Suntay v. Cojuangco-Suntay, G.R. No. 132254, 29 December 1998.



The ratio decidendi points as the legal basis for setting aside the marriage is paragraph 3, Article 85 of the New Civil Code, the law in force prior to the enactment of the Family Code, on voidable  marriages.

The dispositive portion of the decision reads:

“WHEREFORE, the marriage celebrated between Emilio Aguinaldo Suntay and Isabel Cojuangco-Suntay on July 9, 1958 is hereby declared null and void and of no effect as between the parties. xxx”

The conflict lies on the legal connotation and implications of the terms “voidable” and “null and void”.


Which should prevail between the ratio decidendi and the fallo in this case?


It is the ratio decidendi..

[I]t is an elementary principle of procedure that the resolution of the court in a given issue as embodied in the dispositive part of a decision or order is the controlling factor as to settlement of rights of the parties and the questions presented, notwithstanding statement in the body of the decision or order which may be somewhat confusing, the same is not without qualification. The foregoing rule holds true only when the dispositive part of a final decision or order is definite, clear and unequivocal and can be wholly given effect without need of interpretation or construction which usually is the case where the order or decision in question is that of a court not of record which is not constitutionally required to state the facts and the law on which the judgment is based.

Assuming that a doubt or uncertainty exists between the dispositive portion and the body of the decision, effort must be made to harmonize the whole body of the decision in order to give effect to the intention, purpose and judgment of the court.


Thus, a reading of the pertinent portions of the decision xxx shows that the marriage is voidable.


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De los Santos v. De la Cruz, G.R. No. L-29192, 22 February 1971



The parties admit that the owner of the estate, subject matter of the extrajudicial partition agreement, was Pelagia de la Cruz, who died intestate; that defendant-appellant (De la Cruz)is a nephew of the said decedent; that plaintiff-appellee (De los Santos) is a grandniece of Pelagia de la Cruz, her mother, Marciana de la Cruz, being a niece who predeceased said Pelagia de la Cruz; and that the purpose of the extrajudicial partition agreement was to divide and distribute the estate among the heirs of Pelagia de la Cruz.


What is the effect of an extra-judicial partition which included a person who is not an heir of the deceased?


The extrajudicial partition agreement is void with respect to plaintiff-appellee.

Article 1105 of the Civil Code provides: “A partition which includes a person believed to be a heir, but who is not, shall be void only with respect to such person.” Partition of property affected between a person entitled to inherit from the deceased owner thereof and another person who thought he was an heir, when he was not really and lawfully such, to the prejudice of the rights of the true heir designated by law to succeed the deceased, is null and void. A fortiori, plaintiff-appellee could hardly derive from the agreement the right to have its terms enforced.



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Nogales v. Capitol Medical Center, et al., G.R. No. 142625, 19 December 2006.



Pregnant with her fourth child, Corazon Nogales (“Corazon”), who was then 37 years old, was under the exclusive prenatal care of Dr. Oscar Estrada (“Dr. Estrada”) beginning on her fourth month of pregnancy or as early as December 1975. While Corazon was on her last trimester of pregnancy, Dr. Estrada noted an increase in her blood pressure and development of leg edema indicating preeclampsia, which is a dangerous complication of pregnancy. Around midnight of 25 May 1976, Corazon started to experience mild labor pains prompting Corazon and Rogelio Nogales (“Spouses Nogales”) to see Dr. Estrada at his home. After examining Corazon, Dr. Estrada advised her immediate admission to the Capitol Medical Center (“CMC”). The following day, Corazon was admitted at 2:30 a.m. at the CMC after the staff nurse noted the written admission request of Dr. Estrada. Upon Corazon’s admission at the CMC, Rogelio Nogales (“Rogelio”) executed and signed the “Consent on Admission and Agreement” and “Admission Agreement.” Corazon was then brought to the labor room of the CMC. Corazon died at 9:15 a.m. The cause of death was “hemorrhage, post partum.”

