June 2012 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Legal and Judicial Ethics

Here are select June 2012 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on legal and judicial ethics:

Administrative Complaint; moot and academic. The Court dismissed the complaint filed by Inter-Petal Recreational Corporation against Chief Justice Renato Corona for being moot and academic after considering the judgment of the Senate sitting as an Impeachment Court, which found the Chief Justice guilty of the charge under Article II of the Articles of Impeachment, with the penalty of removal from office and disqualification to hold any office under the Republic of the Philippines as provided in Section 3(7), Article XI of the Constitution. Re: Complaint Against the Honorable Chief Justice Renato C. Corona dated September 14, 2011 filed by Inter-Petal Recreational Corporation, A.M. No. 12-6-10-SC. June 13, 2012

Attorneys; disbarment cases imprescriptible. The defense of prescription is untenable. The Court has held that administrative cases against lawyers do not prescribe.  The lapse of considerable time from the commission of the offending act to the institution of the administrative complaint will not erase the administrative culpability of a lawyer.  Otherwise, members of the bar would only be emboldened to disregard the very oath they took as lawyers, prescinding from the fact that as long as no private complainant would immediately come forward, they stand a chance of being completely exonerated from whatever administrative liability they ought to answer for. Fidela Bengco and Teresita Bengco vs. Atty. Pablo Bernardo, A.C. No. 6368, June 13, 2012.

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June 2012 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Labor Law and Procedure

Here are select June 2012 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippine on labor law and procedure:

Appeal; issue of employer-employee relationship raised for the first time on appeal. It is a fundamental rule of procedure that higher courts are precluded from entertaining matters neither alleged in the pleadings nor raised during the proceedings below, but ventilated for the first time only in a motion for reconsideration or on appeal. The alleged absence of employer-employee relationship cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. The resolution of this issue requires the admission and calibration of evidence and the LA and the NLRC did not pass upon it in their decisions. Petitioner is bound by its submissions that respondent is its employee and it should not be permitted to change its theory. Such change of theory cannot be tolerated on appeal, not on account of the strict application of procedural rules, but as a matter of fairness. Duty Free Philippines Services, Inc. vs. Manolito Q. Tria. G.R. No. 174809. June 27, 2012.

Dismissal; abandonment. Abandonment cannot be inferred from the actuations of respondent. When he discovered that his time card was off the rack, he immediately inquired from his supervisor.  He later sought the assistance of his counsel, who wrote a letter addressed to Polyfoam requesting that he be re-admitted to work.  When said request was not acted upon, he filed the instant illegal dismissal case.  These circumstances clearly negate the intention to abandon his work. Polyfoam-RGC International, Corporation and Precilla A. Gramaje vs. Edgardo Concepcion. G.R. No. 172349, June 13, 2012.

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June 2012 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Tax Law

Here are select June 2012 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on tax law:

National Internal Revenue Code; Revenue Regulations No. 7-95; refund of input VAT; printing of “zero-rated” on official receipt. Revenue Regulations No. 7-95, which took effect on 1 January 1996, proceeds from the rule-making authority granted to the Secretary of Finance by the National Internal Revenue Code for the efficient enforcement of the same Tax Code and its amendments. In Panasonic Communications Imaging Corporation of the Philippines v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the Court had ruled that this provision is “reasonable and is in accord with the efficient collection of VAT from the covered sales of goods and services.” Moreover, the Court held in Kepco Philippines Corporation v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue that the subsequent incorporation of Section 4.108-1 of RR 7-95 in Section 113 (B) (2) (c) of Republic Act No. 9337 actually confirmed the validity of the imprinting requirement on VAT invoices or official receipts – a case falling under the principle of legislative approval of administrative interpretation by reenactment. The Court has consistently held as fatal the failure to print the word “zero-rated” on the VAT invoices or official receipts in claims for a refund or credit of input VAT on zero-rated sales, even if the claims were made prior to the effectivity of R.A. 9337. Western Mindanao Power Corporation vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, G.R. No. 181136, June 13, 2012.

