May an elder sister adopt a younger brother?

The text below are from an old Supreme Court Case –

The issue before Us is, whether or not an elder sister may adopt a younger brother.
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The trial court dismissed the petition reasoning thus:
“A critical consideration in this case is the fact that the parents of the minor to be adopted are also the parents of the petitioner-wife. The minor, therefore, is the latter’s legitimate brother.
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“In this proceeding, the adoption will result in an incongruous situation where the minor Edwin Villa, a legitimate brother of the petitioner-wife, will also be her son. In the opinion of the court, that incongruity, not neutralized by other circumstances absent herein, should prevent the adoption.”
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The petitioners moved to reconsider the decision but the same was denied. Hence, this appeal.
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The facts are not disputed.
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The above-named spouses filed the petition before the court a quo on January 8, 1963, praying that the minor Edwin Villa y Mendoza, 4 years old, be declared their (petitioners’) son by adoption. Evidence was presented that the order setting the case for hearing has been duly published, Exhibit A. There having been no opposition registered to the petition, the petitioners were permitted to adduce their evidence.
It was established that the petitioners are both 32 years of age, Filipinos, residing in the City of Manila. They were married in 1957 and have maintained a conjugal home of their own. They do not have a child of their own blood. Neither spouse has any legitimate, legitimated, illegitimate, acknowledged natural child, or natural child by legal fiction; nor has any one of them been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. Edwin Villa y Mendoza, 4 years old, is a child of Francisco Villa and Florencia Mendoza who are the common parents of the petitioner-wife Edipola Villa Santos and the minor. Luis E. Santos, Jr., is a lawyer, with business interests in a textile development enterprise and the IBA electric plant, and is the general manager of Medry, Inc. and the secretary-treasurer of Bearen Enterprises. His income is approximately P600.00 a month. His co-petitioner-wife, is a nurse by profession, with an average monthly earning of about P300.00.
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It was also shown that Edwin Villa y Mendoza was born on May 22, 1958, Exhibit C. He was a sickly child since birth. Due to the child’s impairing health, his parents entrusted him to the petitioners who reared and brought him up for the years thereafter, and as a result, there developed between the petitioners and the child, a deep and profound love for each other. The natural parents of the minor testified that they have voluntarily given their consent to the adoption of their son by the petitioners, and submitted their written consent and conformity to the adoption, and that they fully understand the legal consequences of the adoption of their child by the petitioners.
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We are not aware of any provision in the law, and none has been pointed to Us by the Solicitor General who argues for the State in this case, that relatives, by blood or by affinity, are prohibited from adopting one another. The only objection raised is the alleged “incongruity” that will result in the relation of the petitioner-wife and the adopted, in the circumstance that the adopted who is the legitimate brother of the adopter, will also be her son by adoption. The theory is, therefore, advanced that adoption among people who are related by nature should not be allowed, in order that dual relationship should not result, reliance being made upon the views expressed by this Court in McGee vs. Republic, L-5387, April 29, 1954, 94 Phil. 820.
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In that case, an American citizen, Clyde E. McGee, married to a Filipina by whom he had one child, instituted a proceeding for the adoption of two minor children of the wife had by her first husband. The lower court granted the petition of McGee to adopt his two minor step-children. On appeal by the State, We reversed the decision. We said:
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“The purpose of adoption is to establish a relationship of paternity and filiation where none existed before. Where therefore the relationship of parents and child already exists whether by blood or by affinity as in the case of illegitimate and step-children, it would be unnecessary and superfluous to establish and superimpose another relationship of parent and child through adoption. Consequently, an express authorization of law like article 338 is necessary, if not to render it proper and legal, at least, to remove any and all doubt on the subject matter. Under this view, article 338 may not be regarded as a surplusage. That may have been the reason why in the old Code of Civil Procedure, particularly its provisions regarding adoption, authority to adopt a step-child by a step-father was provided in section 766 notwithstanding the general authorization in section 765 extended to any inhabitant of the Philippines to adopt a minor child. The same argument of surplusage could plausibly have been advanced as regards section 766, that is to say, section 766 was unnecessary and superfluous because without it a step-father could adopt a minor step- child anyway.

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However, the inserting of section 766 was not entirely without reason. It seems to be an established principle in American jurisprudence that a person may not adopt his own relative, the reason being that it is unnecessary to establish a relationship where such already exists (the same philosophy underlying our codal provisions on adoption).

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So some states have special laws authorizing the adoption of relatives such as a grandfather adopting a grandchild and a father adopting his illegitimate of natural child.”
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Notwithstanding the views thus expressed, a study of American precedents would reveal that there is a variance in the decisions of the courts in different jurisdictions regarding the matter of adoption of relatives. It cannot be stated as a general proposition that the adoption of a blood relative is contrary to the policy of the law, for in many states of the Union, no restriction of that sort is contained in the statutes authorizing adoption, although laws of other jurisdictions expressly provide that adoption may not take place within persons within a certain degree of relationship (1 Am. Jur. 628-629). Courts in some states hold that in the absence of express statutory restriction, a blood relationship between the parties is not a legal impediment to the adoption of one by the other, and there may be a valid adoption where the relation of parent and child already exists by nature (2 Am. Jur. 2d 869). Principles vary according to the particular adoption statute of a state under which any given case is considered. It would seem that in those states originally influenced by the civil law countries where adoption originated, the rules are liberally construed, while in other states where common law principles predominate, adoption laws are more strictly applied because they are regarded to be in derogation of the common law.
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Article 335 of the Civil Code enumerates those persons who may not adopt, and it has been shown that petitioners-appellants herein are not among those prohibited from adopting. Article 339 of the same code names those who cannot be adopted, and the minor child whose adoption is under consideration, is not one of those excluded by the law. Article 338, on the other hand, allows the adoption of a natural child by the natural father or mother, of other illegitimate children by their father or mother, and of a step-child-by the step-father or step-mother. This last article is, of course, necessary to remove all doubts that adoption is not prohibited even in these cases where there already exist a relationship of parent and child between them by nature. To say that adoption should not be allowed when the adopter and the adopted are related to each other, except in these cases enumerated in Article 338, is to preclude adoption among relatives no matter how far removed or in whatever degree that relationship might be, which in our opinion is not the policy of the law. The interest and welfare of the child to be adopted should be of paramount consideration. Adoption statutes, being humane and salutary, and designed to provide homes, care and education for unfortunate children, should be construed so as to encourage the adoption of such children by person who can properly rear and educate them (In re Havsgord’s Estate, 34 S.D. 131, 147 N.W. 378).
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With respect to the objection that the adoption in this particular case will result in a dual relationship between the parties, that the adopted brother will also be the son of the adopting elder sister, that fact alone should not prevent the adoption. One is by nature, while the other is by fiction of law. The relationship established by the adoption is limited to the adopting parents and does not extend to their other relatives, except as expressly provided by law. Thus, the adopted child cannot be considered as a relative of the ascendants and collaterals of the adopting parents, nor of the legitimate children which they may have after the adoption except that the law imposes certain impediments to marriage by reason of adoption. Neither are the children of the adopted considered as descendants of the adopter (Tolentino, Civil Code, Vol. I, 1960 Ed., p. 652, citing 1 Oyuelos 284; Perez Gonzales and Castan; 4-11 Enneccerus, Kipp & Wolff 177; Muñoz, p. 104). So even considered in relation to the rules on succession which are in pari materia, the adoption under consideration would not be objectionable on the ground alone of the resulting dual relationship between the adopter and the adopted. Similar dual relationships also result under our law on marriage when persons who are already related, by blood or by affinity, marry each other. But as long as the relationship is not within the degrees prohibited by law, such marriages are allowed, notwithstanding the resulting dual relationship. And as We do not find any provision in the law that expressly prohibits adoption among relatives, they ought not to be prevented.
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For all the foregoing considerations, the decision appealed from is set aside, and the petition for the adoption of the subject minor, granted. No pronouncement as to costs.

