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JMM v NLRC (1993)
JMM Promotions & Management, Inc., petitioner, vs.National Labor Relations Commission and Ulpiano L.
De Los Santos, respondents.
Ponente: Cruz, J.
Facts:
1. Following Secs. 4 and 17, Rule II, Book II of the POEA Rules, the petitioner, a recruiting agency, made
the following:
a. Paid the license fee (Sec. 4)
b. Posted a cash bond of 100k and surety bond of 50k(Sec.4)
c. Placed money in escrow worth 200k (Sec. 17)
2. The petitioner wanted to appeal a decision of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration
(POEA) to the respondent NLRC, but the latter dismissed the appeal because of failure of the petitioner to
post an appeal bond required by Sec. 6, Rule V, Book VII of the POEA Rules. The decision being appealed
involved a monetary award.
3. The petitioner contended that its payment of a license fee, posting of cash bond and surety bond, and
placement of money in escrow are enough; posting an appeal bond is unnecessary. According to Sec. 4, the
bonds are posted to answer for all valid and legal claims arising from violations of the conditions for the
grant and use of the license, and/or accreditation and contracts of employment. On the other hand,
according to Sec. 17, the escrow shall answer for valid and legal claims of recruited workers as a result of
recruitment violations or money claims.
4. Sec. 6 reads:
“In case the decision of the Administration involves a monetary award, an appeal by the employer shall be
perfected only upon the posting of a cash or surety bond…”
The bonds required here are different from the bonds required in Sec. 4.
Issue: Was the petitioner still required to post an appeal bond despite the fact that it has posted bonds of 150k
and placed 200k in escrow before?
Held:
Yes. It is possible for the monetary reward in favor of the employee to exceed the amount of 350,000 because
of the stringent requirements posed upon recruiters. The reason for such is that overseas employees are
subjected to greater risks and hence, the money will be used to insure more care on the part of the local
recruiter in its choice of foreign principal to whom the worker will be sent.
Doctrine: Construction:
It is a principle of legal hermeneutics that in interpreting a statute (or a set of rules as in this case), care
should be taken that every part thereof be given effect, on the theory that it was enacted as an integrated
measure and not as a hodge-podge of conflicting provisions. Ut res magis valeat quam pereat. “That the
thing may rather have effect than be destroyed.”
The rule is that a construction that would render a provision inoperative should be avoided; instead,
apparently inconsistent provisions should be reconciled whenever possible as parts of a coordinated and
harmonious whole. With regard to the present case, the doctrine can be applied when the Court found that
Sec. 6 complements Sec. 4 and Sec. 17.
In the POEA Rules, the bonds required in Sec. 4 Rule 2, Book 2 and the escrow required in Sec. 17 Rule 2,
Book 2 have different purposes from the appeal bond required in Sec. 6, Rule 5 Book 7.
The bonds in Sec. 4 are made to answer for all claims against the employer, which is not limited to monetary
awards to employees whose contracts of employment have been violated.
The escrow agreement in Sec. 17 is used only as a last resort in claiming against the employer.
On the other hand, Sec. 6 requires an appeal bond in an amount equivalent to the monetary award. Indeed,
this appeal bond is intended to further insure the payment of the monetary award. Also, it is possible that the
monetary award may exceed the bonds posted previously and the money placed in escrow. If such a case
happens, where will the excess be sourced? To solve such a dilemma, an appeal bond equivalent to the
amount of the monetary award is required by Sec. 6.
Mateo Casela v. Court of Appeals, and Exequiel Magsaysay
Case No. 50
G.R. No. L – 26754 (October 16, 1970)Chapter IV, Page 134, Footnote No.38
FACTS:
Petitioner was ordered, on Oct. 26, 1956, to vacate the premises and remove his house. Petitioner refused to
comply. Thus, the Court issued two more writs on May 6, 1958 and April 14, 1959. Instead of obeying the
writs, the Petitioner filed a case before the Court of First Instance of Zambales, asking Private Respondent to
pay him the value of his house in addition to damages. He also filed a motion for suspension of the
implementation of the writ of execution. The Court granted the motion for suspension but the civil case was
dismissed when it reached Respondent Court. For this reason, Magsaysay filed a motion for execution of the
writ dated Dec. 6, 1963 and another on Feb. 11, 1964. CAR denied the motion holding that its decision dated
Oct. 26, 1956 could no longer be executed on mere motion for the reason that a period of five years has
already elapsed from the said date.
ISSUE:
W/N the motion for execution which was filed beyond the reglementary period was time-barred.
HELD:
No. From Dec. 17, 1956 when the decision in question became final and executory, to Dec. 11, 1963, the date
when Private Respondent’s motion for execution was filed, a period of 6 years, 11 months and 24 days
elapsed. From this period, the time during which the writs of execution could not be served, or a period of 3
years, 9 months and 25 days must be subtracted. Consequently, only 3 years, 1 month and 29 days can be
charged against the reglementary period. Hence Private Respondent’s motion for execution was not time-
barred.
Datu Michael Abas Kida v. Senate of the Philippines
I. THE FACTS
Several laws pertaining to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) were enacted by Congress.
Republic Act (RA) No. 6734 is the organic act that established the ARMM and scheduled the first regular
elections for the ARMM regional officials. RA No. 9054 amended the ARMM Charter and reset the regular
elections for the ARMM regional officials to the second Monday of September 2001.RA No. 9140 further
reset the first regular elections to November 26, 2001.RA No. 9333 resetfor the third time the ARMM
regional elections to the 2
nd
Monday of August 2005 and on the same date every 3 years thereafter.
Pursuant to RA No. 9333,the next ARMM regional elections should have been held on August 8, 2011.
COMELEC had begun preparations for these elections and had accepted certificates of candidacies for the
various regional offices to be elected. But on June 30, 2011,RA No. 10153 was enacted, resetting the next
ARMM regular elections to May 2013 to coincide with the regular national and local elections of the country.
In these consolidated petitions filed directly with the Supreme Court, the petitioners assailedthe
constitutionality of RA No. 10153.
II. THE ISSUES:
1. Does the 1987 Constitution mandate the synchronization of elections [including the ARMM elections]?
2. Does the passage of RA No. 10153 violate the three-readings-on-separate-days rule under Section 26(2),
Article VI of the 1987 Constitution?
3. Is the grant [to the President] of the power to appoint OICs constitutional?
III. THE RULING
[The Supreme Court] DISMISSED the petitions and UPHELD the constitutionality of RA No. 10153 in toto.]
1. YES, the 1987 Constitution mandates the synchronization of elections.
While the Constitution does not expressly state that Congress has to synchronize national and local elections,
the clear intent towards this objective can be gleaned from the Transitory Provisions (Article XVIII) of the
Constitution, which show the extent to which the Constitutional Commission, by deliberately making
adjustments to the terms of the incumbent officials, sought
to attain synchronization of elections. The Constitutional Commission exchanges, read with the provisions of
the Transitory Provisions of the Constitution, all serve as patent indicators of the constitutional mandate to
hold synchronized national and local elections, starting the second Monday of May 1992 and for all the
following elections.
In this case, the ARMM elections, although called “regional” elections, should be included among the
elections to be synchronized as it is a “local” election based on the wording and structure of the Constitution.
Thus, it is clear from the foregoing that the 1987 Constitution mandates the synchronization of elections,
including the ARMM elections.
2. NO, the passage of RA No. 10153 DOES NOT violate the three-readings-on-separate- days requirement in
Section 26(2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.
The general rule that before bills passed by either the House or the Senate can become laws they must pass
through three readings on separate days, is subject to the EXCEPTION when the President certifies to the
necessity of the bill’s immediate enactment. The Court, in Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, explained the
effect of the President’s certification of necessityin the following manner:
The presidential certification dispensed with the requirement not only of printing but also that of reading the
bill on separate days. The phrase "except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate
enactment, etc." in Art. VI, Section 26[2] qualifies the two stated conditions before a bill can become a law: [i]
the bill has passed three readings on separate days and [ii] it has been printed in its final form and distributed
three days before it is finally approved.
In the present case, the records show that the President wrote to the Speaker of the House of Representatives
to certify the necessity of the immediate enactment of a law synchronizing the ARMM elections with the
national and local elections. Following our Tolentino ruling, the President’s certification exempted both the
House and the Senate from having to comply with the three separate readings requirement.
3. YES, the grant [to the President] of the power to appoint OICs in the ARMM is constitutional
[During the oral arguments, the Court identified the three options open to Congress in order to resolve the
problem on who should sit as ARMM officials in the interim [in order to achieve synchronization in the 2013
elections]: (1) allow the [incumbent] elective officials in the ARMM
to remain in office in a hold over capacity until those elected in the synchronized elections assume office; (2)
hold special elections in the ARMM, with the terms of those elected to expire when those elected in the [2013]
synchronized elections assume office; or (3) authorize the President to appoint OICs, [their respective terms
to last also until those elected in the 2013 synchronized elections assume office.]
3.1. 1
st
option: Holdover is unconstitutional since it would extend the terms of office of the incumbent
ARMM officials
We rule out the [hold over] option since it violates Section 8, Article X of the Constitution. This provision
states:
Section 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined by
law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. [emphases
ours]
Since elective ARMM officials are local officials, they are covered and bound by the three-year term limit
prescribed by the Constitution; they cannot extend their term through a holdover. xxx.
If it will be claimed that the holdover period is effectively another term mandated by Congress, the net result
is for Congress to create a new term and to appoint the occupant for the new term. This view – like the
extension of the elective term – is constitutionally infirm because Congress cannot do indirectly what it
cannot do directly, i.e., to act in a way that would effectively extend the term of the incumbents. Indeed, if
acts that cannot be legally done directly can be done indirectly, then all laws would be illusory. Congress
cannot also create a new term and effectively appoint the occupant of the position for the new term. This is
effectively an act of appointment by Congress and an unconstitutional intrusion into the constitutional
appointment power of the President. Hence, holdover – whichever way it is viewed – is a constitutionally
infirm option that Congress could not have undertaken.
Even assuming that holdover is constitutionally permissible, and there had been statutory basis for it (namely
Section 7, Article VII of RA No. 9054) in the past, we have to remember that the rule of holdover can only
apply as an available option where no express or implied legislative intent to the contrary exists; it cannot
apply where such contrary intent is evident.
Congress, in passing RA No. 10153,made it explicitly clear that it had the intention of suppressing the
holdover rule that prevailed under RA No. 9054 by completely removing this provision. The deletion is a
policy decision that is wholly within the discretion of Congress to make in the exercise of its plenary
legislative powers; this Court cannot pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation,
except where an attendant unconstitutionality or grave abuse of discretion results.
3.2. 2
nd
option: Calling special elections is unconstitutional since COMELEC, on its own, has no authority to
order special elections.
The power to fix the date of elections is essentially legislative in nature. [N]o elections may be held on any
other date for the positions of President, Vice President, Members of Congress and local officials, except
when so provided by another Act of Congress, or upon orders of a body or officer to whom Congress may
have delegated either the power or the authority to ascertain or fill in the details in the execution of that
power.
Notably, Congress has acted on the ARMM elections by postponing the scheduled August 2011 elections and
setting another date – May 13, 2011 – for regional elections synchronized with the presidential, congressional
and other local elections. By so doing, Congress itselfhas made a policy decision in the exercise of its
legislative wisdom that it shall not call special elections as an adjustment measure in synchronizing the
ARMM elections with the other elections.
After Congress has so acted, neither the Executive nor the Judiciary can act to the contrary by ordering
special elections instead at the call of the COMELEC. This Court, particularly, cannot make this call without
thereby supplanting the legislative decision and effectively legislating.To be sure, the Court is not without the
power to declare an act of Congress null and void for being unconstitutional or for having been exercised in
grave abuse of discretion. But our power rests on very narrow ground and is merely to annul a contravening
act of Congress; it is not to supplant the decision of Congress nor to mandate what Congress itself should
have done in the exercise of its legislative powers.
Thus, in the same way that the term of elective ARMM officials cannot be extended through a holdover, the
term cannot be shortened by putting an expiration date earlier than the three (3) years that the Constitution
itself commands. This is what will happen – a term of less than two years – if a call for special elections shall
prevail. In sum, while synchronization is achieved, the result is at the cost of a violation of an express
provision of the Constitution.
3.3. 3
rd
option: Grant to the President of the power to appoint ARMM OICs in the interim is valid.
The above considerations leave only Congress’ chosen interim measure – RA No. 10153 and the appointment
by the President of OICs to govern the ARMM during the pre-synchronization period pursuant to Sections 3,
4 and 5 of this law – as the only measure that Congress can make. This choice itself, however, should be
examined for any attendant constitutional infirmity.
