Monday, May 2, 2016

BusinessWorld | CBCP urges flock against ‘supporting a candidate’- hints against Duterte

"x x x.

“A choice for a candidate who takes positions that are not only politically precarious but worse, morally reprehensible, cannot and should not be made by the Catholic faithful and those who take their allegiance to Christ and his Kingship seriously,” the Archbishop said.

“One cannot proclaim Christ as King and at the same time accept the governance of one whose thoughts, speech and demeanor are diametrically opposed to the demands of submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”

Archbishop Villegas noted in his address the “nationally telecast debates as well as the publicized utterances and actuations of our candidates, particularly those who vie for the high office of President of the Republic.”

Those pronouncements “have given us all a glimpse of who they are, what they represent and the causes they champion -- or reject,” he said.

“There is a fundamental difference between right and wrong, and not everything is fair game in politics.”

But the Archbishop also noted: “The desire for change is understandable. Our people have suffered from incompetence and indifference.”

“But this cannot take the form of supporting a candidate whose speech and actions, whose plans and projects show scant regard for the rights of all, who has openly declared indifference if not dislike and disregard for the Church specially her moral teachings.”

“We ask all who shall be sworn in to remember that when they take the oath that the law requires of them, they call on God as their witness -- and even if they may not expressly do so, they swear in the sight of God’s people.”

“Not whim then, nor arbitrariness, not vendetta nor revenge, but the rights of God’s people enshrined in the Constitution and their demand for justice, unity, progress and peace to which every law must respond!’

x x x.

Report by  -- James Glenn M. Gomez

x x x."

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Void marriage license by reason of a false affidavit of cohabitation; marriage is void ab initio.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. JOSE A. DAYOT, G.R. No. 175581, March 28, 2008; with accompanying case - FELISA TECSON-DAYOT vs. JOSE A. DAYOT, G.R. No. 179474, March 28, 2008. 

“x x x.

Marriages of Under the rules of statutory construction, exceptions, as a general rule, should be strictly but reasonably construed. exceptional character are, doubtless, the exceptions to the rule on the indispensability of the formal requisite of a marriage license. They extend only so far as their language fairly warrants, and all doubts should be resolved in favor of the general provisions rather than the exception. Where a general rule is established by statute with exceptions, the court will not curtail the former or add to the latter by implication. For the exception in Article 76 to apply, it is a sine qua non thereto that the man and the woman must have attained the age of majority, and that, being unmarried, they have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years.

A strict but reasonable construction of Article 76 leaves us with no other expediency but to read the law as it is plainly written. The exception of a marriage license under Article 76 applies only to those who have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and desire to marry each other. The Civil Code, in no ambiguous terms, places a minimum period requirement of five years of cohabitation. No other reading of the law can be had, since the language of Article 76 is precise. The minimum requisite of five years of cohabitation is an indispensability carved in the language of the law. For a marriage celebrated under Article 76 to be valid, this material fact cannot be dispensed with. It is embodied in the law not as a directory requirement, but as one that partakes of a mandatory character. It is worthy to mention that Article 76 also prescribes that the contracting parties shall state the requisite facts in an affidavit before any person authorized by law to administer oaths; and that the official, priest or minister who solemnized the marriage shall also state in an affidavit that he took steps to ascertain the ages and other qualifications of the contracting parties and that he found no legal impediment to the marriage.

It is indubitably established that Jose and Felisa have not lived together for five years at the time they executed their sworn affidavit and contracted marriage. The Republic admitted that Jose and Felisa started living together only in June 1986, or barely five months before the celebration of their marriage. The Court of Appeals also noted Felisa’s testimony that Jose was introduced to her by her neighbor, Teresita Perwel, sometime in February or March 1986 after the EDSA Revolution. The appellate court also cited Felisa’s own testimony that it was only in June 1986 when Jose commenced to live in her house.

X x x.

Therefore, the falsity of the affidavit dated 24 November 1986, executed by Jose and Felisa to exempt them from the requirement of a marriage license, is beyond question.

We cannot accept the insistence of the Republic that the falsity of the statements in the parties’ affidavit will not affect the validity of marriage, since all the essential and formal requisites were complied with. The argument deserves scant merit. Patently, it cannot be denied that the marriage between Jose and Felisa was celebrated without the formal requisite of a marriage license. Neither did Jose and Felisa meet the explicit legal requirement in Article 76, that they should have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years, so as to be excepted from the requirement of a marriage license.

x x x

Similarly, we are not impressed by the ratiocination of the Republic that as a marriage under a license is not invalidated by the fact that the license was wrongfully obtained, so must a marriage not be invalidated by a fabricated statement that the parties have cohabited for at least five years as required by law. The contrast is flagrant. The former is with reference to an irregularity of the marriage license, and not to the absence of one. Here, there is no marriage license at all. Furthermore, the falsity of the allegation in the sworn affidavit relating to the period of Jose and Felisa’s cohabitation, which would have qualified their marriage as an exception to the requirement for a marriage license, cannot be a mere irregularity, for it refers to a quintessential fact that the law precisely required to be deposed and attested to by the parties under oath. If the essential matter in the sworn affidavit is a lie, then it is but a mere scrap of paper, without force and effect. Hence, it is as if there was no affidavit at all.

In its second assignment of error, the Republic puts forth the argument that based on equity, Jose should be denied relief because he perpetrated the fabrication, and cannot thereby profit from his wrongdoing. This is a misplaced invocation. It must be stated that equity finds no room for application where there is a law. There is a law on the ratification of marital cohabitation, which is set in precise terms under Article 76 of the Civil Code. Nonetheless, the authorities are consistent that the declaration of nullity of the parties’ marriage is without prejudice to their criminal liability.

