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Persons and Family Outline with case digests



Effectivity of Laws (Art. 2)
A. Publication Requirement
a. Publication is mandatory
b. Publication must be made in full since
the purpose is to inform the people
B. What to Publish
a. Ordinary Law
b. Civil Code
i. General Orders
ii. Pres.Decrees, Exec. Orders
iii. Letters of Instruction, Letters of
Implementation (Circular)
iv. Proclamations
C. Importance of Publication
Tanada v. Tuvera, 146 SCRA 446
Publication must be in full or it is no publication at all
since its purpose is to inform the public of the contents of the
law. It must be published in the Official Gazette and not
SC cannot rule upon the wisdom of a law or the
repeal/modify it if it finds impractical. That function belongs
to the legislature.
?Laws that are not of general application may be
published in a newspaper of general circulation for it to
take effect. This is due to the erratic release and limited
readership of the Official Gazette.
De Roy vs. CA 146 SCRA 757
There is no law requiring the publication of Supreme Court
decisions in the Official Gazette before they can be binding
and as a condition to their becoming effective.
People vs., Que Po Lay 94 Phil 640
Facts: Po lay was accused of violating a circular of the
Central Bank for not selling foreign currency to CB. He
alleged that the circular should have no effect since it was
not published in the Official Gazette.
HELD: Circulars which prescribe penalty for their violation
must first be published in the Official Gazette before it
becomes effective. This is for the people to be officially and
specifically informed of such contents including its penalties.
NPC v. Pinatubo Commercial, G.R. No. 176006, 26 March
A law, regulation or circular that is internal in nature and
not of general application need not be published in the
Official Gazette.
Neri vs. Senate Committee on Accountability of Public
Officers G.R. No. 180643 March 25,2008
Rules of procedure (governing inquiries in aid of
legislation) of the Congress must be duly published before in
can take effect.
Pimentel vs. Senate Committee of the Whole, G.R. No.
187714, March 8, 2011
The Constitution does not require publication of the
internal rules of the House or Senate. Since rules of the
House or the Senate that affect only their members are
internal to the House or Senate, such rules need not be
published,unless such rules expressly provide for their
publication before the rules can take effect. Hence, in this
particular case, the Rules of the Senate Committee of the
Whole itself provide that the Rules must be published before
the Rules can take effect. Thus, even if publication is not
required under the Constitution, publication of the Rules of

the Senate Committee of the Whole is required because the
Rules expressly mandate their publication.

Ignorance of Law excuses no one (Art. 3)
- Applies only to mandatory and prohibitory laws
- Scope: refers not only to the literal words of the
law but its interpretation as well
1. Mistake of law v. Mistake of Fact:
Mistake of Law – no excuse
Mistake of Fact – eliminates criminal intent

1. Honest error of lawyer’s interpretation of
2. Erroneous belief that court can grant
absolute divorce
3. Minor got married because she thought
she’s already of a certain age

a. Art. 526 –mistake on doubtful or difficult
provision of law is basis for good faith mitigates but does not extinguish liability;
b. Art. 1334 – mutual err1or on legal effect of
agreement- may vitiate consent;
c. Art. 2155 – mistake in payment gives rise to
right to return of erroneouspayment
Garcia vs. Recio G.R. No. 138322, Oct. 2, 2002
If the foreign law is not properly alleged and proved, the
presumption is that it is the same as our law.

Prospective Application of Laws (Art. 4)
 Laws are prospective. Judges must look
backward, legislators must look forward or
grave injustice would occur.

A. Exception
1. If provided in the law itself
2. Procedural law
3. Penal law if favorable to the accused
(not habitual delinquent)
4. Curative (purpose is to fix irregularities)
and Repealing statutes;
5. Creating new rights
6. Tax statutes
7. Interpretative Statutes
B. Exception to the Exception
1. Ex post facto laws – makes criminal and
punishable the acts done before the
passing of the law.
2. Penal laws not favorable to the accused;
3. Substantive laws impairing vested rights.
Valeroso v. People, G.R. No. 164815, 22 February
(prospectivity).Lex prospicit, non respicit. A new law
has a prospective, not retroactive, effect. However,
penal laws that favor a guilty person, who is not

a habitual criminal, shall be given retroactive
PNB v. Office of the President, G.R. No. 104528, 18
January 1996
ABS-CBN v. CTA, G.R. No. L-52306, 12 October 1981
Rulings or circulars issued by the Commissioner of
INernal Revenue have no retroactive application if
applying them would be prejudicial to taxpayers.

Acts Contrary to Mandatory or Prohibitory
Provisions are Void (Art. 5)
A. Exceptions
a. The law makes the act valid but
b. The law itself authorizes its validity
c. The law makes the act only voidable
(valid, unless annulled)
d. The law declares the nullity of an act but
recognizes its effects as legally existing
Waiver of Rights (Art. 6)
Waiver – intentional relinquishment of a known
right. Voluntary choice is the essence of the waiver.
 Elements of Rights
o Subject (Person) – rights exists only in
favor of persons
o Object (things and services intended for
human satisfaction)
o Efficient Cause - fact that gives rise to for
the legal relation (i.e. personal will)
 Kinds
o Express – declared
o Implied – inferred by the acts or conduct
of the party
A. Requisites of a valid waiver
1. Person making the waiver must have the
right he is waiving
2. He must have the capacity to make the
waiver (waiver by minor or insane person
is voidable)
3. Waiver must be made in a clear and
unequivocal manner
4. Waiver must not be contrary to law,
public order, policy, morals, good
customs or is prejudicial to a third person
5. If required, formalities must be complied
6. Waiver must not prejudice the rights of
B. Exceptions (Rights that cannot be renounced
1. If it is contrary to law, public order,
policy, morals, good customs or
2. If it is prejudicial to a third person.with a
right recognized by the law.
3. Natural Rights, like the right to life
*Laws cannot be renounced but the rights
arising from it can be

