Bar Q & A, Civil Law

2016 Bar Exam Suggested Answers in Civil Law by the UP Law Complex

I.

Section 1 0f P.D. NO. 755 states:

Section 1. Declaration of National Policy – It is hereby declared that the policy of the State is to provide readily available credit facilities to the coconut farmers at preferential rates, that this policy can be expeditiously and efficiently realized by the imple mentation of the “Agreement for the Acquisition of a Commercial Bank for the Benefit of the Coconut Farmers’ executed by the Philippine Coconut Authority, the terms of which’ Agreement’ are hereby incorporated by reference;xxx”

A copy of the Agreement was not attached to the Presidential Decree.

P.D. No: 755 was published in the Official Gazette but the text of the Agreement described in Section 1 was not published. Can the Agreement in question be accorded the status of a law? Explain. (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWERS

No, the Agreement cannot be accorded the status of a law, A law must be published to become effective. Article 2 of the Civil Code provides that Jaws shall take effect after fifteen (15) days following the completion of their publication in:the Official Gazetté, unless it is otherwise provided. The publication must be of the full text of the law since the purpose of publication is to inform the public of the contents of the law (Tañada v. Tuvera, G.R. N0.63915, April 24, 1985, 136 SCRA 27). In Nagkakaisang Maralitav. Military Shrine Services (G.R. Nos. 187587 & 187654, June 5, 2013, 675 SCRA 359); the Supreme Court held that the addendum to the Proclamation issued by President Marcos has no force and effect considering that the same was not published in the Official Gazette. Moreover, the Supreme Court in Cojuangco, Jr. v. Republic (G.R. No. 180705, November 27, 2012, 686 SCRA 472), which is on all fours with this case, ruled that while the Agreement was incorporated by reference, it was not reproduced or attached as an annex to the law and therefore cannot be accorded to the status of a law. Publication of the full text of the law is indispensable for its effectivity.

II.

With regard to an award of interest in the concept of actual and compensatory damages, please state the guidelines regarding the manner of computing legal interest in the following situations:

A) when the obligation is breached and it consists in the payment of a sum of money like a loan or forbearance of money; (2.5%)

B) when the obligation does not constitute a loan or forbearance of

money. (2.5%)

Consider the issuance of BSP-MB Circular No. 799, which became effective on July 1, 2013.

SUGGESTED ANSWER

(A) When the obligation is breached and it consists in the payment of a sum of money like a loan or forbearance of money, in the absence of stipulation, the rate of interest shall be the legal rate of 6% per annum (Article 2209 of the Civil Code), which was increased to 12% per NB Circular No. 905 (Series of 1982), to be computed from default. The twelve percent 12% per annum legal interest shall apply only until June 30, 2013. From July 1, 2013, the new rate of six percent (6%) per annum shall be the prevailing rate of interest when applicable (Nacar V. Gallery. Frames, G.R. No. 189871, August 13, 2013, 703 SCRA 439, applying BSP -MB Circular No. 799).

(NOTE: It is suggested that credit also be given in the event that the examinees cite Tañada v. Tuvera to support the conclusion that publication is unnecessary in the case of interpretative regulations and those merely internal in nature, as the language of the problem may be interpreted by the examinees to refer only to mere guidelines or directory matters]. The examinee should be given credit if he mentions that the actual base for computing the interest due on the loan or forbearance of money, goods or credit is the amount of the loans, forbearance, plus whatever interest is stipulated in writing; otherwise no interest may be charged for using the money (Art. 1956 of the Civil Code)].

(B) The interest on the amount of damages awarded may be imposed at the discretion of the court at the rate of 6% per annum. No interest, however, shall be adjudged on unliquidated claims or damages, except when or until the demand can be established with reasonable certainty. Accordingly, where the demand is established with reasonable certainty, the interest shall begin to run from the time the claim is made judicially or extra-judicially, but when such certainty cannot be so reasonably established at the time the demand is made, the interest shall begin to run only from the date the judgment of the court is made (at which time the quantification of damages may be deemed to have been reasonably ascertained). The actual base for the computation of legal interest shall, in any case, be on the amount finally adjudged (Nacar v. Gallery Frames, G.R. No. 189871, August 13, 2013, 703 SCRA 439).

III

Romeo and Juliet, both Filipinos, got married. After a few years, Juliet got word from her mother that she can go to the United States for naturalization. Juliet promised she will be back the moment she becomes an American. After sometime, Romeo learned from a friend that Juliet already became a U.S. citizen and even divorced him to marry a wealthy American businessman. Romeo filed a petition before the Regional Trial Court praying that an order be issued authorizing him to remarry pursuant to Article 26 of the Family Code. Decide the petition with reasons: (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER

if the time of Juliet’s acquisition of U.S. citizenship preceded the time when she obtained the divorce decree, then the divorce decree can be given effect in the Philippines, and consequently, Romeo will be capaci tated to remarry under Philippine law. On the other hand, if Juliet obtained the divorce decree before she acquired U.S. citizenship, then the foreign divorce decree cannot be recognized by Philippine courts. Article 26, paragraph 2 of the Family Code provides that where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating himor her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to rerriarry under Philippine law. In Republic v. Orbecido (G.R. No. 154380, October 5, 2005, 472 SCRA 114), the Supreme Court ruled that Article 26, paragraph 2 should be interpreted to include cases involving parties who, at the time of the celebration of the marriage were Filipino citizens, but later on, one of them becomes naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a divorce decree. The reckoning point is not their citizenship at the time of celebration of marriage, but their citizenship at the time the divorce decree is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him/ her to remarry.

