Justice is the sum of all moral duty

Stand your ground when in the right. The law and jurisprudence is your guide

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Plazo  Lawyers

Plazo Law and Associates ceased operations shortly before its Founder, Atty Maria Gracia RInoza- Plazo passed. This legal forum simply offers  free legal advice,  opinions and occasional  pro-bono service  on matters of primordial social concerns. Hence, Plazo Law does not accept paying clients nor undertakes litigation moving forward.

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Key Legal Maxims

Ubi jus ibi remedium

There is no right without remedy. Hence if there is any right for the violation of which the law has not prescribed any remedy, than that right doesn’t really amount to a real right at all. Personal injury lawyers ascertain that malicious intent is present for a cause of action.

Volenti non fit injuria

An injury is not done to one that consents to it. If a person indulges in any act harmful to himself of his own will, then no other person can be liable for any injury caused to him. An example would be sportsmen engaged in a boxing match. If a boxer consents to fight, he cannot claim against his opponent for having injurted him. A criminal defense attorney will find no case when the damaged party placed himself in a position leading to damage.

Stare decisis

To stand by decisions. Past decisions are followed by subsequent tribunals enuring that like treatment is meted out for similar cases. There are limitations to this of course but as a general principle, unless there is a significant reason for differing in the judgment, the principles or ratio of an earlier decision on the same point by the same court or a higher court should be followed.

Quod per me non possum, nec per alium

What a person cannot do by himself, he cannot do through another person. Hence, by delegating an act that is impermissible, you are not absolved of liability. This makes a principal liable for the acts of his agent. Similarly, if a person induces someone to commit an offence, such person is also liable.

Pacta privata juri publico non derogare possunt

A private contract cannot derogate from the law. Therefore by entering into a contract if you agree to do something that does not fall within the ambit of the law, you cannot circumvent it. Such a contract would be void. For instance, in India wagering contracts are illegal. If I make a wager and win, and you default in making a payment, I cannot sue you for making good the bet since our contract was void from the beginning (void ab initio).

Frequently Asked Questions

The legal process can vex even the most jaded of professionals. Keep these in mind before even considering legal action.

