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Llorente vs Court of Appeals

Facts: In 1927, Lorenzo Llorente, then a Filipino, was enlisted in the U.S. Navy. In 1937,
he and Paula Llorente got married in Camarines Sur. In 1943, Lorenzo became an
American citizen.
In 1943, Lorenzo was granted US citizenship.
In 1945, Lorenzo returned to the Philippines for a vacation. He discovered that Paula
was already living illicitly with Ceferino Llorente (brother of Lorenzo). Ceferino and
Paula even had a son. Lorenzo wanted to cut ties with Paula. Eventually, Lorenzo and
Paula agreed in writing Lorenzo shall not criminally charge Paula if the latter agrees to
waive all monetary support from Lorenzo. Later, Lorenzo returned to the United States.
In 1951, Lorenzo filed a divorce proceeding against Paula in California. Paula was
represented by an American counsel. The divorce was granted and in 1952, the divorce
became final.
Lorenzo returned to the Philippines. In 1958, Lorenzo married Alicia Fortuno. They had
three children.
In 1981, Lorenzo executed his last will and testament where he left all his estate to
Alicia and their children (nothing for Paula). In 1983, he went to court for the will’s
probate and to have Alicia as the administratrix of his property. In 1985, before the
probate proceeding can be terminated, Lorenzo died. Later, Paula filed a petition for
letters of administration over Lorenzo’s estate.
The trial court ruled that Lorenzo’s marriage with Alicia is void because the divorce he
obtained abroad is void. The trial court ratiocinated that Lorenzo is a Filipino hence
divorce is not applicable to him. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court.
ISSUES: Whether or not Lorenzo’s divorce abroad should be recognized.
HELD: Yes. It is undisputed by Paula Llorente that Lorenzo became an American
citizen in 1943. Hence, when he obtained the divorce decree in 1952, he is already an
American citizen. Article 15 of the Civil Code provides:
Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons
are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad.
Since Lorenzo was no longer a Filipino, Philippine laws relating to family rights, duties,
or status are no longer applicable to him. Therefore, the divorce decree he obtained
abroad must be respected. The rule is: aliens may obtain divorces abroad, provided
they are valid according to their national law.
However, this case was still remanded to the lower court so as for the latter to
determine the effects of the divorce as to the successional rights of Lorenzo and his
heirs.
Anent the issue on Lorenzo’s last will and testament, it must be respected. He is an
alien and is not covered by our laws on succession. However, since the will was
submitted to our courts for probate, then the case was remanded to the lower court
where the foreign law must be alleged in order to prove the validity of the will.
De Tavera vs Phil. Tuberculosis Society
GR. No. L-48928 February 25, 1982

Appellant was Executive Secretary of the Philippine Tuberculosis Society (Society for
short) until the past Board of Directors declared her position vacant on May 29, 1974,
and seven of the directors appointed Alberto Romulo to the position. More than one
year after her removal, appellant filed a complaint with the trial court against the said
appointing directors, the Society, the new Board of Directors, and Alberto Romulo,
questioning the legality of her summary cutter from her office and seeking reinstatement
thereto; contending That the action of the past Board was a nullity since four of the
directors were not qualified to be elevated to the position because they were not
members of the Society; and claiming that the removal was in violation of her rights
under the By-Laws of the Society, the New Civil Code, and the New Constitution, which
thereby rendered the individuals responsible therefor, countable for damages. The trial
court rendered a decision holding that the suit was one for quo warranto and has thus
prescribed; that, nevertheless, appellant had not been illegally removed because she
was holding an appointment at the pleasure of the Board, temporary in nature, and
terminable at any time; and, that the qualifications of the members of the Board could
not be attacked collaterally. Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeals, but the same
was certified to the Supreme Court as only questions of law were involved.

The Supreme Court held, that even if the complaint questions appellant’s removal from
her position and seeks her reinstatement thereto, the suit is not necessarily one of quo
warranto since the allegations in the complaint constituting her cause of action show
that the case is for damages and the defendants-appellees, except one, are not actually
holding the office in question; that appellant is not entitled to damages because she has
not been illegally ousted since pursuant to the Society’s Code of By-Laws, the
Executive Secretary holds office at the pleasure of the Board of Directors unless the
term of employment has been fixed in the contract of employment, which in the case of
appellant has not been so fixed; and that appellant’s right to her office, being specifically
limited by the Society’s By-Laws, she may not invoke in relation thereto the general
provisions of the New Civil Code on Human Relations and the fundamental principles of
the New Constitution on preservation of human dignity which are merely guides for
human conduct in the absence of specific legal provisions and definite contractual
stipulations.
Appealed decision affirmed.
FACTS: Plaintiff is a doctor of Medicine by profession and a recognized specialist in the
treatment of tuberculosis. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the defendant
Society, in representation of the PCSO. She was duly appointed as Executive Secretary
of the Society. On May 29, 1974, the past Board of Directors removed her summarily
from her position, the lawful cause of which she was not informed, through the simple
expedient of declaring her position vacant. Defendant Romulo was appointed to the
position and defendants Pardo, Nubla, Garcia and Adil, not being members of
defendant Society were elevated as members of the Board of Directors. Not being
qualified, petitioner alleged said acts to be null and void. The court a quo rendered a
decision holding that the present suit being one for quo warranto it should be filed within
one year from plaintiff's ouster from office; that nevertheless, plaintiff was not illegally
removed from her position as Executive Secretary in The Society since plaintiff was
holding an appointment at the pleasure of the appointing power and hence temporary.

