Peralta Doctrines FINAL

September 11, 2017 | Author: Maricel Caranto Frias | Category: Burden Of Proof (Law), Employment, Collective Agreement, Crime & Justice, Crimes
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PERALTA DOCTRINES 2013-2016 Cases POLITICAL LAW CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; Locus Standi A party challenging the constitutionality of a law, act, or statute must show "not only that the law is invalid, but also that he has sustained or is in immediate, or imminent danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of its enforcement, and not merely that he suffers thereby in some indefinite way." It must be shown that he has been, or is about to be, denied some right or privilege to which he is lawfully entitled, or that he is about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by reason of the statute complained of. (Ferrer v. Bautista, G.R. No. 210551, 30 June 2015) DUE PROCESS OF LAW; Issuance of Protection Order ex parte Section 15 of RA 9262 or the Anti- Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004 is valid and constitutional. The issuance of Protection Order ex parte doesn't infringe the constitutional precept of due process of law. Nor it is an invalid delegation of legislative power to the court and to barangay officials. (Tua v. Mangrobang, G.R. No. 170701, 22 January 2014) EXPROPRIATION; Just compensation When the government takes property pursuant to P.D. No. 27, but does not pay the landowner his just compensation until after R.A. No. 6657 (CARL) has taken effect in 1998, it becomes more equitable to determine just compensation using R.A. No. 6657 and not E.O. No. 223. (Heirs of Spouses Tria v. Land Bank of the Philippines, G.R. No. 170245, 1 July 2013) DOUBLE JEOPARDY; Single act which constitutes a violation of two or more entirely distinct and unrelated provisions of law It is a cardinal rule that the protection against double jeopardy may be invoked only for the same offense or identical offenses. A simple act may offend against two (or more) entirely distinct and unrelated provisions of law, and if one provision requires proof of an additional fact or element which the other does not, an acquittal or conviction or a dismissal of the information under one does not bar prosecution under the other. Phrased else wise, where two different laws (or articles of the same code) defines two crimes, prior jeopardy as to one of them is no obstacle to a prosecution of the other, although both offenses arise from the same fact, if each crime involves some important act which is not an essential element of the other. Thus, since the Informations filed against petitioner in this case were for separate and distinct offenses — the first against Article 172 (2) of the Revised Penal Code and the second against Section 46 of the Cooperative Code (RA 6938)—one cannot be pleaded as a bar to the other under the rule on double jeopardy. Besides, it is basic in criminal procedure that an accused may be charged with as many crimes as defined in our penal laws even if these arose from one incident. Thus, where a single act is directed against one person but said act constitutes a violation of two or more entirely distinct and unrelated provisions of law, or by a special law and the Revised Penal Code, as in this case, the prosecution against one is not an obstacle to the prosecution of the other. (Asistio v. People, G.R. No. 200465, 20 April 2015) CITIZENSHIP; Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003 RA No. 9225, which is known as the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003, declares that natural-born citizens of the Philippines, who have lost their Philippine citizenship by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country, can re-acquire or retain his Philippine citizenship under the conditions of the law. The law does not provide for residency requirement for the reacquisition or retention of Philippine citizenship; nor does it mention any


effect of such reacquisition or retention of Philippine citizenship on the current residence of the concerned natural-born Filipino. RA No. 9225 treats citizenship independently of residence. This is only logical and consistent with the general intent of the law to allow for dual citizenship. Since a natural-born Filipino may hold, at the same time, both Philippine and foreign citizenships, he may establish residence either in the Philippines or in the foreign country of which he is also a citizen. However, when a natural-born Filipino with dual citizenship seeks for an elective public office, residency in the Philippines becomes material. Petitioner's retention of his Philippine citizenship under RA No. 9225 did not automatically make him regain his residence in Uyugan, Batanes. He must still prove that after becoming a Philippine citizen on September 13, 2012, he had reestablished Uyugan, Batanes as his new domicile of choice which is reckoned from the time he made it as such. (Caballero v. COMELEC, G.R No. 209835, 22 September 2015) RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED; Double jeopardy A petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is a mode of appeal. However, the provision must be read in relation to Section 1, Rule 122 of the Revised Rules of Court, which provides that any party may appeal from a judgment or final order "unless the accused will thereby be placed in double jeopardy." Therefore, the judgment that may be appealed by the aggrieved party envisaged in Rule 45 is a judgment convicting the accused, and not a judgment of acquittal. The State is barred from appealing such judgment of acquittal by a petition for review. Instead, a judgment of acquittal may be assailed by the People in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court without placing the accused in double jeopardy. However, in such case, the People is burdened to establish that the court a quo, in this case, the Sandiganbayan, acted without jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction or a denial of due process. (People of the Philippines v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 199151-56, 25 July 2016) CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS; Speedy disposition The constitutional right to speedy disposition is not limited to the accused in criminal proceedings but extends to all parties in all cases, be it civil or administrative in nature, as well as all proceedings, either judicial or quasi-judicial. In this accord, any party to a case may demand expeditious action from all officials who are tasked with the administration of justice. This right, however, like the right to a speedy trial, is deemed violated only when the proceeding is attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays. (People of the Philippines v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 199151-56, 25 July 2016) The concept of speedy disposition is relative or flexible. A mere mathematical reckoning of the time involved is not sufficient. Particular regard must be taken of the facts and circumstances peculiar to each case. Hence, the doctrinal rule is that in the determination of whether that right has been violated, the factors that may be considered and balanced are as follows: (1) the length of delay; (2) the reasons for the delay; (3) the assertion or failure to assert such right by the accused; and (4) the prejudice caused by the delay. (People of the Philippines v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 199151-56, 25 July 2016) POLITICAL LAW; Power of the President The presidential power of control over the Executive Branch of Government is a self-executing provision of the Constitution and does not require statutory implementation, nor may its exercise be limited, much less withdrawn, by the legislature. This is why President Duterte is not bound by the alleged 1992 Agreement between former President Ramos and the Marcos family to have the remains of Marcos interred in Batac, Ilocos Norte. As the incumbent


President, he is free to amend, revoke or rescind political agreements entered into by his predecessors, and to determine policies which he considers, based on informed judgment and presumed wisdom, will be most effective in carrying out his mandate. Moreover, under the Administrative Code, the President has the power to reserve for public use and for specific public purposes any of the lands of the public domain and that the reserved land shall remain subject to the specific public purpose indicated until otherwise provided by law or proclamation. At present, there is no law or executive issuance specifically excluding the land in which the LNMB is located from the use it was originally intended by the past Presidents. The allotment of a cemetery plot at the LNMB for Marcos as a former President and Commander-in-Chief,150 a legislator,151 a Secretary of National Defense, a military personnel, a veteran, and a Medal of Valor awardee, whether recognizing his contributions or simply his status as such, satisfies the public use requirement. The disbursement of public funds to cover the expenses incidental to the burial is granted to compensate him for valuable public services rendered. Likewise, President Duterte's determination to have Marcos' remains interred at the LNMB was inspired by his desire for national healing and reconciliation. Presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty prevails over petitioners' highly disputed factual allegation that, in the guise of exercising a presidential prerogative, the Chief Executive is actually motivated by utang na loob (debt of gratitude) and bayad utang (payback) to the Marcoses. As the purpose is not self-evident, petitioners have the burden of proof to establish the factual basis of their claim. They failed. Even so, the Supreme Court cannot take cognizance of factual issues since it is not a trier of facts (Ocampo v. Enriquez, G.R. No. 225973, 8 November 2016). PUBLIC CORPORATIONS; Local autonomy The constitutional guarantee of local autonomy in the Constitution refers to the administrative autonomy of local government units or, cast in more technical language, the decentralization of government authority. It does not make local governments sovereign within the State. Administrative autonomy may involve devolution of powers, but subject to limitations like following national policies or standards, and those provided by the Local Government Code, as the structuring of local governments and the allocation of powers, responsibilities, and resources among the different local government units and local officials have been placed by the Constitution in the hands of Congress under Section 3, Article X of the Constitution. (League of Provinces of the Philippines v. DENR, G.R. No. 175368, 11 April 2013) PUBLIC FUNDS; Availing services of private legal counsel or law firm by gov’t agencies, when allowed COA Circular No. 95-011 stresses that public funds shall not be utilized for the payment of services of a private legal counsel or law firm to represent government agencies in court or to render legal services for them. Despite this, the same circular provides that in the event that such legal services cannot be avoided or is justified under extraordinary or exceptional circumstances, the written conformity and acquiescence of the OSG or the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), as the case may be, and the written concurrence of the COA shall first be secured before the hiring or employment of a private lawyer or law firm. The prohibition covers the hiring of private lawyers to render any form of legal service - whether or not the legal services to be performed involve an actual legal controversy or court litigation. The purpose is to curtail the unauthorized and unnecessary disbursement of public funds to private lawyers for services rendered to the government, which is in line with the COA's constitutional mandate to promulgate accounting and auditing rules and regulations, including those for the prevention and disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant or unconscionable expenditures or uses of government funds and properties. The Court has invariably sustained the statutory authority of the OSG and the OGCC as well as the necessity of COA concurrence in the cases of government-owned and/or controlled corporations, local


government units, and even a state college like the CNSC. (Dr. Wenifredo T. Oñate v. Commission on Audit, G.R. No. 213660, 5 July 2016) ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; Quasi-judicial functions The DENR Secretary’s power to review and, therefore, decide the issue on the validity of the issuance of the Small-Scale Mining Permits by the Provincial Governor as recommended by the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB), is a quasi-judicial function, which involves the determination of what the law is, and what the legal rights of the contending parties are, with respect to the matter in controversy and, on the basis thereof and the facts obtaining, the adjudication of their respective rights. (League of Provinces of the Philippines v. DENR, G.R. No. 175368, 11 April 2013) ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; Administrative decisions Well-entrenched is the rule in our jurisprudence that administrative decisions are entitled to great weight and respect and will not be interfered with by the courts. Courts will not interfere in matters which are addressed to the sound discretion of the government agency entrusted with regulation of activities coming under its special and technical training and knowledge, for the exercise of administrative discretion is a policy decision and a matter that is best discharged by the concerned government agency and not by the courts. More so where, as in the present case, the prime consideration is the interest of the public at large on the issue of basic water need. (GEMASCO v. NHA, G.R. No. 175417, 9 February 2015). ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; Exhaustion of administrative remedies need not be adhered to when the question is purely legal The principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies need not be adhered to when the question is purely legal. This is because issues of law cannot be resolved with finality by the administrative officer. Appeal to the administrative officer would only be an exercise in futility. In this case, the question raised is purely legal, i.e., what law should be applied in the payment of retirement benefits of petitioner's husband. Thus, there was no need to exhaust all administrative remedies before a judicial relief can be sought. (Adoracion Caro Lino v. Gen.Senga, G.R. No. 189649, 20 April 2015) ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; Appeals The period to appeal the decision of the HLURB Board of Commissioners to the Office of the President has long been settled to be fifteen (15) days from receipt thereof pursuant to Section 15 of PD No. 957 and Section 2 of PD No. 1344 which are special laws that provide an exception to Section 1 of Administrative Order No. 18. Said administrative order allows an aggrieved party to file its appeal with the Office of the President within thirty (30) days from receipt of the decision complained of. Nonetheless, such thirty-day period is subject to the qualification that there are no other statutory periods of appeal applicable. If there are special laws governing particular cases which provide for a shorter or longer reglementary period, the same shall prevail over the thirty-day period provided for in the administrative order. This is in line with the rule in statutory construction that an administrative rule or regulation, in order to be valid, must not contradict but conform to the provisions of the enabling law. (Swire Realty Development Corporation v. Yu, G.R. No. 207133, 9 March 2015) ELECTION LAW, Concurrent jurisdiction in prosecuting and investigating election offenses Under the Omnibus Election Code, while the exclusive jurisdiction to conduct preliminary investigation had been lodged with the COMELEC, the prosecutors had been conducting preliminary investigations pursuant to the continuing delegated authority given by the COMELEC. The prompt and fair investigation and prosecution of election offenses committed before or in the course of nationwide elections would simply not be possible without the assistance of provincial and city fiscals, prosecutors and their assistants and staff members, and


of the state prosecutors of the DOJ. Instead of a mere delegated authority, the other prosecuting arms of the government, such as the DOJ, now exercise concurrent jurisdiction with the Comelec to conduct preliminary investigation of all election offenses and to prosecute the same. (Arroyo v. DOJ, G.R. No. 199082, 23 July 2013) ELECTION LAW, Material misrepresentation in the COC False representation in the contents of the COC must refer to material matters in order to justify the cancellation of the COC. Material misrepresentation contemplated by Section 78 of the Code refers to qualifications for elective office. The use of a name other than that stated in the certificate of birth is not a material misrepresentation, as "material misrepresentation" under the earlier-quoted Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code refers to "qualifications for elective office." Aside from the requirement of materiality, a false representation under Section 78 must consist of a "deliberate attempt to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact which would otherwise render a candidate ineligible." (Villafuerte v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 206698, 25 February 2014; see also Caballero v. COMELEC, G.R No. 209835, 22 September 2015) *** LABOR LAW EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIP; Evidence to prove the relationship There is no particular form of evidence required to prove the existence of the employeremployee relationship. Any competent and relevant evidence to prove such relationship may be admitted. This may entirely be testimonial. If only documentary evidence would be required to demonstrate the relationship, no scheming employer would be brought before the bar of justice. (Hacienda Cataywa/Manuel Villanueva v. Lorezo, G.R. No. 179640, 18 March 2015) The issue of whether or not an employer-employee relationship existed between petitioner and respondents is essentially a question of fact. The factors that determine the issue include who has the power to select the employee, who pays the employee’s wages, who has the power to dismiss the employee, and who exercises control of the methods and results by which the work of the employee is accomplished. Although no particular form of evidence is required to prove the existence of the relationship, and any competent and relevant evidence to prove the relationship may be admitted, a finding that the relationship exists must nonetheless rest on substantial evidence, which is that amount of relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. (Reyes v. Glaucoma Research Foundation, G.R. No. 189255, 17 June 2015)

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT; Law between the parties It is familiar and fundamental doctrine in labor law that the CBA is the law between the parties and they are obliged to comply with its provisions. A collective bargaining agreement or CBA refers to the negotiated contract between a legitimate labor organization and the employer concerning wages, hours of work and all other terms and conditions of employment in a bargaining unit. As in all contracts, the parties in a CBA may establish such stipulations, clauses, terms and conditions as they may deem convenient provided these are not contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy. Thus, where the CBA is clear and unambiguous, it becomes the law between the parties and compliance therewith is mandated by the express policy of the law. (Goya, Inc. v. Goya, Inc. Employees Union-FFW, G.R. No. 170054, 21 January 2013)


LABOR UNIONS; Disaffiliation A local union has the right to disaffiliate from its mother union or declare its autonomy. A local union, being a separate and voluntary association, is free to serve the interests of all its members including the freedom to disaffiliate or declare its autonomy from the federation which it belongs when circumstances warrant, in accordance with the constitutional guarantee of freedom of association (National Union Of Bank Employees [Nube] v. Philnabank Employees Association (Pema) And Philippine National Bank, G.R. No.174287, 12 August 2013) BARGAINING UNIT; Defined A bargaining unit has been defined as a “group of employees of a given employer, comprised of all or less than all of the entire body of employees, which the collective interests of all the employees, consistent with equity to the employer, indicated to be best suited to serve reciprocal rights and duties of the parties under the collective bargaining provisions of the law.” (Holy Child Catholic School v. Sto. Tomas, G.R. No. 179146, 23 July 2013)

CERTIFICATION ELECTIONS; Effect of commingling of supervisory and rank-and-file employees/ Remedy of employer in case of inclusion of disqualified employees in a union The commingling of supervisory employees and rank-and-file employees in one labor organization does not affect the latter’s legitimacy and its right to file a petition for certification election. In case of alleged inclusion of disqualified employees in a union, the proper procedure for an employer is to directly file a petition for cancellation of the union’s certificate of registration due to misrepresentation, false statement or fraud under the circumstances enumerated in Article 239 of the Labor Code, as amended. (Holy Child Catholic School v. Sto. Tomas, G.R. No. 179146, 23 July 2013)

INDEPENDENT JOB CONTRACTORS; Substantial capital The Court categorically stated that the actual paid-in capital of P75,000.00 could not be considered as substantial capital. (First Philippine Industrial Corporation v. Calimbas, G.R. No. 179256, 10 July 2013) REGULAR EMPLOYEES; Applicable Test In determining whether an employment should be considered regular or non-regular, the applicable test is the reasonable connection between the particular activity performed by the employee in relation to the usual business or trade of the employer. The standard, supplied by the law itself, is whether the work undertaken is necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer, a fact that can be assessed by looking into the nature of the services rendered and its relation to the general scheme under which the business or trade is pursued in the usual course. It is distinguished from a specific undertaking that is divorced from the normal activities required in carrying on the particular business or trade. But, although the work to be performed is only for a specific projector seasonal, where a person thus engaged has been performing the job for at least one year, even if the performance is not continuous or is merely intermittent, the law deems the repeated and continuing need for its performance as being sufficient to indicate the necessity or desirability of that activity to the business or trade of the employer. The employment of such person is also then deemed to be regular with respect to such activity and while such activity exists. (Basan v. Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, G.R. Nos. 174365-66, 4 February 2015) REGULAR EMPLOYEES; Repeated rehiring of employees For years, petitioners were repeatedly engaged to perform functions necessary to respondent’s business for fixed periods short of the six-month probationary period of employment. If there was really no intent to circumvent security of tenure, respondent should have made it clear to


petitioners that they were being hired only for fixed periods in an agreement freely entered into by the parties. Respondent’s act of hiring and re-hiring petitioners for periods short of the legal probationary period evidences its intent to thwart petitioner’s security of tenure, especially in view of an awareness that ordinary workers, such as petitioners herein, are never on equal terms with their employers. It is rather unjustifiable to allow respondent to hire and rehire petitioners on fixed terms, never attaining regular status. Hence, in the absence of proof showing that petitioners knowingly agreed upon a fixed term of employment, petitioners are, indeed, regular employees, entitled to security of tenure. (Basan v. Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, G.R. Nos. 174365-66, 4 February 2015) PROBATIONARY EMPLOYEES; Security of tenure A probationary employee does not enjoy permanent status. Nevertheless, he is accorded the constitutional protection of security of tenure which means that he can only be dismissed from employment for a just cause or when he fails to qualify as a regular employee in accordance with reasonable standards made known to him by the employer at the time of his engagement. (Univac Development, Inc. v. Soriano, G.R. No. 182072, 19 June 2013) SEASONAL EMPLOYEES; When they may be considered as regular employees It was also consistently held that seasonal employees may be considered as regular employees when they are called to work from time to time. They are in regular employment because of the nature of the job, and not because of the length of time they have worked. However, seasonal workers who have worked for one season only may not be considered regular employees. (Hacienda Cataywa/Manuel Villanueva v. Lorezo, G.R. No. 179640, 18 March 2015) SEASONAL EMPLOYEES; Farm workers as seasonal employees Farm workers generally fall under the definition of seasonal employees. (Hacienda Cataywa/Manuel Villanueva v. Lorezo, G.R. No. 179640, 18 March 2015)