The Republic further avers in its third assignment of error that Jose is deemed estopped from assailing the legality of his marriage for lack of a marriage license. It is claimed that Jose and Felisa had lived together from 1986 to 1990, notwithstanding Jose’s subsequent marriage to Rufina Pascual on 31 August 1990, and that it took Jose seven years before he sought the declaration of nullity; hence, estoppel had set in.

This is erroneous. An action for nullity of marriage is imprescriptible. Jose and Felisa’s marriage was celebrated sans a marriage license. No other conclusion can be reached except that it is void ab initio. In this case, the right to impugn a void marriage does not prescribe, and may be raised any time.

Lastly, to settle all doubts, jurisprudence has laid down the rule that the five-year common-law cohabitation period under Article 76 means a five-year period computed back from the date of celebration of marriage, and refers to a period of legal union had it not been for the absence of a marriage. It covers the years immediately preceding the day of the marriage, characterized by exclusivity – meaning no third party was involved at any time within the five years – and continuity that is unbroken.

X x x. “

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hidden/unexplained wealth of Duterte and family - Inquirer news

“x x x.

CONTRARY to his claim that he was a poor man, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte had at least P211 million in an account at a bank branch in Metro Manila in 2014, according to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

As mayor, Duterte receives a monthly pay of P78,946 (Salary Grade 30) under the government salary standardization law prescribed by the Civil Service Commission.

Duterte, a presidential candidate, did not declare the P211 million in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN), said Trillanes, a vice presidential candidate.

Failure to declare an asset is a ground for an employee’s dismissal from government service.

In his 2014 SALN, Duterte reported a net worth of P21,971,732.62—assets worth P22,971,732.62 and a liability of P1 million, a personal loan from a certain Samuel Uy.

Duterte held the account at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) branch on Julia Vargas Avenue in Pasig City jointly with daughter Sara, who used the maiden name of her mother, Zimmerman.

Sara served as Davao City mayor in 2010 to 2013, with her father as vice mayor.

Father and daughter gave Ecoland Subdivision in Davao City and P. Guevarra Street in San Juan City in Metro Manila as their home addresses.

Accusing Trillanes as “money for hire,” Duterte denied the existence of the BPI bank account that contained P211 million.

LIST of deposits in a bank account allegedly owned by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte

Birthday gifts?

On his 69th birthday on March 28, 2014, eight cash deposits totaling P197 million were credited to Duterte’s bank account in the BPI Julia Vargas branch, records showed.

Trillanes said the eight deposits consisted of P55,131,747.32, P41,721,035.62, P16,852,832.94, P16,852,782.94 and four P20-million transactions.

The funds were remitted to the BPI account through interbank transfers.

Records also showed that on April 1, 2014, Sara paid cash for a P20-million life with investment insurance policy from BPI-Life Assurance Corp. 

Trillanes, who provided the Inquirer data on Duterte’s bank accounts, said he obtained the information from various sources.

Other accounts

“I received the information through my various networks. Mayor Duterte who brags that he is not corrupt and is a simple and poor man should be asked to explain about his secret bank accounts that contained at least P200 million,” the senator said.

Trillanes declined to identify the source of the documents but said he believed in the integrity of the information because they were verifiable.

The account in the BPI Julia Vargas branch was separate from the bank accounts of Sara and her husband, Mans Carpio, Duterte’s sons Paolo and Sebastian and his common-law wife, Cielito Avanceña, that also contained deposits totaling hundreds of millions of pesos, according to Trillanes.

In Duterte’s 2014 SALN, a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer, the mayor reported cash assets (in hand and in the bank) worth P13,846,732.62, but he did not disclose how and when he acquired these.

He also declared in his SALN that he acquired a piece of agricultural land in Catigan Toril, Davao City, worth P500,000 in 2014.

For his real estate properties, Duterte reported residential lots valued at P1.7 million and agricultural lands valued at P1.7 million.

Duterte declared as personal properties vehicles worth P1.1 million, household appliances and furniture worth P450,000, jewelry worth P300,000 and investments worth P3.8 million.

Car dealer incorporator

Duterte also reported in his SALN that he had been an incorporator of Honda Cars in General Santos City since 1997 and of Poeng Yue Foundation in San Pedro, Davao City, in 2012, but he did not state any income.

The SALN also showed that the value of Duterte’s assets two years ago were higher by just a few hundred pesos than the P21,618,289.73 he declared for 2013.

The SALN is aimed at helping keep public servants honest, since the information it should contain would aid the public in keeping track of any sudden increases in a government employee or official’s wealth.

Apart from his monthly salary of P78,946, Duterte said he also received allowances from various agencies he headed, such as Watershed Management Council, Regional Peace and Order Council, City Peace and Order Council, Investment Incentive Board and Public Private Partnership Board.

MAYOR Rodrigo Duterte’s 2014 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth

x x x."

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Financial rehabilitation; period to give due course to petition; period to approve rehabilitation plan

LEXBER, INC. VS. CAESAR M. AND CONCHITA B. DALMAN, G.R. No. 183587, April 20, 2015.

“x x x.

The lapse of the 180-day period for the approval of the rehabilitation plan should not automatically result to the dismissal of the rehabilitation petition.

In ruling for the outright dismissal of Lexber’s rehabilitation petition, the CA noted that the trial court failed to approve Lexber’s rehabilitation plan within 180 days from the date of the initial hearing, thus prompting the application of Rule 4, Section 11 of the Interim Rules, to wit:

Section 11. Period of the Stay Order – The stay order shall be effective from the date of its issuance until the dismissal of the petition or the termination of the rehabilitation proceedings.

The petition shall be dismissed if no rehabilitation plan is approved by the court upon the lapse of one hundred eighty (180) days from the date of the initial hearing. The court may grant an extension beyond this period only if it appears by convincing and compelling evidence that the debtor may successfully be rehabilitated. In no instance, however, shall the period for approving or disapproving a rehabilitation plan exceed eighteen (18) months from the date of filing of the petition. [Emphasis supplied.]