At the outset, the power to appoint is essentially executive in nature, and the limitations on or qualifications
to the exercise of this power should be strictly construed; these limitations or
qualifications must be clearly stated in order to be recognized. The appointing power is embodied in Section
16, Article VII of the Constitution, which states:
Section 16. The President shall nominate and, with the consent of the Commission on Appointments, appoint
the heads of the executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls or officers of the
armed forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain, and other officers whose appointments are vested in
him in this Constitution. He shall also appoint all other officers of the Government whose appointments are
not otherwise provided for by law, and those whom he may be authorized by law to appoint. The Congress
may, by law, vest the appointment of other officers lower in rank in the President alone, in the courts, or in
the heads of departments, agencies, commissions, or boards. [emphasis ours]
This provision classifies into four groups the officers that the President can appoint. These are:
First, the heads of the executive departments; ambassadors; other public ministers and consuls; officers of
the Armed Forces of the Philippines, from the rank of colonel or naval captain; and other officers whose
appointments are vested in the President in this Constitution;
Second, all other officers of the government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law;
Third, those whom the President may be authorized by law to appoint; and
Fourth, officers lower in rank whose appointments the Congress may by law vest in the President alone.
Since the President’s authority to appoint OICs emanates from RA No. 10153,it falls under the third group
of officials that the President can appoint pursuant to Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution. Thus, the
assailed law facially rests on clear constitutional basis.
If at all, the gravest challenge posed by the petitions to the authority to appoint OICs under Section 3 of RA
No. 10153 is the assertion that the Constitution requires that the ARMM executive and legislative officials to
be “elective and representative of the constituent political units.” This requirement indeed is an express
limitation whose non-observance in the assailedlaw leaves the appointment of OICs constitutionally
defective.
After fully examining the issue,we hold that this alleged constitutional problem is more apparent than real
and becomes very real only if RA No. 10153 were to be mistakenly read as a law that changes the elective and
representative character of ARMM positions. RA No. 10153,however, does not in any way amend what the
organic law of the ARMM (RA No. 9054)sets outs in terms of structure of governance. What RA No. 10153 in
fact only does is to “appoint officers-in-charge for the Office of the Regional Governor, Regional Vice
Governor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly who shall perform the functions pertaining to
the said offices until the officials duly elected in the May 2013 elections shall have qualified and
assumed office.” This power is far different from appointing elective ARMM officials for the abbreviated
term ending on the assumption to office of the officials elected in the May 2013 elections.
[T]he legal reality is that RA No. 10153 did not amend RA No. 9054.RA No. 10153,in fact, provides only for
synchronization of elections and for the interim measures that must in the meanwhile prevail. And this is how
RA No. 10153 should be read – in the manner it was written and based on its unambiguous facial terms.
Aside from its order for synchronization, it is purely and simply an interim measure responding to the
adjustments that the synchronization
requires.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. L-59154 April 3, 1990
MERIDIAN ASSURANCE CORPORATION, petitioner,
vs.
HON. ABELARDO M. DAYRIT, Judge, CFI, Manila, Br. II, and FIRST WESTERN BANK & TRUST
COMPANY, respondents.
Bito, Lozada, Ortega & Castillo for private respondent.
NARVASA, J.:
The sole issue in this special civil action of certiorari concerns the rate of interest properly imposable in
relation to a judgment for the payment of money: 6% , as provided by Article 2209 of the Civil Code, or 12% ,
conformably with Central Bank Circular been passed upon and resolved No. 416. The issue has already by
this Court in two (2) earlier cases, 1and it is in accordance with those precedents that the case at bar will also
be determined.
The petitioner, Meridian Assurance Corporation, was a defendant in Civil Case No. 62317 of the then Court
of First Instance of Manila, entitled "First Western Bank and Trust Company vs. Atlas Timber Company, et
al." The case resulted in a verdict adverse to the defendants, 2 disposing as follows:
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants, jointly and
severally, for the Sum of $21,933.38 or its equivalent in pesos at the rate of P3.9390 to a dollar, with interest
at the legal rate from the filing of the complaint, and the costs of the suit, provided, however, that this
judgment should not be enforced against the individual partners before the properties of the partnership
have been exhausted.
The Trial Court's judgment was affirmed in toto by the Court of Appeals on October 9, 1980; 3 and the
latter's judgment having in due course become final and executory, the case was reminded to the Court a quo
for execution. Execution was eventually ordered by the Trial Court by Order dated September 8, 1981.
On September 16, 1981, Meridian Assurance Corporation (hereafter, simply Meridian) wrote to the
judgment creditor, First Western Bank & Trust Co. (hereafter, simply First Western), offering to pay the
amount of the judgment with 6% interest per annum and the approved costs of P237.00. The offer was
rejected by First Western, in its letter of September 21, 1981, its view being that the rate of interest should be
12% per annum, in accordance with Central Bank Circular No. 416 dated July 29, 1974. Another exchange of
letters ensued in which the parties stood firm on the views set out in their first communications.
Meridian then filed with the Trial Court a motion dated September 30, 1981, manifesting its deposit with the
Court of the amount of P170,061.03 — representing the total of.(1) P86,395.58 (the peso equivalent at the tune
of the principal indebtedness of $21,933.38), (2) P83,428.45 (the interest on the principal debt at 6% p.a from
August 27, 1965 to September 30, 1981) and (3) costs in the sum of P237.00 — and praying that the deposit be
allowed, that it be considered full satisfaction of the judgment, and that enforcement of the writ of execution
be restrained. The motion was denied by Order dated October 15, 1981, 4 the Trial. Court opining that
Central Bank Circular No. 416 had changed "the legal rate of interest from 6% to 12% per annum." This
ruling the trial Court refused to reconsider, overruling Meridians motion of October 26, 1981 asking it to do
so. Meridian thereupon proceeded to this Court praying for a writ of certiorari to annul the orders denying
its aforementioned motion to deposit, etc. dated September 1981, and to authorize it "to satisfy the amount of
the judgment with 6% interestper annum and the approved costs of P237.00 totalling P170,061.03 . ."
The writ will issue as prayed for. As pointed out in this opinion's opening paragraph, the matter in question
has already been settled in Reformina v. Tomol, Jr. and Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. v. Cruz, supra. 5
The question posed in Reformina was whether or not Circular No. 416 of the Central Bank of the Philippines
6— amending Section 1 of the Usury Law (Act No. 2655) by prescribing twelve percent (12% ) per annum as
the "rate of interest for the loan, or forbearance of any money, goods, or credits and the rate allowed in
judgments, in the absence of express contract as to such rate of interest" . .— applied to "all kinds of
monetary judgment."Reformina held that the "judgments spoken of and referred to are (only) judgments in
litigations involving loans or forbearance of any money, goods or credits." It declared 7that—
. . Any other kind of monetary judgment which has nothing to do with, nor involving loans or forbearance of
any money, goods of credits does not fall within the coverage of the saidlaw (P.D. No. 116) for it is not within
the ambit of the authority granted to the Central Bank. The Monetary Board may not tread on forbidden
grounds. It cannot rewrite other laws. That function is vested solely with the legislative authority. It is
axiomatic in legal hermeneutics that statutes should be construed as a whole and not as series of disconnected
articles and phrases. In the absence of a clear contrary intention, words and phrases in statutes should not be
interpreted in isolation from one another. A word or phrase in a statute is always used in association with
other words or phrases and its meaning may thus be modified of restricted by the latter.
And, as in Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. v. Cruz, supra, there is "no reason to depart or deviate from that
ruling here. It seems quite clear that Section 1-a of Act No. 2655, as amended 8— which, as distinguished
from sec. 1 of the same will appears to be the actual and operative grant of authority to the Monetary Board
of the Central Bank to prescribe maximum rates of interest where the parties have not stipulated thereon —
in excluding mention of rates allowed in judgments, should, at the least, be construed as limiting the authority
thus granted only to loans or forbearances of money, etc., and to judgments involving such loans or
forbearances.
WHEREFORE, the petition is granted. The Orders promulgated on October 15, 1981 and December 2, 1981
are ANNULLED AND SET ASIDE. The petitioner's deposit with the Trial Court of the amount of
P170,061.03 is declared to constitute full satisfaction of the judgment against it, and the Trial Court is
DIRECTED to cause entry of said full satisfaction of judgment, and declare the case closed and terminated as
far as the petitioner is concerned. No Costs.
SO ORDERED.
Cruz, Gancayco, Griño-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.
Socorro Ramirez vs Court of Appeals
Case Digests: Statutory Construction
Socorro Ramirez vs Court of Appeals
248 SCRA 590
G. R. No. 93833
September 25 1995
Facts:
A civil case for damages was filed by petitioner Socorro Ramirez in the RTC of Quezon City alleging that the
private respondent, Ester Garcia, in a confrontation in the latter’s office, allegedly vexed, insulted and
humiliated her in a “hostile and furious mood” and in a manner offensive to petitioner’s dignity and
personality, “contrary to morals, good customs and public policy.”
In support of her claim, petitioner produced a verbatim transcript of the event. The transcript on which the
civil case was based was culled from a tape recording of the confrontation made by petitioner.
As a result of petitioner’s recording of the event and alleging that the said act of secretly taping the
confrontation was illegal, private respondent filed a criminal case before the RTC of Pasay City for violation
of RA 4200, entitled “An Act to Prohibit and Penalize Wiretapping and Other Related Violations of Private
Communication, and Other Purposes.”
Upon arraignment, in lieu of a plea, petitioner filed a Motion to Quash the Information on the ground that
the facts charged do not constitute an offense particularly a violation of RA 4200. The trial court granted the
Motion to Quash, agreeing with petitioner.
From the trial court’s Order, the private respondent filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari with this Court,
which forthwith referred the case to the CA.
Respondent Court of Appeals promulgated its assailed Decision declaring the trial court’s order null and
void.
Issue:
W/N RA 4200 applies to taping of a private conversation by one of the parties to a conversation.
Held:
Legislative intent is determined principally from the language of a statute. Where the language of a statute is
clear and unambiguous, the law is applied according to its express terms, and interpretation would be
resorted to only where a literal interpretation would be either impossible or absurd or would lead to an
injustice.
Section 1 of RA 4200 clearly and unequivocally makes it illegal for any person, not authorized by all parties
to any private communication, to secretly record such communication by means of a tape recorder. The law
makes no distinction as to whether the party sought to be penalized by the statute ought to be a party other
than or different from those involved in the private communication. The statute’s intent to penalize all
persons unauthorized to make such recording is underscored by the use of qualifier “any.” Consequently, as
respondent CA correctly concluded, “even a (person) privy to a communication who records his private
conversation with another without the knowledge of the latter (will) qualify as a violator under this provision
of RA 4200.
The unambiguity of the express words of the provision therefore plainly supports the view held by the
respondent court that the provision seeks to penalize even those privy to the private communications. Where
the law makes no distinctions, one does not distinguish.
Stat Con Principle: Legislative intent is determined principally from the language of the statute.
Legal Maxims: Verba Legis (the statute must be interpretedliterally if the language of the statute is plain and
free from ambiguity)
G.R. No. 170195
March 28, 2011
SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSION and SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, Petitioner,
vs.
TERESA G. FAVILA, Respondent.
Topic: Joint obligation to support
DOCTRINE: A spousewho claims entitlement to death benefits as a primary beneficiary under the Social Security
Law must establish two qualifying factors,to wit: (1) that he/she is the legitimate spouse; and (2) that he/she is
dependent upon the member for support.A person separated de facto from her husband is not a dependent,
unless the contrary is shown.
FACTS:
• January 17, 1970 - Teresa married Florante Favila
• June 30, 1970 - Florante designated Teresita to be his sole beneficiary in SSS
o He likewise named their common children as beneficiaries when they later had children
• Feb 1, 1997 - Florante died; his pension benefits under the SSS were given to their only minor child at
that time, Florante II, but only until his emancipation at age 21
• Teresa then filed claim to the benefits as the surviving legal spouse but was denied by the SSS;SSS
claimed that Teresa was not entitled
o SSS answered that Teresa as guardian was paid a total period of 57 months and that sister of
Florante wrote that Teresa has been separated from Florante because former had an affair with
a married man, have sex 4 times a week and the couple lived together for 10 years only
o Interview of SSS - Teresa did not live with anybody but rumored to have an affair
Ruling of SSS Commission:death benefits dependent on 2 factors(1) legality of the marital relationship;and (2)
dependency for support, which, in SSC’s opinioin,is affected by factors such as separation defacto of the spouses,
marital infidelity and such other grounds sufficientto disinherita spouseunder the law. SSC ruled that she is
disqualified fromclaiming benefits becauseshe is not dependent for supportfrom Florantedue to her marital
infidelity.Also,shehas been separated from Florantefor 17 years before his death. She only contested her non-
entitlement of benefits when the pension was stopped
CA Ruling:found Teresa's petition impressed with merit. It gave weight to the fact that she is a primary beneficiary
because sheis the lawful surviving spouseof Floranteand in addition,shewas designated by Floranteas such
beneficiary.There was no legal separation or annulment of marriagethat could have disqualified her from claiming
the death benefits as her designation as beneficiary had notbeen invalidated by any courtof law.