racketeering crime
Causes of Action
Section 1. Ordinary civil actions, basis of. — Every ordinary civil action must be based on a cause of action. Section 2. Cause of action, defined. — A cause of action is the act or omission by which a party violates a right of another.  
Parties to a Case
Section 1. Who may be parties; plaintiff and defendant. — Only natural or juridical persons, or entities authorized by law may be parties in a civil action. The term “plaintiff” may refer to the claiming party, the counter-claimant, the cross-claimant, or the third (fourth, etc.) — party plaintiff. The term “defendant” may refer to the original defending party, the defendant in a counter-claim, the cross-defendant, or the third (fourth, etc.) — party defendant. (1a) Section 2. Parties in interest. — A real party in interest is the party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or the party entitled to the avails of the suit. Unless otherwise authorized by law or these Rules, every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party in interest. (2a) Section 3. Representatives as parties. — Where the action is allowed to be prosecuted and defended by a representative or someone acting in a fiduciary capacity, the beneficiary shall be included in the title of the case and shall be deemed to be the real property in interest. A representative may be a trustee of an expert trust, a guardian, an executor or administrator, or a party authorized by law or these Rules. An agent acting in his own name and for the benefit of an undisclosed principal may sue or be sued without joining the principal except when the contract involves things belonging to the principal. (3a) Section 4. Spouses as parties. — Husband and wife shall sue or be sued jointly, except as provided by law. (4a) Section 5. Minor or incompetent persons. — A minor or a person alleged to be incompetent, may sue or be sued with the assistance of his father, mother, guardian, or if he has none, a guardian ad litem. (5a) Section 6. Permissive joinder of parties. — All persons in whom or against whom any right to relief in respect to or arising out of the same transaction or series of transactions is alleged to exist, whether jointly, severally, or in the alternative, may, except as otherwise provided in these Rules, join as plaintiffs or be joined as defendants in one complaint, where any question of law or fact common to all such plaintiffs or to all such defendants may arise in the action; but the court may make such orders as may be just to prevent any plaintiff or defendant from being embarrassed or put to expense in connection with any proceedings in which he may have no interest. (6n) Section 7. Compulsory joinder of indispensable parties. — Parties in interest without whom no final determination can be had of an action shall be joined either as plaintiffs or defendants. (7) Section 8. Necessary party. — A necessary party is one who is not indispensable but who ought to be joined as a party if complete relief is to be accorded as to those already parties, or for a complete determination or settlement of the claim subject of the action. (8a)
Section 1. Venue of real actions. — Actions affecting title to or possession of real property, or interest therein, shall be commenced and tried in the proper court which has jurisdiction over the area wherein the real property involved, or a portion thereof, is situated. Forcible entry and detainer actions shall be commenced and tried in the municipal trial court of the municipality or city wherein the real property involved, or a portion thereof, is situated. (1[a], 2[a]a) Section 2. Venue of personal actions. — All other actions may be commenced and tried where the plaintiff or any of the principal plaintiffs resides, or where the defendant or any of the principal defendants resides, or in the case of a non-resident defendant where he may be found, at the election of the plaintiff. (2[b]a) Section 3. Venue of actions against nonresidents. — If any of the defendants does not reside and is not found in the Philippines, and the action affects the personal status of the plaintiff, or any property of said defendant located in the Philippines, the action may be commenced and tried in the court of the place where the plaintiff resides, or where the property or any portion thereof is situated or found. (2[c]a) Section 4. When Rule not applicable. — This Rule shall not apply. (a) In those cases where a specific rule or law provides otherwise; or (b) Where the parties have validly agreed in writing before the filing of the action on the exclusive venue thereof. (3a, 5a)
When To File Pleadings
Section 1. Answer to the complaint. — The defendant shall file his answer to the complaint within fifteen (15) days after service of summons, unless a different period is fixed by the court. (la) Section 2. Answer of a defendant foreign private juridical entity. — Where the defendant is a foreign private juridical entity and service of summons is made on the government official designated by law to receive the same, the answer shall be filed within thirty (30) days after receipt of summons by such entity. (2a) Section 3. Answer to amended complaint. — When the plaintiff files an amended complaint as a matter of right, the defendant shall answer the same within fifteen (15) days after being served with a copy thereof. Where its filing is not a matter of right, the defendant shall answer the amended complaint within ten (l0) days from notice of the order admitting the same. An answer earlier filed may serve as the answer to the amended complaint if no new answer is filed. This Rule shall apply to the answer to an amended counterclaim, amended cross-claim, amended third (fourth, etc.)—party complaint, and amended complaint-in-intervention. (3a) Section 4. Answer to counterclaim or cross-claim. — A counterclaim or cross-claim must be answered within ten (10) days from service. (4) Section 5. Answer to third (fourth, etc.)