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Article 19 – Doctrine of Abuse of Right

Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the
performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and
observe honesty and good faith.

This provision of law sets standards which must be observed in the


exercise of one's rights as well as in the performance of its duties, to wit:
to act with justice; give everyone his due; and observe honesty and good
faith.1

The law, therefore, recognizes a primordial limitation on all rights; that in their exercise,
the norms of human conduct set forth in Article 19 must be observed. A right, though by itself
legal because recognized or granted by law as such, may nevertheless become the source of
some illegality. When a right is exercised in a manner which does not conform with the norms
enshrined in Article 19 and results in damage to another, a legal wrong is thereby committed for
which the wrongdoer must be held responsible. But while Article 19 lays down a rule of conduct
for the government of human relations and for the maintenance of social order, it does not
provide a remedy for its violation. Generally, an action for damages under either Article 20 or
Article 21 would be proper.2 (emphasis supplied)

The case of California Clothing v. Quiñones 3 further discussed the principle of abuse of
rights as one where in the performance of a right or duty, there is bad faith and intent to prejudice
another:

Under the abuse of rights principle found in Article 19 of the Civil


Code, a person must, in the exercise of legal right or duty, act in good faith.
He would be liable if he instead acted in bad faith, with intent to prejudice
another. Good faith refers to the state of mind which is manifested by the
acts of the individual concerned. It consists of the intention to abstain from
taking an unconscionable and unscrupulous advantage of another. Malice
or bad faith, on the other hand, implies a conscious and intentional design
to do a wrongful act for a dishonest purpose or moral obliquity. (emphasis
supplied)

1
GF Equity Inc. v. Valenzona, G.R. No. 156841, [June 30, 2005], 501 PHIL 153-169
2
Ardiente v. Sps. Javier G.R. No. 161921
3
G.R. No. 175822, October 23, 2013
Article 1159 - Obligations arising from contracts have the force of law between the contracting
parties and should be complied with in good faith.

The Court in the case of Pryce Corporation v. PAGCOR4 ruled that:

“… In deference to the rights of the parties, the law allows them to enter
into stipulations, clauses, terms and conditions they may deem convenient;
that is, as long as these are not contrary to law, morals, good customs,
public order or public policy. Likewise, it is settled that if the terms of the
contract clearly express the intention of the contracting parties, the literal
meaning of the stipulations would be controlling.”

Understood with Article 1308 of the Civil Code, the Contract binds both contracting parties and
its validity or compliance cannot e left with the will of one of them. However, the freedom to
contract to be validly binding must not exceed the bounds of the law, morals, good customs,
public order or public policy.

4
G.R. No. 157480, May 6, 2005.