CONTRACTUAL EMPLOYEES; Seafarers It is a settled rule that seafarers are considered contractual employees. Their employment is governed by the contracts they sign every time they are rehired and their employment is terminated when the contract expires. Their employment is contractually fixed for a certain period of time. (Unica v. Anscor Swire Ship Management Corp., G.R. No. 184318, 12 February 2014) MANAGERIAL EMPLOYEES; Test of status The test of "supervisory" or "managerial status" depends on whether a person possesses authority to act in the interest of his employer and whether such authority is not merely routinary or clerical in nature, but requires the use of independent judgment. (Cruz v. Bank of the Philippine Islands, G.R. No. 173357, 13 February 2013) SEAFARERS’ CONTRACT; Standard provisions by POEA The terms and conditions of a seafarer's employment is governed by the provisions of the contract he signs with the employer at the time of his hiring, and deemed integrated in his contract is a set of standard provisions set and implemented by the POEA, called the Standard Terms and Conditions Governing the Employment of Filipino Seafarers on Board Ocean-Going Vessels, which provisions are considered to be the minimum requirements acceptable to the government for the employment of Filipino seafarers on board foreign ocean-going vessels. (Sy v. Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc., G.R. No. 191740, 11 February 2013)


SEAFARERS’ CONTRACT; Claims for death and disability benefits It is settled that the terms and conditions of a seafarer’s employment, including claims for death and disability benefits, is a matter governed, not only by medical findings, but by the contract he entered into with his employer and the law which is deemed integrated therein. (Wallem Philippines Services, Inc. v. Heirs of Padrones, G.R. No. 183212, 16 March 2015) For the death of a seafarer to be compensable, the same must occur during the term of his contract of employment. If the seaman dies after the termination of his contract, his beneficiaries are not entitled to death benefits. (Wallem Philippines Services, Inc. v. Heirs of Padrones, G.R. No. 183212, 16 March 2015) For the death of a seaman to be compensable should occur during the term of his employment contract and must be the result of a work-related illness or injury. In the present case, it is not disputed that Awatin died on July 12, 2002, almost a year after the termination of his last employment contract on July, 2001. It must be remembered that Awatin was repatriated not because of any illness but because his contract of employment expired. There is no proof that he contracted his illness during the term of his employment nor that his working conditions increased the risk of contracting the illness which caused his death. While the Court adheres to the principle of liberality in favor of the seafarer in construing the Standard Employment Contract, we cannot allow claims for compensation based on surmises. When the evidence presented negates compensability, we have no choice but to deny the claim, lest we cause injustice to the employer. (Awatin v. Avantgarde Shipping Corporation, G.R. No. 179226, 29 June 2015) SEAFARERS’ CONTRACT; Principle of liberality in favor of the seafarer While the Supreme Court adheres to the principle of liberality in favor of the seafarer in construing the Standard Employment Contract, it cannot allow claims for compensation based on surmises. When the evidence presented negates compensability, the courts have no choice but to deny the claim, lest injustice is caused to the employer. The law, in protecting the rights of the employees, authorizes neither oppression nor selfdestruction of the employer - there may be cases where the circumstances warrant favoring labor over the interests of management but never should the scale be so tilted as to result in an injustice to the employer. (One Shipping Corp. v. Penafiel, G.R. No. 192406, 21 January 2015; Awatin v. Avantgarde Shipping Corporation, G.R. No. 179226, 29 June 2015)

ILLNESS; Entitlement of claimant to benefits It is not required that the employment be the sole factor in the growth, development or acceleration of the illness to entitle the claimant to the benefits provided therefor. It is enough that the employment had contributed, even in a small degree, to the development of the disease and in bringing about his death. (Manota v. Avantgarde Shipping Corporation, G.R. No. 179607, 24 July 2013)

DEATH BENEFITS; Seafarers To be entitled for death compensation benefits from the employer, the death of the seafarer (1) must be work-related; and (2) must happen during the term of the employment contract. Under the Amended POEA Contract, work-relatedness is now an important requirement. The qualification that death must be work-related has made it necessary to show a causal connection between a seafarer’s work and his death to be compensable. (Sy v. Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc., G.R. No. 191740, 11 February 2013; Awatin v. Avantgarde Shipping Corporation, G.R. No. 179226, 29 June 2015)


The employer is liable to pay the heirs of the deceased seafarer for death benefits once it is established that he died during the effectivity of his employment contract. However, the employer may be exempt from liability if it can successfully prove that the seaman’s death was caused by an injury directly attributable to his deliberate or willful act. In this case, since petitioners were able to substantially prove that the seaman’s death is directly attributable to his deliberate act of hanging himself, his death, therefore, is not compensable and his heirs not entitled to any compensation or benefits. (Unicol Management Services, Inc. v. Malipot, G.R. No. 206562, 21 January 2015) In labor cases, as in all cases which require the presentation and weighing of evidence, the basic rule is that the burden of evidence lies with the party who asserts the affirmative of an issue.47 In particular, in a case of claims for disability benefits, the onus probandi falls on the seafarer as claimant to establish his claim with the right quantum of evidence; it cannot rest on speculations, presumptions or conjectures. Such party has the burden of proving the said assertion with the quantum of evidence required by law which, in a case such as this of a claim for disability benefits arising from one's employment as a seafarer, is substantial evidence. (Cagatin v. Magsaysay Maritime Corporation, G.R. No. 175975, 22 June 2015) DISABILITY BENEFITS; Company-designated physicians While it is the company-designated physician who must declare that the seaman suffered a permanent disability during employment, it does not deprive the seafarer of his right to seek a second opinion. The Court upheld the findings of the independent physician as to the claimant’s disability. (Nazareno v. Maersk Filipinas Crewing, Inc., G.R. No. 168703 26 February 2013) BENEFITS; Principle of non-diminution of benefits Any benefit and supplement being enjoyed by the employees cannot be reduced, diminished, discontinued or eliminated by the employer. The principle of non-diminution of benefits is actually founded on the Constitutional mandate to protect the rights of workers, to promote their welfare, and to afford them full protection. To be considered as a regular company practice, the employee must prove by substantial evidence that the giving of the benefit is done over a long period of time, and that it has been made consistently and deliberately. The principle against diminution of benefits is applicable only if the grant or benefit is founded on an express policy or has ripened into a practice over a long period of time which is consistent and deliberate; it presupposes that a company practice, policy and tradition favorable to the employees has been clearly established; and that the payments made by the company pursuant to it have ripened into benefits enjoyed by them. (Vergara, Jr. v. Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 176985, 1 April 2013) ABANDONMENT; Elements The filing by an employee of a complaint for illegal dismissal with a prayer for reinstatement is proof enough of his desire to return to work, thus, negating the employer’s charge of abandonment. To constitute abandonment, two elements must concur, to wit: (1) the failure to report for work or absence without valid or justifiable reason; and (2) a clear intention to sever the employer-employee relationship, with the second element as the more determinative factor and being manifested by some overt acts. In termination cases, the burden of proof rests upon the employer to show that the dismissal was for a just and valid cause, and failure to discharge the same would mean that the dismissal is not justified and, therefore, illegal. (Concrete Solutions, Inc./ Primary Structures Corp. v. Cabusas, G.R. No. 177812, 19 June 2013)


In case the employee's failure to work was occasioned neither by his abandonment nor by a termination, the burden of economic loss is not rightfully shifted to the employer; each party must bear his own loss. (MZR Industries v. Colambot, G.R. No. 179001, 28 August 2013) JUDGMENT; Final and executory; Judicial review The NLRC becomes final and executory after the lapse of ten calendar days from receipt thereof by the parties. In exercising the expanded judicial review over labor cases, the Court of Appeals can grant the petition if it finds that the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) committed grave abuse of discretion by capriciously, whimsically, or arbitrarily disregarding evidence which is material or decisive of the controversy which necessarily includes looking into the evidence presented by the parties. (Univac Development, Inc. v. Soriano, G.R. No. 182072, 19 June 2013) APPEALS; The period or manner of “appeal” from the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) to the Court of Appeals is governed by Rule 65, pursuant to the ruling of the Court in the case of St. Martin Funeral Home vs. NLRC, 295 SCRA 494 (1998), in light of Section 4 Rule 65, as amended, which states that the “petition may be filed not later than sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment, or resolution sought to be assailed. (Cervantes vs, City Service Corporation, G.R. No. 191616, 18 April 2016) The posting of a bond is indispensable to the perfection of an appeal in cases involving monetary awards from the decisions of the Labor Arbiter. The lawmakers clearly intended to make the bond a mandatory requisite for the perfection of an appeal by the employer as inferred from the provision that an appeal by the employer may be perfected “only upon the posting of the word “only” makes it clear that the posting of a cash or surety bond by the employer is the essential and exclusive means by which an employer’s appeal may be perfected. Moreover, the filing of the bond is not only mandatory, but a jurisdictional requirement as well, that must be complied with in order to confer jurisdiction upon the NLRC. Noncompliance therewith renders the decision of the Labor Arbiter final and executory. This requirement is intended to assure the workers that if they prevail in the case, they will receive the money judgment in their favor upon the dismissal of the employer’s appeal. It is intended to discourage employers from using an appeal to delay or evade their obligation to satisfy their employees’ just and lawful claims. (Olares v. Manila Doctors College, G.R. No. 201663, 31 March 2014) CERTIFICATION ELECTION; Bystander rule It has been consistently held in a number of cases that a certification election is the sole concern of the workers, except when the employer itself has to file the petition pursuant to Article 259 of the Labor Code, as amended, but even after such filing its role in the certification process ceases and becomes merely a bystander. The employer clearly lacks the personality to dispute the election and has no right to interfere at all therein. (Holy Child Catholic School v. Sto. Tomas, G.R. No. 179146, 23 July 2013) LABOR STANDARDS; Termination of employment The settled rule is that fighting within company premises is a valid ground for the dismissal of an employee. Moreover, the act of assaulting another employee is serious misconduct which justifies the termination of employment. (Naguit v. San Miguel, G.R. No. 188839, 22 June 2015) Before the services of an employee can be validly terminated, the employer must furnish him two written notices: (a) a written notice served on the employee specifying the ground or grounds for termination, and giving the employee reasonable opportunity to explain his side; and (b) a written notice of termination served on the employee indicating that upon due


consideration of all the circumstances, grounds have been established to justify his termination. The employer must inform the employee of the charges against him and to hear his defenses. A full adversarial proceeding is not necessary as the parties may be heard through pleadings, written explanations, position papers, memorandum or oral argument. (Alilem Credit Cooperative, Inc. v. Bandiola, Jr., G.R. No. 173489, 25 February 2013; see also: First Philippine Industrial Corporation v. Calimbas, G.R. No. 179256, 10 July 2013, Noblado v. Alfonso, G.R. No. 189229, 23 November 2015) TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT; Closure of business Unlike retrenchment, closure or cessation of business, as an authorized cause of termination of employment, need not depend for validity on evidence of actual or imminent reversal of the employer’s fortune. Article 283 authorizes termination of employment due to business closure, regardless of the underlying reasons and motivations therefore, be it financial losses or not. (Manila Polo Club Employees' Union (MPCEU) FUR-TUCP v. Manila Polo Club, Inc., G.R. No. 172846, 24 July 2013) TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT; Retrenchment Essentially, the prerogative of an employer to retrench its employees must be exercised only as a last resort, considering that it will lead to the loss of the employees' livelihood. It is justified only when all other less drastic means have been tried and found insufficient or inadequate. Corollary thereto, the employer must prove the requirements for a valid retrenchment by clear and convincing evidence; otherwise, said ground for termination would be susceptible to abuse by scheming employers who might be merely feigning losses or reverses in their business ventures in order to ease out employees. These requirements are: 1. That retrenchment is reasonably necessary and likely to prevent business losses which, if already incurred, are not merely de minimis, but substantial, serious, actual and real, or if only expected, are reasonably imminent as perceived objectively and in good faith by the employer; 2. That the employer served written notice both to the employees and to the Department of Labor and Employment at least one month prior to the intended date of retrenchment; 3. That the employer pays the retrenched employees separation pay equivalent to one (1) month pay or at least one-half (½) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher; 4. That the employer exercises its prerogative to retrench employees in good faith for the advancement of its interest and not to defeat or circumvent the employees’ right to security of tenure; and 5. That the employer used fair and reasonable criteria in ascertaining who would be dismissed and who would be retained among the employees, such as status, efficiency, seniority, physical fitness, age, and financial hardship for certain workers. (Cabaobas v. Pepsi-Cola Products. Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 176908, 25 March 2015; see also: Beralde v. G.R. Nos. 205685-86, 22 June 2015) TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT; Gross negligence / Loss of trust and confidence Gross negligence connotes want or absence of or failure to exercise slight care or diligence, or the entire absence of care. It evinces a thoughtless disregard of consequences without exerting any effort to avoid them. On the other hand, the basic premise for dismissal on the ground of


loss of confidence is that the employees concerned hold a position of trust and confidence. It is the breach of this trust that results in the employer's loss of confidence in the employee. (Cruz v. Bank of the Philippine Islands, G.R. No. 173357, 13 February 2013) The filing of the complaint by the public prosecutor is sufficient ground for a dismissal of an employee for loss of trust and confidence. The evidence supporting the criminal charge, found sufficient to show prima facie guilt after preliminary investigation, constitutes just cause for termination based on loss of trust and confidence. Additionally, an employee's acquittal in a criminal case does not automatically preclude a determination that he has been guilty of acts inimical to the employer's interest resulting in loss of trust and confidence. An acquittal in criminal prosecution does not have the effect of extinguishing liability for dismissal on the ground of breach of trust and confidence. (Matis v. Manila Electric Company, G.R. No. 206629, 14 September 2016)

TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT; Recomputation A recomputation (or an original computation, if no previous computation has been made) is a part of the law — specifically, Article 279 of the Labor Code and the established jurisprudence on this provision — that is read into the decision. By the nature of an illegal dismissal case, the reliefs continue to add up until full satisfaction, as expressed under Article 279 of the Labor Code. The recomputation of the consequences of illegal dismissal upon execution of the decision does not constitute an alteration or amendment of the final decision being implemented. The illegal dismissal ruling stands; only the computation of monetary consequences of this dismissal is affected, and this is not a violation of the principle of immutability of final judgments. (Nacar v. Gallery Frames, G.R. No. 189871, 13 August 2013)

TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT; Burden of proof Before the employer must bear the burden of proving that the dismissal was legal, the employee must first establish by substantial evidence the fact of his dismissal from service. If there is no dismissal, then there can be no question as to the legality or illegality thereof. (MZR Industries, Marilou R. Quiroz and Lea Timbal v. Majen Colambot, G.R. No. 179001, 28 August 2013) It is a basic rule of evidence that each party must prove his affirmative allegation. If he claims a right granted by law, he must prove his claim by competent evidence, relying on the strength of his own evidence and not upon the weakness of that of his opponent. The test for determining on whom the burden of proof lies is found in the result of an inquiry as to which party would be successful if no evidence of such matters were given. In an illegal dismissal case, the onus probandi rests on the employer to prove that its dismissal of an employee was for a valid cause. However, before a case for illegal dismissal can prosper, an employer-employee relationship must first be established. Thus, in filing a complaint before the LA for illegal dismissal, based on the premise that he was an employee of respondents, it is incumbent upon petitioner to prove the employer-employee relationship by substantial evidence. (Reyes v. Glaucoma Research Foundation, G.R. No. 189255, 17 June 2015) CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL; Defined Constructive dismissal is defined as quitting or cessation of work because continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely; when there is a demotion in rank or a diminution of pay and other benefits. It exists if an act of clear discrimination, insensibility, or disdain by an employer becomes so unbearable on the part of the employee that it could foreclose any choice by him except to forego his continued employment. There is involuntary resignation due to the harsh, hostile, and unfavorable conditions set by the employer. The test of constructive dismissal is whether a reasonable person in the employee's


position would have felt compelled to give up his employment/position under the circumstances. (Gan v. Galderma Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 177167, 17 January 2013; see also Paredes v. Feed the Children Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 184397, 9 September 2015) RESIGNATION; Defined Resignation is the voluntary act of an employee who is in a situation where one believes that personal reasons cannot be sacrificed in favor of the exigency of the service, and one has no other choice but to dissociate oneself from employment. It is a formal pronouncement or relinquishment of an office, with the intention of relinquishing the office accompanied by the act of relinquishment. As the intent to relinquish must concur with the overt act of relinquishment, the acts of the employee before and after the alleged resignation must be considered in determining whether he or she, in fact, intended to sever his or her employment. (Gan v. Galderma Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 177167, 17 January 2013) We held that the act of the employer moving the effectivity of the resignation is not an act of harassment. The 30-day notice requirement for an employee’s resignation is actually for the benefit of the employer who has the discretion to waive such period. Its purpose os to afford the employer enough time to hire another employee if needed and to see to it that there is proper turnover of the tasks which the resigning employee may be handling. Such rule requiring an employee to stay or complete the 30-day period prior to the effectivity of his resignation becomes discretionary on the part of management as an employee who intends to resign may be allowed a shorter period before his resignation becomes effective. (Paredes v. Feed the Children Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 184397, 9 September 2015) DOCTRINE OF STRAINED RELATIONS Absent any showing that there is strained relationship between petitioner and respondents, the order of reinstatement shall stand. The doctrine of strained relations is not applied indiscriminately as to bar reinstatement, especially when the employee has not indicated an aversion to returning to work or does not occupy a position of trust and confidence in or has no say in the operation of the employer's business. In this case, there was no evidence that respondents disliked returning to their former posts and that they occupy a position of trust and confidence. (Tri-C General Services, Inc. v. Matuto, et al., G.R. No. 194686, 23 September 2015) ATTORNEY’S FEES Anent the issue on the award of attorney's fees, Article 111 of the Labor Code provides that in cases of unlawful withholding of wages, the culpable party may be assessed attorney's fees, equivalent to ten percent (10%) of the amount of wages recovered. Likewise, we have recognized that "in actions for recovery of wages or where an employee was forced to litigate and, thus, incur expenses to protect his rights and interest, the award of attorney's fees is legally and morally justifiable. (Tri-C General Services, Inc. v. Matuto, et al., G.R. No. 194686, 23 September 2015) SOCIAL JUSTICE We held that the law and jurisprudence guarantee security of tenure to every employee. However, in protecting the rights of the workers, the law does not authorize the oppression or self-destruction of the employer. Social justice does not mean that every labor dispute shall automatically be decided in favor of labor. Thus, the Constitution and the law equally recognize the employer’s right and prerogative to manage its operation according to reasonable standards and norms of fair play. (Paredes v. Feed the Children Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 184397, 9 September 2015)


