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HERNANDEZ vs.

SAN JUAN - SANTOS Case Digest


CECILIO C. HERNANDEZ, MA. VICTORIA C. HERNANDEZ-SAGUN, TERESA C. HERNANDEZVILLA ABRILLE and NATIVIDADCRUZ-HERNANDEZ vs. JOVITA SAN JUAN-SANTOS G.R. No. 166470 and G.R. No. 169217 August 7, 2009 FACTS: Maria Lourdes San Juan Hernandez (or Lulu) was born on February 14, 1947 to the spouses Felix Hernandez and Maria San Juan Hernandez. Unfortunately, the latter died due to complications during childbirth. After Maria's death, Felix left Lulu in the care of her maternal uncle, Sotero C. San Juan. On December 16, 1951, Felix married Natividad Cruz. The union produced three children, herein petitioners. Meanwhile, as the only child of Maria and the sole testate heir of Sotero, Lulu inherited valuable real properties from the San Juan family. In 1968, upon reaching the age of majority, Lulu was given full control of her estate. Nevertheless, because Lulu did not even finish her elementary education, Felix continued to exercise actual administration of Lulus properties. Upon Felix's death in 1993, petitioners took over the task of administering Lulu's properties. During the period of their informal administration (from 1968 until 1993), Felix and petitioners undertook various projects involving Lulus real properties. In 1974, Felix allegedly purchased one of Lulus properties for an undisclosed amount to develop the Marilou Subdivision. Thus, Lulu signed a special power of attorney (SPA) believing that she was authorizing Ma. Victoria to appear in court on her behalf when she was in fact unknowingly authorizing her half-sister to sell the said property to the Manila Electric Company for P18,206,400. In September 1998, Lulu sought the assistance of her maternal first cousin, respondent Jovita San Juan-Santos, after learning that petitioners had been dissipating her estate. She confided to Jovita that she was made to live in the basement of petitioners home and was receiving a measly daily allowance of P400 for her food and medication. Respondent was appalled as Lulu was severely overweight, unkempt and smelled of urine. She later found out that Lulu was occupying a cramped room lit by a single fluorescent lamp without running water. Due to Lulu's poor hygiene, respondent brought her to several physicians for medical examination. Lulu was found to be afflicted with tuberculosis, rheumatism and diabetes from which she was suffering several complications. On October 2, 1998, respondent filed a petition for guardianship in the RTC of San Mateo, Rizal, Branch 76. She alleged that Lulu was incapable of taking care of herself and managing her estate because she was of weak mind. Subsequently, petitioners moved to intervene in the proceedings to oppose the same. Cecilio, Teresa and Ma. Victoria, for their part, claimed that the issue of Lulus competency had been settled in 1968 (upon her emancipation) when the court ordered her legal guardian and maternal uncle, Ciriaco San Juan, to deliver the properties for her to manage. They likewise asserted that Lulu was literate and, for that reason, aware of the consequences of executing an SPA. During the hearing, Lulu was presented and asked to testify on her genealogy and experiences with the San Juan and Hernandez families. Lulu identified and described her parents, stepmother, halfsiblings and maternal relatives. Medical specialists testified to explain the results of Lulus examinations which revealed the alarming state of her health. Furthermore, they unanimously opined that in view of Lulus intelligence level (which was below average) and fragile mental state, she would not be able to care for herself and self-administer her medications. ISSUE:

Whether or not Lulu is an incompetent and the appointment of a judicial guardian over her person and property is necessary. HELD: YES. Under Section 2, Rule 92 of the Rules of Court, persons who, though of sound mind but by reason of age, disease, weak mind or other similar causes are incapable of taking care of themselves and their property without outside aid, are considered as incompetents who may properly be placed under guardianship. The RTC and the CA both found that Lulu was incapable of taking care of herself and her properties without outside aid due to her ailments and weak mind. Thus, since determining whether or not Lulu is in fact an incompetent would require a reexamination of the evidence presented in the courts a quo, it undoubtedly involves questions of fact. Petitioners are furthermore ordered to render to respondent, Lulus legal guardian, an accurate and faithful accounting of all the properties and funds they unlawfully appropriated for themselves from the estate of Maria Lourdes San Juan Hernandez, within thirty (30) days from receipt of this decision. If warranted, the proper complaints should also be filed against them for any criminal liability in connection with the dissipation of Maria Lourdes San Juan Hernandezs estate and her unlawful abduction from the custody of her legal guardian.

Oropesa case

In Francisco v. Court of Appeals,[10] we laid out the nature and purpose of guardianship in the following wise:
A guardianship is a trust relation of the most sacred character, in which one person, called a guardian acts for another called the ward whom the law regards as incapable of managing his own affairs. A guardianship is designed to further the wards well -being, not that of the guardian. It is intended to preserve the wards property, as well as to render any assistance that the ward may personally require. It has been stated that while custody involves immediate care and control, guardianship indicates not only those responsibilities, but those of one in loco [11] parentis as well.

In a guardianship proceeding, a court may appoint a qualified guardian if the prospective ward is proven to be a minor or an incompetent. A reading of Section 2, Rule 92 of the Rules of Court tells us that persons who, though of sound mind but by reason of age, disease, weak mind or other similar causes, are incapable of taking care of themselves and their property without outside aid are considered as incompetents who may properly be placed under guardianship. The full text of the said provision reads:
Sec. 2. Meaning of the word incompetent. Under this rule, the word incompetent includes persons suffering the penalty of civil interdiction or who are hospitalized lepers, prodigals, deaf and dumb who are unable to read and write, those who are of unsound mind, even though they have lucid intervals, and persons not being of unsound mind, but by reason of age,

disease, weak mind, and other similar causes, cannot, without outside aid, take care of themselves and manage their property, becoming thereby an easy prey for deceit and exploitation.

We have held in the past that a finding that a person is incompetent should be anchored on clear, positive and definite evidence.[12] We consider that evidentiary standard unchanged and, thus, must be applied in the case at bar. In support of his contention that respondent is incompetent and, therefore, should be placed in guardianship, petitioner raises in his Memorandum[13] the following factual matters:
a. Respondent has been afflicted with several maladies and has been sickly for over ten (10) years already;

b. During the time that respondent was hospitalized at the St. Lukes Medical Center after his stroke, he purportedly requested one of his former colleagues who was visiting him to file a loan application with the Armed Forces of the Philippines Savings and Loan Association, Inc. (AFPSLAI) for payment of his hospital bills, when, as far as his children knew, he had substantial amounts of money in various banks sufficient to cover his medical expenses; c. Respondents residence allegedly has been left dilapidated due to lack of care and management;

d. The realty taxes for respondents various properties remain unpaid and therefore petitioner and his sister were supposedly compelled to pay the necessary taxes; e. Respondent allegedly instructed petitioner to sell his Nissan Exalta car for the reason that the former would be purchasing another vehicle, but when the car had been sold, respondent did not procure another vehicle and refused to account for the money earned from the sale of the old car; Respondent withdrew at least $75,000.00 from a joint account under his name and his daughters without the latters knowledge or consent;

f.

g. There was purportedly one occasion where respondent took a kitchen knife to stab himself upon the orders of his girlfriend during one of their fights; h. Respondent continuously allows his girlfriend to ransack his house of groceries and furniture, [14] despite protests from his children.

Respondent denied the allegations made by petitioner and cited petitioners lack of material evidence to support his claims. According to respondent, petitioner did not present any relevant documentary or testimonial evidence that would attest to the veracity of his assertion that respondent is incompetent largely due to his alleged deteriorating medical and mental condition. In fact, respondent

points out that the only medical document presented by petitioner proves that he is indeed competent to run his personal affairs and administer his properties. Portions of the said document, entitled Report of Neuropsychological Screening,[15] were quoted by respondent in his Memorandum[16]to illustrate that said report in fact favored respondents claim of competence, to wit:
General Oropesa spoke fluently in English and Filipino, he enjoyed and participated meaningfully in conversations and could be quite elaborate in his responses on many of the test items. He spoke in a clear voice and his articulation was generally comprehensible. x x x. xxxx General Oropesa performed in the average range on most of the domains that were tested. He was able to correctly perform mental calculations and keep track of number sequences on a task of attention. He did BEST in visuo-constructional tasks where he had to copy geometrical designs using tiles. Likewise, he was able to render and read the correct time on the Clock Drawing Test. x x x. xxxx x x x Reasoning abilities were generally intact as he was able to suggest effective solutions to problem situations. x x x.[17]

With the failure of petitioner to formally offer his documentary evidence, his proof of his fathers incompetence consisted purely of testimonies given by himself and his sister (who were claiming interest in their fathers real and personal properties) and their fathers former caregiver (who admitted to be acting under their direction). These testimonies, which did not include any expert medical testimony, were insufficient to convince the trial court of petitioners cause of action and instead lead it to grant the demurrer to evidence that was filed by respondent. Even if we were to overlook petitioners procedural lapse in failing to make a formal offer of evidence, his documentary proof were comprised mainly of certificates of title over real properties registered in his, his fathers and his sisters names as co-owners, tax declarations, and receipts showing payment of real estate taxes on their co-owned properties, which do not in any way relate to his fathers alleged incapacity to make decisions for himself. The only medical document on record is the aforementioned Report of Neuropsychological Screening which was attached to the petition for guardianship but was never identified by any witness nor offered as evidence. In any event, the said report, as mentioned earlier, was ambivalent at best, for although the report had negative findings regarding

memory lapses on the part of respondent, it also contained findings that supported the view that respondent on the average was indeed competent. In an analogous guardianship case wherein the soundness of mind of the proposed ward was at issue, we had the occasion to rule that where the sanity of a person is at issue, expert opinion is not necessary [and that] the observations of the trial judge coupled with evidence establishing the persons state of mental sanity will suffice.[18] Thus, it is significant that in its Order dated November 14, 2006 which denied petitioners motion for reconsideration on the trial courts unfavorable September 27, 2006 ruling, the trial court highlighted the fatal role that petitioners own documentary evidence played in disproving its case and, likewise, the trial court made known its own observation of respondents physical and mental state, to wit:
The Court noted the absence of any testimony of a medical expert which states that Gen. Cirilo O. Oropesa does not have the mental, emotional, and physical capacity to manage his own affairs. On the contrary, Oppositors evidence includes a Neuropsychological Screening Report which states that Gen. Oropesa, (1) performs on the average range in most of the domains that were tested; (2) is capable of mental calculations; and (3) can provide solutions to problem situations. The Report concludes that Gen. Oropesa possesses intact cognitive functioning, except for mildly impaired abilities in memory, reasoning and orientation. It is the observation [19] of the Court that oppositor is still sharp, alert and able. (Citation omitted; emphasis supplied.)
Rape; mental retardation. On appeal, appellant argues that the prosecution failed to establish the mental state of AAA which is crucial to the charge that he raped a woman who is of the legal age but otherwise deprived of reason. In other words, he asserts that the prosecution was not able to prove that AAA suffers from mental retardation. The Supreme Court was not persuaded. In the case at bar, the undisputed expert testimony of Dr. Imelda Escuadra, a Medical Specialist II and officer-in-charge of the Women and Children Protection Unit at the Bicol Medical Center who personally conducted the psychiatric tests on AAA, clearly established that the victim is afflicted with mild mental retardation. She further testified that AAA was also suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and that AAA possesses an IQ of 55 with a mental age equivalent to that of a normal 9 to 10-year-old person. People of the Philippines v. Marcial Bayrante yBoaquina,G.R. No. 188978, June 13, 2012. ______________________________________________________________________________ civil interdiction

Perpetual special disqualification; accessory penalties. The Comelecordered the cancellation of Jalosjos certificate of candidacy on the ground of false material representation when he declared under oath that he was eligible for the office he had sought to be elected to when in fact he was not by reason of a final judgment in a criminal case, the sentence of which he has not yet served. The penalty imposed on Jalosjos was the indeterminate sentence of one year, eight months and twenty days of prisin correccional as minimum, to four years, two months and one day of prisin mayor as maximum. The Supreme Court ruled that the perpetual special disqualification against Jalosjos arising from his criminal conviction by final judgment is a material fact involving eligibility which is a proper ground for a petition under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code. The penalty of prisin mayorautomatically carries with it, by operation of law, the accessory penalties of temporary absolute disqualification and perpetual special disqualification. Under Article 30 of the Revised Penal Code, temporary absolute disqualification produces the effect of deprivation of the right to vote in any election for any popular elective office or to be elected to such office. The duration of the temporary absolute disqualification is the same as that of the principal penalty. On the other hand, under Article 32 of the Revised Penal Code perpetual special disqualification means that the offender shall not be permitted to hold any public office during the period of his disqualification, which isperpetually. Both temporary absolute disqualification and perpetual special disqualification constitute ineligibilities to hold elective public office. A person suffering from these ineligibilities is ineligible to run for elective public office, and commits a false material representation if he states in his certificate of candidacy that he is eligible to so run. The accessory penalty of perpetual special disqualification takes effect immediately once the judgment of conviction becomes final. Once the judgment of conviction becomes final, it is immediately executory. In the case of Jalosjos, he became ineligible perpetually to hold or to run for any elective public office from the time his judgment of conviction became final. Dominador G. Jalosjos, Jr. v. Commission on Elections, et al./Agapito J. Cardino v. Dominador G. Jalosjos, Jr., et al, G.R. No.193237/G.R. No. 193536, October 9, 2012.
PEOPLE v. ROMEO JALOSJOS (2001)Facts Rape is a crime against human dignity, punishable by reclusion perpetua or death, particulary odious when committed against a minor. There were six other cases where the Jalosjos was acquitted of the charges of acts of lasciviousness for failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Eleven year old Rosilyn Delantar accused Romeo G. Jalosjos of sexual impropriety against her on the dates of June 18 & 20, 1996, at the Ritz Towers, Maka

_______________________________________________________________________________ Absence

Agency PDF (olaguer)

[A] power of attorney must be strictly construed; the instrument will be held to grant only those powers that are specified, and the agent may neither go beyond nor deviate from the power of attorney. However, the rule is not absolute and should not be applied to the extent of destroying the very purpose of the power. If the language will permit, the construction that should be adopted is that which will carry out instead of defeat the purpose of the appointment. Clauses in a power of attorney that are repugnant to each other should be reconciled so as to give effect to the instrument in accordance with its general intent or predominant purpose.Furthermore, the instrument should always be deemed to give such powers as essential or usual in effectuating the express powers. (Olaguer vs. Purugganan Jr., GR 158907, 12 February 2007; Third Division, Chico-Nazario J.) Article 1882 of the Civil Code provides that the limits of an agents authority shall not be considered exceeded should it have been performed in a manner more advantageous to the principal than that specified by him. (Olaguer vs. Purugganan Jr., GR 158907, 12 February 2007; Third Division, ChicoNazario J.) [A] person who undertakes to act as agent for another cannot be permitted to deal in the agency matter on his own account and for his own benefit without the consent of his principal, freely given, with full knowledge of every detail known to the agent which might affect the transaction. The prohibition against agents purchasing property in their hands for sale or management is, however, clearly, not absolute. It does not apply where the principal consents to the sale of the property in the hands of the agent or administrator. (Olaguer vs.Purugganan Jr., GR 158907, 12 February 2007; Third Division, ChicoNazario J.) No umale

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Natural persons

Geluz vs CA
FACTS:

TITLE: Geluz vs CA CITATION: 2 SCRA 801

Nita Villanueva, the wife of Oscar lazo, respondent, came to know Antonio Geluz, the petitioner and physician, through her aunt Paula Yambot. Nita became pregnant some time in 1950 before she and Oscar were legally married. As advised by her aunt and to conceal it from her parents, she decided to have it aborted by Geluz. She had her pregnancy aborted again on October 1953 since she found it inconvenient as she was employed at COMELEC. After two years, on February 21, 1955, she again became pregnant and was accompanied by her sister Purificacion and the latters daughter Lucida at Geluz clinic at Carriedo and P. Gomez Street. Oscar at this time was in the

province of Cagayan campaigning for his election to the provincial board. He doesnt have any idea nor given his consent on the abortion. ISSUE: Whether husband of a woman, who voluntarily procured her abortion, could recover damages from the physician who caused the same. HELD: The Supreme Court believed that the minimum award fixed at P3,000 for the death of a person does not cover cases of an unborn fetus that is not endowed with personality which trial court and Court of Appeals predicated. Both trial court and CA wasnt able to find any basis for an award of moral damages evidently because Oscars indifference to the previous abortions of Nita clearly indicates he was unconcerned with the frustration of his parental affections. Instead of filing an administrative or criminal case against Geluz, he turned his wifes indiscretion to personal profit and filed a civil action for damages of which not only he but, including his wife would be the beneficiaries. It shows that hes after obtaining a large money payment since he sued Geluz for P50,000 damages and P3,000 attorneys fees that serves as indemnity claim, which under the circumstances was clearly exaggerated.
Geluz vs. Court of Appeals2 SCRA 801 July 20 1961Fact of the Case: Respondent Oscar Lazo, the husband of Nita Villanueva who voluntarily procuredher abortion, filed an action to recover damages against petitioner Antonio Lazo whocaused the same. The trial court rendered judgment in favor of plaintiff Lazo. When thecase reached the Court of Appeals but it sustained the award to the plaintiff. The Court of Appeals and the Trial Court predicated the award of damages in the amount of P3,000upon the provision of Article 2206 of the Civil Code for the death of person. Geluz then filed an appeal before the SC. Issue: (1)Whether or not an action for damages could be instituted on behalf of the unborn child.(2)Whether or not the unborn child acquires civil personality. Held: No action for damages could be instituted on unborn child on account of injuriesit received, no such right of action could derivatively accrue to its parent or heirs. Thelaws states that civil personality of the child commences at the time of its conception, provided that it be born alive or if it had an intrauterine life of less the seven months, thefoetus is not deemed born if it dies within twenty four hours after its complete deliveryfrom the maternal womb Continental Steel v. MontaoG.R. No. 182836 October 13, 2009Chico-Nazario, J. Doctrines:Life is not synonymous with civil personality. One need not acquire civil personality first before he/she could die. Even a child inside the womb already has life. In case of doubt in the interpretation of any law or provision affecting labor, such should beinterpreted in favor of labor.

Facts: Hortillano, an employee of petitioner Continental Steel Manufacturing Corporation (Continental Steel) filed a claim for Paternity Leave, Bereavement Leave and Death and Accident Insurance for dependent, pursuant to the CollectiveBargaining Agreement (CBA).The claim was based on the death of Hortillanos unborn child. Hortillanos wife had a premature delivery while shewas in the 38th week of pregnancy. The female fetus died during labor due to fetal Anoxia secondary touteroplacental insufficiency.Petitioner immediately granted Hortillanos claim for paternity leave but denied his claims for bereavement leave and other death benefits.It was maintained by Hortillano, through the Labor Union, that the provisions of the CBA did not specifically state that the dependent should have first been born alive or must have acquired juridical personality so that his/her subsequent death could be covered by the CBA death benefits.Petitioner argued that the express provision of the CBA did not contemplate the death of an unborn child, a fetus,without legal personality. It claimed that there are two elements for the entitlement to the benefits, namely: (1) deathand (2) status as legitimate dependent, none of which existed in Hortillanos case. Continental Steel contended that only one with civil personality could die, relying on Articles 40, 41 and 42 of the Civil Code which provides: Article 40. Birth determines personality; but the conceived child shall be considered born for all purposes that arefavorable to it, provided it be born later with the conditions specified in the following article. Article 41. For civil purposes, the fetus is considered born if it is alive at the time it is completely delivered from themothers womb. However, if the fetus had an intra-uterine life of less than seven months, it is not deemed born if it dies within twenty-four hours after its complete delivery from the maternal womb. Article 42. Civil personality is extinguished by death. The effect of death upon the rights and obligations of thedeceased is determined by law, by contract and by will.Hence according to the petitioner, the unborn child never died because it never acquired juridical personality.Proceeding from the same line of thought, Continental Steel reasoned that a fetus that was dead from the moment of delivery was not a person at all. Hence, the term dependent could not be applied to a fetus that never acquired juridical personality. Labor arbiter Montao argued that the fetus had the right to be supported by the parents from the very moment he/she was conceived. The fetus had to rely on another for support; he/she could not have existed or sustained himself/herself without the power or aid of someone else, specifically, his/her mother.Petitioner appealed with the CA, who affirmed the Labor Arbiters resolution. Hence this petition. Issues: 1. Whether or not only one with juridical personality can die 2. Whether or not a fetus can be considered as a dependent 3. Whether or not any ambiguity in CBA provisions shall be settled in favor of the employee Held:1. No. The reliance of Continental Steel on Articles 40, 41 and 42 of the Civil Code for the legal definition of death ismisplaced. Article 40 provides that a conceived child acquires personality only when it is born, and Article 41 defineswhen a child is considered born. Article 42 plainly states that civil personality is extinguished by death. The issue of civil personality is not relevant in this case.The above provisions of the Civil Code do not provide at all a definition of death. Moreover, while the Civil Codeexpressly provides that civil personality may be extinguished by death, it does not explicitly state that only those whohave acquired juridical personality could die.Life is not synonymous with civil personality. One need not acquire civil personality first before he/she could die. Evena child inside the womb already has life.No less than the Constitution recognizes the life of the unborn from conception,

that the State must protect equally with the life of the mother. If the unborn already has life, then the cessation thereof even prior to the child beingdelivered, qualifies as death. 2. Yes. Even an unborn child is a dependent of its parents. Hortillanos child could not have reached 3839 weeks of its gestational life without depending upon its mother, Hortillanos wife, for sustenance. The CBA did not provide aqualification for the child dependent, such that the child must have been born or must have acquired civil personality.Without such qualification, then child shall be understood in its more general sense, which includes the unborn fetusin the mothers womb. 3. Time and again, the Labor Code is specific in enunciating that in case of doubt in the interpretation of any law or provision affecting labor, such should be interpreted in favor of labor. In the same way, the CBA and CBA provisionsshould be interpreted in favor of labor. As decided by this Court, any doubt concerning the rights of labor should beresolved in its favor pursuant to the social justice policy. (Terminal Facilities and Services Corporation v. NLRC [199SCRA 265 (1991)])Bereavement leave and other death benefits are granted to an employee to give aid to, and if possible, lessen thegrief of, the said employee and his family who suffered the loss of a loved one. It cannot be said that the parents grief and sense of loss arising from the death of their unborn child, who, in this case, had a gestational life of 38-39 weeksbut died during delivery, is any less than that of parents whose child was born alive but died subsequently
Quimiguing vs. Icao 34 SCRA 132 Facts: Carmen Quimiguing, a student, and Felix Icao, married, were neighbors. They had carnal intercourse several times until Carmen became pregnant. Assisted by her parents, she filed a claim for support at P120/month plus damages. Icao filed a motion to dismiss for lack of cause of action since the child is yet unborn. The Trial Court dismissed the complaint, Carmen amended it but the trial court disallowed it. Issue: Whether or not, the CFI erred in dismissing Carmens complaint. Held: Yes. A conceived child, although as yet unborn is given by law a provisional personality of its own for all purposes favorable to it.

