Sunday, October 23, 2011

Aquino v COMELEC (1995)

Aquino vs. Comelec
Agapito A. Aquino, petitioner vs. Commission on Election, Move Makati, Mateo Bedon, and Juanito Icaro, respondents
Sept, 18, 1995
Special Civil Action in the Supreme Court. Certiorari.

Relevant Provisions:
Section 6, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution
No person shall be a Member of the House of Representatives unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five years of age, able to read and write, and, except the party-list representatives, a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the election.

On 20 March 1995, Agapito A. Aquino, the petitioner, filed his Certificate of Candidacy for the position of Representative for the new (remember: newly created) Second Legislative District of Makati City. In his certificate of candidacy, Aquino stated that he was a resident of the aforementioned district (284 Amapola Cor. Adalla Sts., Palm Village, Makati) for 10 months.
Move Makati, a registered political party, and Mateo Bedon, Chairman of LAKAS-NUCD-UMDP of Barangay Cembo, Makati City, filed a petition to disqualify Aquino on the ground that the latter lacked the residence qualification as a candidate for congressman which under Section 6, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, should be for a period not less than one year preceding the (May 8, 1995) day of the election.
Faced with a petition for disqualification, Aquino amended the entry on his residency in his certificate of candidacy to 1 year and 13 days. The Commission on Elections passed a resolution that dismissed the petition on May 6 and allowed Aquino to run in the election of 8 May. Aquino, with 38,547 votes, won against Augusto Syjuco with 35,910 votes.
Move Makati filed a motion of reconsideration with the Comelec, to which, on May 15, the latter acted with an order suspending the proclamation of Aquino until the Commission resolved the issue. On 2 June, the Commission on Elections found Aquino ineligible and disqualified for the elective office for lack of constitutional qualification of residence.
Aquino then filed a Petition of Certiorari assailing the May 15 and June 2 orders.

1. Whether “residency” in the certificate of candidacy actually connotes “domicile” to warrant the disqualification of Aquino from the position in the electoral district.
2. WON it is proven that Aquino has established domicile of choice and not just residence (not in the sense of the COC)in the district he was running in.

1. Yes, The term “residence” has always been understood as synonymous with “domicile” not only under the previous constitutions but also under the 1987 Constitution. The Court cited the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission wherein this principle was applied.
Mr. Nolledo:
I remember that in the 1971 Constitutional Convention, there was an attempt to require residence in the place not less than one year immediately preceding the day of elections.

What is the Committee’s concept of residence for the legislature? Is it actual residence or is it the concept of domicile or constructive residence?
Mr. Davide:
This is in the district, for a period of not less than one year preceding the day of election. This was in effect lifted from the 1973 constituition, the interpretation given to it was domicile.
Mrs. Braid:
On section 7, page2, Noledo has raised the same point that resident has been interpreted at times as a matter of intention rather than actual residence.

Mr. De los Reyes
So we have to stick to the original concept that it should be by domicile and not physical and actual residence.
Therefore, the framers intended the word “residence” to have the same meaning of domicile.
The place “where a party actually or constructively has his permanent home,” where he, no matter where he may be found at any given time, eventually intends to return and remain, i.e., his domicile, is that to which the Constitution refers when it speaks of residence for the purposes of election law.
The purpose is to exclude strangers or newcomers unfamiliar with the conditions and needs of the community from taking advantage of favorable circumstances existing in that community for electoral gain.
While there is nothing wrong with the purpose of establishing residence in a given area for meeting election law requirements, this defeats the essence of representation, which is to place through assent of voters those most cognizant and sensitive to the needs of a particular district, if a candidate falls short of the period of residency mandated by law for him to qualify.
Which brings us to the second issue.

2. No, Aquino has not established domicile of choice in the district he was running in.
The SC agreed with the Comelec’s contention that Aquino should prove that he established a domicile of choice and not just residence.
The Constitution requires a person running for a post in the HR one year of residency prior to the elections in the district in which he seeks election to .
Aquino’s certificate of candidacy in a previous (May 11, 1992) election indicates that he was a resident and a registered voter of San Jose, Concepcion, Tarlac for more than 52 years prior to that election. His birth certificate indicated that Conception as his birthplace and his COC also showed him to be a registered voter of the same district. Thus his domicile of origin (obviously, choice as well) up to the filing of his COC was in Conception, Tarlac.
Aquino’s connection to the new Second District of Makati City is an alleged lease agreement of a condominium unit in the area. The intention not to establish a permanent home in Makati City is evident in his leasing a condominium unit instead of buying one. The short length of time he claims to be a resident of Makati (and the fact of his stated domicile in Tarlac and his claims of other residences in Metro Manila) indicate that his sole purpose in transferring his physical residence is not to acquire a new, residence or domicile but only to qualify as a candidate for Representative of the Second District of Makati City.
Aquino’s assertion that he has transferred his domicile from Tarlac to Makati is a bare assertion which is hardly supported by the facts in the case at bench. To successfully effect a change of domicile, petitioner must prove an actual removal or an actual change of domicile, a bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and establishing a new one and definite acts which correspond with the purpose.
Aquino was thus rightfully disqualified by the Commission on Elections due to his lack of one year residence in the district.
Instant petition dismissed. Order restraining respondent Comelec from proclaiming the candidate garnering the next highest number of votes in the congressional elections of Second district of Makati City made permanent.
I. Aquino’s petition of certiorari contents were:
A. The Comelec’s lack of jurisdiction to determine the disqualification issue involving congressional candidates after the May 8, 1995 elections, such determination reserved with the house of representatives electional tribunal
B. Even if the Comelec has jurisdiction, the jurisdiction ceased in the instant case after the elections and the remedy to the adverse parties lies in another forum which is the HR Electoral Tribunal consistent with Section 17, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution.
C. The COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion when it proceeded to promulagate its questioned decision despite its own recognition that a threshold issue of jurisdiction has to be judiciously reviewed again, assuming arguendo that the Comelec has jurisdiction
D. The Comelec’s finding of non-compliance with the residency requirement of one year against the petitioner is contrary to evidence and to applicable laws and jurisprudence.
E. The Comelec erred in failing to appreciate the legal impossibility of enforcing the one year residency requirement of Congressional candidates in newly created political districts which were only existing for less than a year at the time of the election and barely four months in the case of petitioner’s district in Makati.
F. The Comelec committed serious error amounting to lack of jurisdiction when it ordered the board of canvassers to determine and proclaim the winner out of the remaining qualified candidates after the erroneous disqualification of the petitioner in disregard of the doctrine that a second place candidate or a person who was repudiated by the electorate is a loser and cannot be proclaimed as substitute winner.
II. Modern day carpetbaggers can’t be allowed to take advantage of the creation of new political districts by suddenly transplanting themselves in such new districts, prejudicing their genuine residents in the process of taking advantage of existing conditions in these areas.
III. according to COMELEC: The lease agreement was executed mainly to support the one year residence requirement as a qualification for a candidate of the HR, by establishing a commencement date of his residence. If a oerfectly valid lease agreement cannot, by itself establish a domicile of choice, this particular lease agreement cannot be better.

