Monday, September 27, 2010

Civil Code Digested Cases

146 SCRA 446
 April 24, 1985

            Petitioners Lorenzo M. Tanada, et. al. invoked due process in demanding the disclosure of a number of Presidential Decrees which they claimed had not been published as required by Law. The government argued that while publication was necessary as a rule, it was not so when it was otherwise provided, as when the decrees themselves declared that they were to become effective immediately upon approval. The court decided on April 24, 1985 in affirming the necessity for publication of some of the decrees. The court ordered the respondents to publish in the official gazette all unpublished Presidential Issuances which are of general force and effect. The petitioners suggest that there should be no distinction between laws of general applicability and those which are not. The publication means complete publication, and that publication must be made in the official gazette. In a comment required by the solicitor general, he claimed first that the motion was a request for an advisory opinion and therefore be dismissed. And on the clause “unless otherwise provided” in Article 2 of the new civil code meant that the publication required therein was not always imperative, that the publication when necessary, did not have to be made in the official gazette.

(1)               Whether or not all laws shall be published in the official gazette
(2)               Whether or not publication in the official gazette must be in full


(1)               The court held that all statue including those of local application shall be published as condition for their effectivity unless a different effectivity date is fixed by the legislature.
(2)               The publication must be full or no publication at all since its purpose is to inform the public of the content of the laws.

GR No. 137873
April 20, 2001

FACTS:             On November 2, 1990, Jose Juego, a construction worker of D.M. Consunji, Inc., fell 14 floors from the Renaissance Tower, Pasig City to his death. On May 9, 1991, Jose Juego´s widow, filed in the RTC of Pasig a complaint for damages against the deceased´s employer, D.M. Consunji, Inc. The employer raised, among other defenses, the widow´s prior availment of the benefits from the State Insurance Fund. The RTC rendered a decision in favor of the widow Maria Juego, ordering the defendant to pay plaintiff. On appeal by D.M. Consunji, the CA affirmed the decision of the RTC in toto. Hence, this petition.

Issue: Whether or not the petitioner (Consunji) is negligent and should be liable.

The decision of the CA is affirmed.    
The claims for damages sustained by workers in the course of their employment could be filed only under the Workmen´s Compensation Law, to the exclusion of all further claims under other laws. The CA held that the case at bar came under exception because private respondent was unaware of petitioner´s negligence when she filed her claim for death benefits from the State Insurance Fund.

2 SCRA 205
May 30, 1961
            Cui was a law scholar at the Arellano University; he paid the tuition fees but it was returned to him at the end of every semester. Before Arellano awarded the scholarship grant, Cui was made to sign a contract covenant and agreement saying that he waives his right to transfer to another school in consideration of the scholarship grant and if he transfers, he shall pay the tuition fees awarded to him while being a scholar. He transferred to another school to finish his last term in law school. When he was about to take the Bar, his TOR at Arellano was not issued unless he pays the amount of the tuition fees that were returned to him when he was still their scholar. He paid under protest.

            Whether or not the provision of the contract between plaintiff and the defendant, whereby the former waived his right to transfer to another school without refunding to the latter the equivalent of his scholarship grants in cash, is valid or not.

            The waiver signed by Cui was void as it was contrary to public policy; it was null and void.
            Scholarship grants, as pointed out by the Director of the Bureau of Private Schools in Memorandum No. 38, are awarded in recognition of merit and not to attract and keep brilliant students in school for their propaganda value. To look at such grants as a business scheme designed to increase the business potential of an educational institution is not only inconsistent with sound public policy but also good morals. Consequently, the waiver signed by the student, waiving his right to transfer to another school unless he refunds to the university the equivalent of his scholarship grants, is null and void.
            WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby reverse and another one shall be entered sentencing the defendant to pay to the plaintiff the sum of P1,033.87, with interest thereon at the legal rate from September 1, 1954, date of the institution of this case, as well as the costs, and dismissing defendant’s counterclaim. It is so ordered.