ISSUE: Is Teresa a primary beneficiary in contemplation of the Social Security Lawas to be entitled to death
benefits accruing fromthe death of Florante?
HELD: NO. CA order set aside.Teresa is not dependent spousewithin the contemplation of the SSL
• Under the SSS Law (RA 1161), the term “dependent” is defined as “xxx; the legitimate spouse dependent
for support upon the employee; xxx”
• In Re: Application for Survivor’s Benefits of Manlavi, a dependent is "one who derives his or her main
support from another [or] relying on, or subject to, someone else for support; not able to exist or sustain
oneself, or to perform anything without the will, power or aid of someone else."
• Likewise under the same law, “beneficiaries”, is defined as: the dependent spouse until he remarries and
dependent children, who shall be the primary beneficiaries. xxx
• For a spouse to qualify as a primary beneficiary the SSS Law he/she must not only be a legitimate spouse
but also a dependent as defined, that is, one who is dependent upon the member for support.
• SC agreed with Teresa that her alleged affair with another man was not sufficiently established and
Florante was actually the one who has a common wife; however, Teresa is still not entitled as she has
been separated in fact from Florante for 17 years prior to his death
• From prevailing jurisprudence: a wife who is already separated de facto from her husband cannot be
said to be ‘dependent for support’ upon the husband, absent any showing to the contrary.
• "[w]hoever claims entitlement to the benefits provided by law should establish his or her right thereto by
substantial evidence” In this case, as held in Aguas, the wife-claimant had the burden to prove that all
the statutory requirements have been complied with, particularly her dependency on her husband at the
time of his death
• Aside from Teresa’s bare allegation that she was dependent upon her husband for support and her
misplaced reliance on the presumption of dependency by reason of her valid and then subsisting
marriage with Florante, Teresa has not presented sufficient evidence to discharge her burden of proving
that she was dependent upon her husband for support at the time of his death. She could have done this
by submitting affidavits of reputable and disinterested persons who have knowledge that during her
separation with Florante, she does not have a known trade, business, profession or lawful occupation
from which she derives income sufficient for her support and such other evidence tending to prove her
claim of dependency.
• Hence, for Teresa’s failure to show that despite their separation she was dependent upon Florante for
support at the time of his death, Teresa cannot qualify as a primary beneficiary. Hence, she is not
entitled to the death benefits accruing on account of Florante’s death.
Globe Mackay Cable vs NLRC
(GR 74156, June 29, 1988)
FACTS:
• Wage Order No. 6, which took effect on October 30, 1984, increased the cost-of-living allowance
(COLA) of nonagricultural workers in the private sector.
• Globe Mackay complied with the said wage order by paying its monthly-paid employees the
mandated P3.00 per day COLA. But, in computing the COLA, Globe Mackay multiplied P3.00 per
day COLA by 22 days, which was the number of working days in the company.
• The Union disagreed with the computation, claiming that the daily COLA should be multiplied by 30
days to arrive at the monthly COLA rate.
• The Union further alleged that before Wage Order No. 6 took effect, the employer had been
computing and paying the monthly COLA based on 30 days per month. This, the Union said, was an
employer practice, which should not be unilaterally withdrawn.
RULING:
• Payment in full by the employer of the COLA before the execution of the Collective Bargaining
Agreement in 1982 and in compliance with Wage Orders Nos. 1 (March 26, 1981) to 5 (June 11, 1984)
should not be construed as constitutive of voluntary employer practice, which cannot later be
unilaterally withdrawn by the employer. To be considered as such, it should have been practiced over
a long period of time and must be shown to have been consistent and deliberate.
• Absent clear administrative guidelines, the employer cannot be faulted for erroneous application of
the law. Payment may be said to have been made by reason of a mistake in the construction or
application of a “doubtful or difficult question of law” (Article 2155, Civil Code, in relation to Article
2154,Civil Code).
• If it is a past error that is being corrected, no vested right may be said to have arisen not any
diminution of benefit under Article 100 of the Labor Code may be said to have resulted by virtue of
the correction.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 109445 November 7, 1994
FELICITO BASBACIO, petitioner,
vs.
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, FRANKLIN DRILON in his capacity as
Secretary of Justice, respondent.
Amparita S. Sta. Maria for petitioner.
MENDOZA, J.:
This case presents for determination the scope of the State's liability under Rep. Act No. 7309, which among
other things provides compensation for persons who are unjustly accused, convicted and imprisoned but on
appeal are acquitted and ordered released.
Petitioner Felicito Basbacio and his son-in-law, Wilfredo Balderrama, were convicted of frustrated murder
and of two counts of frustrated murder for the killing of Federico Boyon and the wounding of the latter's wife
Florida and his son Tirso, at Palo, Calanuga, Rapu-Rapu, Albay, on the night of June 26, 1988. The motive
for the killing was apparently a land dispute between the Boyons and petitioner. Petitioner and his son-in-law
were sentenced to imprisonment and ordered immediately detained after their bonds had been cancelled.
Petitioner and his son-in-law appealed. Only petitioner's appeal proceeded to judgment, however, as the
appeal of the other accused was dismissed for failure to file his brief.
On June 22, 1992 the Court of Appeals rendered a decision acquitting petitioner on the ground that the
prosecution failed to prove conspiracy between him and his son-in-law. He had been pointed to by a daughter
of Federico Boyon as the companion of Balderrama when the latter barged into their hut and without
warning started shooting, but the appellate court ruled that because petitioner did nothing more, petitioner's
presence at the scene of the crime was insufficient to show conspiracy.
Based on his acquittal, petitioner filed a claim under Rep. Act No. 7309, sec. 3(a), which provides for the
payment of compensation to "any person who was unjustly accused, convicted, imprisoned but subsequently
released by virtue of a judgment of acquittal." 1The claim was filed with the Board of Claims of the
Department of Justice, but the claim was denied on the ground that while petitioner's presence at the scene of
the killing was not sufficient to find him guilty beyond reasonable doubt, yet, considering that there was bad
blood between him and the deceased as a result of a land dispute and the fact that the convicted murderer is
his son-in-law, there was basis for finding that he was "probably guilty."
On appeal, respondent Secretary of Justice affirmed the Board's ruling. Said the Secretary of Justice in his
resolution dated March 11, 1993:
It is believed therefore that the phrase "any person . . . unjustly accused, convicted and imprisoned" in
Section 3(a) of R.A. No. 7309 refers to an individual who was wrongly accused and imprisoned for a crime he
did not commit, thereby making him "a victim of unjust imprisonment." In the instant case, however,
Claimant/Appellant cannot be deemed such a victim since a reading of the decision of his acquittal shows that
his exculpation is not based on his innocence, but upon, in effect, a finding of reasonable doubt.
Petitioner brought this petition for review on certiorari. Neither Rule 45 nor Rep. Act No. 7309, however,
provides for review by certiorari of the decisions of the Secretary of Justice. Nonetheless, in view of the
importance of the question tendered, the Court resolved to treat the petition as a special civil action for
certiorari under Rule 65.
Petitioner questions the basis of the respondent's ruling that to be able to recover under sec. 3(a) of the law
the claimant must on appeal be found to be innocent of the crimes of which he was convicted in the trial
court. Through counsel he contends that the language of sec. 3(a) is clear and does not call for interpretation.
The "mere fact that the claimant was imprisoned for a crime which he was subsequently acquitted of is
already unjust in itself," he contends. To deny his claim because he was not declared innocent would be to say
that his imprisonment for two years while his appeal was pending was justified. Petitioner argues that there is
only one requirement for conviction in criminal cases and that is proof beyond reasonable doubt. If the
prosecution fails to present such proof, the presumption that the accused is innocent stands and, therefore,
there is no reason for requiring that he be declared innocent of the crime before he can recover compensation
for his imprisonment.
Petitioner's contention has no merit. It would require that every time an accused is acquitted on appeal he
must be given compensation on the theory that he was "unjustly convicted" by the trial court. Such a reading
of sec. 3(a) is contrary to petitioner's professedcanon of construction that when the language of the statute is
clear it should be given its natural meaning. It leaves out of the provision in question the qualifying word
"unjustly" so that the provision would simply read: "The following may file claims for compensation before
the Board: (a) any person who was accused, convicted, imprisoned but subsequently released by virtue of a
judgment of acquittal."
But sec. 3(a) requires that the claimant be "unjustly accused, convicted [and] imprisoned." The fact that his
conviction is reversed and the accused is acquitted is not itself proof that the previous conviction was
"unjust." An accused may be acquitted for a number of reasons and his conviction by the trial court may, for
any of these reasons, be set aside. For example, he may be acquitted not because he is innocent of the crime
charged but because of reasonable doubt, in which case he may be found civilly liable to the complainant,
because while the evidence against him does not satisfy the quantum of proof required for conviction, it may
nonetheless be sufficient to sustain a civil action for damages.2In one case the accused, an alien, was acquitted
of statutory rape with homicide because of doubt as to the ages of the offended parties who consented to have
sex with him. Nonetheless the accused was ordered to pay moral and exemplary damages and ordered
deported. 3In such a case to pay the accused compensation for having been "unjustly convicted" by the trial
court would be utterly inconsistent with his liability to the complainant. Yet to follow petitioner's theory such
an accused would be entitled to compensation under sec. 3(a).
The truth is that the presumption of innocence has never been intended as evidence of innocence of the
accused but only to shift the burden of proof that he is guilty to the prosecution. If "accusation is not
synonymous with guilt,"4so is the presumption of innocence not a proof thereof. It is one thing to say that the
accused is presumed to be innocent in order to place on the prosecution the burden of proving beyond
reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty. It is quite another thing to say that he is innocent and if he is
convicted that he has been "unjustly convicted." As this Court held in a case:
Though we are acquitting the appellant for the crime of rape with homicide, we emphasize that we are not
ruling that he is innocent or blameless. It is only the constitutional presumption of innocence and the failure
of the prosecution to build an airtight case for conviction which saved him, not that the facts of unlawful
conduct do not exist.5
To say then that an accused has been "unjustly convicted" has to do with the manner of his conviction rather
than with his innocence. An accused may on appeal be acquitted because he did not commit the crime, but
that does
not necessarily mean that he is entitled to compensation for having been the victim of an "unjust conviction."
If his conviction was due to an error in the appreciation of the evidence the conviction while erroneous is not
unjust. That is why it is not, on the other hand, correct to say as does respondent, that under the law liability
for compensation depends entirely on the innocence of the accused.
The phrase "unjustly convicted" has the same meaning as "knowingly rendering an unjust judgment" in art.
204 of the Revised Penal Code. What this Court held in In re Rafael C. Climaco 6applies:
In order that a judge may be held liable for knowingly rendering an unjust judgment, it must be shown
beyond doubt that the judgment is unjust as it is contrary to law or is not supported by the evidence, and the
same was made with conscious and deliberate intent to do an injustice . . . .
To hold a judge liable for the rendition of manifestly unjust judgment by reason of inexcusable negligence or
ignorance, it must be shown, according to Groizard, that although he has acted without malice, he failed to
observe in the performance of his duty, that diligence, prudence and care which the law is entitled to exact in
the rendering of any public service. Negligence and ignorance are inexcusable if they imply a manifest
injustice which cannot be explained by a reasonable interpretation. Inexcusable mistake only exists in the
legal concept when it implies a manifest injustice, that is to say, such injustice which cannot be explained by a
reasonable interpretation, even though there is a misunderstanding or error of the law applied, yet in the
contrary it results, logically and reasonably, and in a very clear and indis putable manner, in the notorious
violation of the legal precept.
Indeed, sec. 3(a) does not refer solely to an unjust conviction as a result of which the accused is unjustly
imprisoned, but, in addition, to an unjust accusation. The accused must have been "unjustly accused, in
consequence of which he is unjustly convicted and then imprisoned. It is important to note this because if
from its inception the prosecution of the accused has been wrongful, his conviction by the court is, in all
probability, also wrongful. Conversely, if the prosecution is not malicious any conviction even though based
on less than the required quantum of proof in criminal cases may be erroneous but not necessarilyunjust.
The reason is that under Rule 112, sec. 4, the question for the prosecutor in filing a case in court is not
whether the accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt but only whether "there is reasonable ground to
believe that a crime has been committed and the accused is probably guilty thereof." Hence, an accusation
which is based on "probable guilt" is not an unjust accusation and a conviction based on such degree of proof
is not necessarily an unjust judgment but only an erroneous one. The remedy for such error is appeal.
In the case at bar there is absolutely no evidence to show that petitioner's conviction by the trial court was
wrongful or that it was the product of malice or gross ignorance or gross negligence. To the contrary, the
court had reason to believe that petitioner and his co-accused were in league, because petitioner is the father-
in-law of Wilfredo Balderrama and it was petitioner who bore the victim a grudge because of a land dispute.