ISSUE: W/N petitioner was illegally removed and thus entitled to damages.

RULING: Decision affirmed. The action is primarily against the Society and the past
members of the Board who are responsible for her removal. Where the respondents,
except for Romulo, are not actually holding the office in question, the suit could not be
one for quo warranto.
The absence of a fixed term in the letter addressed to petitioner informing her of her
appointment as Executive Secretary is very significant. This could have no other
implication than that petitioner held an appointment at the pleasure of the appointing
power.
Petitioner cannot likewise seek relief from the general provisions of the New Civil Code
on Human Relations nor from the fundamental principles of the New Constitution on
preservation of human dignity. While these provisions present some basic principles
that are to be observed for the rightful relationship between human beings and the
stability of social order, these are merely guides for human conduct in the absence of
specific legal provisions and definite contractual stipulations. In the case at bar, the
Code of By-Laws of the Society contains a specific provision governing the term of
office of petitioner. The same necessarily limits her rights under the New Civil Code and
the New Constitution upon acceptance of the appointment.
Liwayway Vinzons-Chato vs. Fortune Tobacco, Corp.
G.R. No. 141309, June 19, 2007

FACTS: This is a case for damages under Article 32 of the Civil Code filed by Fortune
against Liwayway as CIR.

On June 10, 1993, the legislature enacted RA 7654, which provided that locally
manufactured cigarettes which are currently classified and taxed at 55% shall be
charged an ad valorem tax of “55% provided that the maximum tax shall not be less
than Five Pesos per pack.” Prior to effectivity of RA 7654, Liwayway issued a rule,
reclassifying “Champion,” “Hope,” and “More” (all manufactured by Fortune) as locally
manufactured cigarettes bearing foreign brand subject to the 55% ad valorem tax. Thus,
when RA 7654 was passed, these cigarette brands were already covered.

In a case filed against Liwayway with the RTC, Fortune contended that the issuance of
the rule violated its constitutional right against deprivation of property without due
process of law and the right to equal protection of the laws.

For her part, Liwayway contended in her motion to dismiss that respondent has no
cause of action against her because she issued RMC 37-93 in the performance of her
official function and within the scope of her authority. She claimed that she acted merely
as an agent of the Republic and therefore the latter is the one responsible for her acts.
She also contended that the complaint states no cause of action for lack of allegation of
malice or bad faith.

The order denying the motion to dismiss was elevated to the CA, who dismissed the
case on the ground that under Article 32, liability may arise even if the defendant did not
act with malice or bad faith. Hence this appeal.

ISSUES: a) Whether or not a public officer may be validly sued in his/her private
capacity for acts done in connection with the discharge of the functions of his/her
office
b)Whether or not Article 32, NCC, should be applied instead of Sec. 38, Book
I, Administrative Code

HELD: a) The general rule is that a public officer is not liable for damages which a
person may suffer arising from the just performance of his official duties and within the
scope of his assigned tasks. An officer who acts within his authority to administer the
affairs of the office which he/she heads is not liable for damages that may have been
caused to another, as it would virtually be a charge against the Republic, which is not
amenable to judgment for monetary claims without its consent. However, a public officer
is by law not immune from damages in his/her personal capacity for acts done in bad
faith which, being outside the scope of his authority, are no longer protected by the
mantle of immunity for official actions.

Specifically, under Sec. 38, Book I, Administrative Code, civil liability may arise where
there is bad faith, malice, or gross negligence on the part of a superior public officer.
And, under Sec. 39 of the same Book, civil liability may arise where the subordinate
public officer’s act is characterized by willfulness or negligence. In Cojuangco, Jr. V. CA,
a public officer who directly or indirectly violates the constitutional rights of another, may
be validly sued for damages under Article 32 of the Civil Code even if his acts were not
so tainted with malice or bad faith.

Thus, the rule in this jurisdiction is that a public officer may be validly sued in his/her
private capacity for acts done in the course of the performance of the functions of the
office, where said public officer: (1) acted with malice, bad faith, or negligence; or (2)
where the public officer violated a constitutional right of the plaintiff.

b) SC ruled that the decisive provision is Article 32, it being a special law, which prevails
over a general law (the Administrative Code).

