FAQ’s on Civil & Family Law 2

More FAQ’s on Civil & Family Law

Is consignation applicable to a lease with option to buy?

In Vda. de Quirino v. Palarca,  it was ruled that consignation referred to in Article 1256 of the Civil Code is inapplicable to a lease with option to buy because said provision refers to consignation as one of the means for the payment or discharge of a “debt,” whereas the lessee was not indebted to the lessor for the price of the leased premises. The lessee merely exercised a right of option and had no obligation to pay said price until execution of the deed of sale in his favor, which the lessor refused to do.

Can an award of actual damages be presumed by a court?

Actual or compensatory damages cannot be presumed, but must be duly proved, and proved with reasonable degree of certainty. A court cannot rely on speculation, conjecture or guesswork as to the fact and amount of damages, but must depend upon competent proof that they have suffered and on evidence of the actual amount thereof.

Is it enough to make a valid tender of payment to exercise a right of repurchase?

In the exercise of the right to repurchase, a showing that a valid tender of payment was made is sufficient. It is enough that a sincere or genuine tender of payment and not a mock or deceptive one was made.

Is the tender of payment of a judgment the same as tender of payment of a contractual debt?

If the rights and obligations of the parties arose from a judgment and not from contract, the Civil Code requirements as to consignation are not applicable.  Thus, in case of refusal of a tender of the amount due on a judgment, the court may direct the money to be paid in court and when this is done, order satisfaction of the judgment to be entered.  The tender of payment of a judgment is not the same as tender of payment of a contractual debt and consignation of the money due from a debtor to a creditor. The requisites of consignation under Art. 1256 et seq. do not apply to the former.

Is the mere filing of a complaint against a person evidence of ill will on which a claim for damages may be based?

The mere filing of a complaint against a person, while it may cause him some anxiety, is not per se evidence of ill will on which a claim for damages may be based. A contrary role would discourage peaceful recourse to the courts of justice and induce resort to methods less than legal, and perhaps even violent.

How are contracts interpreted when the terms and intent of parties are clear?

It is a basic and fundamental rule in the interpretation of contract that if the terms thereof are clear and leave no doubt as to the intention of the contracting parties, the literal meaning shall control. In order to judge the intention of the parties, their contemporaneous and subsequent acts shall be principally considered.

Does a probate look into the intrinsic validity of a will?

Normally, the probate of a will does not look into its intrinsic validity. The authentication of a will decides no other questions than such as touch upon the capacity of the testator and the compliance with those requisites or solemnities which the law prescribes for the validity of the wills. It does not determine nor even by implication prejudge the validity or efficiency of the provisions of the will, thus may be impugned as being vicious or null, notwithstanding its authentication. The question relating to these points remain entirely unaffected, and may be raised even after the will has been authenticated.

What must the nature of possession be to constitute the foundation of a prescriptive right?

Possession, under the Civil Code, to constitute the foundation of a prescriptive right, must be possession under claim of title (en concepto de dueno), or to use the common law equivalent of the term, it must be adverse. Acts of possessory character performed by one who holds by mere tolerance of the owner are clearly not en concepto de dueno, and such possessory acts, no matter how long so continued, do not start the running of the period of prescription.

As to possession, what is the plaintiff’s burden in forcible entry and detainer cases?

In an action for forcible entry and detainer, the main issue is one of priority of possession. The legal right thereto is not essential to the possessor’s cause of action, for no one may take law into his own hands and forcibly eject another or deprive him of his possession by stealth, even if his title thereto were questionable or actually disputed in another case. If the plaintiff can prove prior physical possession in himself, he may recover such possession even from the owner, but on the other hand, if he cannot prove such prior physical possession, he has no right of action for forcible entry and detainer even if he should be the owner of the property.

Is an action for recovery of possession the same as an action for recovery of title or ownership?

An action for recovery of possession is totally distinct and different from an action for recovery of title or ownership. In fact, a judgment rendered in a case for recovery of possession is conclusive only on the question of possession and not that of ownership. It does not in any way bind the title or affect the ownership of the land or building.  Section 7, of Rule 70 expressly states that:

“The judgment rendered in an action for forcible entry or detainer shall be effective with respect to the possession only and in no wise bind the title or affect the ownership of the land or building. Such judgment shall not bar an action between the value parties respecting title to the land or building, nor shall it be held conclusive of the fact therein found in a case between the same parties upon a different cause of action not involving possession.”

What names may a married woman use?

Under Article 370 of the Civil Code, a married woman may use:

(1) Her maiden first name and surname and add her husband’s surname, or

(2) Her maiden first name and her husband’s surname or

(3) Her husband’s full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife, such as “Mrs.”

How can a child born out of wedlock be legitimated and what are the rights of legitimated children?

Under the Family Code of the Philippines, children conceived and born outside of wedlock of parents who, at the time of the conception of the former, were not disqualified by any impediment to marry each other may be legitimated.  Legitimation shall take place by a subsequent valid marriage between parents. The annulment of a voidable marriage shall not affect the legitimation and legitimated children shall enjoy the  same rights as legitimate children.

Why are decisions of the Supreme Court considered as law in our country?

This is by virtue of Article 8 of the Civil Code of the Philippines which states that judicial decisions applying  or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal system of the Philippines.

What are the requirements under Article 34 of the Family Code?

Article 34 of the Family Code of the Philippines provides an instance where a marriage is valid even if there is no marriage license. It requires the contracting parties to state in an affidavit before any person authorized by law to administer oaths that they have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and without any legal impediment to marry each other. In addition, the solemnizing officer shall also state under oath that he ascertained the qualifications of the contracting parties and found no legal impediment to the marriage.

What is testamentary succession?

Testamentary succession is that which results from the designation of an heir, made in a will executed in the from prescribed by law.

Is a child conceived through artificial insemination considered legitimate?

Yes, under Article 164 of the Family Code, children conceived as a result of artificial insemination of the wife with the sperm of the husband or that of a donor or both are legitimate children of the husband and his wife, provided, that both of them authorized or ratified such insemination in a written instrument executed and signed by them before the birth of the child. The instrument shall be recorded in the civil registry together with the birth certificate of the child.

Is there a prescribed form for the solemnization of marriage?

Under Article 6 of the Family Code of the Philippines, no prescribed form or religious rite for the solemnization of the marriage is required. It shall be necessary, however, for the contracting parties to appear personally before the solemnizing officer and declare in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age that they take each other as husband and wife. This declaration shall be contained in the marriage certificate which shall be signed by the contracting parties and their witnesses and attested by the solemnizing officer.

For civil purposes, when is a foetus considered born?

Under Article 41 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, the foetus is considered born if it is alive at the time it is completely delivered from the mother’s womb. However, if the foetus had an intra-uterine life of less than seven months, it is not deemed born if it dies within twenty-four hours after its complete delivery from the maternal womb.

What is a contract of surety?

A contract of surety is an agreement where a party called the surety guarantees the performance by another party called the principal or obligor of an obligation or undertaking in favor of a third person called the obligee. Specifically, suretyship is a contractual relation resulting from an agreement whereby one person, the surety, engages to be answerable for the debt, default or miscarriage of another, known as the principal.

What are the differences between consignation and tender of payment?

Consignation is the act of depositing the thing due with the court or judicial authorities whenever the creditor cannot accept or refuses to accept payment, and it generally requires a prior tender of payment. On the other hand, tender is the antecedent of consignation, that is, an act preparatory to the consignation, which is the principal, and from which are derived the immediate consequences which the debtor desires or seeks to obtain. Tender of payment may be extrajudicial, while consignation is necessarily judicial, and the priority of the first is the attempt to make a private settlement before proceeding to the solemnities of consignation.

When must insurable interest in the property insured exist?

Insurable interest in the property insured must exist at the time the insurance takes effect and at the time the loss occurs. The basis of such requirement of insurable interest in property insured is based on sound public policy: to prevent a person from taking out an insurance policy on property upon which he has no insurable interest and collecting the proceeds of said policy in case of loss of the property.

What is the principle of laches?

Laches is defined as the failure or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do thatwhich, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier. It is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled thereto has either abandoned or declined to assert it. The principle of laches is based on grounds of public policy which requires, for the peace of society, the discouragement of stale claims. It is principally directed against the unfairness of permitting an alleged right or claim to be enforced. It concerns itself with whether or not by reason of long inaction or inexcusable neglect, a person claiming a right should be barred from asserting the same, because to allow him to do so would be unjust to the person against whom such right is sought to be enforced.

What clerical or typographical errors may be corrected under R.A. 9048?

A clerical or typographical error refers to a mistake committed in the performance of clerical work in writing, copying, transcribing or typing an entry in the civil register that is harmless and innocuous, such as misspelled name or misspelled place of birth or the like, which is visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding, and can be corrected or changed only by reference to other existing record or records. Provided, however, that no correction must involve the change of nationality, age, status or sex of the petitioner.

What is an escrow?

An escrow fills a definite niche in the body of the law; it has a distinct legal character. The usual definition is that an escrow is a written instrument which by its terms imports a legal obligation and which is deposited by the grantor, promisor, or obligor, or his agent with a stranger or third party, to be kept by the depositary until the performance of a condition or the happening of a certain event, and then to be delivered over to the grantee, promisee, or obligee.

What is the doctrine of “stare decisis”?

The “doctrine of stare decisis,” ordained in Article 8 of the Civil Code,  expresses that judicial decisions applying or interpreting the law shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines.  The rule follows the settled legal maxim – “legis interpretado legis vim obtinet” – that the interpretation placed upon the written law by a competent court has the force of law.

What are exemplary damages?

Exemplary or corrective damages are imposed by way of example or correction for the public good, in addition to the moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages (Art. 2229, New Civil Code). Exemplary damages cannot be recovered as a matter of right; the court will decide whether or not they could be adjudicated (Art. 2223, New Civil Code). Exemplary damages are also awarded for wanton acts, and are penal in character, granted not by way of compensation but as a punishment to the offender and as a warning to others as a sort of deterrent.