176 SCRA 778
August 25, 1989

            10 November 1972, herein private respondent  Restituto Tobias, a purchasing agent and administrative assistant to the engineering operations manager, discovered fictitious purchases and other fraudulent transactions, which caused Globe Mackay Cable and Radio Corp loss of several thousands of pesos. He reported it to his immediate superior Eduardo T. Ferraren and to the Executive Vice President and General Manager Herbert Hendry. A day after the report, Hendry told Tobias that he was number one suspect and ordered him one week forced leave. When Tobias returned to work after said leave, Hendry called him a “crook” and a “swindler”, ordered him to take a lie detector test, and to submit specimen of his handwriting, signature and initials for police investigation. Moreover, petitioners hired a private investigator. Private investigation was still incomplete; the lie detector tests yielded negative results; reports from Manila police investigators and from the Metro Manila Police Chief Document Examiner are in favor of Tobias. Petitioners filed with the Fiscal’s Office of Manila a total of six (6) criminal cases against private respondent Tobias, but were dismissed.
            Tobias received a notice of termination of his employment from petitioners in January 1973, effective December 1972. He sought employment with the Republic Telephone Company (RETELCO); but Hendry wrote a letter to RETELCO stating that Tobias was dismissed by Globe Mackay due to dishonesty. Tobias, then, filed a civil case for damages anchored on alleged unlawful, malicious, oppressive, and abusive acts of petitioners. The Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch IX, through Judge Manuel T. Reyes rendered judgment in favor of private respondent, ordering petitioners to pay him eighty thousand pesos (P80,000.00) as actual damages, two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) as moral damages, twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) as exemplary damages, thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00) as attorney's fees, and costs; hence, this petition for review on certiorari.

Issue: Whether or not petitioners are liable for damages to private respondent.

            Yes. The Court, after examining the record and considering certain significant circumstances, finds that all petitioners have indeed abused the right that they invoke, causing damage to private respondent and for which the latter must now be indemnified: when Hendry told Tobias to just confess or else the company would file a hundred more cases against him until he landed in jail; his (Hendry) scornful remarks about Filipinos ("You Filipinos cannot be trusted.”) as well as against Tobias (“crook”, and “swindler”); the writing of a letter to RETELCO stating that Tobias was dismissed by Globe Mackay due to dishonesty; and the filing of six criminal cases by petitioners against private respondent. All these reveal that petitioners are motivated by malicious and unlawful intent to harass, oppress, and cause damage to private respondent. The imputation of guilt without basis and the pattern of harassment during the investigations of Tobias transgress the standards of human conduct set forth in Article 19 of the Civil Code.

            WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 09055 is AFFIRMED.

TESTATE ESTATE OF JOSEPH G. BRIMO, JUAN MICIANO, Administrator, petitioner-appellee, vs ANDRE BRIMO, opponent-appellant
50 Phil. 867
November 01, 1927

Andre Brimo opposed the appeal of Juan Miciano, administrator of the estate of the deceased Joseph Brimo. The property was said to be in the Philippines and the testatrix wished that the distribution of his properties and everything in connection with it be in accordance with the Philippine laws. Oppositor-appellant Brimo claimed that the will of the testatrix is not in accordance with the laws of his Turkish nationality. The errors he (oppositor) assigned in his opposition were the following: (1) the approval of said scheme partition, (2) denial of his participation in the inheritance, (3) denial of the motion for reconsideration of the order approving the partition, (4) the approval of the purchase made by the Pietro Lanza of the deceased's business and the deed of transfer of said business, and (5) the declaration that the Turkish laws are impertinent to this cause, and the failure not to postpone the approval of the scheme of partition and the delivery of the deceased's business to Pietro Lanza until the receipt of the depositions requested in reference to the Turkish laws.

Whether or not Philippine laws shall be applied on the estate of Joseph Brimo, a Turkish citizen who have resided for a considerable length of time in the Philippines.

Article 10 of the old Civil Code of the Philippine law was applied on the estate of Joseph Brimo, where it was provided, “nevertheless, legal and testamentary successions, in respect to the order of succession as well as to the amount of the successional rights and the intrinsic validity of their provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose succession is in question, whatever may be the nature of the property or the country in which it may be situated.” However, the oppositor did not prove, though was granted ample opportunity to introduce competent evidence, that said testamentary dispositions are not in accordance with the Turkish laws. Therefore, there is no evidence in the record that the national law of the testatrix was violated in the testamentary dispositions in question which, not being contrary to our laws in force, must be complied with and executed; thus, the approval of the scheme of partition in this respect was not erroneous.