Article 32 was patterned after the “tort” in American law. A tort is a wrong, a tortious act
which has been defined as the commission or omission of an act by one, without right,
whereby another receives some injury, directly or indirectly, in person, property or
reputation. There are cases in which it has been stated that civil liability in tort is
determined by the conduct and not by the mental state of the tortfeasor, and there are
circumstances under which the motive of the defendant has been rendered immaterial.
The reason sometimes given for the rule is that otherwise, the mental attitude of the
alleged wrongdoer, and not the act itself, would determine whether the act was
wrongful. Presence of good motive, or rather, the absence of an evil motive, does not
render lawful an act which is otherwise an invasion of another’s legal right; that is,
liability in tort in not precluded by the fact that defendant acted without evil intent.
Llorente v. Sandiganbayan,
GR 122166 (March 11, 1998)

Facts: Llorente was the municipal mayor of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte and was
charged with violation of RA 3019, in particular for allegedly refusing to sign and
approve the payrolls and vouchers of Leticia Fuertes (respondent), duly appointed
Assistant Municipal Treasurer, without valid cause and due process of law, causing
injury to the latter. Llorente did not answer to the complaint but instead he negotiated for
an amicable settlement of the case.

The amicable settlement provides that the mayor will sign and/or approve all voucher
and/or payrolls for unpaid salaries, RATA, cash gifts, 13 month pay, clothing allowance,
salary differentials and other emoluments which the petitioner is entitled as Asst. Mun.
Treasurer. However, accused failed to comply with the compromise agreement,
prompting private complainant to file a motion for execution. Private complainant
received all her benefits only in the year 1994. While admitting delay in the payment of
complainant‘s claim, petitioner raised the defense of good faith -- that the withholding of
payment was due to 1) her failure to submit a required clearance from her former
assignment in a different municipality and 2) the Sangguniang Bayan‘s delayed
enactment of a supplemental budget to cover the claims.

SB ruled that Llorente was guilty. The Sandiganbayan held that the delay or withholding
of complainant‘s salaries and emoluments was unreasonable and caused her undue
injury. Respondent court denied the MR for lack of merit, hence this petition.

Issues: (a) Did Mrs. Fuertes suffer undue injury?

(b) Did petitioner act in bad faith in refusing to immediately sign the vouchers?

Ruling: (a) No. To hold a public official liable under Sec. 3[e] of RA 3019, the
concurrence of the following elements must be established beyond reasonable doubt:
(1) that the accused is a public officer or a private person charged in conspiracy with the
former;
(2) that said public officer commits the prohibited acts during the performance of his or
her official duties or in relation to his or her public positions;
(3) that he or she causes undue injury to any party, whether the government or a private
party; and
(4) that the public officer has acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross
inexcusable negligence

Undue Injury cannot be presumed even after a wrong or a violation of a right has been
established. Thus, it is required that the undue injury be specified, quantified and proven
to the point of moral certainty. Damages must not only be capable of proof, but must be
actually proven with a reasonable degree of certainty.
Other than the amount of the withheld salaries and allowances which were
eventually received, the prosecution failed to specify and to prove any other loss or
damage sustained by the complainant. Respondent Court insists that complainant
suffered by reason of the long period of time that her emoluments were withheld.
This inconvenience, however, is not constitutive of undue injury. In Jacinto, this
Court held that the injury suffered by the complaining witness, whose salary was
eventually released and whose position was restored in the plantilla, was negligible;
undue injury entails damages that are more than necessary or are excessive, improper
or illegal. In Alejandro, the Court held that the hospital employees were not caused
undue injury, as they were in fact paid their salaries

(b) No.

For her own failure to submit the required clearance, complainant is not entirely
blameless for the delay in the approval of her claims.
Also, given the lack of corresponding appropriation ordinance and certification of
availability of funds for such purpose, petitioner had the duty not to sign the
vouchers. As chief executive of the municipality Llorente could not have approved the
voucher for the payment of complainants salaries the Local Government Code of 1991.
Also, Appropriation Ordinance No. 020 adding a supplemental budget for calendar year
1990 was approved on April 10, 1989, or almost a year before complainant was
transferred back to Sindangan. Hence, she could not have been included therein. SB
Resolution No. 202 and Appropriation Ordinance No. 035, which fixed the municipal
budget for calendar year 1991, was passed only on May 21, 1990, or almost another
year after the transfer took effect. The petitioners failure to approve the complainants
vouchers was therefore due to some legal obstacles, and not entirely without
reason. Thus, evident bad faith cannot be completely imputed to him.

Bad faith does not simply connote bad judgment or negligence; it imputes a dishonest
purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious doing of a wrong; a breach of sworn
duty through some motive or intent or ill will; it partakes of the nature of fraud. It
contemplates a state of mind affirmatively operating with furtive design or some motive
of self interest or ill will for ulterior purposes. Evident bad faith connotes a manifest
deliberate intent on the part of the accused to do wrong or cause damage.
Bunag v. CA
G.R. No. 101749 July 10, 1992

FACTS: On the afternoon of September 8, 1973, defendant-appellant Bunag, Jr.


brought plaintiff-appellant to a motel or hotel where they had sexual intercourse. Later
that evening, said defendant-appellant brought plaintiff-appellant to the house of his
grandmother Juana de Leon in Pamplona, Las Piñas, Metro Manila, where they lived
together as husband and wife for 21 days, or until September 29, 1973. On September
10, 1973, defendant-appellant Bunag, Jr. and plaintiff-appellant filed their respective
applications for a marriage license with the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Bacoor,
Cavite. On October 1, 1973, after leaving plaintiff-appellant, defendant-appellant Bunag,
Jr. filed an affidavit withdrawing his application for a marriage license.

