Legal Maxims


He who comes to court must have clean hands

In similar fashion, considering that petitioner and complainant belong to warring political camps, occasional gestures and words of disapproval or dislike are among the hazards of the job.[41] Considering this political reality and the fact that the Court of Appeals concluded, based on evidence on records, that petitioner himself was a victim of complainant’s indiscretion, her claim for damages and attorney’s fees must, likewise, fail. Akin to the principle that “he who comes to court must have clean hands,” each of the parties, in the case at bar, must bear his own loss.

Lex prospicit, non respicit

To be forthright, respondent’s argument that the doctrinal guidelines prescribed in Santos and Molina should not be applied retroactively for being contrary to the principle of stare decisis is no longer new. The same argument was also raised but was struck down in Pesca v. Pesca,[54] and again in Antonio v. Reyes.[55] In these cases, we explained that the interpretation or construction of a law by courts constitutes a part of the law as of the date the statute is enacted. It is only when a prior ruling of this Court is overruled, and a different view is adopted, that the new doctrine may have to be applied prospectively in favor of parties who have relied on the old doctrine and have acted in good faith, in accordance therewith under the familiar rule of “lex prospicit, non respicit.”

Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio

Lest it be misunderstood, we are not condoning petitioner’s drinking and gambling problems, or his violent outbursts against his wife. There is no valid excuse to justify such a behavior. Petitioner must remember that he owes love, respect, and fidelity to his spouse as much as the latter owes the same to him. Unfortunately, this court finds respondent’s testimony, as well as the totality of evidence presented by the respondent, to be too inadequate to declare him psychologically unfit pursuant to Article 36.

It should be remembered that the presumption is always in favor of the validity of marriage. Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio.[65] In this case, the presumption has not been amply rebutted and must, perforce, prevail.

Animi sermo est; Verba legis non est recedendum

As to the issue of who has the better right over the SSS death benefits, Section 8(e) and (k) of R. A. No. 8282[27] is very clear. Hence, we need only apply the law. Under the principles of statutory construction, if a statute is clear, plain and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning and applied without attempted interpretation. This plain meaning rule or verba legis, derived from the maxim index animi sermo est (speech is the index of intention), rests on the valid presumption that the words employed by the legislature in a statute correctly express its intent by the use of such words as are found in the statute. Verba legis non est recedendum, or, from the words of a statute there should be no departure.[28]

Where the law does not distinguish, neither should we.

x x x   The law is clear: the accused can be convicted of simple illegal possession of firearms, provided that “no other crime was committed by the person arrested.” If the intention of the law in the second paragraph were to refer only to homicide and murder, it should have expressly said so, as it did in the third paragraph. Verily, where the law does not distinguish, neither should we.[37]

          All told, we affirm petitioner’s conviction for the crime of rape. However, petitioner’s conviction of illegal possession of firearms is set aside.

          Under Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, whenever the crime of rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.

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