Therefore, the orders appealed from are modified and it is directed that the distribution of this estate be made in such a manner as to include the herein appellant Andre Brimo as one of the legatees, and the scheme of partition submitted by the judicial administrator is approved in all other respects, without any pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.

IMELDA MANALAYSAY PILAPIL, petitioner, vs. HON. CORONA IBAY-SOMERA, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch XXVI; HON. LUIS C. VICTOR, in his capacity as the City Fiscal of Manila; and ERICH EKKEHARD GEILING, respondents
174 SCRA 653
June 30, 1989

                        This is a SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION for certiorari and prohibition to review the order of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch XXVI.
                        Petitioner, a Filipina, and private respondent, a German national, got married on 7 September 1979 before the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths at Friedensweiler in the Federal Republic of Germany. They lived together for some time in Malate, Manila––where their only child Isabella Pilapil Geiling was born on April 20, 1980. However, on 15 January 1986, Division 20 of the Schoneberg Local Court, Federal Republic of Germany, promulgated a decree of divorce on the marriage of Pilapil and Geiling on the ground of failure of their marriage.
                        27 June 1986, private respondent filed two complaints for adultery before the City Fiscal of Manila alleging that while still married to said respondent, petitioner “had an affair with a certain William Chia as early as 1982, and with yet another man named Jesus Chua sometime in 1983”. Several motions for dismissal were filed by Pilapil. She also filed a motion to quash on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.

(1)      Whether or not the family rights and duties, status, condition and legal capacity of the petitioner are also covered by the foreign law of her former husband.
(2)      Whether or not private respondent has the legal capacity to initiate an action for adultery against the petitioner.

(1)      The petitioner’s family rights and duties, status, condition and legal capacity are all bound to Philippine laws, regardless of where she lives. However, Philippine laws recognize decrees validly and legally obtained abroad, because if not, the enjoyment of rights of a foreign spouse who obtained a divorce decreed by his national law would eventually injure or be prejudicial to the Filipino wife whose marriage would still be valid under her national law.
(2)      As a consequence of the divorce decree, private respondent, being no longer the husband of the petitioner, had no legal standing to commence the action for adultery under the imposture that he was the offended spouse at the time he filed the suit. The severance of the marital bond had the effect of dissociating the former spouses from each other; hence the actuations of one would not affect or cast obloquy on the other.

WHEREFORE, the questioned order denying petitioner’s motion to quash is SET ASIDE and another one entered DISMISSING the complaint in Criminal Case No. 87-52435 for lack of jurisdiction. The temporary restraining order issued in this case on October 21, 1987 is hereby made permanent. SO ORDERED.

WOLFGANG O. ROEHR, petitioner, vs. MARIA CARMEN D. RODRIGUEZ, HON. JUDGE JOSEFINA GUEVARA-SALONGA, Presiding Judge of Makati RTC, Branch 149, respondents.
G.R. No. 142820
June 20, 2003

                Petitioner Wolfgang, a German citizen and resident of Germany, married private respondent Carmen, a Filipina, on 11 December 1980 in Hamburg, Gemany.  Early 1981, the marriage was ratified in Tayasan, Negros Oriental. They had two daughters, Carolyne and Alexandria Kristine.
                Private respondent filed a petition for the declaration of nullity of marriage before the Regional Trial Court of Makati on 28 August 1996. Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss but was denied by trial court. A motion for reconsideration was filed by private respondent but was again denied by the trial court.
                In 1997, petitioner obtained a decree of divorce from the Court of First Instance of Hamburg-Blankenese and granting the custody of the children to the father.
                It was June 14, 1999 when public respondent issued an order granting the petitioner’s motion to dismiss, but was partially set aside on September 1999 for the purpose of tackling issues regarding property relations of the spouses as well as support and custody of their children. Petitioner assailed for the trial court’s lack of jurisdiction, and grave abuse of discretion on the part of the respondent judge.

                Whether or not the Philippine courts can determine the legal effects of a decree of divorce from a foreign country.

