G.R. No. 101083 Oposa, et. al. v. Factoran, et. al. July 30, 1993


The controversy, in this petition, has its genesis in Civil Case No. 90-77 which was filed before Branch 66 (Makati, Metro Manila) of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), National Capital Judicial Region.

The complaint was instituted as a taxpayers’ class suit and alleges that the plaintiffs “are all citizens of the Republic of the Philippines, taxpayers, and entitled to the full benefit, use and enjoyment of the natural resource treasure that is the country’s virgin tropical forests.” The same was filed for themselves and others who are equally concerned about the preservation of said resource but are “so numerous that it is impracticable to bring them all before the Court.” The minors further asseverate that they “represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn.”  Consequently, it is prayed for that judgment be rendered ordering defendant, his agents, representatives and other persons acting in his behalf to (1) cancel all existing timber license agreements in the country; and (2) cease and desist from receiving, accepting, processing, renewing or approving new timber license agreements – and granting the plaintiffs “. . . such other reliefs just and equitable under the premises.”

The complaint starts off with the general averments that the Philippine archipelago of 7,100 islands has a land area of thirty million (30,000,000) hectares and is endowed with rich, lush and verdant rainforests in which varied, rare and unique species of flora and fauna may be found; these rainforests contain a genetic, biological and chemical pool which is irreplaceable; they are also the habitat of indigenous Philippine cultures which have existed, endured and flourished since time immemorial; scientific evidence reveals that in order to maintain a balanced and healthful ecology, the country’s land area should be utilized on the basis of a ratio of fifty-four per cent (54%) for forest cover and forty-six per cent (46%) for agricultural, residential, industrial, commercial and other uses; the distortion and disturbance of this balance as a consequence of deforestation have resulted in a host of environmental tragedies.

Plaintiffs further assert that the adverse and detrimental consequences of continued and deforestation are so capable of unquestionable demonstration that the same may be submitted as a matter of judicial notice. This notwithstanding, they expressed their intention to present expert witnesses as well as documentary, photographic and film evidence in the course of the trial.

On 22 June 1990, the original defendant, Secretary Factoran, Jr., filed a Motion to Dismiss the complaint based on two (2) grounds, namely: (1) the plaintiffs have no cause of action against him and (2) the issue raised by the plaintiffs is a political question which properly pertains to the legislative or executive branches of Government. In their 12 July 1990 Opposition to the Motion, the petitioners maintain that (1) the complaint shows a clear and unmistakable cause of action, (2) the motion is dilatory and (3) the action presents a justiciable question as it involves the defendant’s abuse of discretion.

On 18 July 1991, respondent Judge issued an order granting the aforementioned motion to dismiss. In the said order, not only was the defendant’s claim — that the complaint states no cause of action against him and that it raises a political question — sustained, the respondent Judge further ruled that the granting of the relief prayed for would result in the impairment of contracts which is prohibited by the fundamental law of the land.

Plaintiffs thus filed the instant special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court and ask this Court to rescind and set aside the dismissal order on the ground that the respondent Judge gravely abused his discretion in dismissing the action. Again, the parents of the plaintiffs-minors not only represent their children, but have also joined the latter in this case. 

On 14 May 1992, We resolved to give due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their respective Memoranda after the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed a Comment in behalf of the respondents and the petitioners filed a reply thereto.

Petitioners contend that the complaint clearly and unmistakably states a cause of action as it contains sufficient allegations concerning their right to a sound environment based on Articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Civil Code (Human Relations), Section 4 of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 192 creating the DENR, Section 3 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1151 (Philippine Environmental Policy), Section 16, Article II of the 1987 Constitution recognizing the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology, the concept of generational genocide in Criminal Law and the concept of man’s inalienable right to self-preservation and self-perpetuation embodied in natural law. Petitioners likewise rely on the respondent’s correlative obligation per Section 4 of E.O. No. 192, to safeguard the people’s right to a healthful environment.

It is further claimed that the issue of the respondent Secretary’s alleged grave abuse of discretion in granting Timber License Agreements (TLAs) to cover more areas for logging than what is available involves a judicial question.