Jones v Hallahan (1973)

Jones v. Hallahan,
Nov 9, 1973

Appeal from a judgment of the Jefferson County Court
Court of Appeals of Kentucky

Marjorie Jones and her partner are female appellants who tried to acquire a license to marry; this was denied to them by the Jefferson Circuit Court. As a result, they appeal from this judgment at the Court Appeals.

WON two persons of the same sex can enter marriage.

No, They can not.
Kentucky statutes do not have a definition of marriage. The Court of Apeals turned to common usage of the term and found marriage to be defined the Webster’s New international Dictionary as:
 “A state of being married, or being united to a person of persons of the opposite sex as husband and wife ; also, the mutual relation of husband and wife; wedlock; abstractly the institution whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependence, for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family.”
In the absence of a specific provision in Kentucky statutes that prohibited marriage between persons of the same sex or whether they issue a license for same sex couples who want to get married, the Court of Appeals turned to customs and concluded that marriage has been defined and understood through time as a union between a man and a woman only.
As a result, appellants cannot avail for themselves of a license to marry because the status they are trying to enter is a nullity.
 Moreover, the right to marry of two persons of the same sex is not constitutionally guaranteed and cannot be invoked in connection with religious freedom. The latter is concomitant with the constitution being superior to professed doctrines and the prevention a citizen becoming a law unto himself.
The judgment of the Circuit Court is affirmed.
A.      Even if the appellants concealed the fact that they were of the same sex and successfully given a license, the resulting relationship (owing to the definition) would not be a marriage.
B.      No constitutionality issue because there is no Consti sanction on the right of marriage between persons of the same sex.
C.       In essence, the relationship proposed by the appellants doesn’t authorize issuance of marriage license because what they propose is not a marriage.
D.      Case of first impression in Kentucky- Baker vs. Nelson dismissed for want of a substantial federal question.
E.       Refusal to issue a license not a punishment
F.       Court of Appeals not presented with an authority to subvert a permanent union between a man and a woman.

Buccat v Buccat (1941)

Buccat v. Mangonon de Buccat
April 25, 1941
Appeal from a decision of the Court of First Instance of Baguio.

Godofredo Buccat and Luida Mangonon de Buccat met in March 1938, became engaged in September, and got married in Nov 26.
On Feb 23, 1939 (89 days after getting married) Luida, who was 9 months pregnant, gave birth to a son. After knowing this, Godofredo left Luida and never returned to married life with her.
On March 23, 1939, he filed for an annulment of their marriage on the grounds that when he agreed to married Luida, she assured him that she was a virgin.
The Lower court decided in favor of Luida.

Should the annulment for Godofredo Buccat’s marriage be granted on the grounds that Luida concealed her pregnancy before the marriage?   

No. Clear and authentic proof is needed in order to nullify a marriage, a sacred institution in which the State is interested and where society rests.
In this case, the court did not find any proof that there was concealment of pregnancy constituting fraud as a ground for annulment. It was unlikely that Godofredo, a first-year law student, did not suspect anything about Luida’s condition considering that she was in an advanced stage of pregnancy (highly developed physical manifestation, ie. enlarged stomach ) when they got married.

SC affirmed the lower court’s decision.  Costs to plaintiff-appellant

In re Santiago (1940)

In Re Atty. Roque Santiago
June 21, 1940

Original Action in the Supreme Court. Malpractice.

In this administrative case, the Solicitor General charged the respondent Atty. Roque Santiago with malpractice and prayed that disciplinary action be taken against him.
The respondent gave legal advice to one Ernesto Baniquit who was living separately from his wife for some nine consecutive years and seeking to contract a second marriage. The respondent assured Baniquit that he could secure a separation from his wife and marry again. The lawyer prepared a document (Exhibit A) stating that the contracting parties, husband and wife, were authorized to marry again and at the same time giving the authorization to renounce or waive each member’s right against the party marrying.
 The notary let the husband and wife execute and acknowledge the document and declared that they were again single and as such could contract another marriage. Relying on this document, Baniquit contracted a second marriage.
The respondent, upon realizing his mistake, sent for the parties and let them sign the deed of cancellation (Exhibit C) a month later but after the second marriage of Baniquit.

1. Did the lawyer commit malpractice in his acts regarding the dispensation of such advice and preparation of document?
2. Is the document regarding separation (Exhibit A) valid?

1. Yes. The advice given by the respondent and his preparation and acknowledgment by of the contract constitute malpractice which justifies disbarment from the practice of law.
2. No. Marriage separation should have should be sanctioned in the proper court and before the separation (see Selanova). Apart from this, the document subverts the vital foundation of the family, marriage, and is contrary to law, morals and public policy.

Respondent suspended from practice of law for one year.

A.      As a response to Baniquit’s question, Santiago remarked that he would tear the diploma off the wall if the document did not turn out to be valid.
B.      Santiago was ignorant of the applicable provision of the law or carelessly negligent in giving legal advice.
C.      The admission to the practice of law dependent on a lawyer’s remaining as a fit-and-safe person to society. Once he becomes unsafe or unfit to be entrusted with obligations, his professional privilege should be terminated.

