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Archive for the ‘Civil Law’ Category

Bank’s General Lien on Deposits

Posted by lexforiphilippines on September 14, 2010

Is a stipulation in bank-loan documents giving the bank a right to set-off or apply the borrower’s loan (including interest) against his bank deposits, valid?

Yes.  In Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company vs. Mariñas (G.R. No. 179105; 26 July 2010), the Supreme Court sustained the bank’s authority to make deductions from a borrower’s deposits and apply them to his loans and stipulated interest, pursuant to the Deeds of Assignment with Power of Attorney executed by the borrower, giving the bank such authority.  The Court cited Article 1159 of the Civil Code which states that “obligations arising from contract have the force of law between the contracting parties and should be complied with in good faith.”  Not being contrary to law, such agreement between the bank and the borrower must be respected and given the force of law between them, said the Court.  The Court, however, ruled that, considering the total amounts of said borrower’s deposits inclusive of interest earned vis-à-vis his total obligations, the total depletion of his accounts was unwarranted.  The bank was ordered to account for whatever excess deductions made on the borrower’s accounts and to return them with earned interest.  The Court stressed that “(a)s a business affected with public interest, and because of the nature of their functions, banks are under obligation to treat the accounts of their depositors with meticulous care, always having in mind the fiduciary nature of their relationship.”

To know more about said case and the Court’s ruling, click on Digested Cases under Tools.

Posted in Banking Laws, Cases, Civil Law, Corporate Law, Law School | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

What is the status of children born before a marriage is annulled or nullified on the ground of psychological incapacity?

Posted by lexforiphilippines on September 9, 2010

Children conceived or born before the judgment of annulment or absolute nullity of the marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity has become final and executory shall be considered legitimate. (Article 54, Family Code)

Legitimate children have, in general, the right to bear the surnames of the father and the mother, to receive support from their parents, and to successional rights granted by law to legitimate children. (Article 174, Family Code)

Posted in Civil Law, Law School, Laws and Implementing Rules, Notes | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Joint Ventures; Sharing in Profits and Losses

Posted by lexforiphilippines on September 6, 2010

If parties to a joint venture agreed on how the profits from the joint venture would be divided, but did not specify how losses would be split, how should the losses be distributed?

A joint venture, being a form of partnership, is to be governed by the laws on partnership.  Under the laws on partnership, particularly Article 1797 of the Civil Code, the losses and profits shall be distributed in accordance with the partnership agreement; if only the share of each partner in the profits has been agreed upon, the share of each in the losses shall be in the same proportion. So said the Supreme Court in the consolidated cases of Marsman Drysdale Land, Inc. vs. Philippine Geoanalytics, Inc. and Gotesco Properties, Inc. (G.R. No. 183374; 29 June 2010) and Gotesco Properties, Inc. vs. Marsman Drysdale Land, Inc. and Philippine Geoanalytics, Inc. (G.R. No. 183376; 29 June 2010).

For a digest of said cases, click on Digested Cases under Tools.

Posted in Cases, Civil Law, Corporate Law, Law School, Notes | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Property Relations in Void Marriages and “Live-In” Relationships

Posted by lexforiphilippines on September 3, 2010

When a man and a woman live together under a void marriage, or when a man and a woman, capacitated to marry each other, live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage, their property relations shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership.   In the absence of proof to the contrary, properties acquired by both parties during their union are presumed to have been obtained through their joint efforts and will be owned by them in equal shares.  A party who did not participate in the acquisition by the other party of any property is deemed to have contributed jointly in the acquisition of such property if the former’s efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of the family and of the household.  (Article 147, Family Code; Gonzales vs. Gonzales, G.R. No. 159521, 16 December 2005)

Posted in Civil Law, Notes | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

A Sense of Fair Play in Upholding an Immunity Agreement

Posted by lexforiphilippines on August 20, 2010

“More than any one, the government should be fair.” – The Supreme Court concluded its opinion in the case of Disini vs. Sandiganbayan (G.R. No. 180564; 22 June 2010) with this statement.