Anent the invocation by the respondent Judge of the Constitution’s non-impairment clause, petitioners maintain that the same does not apply in this case because TLAs are not contracts. They likewise submit that even if TLAs may be considered protected by the said clause, it is well settled that they may still be revoked by the State when the public interest so requires.

On the other hand, the respondents aver that the petitioners failed to allege in their complaint a specific legal right violated by the respondent Secretary for which any relief is provided by law. They see nothing in the complaint but vague and nebulous allegations concerning an “environmental right” which supposedly entitles the petitioners to the “protection by the state in its capacity as parens patriae.” Such allegations, according to them, do not reveal a valid cause of action. They then reiterate the theory that the question of whether logging should be permitted in the country is a political question which should be properly addressed to the executive or legislative branches of Government. They therefore assert that the petitioners’ resources is not to file an action to court, but to lobby before Congress for the passage of a bill that would ban logging totally.

As to the matter of the cancellation of the TLAs, respondents submit that the same cannot be done by the State without due process of law. Once issued, a TLA remains effective for a certain period of time — usually for twenty-five (25) years. During its effectivity, the same can neither be revised nor cancelled unless the holder has been found, after due notice and hearing, to have violated the terms of the agreement or other forestry laws and regulations. Petitioners’ proposition to have all the TLAs indiscriminately cancelled without the requisite hearing would be violative of the requirements of due process.


  1. Whether or not petitioners-minors can represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn;
  2. Whether or not the complaint failed to state a cause of action;
  3. Whether or not the issue raised by the plaintiffs is a political question which properly pertains to the legislative or executive branches of Government; and
  4. Whether or not timber licenses may be ordered cancelled.


1. Yes.

Their personality to sue in behalf of the succeeding generations can only be based on the concept of intergenerational responsibility insofar as the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is concerned. Such a right, as hereinafter expounded, considers the “rhythm and harmony of nature.” Nature means the created world in its entirety. Such rhythm and harmony indispensably include, inter alia, the judicious disposition, utilization, management, renewal and conservation of the country’s forest, mineral, land, waters, fisheries, wildlife, off-shore areas and other natural resources to the end that their exploration, development and utilization be equitably accessible to the present as well as future generations. Needless to say, every generation has a responsibility to the next to preserve that rhythm and harmony for the full enjoyment of a balanced and healthful ecology. Put a little differently, the minors’ assertion of their right to a sound environment constitutes, at the same time, the performance of their obligation to ensure the protection of that right for the generations to come.

(Nota bene: While the defendant in the class suit did not question the locus standi of the plaintiffs, it appeared the Court deemed it necessary to tackle it because of the case’s ‘special and novel element’ – that petitioners minors assert that they represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn.)

2. No.

We do not agree with the trial court’s conclusions that the plaintiffs failed to allege with sufficient definiteness a specific legal right involved or a specific legal wrong committed, and that the complaint is replete with vague assumptions and conclusions based on unverified data. A reading of the complaint itself belies these conclusions.

The complaint focuses on one specific fundamental legal right — the right to a balanced and healthful ecology which, for the first time in our nation’s constitutional history, is solemnly incorporated in the fundamental law. Section 16, Article II of the 1987 Constitution explicitly provides:

Sec. 16. The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.

This right unites with the right to health which is provided for in the preceding section of the same article:

Sec. 15. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.

While the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is to be found under the Declaration of Principles and State Policies and not under the Bill of Rights, it does not follow that it is less important than any of the civil and political rights enumerated in the latter. Such a right belongs to a different category of rights altogether for it concerns nothing less than self-preservation and self-perpetuation — aptly and fittinglystressed by the petitioners — the advancement of which may even be said to predate all governments and constitutions. As a matter of fact, these basic rights need not even be written in the Constitution for they are assumed to exist from the inception of humankind. If they are now explicitly mentioned in the fundamental charter, it is because of the well-founded fear of its framers that unless the rights to a balanced and healthful ecology and to health are mandated as state policies by the Constitution itself, thereby highlighting their continuing importance and imposing upon the state a solemn obligation to preserve the first and protect and advance the second, the day would not be too far when all else would be lost not only for the present generation, but also for those to come — generations which stand to inherit nothing but parched earth incapable of sustaining life.

