Bar Exam Questionnaire – "Civil Law" questions 5

James Ryan Jonas

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

XVII. Felipe borrowed $100 from Gustavo in 1998, when the Phil P – US$ exchange rate was P56 – US$1. On March 1, 2008, Felipe tendered to Gustavo a cashier’s check in the amount of P4,135 in payment of his US$ 100 debt, based on the Phil P – US$ exchange rate at that time. Gustavo accepted the check, but forgot to deposit it until Sept. 12, 2008. His bank refused to accept the check because it had become stale. Gustavo now
wants Felipe to pay him in cash the amount of P5,600. Claiming that the previous payment was not in legal tender, and that there has been extraordinary deflation since 1998, and therefore, Felipe should pay him the value of the debt at the time it was incurred. Felipe refused to pay him again, claiming that Gustavo is estopped from raising the issue of legal tender, having accepted the check in March, and that it was Gustavo’s negligence in not depositing the check immediately that caused the check to become stale.

  • a) Can Gustavo now raise the issue that the cashier’s check is not
    legal tender? (2%)
  • b) Can Felipe validly refuse to pay Gustavo again? (2%)
  • c) Can Felipe compel Gustavo to receive US$100 instead? (1%)

XVIII. AB Corp. entered into a contract with XY Corp. whereby the former agreed to construct the research and laboratory facilities of the latter. Under the terms of the contract, AB Corp. agreed to complete the facility in 18 months, at the total contract price of P10 million. XY Corp. paid 50% of the total contract price, the balance to be paid upon completion of the work. The work started immediately, but AB Corp. later experienced work slippage because of labor unrest in his company. AB Corp.’s employees claimed that they are not being paid on time; hence, the work slowdown. As of the 17th month, work was only 45% completed. AB Corp. asked for extension of time, claiming that its labor problems is a case of fortuitous event, but this was denied by XY Corp. When it became certain that the construction could not be finished on time, XY Corp. sent written notice canceling the contract, and requiring AB Corp. to immediately vacate the premises.

  • a) Can the labor unrest be considered a fortuitous event? (1%)
  • b) Can XY Corp. unilaterally and immediately cancel the contract?
  • c) Must AB Corp. return the 50% downpayment? (2%)

XIX. Juliet offered to sell her house and lot, together with all the furniture and appliances therein, to Dehlma. Before agreeing to purchase the property, Dehlma went to the Register of Deeds to verify Juliet’s title. She discovered that while the property was registered in Juliet’s name under the Land Registration Act, as amended by the Property Registration Decree, it was mortgaged to Elaine to secure a debt of P80,000. Wanting to buy the property, Dehlma told Juliet to redeem the property from Elaine, and gave her an advance payment to be used for purposes of releasing the mortgage on the property. When the mortgage was released, Juliet executed a Deed of Absolute Sale over the property which was duly registered with the Registry of Deeds, and a new TCT was issued in Dehlma’s name. Dehlma immediately took possession over the house and lot and the movables therein.  Thereafter, Dehlma went to the Assessor’s Office to get a new tax declaration under her name. She was surprised to find out that the property was already declared for tax purposes in the name of XYZ Bank which had foreclosed the mortgage on the property before it was sold to her. XYZ Bank was also the purchaser in the foreclosure sale of the property. At that time, the property was still unregistered but XYZ Bank registered the Sheriff’s Deed of Conveyance in the day book of the Register of Deeds under Act. 3344 and obtained a tax declaration in its name.

  • a) Was Dehlma a purchaser in good faith? (2%)
  • b) Who as between Dehlma and XYZ Bank has a better right to thehouse and lot? (2%)
  • c) Who owns the movables inside the house? (2%)
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.