Quimiguing vs Icao
TITLE: Quimiguing vs Icao CITATION: 34 SCRA 132 FACTS: Carmen Quimiguing, the petitioner, and Felix Icao, the defendant, were neighbors in Dapitan City and had close and confidential relations. Despite the fact that Icao was married, he succeeded to have carnal intercourse with plaintiff several times under force and intimidation and without her

consent. As a result, Carmen became pregnant despite drugs supplied by defendant and as a consequence, Carmen stopped studying. Plaintiff claimed for support at P120 per month, damages and attorneys fees. The complaint was dismissed by the lower court in Zamboanga del Norte on the ground lack of cause of action. Plaintiff moved to amend the complaint that as a result of the intercourse, she gave birth to a baby girl but the court ruled that no amendment was allowable since the original complaint averred no cause of action. ISSUE: Whether plaintiff has a right to claim damages. HELD: Supreme Court held that a conceive child, although as yet unborn, is given by law a provisional personality of its own for all purposes favorable to it, as explicitly provided in Article 40 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. The conceive child may also receive donations and be accepted by those persons who will legally represent them if they were already born as prescribed in Article 742. Lower courts theory on article 291 of the civil code declaring that support is an obligation of parents and illegitimate children does not contemplate support to children as yet unborn violates article 40 aforementioned. Another reason for reversal of the order is that Icao being a married man forced a woman not his wife to yield to his lust and this constitutes a clear violation of Carmens rights. Thus, she is entitled to claim compensation for the damage caused. WHEREFORE, the orders under appeal are reversed and set aside. Let the case be remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings conformable to this decision. Costs against appellee Felix Icao. So ordered. ITLE: De Jesus v Syquia CITATION: 58 Phil 866 FACTS: Antonia Loanco, a likely unmarried girl 20 years of age was a cashier in a barber shop owned by the defendants brother in law Vicente Mendoza. Cesar Syquia, the defendant, 23 years of age and an unmarried scion of a prominent family in Manila was accustomed to have his haircut in the said barber shop. He got acquainted with Antonio and had an amorous relationship. As a consequence, Antonia got pregnant and a baby boy was born on June 17, 1931. In the early months of Antonias pregnancy, defendant was a constant visitor. On February 1931, he even wrote a letter to a rev father confirming that the child is his and he wanted his name to be given to the child. Though he was out of the country, he continuously wrote letters to Antonia reminding her to eat on time for her and juniors sake. The defendant ask his friend Dr. Talavera to attend at the birth and hospital arrangements at St. Joseph Hospital in Manila.

After giving birth, Syquia brought Antonia and his child at a House in Camarines Street Manila where they lived together for about a year. When Antonia showed signs of second pregnancy, defendant suddenly departed and he was married with another woman at this time. It should be noted that during the christening of the child, the defendant who was in charge of the arrangement of the ceremony caused the name Ismael Loanco to be given instead of Cesar Syquia Jr. that was first planned. ISSUES: 1. Whether the note to the padre in connection with the other letters written by defendant to Antonia during her pregnancy proves acknowledgement of paternity. 2. Whether trial court erred in holding that Ismael Loanco had been in the uninterrupted possession of the status of a natural child, justified by the conduct of the father himself, and that as a consequence, the defendant in this case should be compelled to acknowledge the said Ismael Loanco. HELD: The letter written by Syquia to Rev. Father serves as admission of paternity and the other letters are sufficient to connect the admission with the child carried by Antonia. The mere requirement is that the writing shall be indubitable. The law fixes no period during which a child must be in the continuous possession of the status of a natural child; and the period in this case was long enough to reveal the father's resolution to admit the status. Supreme Court held that they agree with the trial court in refusing to provide damages to Antonia Loanco for supposed breach of promise to marry since action on this has no standing in civil law. Furthermore, there is no proof upon which a judgment could be based requiring the defendant to recognize the second baby, Pacita Loanco. Finally, SC found no necessity to modify the judgment as to the amount of maintenance allowed to Ismael Loanco in the amount of P50 pesos per month. They likewise pointed out that it is only the trial court who has jurisdiction to modify the order as to the amount of pension.

ANGEL T. LIMJOCO, petitioner, vs. INTESTATE ESTATE OF PEDRO O. FRAGRANTE, deceased, respondent. Angel Limjoco, Jr. and Delfin L. Gonzales for petitioner. Bienvenido A. Tan for respondent. HILADO, J.: Under date of May 21, 1946, the Public Service Commission, through Deputy Commissioner Fidel Ibaez, rendered its decision in case No. 4572 of Pedro O. Fragante, as applicant for a certificate of public convenience to install, maintain and operate an ice plant in San Juan, Rizal, whereby said commission held that the evidence therein showed that the public interest and convenience will be promoted in a proper and suitable manner "by authorizing the operation and maintenance of another ice plant of two and one-half (2-) tons in the municipality of San Juan; that the original applicant Pedro O. Fragante was a Filipino Citizen at the time of his death; and that his intestate estate is financially capable of maintaining the proposed service". The commission, therefore, overruled the opposition filed in the case and ordered "that under the provisions of section 15 of Commonwealth Act No. 146, as amended a certificate of public convenience be issued to the Intestate Estate of the deceased Pedro Fragante, authorizing said Intestate Estate through its Special or Judicial Administrator, appointed by the proper court of competent jurisdiction, to maintain and operate an ice plant with a daily productive capacity of two and one-half (2-1/2) tons in the Municipality of San Juan and to sell the ice produced from said plant in the said Municipality of San Juan and in the Municipality of Mandaluyong, Rizal, and in Quezon City", subject to the conditions therein set forth in detail (petitioner's brief, pp. 33-34). Petitioner makes four assignments of error in his brief as follows: 1. The decision of the Public Service Commission is not in accordance with law. 2. The decision of the Public Service Commission is not reasonably supported by evidence. 3. The Public Service Commission erred in not giving petitioner and the Ice and Cold Storage Industries of the Philippines, Inc., as existing operators, a reasonable opportunity to meet the increased demand. 4. The decision of the Public Service Commission is an unwarranted departure from its announced policy with respect to the establishment and operation of ice plant. (Pp. 1-2, petitioner's brief.) In his argument petitioner contends that it was error on the part of the commission to allow the substitution of the legal representative of the estate of Pedro O. Fragante for the latter as party applicant in the case then pending before the commission, and in subsequently granting to said estate the certificate applied for, which is said to be in contravention of law. If Pedro O. Fragante had not died, there can be no question that he would have had the right to prosecute his application before the commission to its final conclusion. No one would have denied him that right. As declared by the commission in its decision, he had invested in the ice plant in question P 35,000, and from what the commission said regarding his other properties and business, he would certainly have been financially able to maintain and operate said plant had he not died. His transportation business alone was netting him about P1,440 a month. He was a Filipino citizen and continued to be such till his demise. The commission declared in its decision, in view of the evidence

before it, that his estate was financially able to maintain and operate the ice plant. The aforesaid right of Pedro O. Fragante to prosecute said application to its conclusion was one which by its nature did not lapse through his death. Hence, it constitutes a part of the assets of his estate, for which a right was property despite the possibility that in the end the commission might have denied application, although under the facts of the case, the commission granted the application in view of the financial ability of the estate to maintain and operate the ice plant. Petitioner, in his memorandum of March 19, 1947, admits (page 3) that the certificate of public convenience once granted "as a rule, should descend to his estate as an asset". Such certificate would certainly be property, and the right to acquire such a certificate, by complying with the requisites of the law, belonged to the decedent in his lifetime, and survived to his estate and judicial administrator after his death. If Pedro O. Fragrante had in his lifetime secured an option to buy a piece of land and during the life of the option he died, if the option had been given him in the ordinary course of business and not out of special consideration for his person, there would be no doubt that said option and the right to exercise it would have survived to his estate and legal representatives. In such a case there would also be the possibility of failure to acquire the property should he or his estate or legal representative fail to comply with the conditions of the option. In the case at bar Pedro O. Fragrante's undoubted right to apply for and acquire the desired certificate of public convenience the evidence established that the public needed the ice plant was under the law conditioned only upon the requisite citizenship and economic ability to maintain and operate the service. Of course, such right to acquire or obtain such certificate of public convenience was subject to failure to secure its objective through nonfulfillment of the legal conditions, but the situation here is no different from the legal standpoint from that of the option in the illustration just given. Rule 88, section 2, provides that the executor or administrator may bring or defend actions, among other cases, for the protection of the property or rights of the deceased which survive, and it says that such actions may be brought or defended "in the right of the deceased". Rule 82, section 1, paragraph (a), mentions among the duties of the executor or administrator, the making of an inventory of all goods, chattels, rights, credits, and estate of the deceased which shall come to his possession or knowledge, or to the possession of any other person for him. In his commentaries on the Rules of Court (Volume II, 2nd ed., pages 366, 367) the present chief Justice of this Court draws the following conclusion from the decisions cited by him: Therefore, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, any action affecting the property or rights (emphasis supplied) of a deceased person which may be brought by or against him if he were alive, may likewise be instituted and prosecuted by or against the administrator, unless the action is for recovery of money, debt or interest thereon, or unless, by its very nature, it cannot survive, because death extinguishes the right . . . . It is true that a proceeding upon the application for a certificate of public convenience before the Public Service Commission is not an "action". But the foregoing provisions and citations go to prove that the decedent's rights which by their nature are not extinguished by death go to make up a part and parcel of the assets of his estate which, being placed under the control and management of the executor or administrator, can not be exercised but by him in representation of the estate for the benefit of the creditors, devisees or legatees, if any, and the heirs of the decedent. And if the right involved happens to consist in the prosecution of an unfinished proceeding upon an application for a certificate of public convenience of the deceased before the Public Service Commission, it is but logical that the legal representative be empowered and entitled in behalf of the estate to make the right effective in that proceeding.

Manresa (Vol. III, 6th ed., p. 11) says that No. 10 of article 334 and article 336 of the Civil Code, respectively, consider as immovable and movable things rights which are not material. The same eminent commentator says in the cited volume (p. 45) that article 336 of the Civil Code has been deficiently drafted in that it is not sufficiently expressive of all incorporeal rights which are also property for juridical purposes. Corpus Juris (Vol. 50, p. 737) states that in the broad sense of the term, property includes, among other things, "an option", and "the certificate of the railroad commission permitting the operation of a bus line", and on page 748 of the same volume we read: However, these terms (real property, as estate or interest) have also been declared to include every species of title, inchoate or complete, and embrace rights which lie in contract, whether executory or executed. (Emphasis supplied.) Another important question raised by petitioner is whether the estate of Pedro O. Fragrante is a "person" within the meaning of the Public Service Act. Words and Phrases, First Series, (Vol. 6, p, 5325), states the following doctrine in the jurisdiction of the State of Indiana: As the estate of the decedent is in law regarded as a person, a forgery committed after the death of the man whose name purports to be signed to the instrument may be prosecuted as with the intent to defraud the estate. Billings vs. State, 107 Ind., 54, 55, 6 N. E. 914, 7 N. E. 763, 57 Am. Rep. 77. The Supreme Court of Indiana in the decision cited above had before it a case of forgery committed after the death of one Morgan for the purpose of defrauding his estate. The objection was urged that the information did not aver that the forgery was committed with the intent to defraud any person. The Court, per Elliott, J., disposed of this objection as follows: . . . The reason advanced in support of this proposition is that the law does not regard the estate of a decedent as a person. This intention (contention) cannot prevail. The estate of the decedent is a person in legal contemplation. "The word "person" says Mr. Abbot, "in its legal signification, is a generic term, and includes artificial as well as natural persons," 2 Abb. Dict. 271; Douglas vs. Pacific, etc. Co., 4 Cal. 304; Planters', etc., Bank vs. Andrews, 8 Port. (Ala.) 404. It said in another work that 'persons are of two kinds: natural and artificial. A natural person is a human being. Artificial persons include (1) a collection or succession of natural persons forming a corporation; (2) a collection of property to which the law attributes the capacity of having rights and duties. The latter class of artificial persons is recognized only to a limited extent in our law. "Examples are the estate of a bankrupt or deceased person." 2 Rapalje & L. Law Dict. 954. Our own cases inferentially recognize the correctness of the definition given by the authors from whom we have quoted, for they declare that it is sufficient, in pleading a claim against a decedent's estate, to designate the defendant as the estate of the deceased person, naming him. Ginn vs. Collins, 43 Ind. 271. Unless we accept this definition as correct, there would be a failure of justice in cases where, as here, the forgery is committed after the death of a person whose name is forged; and this is a result to be avoided if it can be done consistent with principle. We perceive no difficulty in avoiding such a result; for, to our minds, it seems reasonable that the estate of a decedent should be regarded as an artificial person. It is the creation of law for the purpose of enabling a disposition of the assets to be properly made, and, although natural persons as heirs, devises, or creditors, have an interest in the property, the artificial creature is a distinct legal entity. The interest which natural persons have in it is not complete until there has been a

due administration; and one who forges the name of the decedent to an instrument purporting to be a promissory note must be regarded as having intended to defraud the estate of the decedent, and not the natural persons having diverse interests in it, since ha cannot be presumed to have known who those persons were, or what was the nature of their respective interest. The fraudulent intent is against the artificial person, the estate and not the natural persons who have direct or contingent interest in it. (107 Ind. 54, 55, 6 N.E. 914-915.) In the instant case there would also be a failure of justice unless the estate of Pedro O. Fragrante is considered a "person", for quashing of the proceedings for no other reason than his death would entail prejudicial results to his investment amounting to P35,000.00 as found by the commission, not counting the expenses and disbursements which the proceeding can be presumed to have occasioned him during his lifetime, let alone those defrayed by the estate thereafter. In this jurisdiction there are ample precedents to show that the estate of a deceased person is also considered as having legal personality independent of their heirs. Among the most recent cases may be mentioned that of "Estate of Mota vs. Concepcion, 56 Phil., 712, 717, wherein the principal plaintiff was the estate of the deceased Lazaro Mota, and this Court gave judgment in favor of said estate along with the other plaintiffs in these words: . . . the judgment appealed from must be affirmed so far as it holds that defendants Concepcion and Whitaker are indebted to he plaintiffs in the amount of P245,804.69 . . . . Under the regime of the Civil Code and before the enactment of the Code of Civil Procedure, the heirs of a deceased person were considered in contemplation of law as the continuation of his personality by virtue of the provision of article 661 of the first Code that the heirs succeed to all the rights and obligations of the decedent by the mere fact of his death. It was so held by this Court in Barrios vs. Dolor, 2 Phil., 44, 46. However, after the enactment of the Code of Civil Procedure, article 661 of the Civil Code was abrogated, as held in Suiliong & Co. vs. Chio-Taysan, 12 Phil., 13, 22. In that case, as well as in many others decided by this Court after the innovations introduced by the Code of Civil Procedure in the matter of estates of deceased persons, it has been the constant doctrine that it is the estate or the mass of property, rights and assets left by the decedent, instead of the heirs directly, that becomes vested and charged with his rights and obligations which survive after his demise. The heirs were formerly considered as the continuation of the decedent's personality simply by legal fiction, for they might not have been flesh and blood the reason was one in the nature of a legal exigency derived from the principle that the heirs succeeded to the rights and obligations of the decedent. Under the present legal system, such rights and obligations as survive after death have to be exercised and fulfilled only by the estate of the deceased. And if the same legal fiction were not indulged, there would be no juridical basis for the estate, represented by the executor or administrator, to exercise those rights and to fulfill those obligations of the deceased. The reason and purpose for indulging the fiction is identical and the same in both cases. This is why according to the Supreme Court of Indiana in Billings vs. State, supra, citing 2 Rapalje & L. Dictionary, 954, among the artificial persons recognized by law figures "a collection of property to which the law attributes the capacity of having rights and duties", as for instance, the estate of a bankrupt or deceased person. Petitioner raises the decisive question of whether or not the estate of Pedro O. Fragrante can be considered a "citizen of the Philippines" within the meaning of section 16 of the Public Service Act, as amended, particularly the proviso thereof expressly and categorically limiting the power of the commission to issue certificates of public convenience or certificates of public convenience and necessity "only to citizens of the Philippines or of the United States or to corporations,

copartnerships, associations, or joint-stock companies constituted and organized under the laws of the Philippines", and the further proviso that sixty per centum of the stock or paid-up capital of such entities must belong entirely to citizens of the Philippines or of the United States. Within the Philosophy of the present legal system, the underlying reason for the legal fiction by which, for certain purposes, the estate of the deceased person is considered a "person" is the avoidance of injustice or prejudice resulting from the impossibility of exercising such legal rights and fulfilling such legal obligations of the decedent as survived after his death unless the fiction is indulged. Substantially the same reason is assigned to support the same rule in the jurisdiction of the State of Indiana, as announced in Billings vs. State, supra, when the Supreme Court of said State said: . . . It seems reasonable that the estate of a decedent should be regarded as an artificial person. it is the creation of law for the purpose of enabling a disposition of the assets to be properly made . . . . Within the framework and principles of the constitution itself, to cite just one example, under the bill of rights it seems clear that while the civil rights guaranteed therein in the majority of cases relate to natural persons, the term "person" used in section 1 (1) and (2) must be deemed to include artificial or juridical persons, for otherwise these latter would be without the constitutional guarantee against being deprived of property without due process of law, or the immunity from unreasonable searches and seizures. We take it that it was the intendment of the framers to include artificial or juridical, no less than natural, persons in these constitutional immunities and in others of similar nature. Among these artificial or juridical persons figure estates of deceased persons. Hence, we hold that within the framework of the Constitution, the estate of Pedro O. Fragrante should be considered an artificial or juridical person for the purposes of the settlement and distribution of his estate which, of course, include the exercise during the judicial administration thereof of those rights and the fulfillment of those obligations of his which survived after his death. One of those rights was the one involved in his pending application before the Public Service Commission in the instant case, consisting in the prosecution of said application to its final conclusion. As stated above, an injustice would ensue from the opposite course. How about the point of citizenship? If by legal fiction his personality is considered extended so that any debts or obligations left by, and surviving, him may be paid, and any surviving rights may be exercised for the benefit of his creditors and heirs, respectively, we find no sound and cogent reason for denying the application of the same fiction to his citizenship, and for not considering it as likewise extended for the purposes of the aforesaid unfinished proceeding before the Public Service Commission. The outcome of said proceeding, if successful, would in the end inure to the benefit of the same creditors and the heirs. Even in that event petitioner could not allege any prejudice in the legal sense, any more than he could have done if Fragrante had lived longer and obtained the desired certificate. The fiction of such extension of his citizenship is grounded upon the same principle, and motivated by the same reason, as the fiction of the extension of personality. The fiction is made necessary to avoid the injustice of subjecting his estate, creditors and heirs, solely by reason of his death to the loss of the investment amounting to P35,000, which he has already made in the ice plant, not counting the other expenses occasioned by the instant proceeding, from the Public Service Commission of this Court. We can perceive no valid reason for holding that within the intent of the constitution (Article IV), its provisions on Philippine citizenship exclude the legal principle of extension above adverted to. If for reasons already stated our law indulges the fiction of extension of personality, if for such reasons the estate of Pedro O. Fragrante should be considered an artificial or juridical person herein, we can find

no justification for refusing to declare a like fiction as to the extension of his citizenship for the purposes of this proceeding. Pedro O. Fragrante was a Filipino citizen, and as such, if he had lived, in view of the evidence of record, he would have obtained from the commission the certificate for which he was applying. The situation has suffered but one change, and that is, his death. His estate was that of a Filipino citizen. And its economic ability to appropriately and adequately operate and maintain the service of an ice plant was the same that it received from the decedent himself. In the absence of a contrary showing, which does not exist here, his heirs may be assumed to be also Filipino citizens; and if they are not, there is the simple expedient of revoking the certificate or enjoining them from inheriting it. Upon the whole, we are of the opinion that for the purposes of the prosecution of said case No. 4572 of the Public Service Commission to its final conclusion, both the personality and citizenship of Pedro O. Fragrante must be deemed extended, within the meaning and intent of the Public Service Act, as amended, in harmony with the constitution: it is so adjudged and decreed. Decision affirmed, without costs. So ordered.

