Bar Q & A, Civil Law

2014 Bar Exam Suggested Answers in Civil Law by the UP Law Complex

 

CIVIL LAW

I.

Ariz and Paz were officemates at Perlas ng Silangan Bank (PSB). They fell in love with each other and had a civil and church wedding. Meanwhile, Paz rapidly climbed the corporate ladder of PSB and eventually became its VicePresident, while Ariz remained one of its bank supervisors, although he was short of twelve (12) units to finish his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

Ariz became envious of the success of his wife. He started drinking alcohol until he became a drunkard. He preferred to join his barkadas; became a wife-beater; would hurt his children without any reason; and failed to contribute to the needs of the family. Despite rehabilitation and consultation with a psychiatrist, his ways did not change.

After 19 years of marriage, Paz, a devout Catholic, decided to have their marriage annulled by the church. Through the testimony of Paz and a psychiatrist, it was found that Ariz was a spoiled brat in his youth and was sometimes involved in brawls. In his teens, he was once referred to a psychiatrist for treatment due to his violent tendencies. In due time, the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal (NAMT) annulled the union of Ariz and Paz due to the failure of Ariz to perform and fulfill his duties as a husband and as a father to their children. The NAMT concluded that it is for the best interest of Paz, Ariz and their children to have the marriage annulled.

In view of the NAMT decision, Paz decided to file a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage of their civil wedding before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City using the NAMT decision and the same evidence adduced in the church annulment proceedings as basis.(5%)

If you are the judge, will you grant the petition? Explain.

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

No, I will not grant the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage.

In Republic v. Molina (G.R. No. 108763, February 13, 1997), the Supreme Court ruled that while the interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal (NAMT) of the Catholic Church in the Philippines should be given great respect by our courts, they are not controlling or decisive. Its interpretation is not conclusive on the courts. The courts are still required to make their own determination as to the merits of the case, and not rely solely on the finding of the NAMT.

It has been held that psychological incapacity as a ground for nullifying a marriage is confined to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to marriage.

The three essential requisites in order for psychological incapacity to he appreciated are:

1) gravity, 2) juridical antecedence and 3) incurability.

In the present case, there is no showing that the psychological incapacity was ting at the time of the celebration of the marriage.

II.

Crispin died testate and was survived by Alex and sine. his children from his first wife; Rene and Ruby, his children from his second wife; and Allan, Bea, and Cheska, his children from his third wife.

One important provision in his will reads as follows:

“Ang lupa at bahay sa Lungsod ng Maynila ay ililipat at ilalagay sa pangalan nila Alex at Rene hindi bilang pamana ko sa kanila kundi upang pamahalaan at pangalagaan lamang nila at nang ang sinuman sa aking mga anak, sampu ng aking mga apo at kaapuapuhan ko sa habang panahon, ay may tutuluyan kung magnanais na mag-aral sa Maynila o sa kalapit na mga lungsod.”

Is the provision valid? (4%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

The provision imposing the indivision of the property “habang panahon” is invalid. In Santiago v. Santiago (G.R. No. 179859, August 9, 2010), a similar provision appears in the will of the testator. In that case, the Court ruled that it is clear that the testator intended the house and lot in Manila be transferred in petitioners’ names for administration purposes only, and that the property be owned by the heirs in common. However, the same case ruled that the condition set by the decedent on the property’s indivisibility is subject to a statutory limitation provided by Article 1083 of the Civil Code which states that the period of indivision imposed by a testator shall Qot exceed twenty years. Although the Civil Code is silent as to the effect of the indivision of a property for more than twenty years, it would be contrary to public policy to sanction co-ownership beyond the period expressly mandated by the Civil Code. Thus, the provision leaving the administration of the house and lot in Manila to Alex and Rene is valid but the provision imposing the indivision of the property “habang panahon” is invalid as o the excess beyond twenty years, it being contrary to Article 1083 limiting the period of indivision that m be imposed by a testator to twenty years.

ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:

The provision is valid. Article 944 of the Civil Code provides in part that “a legacy for education lasts until the legatee is of age, or beyond the age of majority in order that the legatee may finish some professional, vocational or general course, provided he pursues his course diligently.” In this case, the intention of the testator in transferring the property in the name of Alex and Rene is not for the purpose of giving the property to them as their inheritance, but for them to administer the same for the benefit of his descendants’ use in pursuit of their education. Thus, this provision is a legacy for education, which lasts as long as the legatee/s come of age or until such legatee/s finish their course.

ANOTHER ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:

The provision is not valid. Article 870 of the Civil Code provides that “the dispositions of the testator declaring all or part of the estate inalienable for more than twenty years are void.” In this case, the provision “habang panahon” clearly provides for inalienability of the house for more than twenty years; hence, it is void.

SECOND ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:

The provision is valid. The institution of heir in this case is a modal institution under Article 882 of the Civil Code. In this type of institution, which is present in the case at bar, the ownership of the thing is passed on to the heir, except that there is a mode or charge imposed upon the heir. In a modal institution, the testator states (1) the object of the institution, (2) the purpose or application of the property left by the testator, or (3) the charge imposed by the testator upon the heir (Rabadilla v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 113725, June 29, 2000).

