Monthly Archives: August 2013

RIZAL COMMERCIAL BANKING CORPORATION v. FEDERICO A. SERRA, G.R. No. 203241, July 10, 2013

Civil procedure; Exception to five-year period to move for execution of judgment. The Rules of Court provide that a final and executory judgment may be executed by motion within five years from the date of its entry or by an action after the lapse of five years and before prescription sets in. This Court, however, allows exceptions when execution may be made by motion even after the lapse of five years. These exceptions have one common denominator: the delay is caused or occasioned by actions of the judgment obligor and/or is incurred for his benefit or advantage.

In Camacho v. Court of Appeals, we held that where the delays were occasioned by the judgment debtor’s own initiatives and for her advantage as well as beyond the judgment creditor’s control, the five-year period allowed for enforcement of the judgment by motion is deemed to have been effectively interrupted or suspended.

Full text here.

NATIONAL ARTIST FOR LITERATURE VIRGILIO ALMARIO et al., v. THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY et al., G.R. No. 189028, July 16, 2013

Pleadings and practice. It has been held that the remedies of prohibition and injunction are preventive and, as such, cannot be availed of to restrain an act that is already fait accompli. Where the act sought to be prohibited or enjoined has already been accomplished or consummated, prohibition or injunction becomes moot.

Nevertheless, even if the principal issue is already moot, this Court may still resolve its merits for the future guidance of both bench and bar. Courts will decide a question otherwise moot and academic if it is “capable of repetition, yet evading review.”

It is an opportune time for the Court to assert its role as republican schoolmaster, a teacher in a vital national seminar. There are times when the controversy is of such character that, to prevent its recurrence and to assure respect for constitutional limitations, this Court must pass on the merits of a case.

Administrative law. We have held that an administrative regulation adopted pursuant to law has the force and effect of law. Thus, the rules, guidelines and policies regarding the Order of National Artists jointly issued by the CCP Board of Trustees and the NCCA pursuant to their respective statutory mandates have the force and effect of law.  Until set aside, they are binding upon executive and administrative agencies, including the President himself/herself as chief executor of laws.

Constitutional law; Equal protection. There was a violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution when the former President gave preferential treatment to respondents Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Mañosa and Moreno.  The former President’s constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws and observe the rules, guidelines and policies of the NCCA and the CCP as to the selection of the nominees for conferment of the Order of National Artists proscribed her from having a free and uninhibited hand in the conferment of the said award. The manifest disregard of the rules, guidelines and processes of the NCCA and the CCP was an arbitrary act that unduly favored respondents Guidote-Alvarez, Caparas, Mañosa and Moreno.  The conferment of the Order of National Artists on said respondents was therefore made with grave abuse of discretion and should be set aside.

Full text here.

BONIFACIO WATER CORPORATION (formerly BONIFACIO VIVENDI WATER CORPORATION) v. THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 175142, July 22, 2013

Taxation; Administrative claim for refund. [P]etitioner must show satisfaction of all the documentary and evidentiary requirements before an administrative claim for refund or tax credit will be granted. Perforce, the taxpayer claiming the refund must comply with the invoicing and accounting requirements mandated by the Tax Code, as well as the revenue regulations implementing them.

Thus, the change of petitioner’s name to “Bonifacio GDE Water Corporation,” being unauthorized and without approval of the SEC, and the issuance of official receipts under that name which were presented to support petitioner’s claim for tax refund, cannot be used to allow the grant of tax refund or issuance of a tax credit certificate in petitioner’s favor. The absence of official receipts issued in its name is tantamount to noncompliance with the substantiation requirements provided by law.

Full text here.

BENILDA N. BACASIVIAS v. SANDIGANBAYAN and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 189343, July 10, 2013

Criminal law; Conspiracy. In order to establish the existence of conspiracy, unity of purpose and unity in the execution of an unlawful objective by the accused must be proven. Direct proof is not essential to show conspiracy. It is enough that there be proof that two or more persons acted towards the accomplishment of a common unlawful objective through a chain of circumstances, even if there was no actual meeting among them.

Full text here.

ALFREDO C. LIM, JR. v. SPOUSES TITO S. LAZARO and CARMEN T. LAZARO, G.R. No. 185734, July 3, 2013

Civil procedure; Writ of preliminary attachment subsists until judgment is satisfied. By its nature, preliminary attachment, under Rule 57 of the Rules of Court (Rule 57), is an ancillary remedy applied for not for its own sake but to enable the attaching party to realize upon the relief sought and expected to be granted in the main or principal action; it is a measure auxiliary or incidental to the main action. As such, it is available during its pendency which may be resorted to by a litigant to preserve and protect certain rights and interests during the interim, awaiting the ultimate effects of a final judgment in the case. In addition, attachment is also availed of in order to acquire jurisdiction over the action by actual or constructive seizure of the property in those instances where personal or substituted service of summons on the defendant cannot be effected.

In this relation, while the provisions of Rule 57 are silent on the length of time within which an attachment lien shall continue to subsist after the rendition of a final judgment, jurisprudence dictates that the said lien continues until the debt is paid, or the sale is had under execution issued on the judgment or until the judgment is satisfied, or the attachment discharged or vacated in the same manner provided by law.

In Chemphil Export & Import Corporation v. CA, the Court pronounced that a writ of attachment is not extinguished by the execution of a compromise agreement between the parties.

Full text here.

SALLY GO-BANGAYAN v. BENJAMIN BANGAYAN, JR., G.R. No. 201061, July 3, 2013

Criminal law; Bigamy; Subsequent marriage must be valid. For bigamy to exist, the second or subsequent marriage must have all the essential requisites for validity except for the existence of a prior marriage. In this case, there was really no subsequent marriage. Benjamin and Sally just signed a purported marriage contract without a marriage license. The supposed marriage was not recorded with the local civil registrar and the National Statistics Office. In short, the marriage between Benjamin and Sally did not exist.  They lived together and represented themselves as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage.

Civil law; Property relations of cohabitants. Benjamin and Sally cohabitated without the benefit of marriage. Thus, only the properties acquired by them through their actual joint contribution of money, property, or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions.

Full text here.

CARLOS LIM, et. al. v. DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 177050, July 1, 2013

Civil law; Notice of extrajudicial foreclosure. [U]nless the parties stipulate, “personal notice to the mortgagor in extrajudicial foreclosure proceedings is not necessary” because Section 3 of Act 3135 only requires the posting of the notice of sale in three public places and the publication of that notice in a newspaper of general circulation.

In this case, the parties stipulated in paragraph 11 of the Mortgage that:

All correspondence relative to this mortgage, including demand letters, summons, subpoenas, or notification of any judicial or extra-judicial action shall be sent to the Mortgagor at xxx or at the address that may hereafter be given in writing by the Mortgagor or the Mortgagee;

However, no notice of the extrajudicial foreclosure was sent by DBP to petitioners about the foreclosure sale scheduled on July 11, 1994.  The letters dated January 28, 1994 and March 11, 1994 advising petitioners to immediately pay their obligation to avoid the impending foreclosure of their mortgaged properties are not the notices required in paragraph 11 of the Mortgage. The failure of DBP to comply with their contractual agreement with petitioners, i.e., to send notice, is a breach sufficient to invalidate the foreclosure sale.

Full text here.

ROY D. PASOS v. PHILIPPINE NATIONAL CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION, G.R. No. 192394, July 3, 2013

Labor law; Substantial compliance with the requirements of posting a bond justifies relaxation of the rules on appeal. The perfection of an appeal within the reglementary period and in the manner prescribed by law is jurisdictional, and noncompliance with such legal requirement is fatal and effectively renders the judgment final and executory.  As provided in Article 223 of the Labor Code, as amended, in case of a judgment involving a monetary award, an appeal by the employer may be perfected only upon the posting of a cash or surety bond issued by a reputable bonding company duly accredited by the Commission in the amount equivalent to the monetary award in the judgment appealed from.

However, not only in one case has this Court relaxed this requirement in order to bring about the immediate and appropriate resolution of cases on the merits. In Quiambao v. National Labor Relations Commission, this Court allowed the relaxation of the requirement when there is substantial compliance with the rule.  Likewise, in Ong v. Court of Appeals, the Court held that the bond requirement on appeals may be relaxed when there is substantial compliance with the Rules of Procedure of the NLRC or when the appellant shows willingness to post a partial bond.  The Court held that “[w]hile the bond requirement on appeals involving monetary awards has been relaxed in certain cases, this can only be done where there was substantial compliance of the Rules or where the appellants, at the very least, exhibited willingness to pay by posting a partial bond.”

In the instant case, the Labor Arbiter in his decision ordered PNCC to pay petitioner back wages amounting to P422,630.41 and separation pay of P37,662 or a total of P460,292.41.  When PNCC filed an appeal bond amounting to P422,630.41 or at least 90% of the adjudged amount, there is no question that this is substantial compliance with the requirement that allows relaxation of the rules.

Project employee is deemed regularized if services are extended without specifying duration; While for first three months, petitioner can be considered a project employee of PNCC, his employment thereafter, when his services were extended without any specification of as to the duration, made him a regular employee of PNCC.  And his status as a regular employee was not affected by the fact that he was assigned to several other projects and there were intervals in between said projects since he enjoys security of tenure.

Report of termination required upon project completion. In this case, records clearly show that PNCC did not report the termination of petitioner’s supposed project employment for the NAIA II Project to the DOLE.   Department Order No. 19, or the “Guidelines Governing the Employment of Workers in the Construction Industry,” requires employers to submit a report of an employee’s termination to the nearest public employment office every time an employee’s employment is terminated due to a completion of a project.

Full text here.

PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC. v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 198759, July 1, 2013

Taxation; Proper party to claim refund. [T]he propriety of a tax refund claim is hinged on the kind of exemption which forms its basis. If the law confers an exemption from both direct or indirect taxes, a claimant is entitled to a tax refund even if it only bears the economic burden of the applicable tax. On the other hand, if the exemption conferred only applies to direct taxes, then the statutory taxpayer is regarded as the proper party to file the refund claim.

In this case, PAL’s franchise grants it an exemption from both direct and indirect taxes on its purchase of petroleum products.

Withdrawal of PAL’s tax exemption privileges refers only to excise taxes imposed on locally manufactured petroleum products. [T]he Court observes that the phrase “purchase of domestic petroleum products for use in its domestic operations” – which characterizes the tax privilege LOI 1483 withdrew – refers only to PAL’s tax exemptions on passed on excise tax costs due from the seller, manufacturer/producer of locally manufactured/ produced goods for privileges concerning imported goods, and does not, in any way, pertain to any of PAL’s tax privileges concerning imported goods.

Full text here.