Plaintiff-appellant contends that on the afternoon of September 8, 1973, defendant-


appellant Bunag, Jr., together with an unidentified male companion, abducted her in the
vicinity of the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Pasay City and brought her to a motel where
she was raped.

RTC ordered Bunag to pay moral, exemplary, temperate damages and attorney’s fees.
CA affirmed decision. Thus, this petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not the trial court erred in awarding damages.

RULING: Generally, a breach of promise to marry per se is not actionable, except


where the plaintiff has actually incurred expenses for the wedding and the necessary
incidents thereof.

However, the award of moral damages is allowed in cases specified in or analogous to


those provided in Article 2219 of the Civil Code.
Art. 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous cases:
(1) A criminal offense resulting in physical injuries;
(2) Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries;
(3) Seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious acts;
(4) Adultery or concubinage;
(5) Illegal or arbitrary detention or arrest;
(6) Illegal search;
(7) Libel, slander or any other form of defamation;
(8) Malicious prosecution;
(9) Acts mentioned in Article 309;
(10) Acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, and 35.
The parents of the female seduced, abducted, raped, or abused, referred to in No. 3 of this article, may also recover
moral damages. The spouse, descendants, ascendants, and brothers and sisters may bring the action mentioned in
No. 9 of this article, in the order named.

Correlatively, under Article 21 of said Code, in relation to paragraph 10 of said Article


2219, any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is
contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for moral
damages. Article 21 was adopted to remedy the countless gaps in the statutes which
leave so many victims of moral wrongs helpless even though they have actually
suffered material and moral injury, and is intended to vouchsafe adequate legal remedy
for that untold number of moral wrongs which is impossible for human foresight to
specifically provide for in the statutes.

Under the circumstances obtaining in the case at bar, the acts of petitioner in forcibly
abducting private respondent and having carnal knowledge with her against her will,
and thereafter promising to marry her in order to escape criminal liability, only to
thereafter renege on such promise after cohabiting with her for twenty-one days,
irremissibly constitute acts contrary to morals and good customs. These are grossly
insensate and reprehensible transgressions which indisputably warrant and abundantly
justify the award of moral and exemplary damages, pursuant to Article 21 in relation to
paragraphs 3 and 10, Article 2219, and Article 2229 and 2234 of Civil Code.

Extra Notes:

Petitioner would, however, belabor the fact that said damages were awarded by the trial
court on the basis of a finding that he is guilty of forcible abduction with rape, despite
the prior dismissal of the complaint therefor filed by private respondent with the Pasay
City Fiscal's Office.

Generally, the basis of civil liability from crime is the fundamental postulate of our law
that every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. In other words,
criminal liability will give rise to civil liability ex delicto only if the same felonious act or
omission results in damage or injury to another and is the direct and proximate cause
thereof. Hence, extinction of the penal action does not carry with it the extinction of civil
liability unless the extinction proceeds from a declaration in a final judgment that the fact
from which the civil might arise did not exist.

In the instant case, the dismissal of the complaint for forcible abduction with rape was
by mere resolution of the fiscal at the preliminary investigation stage. There is no
declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which the civil case might arise did not
exist. Consequently, the dismissal did not in any way affect the right of herein private
respondent to institute a civil action arising from the offense because such preliminary
dismissal of the penal action did not carry with it the extinction of the civil action.
Gashem Shookat Baksh vs Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 97336, Feb. 19, 1993

