25 Random Facts about Philippine Law you probably didn’t know.

1. The Philippines cannot initiate War.

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The 1987 Philippine Constitution prohibits the State from initiating war. The Legislature may only declare that the Philippines is involved a war or that a war exists.

Source: Sec. 23 (1), Article VI, 1987 Constitution.

2. The oldest law still in effect is 105 years old.

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The oldest law still in effect to this day is Act No. 2031 or what is known as the “Negotiable Instruments Law” which was enacted on February 03, 1911. The law essentially covers instruments such as Promissory Notes and bank checks.

3. Banishment is an actual penalty for a person convicted with a crime.

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The technical term for this penalty  is called Destierro which is Spanish for banishment. By its nature, Destierro is a lighter penalty than imprisonment. In serving the penalty, the accused is prohibited from residing within a radius of 25 kilometers from the accused’s actual residence for a specified length of time. Ironically, this penalty is for the benefit of the convicted criminal rather than a punishment since the convicted criminal is under the risk of being attacked by angry relatives of the offended party.

Source: Art. 27, Sec. 1, Chapter 3, Title 3, Book 1, Revised Penal Code of the Philippines, People v. Eduarte, et. al., G.R. No. 88232, February 26, 1990.

4. Marrying a first cousin is not considered incestuous by Philippine law, but merely contrary to public policy.

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Source: Sec. 38, Family Code of the Philippines.

5. A member of the Judiciary in the lower trial courts is called a “Trial Judge” or simply “Judge”, while those in the upper level courts which are the Court of Appeals, Supreme Court, and Sandiganbayan are called “Justices.”

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Sources: Sec. 3 and Sec. 15, Chapter 1, Batas Pambansa 129 or the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980; Sec. 4 (1), Article VIII, 1987 Constitution; Sec.1, Presidential Decree No. 1486.

6. In applying for a marriage license, your age can be determined by your physical appearance.

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Since you have to be of legal age to marry, the civil registrar where you will apply for a marriage license will need a copy of your birth certificate, baptismal certificate, an affidavit of anyone who personally knows you and can attest to your true age, or by mere presence of your parents. If none of those are impossible to produce, then the civil registrar may just take a look at you to determine if you are of legal age.

Source: Article 12, Family Code of the Philippines.

7. You can’t sue your spouse to be for breach of promise to marry.

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But you may recover the expenses for the wedding by filing a court case for damages against the guilty fiancé.

Source: Baksh v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 97336, February 19, 1993.

8. To be considered born alive, a baby must have been born at least 7 months and survive within 24 hours from birth.

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Source: Article 41, Chapter 2, Title 1, Book 1, Civil Code of the Philippines.

9. You own merely a portion of your condominium unit.

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You merely own the interior surfaces of the perimeter walls, floors, ceilings, windows and doors, but not the walls, floors, ceilings, windows, and doors themselves. You are however allowed to paint, repaint, put on tiles, or otherwise refinish and decorate the inner surfaces.

Source: Sec. 6 (a), Republic Act. No. 4726 or The Condominium Act.

10. All practice of professions are under the jurisdiction of the Professional Regulatory Commission, except for the practice of the profession of Law which the Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction.

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Source: Republic Act No. 8981 or the PRC Modernization Act of 2000; and Sec. 5 (5), Article VIII, 1987 Constitution of the Philippines.

11. It is unlawful for a dog or cat to be displayed in a pet shop for more than 14 days.

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Source: Sec. 7, Department of Agriculture Administrative Order No. 21, Series of 2003.

12. It is prohibited for stuffed animals to be displayed or sold in pet shops,  veterinary clinics, or hospitals.

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Source: Sec. 10 (10.5), Department of Agriculture Administrative Order No. 21, Series of 2003.

13. The “S.S” on top of documents that are notarized stands for “Scilicet” which is Latin for “it is permitted.”

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Source: Hob. 171; 1 P. Wms. 18; Co. Litt. 180b, note 1.

14. Lawyers are prohibited from advertising themselves or their legal services.

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Ever wondered why there aren’t commercials or newspaper ads about Philippine lawyers or law firms in the Philippines? It is because the practice of law is not a business or a money making venture, but a dignified profession. Only simple signs may be used which states their name, office address, brief biographical and informative data, or through the use of a calling card bearing the same basic information.

