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Attorneys of the Philippines Legal News

Welcome to our legal news pages. Here is where we provide updates about what's happening in Philippines legal news, and publish helpful articles and tips for Pinoys researching legal matters.

What Is Human Security Act of 2007?

The Philippines is full of potentials and promises that continue to attract locals and tourists alike. You need not go to far places just to have a relaxing break as the country's sights, sounds and tastes will surely captivate you. Some tourists who used to consider the country as a holiday destination, have now considered it as a perfect base for retirement. Unfortunately, the beauty of the Philippines has been marred by terrorism. The Philippines has been infested by Abu Sayyaf, the most violent jihadist group in the country. They have committed numerous crimes against security and the most recent was the capture of Malaysian and Indonesian workers, a Filipina and Western tourists, two of whom have already been beheaded when the Canadian government refused to pay the ransom the group demanded. The government has zero tolerance on this barbaric act hence, working hard to put an end to terrorism in the country. The Human Security Act of 2007 aims to protect people's lives, liberty and property against any act of terrorism.

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9372

"AN ACT TO SECURE THE STATE AND PROTECT OUR PEOPLE FROM TERRORISM

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

SECTION 1. Short Title. This Act shall henceforth be known as the Human Security Act of 2007.

SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. It is declared a policy of the State to protect life, liberty, and property from acts of terrorism, to condemn terrorism as inimical and dangerous to the national security of the country and to the welfare of the people, and to make terrorism a crime against the Filipino people, against humanity, and against the law of nations.

In the implementation of the policy stated above, the State shall uphold the basic rights and fundamental liberties of the people as enshrined in the constitution.

The State recognizes that the fight against terrorism requires a comprehensive approach, comprising political, economic, diplomatic, military, and legal means duly taking into account the root causes of terrorism without acknowledging these as justifications for terrorist and/or criminal activities. Such measures shall include conflict management and post-conflict peace-building, addressing the roots of conflict by building state capacity and promoting equitable economic development.

Nothing in this Act shall be interpreted as a curtailment, restriction or diminution of constitutionally recognized powers of the executive branch of the government. It is to be understood, however, that the exercise of the constitutionally recognized powers of the executive department of the government shall not prejudice respect for human rights which shall be absolute and protected at all times.

SEC. 3. Terrorism. Any person who commits an act punishable under any of the following provisions of the Revised Penal Code:

1. Article 122 (Piracy in General and Mutiny in the High Seas or in the Philippine Waters);
2. Article 134 (Rebellion or Insurrection);
3. Article 134-a (Coup d Etat), including acts committed by private persons;
4. Article 248 (Murder);
5. Article 267 (Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention);
6. Article 324 (Crimes Involving Destruction,

or under

1. Presidential Decree No. 1613 (The Law on Arson);
2. Republic Act No. 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990);
3. Republic Act No. 5207, (Atomic Energy Regulatory and Liability Act of 1968);
4. Republic Act No. 6235 (Anti-Hijacking Law);
5. Presidential Decree No. 532 (Anti-piracy and Anti-highway Robbery Law of 1974); and,
6. Presidential Decree No. 1866, as amended (Decree Codifying the Laws on Illegal and Unlawful Possession, Manufacture, Dealing in, Acquisition or Disposition of Firearms, Ammunitions or Explosives)

thereby sowing and creating a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace, in order to coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand shall be guilty of the crime of terrorism and shall suffer the penalty of forty (40) years of imprisonment, without the benefit of parole as provided for under Act No. 4103, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended.

SEC. 4. Conspiracy to Commit Terrorism. Persons who conspire to commit the crime of terrorism shall suffer the penalty of forty (40) years of imprisonment.

There is conspiracy when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of the crime of terrorism as defined in Section 3 hereof and decide to commit the same."

Where Should You Verify The Authenticity Of Land Titles?

There are five places you can go to if you want to verify the authenticity of property titles.

1. Registry of Deeds

Your local Registry of Deeds is the place for verifying the authenticity of your property title. While you may have the option to check the records from the Registry of Deeds' official website, it is important that you personally visit the office of the locality where your property is located as a way of doing the initial verification.

2. Municipal or City Assessor's & Treasurer's Offices

If you want to find the property's accurate technical description, the Assessor's office will be able to help you with it. This is also the place where you can request for vicinity map of the subject property for DAR clearance or BIR clearance. When it comes to checking the property's record for arrears, tax payments and delinquencies, the Treasurer's offices will be the place you should go to.

3. Land Registration Authority (LRA)

LRA is responsible for issuing certificates of title, decrees of registration and register documents, patents and awards. In fact, this agency of the government is the repository of all titles in the Philippines. You can also trace the property's history in this agency.

4. Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB)

HLURB is a place where you seek submit complaints or seek consultation for subdivision or condominium developments. So, before you decide on selling or advertising your property, make sure you secure approvals and permits from HLURB. Aside from granting permits and approvals, HLURB is also responsible for dealing with the following matters:

-Revise or update guidelines, rules and standards on real estate and housing;
-Registration and licenses of condominium and subdivision projects, memorial parks, farm lots and columbaria, including the issuance of licenses when developers sell properties;
-Supervises and registers Home Owners' Association activities;
-Serves as adjudication body of disputes between developers and buyers, appeals from decisions of local zoning bodies, intra (inter) homeowners associations conflicts;
-Requires the mandatory registration of real estate brokers, dealers and salesmen engaged in selling developments under the jurisdiction of HLURB.
-Evaluates and approve Master Deed and Declaration of Restrictions of condominium projects and any amendments.

5. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Bases conversion and development authority (BCDA), National Housing Authority (NHA)

These government agencies are responsible for the issuance of special awards or grants to the qualified beneficiaries. DENR approves or disapproves the application of public land patents such as homestead, sales patent and free patent.

BCDA transforms former military bases into more productive civilian use such as the Pamayanang Diego Silang Condominiums.

NHA is also an agency owned by the government, which is known for spearheading housing programs for the lowest 30% of the urban population.

4 Types of Property Relations You Need To Know

In the Family Code Property Relations or also referred to as Property Regimes are divided into four types:

1. Complete Separation of Property
2. Property Regime of Unions Without Marriage
3. Conjugal Partnership of Gains
4. System of Absolute Community

While these four types of property relation may not apply to you, it will play a significant role once you get married. The property relations have to do with the law that applies to properties and other valuable things you accumulate over time. This includes your cars, jewelries and real estate. There are some details about property relation that you need to know whether you are the legal wife of the other woman or man.

The Family Code of the Philippines took effect on August 3, 1988. Since that day, the Absolute Community of Property will govern married couples. However, this property regime will only apply if they do not agree on another regime before getting married. The agreement before the weeding is referred to as the Marriage Settlements. Before August 3, 1988, the couples who got married without preparing marriage settlements beforehand, are covered by the Conjugal Partnership of Gains regime.

If the husband and wife agreed to Complete Separation of Property in their marriage settlements executed before the wedding, this Property Regime cannot be executed after the wedding.

On the other hand, the Property Regime of Unions Without Marriage is executed to two kinds of unmarried couples living together:

1. Those who are not legally married because of some legal impediment or incapacity of either or both of them, and

2. Those who are legally capable of marriage.

While both of these property relations are governed by the same property regime, each of them has different rules. Under the general law, a man is only allowed to marry one woman. If the man is already married to one and the marriage is still in effect, the other woman cannot be married. However, just because the other woman cannot be legally married does not necessarily mean that they do not have any right on the properties that they have accumulated together. According to the law, there are legal rights of the other woman that need to be taken into consideration.

Complete Separation of Property

This means each one of the spouses owns owns his or her exclusive properties, from both present and future property, including the ones they already own prior to getting married. If couples choose this property relation or regime, the means for supporting their family is through the use of common fund. The contribution of each part will depend on their income capacity.

Property Regime of Unions Without Marriage

It applies to couples who are capable of getting married but due to some reason did not get married because the property relations resemble that in CPG. This means their possessions prior to their marriage remain theirs, but the properties they produce or acquire during their marriage will be shared equally by both couples.

