Bar Exam Questionnaire – “Civil Law” questions 2

James Ryan Jonas

Actual 2008 Philippine Bar Exams Questionnaire
CIVIL LAW (Part 2 of 5)

V. Despite several relationships with different women, Andrew remained unmarried. His first relationship with Brenda produced a daughter, Amy, now 30 years old. His second, with Carla, produced two sons: Jon and Ryan. His third, with Donna, bore him two daughters: Vina and Wilma. His fourth, with Elena, bore him no children although Elena has a daughter Jane, from a previous relationship. His last, with Fe, produced no biological children but they informally adopted without court proceedings, Sandy, now 13 years old, whom they consider as their own. Sandy was orphaned as a baby and was entrusted to them by the midwife who attended to Sandy’s birth. All the children, including Amy, now live with Andrew in his house.

  • a) Is there any legal obstacle to the legal adoption of Amy by Andrew? To the legal adoption of Sandy by Andrew and Elena? (2%)
  • b) In his old age, can Andrew be legally entitled to claim support from Amy, Jon, Ryan, Vina , Wilma and Sandy assuming that all of them have the means to support him? (1%)
  • c) Can Amy, Jon, Ryan, Vina, Wilma and Sandy legally claim support from each other? (2%)
  • d) Can Jon and Jane legally marry? (1%)

VI. Alex died without a will, leaving only an undeveloped and untitled lot in Taguig City. He is survived by his wife and 4 children. His wife told the children that she is waiving her share in the property, and allowed Bobby, the eldest son who was about to get married, to construct his house on ¼ of the lot, without however obtaining the consent of his siblings. After settlement of Alex’s estate and partition among the heirs, it was discovered that Bobby’s house was constructed on the portion allocated to his sister, Cathy. Cathy asked Bobby to demolish his house and vacate the portion allotted to her. In lieu of demolition, Bobby offered to purchase from Cathy the lot portion on which his house was constructed. At that time, the house was valued at P300,000 while the portion of the lot on which the house was constructed was valued at P350,000.

  • a) Can Cathy lawfully ask for demolition of Bobby’s house? (3%)
  • b) Can Bobby legally insist on purchasing the land? (2%)

VII. Anthony bought a piece of untitled agricultural land from Bert. Bert, in turn, acquired the property by forging Carlo’s signature in a deed of sale over the property. Carlo had been in possession of the property for 8 years, declared it for tax purposes, and religiously paid all taxes due on the property. Anthony is not aware of the defect in Bert’s title, but has been in actual physical possession of the property from the time he bought it from Bert, who had never been in possession. Anthony has since then been in possession of the property for one year.

  • a) Can Anthony acquire ownership of the property by acquisitive prescription? How many more years does he have to possess it to acquire ownership? (2%)
  • b) If Carlo is able to legally recover his property, can he require Anthony to account for all the fruits he has harvested from the property while in possession? (2%)
  • c) If there are standing crops on the property when Carlo recovers possession, can Carlo appropriate them? (2%)

VIII. Adam, a building contractor, was engaged by Blas to construct a house on a lot which he (Blas) owns. While digging on the lot in order to lay down the foundation of the house, Adam hit a very hard object. It turned out to be the vault of the old Banco de las Islas Filipinas. Using a detonation device, Adam was able to open the vault containing old notes and coins which were in circulation during the Spanish era. While the notes and coins are no longer legal tender, they were valued at P 100 million because of their historical value and the coins’ silver and nickel content. The following
filed legal claims over the notes and coins:

  • i) Adam, as finder;
  • ii) Blas, as owner of the property where they were found;
  • iii) Bank of the Philippine Islands, as successor-in-interest of the owner of the vault; and
  • iv) The Philippine Government because of their historical value.

a) Who owns the notes and coins? (4%)

b) Assuming that either or both Adam and Blas are adjudged as owners, will the notes and coins be deemed part of their absolute community or conjugal partnership of gains with their respective spouses? (2%)

Bar Exam Questions Reviewer:

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.