Source: Atty. Khan, Jr. v. Atty. Simbillo, A.C. No. 5299. August 19, 2003; Atty. Simbillo v. IBP Commission, G.R. No. 157053. August 19, 2003.

15. A foreign absolute divorce decree may be recognized and enforced in the Philippines.

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An absolute divorce decree obtained by a foreigner abroad against his or her Filipino citizen spouse can be recognized and enforced in the Philippines, notwithstanding that Divorce itself is inexistent under Philippine law. This applies only when it is the foreigner who obtained the divorce, and not by the Filipino spouse.

Source: Article 26, paragraph 2, Family Code of the Philippines.

16. A Search Warrant is valid for ten days, while a Warrant of Arrest has no expiration date.

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Sources: Sec. 10, Rule 126, Rules of Court; and People of the Philippines v. Givera, G.R. No. 132159. January 18, 2001.

17. Pregnant or nursing night workers cannot be dismissed if her actions were brought about her child rearing activities.

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Pregnant and nursing women who work the night shift (work hours covers the period of 10:00p.m to 6:00a.m, for 7 consecutive hours) cannot be terminated by their employer by reason of their acts which were committed solely by reason of or solely based on an act connected with pregnancy, childbirth and childcare responsibilities for a period before and after childbirth, for a period of at least sixteen (16) weeks which period shall be divided between the time before and after childbirth.

Source: Article 158, Chapter V, Book Three, Title III, Labor Code of the Philippines as amended by Republic Act No. 10151.

18. There are 2.91 billion pieces of notes valued at P913.001 billion and 25.59 billion pieces of coins valued at P28.78 billion in circulation as of September 30, 2016, excluding commemorative notes and coins.

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Source: Currency Management Sub-Sector, Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

19. While the Philippine Peso is the only legal currency in the Philippines, you may agree to settle an obligation or transaction in any other currency at the time of payment.

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Source: Sec. 1, Republic Act No. 8183

20. Lethal Injection was the only prescribed mode of killing a death convict. *

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Toxic doses of Sodium Thiopenthotal (to ensure rapid loss of consciousness or to induce coma), Pancuronium Bromide (to stop breathing), Potassium Chloride (to cause cardiac arrest and rapid death) are administered intravenously into the body of a convict.

Source: Sec. 2 (b), Rules and Regulations implementing Republic Act No. 8177.

21. A death sentence of a convicted criminal was carried out by the Bureau of Corrections not earlier than one (1) year nor later than eighteen (18) months after the Judgment of a Court has become final and executory. *

Source: Sec. 1, Republic Act No. 8177

22. A death row convict was only notified of his execution after sunrise of the day of his execution. *

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That’s brutal, fam.

Source: Sec. 16, Rules and Regulations implementing Republic Act No. 8177.

23. There is only one recognized form of a Last Will and Testament – a written form.

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This is because the Philippine Civil Code was initially drafted on March 20, 1947, and took effect on August 30, 1950. Back then, personal video or audio recording technology was limited to the wealthy.

Source: Article 804, Civil Code of the Philippines.

24. A Centenarian (100 year old) Filipino citizen shall be awarded a cash award of P100,000.00 from the National government and an undetermined amount as cash incentive from the local government where the Centenarian resides.

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Upon reaching 100 years old, Centenarians can literally “make it rain.”

Source: Sec. 4.0 (4.3), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular No. 2016-160, November 3, 2016.

25. A car dealer is obligated to pay you transportation allowance or provide you with a service vehicle during the repair of your brand new car.

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If you bought a new car and a defect arises which needs repairs by the dealer, the dealer may choose to: 1.) pay you a reasonable daily transportation allowance equivalent to an air-conditioned taxi fare to cover your commute to and from work; or 2.) provide you with a service vehicle for the duration of the repair.

Source: Sec. 7, Republic Act. No. 10642 or The Philippine Lemon Law.

*Death penalty by lethal injection was later repealed by Republic Act 9346 enacted on June 24, 2006.

About the author:

Joel Enrico Santos is a litigation lawyer handling Civil, Criminal, Labor, Immigration, Transportation, Corporate, and Land Registration cases. He is an Attorney working for a Makati based lawfirm and is a solo practitioner handling cases on his own since April, 2013. Wubalubadubdub!

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