Selanova v Mendoza (1975)

Selanova v Mendoza
May 19,1975

Administrative Complaint in the Supreme Court. Gross Ignorance of the Law.
Saturino Selanova charged Judge Alejandro  Mendoza with gross ignorance of the law for preparing and ratifying a document  (November 21, 1972) extrajudicially liquidating the conjugal partnership of the complainant and his wife, Avelina Ceniza.
The conditions of the liquidation were 
1.  Either spouse would withdraw the complaint for adultery or concubinage which each had filed against the other and
2. Waiver of the right to prosecute each other for whatever acts of infidelity either one would commit against the other
In his judgment, respondent relied on Par. 4, Art 191 of the old Civil Code that states:
“the husband and wife may agree upon the dissolution of the conjugal partnership during the marriage, subject to judicial approval.”
While the judge claimed that he asked the CFI of Negros (where the couple resided) for judicial approval, the Judicial Consultant confirmed that there was no affirmation from the same court. He still ratified the document.

WON the extrajudicial dissolution of the conjugal partnership without judicial approval is void.

Yes, it is void.
Precedents (Quintana vs. Lerma, De Luna vs. Linatoc, De La Rosa vs. Barruga)
Under Art. 221 of the Civil Code, the following shall be void:
1. Any contract for personal separation between husband and wife;
2. Every extrajudicial agreement during marriage, for the dissolution of the conjugal partnership of gains or of the absolute community property between husband and wife.
Moreover, while adultery and concubinage are private crimes, they are crimes punishable by the RPC, and a contract legalizing their commission is “contrary to law, morals and public order”, and as a consequence not judicially recognizable.
Respondent  severely censured. 
A. Respondent Judge claimed that prohibition of the extrajudicial liquidation of the conjugal partnership during the marriage made article 191 of the Civil Code nugatory. He cited Lacson vs. San Jose-Lacson case to show that subsequent approval of the court can render the marriage dissolved.
The SC argued that the judicial sanction should be secured before the separation.
 B. Disciplinary action had been taken against notaries who authenticated agreements for the personal separation of spouses wherein either spouse was permitted to commit acts of infidelity.
For instance, in Panganiban vs. Borromeo, the notary was rebuked for authorizing a document that permitted both spouses to take in concubines without opposition from either spouse.
 In Biton vs. Momongon, a document entitled “Legal Separation” was executed by a notary. The husband and wife were separated mutually and voluntarily, renouncing their rights and obligations in the process, and given the authorization to remarry while not being witnesses against one another. The lawyer was also rebuked.
In In re Santiago, a lawyer/ respondent prepared a document that gave a married couple the authorization to marry again while giving them assurance of renouncement of rights one would have against the other. He was suspended from practice.
C. The judge was truly unaware of the legal prohibition in contracts for the personal separation of spouses.

Arroyo v Vasquez (1921)


Plaintiff Mariano and defendant Dolores were married in 1910, and lived in Iloilo City. They lived together with a few short intervals of separation. On July 4, 1920, defendant Dolores went away from their common home and decided to live separately from plaintiff.  She claimed that she was compelled to leave on the basis of cruel treatment on the part of her husband. She in turn prayed for a decree of separation, a liquidation of their conjugal partnership, and an allowance for counsel fees and permanent separate maintenance.
CFI ruled in favor of the defendant and she was granted alimony amounting to P400, also other fees
Plaintiff then asked for a restitution of conjugal rights, and a permanent mandatory injunction requiring the defendant to return to the conjugal home and live with him as his wife.

1. WON defendant had sufficient cause for leaving the conjugal home
2. WON plaintiff may be granted the restitution of conjugal rights or absolute order or permanent mandatory injunction

1. The wife had sufficient cause for leaving the conjugal home. Cruelty done by plaintiff to defendant was greatly exaggerated. The wife was inflicted with a disposition of jealousy towards her husband in an aggravated degree. No sufficient cause was present.
Courts should move with caution in enforcing the duty to provide for the separate maintenance of the wife since this recognizes the de facto separation of the two parties. Continued cohabitation of the pair must be seen as impossible, and separation must be necessary, stemming from the fault of the husband. She is under obligation to return to the domicile.
“When people understand that they must live together…they learn to soften by mutual accommodation that yoke which they know they cannot shake off;  they become good husbands and wives…necessity is a powerful master in teaching the duties which it imposes…” (Evans v. Evans)

2. On granting the restitution of conjugal rights. It is not within the province of the courts to compel one of the spouses to cohabit with, and render conjugal rights to, the other.  In the case of property rights, such an action may be maintained. Said order, at best, would have no other purpose than to compel the spouses to live together.  Other countries, such as England and Scotland have done this with much criticism.
Plaintiff is entitled to a judicial declaration that the defendant absented herself without sufficient cause and it is her duty to return. She is also not entitled to support.

Perez v Tuason de Perez (1960)

Perez v Tuason de Perez (1960)

Antonio Perez, as guardian ad litem of his son, filed a civil case against defendant Angela Tuason de Perez at the CFI Manila.
Under the causes of action, he wanted to declare his wife as prodigal and place under guardianship based on the allegations that 1. she was squandering her estate on a young man named Jose Boloix, 2. she was spending the conjugal partnership of gain, and 3. defendant has expressed her desire to marry and have children with Jose Boloix, if only to embarrass her husband.
The CFI dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction.

1. WON the trial court erred in holding that the Court of First Instance of Manila has no jurisdiction over the causes of action alleged by Antonio Perez in the complaint.
2. Can Angela Tuason de Perez be declared a prodigal and placed under guardianship under Article 116 of the Civil Code?

1. NO
Republic Act no. 1401, creating the Juvenile Domestic Relations Court of the City of Manila and defining its jurisdiction, provides, among other things, that:
          SEC. 38–A—Provision of the Judiciary Act to the contrary notwithstanding, the court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and decide the following cases after the effectivity of this Act:
          (b) — Cases involving custody, guardianship, adoption, paternity and acknowledgment;
RTC has no jurisdiction. It is the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court which has jurisdiction due to the Code’s provision. The law (subsection (d), Sec. 38-A) expressly gives that court exclusive original jurisdiction over proceedings under the provisions of Article 116 of the Civil Code.
2. YES
Article 116 of the Civil Code (referred to in subsection [d] above) states:
          When one of the spouses neglects his or her duties to the conjugal union or brings danger, dishonor or material injury upon the other, the injured party may apply to the court for relief.
          The court may counsel the offended party to comply with his or her duties, and take such measures as may be proper. (now art 72 of the family code)
We are inclined to think that "material injury" as used in Article 116 does not refer to patrimonial (economic) injury or damage, but to personal (i. e. physical or moral) injury to one of the spouses, since Article 116 lies in the chapter concerning personal relations between husband and wife. Nevertheless, the court below was correct in viewing this cause of action as primarily predicated on the grant of guardianship due to alleged prodigality of the wife, since the allegation thereof is therein reiterated, and the remedy of injunction sought against further (i. e. future) acts of disposition (no annulment of her past transactions is demanded) must be necessarily based on the wife's being subject to guardianship.
         If the wife were not in any way incapacitated, the mere fact that the alienation of her paraphernal would deprive the conjugal partnership of the future fruits thereof would not give rise to a cause of action for injunction, since the conjugal partnership is only entitled to the net fruits of such property, after deducting administration expenses (People's Bank vs. Register of Deeds, 60 Phil., 167), and it is nowhere alleged that any such net fruits exist. More fundamental still, the wife's statutory power to alienate her paraphernal (Phil Civil Code, Article 140) necessarily implies power to alienate its future fruits, since the latter are mere accessory to the property itself.