SC Case IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF THE MINOR, EDWIN VILLA Y MENDOZA, LUIS E. SANTOS, JR. and EDIPOLA V. SANTOS, petitioners-appellants,

Tags Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

When is the payment of damages as well as attorney’s fees proper?

In a Supreme Court case, the following damages were awarded:

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The RTC awarded moral damages, exemplary damages, attorney’s fees, plus P2,000.00 for every appearance, and costs of litigation.

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Moral damages are meant to compensate the claimant for any physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injuries unjustly caused. Petitioner Rosalina has adequately established the factual basis for the award of moral damages when she testified that she felt shocked and horrified upon knowing of the foreclosure sale.

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However, we find the RTC’s award of P2,000,000.00 excessive and unconscionable, and reduce the salve to P100,000.00.
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Exemplary damages are imposed by way of example for the public good, in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages. We reduce the RTC’s award of P500,000.00 to P30,000.00.
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Attorneys fees are allowed when exemplary damages are awarded and when the party to a suit is compelled to incur expenses to protect his interest. We find the RTC’s award of attorney’s fees in the amount of P100,000.00 proper.

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From the case of SPOUSES GILDARDO LOQUELLANO and ROSALINA JULIET B. LOQUELLANO, petitioners, xxx

Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

Case on the validity of an extrajudicial foreclosure and auction sale of debtor’s property

Petitioner Rosalina Juliet Loquellano used to be a regular employee in the Financial Central Department of respondent Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Ltd. (respondent bank). As such, she became an automatic member of respondent Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation-Staff Retirement Plan (HSBC-SRP) that provides retirement, disability and loan benefits to the bank’s employees. In 1988, petitioner Rosalina applied with respondent HSBC-SRP a housing loan in the amount of P400,000.00 payable in twenty-five (25) years at six percent (6%) per annum, through monthly salary deduction from petitioner Rosalina’s salary savings account with respondent HSBC. It was provided in the loan application that the loan was secured by setting-off petitioner Rosalina’s retirement benefits and chattel mortgage. She executed a promissory note for the payment of the said loan.

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On September 5, 1990, petitioners spouses Gildardo and Rosalina Loquellano and Manuel S. Estacion, the managing trustee for and in behalf of the respondent HSBC-SRP, entered into a contract of real estate mortgage wherein petitioners constituted a mortgage over their house and lot covered by TCT No. 95422 (44867) of the Register of Deeds of Pasay City to secure the payment of their housing loan. Petitioner Rosalina had been religiously paying the monthly installments and interests due on the housing loan through automatic salary deductions.

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Subsequently, a labor dispute arose between the respondent bank and the bank union, to which petitioner Rosalina was a member, which culminated in a strike staged on December 22, 1993. Petitioner Rosalina, together with other bank employees, were dismissed from the service for abandonment, among others. Petitioner Rosalina and the other dismissed employees filed with the Labor Arbiter (LA) an illegal dismissal case against the respondent bank. The LA declared the strike illegal and dismissed the complaint. The labor case had reached us through a petition for review on certiorari filed by the dismissed concerned employees and had already been decided by us on January 11, 2016. While we declared the strike illegal, we also held that the mere finding of such did not justify the wholesale termination of the strikers from their employment. We found that there was illegal dismissal and ordered the bank, among others, to pay the backwages and separation pay of the 18 employees named in the decision, which included petitioner Rosalina, in lieu of reinstatement.

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In the meantime, due to petitioner Rosalina’s termination from employment with the bank on December 27, 1993, petitioners were unable to make any payments of the amortizations due in Rosalina’s salary savings account beginning January 1994. Respondent HSBC-SRP sent demand letters dated June 13, 1994 and November 28, 1994, respectively, to petitioner Rosalina for the payment of her outstanding obligation in full. Petitioner Rosalina offered to make partial payment of her housing loan arrears in the amount of P69,205.99, which respondent HSBC-SRP rejected.
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Subsequently, petitioner Rosalina received an Installment Due Reminder dated July 26, 1995 issued by respondent HSBC-SRP on her housing loan, wherein it was shown that the monthly installment overdue, the interest overdue and the interest accrued on the overdue installment amounted to P55,681.85 and the outstanding loan balance was P315,958.00. On August 11, 1995, petitioner Rosalina, through her salary savings account which was still existing, deposited the payments for all her monthly installment arrears and interests, and penalties from January 1994 up to August 1995. Respondent bank accepted the payments and credited them to her housing loan account. Thereafter, petitioner Rosalina received an Installment Due Reminder dated August 28, 1995, wherein it already reflected the payments she had made as her outstanding housing loan obligation was already reduced to P289,945.00.
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In a letter dated September 25, 1995 to petitioner Rosalina, respondent HSBC-SRP demanded for the payment of the entire housing loan obligation in the amount of P289,945.00. Notwithstanding, petitioner Rosalina received an Installment Due Reminder dated September 27, 1995, reflecting the then current monthly installment and interest due thereon. Petitioner Rosalina, subsequently, received more installment due reminders showing a reduction in the outstanding balance of her housing loan. She continuously made deposits to her salary savings account with the respondent bank for the payment of her monthly amortizations. Respondent bank debited petitioner Rosalina’s savings account and credited the payments to the balance of the installment and the interest due on the housing loan up to June 1996.
On May 20, 1996, petitioners’ mortgaged property was extrajudicially foreclosed by respondent HSBC-SRP and was sold at public auction for the amount of P324,119.59, with respondent Manuel S. Estacion as the highest bidder. A Certificate of Sale dated June 5, 1996 was issued.

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On August 22, 1996, petitioners filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Parañaque City, Branch 274, a Complaint for Annulment of Sale with Damages and Preliminary Injunction against Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Ltd.; Manuel S. Estacion; Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation-Staff Retirement Plan, as represented by Atty. Manuel G. Montecillo, Mr. Stuart P. Milne and Mr. Alejandro L. Custodio; Leonarda Leilani Amurao and Benedicto G. Hebron, in their capacities as Clerk of Court/Ex-Officio Sheriff and Sheriff-in-Charge of the RTC of Parañaque. Petitioners alleged, among others, that the foreclosure of their mortgaged property was tainted with bad faith, considering that they had paid all the arrears, interests and penalties due on their housing loan since August 1995, and were updated with their loan obligations up to June 1996.

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In their Answer, respondents HSBC-SRP and Estacion argued that the entire loan obligations accelerated when petitioner Rosalina was terminated and ceased to be an employee of respondent bank as provided in the HSBC-SRP Rules and Regulations, and she failed to pay the entire balance of the housing loan. Also, petitioners were in default, having failed to pay the amortizations beginning January 1994 up to July 1995; thus, they had the right to extrajudicially foreclose the mortgaged property under their mortgage contract.
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Respondent bank claimed that it should not have been impleaded in the complaint, since it was not privy to the real estate mortgage nor to the extrajudicial foreclosure proceedings.

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The issues for resolution are (1) whether the extrajudicial foreclosure and auction sale of petitioners’ property by respondent HSBC-SRP on May 20, 1996 was valid; and (2) whether petitioners are entitled to the payment of damages as well as attorney’s fees.
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We find that respondent HSBC-SRP’s filing of the extrajudicial foreclosure proceedings on May 20, 1996 has no basis and, therefore, invalid.
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It is established that petitioners failed to pay the monthly amortizations of their housing loan secured by a real estate mortgage on their property since January 1994, i.e., after petitioner Rosalina was terminated by the bank on December 27, 1993. Thus, respondent HSBC-SRP sent demand letters dated June 13, 1994 and November 28, 1994 to petitioner Rosalina asking her to pay the outstanding housing loan obligation in full. Petitioner Rosalina’s offer of partial payment was rejected by respondent HSBC-SRP. In the meantime, no foreclosure proceedings was yet filed by respondent HSBC-SRP against petitioners’ mortgaged property. Subsequently, petitioner Rosalina received an Installment Due Reminder dated July 26, 1995, informing her of the overdue monthly amortizations, interests and penalty in the amount of P55,681.85, with an outstanding balance of P315,958.00. On August 11, 1995, petitioner Rosalina then deposited in her salary savings account the payment for all the principal and interest arrearages from January 1994 up to August 1995. The payments she made in her account were accepted by respondent bank and credited them to the payment of the overdue monthly amortizations of her housing loan.