*** CIVIL LAW HUMAN RELATIONS; Principle of abuse of rights Article 19 of the Civil Code, known to contain what is commonly referred to as the principle of abuse of rights, sets certain standards which must be observed not only in the exercise of one's rights, but also in the performance of one's duties. These standards are the following: to act with justice; to give everyone his due; and to observe honesty and good faith. The law, therefore, recognizes a primordial limitation on all rights; that in their exercise, the norms of human conduct set forth in Article 19 must be observed. A right, though by itself legal because recognized or granted by law as such, may nevertheless become the source of some illegality. When a right is exercised in a manner which does not conform with the norms enshrined in Article 19 and results in damage to another, a legal wrong is thereby committed for which the wrongdoer must be held responsible. But while Article 19 lays down a rule of conduct for the government of human relations and for the maintenance of social order, it does not provide a remedy for its violation. Generally, an action for damages under either Article 20 or Article 21 would be proper. (Ardiente v. Pastorfide, G.R. No. 161921, 17 July 2013) DAMAGES; Damnum Absque Injuria “One who makes use of his own legal right does no injury. Qui jure suo utitur nullum damnum facit. If damage results from a person’s exercising his legal rights, it is damnum absque injuria.” In this case, respondents failed to prove by preponderance of evidence that there is fault or negligence on the part of petitioners in order to oblige them to pay for the alleged damage sustained as a result of their suspension as Club members. Certainly, membership in the Club is a privilege. Regular members are entitled to use all the facilities and privileges of the Club, subject to its rules and regulations. As correctly pointed out by petitioners, the mental anguish respondents experienced, assuming to be true, was brought upon them by themselves for deliberately and consciously violating the rules and regulations of the Club. Considering that respondents were validly suspended, there is no reason for the Club to compensate them. (The Orchard Gold & Country Club, Inc., et al vs. Ernesto Yu and Manuel C. Yuhico, G.R. No. 191033, 11 January 2016) FUNERALS; Death It should be emphasized that the internal organs of the deceased were removed only after he had been declared brain dead; thus, the emotional pain suffered by respondent due to the death of her son cannot in any way be attributed to petitioner. Neither can the Court find evidence on record to show that respondent's emotional suffering at the sight of the pitiful state in which she found her son's lifeless body be categorically attributed to petitioner's conduct. (Lim vs. Security Bank Corporation, G.R. No. 188539, 12 March 2014) EASEMENTS; Servient estate While Article 630 of the Code provides for the general rule that "the owner of the servient estate retains the ownership of the portion on which the easement is established, and may use the same in such a manner as not to affect the exercise of the easement," Article 635 thereof is specific in saying that "all matters concerning easements established for public or communal use shall be governed by the special laws and regulations relating thereto, and, in the absence thereof, by the provisions of this Title Title VII on Easements or Servitudes." (Pilar Development Corporation v. Dumadag, G.R. No. 194336, March 11, 2013) PROPERTY; Properties of public dominion Properties of public dominion, being for public use, are not subject to levy, encumbrance or disposition through public or private sale. Any encumbrance, levy on execution or auction sale of any property of public dominion is void for being contrary to public policy. Otherwise,


essential public services would stop if properties of public dominion would be subject to encumbrances, foreclosures and auction sale. (GEMASCO v. NHA, G.R. No. 175417, 9 February 2015). PROPERTY; Regalian Doctrine Under the Regalian Doctrine, which is embodied in our Constitution, all lands of the public domain belong to the State, which is the source of any asserted right to any ownership of land. All lands not appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed to belong to the State. Accordingly, public lands not shown to have been reclassified or released as alienable agricultural land, or alienated to a private person by the State, remain part of the inalienable public domain. The burden of proof in overcoming the presumption of State ownership of the lands of the public domain is on the person applying for registration, who must prove that the land subject of the application is alienable or disposable. To overcome this presumption, incontrovertible evidence must be presented to establish that the land subject of the application is alienable or disposable. (Republic v. Lualhati, G.R. No. 183511, 25 March 2015) PROPERTY; Accion Reivindicatoria The MTCC and the CA are correct that the meat of the controversy between herein parties is the actual boundaries or the metes and bounds of their respective lots. On this matter, Manalang v. Bacani, 745 SCRA 27 (2015), is quite instructive: x x x a boundary dispute must be resolved in the context of accion reivindicatoria, not an ejectment case. The boundary dispute is not about possession, but encroachment, that is, whether the property claimed by the defendant formed part of the plaintiff’s property. A boundary dispute cannot be settled summarily under Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, the proceedings under which are limited to unlawful detainer and forcible entry. In unlawful detainer, the defendant unlawfully withholds the possession of the premises upon the expiration or termination of his right to hold such possession under any contract, express or implied. The defendant’s possession was lawful at the beginning, becoming unlawful only because of the expiration or termination of his right of possession. In forcible entry, the possession of the defendant is illegal from the very beginning, and the issue centers on which between the plaintiff and the defendant had the prior possession de facto. (Javier v. De Guzman, G.R. No. 186204, 2 September 2015) Opposing possessory rights over certain areas of adjacent lots, arising from claims of ownership thereof, cannot be resolved in a summary action such as an ejectment suit. The issues involved in such a controversy should be fully threshed out in an action like accion reivindicatoria, especially when plaintiff fails to establish actual prior possession. In a much earlier ruling of this Court, it was already held therein that “[i]f [a party] is indeed the owner of the premises subject of this suit and she was unlawfully deprived of the real right of possession or the ownership thereof, she should present her claim before the regional trial court in an accion publiciana or an accion reivindicatoria, and not before the municipal trial court in a summary proceeding of unlawful detainer or forcible entry.” (Javier v. De Guzman, G.R. No. 186204, 2 September 2015) PROPERTY; Estoppel against tenants Article 1436 of the Civil Code provides that “[a] lessee or bailee is estopped from asserting title to the thing leased or received, as against the lessor or bailor.” In addition, the conclusive presumption found in Section 2 (b), Rule 131 of the Rules of Court known as estoppel against tenants provides as follows: Sec. 2. Conclusive presumptions. – The following are instances of conclusive presumptions: x x x x (b) the tenant is not permitted to deny the title of his landlord at the time of the commencement of the relation of landlord and tenant between them. It is clear from the above quoted provision that what a tenant is estopped from denying is the title of his landlord at the time of the commencement of the landlord-tenant relation. If the title asserted is


one that is alleged to have been acquired subsequent to the commencement of that relation, the presumption will not apply. (Trinidad v. Imson, G.R. No. 197728, 16 September 2015) PROPERTY; Ownership and possession At the outset, the Court notes that both parties anchor their right to possess the disputed property on their supposed ownership of the same. Thus, the courts are left with no recourse but to resolve the issue of ownership for the sole purpose of determining as to who between the parties is entitled to possess the subject condominium unit. However, as held by the CA, where the issue of ownership is inseparably linked to that of possession, adjudication of the ownership issue is not final and binding, but only for the purpose of resolving the issue of possession. The adjudication of the issue of ownership is only provisional, and not a bar to an action between the same parties involving title to the property. (Trinidad v. Imson, G.R. No. 197728, 16 September 2015) The resolution of the issue of ownership, however, would entail going into factual matters. Settled is the rule that questions of fact are not reviewable in petitions for review of certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Section 1 of Rule 45 states that petitions for review on certiorari shall raise only questions of law which must be distinctly set forth. Doubtless, in the instant case, the issue of whether respondent possesses the subject property as owner, or whether she occupies the same as a lessee, is a question of fact. Thus, as a rule, it is not reviewable. Nonetheless, the Court has, at times, allowed exceptions from the above restriction. (Trinidad v. Imson, G.R. No. 197728, 16 September 2015) The fact that the Deed of Assignment and Transfer of Rights was put in writing and notarized does note accord it the quality on incontrovertibility otherwise provided by the Parole Evidence Rule. The rule on parole evidence is not, as it were, ironclad. Thus the second paragraph of Section 9, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court provides the exceptions, to wit: Section 9. Evidence of written agreements. – x x x However, a party may present evidence to modify, explain or add to the terms of written agreement if he puts in issue in his pleading: (a) an intrinsic ambiguity, mistake or imperfection on the written agreement; (b) the failure of the written agreement to express the true intent and agreement of the parties thereto; (c) the validity of the written agreement; or (d) the existence of other terms agreed to by the parties or their successors-ininterest after the execution of the written agreement. (Trinidad v. Imson, G.R. No. 197728, 16 September 2015) IMPLIED TRUST As to whether or not an implied trust was created in respondent’s favor, the first sentence of Article 1448 of the Civil Code provides that “[t]here is an implied trust when property is sold and the legal estate is granted to one party but the price is paid by another for the purpose of having the beneficial interest of the property.” This is sometimes referred to as purchase money resulting trust, the elements of which are: (a) an actual payment of money, property or services, or an equivalent, constituting valuable consideration; and (b) such consideration must be furnished by the alleged beneficiary of a resulting trust. The principle of a resulting trust is based on the equitable doctrine that valuable consideration, not legal title, determines the equitable title or interest and are presumed always to have been contemplated by the parties. They arise from the nature or circumstances of the consideration involved in a transaction whereby one person thereby becomes invested with legal title but is obligated in equity to hold his legal title for the benefit of another. (Trinidad v. Imson, G.R. No. 197728, 16 September 2015) IMPLIED TRUST; Intent Intention – although only presumed, implied or supposed by law from the nature of the transaction or from the facts and circumstances accompanying the transaction, particularly the source of the consideration – is always an element of a resulting trust and may be inferred from


the acts or conduct of the p[arties rather than from direct expression of conduct. Certainly, intent as an indispensable element, is a matter that necessarily lies in the evidence, that is, by evidence, even circumstantial, of statements made by the parties at or before the time title passes. Because an implied trust is neither dependent upon an express agreement nor required to be evidenced in writing, Article 1457 of our Civil Code authorizes the admission of parole evidence to prove their existence. Parole evidence that is required to establish the existence of an implied trust necessarily has to be trustworthy and it cannot rest on loose, equivocal or indefinite declarations. (Trinidad v. Imson, G.R. No. 197728, 16 September 2015)

RECONVEYANCE OF TITLE; Better right The established legal principle in actions for annulment or reconveyance of title is that a party seeking it should establish not merely by a preponderance of evidence but by clear and convincing evidence that the land sought to be reconveyed is his. Article 434 of the Civil Code provides that to successfully maintain an action to recover the ownership of a real property, the person who claims a better right to it must prove two (2) things: first, the identity of the land claimed, and; second, his title thereto. In an action to recover, the property must be identified, and the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his title and not on the weakness of the defendant's claim. (VSD Realty & Development Corporation v. Uniwide Sales, Inc, G.R. No. 170677, 31 July 2013) CONTRACTS; Stipulations of the parties Parties are free to enter into agreements and stipulate as to the terms and conditions of their contract, but such freedom is not absolute; Hence, if the stipulations in the contract are valid, the parties thereto are bound to comply with them, since such contract is the law between the parties. (Mallari v. Prudential Bank (now BPI), G.R. No. 197861, 5 June 2013) A contract of adhesion is as binding as ordinary contracts, the reason being that the party who adheres to the contract is free to reject it entirely. Contrary to petitioner's contention, not every contract of adhesion is an invalid agreement. (Cabanting vs. BPI Family Savings Bank, Inc., G.R. No. 201927, 17 February 2016) CONTRACTS TO SELL; Stipulation by the parties The two conditional deeds of sale entered into by the parties are contracts to sell, as they both contained a stipulation that ownership of the properties shall not pass to the vendee until after full payment of the purchase price. In a conditional sale, as in a contract to sell, ownership remains with the vendor and does not pass to the vendee until full payment of the purchase price. The full payment of the purchase price partakes of a suspensive condition, and nonfulfillment of the condition prevents the obligation to sell from arising. To differentiate, a deed of sale is absolute when there is no stipulation in the contract that title to the property remains with the seller until full payment of the purchase price. (Manuel Uy & Sons, Inc. v. Valbueco, Incorporated, G.R. No. 179594, 11 September 2013) EXTINGUISHMENT OF CONTRACTS; Compensation The act of withholding service fees/commissions and applying them to the outstanding obligation with the former obligation is merely an acknowledgment of the legal compensation that occurred by operation of law between the parties. Compensation is a mode of extinguishing to the concurrent amount the obligations of persons who in their own right and as principals are reciprocally debtors and creditors of each other. Legal compensation takes place by operation of law when all the requisites are present, as opposed to conventional compensation which takes place when the parties agree to compensate their mutual obligations even in the absence of some requisites. Legal compensation requires the concurrence of the following conditions: (1) That each one of the obligors be bound principally, and that he be at


the same time a principal creditor of the other; (2) That both debts consist in a sum of money, or if the things due are consumable, they be of the same kind, and also of the same quality if the latter has been stated; (3) That the two debts be due; (4) That they be liquidated and demandable; (5) That over neither of them there be any retention or controversy, commenced by third persons and communicated in due time to the debtor. (Mondragon Personal Sales, Inc. v. Sola, Jr., G.R. No. 174882, 21 January 2013) SUCCESSION; Donation Mortis Causa It is not amiss to point that the execution of Pardo of donation mortis causa in favor of petitioner does not immediately transfer title to the property to the latter. Considering that the alleged donation is one of mortis causa, the same partake of the nature of testamentary provision.29 As such, said deed must be executed in accordance with the requisites on solemnities of wills and testaments under Articles 80530 and 80631 of the New Civil Code; otherwise, the donation is void and would produce no effect.32 Unless and until the alleged donation is probated, i.e., proved and allowed in the proper court, no right to the subject property has been transmitted to petitioner. (Bascara v. Javier, G.R. No. 188069, 17 June 2015) SALES; Contract to Sell vs. Contract of Sale In a contract of sale, the title to the property passes to the vendee upon the delivery of the thing sold whereas in a contract to sell, the ownership is, by agreement, retained by the vendor and is not to pass to the vendee until full payment of the purchase price. In a contract of sale, the vendee's non-payment of the price is a negative resolutory condition, while in a contract to sell, the vendee's full payment of the price is a positive suspensive condition to the coming into effect of the agreement. In the first case, the vendor has lost and cannot recover the ownership of the property unless he takes action to set aside the contract of sale. In the second case, the title simply remains in the vendor if the vendee does not comply with the condition precedent of making payment at the time specified in the contract. Verily, in a contract to sell, the prospective vendor binds himself to sell the property subject of the agreement exclusively to the prospective vendee upon fulfilment of the condition agreed upon which is the full payment of the purchase price but reserving to himself the ownership of the subject property despite delivery thereof to the prospective buyer. (Danan v. Spouses Serrano and Reyes, G.R. No. 195072, 1 August 2016) MACEDA LAW; cancellation of contract to sell When there is failure on the part of the seller to comply with the requirements prescribed by RA No. 6552 insofar as the cancellation of a contract to sell is concerned, the Court shall not hesitate in upholding the sale, albeit being subject to the full payment by the buyer of the purchase price. (Danan v. Spouses Serrano and Reyes, G.R. No. 195072, 1 August 2016)

SALES; Redemption Redemption within the period allowed by law is not a matter of intent but a question of payment or valid tender of the full redemption price. It is irrelevant whether the mortgagor is diligent in asserting his or her willingness to pay. What counts is that the full amount of the redemption price must be actually paid; otherwise, the offer to redeem will be ineffectual and the purchaser may justly refuse acceptance of any sum that is less than the entire amount. (GE Money Bank, Inc. v. Sps. Dizon, G.R. No. 184301, 23 March 2015) There is no cogent reason for requiring the vendee to accept payment by installments from the redemptioner, as it would ultimately result in an indefinite extension of the redemption period. (GE Money Bank, Inc. v. Sps. Dizon, G.R. No. 184301, 23 March 2015, citing Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. v. Spouses Tan, et al. 590 Phil 827, 843 [2008])


To be valid and effective, the offer to redeem must be accompanied by an actual tender of the redemption price. Redemption price should either be fully offered in legal tender or validly consigned in court. Only by such means can the auction winner be assured that the offer to redeem is being made in good faith. (GE Money Bank, Inc. v. Sps. Dizon, G.R. No. 184301, 23 March 2015). It has been the policy of the law to aid rather than defeat the right of redemption. Where no injury will follow, a liberal construction is given to our redemption laws as well as to the exercise of the right of redemption. Thus, in the following cases, the Supreme Court favorably ruled for the original owner, successor-in-interest or redemptioner: 1. Voluntary agreement of the parties The one-year period of redemption provided in Act No. 3135, as amended, is only directory and can be extended by agreement of the parties. When the parties voluntarily agree to extend the redemption period, the concept of legal redemption is converted into conventional redemption. However, two (2) requisites must be established, to wit: (a) voluntary agreement of the parties to extend the redemption period; and (b) the debtor's commitment to pay the redemption price on a fixed date. 2. Mortgagee is estopped from asserting that the one-year redemption period already elapsed In Ibaan Rural Bank Inc. v. Court of Appeals, the sheriff unilaterally and arbitrarily extended the period of redemption to two years. The parties were not even privy to the extension made by the sheriff. However, the Supreme Court ruled that the bank cannot, after two years had elapsed, insist that the redemption period was only one year. When it received a copy of the certificate of sale registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds, it was deemed to have actual and constructive knowledge of the certificate and its contents. The bank was found guilty of estoppel in pais. By its silence and inaction, it was considered that the mortgagors were misled to believe that they had two years within which to redeem the subject lots. 3. Substantial compliance by the mortgagor/successor-in-interest/ redemptioner In Doronilla v. Vasquez, the third-party claimant offered to redeem the property despite the expiration of the period provided by law and, at the same time, deposited with the provincial sheriff a sum covering the full amount of the purchase price at the auction sale plus the corresponding interest. It was admitted that if the time during which the civil case (to set aside the auction sale and to declare the third-party claimant as absolute owner of the property) was pending is not deducted, the exercise of the right to redeem was beyond the twelve-month period. However, equitable consideration was invoked, arguing that it would be unfair to count the period of pendency of the civil case because the third-party claimant could not be expected to assert merely the right of redemption when in said action he specifically sought to be declared as the absolute owner of the property. To promote justice and avoid injustice, the Court allowed the exercise of the right of redemption. On the last day of the one-year redemption period, one of the judgment debtors in Castillo, et al. v. Nagtalon, et al. deposited with the deputy sheriff a sum which represented 1/12 of the consideration of the execution sale plus 1% interest


thereon. Said amount was found to be insufficient to effectively release the subject properties. Nonetheless, because the tender of payment was timely made and in good faith (since it was based on the honest mistake that the obligation under the judgment is merely "joint"), the Court gave the opportunity to complete the redemption within 15 days from the time the decision becomes final and executory. (GE Money Bank, Inc. v. Sps. Dizon, G.R. No. 184301, 23 March 2015).