Tolentino v CA (1988)

Tolentino v CA (1988)

Private respondent Consuelo David married Arturo Tolentino in 1931. The marriage was dissolved and terminated in 1943 pursuant to the law during the Japanese occupation by a decree of absolute divorce on the grounds of desertion and abandonment by the wife for at least 3 continuous years.
Arturo Tolentino then married Pilar Adorable but she died soon after the marriage. After that, Constancia married Arturo Tolentino on April 21, 1945 and they had 3 children. Constancia Tolentino is the present legal wife of Arturo Tolentino.
Consuelo David continued using the surname Tolentino after the divorce and up to the time that the complaint was filed.  Her usage of the surname Tolentino was authorized by the family of Arturo Tolentino (brothers and sisters).
 In RTC, Consuelo David should discontinue her usage of the surname of Tolentino. The CA decision reversed that of the RTC’s.

1. WON the petitioner’s cause of action has already prescribed
2. WON the petitioner can exclude by injunction Consuelo David from using the surname of her former husband from whom she was divorced.

1. Yes
In Art 1150 CC The time for prescription of all kinds of actions, when there in no special provision which ordains otherwise, shall be counted from the day they may be brought.
Art 1149 CC Period of prescription is 5 years from the right of action accrues.
The action has long prescribed because she married Arturo Tolentino on April 21, 1945; Civil Code took effect on August 30, 1950; She acquired knowledge that Consuelo David was still using the surname Tolentino in 1951. 
She should have filed the case after she obtained knowledge that Consuelo David was still using the surname Tolentino. The case was filed on November 23, 1971 or 20 years after she obtained knowledge.
2. No
Philippine law is silent whether or not a divorced woman may continue to use the surname of her husband because there are no provisions for divorce under Philippine law.
On the Commentary of Tolentino as regards Art 370 of the CC. The wife cannot claim an exclusive right to use the husband’s surname.  She cannot be prevented from using it, but neither can she restrain others from using it.
Art 371 is not applicable because it contemplates annulment while the present case refers to absolute divorce where there is severance of valid marriage ties.  Effect of divorce was more akin to death of the spouse where the deceased woman is continued to be referred to as “Mrs. of the husband” even if he has remarried.
If the appeal would be granted the respondent would encounter problems because she was able to prove that she entered into contracts with third persons, acquired properties and entered into other legal relations using the surname Tolentino.  Petitioner failed to show the she would suffer any legal injury or deprivation of right.
There was no usurpation of the petitioner’s name and surname.  Usurpation implies injury to the interests of the owner of the name.  It consists with the possibility of confusion of identity. The elements of usurpation were 1. Actual use of another’s name, 2. Use is unauthorized, 3. Use of another’s name is to designate personality or identity of a person. None of these elements were present in the case because public knowledge referred to Constancia as the legal wife of Arturo, and Consuelo did represent herself after the divorce as Mrs. Arturo Tolentino.
Silva v Peralta was cited by the petitioner but the case is not applicable.  In Silva, it was not mere use of the surname that was enjoined but the defendant’s representation that she was the wife of Saturnino Silva, there was usurpation of the status of the wife.

Thurman v Torrington (1984)

Thurman v City of Torrington (1984)

Tracey Thurman was the victim of her husband’s, Charles Thurman, repeated harassments and physical abuse. Such instances were on October 1982 when Charles Thurman attacked Tracey Thurman at the home of Judy Bentley and Richard St. Hilaire in the city of Torrington. He took by force their son Charles J. Thurman, Jr. Mr. St.-Hilaire filed a complaint but the police officers of refused to take a complaint—even of trespassing.
The acts of harassment continued. Even when her husband was finally arrested after attacking her in full view of a policeman and after a judge issued an order prohibiting him to go to his wife's home, the police continued to ignore Thurman's pleas for help. Her husband violated the order and came to her house and threatened her. When she asked the police to arrest her husband for violating his probation and threatening her life, they ignored her. She obtained a restraining order against her husband, which he violated, but again the police failed to take any action.
This culminated when Charles Thurman appeared at the Bentley–St. Hilaire residence in the early afternoon and demanded to speak to Tracey Thurman. Tracey, remaining indoors, called the police department asking that Charles be picked up for violation of his probation. After about 15 minutes, Tracey went outside to try to persuade him not to take or hurt Charles Jr. Charles suddenly stabbed Tracey repeatedly in the chest, neck, and throat.
At the duration of these events, police officers acted ineptly in handling the wife-battering situation. At the time when Tracy was stabbed, Officers DeAngelo, Nukirk, and Columbia arrived on the scene but still permitted Charles Thurman to wander about the crowd and continue to threaten Tracey. Finally, upon approaching Tracey once again, this time while she was lying on a stretcher, Charles Thurman was arrested and taken into custody.
It was eventually found out that Charles worked as a counterman and short order cook at Skie’s Diner. There he served many members of the Torrington Police Department, including some of the officers in this case. While at work, Charles Thurman boasted to the officers that he intended to “get” his wife and that he intended to kill her.
Tracy then filed a complaint in the Federal Court and sued the city for the lack of equal protection in the application of social services, and that this violated the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, particularly the inept police response to a husband beating up a wife. The City brought a motion to dismiss her claims. The City…argues that the equal protection clause [no state shall deny any person the equal protection of the laws] “only prohibits intentional discrimination that is racially motivated.”
Issue: WON the plaintiffs have properly alleged a violation of the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment.