The right to a balanced and healthful ecology carries with it the correlative duty to refrain from impairing the environment.

The said right implies, among many other things, the judicious management and conservation of the country’s forests.

Without such forests, the ecological or environmental balance would be irreversiby disrupted.

3. Yes, but…

The foregoing considered, Civil Case No. 90-777 be said to raise a political question. Policy formulation or determination by the executive or legislative branches of Government is not squarely put in issue. What is principally involved is the enforcement of a right vis-a-vis policies already formulated and expressed in legislation. It must, nonetheless, be emphasized that the political question doctrine is no longer, the insurmountable obstacle to the exerciseof judicial power or the impenetrable shield that protects executive and legislative actions from judicial inquiry or review. The second paragraph of section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution states that:

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.

Commenting on this provision in his book, Philippine Political Law, Mr. Justice Isagani A. Cruz, a distinguished member of this Court, says:

The first part of the authority represents the traditional concept of judicial power, involving the settlement of conflicting rights as conferred as law. The second part of the authority represents a broadening of judicial power to enable the courts of justice to review what was before forbidden territory, to wit, the discretion of the political departments of the government.

As worded, the new provision vests in the judiciary, and particularly the Supreme Court, the power to rule upon even the wisdom of the decisions of the executive and the legislature and to declare their acts invalid for lack or excess of jurisdiction because tainted with grave abuse of discretion. The catch, of course, is the meaning of “grave abuse of discretion,” which is a very elastic phrase that can expand or contract according to the disposition of the judiciary.

In Daza vs. Singson, Mr. Justice Cruz, now speaking for this Court, noted:

In the case now before us, the jurisdictional objection becomes even less tenable and decisive. The reason is that, even if we were to assume that the issue presented before us was political in nature, we would still not be precluded from revolving it under the expanded jurisdiction conferred upon us that now covers, in proper cases, even the political question.

4. Yes.

The last ground invoked by the trial court in dismissing the complaint is the non-impairment of contracts clause found in the Constitution. This is untenable.

Timber licenses are not contracts

Firstly, and as correctly pointed out by the petitioners, into every timber license must be read Section 20 of the Forestry Reform Code (P.D. No. 705) which provides:

. . . Provided, That when the national interest so requires, the President may amend, modify, replace or rescind any contract, concession, permit, licenses or any other form of privilege granted herein . . .

Needless to say, all licenses may thus be revoked or rescinded by executive action. It is not a contract, property or a property right protested by the due process clause of the Constitution. In Tan vs. Director of Forestry, this Court held:

. . . A timber license is an instrument by which the State regulates the utilization and disposition of forest resources to the end that public welfare is promoted. A timber license is not a contract within the purview of the due process clause; it is only a license or privilege, which can be validly withdrawn whenever dictated by public interest or public welfare as in this case.

A license is merely a permit or privilege to do what otherwise would be unlawful, and is not a contract between the authority, federal, state, or municipal, granting it and the person to whom it is granted; neither is it property or a property right, nor does it create a vested right; nor is it taxation (37 C.J. 168). Thus, this Court held that the granting of license does not create irrevocable rights, neither is it property or property rights (People vs. Ong Tin, 54 O.G. 7576).

We reiterated this pronouncement in Felipe Ysmael, Jr. & Co., Inc. vs. Deputy Executive Secretary:

. . . Timber licenses, permits and license agreements are the principal instruments by which the State regulates the utilization and disposition of forest resources to the end that public welfare is promoted. And it can hardly be gainsaid that they merely evidence a privilege granted by the State to qualified entities, and do not vest in the latter a permanent or irrevocable right to the particular concession area and the forest products therein. They may be validly amended, modified, replaced or rescinded by the Chief Executive when national interests so require. Thus, they are not deemed contracts within the purview of the due process of law clause [See Sections 3(ee) and 20 of Pres. Decree No. 705, as amended. Also, Tan v. Director of Forestry, G.R. No. L-24548, October 27, 1983, 125 SCRA 302].

