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For Monday (STATCON) Chapter 11 of textbook 1. National Housing Authority v. Reyes, 123 SCRA 245 (1983) 2. Gonzales v.

v. Kalaw Katigbak, 137 SCRA 717 (1985) 3. Eugenio v. Drilon, 252 SCRA 106 (1996) 4. Gan v Reyes, G.R. No. 145527. May 28, 2002 5. Casela v CA, G.R. No. L-26754. October 16, 1970, 35 SCRA 279 6. Rufino Lopez v. CTA, G.R. No. L-9274. February 1, 1957 100 PHIL 850 7. Cosico v NLRC, GR 118432, May 23, 1997 272 SCRA 583 Alonzo v. CA, GR 72873, May 28, 1987 150 SCRA 259 8. Pp v. Almuete, G.R. No. L-26551. February 27, 1976 69 SCRA 410 9. Rufino Lopez v. CTA, G.R. No. L-9274. February 1, 1957 Chartered Bank of India v. Imperial, G.R. No. 17222. March 15, 1921 See 10. Paras v. Comelec cited on page 241 of Agpalo 11. Salvacion v. Rural Bank, G.R. No. 94723. August 21, 1997 278 SCRA 27 I suggest that the class google the IRAC Formula. This stands for Issue, Rule, Application/Analysis, Conclusion. This will help in digesting and reciting on cases. -Atty. Tanada

June 29, 1983 G.R. No. L-49439 NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE PASTOR P. REYES, in his capacity as Presiding Judge (on detail), Court of Agrarian Relations, Seventh Regional District, Branch II, Cavite City, QUIRINO AUSTRIA and LUCIANO AUSTRIA, respondents. , J.: The undisputed fact that in this certiorari proceeding against respondent Judge for failure to comply with the provision of the Presidential Decrees as to the amount to be paid by petitioner to entitle it to a writ of possession in an expropriation proceeding, no question was raised as to their validity, calls for the grant of the remedy sought. The controversy started with the filing of a complaint with the then Court of Agrarian Relations, Seventh Regional District, Branch II, Cavite City, against private respondents, for the expropriation, pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 757, of a parcel of land, with an area of 25,000 square meters, owned and registered in the name of respondent Quirino Austria, and needed for the expansion of the Dasmarias Resettlement Project. 1 Then came from petitioner about a year later a motion for the issuance of a writ of possession. 2 Petitioner was able to secure an order placing it in possession. 3 Thereafter, private respondent Quirino Austria filed a Motion to Withdraw Deposit in the amount of P6,600.00, a sum which was equivalent to the value of the property assessed for taxation purposes and which was deposited by petitioner pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 42 . 4 There

was an Opposition to the Motion to Withdraw Deposit by petitioner, citing Section 92 of Presidential Decree No. 464 which states: Basis for payment of just compensation in expropriation proceedings. In determining such compensation when private property is acquired by the government for public use, the same shall not exceed the market value declared by the owner or administrator or anyone having legal interest in the property, or such market value as determined by the assessor, whichever is lower. 5 Petitioners submission is that the owners declaration at P1,400.00 which is lower than the assessors assessment, is the just compensation for the respondents property, respondents thus being precluded from withdrawing any amount more than P1,400.00. 6 Respondent Judge, however, issued an order dated July 13, 1978 which, according to petitioner, is clearly contrary to the letter and spirit of the aforecited laws. 7 There was a Motion for Reconsideration dated July 21, 1978. 8 Its basis is the provision in Presidential Decree No. 1224: In the determination of just compensation for such private lands and improvement to be expropriated, the government shall choose between the value of the real property and improvements thereon as declared by the owner or administrator thereof or the market value determined by the City or provincial assessor, whichever is lower, at the time of the filing of the expropriation complaint. 9 It was then submitted that under the aforequoted statutory provision, the owners declared market value at P1,400.00 which is lower than that fixed by the assessor is the just compensation of respondent Quirino Austrias property sought to be expropriated. The

motion for reconsideration was denied for lack of merit. Hence, this petition. On January 4, 1979, the Court issued the following resolution: Considering the allegations contained, the issues raised and the arguments adduced in the petition for certiorari and mandamus with preliminary injunction with prayer for a restraining order, the Court Resolved without giving due course to the petition to require the respondents to comment, not to file a motion to dismiss, within ten (10) days from notice. The Court further Resolved to issue a temporary restraining order, effective as of this date and continuing until otherwise ordered by the Court. 10 The comment was thereafter submitted by private respondents Quirino Austria and Luciano Austria. Private respondents stress that while there may be basis for the allegation that respondent Judge did not follow Presidential Decree No. 76 as amended by Presidential Decree No. 464, as further amended by Presidential Decree Nos. 794, 1224 and 1259, the matter is still subject to his final disposition, he having been vested with the original and competent authority to exercise his judicial discretion in the light of the constitutional provisions. 11 There was a comment likewise submitted by counsel on behalf of respondent Judge but again, there was no question raised as to the validity of the aforementioned Decrees. Such comments were considered as answers. The case was originally submitted to the Second Division, and in a resolution of February 21, 1979, it referred this case to the Court en banc. Under the state of the pleadings as submitted to this Court, it is evident why, as noted at the

outset, certiorari lies. 1. One of the basic postulates in constitutional law is the presumption of validity of legislative or executive acts. In Angara v. Electoral Commission 12 the leading case on the subject until now, Justice Laurel, in speaking of judicial review, made clear that it is not for the judiciary to pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or expediency of legislation. 13 His landmark opinion continues: More than that, courts accord the presumption of constitutionality to legislative enactments, not only because the legislature is presumed to abide by the Constitution but also because the judiciary in the determination of actual cases and controversies must reflect the wisdom and justice of the people as expressed through their representatives in the executive and legislative departments of the government. 14 As pointed out in Ermita-Malate Hotel & Motel Operators Association, Inc. v. City Mayor of Manila: 15 Primarily what calls for a reversal of such a decision is the absence of any evidence to offset the presumption of validity that attaches to a challenged statute or ordinance. As was expressed categorically by Justice Malcolm: The presumption is all in favor of validity 16 As of this stage in this particular case, there is a failure to challenge the validity of such legislation. Both public and private respondents in their comments considered as answers raised no such constitutional question. Even for it, therefore, as of this stage of litigation, and under the conceded facts, there should be a recognition that the law as it stands must be applied. The Decree having spoken so clearly and unequivocally calls for obedience. It is repeating a common place to state that on a matter where the applicable law

speaks in no uncertain language, the Court has no choice except to yield to its command. 2. Nor is there any choice for petitioner National Housing Authority for precisely it was created for the laudable purpose of urban land reform. 17 The first whereas clause speaks of the magnitude of the housing problem of the country which has grown into such proportions that only a purposeful, determined, organized mass housing development program can meet the needs of Filipino families for decent housing. 18 Moreover, the Presidential Decree is mandated by the Constitution which requires the State to establish, maintain, and ensure adequate social services in the field of housing as well as to guarantee the enjoyment of the people of a decent standard of living. 19 The very first section of the Decree speaks of the following: Pursuant to the mandate of the New Constitution, there shall be developed a comprehensive and integrated housing program which shall embrace, among others, housing development and resettlement, sources and schemes of financing, and delineation of government and private sector participation. The program shall specify the priorities and targets in accordance with the integrated national human settlements plan prepared by the Human Settlements Commission. 20 In view of the urgency of the housing problem the various decrees mentioned earlier were issued for the purpose of assuring that the government would be in a financial position to cope with such basic human need which in the Philippines, under the welfare state concept, and according to the express language of the Constitution, is an obligation cast upon the State. The memorandum

for petitioner submitted by Government Corporate Counsel, now likewise the Presidential Legal Assistant, Justice Manuel M. Lazaro, pursues the matter further in prose impressed with force and clarity: The issue in this petition for certiorari and mandamus involves the application of a rule introduced by P.D. No. 76 and reiterated in subsequent decrees that not only promotes social justice but also ends the baneful and one-sided practice abetted by the collusive acquiescence of government officials and employees, of under declaring properties for the purpose of taxation but ballooning the price thereof when the same properties are to be acquired by the government for public purposes. Put to the test, therefore, is the power of the government to introduce rationality in the laws and to discourage a deceitful practice that is not only ruinous to the government coffers but also undermines its efforts at awakening a democratic responsiveness of the citizenry toward good government and its economic and social programs. The courts should recognize that the rule introduced by P.D. No. 76 and reiterated in subsequent decrees does not upset the established concepts of justice or the constitutional provision on just compensation for, precisely, the owner is allowed to make his own valuation of his property. 21 WHEREFORE, the writ of certiorari is granted and the order of respondent Judge of July 13, 1978 is hereby nullified and set aside. The restraining order issued by this Court on January 4, 1979 is hereby made permanent. The case is remanded to the lower court for further action conformably to law and to the above opinion. No costs.