Conjugal Partnership of Gains

Conjugal Partnership of Gains (CPG) is similar to Absolute Community of Property except that there is a difference in how the properties are acquired by each party prior to getting married. The properties produced during the marriage will go to the common fund or the Conjugal Property where both spouses have equal rights.

Absolute Community of Property

This property regime pools the property of the husband and the wife together into one common fund. This will include the properties owned prior to the marriage. Both parties also have equal rights to the common fund. When married couples decide to go separate says or dissolve their marriage, the property should be equally divided.

Conjugal Property Versus Absolute Community Of Property

Marriage changes everything including the property relationship. Here are the basic rules on the effect of marriage to property relationship:

-the spouse cannot sell, donate, lease, mortgage or exchnage properties to each other;
-in the case of pre-nuptial agreement where the spouses' properties are separated, either spouse is not allowed to donate more than one-fifth of this or her property to the other spouse;
-when a property is donated, given or inherited via gratuitous act to either spouse within their marriage, the receiving spouse reserves the right to own the property exclusively.
-if there was a pre-nuptial agreement, the terms and conditions within that pre-nuptial agreement shall apply;
-special cases such as local customs and traditions, may also be applied.

Conjugal Property

-when property is acquire before the husband got married, the property shall be exclusively his;
-when property is acquired before the wife got married, the property will be exclusively hers;
-marriage joins exclusive properties as part of one estate within the conjugal property and the fruits of those properties shall be shared between the husband and wife for the duration of their marriage;
-in the event the husband and wife file for divorce, annulment or legal separation, the husband's exclusive property, acquired before the marriage and all its fruits shall not be included in the conjugal property and will be exclusively owned by him; the same theory applies to the exclusive property of the wife;
-when the spouses filed for separation of properties in court, the properties that the husband and the wife acquired during their marriage will be considered part of their conjugal property and this will be split in half between the wife and the husband.

Absolute Community Of Property

-when all properties are acquired by the spouses before their marriage and all properties acquired during their marriage, it will be considered as part of one whole estate of the absolute community of property, which is owned by both parties;
-when all properties are inherited, donated or given gratuitously to either of the spouse before their marriage shall be considered as part of the absolute community of property upon marriage, and shall be owned by both parties;
-in the event of divorce, annulment or legal separation, the regime of absolute community of property shall not be affected and will remain owned by both spouses, unless the spouses have filed for judicial separate of properties;
-in case the spouses filed Judicial Separation of Properties, the properties within the Absolute Community of Properties shall be split between the husband and the wife.

A Basic Discussion On Last Will And Testament

It cannot be denied that the settlement of a deceased person's estate can lead to bitter litigations if the relatives cannot see eye to eye. This is why preparing a last will and testament is a good option to prevent conflicts. A last will and testament refers to an act whereby an individual is permitted, following the legal procedures, to control a certain degree the disposition of his/her estate. The will serves as a document whereby the testator disposes of his/her estate or property, which will take effect upon his/her death. The testator refers to the deceased person who created the will. A legatee refers to the person whom the testator gives the personal property through a will while the devisee is the person who is given real property in a will. The person who is entrusted to implement the provisions is referred to as the executor.

Inheritance versus Will

A will differs from inheritance as the latter refers to "all the property, rights and obligations of a person who are not extinguished by his death" according to Civil Code, Art. 776. The will determines the disposition of the inheritance.

A document may be entitled a last will and testament but when it provides that all properties need to be transferred during the testator's lifetime, it is not considered a will because a will takes effect upon the testator's death. A disposition that takes effect before his/her death is referred to as a donation and this should be governed by the formalities of and legal provisions on donations.

Two kinds of wills: Holographic and Notarial

A holographic will refers to a writen document which is dated and signed by the hand of the testator himself while a notarial will is governed by the provisions under Article 805 and 806, Civil Code.

"    Art. 805. Every will, other than a holographic will, must be subscribed at the end thereof by the testator himself or by the testator’s name written by some other person in his presence, and by his express direction, and attested and subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of one another.

    The testator or the person requested by him to write his name and the instrumental witnesses of the will, shall also sign, as aforesaid, each and every page thereof, except the last, on the left margin, and all the pages shall be numbered correlatively in letters placed on the upper part of each page.

    The attestation shall state the number of pages used upon which the will is written, and the fact that the testator signed the will and every page thereof, or caused some other person to write his name, under his express direction, in the presence of the instrumental witnesses, and that the latter witnessed and signed the will and all the pages thereof in the presence of the testator and of one another.

    If the attestation clause is in a language not known to the witnesses, it shall be interpreted to them.

    Art. 806. Every will must be acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the witnesses. The notary public shall not be required to retain a copy of the will, or file another with the office of the Clerk of Court."

Problems With Property Buyers Encounter

Do you know your legal rights as a buyer? You may not know its importance until you decide on buying a real estate property. There is quite a good number of laws that can protect the homebuyer against unlicensed agents and scammers. Due to the prevalence of scams, more and more buyers are making an effort to equip themselves with knowledge about real estate laws.

Real Estate Agent Insists On A Contract To Sell Instead Of Issuing A Deed Of Sale

More often than not developers issue a Contract to Sell (CTS) when payment has not yet been completed. CTS signifies that the buyer and seller are bound to an exclusive agreement. There are some cases when the buyer can obtain the property's physical possession from the seller and gain full ownership and title once the payment has been completed.

Legal Options For Homebuyers Victimized By Unlicensed Real Estate Agent

These days, buyers gain protection from being duped by unlicensed real estate agents through the Real Estate Service Act. This act requires homebuyers to buy properties from licensed real estate agents only. Licensed real estate agents are registered with the Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service.

In the event you have been victimized by scammers, your only recourse is to file fraud-related charges against the broker or agent. For cases when a buyer dealt with registered agents who did not perform their duties, the buyer can report the incident to the Professional Regulation Commission.

Your Rights As A Buyer

For first-time homebuyers, it is important that you demand the developer the property's title once payment has been completed. You also have the right to receive a reimbursement of the amount you have paid in relation to the agreement including the payment for amortization. A developer cannot forfeit any installment payments in favor of the owner or developer.

Miss Paying Monthly Amortization

In case you miss paying your monthly amortization, your developer should allow you to pay the unpaid amount of installment without additional interest if grace period is one month for every year-worth of installments. It is also your developer's obligation to issue a refund in the event the contract was cancelled.

The buyer has the right to sell the rights or assign the payment to another person if they no longer have the capacity to make a payment to the property. The buyer can aso ask a reinstatement of the contract so the account will be updated within the grace period or before the cancellation of contract takes place. These processes must be done by notarial act.

Selling A Property In The Philippines

If you are planning to sell your real estate property in the Philippines, you need to follow the correct procedures to avoid putting yourself into a nightmarish situation. While it does not take rocket science to sell a property, familiarizing yourself with the procedures is a must as there are some legal documents that you need to secure.

1. Sign A Contract of Agreement

The owner or broker will first discuss the terms of the sale, the commission and the fees. It is also necessary to scrutinize the documents to make sure that the land title meets the condition and free from encumbrances, liens and loans.

2. Issue an Authority to Sell

The purpose of the agreement or contract is to bind the broker as the agent of the owner providing the essential information and the amount of commission of the property that will be sold. The contract will also indicate if the owner will bestow upon the exclusive rights of the broker or a non-exclusive authorization to sell the property. The broker will secure the necessary documents before selling the property to ensure that there are no problems concerning the property. The broker will also check if the property is free from encumbrances. An encumbrance means that another person has interest in, right to, or legal liability on the property that either deter the process of transferring the title or diminish the value of the property.

3. Assessment of property by the broker

The broker will check the property as a way of assessing its current market value. It is important for the property to be appraised to determine its actual price. There are several factors that will be taken into account in determining the asset's value such as the area and location of the property.