ALTERNATIVE ANSWER

The petition should not be granted. A divorce obtained abroad by an alien may be recognized in our jurisdiction, provided such decree is valid according to the national law of the foreigner. However, the divorce decree and the governing personal law of the alien spouse who obtained the divorce must be proven. Our courts do not take judicial notice of foreign laws and judgments; hence, like any other evidentiary facts, both the divorce decree and the national law of the alien must be alleged and proven according to our law on evidence (Republic v. Orbecido, G.R. No. 154380, October 5, 2005, 472 SCRA 114). In this case, no evidence was adduced to prove the divorce between Romeo and Juliet and the validity of the same under U.S. law.

IV

Leo married Lina and they begot a son. After the birth of their child, Lina exhibited unusual behavior and started to neglect her son; she frequently went out with her friends and gambled in casinos. Lina later had extra-marital affairs with several men and eventually abandoned Leo and their son. Leo was able to talk to the psychiatrist of Lina who told him that Lina suffers from dementia praecox, a form of psychosis where the afflicted person is prone to commit homicidal attacks, Leo was once stabbed by Lina but fortunately he only suffered minor injuries, Will a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage filed with the court prosper? Explain. (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER :

No, a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code will not prosper. Even if taken as true, the grounds alleged are not sufficient to declare the marriage void under “psychological incapacity”. In Santos v. CA (G.R. No. 113054, March 16, 1995, 240 SCRA 20), the Supreme Court explained that psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability, The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability to perform one’s marital obligations, not a mere refusal, neglect, difficulty, or much less, ill will. While Lina was not examined by a physician, the Supreme Court has ruled in Marcos v. Marcos (G.R. No. 136490, October 19, 2000, 343 SCRA 755), that actual medical examination need not be resorted to where the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity. However, in this case, the pieces of evidence presented are not sufficient to conclude that indeed Lina is suffering from psychological incapacity existing already before the marriage, incurable and serious enough to prevent her from performing her essential marital obligations.

ALTERNATIVE ANSWER

No, a. Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code will not prosper. However, a Petition for Annulment of Marriage under Article 45 of the Family Code may.prosper, on the ground of unsound mind, assuming that Lina’s unsound mind existed at the time of the celebration of the marriage.

V.

Bernard and Dorothy lived together as common-law spouses although they are both capacitated to marry. After one year of cohabitation, Dorothy went abroad to work in Dubai as a hair stylist and regularly sent money to Bernard. With the money, Bernard bought a lot. For a good price, Bernard sold the lot. Dorothy came to know about the acquisition and sale of the lot and filed a suit to nullify the sale because she did not give her consent to the sale.

(A) Will Dorothy’s suit prosper? Decide with reasons. (2.5%)

(B) Suppose Dorothy was jobless and did not contribute money to the acquisition of the lot and her efforts consisted mainly in the care and maintenance of the family and household, is her consent to the sale a prerequisite to its validity? Explain. (2.5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER

(A) Yes, Dorothy’s suit will prosper, unless the buyer is a buyer in good faith and for value. The rule of co-ownership governs the property relationship in a union without marriage between a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry.each other. Article 14 of the Family Code is specifically applicable. Under this article, neither party can encumber or dispose by acts inter vivos of his or her share in the property acquired during cohabitation and owned in common, without the consent of the other, until after the termination of their cohabitation, thus, Bernard may not validly dispose of the lot without the consent of Dorothy as the lot was acquired through their work during their cohabitation.

(NOTE: it is suggested that some credit be given to examinees who reason that Article 147 does not apply because under the facts given, Dorothy and Bernard were not living together as husband and wife.]

(B) Yes, if Dorothy was jobless and did not contribute money to the acquisition of the lot, her consent is still a prerequisite to the validity of the sale. Under the same article, a party who did not participate in the acquisition by the other party of any property shall be deemed to have contributed jointly in the acquisition thereof if the former’s efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of the family and the household. In this case, although the money used to buy the lot was solely from Bernard, Dorothy’s care and maintenance of the family and household are deemed contributions in the acquisition of the lot. Article 147, 2nd paragraph is applicable, as the lot is deemed owned in common by the common-law spouses in equal shares as the same was acquired during their cohabitation, without prejudice to the rights of a buyer in good faith and for value.

VI.

Pedro bought a parcel of land described as Cadastral. Lot No. 123 and the title was issued to his name. Juan also bought a lot in the same place, which is described as Cadastral Lot No. 124. Pedro hired a geodetic engineer to determine the actual location of Lot No. 123 but for some reason, the engineer pointed to Lot No. 124 by mistake. Pedro hired a contractor to construct his house and the latter put up a sign stating the name of the owner of the project and the construction permit number. It took more than a year before the house was constructed. When Pedro was already residing in his house, Juan told him to remove his house because it was built on his (Juan’s) lot.

Juan filed a Complaint for Recovery of Possession and prayed that the house be removed because Pedro is a builder in bad faith. Pedro filed his Answer with Counterclaim that he is entitled to the payment of the value of the house plus damages because he is a builder in good faith and that Juan is guilty of estoppel and laches.