                Yes. Our courts can determine the legal effects of a divorce obtained from a foreign country such as those concerning with support and custody of the children.
                In this case, the decree did not touch as to who the offending spouse was. The trial court was correct in setting the issue for hearing to determine the issue of parental custody, care, support and education of the best interests of the children. After all, the child’s welfare is always the paramount consideration in all questions concerning his care and custody.
                WHEREFORE, the orders of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 149, issued on September 30, 1999 and March 31, 2000 are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. We hereby declare that the trial court has jurisdiction over the issue between the parties as to who has parental custody, including the care, support and education of the children, namely Carolyne and Alexandra Kristine Roehr. Let the records of this case be remanded promptly to the trial court for continuation of appropriate proceedings. No pronouncement as to costs.
                SO ORDERED.

GRACE J. GARCIA, a.k.a. GRACE J. GARCIA-RECIO, petitioner, vs. REDERICK A. RECIO, respondent
G.R. No. 138322
October 2, 2001

                        Rederick, a Filipino, was married to Editha Samson, an Australian citizen, in Malabon, Rizal on March 1, 1987. They lived together as husband and wife in Australia. On May 18, 1989, a decree of divorce purportedly dissolving the marriage was issued by an Australian Family Court. On 26 June 1992, respondent became an Australian citizen, as shown by a “Certificate of Australian Citizenship” issued by an Australian government.
                        Subsequently, Recio-Garcia nuptial took place in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Cabanatuan City on January 12, 1994. In their marriage application for marriage license, respondent was declared as “single” and “Filipino”.
                        Since October 22, 1995 Garcia and Recio lived separately without prior dissolution of their marriage. While they were still in Australia, their conjugal assets were divided on May 1996, in accordance with their declaration secured in Australia.
                        March 3, 1998, petitioner filed a Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage in the trial court, on the ground of bigamy––respondent allegedly had a prior subsisting marriage at the time he married her in 1994. She claimed that she only learned of Recio’s marriage to Samson in November 1997.
                        In his answer, Recio averred that as of 1993, he had revealed to petitioner his prior marriage to an Australian citizen, that it had been validly dissolved by decree of divorce in 1989, making him legally capacitated to marry petitioner in 1994.

1.        Whether or not a Filipino, who became a naturalized Australian citizen, is still bound by Philippine Laws.
2.        Whether or not the respondent has legal capacity to marry the petitioner after the Australian decree of divorce.
3.        Whether or not a former Filipino need not to present any document proving his divorced marriage with a foreigner which he obtained abroad.

1.        No. Compliance with the quoted articles (11, 13, and 52) of the Family Code is not necessary; respondent was no longer bound by Philippine personal laws after he acquired Australian citizenship in 1992. Naturalization is the legal act of adopting an alien and clothing him with the political and civil rights belonging to a citizen.
2.        No. In this case, respondent failed to prove his legal capacity to remarry even if he showed the Australian divorce decree, which he said was a public document, a written official act of an Australian family court, and thus needs no further proof of authenticity and due execution. A duly authenticated and admitted certificate is prima facie evidence of legal capacity to marry on the part of the alien applicant for a marriage license. The Court ruled that presentation solely of the divorce decree, which is what the respondent did, is insufficient.
3.        Yes. The burden of proof lies with “the party who alleges the existence of a fact or thing necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action.” Since the divorce was a defense raised by the respondent, the burden of proving the pertinent Australian law validating it falls squarely upon him. The Court still stands that compliance with the rules on evidence must be demonstrated.
                        WHEREFORE, in the interest of orderly procedure and substantive justice, we REMAND the case to the court a quo for the purpose of receiving evidence which conclusively show respondent’s legal capacity to marry petitioner; and failing in that, of declaring the parties’ marriage on the ground of bigamy, as above discussed. No costs.
                        SO ORDERED.

NIKKO HOTEL MANILA GARDEN and RUBY LIM, petitioners, vs. ROBERTO REYES, a.k.a. “AMAY BISAYA”, respondent
G.R. No. 154259
February 28, 2005