July 22, 1985 G.R. No. L-69500 JOSE ANTONIO U. GONZALEZ in behalf of MALAYA FILMS, LINO BROCKA, JOSE F. LACABA, and DULCE Q. SAGUISAG, petitioners, vs. CHAIRMAN MARIA KALAW KATIGBAK, GENERAL WILFREDO C. ESTRADA (Ret.), and THE BOARD OF REVIEW FOR MOTION PICTURES AND TELEVISION (BRMPT), respondents. Irene R. Cortes, Perfecto V. Fernandez, Haydee Yorac and Joker P. Arroyo for petitioners. The Solicitor General for respondents. Fernando, J.: In this case of first impression, a certiorari proceeding filed on January 10, 1985, there is a persuasive ring to the invocation of the constitutional right to freedom of expression 1 of an artist-and for that matter a man of letters tooas the basis for a ruling on the scope of the power of respondent Board of Review for Motion Pictures and Television and how it should be exercised. The dispute between the parties has been narrowed down. The motion picture in question, Kapit sa Patalim was classified For Adults Only. There is the further issue then, also one of first impression, as to the proper test of what constitutes obscenity in view of the objections raised. Thus the relevance of this constitutional command: Arts and letters shall be under the patronage of the State. 2 The principal petitioner is Jose Antonio U. Gonzalez, 3 President of the Malaya Films, a movie production outfit duly registered as a single proprietorship with the Bureau of Domestic Trade. The respondent is the Board of Review for Motion Pictures and Television, with Maria Kalaw Katigbak as its Chairman and Brig. Gen. Wilfredo

C. Estrada as its Vice-Chairman, also named respondents. In a resolution of a sub-committee of respondent Board of October 23, 1984, a permit to exhibit the film Kapit sa Patalim under the classification For Adults Only, with certain changes and deletions enumerated was granted. A motion for reconsideration was filed by petitioners stating that the classification of the film For Adults Only was without basis. 4 Then on November 12, 1984, respondent Board released its decision: Acting on the applicants Motion for Reconsideration dated 29 October 1984, the Board, after a review of the resolution of the subcommittee and an examination of the film, Resolves to affirm in toto the ruling of the subcommittee. Considering, however, certain vital deficiencies in the application, the Board further Resolves to direct the Chairman of the Board to Withheld the issuance of the Permit to exhibit until these deficiencies are supplied. 5 Hence this petition. This Court, in a resolution of January 12, 1985, required respondent to answer. In such pleading submitted on January 21, 1985, as one of its special and affirmative defenses, it was alleged that the petition is moot as respondent Board has revoked its questioned resolution, replacing it with one immediately granting petitioner company a permit to exhibit the film Kapit without any deletion or cut [thus an] adjudication of the questions presented above would be academic on the case. 6 Further: The modified resolution of the Board, of course, classifies Kapit as foradults-only, but the petition does not raise any issue as to the validity of this classification. All that petitioners assail as arbitrary on the part of

the Boards action are the deletions ordered in the film. 7 The prayer was for the dismissal of the petition. An amended petition was then filed on January 25, 1985. The main objection was the classification of the film as For Adults Only. For petitioners, such classification is without legal and factual basis and is exercised as impermissible restraint of artistic expression. The film is an integral whole and all its portions, including those to which the Board now offers belated objection, are essential for the integrity of the film. Viewed as a whole, there is no basis even for the vague speculations advanced by the Board as basis for its classification. 8 There was an answer to the amended petition filed on February 18, 1985. It was therein asserted that the issue presented as to the previous deletions ordered by the Board as well as the statutory provisions for review of films and as to the requirement to submit the master negative have been all rendered moot. It was also submitted that the standard of the law for classifying films afford a practical and determinative yardstick for the exercise of judgment. For respondents, the question of the sufficiency of the standards remains the only question at issue. It would be unduly restrictive under the circumstances to limit the issue to one of the sufficiency of standards to guide respondent Board in the exercise of its power. Even if such were the case, there is justification for an inquiry into the controlling standard to warrant the classification of For Adults Only. This is especially so, when obscenity is the basis for any alleged invasion of the right to the freedom of artistic and literary expression embraced in the

free speech and free press guarantees of the Constitution. 1. Motion pictures are important both as a medium for the communication of Ideas and the expression of the artistic impulse. Their effects on the perception by our people of issues and public officials or public figures as well as the prevailing cultural traits is considerable. Nor as pointed out in Burstyn v. Wilson 9 is the importance of motion pictures as an organ of public opinion lessened by the fact that they are designed to entertain as well as to inform. 10 There is no clear dividing line between what involves knowledge and what affords pleasure. If such a distinction were sustained, there is a diminution of the basic right to free expression. Our recent decision in Reyes v. Bagatsing 11 cautions against such a move. Press freedom, as stated in the opinion of the Court, may be Identified with the liberty to discuss publicly and truthfully any matter of public concern without censorship or punishment. 12 This is not to say that such freedom, as is the freedom of speech, absolute. It can be limited if there be a clear and present danger of a substantive evil that [the State] has a right to prevent. 13 2. Censorship or previous restraint certainly is not all there is to free speech or free press. If it were so, then such basic rights are emasculated. It is however, except in exceptional circumstances a sine qua non for the meaningful exercise of such right. This is not to deny that equally basic is the other important aspect of freedom from liability. Nonetheless, for the purposes of this litigation, the emphasis should rightly be on freedom from censorship. It is, beyond question, a well-settled principle in our jurisdiction. As early as 1909, in

the case of United States v. Sedano, 14 a prosecution for libel, the Supreme Court of the Philippines already made clear that freedom of the press consists in the right to print what one chooses without any previous license. There is reaffirmation of such a view in Mutuc v. Commission on Elections, 15 where an order of respondent Commission on Elections giving due course to the certificate of candidacy of petitioner but prohibiting him from using jingles in his mobile units equipped with sound systems and loud speakers was considered an abridgment of the right of the freedom of expression amounting as it does to censorship. It is the opinion of this Court, therefore, that to avoid an unconstitutional taint on its creation, the power of respondent Board is limited to the classification of films. It can, to safeguard other constitutional objections, determine what motion pictures are for general patronage and what may require either parental guidance or be limited to adults only. That is to abide by the principle that freedom of expression is the rule and restrictions the exemption. The power to exercise prior restraint is not to be presumed, rather the presumption is against its validity. 16 3. The test, to repeat, to determine whether freedom of excession may be limited is the clear and present danger of an evil of a substantive character that the State has a right to prevent. Such danger must not only be clear but also present. There should be no doubt that what is feared may be traced to the expression complained of. The causal connection must be evident. Also, there must be reasonable apprehension about its imminence. The time element cannot be ignored. Nor does it suffice if

such danger be only probable. There is the require of its being well-nigh inevitable. The basic postulate, wherefore, as noted earlier, is that where the movies, theatrical productions radio scripts, television programs, and other such media of expression are concerned included as they are in freedom of expression censorship, especially so if an entire production is banned, is allowable only under the clearest proof of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil to public public morals, public health or any other legitimate public interest. 17 There is merit to the observation of Justice Douglas that every writer, actor, or producer, no matter what medium of expression he may use, should be freed from the censor. 18 4. The law, however, frowns on obscenity and rightly so. As categorically stated by Justice Brennan in Roth v. United States 19 speaking of the free speech and press guarantee of the United States Constitution: All Ideas having even the slightest redeeming social importance unorthodox Ideas, controversial Ideas, even Ideas hateful to the prevailing climate of opinion have the full protection of the guaranties, unless excludable because they encroach upon the limited area of the First Amendment is the rejection of obscenity as utterly without redeeming social importance. 20 Such a view commends itself for approval. 5. There is, however, some difficulty in determining what is obscene. There is persuasiveness to the approach followed in Roth: The early leading standard of obscenity allowed material to be judged merely by the effect of an isolated excerpt upon particularly susceptible persons. Regina v. Hicklin [1868] LR 3 QB 360.

Some American courts adopted this standard but later decisions have rejected it and substituted this test: whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to prurient interest. The Hicklin test, judging obscenity by the effect of isolated passages upon the most susceptible persons, might well encompass material legitimately treating with sex, and so it must be rejected as unconstitutionally restrictive of the freedoms of speech and press. On the other hand, the substituted standard provides safeguards adequate to withstand the charge of constitutional infirmity. 21 6. The above excerpt which imposes on the judiciary the duty to be ever on guard against any impermissible infringement on the freedom of artistic expression calls to mind the landmark ponencia of Justice Malcolm in United States v. Bustos, 22 decided in 1918. While recognizing the principle that libel is beyond the pale of constitutional protection, it left no doubt that in determining what constitutes such an offense, a court should ever be mindful that no violation of the right to freedom of expression is allowable. It is a matter of pride for the Philippines that it was not until 1984 in New York Timer v. Sullivan, 23 thirty-years later, that the United States Supreme Court enunciated a similar doctrine. 7. It is quite understandable then why in the Roth opinion, Justice Brennan took pains to emphasize that sex and obscenity are not synonymous. 24 Further: Obscene material is material which deals with sex in a manner appealing to prurient interest. The portrayal of sex, e.g., in art, literature and scientific works, is not itself sufficient reason

to deny material the constitutional protection of freedom of speech and press. Sex, a great and mysterious motive force in human life has indisputably been a subject of absorbing interest to mankind through the ages; it is one of the vital problems of human interest and public concern. 25 8. In the applicable law, Executive Order No. 876, reference was made to respondent Board applying contemporary Filipino cultural values as standard, 26 words which can be construed in an analogous manner. Moreover, as far as the question of sex and obscenity are concerned, it cannot be stressed strongly that the arts and letters shall be under the patronage of the State. 27 That is a constitutional mandate. It will be less than true to its function if any government office or agency would invade the sphere of autonomy that an artist enjoys. There is no orthodoxy in what passes for beauty or for reality. It is for the artist to determine what for him is a true representation. It is not to be forgotten that art and belleslettres deal primarily with imagination, not so much with ideas in a strict sense. What is seen or perceived by an artist is entitled to respect, unless there is a showing that the product of his talent rightfully may be considered obscene. As so wen put by Justice Frankfurter in a concurring opinion, the widest scope of freedom is to be given to the adventurous and imaginative exercise of the human spirit 28 in this sensitive area of a mans personality. On the question of obscenity, therefore, and in the light of the facts of this case, such standard set forth in Executive Order No. 878 is to be construed in such a fashion to avoid any taint of unconstitutionality. To repeat, what was stated in

a recent decision 29 citing the language of Justice Malcolm in Yu Cong Eng v. Trinidad, 30 it is an elementary, a fundamental, and a universal role of construction, applied when considering constitutional questions, that when a law is susceptible of two constructions one of which will maintain and the other destroy it, the courts will always adopt the former. 31 As thus construed, there can be no valid objection to the sufficiency of the controlling standard and its conformity to what the Constitution ordains. 9. This being a certiorari petition, the question before the Court is whether or not there was a grave abuse of discretion. That there was an abuse of discretion by respondent Board is evident in the light of the difficulty and travail undergone by petitioners before Kapit sa Patalim was classified as For Adults Only, without any deletion or cut. Moreover its perception of what constitutes obscenity appears to be unduly restrictive. This Court concludes then that there was an abuse of discretion. Nonetheless, there are not enough votes to maintain that such an abuse can be considered grave. Accordingly, certiorari does not lie. This conclusion finds support in this explanation of respondents in its Answer to the amended petition: The adult classification given the film serves as a warning to theater operators and viewers that some contents of Kapit are not fit for the young. Some of the scenes in the picture were taken in a theater-club and a good portion of the film shots concentrated on some women erotically dancing naked, or at least nearly naked, on the theater stage. Another scene on that stage depicted the women kissing and caressing as lesbians. And toward the end of the picture, there exists scenes of excessive

violence attending the battle between a group of robbers and the police. The vulnerable and imitative in the young audience will misunderstand these scenes. 32 Further: Respondents further stated in its answer that petitioner company has an option to have the film reclassified to For-General-Patronage if it would agree to remove the obscene scenes and pare down the violence in the film. 33 Petitioners, however, refused the For Adults Only classification and instead, as noted at the outset, filed this suit for certiorari. 10. All that remains to be said is that the ruling is to be limited to the concept of obscenity applicable to motion pictures. It is the consensus of this Court that where television is concerned: a less liberal approach calls for observance. This is so because unlike motion pictures where the patrons have to pay their way, television reaches every home where there is a set. Children then will likely will be among the avid viewers of the programs therein shown. As was observed by Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jerome Frank, it is hardly the concern of the law to deal with the sexual fantasies of the adult population. 34 it cannot be denied though that the State as parens patriae is called upon to manifest an attitude of caring for the welfare of the young. WHEREFORE, this Court, in the light of the principles of law enunciated in the opinion, dismisses this petition for certiorari solely on the ground that there are not enough votes for a ruling that there was a grave abuse of discretion in the classification of Kapit sa Patalim as ForAdults-Only.

[G.R. No. 145527. May 28, 2002] AUGUSTUS CAEZAR R. GAN, petitioner, vs. HON. ANTONIO C. REYES, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of RTCBr. 61, Baguio City, ALBERT G. TOLENTINO, in his capacity as RTC Sheriff of Baguio City, and FRANCHESKA JOY C. PONDEVIDA, assisted by BERNADETTE C. PONDEVIDA, respondents. DECISION BELLOSILLO, J.: Quite apprehensive that she would not be able to send to school her three (3)-year old daughter Francheska Joy S. Pondevida, Bernadette S. Pondevida wrote petitioner Augustus Caezar R. Gan[1] demanding support for their "love child." Petitioner, in his reply, denied paternity of the child. An exasperated Bernadette thereafter instituted in behalf of her daughter a complaint against petitioner for support with prayer for support pendente lite.[2] Petitioner moved to dismiss on the ground that the complaint failed to state a cause of action. He argued that since Francheska's certificate of birth indicated her father as "UNKNOWN," there was no legal or factual basis for the claim of support.[3] His motion, however, was denied by the trial court.[4] Despite denial of his motion, petitioner failed to file his answer within the reglementary period. Thus, on 19 January 2000 private respondent moved that petitioner be declared in default, which motion was granted. In its Order declaring petitioner in default the trial court noted that petitioner's Motion to Admit Answer was filed more than ninety (90) days after the expiration of the reglementary period, and only after private respondent moved that petitioner be declared in default. Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was also denied. Hence, the court received the evidence of private respondent ex parte. After finding that the claim of filiation and support was adequately proved, the trial court rendered its Decision on 12 May 2000 ordering petitioner to recognize private respondent Francheska Joy S. Pondevida as his illegitimate child and support her with P20,000.00 every

month to be paid on or before the 15th of each month starting 15 April 2000. Likewise petitioner was ordered to pay Francheska Joy S. Pondevida the accumulated arrears of P20,000.00 per month from the day she was born, P50,000.00 as attorney's fees and P25,000.00 for expenses of litigation, plus P20,000.00 on or before the 15th of every month from 15 May 2000 as alimony pendente lite should he desire to pursue further remedies against private respondent.[5] Forthwith, private respondent moved for execution of the judgment of support, which the trial court granted by issuing a writ of execution, citing as reason therefor private respondent's immediate need for schooling.[6] Pursuant to the writ, the sheriff levied upon a motor vehicle, a Honda City, with Plate No. UMT 884, registered in the name of "A.B. Leasing & Fin. Corp., Leased to: G & G Trading," and found within the premises of petitioner's warehouse in Caloocan City.[7] Meanwhile, petitioner appealed the Judgment to the Court of Appeals.[8] On 9 June 2000 petitioner filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with the Court of Appeals imputing grave abuse of discretion to the trial court for ordering the immediate execution of the judgment. Petitioner averred that the writ of execution was issued despite the absence of a good reason for immediate enforcement. Petitioner insisted that as the judgment sought to be executed did not yet attain finality there should be an exceptional reason to warrant its execution. He further alleged that the writ proceeded from an order of default and a judgment rendered by the trial court in complete disregard of his "highly meritorious defense." Finally, petitioner impugned the validity of the writ as he argued that it was issued without notice to him. Petitioner stressed the fact that he received copy of the motion for immediate execution two (2) weeks after its scheduled hearing.[9] On 31 August 2000 the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition on the ratiocination that under Sec. 4, Rule 39 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure judgments for support are immediately executory and cannot be stayed by an appeal. Thus, it did not help petitioner any to argue that there were no good reasons to support its

immediate execution. The second challenge hurled against the validity of the writ concerning the lack of notice and hearing was likewise dismissed with the appeals court favoring substantial justice over technicalities. Lastly, petitioner's justification for belatedly filing his answer, i.e., miscommunication with his lawyer, was disregarded since it fell short of the statutory requirements of "fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence."[10] His motion for reconsideration having been denied, petitioner came to us impugning the dismissal of his petition for certiorari. Petitioner argues that under the rules a judgment for support which is subject of an appeal cannot be executed absent any good reason for its immediate execution. Petitioner likewise attacks the validity of the writ asserting that it was issued in violation of his right to notice and hearing. Petitioner also seeks the setting aside of the default order and the judgment rendered thereafter for the reason that should he be allowed to prove his defense of adultery, the claim of support would be most likely denied.[11] Petitioner claims that in an action by a child against his putative father, adultery of the child's mother would be a valid defense to show that the child is a fruit of adulterous relations for, in such case, it would not be the child of the defendant and therefore not entitled to support. Parenthetically, how could he be allowed to prove the defense of adultery when it was not even hinted that he was married to the mother of Francheska Joy. Petitioner consents to submit to Dioxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Testing to resolve the issue of paternity, which test he claims has a reputation for accuracy.[12] A careful review of the facts and circumstances of this case fails to persuade this Court to brand the issuance of the writ of execution by the trial court and affirmed by the Court of Appeals with the vice of grave abuse of discretion. There is no evidence indeed to justify the setting aside of the writ on the ground that it was issued beyond the legitimate bounds of judicial discretion. Section 4, Rule 39, of the Rules of Court clearly states that, unless ordered by the trial

court, judgments in actions for support are immediately executory and cannot be stayed by an appeal. This is an exception to the general rule which provides that the taking of an appeal stays the execution of the judgment and that advance executions will only be allowed if there are urgent reasons therefor. The aforesaid provision peremptorily calls for immediate execution of all judgments for support and makes no distinction between those which are the subject of an appeal and those which are not. To consider then petitioner's argument that there should be good reasons for the advance execution of a judgment would violate the clear and explicit language of the rule mandating immediate execution. Petitioner is reminded that to the plain words of a legal provision we should make no further explanation. Absoluta sententia expositore non indiget. Indeed, the interpretation which petitioner attempts to foist upon us would only lead to absurdity, its acceptance negating the plain meaning of the provision subject of the petition. Petitioner would also have us annul the writ of execution on the ground that he was not notified of its issuance. We are unable to accept such a plea for enough has been done by petitioner to delay the execution of the writ. As the records show, in partial fulfillment of the writ of execution petitioner surrendered a sedan which apparently was not his as it was later ordered released to a third party who laid claim over the levied vehicle.[13] Also, petitioner filed before the Court of Appeals a Motion for Leave to Deposit in Court Support Pendente Lite promising to deposit the amount due as support every 15th of the month, but to date has not deposited any amount in complete disavowal of his undertaking.[14] He was not even deterred from appealing before us and needlessly taking up our time and energy by posing legal questions that can be characterized, at best, as flimsy and trivial. We are thus not prepared to abrogate the writ of execution issued in favor of private respondent for substantial justice would be better served if petitioner be precluded from interposing another barrier to the immediate execution of the support judgment.

We are not intimating that in every case the right to notice of hearing can be disregarded. That is not so. It appears in this case that there has been too much temporizing in the execution of the writ which must not be allowed to thwart the constitutional mandate for speedy disposition of cases. As has been said, a technicality should be an aid to justice and not its great hindrance and chief enemy.[15] Truly, if the writ of execution would be voided on this ground alone, then procedural rules which were primarily drafted to protect parties in the realm of constitutional guarantees would acquire a new sanctity at the expense of equity and justice. Lastly, we note that no useful purpose would be served if we dwell on petitioner's arguments concerning the validity of the judgment by default and his insistence that he be subjected, together with private respondent Bernadette C. Pondevida to DNA testing to settle the issue of paternity. The futility of his arguments is very apparent. It is not for us at this instance to review or revise the Decision rendered by the trial court for to do so would pre-empt the decision which may be rendered by the Court of Appeals in the main case for support. In all cases involving a child, his interest and welfare are always the paramount concerns. There may be instances where, in view of the poverty of the child, it would be a travesty of justice to refuse him support until the decision of the trial court attains finality while time continues to slip away. An excerpt from the early case of De Leon v. Soriano[16] is relevant, thus: The money and property adjudged for support and education should and must be given presently and without delay because if it had to wait the final judgment, the children may in the meantime have suffered because of lack of food or have missed and lost years in school because of lack of funds. One cannot delay the payment of such funds for support and education for the reason that if paid long afterwards, however much the accumulated amount, its payment cannot cure the evil and repair the damage caused. The children with such belated payment for support and education cannot act as gluttons and eat voraciously and unwisely, afterwards, to make up

for the years of hunger and starvation. Neither may they enrol in several classes and schools and take up numerous subjects all at once to make up for the years they missed in school, due to non-payment of the funds when needed. WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the Decision sought to be reviewed, the instant petition is DENIED. The 31 August 2000 Decision of the Court of Appeals dismissing the Petition for Certiorari instituted by petitioner Augustus Caezar C. Gan and upholding the validity of the 2 June 2000 Writ of Execution issued by the Regional Trial Court Br. 61, Baguio City, in Civil Case No. 4234-R, is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner. SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-26754 October 16, 1970 MATEO CASELA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, and EXEQUIEL MAGSAYSAY, respondents. Amor G. Fuentecilla for petitioner. Federico Diaz for respondent Exequiel Magsaysay. CASTRO, J.:. This is an appeal by way of certiorari from the decision of the Court of Appeals of August 31, 1966 in CA-G.R. 35593-R, denying a petition for a writ of certiorari brought against an order of the Court of Agrarian Relations, Branch III of the Third Regional District at Iba, Zambales. This latter order, promulgated on October 1, 1964 in CAR 5666-R-Z-55, set aside an earlier order of the same court denying a motion for a writ of execution of the final judgment in the said CAR case. The following findings of the Court of Appeals are not disputed. In CAR Case No. 5666-R-Z of the Court of Agrarian Relations of Iba, Zambales, Mateo Casela, the petitioner herein, was the defendant, and Exequiel Magsaysay, now one of the respondents, the plaintiff. On October 26, 1956, after due trial, the said Court decided the case against the defendant, who was ordered ejected; and decision thereon having become final and executory the Court on August 12, 1957, issued a writ of execution commanding the defendant to vacate the premises and remove his house therefrom. The defendant, however, refused to comply with the said writ; so, the Court issued another writ on May 6, 1958, and still another on April 14, 1959. Instead of obeying the writ, however, the defendant instituted Civil Case No. 2142 before the Court of First Instance of Zambales asking that the plaintiff be condemned to pay him the value of his house in the amount of P5,000.00, improvements of P2,000.00, in addition to damages in the sum of P1,600.00. At the same time, the defendant filed a motion for suspension of the implementation of the writ of execution pending the final outcome of the said civil case. Against this motion for suspension, the plaintiff

filed a counter-motion to declare the defendant and the provincial Sheriff in contempt of Court. After hearing the respective motions of the parties, the Court granted the defendant's motion for suspension until after the said Civil Case No. 2142 would have been disposed of on the merits. Civil Case No. 2142 eventually reached the Court of Appeals, which, on October 6, 1965, rendered a decision dismissing the defendant's appeal. In said decision, the appellate Court ruled once and for all that the claims of the defendant for indemnity for the value of his house and improvements were in the nature of compulsory counterclaims that should have been pleaded before the agrarian court and not in the Court of First Instance where they were brought. Consequently, the plaintiff could not be compelled to pay said claims and the demolition of the defendants house could be done without payment of indemnity. By reason of this categorical pronouncement of the Court of Appeals, respondent Magsaysay filed a motion dated December 6, 1963 and another dated February 11, 1964 praying for the issuance of an alias writ of execution attaching thereto a copy of the appealed decision. The agrarian court, however, in an order dated March 5, 1964, denied the motion, holding that its decision dated October 26, 1956 could no longer be executed on mere motion for the reason that a period of five (5) years had already elapsed from the said date. On April 10, 1964, the plaintiff moved for a reconsideration of the order of denial of March 5, 1964; this was granted by the Court in its order of October 1, 1964, which forthwith directed the execution of its judgment of October 26, 1956. That the decision of October 26, 1956 of the Court of Agrarian Relations became final and executory on December 17, 1956, is not controverted. Counting five years from December 17, 1956, the plaintiff Exequiel Magsaysay had until December 17, 1961 within which to move for execution of the said decision. It would thus appear that Magsaysay's motion for execution of December 11, 1963, having been filed beyond the five-year reglementary period, was time-barred. The peculiar circumstances of this case, however, would, to our mind, indicate that the said motion

for execution was filed on time. The record indubitably shows that Magsaysay had persistently and consistently moved the court to execute the decision of October 26, 1956 which became final and executory on December 17, 1956. In point of fact he succeeded in securing a writ of execution for no less than three times, which writs were however not executed because of the stubborn refusal of the petitioner Casela to vacate the premises and because of the lower court's order sustaining Casela's motion for suspension of execution. Magsaysay obtained a writ of execution as early as August 12, 1957. This was not served on account of Casela's refusal to comply with the writ. On Magsaysay's motion, the court issued an alias writ on April 14, 1959, which writ explicitly directed the sheriff to eject Casela and to demolish the latter's house. This second writ was however not implemented because the court, upon Casela's own motion, ordered the suspension of the writ two times. The first suspension was effected by order of September 22, 1959 and lasted until April 22, 1960. This suspension was occasioned by the pendency of civil case 2142 between Casela and Magsaysay before the Zambales Court of First Instance. The second suspension, which was effected by the lower court's order of July 11, 1960, lasted until October 6, 1963. These two suspensions which all told covered a period of three years, nine months and twenty-five days were granted on motions of Casela, to await the final disposition of civil case 2142. It thus appears that Magsaysay had not incurred in the least delay in the enforcement of the judgment which had become final and executory. He exhausted all legal means within his power to eject Casela from his land. But the writs of execution issued by the lower court were not complied with and/or were suspended by reason of acts or causes not of Magsaysay's own making and against his objections. From December 17, 1956 when the decision in question became final and executory, to December 11, 1963, the date when Magsaysay's motion for execution was filed, a period of six years, eleven months and twenty-four days elapsed. From this period must be subtracted the

time during which the writs of execution could not be served, or a period of three years, nine months and twenty-five days. Consequently, only three years, one month and twenty-nine days can be charged against the five-year reglementary period. Undoubtedly, therefore, Magsaysay's motion for execution of December 11, 1963 was filed well within the five-year reglementary period. Conscience and equity should always be considered in the construction of statutes. The courts are not to be hedged in by the literal meaning of the language of the statute; the spirit and intendment thereof must prevail over its letter. This rule of construction is especially applicable where adherence to the letter of the statute would result in absurdity and injustice. ACCORDINGLY, the judgment of tile Court of Appeals of August 31, 1966, which upheld the order of the Court of Agrarian Relations of October 1, 1964, is affirmed, at petitioner's cost.

G.R. No. L-9274 February 1, 1957 RUFINO LOPEZ & SONS, INC., petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF TAX APPEALS, respondent. Isidro A. Vera and Eulalio F. Legaspi for petitioner. Office of the Solicitor General Ambrosio Padila, Assistant Solicitor General Ramon L. Avancea and Solicitor Felicisimo R. Rosete for respondent. MONTEMAYOR, J.: Petitioner appellant Rufino Lopez & Sons, Inc. is appealing from a resolution of the Court of Tax Appeals dismissing its appeal from a decision of the Collector of Customs for the Port of Manila, assessing additional fees on petitioner for a certain importation of wire netting. The facts are simple and undisputed. Lopez & Sons imported hexagonal wire netting from Hamburg, Germany. The Manila Collector of Customs assessed the corresponding customs duties on the importation on the basis of consular and supplies invoices. Said customs duties were paid and the shipments were released. Subsequently, however, and freight of said wire netting and as a result of the reassessment, additional customs duties in the amount of P1,966.59 were levied and imposed upon petitioner. Failing to secure a reconsideration of the reassessment and levy of additional customs duties, Lopez & Sons appealed to the Court of Tax Appeals. Acting upon a motion to dismiss the appeal, filed by the Solicitor General on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, the Tax Court, by its resolution of May 23, 1955, dismissed the appeal on the ground that it had no jurisdiction to review decisions of the Collector of Customs of Manila, citing section 7 of Republic Act No. 1125, creating said tax court. From said resolution of dismissal, Lopez & Sons appealed to us, seeking a reversal of said resolution of dismissal. For purposes of reference, we are reproducing section 7 of Republic Act No. 1125 relied upon by the Tax Court and the Solicitor General, as well as Section 11 of the same Act invoked by the petitioner: Sec. 7. Jurisdiction. The Court of Tax Appeals shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction to review by appeal, as herein provided

(1) Decisions of the Collector of Internal Revenue in cases involving disputed assessments, refunds of internal revenue taxes, fees or other charges, penalties imposed in relation thereto, or other matters arising under the National Internal Revenue Code or other law or part of law administered by the Bureau of Internal Revenue; (2) Decisions of the Commissioner of Customs in cases involving liability for customs duties, fees or other money charges, seizure, detention or release of property affected; fines, forfeitures or other penalties imposed in relation thereto, or other matters arising under the Customs Law or other law or part of law administered by the Bureau of Customs; and (3) Decisions of provincial or city Board of Assessment Appeals in case involving the assessment and taxation of real property or other matters arising under the assessment Law, including rules and regulations relative thereto. xxx xxx xxx SEC. 11. Who may appeal; effect of appeal. Any person, association or corporation adversely by a decision or ruling of the Collector of Internal Revenue, the Collector of Customs or any provincial or city Board of Assessment Appeals may file an appeal in the Court of Tax Appeals within thirty days after the receipt of such decision or ruling. No appeal taken to the Court of Tax Appeals from the decision of the Collector of Internal Revenue or the Collector of the Customs shall suspend the payment, levy, distraint, and/or sale of any property of the taxpayer for the satisfaction of his tax liability as provided by existing law: Provided, however, that when in the opinion of the Court the collection by the Bureau of Internal Revenue or the Commissioner of Customs may jeopardize the interests of the Government and/or the taxpayer the Court at any stage of the proceeding may suspend the said collection and require the taxpayer either to deposit the amount claimed or to file a surety bond for not more than double the amount with the Court. (Emphasis supplied.) There is really a discrepancy between Sections 7 and 11 above reproduced. Section 7 provides that the Court of Tax Appeals has exclusive appellate jurisdiction to review by appeal decisions of the

Collector of Internal Revenue, decisions of the Commissioner of Customs and decisions of provincial or city Board of Assessment Appeals on cases mentioned in said section. On the other hand, section 11 of the same Republic Act in listing and enumerating the persons and entities who may appeal as well as the effect of said appeal, mentions those affected by a decision or ruling of the Collector of Internal Revenue, the Collector of Customs or any provincial or City Board of Assessment Appeals, and fails to mention the Commissioner of Customs. Taken literally, a person affected by a decision of the Collector of Customs may appeal to the Court of Tax Appeals; and since no mention is made about decisions of the Commissioner of Customs, a person affected by said decision may not appeal to the Court of Tax Appeals. However, section 7 of the Act above reproduced specially provides that the Court of Tax Appeals has appellate jurisdiction to review decisions of the Commissioner of Customs. That legal provision conferring appellate jurisdiction on the Court of Tax Appeals to review decisions of the Commissioner of Customs would be empty, meaningless, and unenforceable because under Section 11, no person affected by the decision of the Commissioner of customs may appeal to the Tax Court. These two meaningless, and unenforceable because under Section 11, should be harmonized and reconciled if possible, in order to give effect to the whole Act. We are in entire accord with the Tax Court and the Solicitor General that a clerical error was committed in section 11, mentioning therein the Collector of Customs. It should be, as it was meant to be, the Commissioner of Customs. There are several reasons in support of this view. Under the Customs Law, found in sections 1137 to 1419 of the Revised Administrative Code, the Commissioner of Customs (Insular Collector of Customs) is the Chief of the Bureau of Customs and has jurisdiction over the whole country as regards the enforcement of the Customs Law, whereas, there are about sixteen Collectors of Customs for the sixteen collection districts and principal parts of entry into which the Philippines has been divided. These Collectors of Customs

are subordinates of the Commissioner of Customs over whom he has supervision and control (section 1152, Revised Administrative Code). Pursuant to said supervision and control, under section 1405 of the Revised Administrative Code, when any new or unsettled question shall be determined by the Collector of Customs, he shall, if matter is not otherwise carried upon for review in ordinary course, notify the Commissioner of his decision, submitting an adequate statement of acts involved. What is more important is the provision of section 1380, which reproduce below: SEC. 1380. Review by Commissioner. The person aggrieved by the decision of the Collector of Customs in any matter presented upon protest or by his action in any case of seizure may, within fifteen days after notification in writing by the collector of his action or decision, give written notice to the collector signifying his desore to have the matter reviewed by the Commissioner. Thereupon, the Collector of Customs shall forthwith transmit all the papers in the cause to the Commissioner, who shall approve, modify, or reverse the action of his subordinate and shall take such steps and make such order or orders as may be necessary to give effect to his decision. Under this section, any person affected or aggrieved by the decision of the Collector of Customs may appeal the decision to the Commissioner of Customs. From all this, it is clear if we followed the literal meaning and wording of section 11 of Republic Act No. 1125, in the sense that persons affected by a decision of the Collector of Customs may appeal directly tot he Court of Tax Appeals, then the supervision and control of the Commissioner of Customs over his Collector of Customs, and his right to review their decisions upon appeal to him by the persons affected by said decision would, not only be gravely affected, but even destroyed. We cannot believe that was the intention of the Legislature in passing Republic Act No. 1125. It is more reasonable and logical to hold that in Section 11 of the Act, the Legislature meant and intended to say, the Commissioner of Customs, instead of Collector of Customs in the first paragraph and

the first part of the second paragraph of said section. In thus holding, the Court are not exactly indulging in judicial legislation. They are merely endeavoring to rectify and correct a clearly clerical error in the wording of a statute, in order to give due course and carry out the evident intention of the Legislature. This the Courts should and can validly do. Under the rules of statutory construction, it is not the letter but rather the spirit of the law and intention of the Legislature that is important and which matters. When the interpretation of a statute according to the exact and literal import of its words would lead to absurd or mischievous results, or would contravene the clear purposes of the Legislature, it should be construed according to its spirit and reason, disregarding as far as necessary, the latter of the law. Statutes may be extended to cover cases not within the literal meaning of the terms, for that which is clearly within the intention of the Legislature in enacting the law is as much within the statute as if it were within the latter. Here the error (clerical and misprint) is plain and obvious. It is within the province of the courts to correct said error. This is not to correct the act of the Legislature, but rather to carry out and give due course to the true intention of said Legislature. (Black on Interpretation of Laws, 2nd edition, pp. 66-67; 157-158.). Furthermore, section 11 of Republic Act 1125 may well be regarded as a mere complement or implementation of section 7. Since section 7 provides that the Tax Court has jurisdiction to review by appeal, decisions of the Collector of Internal Revenue. decisions of the Commissioner of Customs, and decisions of provincial or city Boards of Assessment Appeals, so section 11 naturally provides that persons adversely affected by said decisions may appeal to the Tax Court. However, in enumerating the governmental bodies or agencies rendering said decisions that may be appealed, it erroneously listed the Collector instead of the Commissioner, of Customs. The error is plain. As a matter of fact, the Court of Tax Appeals in its resolution of dismissal of May 23, 1955 cites in support thereof a resolution promulgated by it on January 22, 1955 in C.T.A. Case No. 17, entitled

"Acting Collector of Customs vs. Acting Commissioner of Customs", wherein it said: The phrase "Collector of Customs" appearing in the above-mentioned provision (section 11) of Republic Act No. 1125 is clearly an oversight on the part of Congress. It should read "Commissioner of Customs" to make the provision conform with section 7 of the said Republic Act section 1380 of the Revised Administrative Code. Petitioner contends that the literal meaning of Section 11 of Republic Act No. 1125 should be adopted in the sense that the Court of Tax Appeals has concurrent jurisdiction with the Commissioner of Customs over Appeals from decisions of Collectors of Customs, so that a person adversely affected by a decision of a Collector of Customs is given the choice of appealing the said decision either to the Commissioner of Customs or to the Courts of Tax Appeals. We find contention unteable. In the first place, the two remedies suggested are entirely different, one from the other; an appeal to the Commissioner of Customs is purely administrative, whereas, appeal to the Court of Tax Appeal is manifestly judicial. And it is a sound rule that before one resorts to the Courts, the administrative remedy provided by law should first be exhausted. In the second place, the two remedies suggested by the petitioner would result in confusion because a person adversely affected by a decision of a Collector of Customs could not be sure where to seek the remedy, whether with the Commissioner of Customs or with the Court of Tax Appeals, and it might even be difficult for him to decide because, if he took the appeal directly to the Tax Court, that would ordinarily cut off his remedy before the Commissioner of Customs for the reason that, should the Court of Tax Appeals decide against him, he may not appeal said decision to the Commissioner of Customs because the Commissioner as an administrative officer may not review the decision of the Court. On the other hand, if the person affected by a decision of a Collector of Customs took his appeal to the Commissioner of Customs, and there receives an adverse decision, he may yet appeal therefrom to the Court of Tax Appeals. In

the third place, even if the person affected by an adverse ruling of the Collector of Customs took his appeal to the Court of Tax Appeals, as advocated by counsel for the petitioner, under the literal meaning of section 11, the Tax Court may refuse to entertain said appeal, as was done in the present case, on the ground that under section 7 of Republic Act No. 1125, it had no jurisdiction to review a decision of the Collector of Customs, section 7 clearly limiting its appellate jurisdiction to review decisions of the Commissioner of Customs. In view of the foregoing, we hold that under the law, particularly, the Customs Law and Republic Act No. 1125, the Court of Tax Appeals has no jurisdiction to review by appeal, decisions of the Collector of Customs. The appealed order of dismissal is hereby affirmed, with costs.


May 28, 1987 G.R. No. 72873 CARLOS ALONZO and CASIMIRA ALONZO, petitioners, vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and TECLA PADUA, respondents. Perpetuo L.B. Alonzo for petitioners. Luis R. Reyes for private respondent. Cruz, J.: The question is sometimes asked, in serious inquiry or in curious conjecture, whether we are a court of law or a court of justice. Do we apply the law even if it is unjust or do we administer justice even against the law? Thus queried, we do not equivocate. The answer is that we do neither because we are a court both of law and of justice. We apply the law with justice for that is our mission and purpose in the scheme of our Republic. This case is an illustration. Five brothers and sisters inherited in equal pro indiviso shares a parcel of land registered in the name of their deceased parents under OCT No. 10977 of the Registry of Deeds of Tarlac. 1 On March 15, 1963, one of them, Celestino Padua, transferred his undivided share of the herein petitioners for the sum of P550.00 by way of absolute sale. 2 One year later, on April 22, 1964, Eustaquia Padua, his sister, sold her own share to the same vendees, in an instrument denominated Con Pacto de Retro Sale, for the sum of P 440.00. 3 By virtue of such agreements, the petitioners occupied, after the said sales, an area corresponding to two-fifths of the said lot, representing the portions sold to them. The vendees subsequently enclosed the same with a fence. In 1975, with their consent, their son Eduardo Alonzo and his wife built a semi-

concrete house on a part of the enclosed area. 4 On February 25, 1976, Mariano Padua, one of the five coheirs, sought to redeem the area sold to the spouses Alonzo, but his complaint was dismissed when it appeared that he was an American citizen . 5 On May 27, 1977, however, Tecla Padua, another co-heir, filed her own complaint invoking the same right of redemption claimed by her brother. 6 The trial court * also dismiss this complaint, now on the ground that the right had lapsed, not having been exercised within thirty days from notice of the sales in 1963 and 1964. Although there was no written notice, it was held that actual knowledge of the sales by the co-heirs satisfied the requirement of the law. 7 In truth, such actual notice as acquired by the coheirs cannot be plausibly denied. The other coheirs, including Tecla Padua, lived on the same lot, which consisted of only 604 square meters, including the portions sold to the petitioners . 8 Eustaquia herself, who had sold her portion, was staying in the same house with her sister Tecla, who later claimed redemption petition. 9 Moreover, the petitioners and the private respondents were close friends and neighbors whose children went to school together. 10 It is highly improbable that the other co-heirs were unaware of the sales and that they thought, as they alleged, that the area occupied by the petitioners had merely been mortgaged by Celestino and Eustaquia. In the circumstances just narrated, it was impossible for Tecla not to know that the area occupied by the petitioners had been purchased by them from the other. coheirs. Especially significant was the erection thereon of the permanent semi-concrete structure

by the petitioners son, which was done without objection on her part or of any of the other coheirs. The only real question in this case, therefore, is the correct interpretation and application of the pertinent law as invoked, interestingly enough, by both the petitioners and the private respondents. This is Article 1088 of the Civil Code, providing as follows: Art. 1088. Should any of the heirs sell his hereditary rights to a stranger before the partition, any or all of the co-heirs may be subrogated to the rights of the purchaser by reimbursing him for the price of the sale, provided they do so within the period of one month from the time they were notified in writing of the sale by the vendor. In reversing the trial court, the respondent court declared that the notice required by the said article was written notice and that actual notice would not suffice as a substitute. Citing the same case of De Conejero v. Court of Appeals 11 applied by the trial court, the respondent court held that that decision, interpreting a like rule in Article 1623, stressed the need for written notice although no particular form was required. Thus, according to Justice J.B.L. Reyes, who was the ponente of the Court, furnishing the co-heirs with a copy of the deed of sale of the property subject to redemption would satisfy the requirement for written notice. So long, therefore, as the latter (i.e., the redemptioner) is informed in writing of the sale and the particulars thereof, he declared, the thirty days for redemption start running. In the earlier decision of Butte v. UY, 12 the Court, speaking through the same learned

jurist, emphasized that the written notice should be given by the vendor and not the vendees, conformably to a similar requirement under Article 1623, reading as follows: Art. 1623. The right of legal pre-emption or redemption shall not be exercised except within thirty days from the notice in writing by the prospective vendor, or by the vendors, as the case may be. The deed of sale shall not be recorded in the Registry of Property, unless accompanied by an affidavit of the vendor that he has given written notice thereof to all possible redemptioners. The right of redemption of co-owners excludes that of the adjoining owners. As it is thus apparent that the Philippine legislature in Article 1623 deliberately selected a particular method of giving notice, and that notice must be deemed exclusive, the Court held that notice given by the vendees and not the vendor would not toll the running of the 30-day period. The petition before us appears to be an illustration of the Holmes dictum that hard cases make bad laws as the petitioners obviously cannot argue against the fact that there was really no written notice given by the vendors to their co-heirs. Strictly applied and interpreted, Article 1088 can lead to only one conclusion, to wit, that in view of such deficiency, the 30 day period for redemption had not begun to run, much less expired in 1977. But as has also been aptly observed, we test a law by its results; and likewise, we may add, by its purposes. It is a cardinal rule that, in

seeking the meaning of the law, the first concern of the judge should be to discover in its provisions the in tent of the lawmaker. Unquestionably, the law should never be interpreted in such a way as to cause injustice as this is never within the legislative intent. An indispensable part of that intent, in fact, for we presume the good motives of the legislature, is to render justice. Thus, we interpret and apply the law not independently of but in consonance with justice. Law and justice are inseparable, and we must keep them so. To be sure, there are some laws that, while generally valid, may seem arbitrary when applied in a particular case because of its peculiar circumstances. In such a situation, we are not bound, because only of our nature and functions, to apply them just the same, in slavish obedience to their language. What we do instead is find a balance between the word and the will, that justice may be done even as the law is obeyed. As judges, we are not automatons. We do not and must not unfeelingly apply the law as it is worded, yielding like robots to the literal command without regard to its cause and consequence. Courts are apt to err by sticking too closely to the words of a law, so we are warned, by Justice Holmes again, where these words import a policy that goes beyond them. 13 While we admittedly may not legislate, we nevertheless have the power to interpret the law in such a way as to reflect the will of the legislature. While we may not read into the law a purpose that is not there, we nevertheless have the right to read out of it

the reason for its enactment. In doing so, we defer not to the letter that killeth but to the spirit that vivifieth, to give effect to the law makers will. The spirit, rather than the letter of a statute determines its construction, hence, a statute must be read according to its spirit or intent. For what is within the spirit is within the letter but although it is not within the letter thereof, and that which is within the letter but not within the spirit is not within the statute. Stated differently, a thing which is within the intent of the lawmaker is as much within the statute as if within the letter; and a thing which is within the letter of the statute is not within the statute unless within the intent of the lawmakers. 14 In requiring written notice, Article 1088 seeks to ensure that the redemptioner is properly notified of the sale and to indicate the date of such notice as the starting time of the 30-day period of redemption. Considering the shortness of the period, it is really necessary, as a general rule, to pinpoint the precise date it is supposed to begin, to obviate any problem of alleged delays, sometimes consisting of only a day or two. The instant case presents no such problem because the right of redemption was invoked not days but years after the sales were made in 1963 and 1964. The complaint was filed by Tecla Padua in 1977, thirteen years after the first sale and fourteen years after the second sale. The delay invoked by the petitioners extends to more than a decade, assuming of course that there was a valid notice that tolled the running of the period of redemption.

Was there a valid notice? Granting that the law requires the notice to be written, would such notice be necessary in this case? Assuming there was a valid notice although it was not in writing. would there be any question that the 30-day period for redemption had expired long before the complaint was filed in 1977? In the face of the established facts, we cannot accept the private respondents pretense that they were unaware of the sales made by their brother and sister in 1963 and 1964. By requiring written proof of such notice, we would be closing our eyes to the obvious truth in favor of their palpably false claim of ignorance, thus exalting the letter of the law over its purpose. The purpose is clear enough: to make sure that the redemptioners are duly notified. We are satisfied that in this case the other brothers and sisters were actually informed, although not in writing, of the sales made in 1963 and 1964, and that such notice was sufficient. Now, when did the 30-day period of redemption begin? While we do not here declare that this period started from the dates of such sales in 1963 and 1964, we do say that sometime between those years and 1976, when the first complaint for redemption was filed, the other co-heirs were actually informed of the sale and that thereafter the 30-day period started running and ultimately expired. This could have happened any time during the interval of thirteen years, when none of the co-heirs made a move to redeem the properties sold. By 1977, in other words, when Tecla Padua

filed her complaint, the right of redemption had already been extinguished because the period for its exercise had already expired. The following doctrine is also worth noting: While the general rule is, that to charge a party with laches in the assertion of an alleged right it is essential that he should have knowledge of the facts upon which he bases his claim, yet if the circumstances were such as should have induced inquiry, and the means of ascertaining the truth were readily available upon inquiry, but the party neglects to make it, he will be chargeable with laches, the same as if he had known the facts. 15 It was the perfectly natural thing for the coheirs to wonder why the spouses Alonzo, who were not among them, should enclose a portion of the inherited lot and build thereon a house of strong materials. This definitely was not the act of a temporary possessor or a mere mortgagee. This certainly looked like an act of ownership. Yet, given this unseemly situation, none of the co-heirs saw fit to object or at least inquire, to ascertain the facts, which were readily available. It took all of thirteen years before one of them chose to claim the right of redemption, but then it was already too late. We realize that in arriving at our conclusion today, we are deviating from the strict letter of the law, which the respondent court understandably applied pursuant to existing jurisprudence. The said court acted properly as it had no competence to reverse the doctrines laid down by this Court in the above-cited cases. In fact, and this should be clearly stressed, we ourselves are not