(A) If Pedro is a builder in good faith, what are the rights given to Juan under the law? Explain. (2.5%)

(B) If Pedro is a builder in bad faith, what are the rights given to Juan under the law? Explain. (2.5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER

(A) If Pedro is a builder in good faith and Juan is an owner in good faith, Juan has the right to appropriate as his own the house after payment of indemnity provided for in Articles 546 and 548 of the Civil Code, which are the necessary and useful expenses. As to useful expenses, juan has the option to either refund the amount of the expenses, or pay the increase in value which the land may have acquired by reason thereof. Alternatively, under Article 448 of the Civil Code, Juan has the right to oblige Pedro to pay the price of the land. However, Pedro cannot be obliged to buy the land if its value is considerably more than that of the house. In such case, he shall pay reasonable rent, if Juan does not choose to appropriate the house after proper indemnity. It is the owner of the land who is authorized to exercise the options under Article 448 because his right is older and by principle of accession, he is entitled to the ownership of the accessory thing.

If Pedro is a builder in good faith and Juan is an owner in bad faith because Juan knew that Pedro was building on his lot and did not oppose it (Article 453 par. 2), and Article 454 in relation to Article 447 of the Civil Code applies. Juan shall pay the value of the house and is also liable for reparation of damages; however, Pedro also has the right to remove or demolish the house and ask for damages.

(B) If Pedro is a builder in bad faith and Juan is an owner in good faith, Juan has three options. He may appropriate the improvements without indemnity under Article 449 of the Civil Code, or demand the demolition of the house in order to replace things to their former condition at Pedro’s expense under Article 450; or compel Pedro to pay the price of the land. In addition to these options, Juan is also entitled to damages from Pedro. If Pedro is a builder in bad faith and Juan is an owner in bad faith, it shall be as if both of them were in good faith (Article 453, New Civil Code).

VII

Benjamin is the owner of a titled lot which is bounded on the north by the Maragondon River. An alluvial deposit of two (2) hectares was added to the registered area. Daniel took possession of the portion formed by accretion and claims that he has been in open, continuous and undisturbed possession of said portion since 1923 as shown by a tax declaration. In 1958, Benjamin filed a complaint for Quieting of Title and contends that the alluvium belongs to him as the riparian owner and that since the allu viurn is, by law, part and parcel of the registered property, the same may be considered as registered property, Decide the case and explain. (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER

i will decide in favor of Daniel and dismiss the action to quiet title filed by Benjamin, Under Article 457 of the Civil Code, the owner of lands adjoining the banks of rivers belong the accretion which they gradually receive from the effects of the current of the waters. The accretion however, does not automatically become registered land. It must be brought under the Torrens system of registration by Benjamin, the reparian owner. Since he did not, the then increment, not being registered land, was open to acqui sition through prescription by third persons, like Daniel (Grande v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-17652, June 30, 1962,5 SCRA 524; Cureg v. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No, 73465, September 7, 1989, 177 SCRA 313).

VIII

Joven and Juliana are the owners of a 30-hectare plantation in Cotabato, covered by a title. One day, a group of armed men forcibly entered their house and, at gun point, forced them to sign a Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of Romeo. Romeo got the title from them and they were ejected from the house and threatened not to come back or else they will be killed. The spouses went to Manila and resided there for more than 35 years. They never went back to Cotabato for fear of their lives. Word came to them that peace and order have been restored in their former place of residence and they decided to reclaim their land for the benefit of their grandchildren: Joven and Juliana filed a suit for reconveyance of their property. This was opposed by the grandson of Romeo to whom the title was eventually transferred, on the ground of laches and prescription. Decide the case and rule on the defenses of laches and prescription. Explain your answer. (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER

The right of the registered owners, Joven and Juliana, to file suit to recover their property, is not barred by prescription. Under Section 47 of P.D. No. 1529, no title to registered land in derogation of the title of the registered owner shall be acquired by prescription or adverse possession. Proof of possession by the owner in an action for reconveyance is immaterial and inconsequential. The right to recover possession is equally imprescriptible since possession is a mere consequence of ownership (Republic v. Mendoza, G.R. No. 185091, August 9, 2010, 627 SCRA 443). The right of joven and Juliana to recover is not barred by laches, either. Laches deals with unreasonable delay in filing the action. The owners’ delay, if any, cannot be construed as deliberate and intentional. They were simply coerced out of Cotabato and threatened with death if they returned, and, thus, could not have filed the action.

IX

Butch got a loan from Hagibis Corporation (Hagibis), but he defaulted in the payment. A case for collection of a sum of money was filed against him. As a defense, Butch claims that there was already an arrangement with Hagibis on the payment of the loan. To implement the same, Butch already surrendered five (5) service utility vehicles (SUVS) to the company for it to sell, and the proceeds to be credited to the loan as payment. Was the obligation of Buich extinguished by reason of dacion en pago upon the surrender of the SUVs? Decide and explain.(5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER:

No, the obligation of Butch to Hagibis was not extinguished by the mere surrender of the SUV’s to the latter. Dation in payment whereby prop erty is alienated to the creditor in satisfaction of a debt in money, shall be governed by the law of sales. (Article 1245). In dacion en pago, as a special mode of payment, the debtor offers another thing to the creditor who accepts it as equivalent of payment of an outstanding debt. The undertaking really partakes in one sense of the nature of sale, that is, the creditor is really buying the thing or property of the debtor, payment for which is to be charged against the debtor’s debt. As such, the essential elements of a contractofsale, namely; consent, object certain, and cause or consideration must be present. In dacion en pago there is in reality an objective novation of the obligation where the thing offered as an accepted equivalent of the performance of an obligation is considered as the object of the contract of sale, while the debt is considered as the purchase price. In any case, common consent is an essential prerequisite, be it sale or innovation to have the effect of totally extinguishing the debt or obligation (Filinvest Credit Corporation v, Philippine Acetylene Company, inc., G.R. No. L-50449 January 30, 1982). There being no mention in the facts that Hagibis has given its consent to accept the SUVs as equivalent payment, the obligation of Butch is not thereby extinguished by mere delivery of the SUVS.

X

Jerico, the project owner, entered into a Construction Contract with Ivan for the latter to construct his house. Jojo executed a Surety undertaking to guarantee the performance of the work by Ivan, Jerico and Ivan later entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) revising the work schedule of ivan and the subcontractors. The MOA stated that all the stipulations of the original contract not in conflict with said agreement shall remain valid and legally effective. Jojo filed a suit to declare him relieved of his undertaking as a result of the MOA because of the change in the work schedule. Jerico claims there is no novation of the Construction Contract Decide the case and explain. (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER

I will decide in favor of Jerico as there is no novation of the Construction Contract. Novation is never presumed, and may only take place when the following are present: (1) a previous valid obligation; (2) the agreement of all the parties to the new contract; (3) the extinguishment of the old contract; and (4) validity of the new one. There must be consent of all the parties to the substitution, resulting in the extinction of the old obligation and the creation of a new valid one. In this case, the revision of the work schedule of Ivan and the subcontractors is not shown to be so substantial as to extinguish the old contract, and there was also no irreconcilable incompatibility between the old and new obligations. It has also been held in jurisprudence that a surety may only be relieved of his undertaking if there is a material change in the principal contract and such would make the obligation of the surety onerous. The principal contract subject of the Surety agreement still exists, and Jojo is still bound as a surety.

ALTERNATIVE ANSWER

I will decide against Jerico. The provisions of the Civil Code (CC) on Guarantee, other than the benefit of excussion (Article 2059 (2) CC), are applicable and available to the surety because a surety is a guarantor who binds himself solidarily (Article 2047 2nd par.CC). The Supreme Court has held that there is no reason why the provisions of Article 2079 would not apply to a surety (Autocorp Group v. Intra Strata Assurance Corporation, G.R. No. 166662, June 27, 2008, 556 SCRA 250). Article 2079 of the Civil Code provides that an extension granted to the debtor by the creditor without the consent of the guarantor extinguishes the guaranty. The changes in the work schedule amount to an extension granted to the debtor without the consent of the surety. Hence, Jojo‘s obligation as a surety is extinguished. If the change of work schedule, on the other hand, shortens the time of completion of the project, it will amount to a novation. The old obligation, where Jojo was obligated as a surety is extinguished relatively as to him, leaving Ivan as still bound.

XI

Ellen entrusted her title over the lot where she is residing to Patrick, her nephew, for safekeeping because of her poor eyesight. Patrick, a gambler, prepared a Special Power of Attorney empowering him to mortgage the lot. Ellen’s signature was forged. With the help of Julia who represented herself as Ellen; Mega Bank granted a loan to Patrick secured by a mortgage on Ellen’s lot. Due to non-payment, Mega Bank foreclosed the mortgage and was declared the highest bidder. Title was later registered in the name of the bank. When Ellen was notified that she should vacate the premises, she filed a complaint to nullify the loan with mortgage, the auction sale and the title of Mega Bank on the ground that the bank is not a mortgagee in good faith. Decide the case with reasons. (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER

I will decide in favor of Ellen. Banks, their business being impressed with public interest, are expected to exercise more care and prudence than private individuals in their dealings, even those involving registered lands. The highest degree of diligence is expected, and high standards of integ rity and performance are even required of it.

A mortgagee – usually, can rely on what appears on the certificate of title presented by the mortgagor and an innocent mortgagee is not expected to conduct an exhaustive investigation on the history of the mortgagor’s title. This rule is, however, strictly applied against banking institutions. Mega Bank cannot be considered a mortgagee in good faith as it failed to inspect the disputed property when offered to it as security for the loan, which could have led it to discover the forged Special Power of Attorney.

ALTERNATIVE ANSWER

I will decide in favor of Ellen, the victim of a forged document, Section 52 of P.D. No. 1529.provides that after the entry of a decree of registration, any subsequent registration procured by a forged deed shall.be null and void, even if accompanied by the owner’s duplicate certificate of title. In this case, the registered owner, Ellen, did not lose her title, and neither did the mortgagee, Mega Bank, acquire any right to the property (Joaquin V. Madrid, G.R. No* L-13551, January 30, 1960, 106 Phil. 1060). The bank was defrauded because it believed the imposter who had, without authority, gained possession of Ellen’s certificate of title, and who then forged her signature to the deed of mortgage (De Lara v. Ayroso, G.R. No. L-6122, May 31, 1954, 95 Phil, 185). It is not a mortgagee in good faith.

XII

On March 13, 2008, Ariel entered into a Deed of Absolute Sale (DAS) with Noel where the former sold his titled lot in Quezon City with an area of three hundred (300) square meters to the latter for the price of P300, 000.00. The prevailing market value of the lot was P3,000.00 per square meter. On March 20, 2008, they executed another “Agreement to Buy Back/Redeem Property” where Ariel was given an option to repurchase the property on or before March 20, 2010 for the same price. Ariel, however, remained in actual possession of the lot. Since Noel did not pay the taxes, Ariel paid the real property taxes to avoid a delinquency sale. On March 21, 2010, Ariel sent a letter to Noel, attaching thereto a manager’s check for P300,000.00 manifesting that he is redeeming the property. Noel rejected the redemption claiming that the DAS was a true and valid sale representing the true intent of the parties. Ariel filed a suit for the nullification of the DAS or the reformation of said agreement to that of a loan with Real Estate Mortgage. He claims the DAS and the redemption agreement constitute an equitable mortgage. Noel however claims it is a valid sale with pacto de retro and Ariel clearly failed to redeem the property. As the RTC judge, decide the case with reasons. (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER

I will decide in favor of Ariel and allow the reformation of the agreement. The DAS and the redemption agreement constitute an equitable mortgage and Ariel may ask for the reformation of the agreement to that of a Loan with Real Estate Mortgage as allowed by Article 1605 of the Civil Code (CC). The circumstances clearly show that the agreement is an equitable mortgage, such as the: a) price of the lot was inadequate since it was only sold at P300,000 when the prevailing market value of such was P900,000;

b) the vendor, Ariel, remained in actual possession of the property after the purported sale; and c) Ariel was the one who paid the real property taxes. Under the circumstances, a presumption arises under Article 1602 C.C. that what was really executed was an equitable mortgage. Moreover, Article 1603 C.C. provides that in case of doubt, a contract purporting to be a sale with right to repurchase shall be construed as an equitable mortgage.

XIII

Peter, a resident of Cebu City, sent through Reliable Pera Padala (RPP) the amount of P20,000.00 to his daughter, Paula, for the payment of her tuition fee. Paula went to an RPP branch but was informed that there was no money remitted to her name. Peter inquired from RPP and was informed that there was a computer glitch and the money was credited to another person. Peter and Paula sued RPP for actual damages, moral damages and exemplary damages. The trial court ruled that there was no proof of pecu niary loss to the plaintiffs but awarded moral damages of. P20,000.00 and exemplary damages of P5,000.00. On appeal, RPP questioned the award of moral and exemplary damages. Is the trial court correct in awarding moral and exemplary damages? Explain. (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER

No, the trial court is not correct in awarding moral and exemplary damages. The damages in this case are prayed for based on the breach of contract committed by RPP in failing to deliver the sum of money to Paula. Under the provisions of the Civil Code, in breach of contract, moral damages may be recovered when the defendant acted in bad faith or was guilty of gross negligence (amounting to bad faith) or in wanton disregard of his contractual obligation. In the same fashion, to warrant the award of exemplary damages, the wrongful act must be accomplished by bad faith, and an award of damages would be allowed only if the guilty party acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless or malevolent manner (Article 2232 of the Civil Code)

Bad faith does not simply connote bad judgment or negligence. It imports a dishonest purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious doing of a wrong, a breach of known duty through some motive or interest or ill will that partakes of the nature of fraud. In this case, however, RPP’s breach was due to a computer glitch which at most can be considered as negligence on its part, but definitely does not constitute bad faith or fraud as would warrant the award of moral and exemplary damages.

XIV

On February 28, 1998, Arthur filed an application for registration of title of a lot in Ternate, Cavite before the Regional Trial Court of Naic, Cavite under Section 48(6) of Commonwealth Act No. 141 (CA 141) for judicial confirmation of imperfect title. Section 48(b) of CA 147 requires possession counted from June 12, 1945. Arthur presented testimonial and documentary evidence that his possession and that of his predecessors-in interest started in 1936. The lot was declared alienable and disposable (A and D) in 1993 based on a PENRO certification and a certified true copy of the original classification made by the DENR Secretary. The government opposed the application on the ground that the lot was certified A and D only in 1993 while the application was instituted only in 1998. Arthur’s possession of five (5) years from the date of declaration does not comply with the 30-year period required under CA 141. Should the possession of Arthur be reckoned from the date when the lot was declared A and D or from the date of actual possession of the applicant? Explain. (5%)

if the trial court finds that there was gross negligence on the part of RPP, the award of moral damages and exemplary damages would be proper. RPP merely alleged that the failure to remit the money to Paula was caused by a computer glitch, büt’this bare assertion does not preclude the possi bility that the trial court found gross negligence (equivalent to bad faith) on the part of RPP Under Article 2220 of the Civil Code, moral damages may be awarded in cases of breaches of contract where the defendant acted fraudulently or in bad faith. Likewise, Article 2232 provides that the court may award exemplary damages in contracts if the defendant acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or malevolent manner.