The CA explained that the word “shall” is a word of command. Thus, the essential effect of the non-approval of the rehabilitation plan after 180 days from the initial hearing is the dismissal of the rehabilitation petition.

However, while the general rule in statutory construction is that the words “shall,” “must,” “ought,” or “should” are of mandatory character in common parlance, it is also well-recognized in law and equity that this is not an absolute rule or inflexible criterion.⁠15

The records of the present case show that on May 4, 2007, Lexber filed a motion for the extension of the period for the approval of the rehabilitation plan. However, the trial court never issued a resolution on this motion. Instead, on June 12, 2007, it issued an order giving due course to the petition. The records also reveal that after the initial hearing, the trial court had to conduct additional hearings even after the lapse of the 180-day period.

Under these circumstances, the Court concludes that Lexber could not be faulted for the non-approval of the rehabilitation plan within the 180-day period. A petitioner-corporation should not be penalized if the trial court needed more time to evaluate the rehabilitation plan. Notably, in the present case, Lexber filed a motion for the extension of the 180-day period. However, the trial court did not issue a resolution on this motion. Instead, it issued an order giving due course to the petition, which also fell within the 18-month limit prescribed under the law.

Rule 2, Section 2 of the Interim Rules dictates the courts to liberally construe the rehabilitation rules in order to carry out the objectives of Sections 6(c) of PD 902-A, as amended, and to assist the parties in obtaining a just, expeditious, and inexpensive determination of rehabilitation cases.

The trial court’s decision to approve or disapprove a rehabilitation plan is not a ministerial function and would require its extensive study and analysis. As it turned out, after careful scrutiny of the rehabilitation petition, and its annexes, the trial court eventually disapproved Lexber’s rehabilitation plan and dismissed the rehabilitation petition.

X x x.”

Powers of HLURB; powers of administrative agency are limited by the Constitution or the law creating it.

LEXBER, INC. VS. CAESAR M. AND CONCHITA B. DALMAN, G.R. No. 183587, April 20, 2015.

“x x x.

Section 5⁠13 of Executive Order 64836 of the HLURB’s charter, enumerates the powers that the HLURB is authorized to exercise.

Section 8 of the same law also provides the functions which had been transferred from the National Housing Authority to the HLURB, viz:

Regulation of the real estate trade and business;
Registration of subdivision lots and condominium projects;
Issuance of license to sell subdivision lots and condominium units in the registered units;
Approval of performance bond and the suspension of license to sell;
Registration of dealers, brokers and salesman engaged in the business of selling subdivision lots or condominium units;
Revocation of registration of dealers, brokers and salesmen;
Approval or mortgage on any subdivision lot or condominium unit made by the owner of developer;
Granting of permits for the alteration of plans and the extension of period for completion of subdivision or condominium projects;
Approval of the conversion to other purposes of roads and open spaces found within the project which have been donated to the city or municipality concerned;
Regulation of the relationship between lessors and lessees; and
Hear and decide cases on unsound real estate business practices; claims involving refund filed against project owners, developers, dealers, brokers or salesmen and cases of specific performance.

An examination of these functions confirms that in sharp contrast to the BSP and the IC, nowhere in the HLURB’s charter is it expressly or impliedly granted the power to appoint the rehabilitation receivers of financially distressed corporations under its supervision and regulation.

An administrative agency’s powers are limited to those expressly conferred on it or granted by necessary or fair implication in its enabling act. In our constitutional framework, which mandates a limited government, its branches and administrative agencies exercise only those powers delegated to them as “defined either in the Constitution or in legislation, or in both.”⁠14

Notably, the powers granted to the HLURB are focused on its regulation of real estate companies to ensure that the investing public is protected from fraudulent real estate practices. These powers do not touch upon the HLURB’s authority to intervene in the general corporate acts, e.g. the rehabilitation, of those under its supervision.

While it may be argued that the HLURB should be informed of the financial rehabilitation of a real estate company, to enable it to intelligently and meaningfully exercise its functions, the law is clear that the HLURB’s prior request for the appointment of a receiver of real estate companies, is not a condition sine qua non before the trial court can give due course to their rehabilitation petition.

X x x.”

HLURB has no power to appoint a rehabilitation receiver

LEXBER, INC. VS. CAESAR M. AND CONCHITA B. DALMAN, G.R. No. 183587, April 20, 2015.

“x x x.

The HLURB’s prior request for the appointment of a rehabilitation receiver is not a condition precedent before the trial court can give due course to a rehabilitation petition.

X x x.

Notably, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEOs) jurisdiction over rehabilitation cases had already been transferred to the regional trial courts acting as commercial courts by virtue of Republic Act (RA) 8799⁠5 or the Securities Regulation Code.⁠6 The CA argues that despite this jurisdictional transfer, the substantive provisions of PD 902-A, particularly those powers which the SEC may exercise in rehabilitation cases, remain.

The CA is correct in this line of reasoning. However it erred in interpreting Section 6(c) to mean that no rehabilitation petition of a corporation that the HLURB regulates, can be heard unless a prior request of this agency for the appointment of a rehabilitation receiver was made.

X x x.

Under Section 30⁠7 of RA 7653⁠8, which had been retained under Section 69⁠9 of RA 8971,⁠10 the designation of a conservator or the appointment of a receiver for the rehabilitation of banks and quasi-banks, is vested exclusively with the Monetary Board. On the other hand, PD 61⁠11 specifically mandates the IC to designate the receiver of an insurance company in case of its insolvency or rehabilitation.⁠12 

Clearly, the respective charters of the BSP and the IC specifically authorize them to appoint a receiver in case a company under their regulation is undergoing corporate rehabilitation. Notably, this is not the case with the HLURB. Its enabling law does not grant it this particular power.

X x x."

Financial rehabilitation; 2008 rules vs. 2013 rules; appeals.

LEXBER, INC. VS. CAESAR M. AND CONCHITA B. DALMAN, G.R. No. 183587, April 20, 2015.