TITLE: Dumlao v Quality Plastics CITATION: GR No. L27956, April 30, 1976 FACTS: Judgement for Civil Case T-662 was rendered on February 28, 1962 ordering defendants Soliven, Pedro Oria, Laurencio, Sumalbag and Darang to pay solidarity Quality Plastics the sum of P3,667.03 plus legal rate of interest from November 1958 before its decision became final or else Quality Plastics is hereby authorized to foreclose the bond. Defendants failed to pay the amount before the limit given. Oria's land, which was covered by Original Certificate of Title No. 28732 and has an area of nine and six-tenths hectares, was levied upon and sold by the sheriff at public auction on September 24, 1962 which he has given as security under the bond. Apparently, Oria died on April 23, 1959 or long before June 13, 1960. Quality Plastics was not aware on Orias death. The summons and copies of complaint was personally served on June 24, 1960 by a deputy sheriff to Soliven which the latter acknowledged and signed in his own behalf and his co-defendants. Dionisio, Fausta, Amado and Benjamin, all surnamed Dumlao and all testamentary heirs in Oria's duly probated will, sued Quality Plastic Products, Inc on March 1, 1963 for the annulment of the judgment against Oria and the execution against his land (T-873). Dionisio also sued in his capacity as administrator of Orias testate estate.

ISSUE: Whether judgment against Oria and execution against his land be annulled on the ground of lack in juridical capacity.

HELD: Quality Plastics upon receiving the summons on T-873 just learned that Oria was already dead prior case T-662 was filed. The Dumalaos agreed in their stipulation that indeed Quality Plastics was unaware of Orias death and that they acted in good faith in joining Oria as a co -defendant. However, no jurisdiction was acquired over Oria, thus, the judgment against him is a patent nullity. Lower courts judgment against Oria in T-662 is void for lack of jurisdiction over his person as far as Oria was concerned. He had no more civil personality and his juridical capacity which is the fitness to be the subject of legal relations was lost through death. The fact that Dumlao had to sue Quality Plastics in order to annul the judgment against Oria does not follow that they are entitiled to claim attorneys fees against the corporation. WHEREFORE, the lower court's decision is reversed and set aside. Its judgment in Civil Case No. T662 against Pedro Oria is declared void for lack of jurisdiction. The execution sale of Oria's land covered by OCT No. 28732 is also void. Eugenio vs Velez 185 SCRA 45 FACTS: Vitaliana Vargas brothers and sisters unaware of the formers 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 Vitalianas 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 Eugenios 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. ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioner can claim custody of the deceased. HELD: The court held that the custody of the dead body of Vitaliana was correctly awarded to the surviving brothers and sisters pursuant to Section 1103 of the Revised Administrative Code which provides: 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. Albeit, petitioner claims he is the spouse as contemplated under Art. 294 of the Civil Code, Philippine law does not recognize common law marriages where a man and a woman not legally married who cohabit for many years as husband and wife, who represent themselves to the public as husband and wife, and who are reputed to be husband and wife in the community where they live may be considered legally mauled in common law jurisdictions. In addition, it requires that the man and woman living together must not in any way be incapacitated to contract marriage. Whereas, the petitioner has a subsisting marriage with another woman, legal impediment that disqualified him from even legally marrying Vitaliana.
JOAQUIN VS. NAVARRO Facts: Feb. 6, 1945: battle of liberation of Manila, Joaquin Navarro, Sr., 70, wife Angela Joaquin, 67, daughters Pilar (32-33), Concepcion, and Natividad (23-25), son Joaquin Navarro, Jr., 30 and his wife Adela Conde sought refuge on the ground floor of German Club Building. Building was set on fire and Japanese started shooting hitting the three daughters who fell. Sr. decided to leave building. His wife didnt want to leave so he left with his son, his sons wife and neighbor Francisco Lopez . As they came out, Jr. was hit and fell on the ground the rest lay flat on the ground to avoid bullets. German Club collapsed trapping may people presumably including Angela Joaquin. Sr., Adela and Francisco sought refuge in an air raid shelter where they hid for three days. Feb. 10, 1945: on their way to St.Theresa Academy, they met Japanese patrols, Sr. and Adela were hit and killed. Trial Court ruled that Angela Joaquin outlived her son while Court of Appeals ruled that son outlived his mother.

Issue: Order of death of Angela Joaquin and Joaquin Navarro, Jr. Held:

Reversed.Art. 43 civil code: Whenever a doubt arises as to which was the first to die of the two or morepersons who would inherit one from the other, the person who alleges prior death of either must provethe allegation; in the absence of proof the presumption shall be that they died at the same time and no transmission of rights from one to the other shall take place. In light of the conditions painted by FL, a fair inference can be arrived at that JN Jr died before his mother. The presumption that AJ died before her son was based on speculations, not evidence. Gauged by the doctrine of preponderance of evidence by which civil cases are decided, this inference should prevail. Evidence of survivorship may be (1) direct (2) indirect (3) circumstantial or (4) inferential. Art. 43 Speaks about resolving doubt when 2 or more persons are called to succeed each other as to which of them died first. In the Civil Code, in the absence of proof, it is presumed that they died at the same time, and there shall be no transmission of rights from one to another. In the Rules of Court, in cases of calamity, there is a hierarchy of survivorship.
______________________________________________________________________________________________ Citizenship and domicile

ITLE: Romualdez-Marcos vs. COMELEC CITATION: 248 SCRA 300 FACTS: Imelda, a little over 8 years old, in or about 1938, established her domicile in Tacloban, Leyte where she studied and graduated high school in the Holy Infant Academy from 1938 to 1949. She then pursued her college degree, education, in St. Pauls College now Divine Word University also in Tacloban. Subsequently, she taught in Leyte Chinese School still in Tacloban. She went to manila during 1952 to work with her cousin, the late speaker Daniel Romualdez in his office in the House of Representatives. In 1954, she married late President Ferdinand Marcos when he was still a Congressman of Ilocos Norte and was registered there as a voter. When Pres. Marcos was elected as Senator in 1959, they lived together in San Juan, Rizal where she registered as a voter. In 1965, when Marcos won presidency, they lived in Malacanang Palace and registered as a voter in San Miguel Manila. She served as member of the Batasang Pambansa and Governor of Metro Manila during 1978. Imelda Romualdez-Marcos was running for the position of Representative of the First District of Leyte for the 1995 Elections. Cirilo Roy Montejo, the incumbent Representative of the First District of Leyte and also a candidate for the same position, filed a Petition for Cancellation and Disqualification" with the Commission on Elections alleging that petitioner did not meet the constitutional requirement for residency. The petitioner, in an honest misrepresentation, wrote seven months under residency, which she sought to rectify by adding the words "since childhood" in her Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy filed on March 29, 1995 and that "she has always

maintained Tacloban City as her domicile or residence. She arrived at the seven months residency due to the fact that she became a resident of the Municipality of Tolosa in said months. ISSUE: Whether petitioner has satisfied the 1year residency requirement to be eligible in running as representative of the First District of Leyte. HELD: Residence is used synonymously with domicile for election purposes. The court are in favor of a conclusion supporting petitoners claim of legal residence or domicile in the First District of Leyte despite her own declaration of 7 months residency in the district for the following reasons: 1. A minor follows domicile of her parents. Tacloban became Imeldas domicile of origin by operation of law when her father brought them to Leyte; 2. Domicile of origin is only lost when there is actual removal or change of domicile, a bona fide intention of abandoning the former residence and establishing a new one, and acts which correspond with the purpose. In the absence and concurrence of all these, domicile of origin should be deemed to continue. 3. A wife does not automatically gain the husbands domicile because the term residence in Civil Law does not mean the same thing in Political Law. When Imelda married late President Marcos in 1954, she kept her domicile of origin and merely gained a new home and not domicilium necessarium. 4. Assuming that Imelda gained a new domicile after her marriage and acquired right to choose a new one only after the death of Pres. Marcos, her actions upon returning to the country clearly indicated that she chose Tacloban, her domicile of origin, as her domicile of choice. To add, petitioner even obtained her residence certificate in 1992 in Tacloban, Leyte while living in her brothers house, an act, which supports the domiciliary intention clearly manifested. She even kept close ties by establishing residences in Tacloban, celebrating her birthdays and other important milestones. WHEREFORE, having determined that petitioner possesses the necessary residence qualifications to run for a seat in the House of Representatives in the First District of Leyte, the COMELEC's questioned Resolutions dated April 24, May 7, May 11, and May 25, 1995 are hereby SET ASIDE.

Respondent COMELEC is hereby directed to order the Provincial Board of Canvassers to proclaim petitioner as the duly elected Representative of the First District of Leyte.
Vilando v HRET, August 23, 2011

RENALD F. VILANDO, Petitioner, vs. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL, JOCELYN SY LIMKAICHONG AND HON. SPEAKER PROSPERO NOGRALES, Respondents. DECISION MENDOZA, J.: This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court assailing the March 24, 2010 Decision1 of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) dismissing the petitions for quo warranto and declaring private respondent Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong (Limkaichong) not disqualified as Member of the House of Representatives representing the First District of Negros Oriental and its Resolution2 dated May 17, 2010, denying the motion for reconsideration. In the May 14, 2007 elections, Limkaichong filed her certificate of candidacy for the position of Representative of the First District of Negros Oriental. She won over the other contender, Olivia Paras. On May 25, 2007, she was proclaimed as Representative by the Provincial Board of Canvassers on the basis of Comelec Resolution No. 80623 issued on May 18, 2007. On July 23, 2007, she assumed office as Member of the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, petitions involving either the disqualification or the proclamation of Limkaichong were filed before the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) which reached the Court. The petitions, which questioned her citizenship, were filed against Limkaichong by her detractors: Louis Biraogo (G.R. No. 179120);4 Olivia Paras (G.R. Nos. 179132-33);5 and Renald F. Vilando (G.R. Nos. 179240-41).6 These three (3) petitions were consolidated with the petition for certiorari filed by Limkaichong (G.R. Nos. 178831-32) assailing the Joint Resolution issued by the COMELEC which resolved the disqualification cases against her. On April 1, 2009, the Court granted the aforesaid petition of Limkaichong, reversed the Joint Resolution of the Comelec, dismissed the three (3) other petitions, and directed the petitioners to seek relief before the HRET by way of a petition for Quo Warranto.

On April 21, 2009 and May 27, 2009, petitioner Renald F. Vilando (Vilando), as taxpayer; and Jacinto Paras, as registered voter of the congressional district concerned, filed separate petitions for Quo Warranto against Limkaichong before the HRET. These petitions were consolidated by the HRET as they both challenged the eligibility of one and the same respondent. Petitioners asserted that Limkaichong was a Chinese citizen and ineligible for the office she was elected and proclaimed. They alleged that she was born to a father (Julio Sy), whose naturalization had not attained finality, and to a mother who acquired the Chinese citizenship of Julio Sy from the time of her marriage to the latter. Also, they invoked the jurisdiction of the HRET for a determination of Limkaichongs citizenship, which necessarily included an inquiry into the validity of the naturalization certificate of Julio Sy. For her defense, Limkaichong maintained that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen. She averred that the acquisition of Philippine citizenship by her father was regular and in order and had already attained the status of res judicata. Further, she claimed that the validity of such citizenship could not be assailed through a collateral attack. On March 24, 2010, the HRET dismissed both petitions and declared Limkaichong not disqualified as Member of the House of Representatives. Pertinent portions of the HRET decision reads: By and large, petitioners failed to satisfy the quantum of proof to sustain their theory that respondent is not a natural-born Filipino citizen and therefore not qualified as Representative of the First District, Negros Oriental. This being so, their petitions must fail. WHEREFORE, the Tribunal DISMISSES the instant petition for lack of merit and declares that respondent Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong is not disqualified as Member of the House of Representatives representing the First District, Negros Oriental. As soon as the Decision becomes final and executory, notice of copies thereof shall be sent to the President of the Philippines, the House of Representatives through the Speaker, the Commission on Audit through the Chairman, pursuant to Rule 96 of the 2004 Rules of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Chairman, Commission on Elections, for his information and appropriate action. SO ORDERED.7 The petitioners sought reconsideration of the aforesaid decision, but it was denied by the HRET in its Resolution dated May 17, 2010. Hence, this petition for certiorari filed by Vilando anchored on the following GROUNDS: THE ONE-SIDED RESOLUTION OF THE SUBJECT PETITION FOR QUO WARRANTO AND THE UTTER FAILURE OF THE HRET TO DISQUALIFY LIMKAICHONG AS MEMBER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DESPITE MANIFEST EVIDENCE

THAT SHE IS NOT A NATURAL-BORN FILIPINO CITIZEN IS WHIMSICAL, CAPRICIOUS AND ARBITRARY BECAUSE: 1. THE PETITION FOR QUO WARRANTO DOES NOT OPERATE AS A COLLATERAL ATTACK ON THE CITIZENSHIP OF LIMKAICHONGS FATHER FOR THE REASON THAT HER FATHERS CERTIFICATE OF NATURALIZATION IS OF NO FORCE AND EFFECT FROM THE VERY BEGINNING, HENCE, THERE IS ACTUALLY NOTHING BEING ATTACKED OR ASSAILED BY THE SAME. 2. LIMKAICHONG CANNOT DERIVE PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP FROM HER MOTHER GIVEN THAT AT THE TIME OF HER BIRTH, HER MOTHER IS NOT ALREADY A FILIPINO CITIZEN AS A RESULT OF HER MARRIAGE TO HER FATHER AS PROVIDED FOR UNDER SECTION 1 (7) OF COMMONWEALTH ACT NO. 63 IN RELATION TO ARTICLE 2 (1) CHAPTER II OF THE CHINESE REVISED NATIONALITY LAW OF FEBRUARY 5, 1959. 3. HAVING THE PLENARY, ABSOLUTE AND EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION TO DETERMINE, AMONG OTHERS, THE QUALIFICATIONS OF MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THE HRET CAN LOOK INTO THE ELIGIBILITY OF LIMKAICHONG EVEN IF, AS AN INCIDENT THERETO, IT WOULD MEAN LOOKING INTO THE VALIDITY OF THE CERTIFICATE OF NATURALIZATION.8 It should be noted that Limkaichongs term of office as Representative of the First District of Negros Oriental from June 30, 2007 to June 30, 2010 already expired. As such, the issue questioning her eligibility to hold office has been rendered moot and academic by the expiration of her term. Whatever judgment is reached, the same can no longer have any practical legal effect or, in the nature of things, can no longer be enforced.9 Thus, the petition may be dismissed for being moot and academic. Moreover, there was the conduct of the 2010 elections, a supervening event, in a sense, has also rendered this case moot and academic. A moot and academic case is one that ceases to present a justiciable controversy by virtue of supervening events, so that a declaration thereon would be of no practical value. As a rule, courts decline jurisdiction over such case, or dismiss it on ground of mootness. 10 Citizenship, being a continuing requirement for Members of the House of Representatives, however, may be questioned at anytime.11 For this reason, the Court deems it appropriate to resolve the petition on the merits. This position finds support in the rule that courts will decide a question, otherwise moot and academic, if it is "capable of repetition, yet evading review."12 The question on Limkaichongs citizenship is likely to recur if she would run again, as she did run, for public office, hence, capable of repetition. In any case, the Court is of the view that the HRET committed no grave abuse of discretion in finding that Limkaichong is not disqualified to sit as Member of the House of Representatives.

Vilandos argument, that the quo warranto petition does not operate as a collateral attack on the citizenship of Limkaichongs father as the certificate of naturalization is null and void from the beginning, is devoid of merit. In this petition, Vilando seeks to disqualify Limkaichong on the ground that she is a Chinese citizen. To prove his point, he makes reference to the alleged nullity of the grant of naturalization of Limkaichongs father which, however, is not allowed as it would constitute a collateral attack on the citizenship of the father. In our jurisdiction, an attack on a person's citizenship may only be done through a direct action for its nullity.13 The proper proceeding to assail the citizenship of Limkaichongs father should be in accordance with Section 18 of Commonwealth Act No. 473. As held in Limkaichong v. Comelec,14 thus: As early as the case of Queto v. Catolico,15 where the Court of First Instance judge motu propio and not in the proper denaturalization proceedings called to court various grantees of certificates of naturalization (who had already taken their oaths of allegiance) and cancelled their certificates of naturalization due to procedural infirmities, the Court held that: x x x It may be true that, as alleged by said respondents, that the proceedings for naturalization were tainted with certain infirmities, fatal or otherwise, but that is beside the point in this case. The jurisdiction of the court to inquire into and rule upon such infirmities must be properly invoked in accordance with the procedure laid down by law. Such procedure is the cancellation of the naturalization certificate. [Section 1(5), Commonwealth Act No. 63], in the manner fixed in Section 18 of Commonwealth Act No. 473, hereinbefore quoted, namely, "upon motion made in the proper proceedings by the Solicitor General or his representatives, or by the proper provincial fiscal." In other words, the initiative must come from these officers, presumably after previous investigation in each particular case. Clearly, under law and jurisprudence, it is the State, through its representatives designated by statute, that may question the illegally or invalidly procured certificate of naturalization in the appropriate denaturalization proceedings. It is plainly not a matter that may be raised by private persons in an election case involving the naturalized citizens descendant. Vilando asserts that as an incident in determining the eligibility of Limkaichong, the HRET, having the plenary, absolute and exclusive jurisdiction to determine her qualifications, can pass upon the efficacy of the certificate of naturalization. True, the HRET has jurisdiction over quo warranto petitions, specifically over cases challenging ineligibility on the ground of lack of citizenship. No less than the 1987 Constitution vests the HRET the authority to be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of its Members. This constitutional power is likewise echoed in the 2004 Rules of the HRET. Rule 14 thereof restates this duty, thus: Rule 14. Jurisdiction. The Tribunal is the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the Members of the House of Representatives.

Time and again, this Court has acknowledged this sole and exclusive jurisdiction of the HRET.16 The power granted to HRET by the Constitution is intended to be as complete and unimpaired as if it had remained originally in the legislature.17 Such power is regarded as full, clear and complete and excludes the exercise of any authority on the part of this Court that would in any wise restrict it or curtail it or even affect the same.18 Such power of the HRET, no matter how complete and exclusive, does not carry with it the authority to delve into the legality of the judgment of naturalization in the pursuit of disqualifying Limkaichong. To rule otherwise would operate as a collateral attack on the citizenship of the father which, as already stated, is not permissible. The HRET properly resolved the issue with the following ratiocination: xxx We note that Jocelyn C. Limkaichong, not the father Julio Ong Sy, is the respondent in the present case. The Tribunal may not dwell on deliberating on the validity of naturalization of the father if only to pursue the end of declaring the daughter as disqualified to hold office. Unfortunately, much as the Tribunal wants to resolve said issue, it cannot do so because its jurisdiction is limited to the qualification of the proclaimed respondent Limkaichong, being a sitting Member of the Congress. Evidently, there is no basis to oblige the Tribunal to reopen the naturalization proceedings for a determination of the citizenship of the ascendant of respondent. A petition for quo warranto is not a means to achieve that purpose. To rule on this issue in this quo warranto proceeding will not only be a clear grave abuse of discretion amounting to a lack or excess of jurisdiction, but also a blatant violation of due process on the part of the persons who will be affected or who are not parties in this case.19 Thus, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) wrote that "a collateral attack against a judgment is generally not allowed, unless the judgment is void upon its face or its nullity is apparent by virtue of its own recitals."20 Under the present situation, there is no evidence to show that the judgment is void on its face: As to the Order of the CFI, Negros Oriental dated July 9, 1957 and September 21, 1959 that were offered in evidence, far from proving an invalid oath of allegiance and certificate of naturalization, being public records, they do in fact constitute legitimate source of authority for the conferment of status of the father of respondent as naturalized Filipino. Absent any contrary declaration by a competent court, the Tribunal presumes the validity of the CFI Orders of July 9, 1957 and September 21, 1959, and the resulting documentations of Julio Sys acquisition of Filipino citizenship by naturalization as valid and of legal effect. The oath of allegiance and certificate of naturalization are themselves proofs of the actual conferment of naturalization.21 The HRET, therefore, correctly relied on the presumption of validity of the July 9, 1957 and September 21, 1959 Orders of the Court of First Instance (CFI) Negros Oriental, which granted the petition and declared Julio Sy a naturalized Filipino absent any evidence to the contrary.

