2016 Civil Law Review 1 Bar Questions
1. Section 1 of P.D. No. 755 states: “Section 1. Declaration of National Policy. – It is hereby declared that the policy of the State is to provide readily available credit facilities to the coconut farmers at preferential rates; that this policy can be expeditiously and efficiently realized by the implementation of the ‘Agreement for the Acquisition of a Commercial Bank for the Benefit of the Coconut Farmers’ executed by the Philippine Coconut Authority, the terms of which ‘Agreement’ are hereby incorporated by reference; x x x” A copy of the Agreement was not attached to the Presidential Decree. P.D. No. 755 was published in the Official Gazette but the text of the Agreement described in Section 1 was not published. Can the Agreement in question be accorded the status of a law? Explain. (5%) Suggested Answer: No. While the contract was incorporated by reference in Section 1 of PD 755, it did not in any way reproduce the exact terms of the contract in the decree nor was a copy of the contract attached to the decree when published. Laws must be published because publication is an indispensable condition for the effectivity of a law. The publication must be of the full text of the law to inform the public of its contents. The contract shall thus be treated as an ordinary transaction between the parties thereto, and shall be governed by contract law under the Civil Code. (Cojuangco, Jr. v. Republic, G.R. No. 180705, November 27, 2012) 2. Romeo and Juliet, both Filipinos, got married. After a few years, Juliet got word from her mother that she can go to the United States for naturalization. Juliet promised she will be back the moment she becomes an American. After sometime, Romeo learned from a friend that Juliet already became a U.S. citizen and even divorced him to marry a wealthy American businessman. Romeo filed a petition before the Regional Trial Court praying that an order be issued authorizing him to remarry pursuant to Article 26 of the Family Code. Decide the petition with reasons. (5%) Suggested Answer: Yes, the petition should prosper. In Republic v. Obrecido (G.R. No. 154380, October 5, 2005), the Court ruled that Article 26, paragraph 2 of the Civil Code should be interpreted to include cases involving parties who, at the time of the celebration of the marriage were Filipino citizens, but later on, one of them becomes naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a divorce decree. The Filipino spouse should
likewise be allowed to remarry as if the other party were a foreigner at the time of the solemnization of the marriage. 3. Leo married Lina and they begot a son. After the birth oftheir child, Lina exhibited unusual behavior and started to neglect her son; she frequently went out with her friends and gambled in casinos. Lina later had extra-marital affairs with several men and eventually abandoned Leo and their son. Leo was able to talk to the psychiatrist of Lina who told him that Lina suffers from dementia praecox, a form of psychosis where the afflicted person is prone to commit homicidal attacks. Leo was once stabbed by Lina but fortunately he only suffered minor injuries. Will a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage filed with the court prosper? Explain. (5%) Suggested Answer: No, the petition will fail. In Republic v. CA and Molina (G.R. No. 108763, February 13, 1997), the Court laid the guidelines in determining psychological incapacity, one of which provided that the incapacity must be proven to be existing at the time of the celebration of marriage. Here, Lina started to exhibit unusual behavior only after giving birth to their child. Assuming the behavior she exhibited would constitute psychological incapacity, that behavior is not manifest during the celebration of her marriage with Leo. Therefore, there is no sufficient ground for psychological incapacity to annul the marriage. 4. Bernard and Dorothy lived together as common-law spouses although they are both capacitated to marry. After one year of cohabitation, Dorothy went abroad to work in Dubai as a hair stylist and regularly sent money to Bernard. With the money, Bernard bought a lot. For a good price, Bernard sold the lot. Dorothy came to know about the acquisition and sale of the lot and filed a suit to nullify the sale because she did not give her consent to the sale. [a] Will Dorothy’s suit prosper? Decide with reasons. (2.5%) Suggested Answer: Yes, Dorothy’s suit will prosper. The term "cohabit" means to dwell together, in the manner of husband and wife, for some period of time, as distinguished from occasional, transient interviews for unlawful intercourse (People vs. Pitoc, 43 Phil., 758.). In the case at bar, there was no cohabitation between Bernard and Dorothy as the latter was in Dubai for work. Therefore, Article 147 of the Civil Code will not apply as there was no cohabitation between the parties. By contemplation of law, a constructive trust was created. In the case of Huang v. CA (G.R. No. 108525. September 13, 1994), the Supreme Court held that a constructive implied trust arises contrary to the intention against one who, by fraud, duress, or abuse of