-party complaint. — The time to answer a third (fourth, etc.)—party complaint shall be governed by the same rule as the answer to the complaint. (5a) Section 6. Reply. — A reply may be filed within ten (10) days from service of the pleading responded to. (6) Section 7. Answer to supplemental complain. — A supplemental complaint may be answered within ten (10) days from notice of the order admitting the same, unless a different period is fixed by the court. The answer to the complaint shall serve as the answer to the supplemental complaint if no new or supplemental answer is filed. (n) Section 8. Existing counterclaim or cross-claim. — A compulsory counterclaim or a cross-claim that a defending party has at the time he files his answer shall be contained therein. (8a, R6) Section 9. Counterclaim or cross-claim arising after answer. — A counterclaim or a cross-claim which either matured or was acquired by a party after serving his pleading may, with the permission of the court, be presented as a counterclaim or a cross-claim by supplemental pleading before judgment. (9, R6) Section 10. Omitted counterclaim or cross-claim. — When a pleader fails to set up a counterclaim or a cross-claim through oversight, inadvertence, or excusable neglect, or when justice requires, he may, by leave of court, set up the counterclaim or cross-claim by amendment before judgment. (3, R9) Section 11. Extension of time to plead. — Upon motion and on such terms as may be just, the court may extend the time to plead provided in these Rules. The court may also, upon like terms, allow an answer or other pleading to be filed after the time fixed by these Rules. (7)
Section 1. Clerk to issue summons. — Upon the filing of the complaint and the payment of the requisite legal fees, the clerk of court shall forthwith issue the corresponding summons to the defendants. (1a) Section 2. Contents. — The summons shall be directed to the defendant, signed by the clerk of court under seal and contain (a) the name of the court and the names of the parties to the action; (b) a direction that the defendant answer within the time fixed by these Rules; (c) a notice that unless the defendant so answers plaintiff will take judgment by default and may be granted the relief applied for. A copy of the complaint and order for appointment of guardian ad litem if any, shall be attached to the original and each copy of the summons. (3a) Section 3. By whom served. — The summons may be served by the sheriff, his deputy, or other proper court officer, or for justifiable reasons by any suitable person authorized by the court issuing the summons. (5a) Section 4. Return. — When the service has been completed, the server shall, within five (5) days therefrom, serve a copy of the return, personally or by registered mail, to the plaintiff’s counsel, and shall return the summons to the clerk, who issued it, accompanied by proof of service. (6a) Section 5. Issuance of alias summons. — If a summons is returned without being served on any or all of the defendants, the server shall also serve a copy of the return on the plaintiff’s counsel, stating the reasons for the failure of service, within five (5) days therefrom. In such a case, or if the summons has been lost, the clerk, on demand of the plaintiff, may issue an alias summons. (4a) Section 6. Service in person on defendant. — Whenever practicable, the summons shall be served by handling a copy thereof to the defendant in person, or, if he refuses to receive and sign for it, by tendering it to him. (7a) Section 7. Substituted service. — If, for justifiable causes, the defendant cannot be served within a reasonable time as provided in the preceding section, service may be effected (a) by leaving copies of the summons at the defendant’s residence with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein, or (b) by leaving the copies at defendant’s office or regular place of business with some competent person in charge thereof. (8a) Section 8. Service upon entity without juridical personality. — When persons associated in an entity without juridical personality are sued under the name by which they are generally or commonly known, service may be effected upon all the defendants by serving upon any one of them, or upon the person in charge of the office or place of business maintained in such name. But such service shall not bind individually any person whose connection with the entity has, upon due notice, been severed before the action was brought. (9a)
Section 1. Motion defined. — A motion is an application for relief other than by a pleading. (1a) Section 2. Motions must be in writings. — All motions shall be in writing except those made in open court or in the course of a hearing or trial. (2a) Section 3. Contents. — A motion shall state the relief sought to be obtained and the grounds upon which it is based, and if required by these Rules or necessary to prove facts alleged therein, shall be accompanied by supporting affidavits and other papers. (3a) Section 4. Hearing of motion. — Except for motions which the court may act upon without prejudicing the rights of the adverse party, every written motion shall be set for hearing by the applicant. Every written motion required to be heard and the notice of the hearing thereof shall be served in such a manner as to ensure its receipt by the other party at least three (3) days before the date of hearing, unless the court for good cause sets the hearing on shorter notice. (4a) Section 5. Notice of hearing. — The notice of hearing shall be addressed to all parties concerned, and shall specify the time and date of the hearing which must not be later than ten (10) days after the filing of the motion. (5a) Section 6. Proof of service necessary. — No written motion set for hearing shall be acted upon by the court without proof of service thereof. (6a) Section 7. Motion day. — Except for motions requiring immediate action, all motions shall be scheduled for hearing on Friday afternoons, or if Friday is a non-working day, in the afternoon of the next working day. (7a)