Records disclose that Limkaichong was born in Dumaguete City on November 9, 1959. The governing law is the citizenship provision of the 1935 Constitution, the pertinent portion thereof, reads: Article IV Section 1. The following are citizens of the Philippines: xxx (3) Those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines. (4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and, upon reaching the age of majority, elect Philippine citizenship. xxx Indubitably, with Limkaichongs father having been conferred the status as a naturalized Filipino, it follows that she is a Filipino citizen born to a Filipino father. Even on the assumption that the naturalization proceedings and the subsequent issuance of certificate of naturalization were invalid, Limkaichong can still be considered a natural-born Filipino citizen having been born to a Filipino mother and having impliedly elected Filipino citizenship when she reached majority age. The HRET is, thus, correct in declaring that Limkaichong is a natural-born Filipino citizen: Respondent Limkaichong falls under the category of those persons whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines. (Section 1(3), Article IV, 1935 Constitution) It matters not whether the father acquired citizenship by birth or by naturalization. Therefore, following the line of transmission through the father under the 1935 Constitution, the respondent has satisfactorily complied with the requirement for candidacy and for holding office, as she is a natural-born Filipino citizen. Likewise, the citizenship of respondent Limkaichong finds support in paragraph 4, Section 1, Article IV of the 1935 Constitution. Having failed to prove that Anesia Sy lost her Philippine citizenship, respondent can be considered a natural born citizen of the Philippines, having been born to a mother who was a natural-born Filipina at the time of marriage, and because respondent was able to elect citizenship informally when she reached majority age. Respondent participated in the barangay elections as a young voter in 1976, accomplished voters affidavit as of 1984, and ran as a candidate and was elected as Mayor of La Libertad, Negros Oriental in 2004. These are positive acts of election of Philippine citizenship. The case of In re: Florencio Mallare, elucidates how election of citizenship is manifested in actions indubitably showing a definite choice. We note that respondent had informally elected citizenship after January 17, 1973 during which time the 1973 Constitution considered as citizens of the Philippines all those who elect citizenship in accordance with the 1935 Constitution. The 1987 Constitution provisions, i.e., Section 1(3),

Article [IV] and Section 2, Article [IV] were enacted to correct the anomalous situation where one born of a Filipino father and an alien mother was automatically accorded the status of a natural-born citizen, while one born of a Filipino mother and an alien father would still have to elect Philippine citizenship yet if so elected, was not conferred natural-born status. It was the intention of the framers of the 1987 Constitution to treat equally those born before the 1973 Constitution and who elected Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority either before or after the effectivity of the 1973 Constitution. Thus, those who would elect Philippine citizenship under par. 3, Section 1, Article [IV] of the 1987 Constitution are now, under Section 2, Article [IV] thereof also natural-born Filipinos. The following are the pertinent provisions of the 1987 Constitution: Article IV Section 1. The following are citizens of the Philippines: (1) Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this Constitution; (2) Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines; (3) Those born before January 17, 1973, of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority; and (4) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law. Section 2. Natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship. Those who elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with paragraph (3), Section 1 hereof shall be deemed natural-born citizens.22 Vilandos assertion that Limkaichong cannot derive Philippine citizenship from her mother because the latter became a Chinese citizen when she married Julio Sy, as provided for under Section 1 (7) of Commonwealth Act No. 63 in relation to Article 2 (1) Chapter II of the Chinese Revised Nationality Law of February 5, 1959, must likewise fail. As aptly pointed out by the HRET, Vilando was not able to offer in evidence a duly certified true copy of the alleged Chinese Revised Law of Nationality to prove that Limkaichongs mother indeed lost her Philippine citizenship. Verily, Vilando failed to establish his case through competent and admissible evidence to warrant a reversal of the HRET ruling. Also, an application for an alien certificate of registration (ACR) is not an indubitable proof of forfeiture of Philippine citizenship. It is well to quote the ruling of the HRET on this matter, to wit: An alien certificate of registration is issued to an individual who declares that he is not a Filipino citizen. It is obtained only when applied for. It is in a form prescribed by the agency and contains

a declaration by the applicant of his or her personal information, a photograph, and physical details that identify the applicant. It bears no indication of basis for foreign citizenship, nor proof of change to foreign citizenship. It certifies that a person named therein has applied for registration and fingerprinting and that such person was issued a certificate of registration under the Alien Registration Act of 1950 or other special law. It is only evidence of registration. Unlike birth certificates registered pursuant to Act 3753 (The Civil Register Law), and much less like other public records referred to under Section 23, Rule 132, an alien certificate of registration is not a public document that would be prima facie evidence of the truth of facts contained therein. On its face, it only certifies that the applicant had submitted himself or herself to registration. Therefore, there is no presumption of alienage of the declarant. This is especially so where the declarant has in fact been a natural-born Filipino all along and never lost his or her status as such.23 1avvphi1 Thus, obtaining an ACR by Limkaichongs mother was not tantamount to a repudiation of her original citizenship. Neither did it result in an acquisition of alien citizenship. In a string of decisions, this Court has consistently held that an application for, and the holding of, an alien certificate of registration is not an act constituting renunciation of Philippine citizenship.24 For renunciation to effectively result in the loss of citizenship, the same must be express.25 Such express renunciation is lacking in this case. Accordingly, Limkaichongs mother, being a Filipino citizen, can transmit her citizenship to her daughter. Well-settled is the principle that the judgments of the HRET are beyond judicial interference. The only instance where this Court may intervene in the exercise of its so-called extraordinary jurisdiction is upon a determination that the decision or resolution of the HRET was rendered without or in excess of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion or upon a clear showing of such arbitrary and improvident use of its power to constitute a denial of due process of law, or upon a demonstration of a very clear unmitigated error, manifestly constituting such grave abuse of discretion that there has to be a remedy for such abuse.26 In this case, there is no showing of any such arbitrariness or improvidence. The HRET acted well within the sphere of its power when it dismissed the quo warranto petition. In fine, this Court finds sufficient basis to sustain the ruling of the HRET which resolved the issue of citizenship in favor of Limkaichong. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. Accordingly, the Court affirms the March 24, 2010 Decision of the HRET declaring that Limkaichong is not disqualified as Member of the House of Representatives representing the First District, Negros Oriental. SO ORDERED.

Citizenship; proceeding for declaration of Philippine citizenship. There is no specific statutory or procedural rule which authorizes the direct filing of a petition for declaration of election of Philippine citizenship before the courts. The special proceeding provided under Section 2, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court on Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry, merely allows any interested party to file an action for cancellation or correction of entry in the civil registry, i.e.,election, loss and recovery of citizenship, which is not the relief prayed for by the respondent. The Republic of the Philippines v. Nora Fe Sagun, G.R. No. 187567, February 15, 2012.

THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, vs NORA FE SAGUN,

Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed by the Solicitor General on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, seeking the reversal of the April 3, 2009 Decision[1]of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 3, of Baguio City in Spcl. Pro. Case No. 17-R. The RTC granted the petition[2] filed by respondent Nora Fe Sagun entitled In re: Judicial Declaration of Election of Filipino Citizenship, Nora Fe Sagun v. The Local Civil Registrar of Baguio City. The facts follow: Respondent is the legitimate child of Albert S. Chan, a Chinese national, and Marta Borromeo, a Filipino citizen. She was born on August 8, 1959 in Baguio City[3] and did not elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. In 1992, at the age of 33 and after getting married to Alex Sagun, she executed an Oath of Allegiance[4] to the Republic of the Philippines. Said document was notarized by Atty. Cristeta Leung on December 17, 1992, but was not recorded and registered with the Local Civil Registrar of Baguio City. Sometime in September 2005, respondent applied for a Philippine passport. Her application was denied due to the citizenship of her father and there being no annotation on her birth certificate that she has elected Philippine citizenship. Consequently, she sought a judicial declaration of her election of Philippine citizenship and prayed that the Local Civil Registrar of Baguio City be ordered to annotate the same on her birth certificate. In her petition, respondent averred that she was raised as a Filipino, speaks Ilocano and Tagalog fluently and attended local schools in Baguio City, including Holy Family Academy and the Saint Louis University. Respondent claimed that despite her part-Chinese ancestry, she always thought of herself as a Filipino. She is a registered voter of Precinct No. 0419A of Barangay Manuel A. Roxas in Baguio City and had voted in local and national elections as shown in the Voter Certification[5] issued by Atty. Maribelle Uminga of the Commission on Elections of Baguio City. She asserted that by virtue of her positive acts, she has effectively elected Philippine citizenship and such fact should be annotated on her record of birth so as to entitle her to the issuance of a Philippine passport. On August 7, 2007, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) entered its appearance as counsel for the Republic of the Philippines and authorized the City Prosecutor of Baguio City to appear in the above mentioned case.[6] However, no comment was filed by the City Prosecutor. After conducting a hearing, the trial court rendered the assailed Decision on April 3, 2009 granting the petition and declaring respondent a Filipino citizen. The fallo of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. Petitioner Nora Fe Sagun y Chan is hereby DECLARED [a] FILIPINO CITIZEN, having chosen or elected Filipino citizenship. Upon payment of the required fees, the Local Civil Registrar of Baguio City is hereby directed to annotate [on] her birth certificate, this judicial declaration of Filipino citizenship of said petitioner. IT IS SO ORDERED.[7] Contending that the lower court erred in so ruling, petitioner, through the OSG, directly filed the instant recourse via a petition for review on certiorari before us. Petitioner raises the following issues: I Whether or not an action or proceeding for judicial declaration of Philippine citizenship is procedurally and jurisdictionally permissible; and, II Whether or not an election of Philippine citizenship, made twelve (12) years after reaching the age of majority, is considered to have been made within a reasonable time as interpreted by jurisprudence.[8] Petitioner argues that respondents petition before the RTC was improper on two counts: for one, law and jurisprudence clearly contemplate no judicial action or proceeding for the declaration of Philippine citizenship; and for another, the pleaded registration of the oath of allegiance with the local civil registry and its annotation on respondents birth certificate are the ministerial duties of the registrar; hence, they require no court order. Petitioner asserts that respondents petition before the trial court seeking a judicial declaration of her election of Philippine citizenship undeniably entails a determination and consequent declaration of her status as a Filipino citizen which is not allowed under our legal system. Petitioner also argues that if respondents intention in filing the petition is ultimately to have her oath of allegiance registered with the local civil registry and annotated on her birth certificate, then she does not have to resort to court proceedings. Petitioner further argues that even assuming that respondents action is sanctioned, the trial court erred in finding respondent as having duly elected Philippine citizenship since her purported election was not in accordance with the procedure prescribed by law and was not made within a reasonable time. Petitioner points out that while respondent executed an oath of allegiance before a notary public, there was no affidavit of her election of Philippine citizenship. Additionally, her oath of allegiance which was not registered with the nearest local civil registry was executed when she was already 33 years old or 12 years after she reached the age of majority. Accordingly, it was made beyond the period allowed by law. In her Comment,[9] respondent avers that notwithstanding her failure to formally elect Filipino citizenship upon reaching the age of majority, she has in fact effectively elected Filipino citizenship by her performance of positive acts, among which is the exercise of the right of suffrage. She claims that she had voted and participated in all local and national elections from the time she was of legal age. She also insists that she is a Filipino citizen despite the fact that her election of Philippine citizenship was delayed and unregistered. In reply,[10] petitioner argues that the special circumstances invoked by respondent, like her continuous and uninterrupted stay in the Philippines, her having been educated in schools in the country, her choice of staying here despite the naturalization of her parents as American citizens, and her being a registered voter, cannot confer on her Philippine citizenship as the law specifically provides the requirements for acquisition of Philippine citizenship by election. Essentially, the issues for our resolution are: (1) whether respondents petition for declaration of election of Philippine citizenship is sanctioned by the Rules of Court and jurisprudence; (2) whether respondent has effectively elected Philippine citizenship in accordance with the procedure prescribed by law. The petition is meritorious.

At the outset, it is necessary to stress that a direct recourse to this Court from the decisions, final resolutions and orders of the RTC may be taken where only questions of law are raised or involved. There is a question of law when the doubt or difference arises as to what the law is on a certain state of facts, which does not call for an examination of the probative value of the evidence presented by the parties-litigants. On the other hand, there is a question of fact when the doubt or controversy arises as to the truth or falsity of the alleged facts. Simply put, when there is no dispute as to fact, the question of whether the conclusion drawn therefrom is correct or not, is a question of law.[11] In the present case, petitioner assails the propriety of the decision of the trial court declaring respondent a Filipino citizen after finding that respondent was able to substantiate her election of Filipino citizenship. Petitioner contends that respondents petition for judicial declaration of election of Philippine citizenship is procedurally and jurisdictionally impermissible. Verily, petitioner has raised questions of law as the resolution of these issues rest solely on what the law provides given the attendant circumstances. In granting the petition, the trial court stated: This Court believes that petitioner was able to fully substantiate her petition regarding her election of Filipino citizenship, and the Local Civil Registrar of Baguio City should be ordered to annotate in her birth certificate her election of Filipino citizenship. This Court adds that the petitioners election of Filipino citizenship should be welcomed by this country and people because the petitioner has the choice to elect citizenship of powerful countries like the United States of America and China, however, petitioner has chosen Filipino citizenship because she grew up in this country, and has learned to love the Philippines. Her choice of electing Filipino citizenship is, in fact, a testimony that many of our people still wish to live in the Philippines, and are very proud of our country. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. Petitioner Nora Fe Sagun y Chan is hereby DECLARED as FILIPINO CITIZEN, having chosen or elected Filipino citizenship.[12] For sure, this Court has consistently ruled that there is no proceeding established by law, or the Rules for the judicial declaration of the citizenship of an individual.[13] There is no specific legislation authorizing the institution of a judicial proceeding to declare that a given person is part of our citizenry.[14] This was our ruling in Yung Uan Chu v. Republic[15] citing the early case of Tan v. Republic of the Philippines,[16] where we clearly stated: Under our laws, there can be no action or proceeding for the judicial declaration of the citizenship of an individual. Courts of justice exist for settlement of justiciable controversies, which imply a given right, legally demandable and enforceable, an act or omission violative of said right, and a remedy, granted or sanctioned by law, for said breach of right. As an incident only of the adjudication of the rights of the parties to a controversy, the court may pass upon, and make a pronouncement relative to their status. Otherwise, such a pronouncement is beyond judicial power. x x x Clearly, it was erroneous for the trial court to make a specific declaration of respondents Filipino citizenship as such pronouncement was not within the courts competence. As to the propriety of respondents petition seeking a judicial declaration of election of Philippine citizenship, it is imperative that we determine whether respondent is required under the law to make an election and if so, whether she has complied with the procedural requirements in the election of Philippine citizenship. When respondent was born on August 8, 1959, the governing charter was the 1935 Constitution, which declares as citizens of the Philippines those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. Sec. 1, Art. IV of the 1935 Constitution reads: Section 1. The following are citizens of the Philippines: xxxx

(4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and, upon reaching the age of majority, elect Philippine citizenship. Under Article IV, Section 1(4) of the 1935 Constitution, the citizenship of a legitimate child born of a Filipino mother and an alien father followed the citizenship of the father, unless, upon reaching the age of majority, the child elected Philippine citizenship. The right to elect Philippine citizenship was recognized in the 1973 Constitution when it provided that *t+hose who elect Philippine citizenship pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of nineteen hundred and thirty-five are citizens of the Philippines.[17] Likewise, this recognition by the 1973 Constitution was carried over to the 1987 Constitution which states that *t+hose born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority are Philippine citizens.[18] It should be noted, however, that the 1973 and 1987 Constitutional provisions on the election of Philippine citizenship should not be understood as having a curative effect on any irregularity in the acquisition of citizenship for those covered by the 1935 Constitution. If the citizenship of a person was subject to challenge under the old charter, it remains subject to challenge under the new charter even if the judicial challenge had not been commenced before the effectivity of the new Constitution.[19] Being a legitimate child, respondents citizenship followed that of her father who is Chinese, unless upon reaching the age of majority, she elects Philippine citizenship. It is a settled rule that only legitimate children follow the citizenship of the father and that illegitimate children are under the parental authority of the mother and follow her nationality.[20] An illegitimate child of Filipina need not perform any act to confer upon him all the rights and privileges attached to citizens of the Philippines; he automatically becomes a citizen himself.[21] But in the case of respondent, for her to be considered a Filipino citizen, she must have validly elected Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. Commonwealth Act (C.A.) No. 625,[22] enacted pursuant to Section 1(4), Article IV of the 1935 Constitution, prescribes the procedure that should be followed in order to make a valid election of Philippine citizenship, to wit: Section 1. The option to elect Philippine citizenship in accordance with subsection (4), [S]ection 1, Article IV, of the Constitution shall be expressed in a statement to be signed and sworn to by the party concerned before any officer authorized to administer oaths, and shall be filed with the nearest civil registry. The said party shall accompany the aforesaid statement with the oath of allegiance to the Constitution and the Government of the Philippines. Based on the foregoing, the statutory formalities of electing Philippine citizenship are: (1) a statement of election under oath; (2) an oath of allegiance to the Constitution and Government of the Philippines; and (3) registration of the statement of election and of the oath with the nearest civil registry.[23] Furthermore, no election of Philippine citizenship shall be accepted for registration under C.A. No. 625 unless the party exercising the right of election has complied with the requirements of the Alien Registration Act of 1950. In other words, he should first be required to register as an alien.[24] Pertinently, the person electing Philippine citizenship is required to file a petition with the Commission of Immigration and Deportation (now Bureau of Immigration) for the cancellation of his alien certificate of registration based on his aforesaid election of Philippine citizenship and said Office will initially decide, based on the evidence presented the validity or invalidity of said election.[25] Afterwards, the same is elevated to the Ministry (now Department) of Justice for final determination and review.[26] It should be stressed that there is no specific statutory or procedural rule which authorizes the direct filing of a petition for declaration of election of Philippine citizenship before the courts. The special proceeding provided under Section 2, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court on Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry, merely allows any interested party to file an action for cancellation or correction of entry in the civil registry, i.e., election, loss and recovery of citizenship, which is not the relief prayed for by the respondent.

Be that as it may, even if we set aside this procedural infirmity, still the trial courts conclusion that respondent duly elected Philippine citizenship is erroneous since the records undisputably show that respondent failed to comply with the legal requirements for a valid election. Specifically, respondent had not executed a sworn statement of her election of Philippine citizenship. The only documentary evidence submitted by respondent in support of her claim of alleged election was her oath of allegiance, executed 12 years after she reached the age of majority, which was unregistered. As aptly pointed out by the petitioner, even assuming arguendo that respondents oath of allegiance suffices, its execution was not within a reasonable time after respondent attained the age of majority and was not registered with the nearest civil registry as required under Section 1 of C.A. No. 625. The phrase reasonable time has been interpreted to mean that the election should be made generally within three (3) years from reaching the age of majority.[27]Moreover, there was no satisfactory explanation proffered by respondent for the delay and the failure to register with the nearest local civil registry. Based on the foregoing circumstances, respondent clearly failed to comply with the procedural requirements for a valid and effective election of Philippine citizenship. Respondent cannot assert that the exercise of suffrage and the participation in election exercises constitutes a positive act of election of Philippine citizenship since the law specifically lays down the requirements for acquisition of citizenship by election. The mere exercise of suffrage, continuous and uninterrupted stay in the Philippines, and other similar acts showing exercise of Philippine citizenship cannot take the place of election of Philippine citizenship. Hence, respondent cannot now be allowed to seek the intervention of the court to confer upon her Philippine citizenship when clearly she has failed to validly elect Philippine citizenship. As we held in Ching,[28] the prescribed procedure in electing Philippine citizenship is certainly not a tedious and painstaking process. All that is required of the elector is to execute an affidavit of election of Philippine citizenship and, thereafter, file the same with the nearest civil registry. Having failed to comply with the foregoing requirements, respondents petition before the trial court must be denied. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated April 3, 2009 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 3 of Baguio City in Spcl. Pro. Case No. 17-R isREVERSED and SET ASIDE. The petition for judicial declaration of election of Philippine citizenship filed by respondent Nora Fe Sagun is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. SABILI vs COMELEC RULE 64 FACTS: a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 64 in relation to Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, was filed inthe SC, seeking to annul the Resolutions dated 26 January 2010 and 17 August 2010 of theCommission on Elections (COMELEC), which denied due course to and canceled the Certificateof Candidacy (COC) of petitioner Meynardo Sabili (petitioner) for the position of Mayor of LipaCity for the May 2010 elections When petitioner filed his COC for mayor of Lipa City for the 2010 elections, he stated that he had been a resident of the city for two (2) years and eight (8) months Its undisputed that when petitioner filed his COC during the 2007 elections, he and his family were then staying at his ancestral home in Barangay (Brgy.) Sico, San Juan, Batangas. -

Private respondent filed a Petition to Deny Due Course and to Cancel Certificate of Candidacy and to Disqualify a Candidate for Possessing Some Grounds for Disqualification against him before the COMELEC private respondent alleged that petitioner made material misrepresentations of fact in the latters COC and likewise failed to comply with the one-year residency requirement under Section 39 of the Local Government Code both petitioner and respondent presented evidence as to prove their argument the COMELEC Second Division granted the Petition of private respondent, declared petitioner asdisqualified from seeking the mayoralty post in Lipa City Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the 26 January 2010 Resolution of the COMELEC,during the pendency of which the 10 May 2010 local elections were held. The next day, he was proclaimed the duly elected mayor of Lipa City after garnering the highest number of votes castfor the said position the COMELEC en banc denied the Motion for Reconsideration of petitioner. Although hewas able to receive his copy of the Resolution, no prior notice setting the date of promulgation of the said Resolution was received by him petitioner filed with this Court a Petition (Petition for Certiorari with Extremely UrgentApplication for the Issuance of a Status Quo Order and for the Conduct of a Special Raffle of thisCase the COMELEC Order dated 4 May 2010 suspended Section 6 of COMELEC Resolution No. 8696 by ordering that all resolutions be delivered to the Clerk of the Commission for immed iate promulgation in view of the proximity of the Automated National and Local Elections and lack of material time. ISSUE:1. Whether the COMELEC acted with grave abuse of discretion when it failed to promulgateits Resolution dated 17 August 2010 in accordance with its own Rules of Procedure? 2. Whether the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in holding that Sabili failed to provecompliance with the one-year residency requirement for local elective officials? RULING: Petitioner claims that he did not receive notice of the said suspension of Section 6 of COMELECResolution No. 8696. Thus, his right to due process was still violated.

o the COMELEC claims that it has the power to suspend its own rules of procedure andinvokes Section 6, Article IXA of the Constitution, which gives it the power to promulgate its own rules concerning pleadings and practice before it or before any of its offices. (SC AGREE) o The COMELECs Order did not affect the right of the parties to due process. They wer estill furnished a copy of the COMELEC Decision and were able to reckon the period for perfecting an appeal. In fact, petitioner was able to timely lodge a Petition with thisCourt. petitioner has alleged and shown the COMELECs use of wrong or irrelevant considerations indeciding the issue of whether petitioner made a material misrepresentation of his residencyqualification in his COC as to order its cancellation Petitioner bewails that the COMELEC required more evidence to show the change in his residence, notwithstanding the various pieces of evidence he presented and the fact that under thelaw, the quantum of evidence required in these cases is merely substantial evidence and not clear and convincing evidence o As a general rule, the Court does n ot ordinarily review the COMELECs appreciation and evaluation of evidence. However, exceptions thereto have been established, includingwhen the COMELEC's appreciation and evaluation of evidence become so grosslyunreasonable as to turn into an error of jurisdiction o grave abuse of discretion - capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction; the abuse of discretion must be patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or toact at all in contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility (Mitra vs COMELEC) o under Section 5, Rule 64 of the Rules of Court, that findings of fact of the COMELEC,supported by substantial evidence, shall be final and non-reviewable. Substantialevidence is that degree of evidence that a reasonable mind might accept to support aconclusion. o Any misstep by the COMELEC in this regard generally involves an error of judgment,not of jurisdiction

petitioner claims that he abandoned his domicile of origin and established his domicile of choicein Brgy. Pinagtong-ulan, Lipa City, thereby making him qualified to run for Lipa City mayor o To establish a new domicile of choice, personal presence in the place must be coupledwith conduct indicative of the intention to make it one's fixed and permanent place of abode. PETITION GRANTED** Sec. 6. Promulgation. The promulgation of a Decision or Resolution of the Commission or a Division shall be made on a date previously fixed, notice of which shall be served upon the parties or their attorneys personally, or by registered mail, telegram, fax or thru the fastest means of communication. Let all resolutions be delivered to the Clerk of the Commission for immediate promulgation

SURNAMES YASIN v SHARIA COURT FACTS: On May 5, 1990, Hatima C. Yasin filed in the Shari'a District Court inZamboanga City a "Petition to resume the use of maiden name. Therespondent court issued an order which ordered amendments to the petition as it was not sufficient in form and substance in accordance Rule 103, Rulesof Court, regarding the residence of petitioner and the name sought to be adopted is not properly indicated in the title thereof which should include all the names by which the petitioner has been known. Hatima filed a motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid order alleging that the petition filed is notcovered by Rule 103 of the Rules of Court but is merely a petition to resumethe use of her maiden name and surname after the dissolution of her marriageby divorce under the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines, andafter marriage of her former husband to another woman. The respondentcourt denied the motion since compliance to rule 103 is necessary if thepetition is to be granted, as it would result in the resumption of the use of petitioners maiden name and surname. ISSUE: whether or not in the case of annulment of marriage, or divorce under the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines and the husband is married again to another woman and the former desires to resume her maiden name or surname, is she required to file a petition for change of name and comply with the formal requirements of Rule 103 of the Rules of Court. HELD: NO. When a woman marries a man, she need not apply and/or seek judicial authority to use her husband's name by prefixing the word "Mrs." before her husband's full name or by adding her husband's surname to her maiden first name. The law grants her such right (Art. 370, Civil Code).