Facts: In August 1986, while working as a waitress in Dagupan City, Pangasinan,


Marilou Gonzales, then 21 years old, met Gashem Shookat Baksh, a 29 year old
exchange student from Iran who was studying medicine in Dagupan. The two got really
close and intimate. On Marilou’s account, she said that Gashem later offered to marry
her at the end of the semester. Marilou then introduced Gashem to her parents where
they expressed their intention to get married. Marilou’s parents then started inviting
sponsors and relatives to the wedding. They even started looking for animals to
slaughter for the occasion.
Meanwhile, Marilou started living with Gashem in his apartment where they had sexual
intercourse. But in no time, their relationship went sour as Gashem began maltreating
Marilou. Gashem eventually revoked his promise of marrying Marilou and he told her
that he is already married to someone in Bacolod City. So Marilou went home and later
sued Gashem for damages.
The trial court ruled in favor of Marilou and awarded her P20k in moral damages. The
Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court.
On appeal, Gashem averred that he never proposed marriage to Marilou and that he
cannot be adjudged to have violated Filipino customs and traditions since he, being an
Iranian, was not familiar with Filipino customs and traditions.
ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent could claim payment for the damages incurred
by the petitioner.
HELD: Yes. Gashem is liable to pay for damages in favor of Marilou not really because
of his breach of promise to marry her but based on Article 21 of the Civil Code which
provides:
Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good
customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage.
Breach of promise to marry is not an actionable wrong per se. In this case, it is the
deceit and fraud employed by Gashem that constitutes a violation of Article 21 of the
Civil Code. His promise of marrying Marilou was a deceitful scheme to lure her into
sexual congress. As found by the trial court, Marilou was not a woman of loose morals.
She was a virgin before she met Gashem. She would not have surrendered herself to
Gashem had Gashem not promised to marry her. Gashem’s blatant disregard of Filipino
traditions on marriage and on the reputation of Filipinas is contrary to morals, good
customs, and public policy. As a foreigner who is enjoying the hospitality of our country
and even taking advantage of the opportunity to study here he is expected to respect
our traditions. Any act contrary will render him liable under Article 21 of the Civil Code.
The Supreme Court also elucidated that Article 21 was meant to expand the concepts of
torts and quasi delict. It is meant to cover situations such as this case where the breach
complained of is not strictly covered by existing laws. It was meant as a legal remedy for
the untold number of moral wrongs which is impossible for human foresight to
specifically enumerate and punish in the statute books – such as the absence of a law
penalizing a the breach of promise to marry.
The Supreme Court however agreed with legal luminaries that if the promise to marry
was made and there was carnal knowledge because of it, then moral damages may be
recovered (presence of moral or criminal seduction), Except if there was mutual lust; or
if expenses were made because of the promise (expenses for the wedding), then actual
damages may be recovered.
Garcia vs PAL

FACTS: The case stemmed from the administrative charge filed by Philippine Airlines
(PAL) against its employees-herein petitioners after they were allegedly caught in the
act of sniffing shabu when a team of company security personnel and law enforcers
raided the PAL Technical Center’s Toolroom Section on July 24, 1995.

After due notice, PAL dismissed petitioners for transgressing the PAL Code of
Discipline, prompting them to file a complaint for illegal dismissal and damages which
was resolved by the Labor Arbiter in their favor, thus ordering PAL to, inter alia,
immediately comply with the reinstatement aspect of the decision.

Subsequently, the Labor Arbiter issued a Writ of Execution respecting the reinstatement
decision and issued a Notice of Garnishment.

Respondent elevated the matter to the appellate court which issued the herein
challenged Decision and Resolution nullifying the NLRC Resolutions on two grounds,
essentially espousing that:

(1) a subsequent finding of a valid dismissal removes the basis for implementing the
reinstatement aspect of a labor arbiter’s decision; and

(2) the impossibility to comply with the reinstatement order due to corporate
rehabilitation provides a reasonable justification for the failure to exercise the options
under Article 223 of the Labor Code (the second ground). HENCE, this Petition.

RULING: Amplification of the First Ground:

The Court reaffirms the prevailing principle that even if the order of reinstatement of the
Labor Arbiter is reversed on appeal, it is obligatory on the part of the employer to
reinstate and pay the wages of the dismissed employee during the period of appeal until
reversal by the higher court.

It settles the view that the Labor Arbiter’s order of reinstatement is immediately
executory and the employer has to either re-admit them to work under the same terms
and conditions prevailing prior to their dismissal, or to reinstate them in the payroll, and
that failing to exercise the options in the alternative, employer must pay the employee’s
salaries.

Amplification of the Second Ground


The Court sustains the appellate court’s finding that the peculiar predicament of a
corporate rehabilitation rendered it impossible for respondent to exercise its option
under the circumstances.

The test is two-fold: (1) there must be actual delay or the fact that the order of
reinstatement pending appeal was not executed prior to its reversal; and (2) the delay
must not be due to the employer’s unjustified act or omission. If the delay is due to the
employer’s unjustified refusal, the employer may still be required to pay the salaries
notwithstanding the reversal of the Labor Arbiter’s decision.

There are legal effects arising from a judicial order placing a corporation under
rehabilitation. Respondent was, during the period material to the case, effectively
deprived of the alternative choices under Article 223 of the Labor Code, not only by
virtue of the statutory injunction but also in view of the interim relinquishment of
management control to give way to the full exercise of the powers of the rehabilitation
receiver. Had there been no need to rehabilitate, respondent may have opted for actual
physical reinstatement pending appeal to optimize the utilization of resources. Then
again, though the management may think this wise, the rehabilitation receiver may
decide otherwise, not to mention the subsistence of the injunction on claims.

In sum, the obligation to pay the employees salaries upon the employers failure to
exercise the alternative options under Article 223 of the Labor Code is not a hard and
fast rule, considering the inherent constraints of corporate rehabilitation.
ABERCA v. VER

FACTS: Sometime in the early 1980s, various Intelligence units of the AFP known as
Task Force Makabansa (TFM) were ordered by respondents then Maj. Gen. Fabian Ver
to conduct pre-emptive strikes against known communist-terrorist (CT) underground
houses in view of increasing reports about CT plans to sow disturbances in Metro
Manila. In compliance thereof, the TFM raided several places, employing in most cases
defectively issued judicial search warrants. During these raids, certain members of the
raiding TFM confiscated a number of purely personal items belonging to the 20
petitioners. Petitioners were arrested without proper arrest warrants issued by the
courts. For some period after their arrest, they were arrested without denied visits of
relatives and lawyers; interrogated in violation of their rights to silence and counsel,
through threats, torture and other forms of violence in order to obtain incriminatory
information or confessions and in order to punish them.