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June 2012 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Criminal Law and Procedure

Here are select June 2012 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on criminal law and procedure:

1. REVISED PENAL CODE

Estafa; elements. Entrenched in jurisprudence are the following essential elements of Estafa under Article 315, paragraph 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code: (a) that money, goods or other personal properties are received by the offender in trust or on commission, or for administration, or under any other obligation involving the duty to make delivery of or to return, the same; (2) that there is a misappropriation or conversion of such money or property by the offender or denial on his part of such receipt; (3) that such misappropriation or conversion or denial is to the prejudice of another; and (4) that there is a demand made by the offended party on the offender. In this case, all these elements have been sufficiently established by the prosecution in this case. Andre L. D’Aigle v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 174181, June 27, 2012.

Estafa; misappropriation;Trust Receipts Law. In order that the respondents may be validly prosecuted for estafa under Article 315, paragraph 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code, in relation with Section 13 of the Trust Receipts Law, the following elements must be established: (a) they received the subject goods in trust or under the obligation to sell the same and to remit the proceeds thereof to [the trustor], or to return the goods if not sold; (b) they misappropriated or converted the goods and/or the proceeds of the sale; (c) they performed such acts with abuse of confidence to the damage and prejudice of the entrustor; and (d) demand was made on them by [the trustor] for the remittance of the proceeds or the return of the unsold goods. Land Bank of the Philippines v. Lamberto C. Perez, et al., G.R. No. 166884, June 13, 2012.

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June 2012 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Civil Law

Here are select June 2012 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on civil law:

Civil Code

Agency; ratification. The complaint was anchored on the supposed failure of FEBTC to duly investigate the authority of Antonio in contracting the “exceptionally and relatively immense” loans amounting to P5,000,000.00. Marcos alleged therein that his property had thereby become “unlawfully burdened by unauthorized real estate mortgage contracts,” because the loans and the mortgage contracts had been incurred by Antonio and his wife only for themselves, to the exclusion of petitioner. Yet, Marcos could not deny that under the express terms of the SPA, he had precisely granted to Antonio as his agent the authority to borrow money, and to transfer and convey the property by way of mortgage to FEBTC; to sign, execute and deliver promissory notes; and to receive the proceeds of the loans on the former’s behalf. In other words, the mortgage contracts were valid and enforceable against petitioner, who was consequently fully bound by their terms.

Moreover, even if it was assumed that Antonio’s obtaining the loans in his own name, and executing the mortgage contracts also in his own name had exceeded his express authority under the SPA, Marcos was still liable to FEBTC by virtue of his express ratification of Antonio’s act. Under Article 1898 of the Civil Code, the acts of an agent done beyond the scope of his authority do not bind the principal unless the latter expressly or impliedly ratifies the same.

In agency, ratification is the adoption or confirmation by one person of an act performed on his behalf by another without authority. The substance of ratification is the confirmation after the act, amounting to a substitute for a prior authority. Here, there was such a ratification by Marcos, as borne out by his execution of the letter of acknowledgement on September 12, 1996.

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June 2012 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Commercial Law

Here are select June 2012 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on commercial law:

Banks; diligence required.  Republic Act No. 8971, or the General Banking Law of 2000, recognizes the vital role of banks in providing an environment conducive to the sustained development of the national economy and the fiduciary nature of banking; thus, the law requires banks to have high standards of integrity and performance. The fiduciary nature of banking requires banks to assume a degree of diligence higher than that of a good father of a family. In the case at bar, petitioner itself was negligent in the conduct of its business when it extended unsecured loans to the debtors. Worse, it was in serious breach of its duty as the trustee of the MTI. It was not able to protect the interests of the parties and was even instrumental in violating the terms of the MTI, to the detriment of the parties thereto. Thus, petitioner has only itself to blame for being left with insufficient recourse against petitioner under the assailed MTI. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company vs. Centro Development Corp., et al., G.R. No. 180974, June 13, 2012.

Corporation; corporate approval for appointment of trustee.  Reading carefully the Secretary’s Certificate, it is clear that the main purpose of the directors’ Resolution was to appoint petitioner as the new trustee of the previously executed and amended MTI. Going through the original and the revised MTI, we find no substantial amendments to the provisions of the contract. We agree with petitioner that the act of appointing a new trustee of the MTI was a regular business transaction. The appointment necessitated only a decision of at least a majority of the directors present at the meeting in which there was a quorum, pursuant to Section 25 of the Corporation Code.  Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company vs. Centro Development Corp., et al., G.R. No. 180974, June 13, 2012.

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