4. Broker will offer and sell the property

Before a broker can market the property, it is important that the owner agrees on how to market the property. There are also some limitations that should be taken into consideration such as privacy when realising photos or disclosing the location online. Both parties must also decide on how to split the marketing costs such as communication and transportation expenses. Nowadays, the common practice is that the broker shoulders the expenses depend on the amount of the commission.

5. Viewing of the Property

Once the buyers get in touch with the broker or owner, they will proceed with viewing the property. The owner needs to make sure that the property is presentable to add value to the property.

6. Write a Letter of Intent or Offer to Buy

The buyer will also offer a Letter of Intent to the property owner declaring the intention to purchase. More often than not, the Letter of Intent is given at the first stage in documenting a sale of real property.

7. Acceptance of Owner

The owner accepts the Letter of Intent once signed. This indicates acceptance of the terms given by the buyer. Upon acceptance, the seller will be bound to promist not to offer the property to other buyers so long as the buyer does not breach the conditions in the letter.

8. Provide Earnest Money

The earnest money is provided as means of holding the property subject to the buyer's due diligence. It can be forfeited when there is default on the buyer's part. The money can also be used as refundable subject to deductions depending on the agreement that both parties made.

9. Preparation of Legal Documents

The legal documents must be secured in preparation of the transfer of ownership to the buyer.

These documents must be obtained from the Register of Deeds:
•    Certified True Copy of Transfer Certificate of Title ( Land )
•    Certified True Copy of Condominium Certificate of Title ( Unit )
•    Certified True Copy of Condominium ( Parking – if applicable )

The owner or broker must procure these documents from the Assessor's Office:
•    Certified True Copy of Tax Declaration ( Land )
•    Certified True Copy of Tax Declaration ( Improvement / Building )
•    Certified True Copy of Tax Declaration ( Condominium )
•    Certified True Copy of Tax Declaration ( Condominium parking, if applicable )
•    Real Estate Tax Clearance for Current Year
•    Certificate of Non-Improvement if property is bare and without structures such as a house or a building

The Property Owner should also secure the following documents"
•    Certificate Authorizing Registration from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)
•    Original Real Estate Tax Receipts – Current Year
•    Lot Plan / Subdivision Plan

A Deed of Absolute sale will be prepared and signed. The seller transfers ownerships of the property to the buyer. The Deed of Absolute Sale should be signed by both parties so it will be considered to be the absolute owner of the property. After which, both parties will proceed with the payment of expenses such as capital gains tax, documentary stamps tax, registration fees and transfer tax. Upon full payment of the purchase price and other expenses, the contact will be signed and ownership will be legally transferred to the buyer. It is important to notarize Deed of Absolute Sale so it will become a public document.

The seller will turn over the original copies of Transfer of Certificate, Condominium Certificate of Title, Tax Declaration, Tax Clearance for both land and improvement, Tax Clearance for condominium unit and parking. The buyer must also obtain a new tax declaration and when the new tax declaration has been released, the former owner's full obligation will be terminated.

What Is Extrajudicial Settlement Of Estate?

Many individuals encounter problems when a property is divided between legal heirs. The most common reason is the lack of basic understanding of the process of extrajudicial settlement of estate. While it cannot be denied that the process of buying and selling of property has been in existence for so long, there are still sellers or buyers who still fall prey to scams because they do not know the process. The process might be as simple as selling the property to the buyer and dealing with legal formalities, but there are processes that can be a bit complicated especially when the property owner passes away. When the transfer of ownership has not been completed, there is a great chance of selling the property to another person later on. An extrajudicial settlement is a simple fix when the property owner dies.

How does extrajudicial settlement of estate work?

The settlement involves drafting a contract, which specifies how a deceased owner's properties will be divided among individuals considered as heirs. The properties indicated in the contract are referred to as estate. It is called extrajudicial or out of court settlement because the heirs no longer go to trial to divide the properties, which the deceased property owner left.

The requirement for the process

1. Absolute absence of a will;
2. Proof that the decendent's estate has no existing debts;
3. A legal representative or judicial for heirs who are minors;
4. Affidavit of self adjudication;
5. Deed of extrajudicial settlement of estate and adjudication of estate
6. A bond from a reputable company.

"Summary Settlement of Estate

Section 1.    Extrajudicial settlement by agreement between heirs. — If the decedent left no will and no debts and the heirs are all of age, or the minors are represented by their judicial or legal representatives duly authorized for the purpose, the parties may without securing letters of administration, divide the estate among themselves as they see fit by means of a public instrument filed in the office of the register of deeds, and should they disagree, they may do so in an ordinary action of partition. If there is only one heir, he may adjudicate to himself the entire estate by means of an affidavit filled in the office of the register of deeds. The parties to an extrajudicial settlement, whether by public instrument or by stipulation in a pending action for partition, or the sole heir who adjudicates the entire estate to himself by means of an affidavit shall file, simultaneously with and as a condition precedent to the filing of the public instrument, or stipulation in the action for partition, or of the affidavit in the office of the register of deeds, a bond with the said register of deeds, in an amount equivalent to the value of the personal property involved as certified to under oath by the parties concerned and conditioned upon the payment of any just claim that may be filed under section 4 of this rule. It shall be presumed that the decedent left no debts if no creditor files a petition for letters of administration within two (2) years after the death of the decedent.

The fact of the extrajudicial settlement or administration shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the manner provided in the nest succeeding section; but no extrajudicial settlement shall be binding upon any person who has not participated therein or had no notice thereof.

Section 2.    Summary settlement of estate of small value. — Whenever the gross value of the estate of a deceased person, whether he died testate or intestate, does not exceed ten thousand pesos, and that fact is made to appear to the Court of First Instance having jurisdiction of the estate by the petition of an interested person and upon hearing, which shall be held not less than one (1) month nor more than three (3) months from the date of the last publication of a notice which shall be published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the province, and after such other notice to interest persons as the court may direct, the court may proceed summarily, without the appointment of an executor or administrator, and without delay, to grant, if proper, allowance of the will, if any there be, to determine who are the persons legally entitled to participate in the estate, and to apportion and divide it among them after the payment of such debts of the estate as the court shall then find to be due; and such persons, in their own right, if they are of lawful age and legal capacity, or by their

guardians or trustees legally appointed and qualified, if otherwise, shall thereupon be entitled to receive and enter into the possession of the portions of the estate so awarded to them respectively. The court shall make such order as may be just respecting the costs of the proceedings, and all orders and judgments made or rendered in the course thereof shall be recorded in the office of the clerk, and the order of partition or award, if it involves real estate, shall be recorded in the proper register's office.

Section 3.    Bond to be filed by distributees. — The court, before allowing a partition in accordance with the provisions of the preceding section, my require the distributees, if property other than real is to be distributed, to file a bond in an amount to be fixed by court, conditioned for the payment of any just claim which may be filed under the next succeeding section.

Section 4.    Liability of distributees and estate. — If it shall appear at any time within two (2) years after the settlement and distribution of an estate in accordance with the provisions of either of the first two sections of this rule, that an heir or other person has been unduly deprived of his lawful participation in the estate, such heir or such other person may compel the settlement of the estate in the courts in the manner hereinafter provided for the purpose of satisfying such lawful participation. And if within the same time of two (2) years, it shall appear that there are debts outstanding against the estate which have not been paid, or that an heir or other person has been unduly deprived of his lawful participation payable in money, the court having jurisdiction of the estate may, by order for that purpose, after hearing, settle the amount of such debts or lawful participation and order how much and in what manner each distributee shall contribute in the payment thereof, and may issue execution, if circumstances require, against the bond provided in the preceding section or against the real estate belonging to the deceased, or both. Such bond and such real estate shall remain charged with a liability to creditors, heirs, or other persons for the full period of two (2) years after such distribution, notwithstanding any transfers of real estate that may have been made.