confidence, undue influence or mistake or breach of fiduciary duty or wrongful disposition of another’s property, obtains or holds the legal right to property which he is not entitled to under the law. In the case at bar, the money sent by Dorothy to Bernard created a constructive implied trust when the latter acquired the money, used the same for the purchase of a lot and subsequently sold the same. Hence, the money sent or the lot purchased using that same money remains to be the property of Dorothy. Consequently, as trustee, Bernard had the duty to hold the money or the property in favor of Dorothy, the trustor, and had no legal right to sell the property. As the sale of the property is void, Dorothy’s action to nullify the suit would, therefore, prosper. [b] Suppose Dorothy was jobless and did not contribute money to the acquisition o f the lot and her efforts consisted mainly in the care and maintenance o f the family and household, is her consent to the sale a prerequisite to its validity? Explain. (2.5%) Suggested Answer: Yes, Dorothy’s consent to the sale is a prerequisite to its validity. By the explicit terms of Article 147 of the Family Code, when a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry each other, live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage, the rules on co-ownership shall govern. The same provision further provides that, when a party who did not participate in the acquisition by the party of any property shall be deemed to have contributed jointly in the acquisition thereof if the former’s efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of the family and of the household. In the case at bar, Dorothy was jobless and did not contribute money to the acquisition of the lot and her efforts consisted mainly in the care and maintenance of the family and the household. The problem at hand calls for the direct application of the abovementioned provision of law. Moreover, the same provision provides that neither party can encumber or dispose by acts inter vivos of his or her share in the property acquired during cohabitation and owned in common, without the consent of the other, until after the termination of their cohabitation. Therefore, premises considered by directly applying the law in the case at bar, the consent of Dorothy is required for the valid disposition of the lot. 5. Pedro bought a parcel of land described as Cadastral Lot No. 123 and the title was issued to his name. Juan also bought a lot in the same place, which is described as Cadastral Lot No. 124. Pedro hired a geodetic engineer to determine the actual location of Lot No. 123 but for some reason, the engineer pointed to Lot No. 124 by mistake. Pedro hired a contractor to construct his house and the latter put up a sign stating the name ofthe owner ofthe project and the construction permit number. It took more than a year before the house was constructed. When Pedro was already residing in his house, Juan told him to remove his house because it was built on his (Juan’s) lot.
Juan filed a Complaint for Recovery of Possession and prayed that the house be removed because Pedro is a builder in bad faith. Pedro filed his Answer with Counterclaim that he is entitled to the payment of the value of the house plus damages because he is a builder in good faith and that Juan is guilty of estoppel and laches. [a] If Pedro is a builder in good faith, what are the rights given to Juan under the law? Explain. (2.5%) Suggested Answer: According to the Civil Code, the rights of a landowner (Juan) against a builder in good faith (Pedro) are as follows: (1.) (2.)
Acquire the improvements and pay the builder in good faith indemnity; or Sell the land to the builder in good faith, except, if the value of the land is considerably more.
[b] If Pedro is a builder in bad faith, what are the rights given to Juan under the law? Explain. (2.5%) Suggested Answer: Under the Civil Code, the rights of a landowner (Juan) against a builder in bad faith (Pedro) are as follows: (1.) (2.) (3.)
Acquire the improvement without paying indemnity and collect damages; or Demolition or restoration and collect damages; or Sell to the builder in bad faith the land and collect damages. 6.