abandoning the De Conejero and Buttle doctrines. What we are doing simply is adopting an exception to the general rule, in view of the peculiar circumstances of this case. The co-heirs in this case were undeniably informed of the sales although no notice in writing was given them. And there is no doubt either that the 30-day period began and ended during the 14 years between the sales in question and the filing of the complaint for redemption in 1977, without the co-heirs exercising their right of redemption. These are the justifications for this exception. More than twenty centuries ago, Justinian defined justice as the constant and perpetual wish to render every one his due. 16 That wish continues to motivate this Court when it assesses the facts and the law in every case brought to it for decision. Justice is always an essential ingredient of its decisions. Thus when the facts warrants, we interpret the law in a way that will render justice, presuming that it was the intention of the lawmaker, to begin with, that the law be dispensed with justice. So we have done in this case. WHEREFORE, the petition is granted. The decision of the respondent court is REVERSED and that of the trial court is reinstated, without any pronouncement as to costs. It is so ordered.

G.R. No. L-26551 February 27, 1976 THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiffappellant, vs. WENCESLAO ALMUETE FERNANDO FRONDA, FAUSTO DURION and CIPRIANO FRONDA, defendants-appellees. Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo, Assistant Solicitor General Antonio G. Ibarra and Solicitor Vicente A. Torres for appellant. Emiliano D. Castellanes for appellees. AQUINO, J.: Wenceslao Almuete Fernando Fronda, Cipriano Fronda and Fausto Durion were charged with a violation of section 39 of the Agricultural Tenancy Law. It was alleged in the information that in December, 1963, in Muoz, Nueva Ecija the accused being tenants of Margarita Fernando in her riceland, without notice to her or without her consent, pre-threshed a portion of their respective harvests of five (5) cavans of palay each to her damage in the amount of P187.50 at P12.50 a cavan (Criminal Case No. SD-179, Court of First Instance of Nueva Ecija, Sto. Domingo Branch VI). Upon arraignment the accused pleaded not guilty. They filed motion for a bill of particulars as to the exact date of the commission of the offense charged. The lower court denied their motion because they had already entered their plea. Thereafter, they -filed a motion to quash the information on that grounds (1) that it does not allege facts sufficient to constitute the crime charged; (2) that there is no law punishing it, and (3) that the court has, no jurisdiction over the alleged time The fiscal opposed the motion. The lower court granted the motion and dismissed the information in its order of August 11, 1966. It held that the information is basically deficient because it does not describe t lie circumstances under which the cavans of palay were found in the possession of the accused tenants; it does not specify the date agreed upon for the threshing of the harvests, and it does not allege that the palay found in the tenants' possession exceeded ten percent of their net share based on the last normal harvest. The prosecution appealed from the order of dismissal. The Solicitor General argues in his

brief that the information in this case alleges all the elements of the offense defined in section 39 of Republic Act No. 1199, as amended of Republic Act No. 2263. Sections 39 and 57 of the same law reads as follows: SEC. 39. Prohibition on Pre-threshing. It shall be unlawful for either the tenant or landholder, without mutual consent, to reap or thresh a portion of the crop at any time previous to the date set for its threshing- That if the tenant n food for his family and the landholder does not or cannot furnish such and refuses to allow the tenant to reap or thresh a portion of the crop previous to the date set for its threshing, the tenant can reap or thresh not more than ten percent of his net share in the last normal harvest after giving notice thereof to the landholder or his representative. Any violation of this situation by either party shall be treated and penalized in accordance with this Act and/or under the general provisions of law applicable to that act committed. SEC. 57. Penal Provision. Violation of the provisions of ... sections thirty-nine and forty-nine of this Act shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand pesos or imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both, in the discretion of the Court. ... * We hold that the order of dismissal should be affirmed because as held in People vs. Adillo, L23M, November 27, 1975, a case similar to the instant case, section 99 was impliedly repealed by the Agricultural Land Reform Code of 1963, as amended by Republic Act No. 6389 168 O.G. 915) and as implemented by Presidential Decrees Nos. 2, 27 and 316. That Code was already in force when the act complained of was committed. The repeal may be rationalized in this manner: The prohibition against pre-reaping or prethreshing found in section 39 of the Agricultural Tenancy Law of 1954 is premised on the existence of the rice share tenancy system. The evident purpose is to prevent the tenant and the landholder from defrauding each other in the division of the harvests. The Agricultural Land Reform Code superseded the Agricultural Tenancy Law (except as qualified in sections 4 and 35 of the Code). The Code instituted the leasehold system and abolished

share tenancy subject to certain conditions indicated in section 4 thereof. It is significant that section 39 is not reproduced in the Agricultural Land Reform Code whose section 172 repeals "all laws or part of any law inconsistent with" its provisions. Under the leasehold system the prohibition against pre-threshing has no, more raison d'etre because the lessee is obligated to pay a fixed rental as prescribed in section 34 of the Agricultural Land Reform Code, or the Code of Agrarian Reforms, as redesignated in Republic Act No. 6389 which took effect on September 10, 1971. Thus, the legal maxim, cessante ratione legis, cessat ipsa lex (the reason for the law ceasing, the law itself also ceases). applies to this case. Section 4 of the Code of Agrarian Reforms declared agricultural share tenancy throughout the country as contrary to public policy and automatically converted it to agricultural leasehold. Presidential Decree No. 2 proclaimed the entire country "as a land reform area". Presidential Decree No. 27 emancipated the tenant from the bondage of the soil. And Presidential Decree No. 316 interdicted the ejectment or removal of the tenant-farmer from his farmholding until the promulgation of the rules and regulations implementing Presidential Decree No. 27. (See People vs. Adillo, supra). The legislative intent not to punish anymore the tenant's act of pre- reaping and pre-threshing without notice to the landlord is inferable from the fact that, as already noted, the Code of Agrarian Reforms did not reenact section 39 of the Agricultural Tenancy Law and that it abolished share tenancy which is the basis for penalizing clandestine pre-reaping and pre-threshing. All indications point to a deliberate and manifest legislative design to replace the Agricultural Tenancy Law with the Code of Agrarian Reforms, formerly the Agricultural Land Reform Code, at least as far as ricelands are concerned. As held in the Adillo case, the act of pre-reaping and pre-threshing without notice to the landlord, which is an offense under the Agricultural Tenancy Law, had ceased to be an offense under the subsequent law, the Code of Agrarian

Reforms. To prosecute it as an offense when the Code of Agrarian Reforms is already in force would be repugnant or abhorrent to the policy and spirit of that Code and would subvert the manifest legislative intent not to punish anymore prereaping and pre-threshing without notice to landholder. It is a rule of legal hermeneutics that "an act which purports to set out in full all that it intends to contain operates as a repeal of anything omitted which was contain in the old act and not included in the amendatory act" (Crawford, Construction of Statutes, p. 621 cited in the Adillo case). A subsequent statute, revising the whole subject matter of a former statute, and evidently intended as a substitute for it, operates to repeal the former statute" (82 C.J.S. 499). 'The revising statute is in effect a 'legislative declaration that whatever is embraced in the new statute shall prevail, and whatever is excluded therefrom shall be discarded" (82 C.J.S. 500). The repeal of appeal law deprives the courts of jurisdiction to punish persons charged with a violation of the old penal law prior to its repeal (People vs. Tamayo, 61 Phil. 225; People vs. Sindiong and Pastor, 77 Phil. 1000; People vs. Binuya, 61 Phil. 208; U.S. vs. Reyes, 10 Phil. 423; U.S. vs. Academia, 10 Phil. 431. See dissent in Lagrimas vs. Director of Prisons, 57 Phil. 247, 252, 254). WHEREFORE, the order of dismissal is affirmed with costs de oficio.