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While respondent HSBC-SRP wrote petitioner Rosalina a letter dated September 25, 1995 demanding payment of the latter’s entire unpaid housing loan obligation, now with a reduced balance in the amount of P289,945.00, however, petitioner Rosalina still received an Installment Due Reminder dated September 27, 1995 reminding her of her monthly installment and interest due, sans penalty charge, which she paid.

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Thereafter, petitioner Rosalina continuously received Installment Due Reminders for the housing loan, to wit: dated December 21, 1995, February 26, 1996, March 13, 1996 and April 11, 1996, which showed a diminishing loan balance by reason of respondent HSBC-SRP’s acceptance of payments of her monthly installments and interests due from September 1995 up to June 1996. Therefore, respondent HSBC-SRP is now estopped from foreclosing the mortgage property on May 20, 1996.
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Article 1431 of the Civil Code defines estoppel as follows:
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Art. 1431. Through estoppel an admission or representation is rendered conclusive upon the person making it, and cannot be denied or disproved as against the person relying thereon.
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And Section 2 (a), Rule 131 of the Rules of Court provides:
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SEC. 2. Conclusive presumptions. — The following are instances of conclusive presumptions:
(a) Whenever a party has, by his own declaration, act, or omission, intentionally and deliberately led another to believe a particular thing is true, and to act upon such belief, he cannot, in any litigation arising out of such declaration, act or omission, be permitted to falsify it.
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Estoppel is a doctrine that prevents a person from adopting an inconsistent position, attitude, or action if it will result in injury to another. One who, by his acts, representations or admissions, or by his own silence when he ought to speak out, intentionally or through culpable negligence, induces another to believe certain facts to exist and such other rightfully relies and acts on such belief, can no longer deny the existence of such fact as it will prejudice the latter. The doctrine of estoppel is based upon the grounds of public policy, fair dealing, good faith and justice. It springs from equitable principles and the equities in the case. It is designed to aid the law in the administration of justice where, without its aid, injustice might result.

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To stress, respondent HSBC-SRP continuously sent out monthly Installment Due Reminders to petitioner Rosalina despite its demand letter dated September 25, 1995 to pay the full amount of the loan obligation within 3 days from receipt of the letter. It, likewise, continuously accepted petitioner Rosalina’s subsequent monthly amortization payments until June 1996; thus, making their default immaterial. Moreover, there was no more demand for the payment of the full obligation afterwards. Consequently, petitioners were made to believe that respondent HSBC-SRP was applying their payments to their monthly loan obligations as it had done before. It is now estopped from enforcing its right to foreclose by reason of its acceptance of the delayed payments.

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Also, Article 1235 of the Civil Code provides that when the creditor accepts performance, knowing its incompleteness and irregularity without protest or objection, the obligation is deemed complied with. Respondent HSBC-SRP accepted Rosalina’s payment of her housing loan account for almost one year without any objection.
Respondent HSBC-SRP argues that estoppel is not applicable since the payments upon which petitioners rely were made without its knowledge and consent; that the updated balances were automatically generated by the system; that petitioner Rosalina made unilateral payments to her salary savings account knowing that any amount she deposited therein will be automatically credited as payments for her loan obligations.
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We are not persuaded.
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It is respondent HSBC-SRP, not petitioner Rosalina, which has access and control of the computer system with regard to the crediting of the housing loan payments. It cannot now deny its action of continuously accepting petitioner Rosalina’s monthly amortizations, coupled with the sending out of installment due reminders, and statements of her updated housing loan account to prejudice petitioners who relied thereon.
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We find that petitioners are entitled to damages for the invalid foreclosure of their property. The RTC held respondent bank HSBC-SRP and Estacion solidarily liable for the payment of damages. However, we only find respondent HSBC-SRP liable as it was the one which illegally foreclosed petitioners’ mortgaged property. However, respondent HSBC, as correctly pointed out by the CA, was not a party to the real estate mortgage executed between respondent HSBC-SRP and petitioners nor it had participation in the foreclosure proceedings. On the other hand, Estacion was only a trustee of respondent HSBC-SRP acting within the scope of its authority.
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The RTC awarded moral damages, exemplary damages, attorney’s fees, plus P2,000.00 for every appearance, and costs of litigation.

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Moral damages are meant to compensate the claimant for any physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injuries unjustly caused. Petitioner Rosalina has adequately established the factual basis for the award of moral damages when she testified that she felt shocked and horrified upon knowing of the foreclosure sale. However, we find the RTC’s award of P2,000,000.00 excessive and unconscionable, and reduce the salve to P100,000.00.

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Exemplary damages are imposed by way of example for the public good, in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages. 36 We reduce the RTC’s award of P500,000.00 to P30,000.00.
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Attorneys fees are allowed when exemplary damages are awarded and when the party to a suit is compelled to incur expenses to protect his interest. We find the RTC’s award of attorney’s fees in the amount of P100,000.00 proper.
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This is from a supreme court case SPOUSES GILDARDO LOQUELLANO and ROSALINA JULIET B. LOQUELLANO, petitioners xxx Tags: Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan Tudela Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy Luz Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title

denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust extra-judicial extrajudicial foreclosure

Alcantara Alcoy Alegria Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan Tudela Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy Luz Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration

As a general rule, an employee who voluntarily resigns from employment is not entitled to separation pay

The Facts

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Petitioner Del Rio is an employee of respondent DPO Philippines, Inc. (DPO) which is a Belgian multi-national food distribution company. He was tasked to set up the operations in Cebu to cover Visayas and Mindanao. Respondent DPO succeeded with its business operations in Cebu and thereafter, petitioner was able to establish respondent’s office in Davao.

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On September 7, 2009, petitioner submitted his notice of resignation which would take effect on October 7, 2009. At the time of his resignation, he was holding the position of Assistant Country Manager. In a letter dated September 14, 2009, respondent DPO accepted petitioner’s resignation. On October 11, 2009, respondent DPO published in a newspaper that petitioner has resigned from DPO Philippines, Inc. effective October 7, 2009.

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Petitioner realized that after October 7, 2009, he was not yet paid of his salary for the period of September 16, 2009 to October 7, 2009. Petitioner sought from respondent DPO payments of his unpaid salaries, accrued leave credits and separation pay, but all of these were denied.

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Aggrieved, petitioner, on October 9, 2009, filed a complaint with the Regional Arbitration Branch of the NLRC in Cebu City for recovery of his monetary claims.

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Respondents, for their part, averred that after petitioner resigned, they came to know that in the last part of his employment, he was engaged in activities in direct competition with the business of respondent DPO, which is a violation of the non-competition clause of his contract of employment. On or about August 28, 2009, which was 10 days prior to the date of his resignation letter, petitioner was able to secure from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the registration of a corporation named Judphilan Foods which has the same primary purpose as that of respondent DPO.
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Respondent DPO was unhappy and disappointed with petitioner’s act of disloyalty and betrayal but it still offered petitioner the amount of P110,692.75 inclusive of his salary from September 16-30, 2009 and October 1-6, 2009; 13th month pay; tax refund; and commissions for August and September 2009. Petitioner refused what was offered to him insisting that aside from what respondent DPO offered, he is also entitled to separation pay and cash conversion of his leave credits.
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Respondent DPO asserted that petitioner is not entitled to conversion of unused leave credits from 2006 to 2008 because the same had been forfeited in accordance with the company policy. While his unused leave credits for 2009 was applied as terminal leave after he tendered his resignation. Respondent DPO also asserted that petitioner is not entitled to separation pay because he was the one who voluntarily resigned.