III

 

The Roman Catholic Church accepted a donation of a real property located in Lipa City. A deed of donation was executed, signed by the donor, Don Mariano, and the donee, the Church, as represented by Fr. Damian. Before the deed could be notarized, Don Mariano died.

Is the donation valid? (4%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

The donation is void. Article 749 of the Civil Code provides that a donation of an immovable must be made in a public instrument to be valid. In this case, it is clear that the deed of donation never became a public instrument because the donor died before it could be notarized. The deed of donation cannot be notarized after the death of the donor since it is now impossible lor him to acknowledge before a notary public. The donacon was never perfected. Thus, the donation is void for not complying with the formalities required by law.

 

IV.

Nante, a registered owner of a parcel of land in Quezon City, sold the property to Monica under a deed of sale which reads as follows:

“That for and in consideration of the sum of P500,000.00, value to be paid and delivered to me, and receipt of which shall be acknowledged by me to the full satisfaction of Monica, referred to as Vendee, I hereby sell, transfer, cede, convey, and assign, as by these presents, I do have sold, transferred, ceded, conveyed and assigned a parcel of – land covered by TCT No. 2468 in favor of the Vendee.”

After delivery of the initial payment of P100,000.00, Monica immediately took possession of the property. Five (5) months after, Monica failed to pay the remaining balance of the purchase price. Nante filed an action for the recovery of possession of the property. Nante alleged that the agreement was one to sell, which was not consummated as the full contract price was not paid.

Is the contention of Nante tenable? Why? (4%).

 

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

No, the contention of Nante that it is one to sell is untenable. There is a perfected contract of sale in this case when Nante agreed to sell and Monica agreed to buy the subject parcel of land at its agreed price. Under Article 1475 of the Civil Code, there is a perfected contract of sale at the moment there is a meeting of the minds upon the thing which is the object of the contract and upon the price. Ownership was transferred upon delivery or upon the taking of possession by Monica, the buyer. The non-payment of the full price affects the consummation of the contract of sale and not its perfection.

The case of Heirs of Atienza v. Espidol (G.R. No. 180665, August 11, 2010), differentiated a contract of sale and a contract to sell, In a contract of sale, the title to the property passes to the buyer upon the delivery of the thing sold. In a contract to sell, on the other hand, the ownership is, by agreement, retained by the seller and is not to pass to the vendee until full payment of the purchase price. In the contract of sale, the buyer’s non-payment of the price is a negative resolutory condition; in the contract to sell, the buyer’s full payment of the price is a positive suspensive condition to the coming into effect of the agreement. In the first case, the seller has lost and cannot recover the ownership of the property unless he takes action to set aside the contract of sale. In the second case, the title simply remains in the seller if the buyer does not comply with the condition precedent of making payment at the time specified in the contract.

The agreement in this case is not a contract to sell because nothing in the facts shows that the parties agreed that ownership is retained by Nante (seller) and is not to pass to Monica (buyer) until full payment of the purchase price.

 

V.

 

What is the effect of preterition? (1%)

(A) it annuls the devise and legacy

(B) it annuls the institution of heir

(C) it reduces the devise and legacy

(D) it partially annuls the institution of heir

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

(B) it annuls the institution of heir

 

VI.

Miko and Dinah started to live together as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage in 1984. Ten (10) years after, they separated. In 1996, they decided to live together again, and in 1998, they got married.

On February 17, 2001, Dinah filed a complaint for declaration of nullity of her marriage with Miko on the ground of psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code. The court rendered the following decision:

  1. Declaring the marriage null and void; 2. Dissolving the regime of absolute community

of property; and 3. Declaring that a decree of absolute nullity of

marriage shall only be issued after liquidation, partition and distribution of the parties’ properties under Article 147 of the Family Code.”

Dinah filed a motion for partial reconsideration questioning the portion of the decision on the issuance of a decree of nullity of marriage only after the liquidation, partition and distribution of properties under Article 147 of the Code. If you are the judge, how will you decide petitioner’s motion for partial reconsideration? Why? (4%)

 

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

I will grant the motion for partial reconsideration. Section 19 (1) of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Null Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages, which require that the decree of nullity of marriage be issued only after the liquidation, partition and distribution of properties, does not apply to declarations of pullity based on Art. 36 of the Family Code. The said rule only applies if there was a second marriage which is void because of non-compliance with the requirements of Article 40 of the Family Code. In the case of Dino v. Diño (G.R. No. 178044, January 19, 2011), the Court held that Sec. 19 (1) only applies to Family Code. Articles 50 and 51, which are, subsequently applicable only to marriages which are declared void ab initio or annulled by final judgment under and 45 of the Family Code. Since there is no previous marriage in this case and the marriage was nunimed under Article 36 of the Family Code, Section 19 (1) Ol the said Rules does not apply.

VII.

