18 major changes in the New Civil Code

It must be noted that the codified form of civil laws that we have right now is called the "New" Civil Code because, obviously, there was an "Old" Civil Code. Of course, when the Old Code was then in force and effect, it was not referred to as "old"; it was called the Civil Code of Spain of 1889.

The Civil Code of Spain, formally the Royal Decree of 24 July 1889 is the law that regulates the major aspects of Spanish civil law. It is one of the latest Civil Codes in continental Europe, due to the sociopolitical, religious and territorial tensions that dominated 19th-century Spain. It has been modified numerous times and remains in force to this day. SOURCE: Civil Code of Spain. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Code_of_Spain

According to Paras (2008), prior to the Civil Code of Spain of 1889, our civil law was found in the Recopilacion de las Leyes de las Indias with the following as supplemental laws to be applied in the following order:

[1] The latest Spanish laws enacted for the colonies;
[2] La Novisima Recopilacion;
[3] La Nueva Recopilacion;
[4] The Royal Ordinances of Castille;
[5] Leyes de Toro; and
[6] The Siete Partidas.

There are 18 most notable changes in the Philippine Civil Code, found in four books thereof, that indeed make it "new."

BOOK I ON PERSONS AND FAMILY RELATIONS. In the first book of the New Civil Code, the following changes have been made:

[1] Absolute divorce has been eliminated. Take note, however, that the law currently governing martial, family and parental relations is the Family Code of the Philippines (Executive Order [EO] 209);
[2] Judicial and extrajudicial creation of family homes has been allowed;
[3] A more detailed chapter on human relations has been inserted;
[4] The barbaric and sexist rule on dowry has been removed; and
[5] The equal rights between men and women, whether or not married, has been recognized.
BOOK II ON PROPERTY AND OWNERSHIP. In the second book of the Code, which deals with property relations, ownership and modifications on property, the following changes have been made:

[6] Additional rules on quieting of title have been placed;
[7] New kinds of easements have been created;
[8] The rule on "censo" has been removed; and
[9] The rule on "use and habitation" has also been removed.

BOOK III ON MODES OF ACQUIRING OWNERSHIP. Although there are several modes of acquiring ownership under the third book of the Code (such as occupation, law, donation, tradition, intellectual creation and prescription), succession has received much attention from the Code Commission perhaps because of its inherent complication. The following are the changes made:

[10] Holographic wills have been allowed and recognized. The other kind of wills is notarial wills;
[11] The rights to succession of the surviving spouse have been improved;
[12] The rights to succession of illegitimate children have been increased;
[13] The rules on "mejora" have been removed; and
[14] The rules on "betterment" have been removed.

BOOK IV ON OBLIGATIONS AND CONTRACTS. The fourth book of the Code is actually divided into two smaller books: the law on obligations and the law on contracts. Here are the changes:

[15] There has been a reclassification of defective contracts;
[16] The rules on reformation of contracts (which should actually be "reformation of instruments") have been added;
[17] More details on implied trusts have been added; and
[18] New quasi-contracts have been created. Note that the most popular quasi-contracts are solutio indebiti and negotiorum gestio but they are not the only ones.

The discussion above is based on an outline by Paras (2008) in his book on persons and family relations. His books are available in fine bookstores nationwide. SOURCE: Justice Edgardo Paras (2008). Civil Code of the Philippines Annotated. Volume I on Persons and Family Relations. Rex Book Store. 978-971-23-7989-5. https://www.rexestore.com/cloth-bound/1582-civil-code-of-the-phils-annotated-vol-i-clothbound-.html

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