SUGGESTED ANSWER

Arthur’s possession should be reckoned from the date of his actual possession, by himself and his predecessors-in-interest, since 1936. Under Section 48(b) of CA. 141, as amended by PD No. 1973, the length of the requisite possession was changed from possession for “thirty (30) years immediately preceding the filing of the applications to possession “since June 12, 1945 or earlier”. But possession is different from classification. As held in Malabanan v. Republic (G.R. No. 179987, April 29, 2009, 587 SCRA . 172), it is only necessary that the land be already classified as A and D “at the time the application for registration is filed” to make public the release of the property for alienation or disposition. But the possession of Arthur even prior to the classification of the land as A and D shall be counted in determining the period of possession.

ALTERNATIVE ANSWER

Arthur’s possession should be reckoned from the date the Ternate lot was declared alienable and disposable land of the public domain. In Zarate v. Director of Lands (G.R. No. 131501, July 14, 2004), the Supreme Court, citing the case of Bracewell v. CA (G.R. No. 107427, January 25, 2000), ruled that ‘possession of the property prior to the classification thereof as alienable or disposable, cannot be credited as part of the thirty (30) year required under Section 48(b) of CA No. 341, as amended. in Heirs of Malabanan v. Republic (G.R. No. 179987, September 3, 2010), the Supreme Court explained that the possession of Arthur should be reckoned only from the date lots A and D were declared as alienable and disposable by the State and not from the date of actual possession:Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act’used the words “lands of the public domain” or “alien able and disposable lands of the public domain” to clearly signify that lands otherwise classified; j.e., mineral, forest or timber, or national parks, and sands of patrimonial or private ownership, are outside the coverage of the Public Land Act. What the law does not include, it excludes. The use of the descriptive phrase “alienable and disposable” further limits the coverage of Section 48(b) to only the agricultural lands of the public domain. Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act, in relation to Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree, presupposes that the land subject of the application for registration must have been already classified as agricultural land of the public domain in order for the provision to apply. Thus, absent proof that the land is already classified as agricultural land of the public domain, the Regalian Doctrine applies, and overcomes the presumption that the land is alienable and disposable as laid down in Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act (Heirs of Malabanan v. Republic, G.R. No. 179987 September 3, 2013).

The basis of the 30 year open continuous and notorious possession in the concept of owner of A and D land is extraordinary acquisitive prescription of immovable property, Lands classified as forest, mineral, and national parks are properties of public dominion which cannot be acquired by acquisitive prescription.

XV

Peter and Paul entered into a Contract to Sell whereby Peter, the lot owner, agreed to sell to Paul his lot on November 6, 2016 for the price of P1,000,000.00 to be paid at the residence of Peter in Makati City at 1:00 p.m. If the full price is paid in cash at the specified time and place, then Peter will execute a Deed of Absolute Sale and deliver the title to Paul. On November 6, 2016, Paul did not show up and was not heard of from that date on. In view of the nonperformance by Paul of his obligation, Peter sent a letter to Paul that he is expressly and extra-judicially declaring the Contract to Sell rescinded and of no legal and binding effect. Peter further stated that failure on the part of Paul to contest the rescission within thirty (30) days from receipt of said letter shall mean that the latter agreed to the rescission.

Paul did not reply to this letter for five (5) years. Thus, Peter decided to sell his lot to Henry in 2021. After hearing that Henry bought the lot, Paul now questions the sale of the lot to Henry and files a complaint for nullification of the sale.

(A) Is the exercise by Peter of his power to rescind extra-judicially the Contract to Sell the proper and legal way of rescinding said contract? Explain. (2.5%)

(B) in case Paul made a down payment pursuant to a stipulation in the Contract to Sell, what is the legal remedy of Peter? (2.5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER

(A) As a general rule, the power to rescind an obligation must be invoked judicially and cannot be exercised solely on a party’s own judgment that the other has committed a breach of the obligation. This is so because rescission of a contract will not be permitted for a slight or casual breach, but only for such substantial and fundamental violations as would defeat the very object of the parties in making the agreement. However, rescission as a remedy for breach is applicable only to an obligation which is extant. Be it noted that the contract between the parties.is a contract to sell and not a contract of sale and in a contract to sell, there is a reservation of ownership on the part of the seller and his obligation to convey title will only arise upon full payment of the purchase price. Nonetheless, Peter may validly cancel the contract to sell (Olivarez v. Castillo, G.R. No. 196251, July 9, 2014).

ALTERNATIVE ANSWER

(A) (1) Yes, Peter validly rescinded the contract to sell his lot to Paul for the latter’s failure to comply with his prestation to pay P1,000,000.00 on November 6, 2016 at 1:00.p.m. at the residence of Peter so that Peter will execute the Deed of Absolute Sale: The

rescission is actually the resolution of the reciprocal obligation (2) in UP v. De los Angeles (G.R. No. L-28602, September 29, 1970, 35 SCRA 102), the Supreme Court ruled that the injured party may consider the contract as rescinded and act accordingly, even without prior court action. His unilateral determination however, is provisional, since the other party may challenge it by suing him in court. It is then the court which will finally determine if the rescission should be set aside or affirmed.

SUGGESTED ANSWER

(B) If. Paul made a down payment, Peter may still cancel the contract because in a contract to sell, the seller does not yet agree to transfer ownership to the buyer. The non-payment of the price in a contract to sell is not a breach for which the remedy of rescission may be availed of, but rather it is considered as a failure to comply with a positive suspen şive condition which will prevent the obligation of the seller to convey title from acquiring obligatory force (Ursal v. Court of Appeals. G.R. No. 142411, October 14, 2005, 473 SCRA 52, citing Chua v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 144881, October 16, 2003, 401 SCRA 54).