Similarly, when themarriage ties or vinculum no longer exists as in the case of death of the husband or divorce as authorized by the Muslim Code, the widow or divorcee need not seek judicial confirmation of the change in her civil status in order to revert to her maiden name as the use of her former husband's name is optional and not obligatory for her. When petitioner married her husband, shedid not change her name but only her civil status. Neither was she required to secure judicial authority to use the surname of her husband after themarriage, as no law requires it. The use of the husband's surname during themarriage, after annulment of the marriage and after the death of the husbandis permissive and not obligatory except in case of legal separation.The court finds the petition to resume the use of maiden name filed by petitioner before the respondent court a superfluity and unnecessaryproceeding since the law requires her to do so as her former husband is already married to another woman after obtaining a decree of divorce from her in accordance with Muslim laws.
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF STEPHANIE NATHY ASTORGA GARCIA G.R. No. 148311. March 31, 2005 Facts: Honorato B. Catindig filed a petition to adopt his minor illegitimate child Stephanie Astorga Garcia. He averred that Stephanie was born on June 26, 1994; that Stephanie had been using her mothers middle name and surname; and that he is now a widower and qualified to be her adopting parent. He prayed that Stephanies middle name be changedto Garcia, her mothers surname, and that her surname Garcia be changed to Catindig his surname. The RTC granted the petition for adoption, and ordered that pursuant to article 189 of the Family Code, the minor shall be known as Stephanie Nathy Catindig. Honorato filed a motion for classification and/or reconsideration praying that Stephanie be allowed to use the surname of her natural mother (Garcia) as her middle name. The lower court denied petitioners motion for reconsideration holding that there is no law or jurisprudence allowing an adopted child to use the surname of his biological mother as his middle name. Issue: Whether or not an illegitimate child may use the surname of her mother as her middle name when she is subsequently adopted by her natural father. Held: One of the effects of adoption is that the adopted is deemed to be a legitimate child of the adapter for all intents and purposes pursuant to Article 189 of the Family Code and Section 17 of Article V of RA 8557. Being a legitimate by virtue of her adoption, it follows that Stephanie is entitled to all the rights provided by law to a legitimate child without discrimination of any kind, including the right to bear the surname of her father and her mother. This is consistent with the intention of the members of the Civil Code and Family Law Committees. In fact, it is a Filipino custom that the initial or surname of the mother should immediately precede the surname of the father.

SURNAMES Gonzaludo v People, 2006

BIENVENIDO GONZALUDO, Petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

DECISION GARCIA, J.: Under consideration is this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court to nullify and set aside the following issuances of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 22185, to wit: 1. Decision dated 19 July 2001,1 dismissing the appeal thereto taken by the herein petitioner from a judgment of conviction promulgated by the Regional Trial Court of Bacolod City, Branch 50, in a criminal case for estafa thru falsification of public document thereat commenced by the People against four (4) accused, including the petitioner; and 2. Resolution dated 22 October 2001,2 denying petitioners motion for reconsideration. The material facts may be briefly stated, as follows: Before his death in 1992, one Ulysses Villaflor was a member of the Bacolod City Police Office. On January 11, 1978, Ulysses married Anita Manlangit in Bacolod City. Thereafter, the couple stayed with Ulyssess mother Anastacia Tobongbanua at the latters house at Purok 5, Mansungay, Bacolod City. Later, Ulysses was assigned to Pagadian City. However, he would often go home to Bacolod City to supervise his tire-recapping business thereat. Meanwhile, his wife Anita secured a teaching job in Catubig, Samar prompting her to leave Bacolod City and live in Samar. After less than a year in Pagadian City, Ulysses was re-assigned to Bacolod City. And, in December of 1978, he was able to buy for P1,500.00 a small house located near that of his mother at Purok 5, Mansungay, Bacolod City. Then, in 1985, Ulysses took one Rosemarie Gelogo as his mistress and brought her into the house. In time, improvements were made on the house, the most substantial of which were those introduced sometime in March 1991. What used to be a small house, which Ulysses bought for only P1,500.00, was thus transformed into a 2-storey structure partially made of concrete hollow blocks and with galvanized iron roofing which thereby enhanced its value to P200,000.00. After Ulyssess demise in January of 1992, his mistress Rosemarie Gelogo offered to sell the 2storey house for P80,000.00 to herein petitioner Bienvenido Gonzaludo, a.k.a. Ben Gonzaludo, who lives just nearby. Initially, petitioner was not interested to buy the house because he already had one, let alone the fact that he did not have enough money for the purpose. Nonetheless, since the house was being sold for a cheap price, petitioner convinced the spouses Gregg Canlas and Melba Canlas, to whom he is related by affinity, to buy the same. Herein, petitioner introduced the Canlases to Rosemarie Gelogo.

On January 20, 1993, Rosemarie Gelogo and Gregg Canlas executed a Deed of Sale,3 witnessed by petitioner. In that deed, Rosemarie Gelogo signed as Rosemarie G. Villaflor and represented herself to be the lawful owner of the 2-storey house. By virtue of the same deed, vendee Gregg Canlas acquired all of Rosemaries rights and interest on the subject house. Later, upon complaint of Ulyssess widow Anita Manlangit, an Information dated May 31, 19944 was filed with the Regional Trial Court of Bacolod City charging Rosemarie Gelogo, alias Rosemarie Villaflor, the spouses Gregg Canlas and Melba Canlas and petitioner with the crime of Estafa thru Falsification of Public Document allegedly committed, as follows: That on or about the 20th day of January, 1993 in the City of Bacolod, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the herein accused, conspiring, confederating and acting in concert, with intent to gain, defrauded the herein offended party, Anita Manlangit Vda. de Villaflor, herein represented by her mother-in-law and Attorney-in-Fact, Anastacia Tobongbanua, in the following manner, to wit: that accused Rosemarie Gelogo alias Rosemarie G. Villaflor being the occupant of a house made of concrete materials with a floor area of 40 ft. by 24 ft., with galvanized iron roofing, worth P200,000.00, owned by the deceased Ulysses Villaflor, husband of the herein offended party, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously commit acts of falsification by then and there preparing and/or causing to be prepared a public document denominated as a Deed of Sale dated January 20, 1993 entered as Doc. No. 402, Page No. 81, Book No. XVII, Series of 1993 of the Notarial Register of Atty. Ramon B. Clapiz, to the effect that she is the lawful owner of the said house and affixing or causing to be affixed thereon her name and signature, Rosemarie G. Villaflor, purportedly as wife of the deceased Ulysses Villaflor, thus making untruthful statement in the narration of facts as accused well know that such was not the case for the deceased Ulysses Villaflor has a legal wife in the person of the herein offended party, by reason of which accused was able to effect the sale and eventual occupancy of the said house to the herein accused Sps. Gregg Canlas and Melba Canlas who despite of their knowledge that such house was not owned by Rosemarie Gelogo bought the same from her in the amount of P80,000.00 and, herein accused Bienvenido Gonzaludo alias "Ben", despite of his knowledge that such house was not owned by Rosemarie Gelogo, participated in the commission of the herein offense by causing his name and signature to be affixed in the said Deed of Sale as witness to the fraudulent sale entered into by the parties, to the damage and prejudice of the herein offended party in the amount of TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P200,000.00), Philippine Currency. Act contrary to law. Docketed as Criminal Case No. 94-16532, the Information was raffled to Branch 50 of the court. Because accused Rosemarie Gelogo remained at large, only the spouses Gregg Canlas and Melba Canlas and herein petitioner were arraigned, all of whom entered a plea of "Not Guilty." After due proceedings, the trial court, in a decision dated February 17, 1998,5 acquitted the Canlas spouses but convicted petitioner of the complex crime of Estafa Thru Falsification of Public Document and sentenced him accordingly. Dispositively, the decision reads:

FOR ALL THE FOREGOING, the Court finds the accused Bienvenido Gonzaludo GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt as a principal and co-conspirator of the complex Crime of Estafa Thru Falsification of a Public Document and there being no extenuating circumstances and pursuant to the provision of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, he is sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Temporal. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the accused is sentenced to a prison term of Eight (8) years of Prision Mayor to Twenty (20) years of Reclusion Temporal. By way of Civil Liability, the accused is sentenced to pay the offended party the sum of P200,000.00, representing the value of the house and the sum of P20,000.00 as attorneys fees. The case with respect to the accused-Spouses Gregg and Melba Canlas is ordered dismissed as their guilt was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. Therefrom, petitioner went to the CA via ordinary appeal in CA-G.R. CR No. 22185. As stated at the outset hereof, the appellate court, in its decision dated July 19, 2001, dismissed petitioners appeal for lack of merit and affirmed the trial courts judgment of conviction, thus: WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the appeal is hereby ordered DISMISSED, having no merit in fact and in law, and the decision of the trial court AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. With his motion for reconsideration having been denied by the CA in its resolution of October 22, 2001, petitioner is now with us via the present recourse on his submissions that the CA erred when it I xxx sustained the decision of the trial court convicting the petitioner of the crime of Estafa thru Falsification of Public Document as defined and punished under Paragraph 2(a), Article 315, Revised Penal Code EVEN IF not any of the statutory elements of the crime herein charged is present or has been proved and/or not all of the statutory elements of the offense thus charged are present or have been proved beyond reasonable doubt; II xxx sustained the conviction of your petitioner ALTHOUGH the material allegations in the information filed below have not been proved at all beyond reasonable doubt; III xxx sustained the conviction of herein petitioner of a crime not properly charged in the information; IV xxx grossly misappreciated the facts and misapplied the law and jurisprudence concerning the status of the house subject of this case as to whether the same is totally a conjugal property of Ulysses and Anita or the house wholly or substantially belongs to Rosemarie Gelogo a.k.a. Rosemarie G. Villaflor. The petition is partly impressed with merit.

Basic in this jurisdiction is the doctrine that in criminal cases, an appeal throws the whole case wide open for review. Issues, whether raised or not by the parties, may be resolved by the appellate court.6 The Court is duty-bound to look into the validity of the factual and legal basis relied upon by the two (2) courts below in convicting petitioner in this case. It is worthy to note that petitioner was convicted by the trial court of the complex crime charged in the Information for allegedly having conspired with Rosemarie Gelogo, who used the fictitious surname "Villaflor" for the purpose of giving her a semblance of authority to sell the house purportedly owned by her paramour, Ulysses Villaflor, who was legally married to private complainant, Anita Villaflor. First and foremost, therefore, it is incumbent upon the prosecution to establish Rosemarie Gelogos criminal liability for the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public document, and thereafter, establish by proof beyond reasonable doubt that herein petitioner conspired with Rosemarie in the commission of the same complex crime. In other words, if Rosemarie cannot be held liable for the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public document under the Information filed in this case, with all the more reason should it be for petitioner, as alleged co-conspirator. For an accused to be convicted of the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public document, all the elements of the two crimes of estafa and falsification of public document must exist. To secure conviction for estafa under Article 315, paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code, the Court has time and again ruled that the following requisites must concur: (1) that the accused made false pretenses or fraudulent representations as to his power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions; (2) that such false pretenses or fraudulent representations were made prior to or simultaneous with the commission of the fraud; (3) that such false pretenses or fraudulent representations constitute the very cause which induced the offended party to part with his money or property; and (4) that as a result thereof, the offended party suffered damage7 (Emphasis supplied). There is no question that the first, second and fourth elements are present: there was false or fraudulent misrepresentation by Rosemarie Gelogo when she used the fictitious surname "Villaflor"; the misrepresentation or false pretense was made prior to or simultaneous with the commission of the fraud; and private complainant Anita Manlangits right to the subject 2-storey house was lost or at the very least prejudiced when Rosemarie sold it to the Canlases. It is petitioners thesis, however, that there is here an absence of the third element, i.e., "that such false pretenses or fraudulent representations constitute the very cause which induced the offended party to part with his money or property," contending that private complainant Anita

Manlangit, who was the offended party in this case, was never induced to part with any money or property by means of fraud, committed simultaneously with the false pretense or fraudulent representation by Rosemarie. We find merit in petitioners submission. As early as in the 1903 case of U.S. vs. Mendezona,8 we held that therein accused may be convicted for estafa only when the deceit or false pretenses, committed simultaneously with the fraud, were the efficient cause or primary consideration which induced the offended party to part with his money or property. Thirty (30) years thereafter, the rule remains the same. In the 1933 case of People vs. Lilius,9 the Court, through then Chief Justice Ramon Avancea, acquitted the accused of estafa because the deceit did not precede the defraudation, which means that the deceit was not the cause which could have induced the damage or prejudice to or loss of property suffered by the injured party.1avvphil.net In the cases of People vs. Quesada,10 People vs. Fortuno,11 and People vs. Sabio,12 which span more than another forty-five (45) years after Lilius, the Court continued to apply the same principle in determining criminal liability for estafa, i.e., that the deceit must have been committed prior to or simultaneous with the fraudulent act because this was the only way that said deceit could become the efficient cause or primary consideration which could have induced the offended party to part with his money or property. The doctrine remains the same a hundred (100) years after the 1903 case of Mendezona. Thus, in the 2003 case of Alcantara vs. Court of Appeals,13 this Court acquitted the therein accused of the crime of estafa explaining, through Justice Romeo J. Callejo, Sr., that the false pretense or fraudulent act must be committed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud, thus: xxx fraud in its general sense is deemed to comprise anything calculated to deceive, including all acts, omissions, and concealment involving a breach of legal or equitable duty, trust, or confidence justly reposed, resulting in damage to another, or by which an undue and unconscientious advantage is taken of another. It is a generic term embracing all multifarious means which human ingenuity can device, and which are resorted to by one individual to secure an advantage over another by false suggestions or by suppression of truth and includes all surprise, trick, cunning, dissembling and. any unfair way by which another is cheated. And deceit is the false representation of a matter of fact whether by words or conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed which deceives or is intended to deceive another so that he shall act upon it to his legal injury. The false pretense or fraudulent act must be committed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud. We find no cogent reason to depart from this settled principle that the deceit, which must be prior to or simultaneously committed with the act of defraudation, must be the efficient cause or

primary consideration which induced the offended party to part with his money or property and rule differently in the present case. While it may be said that there was fraud or deceit committed by Rosemarie in this case, when she used the surname "Villaflor" to give her semblance of authority to sell the subject 2-storey house, such fraud or deceit was employed upon the Canlas spouses who were the ones who parted with their money when they bought the house. However, the Information charging Rosemarie of estafa in the present case, alleged damage or injury not upon the Canlas spouses, but upon private complainant, Anita Manlangit. Since the deceit or fraud was not the efficient cause and did not induce Anita Manlangit to part with her property in this case, Rosemarie cannot be held liable for estafa. With all the more reason must this be for herein petitioner. The lack of criminal liability for estafa, however, will not necessarily absolve petitioner from criminal liability arising from the charge of falsification of public document under the same Information charging the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public document. It is settled doctrine that When a complex crime has been charged in an information and the evidence fails to support the charge on one of the component offenses, can the defendant still be separately convicted of the other offense? The question has long been answered in the affirmative. In United States vs. Lahoylahoy and Madanlog (38 Phil. 330), the Court has ruled to be legally feasible the conviction of an accused on one of the offenses included in a complex crime charged, when properly established, despite the failure of evidence to hold the accused of the other charge.14 Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code punishes any private individual who shall commit any of the acts of falsification enumerated in Article 171 in any public or official document or letter of exchange or any other kind of commercial document. In turn, Article 171 of the same Code provides: Art. 171. Falsification by public officer, employee or notary or ecclesiastic minister.- The penalty of prision mayor and a fine not to exceed P5,000 pesos [sic] shall be imposed upon any public officer, employee, or notary who, taking advantage of his official position, shall falsify a document by committing any of the following acts:1avvphil.net 1. Counterfeiting or imitating any handwriting, signature or rubric; 2. Causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when they did not in fact so participate; 3. Attributing to persons who have participated in any act or proceeding statements other than those in fact made by them; 4. Making untruthful statements in a narration of facts; 5. Altering true dates;

6. Making any alteration or intercalation in a genuine document which changes its meaning; 7. Issuing in an authenticated form a document purporting to be a copy of an original document when no such original exists, or including in such a copy a statement contrary to, or different from, that of the genuine original; or 8. Intercalating any instrument or note relative to the issuance thereof in a protocol, registry, or official book. The same penalty shall be imposed upon any ecclesiastical minister who shall commit any of the offenses enumerated in the preceding paragraphs of this article, with respect to any record or document of such character that its falsification may affect the civil status of persons. (Emphasis supplied) As correctly found by the trial court, petitioner conspired with Rosemarie to falsify, that is, by making untruthful statement in the narration of facts in the deed of sale, by declaring Rosemarie to be the owner of the house subject of such sale and signing as "Rosemarie Villaflor" instead of her real name, Rosemarie Gelogo, in order to sell the same to the Canlas spouses. It is established by evidence beyond reasonable doubt that Rosemarie committed the crime of falsification of public document. Likewise, proof beyond reasonable doubt has been duly adduced to establish conspiracy between Rosemarie and petitioner who is the brother-in-law of Melba Canlas, one of the buyers of the house in this case. WHEREFORE, the assailed decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals are hereby MODIFIED. Petitioner is hereby ACQUITTED of the complex crime of Estafa through Falsification of Public Document, but found GUILTY of the crime of Falsification of Public Document and is accordingly imposed an indeterminate sentence of 4 months and 1 day of arresto mayor, as minimum, to 2 years, 4 months and 1 day of prision correccional, as maximum, and to pay a fine of P5,000.00. No costs. SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 16902 : March 5, 2010 Maria Virginia V. Remo, Petitioner, vs. The Honorable Secretary of ForeignAffairs, MATERIAL FACTS

Maria Virginia V. Remo is a married Filipino citizen whose passport was then expiring on October 27, 2000 Being married to Francisco R. Rallonza , the following entries appear:surname: Rallonza given name: Maria Virginiamiddle name: Remo Prior to expiry of her passport, the petitioner (marriage still subsists) appliedfor renewal in DFA Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. with a request to revert to hermaiden name and surname in the replacement passport Petitioners request having been denied (#1), Atty. Manuel Joseph R. BretanaIII, representing petitioner, wrote on the Secretary of DFA expressing a similarrequest On August 28, 2000, DFA through Asst. Sec. Belen F. Anota, denied (#2) therequest, stating:it is not obligatory for a married woman to use her husbands name. Useof maiden name is allowed in passport application only if the married namehas not been used in previous application. The Implementing Rules andRegulations for Philippines Passport Act of 1996 (RA 8239) clearly defines theconditions when a woman may revert to her maiden name, that is, of only incases nnulment of marriage, divorce and death of the husband. Ms. Remoscase does not meet any of these conditions. Petitioners motion for reconsideration of the above-letter resolution wasdenied (#3) in a letter dated October 13, 2000 On November 15, 2000, petitioner filed an appeal with the Office of thePresident. On July 27, 2004, the Office of the President dismissed (#4) theappeal with the same argument as the Asst. Secretary of DFA (RA 8239) The Office of the President further held that in case of conflict between ageneral and special law, the latter will control over the former regardless of the respective dates of passage. Since the Civil Code is a general rule, itshould yield to RA 8239. The petitioner filed for a motion for reconsideration and on October 28, 2004,the Office of the President denied (#5) the motion. Petitioner filed with the court of Appeals for a petition for review and on May27, 2005, the Court of Appeals denied (#6) the petition and affirmed theruling of the Office of the President. Petitioner moved for reconsideration which the Court of Appeals denied (#7)in its Resolution dated August 2, 2005.Hence, this petition. ISSUES Whether the petitioner, who originally used her husbands surname in herpassport, can revert to the use of her maiden name in the replacementpassport, despite the subsistence of her marriage.