*Public order and interest is superior to the
individual will.
*A person cannot waive his right if it
prejudices the right of another person
D.M. Consunji vs. CA, G.R. No. 137873, April 20, 2001
HELD: 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.
Cui vs. Arellano University 2 SCRA 205
FACTS: Cui was a law student in Arellano, scholar. Upon
availing the scholarship, he waived his right to transfer to
other schools or he would pay the full tuition. He
transferred on his last semester.
HELD: The waiver signed by Cui was VOID because it was
contrary to public policy. (Scholarship grants are
awards for merit not for propaganda)
PNB v. Nepomuceno Productions, G.R. No. 139479, 27
December 2002
FACTS: Nepomuceno et al. availed a loan in PNB and
submitted some of their properties as collaterals.
Nepomuceno defaulted in their obligation and their
mortgaged properties were foreclosed. The respondents
filed an action for annulment of the foreclosure sale
claiming that such was void because, among others, there
was lack of publication of the notice of foreclosure sale.

HELD: Petitioner and respondents have absolutely no
right to waive the posting and publication requirements of
Act No. 3135 because it is against public policy. (The
statutory requirements of posting and publication are
mandated, not for the mortgagor’s benefit, but for the
public or third persons.)
People v. Serzo, G.R. No. 118435, 20 June 1997
HELD: The right to counsel of an accused is guaranteed
by our Constitution, our laws and our Rules of Court.
During custodial investigation, arraignment, trial and even
on appeal, the accused is given the option to be
represented by a counsel of his choice. But when he
neglects or refuses to exercise this option during
arraignment and trial, the court shall appoint one for him.
While the right to be represented by counsel is absolute,
the accuseds option to hire one of his own choice is
limited. Such option cannot be used to sanction
reprehensible dilatory tactics, to trifle with the Rules or to
prejudice the equally important rights of the state and the
offended party to speedy and adequate justice.
Gongon v. Court of Appeals, 32 SCRA 412

Repeal of Laws (Art. 7)
A. Kinds of Repeal
1. Express Repeal – literally declared by a
new law; specific provisions are named
and identified and declared to be

2. Implied Repeal – when provisions of the
new law is incompatible/inconsistent
with previous law; not favored
C. Requisites
1. Both laws must cover the same subject
2. The latter must be inconsistent with the
D. Effects of Repealing Act
Must generally be governed by the rules on
retroactivity of laws. Hence, the repeal of a
statute cannot affect or impair any vested
right, act done, or judgement already final
before the repeal.
C. Sec. 444, Local Government Code
D. General and Special Laws
 If GenLaw was enacted prior to SpeLaw, the
SpeLaw will be the exception to the GenLaw.
 If GenLaw was enacted after SpeLaw, the
SpeLaw remains unless:
o There is an express declaration
o There is a clear and necessary conflict
The subsequent general law covers
the whole subject and is intended to
replace the special law
Judicial Decisions form part of the law of the
land (Art. 8)
 Doctrine of “stare decisis” (“to stand by
decided matters”) – policy of following the
rules and principles laid down in previous
judicial decisions. The courts must abide and
adhere to decided cases.
o Flexible – when the doctrine ceases to
be of benefit and use to society, the
courts may rightly depart from it
 Doctrine of “Obiter dicta” – opinions are
not binding and overrules no claim
 SC decisions – authoritative and precedent
 Inferior Courts Decisions and Court of
Appeals – merely persuasive
 NOTE: Decisions are NOT laws but merely
EVIDENCE of what the law mean. Courts
merely interpret and/or apply the law.

People v. Licera G.R. No. L-39990, July 2, 1975
Facts: Licera, an appointed secret agent of Governor
Leviste, was accused of illegal possession of firearms
in 1965 and was found guilty by the municipal court in
1966. Licera appealed to the Court of First Instance.
Held: The SC held that where at the time of his
appointment, People v. Macarandang (1959) was
applicable, which held that secret agents were exempt
from the license requirement, and later People v.
Mapa (1967) was decided, the earlier case should be
held applicable.

Ratio Decidendi: Art. 8 of the Civil Code decrees that
judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or
the Constitution form part of this jurisdiction's legal
system. These decisions, although in themselves not
law, constitute evidence of what the laws mean. The
application or interpretation placed by the courts upon
a law is part of the law as of the date of the
enactment of the said law since the Court's
application or interpretation merely establishes the
contemporaneous legislative intent that the construed
law purports to carry into effect. A new doctrine
abrogating an old rule operates prospectively
and should not adversely affect those favored by the
old rule.
People v. Jabinal G.R. No. L-30061, February 27, 1974
Facts: Jabinal, an appointed secret agent of the
governor of Batangas was found guilty of illegal
possession of firearm and ammunition. Defendant
claimed to be entitled to exoneration being appointed
as secret and confidential agent.
Held: Article 8 of the New Civil Code: “Judicial
decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the
constitution shall form part of the legal system…”. At
the time the appellant was convicted, People vs
Lucero and People vs Macarandang was part of the
jurisprudence of the law. Although the doctrine was
overruled by People vs Mapa, the new doctrine
should be applied prospectively and should not
apply to parties who had relied on the old
doctrine and acted on faith. The appellant, being
conferred secret agent and confidential agent and
authorized to possess firearm under which no criminal
liability would attach under Macarandang and Lucero,
was acquitted.