Petitioners filed a complaint for damages with the Regional Trial Court of Manila against CMC, Dr. Estrada, and the rest of CMC medical staff for the death of Corazon. In their defense, CMC pointed out that Dr. Estrada was a consultant to be considered as an independent-contractor, and that no employer-employee relationship existed between the former and the latter.

After more than 11 years of trial, the trial court rendered judgment on 22 November 1993 finding Dr. Estrada solely liable for damages. Petitioners appealed the trial court’s decision. Petitioners claimed that aside from Dr. Estrada, the remaining respondents should be held equally liable for negligence. Petitioners pointed out the extent of each respondent’s alleged liability.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling and applied the “borrowed servant doctrine” to release the liability of other medical staff. This doctrine provides that once the surgeon enters the operating room and takes charge of the proceedings, the acts or omissions of operating room personnel, and any negligence associated with such acts or omissions, are imputable to the surgeon. While the assisting physicians and nurses may be employed by the hospital, or engaged by the patient, they normally become the temporary servants or agents of the surgeon in charge while the operation is in progress, and liability may be imposed upon the surgeon for their negligent acts under the doctrine of respondeat superior.

ISSUE: Whether CMC is vicariously liable for the negligence of Dr. Estrada as its attending independent-contractor physician considering that facts of the instant case.



In general, a hospital is not liable for the negligence of an independent contractor-physician. There is, however, an exception to this principle. The hospital may be liable if the physician is the “ostensible” agent of the hospital. This exception is also known as the “doctrine of apparent authority.”xxx The doctrine of apparent authority essentially involves two factors to determine the liability of an independent-contractor physician. The first factor focuses on the hospital’s manifestations and is sometimes described as an inquiry whether the hospital acted in a manner which would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the individual who was alleged to be negligent was an employee or agent of the hospital. In this regard, the hospital need not make express representations to the patient that the treating physician is an employee of the hospital; rather a representation may be general and implied. xxx The second factor focuses on the patient’s reliance. It is sometimes characterized as an inquiry on whether the plaintiff acted in reliance upon the conduct of the hospital or its agent, consistent with ordinary care and prudence.


In the instant case, CMC impliedly held out Dr. Estrada as a member of its medical staff. Through CMC’s acts, CMC clothed Dr. Estrada with apparent authority thereby leading the Spouses Nogales to believe that Dr. Estrada was an employee or agent of CMC. CMC cannot now repudiate such authority. The records show that the Spouses Nogales relied upon a perceived employment relationship with CMC in accepting Dr. Estrada’s services. Rogelio testified that he and his wife specifically chose Dr. Estrada to handle Corazon’s delivery not only because of their friend’s recommendation, but more importantly because of Dr. Estrada’s “connection with a reputable hospital, the [CMC].” In other words, Dr. Estrada’s relationship with CMC played a significant role in the Spouses Nogales’ decision in accepting Dr. Estrada’s services as the obstetrician-gynecologist for Corazon’s delivery. Moreover, as earlier stated, there is no showing that before and during Corazon’s confinement at CMC, the Spouses Nogales knew or should have known that Dr. Estrada was not an employee of CMC. xxx CMC’s defense that all it did was “to extend to [Corazon] its facilities” is untenable. The Court cannot close its eyes to the reality that hospitals, such as CMC, are in the business of treatment.


The Court finds respondent Capitol Medical Center vicariously liable for the negligence of Dr. Oscar Estrada. The amounts of P105,000 as actual damages and P700,000 as moral damages should each earn legal interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum computed from the date of the judgment of the trial court. The Court affirms the rest of the Decision dated 6 February 1998 and Resolution dated 21 March 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 45641.


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Bongalon v. People, G.R. No. 169533, 20 March 2013.



Jayson Dela Cruz (Jayson) and Roldan, his older brother, both minors, joined the evening procession for the Santo Niño at Oro Site in Legazpi City; that when the procession passed in front of the petitioner’s house, the latter’s daughter Mary Ann Rose, also a minor, threw stones at Jayson and called him “sissy”; that the petitioner confronted Jayson and Roldan and called them names like “strangers” and “animals”; that the petitioner struck Jayson at the back with his hand, and slapped Jayson on the face; that the petitioner then went to the brothers’ house and challenged Rolando dela Cruz, their father, to a fight, but Rolando did not come out of the house to take on the petitioner; that Rolando later brought Jayson to the Legazpi City Police Station and reported the incident; that Jayson also underwent medical treatment at the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital; that the doctors who examined Jayson issued two medical certificates attesting that Jayson suffered the following contusions, to wit: (1) contusion .5 x 2.5 scapular area, left; and (2) +1×1 cm. contusion left zygomatic area and contusion .5 x 2.33 cm. scapular area, left. The petitioner denied having physically abused or maltreated Jayson. He explained that he only talked with Jayson and Roldan after Mary Ann Rose and Cherrylyn, his minor daughters, had told him about Jayson and Roldan’s throwing stones at them and about Jayson’s burning Cherrylyn’s hair. He denied shouting invectives at and challenging Rolando to a fight, insisting that he only told Rolando to restrain his sons from harming his daughters.



Is the accused guilty of Child Abuse under R.A. No. 7610 or Physical Injuries under the Revised Penal Code?



The accused is guilty of Physical Injuries under the Revised Penal Code.

Not every instance of the laying of hands on a child constitutes the crime of child abuse under Section 10 (a) of Republic Act No. 7610. Only when the laying of hands is shown beyond reasonable doubt to be intended by the accused to debase, degrade or demean the intrinsic worth and dignity of the child as a human being should it be punished as child abuse. Otherwise, it is punished under the Revised Penal Code.

Although we affirm the factual findings of fact by the RTC and the CA to the effect that the petitioner struck Jayson at the back with his hand and slapped Jayson on the face, we disagree with their holding that his acts constituted child abuse within the purview of the above-quoted provisions. The records did not establish beyond reasonable doubt that his laying of hands on Jayson had been intended to debase the “intrinsic worth and dignity” of Jayson as a human being, or that he had thereby intended to humiliate or embarrass Jayson. The records showed the laying of hands on Jayson to have been done at the spur of the moment and in anger, indicative of his being then overwhelmed by his fatherly concern for the personal safety of his own minor daughters who had just suffered harm at the hands of Jayson and Roldan. With the loss of his self-control, he lacked that specific intent to debase, degrade or demean the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being that was so essential in the crime of child abuse.

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Posted by on September 20, 2016 in Case Digests, Criminal Law, Legal Medicine


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Dr. Encarnacion Lumantas v. Hanz Calapiz, G.R. No. 163753, 15 January 2014.



In 1995, Spouses Hilario Calapiz, Jr. and Herlita Calapiz brought their 8-year-old son, Hanz Calapiz (Hanz), to the Misamis Occidental Provincial Hospital, Oroquieta City, for an emergency appendectomy. Hanz was attended to by the petitioner, who suggested to the parents that Hanz also undergo circumcision at no added cost to spare him the pain. With the parents’ consent, the petitioner performed the coronal type of circumcision on Hanz after his appendectomy. On the following day, Hanz complained of pain in his penis, which exhibited blisters. His testicles were swollen. The parents noticed that the child urinated abnormally after the petitioner forcibly removed the catheter, but the petitioner dismissed the abnormality as normal. Hanz was discharged from the hospital over his parents’ protestations, and was directed to continue taking antibiotics. After a few days,  Hanz was confined in a hospital because of the abscess formation between the base and the shaft of his penis. Presuming that the ulceration was brought about by Hanz’s appendicitis, the petitioner referred him to Dr. Henry Go, an urologist, who diagnosed the boy to have a damaged urethra. Thus, Hanz underwent cystostomy, and thereafter was operated on three times to repair his damaged urethra.

