Sunday, October 23, 2011

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.

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