Due to the continuous heavy rainfall, the major streets Manila became fiooded. This compelled Cris to check st Square One Hotel. As soon as Cris got off from his Toyota Altis, the Hotel’s parking attendant got the key of his car and gave him a valet parking customer’s clam stub. The attendant parked his car at the basement of the hotel. Early in the morning, Cris was informed by the hotel manager that his car was carnapped. (4%)

(A) What contract, if any, was perfected between Cris and the Hotel when Cris surrendered the key of his car to the Hotel’s parking attendant?

(B) What is the liability, if any, of the Hotel for the loss of Cris’ car?

 

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

(A) A contract of deposit was perfected between Cris and the Hotel when Cris surrendered the key of his car to the Hotel’s parking attendant. In Triple-V Food Services v. Filipino Merchants Insurance Company (G.R. No. 160544, February 21, 2005), it was ruled that when a car is entrusted to a valet attendant there is a contract of deposit. Article 1962 of the Civil Code provides that a deposit is constituted from the moment a person receives a thing belonging to another, with the obligation of safely keeping it and of returning the same (Durban Apartments v. Pioneer Insurance, G.R. No. 179419. March 30, 2011). Furthermore, Article 1998 of the Civil Code provides that the deposit of effects made by travellers in hotels or inns shall be regarded as necessary, and that the keepers of hotels and inns are responsible for the effects deposited as deposi. taries subject to their being notified of the effects being brought in by the travellers and the taking by the travellers of such precautions which the hotel or inn-keepers or their substitutes advised relative to the care and vigilance of such effects. Article 1999 of the Civil Code also provides for the liability of the hotel-keeper for vehicles introduced or placed in the annexes of the hotel, which in this case is the basement of the hotel.

(B) The Hotel was constituted as a depositary in this case. Thus, it has the obligation to safely keep the car which is expected by Cris to be returned to him. With the loss of the car, the Hotel is liable for the cost of the car as actual damages.

SUGGESTION FOR ADDITIONAL CREDIT:

Art. 2001 of the Civil Code provides that the act of a thief or robber, who has entered the hotel is not deemed force majeure, unless it is done with the use of arms or through an irresistible force. In this case, there is no indication that the carnapping was done with the use of arms or through irresistible force; hence, the hotel cannot claim that it is not liable for the loss of Cris’ car.

 

VIII.

Tess leased her 1,500 sq.m. lot in Antipolo City to Ruth for a period of three (3) years, from January 2010 to February 2013. On March 19, 2011, Tess sent a letter to Ruth, part of which reads as follows:

“I am offering you to buy the property you are presently leasing at P5,000.00 per sq. m. or for a total of P7,500,000.00. You can pay the contract price by installment for two (2) years without interest. I will give you a period of one (1) year from receipt of this letter to decide whether you will buy the property.”

After the expiration of the lease contract, Tess sold the property to her niece for a total consideration of P4,000,000.00. Ruth filed a complaint for the annulment of the sale, reconveyance and damages against Tess and her niece. Ruth alleged that the sale of the leased property violated her right to buy under the principle of right of first refusal.

Is the allegation of Ruth tenable? (4%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

The allegation of Ruth is untenable. There was no right of refusal offered to her, the wording of the letter can at most be considered a mere offer to sell or lease with an option to buy.

In Sanchez U. Rigos (G.R. No. L-25494, June 14. 1972), the Court held that in order that a unilateral promise to buy or to sell may be binding upon the promisor, Article 1479 of the Civil Code requires that said promise be supported by a consideration distinct from the price. The promisor cannot be compelled to comply with the promise, unless the existence of a consideration distinct from the price is established. In the present case, there was no valuable or independent consideration, thus, it cannot be classified as a unilateral promise to sell, but is only a mere offer to sell. Since there was no valuable or independent consideration, it was not an option contract but a mere option to buy, which may be withdrawn at any time.

SUGGESTION FOR ADDITIONAL CREDIT:

The option to buy or the offer to sell given to Ruth is one year from receipt of Tess’ letter by Ruth. The lease is for three (3) years from January 2010 to February 2013. Tess sent the letter on March 19, 2011. The right has already expired when Tess sold the lot to her niece.

 

IX.

Spouses Macario and Bonifacia Dakila entered into a contract to sell with Honorio Cruz over a parcel of industrial land in Valenzuela, Bulacan for a price of P3,500,000.00, The spouses would give a downpayment of P500,000.00 upon the signing of the contract, while the balance would be paid for the next three (3) consecutive months in the amount of P1,000,000.00 per month. The spouses paid the first two (2) installments but not the last installment. After one (1) year, the spouses offered to pay the unpaid balance which · Honorio refused to accept. The spouses filed a complaint for specific performance against Honorio invoking the application of the Maceda Law…

If you are the judge, how will you decide the case? (4%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

I will dismiss the complaint. The invocation of the Maceda Law by the spouses is misplaced. Section 3 of R.A. 6552 (Maceda Law) provides that it is applicable in all transactions or contracts involving the sale or financing of real estate on instalment payments, including residential condominium apartments but excluding industrial lots, commercial buildings and sales to tenants. Since the subject of the case is an industrial land, Maceda Law is not applicable.