Duty of Judges (Art. 9)
 If the law is vague or obscure, the court
should clarify it in the light of the rules of
statutory construction
 If the law is silent or insufficient, the court
should fill the deficiency by resorting to
customs and general principles of law
 In certain cases, the court must LEGISLATE to
(1) FILL in the GAPS of the law and in order to
invoke an order to arrive at a solution; and
(2) ADAPT & ADJUST the rigid/inflexible
provisions of law to fit the changing
conditions of life and society, so the law may
accomplish its social mission.
 Applicable to Criminal Cases? In a way,
YES. but when there is no law punishing an
act, the case must be dismissed, however
reprehensible the act may seem to the judge.
Chuayan vs. Bernas, 34 Phil 631
Facts: The Court of First Instance dismissed an appeal
of a case between two cock fighters, one alleging the
other for not complying with the rules and regulation
governing cockfights, due to lack of knowledge on the
law applicable to the said matter.

Held: The ignorance of the court or his lack of
knowledge regarding the law applicable to a case
submitted to him for decision, are NOT reasons
that can serve to excuse the court for dismissing the
case without deciding the issues. “No person shall be
deprived of life, liberty, and property without due
process of law”
People vs. Veneracion, 249 SCRA 251
Caltez, Inc. v. Palomar, 18 SCRA 247
People v. Licera, 65 SCRA 270
ISSUE: In 1961, accused was granted an appointment
as secret agent of Governor Leviste. In 1965, accused
was charged with illegal possession of firearms. The
SC held that where at the time of his appointment,
People v. Macarandang (1959) was applicable, which
held that secret agents were exempt from the license
requirement, and later People v. Mapa (1967) was
decided, the earlier case should be held applicable.
HELD: Art. 8 of the Civil Code decrees that judicial
decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the
Constitution form part of this jurisdiction's legal
system. These decisions, although in themselves not
law, constitute evidence of what the laws mean. The
application or interpretation placed by the courts upon
a law is part of the law as of the date of the
enactment of the said law since the Court's
application or interpretation merely establishes the
contemporaneous legislative intent that the construed
law purports to carry into effect.
A new doctrine abrogating an old rule operates
prospectively and should not adversely affect those
favored by the old rule.

Doubtful Statues (Art. 10)
 Construction and interpretation of the law
must come only after it has been
demonstrated that application is inadequate
or impossible without them.
People vs. Purisima, 86 SCRA 542
Held: Yes, while it is not within the power of courts of
justice to inquire into the wisdom of a law, it is
however a judicial task and prerogative to
determine if official action is within the spirit and
letter of the law and if basic fundamental rights of
an individual guaranteed by the Constitution
implementation. We have to face the fact that it is an
unwise and unjust application of a law, necessary and
justified under prevailing circumstances, which
renders the measure an instrument of oppression and
evil and leads the citizenry to lose their faith in their
In Re: Padilla, 74 Phil. 377
ISSUE: Whether or not the demolished properties should be
reimbursed to the wife at the time of the liquidation of the
conjugal partnership?
HELD: Yes. Although the appellant claims that it is doubtful
if the buildings had any value at the time they were
destroyed and that there is no evidence that the conjugal
partnership realized any benefit therefrom, the court ordered
that the value of the buildings at the time they were torn

down should be paid to the wife because certain old
buildings had some value, though small. They also dismissed
the appellant’s contention that because article 1404, par. 2
of the Civil Code does not provide for the reimbursement of
the value of demolished improvements, the wife should not
be indemnified. It will be the duty of the commissioners
mentioned in the judgment appealed from to assess the
value of the properties.

Customs (Art. 11-12)
 Customs – rules of human act formed by
repetition of acts, uniformly observed as a
social rule, legally binding and obligatory.
 A local custom cannot be considered
by a court of justice unless such
custom is properly established by a
concrete evidence (proved as a
 Juridical Custom – can supplement
statutory law or applied in the
absence of such statute. Social
Custom – cannot
 Custom, even if proven, cannot
prevail over statutory or legal rule by
 Law is written, consciously made, and
enacted by the congress; Custom is
unwritten, spontaneous, and comes from
society. Law is superior to a custom.
 Requisites to make a custom an obligatory
o Custom must be proved as a fact
o Must not be contrary to law
o Must be a number of repeated acts
o The community accepts it as a proper
way of acting, such that it is
considered as obligatory upon all
o Continued practice for a long period
of time;
o Practice must not be contrary to law,
morals, or public order.
Martinez vs. Van Buskirk, 18 Phil 79
Whether or not an employer who has furnished a gentle and
tractable team and a trusty and capable driver is, liable for
the negligence of such driver
No. The act of defendant's driver in leaving the horses in the
manner proved was not unreasonable or imprudent. Acts the
performance of which has not proved destructive or injurious
and which have, therefore, been acquiesced in by society for
so long a time that they have ripened into custom, cannot be
held to be themselves unreasonable or imprudent. Indeed
the very reason why they have been permitted by society is
that they beneficial rather than prejudicial.itc-al Accidents
sometimes happen and injuries result from the most ordinary
acts of life. But such are not their natural or customary
results. It is a matter of common knowledge as well as proof
that it is the universal practice of merchants to deliver
merchandise of the kind of that being delivered at the time

