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INTRO (ALM1&CLM1) – MODULE 1: Law, Its Concept and

Classification [WEEK 1 – 5Aug2019] 1

WEEK 1 – 5 August 2019


 Law in its general sense. - In its widest and most

comprehensive sense, the term law means any rule of action or any
system of uniformity. Thus, law, in general, determines not only the
activities of men as rational beings, but also the movements or motions of
all objects of creation, whether animate or inanimate. In this concept, the
term embraces not only divine law, natural law and moral law, but even
physical law.

(a) Divine Law – The system of rules which God laid down to
govern the operations of the universe is called divine law. These rules are
according to the will and command of God. Divine law is the law of
religious faith and concerns itself with the concept of sin and salvation, of
death and life, of the temporal and the eternal. It is the law of God.
 Under the Old Testament, divine law is embodied in the Ten
Commandments. It is believed by Christians that these laws were
formally given by God through Moses, the great Hebrew Prophet and
 Of course, divine law differs according to what one believes to
have been established and communicated to mankind by revelation.
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Thus, to the Mohammedans, divine law is embodied in the Muslim

(b)Natural Law – Natural law is defined as the divine inspiration
in man of the sense of justice, fairness, and righteousness, not by divine
revelation or formal promulgation, but by internal dictates of reason alone.
Natural law is ever present and binding on all men everywhere and at all
times. There is in every man a basic understanding of right and wrong
based on an understanding of the fundamental standard or criterion of
good and evil. In other words, there are some acts or conduct which man
knows in his heart and his conscience, not by theorizing, but by the
dictates of his moral nature, which are simply good or bad or evil.
 Thus, we know that killing for the sake of killing, or stealing for
the sake of stealing is bad or evil because it is contrary to what we believe
is just, fair or righteous.

(c) Moral Law – Moral law is the totality of social norms regulating
human activity growing out of the collective consciousness or public sense
of right and wrong of every community.
 There is no definite legal sanction ( i.e., punishment imposed
by law like imprisonment and/or payment of fines or damages) for violation
of purely moral law. If a member of the community disregards the moral
norms, a spontaneous social reaction is produced in the form of public
displeasure, contempt or even indignation. If, on the other hand, there is
conformity to the moral norms, there is created spontaneous social
response which may be in the form of public pleasure, approval or even

(d)Physical Law – In the operation or course of nature, there is

uniformity of action or order of sequence. These uniformities and order
are so constant that they are completely depended upon with confidence
and belief. These are known as physical laws or laws of physical science.
 To this class belong the so-called laws of gravitation and the
law of chemical combination. For example, two atoms of hydrogen and
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one atom of oxygen if combined will always produce a molecule of water.

They are really but expressions of a certain order in nature according to
which certain results always follow certain causes.

 Law in its strict sense; concept of state law. - Law,

in its strictest sense, otherwise known as state law, is the law that we
refer to when we speak of law in connection with obligations and
contracts, marriage, the administration of justice, the conduct of elections,
and the entire governmental process itself. It is also referred to as
positive law, municipal law, civil law, or imperative law.
 State law, as defined by Sanchez Roman (an eminent
author in civil law) is defined as “a rule of conduct, just, obligatory,
promulgated by legitimate authority, and of common observance and


Based on the above definition of law in its strict legal sense, law has the
following characteristics or elements:

 It is a rule of action or conduct. – The law tells us

what shall be done and what shall not be done. It mandates what is right
and prohibits what is wrong. It is a form of social control over the behavior
of individuals in a given society. Without a rule of conduct, there would
only be chaos and confusion among individuals, and even among nations.
The law is therefore imperative for the maintenance and preservation of
order in society and for the promotion of the common good.

 It is just. – Law is enacted in accordance with reason, is

morally satisfactory, and applies equally to all persons in a society. If it is
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not just, it cannot command respect and observance. Many will

antagonize it, thereby causing chaos and trouble in the society.

 It is mandatory or obligatory. – Law is obligatory

because everybody shall be obliged to observe it, by expediency and
necessity. No evasion shall be allowed for the proper administration of
justice. That is why the law has adopted the legal maxim “Ignorantia legis
neminem excusat”, or ignorance of the law excuses no one. This maxim
manifests the obligatory character of the law.

 It is promulgated by legitimate authority. – Law

must be enacted by legitimate authority, so that the people should become
aware of its existence and binding force. In a democratic country, like the
Philippines, the legitimate or competent authority is the legislature. Under
the Constitution, laws called “statutes” are enacted by Congress, which is
the name of the legislative branch of our government. Local government
units (e.g. cities, municipalities and provinces) are also empowered to
enact ordinances which have the binding force of laws.

