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Cruz v. Cruz, G.R. No. 173292, September 1, 2010.

[CARPIO, J.]

FACTS

Memoracion Z. Cruz filed with the RTC a Complaint against her son, Oswaldo Z. Cruz, for “Annulment of Sale, Reconveyance and Damages.” After Memoracion finished presenting her evidence in chief, she died. The RTC was informed, albeit belatedly, of the death of Memoracion, and was supplied with the name and address of her legal representative, Edgardo Cruz.

ISSUE

Whether or not Petition for Annulment of Deed of Sale, Reconveyance and Damages is a purely personal action which did not survive the death of petitioner.

 

RULING

NO. The question as to whether an action survives or not depends on the nature of the action and the damage sued for. In the causes of action which survive, the wrong complained [of] affects primarily and principally property and property rights, the injuries to the person being merely incidental, while in the causes of action which do not survive, the injury complained of is to the person, the property and rights of property affected being incidental. Here, the petition for annulment of deed of sale involves property and property rights, and hence, survives the death of petitioner Memoracion.

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Posted by on July 25, 2017 in Civil Law, Succession

 

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Continental Steel Manufacturing Corp. v. Montao, 182836, 13 October 2009.

[CHICO-NAZARIO, J.]

FACTS:

Hortillano, an employee of Continental Steel, filed a claim for Paternity Leave, Bereavement Leave and Death and Accident Insurance for dependent pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) concluded between Continental and the Union. The claim was based on the death of Hortillano’s unborn child. Hortillanos wife, had a premature delivery while she was in the 38th week of pregnancy. According to the Certificate of Fetal Death, the female fetus died during labor due to fetal Anoxia secondary to uteroplacental insufficiency. Continental Steel immediately granted Hortillanos claim for paternity leave but denied his claims for bereavement leave and other death benefits, consisting of the death and accident insurance. Continental Steel posited that the express provision of the CBA did not contemplate the death of an unborn child, a fetus, without legal personality. Continental Steel, relying on Articles 40, 41 and 42 of the Civil Code, contended that only one with civil personality could die. Hence, the unborn child never died because it never acquired juridical personality. Proceeding from the same line of thought, Continental Steel reasoned that a fetus that was dead from the moment of delivery was not a person at all.

 

ISSUE: Whether death can only happen to one with civil/juridical personality.

 

HELD: NO.

The reliance of Continental Steel on Articles 40, 41 and 42 of the Civil Code for the legal definition of death is misplaced. Article 40 provides that a conceived child acquires personality only when it is born, and Article 41 defines when a child is considered born. Article 42 plainly states that civil personality is extinguished by death.

First, the issue of civil personality is not relevant herein. Articles 40, 41 and 42 of the Civil Code on natural persons, must be applied in relation to Article 37 of the same Code, the very first of the general provisions on civil personality.

We need not establish civil personality of the unborn child herein since his/her juridical capacity and capacity to act as a person are not in issue. It is not a question before us whether the unborn child acquired any rights or incurred any obligations prior to his/her death that were passed on to or assumed by the child’s parents. The rights to bereavement leave and other death benefits in the instant case pertain directly to the parents of the unborn child upon the latters death.

Second, Sections 40, 41 and 42 of the Civil Code do not provide at all a definition of death. Moreover, while the Civil Code expressly provides that civil personality may be extinguished by death, it does not explicitly state that only those who have acquired juridical personality could die.

And third, death has been defined as the cessation of life. Life is not synonymous with civil personality. One need not acquire civil personality first before he/she could die. Even a child inside the womb already has life. No less than the Constitution recognizes the life of the unborn from conception, that the State must protect equally with the life of the mother. If the unborn already has life, then the cessation thereof even prior to the child being delivered, qualifies as death.

 

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Sa Iyo (For You)

I just got this piece of poetry which I wrote and recited during interment a decade ago. It was dedicated to my grandfather who passed away that time. Now I am sharing this to the world.