Not only that. Petitioner and his coaccused arrived together in the hut of the victims and forced their way into
it.
The Court of Appeals ruled there was no conspiracy only because there was no proof that he did or say
anything on the occasion. Said the appellate court.
Both eyewitness testimonies fail to show the appellant Felicito Basbacio to have committed any act at all. Both
fail to show Felicito Basbacio as having said anything at all. Both fail to show Felicito Basbacio as having
committed anything in furtherance of a conspiracy to commit the crimes charged against the defendants. It
seems to be a frail and flimsy basis on which to conclude that conspiracy existed between actual killer
Wilfredo Balderrama and Felicito Basbacio to commit murder and two frustrated murders on that night of
June 26, 1988. It may be asked: where was the coming together of the two defendants to an agreement to
commit the crimes of murder and frustrated murder on two counts? Where was Basbacio's contribution to
the commission of the said crimes? Basbacio was — as the record shows — nothing but part of the dark
shadows of that night. . . .
One may take issue with this ruling because precisely conspiracy may be shown by concert of action and
other circumstances. Why was petitioner with his son-in-law? Why did they apparently flee together? And
what about the fact that there was bad blood between petitioner and the victim Federico Boyon? These
questions may no longer be passed upon in view of the acquittal of petitioner but they are relevant in
evaluating his claim that he had been unjustly accused, convicted and imprisoned before he was released
because of his acquittal on appeal. We hold that in view of these circumstances respondent Secretary of
Justice and the Board of Claims did not commit a grave abuse of its discretion in disallowing petitioner's
claim for compensation under Rep. Act No. 7309.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.
Comendador v De Villa 200 SCRA 80 (1991)
Facts: This is a consolidated case of members of the AFP who were charged with violation of Articles of War
(AW) 67 (Mutiny), AW 96 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman) and AW 94 (Various Crimes)
in relation to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code (Murder). The petitioners were questioning the conduct
of the pre-trial investigation conducted where a motion to bail was filed but was denied. Petitioner applied for
provisional liberty and preliminary injunction before the court which was granted. However De Villa refused
to release petitioner for provisional liberty pending the resolution of the appeal they have taken before the
court invoking that military officers are an exemption from the right to bail guaranteed by the Constitution.
Decision was rendered reiterating the release for provisional liberty of petitioners with the court stating that
there is a mistake in the presumption of respondents that bail does not apply among military men facing
court martial proceeding. Respondents now appeal before the higher court.
Issue: Whether or not military men are exempted from the Constitutional guarantee on the right to bail.
Cases on constitutional law (Philippine casebook series)
A historical and juridical study of the Philippine Bill of rights
Held: The SC ruled that the bail invoked by petitioners is not available in the military as an exception to the
general rule embodied in the Bill of Rights. Thus the right to a speedy trial is given more emphasis in the
military where the right to bail does not exist. Justification to this rule involves the unique structure of the
military and national security considerations which may result to damaging precedents that mutinous
soldiers will be released on provisional liberty giving them the chance to continue their plot in overthrowing
the government. Therefore the decision of the lower court granting bail to the petitioners was reversed.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
G.R. No. 78687 January 31, 1989
ELENA SALENILLAS AND BERNARDINO SALENILLAS, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and HONORABLE RAYMUNDO SEVA, JUDGE OF BRANCH 38
OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF CAMARINES NORTE and WILLIAM GUERRA, respondents.
Jose L. Lapak for petitioners.
Jose T. Atienza for private respondent.
SARMIENTO, J.:
This petition for review on certiorari which seeks the reversal and setting aside of the decision 1 of the Court
of Appeals 2dismissing the petition for certiorari against Judge Raymundo Seva of the Regional Trial Court
of Camarines Norte and the private respondent, William Guerra, involves a pure question of law i.e., the
coverage and application of Section 119 of Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended, known otherwise as the
Public Land Act.
The facts are undisputed.
The property subject matter of the case was formerly covered by Original Certificate of Title No. P-1248,
issued by virtue of Free Patent Application No. 192765, in favor of the spouses, Florencia H. de Enciso and
Miguel Enciso. The said original certificate of title was inscribed in the Registration Book for the Province of
Camarines Norte on December 10, 1961. On February 28, 1970, the patentees, the Enciso spouses, by an
Absolute Deed of Sale, sold the property in favor of the petitioners, the spouses Elena Salenillas and
Bernardino Salenillas for a consideration of P900.00. Petitioner Elena Salenillas is a daughter of the Encisos.
As a result of the aforementioned sale, Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-8104 of the Register of Deeds of
Camarines Norte was issuedin the name of the Salenillas, cancelling Original Certificate of Title No. P-1248.
On June 30, 1971, the petitioners mortgaged the property now covered by T.C.T. No. T-8104 with the Rural
Bank of Daet, Inc. The mortgage was subsequently released on November 22, 1973 after the petitioners paid
the amount of P1,000.00. Later, or on December 4, 1975, the petitioners again mortgaged the property, this
time in favor of the Philippine National Bank Branch, Daet, Camarines Norte as security for a loan of
P2,500.00.
For failure of the petitioners to pay their loan, extrajudicial foreclosure proceeding, pursuant to Act No. 3135,
was instituted by the Philippine National Bank against the mortgage and the property was sold at a public
auction held on February 27, 1981. The private respondent, William Guerra, emerged as the highest bidder
in the said public auction and as a result thereof a "Certificate of Sale" was issued to him by the Ex Officio
Provincial Sheriff of Camarines Norte. Ultimately, on July 12, 1983, a "Sheriff's Final Deed" was executed in
favor of the private respondent.
On August 17,1983, the Philippine National Bank filed with the Regional Trial Court of Camarines Norte at
Daet, a motion for a writ of possession. The public respondent, Judge Raymundo Seva of the trial court,
acting on the motion, issued on September 22, 1983 an order for the issuance of a writ of possession in favor
of the private respondent. When the deputy sheriff of Camarines Norte however, attempted on November 17,
1983, to place the property in the possession of the private respondent, the petitioners refused to vacate and
surrender the possession of the same and instead offered to repurchase it under Section 119 of the Public
Land Act. On August 15, 1984, another motion, this time for the issuance of an alias writ of possession was
filed by the private respondent with the trial court. The petitioners, on August 31, 1984, opposed the private
respondents' motion and instead made a formal offer to repurchase the property. Notwithstanding the
petitioners' opposition and formal offer, the trial court judge on October 12, 1984 issued the alias writ of
possession prayed for the private respondent. The petitioners moved for a reconsideration of the order but
their motion was denied.
Undeterred by their initial setback, the petitioners elevated the case to the respondent Court of Appeals by
way of a petition for certiorari claiming that the respondent trial court judge acted with grave abuse of
discretion in issuing the order dated October 12, 1984 granting the writ of possession, and the order dated
October 22, 1984,denying their motion for reconsider consideration.
In a resolution dated January 23, 1985, the respondent appellate court gave due course to the petition;
required the parties to submit simultaneous memoranda in support to their respective positions; and
restrained the trial court and the private respondent from executing, implementing or otherwise giving effect
to the assailed writ of possession until further orders from the court. 3 However, in a decision promulgated on
September 17, 1986, the respondent Court of Appeals dismissed the case for lack of merit. According to the
appellate court:
It must be noted that when the original owner, Florencia H. Enciso whose title, OCT No. P-1248, was issued
on August 9, 1961, executed a deed of absolute sale on February 28, 1970 of the property covered by said title
to spouses Elena Salenillas and Bernardino Salenillas, the five year period to repurchase the property
provided for in Section 119 of Commonwealth Act No. 141 as amended could have already started. Prom this
fact alone, the petition should have been dismissed. However, granting that the transfer from parent to child
for a nominal sum may not be the "conveyance" contemplated by the law. We will rule on the issue raised by
the petitioners. 4
xxx xxx xxx
Applying the case of Monge, et al. vs. Angeles, et al.,5 the appellate court went on to hold that the five-year
period of the petitioners to repurchase under Section 119 of the Public Land Act had already prescribed. The
point of reckoning, ruled the respondent court in consonance with Monge is from the date the petitioners
mortgaged the property on December 4, 1973. Thus, when the petitioners made their formal offer to
repurchase on August 31, 1984,the period had clearly expired.
In an effort to still overturn the decision, the petitioners moved for reconsideration. Their motion apparently
went for naught because on May 7, 1987, the respondent appellate court resolved to deny the same. Hence,
this petition.
Before us, the petitioners maintain that contrary to the rulings of the courts below, their right to repurchase
within five years under Section 119 of the Public Land Act has not yet prescribed. To support their
contention, the petitioners cite the cases of Paras vs. Court of Appeals 6 and Manuel vs. Philippine National
Bank, et al.7
On the other side, the private respondent, in support of the appellate court's decision, states that the sale of
the contested property by the patentees to the petitioners disqualified the latter from being legal heirs vis-a-
vis the said property. As such, they (the petitioners) no longer enjoy the right granted to heirs under the
provisions of Section 119 of the Public Land Act. 8
In fine, what need be determined and resolved here are: whether or not the petitioners have the right to
repurchase the contested property under Section 119 of the Public Land Act; and assuming the answer to the
question is in the affirmative, whether or not their right to repurchase had already prescribed.
We rule for the petitioners. They are granted by the law the right to repurchase their property and their right
to do so subsists.
Section 119 of the Public Land Act, as amended, provides in full:
Sec. 119. Every conveyance of land acquired under the free patent or homestead provisions, when proper,
shall be subject to repurchase by the applicant, his widow, or legal heirs within a period of five years from the
date of the conveyance.
From the foregoing legal provision, it is explicit that only three classes of persons are bestowed the right to
repurchase — the applicant-patentee, his widow, or other legal heirs. Consequently, the contention of the
private respondent sustained by the respondent appellate court that the petitioners do not belong to any of
those classes of repurchasers because they acquired the property not through inheritance but by sale, has no
legal basis. The petitioners-spouses are the daughter and son-in-law of the Encisos, patentees of the contested
property. At the very least, petitioner Elena Salenillas, being a child of the Encisos, is a "legal heir" of the
latter. As such, and even on this score alone, she may therefore validly repurchase. This must be so because
Section 119 of the Public Land Act, in speaking of "legal heirs," makes no distinction. Ubi lex non distinguit
nec nos distinguere debemos.
Moreover, to indorse the distinction made by the private respondent and the appellate court would be to
contravene the very purpose of Section 119 of the Public Land Act which is to give the homesteader or
patentee every chance to preserve for himself and his family the land that the State had gratuitously given
him as a reward for his labor in clearing and cultivating it. 9 Considering that petitioner Salenillas is a
daughter of the spouses Florencia H. Enciso and Miguel Enciso, there is no gainsaying that allowing her
(Elena) and her husband to repurchase the property would be more in keeping with the spirit of the law. We
have time and again said that between two statutory interpretations, that which better serves the purpose of
the law should prevail.
Guided by the same purpose of the law, and proceeding to the other issue here raised, we rule that the five-
year period for the petitioners to repurchase their property had not yet prescribed.
The case of Monge et al. vs. Angeles, et al.,10 cited as authority by the respondent Court of Appeals is
inapplicable to the present controversy. The facts obtaining there are substantially different from those in
this case. In Monge the conveyance involved was a pacto de retro sale and not a foreclosure sale. More
importantly, the question raised there was whether the five-year period provided for in Section 119 "should
be counted from the date of the sale even if the same is with an option to repurchase or from the date the
ownership of the land has become consolidated in favor of the purchaser because of the homesteader's failure
to redeem it. 11 It is therefore understandable why the Court ruled there as it did. A sale on pacto de retro
immediately vests title, ownership, and, generally possession over the property on the vendee a retro, subject
only to the right of the vendor a retro to repurchase within the stipulated period. It is an absolute sale with a
resolutory condition.
The cases 12 pointed to by the petitioner in support of their position, on the other hand, present facts that are
quite identical to those in the case at bar. Both cases involved properties the titles over which were obtained
either through homestead or free patent. These properties were mortgaged to a bank as collateral for loans,
and, upon failure of the owners to pay their indebtedness, the mortgages were foreclosed. In both instances,
the Court ruled that the five-year period to. repurchase a homestead sold at public auction or foreclosure sale
under Act 3135 begins on the day after the expiration of the period of redemption when the deed of absolute
sale is executed thereby formally transferring the property to the purchaser, and not otherwise. Taking into
account that the mortgage was foreclosed and the mortgaged property sold at a public auction to the private
respondent on February 27, 1981, with the "Sheriff's Final Deed" issued on July 12, 1983, the two offers of
the petitioners to repurchase the first on November 17, 1983, and the second, formally, on August 31, 1984
were both made within the prescribed five-year period.