Since timber licenses are not contracts, the non-impairment clause, which reads: “Sec. 10. No law impairing, the obligation of contracts shall be passed.” cannot be invoked.

Contracts subject to police power

In the second place, even if it is to be assumed that the same are contracts, the instant case does not involve a law or even an executive issuance declaring the cancellation or modification of existing timber licenses. Hence, the non-impairment clause cannot as yet be invoked. Nevertheless, granting further that a law has actually been passed mandating cancellations or modifications, the same cannot still be stigmatized as a violation of the non-impairment clause. This is because by its very nature and purpose, such as law could have only been passed in the exerciseof the police power of the state for the purpose of advancing the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology, promoting their health and enhancing the general welfare. In Abe vs. Foster Wheeler Corp., this Court stated:

The freedom of contract, under our system of government, is not meant to be absolute. The same is understood to be subject to reasonable legislative regulation aimed at the promotion of public health, moral, safety and welfare. In other words, the constitutional guaranty of non-impairment of obligations of contract is limited by the exerciseof the police power of the State, in the interest of public health, safety, moral and general welfare.

The reason for this is emphatically set forth in Nebia vs. New York, quoted in Philippine American Life Insurance Co. vs. Auditor General, to wit:

Under our form of government the use of property and the making of contracts are normally matters of private and not of public concern. The general rule is that both shall be free of governmental interference. But neither property rights nor contract rights are absolute; for government cannot exist if the citizen may at will use his property to the detriment of his fellows, or exercisehis freedom of contract to work them harm. Equally fundamental with the private right is that of the public to regulate it in the common interest.

In short, the non-impairment clause must yield to the police power of the state.


G.R. No. L-56694 Heirs of Pedro Pinote v. Dulay, et. al. July 2, 1990


On September 30, 1978, Francisco P. Otto, representing his mother Petra Pinote, filed in the CFI of Cebu, Branch XVI, at Lapu-Lapu City, a verified petition for reconstitution of the original certificate of title to Lot 2381 of the Opon Cadastre, which, as shown by a certified copy of the Municipal Index of Decrees, was supposedly adjudicated to Saturnino, Juana, Irineo, Pedro, and Petronilo, all surnamed Pinote, under Decree No. 230607 dated May 7, 1934 in Cadastral Case No. 20, LRC Rec. No. 1004.

By an order dated November 6, 1978, the court set the case for hearing on February 22, 1979 at 8:30 A.M. A copy of the notice of hearing was ordered to be published in the Official Gazette, furnished to all the adjoining owners, and posted by the Sheriff at the main entrances of the Provincial Capitol Building, the City Hall, and the Public Market of Lapu-Lapu City, at least 30 days prior to the date of hearing. The court also ordered copies of the notice and order to be sent to the Registers of Deeds of Lapu-Lapu City and Cebu, the Director of Lands, and the Commissioner of Land Registration, directing them to show cause, if any, why the petition may not be granted.

It does not appear, however, that notices were sent to each of the registered co-owners — Saturnino, Juana, Irineo, Pedro and Petronilo, all surnamed Pinote, or their heirs, so that they could have been heard on the petition.

As there was no opposition to the petition when it was called for hearing, the lower court commissioned its Clerk of Court to receive the evidence.

Based on the Commissioner’s Report, as well as the oral and documentary evidence submitted by Francisco Otto in support of his petition, the Court issued an order on June 7, 1979, directing the Register of Deeds of Lapu-Lapu City to reconstitute the original certificate of title of Lot 2381 of the Opon Cadastre, upon payment of the corresponding fees, in the names of Saturnino Pinote, married to Maria Igot, Juana, Irineo, Petra (not Pedro) and Petronilo, all surnamed Pinote. The court relied on the supposed abstract of the decision of the cadastral court, the technical descriptions, plan and report of the Land Registration Commission which are not found in the records before us.

Pursuant to the court’s order, Original Certificate of Title No. RO-2355 of the Register of Deeds of Lapu-Lapu City was issued in the names of the alleged brothers and sisters, Saturnino Pinote married to Maria Igot, Juana, Irineo, Petra (not Pedro) and Petronilo, all surnamed Pinote.

