21 Best Supreme Court Quotable Lines

Inspired by my conversation with my law professor, Atty. Gil P. Viloria, Jr., one of my heroes, I decided to compile my favorite lines and quotes from some pieces of jurisprudence promulgated by the Supreme Court of the Philippines. The following are my personal picks and, should the reader have any suggestion, he may leave a comment below. ADVERTISEMENT Work from home! Be an online English tutor. Earn at least PHP100/hour.

[1] Antonio v. Reyes

Statistics never lie, but lovers often do, quipped a sage. This sad truth has unsettled many a love transformed into matrimony. Any sort of deception between spouses, no matter the gravity, is always disquieting. Deceit to the depth and breadth unveiled in the following pages, dark and irrational as in the modern noir tale, dims any trace of certitude on the guilty spouse’s capability to fulfill the marital obligations even more. (J. Tinga; G.R. No. 155800; March 10, 2006)
[2] Palaganas v. People

For what is a man, what has he got? If not himself, then he has naught. To say the things he truly feels; And not the words of one who kneels. The record shows I took the blows - And did it my way!

The song evokes the bitterest passions. This is not the first time the song "My Way" has triggered violent behavior resulting in people coming to blows. In the case at bar, the few lines of the song depicted what came to pass when the victims and the aggressors tried to outdo each other in their rendition of the song. (J. Chico-Nazario; G.R. No. 165483; September 12, 2006)

[3] Oposa v. Factoran

While the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is to be found under the Declaration of Principles and State Policies and not under the Bill of Rights, it does not follow that it is less important than any of the civil and political rights enumerated in the latter. Such a right belongs to a different category of rights altogether for it concerns nothing less than self-preservation and self-perpetuation — aptly and fittingly stressed by the petitioners — the advancement of which may even be said to predate all governments and constitutions. As a matter of fact, these basic rights need not even be written in the Constitution for they are assumed to exist from the inception of humankind. If they are now explicitly mentioned in the fundamental charter, it is because of the well-founded fear of its framers that unless the rights to a balanced and healthful ecology and to health are mandated as state policies by the Constitution itself, thereby highlighting their continuing importance and imposing upon the state a solemn obligation to preserve the first and protect and advance the second, the day would not be too far when all else would be lost not only for the present generation, but also for those to come — generations which stand to inherit nothing but parched earth incapable of sustaining life. (J. Davide, Jr; G.R. No. 101083; July 30, 1993) ADVERTISEMENT Work from home! Be an online English tutor. Earn at least PHP100/hour.

[4] People v. Salinas

In rape cases, there are no half measures or even quarter measures nor is their gravity graduated by the inches of entry. Partial penile penetration is as serious as full penetration; the rape is deemed consummated in either case. In a manner of speaking, bombardment of the drawbridge is invasion enough even if the troops do not succeed in entering the castle. (J. Cruz; G.R. No. 107204; May 6, 1994)

[5] Chua-Qua v. Clave

With the finding that there is no substantial evidence of the imputed immoral acts, it follows that the alleged violation of the Code of Ethics governing school teachers would have no basis. Private respondent utterly failed to show that petitioner took advantage of her position to court her student. If the two eventually fell in love, despite the disparity in their ages and academic levels, this only lends substance to the truism that the heart has reasons of its own which reason does not know. But, definitely, yielding to this gentle and universal emotion is not to be so casually equated with immorality. The deviation of the circumstances of their marriage from the usual societal pattern cannot be considered as a defiance of contemporary social mores. (J. Regalado; G.R. No. 49549; August 30, 1990)

[6] Calalang v. Williams

Social justice is neither communism, nor despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy, but the humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces by the State so that justice in its rational and objectively secular conception may at least be approximated. (J. Laurel; G.R. No. 47800; December 2, 1940) ADVERTISEMENT Work from home! Be an online English tutor. Earn at least PHP100/hour.

[7] DECS v. San Diego

There can be no question that a substantial distinction exists between medical students and other students who are not subjected to the NMAT and the three-flunk rule. The medical profession directly affects the very lives of the people, unlike other careers which, for this reason, do not require more vigilant regulation. The accountant, for example, while belonging to an equally respectable profession, does not hold the same delicate responsibility as that of the physician and so need not be similarly treated.

There would be unequal protection if some applicants who have passed the tests are admitted and others who have also qualified are denied entrance. In other words, what the equal protection requires is equality among equals.