Whether there is a conflict between the general law (Civil Code Article 370)and the special law (RA 8239). RULES/LAW1.Title XIII of the Civil Code governs the use of surnames. In the case of amarried woman, Article 370 of the Civil Code provides: A married woman may use: (1) Her maiden first name and surname and add her husbands surname, or(2) Her maiden first name and her husbands surname, or(3) Her husbands full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is hiswife, such as Mrs. 2.RA 8239: The Implementing Rules and Regulations for PhilippinePassport Act of 1996Section 5. Requirements for the Issuance of Passport. No passport shall beissued to an applicant unless the Secretary or his duly authorized representativeis satisfied that the applicant is a Filipino citizen who has complied with thefollowing requirements: xxx (d) In case of a woman who is married, separated, divorced, or widowed, orwhose marriage has been annulled or declared by court as void, a copy of thecertificate of marriage, court decree of separation, divorce or annulment orcertificate of death of the deceased spouse duly issued and authenticated by theOffice of the Civil Registrar General: Provided, That in case of a divorce decree,annulment or declaration of marriage as void, the woman applicant may revert the use of her maiden name : Provided, further, That such divorce is recognizedunder the existing laws of the Philippines; xxx 3.Section I, Article 12 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 8239 The passport can be amended only in thefollowing cases: (a) Amendment of womans name due to marriage (b) Amendment of womans name due to death of spouse, annulment of marriage or divorce initiated by a foreign spouse; or (c) Change of surname of a child who is legitimated by virtue of asubsequent marriage of his parents 4. The DFA allows a married woman who applies for a passport for the first timeto use her maiden name. Such an applicant is not required to adopt to herhusbands name 5. In case of renewal of passport, a married woman may either adopt herhusbands surname or continuously use her maiden name. 6. Once a the woman adopted her husbands surname in her passport, she maynot revert to the use of her maiden name, except in cases enumerated insection 5(d) of RA 8239. APPLICATION1. The petitioner used her maiden first name and her husbands last name,thus, Maria Virginia V. Remo. This is in accord to Article 370(2), Title XIII of the Civil Code of the Philippines. 2. it is not obligatory for a married woman to use her husbands name. Useof maiden name is allowed in passport application only if the married namehas not been used in previous application. The Implementing Rules andRegulations for Philippines Passport Act of 1996 (RA 8239) clearly defines theconditions when a woman may revert to her maiden name, that is, of only incases nnulment of

marriage, divorce and death of the husband. Ms. Remoscase does not meet any of these conditions. DFA Asst. Sec. Belen F. Anota CONCLUSION No. Ms. Remo cannot revert to the use of her maiden name in thereplacement passport, despite the subsistence of her marriage because sheused her husbands last name when she applied for her passport for the firsttime. According to the rule, upon renewal of passport, a married womanmay either adopt her husbands surname or continuously use her maidenname. And once a the woman adopted her husbands surname in herpassport, she may not revert to the use of her maiden name, except in casesenumerated in section 5(d) of RA 8239. No. There is no conflict between Article 370 of the Civil Code and Section5(d) of RA 8239.Even assuming RA 8239 conflicts with the Civil Code, the provisions of RA8239 which is a special law specifically dealing with passport issuancemust prevail over the provisions of Title XIII of the Civil Code which is ageneral law on the use of surnames. A basic tenet in statutoryconstruction is that special law prevails over a general law. The Court DENIED the petition and AFFIRMED the May 27, 2005 Decisionand August 2, 2005 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.87710.

RULES GOVERNING PERSONS WHO ARE ABSENT


It is not necessary that a declaration of absence be made in a proceeding separate from and prior to a petition for administration. This was the ruling in Reyes v. Alejandro,

RE: PETITION FOR DECLARATION OF ABSENCE OF ROBERTO L. REYES. ERLINDA REYNOSO REYES,petitioner, vs. HON, JOSE P. ALEJANDRO, in his capacity as Judge, Court of First Instance of Cavite, Branch II, Cavite City, respondents.

In Re Roberto Reyes 1986 Doctrine: The need to have a person judicially declared an absentee is when he has properties which have to be taken cared of or administered by a representative appointed by the Court (Article 384, Civil Code); the spouse of the absentee is asking for separation of property (Article 191, Civil Code) or his wife is asking the Court that the administration of an classes of property in the marriage be transferred to her (Article 196, Civil Code). Nature: Appeal from order of CFI dismissing petition to have petitioners husband declared an absentee. Ponente: Patajo

Facts: In a petition filed on October 25, 1969 Erlinda Reynoso prayed for the declaration of the absence of her husband Roberto L. Reyes alleging that her husband had been absent from their conjugal dwelling since April 1962 and since then had not been heard from and his whereabouts unknown. Reyes were married on March 20, 1960; that sometime in April 1962 her husband left the conjugal home due to some misunderstanding over personal matters; that since then petitioner has not received any news about the whereabouts of her husband; that they have not acquired any properties during their marriage and that they have no outstanding obligation in favor of anyone; that her only purpose in filing the petition is to establish the absence of her husband, invoking the provisions of Rule 107 of the New Rules of Court and Article 384 of the Civil Code. After hearing the Court a quo dismissed the petition on the ground that since Roberto L. Reyes left no properties there was no necessity to declare him judicially an absentee. Issue: WON petition to have husband declared an absentee is availing in this case. Held: No, affirm lower court. Ratio: Jones vs. Hortiguela, 64 Phil. 197: judicially declared an absentee. The declaration of absence made in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code has for its sole purpose to enable the taking of the necessary precautions for the administration of the estate of the absentee. For the celebration of civil marriage, however, the law only requires that the former spouse has been absent for seven consecutive years at the time of the second marriage, that

the spouse present does not know his or her former spouse to he living, that such former spouse is generally reputed to be dead and the spouse present so believes at the time of the celebration of the marriage (section III, paragraph 2, General Orders, No. 68). (On page 183). The need to have a person judicially declared an absentee is when he has properties which have to be taken cared of or administered by a representative appointed by the Court (Article 384, Civil Code); the spouse of the absentee is asking for separation of property (Article 191, Civil Code) or his wife is asking the Court that the administration of an classes of property in the marriage be transferred to her (Article 196, Civil Code). The petition to declare the husband an absentee and the petition to place the management of the conjugal properties in the hands of the wife may be combined and adjudicated in the same proceedings, Peyer vs. Martinez, 88 Phil. 72, 80).
EASTERN vs. LUCERO 124 SCRA 326 FACTS: Capt. Julio J. Lucero, Jr. was appointed bypetitioner Eastern Shipping Lines as master/captain to itsvessel M/V Eastern Minicon. Under the contract, hisemployment was good for (1) round trip only, the contractwould automatically terminate upon arrival of the vessel atthe Port of Manila, unless renewed. It was further agreedthat part of the captain's salary, while abroad, should bepaid to Mrs. Josephine Lucero, his wife, in Manila.Thereafter, while the vessel was enroute fromHongkong to Manila, the vessels encountered situationwhich has difficulty to further continue its voyage.Thereafter, the Company paid the corresponding deathbenefits to the heirs of the crew members, exceptrespondent Josephine Lucero, who refused to accept thesame.Mrs. Lucero filed a complaint with the National SeamenBoard, for payment of her accrued monthly allotment since March 1980 and for continued payment of saidallotments until the M/V Minicon shall have returned to theport of Manila.The Board ruled in favor of Mrs. Josephine Lucero and against petitioner Company. That the presumption of death could not be applied ISSUE: WON Article 391(1) of the CC is applicable in thecase at bar. HELD: We are unable to agree with the reasoning andconclusion of the respondent NLRC. There is thus enough evidence to show thecircumstances attending the loss and disappearance of theM/V Eastern Minicon and its crew. The foregoing facts, quitelogically, are sufficient to lead us to a moral certainty that thevessel had sunk and that the persons aboard had perishedwith it. Upon this premise, the rule on presumption of death under Article 391(1) of the Civil Code must yield tothe rule of preponderance of evidence

Manuel vs People of the Philippines


EDUARDO P. MANUEL, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent G.R. No. 165842 November 29, 2005 FACTS: This case is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of Court of Appeals affirming the decision

of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, convicting the petitioner for the crime of bigamy. Eduardo P. Manuel, herein petitioner, was first married to Rubylus Gaa on July 18, 1975, who, according to the former, was charged with estafa in 1975 and thereafter imprisoned and was never seen again by him after his last visit. Manuel met Tina B. Gandalera in January 1996 when the latter was only 21 years old. Three months after their meeting, the two got married through a civil wedding in Baguio City without Gandaleras knowledge of Manuels first marriage. In the course of their marriage, things got rocky and Gandalera learned that Eduardo was in fact already married when he married him. She then filed a criminal case of bigamy against Eduardo Manuel. The latters defense being that his declaration of single in his marriage contract with Gandalera was done bec ause he believed in good faith that his first marriage was invalid and that he did not know that he had to go to court to seek for the nullification of his first marriage before marrying Tina. The Regional Trial Court ruled against him sentencing him of imprisonment of from 6 years and 10 months to ten years, and an amount 0f P200,000.00 for moral damages. Eduardo appealed the decision to the CA where he alleged that he was not criminally liable for bigamy because when he married the private complainant, he did so in good faith and without any malicious intent. The CA ruled against the petitioner but with modification on the RTCs decision. Imprisonment was from 2 years, months and 1 day to ten years. Pecuniary reward for moral damages was affirmed. Hence, this petition.

ISSUES: 1. Whether or not the Court of Appeals committed reversible error of law when it ruled that petitioners wife cannot be legally presumed dead under Article 390 of the Civil Code as there was no judicial declaration of presumptive death as provided for under Article 41 of the Family Code. 2. Whether or not the Court of Appeals committed reversible error of law when it affirmed the award of Php200,000.00 as moral damages as it has no basis in fact and in law. RULINGS: 1. The petition is denied for lack of merit. The petitioner is presumed to have acted with malice or evil intent when he married the private complainant. As a general rule, mistake of fact or good faith of the accused is a valid defense in a prosecution for a felony by dolo; such defense negates malice or criminal intent. However, ignorance of the law is not an excuse because everyone is presumed to know the law. Ignorantia legis neminem excusat. Where a spouse is absent for the requisite period, the present spouse may contract a subsequent marriage only after securing a judgment declaring the presumptive death of the absent spouse to avoid being charged and convicted of bigamy; the present spouse will have to adduce evidence that he had a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was already dead. Such judgment is proof of the good faith of the present spouse who contracted a subsequent marriage; thus, even if the present spouse is later charged with bigamy if the absentee spouse reappears, he cannot be convicted of the crime. The court rules against the petitioner. 2. The Court rules that the petitioners collective acts of fraud and deceit before, during and after his marriage with the private complainant were willful, deliberate and with malice and caused injury to the latter. The Court thus declares that the petitioners acts are against public policy as they undermine and subvert the family as a social institution, good morals and the interest and general

welfare of society. Because the private complainant was an innocent victim of the petitioners perfidy, she is not barred from claiming moral damages. Considering the attendant circumstances of the case, the Court finds the award of P200,000.00 for moral damages to be just and reasonable.

IMELDA PANTOLLANO (for herself as surviving spouse and in behalf of her 4 children Honeyvette, Tierra Bryn, Kienne Dionnes, Sherra Veda Mae, then all minors, with deceased seaman VEDASTO PANTOLLANO), Petitioner, vs. KORPHIL SHIPMANAGEMENT AND MANNING CORPORATION, Respondent. DECISION DEL CASTILLO, J.: The heirs of a missing seaman may file their claim for death compensation benefits within the threeyear period fixed by law from the time the seaman has been presumed dead. This Petition for Review on Certiorari1 assails the Decision2 dated June 30, 2005 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 78759, which granted the petition for certiorari and reversed and set aside the Resolutions dated May 30, 20033 and July 31, 20034 of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in NLRC NCR CASE No. OFW (M) 2000-05-00302-30 (NLRC NCR CA No. 031095-02). Factual Antecedents Korphil Shipmanagement and Manning Corporation (Korphil) is a domestic corporation engaged in the recruitment of seafarers for its foreign principals. On March 24, 1994, it hired Vedasto C. Pantollano (Vedasto) as 4th Engineer on board the vessel M/V Couper under a Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) approved contract5 of employment, with the following terms and conditions: Duration of Contract : 12 months Position : Fourth Engineer Basic Monthly Salary : USD 550.00 Hours of Work : 48 hours per week Overtime : USD 165.00 Vacation Leave With Pay : 3 days/month On August 2, 1994, at about 6:45 A.M., Vedasto was seen by Messman Nolito L. Tarnate (Messman Nolito) to be in deep thought, counting other vessels passing by and talking to himself. At about 8:15 A.M., the Chief Engineer of the vessel reported to the Master of the vessel, Mr. Kim Jong Chul, that Vedasto did not show up for his duty. The Master of the vessel thus ordered all personnel on stand by. The vessel then altered its course to search for Vedasto. Some crew members were tasked to search the vessel while others were assigned to focus their search on the open sea to locate and rescue Vedasto. Assistance from other vessels was also requested. The search and rescue operation lasted for about six hours, but Vedasto was not found. On August 3, 1994, a Report6 was

issued by the Master of M/V Couper declaring that Vedasto was missing. His wife, Imelda Pantollano (Imelda), was likewise informed about the disappearance of Vedasto while onboard M/V Couper. Since then, Vedasto was never seen again. On May 29, 2000, Imelda filed a complaint7 before the NLRC where she sought to recover death benefits, damages and attorneys fees. Ruling of the Labor Arbiter On January 31, 2002, Labor Arbiter Renaldo O. Hernandez rendered a Decision8 holding that the legal heirs of Vedasto are entitled to the payment of death benefits and attorneys fees. The dispositive portion of the Labor Arbiters Decision reads: WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is entered finding respondents liable for the claimed death benefits to complainant-in-representation thus ORDERING respondent[s] principal and local manning agent, along with the latters corporate officers and directors, jointly and severally: 1. [T]o pay to the deceased complainants legal heirs/beneficiaries Imelda Pantollano and their four minor children, viz., Honeyvette L. Pantollano born 10/30/81, Tierra Bryn L. Pantollano born 04/17/84, Kienne Dionnes L. Pantollano born 08/29/89, and Sherra Veda Mae L. Pantollano born 11/21/90, death benefits under the POEA Rules and Regulations of US$50,000.00 and US$ 28,000.00 (US$7,000.00 each) for the said 4 minor children; 2. [T]o give and/or pay to them the proceeds of seafarer V. Pantollano[s] coverage for Comprehensive Life, Health, Medical and Disability Insurance with various P and I Clubs for the Owners Protection and Indemnity against any such claim against all hazards and risks in operating the vessel pursuant to maritime commerce; 3. [To] pay attorneys fees of 10% of the total monetary amount awarded. Other claims of complainant-in-representation are denied for lack of merit. SO ORDERED.9

Ruling of the National Labor Relations Commission


Korphil sought recourse to the NLRC by submitting its Notice of Appeal10 With Memorandum of Appeal on March 6, 2002. On June 7, 2002, Korphil filed a Supplemental Appeal11 to their Memorandum of Appeal. On July 31, 2002, the NLRC issued a Resolution12 reversing and setting aside the January 31, 2002 Decision of the Labor Arbiter. According to the NLRC, the death of Vedasto which was clearly shown by evidence to be a case of suicide was not compensable under the clear provisions of the POEA Standard Employment Contract. Imelda filed a Motion for Reconsideration13 which was opposed by Korphil.14 In a Resolution15 dated May 30, 2003, the NLRC reversed its July 31, 2002 Resolution and reinstated the January 31, 2002 Decision of the Labor Arbiter.

Korphil filed a Motion for Reconsideration16 which was denied by the NLRC through its Resolution17 dated July 31, 2003. Ruling of the Court of Appeals Aggrieved, Korphil filed with the CA a Petition for Certiorari.18 On October 10, 2003, Imelda filed her Comment.19Korphil did not file its reply and so the CA in a Resolution20 dated December 4, 2003 deemed that it had waived the right to file its reply. The CA directed the parties to submit their respective memoranda and then the case was declared submitted for decision. On June 30, 2005, the CA issued its assailed Decision which granted the petition, reversed and set aside the May 30, 2003 Resolution of the NLRC, and dismissed the case for lack of merit. It held that under Article 291 of the Labor Code, Imelda should have filed her complaint within three years from the time the cause of action accrued. Thus, Imelda should have filed her complaint within three years from Vedastos disappearance on August 2, 1994. Having filed her complaint only on May 29, 2000, the same is already barred by prescription. Imelda moved for reconsideration21 but to no avail. Hence, this appeal ascribing upon the CA the following errors: 1. The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in law when it held that Art. 291 of the x x x Civil Code [applies] only in case of settlement of estates, not in the claim for death compensation benefits under the Labor Code. 2. The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in law when it applied as precedent the case of Caltex (Phils.) Inc. vs. Cristela Villanueva, G.R. No. L-15658, August 21, 1961. 3. Assuming arguendo that Art. 391 of the x x x Civil Code does not apply, the Honorable Court of Appeals erred in law in refusing to apply the rule on estoppel against the respondent company, thereby giving premium on the respondents deception of invoking prematurity when the petitioner timely demanded her death compensation benefits but then raised the defense of prescription when she reiterated her claim after waiting for the lapse of four (4) years as earlier advised by the respondent company.22 The above issues boil down to a single issue of whether the claim of Imelda for death compensation benefits filed on May 29, 2000, or more than five years from the time her husband Vedasto was reported missing on August 2, 1994, is already barred by prescription following the provisions of Article 291 of the Labor Code. Imeldas Arguments Imelda contends that her claim was not yet barred by prescription when she filed it on May 29, 2000. She avers that when she went to the office of Korphil to claim the death benefits due to the heirs of her husband, Korphil advised her that it was still premature and that she has to wait for the lapse of four years before her husband Vedasto could be declared dead. This is in accordance with the provisions of Article 391 of the Civil Code. However, when she came back after four years, she was told that her claim has already prescribed pursuant to Article 291 of the Labor Code. Imelda asserts that Korphil is, therefore, estopped from interposing the defense of prescription in this case as it was Korphil itself which advised her to wait

for at least four years before filing the claim for death benefits. However, the CA ignored this very material fact albeit conspicuously discussed as one of Imeldas arguments. Imelda further contends that the CA erred when it held that Article 391 of the Civil Code applies only in cases of settlement of estates, and not to cases of death compensation claims as in this case. Korphils Arguments Korphil, on the other hand, argues that prescription of actions for money claims arising from employer-employee relationship is governed by Article 291 of the Labor Code. The three-year prescriptive period referred to in Article 291 shall commence to run from the time the cause of action accrued. According to Korphil, the unexplained disappearance on August 2, 1994 of Vedasto occurred on the high seas where there is inherent impossibility for him to leave the ship. The fact that he could not be found dead or alive despite best efforts of all the crew members and the other vessels which responded to the distress call, and the failure of Imelda to establish that Vedasto is still alive are more than substantial proofs to establish that the latter died on August 2, 1994. Therefore, prescription should be reckoned from this date which is considered as the time of death of Vedasto. It is also at this point that the obligation of Korphil to pay death compensation can be demanded as a matter of right by the heirs of Vedasto. Korphil posits that since Imelda filed only on May 29, 2000, or almost five years and ten months from August 2, 1994, her claim to recover death benefits, damages, and attorneys fees is, therefore, already barred by the three-year prescriptive period under Article 291 of the Labor Code. Our Ruling The petition is impressed with merit. In Medline Management, Inc. v. Roslinda,23 we declared that "in order to avail of death benefits, the death of the employee should occur during the effectivity of the employment contract. The death of a seaman during the term of employment makes the employer liable to his heirs for death compensation benefits. Once it is established that the seaman died during the effectivity of his employment contract, the employer is liable." In this case, there is no dispute that Vedasto went missing on August 2, 1994, during the effectivity of his employment contract. Thus, his beneficiaries are entitled to the death benefits under the POEA Standard Employment Contract for Seafarers, Section 20 of which states: SECTION 20. COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS A. COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS FOR DEATH In the case of work-related death of the seafarer during the term of his contract, the employer shall pay his beneficiaries the Philippine Currency equivalent to the amount of Fifty Thousand US dollars (US$ 50,000) and an additional amount of Seven Thousand US dollars (US$ 7,000) to each child under the age of twenty-one (21) but not exceeding four (4) children, at the exchange rate prevailing during the time of payment. xxxx

Thus, upon the death of Vedasto, his heirs, specifically Imelda and their four children, are entitled to US$50,000.00 as well as US$7,000.00 for each child under the age of 21. The status of Imelda and her four children as the legitimate beneficiaries of Vedasto was never questioned. The only issue raised by Korphil was the prescription of their claim. Korphil is estopped from asserting that the reckoning point for prescription to set in is August 2, 1994. Preliminarily, it must be stressed that Korphil is estopped from asserting that Imeldas cause of action accrued on August 2, 1994. Korphil could not deny the fact that it is a party to another case filed by Gliceria P. Echavez (Gliceria), the mother of Vedasto. In this case, Gliceria claimed death benefits due to the death of her son Vedasto. In a Decision24 dated October 15, 1997, Labor Arbiter Dominador A. Almirante ruled that the claim was prematurely filed and hence it must be dismissed without prejudice to the re-filing of the same at the right time. The case was re-filed on August 26, 1998. In a decision25 dated February 22, 1999, Labor Arbiter Almirante ruled that Korphil is liable for the payment of death benefits to Gliceria. Korphil appealed to the NLRC. On November 19, 1999, the NLRC rendered its Decision26 which dismissed the appeal and affirmed the Labor Arbiters Decision. Korphil filed with the CA a petition for certiorari27 which was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 58933. In the said petition, Korphil advanced the following arguments: Inasmuch as the missing seamans death cannot be proven, Mr. Pantollano cannot be presumed dead right away considering that the New Civil Code as well as the Rules of Court provide for a specific rule before a missing person can be properly presumed dead. We shall quote in full the said provision as follows: After an absence of seven (7) years, it being unknown whether or not the absentee still lives, he shall be presumed dead for all purposes, except for those of succession. xxxx Considering that Mr. Pantollano has been absent only for less than six (6) years, his death cannot be legally presumed. If Mr. Pantollano cannot be considered to have died at the time of his disappearance or cannot be legally presumed dead as of the present time by virtue of Article 390 of the Civil Code, public respondent NLRC cannot successfully apply the provision of Section 20 (A) (1) of the POEA Standard Employment Contract because the death of Mr. Pantollano indeed had never occurred. Even [if] a perspicacious, thorough and exhaustive perusal is made on the pertinent provisions of the POEA Standard Employment Contract, this Honorable Court cannot find a provision which gives death compensation to a seafarer who had just disappeared or was merely declared as missing. In view of the fact that the death of the seaman was not duly proven and the period within which the missing seaman can be lawfully presumed dead has not been complied with, it becomes clear that public respondent NLRC indeed committed serious error when it affirmed the Decision of the Labor Arbiter awarding death compensation to private respondent.28 The CA dismissed the claim of Gliceria because the natural mother is not the beneficiary contemplated by law notwithstanding the fact that she was designated by her deceased son as the sole allottee and beneficiary. If there is any party entitled to the death compensation benefits, it is Vedastos surviving spouse and children and not her mother.