On October 1, 1979, Atty. Porfirio Ellescas, as alleged counsel for the heirs of Pedro, Juana and Saturnino Pinote, supposedly all deceased, filed a motion for reconsideration of the court’s order, and sought the re-opening of the proceedings and the rectification of the June 7, 1979 order, for, while Otto’s main petition for reconstitution based on the Municipal Index of Decrees, alleged that Lot 2381 was decreed in the names of Irineo, Juana, Saturnino,Pedro, and Petronilo, all surnamed Pinote, the court’s order of June 7, 1979 ordered the reconstitution of the title in the names of Saturnino, Juana, Irineo, Petra (instead of Pedro) and Petronilo, all surnamed Pinote. The heirs of Pedro Pinote claimed that they “learned of the error” only on September 27, 1979 through their counsel, who made the inquiry and obtained a copy of the court order.

A copy of the motion for reconsideration was received by Attorney Ramon Codilla, Otto’s counsel, on Oct. 5, 1979. The hearing of the motion was set on Nov. 14, 1979 at 8:30 A.M. with notice to Otto and Atty. Cedilla. Because of a conflict in his trial calendar, Atty. Ellescas informed the court that he would not be able to attend the hearing. Only Atty. Codilla appeared at the hearing on Nov. 14, 1979. He was ordered by the court to submit a photocopy of OCT No. RO-2355 which he complied with.

On December 2, 1979, the court issued an order denying the motion for reconsideration.

On January 2, 1980, the heirs of the late Pedro Pinote filed their notice of appeal. On January 4, 1980, they filed an urgent ex parte motion for extension of time to file record on appeal. The record on appeal was filed on January 9, 1980, and a copy was sent to the private respondent by registered mail on the same date.

On May 10, 1980, the court denied due course to the appeal on the ground of tardiness as the petitioners’ motion for reconsideration, which the court declared to be pro forma, did not suspend the finality of the court’s June 7, 1979 order.

Hence, the petition for mandamus and/or certiorari.


  1. Whether the petitioners’ appeal is timely; and
  2. Whether the reconstitution proceedings should be reopened and the order of reconstitution dated June 7, 1979 should be rectified or amended.


1. Yes.

Firstly, their motion for reconsideration of the order dated June 7, 1979 was not pro forma. It invited the court’s attention to a substantial variance between the petition for reconstitution and the court’s order of reconstitution. The error adverted to in the motion for reconsideration is substantial for it affects the participation and interest of Pedro Pinote (or his heirs) in Lot No. 2381, an interest that appeared in the petition for reconstitution and in the notice of hearing issued by the court, but which disappeared from the court’s order of reconstitution dated June 7, 1979, having been replaced by “Petra Pinote” instead.

Secondly, the motion for reconsideration was timely filed. The petitioners had not been separately notified of the reconstitution proceedings except by constructive notice through the published notice of hearing. They discovered the assailed order dated June 7, 1979 on September 27, 1979, through Atty. Ellescas. They had up to October 27, 1979 to either file a motion for reconsideration or appeal. They filed a motion for reconsideration on October 1, 1979 after only four (4) days of the 30-day appeal period had elapsed, so, they had 26 days left to appeal. On December 11, 1979, they received the court’s order denying their motion for reconsideration. They filed a notice of appeal, cash appeal bond and a motion for extension of time to file a record on appeal on January 4, 1980 or 24 days later, with two (2) or more days of the appeal period to spare. Their record on appeal was actually filed on January 8, 1980, within the 10-day extension which they sought from the court. Clearly, their appeal was seasonably filed.