of the injury, in the manner in which that was then being
delivered; and that it is the universal practice to leave the
horses in the manner in which they were left at the time of
the accident. This is the custom in all cities. It has not been
productive of accidents or injuries. The public, finding itself
unprejudiced by such practice, has acquiesced for years
without objection.
Yao Kee vs. Sy-Gonzales, 167 SCRA 736
Fact: The deceased Sy Kiat was legally married to Asuncion
Gonzales. Their children filed a petition for grant of letters of
administration for the properties Sy Kiat left behind. In the
petition, they also did NOT recognize Sy Kiat’s marriage by
custom to Yao Kee which was opposed by the latter. The
legality of the alleged marriage of Sy Kiat with Yao Kee had
not been proven to be valid to the laws of China.
Held: Art. 12 of the New Civil Code provides that the law
requires that a custom must be proved as fact according to
the rules of evidence. The Court held that a local custom
as a source of right cannot be considered by a court
of justice unless such custom is properly established
by competent evidence like any other fact. In the
present case, the petitioners did not present any competent
evidence relative to the law and customs of China on
marriage. The testimonies presented cannot be considered
as proof because it failed to show the competence of the
matters presented. In failure to prove the foreign law or
customs, the validity of marriage between Yao Kee and Sy
Kiat cannot be recognized in Philippine jurisdiction.
In the Matter of the Petition for Authority to Continue the Use
of the Firm Name Ozaeta,
Romulo, etc., 92 SCRA 1
Issue: The surviving partners of two deceased lawyers filed a
petition that they be allowed to continue using the names of
their partners in a professional law firm. The petitioners
argued that there is no local custom that prohibits such;
there is no local custom that the name of the law firm
necessarily identifies the individual members of the firm.
Held: Courts take no judicial notice of custom. A custom
must be proved as a fact, according to the rules of evidence.
Custom has been defined as a rule of conduct formed by
repetition of acts, uniformly observed (practiced) as a social
rule, legally binding and obligatory.
A local custom as a
source of right cannot be considered by a court of justice
unless such custom is properly established by
competent evidence like any other fact. Merely because
something is done as a matter of practice does not mean
that Courts can rely on the same for purposes of adjudication
as a juridical custom. Juridical custom must be differentiated
from social custom. The former can supplement statutory law
or be applied in the absence of such statute. Not so with the
Moreover, judicial decisions applying or interpreting the
laws form part of the legal system. In the Deen and
Perkins cases in 1953, where a law firm in Cebu continued
its practice of including in its firm name that of a deceased
partner, C.D. Johnston, the Court directed the lawyers,
through its Resolution, to desist from including the names of
deceased partners in their firm designation. The Court laid
down a legal rule against which no custom or practice to the
contrary, even if proven, can prevail.

Computation of Period and Time (Art. 13)
A. Rule on Computation of Period: First day
excluded, last day included
a. Years- 365 days, unless year identified
b. Months-30 days, unless month identified
c. Days – 24 hours
d. Nights - sunset to sundown

* Weeks should be 7 days, from Sunday to
Saturday; but when used as duration of time
(period), it means 7 consecutive days
B. Exception: Computation of age - each year
based on birth anniversary; 365th-day rule
C. Policy if last day is a Sunday or Legal Holiday
1. Ordinary Contracts – act is due
even if it is Sunday or holiday
(counted); with exceptions (i.e.
maturity date of negotiable
2. Rules of Court/Court Order or any
other applicable statute – act is due
the next day what is neither Sunday
or holiday (not counted)

Penals Laws (Art 14)
A. Applicability to Aliens, who owe a local
and temporary allegiance to the gov’t of the
country where they are; they must obey its law
and may be prosecuted for violating them. They
also enjoy the civil rights guaranteed by the
Constitution to all inhabitants.
B. Exemptions Under Public International
1. Heads of State
2. Diplomatic Agents
3. If committed in a public or armed vessel
of a foreign country
*Offense committed on a foreign merchant
vessel while in the Philippine port is triable in
Philippine court.
C. Exemptions Under Treaty
Example is the Phil-US Military Base
Agreement which provided US jurisdiction
over the ff offenses:
1. Offenses committed in any US base by
any person except when both parties
citizens; OR when the offense is
against Philippine security.
2. Offenses
Military base, when both parties are
members of US Military
3. Offenses committed outside US base
by US military against US security
Garcia vs. Recio, 366 SCRA 437 SEE ABOVE
CIR vs. Primetown, G.R. 162155, August 28,
Civil Laws (Art. 15-17)
Theories in Personal law
 Domiciliary Theory – US – personal laws of
the person are determined by his domicile

Nationality Theory – French – by political

A. General Rule: Nationality Principle
1. Family Rights and Duties
a. The only absolute divorce recognized
is one of the alien spouse; or if the
Filipino spouse committed
concubinage (husband) or adultery
2. Status
- personal qualities and relations, more or
less permanent in nature i.e being married,
being legitimate or illegitimate.
3. Condition
4. Legal Capacity
-capacity to enter into ordinary contract
-capacity under the Code of Commerce i.e.
foreigners and companies created abroad.
B. Exceptions: Location Principle
1. Property transactions (real or personal) – lex
situs (law of the country where property is
-capacity to inherit depends on the national
law of the decedent (not the heir)
*Also location based: Bank deposits, stock
shares of foreigners, taxes imposed on
dividends from shares
C. Exception to Exception: National Law of
1. Order of successional rights (in case of
2. Amt of successional rights (amt of property
each heir is entitled to inherit)
3. Intrinsic validity of testamentary provisions
(whether disinheritance has been properly
made; whether testamentary disposition can
be given effect or not)
See: Miciano vs Brimo

4. Capacity to succeed
5. Art. 26, par. 2 FC
D. (Art 17) Lex Loci Celebrationis
- (a)forms and solemnities of a contract
entered by a Filipino in another country shall be

governed by the law of that country, where
it is to be executed.