“x x x.

This possibility of rendering conflicting decisions among reviewing courts is one of the reasons why the Rules of Procedure on Corporate Rehabilitation (2008 Rules) amended the Interim Rules’ provision on the available procedural remedies after the filing of the rehabilitation petition. This has also been further amended in the new Financial Rehabilitation Rules of Procedure (2013 Rules).

Under the Interim Rules, a motion for reconsideration is a prohibited pleading⁠3. This is no longer true under the 2008 Rules and the new 2013 Rules, which implemented the procedural changes outlined below:

X x x.

Hence, under the 2008 Rules, an appeal (through a Rule 43 petition) may be filed only after the trial court issues an order approving or disapproving the rehabilitation plan. Any issue arising from a denied motion for reconsideration may only be raised as an assigned error in the Rule 43 petition and may not be questioned in a separate Rule 65 petition. The exception to this is when the issue only arose after the issuance of the order denying or approving the rehabilitation plan.

This procedural guideline had been further amended in the 2013 Rules where any relief from the trial court’s denial of a motion for reconsideration is no longer available. Moreover, the CA’s mode of review is now through Rule 65 and not Rule 43. But despite this further change, the 2013 Rules retained the guideline in the 2008 Rules that review may be sought from the CA only after the rehabilitation court issues an order approving or disapproving the rehabilitation plan.

Thus, if after the filing of the rehabilitation petition the trial court is satisfied that the jurisdictional requirements were complied with, the initial hearing shall commence and the petition for rehabilitation shall be given due course. At this stage, no appeal or certiorari petition may yet be filed as any remedy is only available after the order approving or disapproving the rehabilitation plan. This is to avoid the present situation where there are multiple petitions filed with the appellate courts from which conflicting decisions may be rendered.

X x x.”

Warrantless search; a waiver of an illegal arrest is not a waiver of an illegal search.⁠


“x x x.

The warrantless search conducted is not among those allowed by law.

A waiver of an illegal arrest, however, is not a waiver of an illegal search.⁠2 Records have established that both the arrest and the search were made without a warrant. While the accused has already waived his right to contest the legality of his arrest, he is not deemed to have equally waived his right to contest the legality of the search.

Jurisprudence is replete with pronouncements on when a warrantless search can be conducted. These searches include: (1) search of a moving vehicle; (2) seizure in plain view; (3) customs search; (4) waiver or consented search; (5) stop-and-frisk situation; (6) search incidental to a lawful arrest and (7) exigent and emergency circumstance.⁠3 

The search made was not among the enumerated instances. Certainly, it was not of a moving vehicle, a customs search, or a search incidental to a lawful arrest. There could not have been a seizure in plain view as the seized item was allegedly found inside the left pocket of accused-appellant’s pants. Neither was it a stop-and-frisk situation. While this type may seemingly fall under the consented search exception, we reiterate that “[c]onsent to a search is not to be lightly inferred, but shown by clear and convincing evidence.⁠4 

Consent must also be voluntary in order to validate an otherwise illegal search; that is, the consent must be unequivocal, specific, intelligently given, and uncontaminated by any duress or coercion.⁠5 In this case, petitioner was merely “ordered” to take out the contents of his pocket. X x x.

The evidence obtained is not admissible.

Having been obtained through an unlawful search, the seized item is thus inadmissible in evidence against accused-appellant. Obviously, this is an instance of seizure of the “fruit of the poisonous tree.” Hence, the confiscated item is inadmissible in evidence consonant with Article III, Section 3(2) of the 1987 Constitution: “Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.”⁠7 Without the seized item, therefore, the conviction of accused-appellant cannot be sustained. This being the case, we see no more reason to discuss the alleged lapses of the officers in the handling of the confiscated drug.

As a final word, we reiterate that “[wjhile this Court appreciates and encourages the efforts of law enforcers to uphold the law and to preserve the peace and security of society, we nevertheless admonish them to act with deliberate care and within the parameters set by the Constitution and the law. Truly, the end never justifies the means.”⁠8

X x x.”

Irregularity/illegality of arrest (warrantless arrest) must be questioned before arraignment; otherwise, deemed waived.


“x x x.

Accused-appellant is estopped from questioning the legality of his arrest.

Accused-appellant was arrested without a warrant. Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, lays down the basic rules on lawful warrantless arrests either by a peace officer or a private person, as follows:

Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. – A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;

(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and

(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.

The circumstances that transpired between accused-appellant and the arresting officer show none of the above that would make the warrantless arrest lawful. Nevertheless, records reveal that accused-appellant never objected to the irregularity of his arrest before his arraignment. He pleaded not guilty upon arraignment. He actively participated in the trial of the case. Thus, he is considered as one who had properly and voluntarily submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the trial court and waived his right to question the validity of his arrest.⁠1 

X x x.”

Laches bars recovery of possession, ownership


“x x x.

The Petitioner’s Claim for Recovery of Possession and Ownership is Barred by Laches

Laches has been defined as the failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence could or should have been done earlier⁠18 It should be stressed that laches is not concerned only with the mere lapse of time.⁠19 

As a general rule, an action to recover registered land covered by the Torrens System may not be barred by laches.⁠20 Neither can laches be set up to resist the enforcement of an imprescriptible legal right.⁠21 In exceptional cases, however, the Court allowed laches as a bar to recover a titled property. Thus, in Romero v. Natividad,⁠22 the Court ruled that laches will bar recovery of the property even if the mode of transfer was invalid. Likewise, in Vda. de Cabrera v. CA,⁠23 the Court ruled:

In our jurisdiction, it is an enshrined rule that even a registered owner of property may be barred from recovering possession of property by virtue of laches. Under the Land Registration Act (now the Property Registration Decree), no title to registered land in derogation to that of the registered owner shall be acquired by prescription or adverse possession. The same is not true with regard to laches. x x x.⁠24 (Citation omitted and emphasis supplied)