When his damaged urethra could not be fully repaired and reconstructed, Hanz’s parents brought a criminal charge against the petitioner for reckless imprudence resulting to serious physical injuries. In his defense, the petitioner denied the charge. He contended that at the time of his examination of Hanz, he had found an accumulation of pus at the vicinity of the appendix two to three inches from the penis that had required immediate surgical operation; that after performing the appendectomy, he had circumcised Hanz with his parents’ consent by using a congo instrument, thereby debunking the parents’ claim that their child had been cauterized; that he had then cleared Hanz once his fever had subsided; that he had found no complications when Hanz returned for his follow up check-up; and that the abscess formation between the base and the shaft of the penis had been brought about by Hanz’s burst appendicitis.

The RTC acquitted the petitioner of the crime charged for insufficiency of the evidence. It held that the Prosecution’s evidence did not show the required standard of care to be observed by other members of the medical profession under similar circumstances. Nonetheless, the RTC ruled that the petitioner was liable for moral damages because there was a preponderance of evidence showing that Hanz had received the injurious trauma from his circumcision by the petitioner. The Petitioner appealed his case to the CA contending that he could not be held civilly liable because there was no proof of his negligence. The CA affirmed the RTC, sustaining the award of moral damages.


Whether the CA erred in affirming the petitioner’s civil liability despite his acquittal of the crime of reckless imprudence resulting in serious physical injuries.



It is axiomatic that every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. xxx Our law recognizes two kinds of acquittal, with different effects on the civil liability of the accused. First is an acquittal on the ground that the accused is not the author of the act or omission complained of. This instance closes the door to civil liability, for a person who has been found to be not the perpetrator of any act or omission cannot and can never be held liable for such act or omission. There being no delict, civil liability ex delicto is out of the question, and the civil action, if any, which may be instituted must be based on grounds other than the delict complained of. This is the situation contemplated in Rule 111 of the Rules of Court. The second instance is an acquittal based on reasonable doubt on the guilt of the accused. In this case, even if the guilt of the accused has not been satisfactorily established, he is not exempt from civil liability which may be proved by preponderance of evidence only.

The petitioner’s contention that he could not be held civilly liable because there was no proof of his negligence deserves scant consideration. The failure of the Prosecution to prove his criminal negligence with moral certainty did not forbid a finding against him that there was preponderant evidence of his negligence to hold him civilly liable. With the RTC and the CA both finding that Hanz had sustained the injurious trauma from the hands of the petitioner on the occasion of or incidental to the circumcision, and that the trauma could have been avoided, the Court must concur with their uniform findings. In that regard, the Court need not analyze and weigh again the evidence considered in the proceedings a quo. The Court, by virtue of its not being a trier of facts, should now accord the highest respect to the factual findings of the trial court as affirmed by the CA in the absence of a clear showing by the petitioner that such findings were tainted with arbitrariness, capriciousness or palpable error.

Every person is entitled to the physical integrity of his body. Although we have long advocated the view that any physical injury, like the loss or diminution of the use of any part of one’s body, is not equatable to a pecuniary loss, and is not susceptible of exact monetary estimation, civil damages should be assessed once that integrity has been violated. The assessment is but an imperfect estimation of the true value of one’s body. The usual practice is to award moral damages for the physical injuries sustained. In Hanz’s case, the undesirable outcome of the circumcision performed by the petitioner forced the young child to endure several other procedures on his penis in order to repair his damaged urethra. Surely, his physical and moral sufferings properly warranted the amount of P50,000.00 awarded as moral damages.

Many years have gone by since Hanz suffered the injury. Interest of 6% per annum should then be imposed on the award as a sincere means of adjusting the value of the award to a level that is not only reasonable but just and commensurate. Unless we make the adjustment in the permissible manner by prescribing legal interest on the award, his sufferings would be unduly compounded. For that purpose, the reckoning of interest should be from the filing of the criminal information on April 17, 1997, the making of the judicial demand for the liability of the petitioner.



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Jacomille v. Abaya, G.R. No. 212381, 22 April 2015.



