4 rules on natural obligations

A natural obligation is an obligation that has no legal basis and hence does not give a right of action to enforce its performance. It is based on equity, morality, and natural law, and should be voluntary. philawgov.wikia.org/wiki/Natural_Obligation.

A civil obligation (as defined in Art. 1156) is based on positive law; hence, it is enforceable by court action. A natural obligation on the other hand, is based on natural law; hence, it is not enforceable by court action. The obligation, however, exists in equity and moral justice, such that if the debtor voluntarily performs it, he can no longer recover what he has given. www.attyjimenez.blogspot.com/2016/10/distinction-between-civil-obligation.html.

Below are four rules to remember regarding natural obligations.

[1] The promise to perform a natural obligation is as effective as performance itself, and converts the natural obligation to a civil obligation.

[2] Partial payment of a natural obligation does not make it civil; the part paid cannot be recovered, but payment of the balance cannot be enforced. The exception would be if the natural obligation is susceptible of ratification.

[3] Guaranties for the performance of a natural obligation are valid.

[4] Payment of a natural obligation is not subject to reduction by reason of inofficiousness, appearance of children or ingratitude.

Article 1423 of the New Civil Code classifies obligations into civil or natural. "Civil obligations are a right of action to compel their performance. Natural obligations, not being based on positive law but on equity and natural law, do not grant a right of action to enforce their performance, but after voluntary fulfillment by the obligor, they authorize the retention of what has been delivered or rendered by reason thereof." (G.R. No. L-13667. April 29, 1960)

An element of natural obligation before it can be cognizable by the court is voluntary fulfillment by the obligor. Retention can be ordered only after there has been voluntary performance. (G.R. No. L-13667. April 29, 1960)