X

Dorotea leased portions of her 2,000 sq.m. lot to Monas Kathy, Celia, and Ruth for five (5) years. Two (2) yes before the expiration of the lease contract, Dorotea sold the property to PM Realty and Development Corporation. The following month, Dorotea and PM Realty stopped accepting rental payments from all the lessees because they wanted to terminate the lease contracts.

Due to the refusal of Dorotea to accept rental payments, the lessees, Ruth, et al., filed a complaint for consignation of the rentals before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila without notifying Dorotea.

Is the consignation valid? (4%).

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

The consignation is not valid. Article 1257 of the Civil Code provides that in order that the consignation of the thing due may release the obligor, it must first be announced to the persons interested in the fulfilment of the obligation. Moreover, Article 1258 of the same Code provides that consignation having been made, the interested parties shall also be notified thereof. In this case Dorotea, an interested party, was not notified of the consignation. The consignation is therefore not valid for non-compliance with Article 1257.

ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:

The consignation may be valid. Had the lessees been informed of the transfer of the property to PM Realty, notice to Dorotea under Article 1257 may no longer be necessary, but it is notice to PM Realty which is required.

XI.

An easement that can be acquired by prescription: (1%)

(A) right of way

(B) watering of an animal

(C) lateral and subjacent support

(D) light and view

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

(D) light and view

XII.

J.C. Construction (J.C.) bought steel bars from Matibay Steel Industries (MSI) which is owned by Buddy Batung, bacal. J.C. failed to pay the purchased materials worth P500,000.00 on due date. J.C. persuaded its client Amoroso with whom it had receivables to pay its obligation to MSI. Amoroso agreed and paid MSI the amount of P50,000.00. After two (2) other payments, Amoroso stopped making further payments.

Buddy filed a complaint for collection of the balance of the obligation and damages against J.C. J.C. denied any liability claiming that its obligation was extinguished by reason of novation which took place when MȘI accepted partial payments from Amoroso on its behalf.

Was the obligation of J.C. Construction to MSI extinguished by novation? Why? (4%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

No, the obligation of J.C. Construction to MSI was not extinguished by novation.

Under Article 1292 of the Civil Code, in order that an obligation may be extinguished by another which substitute the same, it is imperative that it be so declared in unequivocal terms, or that the old and the new obligations be on every point incompatible with each other. Novation by substitution of debtor requires the consent of the creditor as provided in Article 1293 of the Civil Code. This requirement is not present in this case. In Magdalena Estates, Inc. v. Rodriguez (G.R. No. L-18411, December 17, 1966), it was ruled that the mere fact that the creditor received payment from a third person does not constitute novation and does not extinguish the obligation of the original debtor. Since there was no novation, the obligation of the original debtor is not extinguished. Thus, the obligation of J.C. Construction to MSI subsists.

XIII.

Esteban and Martha had four (4) children: Rolando, Jun, Mark, and Hector. Rolando had a daughter, Edith, while Mark had a son, Philip. After the death of Esteban and Martha, their three (3) parcels of land were adjudicated to Jun. After the death of Jun, the properties passed to his surviving spouse Anita, and son Cesar. When Anita died, her share went to her son Cesar. Ten (10) years after, Cesar died intestate without any issue. Peachy, Anita’s sister, adjudicated to herself the properties as the only surviving heir of Anita and Cesar. Edith and Philip would like to recover the properties claiming that they should have been reserved by Peachy in their behalf and must now revert back to them.

Is the contention of Edith and Philip valid? (4%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

No, their contention is not valid as the property is not subject to reserva troncal. Under Article 891 of the Civil Code, the ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property which the latter may have acquired by gratuitous title from another ascendant, or a brother or sister, is obliged to reserve such property as he may have acquired by operation of law for the benefit of relatives who are within the third degree and who belong to the line from which said property came. There is no reserva troncal here because Anita is not an ascendant or a brother or sister of Jun. Jun cannot qualify as a prepositus, because the property which he inherited from his ascendant was not inherited by another ascendant by operation of law.

In Mendoza v. Policarpio (G.R. No. 176422, March 20, 2013), the Court ruled that the lineal character of the reservable property is reckoned from the ascendant from whom the prepositus received the property by gratuitous title. In this case, the ownership should be reckoned only from Jun, as he is the ascendant rom whom Cesar inherited the properties. Moreover, Article 891 of the Civil Code provides that the person obliged to reserve the property should be an ascendant. Peachy is not Cesar’s ascendant but a mere collateral relative.

XIV.

A pedestrian, who was four (4) months pregnant, was hit by a bus driver while crossing the street. Although the pedestrian survived, the fetus inside her womb was aborted. Can the pedestrian recover damages on account of the death of the fetus? (1%)

(A) Yes, because of Article 2206 of the Civil Code which allows the surviving heirs to demand damages for mental anguish by reason of the death of the deceased.