Said case involved an immunity agreement between petitioner and the State whereby petitioner agreed to testify for, and provide information and documents to, the State in two cases involving the contract for the construction of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, believed to have been brokered by one of his second cousin’s companies and attended by anomalies.  Under the same agreement, petitioner would not be compelled to testify in any other case which the state may bring against his said cousin.  Eighteen years after the immunity agreement was forged, and after petitioner complied with his undertaking, the State, through the PCGG, revoked its guarantee not to compel petitioner to testify against his second cousin.

Upholding petitioner’s immunity from testifying against his second cousin in other cases, the Supreme Court, in part, held:

“x x Trusting in the Government’s honesty and fidelity, (petitioner) agreed and fulfilled his part of the bargain.  Surely, the principle of fair play, which is the essence of due process, should hold the Republic on to its promise.”

“A contract is the law between the parties.  It cannot be withdrawn except by their mutual consent.  This applies with more reason in this case where (petitioner) had already complied with the terms and conditions of the Immunity Agreement. To allow the Republic to revoke the Agreement at this late stage will run afoul of the rule that a party to a compromise cannot ask for a rescission after it had enjoyed its benefits.”

To know more about the case and the Court’s ruling, click on Digested Cases under Tools and look for the digest of Disini vs. Sandiganbayan (G.R. No. 180564; 22 June 2010).

Posted in Cases, Civil Law, Law School, Political Law | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Is Sexual Infidelity Tantamount to Psychological Incapacity?

Posted by lexforiphilippines on August 16, 2010

In the case of Ligeralde vs. Patalinghug and Republic (G.R. No. 168796; 15 April 2010), the High Court held that the “(wife’s) act of living an adulterous life cannot automatically be equated with a psychological disorder, especially when no specific evidence was shown that promiscuity was a trait already existing at the inception of marriage.”  Her husband, who petitioned to have their marriage declared void, must be able to establish that his wife’s unfaithfulness was a manifestation of a disordered personality, which made her completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state.  He failed in this respect; neither his testimony nor the psychologist’s findings showed the root cause of his wife’s alleged incapacity.  The Court stressed that the root cause of the psychological incapacity must be identified as a psychological illness, its incapacitating nature fully explained and established by the totality of the evidence presented during trial.  The Court concluded that while petitioner’s wife had some character flaws and was far from being a perfect wife and a good mother, these imperfections did not warrant a conclusion that she had a psychological malady at the time of the marriage that rendered her incapable of fulfilling her marital and family duties and obligations.

Click on Digested Cases under Tools for a digest of Ligeralde vs. Patalinghug and Republic (G.R. No. 168796; 15 April 2010).

Posted in Civil Law, Law School, Remedial Law | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nullity of Marriage Because of Psychological Incapacity

Posted by lexforiphilippines on August 3, 2010

Article 36 of the Family Code states that “(a) marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization.”

In Santos vs. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 112019; 4 January 1995), the Supreme Court said that “psychological incapacity” must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability.  It should refer to “no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage.”  The intendment of the law, said the Court, was to confine the meaning of “psychological incapacity” to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.

In Republic of the Philippines vs. Court of Appeals and Molina (G.R. No. 108763, 13 February 1997), the Supreme Court laid down the following guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family Code:

(1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity.  This is rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity of the family

(2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be: (a) medically or clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision.  The incapacity must be psychological – not physical, although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence must convince the court that the parties or one of them was mentally or psychically ill to such an extent that the person could not have known the obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid assumption thereof. Expert evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.

(3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at “the time of the celebration” of the marriage.  The manifestation of the illness need not be perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have attached at such moment or prior to such moment.

(4) The incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable.  Such incurability may be absolute or even relative only in regard to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the same sex.  Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related to marriage, like the exercise of a profession or employment in a job.

(5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of marriage.  Thus, “mild characteriological peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts” cannot be accepted as root causes.  The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability, not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will.  In other words, there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations essential to marriage.

(6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up to 71 of the Family Code as regards the husband and wife as well as Articles 220, 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children.  Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision.

(7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our courts.