Benjamin is the owner of a titled lot which is bounded on the north by the Maragondon River. An alluvial deposit of two (2) hectares was added to the registered area. Daniel took possession of the portion formed by accretion and claims that he has been in open, continuous and undisturbed possession ofsaid portion since 1923 as shown by a tax declaration. In 1958, Benjamin filed a Complaint for Quieting of Title and contends that the alluvium belongs to him as the riparian owner and that since the alluvium is, by law, part and parcel ofthe registered property, the same may be considered as registered property. Decide the case and explain. (5%) Suggested Answer: The Complaint for Quieting of Title should be dismissed. First, Article 1137 of the Civil Code substantially provides a possessor may acquire ownership over a
property by extraordinary prescription of 30 years. In the case at bar, Daniel has been in open, continuous and undisturbed possession 1923 to 1958 – a period of 35 years. It should be noted that there was no demand from the riparian owner, Benjamin during such period and until the present complaint was filed. Therefore, Daniel acquired better title over the alluvion through extraordinary acquisitive prescription. The second reason why the complaint should fail can be found in the case of Heir of Navarro v. IAC (G.R. No. 68166. February 12, 1997), when the Supreme Court held that an alluvion is automatically owned by the riparian owner from the moment the soil deposit can be seen but the additional area does not automatically become registered land just because the lot which receives such accretion is covered by the Torrens Title. The riparian owner must register the additional area within 50 years. In the present case, Benjamin did not automatically become owner of the property on the sole argument that alluvion belongs to him as the riparian owner and that the same may be considered registered property. Applying the ruling laid out by the court in the aforementioned case, the argument of Benjamin runs contrary to the doctrine. Finally, since there is no absolute owner of the alluvion, the same should be registered first. Informally said, since there is not title, there is nothing to quiet. In the present case the alluvion has not yet been registered by neither Benjamin nor Daniel. Hence, an action for Quieting of Title is not the proper remedy. Utmost, between the two claimants, Daniel has better right over the property through acquisitive prescription and being a holder of a tax declaration since 1923 as compared to Benjamin who has no evidence to contradict the superior claim of the former. As the rightful possessor of the alluvion is not an issue properly raised in the present case, the same need not be thoroughly discussed. 7. Don Ricardo had 2 legitimate children – Tomas and Tristan. Tristan has 3 children. Meanwhile, Tomas had a relationship with Nancy, who was also single and had the legal capacity to marry. Nancy became pregnant and gave birth to Tomas, Jr. After the birth of Tomas, Jr., his father, Tomas, died. Later, Don Ricardo died without a will and Tristan opposed the motion of Tomas, Jr. to be declared an heir of the deceased since he is an illegitimate child. Tomas, Jr. countered that Article 992 of the Civil Code is unconstitutional for violation of the equal protection of the laws. He explained that an illegitimate child of an illegitimate parent is allowed to inherit under Articles 902, 982 and 990 o f the Civil Code while he – an illegitimate child o f a legitimate father – cannot. Civil Law commentator Arturo Tolentino opined that Article 992 created an absurdity and committed an injustice because while the illegitimate descendant o f an illegitimate child can represent, the illegitimate descendant of a legitimate child cannot. Decide the case and explain. (5%) Suggested Answer: Tomas, Jr. is incorrect as Article 992 is not unconstitutional, and such collateral attack on the constitutionality of Article 992 is not permitted. As to the application of laws, under Article 10 of the New Civil Code, there is no absurdity or injustice
created by said law as presumption that the intention of the law making body is for right and justice to prevail. There is no violation of the equal protection of the laws since there is a substantial distinction between an illegitimate child and legitimate child and it applies equally to each member of the same class.The law does no more than recognize this truth, by avoiding further grounds of resentment. Jurisprudence dictates that there is presumed to be an intervening antagonism and incompatibility. The illegitimate child is disgracefully looked down upon by the legitimate family; the legitimate family is, in turn, hated by the illegitimate child; the latter considers the privileged condition of the former, and the resources