More particularly, laches will bar recovery of a property, even if the mode of transfer used by an alleged member of a cultural minority lacks executive approval.⁠25 Thus, in Heirs of Dicman v. Cariño,⁠26 the Court upheld the Deed of Conveyance of Part Rights and Interests in Agricultural Land executed by Ting-el Dicman in favor of Sioco Cariño despite lack of executive approval. The Court stated that “despite the judicial pronouncement that the sale of real property by illiterate ethnic minorities is null and void for lack of approval of competent authorities, the right to recover possession has nonetheless been barred through the operation of the equitable doctrine of laches.”⁠27 Similarly in this case, while the respondent may not be considered as having acquired ownership by virtue of its long and continued possession, nevertheless, the petitioner’s right to recover has been converted into a stale demand due to the respondent’s long period of possession and by the petitioner’s own inaction and neglect.⁠28 The Court cannot accept the petitioner’s explanation that his delayed filing and assertion of rights was due to Martial Law and the Cotabato Ilaga-Black Shirt Troubles. The Martial Law regime was from 1972 to 1986, while the Ilaga-Black Shirt Troubles were from the 1970s to the 1980s. The petitioner could have sought judicial relief, or at the very least made his demands to the respondent, as early as the third quarter of 1962 after the execution of the Deed of Sale and before the advent of these events. Moreover, even if, as the petitioner claims, access to courts were restricted during these times, he could have immediately filed his claim after Martial Law and after the Cotabato conflict has ended. The petitioner’s reliance on the Court’s treatment of Martial Law as force majeure that suspended the running of prescription in Development Bank of the Philippines v. Pundogar⁠29 is inapplicable because the Court’s ruling therein pertained to prescription and not laches. Consequently, the petitioner’s lengthy inaction sufficiently warrants the conclusion that he acquiesced or conformed to the sale.

Vigilantibus sed non dormientibus jura subverniunt. The law aids the vigilant, not those who sleep on their rights. This legal percept finds application in the petitioner’s case.

X x x.”

Sale of lands by Moros; requirements under Administrative Code for Mindanao and Sulu.


"x x x.

Sections 145 and 146 of the Administrative Code of Mindanao and Sulu, and Section 120 of the PLA, as amended, are not applicable

The petitioner relies on the foregoing laws in assailing the validity of the Deed of Sale, claiming that the contract lacks executive approval and that he is an illiterate non-Christian to whom the benefits of Sections 145 and 146 of the Administrative Code of Mindanao and Sulu should apply.

Section 145 of the Administrative Code of Mindanao and Sulu essentially provides for the requisites of the contracts entered into by a person with any Moro or other non-Christian inhabitants.⁠11 Section 146,⁠12 meanwhile, provides that contracts entered into in violation of Section 145 are void. These provisions aim to safeguard the patrimony of the less developed ethnic groups in the Philippines by shielding them against imposition and fraud when they enter into agreements dealing with realty.⁠13 

Section 120 of the PLA (Commonwealth Act No. 141) affords the same protection.⁠14 R.A. No. No. 3872⁠15 likewise provides that conveyances and encumbrances made by illiterate non-Christian or literate non-Christians where the instrument of conveyance or encumbrance is in a language not understood by said literate non-Christians shall not be valid unless duly approved by the Chairman of the Commission on National Integration.

In Jandoc-Gatdula v. Dimalanta,⁠16 however, the Court categorically stated that while the purpose of Sections 145 and 146 of the Administrative Code of Mindanao and Sulu in requiring executive approval of contracts entered into by cultural minorities is indeed to protect them, the Court cannot blindly apply that law without considering how the parties exercised their rights and obligations. In this case, Municipality Resolution No. 70, which approved the appropriation of P3,000.00, was, in fact, accepted by the Provincial Board of Cotabato. In approving the appropriation of P3,000.00, the Municipal Council of Isulan and the Provincial Board of Cotabato, necessarily, scrutinized the Deed of Sale containing the terms and conditions of the sale. Moreover, there is nothing on record that proves that the petitioner was duped into signing the contract, that he was taken advantage of by the respondent and that his rights were not protected.

The court’s duty to protect the native vendor, however, should not be carried out to such an extent as to deny justice to the vendee when truth and justice happen to be on the latter’s side. The law cannot be used to shield the enrichment of one at the expense of another. More important, the law will not be applied so stringently as to render ineffective a contract that is otherwise valid, except for want of approval by the CNI. This principle holds, especially when the evils sought to be avoided are not obtaining.⁠17 

The Court must also reject the petitioner’s claim that he did not understand the import of the agreement. He alleged that he signed in Arabic the Deed of Sale, the Joint Affidavit and the Municipal Voucher, which were all in English, and that he was not able to comprehend its contents. Records show the contrary. The petitioner, in fact, was able to execute in favor of Baikong a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) dated July 23, 1996, which was written in English albeit signed by the petitioner in Arabic. Said SPA authorized Baikong, the petitioner’s sister, to follow-up the payment of the purchase price. This raises doubt on the veracity of the petitioner’s allegation that he does not understand the language as he would not have been able to execute the SPA or he would have prevented its enforcement.

X x x.”

Sale; remedies when price not paid.


“x x x.

Payment of consideration or purchase price

The petitioner’s allegation of non-payment is of no consequence taking into account the Municipal Voucher presented before the RTC, which proves payment by the respondent of Three Thousand Pesos (P3,000.00). The petitioner, notwithstanding the lack of the Municipal Treasurer’s approval, admitted that the signature appearing on the Municipal Voucher was his and he is now estopped from disclaiming payment.

