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A. Persons

1. Kinds of Persons

There are two (2) kinds of persons under the law:

1) Natural persons, and

2) Juridical persons.

a. Natural persons

1) Birth and personality

Birth determines personality; but the conceived child shall be considered born for all purposes that are favorable to it, provided it be born later with the conditions specified in the following article. (Article 40, Ibid.)

a) Fetus, when considered born

For civil purposes, the fetus is considered born if it is alive at the time it is completely delivered from the mother’s womb. However, if the fetus had an intra-uterine life of less than seven months, it is not deemed born if it dies within twenty-four hours after its complete delivery from the maternal womb. (Article 41, Ibid.)

2) Civil personality extinguished by death

Civil personality is extinguished by death.(Article 42, Ibid.)

The effect of death upon the rights and obligations of the deceased is determined by law, by contract and by will. (Paragraph 2, Article 42, Ibid.)

a) Presumption in case of doubt on who died first between persons called to succeed each other

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, it is presumed that they died at the same time and there shall be no transmission of rights from one to the other. (Article 43, Ibid.)

b. Juridical persons

The following are juridical persons:

1) The State and its political subdivisions;

2) Other corporations, institutions and entities for public interest or purpose, created by law; their personality begins as soon as they have been constituted according to law;

3) Corporations, partnerships and associations for private interest or purpose to which the law grants a juridical personality, separate and distinct from that of each shareholder, partner or member. (Article 44, Ibid.)

1) Allowed to acquire property, incur obligations, bring suit

Juridical persons may acquire and possess property of all kinds, as well as incur obligations and bring civil or criminal actions, in conformity with the laws and regulations of their organization. (Article 46, Ibid.)

2. Capacity to act

a. Concepts

Juridical capacity, which is the fitness to be the subject of legal relations, is inherent in every natural person and is lost only through death. (Article 37, Civil Code)

Capacity to act, which is the power to do acts with legal effect, is acquired and may be lost. (Article 37, Ibid.)

b. Restrictions on capacity to act

Minority, insanity or imbecility, the state of being a deaf-mute, prodigality and civil interdiction are mere restrictions on capacity to act, and do not exempt the incapacitated person from certain obligations, as when the latter arise from his acts or from property relations, such as easements. (Article 38, Ibid.)

c. Circumstances that modify or limit capacity to act

The following circumstances, among others, modify or limit capacity to act:

1) Age,

2) Insanity,

3) Imbecility,

4) The state of being a deaf-mute,

5) Penalty,

6) Prodigality,

7) Family relations,

8) Alienage,

9) Absence,

1) Insolvency and trusteeship. (Article 39, Ibid.)

1) Religion

Capacity to act is not limited on account of religious belief or political opinion. (Article 39, Ibid.)

2) Married woman

A married woman, twenty-one years of age or over, is qualified for all acts of civil life, except in cases specified by law. (Paragraph 2, Article 39, Ibid.)

3. Domicile and residence of persons

For the exercise of civil rights and the fulfillment of civil obligations, the domicile of natural persons is the place of their habitual residence. (Article 50, Ibid.)

When the law creating or recognizing them, or any other provision does not fix the domicile of juridical persons, the same shall be understood to be the place where their legal representation is established or where they exercise their principal functions. (Article 51, Ibid.)

a. Domicile

Domicile refers to legal residence. (Saludo v. American Express International, Inc., G.R. No. 159507, 19 April 2006)

Domicile denotes a fixed permanent residence to which when absent, one has the intention of returning. (Ang Kek Chen v. Sps. Calasan, G.R. No. 161685, 24 July 2007)

A man can have but one domicile for one and the same purpose at any time, but he may have numerous places of residence. (Saludo v. American Express International, Inc., supra.)

Domicile requires bodily presence in that place and also an intention to make it one’s domicile. (Ibid.)

Domicile is residence coupled with the intention to remain for an unlimited time. (Ibid.)

b. Residence

The term “resides” connotes ex vi termini “actual residence” as distinguished from “legal residence or domicile.” (Ang Kek Chen v. Sps. Calasan, supra.)

Residence, in its ordinary conception, implies the factual relationship of an individual to a certain place. It is the physical presence of a person in a given area, community or country. The essential distinction between residence and domicile in law is that residence involves the intent to leave when the purpose for which the resident has taken up his abode ends. One may seek a place for purposes such as pleasure, business, or health. If a person’s intent be to remain, it becomes his domicile; if his intent is to leave as soon as his purpose is established it is residence. It is thus, quite perfectly normal for an individual to have different residences in various places. However, a person can only have a single domicile, unless, for various reasons, he successfully abandons his domicile in favor of another domicile of choice. (Romualdez-Marcos v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 119976, 18 September 1995)

1) For purpose of venue

This term “resides,” like the terms “residing” and “residence,” is elastic and should be interpreted in the light of the object or purpose of the statute or rule in which it is employed. In the application of venue statutes and rules… residence rather than domicile is the significant factor. Even where the statute uses the word “domicile” still it is construed as meaning residence and not domicile in the technical sense. (Ang Kek Chen v. Sps. Calasan, supra.)

Some cases make a distinction between the terms “residence” and “domicile” but as generally used in statutes fixing venue, the terms are synonymous, and convey the same meaning as the term “inhabitant.” In other words, “resides” should be viewed or understood in its popular sense, meaning the personal, actual or physical habitation of a person, actual residence or place of abode. It signifies physical presence in a place and actual stay thereat. In this popular sense, the term means merely residence, that is personal residence, not legal residence or domicile. (Ibid.)

Residence simply requires bodily presence as an inhabitant in a given place, while domicile requires bodily presence in that place and also an intention to make it one’s domicile. No particular length of time of residence is required though; however, the residence must be more than temporary. (Ibid.)

c. Domicile and residence

One may have both a residence and a domicile. One need not abandon one’s domicile to acquire a separate residence, if this separate residence is not intended to be legal residence as well. (Ibid.)

The ideas of “domicile” and “actual residence” may even at times refer to one and the same place. (Ibid.)

A man may have a residence in one place and a domicile in another. Residence is not domicile, but domicile is residence coupled with the intention to remain for an unlimited time. A man can have but one domicile for one and the same purpose at any time, but he may have numerous places of residence. His place of residence generally is his place of domicile, but is not by any means, necessarily so since no length of residence without any intention of remaining will constitute domicile. (Ibid.)

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