                        This is a petition for review on certiorari regarding the reversing decision of the Court of Appeals in the decision of the Trial Court and thus, making the petitioners liable for damages through the abusive conduct of petitioner Lim, imposing upon them P200,000 as exemplary damages, P200,000 as moral damages, and P10,000 as attorney’s fees.
                        Plaintiff Roberto Reyes (Amay Bisaya) was having coffee at the Nikko Hotel lobby on October 13, 1994 at around six in the morning when Dr. Violeta Filart, a long-time friend, approached him and invited him to a party at the penthouse where the hotel’s former manager’s birthday was being celebrated. He consented and carried the latter’s present. At the party, when he was helping himself at the buffet table, Ruby Lim, one of the petitioners, approached him and asked him to leave in a loud voice enough to be heard by those around the buffet table. Then, a Makati policeman accompanied the embarrassed Amay Bisaya in leaving the penthouse.
                        Ruby Lim accepted the fact that she asked Mr. Reyes to leave but not in the manner he claimed. She said she politely asked Mr. Reyes to finish his food and leave the party as the celebrant wants the party to be intimate, and that he was not invited. On the other hand, Dr. Filart denied Amay Bisaya’s claim that she invited him to the party.

                        Whether or not petitioner Lim’s conduct was abusive enough to make the petitioners liable for damages caused to plaintiff.

                        No. The Supreme Court ruled that any damage which Mr. Reyes might have suffered through Ms. Lim’s exercise of a legitimate right done within the bounds of propriety and good faith, must be his to bear alone.
                        The plaintiff failed in proving the ill-motive of the petitioners. It was from his confession that when Ms. Lim approached him, they were very close that they nearly kissed each other. Considering the closeness of defendant Lim to plaintiff when she requested the latter to leave the party, it is apparent that the request was meant to be heard by him only and there could have been no intention on her part to cause him embarrassment. It was plaintiff’s reaction to the request that must have made the other guests aware of what transpired between them. Had plaintiff simply left the party as requested, there was no need for the police to take him out. Therefore, we find the petitioners not guilty of violating Articles 19 and 21 of the Civil Code.
                        WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition filed by Ruby Lim and Nikko Hotel Manila Garden is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 26 November 2001 and its Resolution dated 09 July 2002 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 104, dated 26 April 1999 is hereby AFFIRMED. No costs.
                        SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 142943
April 3, 2002

                This is a petition for review filed by petitioners regarding the February 1, 2000 Decision and the April 10, 2000 Resolution of the Court of Appeals where the decision of the trial court is set aside, the complaint against MERALCO is dismissed, and plaintiffs-appellees are ordered to pay defendant-appellant the differential billing of P193,332.00 representing the value of used but unregistered electrical consumption.
                Spouses Antonio and Lorna Quisumbing, plaintiffs-appellees in this case, are the owners of a house and lot located at No. 94 Greenmeadows Avenue, Quezon City which they bought from Ms. Carmina Serapio Santos. On March 3, 1995, around 9am, defendant-appellant’s inspectors headed by Emmanuel C. Orlina were assigned to conduct a routine on the spot inspection of all single phase meters at the house owned by the spouses. The inspectors performed their standard operating procedure by first asking permission from the secretary of the couple before they proceed to the inspection of the house. Later, the inspectors found out that there were few ‘illegal’ markings on the meter which made defendant-appellant temporarily disconnect electrical services that will only be restored unless the couple will pay P178, 875 representing the differential bill. However, at around 2pm, the electric service was reconnected as instructed by defendant-appellant’s officer. Plaintiff-appellees filed a complaint for damages with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction despite the immediate reconnection.

                Whether or not the act of the defendant-appellant’s inspectors in immediately disconnecting the electrical service of MERALCO constituted a violation of rights of the plaintiffs-appellees, making the respondent liable to pay damages to petitioner.

                Yes. Respondent had no legal right to immediately disconnect petitioners’ electrical supply without observing the requisites of law which, in turn, are akin to due process. Public utilities have a clear duty to see to it that they do not violate nor transgress the rights of the consumers. Any act on their part that militates against the ordinary norms of justice and fair play is considered an infraction that gives rise to an action for damages. Such is the case at bar.
                WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby PARTLY GRANTED. The assailed CA Decision is MODIFIED as follows: petitioners are ORDERED to pay respondent the billing differential of P193, 322.96; while respondent is ordered to pay petitioners P100,000 as moral damages, P50,000 as exemplary damages, and P50,000 as attorney’s fees. No pronouncement as to costs.
                SO ORDERED.