Gliceria thus filed a petition for review with this Court which was docketed as G.R. No. 157424. In a Resolution dated August 6, 2003, the Court denied the same for the failure of Gliceria to file the appeal within the extended period in accordance with Section 2, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court and for her failure to properly verify the petition in accordance with Section 1, Rule 45 in relation to Section 4, Rule 7, since the verification is based on affiants personal knowledge, information and belief, as a consequence of which the petition was treated as an unsigned pleading which under Section 3, Rule 7, produces no legal effect. But what is obvious is that in the earlier claim for compensation benefits filed by Gliceria, who wanted to arrogate unto herself the said benefits, Korphil was claiming that it was still premature because the death of Vedasto was not yet duly proven and the period that must elapse before a seaman can be lawfully presumed dead has not been complied with. Consequently, Korphil is estopped from insisting in this later case filed by Imelda that Vedasto should be considered dead from the time he went missing on August 2, 1994 and therefore the claim was filed beyond the allowable period of three years. This Court is mindful of the fact that as soon as Imelda came to know about the missing status of her husband on August 2, 1994, she went to Korphil to file her claim for the payment of death benefits. However, the latter informed her that it was still premature to claim the same and advised her instead to wait four more years before her husband could be presumed dead thereby entitling his heirs to death benefits. Korphil is therefore guilty of estoppel. "Under the doctrine of estoppel, an admission or representation is rendered conclusive upon the person making it, and cannot be denied or disproved as against the person relying thereon. A party may not go back on his own acts and representations to the prejudice of the other party who relied upon them. In the law of evidence, whenever a party has, by his own declaration, act, or omission, intentionally and deliberately led another to believe a particular thing true, to act upon such belief, he cannot, in any litigation arising out of such declaration, act, or omission, be permitted to falsify it."29 Imeldas cause of action accrued only on August 2, 1998 and not on August 2, 1994. According to Korphil, Article 291 of the Labor Code is applicable in this case as it provides: ART. 291. Money Claims. All money claims arising from employer-employee relations accruing during the effectivity of this Code shall be filed within three (3) years from the time the cause of action accrued; otherwise they shall be forever barred. xxxx Korphil posits that the three-year prescriptive period referred to in Article 291 shall commence to run from the time the cause of action accrued, i.e., at the time Vedasto died on August 2, 1994. Hence, when Imelda filed her claim on May 29, 2000, the same has already prescribed. We are not persuaded. On August 2, 1994, it cannot as yet be presumed that Vedasto is already dead. "The boat was not lost. This opens up a number of possibilities. x x x [N]othing is certain. Nobody knows what has happened to him. He could have transferred to another vessel or watercraft. He could even have swum to safety. Or he could have died. Or worse, he could have taken his own life. Legal implications such as right to compensation, succession, the legal status of the wife are so important that courts should not so easily be carried to the conclusion that the man is dead. The result is that death cannot be taken as a fact."30

A person missing under the circumstances as those of Vedasto may not legally be considered as dead until the lapse of the period fixed by law on presumption of death, and consequently Imelda cannot yet be considered as a widow entitled to compensation under the law. On August 2, 1994, when Vedasto was reported missing, Imelda cannot as yet file her claim for death benefits as it is still premature. The provisions of Article 391 of the Civil Code therefore become relevant, to wit: The following shall be presumed dead for all purposes, including the division of the estate among the heirs; (1) A person on board a vessel lost during a sea voyage, or an aeroplane which is missing, who has not been heard of for four years since the loss of the vessel or aeroplane; (2) A person in the armed forces who has taken part in war, and has been missing for four years; (3) A person who has been in danger of death under other circumstances and his existence has not been known for four years. (Emphasis supplied.) With the known facts, namely, that Vedasto was lost or missing while M/V Couper was navigating the open sea, there is no doubt that he could have been in danger of death. Paragraph (3) of Article 391 of the Civil Code will then be applicable in this case. Thus, Vedasto can only be presumed dead after the lapse of four years from August 2, 1994 when he was declared missing. But of course, evidence must be shown that Vedasto has not been heard of for four years or thereafter. This is the case here. Vedasto is presumed legally dead only on August 2, 1998. It is only at this time that the rights of his heirs to file their claim for death benefits accrued. Korphil then further argued that although Vedasto was declared dead only on August 2, 1998, his death should be considered on the very day of the occurrence of the event from which death is presumed. Thus, the death of Vedasto should retroact to August 2, 1994. The three-year prescriptive period under Article 291 of the Labor Code will therefore be reckoned on August 2, 1994. We do not agree. If we allow such an argument, then no claim for death compensation benefits under this circumstance will ever prosper. This is so because the heirs of a missing seaman have to wait for four years as provided under Article 391 of the Civil Code before the seaman is declared as legally dead. After four years, the prescriptive period for filing money claims under Article 291 of the Labor Code would, obviously, lapse. This scenario could not have been the intention of the legislature in enacting a social legislation, such as the Labor Code. Imeldas claim for death compensation benefits was filed on time.
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Having already established that Imeldas cause of action accrued on August 2, 1998, it follows that her claim filed on May 29, 2000 was timely. It was filed within three years from the time the cause of action accrued pursuant to Article 291 of the Labor Code. Hence, Imelda and her children are entitled to the payment of said compensation.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 78759 dated May 30, 2005, is SET ASIDE and the May 30, 2003 Resolution of the NLRC isREINSTATED and AFFIRMED. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, vs. YOLANDA CADACIO GRANADA, Respondent. DECISION SERENO, J.: This is a Rule 45 Petition seeking the reversal of the Resolutions dated 23 January 20091 and 3 April 20092issued by the Court of Appeals (CA), which affirmed the grant by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of the Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death of the absent spouse of respondent. In May 1991, respondent Yolanda Cadacio Granada (Yolanda) met Cyrus Granada (Cyrus) at Sumida Electric Philippines, an electronics company in Paranaque where both were then working. The two eventually got married at the Manila City Hall on 3 March 1993. Their marriage resulted in the birth of their son, Cyborg Dean Cadacio Granada. Sometime in May 1994, when Sumida Electric Philippines closed down, Cyrus went to Taiwan to seek employment. Yolanda claimed that from that time, she had not received any communication from her husband, notwithstanding efforts to locate him. Her brother testified that he had asked the relatives of Cyrus regarding the latters whereabouts, to no avail. After nine (9) years of waiting, Yolanda filed a Petition to have Cyrus declared presumptively dead. The Petition was raffled to Presiding Judge Avelino Demetria of RTC Branch 85, Lipa City, and was docketed as Sp. Proc. No. 2002-0530. On 7 February 2005, the RTC rendered a Decision declaring Cyrus as presumptively dead. On 10 March 2005, petitioner Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), filed a Motion for Reconsideration of this Decision. Petitioner argued that Yolanda had failed to exert earnest efforts to locate Cyrus and thus failed to prove her well-founded belief that he was already dead. However, in an Order dated 29 June 2007, the RTC denied the motion. Petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal to elevate the case to the CA, presumably under Rule 41, Section 2(a) of the Rules of Court. Yolanda filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the CA had no jurisdiction over the appeal. She argued that her Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death, based on Article 41 of the Family Code, was a summary judicial proceeding, in which the judgment is immediately final and executory and, thus, not appealable. In its 23 January 2009 Resolution, the appellate court granted Yolandas Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. Citing Republic v. Bermudez-Lorino,3 the CA ruled that a petition for declaration of presumptive death under Rule 41 of the Family Code is a summary proceeding. Thus, judgment thereon is immediately final and executory upon notice to the parties. Petitioner moved for reconsideration, but its motion was likewise denied by the CA in a Resolution dated 3 April 2009.4

Hence, the present Rule 45 Petition. Issues 1. Whether the CA seriously erred in dismissing the Petition on the ground that the Decision of the RTC in a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death is immediately final and executory upon notice to the parties and, hence, is not subject to ordinary appeal 2. Whether the CA seriously erred in affirming the RTCs grant of the Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death under Article 41 of the Family Code based on the evidence that respondent presented Our Ruling 1. On whether the CA seriously erred in dismissing the Petition on the ground that the Decision of the RTC in a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death is immediately final and executory upon notice to the parties and, hence, is not subject to ordinary appeal In the assailed Resolution dated 23 January 2009, the CA dismissed the Petition assailing the RTCs grant of the Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death of the absent spouse under Article 41 of the Family Code. Citing Republic v. Bermudez-Lorino,5 the appellate court noted that a petition for declaration of presumptive death for the purpose of remarriage is a summary judicial proceeding under the Family Code. Hence, the RTC Decision therein is immediately final and executory upon notice to the parties, by express provision of Article 247 of the same Code. The decision is therefore not subject to ordinary appeal, and the attempt to question it through a Notice of Appeal is unavailing. We affirm the CA ruling. Article 41 of the Family Code provides: Art. 41. A marriage contracted by any person during the subsistence of a previous marriage shall be null and void, unless before the celebration of the subsequent marriage, the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive years and the spouse present has a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was already dead. In case of disappearance where there is danger of death under the circumstances set forth in the provisions of Article 391 of the Civil Code, an absence of only two years shall be sufficient. For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage under the preceding paragraph the spouse present must institute a summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse. (Underscoring supplied.) Clearly, a petition for declaration of presumptive death of an absent spouse for the purpose of contracting a subsequent marriage under Article 41 of the Family Code is a summary proceeding "as provided for" under the Family Code. Further, Title XI of the Family Code is entitled "Summary Judicial Proceedings in the Family Law." Subsumed thereunder are Articles 238 and 247, which provide:

Art. 238. Until modified by the Supreme Court, the procedural rules in this Title shall apply in all cases provided for in this Code requiring summary court proceedings. Such cases shall be decided in an expeditious manner without regard to technical rules. xxx xxx xxx

Art. 247. The judgment of the court shall be immediately final and executory. Further, Article 253 of the Family Code reads: ART. 253. The foregoing rules in Chapters 2 and 3 hereof shall likewise govern summary proceedings filed under Articles 41, 51, 69, 73, 96, 124 and 217, insofar as they are applicable. Taken together, Articles 41, 238, 247 and 253 of the Family Code provide that since a petition for declaration of presumptive death is a summary proceeding, the judgment of the court therein shall be immediately final and executory. In Republic v. Bermudez-Lorino,6 the Republic likewise appealed the CAs affirmation of the RTCs grant of respondents Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death of her absent spouse. The Court therein held that it was an error for the Republic to file a Notice of Appeal when the latter elevated the matter to the CA, to wit: In Summary Judicial Proceedings under the Family Code, there is no reglementary period within which to perfect an appeal, precisely because judgments rendered thereunder, by express provision of Section 247, Family Code, supra, are "immediately final and executory." xxx xxx xxx

But, if only to set the records straight and for the future guidance of the bench and the bar, let it be stated that the RTCs decision dated November 7, 2001, was immediately final and executory upon notice to the parties. It was erroneous for the OSG to file a notice of appeal, and for the RTC to give due course thereto. The Court of Appeals acquired no jurisdiction over the case, and should have dismissed the appeal outright on that ground. Justice (later Chief Justice) Artemio Panganiban, who concurred in the result reached by the Court in Republic v. Bermudez-Lorino, additionally opined that what the OSG should have filed was a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, not a petition for review under Rule 45. In the present case, the Republic argues that Bermudez-Lorino has been superseded by the subsequent Decision of the Court in Republic v. Jomoc,7 issued a few months later. In Jomoc, the RTC granted respondents Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death of her absent husband for the purpose of remarriage. Petitioner Republic appealed the RTC Decision by filing a Notice of Appeal. The trial court disapproved the Notice of Appeal on the ground that, under the Rules of Court,8 a record on appeal is required to be filed when appealing special proceedings cases. The CA affirmed the RTC ruling. In reversing the CA, this Court clarified that while an action for declaration of death or absence under Rule 72, Section 1(m), expressly falls under the category of special proceedings, a petition for declaration of presumptive death under Article 41 of the Family Code is a summary proceeding, as provided for by Article 238 of the same Code. Since its purpose was to enable her to contract a subsequent valid marriage, petitioners action was a summary proceeding based on Article 41 of the Family Code, rather than a special proceeding under Rule 72

of the Rules of Court. Considering that this action was not a special proceeding, petitioner was not required to file a record on appeal when it appealed the RTC Decision to the CA. We do not agree with the Republics argument that Republic v. Jomoc superseded our ruling in Republic v. Bermudez-Lorino. As observed by the CA, the Supreme Court in Jomoc did not expound on the characteristics of a summary proceeding under the Family Code. In contrast, the Court in Bermudez-Lorino expressly stated that its ruling on the impropriety of an ordinary appeal as a vehicle for questioning the trial courts Decision in a summary proceeding for declaration of presumptive death under Article 41 of the Family Code was intended "to set the records straight and for the future guidance of the bench and the bar." At any rate, four years after Jomoc, this Court settled the rule regarding appeal of judgments rendered in summary proceedings under the Family Code when it ruled in Republic v. Tango:9 This case presents an opportunity for us to settle the rule on appeal of judgments rendered in summary proceedings under the Family Code and accordingly, refine our previous decisions thereon. Article 238 of the Family Code, under Title XI: SUMMARY JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS IN THE FAMILY LAW, establishes the rules that govern summary court proceedings in the Family Code: ART. 238. Until modified by the Supreme Court, the procedural rules in this Title shall apply in all cases provided for in this Code requiring summary court proceedings. Such cases shall be decided in an expeditious manner without regard to technical rules. In turn, Article 253 of the Family Code specifies the cases covered by the rules in chapters two and three of the same title. It states: ART. 253. The foregoing rules in Chapters 2 and 3 hereof shall likewise govern summary proceedings filed under Articles 41, 51, 69, 73, 96, 124 and 217, insofar as they are applicable. (Emphasis supplied.) In plain text, Article 247 in Chapter 2 of the same title reads: ART 247. The judgment of the court shall be immediately final and executory. By express provision of law, the judgment of the court in a summary proceeding shall be immediately final and executory. As a matter of course, it follows that no appeal can be had of the trial court's judgment in a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death of an absent spouse under Article 41 of the Family Code. It goes without saying, however, that an aggrieved party may file a petition for certiorari to question abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. Such petition should be filed in the Court of Appeals in accordance with the Doctrine of Hierarchy of Courts. To be sure, even if the Court's original jurisdiction to issue a writ of certiorari is concurrent with the RTCs and the Court of Appeals in certain cases, such concurrence does not sanction an unrestricted freedom of choice of court forum. From the decision of the Court of Appeals, the losing party may then file a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court with the Supreme Court. This is because the errors which the court may commit in the exercise of jurisdiction are merely errors of judgment which are the proper subject of an appeal. In sum, under Article 41 of the Family Code, the losing party in a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death may file a petition for certiorari with the CA on the ground that, in

rendering judgment thereon, the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. From the decision of the CA, the aggrieved party may elevate the matter to this Court via a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Evidently then, the CA did not commit any error in dismissing the Republics Notice of Appeal on the ground that the RTC judgment on the Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death of respondents spouse was immediately final and executory and, hence, not subject to ordinary appeal. 2. On whether the CA seriously erred in affirming the RTCs grant of the Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death under Article 41 of the Family Code based on the evidence that respondent had presented Petitioner also assails the RTCs grant of the Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death of the absent spouse of respondent on the ground that she had not adduced the evidence required to establish a well-founded belief that her absent spouse was already dead, as expressly required by Article 41 of the Family Code. Petitioner cites Republic v. Nolasco,10 United States v. Biasbas11 and Republic v. Court of Appeals and Alegro12 as authorities on the subject. In Nolasco, petitioner Republic sought the reversal of the CAs affirmation of the RTCs grant of respondents Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death of his absent spouse, a British subject who left their home in the Philippines soon after giving birth to their son while respondent was on board a vessel working as a seafarer. Petitioner Republic sought the reversal of the ruling on the ground that respondent was not able to establish his "well-founded belief that the absentee is already dead," as required by Article 41 of the Family Code. In ruling thereon, this Court recognized that this provision imposes more stringent requirements than does Article 83 of the Civil Code.13 The Civil Code provision merely requires either that there be no news that the absentee is still alive; or that the absentee is generally considered to be dead and is believed to be so by the spouse present, or is presumed dead under Articles 390 and 391 of the Civil Code. In comparison, the Family Code provision prescribes a "well-founded belief" that the absentee is already dead before a petition for declaration of presumptive death can be granted. As noted by the Court in that case, the four requisites for the declaration of presumptive death under the Family Code are as follows: 1. That the absent spouse has been missing for four consecutive years, or two consecutive years if the disappearance occurred where there is danger of death under the circumstances laid down in Article 391, Civil Code; 2. That the present spouse wishes to remarry; 3. That the present spouse has a well-founded belief that the absentee is dead; and 4. That the present spouse files a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee. In evaluating whether the present spouse has been able to prove the existence of a "well-founded belief" that the absent spouse is already dead, the Court in Nolasco cited United States v. Biasbas,14 which it found to be instructive as to the diligence required in searching for a missing spouse. In Biasbas, the Court held that defendant Biasbas failed to exercise due diligence in ascertaining the whereabouts of his first wife, considering his admission that that he only had a suspicion that she was dead, and that the only basis of that suspicion was the fact of her absence.

Similarly, in Republic v. Court of Appeals and Alegro, petitioner Republic sought the reversal of the CA ruling affirming the RTCs grant of the Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death of the absent spouse on the ground that the respondent therein had not been able to prove a "well-founded belief" that his spouse was already dead. The Court reversed the CA, granted the Petition, and provided the following criteria for determining the existence of a "well-founded belief" under Article 41 of the Family Code: For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage under the preceding paragraph, the spouse present must institute a summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse. The spouse present is, thus, burdened to prove that his spouse has been absent and that he has a well-founded belief that the absent spouse is already dead before the present spouse may contract a subsequent marriage. The law does not define what is meant by a well-grounded belief. Cuello Callon writes that "es menester que su creencia sea firme se funde en motivos racionales." Belief is a state of the mind or condition prompting the doing of an overt act. It may be proved by direct evidence or circumstantial evidence which may tend, even in a slight degree, to elucidate the inquiry or assist to a determination probably founded in truth. Any fact or circumstance relating to the character, habits, conditions, attachments, prosperity and objects of life which usually control the conduct of men, and are the motives of their actions, was, so far as it tends to explain or characterize their disappearance or throw light on their intentions, competence [sic] evidence on the ultimate question of his death.
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The belief of the present spouse must be the result of proper and honest to goodness inquiries and efforts to ascertain the whereabouts of the absent spouse and whether the absent spouse is still alive or is already dead. Whether or not the spouse present acted on a well-founded belief of death of the absent spouse depends upon the inquiries to be drawn from a great many circumstances occurring before and after the disappearance of the absent spouse and the nature and extent of the inquiries made by present spouse. (Footnotes omitted, underscoring supplied.) Applying the foregoing standards to the present case, petitioner points out that respondent Yolanda did not initiate a diligent search to locate her absent husband. While her brother Diosdado Cadacio testified to having inquired about the whereabouts of Cyrus from the latters relatives, these relatives were not presented to corroborate Diosdados testimony. In short, respondent was allegedly not diligent in her search for her husband. Petitioner argues that if she were, she would have sought information from the Taiwanese Consular Office or assistance from other government agencies in Taiwan or the Philippines. She could have also utilized mass media for this end, but she did not. Worse, she failed to explain these omissions. The Republics arguments are well-taken. Nevertheless, we are constrained to deny the Petition. The RTC ruling on the issue of whether respondent was able to prove her "well-founded belief" that her absent spouse was already dead prior to her filing of the Petition to declare him presumptively dead is already final and can no longer be modified or reversed. Indeed, "[n]othing is more settled in law than that when a judgment becomes final and executory, it becomes immutable and unalterable. The same may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law."15 WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed Resolutions of the Court of Appeals dated 23 January 2009 and 3 April 2009 in CA-G.R. CV No. 90165 are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