SALES; Indefinite Right of Repurchase This Court frowned upon agreements indicating indefinite stipulations for the exercise of the right to repurchase and restricted the redemption period to ten (10) years from the date of the contract of sale, in consonance with the provisions of the Civil Code. Accordingly, when vendors a retro were granted the right to repurchase properties sold "at any time they have the money," "in the month of March of any year," or "at any time after the first year," this Court had not hesitated in imposing the ten (10)-year period, the expiration of which effectively bars redemption of the subject properties.30 Similarly, there have been numerous Occasions31 wherein We invalidated stipulations permitting the repurchase of property only after the lapse of at least ten (10) years from the date of the execution of the contract for being in contravention of the limitation mandated by the Civil Code provision. Waivers of such period were likewise held to be void for being against public policy. (Cebu State College v. Misterio, G.R. No. 179025, 17 June 2015) SALES; Absence of Date of Agreement of Repurchase Article 1606 expressly provides that in the absence of an agreement as to the period within which the vendor a retro may exercise his right to repurchase, the same must bed one within four (4) years from the execution of the contract. In the event the contract specifies a period, the same cannot exceed ten (10) years. Thus, whether it be for a period of four (4) or ten (10) years, this Court consistently implements the law and limits the period within which the right to repurchase may be exercised, adamantly striking down as illicit stipulations providing for an unlimited right to repurchase. Indubitably, it would be rather absurd to permit respondents to repurchase the subject property upon the occurrence of the second suspensive condition, particularly, the relocation of SAHS on October 3, 1997, the time when petitioner ceded the property to the Province of Cebu, which is nearly forty-one (41) years after the execution of the Deed of Sale on December 31, 1956. This Court must, therefore, place it upon itself to suppress these kinds of attempts in keeping with the fundamentally accepted principles of law. (Cebu State College v. Misterio, G.R. No. 179025, 17 June 2015)

SALES; Foreclosure sale; Redemption; Writ of Possession A writ of possession obtained by a mortgagee-purchaser in a foreclosure sale, after the expiration of the redemption period, may be enforced against the successor-in-interest of the mortgagor. Conversely, the successor-in-interest of the mortgagee-purchaser in a foreclosure sale, who already obtained title over the foreclosed property, may be issued a writ of possession as against the mortgagor who remains in possession of the subject property. To immediately require the subsequent purchaser to file a separate case of ejectment instead of a petition for the issuance of a writ of possession will only prolong the proceedings and unduly deny the subsequent purchaser of possession of the property which he already bought, as his right to such possession is simply a natural and necessary incident of his right as an absolute owner of the property. (Javate v. Spouses Tiotuico, G.R. No. 187606, 9 March 2015)


ASSIGNMENT OF CREDIT "An assignment of credit is an agreement by virtue of which the owner of a credit, known as the assignor, by a legal cause, such as sale, dation in payment, exchange or donation, and without the consent of the debtor, transfers his credit and accessory rights to another, known as the assignee, who acquires the power to enforce it to the same extent as the assignor could enforce it against the debtor. It may be in the form of sale, but at times it may constitute a dation in payment, such as when a debtor, in order to obtain a release from his debt, assigns to his creditor a credit he has against a third person." As a dation in payment, the assignment of credit operates as a mode of extinguishing the obligation; the delivery and transmission of ownership of a thing (in this case, the credit due from a third person) by the debtor to the creditor is accepted as the equivalent of the performance of the obligation. (BSP v. Libo – on, G.R. No. 173864, 23 November 2015) It is true that the character of the transactions between the parties is not only determined by the language used in the document but by their intention. It must be stressed, however, that the intent of the parties to the transaction is to be determined in the first instance, by the very language which they used. A deed of assignment usually contains language which suggests that the parties intended to effect a complete alienation of title to and rights over the receivables which are the subject of the assignment. This language is comprised of works like "remise," "release and quitclaim" and clauses like "the title and right of possession to said accounts receivable is to remain in said assignee" who "shall have the right to collect directly from the debtor." The same intent is also suggested by the use of the words "agent and representative of the assignee" in referring to the assignor. This concept of complete alienation of title and rights in an assignment of credit is lacking. Thus, in the absence of such absolute conveyance of title to qualify as an assignment of credit, the subject promissory note with trust receipt agreement should be interpreted as it is denominated. The contract being that of a mere loan, and because there was no valid assignment of credit, BSP's authority to foreclose the subject property has no leg to stand on. (BSP v. Libo – on, G.R. No. 173864, 23 November 2015) PLEDGE; Requisites It must be stressed that for a contract of pledge to be valid, it is necessary that: (1) the pledge is constituted to secure the fulfillment of a principal obligation;. (2) the pledgor be the absolute owner of the thing pledged; and (3) the person constituting the pledge has the free disposal of his property, and in the absence thereof, that he be legally authorized for the purpose. (BSP v. Libo – on, G.R. No. 173864, 23 November 2015) DAMAGES AND INTEREST; Guidelines To recapitulate and for future guidance, the guidelines laid down in the case of Eastern Shipping Lines are accordingly modified to embody BSP-MB Circular No. 799, as follows: I.

When an obligation, regardless of its source, i.e., law, contracts, quasi-contracts, delicts or quasi-delicts is breached, the contravenor can be held liable for damages. The provisions under Title XVIII on "Damages" of the Civil Code govern in determining the measure of recoverable damages.

II. With regard particularly to an award of interest in the concept of actual and compensatory damages, the rate of interest, as well as the accrual thereof, is imposed, as follows: a. When the obligation is breached, and it consists in the payment of a sum of money, i.e., a loan or forbearance of money, the interest due should be that which may have been stipulated in writing. Furthermore, the interest due shall itself earn legal interest from the time it is judicially demanded. In the absence of stipulation, the rate of interest shall


be 6% per annum to be computed from default, i.e., from judicial or extrajudicial demand under and subject to the provisions of Article 1169 of the Civil Code. b. When an obligation, not constituting a loan or forbearance of money, is breached, an interest on the amount of damages awarded may be imposed at the discretion of the court at the rate of 6% per annum. No interest, however, shall be adjudged on unliquidated claims or damages, except when or until the demand can be established with reasonable certainty. Accordingly, where the demand is established with reasonable certainty, the interest shall begin to run from the time the claim is made judicially or extrajudicially (Art. 1169, Civil Code), but when such certainty cannot be so reasonably established at the time the demand is made, the interest shall begin to run only from the date the judgment of the court is made (at which time the quantification of damages may be deemed to have been reasonably ascertained). The actual base for the computation of legal interest shall, in any case, be on the amount finally adjudged. c. When the judgment of the court awarding a sum of money becomes final and executory, the rate of legal interest, whether the case falls under paragraph 1 or paragraph 2, above, shall be 6% per annum from such finality until its satisfaction, this interim period being deemed to be by then an equivalent to a forbearance of credit.

And, in addition to the above, judgments that have become final and executory prior to 1 July 2013, shall not be disturbed and shall continue to be implemented applying the rate of interest fixed therein. (Nacar v. Gallery Frames, G.R. No. 189871, 13 August 2013) (See also: Cabanting v. BPI Family Savings Bank, Inc., G.R. No. 201927, 17 February 2016; Heirs of Leanro Natividad and Juliana V. Natividad v. Mauricio-Natividad, G.R. No. 198434, 25 February 2016) ATTORNEY’S FEES; Right to litigate Finding that none of the exceptions under Article 2208 of the New Civil Code is present in this case, the Court agrees with the CA and the CIAC that the parties’ claims for attorney’s fees must be denied. As held in ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation v. Court of Appeals: The general rule is that attorney’s fees cannot be recovered as part of damages because of the policy that no premium should be placed on the right to litigate. They are not to be awarded every time a party wins a suit. The power of the court to award attorney’s fees under Article 2208 demands factual, legal, and equitable justification. Even when a claimant is compelled to litigate with third persons or to incur expenses to protect his rights, still attorney’s fees may not be awarded where no sufficient showing of bad faith could be reflected in a party’s persistence in a case other than an erroneous conviction of the righteousness of his cause. (Malayan Insurance Company, Inc. vs. St. Francis Square Realty Corporation, G.R. No. 198916-17, 11 January 2016)

TORTS; Vicarious Liability Article 2180, in relation to Article 2176, of the Civil Code provides that the employer of a negligent employee is liable for the damages caused by the latter. When an injury is caused by the negligence of an employee there instantly arises a presumption of the law that there was negligence on the part of the employer either in the selection of his employee or in the supervision over him after such selection. The presumption, however, may be rebutted by a clear showing on the part of the employer that it had exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of his employee. Hence, to escape solidary liability for quasi-delict committed by an employee, the employer must adduce sufficient proof


that it exercised such degree of care. In this case, the petitioner failed to do so. (Travel & Tours Advisers, Incorporated vs. Cruz, Sr., G.R. No. 199282, 14 March 2016)

MARRIAGE; Declaration of absolute nullity A declaration of the absolute nullity of a marriage is now explicitly required either as a cause of action or a ground for defense. It has been held in a number of cases that a judicial declaration of nullity is required before a valid subsequent marriage can be contracted; or else, what transpires is a bigamous marriage, reprehensible and immoral. (People v. Odtuhan, G.R. No. 191566, 17 July 2013) MARRIAGE; Absence of a Marriage License To be considered void on the ground of absence of a marriage license, the law required that the absence or such marriage license must be apparent on the marriage contract, or at the very least, supported by a certification from the local civil registrar that no such marriage license was issued to the parties. (Kho vs. Republic, G.R. No. 187462, 1 June 2016)

INSURANCE; Loss and damage The words “loss” and “damage” mean different things in common ordinary usage. The word “loss” refers to the act or fact of losing, or failure to keep possession, while the word “damage” means deterioration or injury to property. “Malicious damage,” as provided for in the subject policy as one of the exceptions from coverage, is the damage that is the direct result from the deliberate or willful act of the insured, members of his family, and any person in the insured’s service, whose clear plan or purpose was to cause damage to the insured vehicle for purposes of defrauding the insurer. (Alpha Insurance and Surety Co. v. Castor, G.R. No. 198174, 2 September 2013) BANKS; Independence principle The so-called "independence principle" assures the seller or the beneficiary of prompt payment independent of any breach of the main contract and precludes the issuing bank from determining whether the main contract is actually accomplished or not. Under this principle, banks assume no liability or responsibility for the form, sufficiency, accuracy, genuineness, falsification or legal effect of any documents, or for the general and/or particular conditions stipulated in the documents or superimposed thereon, nor do they assume any liability or responsibility for the description, quantity, weight, quality, condition, packing, delivery, value or existence of the goods represented by any documents, or for the good faith or acts and/or omissions, solvency, performance or standing of the consignor, the carriers, or the insurers of the goods, or any other person whomsoever. (Philippine National Bank v. San Miguel Corporation, G.R. No. 186063, 15 January 2014) TRUST; Implied and express trust A deeper analysis of Article 1456 reveals that it is not a trust in the technical sense for in a typical trust, confidence is reposed in one person who is named a trustee for the benefit of another who is called the cestuique trust, respecting property which is held by the trustee for the benefit of the cestuique trust. A constructive trust, unlike an express trust, does not emanate from, or generate a fiduciary relation. While in an express trust, a beneficiary and a trustee are linked by confidential or fiduciary relations, in a constructive trust, there is neither a promise nor any fiduciary relation to speak of and the so-called trustee neither accepts any trust nor intends holding the property for the beneficiary. Unlike in express trusts and resulting implied trusts where a trustee cannot acquire by prescription any property entrusted to him unless he repudiates the trust, in constructive implied trusts, the trustee may acquire the property through prescription even if he does not repudiate the relationship. It is then incumbent upon


the beneficiary to bring an action for reconveyance before prescription bars the same. (Iglesia Filipina Independiente v. Heirs of Bernardino Taeza, G.R. No. 179597, 3 February 2014)

IMPLIED TRUST; Action for reconveyance It is now well-settled that an action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten years from the issuance of the Torrens title over the property. It has also been ruled that the ten-year prescriptive period begins to run from the date of registration of the deed or the date of the issuance of the certificate of title over the property. (Iglesia Filipina Independiente v. Heirs of Bernardino Taeza, G.R. No. 179597, 3 February 2014) SURETYSHIP; Obligation of a surety The surety's obligation is not an original and direct one for the performance of his own act, but merely accessory or collateral to the obligation contracted by the principal. Nevertheless, although the contract of a surety is in essence secondary only to a valid principal obligation, his liability to the creditor or promisee of the principal is said to be direct, primary and absolute; in other words, he is directly and equally bound with the principal. A surety is considered in law as being the same party as the debtor in relation to whatever is adjudged touching the obligation of the latter, and their liabilities are interwoven as to be inseparable. (Lim v. Security Bank Corporation, G.R. No. 188539, 12 March 2014) LAND REGISTRATION; Reliance on Certificate of Title of Registered Land It is a well-settled rule that every person dealing with registered land may safely rely on the correctness of the certificate of title issued therefor and the law will in no way oblige him to go beyond the certificate to determine the condition of the property. Where there is nothing in the certificate of title to indicate any cloud or vice in the ownership of the property, or any encumbrance thereon, the purchaser is not required to explore further than what the Torrens Title upon its face indicates in quest for any hidden defects or inchoate right that may subsequently defeat his right thereto. However, this rule shall not apply when the party has actual knowledge of facts and circumstances that would impel a reasonably cautious person to make such inquiry or when the purchaser has knowledge of a defect or the lack of title in his vendor or of sufficient facts to induce a reasonably prudent person to inquire into the status of the title of the property in litigation. (Tolentino v. Latagan, G.R. No. 179874, 22 June 2015)

LAND REGISTRATION; Forged document as source of valid title However, it has also been consistently ruled that that a forged or fraudulent document may become the root of a valid title, if the property has already been transferred from the name of the owner to that of the forger, and then to that of an innocent purchaser for value. This doctrine emphasizes that a person who deals with registered property in good faith will acquire good title from a forger and be absolutely protected by a Torrens title. This is because a prospective buyer of a property registered under the Torrens system need not go beyond the title, especially when she has no notice of any badge of fraud or defect that would place her on guard. 70 In view of such doctrine, the Court now resolves the second issue of whether or not Maria is an innocent purchaser for value. (Tolentino v. Latagan, G.R. No. 179874, 22 June 2015) LAND TITLES AND DEEDS; Original registration of title over the property The right to the original registration of title over the property is dependent on the existence of: (a) a declaration that the land is alienable and disposable at the time of the application for registration and (b) open and continuous possession in the concept of an owner through itself or through its predecessors-in-interest since 12 June 1945 or earlier. (Republic v. Roasa, G.R. No. 176022, 2 February 2015)


It has been repeatedly ruled that certifications issued by the CENRO, or specialists of the DENR, as well as Survey Plans prepared by the DENR containing annotations that the subject lots are alienable, do not constitute incontrovertible evidence to overcome the presumption that the property sought to be registered belongs to the inalienable public domain. It is important to prove alienability by presenting a copy of the original classification of the land approved by the DENR Secretary and certified as true copy by the legal custodian of the official records. Thus, as it now stands, an application for original registration must be accompanied by: (1) CENRO or PENRO certification; and (2) a copy of the original classification approved by the DENR Secretary and certified as a true copy by the legal custodian of the official records, in order to establish that the land is indeed alienable and disposable. (Republic v. Lualhati, G.R. No. 183511, 25 March 2015) LAND TITLES AND DEEDS; Tax declarations and receipts, not conclusive evidence of ownership It bears stressing that tax declarations and receipts are not conclusive evidence of ownership or of the right to possess land when not supported by any other evidence. The disputed property may have been declared for taxation purposes in the names of the applicants for registration, or of their predecessors-in-interest, but it does not necessarily prove ownership. They are merely indicia of a claim of ownership. (Republic v. Lualhati, G.R. No. 183511, 25 March 2015) It is a settled rule that albeit tax declarations and realty tax payment of property are not conclusive evidence of ownership, they are nonetheless good indicia of the possession in the concept of owner, for no one in his right mind would be paying taxes for a property that is not in his actual or at least constructive possession. Thus, her voluntary declaration of the subject property for taxation purposes and payment of such tax strengthens her bona fide claim of title over the property. (Tolentino v. Latagan, G.R. No. 179874, 22 June 2015) LAND TITLES AND DEEDS; Reconstitution of title and reconstitution of a registered interest The Torrens title is conclusive evidence with respect to the ownership of the land described therein, and other matters which can be litigated and decided in land registration proceedings.10 When the Torrens Certificate of Title has been lost or destroyed, RA No. 26 provides for a special procedure for the reconstitution of such title. (Ungay Malobago Mines, Inc. v. Republic, G.R. No. 187892, 14 January 2015) A petition for judicial reconstitution of a registered interest, lien or encumbrance, may be filed only when the certificate of title affected has not been totally destroyed, that is, when said certificate of title is composed of more than one sheet and only the portion of the additional sheet, on which such interest, lien or encumbrance was noted is missing. (Ungay Malobago Mines, Inc. v. Republic, G.R. No. 187892, 14 January 2015) LAND TITLES AND DEEDS; Adjudication of land in a cadastral or land registration proceeding Unlike ordinary civil actions, the adjudication of land in a cadastral or land registration proceeding does not become final, in the sense of incontrovertibility until after the expiration of one (1) year from the entry of the final decree of registration. As long as a final decree has not yet been entered by the LRA and the period of one (1) year has not elapsed from date of entry, the title is not finally adjudicated and the decision in the registration proceeding continues to be under the control and sound discretion of the court rendering it. In this case, the subject parcels of land were eventually registered in the names of petitioner and his sisters but less than a year later, respondents already filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition before the CA. Therefore, the principle that a Torrens title cannot be collaterally attacked does not apply. (Francisco v. Rojas, G.R. No. 167120, 23 April 2014)


LAND TITLES AND DEEDS; Proof of Alienable and Disposable Land To prove that a land is alienable, the existence of a positive act of the government, such as presidential proclamation or an executive order; an administrative action; investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators; and a legislative act or a statue declaring the land as alienable and disposable must be established. Hence, a public land remains part of the inalienable public domain unless it is shown to have been reclassified and alienated by the State to a private person. (Central Mindanao University vs. Republic, G.R. No. 195026, 22 February 2016) LAND TITLES AND DEEDS; Regalian Doctrine Under the Regalian doctrine, all lands of the public domain belong to the State, and that the State is the source of any asserted right to ownership of land and charged with the conservation of such patrimony. Also, the doctrine states that all lands not otherwise appearing to be clearly within private ownership are presumed to belong to the State. Consequently, the person applying for registration has the burden of proof to overcome the presumption of the ownership of lands of the public domain. (Central Mindanao University vs. Republic, G.R. No. 195026, 22 February 2016) *** TAXATION LAW LOCAL TAXATON; power to tax of the local government unit The enactment by the Quezon City Council of the assailed ordinances was done in the exercise of its legislative, not judicial or quasi-judicial, function. Under Republic Act (R.A.) No.7160, or the Local Government Code of 1991 (LGC), local legislative power shall be exercised by the Sangguniang Panlungsod for the city. Said law likewise is specific in providing that the power to impose a tax, fee, or charge , or to generate revenue shall be exercised by the sanggunian of the local government unit concerned through an appropriate ordinance. (Ferrer v. Bautisata, G.R. No. 210551, 30 June 2015) TAXATION; Non-retroactivity of rulings Since the Commissioner has exclusive and original jurisdiction to interpret tax laws, taxpayers acting in good faith should not be made to suffer for adhering to general interpretative rules of the Commissioner interpreting tax laws, should such interpretation later turn out to be erroneous and be reversed by the Commissioner or this Court. Indeed, Section 246 of the Tax Code expressly provides that a reversal of a BIR regulation or ruling cannot adversely prejudice a taxpayer who, in good faith, relied on the BIR regulation or ruling prior to its reversal. (Team Energy Corporation [formerly Mirant Pagbilao Corp.] v. CIR, G.R. No. 197760, 13 January 2014) GROSS RECEIPTS; Defined “Gross receipts” refer to the total, as opposed to the net, income. These are, therefore, the total receipts before any deduction for the expenses of management. The word "gross" must be used in its plain and ordinary meaning. It is defined as whole, entire, and total, without deduction. Gross receipts should be interpreted as the whole amount received as interest, without deductions; otherwise, if deductions were to be made from gross receipts, it would be considered as “net receipts.” (China Banking Corporation v. CIR, G.R. No. 175108, 27 February 2013)

TAXATION; Tax delinquency sale While it has been ruled that the notices and publication, as well as the legal requirements for a tax delinquency sale under Presidential Decree No. 464 (otherwise known as the Real Property Tax Code), are mandatory and that failure to comply therewith can invalidate the sale in view


of the requirements of due process, the Supreme Court has equally held that the claim of lack of notice is a factual question. (Valbuenco, Inc. v. Province of Bataan, G.R. No. 173829, 10 June 2013) TAXATION; Tax refund The taxpayer claiming the refund must comply with the invoicing and accounting requirements mandated by the Tax Code, as well as the revenue regulations implementing them. He must show satisfaction of all the documentary and evidentiary requirements before an administrative claim for refund or tax credit will be granted. The absence of official receipts issued in the taxpayer’s name is tantamount to non-compliance with the substantiation requirements provided by law. (Bonifacio Water Corporation [formerly Bonifacio Vivendi Water Corporation] v. CIR, G.R. No. 175142, 22 July 2013) ASSESSMENT; prescription period to assess internal revenue taxes The CIR has three (3) years from the date of actual filing of the return or from the last day prescribed by law for the filing of the return, whichever is later, to assess internal revenue taxes. Here, GJM filed its Annual Income Tax return for the taxable year 1999 on April 12, 2000. The three (3)-year prescriptive period, therefore, was only until April 15, 2003. The records reveal that the BIR sent the FAN through registered mail on April 14, 2003, well-within the required period. The Court has held that when an assessment is made within the prescriptive period, as in the case at bar, receipt by the taxpayer may or may not be within said period. But it must be clarified that the rule does not dispense with the requirement that the taxpayer should actually receive the assessment notice, even beyond the prescriptive period. GJM, however, denies ever having received any FAN. (Commissioner of Internal Revenue vs. GJM Philippines Manufacturing, Inc., G.R. No. 202695, 29 February 2016) ASSESSMENT; Tax Declaration not notice of assessment In affirming the RTC, the CA did not err in ruling that the tax declarations cannot be validly considered as a notice of assessment under Section 27 of P.D. No. 464, thus: First, a tax declaration is issued pursuant to “Section22 of P.D. No. 464” which mandates “that upon discovery of real property, the provincial, city or municipal assessor shall make an appraisal and assessment of such real property in accordance with Section 5 of the law, irrespective of any previous assessment on taxpayers valuation thereon,” while a notice of assessment is issued pursuant to Section 27 of the law which mandates the “assessor x x x to give written notice within thirty days of such assessment, to the person in whose name the property is declared.” Second, a a tax declaration is mandated by Section 22 of P.D. No. 464 to be issued “upon discovery” by the assessor of the “real property” to be appraised and assessed, while a “written notice of assessment” as required by 27 of the same law has to be issued by the assessor “within thirty days” from “such assessment.” Third, no tax accrues as a result of the assessor’s issuance of a tax declaration, for at that time; the assessor is merely tasked by Section 22 of the law “to determine the assessed value of the property, meaning the value placed on taxable property for ad valorem tax purposes.” On the other hand, the written notice of assessment is what ripens into a demandable tax. (Pucyutan vs. Manila Electric Company, Inc., G.R. No. 197136, 18 April 2016) REAL PROPERTY TAX DISPUTES In disputes involving real property taxation, the general rule is to require the taxpayer to first avail of the administrative remedies and pay the tax under protest before allowing any resort to a judicial action, except when the assessment itself is alleged to be illegal or is made without legal authority. (Capitol Wireless, Inc. vs. Provincial Treasurer of Batangas, G.R. No. 180110, 30 May 2016)


REAL PROEPRTY TAX; UNCLOS/ Territoriality Under Part VI, Article 79 of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Philippines clearly has jurisdiction with respect to cable lain in its territory that are utilized in support of other installations and structures under its jurisdiction. (Capitol Wireless, Inc. vs. Provincial Treasurer of Batangas, G.R. No. 180110, 30 May 2016) VAT; Refunds or tax credits of input tax A VAT-registered taxpayer claiming for refund or tax credit of their excess and unutilized input VAT must file their administrative claim within two years from the close of the taxable quarter when the sales were made. After that, the taxpayer must await the decision or ruling of denial of its claim, whether full or partial, or the expiration of the 120-day period from the submission of complete documents in support of such claim. Once the taxpayer receives the decision or ruling of denial or expiration of the 120-day period, it may file its petition for review with the CTA within thirty (30) days. (Team Energy Corporation (formerly Mirant Pagbilao Corp.) v. CIR, G.R. No. 197760, 13 January 2014) VAT; input VAT as part of cost The Court finds no compelling reason to disturb the consistent findings of the CA and the CIAC that Input VAT should be allowed to remain in the ARCC. As aptly pointed out by the CA and the CIAC, ARCC refers to the actual expenditures made by Malayan to complete the project. The Court thus agrees with Malayan that in determining whether input VAT should be included as ARCC, the issue is not the technical classification of taxes under accounting rules, but whether such tax was incurred and paid as part of the construction cost. Given that input VAT is, strictly speaking, a financial cost and not a direct construction cost, it cannot be denied that Malayan had to pay input VAT as part of the contract price of goods and properties purchased, and services procured in order to complete the project. Moreover, that the burden of such tax was shifted to Malayan by its suppliers and contractors is evident from the photocopies of cash vouchers and official receipts on record, which separately indicated the VAT component in accordance with Section 113(B) of the Tax Code. (Malayan Insurance Company, Inc. vs. St. Francis Square Realty Corporation, G.R. No. 198916-17, 11 January 2016) VAT; Offsetting of input VAT Anent the claim that it would be unjust and inequitable if Malayan would be allowed to include its input VAT in the ARCC, as well as to offset such tax against its output tax, the Court finds that such coincidence does not result in unjust enrichment at the expense of St. Francis. Unjust enrichment claims do not lie simply because one party benefits from the efforts or obligations of others, but instead it must be shown that the efforts or obligations of others, but instead it must be shown that a party was unjustly enriched in the sense that the term unjustly could mean illegally or unlawfully. In offsetting its input VAT against output VAT, Malayan is merely availing of the benefits of the tax credit provisions of the law, and it cannot be said to have benefitted at the expense or to the damage of St. Francis. After all, Malayan is justified in including in the ARCC the input VAT it had paid as part of the contract price of the goods, properties and services it had procured to complete the project. (Malayan Insurance Company, Inc. vs. St. Francis Square Realty Corporation, G.R. No. 198916-17, 11 January 2016)

*** COMMERCIAL LAW BANKING LAW; Jurisdiction, BSP Governor’s authority to represent BSP Under Republic Act No. 7653, or the New Central Bank Act, the BSP Governor is authorized to represent the Bangko Sentral, either personally or through counsel, including private counsel,


as may be authorized by the Monetary Board, in any legal proceedings, action or specialized legal studies. Under the same law, the BSP Governor may also delegate his power to represent the BSP to other officers upon his own responsibility. (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas vs. Legaspi, G.R. No. 205966, 2 March 2016) CORPORATION LAW; Separate Legal Personality A corporation is still an artificial being invested by law with a personality separate and distinct from that of its stockholders and from that of other corporations to which it may be connected.53 It is not in every instance of inability to collect from a corporation that the veil of corporate fiction is pierced, and the responsible officials are made liable. Personal liability attaches only when, as enumerated by the said Section 31 of the Corporation Code, there is a wilfull and knowing assent to patently unlawful acts of the corporation, there is gross negligence or bad faith in directing the affairs of the corporation, or there is a conflict of interest resulting in damages to the corporation.54 Further, in another labor case, Pantranco Employees Association (PEA-PTGWO), et al. v. NLRC, et al.,55 the doctrine of piercing the corporate veil is held to apply only in three (3) basic areas, namely: ( 1) defeat of public convenience as when the corporate fiction is used as a vehicle for the evasion of an existing obligation; (2) fraud cases or when the corporate entity is used to justify a wrong, protect fraud, or defend a crime; or (3) alter ego cases, where a corporation is merely a farce since it is a mere alter ego or business conduit of a person, or where the corporation is so organized and controlled and its affairs are so conducted as to make it merely an instrumentality, agency, conduit or adjunct of another corporation. In the absence of malice, bad faith, or a specific provision of law making a corporate officer liable, such corporate officer cannot be made personally liable for corporate liabilities.56 Indeed, in Reahs Corporation v. NLRC,57 the conferment of liability on officers for a corporation's obligations to labor is held to be an exception to the general doctrine of separate personality of a corporation. (Guillermo vs. Uson, G.R. No. 198967, 7 March 2016) CORPORATION LAW; Piercing the Veil of Corporate Entity The existence of the corporate entity does not shield from prosecution the corporate agent who knowingly and intentionally caused the corporation to commit a crime. Thus, petitioners cannot hide behind the cloak of the separate corporate personality of the corporation to escape criminal liability. (Republic Gas Corporation v. Petron Corporation, G.R. No. 194062, 17 June 2013; See also: Guillermo vs. Uson, G.R. No. 198967, 7 March 2016; Landbank of the Philippines v. Belle Corporation, G.R. No. 205271, 2 September 2015 ) CORPORATION LAW; Intra-Corporate Controversies As for Guillermo's assertion that the case is an intra-corporate controversy, the Court sustains the finding of the appellate court that the nature of an action and the jurisdiction of a tribunal are determined by the allegations of the complaint at the time of its filing, irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein.71 Although Uson is also a stockholder and director of Royal Class Venture, it is settled in jurisprudence that not all conflicts between a stockholder and the corporation are intracorporate; an examination of the complaint must be made on whether the complainant is involved in his capacity as a stockholder or director, or as an employee.72 If the latter is found and the dispute does not meet the test of what qualities as an intra-corporate controversy, then the case is a labor case cognizable by the NLRC and is not within the jurisdiction of any other tribunal.73 In the case at bar, Uson's allegation was that he was maliciously and illegally dismissed as an Accounting Supervisor by Guillermo, the Company President and General Manager, an allegation that was not even disputed by the latter nor by Royal Class Venture. It raised no intra-corporate relationship issues between him and the corporation or Guillermo; neither did it raise any issue regarding the regulation of the corporation. As correctly found by the appellate court, Uson's complaint and redress sought were centered alone on his dismissal as an employee, and not upon any other relationship he had with the company or with


Guillermo. Thus, the matter is clearly a labor dispute cognizable by the labor tribunals. (Guillermo vs. Uson, G.R. No. 198967, 7 March 2016) TRANSPORTATION LAW; veering away of route Petitioner now claims that the bus was not out of line when the vehicular accident happened because the public utility bus franchise that the petitioner holds is for provincial operation from Manila=Ilocos=Norte/Cagayan-Manila, thus, the bus is allowed to traverse any point between Manila-Ilocos Norte/Cagayan-Manila. Such assertion is correct. “Verring away from the usual route” is different from being “out of line.” A public utility vehicle can and may veery away from its usual route as long as it does not go beyond its allowed route in its franchise, in this case, Manila-Ilocos Norte/Cagayan-Manila. Therefore, the bus cannot be considered to have violated the contents of its franchise. On the other hand, it is indisputable that the jeepney was traversing a road out of its allowed route. Necessarily, this case is not that of “in pari delicto” because only one party has violated a traffic regulation. As such, it would seem that Article 2185 of the New Civil Code is applicable where it provides that: Article 2185. Unless there is proof to the contrary, it is presumed that a person driving a motor vehicle has been negligent if at the time of the mishap, he was violating any traffic regulation. (Travel & Tours Advisers, Incorporated vs. Cruz, Sr., G.R. No. 199282, 14 March 2016)

TRANSPORTATION LAW; Liability of the registered owner It is for the better protection of the public for both the owner of record and the actual operator to be adjudged jointly and severally liable with the driver. The principle of holding the registered owner liable for damages notwithstanding that ownership of the offending vehicle has already been transferred to another is designed to protect the public and not as a shield on the part of unscrupulous transferees of the vehicle to take refuge in, in order to free itself from liability arising from its own negligent act. (R Transport Corporation v. Yu, G.R. No. 174161, 18 February 2015) INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW; Trademark The mere unauthorized use of a container bearing a registered trademark in connection with the sale, distribution or advertising of goods or services which is likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception among the buyers or consumers can be considered as trademark infringement. (Republic Gas Corporation v. Petron Corporation, G.R. No. 194062, 17 June 2013) TRUST RECEIPTS Suffice it to say that in a trust receipt transaction, the entrustee has the obligation to deliver to the entruster the price of the sale, or if the merchandise is not sold, to return the merchandise to the entruster. There are, therefore, two obligations in a trust receipt transaction: the first refers to money received under the obligation involving the duty to turn it over to the owner of the merchandise sold, while, the second refers to the merchandise received under the obligation to "return" it to the owner. Clearly, this concept of trust receipt is inconsistent with that of an assignment of credit where there is an absolute conveyance of title that would have in effect given authority to BSP to foreclose the subject mortgage. Without a valid assignment of credit, as in this case, BSF has no authority to foreclose the mortgaged property of the Spouses Libo-tin to the Rural Bank of Hinigaran. Moreso, BSP could not possibly sell the subject property without violating the prohibition against pactum commissorium since without a valid assignment of credit, BSP cannot ipso facto appropriate to itself the Spouses Libo-on's mortgaged property to the Rural Bank of Hinigaran. (BSP v. Libo – on, G.R. No. 173864, 23 November 2015)


*** CRIMINAL LAW CRIMINAL LIABILITY; When criminal liability attaches Settled is the rule that criminal culpability attaches to the offender upon the commission of the offense and from that instant, liability appends to him until extinguished as provided by law and that the time of filing of the criminal complaint or information is material only for determining prescription. (People v. Odtuhan, G.R. No. 191566, 17 July 2013)

CONSPIRACY; Liability of conspirators Once an express or implied conspiracy is proved, all of the conspirators are liable as coprincipals regardless of the extent and character of their respective active participation in the commission of the crime or crimes perpetrated in furtherance of the conspiracy because in contemplation of law the act of one is the act of all. The foregoing rule is anchored on the sound principle that "when two or more persons unite to accomplish a criminal object, whether through the physical volition of one, or all, proceeding severally or collectively, each individual whose evil will actively contributes to the wrong-doing is in law responsible for the whole, the same as though performed by himself alone." (People v. Go, G.R. No. 168549, 25 March 2014; see also: People v. Zabala, G.R. No. 203087, 23 November 2015) MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE; Lack of intention to commit so grave a wrong It is a hornbook doctrine that this mitigating circumstance can be taken into account only when the facts proven show that there is a notable and evident disproportion between the means employed to execute the criminal act and its consequences. The facts found by the trial court and the CA show that petitioner intended the natural consequence of his act. The observation of the OSG that petitioner's intention of inflicting such harm should be judged in accordance with his previous acts of abusing the victim, of regarding VVV as a mere adoptive child who is not his blood relative and petitioner's evident superiority of physique as a fully grown man inflicting harm upon a 9-year-old victim, and thus, when petitioner pressed the hot iron upon the body of the victim, it must be presumed that his intention was to physically abuse her since such act was sufficient to produce the evil which resulted from such act is also worth noting. (Ricardo Del Poso v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 210810, 7 December 2016). AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCE; Abuse of superior strength Abuse of superior strength is present whenever there is a notorious inequality of forces between the victim and the aggressor, assuming a situation of superiority of strength notoriously advantageous for the aggressor selected or taken advantage of by him in the commission of the crime. The fact that there were two persons who attacked the victim does not per se establish that the crime was committed with abuse of superior strength, there being no proof of the relative strength of the aggressors and the victim. The evidence must establish that the assailants purposely sought the advantage, or that they had the deliberate intent to use this advantage. To take advantage of superior strength means to purposely use excessive force out of proportion to the means of defense available to the person attacked. The appreciation of this aggravating circumstance depends on the age, size, and strength of the parties. (Gary Fantastico v. Malicse, Sr., G.R. No. 190912, 12 January 2015) QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCES; Evident Premeditation The essence of evident premeditation, on the other hand, is that the execution of the criminal act must be preceded by cool thought and reflection upon the resolution to carry out the criminal intent during a space of time sufficient to arrive at a calm judgment. For it to be appreciated, the following must be proven beyond reasonable doubt: (1) the time when the accused determined to commit the crime; (2) an act manifestly indicating that the accused clung to his


determination; and (3) sufficient lapse of time between such determination and execution to allow him to reflect upon the circumstances of his act. As aptly pointed out by the Office of the Solicitor General, the trial court conceded that the specific time when the accused determined to commit the crime, and the interval between such determination and execution, cannot be determined. After a careful review of the records, the Court agrees with the CA’s finding that no evidence was adduced to prove the first and third elements of evident premeditation. (People vs. Salahuddin, G.R. No. 206291, 18 January 2016) QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCES; Treachery In this case, the trial court correctly ruled that the fatal shooting of Atty. Segundo was attended by treachery because appellant shot the said victim suddenly and without any warning with a deadly weapon, thus: x x x Atty. Segundo G. Sotto, Jr., who was driving his jeep with his teenage niece as passenger sitting on his right side on the front seat, was totally unaware that he will be treacherously shot just 200 meters away from his residence. He was unarmed and was not given any opportunity to defend himself or to escape from the deadly assault. After he was hit when the gunman fired the first two shots at him and his niece and after he lost control of his jeep which bumped an interlink wire fence and stopped, he was again shot three times by the gunman. x x (People vs. Salahuddin, G.R. No. 206291, 18 January 2016) QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCES; Treachery On account of the fact that Severino was just casually conversing with Vicente at that time, his defenses were down. Naturally Severino was too stunned by the suddenness of the first stab blow at his back. As a result, the victim could no longer recover from the initial attack and the other stab blows inflicted made it more difficult for Severino to defend himself or retaliate. This is precisely the essence of treachery wherein the attack must be deliberate and without warning, done in a swift and unexpected manner, affording the hapless, unarmed and unsuspected victim no chance to resist or escape. Further, the strategy employed by the accused-appellant in carrying out the attack guaranteed that he will not be exposed to any risk which may arise from the defense the victim might make. (People vs. Roxas, G.R. No. 218396, 10 February) QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCES; Use of Firearm Meanwhile, the use of a motor vehicle is aggravating when it is used either to commit the crime or to facilitate escape, but not when the use thereof was merely incidental and was not purposely sought to facilitate the commission of the offense or to render the escape of the offender easier and his apprehension difficult. In People v. Herbias, the Court held: The use of motor vehicle may likewise be considered as an aggravating circumstance that attended the commission of the crime. The records show that assailants used a motorcycle in trailing and overtaking the jeepney driven by Saladio after which appellant’s back rider mercilessly riddled with his bullets the body of Jeremias. There is no doubt that the motorcycle was used as a means to commit the crime and to facilitate their escape after they accomplished their mission. (People vs. Salahuddin, G.R. No. 206291, 18 January 2016) COMPLEX CRIMES; Malversation of Public thru Falsification of Official The rulings in Pantaleon, Jr. and analogous cases are in keeping with the provisions of the RPC. Specifically, Article 48 of which states that in complex crimes, "the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period." Thus, in Malversation of Public Funds thru Falsification of Official/Public Documents, the prescribed penalties for malversation and falsification should be taken into account. Under the RPC, the penalty for malversation of public funds or property if the amount involved exceeds P22,000.00 shall be reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua, aside from perpetual special disqualification and a fine equal to the amount of the funds malversed or equal to the total value of the property embezzled. On the other hand, the penalty ofprision mayor and a fine not


to exceed P5,000.00 shall be imposed for falsification committed by a public officer.21 Considering that malversation is the more serious offense, the imposable penalty for Malversation of Public Funds thru Falsification of Official/Public Documents if the amount involved exceeds P22,000.00 is reclusion perpetua, it being the maximum period of the prescribed penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua. (People v. Valdez, G.R. Nos 216007-09, 8 December 2015) Indeed, the trial is yet to proceed and the prosecution must still prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. It is not amiss to point that in charging a complex crime, the information should allege each element of the complex offense with the same precision as if the two (2) constituent offenses were the subject of separate prosecutions. Where a complex crime is charged and the evidence fails to support the charge as to one of the component offenses, the defendant can be convicted of the offense proven. (People v. Valdez, G.R. Nos 216007-09, 8 December 2015) DEFENSE; Alibi Alibi is an inherently weak defense because it is easy to fabricate and highly unreliable. (People v. Gani, G.R. No. 195523, 5 June 2013; People v. Regaspi, G.R. No. 198309, 7 September 2015) ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT; Conspiracy of private persons with public officers Private persons, when acting in conspiracy with public officers, may be indicted and, if found guilty, held liable for the pertinent offenses under Section 3 of R.A. 3019, in consonance with the avowed policy of the anti-graft law to repress certain acts of public officers and private persons alike constituting graft or corrupt practices act or which may lead thereto. The requirement before a private person may be indicted for violation of Section 3(g) of R.A. 3019, among others, is that such private person must be alleged to have acted in conspiracy with a public officer. The law, however, does not require that such person must, in all instances, be indicted together with the public officer. If circumstances exist where the public officer may no longer be charged in court, as in the present case where the public officer has already died, the private person may be indicted alone. (People v. Go, G.R. No. 168549, 25 March 2014) DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; Elements For a successful prosecution of offenses involving the illegal sale of dangerous drugs under Section 5, Article II of R.A. 9165, all the following elements must be proven: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object of the sale, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. The delivery of the illicit drug to the poseur-buyer and the receipt of the marked money by the seller successfully consummate the buy-bust transaction. What is material, therefore, is the proof that the transaction or sale transpired, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti, as evidence. (People vs. Enad, G.R. No. 205764, 3 February 2016; See also: People vs. dela Cruz, G.R. No. 205414, 4 April 2016) DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; Chain of Custody Rule There are links that must be established in the chain of custody in a buy-bust situation, to wit: (1) the seizure and the marking, if practicable, of the illegal drug recovered from the accused by the apprehending officer; (2) the turnover of the illegal drug seized to the investigating officer; (3) the turnover by the investigating officer of the illegal drug to the forensic chemist for laboratory examination; and (4) turnover and submission of the illegal drug from the forensic chemist to the court. (Raut-Raut v. Gaputan, A.M. No. P-14-3214, 14 September 2015; People vs. Asislo, G.R. No. 206224, 18 January 2016; People vs. Enad, G.R. No. 205764, 3 February 2016; )