The Court feels that it is not enough to simply invoke the right to quality education as a guarantee of the Constitution: one must show that he is entitled to it because of his preparation and promise. The private respondent has failed the NMAT five times. While his persistence is noteworthy, to say the least, it is certainly misplaced, like a hopeless love. (J. Cruz; G.R. No. 89572; December 21, 1989)

[8] Santiago v. COA

Retirement laws should be interpreted liberally in favor of the retiree because their intention is to provide for his sustenance, and hopefully even comfort, when he no longer has the stamina to continue earning his livelihood. After devoting the best years of his life to the public service, he deserves the appreciation of a grateful government as best concretely expressed in a generous retirement gratuity commensurate with the value and length of his services. That generosity is the least he should expect now that his work is done and his youth is gone. Even as he feels the weariness in his bones and glimpses the approach of the lengthening shadows, he should be able to luxuriate in the thought that he did his task well, and was rewarded for it. (J. Cruz; G.R. No. 92284; July 12, 1991)

[9] Chi Ming Tsoi v. CA

It appears that there is absence of empathy between petitioner and private respondent. That is — a shared feeling which between husband and wife must be experienced not only by having spontaneous sexual intimacy but a deep sense of spiritual communion. Marital union is a two-way process. An expressive interest in each other's feelings at a time it is needed by the other can go a long way in deepening the marital relationship. Marriage is definitely not for children but for two consenting adults who view the relationship with love amor gignit amorem, respect, sacrifice and a continuing commitment to compromise, conscious of its value as a sublime social institution. (J. Torres, Jr; G.R. No. 119190; January 16, 1997) ADVERTISEMENT Work from home! Be an online English tutor. Earn at least PHP100/hour.

[10] People v. Takbobo

The nuptial vows which solemnly intone the matrimonial promise of love "(f)or better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part," are sometimes easier said than done, for many a marital union figuratively ends on the reefs of matrimonial shoals. In the case now before us for appellate review, the marriage literally ended under circumstances which the criminal law, disdainful of romanticism, bluntly calls the felony of parricide. (J. Regalado; G.R. No. 102984; June 30, 1993)

[11] Concerned Employee v. Mayor

Had respondent desisted from continuing her affair with Leao after learning he was married, this would have exhibited not only prudence on her part, but also a willingness to respect a legal institution safeguarded by our laws and the Constitution. Yet her persistence in maintaining sexual relations with Leao after that revelation instead manifests a willful subversion of the legal order, a disposition we are unwilling to condone, even if avowed in the name of love. The Court, like all well-meaning persons, has no desire to dash romantic fancies, yet in the exercise of its duty, is all too willing when necessary to raise the wall that tears Pyramus and Thisbe asunder. (J. Tinga; A.M. No. P-02-1564; November 23, 2004)

[12] Lejano v. People

In our criminal justice system, what is important is, not whether the court entertains doubts about the innocence of the accused since an open mind is willing to explore all possibilities, but whether it entertains a reasonable, lingering doubt as to his guilt. For, it would be a serious mistake to send an innocent man to jail where such kind of doubt hangs on to ones inner being, like a piece of meat lodged immovable between teeth.

Will the Court send the accused to spend the rest of their lives in prison on the testimony of an NBI asset who proposed to her handlers that she take the role of the witness to the Vizconde massacre that she could not produce? (J. Abad; G.R. No. 176389; December 14, 2010) ADVERTISEMENT Work from home! Be an online English tutor. Earn at least PHP100/hour.

[13] In Re: Cunanan

The judicial department of government is responsible for the plane upon which the administration of justice is maintained. Its responsibility in this respect is exclusive. By committing a portion of the powers of sovereignty to the judicial department of our state government, under 42a scheme which it was supposed rendered it immune from embarrassment or interference by any other department of government, the courts cannot escape responsibility fir the manner in which the powers of sovereignty thus committed to the judicial department are exercised.

The relation at the bar to the courts is a peculiar and intimate relationship. The bar is an attache of the courts. The quality of justice dispense by the courts depends in no small degree upon the integrity of its bar. An unfaithful bar may easily bring scandal and reproach to the administration of justice and bring the courts themselves into disrepute. (J. Diokno; In Re: Cunanan; March 18, 1954)

[14] TaƱada v. Tuvera

The days of the secret laws and the unpublished decrees are over. This is once again an open society, with all the acts of the government subject to public scrutiny and available always to public cognizance. This has to be so if our country is to remain democratic, with sovereignty residing in the people and all government authority emanating from them. (J. Cruz; G.R. No. L-63915; December 29, 1986)


The Supreme Court is not final because it is infallible; it is infallible because it is final. And because its decisions are final, even if faulty, there must be every energy expended to ensure that the faulty decisions are few and far between. The integrity of the judiciary rests not only upon the fact that it is able to administer justice, but also upon the perception and confidence of the community that the people who run the system have done justice. (J. Bersamin quoting J. Robert Jackson; G.R. No. 176951; June 28, 2011) ADVERTISEMENT Work from home! Be an online English tutor. Earn at least PHP100/hour.

[16] Joaquin v. Javellana

Hence, a judge's official conduct and his behavior in the performance of judicial duties should be free from the appearance of impropriety and must be beyond reproach. One who occupies an exalted position in the administration of justice must pay a high price for the honor bestowed upon him, for his private as well as his official conduct must at all times be free from the appearance of impropriety.Because appearance is as important as reality in the performance of judicial functions, like Caesar's wife, a judge must not only be pure but also beyond suspicion. A judge has the duty to not only render a just and impartial decision, but also render it in such a manner as to be free from any suspicion as to its fairness and impartiality, and also as to the judge's integrity.

It is obvious, therefore, that while judges should possess proficiency in law in order that they can competently construe and enforce the law, it is more important that they should act and behave in such a manner that the parties before them should have confidence in their impartiality. (J. Vitug; A.M. No. RTJ-00-1601; November 13, 2001)

[17] Cebu Royal Plant v. Deputy Minister of Labor

We take this opportunity to reaffirm our concern for the lowly worker who, often at the mercy of his employers, must look up to the law for his protection. Fittingly, that law regards him with tenderness and even favor and always with faith and hope in his capacity to help in shaping the nation's future. It is error to take him for granted. He deserves our abiding respect. How society treats him will determine whether the knife in his hands shall be a caring tool for beauty and progress or an angry weapon of defiance and revenge. The choice is obvious, of course. If we cherish him as we should, we must resolve to lighten "the weight of centuries" of exploitation and disdain that bends his back but does not bow his head. (J. Cruz; G.R. No. L-58639; August 12, 1987) 

[18] The Shell Company v. National Labor Union

It is argued that the laborer can rest during the day after having worked the whole night. But can the repose by day produce to the human body the same complete recuperative effects which only the natural rest at night can give him? It is also said that due to our warm climate, some prefer to work at night, thus avoiding the heat of the day. But this is true only in words but not in actual practice. We believe that since time immemorial the universal rule is that a man works at night due to some driving necessity rather than for reasons of convenience. (J. Briones; GR No. L-1309; July 26, 1948) ADVERTISEMENT Work from home! Be an online English tutor. Earn at least PHP100/hour.

[19] People v. Olesco

In rape, the ‘sweetheart’ defense must be proven by compelling evidence: first, that the accused and the victim were lovers; and, second, that she consented to the alleged sexual relations. The second is as important as the first, because this Court has held often enough that love is not a license for lust. (J. Del Castillo; G.R. No. 174861; April 11, 2011)

[20] Republic v. Cagandahan

Biologically, nature endowed respondent with a mixed (neither consistently and categorically female nor consistently and categorically male) composition. Respondent has female (XX) chromosomes. However, respondents body system naturally produces high levels of male hormones (androgen). As a result, respondent has ambiguous genitalia and the phenotypic features of a male.

Respondent here has simply let nature take its course and has not taken unnatural steps to arrest or interfere with what he was born with. And accordingly, he has already ordered his life to that of a male. Respondent could have undergone treatment and taken steps, like taking lifelong medication, to force his body into the categorical mold of a female but he did not. He chose not to do so. Nature has instead taken its due course in respondents development to reveal more fully his male characteristics.

In so ruling we do no more than give respect to (1) the diversity of nature; and (2) how an individual deals with what nature has handed out. In other words, we respect respondents congenital condition and his mature decision to be a male. Life is already difficult for the ordinary person. We cannot but respect how respondent deals with his unordinary state and thus help make his life easier, considering the unique circumstances in this case. (J. Quisumbing; G.R. No. 166676; September 12, 2008)
[21] Brillante v. CA

"Good name in man and woman, dear my Lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls: Who steals my purse steals trash; tis Something, nothing; But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him, And makes me poor indeed." (Shakespeare: Othello, III, iii, 155) Every man has a right to build, keep and be favored with a good name. This right is protected by law with the recognition of slander and libel as actionable wrongs, whether as criminal offenses or tortious conduct. xxx Our laws on defamation provide for sanctions against unjustified and malicious injury to a persons reputation and honor. (Updated September 19, 2017; J. Tinga; G.R. Nos. 118757 & 121571; October 19, 2004)
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