Section 5.    Period for claim of minor or incapacitated person. — If on the date of the expiration of the period of two (2) years prescribed in the preceding section the person authorized to file a claim is a minor or mentally incapacitated, or is in prison or outside the Philippines, he may present his claim within one (1) year after such disability is removed."

All You Need To Know About Legal Fees

When it comes to legal matters, the cost involved in the legal processes such as filing a petition, securing the certified copies of any record, filing a motion etc., is indeed worth knowing. Aside from seeking legal advice, individuals who want to pursue a case are also curious about the cost that the legal process may entail. Here's a rundown of the legal fees based on Rule 141 of the Rules of Court:

Legal Fees

"SEC. 4. Clerks of the Court of Appeals and of the Supreme Court.-

............ (a) For filing an action, proceeding, appeal by notice or record on appeal when required, entering appearance of the parties, entering orders of the court, filing and docketing all motions, docketing of case on all proper dockets, and indexing the same, entering, recording and certification of judgment and remanding of records to the lower court, taxing they costs, administering all necessary oaths or affirmations in the action or proceeding, recording the opinion of the court, and issuing all necessary process in the action or proceeding not herein otherwise provided for, each action or special proceeding, five hundred (P500.00) pesos;

............ (b) For the performance of marriage ceremony, including issuance of certificate of marriage, three hundred (P300.00) pesos;

............ (c) For furnishing transcripts of the record or copies of any record, judgment, or entry of which any person is entitled to demand and receive a copy, for each page, four (P4.00) pesos;

............ (d) For each certificate not on process, thirty (P30.00) pesos;

............ (e) For every search for anything above a year's standing and reading the same, fifteen (P15.00) pesos;

............ (f) For a commission on all money coming into his hands by these rules or order of the court and caring for the same, two and one-half (2.5%) percent on all sums not exceeding four thousand (P4,000.00) pesos and one and one-half (1.5%) percent upon all sums in excess of four thousand (P4,000.00) pesos, and one (1%) per cent on all sums in excess of forty thousand (P40,000.00) pesos. (4a)

............SEC. 5. Fees to be paid by the advancing party. -- The fees of the clerk of the Court of Appeals or of the Supreme Court shall be paid him at the time of the entry of the action or proceeding in the court by the party who enters the same by appeal, or otherwise, and the clerk shall in all cases give a receipt for the same and shall enter the amount received upon his book, specifying the date when received, person from whom received, name of action in which received, and amount received. If the fees are not paid, the court may refuse to proceed with the action until they are paid and may dismiss the appeal or the action or proceeding. (3a)

............SEC.6. Fees of bar candidates.-

............ (a)............For filing the application for admission to the bar, whether admitted to the examination or not, one thousand and seven hundred fifty (P1,750.00) pesos for new applicants, and for repeaters, plus the additional amount of two hundred (P200.00) pesos multiplied by the number of times the applicant has failed in the bar examinations;

............ (b)......For admission to the bar, including oath taking, signing of the roll of attorneys, the issuance of diploma of admission to the Philippine Bar, one thousand and seven hundred fifty (P1,750.00) pesos;

............ (c)............Other Bar Fees.- For the issuance of:

1. ......Certification of admission to the Philippine Bar
   
P50.00

2. ......Certificate of good standing (local)
   
50.00

3. ......Certificate of good standing (foreign)
   
100.00

4. ......Verification of membership in the bar
   
50.00

5. ......Certificate of grades in the bar examinations
   
50.00

6. ......Other certification of records at the Bar Office, per page
   
15.00

7. ......A duplicate diploma of admission to the Philippine Bar
   
500.00

............For services in connection with the return of examination notebooks to examinees, a fee of thirty (P30.00) pesos shall also be charged. (6a)

............SEC.7. Clerks of Regional Trial Courts.-

............ (a) For filing an action or a permissive counterclaim or money claim against an estate not based on judgment, or for filing with leave of court a third-party, fourth-party, etc. complaint, or a complaint in intervention, and for all clerical services in the same, if the total sum claimed, exclusive of interest, or the stated value of the property in litigation, is:

1.......Less than P100,000.00
   
P 500.00

2.......P100,000.00 or more but less than P150,000.00
   
...800.00

3.......P150,000.00 or more but less than P200,000.00
   
1,000.00

4.......P200,000.00 or more but less than P250,000.00
   

1,500.00

5.......P250,000.00 or more but less than P300,000.00
   

1,750.00

6.......P300,000.00 or more but less than P350,000.00
   
2,000.00

7.......P350,000.00 or more but not more than P400,000.00
   
2,250.00

8.......For each P1,000.00 in.excess of P400,000.00
   
....10.00

............ (b) For filing:

1. ......Actions where the value of the subject matter cannot be estimated
   
..P600.00

2. ......Special civil actions except judicial foreclosure of mortgage which shall be governed by paragraph (a) above
   
....600.00

3. ......All other actions not involving property
   
600.00

............In a real action, the assessed value of the property, or if there is none, the estimated value thereof shall be alleged by the claimant and shall be the basis in computing the fees.

............ (c) For filing requests for extrajudicial foreclosure of real estate or chattel mortgage, if the amount of the indebtedness, or the mortgagee's claim is:

1. ......Less than P50,000.00
   
.....P275.00

2. ......P50,000.00 or more but less than P100,000.00
   
..400.00

3. ......P100,000.00 or more but less than P150,000.00
   
..500.00

4. ......P150,000.00 or more but less than P200,000.00
   
...650.00

5. ......P200,000.00 or more but less than P250,000.00
   
1,000.00

6. ......P250,000.00 or more but less than P300,000.00
   
1,250.00

7. ......P300,000.00 or more but less than P400,000.00
   
1,500.00

8. ......P400,000.00 or more but less than P500,000.00
   
1,750.00

9. ......P500,000.00 or more but not more than P1,000,000.00
   
....2,000.00

10. ......For each P1,000.00 in excess of P1,000,000.00
   
10.00

............ (d) For initiating proceedings for the allowance of wills, granting letters of administration, appointment of guardians, trustees, and other special proceedings, the fees payable shall be collected in accordance with the value of the property involved in the proceedings, which must be stated in the application or petition, as follows:

1. ......More than P100,000.00 but less than P150,000.00
   
P2,000.00

2. ......P150,000.00 or more but less than P200,000.00
   
2,250.00

3. ......P200,000.00 or more but less than P250,000.00
   
2,500.00

4. ......P250,000.00 or more but less than P300,000.00
   
2,750.00

5. ......P300,000.00 or more but less than P350,000.00
   
3,000.00

6. ......P350,000.00 or more but not more than P400,000.00
   
............3,250.00

7. ......For each P1,000.00 in excess of P400,000.00
   
10.00

............If the value of the estate as definitely appraised by the court is more than the value declared in the application, the difference of fee shall be paid: provided that a certificate from the clerk of court that the proper fees have been paid shall be required prior to the closure of the proceedings.

............ (e) For filing petitions for naturalization or other modes of acquisition of citizenship, two thousand (P2,000.00) pesos;

............ (f) For filing petitions for adoption, support, annulment of marriage, legal separation and other actions or proceedings under the Family Code, two hundred (P200.00) pesos;

............If the proceedings involve separation of property, an additional fee corresponding to the value of the property involved shall be collected, computed in accordance with the rates for special proceedings.

............ (g) For all other special proceedings not concerning property, two hundred (P200.00) pesos;

............ (h) For the performance of marriage ceremony including issuance of certificate of marriage, three hundred (P300.00) pesos;

............ (i) For filing an application for commission as notary public, five hundred (P500.00) pesos;

............ (j) For certified copies of any paper, record, decree, judgment or entry thereof for each page, four (P4.00) and fifteen (P15.00) pesos for certification;

............ (k) For a commission on all money coming into the clerks' hands by law, rule, order or writ of court and caring for the same, one and one-half (1.5 %) per centum on all sums not exceeding forty thousand (P40,000.00) pesos, and one (1%) per centum on all sums in excess of forty thousand (P40,000) pesos.