of which it is thereby deprived; the former, in turn, sees in the illegitimate child nothing but the product of sin, palpable evidence of a blemish broken in life. In the present case, since Tomas, Jr is an illegitimate child of Tomas, who is a legitimate child of Don Ricardo, Tomas, Jr cannot inherit from the latter as they are separated by a barrier placed by Article 992. Therefore, the contention that there is a violation of the equal protection of the laws, as well as absurdity and injustice created by Article 992 must fail. 8. Brad and Angelina had a secret marriage before a pastor whose office is located in Arroceros Street, City of Manila. They paid money to the pastor who took care ofall the documentation. When Angelina wanted to go to the U.S., she found out that there was no marriage license issued to them before their marriage. Since their marriage was solemnized in 1995 after the effectivity of the Family Code, Angelina filed a petition for judicial declaration of nullity on the strength of a certification by the Civil Registrar of Manila that, after a diligent and exhaustive search, the alleged marriage license indicated in the marriage certificate does not appear in the records and cannot be found. Suggested Answer: The petition for judicial declaration of nullity of marriage should be granted. Under the Family Code, Articles 3 and 4, a valid marriage license is a formal requisite and lack of it renders the marriage void ab initio. This is reiterated in Article 35 (3) of the same code. The lack of marriage license is not an irregularity which will make the marriage of Brad and Angelina merely voidable. The certification by the civil registrar of Manila, being a public document is prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein.The solemnization of a marriage without prior license is a clear violation of the law and would lead or could be used, at least, for the perpetration of fraud against innocent and unwary parties, which was one of the evils that the law sought to prevent by making a prior license a prerequisite for a valid marriage.
The protection of marriage as a sacred institution requires not just the defense of a true and genuine union but the exposure of an invalid one as well. The requirement and issuance of marriage license isthe State's demonstration of its involvement and participation in every marriage, in the maintenance of which the general public is interested. This interest proceeds from the constitutional mandate that the State recognizes the sanctity of family life and of affording protection to the family as a basic 'autonomous social institution. Therefore, the petition should be granted. 9. Princess married Roberto and bore a son, Onofre. Roberto died in a plane crash. Princess later married Mark and they also had a son – Pepito. Onofre donated to Pepito, his half-brother, a lot in Makati City worth P3,000,000.00. Pepito succumbed to an illness and died intestate. The lot given to Pepito by Onofre was inherited by his father, Mark. Mark also died intestate. Lonely, Princess followed Mark to the life beyond. The claimants to the subject lot emerged – Jojo, the father of Princess; Victor, the father of Mark; and Jerico, the father of Roberto. Who among the three (3) ascendants is entitled to the lot? Explain. (5%) Suggested Answer: Jojo, father of their mother. If the origin of the reservable property in reserva troncal is a brother or sister of the half-blood, the common parent or ascendant must always be considered. If the common ascendant is the father, the property is reserved only for the relatives on the father’s side; if the common ascendant is the mother, the property is reserved only for the relatives on the mother’s side. To qualify as a reservatario, the relative of descendant-propositus should be within the 3rd degree and should belong to the line from which the property came. Jojo is a relative of Onofre within the 2nd degree and belongs to the line of Princess. Thus, he qualifies as a reservatario. Review: Reserva troncal. Reserva troncal is a system of reserva by virtue of which an ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property which the latter may have acquired by gratuitous title from another ascendant, or a BROTHER OR SISTER, is obliged to reserve such property as he may have acquired by operation of law for the benefit of relatives who are within the third degree and who belong to the line from which the property came. (Art. 891, NCC) The property is reservable. It belonged to Onofre, the half-blood brother who gave the same to Pepito gratuitously. Pepito died without any issue who could inherit from him. Pepito’s father, Mark inherited the property from him by operation of law. There exists a relative of Onofre who is within the third degree and who belong to the line of Princess, from which the property came.