In Marcos vs. Marcos (G.R. No. 136490, 19 October 2000), the Supreme Court clarified that there is no requirement that the defendant/respondent spouse should be personally examined by a physician or psychologist as a condition sine qua non for the declaration of nullity of marriage based on psychological incapacity.  It is no longer necessary to introduce expert opinion in a petition under Article 36 of the Family Code if the totality of evidence shows that psychological incapacity exists and its gravity, juridical antecedence, and incurability can be duly established. (Suazo vs. Suazo, G.R. No. 164493; 10 March 2010)

In Te vs. Te (G.R. No. 161793; 13 February 2009), the Supreme Court suggested the relaxation of the stringent requirements of Molina (Suazo vs. Suazo, G.R. No. 164493; 10 March 2010), stressing that in applying the Molina standards, each case must be judged, not on the basis of a priori assumptions, predilections or generalizations but according to its own facts, and that courts should interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis, guided by experience, the findings of experts and researchers in psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals.

Posted in Civil Law, Notes | 1 Comment »

When Interest Imposed by the Lender is Excessive

Posted by lexforiphilippines on July 29, 2010

In Asian Cathay Finance and Leasing Corporation vs. Spouses Cesario Gravador and Norma de Vera, et al. (G.R. No. 186550; 5 July 2010), the Supreme Court declared –

“Stipulations authorizing the imposition of iniquitous or unconscionable interest are contrary to morals, if not against the law.  Under Article 1409 of the Civil Code, these contracts are inexistent and void from the beginning. They cannot be ratified nor the right to set up their illegality as a defense be waived. The nullity of the stipulation on the usurious interest does not, however, affect the lender’s right to recover the principal of the loan. Nor would it affect the terms of the real estate mortgage.  The right to foreclose the mortgage remains with the creditors, and said right can be exercised upon the failure of the debtors to pay the debt due.  The debt due is to be considered without the stipulation of the excessive interest.  A legal interest of 12% per annum will be added in place of the excessive interest formerly imposed. x x”

Click on Digested Cases under Tools for a digest of Asian Cathay Finance and Leasing Corporation vs. Spouses Cesario Gravador and Norma de Vera, et al. (G.R. No. 186550; 5 July 2010).

Posted in Civil Law, Remedial Law, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Can the Courts Compel Re-correction of Board Examination?

Posted by lexforiphilippines on July 27, 2010

In the recent consolidated cases of Antolin vs. Domondon, et al. (G.R. No. 165036; 5 July 2010) and Antolin vs. Fortuna-Ibe (G.R. No. 175705; 5 July 2010), involving a CPA Board examinee’s prayer for re-correction of her examination by the Board of Accountancy, the Supreme Court held that any claim for re-correction or revision of her examination cannot be compelled by the court.  The High Court reiterated its previous ruling in the case of Agustin Ramos vs. Sandoval (G.R. No. 84470, 2 February 1989), where it dismissed an action to compel the Medical Board of Examiners and the Professional Regulation Commission to re-correct the petitioning examinees’ ratings, explaining that the function of reviewing and re-assessing the answers to the examination questions was a discretionary function of the Medical Board, not a ministerial and mandatory one.

Click on Digested Cases under Tools to find a digest of the consolidated cases of Antolin vs. Domondon, et al. (G.R. No. 165036; 5 July 2010) and Antolin vs. Fortuna-Ibe (G.R. No. 175705; 5 July 2010).

Posted in Cases, Civil Law, Political Law, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 – Implementing Rules

Posted by lexforiphilippines on July 8, 2010

The Department of Social Welfare and Development signed on June 18,2010 the Implementing Rules with respect to the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.

Under the Implementing Rules, a qualified senior citizen shall be granted a 20% discount and VAT exemption on his/her purchases, if applicable.

The said privileges shall apply to purchases of medicine, medical supplies and accessories, including medical and dental services, as well as to domestic air and sea travel, public transportation (PUJ, taxi, LRT), hotel accommodation and purchases in restaurants. With respect to food establishments, the discount now also applies to take-outs  and deliveries. The discount shall also apply to recreation centers (for golf cart rentals, yoga classes or badminton courts), and tickets to theaters, cinemas, carnivals, concert halls, museums and parks.

The Implementing Rules also provide for free medical and dental services in all government hospitals, medical facilities, out patient clinics, including professional fees. There is also a grant of a 5% discount on the monthly utilization of water and electricity subject to certain rules and criteria.

A social pension of P500.00 is also granted but such grant is subject to guidelines still to be issued.

For a copy of the Implementing Rules, you may click on the Tools Tab.

Posted in Civil Law, Laws and Implementing Rules, Taxation | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »