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DISPOSITIVE:

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

HERRERA COMMITTED INFRACTIONS STATED BELOW. HIS COLLECTIVE CONDUCT TARNISHES THE INTEGRITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION AND IS IN CLEAR DISREGARD OF HIS SWORN DUTIES IN THE LAWYER’S OATH.

THE SUPREME COURT CITED CASES WHERE PENALTY OF DISBARMENT WAS IMPOSED AND SAID THAT THE INFRACTIONS OF ATTY HERRERA ARE GRAVER THAN THE INFRACTIONS IN THOSE CASES.

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DISPOSITIVE:

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

COMPLAINANTS FILED A QUIETING OF TITLE CASE AGAINST DIVINA SPOUSES. DIVINA SPOUSES FAILED TO ANSWER AND WERE DECLARED IN DEFAULT. RTC RULED IN FAVOR OF COMPLAINANTS. THE CASE WAS APPEALED TO CA AND CA AFFIRMED RTC DECISION. THE CA DECISION BECAME FINAL. THEN HERE COMES ATTY BRILLANTES AS COUNSEL OF DIVINA SPOUSES. HE FILED A CASE FOR ANNULMENT OF RTC DECISION ON GROUND THAT DIVINA SPOUSES BELATEDLY RECEIVED A COPY OF THE RTC DECISION. ATTY BRILLANTES SAID HE MERELY RELIED ON THE REPRESENTATION OF THIS CLIENT WHICH WAS NOT TRUE. AND ATTY BRILLANTES BY REVIEWING THE COURT RECORDS WOULD KNOW THAT HIS CLIENT’S REPRESENTATION WAS NOT TRUE. AND HE WAS AWARE OF WHAT WAS TRUE. HIS ACT DELAYED THE SETTLEMENT OF THE ESTATE OF REYES SPOUSES. DISBARMENT CASE WAS FILED AGAINST HIM. SUPREME COURT SAID HE BE JUST SUSPENDED FOR 6 MONTHS BECAUSE, AMONG OTHER THINGS, HE ADMITTED HIS MISDEMEANOR AND APOLOGIZED.

……………………..

WHAT WERE THE LEGAL GROUNDS FOR THE TRANSGRESSION OF ATTY BRILLANTES?

WHAT WERE THE REASONS ATTY BRILLANTES WAS NOT DISBARRED BUT WAS ONLY SUSPENDED FOR 6 MONTHS?

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DISPOSITIVE:

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

PETITIONER PERFORMED POORLY IN HER WORK. SHE WAS NOT ABLE TO CREATE A NEW CENTER OR DISBURSE LOAN. FURTHER, SHE DEFIED COMPANY RULES. THERE IS THEREFORE GROUND TO TERMINATE HER PROBATIONARY EMPLOYMENT EVEN BEFORE THE PROBATIONARY PERIOD HAS NOT YET EXPIRED.

IS PETITIONER ENTITLED TO SALARY FOR THE REMAINING PERIOD OF HER PROBATIONARY EMPLOYMENT?

SHE IS NOT ENTITLED BECAUSE OF THE VALIDITY OF HER DISMISSAL PREDICATED ON HER FAILURE TO MEET THE STANDARDS MADE KNOWN TO HER.

PETITIONER PROBATIONARY EMPLOYEE WAS NOT ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH THE PURPOSE SOUGHT BY THE EMPLOYER WITHIN THE TRIAL PERIOD. CAN EMPLOYER TERMINATE HER SERVICES.

YES, THE EMPLOYER IS NOT PRECLUDED FROM TERMINATING THE PROBATIONARY EMPLOYMENT ON JUSTIFIABLE GROUND.

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DISPOSITIVE:

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

PETITIONER’S TITLE PERTAINS TO A DIFFERENT PROPERTY AND WAS REGISTERED IN THE NAME OF ANOTHER PERSON AND WAS ALREADY CANCELLED. THUS, HE HAS NO LEGAL OR EQUITABLE TITLE OVER THE SUBJECT PROPERTY. THUS HIS COMPLAINT MUST BE DISMISSED.

…………………………………

WHAT ARE THE REQUISITES IN ORDER THAT THE COMPLAINT FOR QUIETING OF TITLE MAY PROSPER?

FIRST, THAT THE PLAINTIFF HAS LEGAL TITLE OR EQUITABLE INTEREST ON THE PROPERTY. SECOND THAT THE CLAIM OVER THE PROPERTY IS INVALID.

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DISPOSITIVE:

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

A CIVIL CASE WAS FILED AGAINST PETITIONER FOR P4M PLUS. THEN RESPONDENT FILED A CRIMINAL BP 22 CASE AGAINST PETITIONER FOR BOUNCED CHECKS WITH FACE VALUE OF P1.2M. IN THE CIVIL CASE RESPONDENT MANIFESTED THAT THE AMOUNT OF P1.2M BE DEDUCTED FROM HIS CLAIM SINCE HE INTENDS TO RECOVER THE P1.2M IN THE BP 22 CASE. WAS THERE FORUM SHOPPING ON THE PART OF RESPONDENT?

NO BECAUSE THE COURT IN THE CIVIL CASE WAS INFORMED ABOUT THE FILING OF THE CRIMINAL CASE.

WHAT IS THE RULE ON LEGAL INTEREST?

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DISPOSITIVE:

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

RESPONDENTS WON IN A LABOR CASE. DECISION BECAME FINAL AND EXECUTORY. THEY LEVIED A PARCEL OF LAND. DMCI OPPOSED. AN ISSUE WAS RAISED AT LRA ON WHETHER THE CLAIM OF THE RESPONDENTS IS REGISTRABLE. LRA SAID YES AND DIRECTED REGISTER OF DEEDS TO ANNOTATE SUCH CLAIM. DMCI FAILED TO APPEAL ON TIME THE LRA CONSULTA. SUPREME COURT SAID THE CONSULTA OF LRA CANNOT BE ALTERRED. THE JUDGMENT OF NLRC WHICH BECAME FINAL AND EXECUTORY REMAINS AS SUCH AND CANNOT BE ALTERED.

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DISPOSITIVE:

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

RODRIGUEZ DONATED PROPERTY TO REPUBLIC TO BE USED FOR BUILDING AND OPERATING MENTAL HOSPITAL. ONE CONDITION IS THAT THE REPUBLIC SHALL NOT CONVEY OR DISPOSE OF THE PROPERTY TO ANY OTHER PERSON. THERE WERE SQUATTERS IN THE AREA. THE REPUBLIC FILED AN EJECTMENT CASE AGAINST THE SQUATTERS BUT FAILED TO EXECUTE THE JUDGMENT WITHIN THE PERIOD ALLOWED FOR EXECUTION. IS SUCH ACT A DISPOSAL OF THE PROPERTY IN VIOLATION OF THE DEED OF DONATION. SUPREME COURT SAID NO. THE PROPERTY IS COVERED BY THE TORRENS SYSTEM  AND THEREFORE IT CANNOT BE ACQUIRED BY THE SQUATTERS BY PRESCRIPTION OR ADVERSE POSSESSION.

THE PROPERTY DONATED CONSISTED OF 32 HECTARES. THE AREA UTILIZED WAS ONLY 5 HECTARES. THE DEED STATES THAT DONEE ERECT BUILDINGS ON THE PROPERTY. WAS THERE VIOLATION OF THE DEED OF DONATION. NO BECAUSE THE DOES NOT REQUIRE THAT BUILDINGS BE ERECTED ON THE WHOLE AREA.

THERE IS A PROHIBITION IN THE DEED OF DONATION THAT THE REPUBLIC CANNOT LEASE, LET, CONVEY, DISPOSE OR ENCUMBER THE DONATED PROPERTY WITHOUT SPECIFYING THE DURATION OF THE RESTRICTION. IS THIS LEGAL? NO. THE PROHIBITION MAY BE VIEWED AS PERMANENT WHICH CONSTITUTES AN UNDUE RESTRICTION FOR AN UNREASONABLE PERIOD OF TIME.

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 DISPOSITIVE:

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

BOTH PARTIES PRESENTED EVIDENCES OF EQUAL WEIGHT. PETITIONER WORKERS PROVED THAT THEY WERE EMPLOYEES. EMPLOYER RESPONDENT PROVED THAT THE PETITIONERS WERE NOT EMPLOYEES. SC RESOLVED THE DOUBT IN FAVOR OF THE EMPLOYEES.

THE WORK OF PETITIONER IS JUST TO TRANSFER RUBBER LUMPS FROM THE BAGOL OR SMALL CONTAINERS ATTACHED TO THE RUBBER TREE TRUNK AND PLACE THEM IN ANOTHER CONTAINER. IT IS HARD TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE EMPLOYER HAS CONTROL OVER THE MEANS AND METHODS OF THE EMPLOYER’S WORK. SUPREME COURT SAID THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE TEST, THE UNDERLYING ECONOMIC REALITIES TEST.

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DISPOSITIVE:

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

CFI ORDERED ISSUANCE OF TITLE IN THE NAME OF RESPONDENTS. PETITIONERS FILED A CASE AT RTC TO ANNUL CFI JUDGMENT. CA DISMISSED THE CASE. PETITIONERS’ ACTION IS NOT PROPER. THE RTC CANNOT ANNUL THE JUDGMENT OF AN EQUAL COURT. PETITIONERS SHOULD EITHER FILE A CASE OF RECONVEYANCE OR A CASE AT CA FOR ANNULMENT OF JUDGMENT.

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DISPOSITIVE:

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

MONDEJAR FALSIFIED MINUTES OF SESSION OF SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN. AS A RESULT HE WAS ABLE TO ENTER INTO MOA WITH IBC WITH RESPECT TO THE CHANNELING OF TIGUM RIVER. THIS ALLOWED IBC TO GET SURPLUS SUPPLY OF SAND AND GRAVEL EXTRACTED FROM THE RIVER DESPITE NOT HAVING A PERMIT AND NOT PAYING FEES AND TAXES. THIS IS GROSSLY DISADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVT.

HOW IS FALSIFICATION OF PUBLIC DOCUMENT COMMITTED?

WHEN THE PUBLIC DOCUMENT IS SIMULATED IN A MANNER AS TO GIVE IT THE APPEARANCE OF A TRUE AND GENUINE INSTRUMENT, THUS, LEADING OTHERS TO ERRORS AS TO ITS AUTHENTICITY.

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 DISPOSITIVE:

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT IS THE MAIN RULINGS IN THIS CASE?

MARIA, AMONG OTHER GROUNDS, ALLEGED SEXUAL INFEDILITY AND ABANDONMENT. THERE ARE NOT SUFFICIENT GROUNDS.

FAILURE TO MEET RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES AS MARRIED PERSONS ARE NOT SUFFICIENT GROUNDS.

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DISPOSITIVE:

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

MEL CHANGCO CLAIMED THAT SHE WAS A REGULAR EMPLOYEE OF ABS-CBN. THE LATTER CLAIMS THAT MEL WAS AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR. THE SUPREME COURT, SPEAKING THROUGH JUSTICE ZALAMEDA, SAID MEL WAS AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR BECAUSE SHE PERFORMED THE JOB ACCORDING TO HER OWN MANNER AND METHOD, FREE FROM THE NETWORK’S CONTROL. FURTHER SHE POSSESSED UNIQUE SKILLS, EXPERTISE OR TALENT WHICH LED ABS CBN TO HIRE HER. SUCH FACT IS A PERSUATIVE ELEMENT PROVING THAT SHE IS AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR.

IS POSSESSION OF UNIQUE SKILLS, EXPERTISE AND TALENT CONCLUSIVE IN DETERMINING WHETHER ONE IS AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR?

NOT CONCLUSIVE BUT INDICATIVE.

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DISPOSITIVE:

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

THE CTA ISSUED A RESOLUTION WHICH ENJOINED THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE FROM COLLECTING THE DEFICIENCY TAXES AGAINST QLDI ON THE GROUND THAT THE RIGHT TO COLLECT THE ASSESSED DEFICIENCT TAXES HAD ALREADY EXPIRED.  CIR FILED A PETITION FOR INJUNCTION TO RESTRAIN CTA’S ORDER. SUPREME COURT SAID CTA ORDER HAS LEGAL BASIS. CIR FAILED TO SHOW THE MATERIAL AND SUBSTANTIAL INVATION OF A RIGHT SOUGHT TO BE PROTECTED.

CIR ARGUES THAT CTA HAS NO POWER TO ISSUE WRIT OF INJUNCTION AND PROHIBITION BUT ONLY SUSPEND COLLECTION OF TAXES. SUPREME COURT SAID THAT THE GENERAL RULE THAT INJUNCTION IS NOT AVAILABLE TO RESTRAIN COLLECTION OF TAXES ADMITS OF AN EXCEPTION: WHEN COLLECTION MAY JEOPARDIZE THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT OR THE TAXPAYER.

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DISPOSITIVE:

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

THE FACTS ARE STATED BELOW:

PETITIONER THEN FILED A MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT. RTC RULED THAT IT IS NOT PROPER BECAUSE BASED ON THE CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES THERE IS NEED FOR TRIAL TO ASSESS THE FACTS. CA AFFIRMED. SUPREME COURT ALSO AFFIRMED.

WHAT IS SUMMARY JUDGMENT?

HOW TO DETERMINE WHETHER THERE ARE ISSUES OF FACT?

THE COURT MUST EXAMINE THE ALLEGATIONS OF FACTS OF THE PARTIES AND WHETHER THE ISSUE POSED IS PATENTLY INCONSEQUENTIAL AS TO CONSTITUTE A GENUINE ISSUE OF FACT.

PETITIONER CONTENDED THAT IN THEIR RESPONDENTS, THEY DID NOT MADE SPECIFIC DENIALS OF COMPLAINT’S ALLEGATIONS OF FACT. COURT SAID THEY NEED NOT USE THE WORD “SPECIFIC”.

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DISPOSITIVE:

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

BALLESTEROS WAS DISMISSED FROM EMPLOYMENT. THE GROUNDS WERE: SHE INCURRED TARDINESS, ABSENCES, FAILURE TO OBEY OFFICE PROCEDURES AND FAILURE TO ACCOUNT FOR P1,2000.00. THE LABOR ARBITER DISMISSED THE CASE. NLRC REVERSED LA DECISION AND GRANTED RELIEFS TO BALLESTEROS. CA AFFIRMED. SUPREME COURT AFFIRMED.

EMPLOYER ALLEGED THAT BALLESTEROS COMMITTED GROSS NEGLECT OF DULY BECAUSE OF HER HABITUAL LEAVES OF ABSENCE, HABITUAL TARDINESS AND UNDERTILE. CA FOUND THAT THE COMPANY FAILED TO PRESENT SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE.

WHAT IS THE STANDARD FOR ESTABLISHING GROSS NEGLECT OF DUTY AS JUST CAUSE FOR TERMINATION. HOW IS THIS APPLIED IN THE CASE?

EMPLOYER CONTENDS THAT BALLESTEROS DISMISSAL WAS DUE TO HER OPEN AND WILFULL DISOBEDINCE  OF COMPANY PROCEDURE IN THE PREPARATION OF DEPOSIT SLIPS. THE WILLFUL DISOBEDIENCE MUST BE CHARACTERIZED BY WRONGFUL AND PERVERSE ATTITUDE. NOT PRESENT HERE.

EMPLOYER SAID BALLESTEROS WAS DISMISSED BECAUSE OF LOSS OF TRUST AND CONFIDENCE DUE TO MONETARY SHORTAGE OF P1,100.00. SUCH SHORTAGE CANNOT BE CONSIDERED SUBSTANTIAL AND SEVERE. AND IN FACT THE MONEY WAS RETURNED.

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DISPOSITIVE:

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

SOCORRO SOLD SUBJECT REAL PROPERTY TO LORNA THROUGH A NOTARIZED DEED OF SALE. LATER SOCORRO OBTAINED BACK THE OWNER’S COPY OF THE TITLE AND SOLD THE PROPERTY TO ANOTHER. LORNA FILED A CASE FOR QUIETING OF TITLE. THE ISSUE IS: WHO OWNS NOW THE PROPERTY. SUPREME COURT SAID THE OWNER IS LORNA. THE DEED OF SALE IN HER FAVOR IS VALID.

SOCORRO SAID THAT THE SALE IF THERE WAS IS VOID BECAUSE THE CONSIDERATION WAS ONLY P10,000 WHILE THE VALUE OF THE PROPERTY IS MUCH MUCH MORE. SUPREME COURT SAID GROSS INADEQUACY OF PRICE DOES NOT AFFECT THE VALIDITY OF A CONTRACT OF SALE UNLESS IT SIGNIFIES DEFECT IN CONSENT.

SOCORRO SAID THE SALE IS NOT VALID BECAUSE SHE KEPT THE OWNER’S COPY OF THE TITLE AND TITLE WAS NEVER TRANSFERRED TO LORNA. SUPREME COURT SAID SUCH FACT DOES NOT AFFECT THE VALIDITY OF THE SALE. TRANSFER OF TITLE IS DIFFERENT FROM TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP.

SOCORRO SAID SHE IS AN ILLITERATE AND THUS SHE DID NOT KNOW SHE WAS SIGNING A DEED OF SALE. SC SAID THAT ASIDE FROM HER SELF-SERVING ALLEGATION SHE FAILED TO PROVE THE SAME. BESIDES, THE DOCUMENT IS NOTARIZED AND THUS ENJOYS THE PRESUMPTION OF AUTHENTICITY.

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DISPOSITIVE:

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

THE GOVERNMENT URGENTLY NEEDED HELICOPTERS FOR ITS OPERATIONS IN JOLO. PETITIONER, AS MEMBER OF THE NHQ-BAC FAILED TO DETERMINE THE ELIGIBILITY AND CAPABILITY OF SUPPLIER MAPTRA. IT HAS NO FINANCIAL CAPACITY. NO REQUIRED TRACK RECORD. IT HAD A DEAL WORTH P15M AND THE SUBJECT CONTRACT IS FOR P105M. THUS PETITIONER WAS HELD TO HAVE COMMITTED GRAVE MISCONDUCT, PUNISHABLE BY DISMISSAL.

WHAT IS MISCONDUCT? WHEN IS IT GRAVE?

Misconduct is the “transgression of some established and definite rule
of action, more particularly, unlawful behavior or gross neglect of duty by a
public officer.”86 It is considered grave when the elements of corruption,
willful intent to violate the law or disregard established rules are also
present.

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DISPOSITIVE:

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

REYES REFUSED TO CERTIFY THE REPORT ON CRIMES AND LOSSES. BUT THIS WAS NOT ATTENDED BY WRONGFUL ATTITUDE WHICH WARRANTS THE ULTIMATE PENALTY OF DISMISSAL.

THE SUPREME COURT RULED THAT THE PENALTY OF DISMISSAL IMPOSED ON REYES WAS TERRIBLY DISPROPORTIONATE TO HIS INFRACTION.

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DISPOSITIVE:

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

IN RAPE CASES CONVICTION MOST OFTEN RESTS SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF THE TESTIMONY OF THE VICTIM.

WHENEVER THERE IS INCONSISTENCY BETWEEN AFFIDAVIT AND TESTIMONY, THE LATTER IS ACCORDED GREATER WEIGHT.

ASSESSMENT OF CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES IS BEST LEFT TO THE TRIAL COURT JUDGE BECAUSE HE OBSERVES THE DEPORTMENT AND DEMEANOR OF THE WITNESS.

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DISPOSITIVE:

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

JUDGE ATILLO POSTED PICTURES IN HIS FACEBOOK ACCOUNT SHOWING HIS HALF-DRESSED BODY AND TATTOOED TORSO. SUPREME COURT SAID THIS IS IMPROPER FOR A JUDGE.

………………………..

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DISPOSITIVE:

  SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

THIS CASE INVOLVED A SALE OF PORTION OF UNDIVIDED LAND CO-OWNED BY SEVERAL OWNERS. A CO-OWNER SOLD A DEFINITE PORTION TO A BUYER. THE PRINCIPLE IS A SALE OF A PORTION OF UNDIVIDED LAND WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF ALL CO-OWNERS IS VOID. IN THIS CASE THIS PRINCIPLE WAS NOT APPLIED BECAUSE THE OTHER CO-OWNER WAS AWARE OF THE SALE AND DID NOT OBJECT TO IT. THUS WHEN THE SPECIFIC PORTION WAS SEGREGATED AND SOLD IT IS AS IF SAID CO-OWNER AGREED TO THE PARTITION AND SALE OF SUCH PORTION OF LAND.

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DISPOSITIVE:

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

THE SC RULED THAT BASED ON EVIDENCES TAGUIG HAS A SUPERIOR CLAIM TO THE DISPUTED AREAS.

SINCE LONG TIME AGO, FORT BONIFACIO WAS CONSIDERED PART OF TAGUIG. BUT IN A PROCLAMATION ISSUED BY PRESIDENT MARCOS FORT BONIFACIO WAS ERRONEOUSLY MENTIONED AS PART OF MAKATI CITY. IF INDEED THERE WAS INTENTION TO ALTER THE BOUNDARIES OF TAGUIG AND MAKATI THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN A PLEBISCITE. BUT THERE WAS NONE.

………….

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DISPOSITIVE:

SUBJECT/S:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

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DISPOSITIVE:

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

THE SUPREME COURT SAID THE PLAINTIFF HAS NOT PROVEN DAMAGE OR INJURY. IT WAS NOT PROVEN THAT AN ACCIDENT OCCURRED. THEREFORE, THEY CANNOT CLAIM UNDER THE DOCTRINE OF RES IPSA LOQUITUR.

WHAT IS THE DOCTRINE OF RES IPSA LOQUITUR?

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR RES IPSA LOQUITUR TO APPLY?

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, premises considered the instant petition is GRANTED.  The Decision dated January 29, 2020 and the Resolution dated July 23, 2020 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.  CV No. 108313 are SET ASIDE. The tax we conducted on October 2, 2013 hereby declared NULL AND VOID.

So Ordered.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

THE SUBJECT PROPERTY INCURRED DILINQUENCY IN REAL ESTATE TAXES. PUBLIC AUCTION WAS HELD AND RESPONDENT WAS THE HIGHEST BIDDER. BUT IT APPEARS THAT THERE WAS NO VALID NOTICE TO FILINVEST THE REGISTERED OWNER NOR TO THE BUYER OF SUBJECT PROPERTY WHOSE PURCHASE OF THE SAME WAS DULY ANNOTATED IN THE TITLE. THE SUPREME COURT SAID THAT SINCE THERE WAS NO PROPER NOTICE REGARDING THE TAX SALE SAID TAX SALE WAS NOT VALID. THE RESPONDENT CANNOT BE DECLARED THE NEW OWNER.

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DISPOSITIVE:

       WHEREFORE,  the petition in G.R. Nos. 252578, 252579, 252580, 252585, 252613, 252623, 252624, 252646, 252702, 252726, 252733, 252736, 252741, 252747, 252755, 252759, 252765, 252767, 252768, 252802, 252809, 252903, 252904, 252905, 252916, 252921, 252984, 253018, 253100, 253124, 253242, 253252, 253254, 254191, (UDK No. 16714), and 253420 are GIVEN DUE COURSE and PARTIALLY GRANTED.

       The Court declares the following provisions of Republic Act No. 11479 UNCONSTITUTIONAL:

  1. The phrase in the proviso of Section 4 which states “which are not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person, to endanger a person’s life, or to create serious risk to public safety”,

2. The second mode of designation found in paragraph 2 of Section 25; and

3. As a necessary consequence, the corresponding reference/provisions in the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 11479 relative to the foregoing items.

       Moreover, pursuant to the Court’s rule-making power, the Court of Appeals is DIRECTED to prepare the rules that will govern judicial proscription proceedings under Sections 26 and 27 of Republic Act No. 11479 based on the foregoing discussion for submission to the Committee on the Revision of the Rules Courts and eventual approval and promulgation of the Court En Banc.

       The petitions in G.R. 253118 (Balay Rehabilitation Center, Inc. v. Duterte) and UDK No, 16603 (Yerbo v. Officess of the Honorable Senate and the Honorable Speaker of the House of Representatives) are DISMISSED.

       So ORDERED.

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The October 11 , 2016 Decision and December 28, 2016 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA[1]G.R. CV No. 105531 is AFFIRMED.

Petitioner Philippine National Bank is ordered to furnish respondents AIC Construction Corporation and the spouses Rodolfo and Aurora Bacani, within 30 days from finality of this judgment, a written detailed accounting of their outstanding loan obligation, with clear explanation of the computation thereof.

The computation of interest on the principal loan obligation of P65 million shall be at the rate of 12% per annum, computed from effectivity of the pertinent loan agreement up to November 17, 2003, the date of issuance of the certificate of sale by the Ex-Officio Sheriff of Mandaluyong City. Interest rate on the conventional interest shall be at the rate of 12% per annum from January 21, 2002, the date of judicial demand, to November 17, 2003.

 The penalty charge imposed on respondents’ loan obligation shall be excluded from the amount secured by the real estate mortgage.

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

RESPONDENTS BORROWED FROM PNB. IN 1998 THE PRINCIPAL WAS P40M. BECAUSE OF INTEREST THIS BALOONED TO P162M. PNB THEN FORCLOSED THE PROPERTIES OF RESPONDENTS. RESPONDENTS FILED A CASE FOR ANNULMENT OF INTEREST AND PENALTY INCREASES, ACCOUNTING, EXEMPTION OF FAMILY HOME AND DAMAGES ALLEGING THAT THE INTERESTS WERE EXORBITANT. RTC RULED AGAINST RESPONDENTS. COURT OF APPEALS FOUND THE INTERESTS AS EXORBITANT AND REDUCED THE INTEREST TO THE LEGAL RATE OF 12% PER ANNUM. THE SUPREME COURT AFFIRMED C.A. JUDGMENT.

In this case, this Court notes that petitioner did not contest respondents’ allegations as to the breakdown of the amounts due to it: (i) that respondents’ obligation of P65 million when the loan matured was composed of their actual loan availment of P40 million and P25 million for interest charges; (ii) that at around May 2000, without any additional availments, the amount due became P92 million; (iii) that by April 30, 2001, respondents’ obligation increased to more than Pl 40 million; (iv) that when the amount due became P 162,553,680.50 and after petitioner foreclosed the mortgaged properties, it still wanted to collect deficiency judgment in the amount of Pl 57 million. 63
This Court also notes that respondents have already argued against the loss of
their family home.

DISCUSSION ON WHY THE INTERESTS OF PNB ARE EXORBITANT:

THE INTEREST RATE WAS IMPOSED BY PNB AND RESPONDENTS WERE LEFT WITH NO CHOICE BUT TO AGREE TO IT. THIS VIOLATES REPUBLIC ACT NO.  3765 OR THE TRUTH IN LENDING ACT, WHICH REQUIRES CREDITORS TO FULLY DISCLOSE TO THE DEBTOR ALL AMOUNTS INCIDENTAL TO THE EXTENSION OF THE CREDIT, INCLUDING INTERESTS, DISCOUNTS OR FEES, TO PROTECT DEBTORS FROM A LACK OF AWARENESS OF THE TRUE COST OF CREDIT.

The facts of this case are similar to the facts in Spouses Silos. The interest rates are yet to be determined through a subjective and one-sided criterion. These rates are no longer subject to the approval of respondents. The parties did not agree on the interest rate. Rather, the interest rate was imposed by petitioner, and respondents were left with no choice but to agree to it. This arrangement violates Republic Act No. 3765 or the Truth in Lending Act, which requires creditors to fully disclose to the debtor all amounts incidental to the extension of the credit, including interests, discounts or fees, to protect debtors from a lack of awareness of the true cost of credit.61

RESPONDENTS ARE NOT BOUND BY THE INTEREST RATES UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES:

It also cannot be argued that respondents are bound by the interest rates. Spouses Silos also discussed the inequality between the parties in loan and credit arrangements:

The fact that petitioners later received several statements of account detailing its outstanding obligations does not cure respondent’s breach. To repeat, the belated discovery of the true cost of credit does not reverse the ill effects of an already consummated business decision. Neither may the statements be considered proposals sent to secure the petitioners’ conformity; they were sent after the imposition and application of the interest rate, and not before. And even if it were to be presumed that these are proposals or offers, there was no acceptance by petitioners. “No one receiving a proposal to modify a loan contract, especially regarding interest, is obliged to answer the proposal.”

BORROWERS SUCCUMED TO WHATEVER CHARGES THE LENDERS IMPOSE BECAUSE THEY DREAD LEGAL COMPLICATIONS AND CANNOT AFFORD LITIGATIONS. BUT BORROWERS SHOULD BE CHARGED RIGHTLY.

Loan and credit arrangements may be made entlcmg by, or “sweetened” with, offers of low initial interest rates, but actually accompanied by provisions written in fine print that allow lenders to later on increase or decrease interest rates unilaterally, without the consent of the borrower, and depending on complex and subjective factors. Because they have been lured into these contracts by initially low interest rates, borrowers get caught and stuck in the web of subsequent steep rates and penalties, surcharges and the like. Being ordinary individuals or entities, they naturally dread legal complications and cannot afford com1 litigation; they succumb to whatever charges the lenders impose. At the very least, borrowers should be charged rightly; but then again this is not possible in a one-sided credit system where the temptation to abuse is strong and the willingness to rectify is made weak by the eternal desire for profit.

………………………

Besides, that petitioners are given the right to question the interest rates imposed is, under the circumstances, irrelevant; we have a situation where the petitioners do not stand on equal footing with the respondent. It is doubtful that any borrower who finds himself in petitioners’ position would dare question respondent’s power to arbitrarily modify interest rates at any time. In the second place, on what basis could any borrower question such power, when the criteria or standards – which are really one-sided, arbitrary and subjective – for the exercise of such power are precisely lost on him?62 (Emphasis in the original, citations omitted).

INTEREST SHOULD BE CONSISTENT WITH THE DEMANDS FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE.

In a concurring and dissenting opinion in Lara’s G(fts & Decors, Inc. v. Midtown Industrial Sales, Inc. 64 it was discussed how interest should be consistent with the demands of social justice:

As a matter of principle, money itself should not beget money. Money is only generally a store of value. It “has value because people are willing to accept it in exchange for goods and services and in payment for debts.”

Allowing money to produce more money – for instance, lending money at excessive interest rates as a way of increasing money – lays the foundation for a growing wealth disparity, since loans are usually extended by those who are richer (with capital) to those who are poorer (without capital). This does not serve the demands of social justice; that is, “the humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces by the State so that justice in its rational and objectively secular conception may at least be approximated.”

Money should be put to productive use so that the owner, the society, and the less privileged may all share in the benefits to be derived from it. Passive income “adds no new good or service into the market that would be of use to real persons. Instead, it has the tendency to alter the price of real goods and services to the detriment of those who manufacture, labor, and consume products.” The practice of making money out of money skews the economy in favor of speculation and provides a disincentive for real economies.65 (Citations omitted)

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Decision dated March 27, 2014 and Resolution dated July 11, 2014 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 122846 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Resolution of the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board dated December 16, 2011 which declared Lot No. 554-D-3 EXEMPT from the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program and consequently ordered the CANCELLATION of the Certificates of Land Ownership Award issued in the name of respondents is hereby REINSTATED.

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

IN THIS CASE RESPONDENT AND CA RELIED ON AN ORDER OF THE DAR SECRETARY WHICH PERTAINS TO OTHER LOTS. THE LOT IN QUESTION WAS ALREADY DECLARED AS EXEMPTED FROM DAR COVERAGE AND IN FACT WAS ALREADY EXPROPRIATED AND IS NOW PART OF SCTEX.

To the Court’s mind, the resolution of the DAR Secretary in DARCO Order No. EX-0712-489 was precisely the reason why the DARAB reversed its earlier decision and upheld the exemption granted to SVHFI. As correctly found by the DAR Secretary, respondents could not have derived any vested right over the subject property despite the issuance of CLOAs in their favor because the coverage of the property was erroneous to begin with. SVHFI, as original owner of Lot No. 554-D-3, was never divested of its rights over the same, including the right to apply for exemption. What is more, the results of the ocular inspection revealed that majority of the portions of Lot No. 554-D[1]3 have already been developed into what is now known as the SCTEX. This, in itself, is a clear indication that the land had indeed been reclassified into non-agricultural purposes and no longer feasible for agricultural production. To hold otherwise would not only be a waste of government resources, but also expand the scope of the agrarian reform program which has been limited to lands devoted to or suitable for agriculture.

As pronounced by the CA itself, the findings of the DAR Secretary are accorded great weight and respect. Considering his technical expertise on the matter, courts cannot simply brush aside his pronouncements regarding status of a land, a subject well within his field, absent palpable and overriding error or grave abuse of discretion that would result in manifest injustice and grave misapplication of the law.

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated April 16, 2015 and Resolution dated February 4, 2016 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 131302 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The formal charge and order of suspension are hereby declared invalid and without legal effect.

The payment of back salaries owed to Stefani C. Sano shall be either in the form of leave credits, ifhe is still active in government service, OR leave credits monetized at the current rate for the position he formerly occupied, at his option.

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

GARCIA ISSUED A FORMAL CHARGE AGAINST SANO FOR GRAVE MISCONDUCT, GROSS NEGLECT OF DUTY  ETC WITHOUT CONDUCTING PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION SINCE HE SAID HE PERSONALLY WITNESSED THE ACTS OF PETITIONER. SUPREME COURT SAID THIS IS IN VIOLATION OF DUE PROCESS. THERE SHOULD BE A SHOW CAUSE ORDER FIRST AND THEN A PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION.

In the present case, Garcia gravely deviated from the procedure outlined in the RRACCS .. Garcia issued a formal charge arid order of preventive suspension charging petitioner with grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, dishonesty and cj:mduct prejudicial to the interest of the · service without undergoing preliminary investigation. Garcia claimed that he need not conduct preliminary investigation since he personallywitnessed the acts of petitioner, hence, there is already a prima facie case to support a formal charge.

To recapitulate, if it is the disciplining authority that initiated the administrative process, there is a need to issue a show-cause order directing the person complained of, to explain the acts complained of. Then there should be a preliminary investigation to determine whether there is a clear-cut case.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE REQUIRED PROCEDURE OF PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION?

TO PROTECT THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF A PERSON CHARGED OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE OFFENSE TO BE HEARD.

After the determination of a prima facie case, a formal charge will be issued, and the person charged will be made to submit an answer. These procedural steps are anchored on protecting the constitutional right of a person charged of an administrative offense, to be heard. This is because a violation of such process raises a serious jurisdictional issue that cannot be glossed over or disregarded at will. The constitutional guarantee that no man shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process is unqualified by the type of proceedings where he/she stands to lose the same.

WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF VIOLATING THE DUE PROCESS PROCEDURE?

THE FORMAL CHARGE AND ORDER OF PREVENTIVE SUSPENSION ARE INVALID AND WITHOUT LEGAL EFFECT.

In the present case, the procedural faux pas committed by Garcia consists in committing a shortcut on the administrative process by issuing a formal charge and the order of suspension without issuing a show cause order and subsequently conducting a preliminary investigation. As a result of violating the constitutional right of petitioner to due process, the formal charge and the order of preventive suspension has no legal leg to stand on. Thus, the formal charge and the order of preventive suspension are declared to be invalidly issued and without legal effect.

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DENIED. The July 10, 2013 Decision and November 4, 2013 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP. No. 126064 are AFFIR.t’1.ED. Petitioner Evelina E. Belarso’s dismissal is valid. No pronouncement as to cost.

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

APPELLANT WAS CAUGHT STEALING BELT BUCKLE, COMPANY PROPERTY. SHE WAS DISMISSED ON THE GROUND OF LOSS OF TRUST.

Further, while Belarso insists that the charge imputed  against her defies logic and common experience, ti.’w records show that she had a propensity to violate company rules and regulations.

APPELLANT ALSO QUESTIONS THE AFFIDAVITS EXECUTED BY THE GUARDS AND HER CO-EMPLOYEES. BUT THESE WERE DEEMED TO CARRY WEIGHT BECAUSE THEY WERE NOTARIZED.

Belarso also assails the affidavits executed by the guards and her co[1]employees for being similarly worded a..nd executed on the same day, and for being dated two months after the incident. However, these do not automatically invalidate the contents of the affidavits. Being duly notarized, they carry with them the presu..’!lption of regularity aJJ.d authenticity which may be rebutted only by “strong, complete and conclusive proof.”57 This, Belarso was unable to present.

BELARSO ARGUES THAT THE PENALTY IS TOO HARSH CONSIDERING HER 34 YEARS OF SERVICE. LENGTH OF SERVICES IS NOT A BARGAINING CHIP.

Belarso finally argues that the penalty is too harsh considering her 34 years of service in the company. However, length of service is not a bargaining chip that can simply be stacked against the employer. 59 Under the present circumstances, length of service only aggravates Belarso’s offense. First, she held a position of trust and confidence, overseeing the custody of the raw materials she tried to steal. As a supervisor, greater trust was placed on her by QHI. Second, her infraction affected the very essence of loyalty and honesty which all employees owe to their employers. It was serious, grave, and reflected adversely on her character.

AN EMPLOYER CANNOT BE COMPELLED TO CONTINUE THE EMPLOYMENT OF AN EMPLOYEE IN WHOM THERE HAS BEEN A LEGITIMATE LOSS OF TRUST AND CONFIDENCE.

In fine, vVe find Belarso’s dismissal for loss of trust and confidence valid. Indeed, “[w]hile the State can regulate the right of an employer to select and discharge his or her employees, an. employer cannot be compelled to continue the employment of an employee in whom there has been a legitimate loss of trust and confidence.”60

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The Decision dated May 23, 2019 and Resolution dated June 27, 2019 of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

PICCIO ALLEGED THAT HRET GRAVELY ABUSES ITS DISCRETION BY COMMITTING MOSAIC PLAGIARISM.

THE COURT SAID THERE WAS NO PLAGIARISM.

Piccio submits that the assailed Decision is an “obnoxious example of simple and mosaic plagiarism. “207 He quotes portions of the assailed Decision and compares them to quoted portions of Vergara’s Verified Answer and Memorandum, and concludes that as they are the same, the BRET had committed “mosaic plagiarism/patchwork plagiarism.”208 He submits that this is “unacceptable, unethical[,] and open[s] [the BRET] to suspicion as to its fairness, impartiality[,] and integrity.” 209 He alleges that “such callous and dishonest conduct endangers the credibility and integrity of the Tribunal,”210 and then cites the case of In the Matter of the Charges of Plagiarism, Etc., Against Associate Justice Mariano C. Del Castillo211 (In re Del Castillo).

The Court rejects these submissions.Foremost, it bears stressing that the charge of plagiarism in the In re Del Castillo case cited by Piccio was dismissed for lack of merit. In essence, the Court found therein that Justice Del Castillo (and his researcher) lacked any motive or reason for omitting attribution for the lifted passages to their authors.212 The Court stressed the element of fraudulent intent in plagiarism which it defined as ‘”to take (ideas, writings, etc.) from (another) and pass them off as one’s own.’ The passing off of the work of another as one’s mvn is thus an indispensable element ofplagiarism.

In the subsequent Resolution of the petitioners’ motion for reconsideration in In re Del Castillo,214 the Court had occasion to clarify and distinguish judges from the academe where the element of malicious intent in plagiarism is disregarded – in the academe, original scholarship is highly valued because the writing is intended to earn for the student an academic degree, honor or distinction. In contrast, court decisions are not written to earn merit as an original piece of work or art. Rather, deciding disputes is a service rendered for the public good.2 15

Moreover, as accuracy of words in law is foremost, the tendency to copy of judges and lawyers is explicable. Hence, the Court recognized the right of judges to use legal materials which belong to the public domain, even without attribution, including liftings from a party’s pleading.

WHAT WAS THE CONTENTION OF PICCIO AGAINST VERGARA?

THAT VERGARA DID NOT COMPLY WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF RA 9225 FOR REAQUISITION OF FILIPINO CITIZENSHIP.

SUPREME COURT SAID THE BURDEN OF PROOF LIES WITH PICCIO AND THAT HE UTTERLY PROVED HIS CONTENTION.

In light of the above discussion, petitioners before the HRET clearly and utterly failed to prove their assertion that Vergara did not comply with the requirements of R.A. 9225 for the re-acquisition of her Filipino citizenship. All of the evidence they adduced have been, and are, debunked by contrary evidence presented by Vergara and the relevant laws.

……….

Nevertheless, Vergara, while not carrying any burden of evidence as the burden of proof had not shifted from Piccio, proved, by sufficient and substantial evidence, that she had duly taken her oath and duly executed an affidavit of renunciation in compliance with the requirements ofR.A. 9225.

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DISPOSITIVE:

“WHEREFORE, the instant Petition is hereby DENIED. The assailed August 2, 2012 Decision and the January 30, 2013 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 91686 are hereby AFF’IRMED.

Respondcnts’Motion for Prior Leave of Court (to file [l] Notice of Death of }\;farina S. Valero; [2] Motion to Allow Substitution of Movants as Compulsory Heirs of the Decedent; and [3] Entry of Appearance of Undersigned Counsel for Movants) is NOTED.

No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.”

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

THIS IS A CASE FOR RECONSTITUTION OF TITLE. APPELLANTS ARGUE THAT THERE WAS NO PUBLICATION OF THE REVISIONS OF THE ORIGINAL PETITION AND THUS RTC DID NOT ACQUIRE JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE. SUPREME COURT SAID THAT THE REVISIONS MERELY REFER TO THE SUBSTITUTION OF THE PARTIES IN VIEW OF THE DEATHS OF SPOUSES MANALO AND THE MENTION OF RA 26 AS THE APPLICABLE LAW. THESE ARE MINOR MATTERS. NEW PUBLICATION IS NOT NECESSARY.

This Court finds, as the CA did, that the foregoing does not affect the nature of the action that necessitates another posting and publication, 25 The revisions merely refer to the substitution of the parties in view of the deaths of the spouses Manalo and the mention of RA 26 as the applicable law. These are minor matters that simply tend to assist and guide the RTC in conducting the proceeding. Hence, the earlier posting and publication of the petition for reconstitution prior to the second amendment w~re sufficient for the RTC to acquire jurisdiction on the subject matter of the case.

WHAT ARE THE REQUISITES TO BE COMPLIED WITH FOR AN ORDER FOR RECONSTITUTION TO BE ISSUED?

In Sebastian v. Spouses Cruz, 19 We pointed out that the following
requisites must be complied with for an order for reconstitution to be
issuE:d: (a) that the certificate of title had been lost or destroyed; (b) that the
documents presented by petitioner are sufficient and proper to
wanant reconstitution of the lost or destroyed certificate of title; (c) that the
petitioner is the regist~red owner of the property or had an interest
therein; ( d) that the certificate of title was in force at the time it was lost and
destroyed; and (e) that the description~ area and boundaries of the property are
substantially the same as those contained in the lost or destroyed
certificate of title. Petitioner claims that the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction
over the case because the second amended petition contained substantial
changes and annexes and yet said petition was not posted and published as
required under Sections 12 and 13 of RA 26.

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review on Certiorari is DENIED. The October 1, 2013 Decision and June 30, 2014 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR. SP No. 117835 are AFFIRMED.

So Ordered.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

THE SUPREME COURT SAID THERE IS PROBABLE CAUSE AGAINST PETITIONER FOR UNFAIR COMPETITION. HIS PRODUCT, A MEDICATED FACIAL CREAM SOLD TO THE PUBLIC IS CONTAINED IN THE SAME OVAL-SHAPED CONTAINER WHICH HAD THE MARK CHIN CHUN SU AS THAT OF RESPONDENT.

BUT PETITIONER INDICATED IN HIS LABEL THE NAME OF THE MANUFACTURER?

EVEN THEN. AN ORDINARY PURCHASER WOULD NOT NORMALLY INQUIRE ABOUT THE MANUFACTURER.

Here, petitioners’ product which is a medicated facial cream sold to the public is contained in the same pink oval-shaped container which had the mark “Chin Chun Su,” as that of respondent. While petitioners indicated in their product the manufacturer’s name, the same does not change the fact that it is confusingly similar to respondent’s product in the eyes of the public. As aptly found by the appellate court, an ordinary purchaser would not normally inquire about the manufacturer of the product. 55 Petitioners’ product and that solely distributed by respondent are similar in the following respects “l. both are medicated facial creams; 2. both are contained in pink, oval-shaped containers; and 3. both contain the trademark “Chin Chun Su” x x x The similarities far outweigh the differences. The general appearance of (petitioners’) product is confusingly similar to (respondent).”56 Verily, the acts complained of against petitioners constituted the offense of Unfair Competition and probable cause exists to hold them for trial, contrary to the findings ofRTC Branch 46.

WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF UNFAIR COMPETITION?

THEY ARE: CONFUSING SIMILARITY IN THE GENERAL APPEARANCE OF THE GOODS AND INTENT TO DECEIVE THE PUBLIC AND DEFRAUD A COMPETITOR.

HOW TO DETERMINE CONFUSING SIMILARITY?

NOT NECESSARILY FROM THE MARKS BUT FROM OTHER FACTORS LIKE IN PACKAGING OR PRESENTATION OF THE GOODS?

HOW TO DETERMINE LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION?

BASED ON PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES OF EACH CASE.

HOW TO DETERMINE INTENT TO DECEIVE AND DEFRAUD?

FROM SIMILARITY OF THE APPEARANCE OF THE GOODS.

The essential elements of an action for unfair competlt10n are: (1) confusing similarity in the general appearance of the goods, and (2) intent to deceive the public and defraud a competitor. 52 The confusing similarity may or may not result from similarity in the marks, but may result from other external factors in the packaging or presentation of the goods. Likelihood of confusion of goods or business is a relative concept, to be determined only according to peculiar circumstances of each case. 53 The element of intent to deceive and to defraud may be inferred from the similarity of the appearance of the goods as offered for sale to the public.54

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DISPOSITIVE:

ACCORDINGLY, the Decision No. 2020-127 dated January 27, 2020 of the Commission on Audit is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Petitioner Bernadette Lourdes B. Abejo is ABSOLVED from solidary liability to return the entire disallowed amount, as well as from personal liability to return the excess amount she received under Notice of Disallowance No. 2012-002-101-(1 l) dated February 28, 2012.

So Ordered.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

PETITIONER APPROVED AND GRANTED COLLECTIVE NEGOTIATIONS AGREEMENT (CNA) INCENTIVES  TO EMPLOYEES FROM AGENCY SAVINGS BEFORE END OF THE YEAR. THE DBM BUDGET CIRCULAR STATES THAT SUCH INCENTIVES SHALL BE GIVEN AT END OF THE YEAR. IS PETITIONER LIABLE FOR INCENTIVES PAID. SUPREME COURT SAID NO BECAUSE PETITIONER ACTED IN GOOD FAITH. THE DBM CIRCULAR ALSO STATES THAT THE GIVING OUT OF  INCENTIVES REQUIRES THAT PLANNED PROGRAMS HAVE BEEN ACCOMPLISHED AND THESE PROGRAMS WERE ACCOMPLISHED BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR. PETITIONER THOUGHT THAT SINCE THE PROGRAMS HAVE ALREADY BEEN ACCOMPLISHED THE INCENTIVES CAN ALREADY BE PAID EVEN IF NOT AT THE END OF THE YEAR.

5.7. The CNA Incentive for the year shall be paid as a one-time benefit after the end of the year, provided that the planned programs/activities/projects have been implemented and completed in accordance with the performance targets of the year.

…………………..

To be sure, the present case bears striking similarity, if it is not in all fours with Montejo v. Commission on Audit.30 There, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) paid CNA Incentives in the middle of 2010 and 2011, and again at the end of the same year in 2010. Montejo claimed that there was substantial compliance with the requirements of DBM BC No. 2006-1. For although said issuance provides that the CNA Incentives should be granted after the end of the year, it was qualified by a provision that the grant shall be released only after the planned activities and projects of the concerned agency have been implemented in accordance with the performance targets for the year. As it was, the DOST had been submitting documents proving that they had achieved their targets and corresponding savings were generated. Thus, the grant of CNA Incentives was compliant with the proviso in Section 5.7 of DBM BC No. 2006-1, albeit payments were released twice in the middle of the year.

Though the Court rejected Montejo’s argument and upheld the notice of disallowance, as here, it nevertheless, excused Montejo from paying the disallowed amount, thus:

Petitioner’s erroneous interpretation of the DBM circular aside, the action of petitioner was indicative of good faith because he acted in an honest belief that the grant of the CNA Incentives had legal bases. It is unfair to penalize public officials based on overly stretched and strained interpretations of rules which were not that readily capable of being understood at the time such functionaries acted in good faith. Ifthere is any ambiguity, which is actually clarified years later, then it should only be applied prospectively. A contrary rule would be counterproductive.

Thus, although this Court considers the questioned Notices of Disallowance valid, this Court also considers it to be in the better interest of justice and prudence that petitioner, other officials concerned and the employees who benefited from the CNA Incentives be relieved of any personal liability to refund the disallowed amount. 31

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SC CASE 2021-0040: EDILBERTO “EDDlE” PINEDA, MARIA FRANCISCO, FLORENCIO M. MANARANG, ROLANDO “ROLAN” AQUINO, ERNESTO P. VlLLANUEV A, MERCEDES P. LACSINA, ANDRES A. FRANCISCO, BERNARDO V. GASTON, BASILIO A. ILANO, ADELAIDA VlLLANUEV A, EUl.,OGIO FRANCISCO, CRISANTO Q. AQUINO, EDUARDO P. NAVARRO, WILFR.EDO HJ UNI OR” c. CAPULOY, Jl::t., CHOLlTA P. SANTOS, ALVIN LUGTU, JOSE BALBOA, REYNAI,,DO •’REY” LUGTU, ESTRELITA “ESTER” C. LUG TU, l\1ELQUIADES MANARANG, OFRECINA PINEDA, RICARDO L. BALBOA, FILEMON F. FRANCISCO, PEDRO :F. FRANCISCO, CASTOR I. YUNUN, PEDRO P. UNGOS, LUDOVICO “RlJDY” P. UNGOS, VVILFREUO “\VILLY” BANDOLA, NOI(L ••NONONG” PA.LO, .n~sus rvt ‘FRANCISCO, EDUARDO “EDDH:’1 COLLADO, SONNY LACS!NA, FERNANDO “NANDY” COLLADO, BENJAMIN “AlvHN’~ DELA CRUZ, RJZALINO “RIZAL’~ lViAT]C, CEZAR RAMIREZ, GERHY GASTON, F.’.DUARDO FRANCISCO; ERNESTO TAYAG; NESTOR AQUINO, BER]~ AQUINO, A VELlNO lVfANUCDUC, ARNEL NA VARRO, GREGORIO EivL-\TA, ARTURO ZURBITO, LILIA DA YID, DOMINGO “BOND” CADIANG, ,JR., EDUARDO BALTAZAR, AMMONJO “AMON” DUMLAO, PEPITO Q. LUGTU, EDUARDO “EDDIE” PALO, DOMINGA PUNO, JOSEPH “JOSE” CORTEZ, BIENVENIDO BALBOA, ROSE MANQUJL, RO MEL BALBOA, ARSENIA PALO, WILFREDO “WILLY” FRANCISCO, CELADONIA VILLANUEVA, EMILIO GARCIA, ROLANDO “RO DON” MARCOS, JIMlVIY NAVARRO, JUANITO FRANCISCO, ERNESTO NAVARRO, MARINA JACINTO, ROLANDO LUGTU, JESUS JACINTO, CORNELIO GAMPOY, DAVID DANDAN, ORLANDO TABLANTE, NIDA SOLAMO, ABELARDO YUMUL, LAURO MALIG, ORLANDO DELA CRUZ, EFIFANIO* MAGAT, JR., CONRADO CASTRO, RODEL PA.LO, RODRIGO DELA CRUZ, EFREN DELA CRUZ, EV A CHAVEZ, ILDEFONSO “BOY” RAMOS, JR., MARIO DEQUlNON, NOLITO CARBUNGCO, CRISANTO** LAURONILLA, HENRY SANTOS, RODERICK UNGOS, LEANDO PENAREDONDO, BONIFACIO OJANO, SEVERO JAVIER, ROGER FAJARDO, SIANO COLLADO, ERLINDA TlMPUG, and ROYNALDO “ROY” DELA CRUZ,  VS. ABELARDO C. MIRANDA, ELIAS C. MIRANDA and CARMENCITA D. MIRANDA,  (G.R. No. 204997, AUGUST 4, 2021, HERNANDO, J.)  HERNANDO, J.) (SUBJECT/S: REVIVAL OF JUDGMENT AFTER 7 YEARS; FAILURE TO FILE APPEAL) (BRIEF TITLE: PINEDA ET AL VS MIRANDA ET AL)

DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The Decision dated December 14, 2012 Decision of the Court of Appeals Fifteenth Division in CA-G.R. CV No. 97317 is AFFIRlVIED. The Decision dated May 17, 1999 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 42 of San Fernando, Pampanga in Civil Case No. 11757 which affirmed with modification the December 15, 1998 Decision of the Municipal Trial Court, Branch 3 of San Fernando, Pampanga in Civil Case No. 7463, a case for unlawful detainer, entitled Abelardo C. Miranda, et al. v. Eddie Pineda, et al., is hereby REVIVED.

So Ordered.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

THIS IS A CASE FOR UNLAWFUL DETAINER FILED AGAINST THE PETITIONERS AT MTC WHICH RULED IN FAVOR OF RESPONDENTS. APPEALED TO RTC WHICH AFFIRMED MTC DECISION. PETITIONERS DID NOT APPEAL THE RTC DECISION. 7 YEARS PASSED. RESPONDENTS FILED AT RTC FOR COMPLAINT TO REVIVE JUDMENT. PETITIONERS FILED SEVERAL MOTIONS AND APPEALS. SUPREME COURT SAID PETITIONERS’ REMEDY WAS APPEAL WHEN RTC PROMULGATED ITS DECISION. THEIR SUBSEQUENT MOTIONS AND APPEALS ARE WITHOUT LEGAL BASIS.

In this case, the RTC Branch 42 Decision dated May 17, 1999 became final and executory when no further kgal a,~tion was undertaken by herein petitioners concerning the RTC Branch 42 Decision. Thus, on January 6, 2000 or less than a year after the RTC Branch 42 Decision became final, respondents filed a 1\.1otion for the l,ssuance of a \Vrit of Execution. The Motion was granted on February 14, 2000. However, seven years later, the RTC Branch 42 Decision h~1d not yet been executed. Thus, on .May 9, 2006, the respondents filed a Complaint for Revival of Judgment in accordance with the above legal provisions. On the premise that the RTC Branch 42 Decision was already final and executory, respondents filed a revival suit as a procedural means of securing the execution of the RTC Branch 42 Decision which had become dormant after the passage of several years. The revival suit filed by respondents did not intend to re-open any issue affecting the merits of the case or the propriety or correctness of the first judgment.38, the ordinary remedy of appeal was still readily available as a proper

As for petitioners legal re.rnedy ath~r tlw RTC Bqmch 42 promulgated its Decision on May 17, 1999. l-lov;cver, instead of filing an ordinary appeal, petitioners filed the following motion and petitions throughout the course of the proceedings: (1) Motion to Quash Writ of Execution; (2) Petition for Annulment of Judgment; and (3) Petition for Mandamus and Prohibition.

FirstfJJ, the Motion to Quash the Writ of Execution was filed on the ground that the Writ of Execution cannot be enforced anymore because more than five years had elapsed since its issuance. 39 However, the Court notes that respondents’ Complaint for Revival of h1dgment was filed on May 9, 2006, two months before petitioners filed their ~1otion to Quash the Writ of Execution on July 20, 2006. Neither did petitioners show that there had been a change in the situation of the parties whtch makes tbe execution inequitable; or that the writ of execution was improperly issued, defective in substance, or is issued against the wrong party; or that the judgment debt had been paid or otherwise satisfied; or that the writ was issued without a,.uthority:10 Petitioners’ Motion to Quash the Writ of Execution was therefore groundless.

Secondly, petitioners’ Petition for Annulment of Judgment of both the MTC and R TC Decisions was correctly dismissed by the CA not only because it did not have jurisdiction over the Petition but also because it was not the proper legal remedy.

Rule 47, Sections 1 and 241 of the Rules of Court are clear. The remedy of annulment of judgment can only be availed of when the ordinary remedy of appeal, among others, is no longer available through no fault of the petitioners. Furthermore, the annulment may be based only on grounds of extrinsic fraud and lack of j urisdiction which were clearly not present in this case.

Lastly, petitioners’ Petition for Mandamus and Prohibition filed with the CA was to compel the RTC to give due course to petitioners’ Notice of Appeal filed after the RTC granted respondents’ Complaint for Revival of Judgment. A Petition for Mandamus and Prohibition is only available when there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.42 Again, the Court reiterates that the ordinary remedy of appeal was easily available to petitioners when the RTC Branch 42 promulgated its l\1ay 1 7, 1999 Decision.

In the end, the Court finds that the CA correctly ruled that the RTC Branch 42 Decision can still be revived as the respondents properly filed a Complaint for Revival of Judgment in accordance with existing law and jurisprudence. The Court therefore instructs the RTC to execute Civil Case No. 11757 with deliberate dispatch.

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DENIED. The December 22, 2010 Decision and September 26, 2011 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 103349 are AFFIRMED. The case is hereby ordered REMANDED to the labor arbiter for the computation of the amounts due each respondent.

So Ordered.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

AS PROOF THAT THE EMPLOYEES WERE PROJECT EMPLOYEES, THE EMPLOYER PRESENTED THE SERVICE CONTRACTS WITH THEIR CLIENT. NO OTHER SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE WAS PRESENTED. FURTHERMORE EMPLOYER FAILED TO PROVE TERMINATION REPORTS AT END OF EACH PROJECT. SUPREME COURT SAID THE EMPLOYEES WERE NOT PROJECT EMPLOYEES. THEREFORE THEY WERE ILLEGALLY DISMISSED.

Clearly, the presentation of service contracts between the employer and their client (even if it shows the duration of the project), in lieu of the employees’ individual employment contracts, does not establish that the latter are project employees. There was no other substantial evidence offered to prove that respondents were informed at the time of their hiring, that they were project employees. Moreover, petitioner’s failure to file termination reports at the end of each project was an indication that respondents were regular employees.46

In view of all the foregoing, pet1t1oner failed to prove through substantial evidence that respondents are project employees. It is evident that respondents were illegally dismissed due to petitioner’s failure to comply with the substantive and procedural due process tenets under the Labor Code.

WHAT IS THE TEST IN DETERMINING WHETHER AN EMPLOYEE IS A PROJECT EMPLOYEE?

The case of Olongapo Maintenance Services, Inc. v. Chantengco44 is more applicable:

The principal test in determining whether an employee is a project employee is whether he/she is assigned to carry out a “specific project or undertaking,” the duration and scope of which are specified at the time the employee is engaged in the project, or where the work or service to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the season. A true project employee should be assigned to a project which begins and ends at determined or determinable times, and be informed thereof at the time of hiring.

In the instant case, the record is bereft of proof that the respondents’ engagement as project employees has been predetermined, as required by law. We agree with the Court of Appeals that OMSI did not provide convincing evidence that respondents were informed that they were to be assigned to a “specific project or undertaking” when OMSI hired them. Notably, the employment contracts for the specific project signed by the respondents were never presented. All that OMSI submitted in the proceedings a quo are the service contracts between OMSI and the MIAA. Clearly, OMSI utterly failed to establish by substantial evidence that, indeed, respondents were project employees and their employment was coterminous with the MIAA contract.45 (Citations omitted; Emphasis ours)

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The July 30, 2013 Decision and the February 26, 2014 Resolution of the Court of Appeals i.n CA-G.R. CV No. 01415-MIN are hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

A LAND COVERED BY FREE PATENT TITLE WAS SOLD WITHIN THE PROHIBITORY PERIOD. SUPREME COURT SAID THAT THE SALE WAS VOID. PETITIONERS CLAIM THAT THE CASE IS BARRED BY LACHES. THAT THEY SHOULD BE REIMBURSED FOR THE PURCHASE AND FOR IMPROVEMENTS. SUPREME COURT SAID LACHES DOES NOT APPLY IN CASE OF CONTRACTS VOID AB INITIO. BUT RESPONDENTS ARE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR PRICE OF THE LAND. BUT NO REIMBURSEMENT FOR IMPROVEMENTS BECAUSE SUCH ARE COMPENSATED FROM FRUITS ARISING FROM POSSESSION.

The CA likewise correctly ordered respondents to reimburse petitioners the purchase price of the sale since the Deed of Sale is void ab initio. As to the improvements made on the land and the interests on the purchase price, these are compensated by the fruits petitioners had received from their long possession of the homestead pursuant to the ruling of the Court in the case of Sps. Maltos v. Heirs of Eusebio Borromeo. . .

………………..

Likewise without merit is petitioners’ defense of laches. In the Heirs of A lido v. Campano,73 the Court made it clear that !aches do not apply to void ab initio contracts. It explained –

Laches, however, do not apply if the assailed contract is void ah initio. In Heirs oflng/ug-Tiro v. Spouses Casals, the Court expounded that laches cannot prevail over the law that actions to assail a void contract are imprescriptible it being based on equity, to wit:

In actions for reconveyance of property predicated on the fact that the conveyance complained of was null and void ah initio, a claim of prescription of action would be unavailing. “The action or defense for the declaration of the inexistence of a contract does not prescribe.” Neither could !aches be invoked in the case at bar. Laches is a doctrine in equity and our courts are basically courts of law and not courts of equity. Equity, which has been aptly described as “justice outside legality,” should be applied only in the absence of, and never against, statutory law. Aequetas [nunquam] contravenit legis. The positive mandate of Art. 1410 of the New Civil Code conferring imprescriptibility to actions for declaration of the incxistence of a contract should pre-empt and prevail over all abstract arguments based only on equity. Certainly, !aches cannot set up to resist the enforcement of an imprescriptible legal right, and petitioners can validly vindicate their inheritance despite the lapse qf time.

………………………..

As above-mentioned, a sale of a parcel of land is in violation of the five[1]year prohibition on the alienation of land acquired via free patent application is void and produces no legal effect. As successors-in-interest of Alido, petitioners’ right to challenge the sale between Alido and respondent cannot be barred by I aches as it was in violation of the restriction on the sale of land acquired through free patent. 74

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The September 19, 2014 Decision, and January 20, 2015 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in C.A. – G.R. CV No. 02878 are hereby AFF’IRMED in toto. Costs on petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

RESPONDENT JESUS INHERITED A PROPERTY FROM HIS FATHER IN 1973. HE HAS BEEN PAYING TAXES ON SAID PROPERTY AND THE TAX DECLARATION WAS IN HIS NAME. IN 1996 OR AFTER 23 YEARS HE DISCOVERED THAT THE PONCE SPOUSES WERE OCCUPYING THE PROPERTY. THE PONCE SPOUSES ALSO PRODUCED A TAX DECLARATION WHICH THE COURT FOUND TO REFER TO ANOTHER PROPERTY. THE PONCE SPOUSES ALSO ARGUED THAT THEY POSSESSED THE PROPERTY FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS AND THEREFORE THEY ARE THE OWNERS BY POSSESSION. COURT RULED THAT THE FACT THAT JESUS WAS PAYING THE TAXES INDICATES THAT HE POSSESSES IT IN THE CONCEPT OF AN OWNER FOR NOBODY IN HIS OR HER RIGHT MIND WOULD BE PAYING TAXES FOR A PROPERTY THE1T IS NOT IN HIS OR HER ACT UAL OR CONSTRUCTIVE POSSESSION.

.

In 1973, respondent Jesus Aldanese (Jesus) inherited Lot No. 6890 from his father, Teodoro Aldanese, Sr. He diligently paid its real property taxes from that time on under Tax Declaration No. (TD) 13003 which is in his name. 5 TD 13003 was subsequently cancelled and TD 13163-A6 was issued by the Municipal Assessor of Sibonga, still in Jesus’ name . . . .

………………..

Indeed, while the tax declaration is not conclusive proof of ownership of Jesus over the subj ect land, it is an indication however that he possesses the property in the concept of an owner for nobody in his or her right mind would be paying taxes for a property the1t is not in his or her act ual or constructive possession.40

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the instint Petition is DENIED. The August 13, 2014 Decision and February 11, 2015 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA[1]G.R. SP No. 04133-MIN holding that Duma.ran failed to meet the requirements of the law regarding fraud to sµstain the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment are hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

DUMARAN WAS OPERATING GAS STATIONS. HE SUPPLIED LLAMEDO ET AL WITH GASOLINE AND DIESEL. THE LATTER OWNED DUMARAN P7M PLUS. THEIR CHECK BOUNCED. DUMARAN WAS ABLE TO SECURE WRIT OF PRELIMINARY ATTACHMENT FROM RTC. BUT CA QUASHED THE WRIT. SUPREME COURT SAID QUASHAL IS PROPER BECAUSE DUMARAN FAILED TO ALLEGED SPECIFICS SHOWING THAT AT THE BEGINNING HE WAS DEFRAUDED INTO SUPPLYING THEM WITH GASONLINE AND DIESEL.

The CA rightfully held that Dumaran’s allegations in both his Complaint and Affidavit failed to show that Dumaran was defrauded into accepting the offer of Llamedo, Magallanes and Cubeta; and that Llamedo, Magallanes and Cubeta intended from the beginning to not pay their obligations. The Complaint and Affidavit did not specifically show wrongful acts or willful omissions that Llamedo, Magallanes and Cubeta knowingly committed to deceive Dumaran to enter into the contract or to perform the obligation. The pleadings filed lacked the particulars of time, persons and places to support the serious assertions that Llamedo, Magallanes and Cubeta were disposing of their properties to defraud Dumaran.

………………………………

The Court, though not a trier of facts, perused through the records of the case and agrees with the findings of the CA that the allegations ofDumaran do not meet the requirements of the law regarding fraud. The case of Republic v. Mega Pacific eSolutions, Inc. 28 explained the term “fraud” as related to the above-mentioned legal provision in this wise:

Fraud may be characterized as the voluntary execution of a wrongful act or a willful omission, while knowing and intending the effects that naturally and necessarily arise from that act or omission. In its general sense, fraud is deemed to comprise anything calculated to deceive – including all acts and omission and concealment involving a breach of legal or equitable duty, trust, or confidence justly reposed – resulting in damage to or in undue advantage over another. Fraud is also described as embracing all multifarious means that human ingenuity can device, and is resorted to for the purpose of securing an advantage over another by false suggestions or by suppression of truth; and it includes all surprise, trick, cunning, dissembling, and any other unfair way by which another is cheated.

While fraud cannot be presumed, it need not be proved by direct evidence and can well be inferred from attendant circumstances. Fraud by its nature is not a thing susceptible of ocular observation or readily demonstrable physically; it must of necessity be proved in many cases by inferences from circumstances shown to have been involved in the transaction in question.29 (Emphasis supplied)

DUMARAN SAID THAT THE WRIT CANNOT BE QUASHED BECAUSE RESPONDENTS DID NOT FILE COUNTER-BOND. SUPREME COURT SAID COUNTER-BOND IS NOT NECESSARY. THE CA HAD ALREADY RULED THAT DUMARAN FAILED TO PROVE THAT FRAUD EXISTED, THUS, THE WRIT OF PRELIMINARY ATTACHMENT ISSUED BY THE RTC WAS A ”TOO HARSH” PROVISIONAL REMEDY THAT MUST BE DENIED.

On the other hand, Llamedo, Magallanes and Cubeta averred that the cited FCY Construction case is not applicable to their case because the parties in FCY Construction had not yet proven the falsity of the factual averments in the applicant’s application for a writ of preliminary attachment and supporting affidavits. Thus, a regular full-blown trial to prove the falsity of the factual averments and subsequently, the irregularity of the writ of preliminary attachment in accordance with Rule 57, Section 13 was still necessary to allow the discharge of the writ of preliminary attachment. Otherwise, absent a regular full-blown trial, the only way a writ of preliminary attachment can be dissolved is by filing a counter-bond or cash deposit u11der Rule 57, Section 12.

However, in the case at bar, Llarnedo, Magallanes a.’ld Cubeta alleged that the CA had aln;;ady found and ruled that the writ of preliminary attachment was improperly issued. The CA had already ruled that Dumaran failed to prove that fraud existed, thus, the writ of preliminary attachment issued by the RTC was a ”too harsh” provisional remedy that must be denied.

The Court agrees with the contention of Llamedo, Magalhmes and Cubeta. . . .

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the Resolution dated September 3, 2014 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 136807 is SET ASIDE. Respondents Senator Crewing (MANILA), Inc., et al. are ORDERED to pay petitioner Dino S. Palo:

1) US$60,000.00 representing permanent and total disability benefits under the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration-Standard Employment Contract;

2) Sickness allowance, if none had been paid; and 3) Attorney’s fees at ten percent (10%) of the monetary award. All amounts shall earn six percent ( 6%) interest per annum from finality of this Decision until full satisfaction. 63 64 65

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

THIS INVOLVES A CLAIM BY A SEAMAN FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS. HE DID NOT RECEIVE A COPY OF THE MEDICAL CERTIFICATE ISSUED BY THE COMPANY DESIGNATED PHYSICIAN. FOR LACK OF SUCH NOTICE HE WAS DECLARED ENTITLED TO SAID BENEFITS.

WHAT ARE SOME IMPORTANT  REQUIREMENTS TO CLAIM FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS?

AS A RULE, AWARD OF DISABILITY BENEFITS SHALL BE BASED FROM THE COMPANY-DESGINATED PHYSICIAN’S FINAL ASSESSMENT. AND THE COMPANY[1]DESIGNATED PHYSICIAN IS MANDATED TO ISSUE A MEDICAL CERTIFICATE, WHICH SHOULD BE PERSONALLY RECEIVED BY THE SEAFARER.

On that note, We now determine whether or not Palo is entitled to payment of full disability benefits. As a rule, award of disability benefits shall be based from the company-desginated physician’s final assessment. Section 20(B)49 of the POEA-SEC provides that, to constitute a final assessment, a company designated physician’s assessment should declare a seafarer fit to work or the degree of his disability. Further defined, a final, conclusive and definite assessment must clearly state whether the seafarer is fit to work or the exact disability rating, or whether such illness is work-related, and without any further condition or treatment.50 It should no longer require any further action on the part of the company-designated physician and it is issued by the company-designated physician after he or she has exhausted all possible treatment options within the periods mandated by law. 51 Relatedly, this final assessment shall be issued within 120 days from the date of the seafarer’s medical repatriation or within 240 days, if supported with justification for extension of medical treatment. 52 Failure to issue a final assessment within the foregoing periods renders a seafarer’s illness or injury permanent and total regardless of justification. 53

Moreover, this Court cannot emphasize enough that the company[1]designated physician is mandated to issue a medical certificate, which should be personally received by the seafarer, or, if not practicable, sent to him/her by any other means sanctioned by present rules.54 The seafarer must be fully and properly informed of his medical condition.55 The results of his/her medical exmninations, the treatments extended to him/her, the diagnosis and prognosis, if needed, and, of course, his/her disability grading must be fully explained to him/her by no less than the company-designated physician.56 The seafarer must be accorded proper notice and due process especially where his/her well-being is at stake.57 The effect of failure of the company to furnish the seafarer a copy of his medical certificate militates gravely against the company’s cause.58

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review on Certiorari is DENIED. The September 30, 2013 Decision and June 2, 2014 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 98861 are AFFIRMED.

So Ordered.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

A DEED OF DONATION OVER A PARCEL OF LAND APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN EXECUTED. BUT ONE OF THE SIGNATORIES WAS DEAD 36 YEARS EALIER. THE DEED OF DONATION WAS THEREFORE VOID.

Here, respondents successfully refuted said presumption of regularity. Rodriguez, the notary public, testified that all the parties personally appeared before him when the Deed of Donation was notarized. Interestingly, Eufrosina, the wife of Valentin and one of the signatories in the Deed, died in 1958, or 36 years before the Deed of Donation was executed. It is worthy to note that Isidro, one of the petitioners, admitted his mother’s demise during the trial.

Thus, Eufrosina could not have personally appeared before the notary public unless by some miracle she had risen from her grave to sign the Deed of Donation. The only plausible conclusion is that another person stood in her place, and that the notary public did not duly ascertain if the person who signed the Deed of Donation was actually Eufrosina.

WHAT HAPPENED NOW TO THE VOID DEED OF DONATION?

IT IS SUBJECT TO ATTACK AT ANY TIME. AN ACTION TO DECLARE THE EXISTENCE OF A VOID CONTRACT DOES NOT PRESCRIBE.

The Deed of Donation is an absolute nullity hence it is subject to attack at any time. Its defect, i. e., the absence of consent of respondents, is permanent and incurable by ratification or prescription.67 In other words, the action is imprescriptible. This is in accord with Article 1410 of the Civil Code which states that an action to declare the inexistence of a void contract does not prescribe.68

WHAT HAPPENED NOW TO THE LAND, SUBJECT OF THE DEED OF DONATION.

THE LAND IS HELD BY PETITIONERS IN TRUST FOR RESPONDENTS WHO ARE THE REAL OWNERS. RESPONDENTS CAN INSTITUTE A CASE AGAINST PETITIONERS FOR RECONVEYANCE OF THE PROPERTY ANYTIME.

Since the Deed of Donation is void ab initio due to the illegality in its execution, the disputed land is deemed to be simply held by petitioners in trust for respondents who are the real owners.69 Respondents therefore have the right to institute a case against petitioners for the reconveyance of the property at any time. 70 The well-settled rule is that “[a]s long as the land wrongfully registered under the Torrens system is still in the name of the person who caused such registration, an action in p ersonam will lie to compel him to reconvey the property to the real owner. ” 71

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED IN PART. The July 12, 2012 Decision and the October 10, 2012 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 93939 are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that the award for attorney’s fees in favor of respondents-spouses Ernesto and Flora Sotelo is DELETED..

So Ordered.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

A PROPERTY WAS MADE COLLATERAL TO SECURE A LOAN OF P140,000.00. THE MARKET VALUE OF THE PROPERTY WAS P1,750,000.00. THE DOCUMENT EXECUTED WAS A DEED OF SALE. THE CREDITOR THEN CAUSED THE ISSUANCE OF NEW TITLE IN HIS NAME.  THE SUPREME COURT DECLARED THE TRANSACTION AS EQUITABLE MORTGAGE. THE NEW TITLE IS VOID.

As the transaction between the parties herein was demonstrated to be one of equitable mortgage, petitioner did not become owner of the subject property but a mere mortgagee thereof. As such, petitioner was bound by the prohibition against pactum commissorium as embodied in Article 2088 of the Civil Code:

Art. 2088. The creditor cannot appropriate the things given by way of pledge or mortgage, or dispose of them. Any stipulation to the contrary is null and void.

The mortgagee’s consolidation of ownership over the mortgaged property upon the mortgagor’s mere failure to pay the obligation is the essence of pactum commissorium. 36 The mortgagor’s default does not operate to automatically vest on the mortgagee the ownership  of the encumbered property. This Court has repeatedly declared such arrangements as contrary to morals and public policy and thus void.

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DISPOSITIVE:

ACCORDINGLY, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated February 14, 2019 and Resolution dated July 10, 2019 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 158220, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner RODRIGO A. UPOD is declared ILLEGALLY DISMISSED and respondent ONON TRUCKING AND MARKETING CORPORATION is ORDERED to PAY him:

1) BACKWAGES reckoned from February 2017 until finality of this Decision;

2) SEPARATION PAY equivalent to one (1) month salary for every year of service reckoned from 2014 until finality of this Decision;

3) 13th MONTH PAY limited to three (3) years prior to the filing of the complaint; and

4) Ten percent (10%) ATTORNEY’S FEES. These monetary awards shall earn six percent (6%) legal interest per annum from finality of this Decision until fully paid.

So Ordered.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

THE PETITIONER WAS PAID 16% OF GROSS REVENUES PER TRIP AND NOT PER DAY OR PER TIME BASIS. IS HE A REGULAR EMPLOYEE.

YES. SALARY ON A PER TRIP BASIS IS SIMPLY A METHOD OF COMPUTING COMPENSATION.

Two. Respondent cornp,i ny paid petitioner 16% of gross revenues per trip. The fact that petitioner ‘Nas paiJ on per trip basis does not negate the existence of an employer-employee re lationship; for the same is simply a method for computing compensalinn. One may be paid on the basis of results or time expended on the work, and may or may not acquire an employment.

PETITIONER’S SERVICES WERE SOUGHT ONLY IF THERE ARE TRIPS TO BE MADE. HE HAS BEEN WITH THE COMPANY FOR 8 YEARS. IS HE A REGULAR EMPLOYEE?

YES. BECAUSE HE HAS RENDERED AT LEAST ONE YEAR OF SERVICE WHICH MAY BE CONTINUOUS OR BROKEN.

A regular employee, therefore, is one who is either ( i) engaged to perform activities which are necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer; or (2) a casual employee who has rendered at least one ( l ) year of service, whether continuous or broken, with respect to the activity in which he or she is employed. 27

As an entjt.y engaged in the wholesale and retail of various products, respondent company must neci-~•;s.1rily engage the servic0s of delivery drivers, such as heri::.in peti6oner, for the p .!n:iose ,”}f getting its products delivered to its clients. To be S!,lre, since pi::!itioqer had perfon11ed nets necessary and desirable to respondent compa:1~/ s b usiness and trade for more than a year, his status had alre~dy ripened tG a regular employment.

THE EMPLOYER MERELY STOPPED GIVING WORK ASSIGNMENT TO PETITIONER. WILL THIS CONSTITUTE ILLEGAL DISMISSAL.

YES. SINCE THE EMPLOYER ADMITTED THAT IT STOPPED GIVING WORK ASSIGNMENT TO PETITIONER, THE LATTER NEED NOT PROVE HIS ILLEGAL DISMISSAL.

To be valid, petitioner’s dismissal should have been for just or authorized causes and only upon compliance with procedural due process. As it was, respondent company complied with neither conditions in effecting petitioner’s dismissal. It just abruptly stopped giving delivery assigmnent to petitioner in February 2017. Petitioner need not even prove the fact of his dismissal in view of respondent company’s admission that it stopped giving assignment to petitioner because allegedly, his contract already expired.

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DISPOSITIVE:

ACCORDINGLY, the petition is GRANTED. The Resolutions dated January 28, 2019 and September 17, 2019 in CA-G.R. SP. No. 158342 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

The Judgment dated September 12, 2018 and the concomitant orders of the Regional Trial Court-Branch 24, Naga City in Criminal Case No. 2016- 0935 are VOID for having been issued in grave abuse of discretion. The trial court is ORDERED to proceed with the criminal case against respondent Noel Sabater y Ulan with utmost dispatch.

So Ordered.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

THE ACCUSED WANTED TO PLEA TO A LESSER OFFENSE (SECTION 12 IN LIEU OF SECTION 5 OF THE PROHIBITED DRUG LAW). PROSECUTOR OBJECTED. BUT COURT APPROVED THE PLEA. SUPREME COURT SAID THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION. IT MUST NOT APPROVE PLEA BARGAINING IF ALL PARTIES DO NOT AGREE.

Where the prosecution withholds its consent, the trial court cannot proceed to approve a plea bargain. There is no meeting of the minds, hence, there can be no plea bargaining “agreement” to speak of. Should the trial court nevertheless approve the plea bargain over the prosecution’s objection, it would be doing so in grave abuse of discretion. Justice Zalameda further explained:

In choosing to respect the prosecution’s discretion to give or withhold consent, the Court is not surrende1ing any of its powers. Instead, it is an exercise of sound judicial restraint. Courts cannot forcefully insist upon any of the parties to plead in accordance with the Plea Bargaining Framework. To emphasize, when there is no unanimity between the prosecution and the defense, there is also no plea bargaining agreement to speak of. If a party refuses to enter a plea in conformity with the Plea Bargaining Framework, a court commits grave abuse of discretion should it unduly impose its will on the parties by approving a plea bargain and issuing a conviction based on the framework.

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The August 11, 2015 Decision and January 19, 2016 Resolution of the Court of Tax Appeals En Banc in CTA EB No. 1139 are hereby AFFIRMED.

So Ordered.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

BIR ASSESSED YUMEX PHILIPPINES FOR IMPROPERLY ACCUMULATED EARNINGS TAX (IAET). SUPREME COURT SAID THIS IS WRONG BECAUSE BIR DID NOT FIRST ESTABLISH PRIMA FACIE WHY IT DEEMED SUCH EARNINGS AS IMPROPERLY ACCUMULATED. BIR SHOULD EXPRESSLY DESCRIBE ANY OF THE PRIMA FACIE INSTANCES OF IMPROPERLY ACCUMULATED EARNINGS.

The BIR simply assessed respondent for IAET by imposing the ten percent (10%) IAET tax rate on all of the latter’s income from registered activities enjoying ITH without first establishing prima facie why it deemed such income as improperly accumulated. Respondent is clearly not a holding or investment company; and nowhere in the PAN, Details of Discrepancies, or the FLD/F AN did the BIR expressly describe any of the prima facie instances of improperly accumulated earnings and profits.

For its part, respondent was able to prove that it had accumulated its earnings from previous years for a reasonable business purpose. Respondent needed funds for a new project, i.e., the manufacture of Heat Run Oven[1]Controlled Rack, which started commercial operations in June 2007 and was also duly registered with the PEZA. Respondent had to acquire new machinery and equipment as well as a separate exclusive building space for the project. Petitioner did not cross-examine respondent’s witness on this matter or present evidence to refute that respondent’s accumulated income was actually for a reasonable need in its business operations.

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The Decision dated 01 June 2018 rendered by the Court of Appeals, Division of Five, and Resolution dated 26 February 2019 rendered by the Court of Appeals, Special Division of Five, Special Former Third Division, in CA-G.R. SP No. 150941 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, the Decision dated 21 October 2016 of Branch 95, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, as well as all issuances rendered pursuant thereto, are declared NULL and VOID.

The case is hereby REMANDED to Branch 95, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City for further proceedings. The presiding judge of the said court is mandated to issue anew the required summons to petitioner corporation and proceed with the trial of the case with dispatch.

So Ordered.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT IS GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION?

Grave abuse of discretion means such capnc10us or whimsical exercise of judgment which is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be grave, as when the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and the abuse must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined, or to act at all, in contemplation of law, as to be equivalent to having acted without jurisdiction. 105

WHY WAS THERE GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN THIS CASE?

THE CASE WAS ONLY FOR SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE FOR PAYMENT OF CGT AND DST AND TURN OVER OF POSSESSION OF SUBJECT PROPERTY. YET THE WRIT OF EXECUTION DIRECTED THE CANCELLATION OF DERIVATIVE TITLES EMANATING FROM TCT NO 185260 AND ISSUANCE OF NEW TITLE IN NAME OF RESPONDENT. ALSO SUMMONS WAS ALLOWED BY PUBLICATION LEADING TO DEFAULT OF PETITIONER.

If only to emphasize the gravity of the abuse of discretion committed, petitioner corporation was stripped of, not only the possession of the subject property, but likewise, title thereto. To reiterate, the writ of execution included the cancellation of its derivative titles emanating from TCT No. 185260 and the issuance of a new title in the name of respondent. This, despite the fact that the case is simply one for specific performance for the payment of CGT and DST and the turn over of possession of the subject property.