Yes, the application of the equal protection clause is not limited to racial classifications or racially motivated discrimination. Classifications on the basis of gender will be held invalid under the equal protection clause unless they are substantially related to strike down classifications which are not rationally related to a legitimate governmental purpose.
Tracey Thurman alleges that the city uses an administrative classification that manifests itself in discriminatory treatment that violates the equal protection clause. Police protection in the City of Torrington, they argue, is fully provided to persons abused by someone with whom the victim has no domestic relationship. But the Torrington police have consistently afforded lesser protection, plaintiffs allege, when the victim is (1) a woman abused or assaulted by a spouse or boyfriend, or (2) a child abused by a father or stepfather.
City officials and police officers are under an affirmative duty to preserve law and order, and to protect the personal safety of persons in the community. This duty applies equally to women whose personal safety is threatened by individuals with whom they have or have had a domestic relationship as well as to all other persons whose personal safety is threatened, including women not involved in domestic relationships. If officials have notice of the possibility of attacks on women in domestic relationships or other persons, they are under an affirmative duty to take reasonable measures to protect the personal safety of such persons in the community. Failure to perform this duty would constitute a denial of equal protection of the laws.
Tracey Thurman alleges there is an administrative classification used to implement the law in a discriminatory fashion. It is well settled that the equal protection clause is applicable not only to discriminatory legislative action, but also to discriminatory governmental action in administration and enforcement of the law.
A city may be sued for damages under § 1983 when “the action that is alleged to be unconstitutional implements or executes a policy statement, ordinance, regulation, or decision officially adopted and promulgated by the body’s officers” or is “visited pursuant to governmental ‘custom’ even though such a custom has not received formal approval through the body’s official decision-making channels.”
Some degree of specificity is required in pleading a custom or policy. A plaintiff must typically point to the facts outside his own case to support his allegation of a policy on the part of a municipality. In the instant case, however, the plaintiff Tracey Thurman has specifically alleged in her statement of facts a series of acts and omissions on the part of the defendant police officers and police department that took place over the course of eight months. From this particularized pleading a pattern emerges that evidences deliberate indifference on the part of the police department to the complaints of the plaintiff Tracey Thurman and to its duty to protect her. Such an ongoing pattern of deliberate indifference raises an inference of “custom” or “policy” on the part of the municipality. Furthermore, this pattern of inaction climaxed on June 10, 1983 in an incident so brutal that under the law of the Second Circuit that “single brutal incident may be sufficient to suggest a link between a violation of constitutional rights and a pattern of police misconduct.” Finally, a complaint of this sort will survive dismissal if it alleges a policy or custom of condoning police misconduct that violates constitutional rights and alleges “that the City’s pattern of inaction caused the plaintiffs any compensable injury.”

Tenchavez v Escano (1965)

Tenchavez v Escano (1965)

 Pastor Tenchavez), 32, married Vicenta Escano, 27, on Feb. 24, 1948, in Cebu City. As of June 1948, the newly-weds were already estranged. On June 24, 1950, Escano left for the US. On Agugust 22, 1950, she filed a verified complaint for divorce against the plaintiff in the State of Nevada on the ground of "extreme cruelty, entirely mental in character."
On October 21, 1950, a decree of divorce was issued by the Nevada Court. On September 13, 1954, Escano married an American Russel Leo Moran in Nevada. She now lives with him in California and by him, has begotten children. She acquired American citizenship on August 8, 1958. On July 30, 1955, Tenchavez filed a complaint for legal separation and damages against VE and her parents in the CFI-Cebu.
Tenchavez poses the novel theory that Mamerto and Mina Escaño are undeserving of an award for damages because they are guilty of contributory negligence in failing to take up proper and timely measures to dissuade their daughter Vicenta from leaving her husband Tenchavez obtaining a foreign divorce and marrying another man (Moran). This theory cannot be considered: first, because this was not raised in the court below; second, there is no evidence to support it; third, it contradicts plaintiff's previous theory of alienation of affections in that contributory negligence involves an omission to perform an act while alienation of affection involves the performance of a positive act.

1. WON at the the time Escano was still a Filipino citizen when the divorce decree was issued.
2. WON the award of moral damages against Escaño may be given to Tenchavez on the grounds of her refusal to perform her wifely duties, her denial of consortium, and desertion of her husband.

1. YES
 At the time the divorce decree was issued, Escano like her husband, was still a Filipino citizen. She was then subject to Philippine law under Art. 15 of the NCC. Philippine law, under the NCC then now in force, does not admit absolute divorce but only provides for legal separation.
For Phil. courts to recognize foreign divorce decrees bet. Filipino citizens would be a patent violation of the declared policy of the State, especially in view of the 3rd par. of Art. 17, NCC. Moreover, recognition would give rise to scandalous discrimination in favor of wealthy citizens to the detriment of those members of our society whose means do not permit them to sojourn abroad and obtain absolute divorce outside the Phils.
Therefore, a foreign divorce bet. Filipino citizens, sought and decreed after the effectivity of the NCC, is not entitled to recognition as valid in this jurisdiction.
2. YES
The acts of Vicenta (up to and including her divorce, for grounds not countenanced by our law, which was hers at the time) constitute a wilful infliction of injury upon plaintiff's feelings in a manner "contrary to morals, good customs or public policy" (Civ. Code, Art. 21) for which Article 2219 (10) authorizes an award of moral damages.
It is also argued that, by the award of moral damages, an additional effect of legal separation has been added to Article 106. It was plain in the decision that the damages attached to her wrongful acts under the codal article (Article 2176) expressly cited.
But economic sanctions are not held in our law to be incompatible with the respect accorded to individual liberty in civil cases. Thus, a consort who unjustifiably deserts the conjugal abode can be denied support (Art. 178, Civil Code of the Phil.). And where the wealth of the deserting spouse renders this remedy illusory, there is no cogent reason why the court may not award damage as it may in cases of breach of other obligations to do intuitu personae even if in private relations physical coercion be barred under the old maxim "Nemo potest precise cogi and factum".

