STRANGE TALES

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“The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.” – Tom Clancy

While I have no doubt in Mr. Clancy’s skill in coming up with rich plotlines for his novels, i’m pretty sure his imaginative brain can’t come close to the offbeat theme of real life. And like what he said, fiction has to make sense. Reality, on the other hand, is a library of weird, and these actual court cases will attest to that.

1. Man gets arrested for looking from side to side and holding his abdomen.

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The story:

An informant called a police station about three suspicious-looking persons standing in a corner in Tondo, Manila. A surveillance team of officers in civilian clothing was immediately dispatched to the area. According to the surveillance team, they saw two men “looking from side to side,” and the other was “holding his abdomen.”

The Coppers approach the persons and identified themselves as policemen. The two men suddenly ran away but were immediately arrested and their bodies were searched.

The police recovered an unlicensed .38 caliber Smith and Wesson Revolver with six live bullets in the chamber and a fan knife. One of the two men was charged with unlawful possession of an unlicensed firearm.

The Verdict:

The two persons were acquitted on the ground of an illegal warrantless arrest. There was nothing to support the arresting officers’ suspicion other than the man’s darting eyes and his hand on his abdomen.

The Court went on to say –

“It would be a sad day, indeed, if any person could be summarily arrested and searched just because he is holding his abdomen, even if it be possibly because of a stomach-ache, or if a peace officer could clamp handcuffs on any person with a shifty look on suspicion that he may have committed a criminal act or is actually committing or attempting it. This simply cannot be done in a free society.”

Source: People v. Mengote, G.R. No. 87059 June 22, 1992.

2. Man submits himself to medical examination to prove to his wife that he is potent and capable of getting an erection. Medical results reveal the unexpected.

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The story:

A woman sued his husband to nullify their marriage on the ground that her husband was psychologically incapacitated, impotent, and a closet homosexual because he did not show his penis to her and refused to have sex with her.

The woman said that she had observed her husband using an eyebrow pencil and sometimes the cleansing cream of his mother. According to her, the man married her to acquire or maintain his residency status here in the country and to publicly maintain the appearance of a normal man. The husband submitted himself to a medical examination to prove that he is potent and capable of an erection.

His penis was examined by a physician. The medical results showed that there was no evidence of impotency on the part of the husband and that he is capable of an erection.

The doctor said that he asked the husband to masturbate to find out whether or not he has an erection. The doctor found out that from the original size of two (2) inches, or five (5) centimeters, the penis of the husband lengthened by one (1) inch and one centimeter.

The court decision:

The Marriage was nullified. The prolonged refusal of the husband to have sexual intercourse with his wife is considered a sign of psychological incapacity rendering himself incapable of fulfilling his marital obligations to his wife. 

Source: Chi Ming Tsoi v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 119190, January 16, 1997

3. The curious case of the Reindeer Horn.

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The story:

Heirs of several deceased Filipino seamen sued the latter’s Norwegian employer for death compensation benefits. The deceased Filipino seamen died on board a vessel operated by the Norwegian employer.

The employer denied the claims and said that the deaths of the seamen were a result of their self-inflicted injuries because the deceased seafarers allegedly implanted fragments of reindeer horn in their respective sexual organs and died due to severe tetanus and massive viral infections.

According to the foreign employer, the implanted fragments of the horn of a reindeer or antelope in their respective sexual organs was done while on a voyage between Sweden and South Korea.

The reindeer horn was found left by a Greek officer from a previous voyage. One of the Filipino seamen allegedly found the horn and asked for it from the Chief Officer. The seaman gave the horn to the Second Engineer to carve and shape for implantation. Afterwards, the shaped fragments of the horn were inserted by the seamen subcutaneously into their respective sex organs. The implantations were made surgically without sanitary and sterile facilities, which resulted in severe tetanus and massive viral infections.

How did it end?

Death compensation benefits were awarded to the heirs of the deceased seamen. The Norwegian employer failed to prove that the deaths were in fact caused by the deliberate acts of the seamen inserting reindeer horn in their penis.

Source: NFD International v. NLRC, G.R. No. 116629     January 16, 1998

4. Passengers sue a local airline company for upgrading them from Business class to First class for free.

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The story:

On their return flight to Manila, four passengers booked a flight with an airline bound for Manila from Hong Kong with two other companions. All the passengers were booked in the business class section of the flight.

When boarding time was announced, the ground stewardess told two of the four passengers that they were upgraded to First Class for free. The two passengers refused the upgrade, reasoning that it would not look nice for them as hosts to travel in First Class and their guests, in the Business Class since they were going to discuss business matters during the flight.

The ground stewardess reasoned that the business class was already fully booked. The ground stewardess told them that if they would not avail themselves of the privilege, they would not be allowed to take the flight. Eventually, the two passengers gave in and proceeded to the First Class Cabin.

Upon their return to Manila, the two passengers wrote the airline’s manager and demanded that they be indemnified in the amount of P1million for the “humiliation and embarrassment” caused by its employees. They also demanded a written apology from the management, preferably a responsible person with a rank of no less than the Country Manager, as well as the apology from the ground stewardess. The two passengers eventually sued the airline and was awarded a total of a little over Sixteen Million Pesos (Php16,000,000.00).

The court’s decision:

Involuntary upgrading of the passenger’s seat accommodation is considered a breach of contract of carriage. By insisting on the upgrade, the airline breached its contract of carriage with their passengers. The Supreme Court however reduced the award of damages to the suing passengers a mere Five Thousand Pesos (Php5,000).

Source: Cathay Pacific v. Spouses Vasquez, G.R. No. 150843.  March 14, 2003.

5. A 30 year old female elementary teacher marries her sixth grade student.

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The story:

A female Bacolod City highschool teacher was fired by her employer school when school authorities found out about her marriage to her sixth grade student. The two fell in love during a remedial class the school offered to its students. Two months after the couple’s church wedding, the teacher was suspended without pay and was eventually terminated her from work. School authorities reasoned out that her termination was “For abusive and unethical conduct unbecoming of a dignified school teacher and that her continued employment is inimical to the best interest, and would downgrade the high moral values, of the school.”

The court decision:

The Court found that the school failed to prove and substantiate their claim that the teacher took advantage of her position to court her student.  Teacher was found illegally terminated from her work.

Source: Chua-Qua v. Clave, G.R. No. 49549 August 30, 1990

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