 It is ordained for the common good. – This

recognizes the famous Latin maxim of “Salus Populi Est Supreme Lex” –
the welfare of the people shall be the supreme law. Laws should be
applied not only to a particular group of citizens. They are supposed to be
applied equally to all citizens regardless of their religion, political
persuasion, and status in life.


(1) What would life be without law? If we can answer this

question, we can answer the more basic question of whether law is
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necessary. If life without law would be the same as it is now, obviously

law is not necessary.

 Society comes into existence because its members could not

live without it. The need for internal order is as constant as the need for
external defense. No society can be stable in which either of these
requirements fails to be provided for.

(2) What does law do? It has been said that law secures justice,
resolves social conflict, orders society, protects interests, and controls
social relations. Life without basic laws against theft, violence, and
destruction would be solitary, nasty, brutish, and short. Life without other
laws – such as those regulating traffic, sanitation, employment, business,
redress of harm or of broken agreements – would be less orderly, less
healthful, and less wholesome.

(3) What is our duty as members of society? No society

can last and continue without means of social control, without rules of
social order binding on its members. The sum of such rules as existing in
a given society, under whatever particular forms, is what in common
speech we understand by law or is also referred to as the legal system.
Since we find law necessary, every citizen should have some
understanding of law, and observe it for the common good.



Whatever may be the origin of law and whatever its purpose, one
thing is clear – that is, it regulates, or tends to regulate, human conduct.
But this cannot be accomplished by merely defining or enumerating the
rules of conduct. There must be an instrument of coercion to compel
obedience to, and compliance with, these rules. This is called the
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sanction of law. It consists of penalties or evils which the state with

the aid of physical force, if necessary, will inflict on those who violate the
law. A sanction is penal if its object is to punish the offender and to deter
men from committing the same offense; it is remedial if its object is the
indemnification of the person who has suffered from the violation of the


I. According to whether a right is given, or merely the procedure for

enforcement is laid down:

(a) Substantive law – that which establishes rights

and duties. (Example: The Revised Penal Code, and the Civil Code.) 1

(b)Remedial (procedural or adjective) law –

that which prescribes the manner of enforcing legal rights and claims.
(Example: The Revised Rules of Court.)

II. According to force or effect:

(a) Mandatory (absolulte, imperative)

and/or Prohibitive laws – those which command either positively
that something be done, or performed in a particular way
(mandatory), or negatively that something be not done
(prohibitive), leaving the person concerned no choice on the matter
except to obey. Disobedience is punished either by direct penalties, or by
considering an act or contract void. (See Article 5, Civil

Browse into these Codes so you will have an idea of the nature
of the laws contained therein.
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 Example of a mandatory law. - A

donation of real property must be in a public instrument to be valid even
as between the parties. If not in writing, or merely in a private document,
the donation is void. (Article 749, Civil Code.)

 Example of a prohibitive law. – The law

prohibits the act of contracting a second or subsequent marriage before a
former marriage has been legally dissolved. In such a case, the second
marriage is bigamous, and considered void by law. (Article 349,
Revised Penal Code)

(b) Directory (permissive or suppletory) law

– those which merely outline the act to be done in such a way that no
injury can result from ignoring it, and may be deviated from, if the
individual so desires. Considering the nature of a directory statute, the
nonperformance of what it prescribes, although constituting in some
instances an irregularity or subjecting the official concerned to disciplinary
or administrative sanction, will not vitiate the proceedings therein taken.

 Example of a permissive law. – In the

case of “hidden treasure,” the finder gets 50% and the owner of the land
on which it is found gets 50%. (Article 438, Civil Code). However, by
agreement, the proportion can be changed.

III. According to the scope or content of the law:

1. General or public law – The body of legal rules which

regulates the rights and duties arising from the relationship of the state to
the people.

(a) International law – It is that body of general

principles and concrete rules which the States that are members of the
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community of nations recognize as binding upon themselves in their

mutual relations.

 Example: – In regulating interactions between

States, international law, among others, determines how a State should
treat foreign diplomats who are in its country, or how international
agreements (such as treaties) between States are to be regulated.

(b) Constitutional law – It is that body of rules which

governs and defines the powers of the government, and the relation of the
State with the inhabitants of its territory.

