Supreme Court decisions in Plain Language

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Digests of Supreme Court decisions edited in Plain Language for the use of bar examinees, law students, civil society groups, media organizations, and the public:

Remedial Law: Criminal Procedure; Evidence
  1. Illegal drugs: if chain of custody is broken, accused must be acquitted (“People of the Philippines vs. Nicolas Gutierrez” G.R. No. 179213, September 3, 2009)

  2. A notarized document can be questioned as to validity of its execution or contents (“Spouses Lehner and Ludy Martires vs. Menelia Chua” G.R. NO. 174240, March 20, 2013)
Civil Law
  1. After getting married, a woman should consistently use either her maiden surname or her married surname (“Maria Virginia V. Remo vs. The Honorable Secretary of Foreign Affairs” G.R. No. 169202, March 5, 2010)
  2. If there’s no valid marriage license, then the marriage contract, authority of solemnizing officer, testimony of witnesses and sponsors, wedding pictures, etc. do not mean anything (“Syed Azhar Abbas vs. Gloria Goo Abbas” G.R. No. 183896. January 30, 2013)
Commercial Law
  1. Escalation of interest rates in loan contracts void without written notice to and written consent of the borrower ( “Spouses Ignacio F. Juico and Alice P. Juico, Petitioners, vs. China Banking Corporation, Respondent” G.R. No. 187678, April 10, 2013)
Criminal Law
  1. When someone hits a minor, should the charge be child abuse under RA 7610 or physical injury under the Revised Penal Code? (“Bongalon vs. People of the Philippines” G.R. No. 169533, March 20, 2013)

  2. BP 22 demand letter (notice of dishonor) must be actually received by issuer of check (“Erlinda C. San Mateo, Petitioner vs. People of the Philippines, Respondent” G.R. NO. 200090, March 6, 2013)
Labor Law
  1. Can an employee file a case of constructive dismissal and yet continue reporting for work? (“The Orchard Golf and Country Club vs. Amelia R Francisco” G.R. No. 178125, March 2013)

  2. Can a rank-and-file employee like a hotel service attendant be terminated on the ground of loss of trust and confidence? (“Philippine Plaza Holdings, Inc. vs. Ma. Flora M. Episcope” G.R. No. 192826, Feb. 27, 2013)
  3. Differences between regular employees and project employees, between project employment and fixed term employment (“GMA Network, Inc., Petitioner, vs.Carlos P. Pabriga, Geoffrey F. Arias, Kirby N. Campo, Arnold L. Lagahit, And Armando A. Catubig, Respondents” G.R. No. 176419, November 27, 2013)
  4. Rights of employees and obligations of employers in business closure, asset sale, or stock sale (“SME Bank vs. De Guzman” G.R. No. 184517, October 8, 2013)
Constitutional Law: Separation of Church and State, freedom of religion (external links)
  1. Secular courts do not have jurisdiction over expulsion or excommunication of church members (Taruc et al vs. Bishop de la Cruz et al, 2005)

  2. Instances when secular courts can intervene in church disputes (Fonacier vs. Court of Appeals and Isabelo De los Reyes, Jr., 1955)

  3. Estrada vs. Escritor case: Did the Supreme Court legitimize live-in relationships in the name of freedom of religion?

  4. Are church clerks, ACE teachers, drivers, janitors, etc. considered “employees” under the Labor Code of the Philippines? (Landmark 2012 US Supreme Court ruling in “Hosanna-Tabor Lutheran vs. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission” and its implications for Philippine churches; Philippine Supreme Court decision in Austria vs. NLRC G.R. No. 124382, August 16, 1999: Seventh-Day Adventist pastor is an employee protected by Labor Code)

  5. Supreme Court decision on RH law a victory for freedom of religion
  6. Supreme Court Justice Jose C. Mendoza: Life begins at fertilization, not during implantation

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