Plaintiffs then filed an action for damages before the RTC of Quezon City against
respondents-officers of the AFP headed by Ver. Respondents, in their motion to
dismiss, claimed that (1) the wrti of habeas corpus was suspended, thus giving
credence to petitioners’ detention; (2) respondents were immune from liability for acts
done in the performance of their official duties, and that (3) the complaint did not state a
cause of action against respondents.

On November 8, 1983, the RTC granted the motion to dismiss the case. A motion to
set aside the order dismissing the complaint, and a supplemental motion for
reconsideration were filed by petitioners. On May 11, 1984, the trial court, without
acting on the motion to set aside the Order of Nov. 8, 1983, declared the finality of said
Order against petitioners. After their motion for reconsideration was denied by the RTC,
petitioners then filed the instant petition for certiorari, on March 15, 1985, seeking to
annul and set aside the respondent court’s resolutions and order.

ISSUES:

(1) Whether or not the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus bars a
civil action for damages for illegal searches conducted by military personnel and other
violations of rights and liberties guaranteed under the Constitution;

(2) Whether or not respondents may invoke state immunity from suit for acts done in
the performance of official duties and functions;
(3) Whether or not a superior officer, under the notion of respondeat superior, be
answerable for damages jointly and severally with his subordinates, to the person
whose constitutional rights and liberties have been violated.

HELD:

(1) The suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus (PWHC) does
not destroy petitioners’ right and cause of action for damages for illegal arrest and
detention and other violations of their constitutional rights. The suspension does not
render valid an otherwise illegal arrest or detention. What is suspended is merely the
right of the individual to seek release from detention through the writ of habeas corpus
as a speedy means of obtaining his liberty.

Moreover, as pointed out by petitioners, their right and cause of action for
damages are explicitly recognized in PD 1755 which amended Art. 1146 of the Civil
Code by adding the following text: However, when the action (for injury to the rights of
the plaintiff or for quasi-delict) arises from or out of any act, activity or conduct of any
public officer involving the exercise of powers or authority arising from martial law
including the arrest, detention and/or trial of the plaintiff, the same must be brought
within one year.
Even assuming that the suspension of the PWHC suspends petitioners’ right
of action for damages for illegal arrest and detention, it does not and cannot suspend
their rights and causes of action for injuries suffered because of respondents’
confiscation of their private belongings, the violation of their right to remain silent and to
counsel and their right to protection against unreasonable searches and seizures and
against torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment.

The question became moot and academic since the suspension of the PWHC
had been lifted with the issuance of then Pres. Corazon Aquino of Proclamation No. 2
on March 25, 1986.

(2) It may be that the respondents, as members of the AFP, were merely
responding to their duties, as they claim, “to prevent or suppress lawless violence,
insurrection, rebellion and subversion” in accordance with Proclamation No. 2054 of
Pres. Marcos, despite the lifting of Martial Law on January 27, 1981, and in pursuance
of such objective, to launch pre-emptive strikes against alleged CT underground
houses. But this cannot be construed as a blanket license or roving commission
untrammeled by any constitutional restraint, to disregard or transgress upon the rights
and liberties of the individual citizen enshrined and protected by the Constitution.
Article 32 of the Civil Code, which renders any public officer or employees, or
any private individual, liable in damages for violating the constitutional rights and
liberties of another, does not exempt the respondents from responsibility. Only judges
are excluded from liability under the said article, provided their acts or omissions do not
constitute a violation of the Revised Penal Code or other penal statute.

This is not say that military authorities are restrained from pursuing their
assigned task or carrying out their mission with vigor, to protect the Philippines from its
enemies, whether of the left or of the right, or from within or without, seeking to destroy
or subvert our democratic institutions and imperil their very existence. What is meant is
that in carrying out their task and mission, constitutional and legal safeguards must be
observed; otherwise, the very fabric of our faith will start to unravel. In the battle of
competing ideologies, the struggle of mind is just as vital as the struggle of arms. The
linchpin in that psychological struggle is faith in the rule of law. Once that faith is lost or
compromised, the struggle may well be abandoned.

(3) The doctrine of respondeat superior is not applicable in this case. It has
been generally limited in its application to principal and agent or to master and servant
relationships. No such relationship exists superiors of the military and their
subordinates. However, the decisive factor in this case is the language of Art. 32, Civil
Code; the law speaks of an officer or employee or person “directly” or “indirectly”
responsible for the violation of the constitutional rights and liberties of another. Thus, it
is not the actor alone who must answer for damages under Art. 32; the person indirectly
responsible has also to answer for the damages or injury caused to the aggrieved
party. Art. 32 makes the persons who are directly as well as indirectly responsible for
the transgression joint tortfeasors.
Tabuena vs Sandiganbayan

Facts: Then President Marcos instructed Luis Tabuena over the phone to pay directly
to the president’s office and in cash what the Manila International Airport Authority
(MIAA) owes the Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC), pursuant to the
7 January 1985 memorandum of then Minister Trade and Industry Roberto Ongpin.
Tabuena agreed. About a week later, Tabuena received from Mrs. Fe Roa-Gimenez,
then private secretary of Marcos, a Presidential Memorandum dated 8 January 1986
reiterating in black and white such verbal instruction. In obedience to President Marcos’
verbal instruction and memorandum, Tabuena, with the help of Gerardo G. Dabao and
Adolfo Peralta, caused the release of P55 Million of MIAA funds by means of three (3)
withdrawals. On 10 January 1986, the first withdrawal was made for P25 Million,
following a letter of even date signed by Tabuena and Dabao requesting the PNB
extension office at the MIAA the depository branch of MIAA funds, to issue a manager’s
check for said amount payable to Tabuena. The check was encashed, however, at the
PNB Villamor Branch. Dabao and the cashier of the PNB Villamor branch counted the
money after which, Tabuena took delivery thereof. The P25 Million in cash was
delivered on the same day to the office of Mrs. Gimenez. Mrs. Gimenez did not issue
any receipt for the money received. Similar circumstances surrounded the second
withdrawal/encashment and delivery of another P25 Million, made on 16 January 1986.
The third and last withdrawal was made on 31 January 1986 for P5 Million. Peralta was
Tabuena’s co-signatory to the letter- request for a manager’s check for this amount.
Peralta accompanied Tabuena to the PNB Villamor branch as Tabuena requested him
to do the counting of the P5 Million. After the counting, the money was loaded in the
trunk of Tabuena’s car. Peralta did not go with Tabuena to deliver the money to Mrs.
Gimenez’ office. It was only upon delivery of the P5 Million that Mrs. Gimenez issued a
receipt for all the amounts she received from Tabuena. The receipt was dated January
30,1986. Tabuena and Peralta were charged for malversation of funds, while Dabao
remained at large. One of the justices of the Sandiganbayan actively took part in the
questioning of a defense witness and of the accused themselves; the volume of the
questions asked were more the combined questions of the counsels. On 12 October
1990, they were found guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Tabuena and Peralta filed
separate petitions for review, appealing the Sandiganbayan decision dated 12 October
19990 and the Resolution of 20 December 1991.

Issue:
Whether or not petitioners are guilty of the crime of malversation.

Held:
Luis Tabuena and Adolfo Peralta are acquitted of the crime of malversation. Tabuena
acted in strict compliance with the MARCOS Memorandum. The order emanated from
the Office of the President and bears the signature of the President himself, the highest
official of the land. It carries with it the presumption that it was regularly issued. And on
its face, the memorandum is patently lawful for no law makes the payment of an
obligation illegal. This fact, coupled with the urgent tenor for its execution constrains one
to act swiftly without question. Records show that the Sandiganbayan actively took part
in the questioning of a defense witness and of the accused themselves. The questions
of the court were in the nature of cross examinations characteristic of confrontation,
probing and insinuation. Tabuena and Peralta may not have raised the issue as an
error, there is nevertheless no impediment for the court to consider such matter as
additional basis for a reversal since the settled doctrine is that an appeal throws the
whole case open to review, and it becomes the duty of the appellate court to correct
such errors as may be found in the judgment appealed from whether they are made the
subject of assignments of error or not.
Abunado vs People of the Philippines
Facts: In 1967, Narcisa Arceño married Salvador Abunado. Later, Arceño left for Japan
to work there. She returned in 1992 but Abunado was nowhere to be found as he left
the family home. Arceño was able to locate Abunado but when she did, Abunado was
already cohabiting with somebody else. Further, Arceño also discovered that in 1989,
Abunado married a certain Zenaida Biñas.
In January 1995, Abunado filed an annulment case against Arceño. In May
1995, Arceño filed a bigamy case against Abunado. Both cases proceeded
simultaneously and independently in different courts.
In 1999, the marriage between Arceño and Abunado was annulled. In 2001, Abunado
was convicted by the trial court for bigamy.
Abunado now questions the judgment of conviction against him as he alleged that the
annulment case he filed against Arceño was a prejudicial question to the bigamy case
filed against him by Arceño. Hence, the proceedings in the bigamy case should have
been suspended during the pendency of the annulment case.
ISSUE: Whether or not Abunado is correct.
HELD: No. A prejudicial question has been defined as one based on a fact distinct and
separate from the crime but so intimately connected with it that it determines the guilt or
innocence of the accused, and for it to suspend the criminal action, it must appear not
only that said case involves facts intimately related to those upon which the criminal
prosecution would be based but also that in the resolution of the issue or issues raised
in the civil case, the guilt or innocence of the accused would necessarily be determined.
The subsequent judicial declaration of the nullity of the first marriage was immaterial
because prior to the declaration of nullity, the crime had already been consummated.
Under the law, a marriage, even one which is void or voidable, shall be deemed valid
until declared otherwise in a judicial proceeding. In this case, even if
Abunado eventually obtained a declaration that his first marriage was void ab initio, the
point is, both the first and the second marriage were subsisting before the first marriage
was annulled. In short, all the elements of bigamy were present – the nullity of the prior
marriage is immaterial.
Van Dorn vs Romillo Jr.
G.R. No. L-68470 October 8, 1985

FACTS: This is a Petition for certiorari and Prohibition, wherein petitioner Alice Reyes
Van Dorn seeks to set aside the Orders issued by respondent Judge, which denied her
Motion to Dismiss, and her Motion for Reconsideration of the Dismissal Order,
respectively.

Alice is a citizen of the Philippines while Richard is a citizen of the United States.
They were married in Hongkong in 1972. After the marriage, they established their
residence in the Philippines. They begot two children born. The parties were divorced in
Nevada, United States, in 1982. Alice has re-married also in Nevada, this time to
Theodore Van Dorn.

Richard filed suit against petitioner in the Regional Trial Court, Branch CXV, in Pasay
City, stating that Alice’s business is conjugal property of the parties, and asking for an
accounting of that business, and that Richard be declared with right to manage the
conjugal property. Alice moved to dismiss the case on the ground that the cause of
action is barred by previous judgment in the divorce proceedings before the Nevada
Court wherein respondent had acknowledged that he and petitioner had “no community
property” as of June 11, 1982. The Court below denied the Motion to Dismiss in the
mentioned case on the ground that the property involved is located in the Philippines so
that the Divorce Decree has no bearing in the case. The denial is now the subject of this
certiorari proceeding.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Nevada divorce decree is binding to the petitioner

RULING: Yes. The divorce in Nevada released private respondent from the marriage
from the standards of American law, under which divorce dissolves the marriage.

Pursuant to his national law, private respondent is no longer the husband of


petitioner. He would have no standing to sue in the case below as petitioner’s husband
entitled to exercise control over conjugal assets. As he is bound by the Decision of his
own country’s Court, which validly exercised jurisdiction over him, and whose decision
he does not repudiate, he is estopped by his own representation before said Court from
asserting his right over the alleged conjugal property.
The latter should not continue to be one of her heirs with possible rights to conjugal
property. To maintain, as private respondent does, that, under our laws, petitioner has
to be considered still married to private respondent and still subject to a wife’s
obligations under Article 109, et. seq. of the Civil Code cannot be just. Petitioner should
not be obliged to live together with, observe respect and fidelity, and render support to
private respondent. The latter should not continue to be one of her heirs with possible
rights to conjugal property. She should not be discriminated against in her own country
if the ends of justice are to be served.
Quita vs Court of Appeals
December 22, 1998

Facts: Fe D. Quita, the petitioner, and Arturo T. Padlan, both Filipinos, were married
inthe Philippines on May 18, 1941. They got divorce in San Francisco on July 23,
1954.Both of them remarried another person. Arturo remarried Bladina Dandan, the
respondentherewith. They were blessed with six children.

On April 16, 1972, when Arturo died, the trial court was set to declared as to
whowill be the intestate heirs. The trial court invoking Tenchavez vs Escano case held
thatthe divorce acquired by the petitioner is not recognized in our country. Private
respondentstressed that the citizenship of petitioner was relevant in the light of the
ruling in VanDorn v. Rommillo Jr that aliens who obtain divorce abroad are recognized
in thePhilippnes provided they are valid according to their national law. The petitioner
herselfanswered that she was an American citizen since 1954. Through the hearing she
alsostated that Arturo was a Filipino at the time she obtained the divorce. Implying the
shewas no longer a Filipino citizen.

The Trial court disregarded the respondent’s statement. The net hereditary
estatewas ordered in favor the Fe D. Quita and Ruperto, the brother of Arturo. Blandina
and thePadlan children moved for reconsideration. On February 15, 1988 partial
reconsiderationwas granted declaring the Padlan children, with the exception of Alexis,
entitled to one-half of the estate to the exclusion of Ruperto Padlan, and the other half
to Fe Quita.Private respondent was not declared an heir for her marriage to Arturo was
declared voidsince it was celebrated during the existence of his previous marriage to
petitioner.Blandina and her children appeal to the Court of Appeals thatthe case was
decidedwithout a hearing in violation of the Rules of Court.

Issue: (1) Whether or not Blandina’s marriage to Arturo void ab initio.


(2) Whether or not Fe D. Quita be declared the primary beneficiary as surviving spouse
of Arturo.

Held: No. The marriage of Blandina and Arturo is not void. The citizenship of Fe D.Quita
at the time of their divorce is relevant to this case. The divorce is valid here sinceshe
was already an alien at the time she obtained divorce, and such is valid in theircountry’s
national law.
Thus, Fe D. Quita is no longer recognized as a wife of Arturo. She cannot be the
primary beneficiary or will be recognized as surviving spouse of Arturo

Note: Actually, the case was remanded to the trial court as it was not clear what the
citizenship of Quita was when she divorced Arturo. If she is found to not be a Filipino
citizen then ruling above will apply.