(B) Yes, for as long as the pedestrian can prove that she was not at fault and the bus driver was the one negligent.

(C) No, because a fetus is not a natural person.

(D) No, if the fetus did not comply with the requirements under Article 41 of the Civil Code.

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

(B) Yes, for as long as the pedestrian can prove that she was not at fault and the bus driver was the one negligent.

(Note: Letter A may also be considered correct on account of Article II, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution, which provides, in part, that “The State … shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception …” C and D may also be considered correct.]

 

XV

Mr. Bong owns several properties in Pasig City. He decided to build a condominium named Flores de Manila in one of his lots. To fund the project, he obtained a loan from the National Bank (NB) secured by a real estate mortgage over the adjoining property which he also owned.

During construction, he built three (3) pumps on the mortgaged property to supply water to the condominium. After one (1) year, the project was completed and the condominium was turned over to the buyers. However, Mr. Bong failed to pay his loan obligation to NB. Thus, NB foreclosed the mortgaged property where the pumps were installed. During the sale on public auction of the mortgaged property, Mr. Simon won in the bidding. When Mr. Simon attempted to take possession of the property, the condominium owners, who in the meantime constituted themselves into Flores de Manila Inc. (FMI), claimed that they have earlier filed a case for the declaration of the existence of an easement before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City and prayed that the easement be annotated in the title of the property foreclosed by NB. FMI further claimed that when Mr. Bong installed the pumps in his adjoining property, a voluntary easement was constituted in favor of FMI.

Will the action prosper? (4%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

Yes, the action will prosper. Article 624 of the Civil Code provides that when an apparent sign of easement exists between two estates established or maintained by the owner of both, it shall be considered as a title to the easement should the owner of two properties alienate one of them, unless at the time the ownership between the two estates is divided the contrary is provided in the deed of transfer or the apparent sign of easement is removed before the execution of the deed (Privatization and Management Office v. Legaspi Towers 300, Inc., G.R. No. 147957, July 22, 2009, 593 SCRA 382). In this case, neither any showing that the apparent sign of the easement was removed before the sale on public auction, nor that there was an agreement that the easement will no longer continue; hence, the entitlement of FMI to the easement subsists.

XVI.

A congregation for religious women, by way of commodatum, is using the real property owned and registered in the name of Spouses Manuel as a retreat house.

Maria, a helper of the congregation discovered a chest in the backyard. When she opened the chest, it contained several pieces of jewelry and money. (4%)

(A) Can the chest containing the pieces of jewellery and money be considered as hidden treasure?

(B) Who has the right to claim ownership of it?

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

(A) Yes, the chest containing the pieces of jewellery and money may be considered as hidden treasa as long as they are hidden and unknown and the lawful ownership of it does not appear as provided in Article 439 of the Civil Code.

JBL Under Article 438 of the Civil Code, when the discovery of hidden treasure is made on the property of another, one-half thereof shall be allowed to the finder provided the finder is not a trespasser. In this case, the owner of the land are Spouses Manuel. Spouses Manuel owns one-half of the hidden treasure since ownership is not transferred to the borrower but is retained by the lender in a contract of commodatum. The other half shall belong to Maria as the finder.

ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:

(A) No, the chest containing the pieces of jewelry and money may not be considered as hidden treasure. In the case at bar, there is no indication that the chest was hidden, only that the helper discovered it in the backyard. And since it is clear that the property where the chest was found belongs to the Spouses Manuel, they are presumed the owner of the chest where the jewelry was found. The lawful ownership of the chest is apparent.

(B) Since it does not come within the purview of hidden treasure, the spouses Manuel have the right to claim * ownership over the chest as well as its contents.

 

XVII.

On March 30, 2000, Mariano died intestate and was survived by his wife, Leonora, and children, Danilo ar Carlito. One of the properties he left was a piece of land in Alabang where he built his residential house.

After his burial, Leonora and Mariano’s children extra. judicially settled his estate. Thereafter, Leonora and Danilo advised Carlito of their intention to partition the property. Carlito opposed invoking Article 159 of the Family Code Carlito alleged that since his minor child Lucas still resides in the premises, the family home continues until that minor beneficiary becomes of age.

Is the contention of Carlito tenable? (4%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

No, the contention of Carlito is not tenable. In the case of Patricio v. Dario (G.R. No. 170829, November 20, 2006), it was provided that to be a beneficiary of a family home three requisites must concur: (1) they must be among the relationships enumerated in Article 154 of the Family Code; (2) they live in the family home, and (3) they are dependent for legal support upon the head of the family. In the said case, the partition of a family home is allowed despite the objection on the ground that a minor grandchild still resides in the premises. Although the first two requisites are present in this case, the third is lacking because Lucas, the grandchild, is not dependent for legal support upon his grandparents which is the head of the family who constituted the family home in this case. Lucas still has parents who are legally obliged to support him. Thus, he cannot be deemed as dependent for legal support upon the head of the family, who is Mariano.

XVIII.