CECILIO PE, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellants, vs. ALFONSO PE, defendant-appellee
5 SCRA 200
May 30, 1962

                This is an appeal brought before the Court of Appeals upon the decision of the trial court dismissing the complaint of plaintiffs-appellants, who are the parents, brothers and sisters of Lolita, based on their claim that defendant Alfonso––a married man who works as an agent of the La Perla Cigar and Cigarette Factory, staying in Gasan, Marinduque, an adopted son of a Chinese named Pe Beco who is a collateral relative of Lolita’s father––deliberately and in bad faith tried to win Lolita’s affection, causing moral damages to plaintiff.
                Because of the frequency of his visits to Lolita’s family who has allowed free access because he was a collateral relative and was considered as a member of her family, the two eventually fell in love with each other and conducted clandestine love affairs both in Gasan, and Boac where Lolita used to teach in a barrio school. When the rumors about their illicit affairs reached the knowledge of her parents, defendant was forbidden from going to their house and even from seeing Lolita. Plaintiffs even filed deportation proceedings against defendant who is a Chinese national. Nevertheless, defendant continued his love affairs with Lolita until she disappeared from the parental home on April 14, 1957.

                Whether or not defendant caused moral damages to plaintiff, when as a married man, he pursued his love affair with Lolita.

                Yes. No other conclusion can be drawn from this chain of events than that defendant not only deliberately, but through a clever strategy, succeeded in winning the affection and love of Lolita to the extent of having illicit relations with her. The wrong he has caused her and her family is indeed immeasurable considering the fact that he is a married man. Verily, he has committed an injury to Lolita’s family contrary to morals, good customs and public policy as contemplated in Article 21 of the new Civil Code.
                WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is reversed. Defendant is hereby sentenced to pay the plaintiffs the sum of P5,000.00 as damages and P2,000.00 as attorney’s fees and expenses of litigations. Costs against appellee.

PASTOR B. TENCHAVEZ, plaintiff-appellant, vs. VICENTA F. ESCAÑO, ET AL., defendants-appellees
15 SCRA 179
November 29, 1965

                Out of their love affair, Vicenta Escaño and Pastor Tenchavez secretly got married on 24 February 1948 before Catholic chaplain Lt. Moises Lavares. Their marriage was duly registered in the local civil registrar. Later in their marriage, Vicenta’s parents, Mamerto and Mena Escaño, found out of their secret marriage; however, she continued living with her parents than eloping with her husband. Pastor went to Manila, leaving his wife in Cebu. Vicenta later went to Jimenez, Misamis Occidental “to escape from the scandal that her marriage stirred in Cebu society.” On 24 June 1950, she applied for a passport where it is indicated the she is “single”. After approval of the application, she left for the United States and there, on August 1950, filed a complaint for divorce against Pastor on the ground of “extreme cruelty, entirely mental in character”; marriage was decreed divorced as “final and absolute” in Nevada on October 1950. She then sought papal dispensation for her marriage to Tenchavez. In 1954, Vicenta married an American and begotten children. She acquired American citizenship in 1958. Herein petitioner filed a complaint against Vicenta Escaño and her parents, whom he alleged to have influenced her from living with him.

                Whether or not parents-defendants shall pay petitioner for damages.

                No. There is no evidence that the parents of Vicenta, out of improper motives, aided and abetted her original suit for annulment, or her subsequent divorce; she appears to have acted independently, and being of age, she was entitled to judge what was best for her and ask that her decisions be respected. Her parents, in so doing, certainly cannot be charged with alienation of affections in the absence of malice or unworthy motives, which have not been shown, good faith being always presumed until the contrary is proved.
                Plaintiff Tenchavez, in falsely charging Vicenta's aged parents with racial or social discrimination and with having exerted efforts and pressured her to seek annulment and divorce, unquestionably caused them unrest and anxiety, entitling them to recover damages. While this suit may not have been impelled by actual malice, the charges were certainly reckless in the face of the proven facts and circumstances. Court actions are not established for parties to give vent to their prejudices or spleen.
                WHEREFORE, the decision under appeal is hereby modified as follows;
                (1) Adjudging plaintiff-appellant Pastor Tenchavez entitled to a decree of legal separation from defendant Vicenta F. Escaño;
                (2) Sentencing defendant-appellee Vicenta Escaño to pay plaintiff-appellant Tenchavez the amount of P25,000 for damages and attorneys' fees;
                (3) Sentencing appellant Pastor Tenchavez to pay the appellee, Mamerto Escaño and the estate of his wife, the deceased Mena Escaño, P5,000 by way of damages and attorneys' fees.
                Neither party to recover costs.