Sa Iyo

Sa iyo na nagmula
Ang binhi ng pagkabata
Higit na mapagparaya
At mapagkalinga
 
Sa iyo natutunan
Kung pa’no tutugunan
Sagutin ang kahirapan 
Ng maikling kwentuhan
 
Sa ‘yo namin nakita
Huwaran ni ama
Haligi ng pamilya
Kanlungan ng saya
 
Sa ‘yong panahon 
Ay naging mahinahon
Sa lahat ng hamon
Ng buhay sa maghapon
 
Sa ‘yong mga k’wento
Kami ay nangatuto
Sa giyera at multo
Na pinapanakot n’yo
 
Sa ‘yong kanlungan
Kalinga ang naranasan
Sa hirap at kasiyahan
Ika’y aming nasamahan
 
Sa ‘yong pagtatakipsilim
Kami’y naninimdim
Sugat man sa damdamin
Ay aming tatanggapin
 
Sa aming huling pagsilay
Huling sulyap sa ‘yong buhay
Ito ang aming pagpupugay
Sa buhay mong alay
 

Wherever you are, lolo Omeng, stay at peace; and to your son, our dad: Alfredo, Freddie, Pidok, Dok-Fi or to whatever name it would be appropriate, we both missed you. This piece is for both of you.

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2013 in Personal

 

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B.R. Sebastian Enterprises, Inc. vs C.A. [G.R. No. L-41862. February 7, 1992]

Ponente: DAVIDE, JR., J.

FACTS:

[P]etitioner, thru its then counsel of record, Baizas, Alberto and Associates, received notice to file Appellant’s Brief within 45 days from receipt thereof. Counsel for petitioner failed to file the Brief thus respondent Court issued a Resolution requiring said counsel to show cause why the appeal should not be dismissed for failure to file the Appellant’s Brief within the reglementary period. As the latter failed to comply with the above Resolution, respondent Court issued another Resolution this time dismissing petitioner’s appeal.

[P]etitioner, this time thru the BAIZAS LAW OFFICE, filed a motion for reconsideration of the resolution dismissing its appeal alleging that as a result of the death of Atty. Crispin Baizas, senior partner in the law firm of BAIZAS, ALBERTO & ASSOCIATES, the affairs of the said firm are still being settled between Atty. Jose Baizas (son of Crispin Baizas) and Atty. Ruby Alberto, the latter having established her own law office; furthermore, Atty. Rodolfo Espiritu, the lawyer who handled this case in the trial court and who is believed to have also attended to the preparation of the Appellant’s Brief but failed to submit it through oversight and inadvertence, had also left the firm.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the death of a partner extinguish the lawyer-client relationship with the law firm.

HELD:

NO. Petition was dismissed.

RATIO:

Petitioner’s counsel was the law firm of BAIZAS, ALBERTO & ASSOCIATES and not merely Atty. Crispin Baizas. Hence, the death of the latter did not extinguish the lawyer-client relationship between said firm and petitioner. With Baizas’ death, the responsibility of Atty. Alberto and his Associates to the petitioner as counsel remained until withdrawal by the former of their appearance in the manner provided by the Rules of Court. This is so because it was the law firm which handled the case for petitioner before both the trial and appellate courts. That Atty. Espiritu, an associate who was designated to handle the case, later left the office after the death of Atty. Baizas is of no moment since others in the firm could have replaced him. Upon receipt of the notice to file Brief, the law firm should have re-assigned the case to another associate or, it could have withdrawn as counsel in the manner provided by the Rules of Court so that the petitioner could contract the services of a new lawyer.

Moreover, petitioner itself was guilty of negligence when it failed to make inquiries from counsel regarding its case. As pointed out by respondents, the president of petitioner corporation claims to be the intimate friend of Atty. Crispin Baizas; hence, the death of the latter must have been known to the former. This fact should have made petitioner more vigilant with respect to the case at bar. Petitioner failed to act with prudence and diligence, thus, its plea that they were not accorded the right to procedural due process cannot elicit either approval or sympathy.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2012 in Case Digests, Legal Ethics

 

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