Recently, the LTO formulated the Motor Vehicle License Plate Standardization Program (MVPSP) to supply the new license plates for both old and new vehicle registrants.  The DOTC published in newspapers of general circulation the Invitation To Bid for the supply and delivery of motor vehicle license plates for the MVPSP and stated that the source of funding in the amount of P3,851,600,100.00 would be the General Appropriations Act (GAA). However, a perusal of R.A. No. 10352 or the General Appropriations Act of 2013 (GAA 2013), would show that Congress appropriated only the amount of P187,293,000.00 under the specific heading of Motor Vehicle Plate-Making Project. The DOTC proceeded with the bidding process, but delayed in the implementation of the project. The Senate Committee on Public Services conducted an inquiry in aid of legislation on the reported delays in the release of motor vehicle license plates, stickers and tags by the LTO.

Petitioner, by counsel and assisted by Retired Justice Leonardo A. Quisumbing, instituted this taxpayer suit, averring that he was a diligent citizen paying his correct taxes to the Philippine Government regularly; that he was a registered vehicle owner, as evidenced by the Certificate of Registration of his motor vehicle and a registered licensed driver; that he would be affected by the government issuance of vehicle plates thru its MVPSP upon his renewal of the registration of his vehicle; that not being a participant to the bidding process, he could not avail of the administrative remedies and procedure provided under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR); that as far as he was concerned, there was no appeal or any plain or speedy remedy available to him.

For the respondents, the OSG stated that the issues presented had been rendered moot and academic as the gap in the budget of MVPSP was already bridged and covered by the full and specific funding by GAA 2014 in the amount of P4,843,753,000.00 for the item “Motor Vehicle Registration and Driver’s Licensing Regulatory Services.” With the signing of MVPSP on February 21, 2014, after the enactment of GAA 2014, the OSG claimed that all objections that petitioner might have, whether right or wrong, had been rendered naught.

On the other hand, JKG-Power Plates averred that petitioner had no locus standi. It pointed out that petitioner had admitted that he was not one of the bidders in MVPSP and so he would not suffer any direct injury. Likewise, the present case was not a proper subject of taxpayer suit because no taxes would be spent for this project. The money to be paid for the plates would not come from taxes, but from payments of vehicle owners, who would pay P450.00 for every pair of motor vehicle license plate, and P120.00 for every motorcycle license plate. Out of the P450.00, the cost of the motor vehicle plate would only be P380.00. In effect, the government would even earn P70.00 from every pair of plate.


  1. Whether the petition should be dismissed for being moot and academic, considering the assailed deficiencies in appropriation have been substantially complied with.
  1. Whether the petitioner has locus standi to bring his case in court.
  1. Whether the petitioner established a taxpayer’s suit.


1. NO.

The rule is well-settled that for a court to exercise its power of adjudication, there must be an actual case or controversy – one which involves a conflict of legal rights, an assertion of opposite legal claims susceptible of judicial resolution. The case must not be moot or academic or based on extra-legal or other similar considerations not cognizable by a court of justice. Where the issue has become moot and academic, there is no justiciable controversy, and an adjudication thereon would be of no practical u se or value as courts do not sit to adjudicate mere academic questions to satisfy scholarly interest, however intellectually challenging. xxx Nevertheless, there were occasions in the past when the Court passed upon issues although supervening events had rendered those petitions moot and academic. After all, the moot and academic principle is not a magical formula that can automatically dissuade the courts from resolving a case. Courts will decide cases, otherwise moot and academic, if: first, there is a grave violation of the Constitution; second, the exceptional character of the situation and the paramount public interest is involved; third, when the constitutional issue raised requires formulation .of controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public; and fourth, the case is capable of repetition yet evading review.

In the case at bench, the issues presented must still be passed upon because paramount public interest is involved and the case is capable of repetition yet evading review. MVPSP is a nationwide project which affects new and old registrants of motor vehicles and it involves P3,851,600,100.00 of the taxpayers’ money. Also, the act complained of is capable of repetition because the procurement process under R.A. No. 9184 is regularly made by various government agencies. Hence, it is but prudent for the Court to rule on the substantial merits of the case.


2. YES.

Locus standi is defined as the right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question. The fundamental question is whether a party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions.