............ (l) For any other services as clerk not provided in this section, one hundred and fifty (P150.00) pesos shall be collected. (7a)"

The Elements Of Adultery

You might have already suspected your wife having an extra-marital affair but without meeting the elements of adultery and not presenting any tangible evidence will render accusations useless. As defined under Article 333 of the Revised Penal Code, “Adultery is committed by any married woman who shall have sexual intercourse with a man not her husband and by the man, who has carnal knowledge of her knowing her to be married, even is the marriage be subsequently declared void.”

The Elements of Adultery

1. The woman is married;
2. The woman had sexual intercourse with a man not her husband;
3. The man she had sexual intercourse is aware that she is married.

The Crime of Adultery Can Be Filed If:

1. The married woman engages in sexual intercourse with a man not her husband;
2. The man is aware of the marriage of the woman, but still engages in sexual intercourse with her.

The offended spouse should be the one to file a case of adultery against the offending spouse. Unlike the criminal offenses of rape acts of lasciviousness, seduction and abduction, no one else can file a case of adultery on behalf of the offended spouse.

In adultery, proof of sexual intercourse is enough to file a case against the wife and her lover. If proven guilty, the woman may face imprisonment from 2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 6 years. However, if the crime was committed due to the abandonment by the offended spouse, the offending parties will face imprisonment from 6 months and 1 day to 2 years and 4 months. If the husband chooses to pardon his wife, the offending party will be absolved of the crime of adultery and the offended party can no longer charge her.

To grant pardon to the offending party, the pardon should come before the institution of the criminal prosecution and both offenders must be pardoned and not just the wife.

" Art. 333. Who are guilty of adultery. — Adultery is committed by any married woman who shall have sexual intercourse with a man not her husband and by the man who has carnal knowledge of her knowing her to be married, even if the marriage be subsequently declared void.

Adultery shall be punished by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods.

If the person guilty of adultery committed this offense while being abandoned without justification by the offended spouse, the penalty next lower in degree than that provided in the next preceding paragraph shall be imposed."

Inheritance Without A Last Will

Problems often arise when the spouse dies without a will. There is indeed some confusion if you do not know anything about the inheritance law. Under Article 996 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, only you and your children are entitled to inherit and not the spouse's siblings, parents, or grandparents. The information you need to know including the succession of inheritance can be found in Chapter 3 of Republic Act No. 386.

Legal or Intestate Succession

"Subsection 1. - Descending Direct Line

Art. 978. Succession pertains, in the first place, to the descending direct line. (930)

Art. 979. Legitimate children and their descendants succeed the parents and other ascendants, without distinction as to sex or age, and even if they should come from different marriages.

An adopted child succeeds to the property of the adopting parents in the same manner as a legitimate child. (931a)

Art. 980. The children of the deceased shall always inherit from him in their own right, dividing the inheritance in equal shares. (932)

Art. 981. Should children of the deceased and descendants of other children who are dead, survive, the former shall inherit in their own right, and the latter by right of representation. (934a)

Art. 982. The grandchildren and other descendants shall inherit by right of representation, and if any one of them should have died, leaving several heirs, the portion pertaining to him shall be divided among the latter in equal portions. (933)

Art. 983. If illegitimate children survive with legitimate children, the shares of the former shall be in the proportions prescribed by Article 895. (n)

Art. 984. In case of the death of an adopted child, leaving no children or descendants, his parents and relatives by consanguinity and not by adoption, shall be his legal heirs. (n)

Subsection 2. - Ascending Direct Line

Art. 985. In default of legitimate children and descendants of the deceased, his parents and ascendants shall inherit from him, to the exclusion of collateral relatives. (935a)

Art. 986. The father and mother, if living, shall inherit in equal shares.

Should one only of them survive, he or she shall succeed to the entire estate of the child. (936)

Art. 987. In default of the father and mother, the ascendants nearest in degree shall inherit.

Should there be more than one of equal degree belonging to the same line they shall divide the inheritance per capita; should they be of different lines but of equal degree, one-half shall go to the paternal and the other half to the maternal ascendants. In each line the division shall be made per capita. (937)

Subsection 3. - Illegitimate Children

Art. 988. In the absence of legitimate descendants or ascendants, the illegitimate children shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased. (939a)

Art. 989. If, together with illegitimate children, there should survive descendants of another illegitimate child who is dead, the former shall succeed in their own right and the latter by right of representation. (940a)

Art. 990. The hereditary rights granted by the two preceding articles to illegitimate children shall be transmitted upon their death to their descendants, who shall inherit by right of representation from their deceased grandparent. (941a)

Art. 991. If legitimate ascendants are left, the illegitimate children shall divide the inheritance with them, taking one-half of the estate, whatever be the number of the ascendants or of the illegitimate children. (942-841a)

Art. 992. An illegitimate child has no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or mother; nor shall such children or relatives inherit in the same manner from the illegitimate child. (943a)

Art. 993. If an illegitimate child should die without issue, either legitimate or illegitimate, his father or mother shall succeed to his entire estate; and if the child's filiation is duly proved as to both parents, who are both living, they shall inherit from him share and share alike. (944)

Art. 994. In default of the father or mother, an illegitimate child shall be succeeded by his or her surviving spouse who shall be entitled to the entire estate.

If the widow or widower should survive with brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, she or he shall inherit one-half of the estate, and the latter the other half. (945a)"

Forgery: A Serious and Punishable Offense

An individual commits a crime of forgery if the signature in the negotiable instrument is forged without the consent of the authorized person. Many people have fallen victim to fraudulent transactions despite precautionary measures. Although most people rely heavily on a person’s ability to produce trustworthy documents, individuals, businesses and even political entities are still not spared from the crime of forgery.

Forgery is committed when:

•    a person signs in another’s name with the intent to defraud;
•    a person alters the name, amount or payee’s name with intent to defraud.

Although a crime of forgery is committed, only the forged signature is considered invalid. The instrument and the genuine signatures are still deemed valid. When it comes to payment under a forged instrument, the person whose signature is forged will not be held liable for the fraudulent transaction except for those who are negligent or those who impliedly ratified the forgery. An example of negligent would be leaving your checkbook with an executive assistant. While the assistant have forged your signature, the mere fact that there was neglect on your part will still make you liable if transactions are made through your forged signature.

“Art. 169. How forgery is committed. — The forgery referred to in this section may be committed by any of the following means:

1. By giving to a treasury or bank note or any instrument, payable to bearer or order mentioned therein, the appearance of a true genuine document.
2. By erasing, substituting, counterfeiting or altering by any means the figures, letters, words or signs contained therein.

Section Four. — Falsification of legislative, public, commercial, and privatedocuments, and wireless, telegraph, and telephone message.

Art. 170. Falsification of legislative documents. — The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine not exceeding P6,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, without proper authority therefor alters any bill, resolution, or ordinance enacted or approved or pending approval by either House of the Legislature or any provincial board or municipal council.

Art. 171. Falsification by public officer, employee or notary or ecclesiastic minister. — The penalty of prision mayor and a fine not to exceed P5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any public officer, employee, or notary who, taking advantage of his official position, shall falsify a document by committing any of the following acts:

1. Counterfeiting or imitating any handwriting, signature or rubric;
2. Causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when they did not in fact so participate;
3. Attributing to persons who have participated in an act or proceeding statements other than those in fact made by them;
4. Making untruthful statements in a narration of facts;
5. Altering true dates;
6. Making any alteration or intercalation in a genuine document which changes its meaning;
7. Issuing in an authenticated form a document purporting to be a copy of an original document when no such original exists, or including in such a copy a statement contrary to, or different from, that of the genuine original; or
8. Intercalating any instrument or note relative to the issuance thereof in a protocol, registry, or official book.

The same penalty shall be imposed upon any ecclesiastical minister who shall commit any of the offenses enumerated in the preceding paragraphs of this article, with respect to any record or document of such character that its falsification may affect the civil status of persons. “

Can You Change An Illegitimate Child's Surname To His Father's?