133 SCRA 179
November 14, 1984

                This case is about the recovery of damages for a wrongful advertisement in the December 15, 1968 and January 5, 1969 issue of the Sunday Times where St. Louis Realty Corporation misrepresented that the house of Doctor Conrado J. Aramil belonged to Arcadio S. Arcadio. Moreover, there was violation of Aramil's right to privacy.
                        Trial court through Judge Leuterio awarded P8,000 as actual damages, P20,000 as moral damages and P2,000 as attorney’s fees.  Had it not been a late action for publication of rectification and apology––which only took place 15 April 1969 issue of Manila Times–– Doctor Aramil could have not suffered mental anguish and his income would have not been reduced by about P1,000 to P1,500 a month. Petitioner assailed the decision of the Appellate Court when it affirmed the trial court’s decision. Furthermore, the corporation contends that the decision is contrary to law and that the case was decided in a way not in conformity with the rulings of this Court and still continues to argue that the case is not covered by article 26.

                        Whether or not the case filed against St. Louis Realty Corporation is covered by Article 26 of the new Civil Code.

                        Yes, this case is covered by Article 26 of the Civil Code.
                        St. Louis Realty's employee was grossly negligent in mixing up the Aramil and Arcadio residences in a widely circulated publication like the Sunday Times. Through that negligence, persons who know the residence of Doctor Aramil, were confused by the distorted, lingering impression that he was renting his residence from Arcadio or that Arcadio had leased it from him. Either way, his private life was mistakenly and unnecessarily exposed. He suffered diminution of income and mental anguish.
                        WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Appellate Court is affirmed. Costs against the petitioner.
                        SO ORDERED.

160 SCRA 441
April 15, 1988

                        This petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction was filed by petitioner when the Court denied his motion for reconsideration due to lack of merit.
                        Private respondent Paz Abayan filed an information for bigamy against petitioner Leonilo Donato. She also filed with the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court a civil action for declaration of nullity of marriage to petitioner because of a prior marriage of petitioner. In his answer petitioner claimed that his second marriage was void because it was solemnized without a valid marriage license and that violence, intimation and undue influence were employed by Paz to obtain his consent.
                        Prior to the date set for the trial of the criminal case, petitioner filed a motion to suspend the proceedings of the case because the civil action raises a prejudicial question which must first be determined before the criminal case can proceed.

                        Whether or not a criminal case for bigamy pending before the Court of First Instance of Manila should be suspended in view of a civil case for annulment of marriage pending before the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on the ground that the latter constitutes a prejudicial question.

                        The respondent judge answered in the negative. The Court sustained him.
                        The requisites of a prejudicial question do not obtain in the case at bar. It must be noted that the issue before the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court touching upon the nullity of the second marriage is not determinative of petitioner Donato's guilt or innocence in the crime of bigamy. Furthermore, it was petitioner's second wife, the herein private respondent Paz B. Abayan who filed the complaint for annulment of the second marriage on the ground that her consent was obtained through deceit. Petitioner Donato failed to prove that his consent to the second marriage has been obtained by the use of threats, force and intimidation.
                        WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. We make no pronouncement as to costs.

ALICE REYES VAN DORN, petitioner, VS. HON. MANUEL ROMILLO JR., as Presiding Judge of Branch CX, Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Region Pasay City and RICHARD UPTON, respondents
139 SCRA 139
October 8, 1985

            Alice Reyes, the petitioner is a citizen of the Philippines while private respondent Richard Upton is a citizen of the United States. They were married in Hong Kong in 1972 and they established residence in the Philippines. They had two children and they were divorced in Nevada, USA in 1982. The petitioner remarried in Nevada to Theodore Van Dorn. The private responded filed against petitioner stating that the petitioner’s business is a conjugal property of the parties and that respondent is declared with right to manage the conjugal property. Petitioner moved to dismiss the case on the ground that the cause of action is barred by previous judgment in the divorce proceedings before the Nevada Court, where respondent acknowledged that they had no community property as of June 11, 1982.