Now, as regards the redemption price, applying Sec. 30 of Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court, the
petitioners should reimburse the private respondent the amount of the purchase price at the public auction
plus interest at the rate of one per centum per month up to November 17, 1983, together with the amounts of
assessments and taxes on the property that the private respondent might have paid after purchase and
interest on the last named amount at the same rate as that on the purchase price. 13
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated September 17, 1986, and the Resolution dated
May 7, 1987 of the Court of Appeals, and the Orders dated September 22, 1983, October 12, 1984, and
October 22, 1984 of the Regional Trial Court of Daet, Camarines Norte, are hereby REVERSED and SET
ASIDE, and another one ENTERED directing the private respondent to reconvey the subject property and to
execute the corresponding deed of reconveyance therefor in favor of the petitioners upon the return to him by
the latter of the purchase price and the amounts, if any, of assessments or taxes he paid plus interest of one
(1% )per centum per month on both amounts up to November 17, 1983.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.

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238103493 stat con-cases-set

  • 1. Get Homework/Assignment Done Homeworkping.com Homework Help https://www.homeworkping.com/ Research Paper help https://www.homeworkping.com/ Online Tutoring https://www.homeworkping.com/ click here for freelancing tutoring sites JMM v NLRC (1993) JMM Promotions & Management, Inc., petitioner, vs.National Labor Relations Commission and Ulpiano L. De Los Santos, respondents. Ponente: Cruz, J. Facts: 1. Following Secs. 4 and 17, Rule II, Book II of the POEA Rules, the petitioner, a recruiting agency, made the following: a. Paid the license fee (Sec. 4) b. Posted a cash bond of 100k and surety bond of 50k(Sec.4) c. Placed money in escrow worth 200k (Sec. 17) 2. The petitioner wanted to appeal a decision of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to the respondent NLRC, but the latter dismissed the appeal because of failure of the petitioner to post an appeal bond required by Sec. 6, Rule V, Book VII of the POEA Rules. The decision being appealed involved a monetary award. 3. The petitioner contended that its payment of a license fee, posting of cash bond and surety bond, and placement of money in escrow are enough; posting an appeal bond is unnecessary. According to Sec. 4, the bonds are posted to answer for all valid and legal claims arising from violations of the conditions for the grant and use of the license, and/or accreditation and contracts of employment. On the other hand, according to Sec. 17, the escrow shall answer for valid and legal claims of recruited workers as a result of recruitment violations or money claims. 4. Sec. 6 reads: “In case the decision of the Administration involves a monetary award, an appeal by the employer shall be perfected only upon the posting of a cash or surety bond…” The bonds required here are different from the bonds required in Sec. 4. Issue: Was the petitioner still required to post an appeal bond despite the fact that it has posted bonds of 150k and placed 200k in escrow before?
  • 2. Held: Yes. It is possible for the monetary reward in favor of the employee to exceed the amount of 350,000 because of the stringent requirements posed upon recruiters. The reason for such is that overseas employees are subjected to greater risks and hence, the money will be used to insure more care on the part of the local recruiter in its choice of foreign principal to whom the worker will be sent. Doctrine: Construction: It is a principle of legal hermeneutics that in interpreting a statute (or a set of rules as in this case), care should be taken that every part thereof be given effect, on the theory that it was enacted as an integrated measure and not as a hodge-podge of conflicting provisions. Ut res magis valeat quam pereat. “That the thing may rather have effect than be destroyed.” The rule is that a construction that would render a provision inoperative should be avoided; instead, apparently inconsistent provisions should be reconciled whenever possible as parts of a coordinated and harmonious whole. With regard to the present case, the doctrine can be applied when the Court found that Sec. 6 complements Sec. 4 and Sec. 17. In the POEA Rules, the bonds required in Sec. 4 Rule 2, Book 2 and the escrow required in Sec. 17 Rule 2, Book 2 have different purposes from the appeal bond required in Sec. 6, Rule 5 Book 7. The bonds in Sec. 4 are made to answer for all claims against the employer, which is not limited to monetary awards to employees whose contracts of employment have been violated. The escrow agreement in Sec. 17 is used only as a last resort in claiming against the employer. On the other hand, Sec. 6 requires an appeal bond in an amount equivalent to the monetary award. Indeed, this appeal bond is intended to further insure the payment of the monetary award. Also, it is possible that the monetary award may exceed the bonds posted previously and the money placed in escrow. If such a case happens, where will the excess be sourced? To solve such a dilemma, an appeal bond equivalent to the amount of the monetary award is required by Sec. 6. Mateo Casela v. Court of Appeals, and Exequiel Magsaysay Case No. 50 G.R. No. L – 26754 (October 16, 1970)Chapter IV, Page 134, Footnote No.38 FACTS: Petitioner was ordered, on Oct. 26, 1956, to vacate the premises and remove his house. Petitioner refused to comply. Thus, the Court issued two more writs on May 6, 1958 and April 14, 1959. Instead of obeying the writs, the Petitioner filed a case before the Court of First Instance of Zambales, asking Private Respondent to pay him the value of his house in addition to damages. He also filed a motion for suspension of the implementation of the writ of execution. The Court granted the motion for suspension but the civil case was dismissed when it reached Respondent Court. For this reason, Magsaysay filed a motion for execution of the writ dated Dec. 6, 1963 and another on Feb. 11, 1964. CAR denied the motion holding that its decision dated Oct. 26, 1956 could no longer be executed on mere motion for the reason that a period of five years has already elapsed from the said date. ISSUE: W/N the motion for execution which was filed beyond the reglementary period was time-barred. HELD: No. From Dec. 17, 1956 when the decision in question became final and executory, to Dec. 11, 1963, the date when Private Respondent’s motion for execution was filed, a period of 6 years, 11 months and 24 days elapsed. From this period, the time during which the writs of execution could not be served, or a period of 3 years, 9 months and 25 days must be subtracted. Consequently, only 3 years, 1 month and 29 days can be
  • 3. charged against the reglementary period. Hence Private Respondent’s motion for execution was not time- barred. Datu Michael Abas Kida v. Senate of the Philippines I. THE FACTS Several laws pertaining to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) were enacted by Congress. Republic Act (RA) No. 6734 is the organic act that established the ARMM and scheduled the first regular elections for the ARMM regional officials. RA No. 9054 amended the ARMM Charter and reset the regular elections for the ARMM regional officials to the second Monday of September 2001.RA No. 9140 further reset the first regular elections to November 26, 2001.RA No. 9333 resetfor the third time the ARMM regional elections to the 2 nd Monday of August 2005 and on the same date every 3 years thereafter. Pursuant to RA No. 9333,the next ARMM regional elections should have been held on August 8, 2011. COMELEC had begun preparations for these elections and had accepted certificates of candidacies for the various regional offices to be elected. But on June 30, 2011,RA No. 10153 was enacted, resetting the next ARMM regular elections to May 2013 to coincide with the regular national and local elections of the country. In these consolidated petitions filed directly with the Supreme Court, the petitioners assailedthe constitutionality of RA No. 10153. II. THE ISSUES:
  • 4. 1. Does the 1987 Constitution mandate the synchronization of elections [including the ARMM elections]? 2. Does the passage of RA No. 10153 violate the three-readings-on-separate-days rule under Section 26(2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution? 3. Is the grant [to the President] of the power to appoint OICs constitutional? III. THE RULING [The Supreme Court] DISMISSED the petitions and UPHELD the constitutionality of RA No. 10153 in toto.] 1. YES, the 1987 Constitution mandates the synchronization of elections. While the Constitution does not expressly state that Congress has to synchronize national and local elections, the clear intent towards this objective can be gleaned from the Transitory Provisions (Article XVIII) of the Constitution, which show the extent to which the Constitutional Commission, by deliberately making adjustments to the terms of the incumbent officials, sought to attain synchronization of elections. The Constitutional Commission exchanges, read with the provisions of the Transitory Provisions of the Constitution, all serve as patent indicators of the constitutional mandate to hold synchronized national and local elections, starting the second Monday of May 1992 and for all the following elections. In this case, the ARMM elections, although called “regional” elections, should be included among the elections to be synchronized as it is a “local” election based on the wording and structure of the Constitution. Thus, it is clear from the foregoing that the 1987 Constitution mandates the synchronization of elections, including the ARMM elections. 2. NO, the passage of RA No. 10153 DOES NOT violate the three-readings-on-separate- days requirement in Section 26(2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. The general rule that before bills passed by either the House or the Senate can become laws they must pass through three readings on separate days, is subject to the EXCEPTION when the President certifies to the necessity of the bill’s immediate enactment. The Court, in Tolentino v. Secretary of Finance, explained the effect of the President’s certification of necessityin the following manner: The presidential certification dispensed with the requirement not only of printing but also that of reading the bill on separate days. The phrase "except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment, etc." in Art. VI, Section 26[2] qualifies the two stated conditions before a bill can become a law: [i] the bill has passed three readings on separate days and [ii] it has been printed in its final form and distributed three days before it is finally approved. In the present case, the records show that the President wrote to the Speaker of the House of Representatives to certify the necessity of the immediate enactment of a law synchronizing the ARMM elections with the national and local elections. Following our Tolentino ruling, the President’s certification exempted both the House and the Senate from having to comply with the three separate readings requirement. 3. YES, the grant [to the President] of the power to appoint OICs in the ARMM is constitutional [During the oral arguments, the Court identified the three options open to Congress in order to resolve the problem on who should sit as ARMM officials in the interim [in order to achieve synchronization in the 2013 elections]: (1) allow the [incumbent] elective officials in the ARMM to remain in office in a hold over capacity until those elected in the synchronized elections assume office; (2) hold special elections in the ARMM, with the terms of those elected to expire when those elected in the [2013]
  • 5. synchronized elections assume office; or (3) authorize the President to appoint OICs, [their respective terms to last also until those elected in the 2013 synchronized elections assume office.] 3.1. 1 st option: Holdover is unconstitutional since it would extend the terms of office of the incumbent ARMM officials We rule out the [hold over] option since it violates Section 8, Article X of the Constitution. This provision states: Section 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay officials, which shall be determined by law, shall be three years and no such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. [emphases ours] Since elective ARMM officials are local officials, they are covered and bound by the three-year term limit prescribed by the Constitution; they cannot extend their term through a holdover. xxx. If it will be claimed that the holdover period is effectively another term mandated by Congress, the net result is for Congress to create a new term and to appoint the occupant for the new term. This view – like the extension of the elective term – is constitutionally infirm because Congress cannot do indirectly what it cannot do directly, i.e., to act in a way that would effectively extend the term of the incumbents. Indeed, if acts that cannot be legally done directly can be done indirectly, then all laws would be illusory. Congress cannot also create a new term and effectively appoint the occupant of the position for the new term. This is effectively an act of appointment by Congress and an unconstitutional intrusion into the constitutional appointment power of the President. Hence, holdover – whichever way it is viewed – is a constitutionally infirm option that Congress could not have undertaken. Even assuming that holdover is constitutionally permissible, and there had been statutory basis for it (namely Section 7, Article VII of RA No. 9054) in the past, we have to remember that the rule of holdover can only apply as an available option where no express or implied legislative intent to the contrary exists; it cannot apply where such contrary intent is evident. Congress, in passing RA No. 10153,made it explicitly clear that it had the intention of suppressing the holdover rule that prevailed under RA No. 9054 by completely removing this provision. The deletion is a policy decision that is wholly within the discretion of Congress to make in the exercise of its plenary legislative powers; this Court cannot pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation, except where an attendant unconstitutionality or grave abuse of discretion results. 3.2. 2 nd option: Calling special elections is unconstitutional since COMELEC, on its own, has no authority to order special elections. The power to fix the date of elections is essentially legislative in nature. [N]o elections may be held on any other date for the positions of President, Vice President, Members of Congress and local officials, except when so provided by another Act of Congress, or upon orders of a body or officer to whom Congress may have delegated either the power or the authority to ascertain or fill in the details in the execution of that power. Notably, Congress has acted on the ARMM elections by postponing the scheduled August 2011 elections and setting another date – May 13, 2011 – for regional elections synchronized with the presidential, congressional and other local elections. By so doing, Congress itselfhas made a policy decision in the exercise of its legislative wisdom that it shall not call special elections as an adjustment measure in synchronizing the ARMM elections with the other elections. After Congress has so acted, neither the Executive nor the Judiciary can act to the contrary by ordering special elections instead at the call of the COMELEC. This Court, particularly, cannot make this call without