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In their Reply to petitioner’s Position Paper, respondents explained that the separation pay was given to Legaspi and Martinez in exchange for their resignation in order to spare the company of the pain of having to terminate them. Respondent DPO explained that it knows of the disloyalty of Martinez and Legaspi and their connivance with petitioner, but rather than terminating them, respondent asked them to tender their resignation with a promise of a separation pay.

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In their Verified Memorandum of Appeal, respondents explained that the separation pay given to Legaspi and Martinez was not strictly separation pay, but in consideration of their resignation, more of a gift, an act of generosity because Legaspi and Martinez’s resignation was more of a favor to the company as it was spared of going through litigation if it would terminate the employees. In other words, Legaspi and Martinez were given the said pay because they were forced to resign.

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In their Motion for Reconsideration, respondents maintained that the payments to Legaspi and Martinez were made after their resignations were tendered and accepted, or two months thereafter. Hence, there can be no company policy or practice to speak of. In the said motion, respondents likewise averred that even assuming that by doing so, it became a company practice, it was created after the resignation of petitioner. Verily, petitioner cannot avail of it, because at the time it became a practice, he was already resigned.

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Even if these arguments were not considered by the NLRC and the Labor Arbiter in their Decisions, this does not preclude the CA from considering them, especially if they were raised and became part of the records.
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It is a well-settled rule that the NLRC’s factual findings, if supported by substantial evidence, are entitled to great respect and even finality, unless it was shown that it simply and arbitrarily disregarded evidence before it or had misapprehended evidence to such an extent as to compel a contrary conclusion if such evidence had been properly appreciated. 21 The CA, therefore, may review the factual findings of the NLRC and reverse its ruling if it finds that the NLRC disregarded and misappreciated the evidence extant on records.

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In the same manner, factual findings of the CA are generally not subject to this Court’s review under Rule 45. However, the general rule on the conclusiveness of the factual findings of the CA is also subject to well-recognized exceptions such as, where the CA’s findings of facts contradict those of the lower court, or the administrative bodies, as in this case. 22 Since their findings are at variance, we are compelled to review factual questions and make a further calibration of the evidence at hand.
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There is no dispute that petitioner resigned from his employment. This fact is established by the letter of resignation dated September 7, 2009 sent by petitioner to respondents and was even admitted by the latter.
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Suffice it to say, an employee who voluntarily resigns from employment is not entitled to separation pay, except when it is stipulated in the employment contract or the CBA, or it is sanctioned by established employer practice or policy. The cited exceptions do not obtain in this case. As correctly found by the CA, there was no employment contract, much less a CBA, which contained the stipulation that would grant separation pay to resigning employees. Neither was there a company practice or policy that was proven to exist in the instant case.

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In his attempt to prove that there was a company practice of giving separation pay to resigning employees, petitioner presented the payslips of Martinez and Legaspi showing that they received separation pay after they resigned. We are not convinced.
To be considered a company practice, the giving of the benefits should have been done over a long period of time, and must be shown to have been consistent and deliberate. As records would show, the giving of the monetary benefit by respondents in favor of Legaspi and Martinez is merely an isolated instance. From the beginning of respondents’ business and up until petitioner’s resignation took effect on October 7, 2009, there was no showing that payments of such benefit had been made by respondents to their employees who voluntarily resigned. The first and only instance when such a benefit was given to resigned employees was on or after November 15, 2009 — not because it was a company practice but only to pave the way for Legaspi and Martinez’s graceful exit, so to speak.

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As explained by respondents, the said benefit was not intended as a separation pay but more of a promise or an assurance to Legaspi and Martinez that they would be paid a benefit if they tender their resignation. Given respondents’ knowledge of Legaspi and Martinez’s acts of disloyalty and betrayal of trust, respondents opted to give them an alternative way of exit, in lieu of termination. Respondents’ decision to give Legaspi and Martinez a graceful exit is perfectly within their prerogative. It is settled that there is nothing reprehensible or illegal when the employer grants the employee a chance to resign and save face rather than smear the latter’s employment record.

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Relying on respondents’ assurance, Legaspi and Martinez tendered their resignation and it is incumbent upon respondents to make good of their promise. As held in Alfaro v. Court of Appeals, 27 an employer who agrees to expend such benefit as an incident of the resignation should not be allowed to renege in the performance of such commitment. And true enough, after Legaspi and Martinez resigned, they were paid the promised benefit.
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This was not the case for petitioner. There was no promise given to him. Rather, petitioner resigned on his own volition. Respondents did not make any commitment to petitioner that he would be paid after his voluntary resignation.
Based on the foregoing, it becomes all too apparent that the CA committed no reversible error in issuing the assailed decision and ruling that petitioner voluntarily resigned from his employment. Thus, the granting of separation pay in his favor has no basis in law and jurisprudence, and must be deleted.

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WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is DENIED. Accordingly, the Decision dated November 6, 2013 and the Resolution dated February 7, 2014 of the Court of Appeals-Cebu City in CA-G.R. CEB-SP No. 05921, are hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

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A case on the law on WARRANTS; Search warrant and Warrant of arrest

The facts are as follows:
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On March 31, 2015, before the Regional Trial Court of Calapan City, Branch 40 (RTC), Police Superintendent Jaycees De Sagun Tolentino (Tolentino) filed two (2) separate applications for search warrants against Maderazo, Nestor Alea (Alea), Daren Mabansag (Mabansag) and Lovely Joy Alcantara (Alcantara). In his search warrant applications, Tolentino alleged that he has been informed by barangay officials, Loida Tapere Roco (Roco) and Rexcel Lozano Rivera (Rivera), that Maderazo, along with Alea, Mabansag and Alcantara, is keeping an undetermined quantity of dangerous drugs, drug paraphernalia, and firearms of unknown caliber and ammunitions inside his residence in Barangay Lazareto, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.

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According to Roco and Rivera, at 6 o’clock in the morning of March 31, 2015, they learned that members of the Calapan City Police Station will be serving a warrant of arrest against Maderazo for attempted murder. When they reached the house which Maderazo is renting, the latter was already arrested. As barangay officials, Roco and Rivera decided to talk to Maderazo, who admitted to them that he is keeping inside the subject house approximately 40 grams of illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, and a firearm. Tolentino allegedly verified said informations through casing and surveillance.
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On March 31, 2015, after the preliminary investigation of witnesses Roco and Rivera, under oath, Executive Judge Tomas C. Leynes (Judge Leynes) issued Search Warrant No. 09-2015 for violation of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9165 and Search Warrant No. 10-2015 for violation of R.A. No. 10591. On even date, both search warrants were served in the subject house in Barangay Lazareto, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro. By virtue of the search warrants, police officers recovered heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets which were suspected to be containing shabu, various drug paraphernalia, a .38 caliber revolver, live ammunitions, mobile phones, computer laptop, cash, among others, from the premises.
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Maderazo, Alea, and Mabansag were, subsequently, charged with illegal possession of dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia, and illegal possession of firearm respectively docketed as Criminal Case Nos. CR-15-12, 201, CR-15-12, 202, and CR-15-12, 203.
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On July 1, 2015, Maderazo filed the Motion to Quash, arguing that Search Warrant Nos. 09-2015 and 10-2015 were issued without probable cause; thus, all items seized by virtue of their enforcement were inadmissible in evidence. He claimed that Tolentino did not have personal knowledge of Maderazo’s supposed possession of illegal drugs and an unlicensed firearm, because the police officer merely relied on Roco and Rivera’s statements. Maderazo insisted that Tolentino lied when he stated that the Calapan City Police conducted prior surveillance and casing because the same could not have possibly happened, considering that he was already under police custody in the morning of March 31, 2015, and the house subject of the search was cordoned off.
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Maderazo further asserted that nothing in the records show how and when Tolentino conducted the casing and surveillance. The statements of Roco and Rivera cannot also be given probative value, since the information that Maderazo has in his custody illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, and an unlicensed firearm were not derived from their own perception but allegedly from Maderazo’s own admission.
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Thereafter, Maderazo requested for certified true copy of the transcript of stenographic notes (TSN) of the proceedings conducted on March 31, 2015 regarding the application for Search Warrant Nos. 09-2015 and 10-2015. Subsequently, Maderazo manifested that instead of the TSN, he was only given copies of Roco, Rivera, and Cueto’s respective sworn statements which bear exactly the same questions and answers, except for their personal circumstances.
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On August 14, 2015, the trial court rendered its Order denying the motion to quash. The dispositive portion of its Order reads:
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ACCORDINGLY, the Omnibus Motion to Quash Search Warrant(s) and to Suppress Evidence filed by all the accused, through counsel, is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.

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Maderazo moved for reconsideration, but the same was denied in its September 21, 2015 Order.
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Thus, before the appellate court, Maderazo filed a petition for certiorari alleging grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the trial court when it denied the motion to quash search warrants.

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On April 26, 2017, the CA granted the petition for certiorari, and nullified and set aside Search Warrant Nos. 09-2015 and 10-2015. It, likewise, held that the items allegedly seized in the house being rented by Maderazo by virtue of the said search warrants are inadmissible in evidence against him since the access therein by the police officers used void search warrants.
Aggrieved, petitioner raised the lone issue of whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals erred in ruling that Judge Leynes committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed Orders dated August 14, 2015 and September 21, 2015 in Criminal Case Nos. CR-15-12-201 to 203, denying respondent’s motion to quash the subject search warrants.
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Maderazo asserted that there was no probable cause for the issuance of Search Warrant Nos. 09-2015 and 10-2015. He added that Judge Leynes did not personally examine P/Supt. Tolentino and his witnesses through searching questions and answers. He alleged that there was no TSN of the supposed personal examination of the judge attached to the records of the case. He asserted that the sworn statements of Roco, Rivera, and Cueto were not based on their personal knowledge but on the alleged admission of Maderazo.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), meanwhile, countered that while there may be no actual TSNs of the proceedings, the sworn statements of witnesses Roco, Rivera and Cueto are actual written records of the preliminary examination conducted by Judge Leynes. It insisted that the admission of Maderazo constituted probable cause which was determined by Judge Leynes after personally examining the witnesses.
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The petition has no merit.
The rules pertaining to the issuance of search warrants are enshrined in Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution:
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Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

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The purpose of the constitutional provision against unlawful searches and seizures is to prevent violations of private security in person and property, and unlawful invasion of the sanctity of the home, by officers of the law acting under legislative or judicial sanction, and to give remedy against such usurpations when attempted.

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Corollarily, Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 126 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure provide for the requisites for the issuance of a search warrant, to wit:
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SEC. 4. Requisites for issuing search warrant. — A search warrant shall not issue except upon probable cause in connection with one specific offense to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witness he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized which may be anywhere in the Philippines.
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SEC. 5. Examination of complainant; record. — The judge must, before issuing the warrant, personally examine in the form of searching questions and answers, in writing and under oath, the complainant and the witnesses he may produce on facts personally known to them and attach to the record their sworn statements, together with the affidavits submitted.

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To paraphrase this rule, a search warrant may be issued only if there is probable cause in connection with a specific offense alleged in an application based on the personal knowledge of the applicant and his witnesses. This is the substantive requirement for the issuance of a search warrant. Procedurally, the determination of probable cause is a personal task of the judge before whom the application for search warrant is filed, as he has to examine the applicant and his or her witnesses in the form of “searching questions and answers” in writing and under oath.


Thus, in Oebanda, et al. v. People, the Court held that, in determining the existence of probable cause in an application for search warrant, the mandate of the judge is for him to conduct a full and searching examination of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce. The searching questions propounded to the applicant and the witnesses must depend on a large extent upon the discretion of the judge. Although there is no hard-and-fast rule as to how a judge may conduct his examination, it is axiomatic that the said examination must be probing and exhaustive and not merely routinary, general, peripheral or perfunctory.

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He must make his own inquiry on the intent and factual and legal justifications for a search warrant. The questions should not merely be repetitious of the averments stated in the affidavits/deposition of the applicant and the witnesses.

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Attacking a court decision

The attack against the validity of the decision is entirely bereft of merit and justification.

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For sure, every party-litigant has the right to an impartial and disinterested tribunal. In view of this right, every party may seek the inhibition or disqualification of a judge who does not appear to be wholly free, disinterested, impartial and independent in handling a case. Nonetheless, the invocation of the right is always weighed against the duty of the judge to decide cases without fear of repression.

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The motion by the litigant for the inhibition or disqualification of a judge is regulated by the Rules of Court. Section 1, first paragraph, Rule 137 of the Rules of Court stipulates that a judge or judicial officer shall be mandatorily disqualified to sit in any of the instances enumerated therein, namely: where he, or his wife or child is pecuniarily interested as heir, legatee, creditor or otherwise; or where he is related to either party within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity; or where he is related to counsel within the fourth degree; or where he has been executor, administrator, guardian, trustee or counsel; or where he has presided in any inferior court, and his ruling or decision is the subject of review. The second paragraph of the rule concerns voluntary inhibition, and allows the judge, in the exercise of his sound discretion, to disqualify himself from sitting in a case “for just or valid reasons other than those mentioned above.” The exercise of discretion for this purpose is a matter of conscience for him, and is addressed primarily to his sense of fairness and justice.

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The grounds for the mandatory inhibition of the Members of the Court, which are analogous to those mentioned in Rule 137 of the Rules of Court, are embodied in Section 1, Rule 8 of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court, quoted as follows:
Section 1. Grounds for inhibition. — A Member of the Court shall inhibit himself or herself from participating in the resolution of the case for any of these and similar reasons:

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(a) The Member of the Court was the ponente of the decision or participated in the proceedings in the appellate or trial court;
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(b) The Member of the Court was counsel, partner, or member of a law firm that is or was the counsel in the case subject to Section 3(c) of this rule;
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(c) The Member of the Court or his or her spouse, parent or child is pecuniarily interested in the case;
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(d) The Member of the Court is related to either party in the case within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity;
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(e) The Member of the Court was executor, administrator, guardian or trustee in the case; and
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(f) The Member of the Court was an official or is the spouse of an official or former official of a government agency or private entity that is a party to the case, and the Justice or his or her spouse has reviewed or acted on any matter relating to the case.
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A Member of the Court may in the exercise of his or her sound discretion, inhibit himself or herself for a just or valid reason other than any of those mentioned above.
The inhibiting Member must state the precise reason for the inhibition.
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The grounds for seeking the inhibition of the Members of the Court must be stated in the motion. Yet, in now seeking the inhibition of all the Members of the Third Division who have ruled on the appeal, respondents neither advert to any of the grounds for mandatory inhibition nor point to the bias or partiality of said Members. Their motion only suggests that the earlier voluntary inhibition by Justice Velasco would not deter him from wielding undue influence over the remaining Members of the Third Division because he remained their Chairman.
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The suggestion assaults not only Justice Velasco’s character but also the character of the remaining Members of the Third Division. The assault is both unfair, and even worse, presumptuous. Indeed, Justice Velasco, following his self-disqualification, had nothing more to do with the case. At any rate, respondents ignore that the remaining Members of the Third Division would not be influenced by a disqualified Member upon matters involved in the case in which the latter no longer takes part.

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Moreover, respondents’ calling now for the inhibition of the Members of the Third Division only after they had rendered their decision adversely was no longer a viable remedy. Under Section 2, Rule 8 of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court, the granting of any motion for the inhibition of a Division or a Member of the Court after a decision on the merits of the case had been rendered is forbidden except if there is some valid or just reason (such as a showing of graft and corrupt practice, or such as a valid ground not earlier apparent).
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Respondents’ motion to refer the case to the Court En Banc is equally unworthy of consideration. In this regard, the grounds to justify a referral of any case to the Banc are long recognized. Section 3, Rule 2 of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court specifically enumerates the matters and cases that the Court En Banc shall act on, viz.:
SEC. 3. Court en banc matters and cases. — The Court en banc shall act on the following matters and cases:
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(a) cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, executive order, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question;

(b) criminal cases in which the appealed decision imposes the death penalty or reclusion perpetua;

(c) cases raising novel questions of law;

(d) cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls;
(e) cases involving decisions, resolutions, and orders of the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Elections, and the Commission on Audit;
(f) cases where the penalty recommended or imposed is the dismissal of a judge, the disbarment of a lawyer, the suspension of any of them for a period of more than one year, or a fine exceeding forty thousand pesos;
(g) cases covered by the preceding paragraph and involving the reinstatement in the judiciary of a dismissed judge, the reinstatement of a lawyer in the roll of attorneys, or the lifting of a judge’s suspension or a lawyer’s suspension from the practice of law;
(h) cases involving the discipline of a Member of the Court, or a Presiding Justice, or any Associate Justice of the collegial appellate courts;
(i) cases where a doctrine or principle laid down by the Court en banc or by a Division may be modified or reversed;
(j) cases involving conflicting decisions of two or more divisions;
(k) cases where three votes in a Division cannot be obtained;
(l) Division cases where the subject matter has a huge financial impact on businesses or affects the welfare of a community;
(m) subject to Section 11 (b) of this rule, other division cases that, in the opinion of at least three Members of the Division who are voting and present, are appropriate for transfer to the Court en banc;
(n) cases that the Court en banc deems of sufficient importance to merit its attention; and
(o) all matters involving policy decisions in the administrative supervision of all courts and their personnel.
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None of the aforecited matters and cases is applicable to this case, for respondents did not show in their motion how, if at all, this case came under any of the matters and cases listed in Section 3, Rule 2 of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court.
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Respondents did not also demonstrate how the Third Division could have contravened the procedures for handling the appeal set in the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court. Their insistence that Justice Martires and Justice Gesmundo had not studied the case prior to the deliberations and voting held on August 16, 2017 was speculative, if not outrightly false. The truth is that the four deciding Members of the Third Division deliberated and unanimously voted on the result. The fifth Member, Justice Caguioa, was absent because he was then on leave, but his absence did not render the deliberation and voting irregular. Far to the contrary, the deliberation and voting conformed to Section 4, second paragraph, Rule 8 of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court, which reads:

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Section 4. x x x
xxx xxx xxx
When a Member of the Division is on leave, he/she shall no longer be replaced as long as there is a quorum of at least three (3) members, and said absent Member who participated in the deliberation of the case shall be allowed to leave his or her vote pursuant to Section 4 of Rule 12.
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Worthy to stress is that the Court is composed of 15 Members who are assigned to the three Divisions. The assignment of the Members to the Divisions pursuant to the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court is based on seniority and on the vacancies to be filled. All the decisions promulgated and actions taken in Division cases rest upon the concurrence of at least three Members of the Division who actually take part in the deliberations and vote. The decisions or resolutions of each Division are not any less the decisions or resolutions of the Court itself. In short, the Court En Banc is not appellate in respect of the Divisions, for each Division is like the Court En Banc itself, not the inferior to the Court En Banc.

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Lastly, respondents point to the initial dismissal of the appeal. However, such initial dismissal no longer matters considering that the Court already reconsidered it and reinstated the appeal as a consequence. As such, the decision on the merits promulgated herein was entirely valid and effective.

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Detention; 1976 Case; Writ of habeas corpus; vs. Ex-General and President Fidel V. Ramos et. al.

WELLINGTON QUE REYES, petitioner, vs. GENERAL FIDEL RAMOS of the Philippine Constabulary (PC), Camp Crame, Quezon City; MAJOR ROLANDO ABADILLA of the Metrocom Police Intelligence Section (MPIS), P.C. Camp Crame, Quezon City; LT. PANFILO LACSON of the MPIS, Camp Crame, Quezon City; SGT. JAIME ORILLOSA of the MPIS, Camp Crame, Quezon City; SGT. ESTANISLAO GAMBOA of the MPIS, Camp Crame, Quezon City, respondents. [G.R. No. L-40027. January 29, 1976.]

xxx

This application for habeas corpus is premised on petitioner’s having been “confined, restrained and deprived of his liberty” in the stockade at Camp Crame, notwithstanding the absence of a formal complaint or accusation for any specific offense imputed to him, or of any judicial writ or order for his commitment.

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The Supreme Court required counsel for respondent to explain why the case petitioner was not immediately referred to the civil authorities after the issuance of General Order No. 41, and also why petitioner had been detained without the supposed scheduled referral of the case to the City Fiscal’s Office. The Solicitor General manifested among others that petitioner had been granted temporary release from detention as of 1:45 p.m. of January 29, 1975 and on February 4, 1975, a permanent release.

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The Supreme Court held that the release of petitioner rendered the case moot and academic. It added that the writ itself was never suspended by virtue of the proclamation of Martial Law, and that there is no bar to a petition of this character especially where on the face of the application itself it appears that there is no justification for such detention.

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CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; HABEAS CORPUS; RELEASE OF DETAINED PERSON RENDERS PETITION MOOT AND ACADEMIC. — The release of a person under detention renders the petition for writ of habeas corpus moot and academic.

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PROCLAMATION OF MARTIAL LAW DOES NOT SUSPEND PRIVILEGE OF HABEAS CORPUS. — Where the restraint of liberty is premised under Proclamation No. 1081 and in pursuance of its express terms, the individual, whose release is sought, falls within the class of persons as to whom the privilege of habeas corpus has been suspended. Since the writ itself, however, is never suspended, there is no bar to a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, where on the face of the application itself it appears that there is no justification for such detention. It is in that way that this writ of liberty serves a highly useful purpose. While it is to be assumed that no abuse of the broader powers under martial rule would be attempted by military officials, still, especially on the part of those in the lower echelon, and possibly due to excess of zeal, there could be detention without color of law. Should such a regrettable incident occur, certainly the courts are open for redress. Nor does the mere fact that the record of the petitioner attested to his frequent brushes with the law, preclude him from availing himself of the remedy. For “it is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people.”

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This application for habeas corpus filed by Wellington Que Reyes, through a sister, is premised on his having been “confined, restrained and deprived of his liberty” in the stockade or detention cell at Camp Crame, Quezon City, notwithstanding the absence of a formal complaint or accusation for any specific offense imputed to him, or of any judicial writ or order for his commitment. It was further alleged therein that he had not committed any offense for which he could be arrested or deprived of his liberty. While General Fidel Ramos, Chief of the Philippine Constabulary, was named as respondent, it was specifically made clear that as far as he was aware, such detention was ordered by respondent Major Rolando Abadilla of Camp Crame. Its last paragraph is worded thus: “That the new Constitution being in full operation and the civil court not [having] been abolished, the confinement of your petitioner under circumstances above narrated is utterly illegal, unjust and without any jurisdiction.”

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The petition was filed on January 25, 1975. Two days later, this Court issued the following resolution: “Considering the allegations contained, the issues raised and the arguments adduced in the petition for habeas corpus, the Court Resolved: (a) to [issue] a writ of habeas corpus, returnable to this Court on Wednesday, January 29, 1975 at 10:00 a.m.; and (b) to require the respondents to file an [answer] thereto not later than January 28, 1975, and not to move to dismiss the petition.” The return was duly filed on January 28, 1975. It sought the dismissal thereof on the ground that there was a valid arrest and seizure order against petitioner: Then came the hearing on January 29, 1975 resulting in the following resolution of this Court: “When this case was called for hearing this morning, Atty. Apolo P. Gaminde, assisted by Atty. Belen E. Tuy, appeared and argued for the petitioners, while Assistant Solicitor General Santiago M. Kapunan, Col. Eustaquio Purugganan and Lt. Col. Felix R. Solomon of the Judge Advocate General’s Office, appeared and argued for the respondents. In compliance with the writ, the body of petitioner Wellington Reyes was brought before this Court. Counsel for respondents manifested that the case of the petitioner will be referred to the City Fiscal of Manila at 2:00 p.m. today. In view thereof, the Court Resolved to [require]: (a) the petitioner to [file] within five (5) days from notice a sworn manifestation stating the facts related to the alleged referral to the City Fiscal’s Office of Manila by the Judge Advocate General’s Office of the case of petitioner sometime in December 1974 and the alleged dismissal or recommendation of dismissal thereof by the Assistant City Fiscal of Manila, a copy of such sworn manifestation to be served on the Solicitor General who may file a counter-manifestation within the same period from receipt thereof; and (b) the counsel for respondent to [file] within five (5) days from notice hereof, a documented explanation of why the case of the petitioner was not immediately referred to the Civil Authorities after the issuance of General Order No. 41 and also why petitioner has been detained since January 24, 1975 without the supposed scheduled referral of the case to the City Fiscal’s Office.”

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On the very next day, January 30, 1975, a manifestation was filed by the Solicitor General. It reads thus: “1. Petitioner had been released from detention as of 1:45 p.m. of January 29, 1975, as evidenced by a copy of the Temporary Release Order No. 75-073, dated January 28, 1975, . . .; 2. The case against petitioner for falsification of public document was referred on January 29, 1975 to the office of the City Fiscal of Quezon City (docketed as I.S. No. 75-1652) and not to the Manila Fiscal, it appearing that the falsified public document was executed in Quezon City; . . . 3. Respondents further wish to state that TSgt. Jaime Orilloso and Sgt. Estanislao Gamboa of the Metrocom Police Intelligence Service apprehended petitioner on January 24, 1975 on the strength of the Arrest, Search and Seizure Order No. 2530 signed by the Secretary of National Defense, which order as of the time of petitioner’s arrest was still subsisting and had not been recalled. Manila, January 30, 1975.” Thereafter, the compliance offering the explanation as to why the case against petitioner was not immediately referred to the civilian authorities after the issuance of General Order No. 49 and why petitioner was detained since January 24, 1975 without the scheduled referral of the case to the City Fiscal’s Office, was submitted to this Court on February 21, 1975. It was signed by Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza, Assistant Solicitor General Santiago M. Kapunan and Solicitor Celso P. Ylagan. It is worded thus: “1. One Mrs. Marciana Abcede filed on September 3, 1973 a complaint for Estafa against petitioner with the PC Metrocom; 2. On January 16, 1974, Mrs. Abcede’s complaint was referred to the Judge Advocate General, AFP; 3. On the basis of Mrs. Abcede’s complaint, the Secretary of National Defense issued on February 26, 1974 [arrest, search and seizure order] No. 2530 for the apprehension of petitioner, . . .; 4. However, petitioner’s immediate arrest could not be effected because he was not found in any of his known addresses, and his whereabouts were unknown; 5. As the [arrest, search and seizure order] issued on February 26, 1974 continued to be effective and unexecuted, petitioner was arrested by elements of PC Metrocom, at about 10:30 in the morning of January 24, 1975 (Friday). He was immediately brought to Camp Crame for investigation. Said investigation included not only another complaint against petitioner filed by Mrs. Abcede with the PC on November 10, 1973, this time for Falsification of Public Documents, but eighteen (18) criminal cases and/or complaints as well. The investigating team came across these other cases when they looked into petitioner’s police records with the various police agencies in the Greater Manila area; 6. Investigating elements of the PC Metrocom proceeded thereafter to all Courts and offices where these criminal cases an/or complaints are pending trial and/or disposition, including the Office of Civil Relations, GHQ, AFP, at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City, where the two complaints for Estafa were filed, to follow up the disposition and/or status of all these cases; in those cases where warrants of arrest were issued against petitioner, to verify if said warrants were served or executed. It took the PC Metrocom the whole afternoon of Friday (January 24, 1975) and all of the following day, Saturday (January 25, 1975), to carry out this series of actions; 7. Verification of said eighteen (18) cases and/or complaints, disclosed the following information: (a) Criminal Case No. 131535, for Estafa, dismissed upon desistance of offended party, (b) Criminal Case No. VII-142963, for Malicious Mischief, pending — out on bail, (c) Criminal Case No. VII-149769, for Slight Physical Injuries, pending — out on bail, (d) Criminal Case No. III-150828 for Grave Coercion, pending — out on bail, (e) Criminal Case No. III-159834, for Grave Threats, pending — out on bail, (f) I.S. No. 72-1767, for Estafa, pending, (g) Estafa, filed with MMP — no disposition on file (July 18, 1969), (h) Estafa, filed with MMP — no disposition on file (November 25, 1970), (i) Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunitions, filed with MMP — no disposition on file (November 25, 1970), (j) Violation of Ordinance 2646 (Jaywalking) — no disposition on file (January 20, 1972, (k) Estafa thru Falsification of Commercial Documents, before Br. VI, CFI, Manila, dismissed, upon desistance of offended party, (1) Estafa, before Br. VIII, City Court, Manila, dismissed, upon desistance of offended party, (m) Estafa, before Br. VIII, City Court, Manila, pending, (n) Estafa complaint, filed with OCR, GHQ, AFP (1973) — no disposition on file (o) Estafa, complaint, filed with OCR, GHQ, AFP — no disposition on file, (p) Attempted Parricide, filed with MMP & Metrocom — closed due to complainant’s desistance, (q) Criminal Case No. 7143987, for Incriminatory Machination — case withdrawn, (r) Criminal Case No. 7143986, for Attempted Corruption of Public Official — case withdrawn by Reviewing Fiscal on November 15, 1971; 8. On January 27, 1975 (Monday), even before respondents could effect the actual transfer of petitioner’s case to the proper City Fiscal’s Office (considering limitations of time, facilities for investigation, etc.), this Honorable Court resolved to issue the Writ (habeas corpus) returnable to itself on Wednesday, January 29, 1975, at 10:00 a.m.; and to require respondents to file Answer not later than January 28, 1975; 9. From January 27 to January 29, 1975, respondents took no action on these cases and complaints, including Mrs. Abcede’s complaint for Falsification of Public Documents, by way of referring or indorsing them to the prosecuting agencies, the proceedings having become sub judice, respondents [being] of the impression that the matter should be left to the disposition of this Honorable Court; 10. On January 29, 1975, at about 2:00 in the afternoon, after the hearing in the morning of herein Petition before this Tribunal, respondents forwarded Mrs. Abcede’s complaint for Falsification of Public Documents to the Office of the City Fiscal of Quezon City (I.S. No. 75-1652); . . . 11. On the same date (January 29, 1975), at exactly 1:45 o’clock in the afternoon, petitioner was granted temporary release [and] . . . on February 4, 1975, petitioner was granted permanent release. . . .”

xxx

REVISED RULES OF THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION; REQUIREMENT OF VERIFIED POSITION PAPER APPLICABLE ONLY IN PROCEEDINGS BEFORE LABOR ARBITERS.

REVISED RULES OF THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION; REQUIREMENT OF VERIFIED POSITION PAPER APPLICABLE ONLY IN PROCEEDINGS BEFORE LABOR ARBITERS. — Petitioner asseverates that the NLRC erroneously anchored its ruling on Section 2, Rule VII of its Revised Rules. A perusal of this provision shows that the requirement of a verified position paper is applicable only in proceedings before the Labor Arbiters.

LACK OF VERIFICATION OF POSITION PAPER A FORMAL RATHER THAN A SUBSTANTIAL DEFECT. — There is a need to rectify another faux pas of the NLRC, namely, that Section 2, Rule VII of its Revised Rules is “not only procedural but also jurisdictional.” Even prior to the questioned decision of the NLRC, We have had an occasion to rule squarely that the lack of verification of the position paper is a formal, rather than a substantial defect. It is not fatal in this case. It could have been easily corrected by requiring an oath. xxx

VERIFIED ANSWER A SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE WITH SECTION 2, RULE VII THEREOF; CASE AT BAR. — The filing of a verified answer by petitioner before the POEA is a matter of record. Granting arguendo that it was still necessary for petitioner to verify its defenses and allegations in the position paper, the verified answer was in substantial compliance with Section 2, Rule VII of the Revised Rules of the NLRC. After all, the averments and defenses raised in its position paper are mere clarifications of averments and defenses in the answer.

PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT ADMINISTRATION RULES AND REGULATIONS; REQUIREMENT OF VERIFICATION APPLIES ONLY TO ANSWER. — Sections 2 and 5, Rule III, Book VI of the POEA Rules and Regulations do not require verification of position papers. The requirement of verification applies only to an answer.

SECTIONS 2 AND 5, RULE III, BOOK VI THEREOF APPLICABLE TO CASE AT BAR. — Petitioner correctly invokes the applicability in this case of Sections 2 and 5, Rule III, Book VI of the POEA Rules and Regulations, which provide: “Section 2. Filing of Answer. Within the period indicated in paragraph 1 of Section 1 hereof, the respondent shall file a verified answer, not a motion to dismiss, incorporating therein all pertinent documents in support of his defense. “Section 5. Judgment Based on Position Paper. Whenever summary judgment is not appropriate, the Hearing Officer shall direct the parties to the case to simultaneously submit their position papers and/or memoranda within fifteen (15) calendar days from notice after which the case shall be deemed submitted for decision.” instead of Section 2, Rule VII of the Revised Rules of the NLRC which provides: “Section 2. Submission of position papers. — During the initial conference/hearing, or immediately thereafter, the Labor Arbiter shall require the parties to simultaneously submit to him their respective verified position papers, which shall cover only the issues raised in the complaint, accompanied by all supporting documents then available to them and the affidavits of their witnesses which shall take the place of their direct testimony. The parties shall thereafter not be allowed to allege, or present evidence to prove, facts not referred to and any cause or causes of action not included in their complaint or position papers, affidavits and other documents. The parties shall furnish each other with copies of the position papers, together with the supporting affidavits and documents submitted by them.” Sections 2 and 5, Rule III, Book VI of the POEA Rules and Regulations are the governing provisions because this case concerns adjudication proceedings before the POEA, which has the “original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide all cases involving employer-employee relation arising out of or by virtue of . . . (a) contract involving Filipino workers for overseas employment . . .” (Section 1, Rule I, Book VI of the POEA Rules and Regulations). As pointed out by petitioner, verification of the position paper is not required therein; only the answer is required to be verified. From cd asia

FIRST DIVISION [G.R. No. 87644. April 20, 1992.] G & P MANPOWER SERVICES, petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ORLANDO S. JIMENEZ AND ARMANDO S. JIMENEZ, respondents. Alcantara Alcoy Alegria Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan Tudela Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy Luz Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu

ADOPTION: ELDER SISTER ADOPTING A YOUNGER BROTHER.

ADOPTION: ELDER SISTER ADOPTING A YOUNGER BROTHER. — An elder sister may adopt a younger brother. There is no law that prohibits relatives, by blood or by affinity, from adopting one another. Article 335 of the Civil Code enumerates those persons who may not adopt, and petitioners-appellants are not among those prohibited from adopting. Again Article 339 of the same code names those who cannot be adopted, and the minor child whose adoption is under consideration is not one of those excluded by law. On the other hand, Art. 338 of the same code allows the adoption of a natural child by the natural father or mother, of other illegitimate children by their father or mother, and of a step-child by the step-father or step-mother. The last article removes all doubts that adoption is not prohibited even in cases where there already exist a relationship of parent and child between them by nature.

POLICY OF THE LAW. — The interest and welfare of the child to be adopted should be of paramount consideration. Adoption statutes, being humane and salutary, and designed to provide homes, care and education for unfortunate children, should be construed so as to encourage the adoption of such children by person who can properly rear and educate them.

ADOPTION OF YOUNGER BROTHER BY ELDER SISTER; OBJECTION THAT ADOPTION WILL RESULT IN DUAL RELATIONSHIP SHOULD NOT PREVENT ADOPTION. — With respect to the objection that the adoption by the elder sister of a younger brother would result in a dual relationship between the parties, such that the adopted brother will also be the son of the adopting elder sister, that fact alone should not prevent adoption. One is by nature, while the other is by fiction of law. The relationship established by the adoption is limited to the adopting parents and does not extend to their other relatives, except as expressly provided by law. Thus, the adopted child cannot be considered as a relative of the ascendants and collaterals of the adopting parents, nor of the legitimate children which they may have after the adoption except that the law imposes certain impediments to marriage by reason of adoption. Neither are children of the adopted considered as descendants of the adopter (Tolentino, Civil Code, Vol. I, 1960 Ed., p. 652, citing 1 Oyuelos 284; Perez, Gonzales and Castan; 4-11 Enneccerus, Kipp & Wolff 177; Munoz, p. 104).

EN BANC
[G.R. No. L-22523. September 29, 1967.]
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF THE MINOR, EDWIN VILLA Y MENDOZA, LUIS E. SANTOS, JR. and EDIPOLA V. SANTOS, petitioners-appellants, vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, oppositor-appellee.

Alcantara Alcoy Alegria Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan Tudela Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy Luz Kristin

AN ACTION FOR RECONVEYANCE IS NOT AFFECTED BY AN ALLEGATION SEEKING THE APPOINTMENT OF ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE

In an action for reconveyance, an allegation seeking appointment as administratrix of an estate, would not oust the RTC of its jurisdiction over the whole case. An action for reconveyance, which involves title to property worth millions of pesos, such as the lots subject of this case, is cognizable by the RTC. Likewise falling within its jurisdiction are actions “incapable of pecuniary estimation,” such as the appointment of an administratrix for an estate. Even the Rules on Venue of estate proceedings (Section 1 of Rule 73 impliedly recognizes the jurisdiction of the RTC over petitions for granting of letters of administration. On the other hand, probate proceedings for the settlement of estate are within the ambit of either the RTC or MTC depending on the net worth of the estate.

[G.R. No. 122646. March 14, 1997.]
ADELIA C. MENDOZA, for herself and Administratrix of the Intestate Estate of the late NORBERTO B. MENDOZA, petitioners, vs. HON. ANGELITO C. TEH, Presiding Judge, Branch 87, RTC, Rosario, Batangas, SPS. HERMINIO & CLARITA TAYAG @ SPS. GEORGE T. TIGLAO & CLARIZZA T. TIGLAO and/or @ TEOFILO M. ESGUERA, LEONOR M. ESGUERA, LETICIA M. ESGUERA, JOEL M. ESGUERA, RICARDO M. ESGUERA, VOLTAIRE E. TAYAG, BENITO I. TAYAG, MERLIE MALIG, ALBERTO T. TAYAG, ROSEMARIE T. TAYAG, LETICIA E. LULU and the REGISTER OF DEEDS FOR THE PROVINCE OF BATANGAS, respondents.