Spouses Magtanggol managed and operated a gasoline station on a 1,000 sq.m. lot which they leased from Francisco Bigla-awa. The contract was for a period of three 13) vears. When the contract expired, Francisco asked the spouses to peacefully vacate the premises. The spouses jonored the demand and continued with the operation of the gasoline station.

One month after, Francisco, with the aid of a group of armed men, caused the closure of the gasoline station by constructing fences around it.

Was the act of Francisco and his men lawful? Why? (4%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

No, the act of Francisco and his men were not lawful. Even when one has a right, such as the right to enjoy his property and to exclude anyone else from the enjoyment of such, a person cannot take the law unto his own hands and must still file the proper action in court. Even though Francisco had the right to fence his property as part of his right to enjoy it, Spouses Magtanggol are covered by Art. 539 which provides that every possessor has a right to be respected in his possession despite the lapse of their lease. Although there is no apparent force or intimidation employed, fencing off the property would prevent Spouses Magtanggol from entering and possessing the property. The proper recourse of Francisco is to invoke the aid of a competent court and file an action for unlawful detainer.

 

XIX.

Who enjoys the Right of Retention? (1%)

(A) depositary until full payment of what may be due him in deposit

(B) lessee if he advances the expenses for the repair of the leased premises

(C) bailee if bailor owes him something (D) builder in bad faith for the recovery of necessary and useful expenses

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

(A) depositary until full payment of what may be due him in deposit

[Note: Letter C will also be correct if “owes him something” refers to damages (Article 1944 in relation to Art. 1951).]

XX

Mabuhay Elementary School organized a field trip for its Grade VI students in Fort Santiago, Manila Zoo, and Star City. To be able to join, the parents of the students had to sign a piece of paper that reads as follows:

“I allow my child (name of student), Grade – Section, to join the school’s field trip on February 14, 2014. I will not file any claim against the school, administrator or teacher in case something happens to my child during the trip.”

Joey, a 7-year-old student of Mabuhay Elementary School was bitten by a snake while the group was touring Manila Zoo. The parents of Joey sued the school for damages. The school, as a defense, presented the waiver signed by Joey’s parents.

Was there a valid waiver of right to sue the school? Why? (4%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

No, there was no valid waiver of the right to sue the school. Article 6 of the Civil Code provides that “(r)ights may be waived, unless the waiver is contrary to law, public order, public policy, morals, or good customs, or prejudicial to a person with a right recognized by law.” As a general rule, patrimonial rights may be waived as opposed to rights to personality and family rights which may not be made the subject of waiver (Valenzuela Hardwood & Industrial Supply, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 102316, June 30, 1997). The second paragraph of the waiver prohibiting the parent to file any claim against the school, administrator or teacher in case something happens to the child during the trip is against public policy because it removes liability from said school, administrator, or teacher, and thus, removing the responsibility imposed on them by Article 218 of the Family Code.

 

XXI.

A delayed accession is: (1%)

(A) formation of an island

(B) avulsion

(C) alluvium

(D) change in the course of the riverbed

 

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

(B) avulsion

XXII.

On March 27, 1980, Cornelio filed an application for land registration involving a parcel of agricultural land that he had bought from Isaac identified as Lot No. 2716 with an area of one (1) hectare. During the trial, Cornelio Maimed that he and his predecessors-in-interest had been in open, continuous, uninterrupted, public and adverse possession and occupation of the land for more than thirty (30) years. He likewise introduced in evidence a certification dated February 12, 1981 citing a presidential declaration to the effect that on June 14, 1980, agricultural lands of the public domain, including the subject matter of the application, were declared alienable and disposable agricultural land. (4%)

(A) If you are the judge, will you grant the application for land registration of Cornelio? (B) Can Cornelio acquire said agricultural land through acquisitive prescription, whether ordinary or extraordinary?

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

(A) I will not grant the application for registration. Under the law, specifically Section 48 (b) of the Public Land Act (C.A. No. 141), as amended by P.D. No. 1073, and Section 14 (1) of the Property Registration Decree (P.D. No. 1529), it is required that the applicant, by himself or through his predecessors-in-interest, has been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable land of the public domain under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945, or earlier. Interpreting Section 14 (1) of P.D. No. 1529, the Supreme Court held that it merely requires the property sought to be registered as already alienable and disposable at the time the application for registration is filed and not during the entire period of possession, or since June 12, 1945 (Republic v. Naguit, G.R. No. 14-4057, January 17, 2005; Malabanan v. Republic, G.R. No. 179987, September 3, 2013). In this case, the land applied for by Cornelio was declared alienable and disposable agricultural land only on June 14, 1980 or almost three (3) months from the date of the filing of his application on March 27, 1980. Hence, his application for registration cannot be granted.