One question that surely lingers in one's mind when talking about illegitimate children is the use of the father's surname even when parents are not married. The good news is, the mother of the child need not be married to the father for the child to bear the father's surname. However, the child will only be allowed to use it if the child's paternity has been recognised.

Here are the requirements you need to prepare:

1. Valid identification for both parents;
2. Affidavit to Use the Surname of the Father (AUSF);
3. Certified True Copy of the Certificate of Live Birth of the child;
4. Affidavit of Admission of Paternity or the Affidavit of Acknowledgment

Additional details of the process are outlined in Republic Act No. 9255

"Rule 3.   Who may file

Under these rules, the father, mother, child if of age, or the guardian, may file the public document or Affidavit to Use the Surname of the Father (AUSF) in order for the child to use the surname of the father.
 
Rule 4.   Where to file
 
4.1.     The public document or AUSF executed within the Philippines shall be filed at the Local Civil Registry Office (LCRO) where the child was born, if the birth occurred within the Philippines.
 
4.2.     The public document or AUSF executed outside the Philippines shall be filed at the LCRO of Manila, if the birth occurred within the Philippines.
 
4.3.     The public document or AUSF whether executed within or outside the Philippines shall be filed at the LCRO of Manila, if the birth occurred outside the Philippines.
 
Rule 5.   What to file

The following shall be filed at the LCRO:
 
5.1.     Certificate of Live Birth with accomplished Affidavit of Acknowledgement/ Admission of Paternity at the back
 
5.2.     Public document
 
5.3.     AUSF, including all supporting documents
 
Rule 6.   When to register

The public document not made on the record of birth, or the AUSF shall be registered within twenty (20) days from the date of execution at the place where the birth was registered. Otherwise the procedures of late registration shall be applied.
 
Rule 7.   Requirements for the Child to Use the Surname of the Father
 
7.1        For Births Not Yet Registered
 
      7.1.1   The illegitimate child shall use the surname of the father if a public document is executed
           by the father, either at the back of the Certificate of Live Birth or in a separate document.
 
      7.1.2   If admission of paternity is made through a private handwritten instrument, the child shall
           use the surname of the father, provided the registration is supported by the following
           documents:
 
                 a.   AUSF
                 b.   Consent of the child, if 18 years old and over at the time of the filing of the document
                 c.   Any two of the following documents showing clearly the paternity between the father
                 and the child:
 
                       1)   Employment records
                       2)   SSS/GSIS records
                       3)   Insurance
                       4)   Certification of membership in any organization
                       5)   Statement of Assets and Liabilities
                       6)   Income Tax Return (ITR)
 
7.2        For Births Previously Registered under the Surname of the Mother
 
      7.2.1   If filiation has been expressly recognized by the father, the child shall use the surname
          of the father upon the submission of the accomplished AUSF.
 
      7.2.2   If filiation has not been expressly recognized by the father, the child shall use the
          surname of father upon submission of a public document or a private handwritten
          instrument supported by the documents listed in Rule 7.1.2.
 
7.3        Except in Item 7.2.1, the consent of the illegitimate child is required if he/she has reached the age of majority. The consent may be contained in a separate instrument duly notarized."

Rights And Practices Every Consumer Must Remember

As a consumer you have the right to: safety, basic needs, information, representation, redress, consumer education, choose and healthy environment. Making informed buying decisions will ensure that you are getting the right products and services. If you want to make an online purchase, the first thing you need to check is the DTI sales promotion permit of the online store. It is not enough that you read reviews or feedback from previous buyers because you also need protection against online scams. While you may not have the luxury of time to check the items you are purchasing, it still pays to get some essential information such as the product’s expiry date, brand name, name and address of the manufacturer and English or Filipino translation if the labels are written in other languages. Perhaps you are already familiar with the ‘No Return, No Exchange’ policy and if ever you bought a defective product, you should insist on replacing or refunding the item.

Republic Act No. 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines provides detailed information about consumer rights and practices.

“ARTICLE 5. Declaration of Policy. — It shall be the duty of the State:

a) to develop and provide safety and quality standards for consumer products, including performance or use-oriented standards, codes of practice and methods of tests;
b) to assist the consumer in evaluating the quality, including safety, performance and comparative utility of consumer products;
c) to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injury associated with consumer products;
d)to undertake research on quality improvement of products and investigation into causes and prevention of product related deaths, illness and injuries;
e) to assure the public of the consistency of standardized products.
ARTICLE 6.  Implementing Agencies. — The provisions of this Article and its implementing rules and regulations shall be enforced by:
a)   the Department of Health with respect to food, drugs, cosmetics, devices and substances;
b)   the Department of Agriculture with respect to products related to agriculture, and;
c)   the Department of Trade and Industry with respect to other consumer products not specified above.

ARTICLE 7.   Promulgation and Adoption of Consumer Product Standards. — The concerned department shall establish consumer product quality and safety standards which shall consist of one or more of the following:

a)    requirements as to performance, composition, contents, design, construction, finish, packaging of a consumer product;
b)    requirements as to kind, class, grade, dimensions, weights, material;
c)  requirements as to the methods of sampling, tests and codes used to check the quality of the product;
d)  requirements as to precautions in storage, transporting and packaging;
e)  requirements that a consumer product be marked with or accompanied by clear and adequate safety warnings or instructions, or requirements respecting the form of warnings or instructions.

For this purpose, the concerned department shall adopt existing government domestic product quality and safety standards: Provided, That in the absence of such standards, the concerned department shall form specialized technical committees composed of equal number of representatives from each of the Government, business and consumer sectors to formulate, develop and purpose consumer product quality and safety standards. The said technical committees shall consult with the private sector, which may, motu proprio, develop its own quality and safety standards that shall be subject to review and approval of the concerned government agency or agencies after public hearings have been conducted for that purpose; and shall likewise consider existing international standards recognized by the Philippine Government.

ARTICLE 8.   Publication of Consumer Product Standards. — The concerned department shall, upon promulgation of the above standards, publish or cause the publication of the same in two (2) newspapers of general circulation at least once a week for a period of not less than one (1) month. It may likewise conduct an information campaign through other means deemed effective to ensure the proper guidance of consumers, businesses, industries and other sectors concerned.”

The Basic Requirements And Procedures Of Getting Married

Getting married in the Philippines need not be complicated if you know the basic requirements and procedures. Whether it is a civil or church wedding, you need to make ample preparations so your wedding goes as planned. Applying for a marriage license is the first step you need to take as this is the most important document for civil or church wedding. The purpose of a marriage license is to verify your eligibility for marriage.  As much as possible, you should prepare both original and photocopy of the document.

You can claim your marriage license once you have completed the requirements. You will need to present the Certificates of Attendant to the LCR office where you have applied for your license. It is recommended that you file the registration within 15 days from the date of wedding celebration. The license will be released after 10 days from the date of application. The license will be considered valid for 120 days from the date of issue.

Requirements for securing a marriage license:

•    Community Tax Certificate (Cedula)
•    Application Form
•    NSO Authenticated birth certificate
•    Certificate of No Marriage
•    Recent 1x1 Photo
•    Affidavit of parental advice ( for groom or bride 22-25 years old )
•    Affidavit of parental consent (for groom or bride 18-21 years old)

Death certificate of the deceased spouse will be required from a widow or widower, while a certificate of legal capacity issued by the embassy will be required from a foreigner or an applicant who is not a Filipino citizen.

The marriage contract or license can be obtained from the Local Civil Registrar (LCR) office of the Municipal’s Office where the wedding will be held. The application form must be filled out with the necessary information. There are sections intended for groom and bride and after filling out the form, be sure to check the information before submitting the paper. You will be asked to attend seminars before getting married. These seminars are pre-marriage counselling and family planning and responsible parenthood seminar.  Both parties must attend the seminars.