XVI

Don Ricardo had 2 legitimate children-Tomas and Tristan. Tristan has 3 children. Meanwhile, Tomas had a relationship with Nancy, who was also single and had the legal capacity to marry. Nancy became pregnant and gave birth to Tomas, Jr. After the birth of Tomas, Jr., his father, Tomas, died. Later, Don Ricardo died without a will and Tristan opposed the motion of Tomas, Jr. to be declared an heir of the deceased since he is an illegitimate child. Tomas, Jr.countered that Article 992 of the Civil Code is unconstitutional for violation of the equal protection of the laws. He explained that an illegitimate child of an illegitimate parent is allowed to inherit under Articles 902,982 and 990 of the Civil Code while he-an illegitimate child of a legitimate father-cannot. Civil Law commentator Arturo Tolentino opined that Article 992 created an absurdity and committed an injustice because while the illegitimate descendant of an illegitimate child can represent, the illegitimate descendant of a legitimate child cannot. Decide the case and explain. (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER

I will deny the motion of Tomas, Jr. to be declared as an heir of the deceased. Tomas jr., being an illegitimate child of the deceased legitimate son, Tomas, cannot inherit ab intestate from the deceased, Don Ricardo, because of the iron curtain rule under Article 992 of the Civil Code. Tomas cannot argue that Article 992 is violative of the equal protection clause because equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed (Ichong v. Hernandez, G.R. No. L-7995, May 31, 1957, 101 Phil: 7755). It, however, does not require the universal application of the laws to all persons or things without distinction. What it simply requires is equality among equals as determined according to a valid classification Indeed, the equal protection clause permits classification.

XVII

Macario bought a titled lot from Ramon, got the title and took possession of the lot. Since Macario did not have the money to pay the taxes, fees and registration expenses, he was not able to register the Deed of Absolute Sale. Upon advice, he merely executed an Affidavit of Adverse Claim and had it annotated at the back of the title. A few years after, he received a Notice of Levy on Attachment and Writ of Execution.in favor of Alex. The notice, writ and certificate of sale were annotated at the back of the title still in Ramon’s name. Alex contends that since the Affidavit of Adverse Claim is effective only for 30 days from the date of its registration, then its validity has expired. Macario posits that the annotation of his adverse claim is notice to the whole world of his purchase of the lot in question. Who has the superior right over the disputed property–Macario or Alex? Explain.(5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER

Macario is preferred since the registration of his adverse claim was made ahead of the notice of levy and writ of execution in favor of Alex. Macario’s adverse claim, coupled with the fact that he was in possession of the disputed property, are circumstances which should have put Alex on constructive notice that the property being offered to him had already been sold to another (Ching v. Enrile, G.R. No. 156076, September 17, 2008). The contention that the adverse claim is effective only for 30 years is puerite. in Sajonas v. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 102377, July 5, 1996, 258 SCRA 79), the Court held that the adverse claim does not ipso facto lose its validity since an independent action is still necessary to render it ineffective. Until then, the adverse claim shall continue as a prior lien on the property.

XVIII

Dr. Jack, a surgeon, holds clinic at the St. Vincent’s Hospital and pays rent to the hospital. The fees of Dr. Jack are paid directly to him by the patient or through the cashier of the hospital. The hospital publicly displays in the lobby the names and specializations of the doctors associated or accredited by it, including that of Dr. Jack. Marta engaged the services of Dr. Jack because of recurring stomach pain. It was diagnosed that she is suffering from cancer and had to be operated on. Before the operation, she was asked to sign a “consent for hospital care,” which reads.

“Permission is hereby given to the medical, nursing and laboratory staff of the St. Vincent’s Hospital to perform such procedures and to administer such medications and treatments as may be deemed necessary or advisable by the physicians of this hospital for and during the confinement.”

After the surgery, the attending nurses reported that two (2) sponges were missing. Later, Marta died due to complications brought about by the sponges that were left in her stomach. The husband of Marta sued the hospital and Dr. Jack for damages arising from negligence in the medical procedure. The hospital raised the defense that Dr. Jack is not its employee as it did not hire Dr. Jack nor pay him any salary or compensation. It has absolutely no control over the medical services and treatment being provided by Dr. Jack. Dr. Jack even signed an agreement that he holds the hospital free and harmless from any liability arising from his medical practice in the hospital.

Is St. Vincent’s Hospital liable for the negligence of Dr. Jack? Explain your answer. (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER

Yes, St. Vincent’s Hospital is liable. In the case of Professional Services v. Agana (G.R. No.126297, January 31, 2007, 513 SCRA 478), the Supreme Court heid that the hospital is liable to the Aganas, not under the principle of respondeat superior for lack of evidence of an employer-employee rela tionship with Dr. Ampil but under the principle of ostensible agency for the negligence of Dr. Ampil and, pro hac vice, under the principle of corporate negligence for its failure to perform its duties as a hospital. .