- BUT (exception) the formalities of
acquisition, encumbering and alienation shall be
based on the law of the country where it is
- (b) Offices of diplomats and consuls are
considered part of the territory of the country
where they are affiliated
- (c ) Examples
-contract for sale of human flesh
-absolute divorce of Filipinos granted

-US law allowing mothers living with a
man other than her husband to have
authority over her child
i. Exception: Intrinsic validity
and Art. 26, par. 1 FC
-Intrinsic validity of contracts shall be based
on the law of the place voluntarily selected
or intended by the parties
D. Renvoi Doctrine
If one state follows Nationality Principle, and
the other state follows Domiciliary Theory, the
problem may be ‘referred back’ to the law of the
first state.
Some countries have these provisions:
a. Internal Law – applied to a foreign
citizen domiciled in his own country
b. Conflict Rules – applied to foreigners
domiciled in a foreign country – follow
the laws of the domicile country.
Miciano vs. Brimo 50 Phil 867

A will of a Turkish testator (Joseph
Brimo) provided that his Philippine estate is
disposed of in accordance with the Philippine Law.
The testator further provided that whoever fails to
comply with this request (that his estate be
distributed in accordance with Philippine law)
would forfeit his inheritance.
The Appellant (Andre Brimo), one of the brothers
of the deceased Joseph Brimo, opposed the
Appellee (Juan Miciano)'s partition scheme of the
estate which denies his participation in the
ISSUE: Whether the Turkish Law or Philippine
Law be the basis on the distribution of Joseph
Brimo's estates. Will Andre Brimo forfeit his
RULING: The court held that the provision of a
foreigner's will that his properties shall be
distributed according to Philippine law and not his
national law is NOT LEGAL because it expressly
ignores the testator's national law when,
according to article 16 of the civil Code, such
national law of the testator is the one to govern
his testamentary dispositions.
His estate shall be distributed according to his
national law. He cannot provide otherwise. The
appellant's inheritance will not be forfeited
because the provision is not legal.
Van Dorn vs. Ronillo, Jr. et al., 139 SCRA 139

[I]Petitioner Alice Reyes (Filipino) and private
respondent Richard Upton (American) were
married in Hong Kong. After they divorced in
Nevada USA, private respondent filed a suit
against petitioner stating that petitioner's

business in Ermita, Manila is conjugal property
and the he be declared to have management over
the conjugal partnership.
Petitioner moved for the dismissal because the
cause of action is barred by a previous judgment
in the divorce proceedings before the Nevada
Court wherein respondent had acknowledged that
he and petitioner had no community property.
Respondent avers that the Divorce Decree issued
by the Nevada Court cannot prevail over the
prohibitive laws of the Philippines and its declared
national policy.
Is respondent estopped from laying claim on the
alleged conjugal property because of the
representation he made in the divorce
proceedings that they had no community
Whether or not the private respondent is entitled
to exercise control over conjugal assets
[I]It is true that owing to the nationality principle
embodied in Article 15 of the Civil Code, only
Philippine nationals are covered by the policy
against absolute divorces the same being
considered contrary to our concept of public policy
and morality. However, aliens may obtain divorces
abroad, which may be recognized in the
Philippines, provided they are valid according to
their national law. In this case, the divorce in
Nevada released private respondent from the
marriage from the standard of American law,
under which divorce dissolves the marriage.
Pursuant to his national law, private respondent is
no longer the husband of petitioner. He would
have no standing to use in the case below as
petitioner's husband entitled to exercise control
over conjugal assets. As he is bound by the
Decision of his own country's Court, which validly
exercises jurisdiction over him, and whose
decision he does not repudiate, he is estopped by
his own representation before said Court from
asserting his right over the alleged conjugal
To maintain, as private respondent does, that,
under our laws, petitioner has to be considered
still married to private respondent and still subject
to a wife's obligation under Article 109 of the Civil
Code cannot be justified. Petitioner should not be
obliged to live together with, observe respect and
fidelity, and render support to private respondent.
The latter should not continue to be one of her
heirs with possible rights to conjugal property.
She should not be discriminated against in her
own country if the ends of justice are to be