Church wedding requirements:

•    marriage license,
•    baptismal and confirmation certificates
•    copy of NSO birth certificate
•    marriage preparation seminar
•    canonical interview
•    marriage banns
•     list of principal sponsors and entourage members
•     Confession

Civil wedding requirements:

•    Certified true copy of baptismal certificate or birth certificate of both parties
•    Marriage license
•    Community tax certificates
•    1 x 1 photo of each applicant
•    Certificate of attendance to a wedding seminar
•    Letter of intent to marry

Additional information about marriage can be found in Family Code of the Philippines:

“Art. 2. No marriage shall be valid, unless these essential requisites are present:
(1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female; and
(2) Consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer. (53a)

Art. 3. The formal requisites of marriage are:

(1) Authority of the solemnizing officer;
(2) A valid marriage license except in the cases provided for in Chapter 2 of this Title; and
(3) A marriage ceremony which takes place with the appearance of the contracting parties before the solemnizing officer and their personal declaration that they take each other as husband and wife in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age.

Art. 4. The absence of any of the essential or formal requisites shall render the marriage void ab initio, except as stated in Article 35 (2).
A defect in any of the essential requisites shall not affect the validity of the marriage but the party or parties responsible for the irregularity shall be civilly, criminally and administratively liable.

Art. 5. Any male or female of the age of eighteen years or upwards not under any of the impediments mentioned in Articles 37 and 38, may contract marriage.

Art. 6. No prescribed form or religious rite for the solemnization of the marriage is required. It shall be necessary, however, for the contracting parties to appear personally before the solemnizing officer and declare in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age that they take each other as husband and wife. This declaration shall be contained in the marriage certificate which shall be signed by the contracting parties and their witnesses and attested by the solemnizing officer.

In case of a marriage in articulo mortis, when the party at the point of death is unable to sign the marriage certificate, it shall be sufficient for one of the witnesses to the marriage to write the name of said party, which fact shall be attested by the solemnizing officer.

Art. 7. Marriage may be solemnized by:

(1) Any incumbent member of the judiciary within the court’s jurisdiction;
(2) Any priest, rabbi, imam, or minister of any church or religious sect duly authorized by his church or religious sect and registered with the civil registrar general, acting within the limits of the written authority granted by his church or religious sect and provided that at least one of the contracting parties belongs to the solemnizing officer’s church or religious sect;
(3) Any ship captain or airplane chief only in the case mentioned in Article 31;
(4)  Any military commander of a unit to which a chaplain is assigned, in the absence of the latter, during a military operation, likewise only in the cases mentioned in Article 32;
(5) Any consul-general, consul or vice-consul in the case provided in Article 10.”

Landlords And Tenants: Know Your Rights

Disagreements between tenants and landlords are very common in the Philippines. This is why both parties are encouraged to negotiate rent before signing a contract.  While the Rental Reform Act of 2002, which has already expired in 2004 protects the rights of landlords, the law also provides heaps of information to tenants to prevent conflicts especially in terms of payment. While the landlord and tenant can negotiate any deposit they want, it is still necessary for both parties to fulfill the agreements or obligations on the contract. A tenant who enters into a lease contract is usually required to deposit worth 2 to 3 months’ rent. After the end of the tenancy, the deposit is returned one month, but the repairs and unpaid bills will be deducted.

Generally, landlords require one month’s advance rental and two months’ deposit. The deposit is often referred to as security deposit because it will be used for paying the rent for the last month of the occupancy. In most cases, landlords are the ones who will shoulder unpaid bills and repairs.

Duration of Contract and Eviction

If the tenant is still occupying the property 15 days after the lease contract has expired, and no notice has been given by either the landlord or the tenant, it is an implication that the contract has been renewed. Lease contracts can either be oral or written. The landlord has the right to eject a tenant due to the following reasons:

•    Subleasing the unit without the landlord’s written consent;
•    Non-payment of rent for three months;
•    Landlord needs property for personal use;
•    Landlord needs to make necessary repairs, but may notify ejected tenant if still interested in renting the same unit.

The lease agreement can be terminated by the tenant at any time and may also withhold rent payments if the landlord has not made any necessary repairs. A notice of 15 days will be given to the tenants if the unit is condemned for demolition. A case must be filed in court for tenant eviction and within 10 days, the landlord can apply for a permit to reclaim the property. Within 30 days, the court makes a decision and order the Court Sheriff to assist the landlord in claiming the property.

If there are problems regarding tenancy agreement, barangay tribunals are the ones who mediate in such problems. However, unresolved landlord-tenant problems are taken to court, but this can be a long and expensive process. A landlord often applies pressure by influencing the police in evicting a tenant.

Can You Still Demand Support For Your Children Despite The Abandonment?

Children are the ones who suffer the consequences when conflicts between their parents are irreparable. Without a doubt, bad blood exists between estranged spouses especially if one of them chooses to abandon the children. While settling differences between the husband and the wife is no longer a cause for concern, child custody and support are often the contested issues that require attention. If the husband has not fulfilled his obligations to give support, can the estranged wife demand support?

Under Article 203 of the Family Code, the obligation to provide support becomes demandable from the time the individual who has a right to receive support needs it for maintenance. However, it cannot be paid except from the date of judicial or extra-judicial demand.

The person obliged to give support must fulfill the obligation either by paying the allowance fixed or by maintaining or receiving in the family dwelling the person who has a right to receive support. However, the second option may not be considered due to moral or legal obstacle. Republic Act 8972 or the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000 and Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004 are laws which provide assistance to women abandoned by their live-in partners or husband.

Republic Act 8972

“Section 4. Criteria for Support. - Any solo parent whose income in the place of domicile falls below the poverty threshold as set by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and subject to the assessment of the DSWD worker in the area shall be eligible for assistance: Provided, however, That any solo parent whose income is above the poverty threshold shall enjoy the benefits mentioned in Sections 6, 7 and 8 of this Act.

Section 5. Comprehensive Package of Social Development and Welfare Services. - A comprehensive package of social development and welfare services for solo parents and their families will be developed by the DSWD, DOH, DECS, CHED, TESDA, DOLE, NHA and DILG, in coordination with local government units and a nongovernmental organization with proven track record in providing services for solo parents.

The DSWD shall coordinate with concerned agencies the implementation of the comprehensive package of social development and welfare services for solo parents and their families. The package will initially include:

(a) Livelihood development services which include trainings on livelihood skills, basic business management, value orientation and the provision of seed capital or job placement.

(b) Counseling services which include individual, peer group or family counseling. This will focus on the resolution of personal relationship and role conflicts.

(c) Parent effectiveness services which include the provision and expansion of knowledge and skills of the solo parent on early childhood development, behavior management, health care, rights and duties of parents and children.

(d) Critical incidence stress debriefing which includes preventive stress management strategy designed to assist solo parents in coping with crisis situations and cases of abuse.

(e) Special projects for individuals in need of protection which include temporary shelter, counseling, legal assistance, medical care, self-concept or ego-building, crisis management and spiritual enrichment.”

What happens when the husband refuses to give support?

Section 8 of Republic Act 9262 states, “Directing the respondent to provide support to the woman and/or her child if entitled to legal support. Notwithstanding other laws to the contrary, the court shall order an appropriate percentage of the income or salary of the respondent to be withheld regularly by the respondent's employer for the same to be automatically remitted directly to the woman. Failure to remit and/or withhold or any delay in the remittance of support to the woman and/or her child without justifiable cause shall render the respondent or his employer liable for indirect contempt of court;”

Common Problems With Birth Certificates And Their Solutions

Applying for government-issued ID or processing documents often require an applicant to secure essential requirements such as the birth certificate. However, a problem with your birth certificate can lengthen the process and may even deter you from having a smooth and hassle-free transaction. If you do not have an idea how to go about correcting errors, you will surely find the process daunting. One of the common problems that you may encounter is a missing first name on your birth certificate. In this case, you need to file a supplemental report to supply the missing entry.