2. Yes, the previous orders having been issued without jurisdiction.

As the petition for reconstitution of title was a proceeding in rem, compliance with the requirements of R.A. 26 is a condition sine qua non for the conferment of jurisdiction on the court taking cognizance of the petition. Considering that both the petition and the court’s notice of hearing, referred to the reconstitution of the title of Lot 2381 in the names of the registered co-owners, Saturnino Pinote married to Maria Igot, Juana, Irineo, Pedro and Petronilo, all surnamed Pinote, the cadastral court had jurisdiction only to grant or deny the prayer of the petition as published in the notice of hearing. The court could not receive evidence proving that Petra Pinote, instead of Pedro, is a registered co-owner of Lot 2381. The reconstitution or reconstruction of a certificate of title literally and within the meaning of Republic Act No. 26 denotes restoration of the instrument which is supposed to have been lost or destroyed in its original form and condition. The purpose of the reconstitution of any document, book or record is to have the same reproduced, after observing the procedure prescribed by law, in the same form they were when the loss or destruction occurred. Hence, in Bunagan, et al.vs. CFI of Cebu, et al., where the certificate of title was decreed in the names of “Antonio Ompad and Dionisia Icong,” the reconstitution of the title in the names of “spouses Antonio Ompad and Dionisia Icong” was held to be “a material change that cannot be authorized.”

The jurisdiction of the cadastral court is hedged in by the four walls of the petition and the published notice of hearing which define the subject matter of the petition. If the court oversteps those borders, it acts without or in excess of its jurisdiction in the case.

On the basis of the allegations of the petition and the published notice of hearing, the heirs of Pedro Pinote had no reason to oppose the petition for reconstitution for the rights and interest in Lot 2381 of their ancestor, Pedro Pinote, were not adversely affected by the petition. It was only when Pedro’s name (and in effect, his interest in Lot 2381) disappeared from the court’s order of reconstitution that his heirs had cause to rise in arms as it were, and ask for the reopening of the case.

G.R. No. 112019 Santos v. CA January 4, 1995


Leouel Santos is a member of the Army who met Julia in Ilioilo City. On September 20, 1986, the two exchange vows before the RTC of Iloilo, which was shortly followed by a church wedding.

Sometime in 1988, Julia decided to leave for US to work as a nurse, despite the pleas to dissuade her otherwise. Seven months have passed since her leaving for US before Julia made her first call to Santos promising that she will return home after the expiration of her contract. However, Julia did not make good of her promise despite  Santos even going over to US in one of his trips under the auspices of the Philippine Army to persuade Julia to come back to the Philippines.

Julia’s persistent refusal to return home and her alleged failure to communicate with Santos for a period of five years have prompted the latter to file an annulment case stating as a ground the psychological incapacity of Julia under Article 36 of the Family Code. According to Santos, a wife who does not care to inform her husband of her whereabouts for five years and does not communicate with him is psychologically incapacitated.


Whether or not Julia was psychologically incapacitated to warrant the annulment of her marriage with Santos under Article 36 of the Family Code.


No. In the words of the Supreme Court, “psychological incapacity” should refer to no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage which, as so expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity and render help and support.

There is hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of “psychological incapacity” to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter intensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. This psychologic condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated.

Accordingly, the factual setting of the case at bench had in no way measure at all, to the standards required to decree the marriage as null and void. While the court recognizes that Santos is undeniably aggrieved, even desperate in his current condition, regrettably, however, neither law nor society itself can have all the answers to every individual problem.

The Supreme Court in this case notably lacked adequate discussion as to why the actuations of Julia did not amount to psychological incapacity. What was strengthened in the discussion was the meaning and import of the psychological incapacity.

G.R. No. 167459 Ochosa v. Alano and Republic January 26, 2011


Jose is a military man who got married to Bona. Due to the former’s work requirements, he was often assigned to different areas in Mindanao. Bona chose to stay in her place instead of following her husband in his detail assignments in other areas in Mindanao.

Sometime during their marriage, Jose got promoted and was given a quarter for him and his family at Fort Santiago in 1985.

During this period, it appeared that Bona was unfaithful to her spouse as she later on admitted having sexual relations with Jose’s driver whenever the latter was out on duty.

This prompted Jose to file an annulment case on the ground of Bona’s psychological incapacity to perform the basic obligations of marriage. The trial court granted the annulment but was later on overturned by the CA upon appeal on the ground that evidentiary facts do not establish Bona’s psychological incapacity. Hence, this petition.


Whether or not Bona was psychologically incapacitated to warrant the dissolution of the marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code.