Velarde v SJS (2004)

Doctrine: Decision, more specifically a decision not conforming to the form and substance required by the Constitution is void and deemed legally inexistent (Panganiban) 
Mike Velarde, Petitioner vs. SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY, respondent.
Date promulgated: April 28, 2004
Ponente: J. Panganiban

-On January 28, 2003, SJS filed a Petition for Declaratory Relief before the RTC-Manila against Velarde and his co-respondents Eminence, Jaime Cardinal Sin, Executive Minister Eraño Manalo, Brother Eddie Villanueva and Brother Eliseo F. Soriano.
-SJS, a registered political party, sought the interpretation of several constitutional provisions, specifically on the separation of church and state; and a declaratory judgment on the constitutionality of the acts of religious leaders endorsing a candidate for an elective office, or urging or requiring the members of their flock to vote for a specified candidate.
-The petitioner filed a Motion to dismiss before the trial court owing to the fact that alleged that the questioned SJS Petition did not state a cause of action and that there was no justiciable controversy.
-The trial court’s junked the Velarde petitions under certain reasons:
1. It said that it had jurisdiction over the SJS petition, because in praying for a determination as to whether the actions imputed to the respondents were violative of Article II, Section 6 of the Fundamental Law, the petition has raised only a question of law.
2. It then proceeded to a lengthy discussion of the issue raised in the Petition – the separation of church and state – even tracing, to some extent, the historical background of the principle. Through its discourse, the court quipped at some point that the "endorsement of specific candidates in an election to any public office is a clear violation of the separation clause."
-The trial court’s essay did not contain a statement of facts and a dispositive portion, however. Due to this aberration, Velarde and Soriano filed separate Motions for Reconsideration before the trial court owing to these facts.
-The lower court denied these Motions. Hence, this petition for review.
On April 13, 2004, the Court en banc conducted an Oral Argument.14
-In his Petition, Brother Mike Velarde submits the following issues for this Court’s resolution:
1. Whether or not the Decision dated 12 June 2003 rendered by the court a quo was proper and valid;
2. Whether or not there exists justiciable controversy in herein respondent’s Petition for declaratory relief;
3. Whether or not herein respondent has legal interest in filing the Petition for declaratory relief;
4. Whether or not the constitutional question sought to be resolved by herein respondent is ripe for judicial determination;
5. Whether or not there is adequate remedy other than the declaratory relief; and,
6. Whether or not the court a quo has jurisdiction over the Petition for declaratory relief of herein respondent.

In its oral argument, the Supreme Court condensed Velarde’s issues and divided it into 2 groups:
A. Procedural Issues
1. Did the Petition for Declaratory Relief raise a justiciable controversy?
2. Did it state a cause of action?
3.Did respondent have any legal standing to file the Petition for Declaratory Relief?
B. Substantive Issues
1. Did the RTC Decision conform to the form and substance required by the Constitution, the law and the Rules of Court?
2.                    May religious leaders like herein petitioner, Bro. Mike Velarde, be prohibited from endorsing candidates for public office? Corollarily, may they be banned from campaigning against said candidates? (Not answered in the affirmative)

Petition for Review GRANTED. The assailed June 12, 2003 Decision and July 29, 2003 Order of the Regional Trial Court of Manila DECLARED NULL AND VOID and thus SET ASIDE. The SJS Petition for Declaratory Relief is DISMISSED for failure to state a cause of action.

Procedural Issues:
1.                    NO. A justiciable controversy to an existing case or controversy that is appropriate or ripe for judicial determination, not one that is conjectural or merely anticipatory. A petition filed with the trial court should contain a plain, concise and direct statement of the ultimate facts on which the party pleading relies for his claim.

The SJS Petition fell short of the requirements to constitutue a jusiciable controversy. Why?
a. It stated no ultimate facts. The petition simply theorized that the people elected who were endorsed by these religious leaders might become beholden to the latter.
b.                    It did not sufficiently state a declaration of  its rights and duties, what specific legal right of the petitioner was violated by the respondents therein, and what particular act or acts of the latter were in breach of its rights, the law or the constitution,
c.                    The petition did not pray for a stoppage of violated rights (duh, wala ngang rights na sinabi eh). It merely sought an opinion of the trial court. However, courts are proscribed from rendering an advisory opinion. (tantamount to making laws, remember the questionability of justice panganiban’s guidelines for article 36 of the family code)

It must also be considered that even the religious leaders were puzzled as to the breach of rights they were claimed to have committed. As pointed out by Soriano, what exactly has he done that merited the attention of SJS? Jaime Cardinal Sin adds that the election season had not even started at the time SJS filed its Petition and that he has not been actively involved in partisan politics. The Petition does not even allege any indication or manifest intent on the part of any of the respondents below to champion an electoral candidate, or to urge their so-called flock to vote for, a particular candidate. It is a time-honored rule that sheer speculation does not give rise to an actionable right.

2.                    NO. A cause of action is an act or an omission of one party in violation of the legal right or rights of another, causing injury to the latter. (Rebollido v. Court of Appeals, 170 SCRA 800)
Its essential elements are the following: (1) a right in favor of the plaintiff; (2) an obligation on the part of the named defendant to respect or not to violate such right; and (3) such defendant’s act or omission that is violative of the right of the plaintiff or constituting a breach of the obligation of the former to the latter.

The court held that the complaint’s failure to state a cause of action became a ground for its outright dismissal. Why?

The Court found nothing in the SJS Petition to suggest that an explicit allegation of fact that SJS had a legal right to protect. (trigger for the cause of action)

In special civil actions for declaratory relief, the concept of cause of action under ordinary civil actions does not strictly apply. The reason for this exception is that an action for declaratory relief presupposes that there has been no actual breach of the instruments involved or of rights arising thereunder. Nevertheless, a breach or violation should be impending, imminent or at least threatened.

The justices could only infer that the interest from its allegation was its mention of “its (SJS) thousands of members who are citizens-taxpayers-registered voters and who are keenly interested”. Aside from the fact that this general averment did not constitute a legal right or interest, the court’s inferred interest too vague and speculative in character. Rules require that the interest must be material to the issue and affected by the questioned act or instrument.

To bolster its point, the SJS cited the Corpus Juris Secundum and submitted that the plaintiff in a declaratory judgment action does not seek to enforce a claim against the defendant, but sought a judicial declaration of the rights of the parties for the purpose of guiding their future conduct, and the essential distinction between a ‘declaratory judgment action’ and the usual ‘action’ is that no actual wrong need have been committed or loss have occurred in order to sustain the declaratory judgment action, although there must be no uncertainty that the loss will occur or that the asserted rights will be invaded. (???)