Even assuming, arguendo, that the petitioner was not paid, such non payment is immaterial and has no effect on the validity of the contract of sale. A contract of sale is a consensual contract and what is required is the meeting of the minds on the object and the price for its perfection and validity.⁠9 In this case, the contract was perfected the moment the petitioner and the respondent agreed on the object of the sale – the two-hectare parcel of land, and the price – Three Thousand Pesos (P3,000.00). Non-payment of the purchase price merely gave rise to a right in favor of the petitioner to either demand specific performance or rescission of the contract of sale.⁠10 

X x x.”

Contract of sale/deed of sale vs. contract to sell


“x x x.

The Deed of Sale is a Valid Contract of Sale

The petitioner alleges that the Deed of Sale is merely an agreement to sell, which was not perfected due to non-payment of the stipulated consideration.⁠3 The respondent, meanwhile, claims that the Deed of Sale is a valid and perfected contract of absolute sale.⁠4 

A contract of sale is defined under Article 1458 of the Civil Code:

By the contract of sale, one of the contracting parties obligates himself to transfer the ownership of and to deliver a determinate thing, and the other to pay therefore a price certain in money or its equivalent.

The elements of a contract of sale are: (a) consent or meeting of the minds, that is, consent to transfer ownership in exchange for the price; (b) determinate subject matter; and (c) price certain in money or its equivalent.⁠5 

A contract to sell, on the other hand, is defined by Article 1479 of the Civil Code:

[A] bilateral contract whereby the prospective seller, while expressly reserving the ownership of the subject property despite delivery thereof to the prospective buyer, binds himself to sell the said property exclusively to the prospective buyer upon fulfillment of the condition agreed upon, that is, full payment of the purchase price.

In a contract of sale, the title to the property passes to the buyer upon the delivery of the thing sold, whereas in a contract to sell, the ownership is, by agreement, retained by the seller and is not to pass to the vendee until full payment of the purchase price.⁠6 

The Deed of Sale executed by the petitioner and the respondent is a perfected contract of sale, all its elements being present. There was mutual agreement between them to enter into the sale, as shown by their free and voluntary signing of the contract. There was also an absolute transfer of ownership of the property by the petitioner to the respondent as shown in the stipulation: “x x x I [petitioner] hereby sell, transfer, cede, convey and assign as by these presents do have sold, transferred, ceded, conveyed and assigned, x x x.”⁠7 There was also a determinate subject matter, that is, the two-hectare parcel of land as described in the Deed of Sale. Lastly, the price or consideration is at Three Thousand Pesos (P3,000.00), which was to be paid after the execution of the contract. The fact that no express reservation of ownership or title to the property can be found in the Deed of Sale bolsters the absence of such intent, and the contract, therefore, could not be one to sell. Had the intention of the petitioner been otherwise, he could have: (1) immediately sought judicial recourse to prevent further construction of the municipal building; or (2) taken legal action to contest the agreement.⁠8 The petitioner did not opt to undertake any of such recourses.

X x x.”

Issue Raised for the First Time on Appeal is Barred by Estoppel


“x x x.

The petitioner asserts that the Deed of Sale was notarized by Atty. Gualberto B. Baclig who was not authorized to administer the same, hence, null and void. This argument must be rejected as it is being raised for the first time only in this petition. In his arguments before the RTC and the CA, the petitioner focused mainly on the validity and the nature of the Deed of Sale, and whether there was payment of the purchase price. The rule is settled that issues raised for the first time on appeal and not raised in the proceedings in the lower court are barred by estoppel. To consider the alleged facts and arguments raised belatedly would amount to trampling on the basic principles of fair play, justice, and due process.⁠1 Accordingly, the petitioner’s attack on the validity of the Deed of Sale vis-à-vis its compliance with the 2004 New Notarial Law must be disregarded.⁠2 

X x x.”

When Supreme Court may review factual findings in labor cases.

ONOFRE V. MONTERO, ET. AL. VS. TIMES TRANSPORTATION CO., INC., ET. AL., G.R. No. 190828, March 16, 2015.

“X x x x.

It should be emphasized at the outset that as a rule, this Court is not a trier of facts and this applies with greater force in labor cases. Hence, factual findings of quasi-judicial bodies like the NLRC, particularly when they coincide with those of the [LA] and if supported by substantial evidence, are accorded respect and even finality by this Court. But where the findings of the NLRC and the [LA] are contradictory, as in the present case, this Court may delve into the records and examine for itself the questioned findings. 

X x x.”

Prescription in labor cases; Arts. 1146, 1155 of Civil Code applied

ONOFRE V. MONTERO, ET. AL. VS. TIMES TRANSPORTATION CO., INC., ET. AL., G.R. No. 190828, March 16, 2015.

“x x x.

In the case at bar, October 26, 1997 and November 24, 1997 appear on record to be the dates when the petitioners’ employment were terminated by TTCI. The antecedent facts that gave rise to the petitioners’ dismissal from employment are not disputed in this case. There is no question about the fact that the petitioners’ complaints for unfair labor practice and money claims have already prescribed. The petitioners however argue that their complaints for illegal dismissal were duly filed within the four-year prescriptive period since the period during which their cases were pending should be deducted from the period of prescription. On the other hand, the respondents insist that said complaints have already prescribed. Hence, the pivotal question in resolving the issues hinges on the resolution of whether the period during which the petitioners’ cases were pending should be excluded from the period of prescription.

Settled is the rule that when one is arbitrarily and unjustly deprived of his job or means of livelihood, the action instituted to contest the legality of one’s dismissal from employment constitutes, in essence, an action predicated upon an injury to the rights of the plaintiff, as contemplated under Article 1146⁠2 of the New Civil Code, which must be brought within four years.⁠3 

The petitioners contend that the period when they filed a labor case on May 14, 1998 but withdrawn on March 22, 1999 should be excluded from the computation of the four-year prescriptive period for illegal dismissal cases. However, the Court had already ruled that the prescriptive period continues even after the withdrawal of the case as though no action has been filed at all. The applicability of Article 1155 of the Civil Code in labor cases was upheld in the case of Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation v. Panganiban where the Court held that “although the commencement of a civil action stops the running of the statute of prescription or limitations, its dismissal or voluntary abandonment by plaintiff leaves the parties in exactly the same position as though no action had been commenced at all.” 