 

(B) Neither can Cornelio acquire the land through acquisitive prescription, whether ordinary (posses. sion for ten (10) years in good faith or with just title) nor extraordinary (possession for thirty (30) years regardless of good faith or just title). As a rule, properties of public dominion cannot be acquired by prescription. The exception is Section 14 (2) of P.D. No. 1529 which allows a qualified individual to apply for the registration of property which has been acquired by prescription under existing laws. Article 1113 of the Civil Code provides the foundation for the application of Section 14 (2) to the effect that only when land of the public domain is patrimonial, and hence, private in character, can said land be susceptible to acquisitive prescription. But in order that land of the public domain may become patrimonial property, there must be an express declaration by the State that such land is no longer needed for public service or for the development of the national wealth to convert it as such. In this case, there is no such official declaration, hence the land cannot be the subject of acquisition through prescription.

XXIII.

After undergoing sex reassignment in a foreign country, Jose, who is now using the name of “Josie,” married his partner Ador. Is the marriage valid? (1%)

(A) Yes, the marriage is valid for as long as it is valid in the place where it is celebrated following Article 17 of the Civil Code.

(B) Yes, the marriage is valid if all the essential and formal elements of marriage under the Family Code are present.

(C) No, the marriage is not valid because one essential element of marriage is absent.

(D) No, the marriage is not valid but is voidable because “Josie” concealed her real identity.

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

(C) No, the marriage is not valid because one essential element of marriage is absent.

 

XXIV.

Ted, married to Annie, went to Canada to work. Five (5) years later, Ted became a naturalized Canadian citizen. He returned to the Philippines to convince Annie to settle in Canada. Unfortunately, Ted discovered that Annie and his friend Louie were having an affair. Deeply hurt, Ted returned to Canada and filed a petition for divorce which was granted. In December 2013, Ted decided to marry his childhood friend Corazon in the Philippines. In preparation for the wedding, Ted went to the Local Civil Registry of Quezon City where his marriage contract with Annie was registered. He asked the Civil Register to annotate the decree of divorce on his marriage contract with Annie. However, he was advised by the National Statistics Office (NSO) to file a petition for judicial recognition of the decree of divorce in the Philippines.

Is it necessary for Ted to file a petition for judicial recognition of the decree of divorce he obtained in Canada before he can contract a second marriage in the Philippines? (4%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

No, it is not necessary for Ted to file a petition for judicial recognition of the decree of divorce he obtained in Canada before he can contract a second marriage in the Philippines. Ted, who is already a foreigner being a naturalized Canadian citizen, will be required to submit a certificate of legal capacity to contract marriage issued by the proper diplomatic or consular officials to obtain a marriage license.

 

XXV.

Mario executed his last will and testament where he acknowledges the child being conceived by his live-in partner Josie as his own child; and that his house and lot in Baguio City be given to his unborn conceived child. Are the acknowledgment and the donation mortis causa valid? Why? (4%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

The acknowledgment of the unborn child is effective because a will may still constitute a document which contains an admission of illegitimate filiation. The donation to the conceived child is also valid provided that the child is born later on and that it comply with the formalities required of a will (Article 728, Civil Code). A fetus has a presumptive personality for all purposes favorable to it provided it be born under the conditions specified in Article 41. However, there has to be compliance with the formal requisites for a valid last will and testament.

 

XXVI.

Isaac leased the apartment of Dorotea for two (2) years. Six (6) months after, Isaac subleased a portion of the apartment due to financial difficulty. Is the sublease contract valid? (1%)

(A) Yes, it is valid for as long as all the elements of a valid sublease contract are present.

(B) Yes, it is valid if there is no express prohibition for subleasing in the lease contract.

(C) No, it is void if there is no written consent on the part of the lessor.

(D) No, it is void because of breach of the lease contract.

 

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

(B) Yes, it is valid if there is no express prohibition for subleasing in the lease contract.

 

XXVII.

Fe, Esperanza, and Caridad inherited from their parents 500 sq.m. lot which they leased to Maria for three (3) Sears. One year after, Fe, claiming to have the authority to capresent her siblings Esperanza and Caridad, offered to sell the leased property to Maria which the latter accepted. The sale was not reduced into writing, but Maria started to make partial payments to Fe, which the latter received and acknowledged. After giving the full payment, Maria demanded for the execution of a deed of absolute sale which Esperanza and Caridad refused to do. Worst, Maria learned that the siblings sold the same property to Manuel. This compelled Maria to file a complaint for the annulment of the sale with specific performance and damages.

If you are the judge, how will you decide the case? (4%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

I will decide in favor of Maria but only as to the share of Fe, and dismiss the complaint with respect to Esperanza and Caridad. The property in question is co-owned by Fe, Esperanza and Caridad, since it has not yet been divided among them. Article 493 of the Civil Code provides that each co-owner shall have full ownership of his part and of the fruits and benefits pertaining thereto, and he may therefore alienate, assiga or mortgage it, provided that the effect of such alienation or mortgage shall be limited to the portion which may be allotted to him in the division upon the termination of the co-ownership. The sale by Fe to Maria would therefore be binding on her 1/3 interest, but not on the 2/3 interest of Esperanza and Caridad because their shares were not validly sold to Maria in the absence of a written authority to Fe to sell their respective portions to Maria as required by Article 1874 of the Civil Code. Fe can only sell whatever property right she has, i.e. 1/3 ideal portion or undivided interest in the 500 sq. m. lot.