 Example: – Article IV, Section 1 of the 1987

Philippine Constitution, in defining who are citizens of the Philippines,

“Section 1. The following are citizens

of the Philippines:

[1] Those who are citizens of the

Philippines at the time of the adoption of this
[2] Those whose fathers or mothers
are citizens of the Philippines;
[3] Those born before January 17,
1973, of Filipino mothers, who elect
Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age
of majority; and
[4] Those who are naturalized in
accordance with law.”

NOTE: Memorize this provision. It is very important.

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(c) Administrative law – It is that branch of public law

which fixes the organization and determines the competence of the
administrative authorities (offices of the government), and provides the
individual person with remedies in case his rights are violated. Under this
branch of public law, the executive department, acting in a quasi-
legislative or quasi-judicial capacity, interferes with the conduct of the
individual for the purpose of promoting the well-being of the community.

 Example: – Batas Pambansa Bilang 881 (The

Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines), which was signed into law on
December 3, 1985, outlines, among others, the qualification of voters, to
“Section 117. Qualifications of a
voter. Every citizen of the Philippines, not
otherwise disqualified by law, eighteen years
of age or over, who shall have resided in the
Philippines for one year and in the city or
municipality wherein he proposes to vote for
at least six months immediately preceding
the election, may be registered as a voter.
Any person who transfers residence to
another city, municipality or country solely
by reason of his occupation; profession;
employment in private or public service;
educational activities; work in military or
naval reservations; service in the army, navy
or air force; the constabulary or national
police force; or confinement or detention in
government institutions in accordance with
law, shall be deemed not to have lost his
original residence.”

“Section 5. Disqualifications. The

following shall be disqualified from voting:
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(a) Any person who has been sentenced

by final judgment to suffer imprisonment for
not less than one year, such disability not
having been removed by plenary pardon or
granted amnesty; Provided, however, That
any person disqualified to vote under this
paragraph shall automatically reacquire the
right to vote upon expiration of five years
after service of sentence.
(b) Any person who has been adjudged
by final judgment by competent court or
tribunal of having committed any crime
involving disloyalty to the duly constituted
government such as rebellion, sedition,
violation of the anti-subversion and firearms
laws, or any crime against national security,
unless restored to his full civil and political
rights in accordance with law: Provided, That
he shall regain his right to vote automatically
upon expiration of five years after service of
(c) Insane or incompetent persons as
declared by competent authority.”

NOTE: Remember these provisions. They are very important.

(d)Criminal law – It is that branch of public law which

treats of crime and provides for their punishment.

 Example: – Infanticide and abortion is

punishable as provided under the Revised Penal Code, to wit:
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“Art. 255. Infanticide. The penalty

provided for parricide in Article 246 and for
murder in Article 248 shall be imposed upon
any person who shall kill any child less than
three days of age.
If the crime penalized in this article be
committed by the mother of the child for the
purpose of concealing her dishonor, she shall
suffer the penalty of prision correccional in
its medium and maximum periods, and if
said crime be committed for the same
purpose by the maternal grandparents or
either of them, the penalty shall be prision

“Art. 258. Abortion practiced by the

woman herself or by her parents. – The
penalty of prision correccional in its medium
and maximum periods shall be imposed
upon a woman who shall practice abortion
upon herself or shall consent that any other
person should do so.
If this crime be committed by the
parents of the pregnant woman or either of
them, and they act with the consent of said
woman for the purpose of concealing her
dishonor, the offenders shall suffer the
penalty of prision correccional in its medium
and maximum periods.”

2. Individual or private law – The body of legal rules

which regulates the relations of the members of a community with one
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(a) Civil law – It regulates the relations of individuals with other

individuals for purely private ends.

 Example: – Executive Order. No 209 (The

Family Code), which contains the laws on family relations, defines the
concept of legal support, and enumerates who are the persons obliged to
support each other, to wit:

“Art. 194. Support comprises

everything indispensable for sustenance,
dwelling, clothing, medical attendance,
education and transportation, in keeping
with the financial capacity of the family.
The education of the person entitled to
be supported referred to in the preceding
paragraph shall include his schooling or
training for some profession, trade or
vocation, even beyond the age of majority.
Transportation shall include expenses in
going to and from school, or to and from
place of work."

“Art. 195. Subject to the provisions of

the succeeding articles, the following are
obliged to support each other to the whole
extent set forth in the preceding article:
(1) The spouses;
(2) Legitimate ascendants and
(3) Parents and their legitimate children
and the legitimate and illegitimate children
of the latter;
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(4) Parents and their illegitimate children

and the legitimate and illegitimate children
of the latter; and
(5) Legitimate brothers and sisters,
whether of the full or half-blood.

NOTE: Memorize Articles 194 and 195. They are very important provisions.

(b) Mercantile/Commercial law – It regulates the special

relations produced by commercial transactions.

 Example: – Republic Act No. 4136, otherwise

known as the Land Transportation Law (An Act to Compile the Laws
Relative to Land Transportation and Traffic Rules to Create a Land
Transportation Commission and for Other Purposes), defines what a
motor vehicle is and prescribes, among others, registration as a
precondition to the use and operation of a motor vehicle. Thus,

“Section 3. Words and phrases

defined. - As used in this Act:

(a) “Motor Vehicle” shall mean

any vehicle propelled by any power other
than muscular power using the public
highways, but excepting road rollers, trolley
cars, street-sweepers, sprinklers, lawn
mowers, bulldozers, graders, fork-lifts,
amphibian trucks, and cranes if not used on
public highways, vehicles which run only on
rails or tracks, and tractors trailers and
traction engines of all kinds used exclusively
for agricultural purposes.
xxx xxx xxx
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“Section 5. All motor vehicles and

other vehicles must be registered.

(a) No motor vehicle shall be

used or operated on or upon any public
highway of the Philippines unless the same is
properly registered for the current year in
accordance with the provisions of this Act.
xxx xxx xxx

(c) Procedural law – It provides for the means by which private

rights may be enforced.

 Example: – A party who loses in a case decided

by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) is given by law the right to appeal the
RTC’s decision to the Court of Appeals (CA). The Philippine Rules of Civil
Procedure, which sets out the rules and standards that courts follow when
adjudicating civil lawsuits (as opposed to procedures in criminal law
matters), provides the procedure to be followed by the aggrieved party, to

“Rule 41, Section 3. Period of ordinary

appeal. – The appeal shall be taken within
fifteen (15) days from notice of the judgment
or final order appealed from. Where a record
on appeal is required, the appellant shall file
a notice of appeal and a record on appeal
within thirty (30) days from notice of the
judgment or final order. The period of
appeal shall be interrupted by a timely
motion for new trial or reconsideration. No
motion for extension of time to file a motion
for new trial or reconsideration shall be
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“Rule 50, Section 1. Grounds for

dismissal of appeal.
An appeal may be dismissed by the
Court of Appeals, on its own motion or on
that of the appellee, on the following
xxx xxx xxx
(b) Failure to file the notice of appeal or
the record on appeal within the period
prescribed by these Rules.
xxx xxx xxx

Therefore, if the losing party fails to file his appeal from the judgment of
the RTC within the period required by the Rules, his appeal will be


 Constitution. – With particular reference to the

Constitution of the Philippines, it may be defined as “the written instrument
by which the fundamental powers of the government are established,
limited and defined, and by which these powers are distributed among the
several departments for their safe and useful exercise for the benefit of
the people.

 It is often referred to as the fundamental law or supreme law

or highest law of the land because it is promulgated by the people
themselves, binding on all individual citizens and all agencies of the
government. It is the law to which all other laws enacted by the legislature
(as well as administrative or executive acts, orders and regulations having
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the force of law) must conform. This means that laws which are declared
by the courts to be inconsistent with the Constitution shall be void and
the latter shall govern. (Art. 7, Civil Code.)

 Legislation. – Legislation consists in the declaration of

legal rules by a competent authority. Laws that are derived from
legislation are called enacted law or statute law.

 Legislation as a source of law is supreme. The only

limitations on it are those set by the constitution. (Art. 7, Civil

 In case of conflict between statute law on the one hand and

case law or customary law on the other hand, statute law always prevails.

 Administrative or executive orders,

regulations, and rulings. – They are those issued by
administrative officials under legislative authority. Administrative rules and
regulations are intended to clarify or explain the law and carry into effect
its general provisions.

 Admministrative acts are valid only when they are not

contrary to the laws and Constitution. (Art. 7, Civil Code.)

 Judicial decisions or jurisprudence, or case

law. – The decisions of courts, particularly the Supreme Court, applying
or interpreting the laws or the Constitution form part of the legal system of
the Philippines. (Art. 8, Civil Code.)

 Judicial decisions are not laws. – Judicial decisions

applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution form part of the legal
system of the Philippines, but they are not laws because only Congress
makes laws. Although they are not laws, these decisions are evidence of
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what the law means. They are as much a part of the law of the land as
the letters of the laws themselves. They have the force of law. Any
judicial interpretation or construction of a law constitutes a part of that law
as of the date the statute is enacted.

 Case law. – “Case law” is the aggregate of reported cases

as forming a body of jurisprudence, or the law of a particular subject as
evidenced or formed by the adjudged cases, in distinction to statutes and
other sources of law. Only decisions of the Supreme Court are
considered doctrines in jurisprudence. (Phil. Vet. Office vs.
Segundo, G.R. No. 51570, August 15, 1988, 164
SCRA 365.)

 The doctrine of precedent or stare decisis. – In the

Philippines, we adhere to the doctrine of precedent or stare decisis. This
means that once a case has been decided one way, then another case
involving exactly the same question or point of law should be decided in
the same manner. This principle, however, does not necessarily mean
that erroneous decisions, or those found to be contrary to law must be
perpetuated. On the contrary, they should be abandoned.

 Obiter dictum. – An obiter dictum is an opinion expressed

by a court upon some question of law which is not necessary to the
decision of the case before it. It is a remark made, or opinion expressed,
by a judge, in his decision upon a cause, ‘by the way,’ that is, incidentally
or collaterally, and not directly upon the question before him, or upon a
point not necessarily involved in the determination of the cause, or
introduced by way of illustration, or analogy or argument. Such are not
binding as precedent. [Delta Motors Corporation vs.
Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 121075, July 24,
1997, 276 SCRA 212.]
 In a case filed before it for the annulment of a Regional
Trial Court judgment approving a petition for reconstitution of a lost
certificate of title upon the ground of the RTC’s lack of jurisdiction, the
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Court of Appeals declared the RTC judgment void. But the court went
further. Making reference to earlier findings of the land registration
commissioner that the certificate of title of the petitioner in the
reconstitution case was fake, it held that the certificate of title sought
to be reconstituted was fake. The Supreme Court held that the CA
finding of the certificate of title being fake is a mere obiter dictum.
Said the Court:
“…the Petition filed by respondent
before the CA was for the annulment of
judgment on the ground of lack of
jurisdiction. Such recourse is limited to
the grounds provided by law and cannot
be used to reopen the entire
controversy. The CA was not being
called upon to determine the character
of petitioner’s TCT. Evidently, its ruling
with respect thereto was merely an
obiter dictum that did not, and indeed
could not, rule on such matter. It had no
authority to do so.” [Puzon vs. Sta.
Lucia Realty and Development, Inc.,
G.R. No. 139518, March 6, 2001, 353
SCRA 699.]

 Custom. – Custom consists of those habits and practices

which through long and uninterrupted usage have become acknowledged
and approved by society as binding rules of conduct. It has the force of
law when recognized and enforced by the state. For instance, in a
contract for services rendered where no definite compensation is
stipulated, the compensation to be paid may be ascertained from customs
and usages of the place.
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 Customary law. – Custom must be proved as a fact

according to the rules of evidence. (Art. 12, Civil Code.) It may
be applied by the courts only in the absence of law or statute exactly
applicable to the point in controversy.


The discussions outlined in this module have been

collectively lifted from the cases cited and
commentaries made by the authors in the references
cited below:

1. David Robert C. Aquino. Introduction to

Law (Quezon City: Central Book Supply, Inc., 2017).
2. Virgilio P. Alconera. Law, Persons and Family Relations (Quezon
City: Central Book Supply, Inc., 2010).
3. Carlo L. Cruz. Philippine Adminstrative Law (Quezon City:
Central Book Supply, Inc., 2016).
4. Hector S. De Leon. The Law on Obligations and Contracts
(Manila: Rex Book Store, Inc., 2011).
5. Melquiades J. Gamboa. An Introduction to Philippine Law
(Quezon City: Central Lawbook Publishing Co., Inc., 1969).
6. Marcelino T. Lizaso. Introduction to Law (Quezon City: Central
Lawbook Publishing Co., Inc., 1991).
7. Ruperto G. Martin. Introduction to Philippine Laws (Manila:
Premium Book Store, 1986).
8. Edgardo L. Paras. Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. I (Manila:
Rex Book Store, Inc., 2002).
INTRO (ALM1&CLM1) – MODULE 1: Law, Its Concept and
Classification [WEEK 1 – 5Aug2019] 20

9. Ricardo C. Puno and Benjamin N. Tabios. Essentials of

Philippine Law (1957).
10. Rufus B. Rodriguez. Introduction to Law (Manila: Rex
Book Store, Inc., 2001).
11. Rolando A. Suarez. Introduction to Law (Manila: Rex
Book Store, Inc., 2017).

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

Alan Kay