Pilapil vs. Ibay-Somera 174 SCRA 653

On 07 September 1979, petitioner Imelda Manalaysay Pilapil, a
Filipino citizen, and private respondent Erich Ekkehard
Geiling, a German national, were married before the Registrar
of Births, Marriage and Deaths at Friedensweiler in the Federal
Republic of Germany. The marriage started auspiciously
enough, and the couple lived together for some time in Malate,
Manila where their only child, Isabella Pilapil Geiling, was
born on 20 April 1980. Afterwards, marital discord set in,
followed by a separation de facto between them. After about
three and a half years of marriage, private respondent initiated
a divorce proceeding against petitioner in Germany before the
Schoneberg Local Court in January 1983, caliming that there
was failure of marriage and that they had been living separately
since April 1982. On 15 January 1986, the Schoneberg Local
Court of Federal Republic Germany promulgated a decree of
divorce on the ground of failure of marriage of the spouses,
with child custody granted to the petitioner. On 27 June 1986,
private respondent filed two (2) complaints for adultery before
the City Fiscal of Manila alleging that, while married to
respondent, petitioner had an affair with a certain William Chia
as early as 1982 and another man named Jesus Chua sometime
in 1983.
Whether or not private respondent has the legal capacity to file
the complaint given the previous decree of divorce provided?
No. The law provides that the prosecution for adultery and
concubinage the person who can legally file the complaint
should be the offended spouse, and nobody else. Given the
present case, the fact that private respondent obtained a valid
divorce in his country is admitted. Said divorce and its legal
effects may be recognized in the Philippines insofar as private
respondent is concerned in view of the nationality principle
embodied in the Civil Code of the Philippines, on the matter of
status of person. Thus, being no longer the husband of the
petitioner, private respondent no longer possess any legal
standing to prosecute and commence the adultery suit under the
imposture that he was the offended spouse at the time he filed
NOTE: Another issue of the case would be the validity of
the divorce between the spouses following the Nationality
Principle, and similar to the case of Van Dorn v. Romillo,
the court accepted and recognized the validity of the
Barreto vs. Gonzales 58 ,Phil 67

At all times the matrimonial domicile of this couple has
been within the Philippine Islands and the residence
acquired in the State of Nevada by the husband for
the purpose of securing a divorce was not a bona fide
residence and did not confer jurisdiction upon the
court of the State to dissolve the bonds of matrimony
in which he had entered in 1919. (Barretto
Gonzales vs. Gonzales, 58 Phil., 67.)

Govt. vs. Frank. 13 Phil 238

In 1903, in the city of Chicago, Illinois, Frank
entered into a contract for a period of 2 years
with the Plaintiff, by which Frank was to receive a
salary as a stenographer in the service of the said
Plaintiff, and in addition thereto was to be paid in
advance the expenses incurred in traveling from
the said city of Chicago to Manila, and one-half
salary during said period of travel. Said contract
contained a provision that in case of a violation of
its terms on the part of Frank, he should become
liable to the Plaintiff for the amount expended by
the Government by way of expenses incurred in
traveling from Chicago to Manila and the one-half
salary paid during such period. Frank entered
upon the performance of his contract and was
paid half-salary from the date until the date of his
arrival in the Philippine Islands. Thereafter, Frank
left the service of the Plaintiff and refused to
make a further compliance with the terms of the
The Defendant filed a general denial and a special
defense, alleging in his special defense that he
was a minor at the time the contract was entered
into and was therefore not responsible under the
2. Whether or not the defendant can allege
RULING: The judgment of the lower court is
NO; The Defendant alleged in his special defense
that he was a minor and therefore the contract
could not be enforced against him. The record
discloses that, at the time the contract was
entered into in the State of Illinois, he was an
adult under the laws of that State and had full
authority to contract. It is not disputed — upon
the contrary the fact is admitted — that at the
time and place of the making of the contract in
question the Defendant had full capacity to make
the same. No rule is better settled in law than
that matters bearing upon the execution,
interpretation and validity of a contract are
determined by the law of the place where the
contract is made. Matters connected with its
performance are regulated by the law prevailing
at the place of performance. Matters respecting a
remedy, such as the bringing of suit, admissibility
of evidence, and statutes of limitations, depend
upon the law of the place where the suit is
Barnuevo vs. Fuster, 29 Phil 606

FACTS: On the 7th of February, 1875, Gabriel Fuster
and Constanza Yañez were joined in a Catholic or
canonical marriage in the city of Malaga, Spain. In

February of 1892, Gabriel Fuster came to the Philippine
Islands, settled, and acquired real and personal property.
Toward the middle of 1896, Constanza Yañez came to
Manila, where her husband was residing, and here lived
with him in conjugal relations until the month of April,
1899. On the 4th day of that month and year they made
an agreement, in a public document, by which they
"resolved to separate and live apart, both consenting to
such separation, and by virtue thereof the husband
authorized the wife to move to Spain, there to reside in
such place as the said lady pleases." In the same
document, the husband undertook to send his wife the
sum of 300 pesetas monthly for her support, payable in
Madrid, Spain, from the month of June of the said year
1899. The husband complied with this obligation until
August, 1899, after which time he ceased to make
further payments.
In the beginning of March, 1909, the wife returned to the
Philippines, but the husband had absented himself
therefrom in the early days of February of the same year.
On the 11th of March, 1909, the wife commenced
divorce proceedings against her husband, alleging as
cause of action the adultery committed by him in or
about the year 1899 with a certain woman that she
named in the complaint and with whom he had lived and
cohabited and by whom he had had two children. She
prayed that she be granted a decree of divorce; that the
court order the separation of the properties of the
plaintiff and the defendant, to date from the date of the
said decree; that the conjugal society be therefore
liquidated, and after the amount of the conjugal property
had been determined, that one-half thereof be
adjudicated to her; furthermore, as to the amount of
pension owing for her support but not paid to her, that
the defendant be ordered to pay her the sum of 36,000
Spanish pesetas, that is, 7,220 Spanish dollars, which,
reduced to Philippine currency at the rate of exchange on
the date of the complaint, amounted to P12,959.90.
In deciding the case, the Court of First Instance of the
city of Manila held itself to have jurisdiction, decreed the
suspension of life in common between the plaintiff and
defendant, ordered the latter to pay the former
P5,010.17, directed that the communal property be
divided between the parties, with costs against the
defendant, and in event that the parties could not agree to
the division, it was to be effected by commissioners
according to law.
W/NOT the Court of First Instance of the City of Manila
lacks jurisdiction over the case and the partition of
NO. In the present action for divorce the Court of First
Instance of the city of Manila did not lack jurisdiction