No. The case of Bona having sexual infidelity alone was not enough to show that she was psychologically incapacitated under Article 36 of the Family Code to warrant the petition for annulment by Jose.

While the Court agrees that Bona’s act of sexual infidelity shows the gravity of her incapacity to carry out the essential duties required of marriage, such incapacity was not proven to have juridical antecedence and was not shown to be incurable.

The Court in this case stressed that the incapacity must be proven to have existed at the inception of marriage even though its manifestation was seen after the celebration of marriage. In this case, the psychiatrists who gave her testimony regarding Bona’s psychological condition relied heavily only on the uncorroborated testimony of Jose’s witness. However, the court did not say that a personal examination of witness is necessary in this case. Accordingly, testimonies of those who knew Bona would have strengthened the allegations of Bona’s psychological incapacity.

Finally, the court in this case once again pronounced that a case of annulment by reason of psychological incapacity should be examined by the trial court in light of the unique facts of the case and not rely on pre-adjudged notions or conditions.

G.R. No. L-29073 Bunagan, et. al. v. Branch VI, CFI of Cebu, et. al. April 18, 1980


Dionisia Icong and her children named Filemon, Manuel, Arsenio, and Napoleon, all surnamed Ompad, filed with the CFI of Cebu a petition for the reconstitution of the original certificate of title covering Lot 1660 of the Opon Cadastre in the name of “Antonio Ompad and Dionisia Icong, spouses,” and once reconstituted, to cancel the same and another one issued in the name of “Filemon Ompad; Manuel Ompad; Arsenio Ompad…; Napoleon Ompad…; and Dionisia Icong, surviving spouse of Antonio Ompad.

The petition was opposed by Espiritu Bunagan, upon the ground that he is the owner of the lot in question; and that Dionisia Icong is merely a trustee of the lot in behalf of Antonio Ompad.

Later, petitioners Icong and children moved to dismiss the opposition.

The cadastral court then ruled that it could not entertain the claim of the oppositor which should be ventilated in an ordinary civil action, and gave due course to the petition. After hearing, the court issued an order, dated June 17, 1967, ordering the reconstitution of the original certificate of title of Lot No. 1660…in the names of the original owners  spouses Antonio Ompad and Dionisia Icong…

Thereafter, Original Certificate of Title No. RO-0675 was issued in the name of “spouses Antonio Ompad and Dionisia Icong.”

Espiritu Bunagan then filed an urgent motion to correct the order of June 17, 1967 and the original certificate of title No. RO-9675, by substituting, as the registered owners of Lot 1660 “Antonio Ompad and Dionisia Incong” instead of “spouses Antonio Ompad and Dionisia Icong” upon the ground that upon the evidence presented, the lot was adjudicated to “Antonio Ompad and Dionisia Icong” during the cadastral proceedings, and not to spouses Antonio Ompad and Dionisia Icong.

Dionisia Icong filed her opposition thereto claiming that the issuance of the certificate of title in the name of “spouses Antonio Ompad and Dionisia Icong” is warranted under Section 112 of the Land Registration Act which authorizes alteration or amendment of the title upon proper petition.

Sometime thereafter, the respondent Court issued an order, denying the motion to correct the order of June 17, 1967.

Hence, this instant recourse to annul and set aside the said orders.


Whether or not the court committed grave abuse of discretion in ordering the issuance of the reconstituted title in the name of “Spouses Antonio Ompad and Dionisia Icong” instead of “Antonio Ompad and Dionisia Icong” as reflected in the lost or destroyed certificate of title.



Firstly, the reconstitution or reconstruction of a certificate of title literally and within the meaning of Republic Act No. 26 denotes restoration of the instrument which is supposed to have been lost or destroyed in its original form and condition. The purpose of the reconstitution of any document, book or record is to have the same reproduced, after observing the procedure prescribed by law, in the same form they were when the loss or destruction occured. If the certificate of title covering the lot was decreed in the form of “Antonio Ompad and Dionisia Icong,” as in this case, the reconstituted certificate of title should likewise be in the name of the owners as they appeared in the lost or destroyed certificate of title sought to be reconstituted. Any change that should be made in the ownership of the property should be the subject of a separate suit.

