antonia cautioning her to keep in good condition so that
“junior” will be strong. When she gave birth, Syquia took her and the child to live in a house where they lived
together for 1 year as a family, with expenses being shouldered by Syquia. She became pregnant again, but
De Jesus v. Syquia soon Syquia left her to marry another woman.
Issue: (1) Whether or not breach of promise to marry is actionable. (2) Whether the letters written by the
defendant to the appellant proves paternity.
Held: The SC upheld the decision of the trail court in refusing to give damages to Antonia for breach of
promise to marry. The action for breach of promise to marry has no standing in civil law, apart from the right
to recover money or property advanced by the plaintiff upon the faith of such promise. As for the recognition
of the child, the acknowledgment of paternity is satisfied by the production of more than 1 document of
indubitable authenticity, containing, all together, the admission of the father recognizing a particular child as of
his paternity, the admission of one writing being supplemented by those of another.
Selanova v. Mendoza Facts: Selanova charged Judge Mendoza with gross ignorance of the law for preparing and ratifying a
document extrajudicially liquidating the conjugal partnership of the complainant and his wife. One condition of
the liquidation was that either spouse would withdraw the complaint for adultery or concubinage which each
had filed against the other and that they waived their right to prosecute each other for whatever acts of
infidelity either one would commit against the other. Respondent relied on Art 191 of the old Civil Code that
states the husband and wife may agree upon the dissolution of the conjugal partnership during the marriage,
subject to judicial approval. The judge ratified the document without judicial approval from CFI Negros where
the couple was residing, making it void assuming arguendo that Art. 191 is still in effect.
Issue: Whether or not the agreement separating the conjugal property and the spouses is void.
Held: It is. Under Art. 221 of the Civil Code, the following shall be void:
1. Any contract for personal separation between husband and wife;
2. Every extrajudicial agreement during marriage, for the dissolution of the conjugal partnership of
gains or of the absolute community property between husband and wife.
While adultery and concubinage are private crimes, they are crimes punishable by the RPC, and a contract
legalizing their commission is contrary to law, morals and public order, and as a consequence not judicially
Facts: This is an appeal from a judgment of the Jefferson Circuit Court which held that female persons were
not entitled to be issued a marriage license to marry. These 2 women were denied issuance of a marriage
license by the County Court clerk of Jefferson. They now contend that this deprived them of 3 basic
constitutional rights: (1) right to marry; (2) right of association; (3) right to free exercise of religion.
Issue: Whether or not the 2 women can marry each other since the Kentucky law does explicitly mention
marriage to be between a man and a woman.
Jones v. Hallahan Held: Looking at dictionaries, the common meaning of marriage is a union between a man and a woman.
Besides, what’s preventing them to marry is not the failure to be issued a marriage license, but rather their
own incapability of entering into a marriage. Even if they did marry through false representation that they’re of
the opposite sex, the marriage will be null and void. In the court’s opinion, there is not constitutional issue
involved, since there is no constitutional sanction which protects the right of marriage between persons of the
same sex.