Noncompliance with the procedure outlined in Section 21, Article II of the IRR of RA 9165 shall no render void and invalid such seizure as long as the arresting officers successfully preserved the integrity and evidentiary value of the confiscated items. (Raut-Raut v. Gaputan, A.M. No. P14-3214, 14 September 2015;) DANGEROUS DRUGS; Importation and Possession of Drugs The crime of importation of regulated drugs is committed by importing or bringing any regulated drug into the Philippines without being authorized by law. If it is not proven that the regulated drugs are brought into the Philippines from a foreign origin, there is no importation. Importation was construed as the entry of products or substances into the Philippines through the seaports or airports of entry. Importation then, necessarily connotes the introduction of something into a certain territory coming from an external source. Logically, if the article merely came from the same territory, there cannot be any importation of the same. (People v. Chi Chan Liu, G.R. No. 189272, 21 January 2015). The illegal sale of dangerous drugs absorbs the illegal possession thereof except if the seller was also apprehended in the illegal possession of another quantity of dangerous drugs not covered by or not included in the illegal sale, and the other quantity of dangerous drugs was probably intended for some future dealings or use by the accused. Illegal possession of dangerous drugs is therefore an element of and is necessarily included in illegal sale. Hence, convicting the accused with the former does not violate his right to be informed of the accusation against him for it is an element of the latter. In a similar manner, considering that illegal possession is likewise an element of and is necessarily included in illegal importation of dangerous drugs, convicting appellants of the former, if duly established beyond reasonable doubt, does not amount to a violation of their right to be informed of the nature and cause of accusation against them. Indeed, where an accused is charged with a specific crime, he is duly informed not only of such specific crime but also of lesser crimes or offenses included therein. (People v. Chi Chan Liu, G.R. No. 189272, 21 January 2015). DANGEROUS DRUGS; Illegal sale For a successful prosecution of illegal sale of regulated or prohibited drugs, all of the following elements must be satisfied: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object of the sale, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and its payment. What matters is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of the prohibited or regulated drug, the corpus delicti, as evidence. (People v. Ros, G.R. No. 201146, 15 April 2015; People vs. Asislo, G.R. No. 206224, 18 January 2016; People v. Garrucho, G.R. No. 220449, 4 July 2016) BIGAMY; Elements What makes a person criminally liable for bigamy is when he contracts a second or subsequent marriage during the subsistence of a valid marriage. Parties to the marriage should not be permitted to judge for themselves its nullity, for the same must be submitted to the judgment of competent courts and only when the nullity of the marriage is so declared can it be held as void, and so long as there is no such declaration, the presumption is that the marriage exists. Therefore, he who contracts a second marriage before the judicial declaration of nullity of the first marriage assumes the risk of being prosecuted for bigamy. (People v. Odtuhan, G.R. No. 191566, 17 July 2013) BIGAMY; Subsequent nullity of first marriage, Immaterial The accused may still be charged with the crime of bigamy, even if there is a subsequent declaration of the nullity of the second marriage, so long as the first marriage was still subsisting when the second marriage was celebrated. (Capili v. People, G.R. No. 183805, 3 July 2013)


RAPE; Delay in prosecuting the Offense This Court also not persuaded by appellant's contention that AAA's delay in reporting the crime indicates that the accusations against him are false. The failure of complainant to disclose her defilement without loss of time to persons close to her or to report the matter to the authorities does not perforce warrant the conclusion that she was not sexually molested and that her charges against the accused are all baseless, untrue and fabricated. Delay in prosecuting the offense is not an indication of a fabricated charge. Many victims of rape never complain or file criminal charges against the rapists. They prefer to bear the ignominy and pain, rather than reveal their shame to the world or risk the offenders' making good their threats to kill or hurt their victims. (People of the Philippines v. Bensurto, G.R. No. 216061, 7 December 2016) RAPE; Lack of defense does not mean consent Regaspi likewise claims that it is unbelievable that he would attack AAA in a public place. Rape cases, however, are not always committed in seclusion. It is settled that list is no respecter of time or place, and rape defies constraints of time and space. He also points out that AAA did not seem to have offered any resistance during the supposed ordeal. For two (2) hours, there was no indication that she tried to punch, bite, or scratch the accused. She never shouted or cried for help. But the lack of resistance on the part of the complainant is not inconsistent with a claim of rape. Lack of resistance does not automatically mean that the complainant consented to the sexual act, especially when the accused had intimidated said person into submission. Here, AAA was not only intimidated but likewise rendered unconscious. True, there was no test conducted to determine that AAA was indeed drugged, but this is of little relevance as the same is no an indispensable element in the prosecution of rape. It is sufficient that the prosecution was able to prove that AAA had been sedated by Regaspi at the time the latter had carnal knowledge of her. (People v. Regaspi, G.R. No. 198309, 7 September 2015) INDETERMINATE SENTENCE LAW; Maximum Penalty Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the maximum of the indeterminate penalty is that which, taking into consideration the attending circumstances, could be properly imposed under the RPC. As the value of the auto parts stolen from Lim is in excess of P22,000.00, the penalty imposable is the maximum period of the penalty prescribed by Article 309, which is the maximum of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods. Since the penalty prescribed is composed of only two periods, Article 65 of the RPC requires the division into three equal portions the time included in the penalty, forming one period of each of the three portions. (Medina v. People, G.R. No. 182648, 17 June 2015)

INDETERMINATE SENTENCE LAW; Minimum Penalty The minimum of the indeterminate penalty shall be-anywhere within the range of the penalty next lower in degree to that prescribed for the offense, without first considering any modifying circumstance attendant to the commission of the crime. In this case, the pep.alty next lower in degree to that prescribed for the offense is prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, or anywhere from Two (2) years,. Four (4) months and One (1) day to Six (6) years. Thus, the trial court did not err when it sentenced Medina to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of Three (3) years, Six (6) months and Twenty-One (21) days of prision correccional, as minimum, to Eight (8) years, Eight (8) months and One (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum. (Medina v. People, G.R. No. 182648, 17 June 2015) Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act; pregnancy as aggravatingFor this crime, pregnancy or the presence of the woman's child are aggravating circumstances which increase the imposable penalty, thus, they must be alleged and proven with competent evidence for the penalty to be properly imposed. (Dinamling v People, G.R. No. 199522, 22 June 2015)


*** REMEDIAL LAW CIVIL PROCEDURE; Appeals At the outset, the Court notes that the instant case suffers from a procedural infirmity which this Court cannot ignore as it is fatal to petitioner's cause. What petitioner essentially assails in the present petition is the CA's denial of her motion to file an amended appellant's brief. It is settled that the remedy of a party against an adverse disposition of the CA would depend on whether the same is a final order or merely an interlocutory order. If the Order or Resolution issued by the CA is in the nature of a final order, the remedy of the aggrieved party would be to file a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Otherwise, the appropriate remedy would be to file a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. (Ola v. People, G.R. No. 195547, 2 December 2015) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Appeals; Petition for review on certiorari In general, the issue of whether a mortgagee is in good faith cannot be entertained in a Rule 45 petition. This is because the ascertainment of good faith or the lack thereof, and the determination of negligence are factual matters which lay outside the scope of a petition for review on certiorari. Good faith, or the lack of it, is a question of intention. In ascertaining intention, courts are necessarily controlled by the evidence as to the conduct and outward acts by which alone the inward motive may, with safety, be determined. Considering that the RTC was silent on the matter while the CA ruled against petitioner, this Court shall make its own determination. (Landbank of the Philippines vs. Belle Corporation, G.R. No. 205271, 2 September 2015) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Appeals; Issues not raised One important matter, however. It cannot escape Our notice that the CA ordered Bautista and Liezel’s Garments, Inc. to jointly pay petitioner P16,327,991.40, the amount for which the disputed property was sold to petitioner at public auction. Only the bank filed a petition for review before Us, which, as expected, did not raise the issue of propriety of such order. This notwithstanding, We deem it proper to rectify the directive. The Supreme Court is clothed with ample authority to review an issue, even not assigned as an error on appeal if it finds that its consideration is necessary in arriving at a just decision and complete resolution of the case or to serve the interests of justice. (Landbank of the Philippines vs. Belle Corporation, G.R. No. 205271, 2 September 2015) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Doctrine of finality of judgments Doctrinally entrenched is the rule that in a petition for certiorari, findings of fact of administrative bodies, such as respondent COMELEC in the instant case, are final unless grave abuse of discretion has marred such factual determinations. Clearly, where there is no proof of grave abuse of discretion, arbitrariness, fraud or error of law in the questioned Resolutions, we may not review the factual findings of COMELEC, nor substitute its own findings on the sufficiency of evidence. Records indeed showed that petitioner failed to prove that he had been a resident of Uyugan, Batanes for at least one year immediately preceding the day of elections as required under Section 39 of the Local Government Code. (Caballero v. COMELEC, G.R No. 209835, 22 September 2015) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Doctrine of hierarchy of Courts Be that as it may, the Court stressed in The Diocese of Bacolod v. Commission on Elections, 747 SCRA 1 (2015), that the doctrine of hierarchy of courts is not an iron-clad rule, and that it takes full discretionary power to take cognizance and assume jurisdiction over special civil actions for certiorari filed directly with it for exceptionally compelling reasons or if warranted by the nature of the issues clearly and specifically raised in the petition. Recognized exceptions to the said


doctrine are as follows: (a) where there are genuine issues of constitutionality that must be addressed at the most immediate time; (b) when the issues involved are of transcendental importance; (c) cases of first impression where no jurisprudence yet exists that will guide the lower courts on the matter; (d) the constitutional issues raised are better decided by the Court; € where exigency in certain situations necessitate urgency in the resolution of the cases; (f) the filed petition reviews the act of a constitutional organ; (g) when petitioners rightly claim that they had no other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law that could free them from the injurious effects of the respondent’s acts in violation of their right to freedom of expression; and (h) the petition includes questions that are dictated by public welfare and the advancement of public policy, or demanded by the broader interest of justice, or the appeal was considered as clearly an inappropriate remedy. Since the present case includes questions that are dictated by public welfare and the advancement of public policy, or demanded by the broader interest of justice, as well as to avoid multiplicity of suits and further delay in its disposition, the Court shall directly resolve the petition for certiorari, instead of referring it to the CTA. (Bureau of Customs v. Devanadera, G.R. No. 193253, 8 September 2015) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Findings of quasi-judicial bodies It is settled that findings of fact of quasi-judicial bodies, like the CIAC, which have acquired expertise because their jurisdiction is confined to specific matters, are generally accorded, not only respect, but also finality. In particular, factual findings of construction arbitrators are final and conclusive and not reviewable by the Court on appeal. Factual findings of construction arbitrators, however, may be reviewed by the Court when the petitioner proves that: (1) the award was procured by corruption, fraud or other undue means; (2) there was evident partiality or corruption of the arbitrators or any of them; (3) the arbitrators were guilty of misconduct in refusing to hear evidence pertinent and material to the controversy; (4) one or more of the arbitrators were disqualified to act as such under Section 9 of Republic Act No. 876 and willfully refrained from disclosing such disqualifications or of any other misbehavior by which the rights of any party have been materially prejudiced; or (5) the arbitrators exceeded their powers, or so imperfectly executed them, that a mutual, final and definite award upon the subject matter submitted to them was not made. Also considered as an exception is when there is a very clear showing of grave abuse of discretion, when an award is obtained through fraud or the corruption of arbitrators, when a party is deprived of administrative due process, or when the findings of the CA are contrary to those of the CIAC. (Philippine Race Horse Trainer's Association, Inc. v. Piedras Negras Construction and Development Corporation, G.R. No. 192659, 2 December 2015) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Forum shopping Forum shopping is the act of a litigant who repetitively avails of several judicial remedies in different courts, simultaneously or successively, all substantially founded on the same transactions and the same essential facts and circumstances, and all raising substantially the same issues either pending in or already resolved adversely by some other court to increase his chances of obtaining a favorable decision if not in one court, then in another. It is a practice currently prohibited by Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court. Forum shopping exists where the elements of litis pendentia are present or where a final judgment in one case will amount to res judicata in another. We have repeatedly maintained that forum shopping is an act of malpractice, as the litigants who commit such trifle with the courts and abuse their processes. It degrades the administration of justice and adds to the already congested court dockets. Acts of willful and deliberate forum shopping shall be a ground for summary dismissal of the case with prejudice. (Bandillion v. La Filipina Uygongco Corporation (LFUC), G.R. No. 202446, 16 September 2015) Forum shopping is considered anathema to the orderly administration of justice due to the vexation it causes to the courts and the parties-litigants when a person who asks appellate


courts and/or administrative entities to rule on the same related causes and/or to grant the same or substantially the same relief, in the process creating the possibility of conflicting decisions by the different courts or for a on the same issues. (Bandillion v. La Filipina Uygongco Corporation (LFUC), G.R. No. 202446, 16 September 2015) This Court has previously and emphatically held that, along with identical or closely identical causes of action, one of the keys to determining whether forum shopping exists is whether the “ultimate objective” of the party filing the actions is the same, although the relief prayed for in the said actions were differently worded. (Bandillion v. La Filipina Uygongco Corporation (LFUC), G.R. No. 202446, 16 September 2015) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Judgments It is true that under Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution, no decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based. However, petitioner must be reminded that what she assails are interlocutory orders and it has already been ruled by this Court that the above constitutional provision does not apply to interlocutory orders because it refers only to decisions on the merits and not to orders of the court resolving incidental matters. In any case, even a cursory reading of the September 9, 2010 Resolution of the CA readily shows that the appellate court has laid down the factual and procedural premises and discussed the reasons and the bases for denying petitioner's motion. (Ola v. People, G.R. No. 195547, 2 December 2015)

CIVIL PROCEDURE; Jurisdiction over the issues The nature of an action, as well as which court or body has jurisdiction over it, is determined based on the allegations contained in the complaint of the plaintiff, irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein. The averments in the complaint and the character of the relief sought are the ones to be consulted. Once vested by the allegations in the complaint, jurisdiction also remains vested irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein. (Padlan v. Dinglasan, G.R. No. 180321, 20 March 2013) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Jurisdiction over the parties Courts acquire jurisdiction over the plaintiffs upon the filing of the complaint. On the other hand, jurisdiction over the defendants in a civil case is acquired either through the service of summons upon them or through their voluntary appearance in court and their submission to its authority. (Chu v. Mach Asia Trading Corporation, G.R. No. 184333, 1 April 2013.) When a defendant in a criminal case is brought before a competent court by virtue of a warrant of arrest or otherwise, in order to avoid the submission of his body to the jurisdiction of the court he must raise the question of the court’s jurisdiction over his person at the very earliest opportunity. If he gives bail, demurs to the complaint or files any dilatory plea or pleads to the merits, he thereby gives the court jurisdiction over his person. (People v. Go, G.R. No. 168539, 25 March 2014) Lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant may be waived either expressly or impliedly. When a defendant voluntarily appears, he is deemed to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court. If he so wishes not to waive this defense, he must do so seasonably by motion for the purpose of objecting to the jurisdiction of the court; otherwise, he shall be deemed to have submitted himself to that jurisdiction. Moreover, where the appearance is by motion for the purpose of objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over the person, it must be for the sole and separate purpose of objecting to said jurisdiction. If the appearance is for any other purpose, the defendant is deemed to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the


court. Such an appearance gives the court jurisdiction over the person. (People v. Go, G.R. No. 168549, 25 March 2014)

CIVIL PROCEDURE; Jurisdiction; Exclusionary principle There is no prohibition on simultaneous exercise of power between two coordinate bodies. What is prohibited is the situation where one files a complaint against a respondent initially with one office (such as the Comelec) for preliminary investigation which was immediately acted upon by said office and the re-filing of substantially the same complaint with another office (such as the DOJ). The subsequent assumption of jurisdiction by the second office over the cases filed will not be allowed. Indeed, it is a settled rule that the body or agency that first takes cognizance of the complaint shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of the others. (Arroyo v. Department of Justice, G.R. No. 199082, 23 July 2013) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Jurisdiction; Hierarchy of courts Although the Supreme Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the RTC and the CA to issue writs of certiorari, this should not be taken as granting parties the absolute and unrestrained freedom of choice of the court to which an application will be directed. Direct resort to this Court is allowed only if there are special, important and compelling reasons clearly and specifically spelled out in the petition, which are not present in this case. (Macapagal v. People, G.R. No. 193217, 26 February 2014) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Supreme Court’s authority to review and reverse factual findings of lower courts While it is well settled that factual issues are not within the province of the Supreme Court, as it is not a trier of facts and is not required to examine or contrast the oral and documentary evidence de novo, nevertheless, the Supreme Court has the authority to review and, in proper cases, reverse the factual findings of lower courts in these instances: (a) when the findings of fact of the trial court are in conflict with those of the appellate court; (b) when the judgment of the appellate court is based on misapprehension of facts; and (c) when the appellate court manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts which, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion. (NFF Industrial Corporation v. G & L Associated Brokerage, G.R. No. 178169, 12 January 2015) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Questions of law and questions of fact A question of law arises when the doubt or difference exists as to what the law is on a certain state of facts, while a question of fact exists when the doubt or difference arises as to the truth or falsity of the alleged facts. The test in determining whether a question is one of law or of fact is whether the appellate court can resolve the issue raised without reviewing or evaluating the evidence, in which case, it is a question of law. (GEMASCO v. NHA, G.R. No. 175417, 9 February 2015). CIVIL PROCEDURE; Actions involving title to real property; Defined An action "involving title to real property" means that the plaintiff's cause of action is based on a claim that he owns such property or that he has the legal rights to have exclusive control, possession, enjoyment, or disposition of the same. Title is the "legal link between (1) a person who owns property and (2) the property itself." "Title" is different from a "certificate of title" which is the document of ownership under the Torrens system of registration issued by the government through the Register of Deeds. While title is the claim, right or interest in real property, a certificate of title is the evidence of such claim. (Padlan v. Dinglasan, G.R. No. 180321, 20 March 2013)


CIVIL PROCEDURE; Indispensable party The absence of an indispensable party renders all subsequent actions of the court null and void for want of authority to act, not only as to the absent parties but even to those present. The purpose of the rules on joinder of indispensable parties is a complete determination of all issues not only between the parties themselves, but also as regards other persons who may be affected by the judgment. A decision valid on its face cannot attain real finality where there is want of indispensable parties. (Macawadib v. The Philippine National Police Directorate For Personnel And Records Management, G.R. No. 186610, 29 July 2013) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Action against several defendants Section 4, Rule 36 of the Rules of Court provides that "in an action against several defendants, the court may, when a several judgment is proper, render judgment against one or more of them, leaving the action to proceed against the others." In addition, Section 5 of the same Rule states that "when more than one claim for relief is presented in an action, the court at any stage, upon a determination of the issues material to a particular claim and all counterclaims arising out of the transaction or occurrence which is the subject matter of the claim may render a separate judgment disposing of such claim." Further, the same provision provides that "the judgment shall terminate the action with respect to the claim so disposed of and the action shall proceed as to the remaining claims." Thus, the appeal of Goroza, assailing the judgment of the RTC finding him liable, will not prevent the continuation of the ongoing trial between SMC and PNB. The RTC retains jurisdiction insofar as PNB is concerned, because the appeal made by Goroza was only with respect to his own liability. (Philippine National Bank v. San Miguel Corporation, G.R. No. 186063, 15 January 2014) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Verification and Certification of Non-Forum Shopping Jurisprudence is replete with rulings that the rule on verification is deemed substantially complied with when one who has ample knowledge to swear to the truth of the allegations in the complaint or petition signs the verification, and when matters alleged in the petition have been made in good faith or are true and correct. Similarly, when under reasonable or justifiable circumstances, as when all the petitioners share a common interest and invoke a common cause of action or defense, as in this case, the signature of only one of them in the certification against forum shopping substantially complies with the certification requirement. Thus, the fact that the petition was signed only by petitioner does not necessarily result in its outright dismissal for it is more in accord with substantial justice to overlook petitioners’ procedural lapses. Indeed, the application of technical rules of procedure may be relaxed in labor cases to serve the demand of justice. (Basan v. Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, G.R. Nos. 174365-66, 4 February 2015) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Service of summons; Substituted service In case of substituted service, there should be a report indicating that the person who received the summons in the defendant's behalf was one with whom the defendant had a relation of confidence, ensuring that the latter would actually receive the summons. Impossibility of prompt personal service must be shown by stating that efforts have been made to find the defendant personally and that such efforts have failed. This is necessary because substituted service is in derogation of the usual method of service. It is a method extraordinary in character, hence, may be used only as prescribed and in the circumstances authorized by statute. The statutory requirements of substituted service must be followed strictly, faithfully and fully, and any substituted service other than that authorized by statute is considered ineffective. (Chu v. Mach Asia Trading Corporation, G.R. No. 184333, 1 April 2013)


CIVIL PROCEDURE; Motion to Quash A motion to quash information is the mode by which an accused assails the validity of a criminal complaint or information filed against him for insufficiency on its face in point of law, or for defects which are apparent in the face of the information. It is a hypothetical admission of the facts alleged in the information. The fundamental test in determining the sufficiency of the material averments in an information is whether or not the facts alleged therein, which are hypothetically admitted, would establish the essential elements of the crime defined by law. Evidence aliunde or matters extrinsic of the information are not to be considered. To be sure, a motion to quash should be based on a defect in the information which is evident on its fact. Thus, if the defect can be cured by amendment or if it is based on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute an offense, the prosecution is given by the court the opportunity to correct the defect by amendment. If the motion to quash is sustained, the court may order that another complaint or information be filed except when the information is quashed on the ground of extinction of criminal liability or double jeopardy. (People v. Odtuhan, G.R. No. 191566, 17 July 2013) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Forum Shopping Forum-shopping can be committed in three ways: (1) by filing multiple cases based on the same cause of action and with the same prayer, the previous case not having been resolved yet (where the ground for dismissal is litis pendentia); (2) by filing multiple cases based on the same cause of action and with the same prayer, the previous case having been finally resolved (where the ground for dismissal is res judicata); and (3) by filing multiple cases based on the same cause of action but with different prayers (splitting of causes of action, where the ground for dismissal is also either litis pendentia or res judicata). (Borra v. CA Second and Nineteenth Divisions, G.R. No. 167484, 9 September 2013) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Res Judicata Under the rule of res judicata, a final judgment or order on the merits, rendered by a court having jurisdiction of the subject matter and of the parties, is conclusive in a subsequent case between the same parties and their successors-in-interest by title subsequent to the commencement of the action or special proceeding litigating for the same thing and under the same title and in the same capacity. To state simply, a final judgment or decree on the merits by a court of competent jurisdiction is conclusive of the rights of the parties or their privies in all later suits on all points and matters determined in the former suit. (Heirs of Timbang Daromimbang Dimaampao v. Atty. Abdullah Alug, G.R. No. 198223, 18 February 2015) The requisite essential of res judicata are: (1) the judgment sought to bar the new action must be final; (2) the decision must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; (3) the disposition of the case must be a judgment on the merits; and (4) there must be as between the first and second action, identity of parties, subject matter, and causes of action. Should identity of parties, subject matter, and causes of action be shown in the two cases, then res judicata in its aspect as a "bar by prior judgment" would apply. If as between the two cases, only identity of parties can be shown, but not identical causes of action, then res judicata as "conclusiveness of judgment" applies. (Heirs of Timbang Daromimbang Dimaampao v. Atty. Abdullah Alug, G.R. No. 198223, 18 February 2015) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Execution as a matter of right; Exception Once a judgment becomes immutable and unalterable by virtue of its finality, its execution should follow as a matter of course. A supervening event, to be sufficient to stay or stop the execution, must alter or modify the situation of the parties under the decision as to render the execution inequitable, impossible, or unfair. The supervening event cannot rest on unproved or uncertain facts. (Heirs of Maravilla v. Tupas, G.R. No. 192132, 14 September 2016)


CIVIL PROCEDURE; Judgments; Effect of void judgment A void judgment or order has no legal and binding effect, force or efficacy for any purpose. In contemplation of law, it is non-existent. Such judgment or order may be resisted in any action or proceeding whenever it is involved. It is not even necessary to take any steps to vacate or avoid a void judgment or final order; it may simply be ignored. It cannot be the source of any right nor of any obligation. All acts performed pursuant to it and all claims emanating from it have no legal effect. (Land Bank of the Philippines v. Spouses Orilla, G.R. No. 194168, 13 February 2013)

CIVIL PROCEDURE; Motion for reconsideration; Exceptions The general rule is that a motion for reconsideration is indispensable before resort to the special civil action for certiorari to afford the court or tribunal the opportunity to correct its error, if any. However, said rule is subject to several recognized exceptions: (a) Where the order is a patent nullity, as where the court a quo has no jurisdiction; (b) Where the questions raised in the certiorari proceedings have been duly raised and passed upon by the lower court, or are the same as those raised and passed upon in the lower court; (c) Where there is an urgent necessity for the resolution of the question and any further delay would prejudice the interests of the Government or of the petitioner or the subject matter of the action is perishable; (d) Where, under the circumstances, a motion for reconsideration would be useless; (e) Where petitioner was deprived of due process and there is extreme urgency for relief; (f) Where, in a criminal case, relief from an order of arrest is urgent and the granting of such relief by the trial court is improbable; (g) Where the proceedings in the lower court are a nullity for lack of due process; (h) Where the proceeding was ex parte or in which the petitioner had no opportunity to object; and (i) Where the issue raised is one purely of law or where public interest is involved. (Olares v. Manila Doctors College and/or Teresita O. Turla, G.R. No. 201663, 31 March 2014) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Appeals Sections 2 and 3, Rule 122 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure lay down the rules on where, how and when appeal is taken. Consequently, the disallowance of the notice of appeal signifies the disallowance of the appeal itself. A petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is a mode of appeal of a lower court’s decision or final order direct to the Supreme Court. However, the questioned Order denying her notice of appeal is not a decision or final order from which an appeal may be taken. The Rules of Court specifically provides that no appeal shall be taken from an order disallowing or dismissing an appeal. Rather, the aggrieved party can elevate the matter through a special civil action under Rule 65. Thus, in availing of the wrong mode of appeal in this petition under Rule 45 instead of the appropriate remedy of Rule 65, the petition merits an outright dismissal. (Corazon Macapagal v. People, G.R. No. 19321, 26 February 2014; See also: People of the Philippines v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 199151-56, 25 July 2016) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Appeals; Petition for review on certiorari; Question of fact Any question that invites calibration of the whole evidence, as well as their relation to each other and to the whole, is a question of fact and thus proscribed in a Rule 45 petition. (GEMASCO v. NHA, G.R. No. 175417, 9 February 2015).


CIVIL PROCEDURE; Appeals; Petition for review on certiorari; Period to file Section 2, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court provides that a petition for review on certiorari under the said Rule "shall be filed within fifteen (15) days from notice of the judgment or final order or resolution appealed from or of the denial of the petitioner's motion for new trial or reconsideration filed in due time after notice of the judgment." Relative thereto, Section 2, Rule 52 of the same Rules provides that "no second motion for reconsideration of a judgment or final resolution by the same party shall be entertained." Since a second motion for reconsideration is not allowed, then unavoidably, its filing does not toll the running of the period to file an appeal by certiorari. Perfection of an appeal within the reglementary period is not only mandatory but also jurisdictional. For this reason, failure to file this petition within the 15-day period rendered the assailed Decision and Resolutions final and executory, thus, depriving the Court of jurisdiction to entertain an appeal therefrom. (Spouses Martires v. Chua, G.R. No. 174240, 20 March 2013) CIVIL PROCEDURE; Appeals; Petition for review on certiorari vis-à-vis petition for certiorari A petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court and a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court are two and separate remedies. A petition under Rule 45 brings up for review errors of judgment, while a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 covers errors of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction. Grave abuse of discretion is not an allowable ground under Rule 45. A petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is a mode of appeal. However, the provision must be read in relation to Section 1, Rule 122 of the Revised Rules of Court, which provides that any party may appeal from a judgment or final order “unless the accused will thereby be placed in double jeopardy.” The judgment that may be appealed by the aggrieved party envisaged in the Rule is a judgment convicting the accused, and not a judgment of acquittal. The State is barred from appealing such judgment of acquittal by a petition for review. A judgment of acquittal may be assailed by the People in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court without placing the accused in double jeopardy. (Villareal v. Aliga, G.R. No. 166995, 13 January 2014)

CIVIL PROCEDURE; Certiorari; Authority of CTA & Quasi-judicial bodies A special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 is an original or independent action based on grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction and it will lie only if there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. As such, it cannot be a substitute for a lost appeal. (The City of Manila v. Grecia-Cuerdo, G.R. No. 175723, 4 February 2014) The authority of the CTA to take cognizance of petitions for certiorari questioning interlocutory orders issued by the RTC in a local tax case is included in the powers granted by the Constitution as well as inherent in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction. (The City of Manila v. Grecia-Cuerdo, G.R. No. 175723, 4 February 2014) It would bear to point out that this Court is not abandoning the rule that, insofar as quasijudicial tribunals are concerned, the authority to issue writs of certiorari must still be expressly conferred by the Constitution or by law and cannot be implied from the mere existence of their appellate jurisdiction. This doctrine remains as it applies only to quasi-judicial bodies. (The City of Manila v. Grecia-Cuerdo, G.R. No. 175723, 4 February 2014) PROVISIONAL REMEDIES; Preservation of status quo The sole object of a preliminary injunction, whether prohibitory or mandatory, is to preserve the status quo until the merits of the case can be heard. It is usually granted when it is made to


appear that there is a substantial controversy between the parties and one of them is committing an act or threatening the immediate commission of an act that will cause irreparable injury or destroy the status quo of the controversy before a full hearing can be had on the merits of the case. It persists until it is dissolved or until the termination of the action without the court issuing a final injunction. (LEAP v. LWUA and DBM, G.R. No. 206808-09, 7 September 2016) PROVISIONAL REMEDIES; Preliminary injunction; Requisites For a writ of preliminary injunction to issue, the following essential requisites must concur, to wit: (1) that the invasion of the right is material and substantial; (2) that the right of complainant is clear and unmistakable; and, (3) that there is an urgent and paramount necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage. (Office of the Ombudsman v. De Chavez, G.R. No. 172206, 3 July 2013) An order granting a preliminary injunction, whether mandatory or prohibitory, does not automatically entitle the applicant-movant to an immediate enforcement. Posting of a bond is a condition sine qua non for the issuance of a corresponding writ. In fact, under the Rules, the party filing a bond is mandated to serve a copy thereof to the other party, who may oppose the sufficiency of the bond or the qualifications of its surety or sureties. A preliminary mandatory injunction should only be granted "in cases of extreme urgency; where the right is very clear; where considerations of relative inconvenience bear strongly in complainant's favor; where there is a willful and unlawful invasion of plaintiff's right against his protest and remonstrance, the injury being a continuing one; and where the effect of the mandatory injunction is rather to re-establish and maintain a pre-existing continuing relation between the parties, recently and arbitrarily interrupted by the defendant, than to establish a new relation." (Heirs of Melencio Yu and Talinanap Matualaga v. CA, G.R. No. 182371, 4 September 2013) PROVISIONAL REMEDIES; Attachment Once the writ of attachment has been issued, the only remedy of the petitioners in lifting the same is through a cash deposit or the filing of the counter-bond. Thus, the Court holds that petitioner’s argument that it has the option to deposit real property instead of depositing cash or filing a counter-bond to discharge the attachment or stay the implementation thereof is unmeritorious (Luzon Development Bank v. Krishnan, G.R. No. 203530, 13 April 2015). PROVISIONAL REMEDIES; Replevin Prior demand is not a condition precedent to an action for a writ of replevin, since there is nothing in Section 2, Rule 60 of the Rules of Court that requires the applicant to make a demand on the possessor of the property before an action for a writ of replevin could be filed. (Spouses Agner v. BPI Family Savings Bank, Inc., G.R. No. 182963, 3 June 2013) SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION; Exproriation; Just compensation Where property is taken ahead of the filing of the condemnation proceedings, the value thereof may be enhanced by the public purpose for which it is taken; the entry by the plaintiff upon the property may have depreciated its value thereby; or, there may have been a natural increase in the value of the property from the time it is taken to the time the complaint is filed, due to general economic conditions. The owner of the private property should be compensated only for what he actually loses; it is not intended that his compensation shall extend beyond his loss or injury. And what he loses is only the actual value of his property at the time it is taken. This is the only way that compensation to be paid can be truly just; i.e., "just not only to the individual whose property is taken," "but to the public, which is to pay for it." (Republic of the Philippines v. Tetro Enterprises, Incorporated, G.R. No. 183015, 15 January 2014) Both equity and the law direct that a property owner should be compensated if his property is taken for public use. Where private property is taken by the Government for public use without


first acquiring title thereto either through expropriation or negotiated sale, the owner’s action to recover the land or the value thereof does not prescribe. (Contreras v. Spouses Tecson, G.R. No. 179334, 1 July 2013) When a property is taken by the government for public use, jurisprudence clearly provides for the remedies available to a landowner. The owner may recover his property if its return is feasible or, if it is not, the aggrieved owner may demand payment of just compensation for the land taken. For failure of respondents to question the lack of expropriation proceedings for a long period of time, they are deemed to have waived and are estopped from assailing the power of the government to expropriate or the public use for which the power was exercised. (Contreras v. Spouses Tecson, G.R. No. 179334, 1 July 2013) Interest runs as a matter of law and follows from the right of the landowner to be placed in as good position as money can accomplish, as of the date of taking. (Contreras v. Spouses Tecson, G.R. No. 179334, 1 July 2013)

SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION; Unlawful detainer and Forcible Entry

Petitioner can file the action for ejectment without impleading his co-owners; a co-owner may bring such an action, without the necessity of joining all the other co-owners as co-plaintiffs, because the suit is deemed to be instituted for the benefit of all. A person who occupies the land of another at the latter’s tolerance or permission, without any contract between them, is bound by an implied promise that he will vacate the same upon demand, failing which a summary action for ejectment is the proper remedy against him. (Catedrilla v. Lauron, G.R. No. 179011, 15 April 2013) In summary ejectment suits (unlawful detainer and forcible entry), the only issue to be determined is who between the contending parties has better possession of the contested property. The Municipal Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts in Cities, and the Municipal Circuit Trial Courts exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over these cases and the proceedings are governed by the Rules on Summary Procedure. On the other hand, an accion publiciana, also known as accion plenaria de posesion, is a plenary action for the recovery of possession in an ordinary civil proceeding to determine the better and legal right to possess, independently of title. The main distinctions between these two remedies lie in the period within which the action can be instituted and in the court which exercises jurisdiction over the matter. Actions for unlawful detainer and forcible entry must be filed within one (1) year from the date possession is lost, while an accion publiciana may be filed only after the expiration of that period but within the period prescribed in the statute of limitations. An accion publiciana may only be filed with the RTC, while a complaint for unlawful detainer or forcible entry may only be filed with the first level courts. (Norberte, Jr. v. Mejia, G.R. No. 182886, 9 March 2015)

SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION; Declaratory Relief In the same manner that court decisions cannot be the proper subjects of a petition for declaratory relief, decisions of quasi-judicial agencies cannot be subjects of a petition for declaratory relief for the simple reason that if a party is not agreeable to a decision either on questions of law or of fact, it may avail of the various remedies provided by the Rules of Court. (The Honorable Monetary Board v. Philippine Veterans Bank, G.R. No. 189571, 21 January 2015). The decision of the BSP Monetary Board cannot be a proper subject matter for a petition for declaratory relief since it was issued by the BSP Monetary Board in the exercise of its quasi-


judicial powers or functions. The nature of the BSP Monetary Board as a quasi-judicial agency, and the character of its determination of whether or not appropriate sanctions may be imposed upon erring banks, is an exercise of quasi-judicial function. (The Honorable Monetary Board v. Philippine Veterans Bank, G.R. No. 189571, 21 January 2015). SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS; Foreclosure of Mortgage The principal object of a notice of sale in a foreclosure of mortgage is not so much to notify the mortgagor as to inform the public generally of the nature and condition of the property to be sold, and of the time, place, and terms of the sale. Notices are given to secure bidders and prevent a sacrifice of the property. Therefore, statutory provisions governing publication of notice of mortgage foreclosure sales must be strictly complied with and slight deviations therefrom will invalidate the notice and render the sale, at the very least, voidable. Certainly, the statutory requirements of posting and publication are mandated and imbued with public policy considerations. Failure to advertise a mortgage foreclosure sale in compliance with the statutory requirements constitutes a jurisdictional defect, and any substantial error in a notice of sale will render the notice insufficient and will consequently vitiate the sale. (Atty. Leo N. Caubang v. Crisologo, G.R. No. 174581, 4 February 2015) SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS; Correction of entries; Notice requirement The fact that the notice of hearing was published in a newspaper of general circulation and notice thereof was served upon the State will not change the nature of the proceedings taken. A reading of Sections 4 and 5, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court shows that the Rules mandate two sets of notices to different potential oppositors: one given to the persons named in the petition and another given to other persons who are not named in the petition but nonetheless may be considered interested or affected parties. Summons must, therefore, be served not for the purpose of vesting the courts with jurisdiction but to comply with the requirements of fair play and due process to afford the person concerned the opportunity to protect his interest if he so chooses. (Republic v. Lugsanay Uy, G.R. No. 198010, 12 August 2013) SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS; Correction of entries vis-à-vis status of marriage A petition for correction or cancellation of an entry in the civil registry cannot substitute for an action to invalidate a marriage. A direct action is necessary to prevent circumvention of the substantive and procedural safeguards of marriage under the Family Code, A.M. No. 02-11-10SC and other related laws. A Filipino citizen cannot dissolve his marriage by the mere expedient of changing his entry of marriage in the civil registry. (Republic v. Olaybar, G.R. No. 189538, 10 February 2014) CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; Information; designation of the offense An information is legally viable as long as it distinctly states the statutory designation of the offense and the acts or omissions constitutive thereof. Then Section 6, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court provides that a complaint or information is sufficient if it states the name of the accused; the designation of the offense by the statute; the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense; the name of the offended party; the approximate time of the commission of the offense, and the place wherein the offense was committed. In the case at bar, the time of the commission of the offense was stated as " on or about the fifth day of July, 1991" is not likewise fatal to the prosecution's cause considering that Section 11 of the same Rule requires a statement of the precise time only when the same is a material ingredient of the offense. The gravamen of the crime of estafa under Article 315, paragraph 1 (b) of the Revised Penal Code is the appropriation or conversion of money or property received to the prejudice of the offender. (Corpuz v. People, G.R. No. 180016, 29 April 2014)


CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; Nature of search warrant and warrant of arrest The requisites, procedure and purpose for the issuance of a search warrant are completely different from those for the institution of a criminal action. For, indeed, a warrant, such as a warrant of arrest or a search warrant, merely constitutes process. A search warrant is defined in our jurisdiction as an order in writing issued in the name of the People of the Philippines signed by a judge and directed to a peace officer, commanding him to search for personal property and bring it before the court. A search warrant is in the nature of a criminal process akin to a writ of discovery. It is a special and peculiar remedy, drastic in its nature, and made necessary because of a public necessity. In American jurisdictions, from which we have taken our jural concept and provisions on search warrants, such warrant is definitively considered merely as a process, generally issued by a court in the exercise of its ancillary jurisdiction, and not a criminal action to be entertained by a court pursuant to its original jurisdiction. Clearly then, an application for a search warrant is not a criminal action. Thus, the rule that venue is jurisdictional does not apply thereto. (Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation v. Romars International Gases Corporation, G.R. No. 189669, 16 February 2015) CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; Preliminary investigation It is well settled that the absence or irregularity of preliminary investigation does not affect the court’s jurisdiction over the case. Nor does it impair the validity of the criminal information or render it defective. Dismissal is not the remedy. Neither is it a ground to quash the information or nullify the order of arrest issued against the accused or justify the release of the accused from detention. The proper course of action that should be taken is to hold in abeyance the proceedings upon such information and to remand the case for the conduct of preliminary investigation. (Arroyo v. Department of Justice, G.R. No. 199082, 23 July 2013) CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; Hearing of the application for bail The hearing of the application for bail in capital offenses is absolutely indispensable before a judge can properly determine whether the prosecution’s evidence is weak or strong. The hearing for bail is different from the determination of the existence of probable cause. The latter takes place prior to all proceedings, so that if the court is not satisfied with the existence of a probable cause, it may either dismiss the case or deny the issuance of the warrant of arrest or conduct a hearing to satisfy itself of the existence of probable cause. If the court finds the existence of probable cause, the court is mandated to issue a warrant of arrest or commitment order if the accused is already under custody, as when he was validly arrested without a warrant. It is only after this proceeding that the court can entertain a petition for bail where a subsequent hearing is conducted to determine if the evidence of guilt is weak or not. (Jorda v. Bitas, RTJ-14-2376, 5 March 2014)

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; Arraignment; Suspension of Arraignment While the pendency of a petition for review is a ground for suspension of the arraignment, Section 11 (c), Rule 116 of the Rules of Court limits the deferment of the arraignment to a period of 60 days reckoned from the filing of the petition with the reviewing office. It follows, therefore, that after the expiration of said period, the trial court is bound to arraign the accused or to deny the motion to defer arraignment. (Aguinaldo v. Ventus, G.R. No. 176033, 11 March 2005) In order to avoid delay in the proceedings, judges are reminded that the pendency of a motion for reconsideration, motion for reinvestigation, or petition for review is not a cause for the quashal of a warrant of arrest previously issued because the quashal of a warrant of arrest may only take place upon the finding that no probable cause exists. Moreover, judges should take note of the following:


1. If there is a pending motion for reconsideration or motion for reinvestigation of the resolution of the public prosecutor, the court may suspend the proceedings upon motion by the parties. However, the court should set the arraignment of the accused and direct the public prosecutor to submit the resolution disposing of the motion on or before the period fixed by the court, which in no instance could be more than the period fixed by the court counted from the granting of the motion to suspend arraignment, otherwise the court will proceed with the arraignment as scheduled and without further delay. 2. If there is a pending petition for review before the DOJ, the court may suspend the proceedings upon motion by the parties. However, the court should set the arraignment of the accused and direct the DOJ to submit the resolution disposing of the petition on or before the period fixed by the Rules which, in no instance, could be more than sixty (60) days from the filing of the Petition for Review before the DOJ, otherwise, the court will proceed with the arraignment as scheduled and without further delay. (Aguinaldo v. Ventus, G.R. No. 176033, 11 March 2005) CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; Provisional Dismissal; Dismissal with Accused’s Express Consent When a criminal case is provisionally dismissed with the express consent of the accused, the case may be revived by the State within the periods provided under the 2nd paragraph of Section 8, Rule 117 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure. (Saldariega v. Hon. Panganiban, G.R. Nos. 211933 & 211960, 15 April 2015) CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; Provisional Dismissal; Double Jeopardy The provisional dismissal of the case does not operate as an acquittal since its dismissal was made with the express consent of the accused, thus, there is no double jeopardy. (Saldariega v. Hon. Panganiban, G.R. Nos. 211933 & 211960, 15 April 2015) CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; Appeal; Petition for Certiorari; Double jeopardy As a general rule, the prosecution cannot appeal or bring error proceedings from a judgment rendered in favor of the defendant in a criminal case. The reason is that a judgment of acquittal is immediately final and executory, and the prosecution is barred from appealing lest the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy be violated. Despite acquittal, however, either the offended party or the accused may appeal, but only with respect to the civil aspect of the decision. Or, said judgment of acquittal may be assailed through a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court showing that the lower court, in acquitting the accused, committed not merely reversible errors of judgment, but also exercised grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, or a denial of due process, thereby rendering the assailed judgment null and void. If there is grave abuse of discretion, granting petitioner’s prayer is not tantamount to putting private respondents in double jeopardy. (People v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 183652, 25 February 2015) CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; Non-applicability of Res judicata Res judicata is a doctrine of civil law and thus has no bearing on criminal proceedings. (Asistio v. People, G.R. No. 200465, 20 April 2015) EVIDENCE; Best Evidence Rule The best evidence rule applies only when the content of such document is the subject of the inquiry. Where the issue is only as to whether such document was actually executed, or exists, or on the circumstances relevant to or surrounding its execution, the best evidence rule does not


apply and testimonial evidence is admissible. Any other substitutionary evidence is likewise admissible without need to account for the original. In the instant case, what is being questioned is the authenticity and due execution of the subject deed of sale. There is no real issue as to its contents. (Skunac Corporation v. Sylianteng, G.R. No. 205879, 23 April 2014) EVIDENCE; Notarized documents Veritably, it is a settled rule in our jurisdiction that a notarized document has in its favor the presumption of regularity and it carries the evidentiary weight conferred upon it with respect to its due execution. It is admissible in evidence and is entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. (Estanislao v. Gudito, G.R. No. 173166, 13 March 2013) EVIDENCE; Dying declaration and Res gestae A dying declaration, although generally inadmissible as evidence due to its hearsay character, may nonetheless be admitted when the following requisites concur, namely: (a) the declaration concerns the cause and the surrounding circumstances of the declarant's death; (b) it is made when death appears to be imminent and the declarant is under a consciousness of impending death; (c) the declarant would have been competent to testify had he or she survived; and (d) the dying declaration is offered in a case in which the subject of inquiry involves the declarant's death. In this case, it appears that not all the requisites of a dying declaration are present. From the records, no questions relative to the second requisite was propounded to Januario. It does not appear that the declarant was under the consciousness of his impending death when he made the statements. (People v. Gatarin, G.R. No. 198022, 7 April 2014) Even if Januario’s utterances could not be appreciated as a dying declaration, his statements may still be appreciated as part of the res gestae. Res gestae refers to the circumstances, facts, and declarations that grow out of the main fact and serve to illustrate its character and are so spontaneous and contemporaneous with the main fact as to exclude the idea of deliberation and fabrication. The test of admissibility of evidence as a part of the res gestae is, therefore, whether the act, declaration, or exclamation, is so interwoven or connected with the principal fact or event that it characterizes as to be regarded as a part of the transaction itself, and also whether it clearly negates any premeditation or purpose to manufacture testimony. When Januario gave the identity of the assailants to SPO3 Mendoza, he was referring to a startling occurrence which is the stabbing by appellant and his co-accused. His utterance about appellant and his coaccused having stabbed him, in answer to the question of SPO3 Mendoza, was made in spontaneity and only in reaction to the startling occurrence. (People v. Gatarin, G.R. No. 198022, 7 April 2014) EVIDENCE; Conclusive presumption; Estoppel by deed What a tenant is estopped from denying is the title of his landlord at the time of the commencement of the landlord-tenant relation. If the title asserted is one that is alleged to have been acquired subsequent to the commencement of that relation, the presumption will not apply. Hence, the tenant may show that the landlord's title has expired or been conveyed to another or himself; and he is not estopped to deny a claim for rent, if he has been ousted or evicted by title paramount. (Ermitaño v. Paglas, G.R. No. 174436, 23 January 2013) EVIDENCE; Frame-up as defense The defense of frame-up, like alibi, has been invariably viewed by this Court with disfavor, for it can easily be concocted but is difficult to prove. In order to prosper, the defense of frame-up must be proved by the accused with clear and convincing evidence. (People v. Tupas, G.R. No. 195523, 5 June 2013) The defense of frame-up or denial in drug cases requires strong and convincing evidence because of the presumption that the law enforcement agencies acted in the regular performance


of their official duties. The presumption that official duty has been regularly performed can only be overcome through clear and convincing evidence showing either of two things: (1) that they were not properly performing their duty, or (2) that they were inspired by any improper motive (People of the Philippines v. Susan M. Tamaño and Jaffy B. Gulmatico, G.R. No. 208642, 16 December 2016). EVIDENCE; Positive identification vis-à-vis denial Positive identification where categorical and consistent and without any showing of ill motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying on the matter, prevails over a denial which, if not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence, is negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of weight in law. (People v. Tupas, G.R. No. 195523, 5 June 2013) EVIDENCE; Circumstantial evidence Resort to circumstantial evidence is inevitable when there are no eyewitnesses to a crime. Direct evidence of the commission of a crime is not the only matrix wherefrom a trial court may draw its conclusion and finding of guilt. The courts are allowed to rule on the bases of circumstantial evidence if the following requisites concur: (1) there is more than one circumstance, (2) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven, and (3) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. The corollary rule is that the circumstances established must constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to the accused, to the exclusion of all others, as the guilty person. (San Diego v. People, G.R. No. 176114, 8 April 2015) EVIDENCE; Equiponderance of evidence The “equiponderance of evidence” rule states that when the scale shall stand upon an equipoise and there is nothing in the evidence which shall incline it to one side or the other, the court will find for the defendant. (Valbueco, Inc., v. Province of Bataan, G.R. No. 173829, 10 June 2013) EVIDENCE; Substantial evidence It is the oft-repeated rule that whoever claims entitlement to the benefits provided by law should establish his right to the benefits by substantial evidence. Often described as more than a mere scintilla, substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, even if other equally reasonable minds might conceivably opine otherwise. Any decision based on unsubstantiated allegations cannot stand as it will offend due process. (Cirila Manota v. Avantgarde Shipping Corporation, G.R. No. 179607, 24 July 2013) EVIDENCE; Burden of proof in civil cases In civil cases, it is a basic rule that the party making allegations has the burden of proving them by a preponderance of evidence. The parties must rely on the strength of their own evidence and not upon the weakness of the defense offered by their opponent. (Alano v. Magud-Logmao, G.R. No. 175540, 7 April 2014) EVIDENCE; Chain of custody While the chain of custody should ideally be perfect and unbroken, it is not in reality "as it is almost always impossible to obtain an unbroken chain." Thus, non-compliance with Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165 does not automatically render illegal the arrest of an accused or inadmissible the items seized/confiscated. As the law mandates, what is vital is the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized/confiscated illegal drugs since they will be used to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. (People v. Ros, G.R. No. 201146, 15 April 2015)


*** LEGAL ETHICS LAWYER AND THE CLIENT; Devotion to the interest of the client Once a lawyer agrees to take up the cause of a client, the lawyer owes fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. He owes entire devotion to the interest of the client, warm zeal in the maintenance and defense of his client’s rights, and the exertion of his utmost learning and ability to the end that nothing be taken or withheld from his client, save by the rules of law, legally applied. A lawyer who performs his duty with diligence and candor not only protects the interest of his client, he also serves the ends of justice, does honor to the bar, and helps maintain the respect of the community to the legal profession. (Baldado v. Mejica, A.C. No. 9120, 11 March 2013) DISCIPLINE OF JUDGES; Gross ignorance of the law or procedure A judge's obstinate disregard of established rules of procedure amounts to gross ignorance of the law or procedure, since he disregarded the basic procedural requirements in instituting an indirect contempt charge. (Valmores-Salinas v. Bitas, A.M. No. RTJ-12-2335, 18 March 2013) SUSPENSION OF LAWYERS When this Court orders a lawyer suspended from the practice of law, as in the instant case, the lawyer must desist from performing all functions requiring the application of legal knowledge within the period of suspension. Suffice it to say that practice of law embraces "any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience." It includes "[performing] acts which are characteristics of the [legal] profession" or "[rendering any kind of] service [which] requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge or skill." (Feliciano v. Atty. Lozada, A.C. No. 7593, 11 March 2015). It has been repeatedly held that to justify suspension or disbarment, the act complained off must not only be immoral, but grossly immoral. A grossly immoral act is one that is so corrupt as to constitute a criminal act, or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree or committed under such scandalous or revolting circumstances as to shock the common sense of decency. It is willful, flagrant, or shameless as to show indifference to the opinion of good and respectable members of the community. In the case at bench, Atty. Dabon’s intimate relationship with a woman other than his wife showed his moral indifference to the opinion of the good and respectable members of the community. It manifested his disrespect for the laws on the sanctity of marriage and for his own marital vow of fidelity. It showed his utmost moral depravity and low regard for the fundamental ethics of his profession. Indeed, he has fallen below the moral bar. Such detestable behavior warrants a disciplinary sanction. Even if not all forms of extramarital relations are punishable under penal law, sexual relations outside of marriage are considered disgraceful and immoral as they manifest deliberate disregard of the sanctity of marriage and the marital vows protected by the Constitution and affirmed by our laws. (Valdez v. Dabon, A.C. No. 7353, 16 November 2015)

LAWYER AND THE CLIENT; Conflicting interest Jurisprudence has provided three tests in determining whether a lawyer is guilty of representing conflicting interest: One test is whether a lawyer is duty-bound to fight for an issue or claim in behalf of one client and, at the same time, to oppose that claim for the other client. Thus, if a lawyer’s argument for one client has to be opposed by that same lawyer in arguing for the other client, there is a violation of the rule. Another test of inconsistency of interests is whether the acceptance of a new relation would prevent the full discharge of the lawyer’s duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or doubledealing in the performance of that duty. Still another test is whether the lawyer would be called


upon in the new relation to use against a former client any confidential information acquired through their connection or previous employment. (Lee v. Simando, A.C. No. 9537, June 10, 2013; See also: Tulio vs. Buhangi, A.C. No. 7110, 20 April 2016) LAWYER AND THE LEGAL PROFESSION; Fairness and candor toward the legal profession Indeed, the practice of law is not a right but merely a privilege bestowed upon by the State upon those who show that they possess, and continue to possess, the qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege. One of those requirements is the observance of honesty and candor. Candor in all their dealings is the very essence of a practitioner’s honorable membership in the legal profession. Lawyers are required to act with the highest standard of truthfulness, fair play and nobility in the conduct of litigation and in their relations with their clients, the opposing parties, the other counsels and the courts. They are bound by their oath to speak the truth and to conduct themselves according to the best of their knowledge and discretion, and with fidelity to the courts and their clients. (Sonic Steel Industries, Inc. v. Chua, A.C. No. 6942, 17 July 2013)

COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE OF JUDGES; Knowledge of legal principles As a matter of public policy, not every error or mistake of a judge in the performance of his official duties renders him liable. In the absence of fraud, dishonesty or corruption, the acts of a judge in his official capacity do not always constitute misconduct although the same acts may be erroneous. True, a judge may not be disciplined for error of judgment, absent proof that such error was made with a conscious and deliberate intent to cause an injustice. This does not mean, however, that a judge need not observe propriety, discreetness and due care in the performance of his official functions. (Jorda v. Judge Bitas, RTJ-14-2376, March 5, 2014) PROPRIETY OF JUDGES; Competence, integrity and independence of judges In pending or prospective litigations before them, judges should be scrupulously careful to avoid anything that may tend to awaken the suspicion that their personal, social or sundry relations could influence their objectivity. Not only must judges possess proficiency in law, they must also act and behave in such manner that would assure litigants and their counsel of the judges’ competence, integrity and independence. Even on the face of boorish behavior from those he deals with, he ought to conduct himself in a manner befitting a gentleman and a high officer of the court. .” It bears stressing that as a dispenser of justice, respondent should exercise judicial temperament at all times, avoiding vulgar and insulting language. He must maintain composure and equanimity. (Jorda v. Judge Bitas, RTJ-14-2376, 5 March 2014) ATTORNEY'S FEES; Two concepts of attorney’s fees The attorney’s fees which a court may, in proper cases, award to a winning litigant is, strictly speaking, an item of damages. It differs from that which a client pays his counsel for the latter’s professional services. However, the two concepts have many things in common that a treatment of the subject is necessary. The award that the court may grant to a successful party by way of attorney’s fee is an indemnity for damages sustained by him in prosecuting or defending, through counsel, his cause in court. It may be decreed in favor of the party, not his lawyer, in any of the instances authorized by law. On the other hand, the attorney’s fee which a client pays his counsel refers to the compensation for the latter’s services. The losing party against whom damages by way of attorney’s fees may be assessed is not bound by, nor is his liability dependent upon, the fee arrangement of the prevailing party with his lawyer. The amount stipulated in such fee arrangement may, however, be taken into account by the court in fixing the amount of counsel fees as an element of damages (Aquino v. Hon. Ismael P. Casabar, G.R. No. 191470, 26 January 2015)


NOTARIAL PRACTICE; Jurat If the notary public knows the affiants personally, he need not require them to show their valid identification cards.1âwphi1 This rule is supported by the definition of a "jurat" under Section 6, Rule II of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice. A "jurat" refers to an act in which an individual on a single occasion: (a) appears in person before the notary public and presents an instrument or document; (b) is personally known to the notary public or identified by the notary public through competent evidence of identity; (c) signs the instrument or document in the presence of the notary; and (d) takes an oath or affirmation before the notary public as to such instrument or document. (Reyes v. Glaucoma Research Foundation, G.R. No. 189255, 17 June 2015) NOTARIAL PRACTICE; Evidence of Identity As earlier stated, if the affiant is personally known to the notary public, the latter need not require the former to show evidence of identity as required under the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice, as amended. Applying the above rule to the instant case, it is undisputed that the attorney-in-fact of respondents who executed the verification and certificate against forum shopping, which was attached to respondents' petition filed with the CA, is personally known to the notary public before whom the documents were acknowledged. Both attorney-in-fact and the notary public hold office at respondents' place of business and the latter is also the legal counsel of respondents. (Reyes v. Glaucoma Research Foundation, G.R. No. 189255, 17 June 2015)


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