  • 6. thereby supplanting the legislative decision and effectively legislating.To be sure, the Court is not without the power to declare an act of Congress null and void for being unconstitutional or for having been exercised in grave abuse of discretion. But our power rests on very narrow ground and is merely to annul a contravening act of Congress; it is not to supplant the decision of Congress nor to mandate what Congress itself should have done in the exercise of its legislative powers. Thus, in the same way that the term of elective ARMM officials cannot be extended through a holdover, the term cannot be shortened by putting an expiration date earlier than the three (3) years that the Constitution itself commands. This is what will happen – a term of less than two years – if a call for special elections shall prevail. In sum, while synchronization is achieved, the result is at the cost of a violation of an express provision of the Constitution. 3.3. 3 rd option: Grant to the President of the power to appoint ARMM OICs in the interim is valid. The above considerations leave only Congress’ chosen interim measure – RA No. 10153 and the appointment by the President of OICs to govern the ARMM during the pre-synchronization period pursuant to Sections 3, 4 and 5 of this law – as the only measure that Congress can make. This choice itself, however, should be examined for any attendant constitutional infirmity. At the outset, the power to appoint is essentially executive in nature, and the limitations on or qualifications to the exercise of this power should be strictly construed; these limitations or qualifications must be clearly stated in order to be recognized. The appointing power is embodied in Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution, which states: Section 16. The President shall nominate and, with the consent of the Commission on Appointments, appoint the heads of the executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls or officers of the armed forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain, and other officers whose appointments are vested in him in this Constitution. He shall also appoint all other officers of the Government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law, and those whom he may be authorized by law to appoint. The Congress may, by law, vest the appointment of other officers lower in rank in the President alone, in the courts, or in the heads of departments, agencies, commissions, or boards. [emphasis ours] This provision classifies into four groups the officers that the President can appoint. These are: First, the heads of the executive departments; ambassadors; other public ministers and consuls; officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, from the rank of colonel or naval captain; and other officers whose appointments are vested in the President in this Constitution; Second, all other officers of the government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law; Third, those whom the President may be authorized by law to appoint; and Fourth, officers lower in rank whose appointments the Congress may by law vest in the President alone. Since the President’s authority to appoint OICs emanates from RA No. 10153,it falls under the third group of officials that the President can appoint pursuant to Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution. Thus, the assailed law facially rests on clear constitutional basis. If at all, the gravest challenge posed by the petitions to the authority to appoint OICs under Section 3 of RA No. 10153 is the assertion that the Constitution requires that the ARMM executive and legislative officials to be “elective and representative of the constituent political units.” This requirement indeed is an express limitation whose non-observance in the assailedlaw leaves the appointment of OICs constitutionally defective. After fully examining the issue,we hold that this alleged constitutional problem is more apparent than real and becomes very real only if RA No. 10153 were to be mistakenly read as a law that changes the elective and
  • 7. representative character of ARMM positions. RA No. 10153,however, does not in any way amend what the organic law of the ARMM (RA No. 9054)sets outs in terms of structure of governance. What RA No. 10153 in fact only does is to “appoint officers-in-charge for the Office of the Regional Governor, Regional Vice Governor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly who shall perform the functions pertaining to the said offices until the officials duly elected in the May 2013 elections shall have qualified and assumed office.” This power is far different from appointing elective ARMM officials for the abbreviated term ending on the assumption to office of the officials elected in the May 2013 elections. [T]he legal reality is that RA No. 10153 did not amend RA No. 9054.RA No. 10153,in fact, provides only for synchronization of elections and for the interim measures that must in the meanwhile prevail. And this is how RA No. 10153 should be read – in the manner it was written and based on its unambiguous facial terms. Aside from its order for synchronization, it is purely and simply an interim measure responding to the adjustments that the synchronization requires. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G.R. No. L-59154 April 3, 1990
  • 8. MERIDIAN ASSURANCE CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. HON. ABELARDO M. DAYRIT, Judge, CFI, Manila, Br. II, and FIRST WESTERN BANK & TRUST COMPANY, respondents. Bito, Lozada, Ortega & Castillo for private respondent. NARVASA, J.: The sole issue in this special civil action of certiorari concerns the rate of interest properly imposable in relation to a judgment for the payment of money: 6% , as provided by Article 2209 of the Civil Code, or 12% , conformably with Central Bank Circular been passed upon and resolved No. 416. The issue has already by this Court in two (2) earlier cases, 1and it is in accordance with those precedents that the case at bar will also be determined. The petitioner, Meridian Assurance Corporation, was a defendant in Civil Case No. 62317 of the then Court of First Instance of Manila, entitled "First Western Bank and Trust Company vs. Atlas Timber Company, et al." The case resulted in a verdict adverse to the defendants, 2 disposing as follows: WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants, jointly and severally, for the Sum of $21,933.38 or its equivalent in pesos at the rate of P3.9390 to a dollar, with interest at the legal rate from the filing of the complaint, and the costs of the suit, provided, however, that this judgment should not be enforced against the individual partners before the properties of the partnership have been exhausted. The Trial Court's judgment was affirmed in toto by the Court of Appeals on October 9, 1980; 3 and the latter's judgment having in due course become final and executory, the case was reminded to the Court a quo for execution. Execution was eventually ordered by the Trial Court by Order dated September 8, 1981. On September 16, 1981, Meridian Assurance Corporation (hereafter, simply Meridian) wrote to the judgment creditor, First Western Bank & Trust Co. (hereafter, simply First Western), offering to pay the amount of the judgment with 6% interest per annum and the approved costs of P237.00. The offer was rejected by First Western, in its letter of September 21, 1981, its view being that the rate of interest should be 12% per annum, in accordance with Central Bank Circular No. 416 dated July 29, 1974. Another exchange of letters ensued in which the parties stood firm on the views set out in their first communications. Meridian then filed with the Trial Court a motion dated September 30, 1981, manifesting its deposit with the Court of the amount of P170,061.03 — representing the total of.(1) P86,395.58 (the peso equivalent at the tune of the principal indebtedness of $21,933.38), (2) P83,428.45 (the interest on the principal debt at 6% p.a from August 27, 1965 to September 30, 1981) and (3) costs in the sum of P237.00 — and praying that the deposit be allowed, that it be considered full satisfaction of the judgment, and that enforcement of the writ of execution be restrained. The motion was denied by Order dated October 15, 1981, 4 the Trial. Court opining that Central Bank Circular No. 416 had changed "the legal rate of interest from 6% to 12% per annum." This ruling the trial Court refused to reconsider, overruling Meridians motion of October 26, 1981 asking it to do so. Meridian thereupon proceeded to this Court praying for a writ of certiorari to annul the orders denying its aforementioned motion to deposit, etc. dated September 1981, and to authorize it "to satisfy the amount of the judgment with 6% interestper annum and the approved costs of P237.00 totalling P170,061.03 . ." The writ will issue as prayed for. As pointed out in this opinion's opening paragraph, the matter in question has already been settled in Reformina v. Tomol, Jr. and Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. v. Cruz, supra. 5
  • 9. The question posed in Reformina was whether or not Circular No. 416 of the Central Bank of the Philippines 6— amending Section 1 of the Usury Law (Act No. 2655) by prescribing twelve percent (12% ) per annum as the "rate of interest for the loan, or forbearance of any money, goods, or credits and the rate allowed in judgments, in the absence of express contract as to such rate of interest" . .— applied to "all kinds of monetary judgment."Reformina held that the "judgments spoken of and referred to are (only) judgments in litigations involving loans or forbearance of any money, goods or credits." It declared 7that— . . Any other kind of monetary judgment which has nothing to do with, nor involving loans or forbearance of any money, goods of credits does not fall within the coverage of the saidlaw (P.D. No. 116) for it is not within the ambit of the authority granted to the Central Bank. The Monetary Board may not tread on forbidden grounds. It cannot rewrite other laws. That function is vested solely with the legislative authority. It is axiomatic in legal hermeneutics that statutes should be construed as a whole and not as series of disconnected articles and phrases. In the absence of a clear contrary intention, words and phrases in statutes should not be interpreted in isolation from one another. A word or phrase in a statute is always used in association with other words or phrases and its meaning may thus be modified of restricted by the latter. And, as in Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. v. Cruz, supra, there is "no reason to depart or deviate from that ruling here. It seems quite clear that Section 1-a of Act No. 2655, as amended 8— which, as distinguished from sec. 1 of the same will appears to be the actual and operative grant of authority to the Monetary Board of the Central Bank to prescribe maximum rates of interest where the parties have not stipulated thereon — in excluding mention of rates allowed in judgments, should, at the least, be construed as limiting the authority thus granted only to loans or forbearances of money, etc., and to judgments involving such loans or forbearances. WHEREFORE, the petition is granted. The Orders promulgated on October 15, 1981 and December 2, 1981 are ANNULLED AND SET ASIDE. The petitioner's deposit with the Trial Court of the amount of P170,061.03 is declared to constitute full satisfaction of the judgment against it, and the Trial Court is DIRECTED to cause entry of said full satisfaction of judgment, and declare the case closed and terminated as far as the petitioner is concerned. No Costs. SO ORDERED. Cruz, Gancayco, Griño-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.
  • 10. Socorro Ramirez vs Court of Appeals Case Digests: Statutory Construction Socorro Ramirez vs Court of Appeals 248 SCRA 590 G. R. No. 93833 September 25 1995 Facts: A civil case for damages was filed by petitioner Socorro Ramirez in the RTC of Quezon City alleging that the private respondent, Ester Garcia, in a confrontation in the latter’s office, allegedly vexed, insulted and humiliated her in a “hostile and furious mood” and in a manner offensive to petitioner’s dignity and personality, “contrary to morals, good customs and public policy.” In support of her claim, petitioner produced a verbatim transcript of the event. The transcript on which the civil case was based was culled from a tape recording of the confrontation made by petitioner. As a result of petitioner’s recording of the event and alleging that the said act of secretly taping the confrontation was illegal, private respondent filed a criminal case before the RTC of Pasay City for violation of RA 4200, entitled “An Act to Prohibit and Penalize Wiretapping and Other Related Violations of Private Communication, and Other Purposes.” Upon arraignment, in lieu of a plea, petitioner filed a Motion to Quash the Information on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute an offense particularly a violation of RA 4200. The trial court granted the Motion to Quash, agreeing with petitioner. From the trial court’s Order, the private respondent filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari with this Court, which forthwith referred the case to the CA. Respondent Court of Appeals promulgated its assailed Decision declaring the trial court’s order null and void. Issue: W/N RA 4200 applies to taping of a private conversation by one of the parties to a conversation. Held: Legislative intent is determined principally from the language of a statute. Where the language of a statute is clear and unambiguous, the law is applied according to its express terms, and interpretation would be resorted to only where a literal interpretation would be either impossible or absurd or would lead to an injustice. Section 1 of RA 4200 clearly and unequivocally makes it illegal for any person, not authorized by all parties to any private communication, to secretly record such communication by means of a tape recorder. The law makes no distinction as to whether the party sought to be penalized by the statute ought to be a party other than or different from those involved in the private communication. The statute’s intent to penalize all persons unauthorized to make such recording is underscored by the use of qualifier “any.” Consequently, as respondent CA correctly concluded, “even a (person) privy to a communication who records his private conversation with another without the knowledge of the latter (will) qualify as a violator under this provision of RA 4200. The unambiguity of the express words of the provision therefore plainly supports the view held by the respondent court that the provision seeks to penalize even those privy to the private communications. Where the law makes no distinctions, one does not distinguish. Stat Con Principle: Legislative intent is determined principally from the language of the statute. Legal Maxims: Verba Legis (the statute must be interpretedliterally if the language of the statute is plain and free from ambiguity)
  • 11. G.R. No. 170195 March 28, 2011 SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSION and SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, Petitioner, vs. TERESA G. FAVILA, Respondent. Topic: Joint obligation to support DOCTRINE: A spousewho claims entitlement to death benefits as a primary beneficiary under the Social Security Law must establish two qualifying factors,to wit: (1) that he/she is the legitimate spouse; and (2) that he/she is dependent upon the member for support.A person separated de facto from her husband is not a dependent, unless the contrary is shown. FACTS: • January 17, 1970 - Teresa married Florante Favila • June 30, 1970 - Florante designated Teresita to be his sole beneficiary in SSS o He likewise named their common children as beneficiaries when they later had children • Feb 1, 1997 - Florante died; his pension benefits under the SSS were given to their only minor child at that time, Florante II, but only until his emancipation at age 21 • Teresa then filed claim to the benefits as the surviving legal spouse but was denied by the SSS;SSS claimed that Teresa was not entitled o SSS answered that Teresa as guardian was paid a total period of 57 months and that sister of Florante wrote that Teresa has been separated from Florante because former had an affair with a married man, have sex 4 times a week and the couple lived together for 10 years only o Interview of SSS - Teresa did not live with anybody but rumored to have an affair Ruling of SSS Commission:death benefits dependent on 2 factors(1) legality of the marital relationship;and (2) dependency for support, which, in SSC’s opinioin,is affected by factors such as separation defacto of the spouses, marital infidelity and such other grounds sufficientto disinherita spouseunder the law. SSC ruled that she is disqualified fromclaiming benefits becauseshe is not dependent for supportfrom Florantedue to her marital infidelity.Also,shehas been separated from Florantefor 17 years before his death. She only contested her non- entitlement of benefits when the pension was stopped CA Ruling:found Teresa's petition impressed with merit. It gave weight to the fact that she is a primary beneficiary because sheis the lawful surviving spouseof Floranteand in addition,shewas designated by Floranteas such beneficiary.There was no legal separation or annulment of marriagethat could have disqualified her from claiming the death benefits as her designation as beneficiary had notbeen invalidated by any courtof law. ISSUE: Is Teresa a primary beneficiary in contemplation of the Social Security Lawas to be entitled to death benefits accruing fromthe death of Florante? HELD: NO. CA order set aside.Teresa is not dependent spousewithin the contemplation of the SSL • Under the SSS Law (RA 1161), the term “dependent” is defined as “xxx; the legitimate spouse dependent for support upon the employee; xxx” • In Re: Application for Survivor’s Benefits of Manlavi, a dependent is "one who derives his or her main support from another [or] relying on, or subject to, someone else for support; not able to exist or sustain oneself, or to perform anything without the will, power or aid of someone else."
