May 2009 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Remedial Law

Here are selected May 2009 decisions of the Philippine Supreme Court on remedial law.

Certiorari; judicial discretion. A wide breadth of discretion is granted a court of justice in certiorari proceedings. The Supreme Court has not too infrequently given due course to a petition for certiorari, even when the proper remedy would have been an appeal, where valid and compelling considerations would warrant such a recourse. Moreover, the Supreme Court allowed a Rule 65 petition, despite the availability of plain, speedy or adequate remedy, in view of the importance of the issues raised therein. The rules were also relaxed by the Supreme Court after considering the public interest involved in the case; when public welfare and the advancement of public policy dictates; when the broader interest of justice so requires; when the writs issued are null and void; or when the questioned order amounts to an oppressive exercise of judicial authority.  People’s Broadcasting vs. The Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, et al., G.R. No. 179652, May 8, 2009.
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Legalese 2009 (Week 25)

Lexicon

Contract for a piece of work – a contract wherein the contractor binds himself to manufacture a product specially for the customer.

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Hayden Kho, Katrina Halili, Robin Padilla and the Pet Goldfish (Part II)

Last week’s post raised the issue of whether the penalty imposed by the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004 (which is the law that Hayden Kho allegedly violated) of 10 years, 1 day imprisonment for a husband who killed the wife’s pet goldfish and caused psychological stress to the pregnant wife is shocking to the moral sense of the community.

If it does, there is basis for the argument (based on the Supreme Court’s statement in the Robin Padilla case and similar cases) that the penalty imposed violates the Constitution. In this regard, the test crafted by the Supreme Court on whether too severe a penalty may violate the constitutional prohibition against cruel and degrading punishment has a subjective element to it (as it depends on the “moral sense of the community”). If one were to look for an objective criteria, the cases decided by the United States Supreme Court provide some guidance.

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May 2009 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Criminal Law and Legal/Judicial Ethics

Here are selected May 2009 decisions of the Supreme Court on criminal law and legal/judicial ethics.

Criminal Law

Dangerous Drugs Act; sale of illegal drugs. In order to successfully prosecute an accused for illegal sale of drugs, the prosecution must be able to prove the following elements: (1) identities of the buyer and seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. What is material to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale or had actually taken place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of corpus delicti.

Otherwise stated, in illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the elements are: (1) the accused is in possession of an item or object which is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug. Similarly, in this case, the evidence of the corpus delicti must be established beyond doubt.

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Legalese 2009 (Week 24)

Lexicon

Appraisal right – right of a stockholder to demand payment of the fair value of his shares, after dissenting from a proposed corporate action involving a fundamental change in the corporation (as specified by law). (see Corporation Code of the Philippines, p. 655 [2006]). Continue reading

Hayden Kho, Katrina Halili, Robin Padilla and the Pet Goldfish

After a heated argument with his pregnant wife, the irate husband flushes the wife’s pet goldfish into goldfish heaven (or hell).   The wife cries foul and claims substantial emotional and psychological stress over the death of her pet goldfish.  After appropriate proceedings, the court sentences the husband to imprisonment of 10 years and 1 day.

Some may think that imprisonment of 10 years and 1 day for killing a goldfish and causing psychological stress to the wife may be a bit severe and that such penalty for such type of offense will likely be found in totalitarian states. Believe it or not, the above scenario can happen in the Philippines. Here is where the stories of Hayden Kho, Katrina Halili, Robin Padilla and the pet goldfish become intertwined.

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May 2009 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Civil Law

Here are selected May 2009 decisions of the Supreme Court on civil law.

Contracts;  force majeure.  The matter of fortuitous events is governed by Art. 1174 of the Civil Code which provides that except in cases expressly specified by the law, or when it is otherwise declared by stipulation, or when the nature of the obligation requires assumption of risk, no person shall be responsible for those events which could not be foreseen, or which though foreseen, were inevitable. The elements of a fortuitous event are: (a) the cause of the unforeseen and unexpected occurrence, must have been independent of human will; (b) the event that constituted the caso fortuito must have been impossible to foresee or, if foreseeable, impossible to avoid; (c) the occurrence must have been such as to render it impossible for the debtors to fulfill their obligation in a normal manner, and; (d) the obligor must have been free from any participation in the aggravation of the resulting injury to the creditor.

A fortuitous event may either be an act of God, or natural occurrences such as floods or typhoons, or an act of man such as riots, strikes or wars. However, when the loss is found to be partly the result of a person’s participation–whether by active intervention, neglect or failure to act—the whole occurrence is humanized and removed from the rules applicable to a fortuitous event. Asset Privitization Trust vs. T.J. EnterprisesG.R. No. 167195,  May 8, 2009.

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