ENTRIES IN THE CIVIL REGISTER


AS OF NOW I HAVE MY WIFE NAMED JENIE DELA CRUZ. WE MET EACH OTHERIN OUR HOMETOWN, TEREZA RIZAL. AT FIRST WE BECAME GOOD FRIENDS,THEN WE FELL IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER, THEN WE BECAME GOODCOUPLES. AND AS OF NO W SHE IS PREGNANT AND FOR THAT WE LIVETOGETHER IN OUR HOUSE NOW. THATS ALL.By letter dated November 11, 2005,[7] the City Civil Registrar of Antipolo City, RonaldPaul S. Gracia (respondent), denied Jenies application for registration of the childsname.In summary, the child cannot use the surname of his father because he was born out of wedlock and the father unfortunately died prior to his birth and has no more capacity toacknowledge his paternity to the child (either through the back of Municipal Form No.102 Affidavit of Acknowledgment/Admission of Paternity or the Authority to Use theSurname of the Father). (Underscoring supplied) Jenie and the child promptly filed a complaint[9] for injunction/registration of nameagainst respondent before the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo City, docketed as SCACase No. 06-539, which was raffled to Branch 73 thereof. The complaint alleged that,inter alia, the denial of registration of the childs name is a violation of his right to use thesurname of his deceased father under Article 176 of the Family Code, as amended byRepublic Act (R.A.) No. 9255,[10] which provides: Article 176. Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parentalauthority of their mother, and shall be entitled to support in conformity with this Code.However, illegitimate children may use the surname of their father if their filiation hasbeen expressly recognized by the father through the record of birth appearing in thecivil register, or when an admission in a public document or private handwritteninstrument is made by the father. Provided, the father has the right to institute an actionbefore the regular courts to prove non-filiation during his lifetime. The legitime of each illegitimate child shall consist of one-half of the legitime of a legitimate child. (Emphasisand underscoring supplied) Issue: WHETHER OR NOT THE UNSIGNED HANDWRITTEN STATEMENT OF THEDECEASED FATHER OF MINOR CHRISTIAN DELA CRUZ CAN BE CONSIDEREDAS A RECOGNITION OF PATERNITY IN A PRIVATE HANDWRITTENINSTRUMENT WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF ARTICLE 176 OF THE FAMILYCODE, AS AMENDED BY R.A. 9255, WHICH ENTITLES THE SAID MINOR TO USEHIS FATHERS SURNAME. Held:Petition granted.Article 176 of the Family Code, as amended by R.A. 9255, permits an illegitimatechild to use the surname of his/her father if the latter had expressly recognized him/her as his offspring through the record of birth appearing in the civil register, or through anadmission made in a public or private handwritten instrument. The recognition made inany of these documents is, in itself, a consummated act of acknowledgment of thechilds paternity; hence, no separate action for judicial approval is necessary. Article 176of the Family Code, as amended, does not, indeed, explicitly state that the privatehandwritten instrument acknowledging the childs paternity must be signed by theputative father.That a father who acknowledges paternity of a child through a written instrument mustaffix his signature thereon is clearly implied in Article 176 of the Family Code.Paragraph 2.2, Rule 2 of A.O. No. 1, Series of 2004, merely articulated suchrequirement; it did not unduly expand the import of Article 176 as claimed bypetitioners.First, Dominique died about two months prior to the childs birth. Second, the relevantmatters in the Autobiography, unquestionably handwritten by Dominique, correspond tothe facts culled from the testimonial evidence Jenie proffered.[20] Third, Jeniestestimony is corroborated by the Affidavit of Acknowledgment of Dominiques father Domingo Aquino and testimony of his brother Joseph Butch Aquino whose hereditaryrights could be affected by the

registration of the questioned recognition of the child.These circumstances indicating Dominiques paternity of the child give life to hisstatements in his Autobiography that JENIE DELA CRUZ is MY WIFE as WE FELLIN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER and NOW SHE IS PREGNANT AND FOR THAT WELIVE TOGETHER.In the eyes of society, a child with an unknown father bears the stigma of dishonor. It isto petitioner minor childs best interests to allow him to bear the surname of the nowdeceased Dominique and enter it in his birth certificate

Braza v Civil RegistrarG.R. No. 181174 | Facts: Petitioner Ma. Cristinas husband, Pablo died on April 15, 2002 in a vehicular accident inIndonesia. During the wake following the repatriation of his remains to the Philippines, respondent Lucille Titular began introducing her co-respondent minor Patrick Alvin Titular Braza (Patrick) as her and Pablo's son.Petitioner thereupon made inquiries with the Local Civil Registrar of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental. Onthe annotation of Patricks birth certificate reflects Patrick as having been acknowleged by Pablo (or Pablito)as son on January 13, 1997, that he was legitimated by virtue of subsequent marriage of parents on April 22,1998 at Manila, and that he shall be known as Patrick Titular Braza.Ma. Cristina likewise obtained a copy of a marriage contract showing that Pablo and Lucille were married onApril 22, 1998, drawing her and her co-petitioners (her three legitimate children with Pablo) to file onDecember 23, 2005 before the Regional Trial Court of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental a petition tocorrect the entries in the birth record of Patrick in the Local Civil Register .Contending that Patrick could not have been legitimated by the supposed marriage between Lucille andPablo, said marriage being bigamous on account of the valid and subsisting marriage between Ma. Cristinaand Pablo, petitioners prayed for (1) the correction of the entries in Patrick's birth record with respect to hislegitimation, the name of the father and his acknowledgment, and the use of the last name "Braza"; 2) adirective to Leon, Cecilia and Lucille, all surnamed Titular, as guardians of the minor Patrick, to submit Parick to DNA testing to determine his paternity and filiation; and 3) the declaration of nullity of the legitimation of Patrick as stated in his birth certificate and, for this purpose, the declaration of the marriage of Lucille andPablo as bigamous . TC dismissed the petition, holding that in a special proceeding for correction of entry, the court, which is notacting as a family court under the Family Code, has no jurisdiction over an action to annul the marriage of Lucille and Pablo, impugn the legitimacy of Patrick, and order Patrick to be subjected to a DNA test, hence,the controversy should be ventilated in an ordinary adversarial action.MR was denied. Hence, this petition for review. Issue: WON the court a quo may pass upon the validity of marriage and questions on legitimacy even in anaction to correct entries in the civil registrar. (WON substantial errors, such as those sought to be correctedin the present case, can be the subject of a petition under Rule 108) Held: NO. In a special proceeding for correction of entry under Rule 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Original Registry), the trial court has no jurisdiction to nullify marriages and rule on legitimacyand filiation. Ratio:

Rule 108 of the Rules of Court vis a vis Article 412 of the Civil Code charts the procedure by which an entry in the civil registry may be cancelled or corrected. The proceeding contemplated therein may generally be used only to correct clerical, spelling, typographical and other innocuous errors in the civil registry. Aclerical error is one which is visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding; an error made by a clerk ora transcriber; a mistake in copying or writing, or a harmless change such as a correction of name that isclearly misspelled or of a misstatement of the occupation of the parent. Substantial or contentiousalterations may be allowed only in adversarial proceedings, in which all interested parties are impleaded anddue process is properly observed. The petitioners cause of action is actually to seek the declaration of Pablo and Lucilles marriage as void forbeing bigamous and impugn Patricks legitimacy, which causes of action are governed not by Rule 108 butby A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC which took effect on March 15, 2003, and Art. 171 of the Family Code, respectively,hence, the petition should be filed in a Family Court as expressly provided in said Code.It is well to emphasize that, doctrinally, validity of marriages as well as legitimacy and filiation can bequestioned only in a direct action seasonably filed by the proper party, and not through collateral attacksuch as the petition filed before the court a quo .Petition Denied.

NIEVES ESTARES BALDOS, substituted by FRANCISCO BALDOS and MARTIN BALDOS, Petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and REYNALDO PILLAZAR a.k.a. REYNALDO ESTARES BALDOS, Respondents. RESOLUTION CARPIO, J.: The Case This is a petition for review1 of the 8 August 2005 Decision2 and the 22 November 2005 Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. CV No. 65693. The 8 August 2005 Decision affirmed the 16 August 1999 Order4 of the Regional Trial Court (Branch 74) of Olongapo City in Civil Case No. 79-0-95. The 22 November 2005 Resolution denied petitioners motion for reconsideration. The Antecedent Facts Reynaldo Pillazar, alias Reynaldo Baldos, was born on 30 October 1948. However, his birth was not registered in the office of the local civil registrar until roughly 36 years later or on 11 February 1985. His certificate of live birth5indicated Nieves Baldos as his mother and Bartolome Baldos as his father. Nieves Baldos also appeared as the informant on the certificate of live birth. On 8 March 1995, Nieves Baldos filed in the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City a complaint,6 docketed as Civil Case No. 79-0-95, for cancellation of the late registration of Reynaldos birth. She claimed that Reynaldo was not really her son. The Trial Courts Ruling

The trial court treated the complaint as a petition. In its 16 August 1999 Order,7 the trial court dismissed the petition for lack of merit. The trial court reasoned as follows: A thorough examination of the evidence adduced by the plaintiff vis-a-vis the evidence of the defendant shows that apart from the scornful denial of plaintiff that defendant is her son, all documentary evidence available points to the contrary. The declaration of two disinterested persons, who were neighbors of the petitioner and his deceased husband, has never been refuted. No one was presented by plaintiff to corroborate her stand. In the realm of the evidence on record, there is no doubt that the oppositor is petitioners son. Petitioners reason for disowning the oppositor is obvious; he did not live up to her expectation; his wife is ungrateful to everything she did for her and the oppositor. Bad blood runs in the veins of the parties. But while oppositor may have done an act that caused plaintiff to rue she gave him life, such acts however, are not justifications of what she prays from this Court. An ungrateful act is not a ground to cancel a validly executed document, nor a reason to strip a person of ones filiation. It may be a ground for disinheritance though. The documents adduced on record are the best evidence of the parties relationship.8 Undeterred, Nieves appealed to the Court of Appeals. She insisted that the late registration of Reynaldos birth was contrary to Presidential Decree No. 651 (P.D. No. 651). The Ruling of the Court of Appeals In its 8 August 2005 Decision,9 the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial courts Order. The appellate court held that P.D. No. 651 did not proscribe the late registration of births of persons born before 1 January 1974. The Court of Appeals explained that the purpose of the decree was to encourage registration of births as well as deaths. Nieves Baldos died on 17 May 1999. Her lawyer filed a motion for substitution10 six years later or on 20 October 2005. In its 22 November 2005 Resolution,11 the Court of Appeals granted the motion for substitution. From then on, Bartolomes brothers, Francisco Baldos and Martin Baldos, substituted for Nieves Baldos. The Issue The sole issue is whether the late registration of Reynaldos birth is valid. The Courts Ruling The petition lacks merit. Petitioners insist that the late registration of Reynaldos birth is not authorized by P.D. No. 651. They claim that P.D. No. 651 applies only to births within the period from 1 January 1974 up to the date when the decree became effective. They point out that Reynaldo was born on 30 October 1948, outside of the period covered by the decree. Thus, petitioners submit the Court of Appeals violated basic rules of statutory construction when it interpreted P.D. No. 651 to include births before 1 January 1974. Petitioners contend the late registration of Reynaldos birth amounts to simulation of birth.

Respondent Reynaldo counters that P.D. No. 651 does not proscribe the late registration of births of persons born before 1 January 1974. He maintains that he has sufficiently proven, by clear and convincing evidence, the fact that he is the son of Nieves and Bartolome Baldos. He asserts that a certificate of live birth is a public document covered by the presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions. Presidential Decree No. 651, otherwise known as An Act Requiring the Registration of Births and Deaths in the Philippines which Occurred from 1 January 1974 and Thereafter, provides: Sec. 1. Registration of births. All babies born in hospitals, maternity clinics, private homes, or elsewhere within the period starting from January 1, 1974 up to the date when this decree becomes effective, irrespective of the nationality, race, culture, religion or belief of their parents, whether the mother is a permanent resident or transient in the Philippines, and whose births have not yet been registered must be reported for registration in the office of the local civil registrar of the place of birth by the physician, nurse, midwife, hilot, or hospital or clinic administrator who attended the birth or in default thereof, by either parent or a responsible member of the family or a relative, or any person who has knowledge of the birth of the individual child. The report referred to above shall be accompanied with an affidavit describing the circumstances surrounding the delayed registration. (Emphasis supplied) Sec. 2. Period of registration of births. The registration of the birth of babies referred to in the preceding section must be done within sixty (60) days from the date of effectivity of this decree without fine or fee of any kind. Babies born after the effectivity of this decree must be registered in the office of the local civil registrar of the place of birth within thirty (30) days after birth, by the attending physician, nurse, midwife, hilot or hospitals or clinic administrator or, in default of the same, by either parent or a responsible member of the family or any person who has knowledge of the birth. The parents or the responsible member of the family and the attendant at birth or the hospital or clinic administrator referred to above shall be jointly liable in case they fail to register the new born child. If there was no attendant at birth, or if the child was not born in a hospital or maternity clinic, then the parents or the responsible member of the family alone shall be primarily liable in case of failure to register the new born child. (Emphasis supplied) Presidential Decree No. 76612 amended P.D. No. 651 by extending the period of registration up to 31 December 1975. P.D. No. 651, as amended, provided for special registration within a specified period to address the problem of under-registration of births as well as deaths. It allowed, without fine or fee of any kind, the late registration of births and deaths occurring within the period starting from 1 January 1974 up to the date when the decree became effective.
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Since Reynaldo was born on 30 October 1948, the late registration of his birth is outside of the coverage of P.D. No. 651, as amended. The late registration of Reynaldos birth falls under Act No. 3753, otherwise known as the Civil Registry Law, which took effect on 27 February 1931. As a general law, Act No. 3753 applies to the registration of all births, not otherwise covered by P.D. No. 651, as amended, occurring from 27 February 1931 onwards. Considering that the late registration of Reynaldos birth took place in 1985, National Census Statistics Office (NCSO) Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 198313 governs the implementation of Act No. 3753 in this case. Under NCSO A.O. No. 1-83, the birth of a child shall be registered in the office of the local civil registrar within 30 days from the time of birth.14 Any report of birth made beyond the reglementary

period is considered delayed.15The local civil registrar, upon receiving an application for delayed registration of birth, is required to publicly post for at least ten days a notice of the pending application for delayed registration.16 If after ten days no one opposes the registration and the local civil registrar is convinced beyond doubt that the birth should be registered, he should register the same.17 Reynaldos certificate of live birth, as a duly registered public document, is presumed to have gone through the process prescribed by law for late registration of birth. It was only on 8 March 1995, after the lapse of ten long years from the approval on 11 February 1985 of the application for delayed registration of Reynaldos birth, that Nieves registered her opposition. She should have done so within the ten-day period prescribed by law. Records18 show that no less than Nieves herself informed the local civil registrar of the birth of Reynaldo. At the time of her application for delayed registration of birth, Nieves claimed that Reynaldo was her son. Between the facts stated in a duly registered public document and the flip-flopping statements of Nieves, we are more inclined to stand by the former. Applications for delayed registration of birth go through a rigorous process. The books making up the civil register are considered public documents and are prima facie evidence of the truth of the facts stated there.19 As a public document, a registered certificate of live birth enjoys the presumption of validity.20 It is not for Reynaldo to prove the facts stated in his certificate of live birth, but for petitioners who are assailing the certificate to prove its alleged falsity. Petitioners miserably failed to do so. Thus, the trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly denied for lack of merit the petition to cancel the late registration of Reynaldos birth. WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. We AFFIRM the 8 August 2005 Decision and the 22 November 2005 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. CV No. 65693 affirming the 16 August 1999 Order of the Regional Trial Court (Branch 74) of Olongapo City in Civil Case No. 79-095.

CORPUZ VS. STO. TOMAS Case Digest


GERBERT CORPUZ VS. DAISYLYN STO. TOMAS G.R. No. 186571, August 11, 2010 FACTS: Gerbert Corpuz was a former Filipino citizen who acquired Canadian citizenship through naturalization on Nov. 2000. On, Jan. 18 2005, he married a Filipina named Daisylyn Sto. Tomas. Due to work and other professional commitments, Gerbert left for Canada soon after their wedding. He returned to the Philippines sometime in April 2005 to surprise her wife but was shocked to discover that Daisylyn was having an affair with another man. Hurt and disappointed, Gerbert went back to Canada and filed a petition for divorce and was granted. Two years after, Gerbert fell in love with another Filipina. In his desire to marry his new Filipina fiance, Gerbert went to Pasig City Civil Registry Office and registered the Canadian divorce decree on their marriage certificate. Despite its registration, an NSO official informed Gerbert that their marriage still exists under Philippine Law; and to be enforceable, the foreign divorce decree must be judicially recognized by a Philippine court. Gerbert filed a petition for judicial recognition of foreign divorce and/or declaration of marriage as dissolved, with the RTC. Daisylyn offered no opposition and requested for the same prayer. RTC denied Gerberts petition contending that Art. 26 (2) applies only to Filipinos and not to aliens. Gerbert appealed by certiorari to the Supreme Court under Rule 45.

ISSUE: Whether the registration of the foreign divorce decree was properly made. HELD: Supreme Court held in the negative. Article 412 of the Civil Code declares that no entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected, without judicial order. The Rules of Court supplements Article 412 of the Civil Code by specifically providing for a special remedial proceeding by which entries in the civil registry may be judicially cancelled or corrected. Rule 108 of the Rules of Court sets in detail the jurisdictional and procedural requirements that must be complied with before a judgment, authorizing the cancellation or correction, may be annotated in the civil registry.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. JULIAN EDWARD EMERSON COSETENG-MAGPAYO FACTS: Born in Makati, Julian Edward Emerson Coseteng Magpayo is the son of Fulvio M.Magpayo Jr. and Anna Dominique Marquez-Lim Coseteng who, as Edward's certificate of livebirth shows, had contracted marriage.Claiming, however, that his parents were never legally married, Edward filed before theRTC of Quezon City a Petition to change his name to Julian Edward Emerson Marquez LimCoseteng. In support of his petition, he submitted a certification from the NSO stating that hismother Anna Dominique "does not appear in National Indices of Marriage." Edward alsosubmitted his academic records from elementary up to college showing that he carried thesurname "Coseteng," and the birth certificate of his child where "Coseteng" appears as hissurname. In the 1998, 2001 and 2004 Elections, respondent ran and was elected as Councilor of Quezon City's 3rd District using the name "JULIAN M.L. COSETENG."No opposition to the petition having been filed, an order of general default was enteredby the trial court which then allowed respondent to present evidence ex parte . The trial court granted Edwards petition and directed the Civil Registrar of Makati City to: (a) delete in theCertificate of live Birth the entry March 26, 1972, for date and place of marriage of parties; (b)correct the entry of the surname from Magpayo to Coseteng; (c) delee the entry Coseteng for middle name; and (d) delete the entry of the name of his father. The Republic, thru the OSGfiled a petition for review before the SC contending that the deletion of the entry on the date andplace of marriage of Edward's parents from his birth certificate has the effect of changing hiscivil status from legitimate to illegitimate, hence, any change in civil status of a person must beeffected through an appropriate adversary proceeding. The Republic adds that by ordering thedeletion of Edwards parents' date of marriage and the name of his father from the entries in hisbirth certificate, the trial court exceeded its jurisdiction, such order not being in accord with Edwards prayer to allow him to change his name. Edward counters that the proceeding beforethe trial court was adversarial in nature and that he complied with Rule 103. ISSUE: a. Whether or not the order of the RTC is correct in allowing Edward to change hisname? b. Whether or not Rule 103 in this case is the proper remedy? c. Whether or not the RTCs order to delete the entry of Edwards parents date of marriage, as well as the name of his father in his Birth Certificate is correct?

RULING: a. A person can effect a change of name under Rule 103 (CHANGE OF NAME) using validand meritorious grounds including (a) when the name is ridiculous, dishonorable or extremely difficult to write or pronounce; (b) when the change results as a legalconsequence such as legitimation; (c) when the change will avoid confusion; (d) whenone has continuously used and been known since childhood by a Filipino name, andwas unaware of alien parentage; (e) a sincere desire to adopt a Filipino name to erasesigns of former alienage, all in good faith and without prejudicing anybody; and (f) whenthe surname causes embarrassment and there is no showing that the desired change of name was for a fraudulent purpose or that the change of name would prejudice publicinterest. Respondent's reason for changing his name cannot be considered as one of, or analogous to, recognized grounds, however. The change being sought in respondent's petition goes so far as to affect his legal status in relation to his parents. It seeks to change his legitimacy to that of illegitimacy. Rule 103 then would not suffice to grant respondent's supplication. b. Since respondent's desired change affects his civil status from legitimate to illegitimate,Rule 108 applies. Rule 108 clearly directs that a petition which concerns one's civilstatus should be filed in the civil registry in which the entry is sought to be cancelled or corrected - that of Makati in the present case, and "all persons who have or claim anyinterest which would be affected thereby" should be made parties to the proceeding. As earlier stated, however, the petition of respondent was filed not in Makatiwhere his birth certificate was registered but in Quezon City. And as the above-mentioned title of the petition filed by respondent before the RTC shows, neither the civilregistrar of Makati nor his father and mother were made parties thereto.The procedure recited in Rule 103 regarding change of name and in Rule 108concerning the cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry are separate anddistinct. They may not be substituted one for the other for the sole purpose of expediency. To hold otherwise would render nugatory the provisions of the Rules of Court allowing the change of one's name or the correction of entries in the civil registryonly upon meritorious grounds. c. Even assuming arguendo that respondent had simultaneously availed of these twostatutory remedies, respondent cannot be said to have sufficiently complied with Rule108. For, as reflected above, aside from improper venue, he failed to implead the civilregistrar of Makati and all affected parties as respondents in the case.Republic v. Labrador mandates that "a petition for a substantial correction or change of entries in the civil registry should have as respondents the civil registrar, aswell as all other persons who have or claim to have any interest that would be affectedthereby." It cannot be gainsaid that change of status of a child in relation to his parents isa substantial correction or change of entry in the civil registry.Labayo-Rowe highlights the necessity of impleading indispensable parties in apetition which involves substantial and controversial alterations.Rule108 clearly mandates two sets of notices to different "potential oppositors."The first notice is that given to the "persons named in the petition" and the second(which is through publication) is that given to other persons who are not named in thepetition but nonetheless may be considered interested or affected parties, such ascreditors.In fine, when a petition for cancellation or correction of an entry in the civilregister involves substantial and controversial alterations including those on citizenship,legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, a strict compliance with therequirements of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court is mandated. the petition is GRANTED and the decision of the RTC of QC is NULLIFIED