over the persons of the litigants, for, although Spanish
Catholic subjects, they were residents of this city and
had their domicile herein.
The Courts of First Instance of the Philippine Islands
have the power and jurisdiction to try actions for
divorce. That of the city of Manila did not lack
jurisdiction by reason of the subject matter of the
The partition of property decreed in the judgment
appealed from of the 9th of September, 1911, should be
and is hereby confirmed.

of California, is considered to have his domicile in the
Philippines. The court of domicile cannot and should not
refer the case back to the California, as such action
would leave the issue incapable of determination,
because the case would then be tossed back and forth
between the states(doctrine of renvoi). The validity of the
provisions of Edward’s will depriving his acknowledged
natural child of latter’s legacy, should be governed by the
Philippine law.
The decision appealed from is reversed and the case
returned to the lower court with instruction that the
partition be made as the Philippine law on succession
Roehr vs. Rodriguez, G.R. No. 142820, June 20, 2003

Testate Estate of Bohanan vs. Bohanan, et al., 106 Phil 997
Bellis vs. Bellis, 20 SCRA 358

Facts: Amos G. Bellis, a citizen of the State of Texas,
died a resident of Texas. The will he had executed in the
Philippines directed that his distributable Philippine estate
should be divided in trusts. In the project of partition, the
executor of the will –pursuant to the “Twelfth” clause of
the testator’s Last Will and Testament- divided the
residuary estate into 7 equal portions for the benefit of
the testator’s seven legitimate children. Maria Christina
Bellis and Miriam Palma Bellis filed their respective
oppositions on the ground that they were deprived of
their legitimes as illegitimate children, and, therefore,
compulsory heirs of the deceased.
Issue: Whether or not the Texas law or the Philippine
Law should be applied in the case at bar.
Held: The Court held that since decedent is a citizen of
the State of Texas and is domiciled therein at the time of
his death, Texas law should apply. Article 16 (2) and Art
1039 render applicable the national law of the decedent,
in intestate or testamentary successions, with regard to 4
items: (a) the order of succession; (b) the amount of
successional rights ; (c)intrinsic validity of the provisions
of the will; and (d) the capacity to succeed. Under the
laws of Texas, there are no forced heirs or legitimes.
Aznar vs. Garcia 7 SCRA 95

Facts: Edward Christensen’s (citizen of the State of
California) will was executed in Manila where it provides
that Helen Christensen Garcia receive a payment of
P3,600 and proposed that the residue of the estate be
transferred to his daughter Maria Lucy Christensen.
Helen Christensen Garcia opposed the project of partition
of Edward’s estate claiming that she was deprived of her
legitime as acknowledged natural child under the
Philippine law.
Issue: Whether or not the California law or the Philippine
law should apply in the case at bar.

Issue: Petitioner Wolfgang O. Roehr, a German citizen and
resident of Germany, married private respondent Carmen
Rodriguez, a Filipina, in Hamburg, Germany. Their marriage
was subsequently ratified in Tayasan, Negros Oriental. On
August 28, 1996, private respondent filed a petition for
declaration of nullity of marriage before the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) On February 6, 1997, petitioner filed a motion to
dismiss, but it was denied by the trial court. On June 5, 1997,
petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but was also
denied. On September 5, 1997, petitioner filed a petition for
certiorari with the Court of Appeals. On November 27, 1998,
the appellate court denied the petition and remanded the case to
the RTC. Meanwhile, petitioner obtained a decree of divorce
and award of custody from the Court of First Instance of
Hamburg-Blankenese, promulgated on December 16, 1997.
In view of said decree, petitioner filed a Second Motion to
Dismiss on May 20, 1999 on the ground that the trial court had
no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action or suit as a
decree of divorce had already been promulgated dissolving the
marriage of petitioner and private respondent. Private
respondent filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration, with a
prayer that the case proceed for the purpose of determining the
issues of custody of children and the distribution of the
properties between petitioner and private respondent.
Issue: Whether or not respondent judge gravely abused her
discretion when she assumed and retained jurisdiction over the
present case despite the fact that petitioner has already obtained
a divorce decree from a German court
Ruling: The Supreme Court held that as a general rule, divorce
decrees obtained by foreigners in other countries are
recognizable in our jurisdiction, but the legal effects thereof
must still be determined by our courts. Before our courts can
give the effect of res judicata to a foreign judgment, such as the
award of custody to petitioner by the German court, it must be
shown that the parties opposed to the judgment had been given
ample opportunity to do so. In the present case, it cannot be
said that private respondent was given the opportunity to
challenge the judgment of the German court so that there is
basis for declaring that judgment as res judicata with regard to
the rights of petitioner to have parental custody of their two
Garcia vs. Recio G.R. No. 138322, Oct. 2, 2002(SEE 7)

Held: Philippine law should be applied. The State of
California prescribes two sets of laws for its citizens
residing therein and a conflict of law rules for its citizens
domiciled in other jurisdictions. Art. 946 of the California
Civil Code states that “If there is no law to the contrary in
the place where personal property is situated, it is
deemed to follow the person of its owner and is governed
by the law of his domicile.” Edward, a citizen of the State

People v. Lol-lo and Saraw, G.R. No. 17958, 27 February 1922
ISSUE: W/N the provisions of the Penal Code dealing with the
crime of piracy are still in force.