……………………….

The manifest abuse of discretion exhibited by Judge Bellosillo in allowing the service of summons through publication,. which led to the issuance of judgment of default against petitioner corporation and in expanding the dispositive portion of the Decision dated 16 October 2016 by issuing a writ of execution containing terms neither appearing in said decision nor in the complaint for specific performance, must not be countenanced. Moreso, the wanton disregard of basic procedural requirements led to the deprivation of due process of law on the part of petitioner corporation.

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated August 16, 2019 and the Resolution dated August 24, 2020 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 41782 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, petitioner Joel David y Mangio is ACQUITTED of the crime charged. The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is ORDERED to: (a) cause the immediate release of petitioner, unless heis being lawfully held in custody for any other reason; and (b) inform the Court of the action taken within five (5) days from receipt of this Decision.

 Let entry of judgment be issued immediately.

So Ordered.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

IN CASE THERE IS NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE CHAIN OF CUSTODY PROCEDURE THE PROSECUTOR MUST PROVE THAT THE APPREHENDING OFFICERS EXERTED GENUINE AND SUFFICIENT EFFORTS TO SECURE THE PRESENCE OF THE REQUIRED WITNESSES.

As a general rule, compliance with the chain of custody procedure is strictly enjoined as the same has been regarded “not merely as a procedural technicality but as a matter of substantive law.”28 Nonetheless, anent the witness requirement, non-compliance may be permitted if the prosecution proves that the apprehending officers exerted genuine and sufficient efforts to secure the presence of such witnesses, albeit they eventually failed to appear. While the earnestness of these efforts must be examined on a case-to-case basis, the overarching objective is for the Court to be convinced that the failure to comply was reasonable under the given· circumstances.29 Thus, mere statements of unavailability, absent actual serious attempts to contact the required witnesses, are unacceptable as justified grounds for non[1]compliance. 30 These considerations arise from the fact that police officers are ordinarily given sufficient time – beginning from the moment they have received the information about the activities of the accused until the time of his arrest – to prepare for a buy-bust operation, and consequently, make the necessary arrangements beforehand, knowing fully well that they would have to strictly comply with the chain of custody rule. 31

……………………………

IN THIS CASE PO3 FLORES DID NOT OFFER ANY JUSTIFICATION FOR THE EVENTUAL ABSENCE OF A DOJ REPRESENTATIVE.

However, as earlier stated, it is incumbent upon the prosecution to account for these witnesses’ absence by presenting a justifiable reason therefor or, at the very least, by showing thaf genuine and sufficient efforts were exerted by the apprehending officers to secure their presence. Here, while PO3 Flores did attempt to secure all three witnesses, he did not offer any justification for the eventual absence of the DOJ representative, much less any explanation or detail as to the exact efforts exerted to secure their presence. In view of this unjustified deviatio1:1 from the chain of custody rule, the Court is therefore constrained to conclude that the integrity and evidentiary value of the item purportedly seized from David were compromised, which consequently warrants his acquittal.

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review on Certiorari is GRANTED. The March 22, 2017 Decision and the August 16, 201 7 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CEB-CR No. 02397, which affirmed the July 23, 2012 Joint-Decision of the Regional Trial Court, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accused-appellant Virgilio Evardo y Lopena is ACQUITTED of the charges of violating Section 11 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

For their information, copies of this Decision shall be furnished to the Police General of the Philippine National Police and the Director General of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

The Regional Trial Court is directed to tum over the seized sachets of shabu to the Dangerous Drugs Board for destruction in accordance with law.

Let entry of judgment be issued immediately.

So Ordered.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

IN THIS CASE THE ARRESTING OFFICERS’ SEARCH AND SUBSEQUENT SEIZURE WERE HELD INVALID. THUS, THE CONFISCATED DRUGS CANNOT BE USED AS EVIDENCE. WITHOUT EVIDENCE THE CASE HAS TO BE DISMISSED.

In cases involving drugs, the confiscated article constitutes the corpus delicti of the crime charged. Under Section 5 of Republic Act No. 9165, the essence of the crime is the sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution, and transportation of prohibited drugs, and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals. The act of transporting the drugs, as in this case, must be duly proven by the prosecution, along with how a particular person is the perpetrator of that act. The seized drug, then, becomes the corpus delicti of the crime charged. The entire case of the prosecution revolves around that material.

In drugs cases where the allegedly confiscated drug is excluded from admissible evidence – as when it was acquired through an invalid warrantless search – the prosecution is left without proof of corpus delicti. Any discussion on whether a crime has been committed becomes an exercise in futility. Acquittal is then inexorable.

Thus, here, the arresting officers’ search and subsequent seizure are invalid. As such, the two (2) sacks of marijuana supposedly being transported in the pickup cannot be admitted in evidence.

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the pet1t10n is GRANTED. The Decision dated September 27, 2018 and the Resolution dated January 14, 2020 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CEB-SP No. 09323 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The charge against Noel T. Jaspe, Ma. Negenia V. Araneta and Sanny Apuang for Grave Misconduct in OMB-V-A-13-0170 is DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

HOW WILL COLLUSION BE PROVEN?

BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE. 

On this score, Desierto v. Ocampo28 pronounced that the complainant charging collusion must prove it by clear-and convincing evidence, thus:

Collusion implies 2 secret understanding whereby one party plays into another’s hands for fraudulent purposes. It may take place between anci every contractor resulting in no competition, in which case, the government may declare a failure of bidding. Collusion may also ensue between contractors and the chairman and members of the PBAC to simulate or rig the bid.ding process, thus insuring the award to a favored bidder, to the-prejudice of the government agency anc! public ser•;ice. for such acts of the chairman and the members of the PBAC, they may be held administratively liable for conduct grossly prejudicial to the best interest of the government service. Collusion by and among the members of the PBAC and/or contractors submitting their bids may be determined from their collective acts or omissions before, during and after the bidding process. The complainants are burdened to prove such coll us-ion by clear and convincing evidence because if so proved, the responsible officials may be dismissed from the government service or meted severe administrative sanctions for dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the government service.29 (Emphasis ours)

………………………………….

WHAT IS GRAVE MISCONDUCT?

Grave misconduct is defined as the “wrongful, improper or unlawful conduct motivated by a premedi.tated, obstinate or intentional purpose.” It is not mere failure to comply with the law. Failure to comply must be deliberate and must be done in order to secure benefits for the offender •-r for some other person. 31

…………………………….

WHAT EVIDENCE IS NEEDED TO PROVE MISCONDUCT?

COMPETENT EVIDENCE DERIVED FROM DIRECT KNOWLEDGE. NOT MERE ALLEGATIONS.

For a ~harge of grave _miscpnduct or any grave offense to prosper, therefore, the evidence against the respondent should be competent and must be derived from direct knowledge. Reliance on mere allegations, conjectures and suppositions, as in this case, vvarrants the dismissal of the charge.32 So must it be.

…………………………..

SOME ACCUSED DID NOT APPEAL. WILL RESULT OF APPEAL EXONERATE THEM ALSO?

YES.

Notably, only petitioners Jaspe and Araneta actively · sought the reversal of the finding of grave misconduct in connection with the discharge of their function as BAC members. Nonetheless, the dismissal of the charge against petitioners should benefit Apuang, another BAC member, even if he did not join Jaspe and Araneta here, nor appealed on his own.

In Tropical Homes, Inc. v. Fortun,33 the Court held that the reversal of the judgment on appeal is binding only on the paiiies to the appealed case and does not affect or inure to the benefit of those who did not join or were not parties to the appeal except when there is a communality of interests where the rights and liabilities of the parties appealing are so interwoven and dependent on each other as to be inseparable, in which case 3. reversal as to one operates as a reversal to all. To be sure, there is communality of interests among J aspe, et al. as their alleged liabilities arose out of their collegial decision in the same proceeding of which they serve as BAC members. Hence, the reversal of petitioners’ liability also operates as a reversal.of Apuang’s liability although he did not appeal therefrom.

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DISPOSITIVE:

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review on Certiorari is GRANTED. The Court of Appeals’ February 25, 2010 Decision and April 6, 201] Resolution in CA-G.R. CV No. 90303 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The May 9, 2007 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Parafiaque City, Branch 260, in Civil Cases 01-0228 and 03-0384 is REINSTATED.

SO ORDERED.

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

NOTE: “MARRIED TO” ONLY REFERS TO THE CIVIL STATUS OF THE PROPERTY’S REGISTERED OWNER. THE HUSBAND  CANNOT BE DEEMED TO HAVE CONTRIBUTED JOINTLY IN ACQUIRING THE FUNDS SINCE HE DID NOT CARE FOR AND MAINTAIN THE FAMILY AND THE HOUSEHOLD.

In this case, there is proof that the Parafiaque lot was not obtained by Mario and Rosanna’s joint efforts, work, or industry. Rita M. Tan, Rosanna’s aunt, donated the 315-square meter lot to Rosanna and her father, Rodolfo M. Tan. The Deed ofDonation331 dated August 25, 1998 provides that Rita M. Tan donated 157.50 square meters to “Rodolfo M. Tan, married to Josefina G. Leafio”332 and to “Rosanna L. Tan-Anda!, married to Mario Andal”333 each. Transfer Certificate of Title No. 139811 covering 157.50 square meters of the Parafiaque lot is under the name of “Rosanna L. Tan[1]Andal, of legal age, Filipino, married to Mario Andal.”334 In Salas, Jr. v. Aguila,335 this Court held that “married to” only refers to the civil status of the property’s registered owner.336 Thus, Rosanna exclusively owns half of the 315-square meter Parafiaque lot. Mario has no share in this property because he did not care for and maintain the family and the household.

As for the half of the duplex house that served as the parties’ family f home, there is evidence that the funds used to construct the house were obtained solely through Rosanna and her father’s efforts. In a promissory note337 dated July 13, 1998, Rosanna and her father jointly loaned P2,400,000.00 from the Elena P. Tan Foundation for the construction of a house on the Parafiaque lot. Although Mario signed the promissory note to give “marital consent” to Rosanna, he has no proof that he participated in acquiring the funds. He cannot be deemed to have contributed jointly in acquiring the funds since he did not care for and maintain the family and the household.

………………………………….

IN DECIDING CASES INVOLVING CUSTODY OF A MINOR WHAT MUST THE COURT CONSIDER?

AMONG OTHERS, “THE PREVIOUS CARE AND DEVOTION SHOWN BY EACH OF THE PARENTS; THEIR RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND, MORAL UPRIGHTNESS, HOME ENVIRONMENT AND TIME AVAILABILITY.

In Pablo-Gualberto v. Gualberto,339 this Court held that the “separation of parents” contemplated in Article 213 may either be legal separation or separation in fact. 340 In deciding cases involving custody of a minor, the courts must consider, among others, “the previous care and devotion shown by each of the parents; their religious background, moral uprightness, home environment and time availability; [ and] the [child’s] emotional and educational needs.”341 Here, Mario and Rosanna have been separated in fact since 2000. Between them, Rosanna showed greater care and devotion to Ma. Samantha. Even when they still lived together, Rosanna had been more available to her child. She raised Ma. Samantha on her own since she and Mario separated. Mario has not supported both mother and child since he separated from 0 Rosanna, even after he had claimed that he has been living “drug-free.”

……………………………

NOTE: MARRIAGE REMAINS AN INSTITUTION DESIGNED TO PROVIDE LEGAL AND PUBLIC RECOGNITION.

Marriage is not compulsory when in love; neither does it create love. Nonetheless, it remains an institution designed to provide legal and public recognition that may be well deserved not only for the couple, but also for their families existing or yet to come.

To be clear, our collective hope is that one who chooses marriage realizes that the other deserves more caring, more compassion, more kindness in the daily and banal grind of their relationship. It is in these same values of sacrifice and empathy that we will have the chance to evolve into a society that is more humane and, eventually, more just.

Yet, we are not blind to the reality that a person may be truly psychologically incapable for the other from the beginning. Should there be grave need to part for the reasons we have stated, courts can lead the way to make parting less bitter, minimize animosity, and make lives more forward- / looking for those most affected.

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