Art. 8. Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the
Constitution shall form a part of the legal system of the Philippines.
This is a new provision taken from common law. Under the civil law tradition, the
court merely applies the law. However since the Philippine legal system is a
combination of civil law and common law, courts apply statutes as well as resort to
the doctrine of precedent.
Art. 9. No judge or court shall decline to render judgment by reason of
the silence, obscurity or insufficiency of the laws.
Art. 10. In case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws, it is
presumed that the lawmaking body intended right and justice to prevail.
What if the law is silent? The court should render a decision based on justice as
stated in Article 10.
Art. 11. Customs which are contrary to law, public order or public policy
shall not be countenanced.
What if customs are not contrary to law? The custom would be countenanced.
However, this does not mean that the custom would have obligatory force.
Art. 12. A custom must be proved as a fact, according to the rules of
The law doesn’t specify the cases when custom is relevant in litigation. But in case
custom is relevant, it should be proven.
Commentators say that custom is important in cases involving negligence. For
example, if a kalesa in Manila is by custom supposed to have rattan baskets to
prevent people from slipping, if a person slips because there is no rattan basket, then
he can sue for negligence.
Art. 13. When the laws speak of years, months, days or nights, it shall be
understood that years are of three hundred sixty-five days each; months, of
thirty days; days, of twenty-four hours; and nights from sunset to sunrise.
If months are designated by their name, they shall be computed by the
number of days which they respectively have.
In computing a period, the first day shall be excluded, and the last day
Article 13 has been superseded by Executive Order No. 292 (the Revised
Administrative Code of 1987) – Book 1, §31.
Sec. 31. Legal Periods. – “Year” shall be understood to be twelve calendar months;
“month” of thirty days, unless it refers to a specific calendar month in which case it shall be
computed according to the number of days the specific month contains; “day,” to a day of
twenty-four hours; and “night,” from sunset to sunrise.
Under E.O. No. 292, a year is now equivalent to 12 calendar months and not 365
days. Under Article 13 leap years are not considered. For examples, in order to make
a will, one has to be 18 years old. But if you use Article 13, one loses 4 to 5 days if
you don’t count the leap years. E.O. No. 292 is better than Article 13 since it is more
There should have been a definition of hours. That definition is relevant for labor law.
According to Professor Balane, an hour should be defined as 1/24 of a calendar day.
If you use the definition that an hour is equal to 60 minutes, then we would have to
define minutes, then seconds, and so on. It would be too scientific.