While it is true that there was insufficient evidence that St. Vincent’s Hospital exercised the power of control or wielded such power over the means and the details of the specific process by which Dr. Jack applied his skills in Marta’s treatment, there is ample evidence that St. Vincent’s Hospital held out to the patient, Marta, thatDr. Jack was its agent (principle of ostensible agency). The two factors that determine apparent authority are present: (1) the hospital’s implied manifestation to the patient which led the latter to conclude that the doctor was the hospital’s agent; and (2) the patient’s reliance upon the conduct of the hospital and the doctor, consistent with ordinary care and prudence.

The corporate negligence ascribed to St. Vincent’s Hospital is different from the medical negligence attributed to Dr. Jack. The duties of the hospital are distinct from those of the doctor-consultant practicing within its premises in relation to the patient; hence, the failure of St. Vincent’s Hospital to fulfill its duties as a hospital corporation gave rise to a direct liability to Marta distinct from that of Dr. Jack.

XIX

Brad and Angelina had a secret marriage before a pastor whose office is located in Arroceros Street, City of Manila. They paid money to the pastor who took care of all the documentation. When Angelina wanted to go to the U.S., she found out that there was no marriage license issued to them before their marriage. Since their marriage was solemnized in 1995 after the effectivity of the Family Code, Angelina filed a petition for judicial declaration of

(A) Decide the case and explain. (2.5%)

(B) In case the marriage was solemnized in 1980 before the effectivity of the Family Code, is it required that a judicial petition be filed to declare the marriage null and void? Explain. (2.5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER

(A) I will grant the petition for judicial declaration of nullity of Brad and Angelina’s marriage on the ground that there is a lack of a marriage license. Article 3 of the Family Code provides that one of the formal requisites of marriage is a valid marriage license and Article 4 of the same Code states that absence of any of the essential or formal requisites shall render the marriage void ab initio, in Abbas v. Abbas (G.R. No. 183896, January 30, 2013, 689 SCRA 646), the Supreme Court declared the marriage as void ab initio because there is proof of lack of record of marriage license.

The certification by the Civil Registrar of Manila that, after a diligent and exhaustive search, the alleged marriage license indicated in the marriage certificate does not appear in the records and cannot be found proves that the marriage of Brad and Angelina was solemnized without the requisite marriage license and is therefore void ab initio. The absence of the marriage license was certified to by the local civil registrar who is the official custodian of these documents and who is in the best position to certify as to the existence of these records. Also, there is a presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty (Republic v. CA and Castro, G.R. No. 103047, September 2, 1994, 236 SCRA 257).

(B) No, it is not required that a judicial petition be filed to declare the marriage null and void when said marriage was solemnized before the effectivity of the Family Code. As stated in the cases of People V. Mendoza (G.R. No. L-5877, September 28, 1954, 95 Phil. 845), and People v. Aragon (G.R. No. L-10016, February 28, 1957, 100 Phil. 1033), the old rule is that where a marriage is illegal and void from its performance, no judicial petition is necessary to establish its invalidity.

ALTERNATIVE ANSWER

(B) Irrespective of when the marriage took place, other than for

purposes of remarriage, no judicial action is necessary to declare a marriage an absolute nullity. For other purposes, such as but not limited to determination of heirship, legitimacy or illegitimacy of a child, settlement of estate, dissolution of property regime, or a criminal case for that matter, the court may pass upon the validity of marriage even in a suit not directly instituted to question the same so long as it is essential to the determination of the case. This is without prejudice to any issue that may arise in the case. When such need arises, a final judgment of declaration of nullity is necessary even if the purpose is other than to remarry. The clause on the basis of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void in Article 40 of the Family Code.connotes that such final judgment need to be obtained only for purpose of remarriage (Ablaza v. Republic, G.R. No. 158298, August 11, 2010, 628 SCRA 27).

XX

Princess married:Roberto and bore a son, Onofre. Roberto died in a plane crash Princess later married Märk and they also had a son-Pepito. Onofre donated to Pepito, his half-brother, a lot in Makati City worth p3,000,000.00. Pepito succumbed to an illness and died intestate. The tot: given to Pepito by Onofre was inherited by his father, Mark. Mark also died intestate. Lonely, Princess followed Mark to the life beyond. The claimants: to the subject lot emerged-jojo, the father of Princess; Victor, the father of Mark; and Jerico, the father of Roberto.

Who among the three (3) ascendants is entitled to the lot? Explain. (5%)

SUGGESTED ANSWER

Jojo, Princess’s father, is entitled to the lot: This is a clear case of reserva troncal. The Origin is Onofre. The Prepositus is Pepito. The mode of transmission from Onofre to Pepito is donation (hence by gratuitous title), The Reservista is Mark, who acquired it from his descendant (son) Pepito by legitime and intestacy (hence, by operation of law). The Reservatario is Princess, a relative of the Prepositus Pepito within the third degree and who belonged to the line of origin (the maternal line). Line of origin is the maternal line because Onofre (the Origin) and Pepito. (the Prepositus) are maternal half-blood siblings. When Mark (Reservista) died, the property passed to Princess as sole. reservatario, thus extinguishing the reserva troncal. Upon Princess’s death, the property was transmitted ab intestato to her father Jojo. Transmission to Jojo is by the ordinary rules of compulsory and intestate succession, not by reserva troncal, because the reserva was extinguished upon the transmission of the property to Princess, this making Princess the absolute owner subject to no reserva.

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