Secondly, the claim of Dionisia Icong that the change is authorized under Section 112 of the Land Registration Act is without merit. The proceedings authorized in Section 112 could not be availed of in view of the opposition of the herein petitioners, for such proceedings apply only if there is unanimity among the parties or there is no adverse claim or serious objection on the part of any party in interest.

Persons who may be adopted

Under Sec. 8 of Republic Act No. 8552 or Domestic Adoption Act:

(a) Any person below eighteen (18) years of age who has been administratively or judicially declared available for adoption;

(b) The legitimate son/daughter of one spouse by the other spouse;

(c) An illegitimate son/daughter by a qualified adopter to improve his/her status to that of legitimacy;

(d) A person of legal age if, prior to the adoption, said person has been consistently considered and treated by the adopter(s) as his/her own child since minority;

(e) A child whose adoption has been previously rescinded; or

(f) A child whose biological or adoptive parent(s) has died: Provided, That no proceedings shall be initiated within six (6) months from the time of death of said parent(s).

Under Sec. 8 of Republic Act No. 8043 or Inter-Country Adoption Act:

Only a legally free child may be the subject of inter-country adoption.

However, in order that such child may be considered for placement, the following documents must be submitted to the Board:

(a)Child study;

(b)Birth certificate/foundling certificate;

(c)Deed of voluntary commitment/decree of abandonment/death certificate of parents

(d)Medical evaluation /history;

(e)Psychological evaluation, as necessary; and

(f)Recent photo of the child.

Persons who may adopt

Under Sec. 7 of Republic Act No. 8552 or Domestic Adoption Act:

(a) Any Filipino citizen of legal age, in possession of full civil capacity and legal rights, of good moral character, has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude, emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children, at least sixteen (16) years older than the adoptee, and who is in a position to support and care for his/her children in keeping with the means of the family. The requirement of sixteen (16) year difference between the age of the adopter and adoptee may be waived when the adopter is the biological parent of the adoptee, or is the spouse of the adoptee’s parent;

(b) Any alien possessing the same qualifications as above stated for Filipino nationals: Provided, That his/her country has diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines, that he/she has been living in the Philippines for at least three (3) continuous years prior to the filing of the application for adoption and maintains such residence until the adoption decree is entered, that he/she has been certified by his/her diplomatic or consular office or any appropriate government agency that he/she has the legal capacity to adopt in his/her country, and that his/her government allows the adoptee to enter his/her country as his/her adopted son/daughter: Provided, Further, That the requirements on residency and certification of the alien’s qualification to adopt in his/her country may be waived for the following:

(i) a former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity; or

(ii) one who seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of his/her Filipino spouse; or

(iii) one who is married to a Filipino citizen and seeks to adopt jointly with his/her spouse a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity of the Filipino spouse; or

(c) The guardian with respect to the ward after the termination of the guardianship and clearance of his/her financial accountabilities.

Under Sec. 9 of Republic Act No. 8043 or Inter-Country Adoption Act:

An alien or a Filipino citizen permanently residing abroad may file an application for inter-country adoption of a Filipino child if he/she:

(a) is at least twenty-seven (27) years of age and at least sixteen (16) years older than the child to be adopted, at the time of application unless the adopter is the parent by nature of the child to be adopted or the spouse of such parent:

(b) if married, his/her spouse must jointly file for the adoption;

(c) has the capacity to act and assume all rights and responsibilities of parental authority under his national laws, and has undergone the appropriate counseling from an accredited counselor in his/her country;

(d) has not been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude;

(e) is eligible to adopt under his/her national law;

(f) is in a position to provide the proper care and support and to give the necessary moral values and example to all his children, including the child to be adopted;

(g) agrees to uphold the basic rights of the child as embodied under Philippine laws, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, and to abide by the rules and regulations issued to implement the provisions of this Act;

(h) comes from a country with whom the Philippines has diplomatic relations and whose government maintains a similarly authorized and accredited agency and that adoption is allowed under his/her national laws; and

(i) possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided herein and in other applicable Philippine laws.