In the present case, petitioner justifies his locus standi by claiming that the petition raises issues of transcendental importance and that he institutes the same as a taxpayer’s suit. It must be noted that the Court has provided the following instructive guides to determine whether a matter is of transcendental importance, namely: “(1) the character of the funds or other assets involved in the case; (2) the presence of a clear case of disregard of a constitutional or statutory prohibition by the public respondent agency or instrumentality of the government; and (3) the lack of any other party with a more direct and specific interest in the questions being raised.”

Petitioner sufficiently showed that his case presents a matter of transcendental importance based on the above-cited determinants. He elucidated that, first, around P3.851 billion in public funds stood to be illegally disbursed; second, the IRR of R.A. No. 9184 and R.A. No. 7718 were violated and the contract for MVPSP was awarded to respondent JKG Power Plates despite the utter disregard of the said laws; third, there was no other party with a more direct and specific interest who had raised the issues therein; and fourth, MVPSP had a wide range of impact because all registered motor vehicles owners would be affected.

3. YES.

A person suing as a taxpayer must show that the act complained of directly involves the illegal disbursement of public funds derived from taxation. Contrary to the assertion of JKG-Power Plates, MVPSP clearly involves the expenditure of public funds. While the motor vehicle registrants will pay for the license plates, the bid documents and contract for MVPSP indicate that the government shall bear the burden of paying for the project. Every portion of the national treasury, when appropriated by Congress, must be properly allocated and disbursed. Necessarily, an allegation that public funds in the amount of P3.851 billion shall be used in a project that has undergone an improper procurement process cannot be easily brushed off by the Court.


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Robles v. Yapcinco, G.R. No. 169568, October 22, 2014.


FACTS: Petitioner argues that the non-registration of the certificate of sale did not affect the title acquired by Apolinario Cruz as the purchaser in the judicial foreclosure of mortgage  and that the finality of the judgment rendered in the judicial action for foreclosure of mortgage was valid and binding on the respondents as the successors-in interest of the judgment debtor. In contrast, the respondents maintain that they were lawfully entitled to the property in litis because there was no registration of the certificate of sale or confirmation from the court and that with the release of mortgage being validly registered in the Office of Registry of Deeds, thereby rendering the title free from any lien and encumbrances, they already had the right to transfer the property in their names.

ISSUE: Is non-registration of property after judicially foreclosure and sale had the effect of invalidating the foreclosure proceedings, such that ownership reverts to the original owner?


The effect of the failure of Apolinario Cruz to obtain the judicial confirmation was only to prevent the title to the property from being transferred to him. For sure, such failure did not give rise to any right in favor of the mortgagor or the respondents as his successors-in-interest to take back the property already validly sold through public auction. Nor did such failure invalidate the foreclosure proceedings. To maintain otherwise would render nugatory the judicial foreclosure and foreclosure sale, thus unduly disturbing judicial stability. The non-transfer of the title notwithstanding, Apolinario Cruz as the purchaser should not be deprived of the property purchased at the foreclosure sale. With the respondents having been fully aware of the mortgage, and being legally bound by the judicial foreclosure and consequent public sale, and in view of the unquestioned possession by Apolinario Cruz and his successors-in-interest (including the petitioner) from the time of the foreclosure sale until the present, the respondents could not assert any better right to the property. It would be the height of inequity to still permit them to regain the property on the basis alone of the lack of judicial confirmation of the sale. After all, under the applicable rule earlier cited, the judicial confirmation operated only “to divest the rights of all the parties to the action and to vest their rights in the purchaser, subject to such rights of redemption as may be allowed by law.”

Consequently, the late Fernando F. Yapcinco and the respondents as his successors-in-interest were divested of their right in the property, for they did not duly exercise the equity of redemption decreed in the decision of the trial court. With Yapcinco having thereby effectively ceased to be the owner of the property sold, the property was taken out of the mass of the assets of Yapcinco upon the expiration of the equity of redemption.


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Posted by on September 1, 2016 in Case Digests, Civil Procedure, Remedial Law


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