During the Oral Argument, Velarde and co-respondents strongly asserted that they had not in any way engaged or intended to participate in partisan politics. Not even the alleged proximity of the elections to the time the Petition was filed below would have provided the certainty that it had a legal right that would be jeopardized or violated by any of those respondents.

Even if the SJS petition asserted a legal right, there was nevertheless no certainty that such right would be invaded by the said respondents.

3.                    NO. Legal standing or locus standi has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in the case, such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the challenged act.

Interest means a material interest in issue that is affected by the questioned act or instrument, as distinguished from a mere incidental interest in the question involved.

SJS has no legal interest in the controversy and has failed to establish how the resolution of the proffered question would benefit or injure it.

Parties bringing suits challenging the constitutionality of a law, an act or a statute must demonstrate that they have been, or are about to be, denied some right or privilege to which they are lawfully entitled, or that they are about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by reason of the statute or act complained of.

If the petition were to be valid, it should satisfy:

First, parties suing as taxpayers must specifically prove that they have sufficient interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of money raised by taxation, particularly that of Congress' taxing power.
Second, there was no showing in the Petition for Declaratory Relief that SJS as a political party or its members as registered voters would be adversely affected by the alleged acts of the respondents below, such as the deprivation of votes or barring of suffrage to its constituents.
Finally, the allegedly keen interest of its "thousands of members who are citizens-taxpayers-registered voters" is too general and beyond the contemplation of the standards set by our jurisprudence. Not only is the presumed interest impersonal in character; it is likewise too vague, highly speculative and uncertain to satisfy the requirement of standing.
In not a few cases, the Court has liberalized the locus standi requirement when a petition raises an issue of transcendental significance or importance to the people (IBP v Zamora). The Court deemed the constitutional issue raised to be both transcendental in importance and novel in nature. Nevertheless, the barren allegations in the SJS Petition as well as the abbreviated proceedings in the court would prevent the resolution of the transcendental issue.

Substantive Issues

1.                    NO. The Constitution commands that no decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based.  No petition for review or motion for reconsideration of a decision of the court shall be refused due course or denied without stating the basis therefor.

Consistent with this are Section 1 of Rule 36 of the Rules on Civil Procedure, Rule 120 of the Rules of Court on Criminal Procedure, Administrative Circular No. 1. which states that :

A judgment or final order determining the merits of the case shall be rendered. The decision shall be in writing, personally and directly prepared by the judge, stating clearly and distinctly the facts and law on which it is based, signed by the issuing magistrate, and filed with the clerk of court.”

The SC has reminded magistrates to heed the demand of Section `4, Art VIII of the contsitution. This was evinced in Yao v. Court of Appeals  where Davide, CJ said that faithful adherence to the requirements of Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution is indisputably a paramount component of due process and fair play.

In People v. Bugarin, the court held that the requirement that the decisions of courts must be in writing and that they must set forth clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which they are based is intended, among other things, to inform the parties of the reason or reasons for the decision so that if any of them appeals, he can point out to the appellate court the finding of facts or the rulings on points of law with which he disagrees.

The assailed Decision contains no statement of facts (much less an assessment or analysis thereof) or of the court’s findings as to the probable facts.  The assailed Decision begins with a statement of the nature of the action and the question or issue presented.  Then follows a brief explanation of the constitutional provisions involved, and what the Petition sought to achieve.  Thereafter, the ensuing procedural incidents before the trial court are tracked.  The Decision proceeds to a full-length opinion on the nature and the extent of the separation of church and state.  Without expressly stating the final conclusion she has reached or specifying the relief granted or denied, the trial judge ends her “Decision” with the clause “SO ORDERED.”

 A decision that does not clearly and distinctly state the facts and the law on which it is based leaves the parties in the dark as to how it was reached and is precisely prejudicial to the losing party, who is unable to pinpoint the possible errors of the court for review by a higher tribunal.  More than that, the requirement is an assurance to the parties that, in reaching judgment, the judge did so through the processes of legal reasoning. 

It was truly obvious that the RTC’s Decision did not adhere to the Bugarin precedent because of its failure to express clearly and distinctly the facts on which it was based. The significance of factual findings lies in the value of the decision as a precedent (how will the ruling be applied in the future, if there is no point of factual comparison?).

Respondent SJS insisted that the dispositive portion can be found in the body (p. 10) of the assailed Decision.  Stating “Endorsement of specific candidates in an election to any public office is a clear violation of the separation clause.”

The Court held that the statement is merely an answer to a hypothetical legal question and just a part of the opinion of the trial court. It does not conclusively declare the rights (or obligations) of the parties to the Petition. Neither does it grant any -- much less, the proper -- relief under the circumstances, as required of a dispositive portion.

The standard for a dispositive was set in Manalang v. Tuason de Rickards where the resolution of the Court on a given issue as embodied in the dispositive part of the decision or order is the investitive or controlling factor that determines and settles the rights of the parties and the questions presented therein, notwithstanding the existence of statements or declaration in the body of said order that may be confusing.

In Magdalena Estate, Inc. v. Caluag: The rule is settled that where there is a conflict between the dispositive part and the opinion, the former must prevail over the latter on the theory that the dispositive portion is the final order while the opinion is merely a statement ordering nothing.

The statement quoted by SJS does not conclusively declare the rights (or obligations) of the parties to the Petition.  Neither does it grant proper relief under the circumstances, as required of a dispositive portion.

Failure to comply with the constitutional injunction is a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.  Decisions or orders issued in careless disregard of the constitutional mandate are a patent nullity and must be struck down as void.

2.                    It is not legally possible to take up, on the merits, the paramount question involving a constitutional principle. It is a time-honored rule that the constitutionality of a statute or act will be passed upon only if, and to the extent that, it is directly and necessarily involved in a justiciable controversy and is essential to the protection of the rights of the parties concerned. (So no answer)

Vda de Urbano v GSIS (2001)

Vda De Urbano v Gsis

In 1971, petitioners mortgaged their 200 sqm property in Q.C. to Gsis to secure a housing loan. Since they were unable to pay the loan, GSIS foreclosed the mortgage in 1988. GSIS bid 154k on the property and emerged as the highest bidder.
In 1984, the petitioners tried to reclaim their property. They wrote to the GSIS Acquired Assets Department signifying their intent to reclaim. On October 16, GSIS told them to pay the redemption price of 154k in full before Nov 18, 1984.
The petitioners asked for more time to recover the property while the Acquired Assets Dpeartment subsequently told them to pay 174k in cash with an extension of 30 days to the November date. Failure to do so forfeited the reclamation of the property and sold in a public bidding.
The petitioners wrote again requesting for remortgage through repurchase of the property. The Gsis AAD declined.
The petitioners wrote to the Board for an approval to file a loan worth 240,000 with the GSIS real estate department to repurchase their foreclosed property. Despite attempts from Vice Governor Mathay to adjust to a more liberal arrangement for the petitioners, the the petitioners were unable to pay. GSIS then issued a TCT in its favor.
The respondent De La Cruz entered the picture and offered to purchase the property for 250,000 spot cash. Without knowledge of the rival offer, the petitioners then offered a 50,000 downpayment with the 124k balance to be paid in 5 years.  He also enclosed 10k in check as earnest money. The Board informed them that it had adopted reolution 881 that declined their offer to repurchase.
At the same time, GSIS negotiated with Dela Cruz for the purchase of the property. They accepted her offer of purchase. A new TCT was issued to her.
The petitioners, on the other hand, had their loan request rescinded because a certificate of award or sale was not issued in favor of the applicant. Moreover, the applicant, Urbano the petitioner, was 81 years old and no longer a member of the GSIS. It wasn’t given due consideration.
Having learned about the transaction with dela Cruz, the petitioners  requested the formal investigation with the GSIS regarding the sale. Not satisfied, they filed a case with the RTC of QC branch 102.
The petition was dismissed. The same view was upheld by the court of appeals.
Hence this petition.

1. Do petitioners have a right to repurchase the subject property?
2. Does GSIS have a duty to dispose of the subject property through public bidding?
3. Was Gsis in bad faith in dealing with petitioners?

Ruling: Petition Dismissed

1. No
Charter of the GSIS was PD 1146 which stipulated the power of the GSIS to acquire, utilize, and dispose of real or personal properties in the Philippines or elsewhere. It was amended by PD 1981 which gave the GSIS the power to compromise or release any claim or settled liability to the system.
SC- The laws granted the GSIS Board the power to exercise discretion in determining the terms and condition of financial accommodations to its members with the dual purpose of making the GSIS more responsive  to the needs of GSIS members.  The laws also stipulated that the Board could exercise discretion on whether to accept or reject petitioner’s offer to repurchase the subject property taking into account the dual purpose enunciated in the whereas clause of PD 1981 which made the GSIS more responsive to the needs of its members.
With regard to the Board’s exercise of discretion, in Natino v IAC,  the Court also held that repurchase of foreclosed property after redemption period imposes no such obligation on the purchaser  (the board in this case) to re-sell the property since the property belongs to him (the board as well)
The board’s denial of petitioner’s request to purchase the subject property was not based on whim but on a factual assessment of the financial capacity of the petitioners to make good their repeated offers to purchase the subject property. Based on the circumstances, the petitioners were repeatedly unable to fulfill their obligations to pay. In the comments of the AAD manager, the observation was that the petitioners lacked the capacity to pay up.
The petitioners are not entitled to a request for repurchase as a matter of right. The Board exercised its discretion in accordance with law in denying their requests and the GSIS can’t be faulted for their failure to repurchase as it acted under the petitioner’s application under Operation Pabahay. The sale to respondent can’t be annulled on such invoked “right”.
2. No. The agreement with de la Cruz was valid.
Pets.- aver that Sec. 79 of PD 1445 and the COA Circular 86-264 mandated the GSIS to dispose of the assets through public bidding and only upon its failure, through a public sale.
GSIS contended that SEC 79 of PD 1445 did not apply because it covered unserviceable govt property and not acquired assets.
SC- Gsis was right. Why? The provision (SEC 79) applies only to unserviceable govt property or those no longer needed. The house was obviously not unserviceable. And it was still used by petitioners.
With regard to COA Circular 86-264 or the “General guidelines on the divestment or disposal of assets of government owned corporations” the law stipulated that it availed of an exception to the requirement of disposition through  public bidding and such exception applied to sales of merchandise held for sale in the regular course of business.  The Court read it in relation to Coa circular 89-296 which provided for  “Audit Guidelines on the Disposal of Property and other Assets of Government Agencies”, which also did not apply the public bidding disposal requirement to merchandise or inventory held for sale in the regular course of business nor to the disposal by gov’t financial institutions of foreclosed assets or collaterals acquired in the regular course of business and not transferred to the Govt under proclamation no 50.
The modes of disposal included Public auction and sale thru negotiation.
Doctrine: With regard to these 2 laws, the Court held  the question whether the subject property was covered by the said Circular or falls under its exception. It held that 89-296 was to be interpreted with 86-264 in adherence with stat con wherein statutes that relate to the same thing ought to be taken in consideration in construing any one of them, and it is an established rule of law that all acts in pari material are to be taken together as if they were one law.
Moreover, the court looked into the intent of both laws and held that these were used to generate more revenue for GOCC’S through the disposition of its non-preforming assets. (Look into PD 50 or the asset privatization trust in the case) According to the court, the policy intent on the disposition of acquired assets then governed the case at bar.
Was the property covered by the public bidding exceptions in these laws? The court said yes, which meant that their sale negotiation fell under the regular course of business, and thus did not offend the requirements of the said coa circulars.   
3. No.
GSIS denial of petitioners’ further requests for repurchase of subject property was based on a factual determination of the petitioners’ financial capacity and the GSIS charter, PD 1146. Also, GSIS sold the property to dela Cruz only after giving them one year to repurchase.
The petitioners, on the strength of the Valmonte case, can’t also impute bad faith on GSIS when it was secretly negotiating with Dela Cruz. In the Valmonte case, the court held that the constitutional right to information was limited to matters of public concern to transactions involving public interest.The sale of the property was not imbued by public interests as it was a purely private transaction. Pets. Can’t  demand to be informed of such public negotiation since they had no interest on the subject property since they failed to comply with the GSIS terms of repurchase and the denial to repurchase under the GSIS terms.