OBLIGATIONS AND CONTRACTS
TITLE I — OBLIGATIONS
Article 1156. An obligation is a juridical necessity to
give, to do or not to do.1
Concept of Obligations. — Evidently, the above deﬁnition of an obligation is adopted from Sanchez Roman’s classic deﬁnition of an obligation as “the juridical necessity to comply with a prestation.”2 Manresa, on the other hand, deﬁnes it as a “legal relation established between one person and another, whereby the latter is bound to the fulﬁllment of a prestation which the former may demand of him.’’3 It must be observed, however, that obligations may be either civil or natural.4 A civil obligation is one which has a binding force in law, and which gives to the obligee or creditor the right of enforcing it against the obligor or debtor in a court of justice. This is the obligation which is deﬁned in Art. 1156 of the Code. A natural obligation, on the other hand, is one which cannot be enforced by action, but which is binding on the party who makes it in conscience and according to
4 Sanchez Roman 53.
8 Manresa, 5th Ed., Bk. 1, p. 21.
Art. 1423, Civil Code.
the natural law.5 Thus, when an action has prescribed in accordance with the statute of limitations, a natural obligation still subsists, although the civil obligation is extinguished. This may be illustrated by the following example: If A has a right of action, evidenced by a promissory note, to collect one thousand pesos from B, and such promissory note prescribes after the expiration of ten years from the time it accrues,6 although the latter is no longer bound to pay the obligation in accordance with the statute of limitations, he is still bound to pay in accordance with equity and natural law.7 It is, therefore, clear that a civil obligation and a natural obligation may be distinguished from each other as follows:
(1) A civil obligation is based on positive law, while a natural obligation is based on equity and natural law; and
(2) The former is enforceable in courts of justice, while the latter is not.8
Requisites of Obligations. — An obligation has four essential requisites. They are:
(1) A juridical or legal tie, which binds the parties to the obligation, and which may arise from either bilateral or unilateral acts of persons;
(2) An active subject known as the obligee or creditor, who
can demand the fulﬁllment of the obligation;
(3) A passive subject known as the obligor or debtor, against whom the obligation is juridically demandable; and
(4) The fact, prestation or service which constitutes the object of the obligation.9
The form in which the obligation is manifested is sometimes
added as a ﬁfth requisite. As a general rule, however, it cannot be considered as essential. Obligations arising from law, quasi-contracts, acts or omissions punished by law, and quasi-delicts do not require any form whatsoever, yet there can be no question regard-
3 Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, 2394-2395.
Art. 1144, Civil Code.
Agoncillo vs. Javier, 38 Phil. 424; Villaroel vs. Estrada, 71 Phil. 40. 8
Art. 1423, Civil Code.
Giorgi, Teoria de las Obligaciones, Vol. 1, p. 13; 3 Castan, 7th Ed., p. 20. 5
ing their validity or binding force. It is only in obligations arising from certain contracts that it becomes essential. Thus, in a contract involving a donation of personal property whose value exceeds P5,000.00, the law requires that the donation and the acceptance shall be made in writing;10 in a contract of sale of a piece of land or any interest therein through an agent, the law requires that the authority of the latter shall be in writing;11 in a contract of simple loan or mutuum, the law requires that any agreement with respect to interest shall be expressly stipulated in writing;12 in a contract of antichresis, the law requires that the amount of the principal and of the...
Citations: November 19, 1999.)
Contracts Referring to Things Under Litigation
Contracts by Insolvent. — Under Art. 1382, payments
made in a state of insolvency for obligations to whose fulﬁllment
Art. 1381, No. 4, Civil Code.
Art. 1382, there is no question that the payment is rescissible, but
then this conclusion would be in direct conﬂict with the provision of
in Arts. 1381 and 1382, there are also other contracts which are
specially declared by law to be subject to rescission.35 Examples of
Under Sec. 70 of the Insolvency Law (Act No. 1956), any payment, pledge,
mortgage, conveyance, sale, assignment or transfer of property made by an insolvent
Code regarding preference of credits. See Arts. 2241, et seq., Civil Code.
these contracts are those contemplated in Arts
1534, 1539, 1542, 1556, 1560, 1567, and 1659 of the Code.
Art. 1383. The action for rescission is subsidiary; it cannot be instituted except when the party suffering damage
has no other legal means to obtain reparation for the same.36
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