  • 12. • Likewise under the same law, “beneficiaries”, is defined as: the dependent spouse until he remarries and dependent children, who shall be the primary beneficiaries. xxx • For a spouse to qualify as a primary beneficiary the SSS Law he/she must not only be a legitimate spouse but also a dependent as defined, that is, one who is dependent upon the member for support. • SC agreed with Teresa that her alleged affair with another man was not sufficiently established and Florante was actually the one who has a common wife; however, Teresa is still not entitled as she has been separated in fact from Florante for 17 years prior to his death • From prevailing jurisprudence: a wife who is already separated de facto from her husband cannot be said to be ‘dependent for support’ upon the husband, absent any showing to the contrary. • "[w]hoever claims entitlement to the benefits provided by law should establish his or her right thereto by substantial evidence” In this case, as held in Aguas, the wife-claimant had the burden to prove that all the statutory requirements have been complied with, particularly her dependency on her husband at the time of his death • Aside from Teresa’s bare allegation that she was dependent upon her husband for support and her misplaced reliance on the presumption of dependency by reason of her valid and then subsisting marriage with Florante, Teresa has not presented sufficient evidence to discharge her burden of proving that she was dependent upon her husband for support at the time of his death. She could have done this by submitting affidavits of reputable and disinterested persons who have knowledge that during her separation with Florante, she does not have a known trade, business, profession or lawful occupation from which she derives income sufficient for her support and such other evidence tending to prove her claim of dependency. • Hence, for Teresa’s failure to show that despite their separation she was dependent upon Florante for support at the time of his death, Teresa cannot qualify as a primary beneficiary. Hence, she is not entitled to the death benefits accruing on account of Florante’s death.
  • 13. Globe Mackay Cable vs NLRC (GR 74156, June 29, 1988) FACTS: • Wage Order No. 6, which took effect on October 30, 1984, increased the cost-of-living allowance (COLA) of nonagricultural workers in the private sector. • Globe Mackay complied with the said wage order by paying its monthly-paid employees the mandated P3.00 per day COLA. But, in computing the COLA, Globe Mackay multiplied P3.00 per day COLA by 22 days, which was the number of working days in the company. • The Union disagreed with the computation, claiming that the daily COLA should be multiplied by 30 days to arrive at the monthly COLA rate. • The Union further alleged that before Wage Order No. 6 took effect, the employer had been computing and paying the monthly COLA based on 30 days per month. This, the Union said, was an employer practice, which should not be unilaterally withdrawn. RULING: • Payment in full by the employer of the COLA before the execution of the Collective Bargaining Agreement in 1982 and in compliance with Wage Orders Nos. 1 (March 26, 1981) to 5 (June 11, 1984) should not be construed as constitutive of voluntary employer practice, which cannot later be unilaterally withdrawn by the employer. To be considered as such, it should have been practiced over a long period of time and must be shown to have been consistent and deliberate. • Absent clear administrative guidelines, the employer cannot be faulted for erroneous application of the law. Payment may be said to have been made by reason of a mistake in the construction or application of a “doubtful or difficult question of law” (Article 2155, Civil Code, in relation to Article 2154,Civil Code).
  • 14. • If it is a past error that is being corrected, no vested right may be said to have arisen not any diminution of benefit under Article 100 of the Labor Code may be said to have resulted by virtue of the correction. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. 109445 November 7, 1994 FELICITO BASBACIO, petitioner, vs. OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, FRANKLIN DRILON in his capacity as Secretary of Justice, respondent. Amparita S. Sta. Maria for petitioner. MENDOZA, J.: This case presents for determination the scope of the State's liability under Rep. Act No. 7309, which among other things provides compensation for persons who are unjustly accused, convicted and imprisoned but on appeal are acquitted and ordered released. Petitioner Felicito Basbacio and his son-in-law, Wilfredo Balderrama, were convicted of frustrated murder and of two counts of frustrated murder for the killing of Federico Boyon and the wounding of the latter's wife Florida and his son Tirso, at Palo, Calanuga, Rapu-Rapu, Albay, on the night of June 26, 1988. The motive for the killing was apparently a land dispute between the Boyons and petitioner. Petitioner and his son-in-law were sentenced to imprisonment and ordered immediately detained after their bonds had been cancelled. Petitioner and his son-in-law appealed. Only petitioner's appeal proceeded to judgment, however, as the appeal of the other accused was dismissed for failure to file his brief. On June 22, 1992 the Court of Appeals rendered a decision acquitting petitioner on the ground that the prosecution failed to prove conspiracy between him and his son-in-law. He had been pointed to by a daughter of Federico Boyon as the companion of Balderrama when the latter barged into their hut and without warning started shooting, but the appellate court ruled that because petitioner did nothing more, petitioner's presence at the scene of the crime was insufficient to show conspiracy. Based on his acquittal, petitioner filed a claim under Rep. Act No. 7309, sec. 3(a), which provides for the payment of compensation to "any person who was unjustly accused, convicted, imprisoned but subsequently
  • 15. released by virtue of a judgment of acquittal." 1The claim was filed with the Board of Claims of the Department of Justice, but the claim was denied on the ground that while petitioner's presence at the scene of the killing was not sufficient to find him guilty beyond reasonable doubt, yet, considering that there was bad blood between him and the deceased as a result of a land dispute and the fact that the convicted murderer is his son-in-law, there was basis for finding that he was "probably guilty." On appeal, respondent Secretary of Justice affirmed the Board's ruling. Said the Secretary of Justice in his resolution dated March 11, 1993: It is believed therefore that the phrase "any person . . . unjustly accused, convicted and imprisoned" in Section 3(a) of R.A. No. 7309 refers to an individual who was wrongly accused and imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, thereby making him "a victim of unjust imprisonment." In the instant case, however, Claimant/Appellant cannot be deemed such a victim since a reading of the decision of his acquittal shows that his exculpation is not based on his innocence, but upon, in effect, a finding of reasonable doubt. Petitioner brought this petition for review on certiorari. Neither Rule 45 nor Rep. Act No. 7309, however, provides for review by certiorari of the decisions of the Secretary of Justice. Nonetheless, in view of the importance of the question tendered, the Court resolved to treat the petition as a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65. Petitioner questions the basis of the respondent's ruling that to be able to recover under sec. 3(a) of the law the claimant must on appeal be found to be innocent of the crimes of which he was convicted in the trial court. Through counsel he contends that the language of sec. 3(a) is clear and does not call for interpretation. The "mere fact that the claimant was imprisoned for a crime which he was subsequently acquitted of is already unjust in itself," he contends. To deny his claim because he was not declared innocent would be to say that his imprisonment for two years while his appeal was pending was justified. Petitioner argues that there is only one requirement for conviction in criminal cases and that is proof beyond reasonable doubt. If the prosecution fails to present such proof, the presumption that the accused is innocent stands and, therefore, there is no reason for requiring that he be declared innocent of the crime before he can recover compensation for his imprisonment. Petitioner's contention has no merit. It would require that every time an accused is acquitted on appeal he must be given compensation on the theory that he was "unjustly convicted" by the trial court. Such a reading of sec. 3(a) is contrary to petitioner's professedcanon of construction that when the language of the statute is clear it should be given its natural meaning. It leaves out of the provision in question the qualifying word "unjustly" so that the provision would simply read: "The following may file claims for compensation before the Board: (a) any person who was accused, convicted, imprisoned but subsequently released by virtue of a judgment of acquittal." But sec. 3(a) requires that the claimant be "unjustly accused, convicted [and] imprisoned." The fact that his conviction is reversed and the accused is acquitted is not itself proof that the previous conviction was "unjust." An accused may be acquitted for a number of reasons and his conviction by the trial court may, for any of these reasons, be set aside. For example, he may be acquitted not because he is innocent of the crime charged but because of reasonable doubt, in which case he may be found civilly liable to the complainant, because while the evidence against him does not satisfy the quantum of proof required for conviction, it may nonetheless be sufficient to sustain a civil action for damages.2In one case the accused, an alien, was acquitted of statutory rape with homicide because of doubt as to the ages of the offended parties who consented to have sex with him. Nonetheless the accused was ordered to pay moral and exemplary damages and ordered deported. 3In such a case to pay the accused compensation for having been "unjustly convicted" by the trial court would be utterly inconsistent with his liability to the complainant. Yet to follow petitioner's theory such an accused would be entitled to compensation under sec. 3(a). The truth is that the presumption of innocence has never been intended as evidence of innocence of the accused but only to shift the burden of proof that he is guilty to the prosecution. If "accusation is not
  • 16. synonymous with guilt,"4so is the presumption of innocence not a proof thereof. It is one thing to say that the accused is presumed to be innocent in order to place on the prosecution the burden of proving beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty. It is quite another thing to say that he is innocent and if he is convicted that he has been "unjustly convicted." As this Court held in a case: Though we are acquitting the appellant for the crime of rape with homicide, we emphasize that we are not ruling that he is innocent or blameless. It is only the constitutional presumption of innocence and the failure of the prosecution to build an airtight case for conviction which saved him, not that the facts of unlawful conduct do not exist.5 To say then that an accused has been "unjustly convicted" has to do with the manner of his conviction rather than with his innocence. An accused may on appeal be acquitted because he did not commit the crime, but that does not necessarily mean that he is entitled to compensation for having been the victim of an "unjust conviction." If his conviction was due to an error in the appreciation of the evidence the conviction while erroneous is not unjust. That is why it is not, on the other hand, correct to say as does respondent, that under the law liability for compensation depends entirely on the innocence of the accused. The phrase "unjustly convicted" has the same meaning as "knowingly rendering an unjust judgment" in art. 204 of the Revised Penal Code. What this Court held in In re Rafael C. Climaco 6applies: In order that a judge may be held liable for knowingly rendering an unjust judgment, it must be shown beyond doubt that the judgment is unjust as it is contrary to law or is not supported by the evidence, and the same was made with conscious and deliberate intent to do an injustice . . . . To hold a judge liable for the rendition of manifestly unjust judgment by reason of inexcusable negligence or ignorance, it must be shown, according to Groizard, that although he has acted without malice, he failed to observe in the performance of his duty, that diligence, prudence and care which the law is entitled to exact in the rendering of any public service. Negligence and ignorance are inexcusable if they imply a manifest injustice which cannot be explained by a reasonable interpretation. Inexcusable mistake only exists in the legal concept when it implies a manifest injustice, that is to say, such injustice which cannot be explained by a reasonable interpretation, even though there is a misunderstanding or error of the law applied, yet in the contrary it results, logically and reasonably, and in a very clear and indis putable manner, in the notorious violation of the legal precept. Indeed, sec. 3(a) does not refer solely to an unjust conviction as a result of which the accused is unjustly imprisoned, but, in addition, to an unjust accusation. The accused must have been "unjustly accused, in consequence of which he is unjustly convicted and then imprisoned. It is important to note this because if from its inception the prosecution of the accused has been wrongful, his conviction by the court is, in all probability, also wrongful. Conversely, if the prosecution is not malicious any conviction even though based on less than the required quantum of proof in criminal cases may be erroneous but not necessarilyunjust. The reason is that under Rule 112, sec. 4, the question for the prosecutor in filing a case in court is not whether the accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt but only whether "there is reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been committed and the accused is probably guilty thereof." Hence, an accusation which is based on "probable guilt" is not an unjust accusation and a conviction based on such degree of proof is not necessarily an unjust judgment but only an erroneous one. The remedy for such error is appeal. In the case at bar there is absolutely no evidence to show that petitioner's conviction by the trial court was wrongful or that it was the product of malice or gross ignorance or gross negligence. To the contrary, the court had reason to believe that petitioner and his co-accused were in league, because petitioner is the father- in-law of Wilfredo Balderrama and it was petitioner who bore the victim a grudge because of a land dispute. Not only that. Petitioner and his coaccused arrived together in the hut of the victims and forced their way into it.