HELD: In accordance with provisions of Act No. 2726, the
defendant and appellant Lol-lo, who is found guilty of the crime
of piracy and is sentenced therefor to be hung until dead.
 Penal code dealing with the crime of piracy, notably
articles 153 and 154, to be still in force in the Philippines.
 The crime of piracy was accompanied by (1) an offense
against chastity and (2) the abandonment of persons
without apparent means of saving themselves. It is,
therefore, only necessary for us to determine as to whether
the penalty of cadena perpetua or death should be
 At least 3 aggravating circumstances, that the wrong
done in the commission of the crime was deliberately
augmented by causing other wrongs not necessary for its
commission, that advantage was taken of superior
strength, and that means were employed which added
ignominy to the natural effects of the act, must also be
taken into consideration in fixing the penalty.
Eugenio v. Velez, G.R. No. 85140, 17 May 1900

Facts: Vitaliana Vargas’ brothers and sisters unaware of
the former’s death on August 28, 1988 filed a petition for
Habeas Corpus on September 27, 1988 before the RTC
of Misamis Oriental alleging that she was forcible taken
from her residence sometime in 1987 and was confined
by the herein petitioner, Tomas Eugenio in his palacial
residence in Jasaan, Misamis Oriental. The court then
issued a writ of habeas corpus but petitioner refused to
surrender the Vitaliana’s body to the sheriff on the ground
that a corpse cannot be subjected to habeas corpus
proceedings. Vitaliana, 25 year old single, died of heart
failure due to toxemia of pregnancy in Eugenio’s
residence. The court ordered that the body should be
delivered to a funeral parlor for autopsy but Eugenio
assailed the lack of jurisdiction of the court.
Issues: Whether or not the petitioner can claim custody
of the deceased:

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.
Whether or not the private respondent as petitioner’s
husband is entitled to exercise control over conjugal
The petition is granted. Complaint is dismissed.
The policy against absolute divorce cover 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.
From the standards of American law, under which divorce
dissolves marriage, the divorce in Nevada released
private respondent from the marriage between them with
the petitioner. Thus, pursuant to his national law, 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
Republic v. Iyoy, G.R. No. 152577, 21 September 2005
Republic v. Obrecido, G.R. No. 154380, 5 October 2005

Held: The court held that the custody of the dead body of
Vitaliana was correctly awarded to the surviving brothers
and sisters.

Facts: On May 24, 1981, Cipriano Orbecido III married
Lady Myros M. Villanueva at the United Church of Christ in
the Philippines in Ozamis City. In 1986, Cipriano’s wife left
for the United States bringing along their son Kristoffer. A
few years later, Cipriano discovered that his wife had been
naturalized as an American citizen. Sometime in 2000,
Cipriano learned from his son that his wife had obtained a
divorce decree and then married a certain Innocent
Stanley. Cipriano thereafter filed with the trial court a
petition for authority to remarry invoking Paragraph 2 of
Article 26 of the Family Code. No opposition was filed.
Finding merit in the petition, the court granted the same.
The Republic, herein petitioner, through the Office of the
Solicitor General (OSG), sought reconsideration but it was

Ratio Decidendi: Pursuant to Section 1103 of the
Revised Administrative Code which provides:

Issue: Whether or not respondent can validly remarry
under the Philippine Laws.

“Persons charged with duty of burial- if the deceased was
an unmarried man or woman or a child and left any kin;
the duty of the burial shall devolve upon the nearest kin
of the deceased.

Ruling: The Supreme Court in taking into consideration
the legislative intent and applying the rule of reason, held
that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 should be interpreted to
include cases involving parties who, at the time of the
celebration of the marriage were Filipino citizens, but later
on, one of them becomes naturalized as a foreign citizen
and obtains a divorce decree. The Filipino spouse should
likewise be allowed to remarry as if the other party were
a foreigner at the time of the solemnization of the
marriage. The Supreme Court further provide that the

1. propriety of a habeas corpus proceeding under Rule
102 of the Rules of Court to recover custody of the dead
body of a 25 year old female, single, whose nearest
surviving claimants are full blood brothers and sisters and
a common law husband.
2. jurisdiction of the RTC over such proceedings and/or
its authority to treat the action as one for
custody/possession/authority to bury the
deceased/recovery of the dead.

Pilapil v. Ibay-Somera, G.R. No. 80116, 30 June 1989 SEE 32
Van Dorn v. Romillo, G.R. No. L-68470, 8 October 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

reckoning point is not the citizenship of the parties at the
time of the celebration of the marriage, but their
citizenship at the time a valid divorce is obtained abroad
by the alien spouse capacitating the latter to remarry.
Roehr v. Rodriguez, G.R. No. 142820, 20 June 2003

Art. 18 Suppletory application of Civil Code in
matters governed by special law.
 When there is no deficiency in the special
law, the Civil Code provisions cannot be
applied. Special Law prevails over Civil
Code (general in nature lang kasi)
 Exceptions: Civil Code is Superior
o Common Carriers – Code of
Commerce supplies the deficiency
o Insolvency – special laws supply the
o Contract of Loan, when usurious
o Title on preference of credits, when
the properties of debtor are not
sufficient for his debt.

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