Blog Lecture No. 82: Presumptions

Sorry, class! Been a long time since I last lectured.

Given the recent events, I almost never wanted to lecture again.

But anyway here goes:

What are the kinds of presumptions in law?

They are:

1) Conclusive Presumptions; and
2) Disputable Presumptions

(From Rule 131 of the Rules of Evidence)

What are conclusive presumptions?

These are presumptions that cannot be overturned or disproved, even with contrary evidence, even if present.

What are these conclusive presumptions?

They are:

(a) Whenever a party has, by his own declaration, act, or omission, intentionally and deliberately led to another to believe a particular thing true, and to act upon such belief, he cannot, in any litigation arising out of such declaration, act or omission, be permitted to falsify it.

(This is essentially estoppel. If one acts on a misrepresentation by one party, that party is not permitted to dispute it.)

(b) The tenant is not permitted to deny the title of his landlord at the time of commencement of the relation of landlord and tenant between them.

(Simply put, a tenant, by agreeing to lease something, cannot say later on that his landlord does not own the thing leased in the first place.)

What are disputable presumptions?

These are presumptions that would remain true only if uncontradicted.

What are these disputable presumptions?

(a) That a person is innocent of crime or wrong;

(b) That an unlawful act was done with an unlawful intent;

(c) That a person intends the ordinary consequences of his voluntary act;

(d) That a person takes ordinary care of his concerns;

(e) That evidence willfully suppressed would be adverse if produced;

(f) That money paid by one to another was due to the latter;

(g) That a thing delivered by one to another belonged to the latter;

(h) That an obligation delivered up to the debtor has been paid;

(i) That prior rents or installments had been paid when a receipt for the later one is produced;

(j) That a person found in possession of a thing taken in the doing of a recent wrongful act is the taker and the doer of the whole act; otherwise, that things which a person possess, or exercises acts of ownership over, are owned by him;

(k) That a person in possession of an order on himself for the payment of the money, or the delivery of anything, has paid the money or delivered the thing accordingly;

(l) That a person acting in a public office was regularly appointed or elected to it;

(m) That official duty has been regularly performed;

(n) That a court, or judge acting as such, whether in the Philippines or elsewhere, was acting in the lawful exercise of jurisdiction;

(o) That all the matters within an issue raised in a case were laid before the court and passed upon by it; and in like manner that all matters within an issue raised in a dispute submitted for arbitration were laid before the arbitrators and passed upon by them;

(p) That private transactions have been fair and regular;

(q) That the ordinary course of business has been followed;

(r) That there was a sufficient consideration for a contract;

(s) That a negotiable instrument was given or indorsed for a sufficient consideration;

(t) That an endorsement of negotiable instrument was made before the instrument was overdue and at the place where the instrument is dated;

(u) That a writing is truly dated;

(v) That a letter duly directed and mailed was received in the regular course of the mail;

(w) That after an absence of seven years, it being unknown whether or not the absentee still lives, he is considered dead for all purposes, except for those of succession.

  • The absentee shall not be considered dead for the purpose of opening his succession till after an absence of ten years. If he disappeared after the age of seventy-five years, an absence of five years shall be sufficient in order that his succession may be opened.
  • The following shall be considered dead for all purposes including the division of the estate among the heirs:
  • (1) A person on board a vessel lost during a sea voyage, or an aircraft with is missing, who has not been heard of for four years since the loss of the vessel or aircraft;
  • (2) A member of the armed forces who has taken part in armed hostilities, and has been missing for four years;
  • (3) A person who has been in danger of death under other circumstances and whose existence has not been known for four years;
  • (4) If a married person has been absent for four consecutive years, the spouse present may contract a subsequent marriage if he or she has well-founded belief that the absent spouse is already death. In case of disappearance, where there is a danger of death the circumstances hereinabove provided, an absence of only two years shall be sufficient for the purpose of contracting a subsequent marriage. However, in any case, before marrying again, the spouse present must institute a summary proceedings as provided in the Family Code and in the rules for declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse.
(x) That acquiescence resulted from a belief that the thing acquiesced in was conformable to the law or fact;

(y) That things have happened according to the ordinary course of nature and ordinary nature habits of life;

(z) That persons acting as copartners have entered into a contract of copartneship;

(aa) That a man and woman deporting themselves as husband and wife have entered into a lawful contract of marriage;

(bb) That property acquired by a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry each other and who live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or under void marriage, has been obtained by their joint efforts, work or industry.

(cc) That in cases of cohabitation by a man and a woman who are not capacitated to marry each other and who have acquire properly through their actual joint contribution of money, property or industry, such contributions and their corresponding shares including joint deposits of money and evidences of credit are equal.

(dd) That if the marriage is terminated and the mother contracted another marriage within three hundred days after such termination of the former marriage, these rules shall govern in the absence of proof to the contrary:

  • (1) A child born before one hundred eighty days after the solemnization of the subsequent marriage is considered to have been conceived during such marriage, even though it be born within the three hundred days after the termination of the former marriage.
  • (2) A child born after one hundred eighty days following the celebration of the subsequent marriage is considered to have been conceived during such marriage, even though it be born within the three hundred days after the termination of the former marriage.
(ee) That a thing once proved to exist continues as long as is usual with things of the nature;

(ff) That the law has been obeyed;

(gg) That a printed or published book, purporting to be printed or published by public authority, was so printed or published;

(hh) That a printed or published book, purporting contain reports of cases adjudged in tribunals of the country where the book is published, contains correct reports of such cases;

(ii) That a trustee or other person whose duty it was to convey real property to a particular person has actually conveyed it to him when such presumption is necessary to perfect the title of such person or his successor in interest;

(jj) That except for purposes of succession, when two persons perish in the same calamity, such as wreck, battle, or conflagration, and it is not shown who died first, and there are no particular circumstances from which it can be inferred, the survivorship is determined from the probabilities resulting from the strength and the age of the sexes, according to the following rules:

  • 1. If both were under the age of fifteen years, the older is deemed to have survived;
  • 2. If both were above the age sixty, the younger is deemed to have survived;
  • 3. If one is under fifteen and the other above sixty, the former is deemed to have survived;
  • 4. If both be over fifteen and under sixty, and the sex be different, the male is deemed to have survived, if the sex be the same, the older;
  • 5. If one be under fifteen or over sixty, and the other between those ages, the latter is deemed to have survived.

(kk) That if there is a doubt, as between two or more persons who are called to succeed each other, as to which of them died first, whoever alleges the death of one prior to the other, shall prove the same; in the absence of proof, they shall be considered to have died at the same time.

Is there a presumption of regularity of board or stockholder meetings?

Of course not! Whoever said that must be referring to another law book!

Is there a presumption of regularity of official acts?

Yes, under it is letter (m) of the disputable presumptions. But this only means regularity of official acts is presumed, unless disproved.

So who is right? SEC or MERALCO?

We have to presume SEC is correct this time because of this presumption and the presumption next to it that says “a court, or judge acting as such, whether in the Philippines or elsewhere, was acting in the lawful exercise of jurisdiction.” MERALCO does not enjoy the same presumption, despite what one misguided columnist says.

Any other allegation of MERALCO of and SEC irregularity must bow to this presumption, until it can present proof to the contrary.

What is your basic fear then it comes to citing MERALCO in contempt?

I fear the fines SEC will impose will be passed on as “systems loss.” So I hope SEC cites the officers personally in contempt, not MERALCO if it so decides.

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