a.     Whether or not their divorce in Nevada, USA in 1982 is recognized in the Philippines.
b.    Whether or not the private respondent as petitioner’s husband is entitled to exercise control over conjugal assets

            The policy against absolute divorce covers only Philippine nationals.
            However, aliens may obtain divorce abroad, which may be recognized in the Philippines provided they are valid according to their national law. The divorce the parties obtained from the Nevada Court released both parties from marital ties, thus, private respondent is no longer the husband of petitioner. He would have no standing to sue in the case as petitioner’s husband entitled to exercise control over conjugal assets. He is estopped by his own representation before said court from asserting his right over the alleged conjugal property.

211 SCRA 6
July 3, 1992

Complainant Dorothy Terre was married to her first cousin while respondent Jordan Terre, who is a member of the Philippine Bar, with the knowledge of her marriage still courted her and have convinced her to marry him since her prior marriage is void ab initio.

Later, respondent disappeared, and abandoned Dorothy and their first-born Jason. Complainant found out that Atty. Terre married one named Helina Malicdem. Upon knowing of this, she filed an administrative case to disbar respondent. Jordan claimed that his marriage to complainant, which he believed in good faith, was null and void from the beginning; thus, does not need a judicial declaration of nullity. He also denied that Jason was his son to Dorothy.

Whether or not a judicial declaration of nullity of marriage is needed in order to contract a second marriage.

YES. A judicial declaration that the first marriage was null and void ab initio is essential, for through it, a person can be determined as to be legally free to contract a second marriage.
However, in this case, the marriage between Dorothy and Atty. Jordan is deemed to be void since the complainant's first marriage has not obtained a judicial declaration nullifying it. The respondent was not charged of bigamy, but was proved to be guilty of gross immoral conduct, a factor that affected his moral fitness for membership in the legal profession.
WHEREFORE, the Court Resolved to DISBAR respondent Jordan Terre and to STRIKE OUT his name from the Roll of Attorneys. A copy of this decision shall be spread on the personal record of respondent Jordan Terre in the Bar Confidant's Office. A copy of this Resolution shall also be furnished to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and shall be circularized to all the courts of the land. SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 70890
September 18, 1992

                        Julie Ann Gotiong, daughter of respondent spouses, and Wendell Libi, son of petitioners, were sweethearts for more than two years before their death. Julie broke up with Wendell upon finding out of his sadistic and irresponsible character. Wendell kept on pestering Julie Ann with demands for reconciliation but her persistent refusal caused him to threaten her. 14 January 1979, Julie Ann and Wendell died, each from a single gunshot wound of the same firearm. Private respondents claimed that it was Wendell who deliberately caused their daughter's death, and his, respectively. Spouses Libi contended that a third party, probably a person related to Wendell's work as a Constabulary Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) agent, must have caused his death and Julie's. Gotiong spouses filed a civil case against the Libi spouses to recover damages arising from the latter's vicarious liability under Article 2180 of the Civil Code. The court dismissed plaintiffs' complaint for insufficiency of the evidence, and denied defendants' counterclaim for lack of sufficient merit. On appeal to respondent court, the lower court's decision was set aside.
                        Herein petitioners seek for the reversal of judgment of respondent court promulgated on 2 January 1985 sentencing defendants-spouses Libi to pay to plaintiff P30,000.00 for moral damages, P10,000.00 for exemplary damages, P20,000.00 as attorney's fees and costs.

                        Whether or not respondent court correctly reversed the trial court in accordance with established decisional laws; and
                        Whether or not Article 2180 of the Civil Code was correctly interpreted by respondent court to make petitioners liable for vicarious liability.

                        The court ruled that the Libi spouses are and should be held primarily liable for the civil liability arising from criminal offenses committed by their minor son under their legal authority or control, and who lives in their company. It is also proven that defendants-appellees utterly failed to exercise the requisite diligentissimi patris familias in preventing their minor son from committing this crime by means of the gun of defendants-appellees which was freely accessible to Wendell Libi for they have not regularly checked whether said gun was still under lock, but learned that it was missing from safety deposit box only after the crime had been committed.
                        ACCORDINGLY, the instant petition is DENIED and the assailed judgment of respondent Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED with costs against petitioners. SO ORDERED.

1 comment: