Available Defense against Petition Seeking Forfeiture of Properties Allegedly due to Unexplained Wealth

Applicable law:

Republic Act No. 1379, entitled “An Act Declaring Forfeiture in Favor of the State of Any Property Found to Have Been Unlawfully Acquired By Any Public Officer or Employee and Providing for the Procedure Thereof,” provides:

Sec. 2. Filing of petition. — Whenever any public officer or employee has acquired during his incumbency an amount of property which is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer or employee and to his other lawful income from legitimately acquired property, said property shall be presumed prima facie to have been unlawfully acquired….

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 6. Judgment. — If the respondent is unable to show to the satisfaction of the court that he has lawfully acquired the property in question, then the court shall declare such property, forfeited in favor of the State, and by virtue of such judgment the property aforesaid shall become property of the State: Provided, That no judgment shall be released within six months before any general election or within three months before any special election. The Court may, in addition, refer this case to the corresponding Executive Department for administrative or criminal action, or both.”

Brief facts:

Respondent is an Assistant Civil Engineer of the Bureau of Public Highways Read more…

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Legal Basis for Rescission of Contracts in the Philippine Civil Code

Rescission refers to the cancellation of an agreement or contract either through mutual agreement of the parties or for cause.

A party can rescind a contract when the other party fails to comply with his legal obligation.  This is done through judicial rescission (in court).

Applicable provision:

Art. 1191 of the Civil Code. “The power to rescind obligations is implied in reciprocal ones, in case one of the obligors should not comply with what is incumbent upon him.

The injured party may choose between the fulfillment and the rescission of the obligation, with the payment of damages in either case. He may also seek rescission, even after he has chosen fulfillment, if the latter should become impossible.

The court shall decree the rescission claimed, unless there be just cause authorizing the fixing of a period.

This is understood to be without prejudice to the rights of third persons who have acquired the thing, in accordance with articles 1385 and 1388 and the Mortgage Law.”

The Supreme Court had the occasion to decide that judicial rescission was proper in a case where the owner of a construction project sought to rescind its construction contract plus damages.

The Supreme Court explained: “Article 1191, is not predicated on economic prejudice to one of the, parties but on breach of faith by one of them that violates the reciprocity between them.”  and affirmed the lower court’s decision in favor of the respondents. 

Florido & Associates was counsel for the respondents.

 (ERNESTO DEIPARINE, JR, Petitioner vs. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, CESARIO CARUNGAY and ENGR. NICANOR TRINIDAD, Respondents ; G.R. No. 96643. April 23, 1993)   Read the full text and syllabus of the Court’s decision here.

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Supreme Court Ruling on Psychological Incapacity

When citing psychological incapacity as a ground for annulment, the petitioner (or the one filing the petition for nullity alleging this as a ground) must not only present an expert witness like a psychologist or psychiatrist to testify on this ground but also show that the expert witness conducted a series of tests to justify his/her psychiatric or psychological evaluation.

Thus, the Supreme Court said:

“The expert opinion of a psychiatrist arrived at after a maximum of seven (7) hours of interview, and unsupported by separate psychological tests, cannot tie the hands of the trial court and prevent it from making its own factual finding on what happened in this case. The probative force of the testimony of an expert does not lie in a mere statement of his theory or opinion, but rather in the assistance that he can render to the courts in showing the facts that serve as a basis for his criterion and the reasons upon which the logic of his conclusion is founded.”  (The case of Edward N. Lim vs. Maria Cheryl Sta Cruz-Lim, GR No. 176464, February 4, 2010)

 

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Enforcement of Foreign Money Judgments (Philippines)

I. PRESENT ATTITUDE TOWARD ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN MONEY JUDGMENTS

A. Describe the receptiveness of your government (including courts) toward enforcement of foreign money judgments.

Under the newly-ratified Constitution of The Republic of the Philippines of 1986, the Philippines adopt the generally-accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adhere to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity with all nations.

Under the Section 50 of Rule 39 of The Philippine Rules of Court, a judgment against a person, such as for a sum of money rendered by a foreign court, is presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties of successors-in-interest by a subsequent title, but when suit for its enforcement is brought in a Philippine court, said judgment may be repelled by evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact.

B.  Briefly describe recent illustrative attempts, whether successful or unsuccessful, to enforce a foreign money judgment in your country, particularly with regard to enforcement of any judgments from United States courts.

There are no recent cases.

C. Describe any proposed legislation or other governmental action in your country that could significantly affect the enforcement of foreign money judgments.

None.

 

 II. PROCEDURE TO ENFORCE A FOREIGN MONEY JUDGMENT

A. General Summary of Procedure Read more…

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Law on Retrenchment: Philippine Airlines case

After many years of battling it out in the Supreme Court, the association of flight attendants of the Philippine Airlines finally obtained a decision declaring their retrenchment illegal.

In its decision, the Supreme Court restates the requirements of retrenchment for it to be considered as a valid exercise of management prerogative. “In order for a retrenchment scheme to be valid, all of the following elements under Article 283 of the Labor Code must concur or be present, to wit:

(1) That retrenchment is reasonably necessary and likely to prevent business losses which, if already incurred, are not merely de minimis, but substantial, serious, actual and real, or if only expected, are reasonably imminent as perceived objectively and in good faith by the employer;

(2) That the employer served written notice both to the employees and to the Department of Labor and Employment at least one month prior to the intended date of retrenchment;

(3) That the employer pays the retrenched employees separation pay equivalent to one (1) month pay or at least one-half (½) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher;

(4) That the employer exercises its prerogative to retrench employees in good faith for the advancement of its interest and not to defeat or circumvent the employees’ right to security of tenure; and,

(5) That the employer uses fair and reasonable criteria in ascertaining who would be dismissed and who would be retained among the employees, such as status, efficiency, seniority, physical fitness, age, and financial hardship for certain workers.”

Retrenchment must be exercised by the employer as a last resort to prevent serious business losses or avoid closure of business.

In the case at bar, the Court viewed the retrenchment as a “knee jerk response” to a “temporary” situation, i.e. the pilots’ strike in 1998, without first exhausting other cost cutting measures such as work rotation and hotel-sharing.

FLIGHT ATTENDANTS AND STEWARDS ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES (FASAP) vs. PHILIPPINE AIRLINES (G.R. 178083, Oct. 02, 2009)

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