In like manner, while the filing of the complaint for illegal dismissal before the LA interrupted the running of the prescriptive period, its voluntary withdrawal left the petitioners in exactly the same position as though no complaint had been filed at all. The withdrawal of their complaint effectively erased the tolling of the reglementary period.

A prudent review of the antecedents of the claim reveals that it has in fact prescribed due to the petitioners’ withdrawal of their labor case docketed as NLRC RAB-I-01-1007.⁠7 Hence, while the filing of the said case could have interrupted the running of the four-year prescriptive period, the voluntary withdrawal of the petitioners effectively cancelled the tolling of the prescriptive period within which to file their illegal dismissal case, leaving them in exactly the same position as though no labor case had been filed at all. The running of the four-year prescriptive period not having been interrupted by the filing of NLRC RAB-I-01-1007, the petitioners’ cause of action had already prescribed in four years after their cessation of employment on October 26, 1997 and November 24, 1997. Consequently, when the petitioners filed their complaint for illegal dismissal, separation pay, retirement benefits, and damages in 2002, their claim, clearly, had already been barred by prescription.⁠8 

Sadly, the petitioners have no one but themselves to blame for their own predicament. By their own allegations in their respective complaints, they have barred their remedy and extinguished their right of action. Although the Constitution is committed to the policy of social justice and the protection of the working class, it does not necessary follow that every labor dispute will be automatically decided in favor of labor. The management also has its own rights. Out of concern for the less privileged in life, this Court, has more often than not inclined, to uphold the cause of the worker in his conflict with the employer. Such leaning, however, does not blind the Court to the rule that justice is in every case for the deserving, to be dispensed in the light of the established facts and applicable law and doctrine.⁠9 

X x x.”

Compromise agreement; remedies when a party fails/refuses to perform; Art. 2041 Civil Code

CRISANTA ALCARAZ MIGUEL VS. JERRY D. MONTANEZ, G.R. No. 191336, January 25, 2012. 

“x x x.

Because the respondent failed to comply with the terms of the Kasunduang Pag-aayos, said agreement is deemed rescinded pursuant to Article 2041 of the New Civil Code and the petitioner can insist on his original demand. Perforce, the complaint for collection of sum of money is the proper remedy.

The petitioner contends that the CA erred in ruling that she should have followed the procedure for enforcement of the amicable settlement as provided in the Revised Katarungang Pambarangay Law, instead of filing a collection case. The petitioner points out that the cause of action did not arise from the Kasunduang Pag-aayos but on the respondent’s breach of the original loan agreement.[1]

This Court agrees with the petitioner.

It is true that an amicable settlement reached at the barangay conciliation proceedings, like the Kasunduang Pag-aayos in this case, is binding between the contracting parties and, upon its perfection, is immediately executory insofar as it is not contrary to law, good morals, good customs, public order and public policy.[2] This is in accord with the broad precept of Article 2037 of the Civil Code, viz:

A compromise has upon the parties the effect and authority of res judicata; but there shall be no execution except in compliance with a judicial compromise.

Being a by-product of mutual concessions and good faith of the parties, an amicable settlement has the force and effect of res judicata even if not judicially approved.[3] It transcends being a mere contract binding only upon the parties thereto, and is akin to a judgment that is subject to execution in accordance with the Rules.[4] Thus, under Section 417 of the Local Government Code,[5] such amicable settlement or arbitration award may be enforced by execution by the Barangay Lupon within six (6) months from the date of settlement, or by filing an action to enforce such settlement in the appropriate city or municipal court, if beyond the six-month period.

Under the first remedy, the proceedings are covered by the Local Government Code and the Katarungang Pambarangay Implementing Rules and Regulations. The Punong Barangay is called upon during the hearing to determine solely the fact of non-compliance of the terms of the settlement and to give the defaulting party another chance at voluntarily complying with his obligation under the settlement. Under the second remedy, the proceedings are governed by the Rules of Court, as amended. The cause of action is the amicable settlement itself, which, by operation of law, has the force and effect of a final judgment.[6]

It must be emphasized, however, that enforcement by execution of the amicable settlement, either under the first or the second remedy, is only applicable if the contracting parties have not repudiated such settlement within ten (10) days from the date thereof in accordance with Section 416 of the Local Government Code. If the amicable settlement is repudiated by one party, either expressly or impliedly, the other party has two options, namely, to enforce the compromise in accordance with the Local Government Code or Rules of Court as the case may be, or to consider it rescinded and insist upon his original demand. This is in accord with Article 2041 of the Civil Code, which qualifies the broad application of Article 2037, viz:

If one of the parties fails or refuses to abide by the compromise, the other party may either enforce the compromise or regard it as rescinded and insist upon his original demand.

In the case of Leonor v. Sycip,[7] the Supreme Court (SC) had the occasion to explain this provision of law. It ruled that Article 2041 does not require an action for rescission, and the aggrieved party, by the breach of compromise agreement, may just consider it already rescinded, to wit:

It is worthy of notice, in this connection, that, unlike Article 2039 of the same Code, which speaks of “a cause of annulment or rescission of the compromise” and provides that “the compromise may be annulled or rescinded” for the cause therein specified, thus suggesting an action for annulment or rescission, said Article 2041 confers upon the party concerned, not a “cause” for rescission, or the right to “demand” the rescission of a compromise, but the authority, not only to “regard it as rescinded”, but, also, to “insist upon his original demand”. The language of this Article 2041, particularly when contrasted with that of Article 2039, denotes that no action for rescission is required in said Article 2041, and that the party aggrieved by the breach of a compromise agreement may, if he chooses, bring the suit contemplated or involved in his original demand, as if there had never been any compromise agreement, without bringing an action for rescission thereof. He need not seek a judicial declaration of rescission, for he may “regard” the compromise agreement already “rescinded”[8]. (emphasis supplied)

As so well stated in the case of Chavez v. Court of Appeals,[9] a party’s non-compliance with the amicable settlement paved the way for the application of Article 2041 under which the other party may either enforce the compromise, following the procedure laid out in the Revised Katarungang Pambarangay Law, or consider it as rescinded and insist upon his original demand. To quote:

In the case at bar, the Revised Katarungang Pambarangay Law provides for a two-tiered mode of enforcement of an amicable settlement, to wit: (a) by execution by the Punong Barangay which is quasi-judicial and summary in nature on mere motion of the party entitled thereto; and (b) an action in regular form, which remedy is judicial. However, the mode of enforcement does not rule out the right of rescission under Art. 2041 of the Civil Code. The availability of the right of rescission is apparent from the wording of Sec. 417 itself which provides that the amicable settlement “may” be enforced by execution by the lupon within six (6) months from its date or by action in the appropriate city or municipal court, if beyond that period. The use of the word “may” clearly makes the procedure provided in the Revised Katarungang Pambarangay Law directory or merely optional in nature.

Thus, although the “Kasunduan” executed by petitioner and respondent before the Office of the Barangay Captain had the force and effect of a final judgment of a court, petitioner’s non-compliance paved the way for the application of Art. 2041 under which respondent may either enforce the compromise, following the procedure laid out in the Revised Katarungang Pambarangay Law, or regard it as rescinded and insist upon his original demand. Respondent chose the latter option when he instituted Civil Case No. 5139-V-97 for recovery of unrealized profits and reimbursement of advance rentals, moral and exemplary damages, and attorney’s fees. Respondent was not limited to claiming P150,000.00 because although he agreed to the amount in the “Kasunduan,” it is axiomatic that a compromise settlement is not an admission of liability but merely a recognition that there is a dispute and an impending litigation which the parties hope to prevent by making reciprocal concessions, adjusting their respective positions in the hope of gaining balanced by the danger of losing. Under the “Kasunduan,” respondent was only required to execute a waiver of all possible claims arising from the lease contract if petitioner fully complies with his obligations thereunder. It is undisputed that herein petitioner did not.[10] (emphasis supplied and citations omitted)

In the instant case, the respondent did not comply with the terms and conditions of the Kasunduang Pag-aayos. Such non-compliance may be construed as repudiation because it denotes that the respondent did not intend to be bound by the terms thereof, thereby negating the very purpose for which it was executed. Perforce, the petitioner has the option either to enforce the Kasunduang Pag-aayos, or to regard it as rescinded and insist upon his original demand, in accordance with the provision of Article 2041 of the Civil Code. Having instituted an action for collection of sum of money, the petitioner obviously chose to rescind the Kasunduang Pag-aayos. As such, it is error on the part of the CA to rule that enforcement by execution of said agreement is the appropriate remedy under the circumstances.

Considering that the Kasunduang Pag-aayos is deemed rescinded by the non-compliance of the respondent of the terms thereof, remanding the case to the trial court for the enforcement of said agreement is clearly unwarranted.

X x x.”

Conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service


“x x x.

We likewise dismiss the charge of conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service. In Consolacion v. Gambito,[10] we said that the rules do not provide a definition of, or enumeration of the acts constituting, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. It refers to acts or omissions that violate the norm of public accountability and diminish – or tend to diminish – the people’s faith in the Judiciary. If an employee’s questioned conduct tarnished the image and integrity of his public office, he is liable for conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. We noted in Consolacion v. Gambito that Gambito’s misrepresentation regarding the ownership and actual status of the tricycle which she sold to Consolacion unquestionably undermined the people’s faith in the Judiciary. We also noted Gambito’s transaction with Billamanca where Gambito facilitated two cases for the amount of P15,000, which was supposed to be used for publication, filing fee and sheriff’s fee. Gambito also received P9,000, which was supposed to be for the bail of Erum’s husband, but Gambito used the money to buy her medicines and books of her daughter. We said that Gambito’s unauthorized transactions constitute conduct grossly prejudicial to the interest of the service. In this case, complainants failed to allege any similar conduct on the part of Judge Flores.

X x x.”

Due process is opportunity to be heard.


“x x x.

We also dismiss the charge of denial of due process. In the application of the principle of due process, what is sought to be safeguarded is not the lack of previous notice but the denial of the opportunity to be heard.[9] We note that the Secretary of Finance and the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, even if their comment was erroneously treated as a mere scrap of paper, were duly represented by the Office of the Solicitor General during the hearing on November 21, 2008 and were not denied the opportunity to be heard. They were likewise required to file their comment to the contempt petition in the Order dated December 15, 2008. When Aspe and Olasiman were impleaded as respondents in the contempt petition, there was a motion to implead them as additional respondents and Judge Flores stated in the Omnibus and Interim Order dated December 22, 2008 that Aspe and Olasiman were notified of the hearing for said motion. Complainants claimed that Aspe and Olasiman were already sentenced by Judge Flores in the Omnibus and Interim Order dated December 22, 2008 despite the fact that the hearing for the contempt petition was only scheduled on January 26, 2009.

X x x.”

Bias and partiality; proof of.


“x x x.

We note, however, that the Office of the Court Administrator did not discuss the charges of manifest partiality, denial of due process and conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service. This implies that Judge Flores is not guilty of these charges. In any event, we dismiss the charge of manifest partiality against Judge Flores for complainants’ failure to prove by extrinsic evidence this serious allegation. We cannot presume that Judge Flores was biased and partial simply because he enjoined the implementation of Hefti and Esquivias’s orders. We have held that there should be clear and convincing evidence to prove the charge of bias and partiality. Extrinsic evidence is required to establish bias. Absent extrinsic evidence, the decision itself would be insufficient to establish a case against the judge.[8]

X x x.”