Aside from the owner of the record, the following individuals are also allowed to file:

•    Owner’s spouse
•    Children
•    Brothers
•    Parents
•    Sisters
•    Grandparents
•    Guardian
•    Other person duly authorized by law or by the owner of the document sought to be corrected;
•    In the event that the owner of the record is a minor or mentally or physically incapacitated, the spouse, or any of his parents, children, brothers; sisters; grandparents, guardians or duly authorized by law must file a petition.

The supplemental report shall be filed with the local civil registry office of the municipality or city where the birth is registered if born in the Philippines. If born abroad, the supplemental report shall be filed with the Philippine Consulate where the birth was report. However, if the person born abroad is already in the Philippines, the supporting documents required for filing a supplemental report must be coursed through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Office of Consular Affairs.

The missing entry will be supplied through an affidavit indicating the entry missed in the registration and the reasons there was a failure in supplying the required entry. It may also be necessary to supply any supporting documents that will show the first name of the child.

If the first name is misspelled in the birth certificate, it should be corrected by filing a petition to correct the clerical error under the provisions of Republic Act 9048. Filing a petition for wrongly spelled first name is almost the same as the process of supplying the missing first name except that the applicant must secure some supporting documents such as the certified machine copy of the birth record which contains the entry to be corrected, certificate of posting, not less than two private or public documents, filing fee and other documents which the civil registrar may require you to supply.  You can also visit the official website of Philippine Statistics Authority for additional solutions to your problems with your birth certificate.

Termination Of Employment: What Is Your Right As An Employee?

Before an employer dismisses an employee, the due process must be properly observed regardless of the ground for termination. The reason for termination may be due serious misconduct, redundancy, cessation business and others. Employers must take the components of procedural due process to prevent any violation of the labor code. In a termination for just cause, the two-notice rule must be observed. The employee will be given a chance to explain his or her side through a notice of intent to dismiss where the ground for termination is specified. The employee will have the opportunity to respond to the charge during a hearing or conference. The evidence will also be presented against the employee. All the circumstances will be taken into consideration and when grounds have been established to justify termination, a notice of dismissal will be served to the employee. On the other hand, a written notice of dismissal to the employee which specifies the grounds at least 30 days before the termination date will be served for cases of termination for an authorized cause.

Termination of employment Under presidential decree No. 442

“ART. 282. Termination by employer. - An employer may terminate an employment for any of the following causes:

(a) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of his employer or representative in connection with his work;

(b) Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties;

(c) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized representative;

(d) Commission of a crime or offense by the employee against the person of his employer or any immediate member of his family or his duly authorized representatives; and

(e) Other causes analogous to the foregoing.

ART. 283. Closure of establishment and reduction of personnel. - The employer may also terminate the employment of any employee due to the installation of labor-saving devices, redundancy, retrenchment to prevent losses or the closing or cessation of operation of the establishment or undertaking unless the closing is for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Title, by serving a written notice on the workers and the Ministry of Labor and Employment at least one (1) month before the intended date thereof. In case of termination due to the installation of labor-saving devices or redundancy, the worker affected thereby shall be entitled to a separation pay equivalent to at least his one (1) month pay or to at least one (1) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. In case of retrenchment to prevent losses and in cases of closures or cessation of operations of establishment or undertaking not due to serious business losses or financial reverses, the separation pay shall be equivalent to one (1) month pay or at least one-half (1/2) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. A fraction of at least six (6) months shall be considered one (1) whole year.

ART. 284. Disease as ground for termination. - An employer may terminate the services of an employee who has been found to be suffering from any disease and whose continued employment is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to his health as well as to the health of his co-employees: Provided, That he is paid separation pay equivalent to at least one (1) month salary or to one-half (1/2) month salary for every year of service, whichever is greater, a fraction of at least six (6) months being considered as one (1) whole year.

ART. 285. Termination by employee. - (a) An employee may terminate without just cause the employee-employer relationship by serving a written notice on the employer at least one (1) month in advance. The employer upon whom no such notice was served may hold the employee liable for damages.

(b) An employee may put an end to the relationship without serving any notice on the employer for any of the following just causes:

1. Serious insult by the employer or his representative on the honor and person of the employee;
2. Inhuman and unbearable treatment accorded the employee by the employer or his representative;
3. Commission of a crime or offense by the employer or his representative against the person of the employee or any of the immediate members of his family; and
4. Other causes analogous to any of the foregoing.

ART. 286. When employment not deemed terminated. - The bona-fide suspension of the operation of a business or undertaking for a period not exceeding six (6) months, or the fulfillment by the employee of a military or civic duty shall not terminate employment. In all such cases, the employer shall reinstate the employee to his former position without loss of seniority rights if he indicates his desire to resume his work not later than one (1) month from the resumption of operations of his employer or from his relief from the military or civic duty.”

Threats And Coercion: Crimes Against Security

There are instances when we demand for money or another condition, but when these demands are not fulfilled, there is a tendency for the person who made a demand to pose a threat out of frustration. To some, it may just be a way of reminding the person to fulfil the demands, but if such threats have already disturbed the peace of mind of an individual, even if the person who made the demand intended no harm, this can still be considered as a crime against security. Threats and coercion have a broad spectrum, but one thing is for sure, a declaration to harm a person in the throes of anger can still be considered as a form of threat.  

“Article 282. Grave threats. - Any person who shall threaten another with the infliction upon the person, honor or property of the latter or of his family of any wrong amounting to a crime, shall suffer:

1. The penalty next lower in degree than that prescribed by law for the crime be threatened to commit, if the offender shall have made the threat demanding money or imposing any other condition, even though not unlawful, and said offender shall have attained his purpose. If the offender shall not have attained his purpose, the penalty lower by two degrees shall be imposed.

If the threat be made in writing or through a middleman, the penalty shall be imposed in its maximum period.

2. The penalty of arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding 500 pesos, if the threat shall not have been made subject to a condition.
Article 283. Light threats. - Any threat to commit a wrong not constituting a crime, made in the manner expressed in subdivision 1 of the next preceding article, shall be punished by arresto mayor.

Article 284. Bond for good behavior. - In all cases falling within the two next preceding articles, the person making the threats may also be required to give bail not to molest the person threatened, or if he shall fail to give such bail, he shall be sentenced to destierro.

Article 285. Other light threats. - The penalty of arresto menor in its minimum period or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos shall be imposed upon:

1. Any person who, without being included in the provisions of the next preceding article, shall threaten another with a weapon or draw such weapon in a quarrel, unless it be in lawful self-defense.

2. Any person who, in the heat of anger, shall orally threaten another with some harm not constituting a crime, and who by subsequent acts show that he did not persist in the idea involved in his threat, provided that the circumstances of the offense shall not bring it within the provisions of Article 282 of this Code.

3. Any person who shall orally threaten to do another any harm not constituting a felony.

Article 286. Grave coercions. - The penalty of arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding 500 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, without authority of law, shall, by means of violence, prevent another from doing something not prohibited by law, or compel him to do something against his will, whether it be right or wrong.

If the coercion be committed for the purpose of compelling another to perform any religious act or to prevent him from so doing, the penalty next higher in degree shall be imposed.

Article 287. Light coercions. - Any person who, by means of violence, shall seize anything belonging to his debtor for the purpose of applying the same to the payment of the debt, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period and a fine equivalent to the value of the thing, but in no case less than 75 pesos.

Any other coercions or unjust vexations shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine ranging from 5 pesos to 200 pesos, or both.

Article 288. Other similar coercions; (Compulsory purchase of merchandise and payment of wages by means of tokens.) - The penalty of arresto mayor or a fine ranging from 200 to 500 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person, agent or officer, of any association or corporation who shall force or compel, directly or indirectly, or shall knowingly permit any laborer or employee employed by him or by such firm or corporation to be forced or compelled, to purchase merchandise or commodities of any kind.

The same penalties shall be imposed upon any person who shall pay the wages due a laborer or employee employed by him, by means of tokens or objects other than the legal tender currency of the laborer or employee.”



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