The sale to Manuel is valid as to the 2/3 share of Esperanza and Caridad.

 

XXVIII.

Spouses Esteban and Maria decided to raise their two (2) nieces, Faith and Hope, both minors, as their own children after the parents of the minors died in a vehicular accident.

Ten (10) years after, Esteban died. Maria later on married her boss Daniel, a British national who had been living in the Philippines for two (2) years.

With the permission of Daniel, Maria filed a petition for the adoption of Faith and Hope. She did not include Daniel as her co-petitioner because for Maria, it was her former husband Esteban who raised the kids: (4%)

If you are the judge, how will you resolve the petition?

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

I will deny the petition for adoption. According to R.A. 8552 or the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998, a husband and wife must jointly adopt except in the following cases: 1) if one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate child of the other; 2) if one spouse seeks to adopt his/her own illegitimate child, provided that the other spouse signified their consent thereto; or 3) if the spouses are legally separated from each other.

In this case, since Daniel and Maria do not fall under any of the exceptions enumerated above, they must jointly adopt as required by law.

 

XXIX.

Timothy executed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Kristopher setting up a business venture covering three (3) fastfood stores known as “Hungry Toppings” that will be established at Mall Uno, Mall Dos, and Mall Tres.

The pertinent provisions of the MOA provide:

  1. Timothy shall be considered a partner with thirty percent (30%) share in all of the stores to be set up by Kristopher;
  2. The proceeds of the business, after deducting expenses, shall be used to pay the principal amount of P500,000.00 and the interest therein which is to be computed based on the bank rate, representing the bank loan secured by Timothy;
  3.  The net profits, if any, after deducting the expenses and payments of the principal and interest shall be divided as follows: seventy percent (70%) for Kristopher and thirty percent (30%) for Timothy;
  4. Kristopher shall have a free hand in running the business without any interference from Timothy, his agents, representatives, or assigns, and should such interference happen, Kristopher has the right to buy back the share of Timothy less the amounts already paid on the principal and to dissolve the MOA; and
  5.  Kristopher shall submit his monthly sales report in connection with the business to Timothy.

What is the contractual relationship between Timothy and Kristopher? (4%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

The contractual relationship between Timothy and Kristopher is that of partnership. Article 1767 of the Civil Code provides that under a contract of partnership, two or more persons bind themselves to contribute money, property or industry to a common fund, with the intention of dividing the profits among themselves. Moreover, Article 1769 of the Civil Code states in part that receipt by a person of a share of the profits of a business is prima facie evidence that he is a partner in the business, provided that the said profits were not received in payment for debt, as wages, annuity, interest on a loan, or as consideration for a sale. In this case, the MOA between Timothy and Kristopher stipulated that they shall share in the profits of the business-30-70. The contributions of the partners include a bank loan obtained by Timothy and industry in the form of managing the properties by Kristopher. Thus, the requisites for establishing a contract of partnership are complied with.

 

XXX.

Joe Miguel, a well-known treasure hunter in Mindanao, cuted a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) appointing his whew. John Paul, as his attorney-in-fact. John Paul was given the power to deal with treasure-hunting activities on Toe Miguel’s land and to file charges against those who may anter it without the latter’s authority. Joe Miguel agreed to give John Paul forty percent (40%) of the treasure that may be found on the land.

Thereafter, John Paul filed a case for damages and injunction against Lilo for illegally entering Joe Miguel’s land. Subsequently, he hired the legal services of Atty. Audrey agreeing to give the latter thirty percent (30%) of Joe Miguel’s share in whatever treasure that may be found in the land.

Dissatisfied however with the strategies implemented by John Paul, Joe Miguel unilaterally revoked the SPA granted to John Paul.

Is the revocation proper? (4%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

Yes, the revocation is proper. Article 1920 provides that the principal may expressly or impliedly revoke the agency at will, and compel the agent to return the document evidencing the agency. Joe Miguel may however be held liable for damages if he abused his right in revoking the agency.

ALTERNATIVE ANSWER:

No, the revocation is not proper. Under Article 1927, an agency cannot be revoked if a bilateral contract depends upon it, or if it is the means of fulfilling an obligation already contracted, or if a partner is appointed manager of a partnership in the contract of partnership and his removal from the management is unjustifiable.

In the case of Republic v. Evangelista (G.R. No. 156015, August 11, 2005), which has similar facts as the present case, it was held that “an exception to the revocability of a contract of agency is when it is coupled with interest, i.e., if a bilateral contract depends upon the agency. The reason for its irrevocability is because the agency becomes part of another obligation or agreement. It is not solely the rights of the principal but also that of the agent and third persons which are affected. Hence, the law provides that in such cases, the agency cannot be revoked at the sole will of the principal.”

In this case, the interest of John Paul and Atty. Audrey in the agency is the treasure that may be found in the land. The contract with the lawyer depends on the agency which renders such agency as one coupled with an interest. Therefore, Joe Miguel cannot unilaterally revoke the agency.

 

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