  • 17. The Court of Appeals ruled there was no conspiracy only because there was no proof that he did or say anything on the occasion. Said the appellate court. Both eyewitness testimonies fail to show the appellant Felicito Basbacio to have committed any act at all. Both fail to show Felicito Basbacio as having said anything at all. Both fail to show Felicito Basbacio as having committed anything in furtherance of a conspiracy to commit the crimes charged against the defendants. It seems to be a frail and flimsy basis on which to conclude that conspiracy existed between actual killer Wilfredo Balderrama and Felicito Basbacio to commit murder and two frustrated murders on that night of June 26, 1988. It may be asked: where was the coming together of the two defendants to an agreement to commit the crimes of murder and frustrated murder on two counts? Where was Basbacio's contribution to the commission of the said crimes? Basbacio was — as the record shows — nothing but part of the dark shadows of that night. . . . One may take issue with this ruling because precisely conspiracy may be shown by concert of action and other circumstances. Why was petitioner with his son-in-law? Why did they apparently flee together? And what about the fact that there was bad blood between petitioner and the victim Federico Boyon? These questions may no longer be passed upon in view of the acquittal of petitioner but they are relevant in evaluating his claim that he had been unjustly accused, convicted and imprisoned before he was released because of his acquittal on appeal. We hold that in view of these circumstances respondent Secretary of Justice and the Board of Claims did not commit a grave abuse of its discretion in disallowing petitioner's claim for compensation under Rep. Act No. 7309. WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. SO ORDERED. Comendador v De Villa 200 SCRA 80 (1991) Facts: This is a consolidated case of members of the AFP who were charged with violation of Articles of War (AW) 67 (Mutiny), AW 96 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman) and AW 94 (Various Crimes) in relation to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code (Murder). The petitioners were questioning the conduct of the pre-trial investigation conducted where a motion to bail was filed but was denied. Petitioner applied for provisional liberty and preliminary injunction before the court which was granted. However De Villa refused to release petitioner for provisional liberty pending the resolution of the appeal they have taken before the court invoking that military officers are an exemption from the right to bail guaranteed by the Constitution. Decision was rendered reiterating the release for provisional liberty of petitioners with the court stating that there is a mistake in the presumption of respondents that bail does not apply among military men facing court martial proceeding. Respondents now appeal before the higher court. Issue: Whether or not military men are exempted from the Constitutional guarantee on the right to bail. Cases on constitutional law (Philippine casebook series) A historical and juridical study of the Philippine Bill of rights Held: The SC ruled that the bail invoked by petitioners is not available in the military as an exception to the general rule embodied in the Bill of Rights. Thus the right to a speedy trial is given more emphasis in the military where the right to bail does not exist. Justification to this rule involves the unique structure of the military and national security considerations which may result to damaging precedents that mutinous soldiers will be released on provisional liberty giving them the chance to continue their plot in overthrowing the government. Therefore the decision of the lower court granting bail to the petitioners was reversed.
  • 18. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila G.R. No. 78687 January 31, 1989 ELENA SALENILLAS AND BERNARDINO SALENILLAS, petitioners, vs. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and HONORABLE RAYMUNDO SEVA, JUDGE OF BRANCH 38 OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF CAMARINES NORTE and WILLIAM GUERRA, respondents. Jose L. Lapak for petitioners. Jose T. Atienza for private respondent. SARMIENTO, J.: This petition for review on certiorari which seeks the reversal and setting aside of the decision 1 of the Court of Appeals 2dismissing the petition for certiorari against Judge Raymundo Seva of the Regional Trial Court of Camarines Norte and the private respondent, William Guerra, involves a pure question of law i.e., the coverage and application of Section 119 of Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended, known otherwise as the Public Land Act. The facts are undisputed.
  • 19. The property subject matter of the case was formerly covered by Original Certificate of Title No. P-1248, issued by virtue of Free Patent Application No. 192765, in favor of the spouses, Florencia H. de Enciso and Miguel Enciso. The said original certificate of title was inscribed in the Registration Book for the Province of Camarines Norte on December 10, 1961. On February 28, 1970, the patentees, the Enciso spouses, by an Absolute Deed of Sale, sold the property in favor of the petitioners, the spouses Elena Salenillas and Bernardino Salenillas for a consideration of P900.00. Petitioner Elena Salenillas is a daughter of the Encisos. As a result of the aforementioned sale, Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-8104 of the Register of Deeds of Camarines Norte was issuedin the name of the Salenillas, cancelling Original Certificate of Title No. P-1248. On June 30, 1971, the petitioners mortgaged the property now covered by T.C.T. No. T-8104 with the Rural Bank of Daet, Inc. The mortgage was subsequently released on November 22, 1973 after the petitioners paid the amount of P1,000.00. Later, or on December 4, 1975, the petitioners again mortgaged the property, this time in favor of the Philippine National Bank Branch, Daet, Camarines Norte as security for a loan of P2,500.00. For failure of the petitioners to pay their loan, extrajudicial foreclosure proceeding, pursuant to Act No. 3135, was instituted by the Philippine National Bank against the mortgage and the property was sold at a public auction held on February 27, 1981. The private respondent, William Guerra, emerged as the highest bidder in the said public auction and as a result thereof a "Certificate of Sale" was issued to him by the Ex Officio Provincial Sheriff of Camarines Norte. Ultimately, on July 12, 1983, a "Sheriff's Final Deed" was executed in favor of the private respondent. On August 17,1983, the Philippine National Bank filed with the Regional Trial Court of Camarines Norte at Daet, a motion for a writ of possession. The public respondent, Judge Raymundo Seva of the trial court, acting on the motion, issued on September 22, 1983 an order for the issuance of a writ of possession in favor of the private respondent. When the deputy sheriff of Camarines Norte however, attempted on November 17, 1983, to place the property in the possession of the private respondent, the petitioners refused to vacate and surrender the possession of the same and instead offered to repurchase it under Section 119 of the Public Land Act. On August 15, 1984, another motion, this time for the issuance of an alias writ of possession was filed by the private respondent with the trial court. The petitioners, on August 31, 1984, opposed the private respondents' motion and instead made a formal offer to repurchase the property. Notwithstanding the petitioners' opposition and formal offer, the trial court judge on October 12, 1984 issued the alias writ of possession prayed for the private respondent. The petitioners moved for a reconsideration of the order but their motion was denied. Undeterred by their initial setback, the petitioners elevated the case to the respondent Court of Appeals by way of a petition for certiorari claiming that the respondent trial court judge acted with grave abuse of discretion in issuing the order dated October 12, 1984 granting the writ of possession, and the order dated October 22, 1984,denying their motion for reconsider consideration. In a resolution dated January 23, 1985, the respondent appellate court gave due course to the petition; required the parties to submit simultaneous memoranda in support to their respective positions; and restrained the trial court and the private respondent from executing, implementing or otherwise giving effect to the assailed writ of possession until further orders from the court. 3 However, in a decision promulgated on September 17, 1986, the respondent Court of Appeals dismissed the case for lack of merit. According to the appellate court: It must be noted that when the original owner, Florencia H. Enciso whose title, OCT No. P-1248, was issued on August 9, 1961, executed a deed of absolute sale on February 28, 1970 of the property covered by said title to spouses Elena Salenillas and Bernardino Salenillas, the five year period to repurchase the property provided for in Section 119 of Commonwealth Act No. 141 as amended could have already started. Prom this fact alone, the petition should have been dismissed. However, granting that the transfer from parent to child for a nominal sum may not be the "conveyance" contemplated by the law. We will rule on the issue raised by the petitioners. 4 xxx xxx xxx
  • 20. Applying the case of Monge, et al. vs. Angeles, et al.,5 the appellate court went on to hold that the five-year period of the petitioners to repurchase under Section 119 of the Public Land Act had already prescribed. The point of reckoning, ruled the respondent court in consonance with Monge is from the date the petitioners mortgaged the property on December 4, 1973. Thus, when the petitioners made their formal offer to repurchase on August 31, 1984,the period had clearly expired. In an effort to still overturn the decision, the petitioners moved for reconsideration. Their motion apparently went for naught because on May 7, 1987, the respondent appellate court resolved to deny the same. Hence, this petition. Before us, the petitioners maintain that contrary to the rulings of the courts below, their right to repurchase within five years under Section 119 of the Public Land Act has not yet prescribed. To support their contention, the petitioners cite the cases of Paras vs. Court of Appeals 6 and Manuel vs. Philippine National Bank, et al.7 On the other side, the private respondent, in support of the appellate court's decision, states that the sale of the contested property by the patentees to the petitioners disqualified the latter from being legal heirs vis-a- vis the said property. As such, they (the petitioners) no longer enjoy the right granted to heirs under the provisions of Section 119 of the Public Land Act. 8 In fine, what need be determined and resolved here are: whether or not the petitioners have the right to repurchase the contested property under Section 119 of the Public Land Act; and assuming the answer to the question is in the affirmative, whether or not their right to repurchase had already prescribed. We rule for the petitioners. They are granted by the law the right to repurchase their property and their right to do so subsists. Section 119 of the Public Land Act, as amended, provides in full: Sec. 119. Every conveyance of land acquired under the free patent or homestead provisions, when proper, shall be subject to repurchase by the applicant, his widow, or legal heirs within a period of five years from the date of the conveyance. From the foregoing legal provision, it is explicit that only three classes of persons are bestowed the right to repurchase — the applicant-patentee, his widow, or other legal heirs. Consequently, the contention of the private respondent sustained by the respondent appellate court that the petitioners do not belong to any of those classes of repurchasers because they acquired the property not through inheritance but by sale, has no legal basis. The petitioners-spouses are the daughter and son-in-law of the Encisos, patentees of the contested property. At the very least, petitioner Elena Salenillas, being a child of the Encisos, is a "legal heir" of the latter. As such, and even on this score alone, she may therefore validly repurchase. This must be so because Section 119 of the Public Land Act, in speaking of "legal heirs," makes no distinction. Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere debemos. Moreover, to indorse the distinction made by the private respondent and the appellate court would be to contravene the very purpose of Section 119 of the Public Land Act which is to give the homesteader or patentee every chance to preserve for himself and his family the land that the State had gratuitously given him as a reward for his labor in clearing and cultivating it. 9 Considering that petitioner Salenillas is a daughter of the spouses Florencia H. Enciso and Miguel Enciso, there is no gainsaying that allowing her (Elena) and her husband to repurchase the property would be more in keeping with the spirit of the law. We have time and again said that between two statutory interpretations, that which better serves the purpose of the law should prevail. Guided by the same purpose of the law, and proceeding to the other issue here raised, we rule that the five- year period for the petitioners to repurchase their property had not yet prescribed.
  • 21. The case of Monge et al. vs. Angeles, et al.,10 cited as authority by the respondent Court of Appeals is inapplicable to the present controversy. The facts obtaining there are substantially different from those in this case. In Monge the conveyance involved was a pacto de retro sale and not a foreclosure sale. More importantly, the question raised there was whether the five-year period provided for in Section 119 "should be counted from the date of the sale even if the same is with an option to repurchase or from the date the ownership of the land has become consolidated in favor of the purchaser because of the homesteader's failure to redeem it. 11 It is therefore understandable why the Court ruled there as it did. A sale on pacto de retro immediately vests title, ownership, and, generally possession over the property on the vendee a retro, subject only to the right of the vendor a retro to repurchase within the stipulated period. It is an absolute sale with a resolutory condition. The cases 12 pointed to by the petitioner in support of their position, on the other hand, present facts that are quite identical to those in the case at bar. Both cases involved properties the titles over which were obtained either through homestead or free patent. These properties were mortgaged to a bank as collateral for loans, and, upon failure of the owners to pay their indebtedness, the mortgages were foreclosed. In both instances, the Court ruled that the five-year period to. repurchase a homestead sold at public auction or foreclosure sale under Act 3135 begins on the day after the expiration of the period of redemption when the deed of absolute sale is executed thereby formally transferring the property to the purchaser, and not otherwise. Taking into account that the mortgage was foreclosed and the mortgaged property sold at a public auction to the private respondent on February 27, 1981, with the "Sheriff's Final Deed" issued on July 12, 1983, the two offers of the petitioners to repurchase the first on November 17, 1983, and the second, formally, on August 31, 1984 were both made within the prescribed five-year period. Now, as regards the redemption price, applying Sec. 30 of Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court, the petitioners should reimburse the private respondent the amount of the purchase price at the public auction plus interest at the rate of one per centum per month up to November 17, 1983, together with the amounts of assessments and taxes on the property that the private respondent might have paid after purchase and interest on the last named amount at the same rate as that on the purchase price. 13 WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated September 17, 1986, and the Resolution dated May 7, 1987 of the Court of Appeals, and the Orders dated September 22, 1983, October 12, 1984, and October 22, 1984 of the Regional Trial Court of Daet, Camarines Norte, are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and another one ENTERED directing the private respondent to reconvey the subject property and to execute the corresponding deed of reconveyance therefor in favor of the petitioners upon the return to him by the latter of the purchase price and the amounts, if any, of assessments or taxes he paid plus interest of one (1% )per centum per month on both amounts up to November 17, 1983. No costs. SO ORDERED.