Motion to Dismiss
Section 1. Grounds. — Within the time for but before filing the answer to the complaint or pleading asserting a claim, a motion to dismiss may be made on any of the following grounds: (a) That the court has no jurisdiction over the person of the defending party; (b) That the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the claim; (c) That venue is improperly laid; (d) That the plaintiff has no legal capacity to sue; (e) That there is another action pending between the same parties for the same cause; (f) That the cause of action is barred by a prior judgment or by the statute of limitations; (g) That the pleading asserting the claim states no cause of action; (h) That the claim or demand set forth in the plaintiff’s pleading has been paid, waived, abandoned, or otherwise extinguished; (i) That the claim on which the action is founded is enforceable under the provisions of the statute of frauds; and (j) That a condition precedent for filing the claim has not been complied with. (1a) Section 2. Hearing of motion. — At the hearing of the motion, the parties shall submit their arguments on the questions of law and their evidence on the questions of fact involved except those not available at that time. Should the case go to trial, the evidence presented during the hearing shall automatically be part of the evidence of the party presenting the same. (n) Section 3. Resolution of Motion. — After the hearing, the court may dismiss the action or claim, deny the motion, or order the amendment of the pleading. The court shall not defer the resolution of the motion for the reason that the ground relied upon is not indubitable. In every case, the resolution shall state clearly and distinctly the reasons therefor. (3a) Section 4. Time to plead. — If the motion is denied, the movant shall file his answer within the balance of the period prescribed by Rule 11 to which he was entitled at the time of serving his motion, but not less than five (5) days in any event, computed from his receipt of the notice of the denial. If the pleading is ordered to be amended, he shall file his answer within the period prescribed by Rule 11 counted from service of the amended pleading, unless the court provides a longer period. (4a) Section 5. Effect of dismissal. — Subject to the right of appeal, an order granting a motion to dismiss based on paragraphs (f), (h) and (i) of section 1 hereof shall bar the refiling of the same action or claim. (n) Section 6. Pleading grounds as affirmative defenses. — If no motion to dismiss has been filed, any of the grounds for dismissal provided for in this Rule may be pleaded as an affirmative defense in the answer and, in the discretion of the court, a preliminary hearing may be had thereon as if a motion to dismiss had been filed. (5a) The dismissal of the complaint under this section shall be without prejudice to the prosecution in the same or separate action of a counterclaim pleaded in the answer. (n)
Section 1. Subpoena and subpoena duces tecum. — Subpoena is a process directed to a person requiring him to attend and to testify at the hearing or the trial of an action, or at any investigation conducted by competent authority, or for the taking of his deposition. It may also require him to bring with him any books, documents, or other things under his control, in which case it is called a subpoena duces tecum. (1a, R23) Section 2. By whom issued. — The subpoena may be issued by — (a) the court before whom the witness is required to attend; (b) the court of the place where the deposition is to be taken; (c) the officer or body authorized by law to do so in connection with investigations conducted by said officer or body; or (d) any Justice of the Supreme Court or of the Court of Appeals in any case or investigation pending within the Philippines. When application for a subpoena to a prisoner is made, the judge or officer shall examine and study carefully such application to determine whether the same is made for a valid purpose. No prisoner sentenced to death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment and who is confined in any penal institution shall be brought outside the said penal institution for appearance or attendance in any court unless authorized by the Supreme Court (2a, R23) Section 3. Form and contents. — A subpoena shall state the name of the court and the title of the action or investigation, shall be directed to the person whose attendance is required, and in the case of a subpoena duces tecum, it shall also contain a reasonable description of the books, documents or things demanded which must appear to the court prima facie relevant. (3a, R23) Section 4. Quashing a subpoena. — The court may quash a subpoena duces tecum upon motion promptly made and, in any event, at or before the time specified therein if it is unreasonable and oppressive, or the relevancy of the books, documents or things does not appear, or if the person in whose behalf the subpoena is issued fails to advance the reasonable cost of the production thereof. The court may quash a subpoena ad testificandum on the ground that the witness is not bound thereby. In either case, the subpoena may be quashed on the ground that the witness fees and kilometrage allowed by these Rules were not tendered when the subpoena was served. (4a, R23) Section 5. Subpoena for depositions. — Proof of service of a notice to take a deposition, as provided in sections 15 and 25 of Rule 23, shall constitute sufficient authorization for the issuance of subpoenas for the persons named in said notice by the clerk of the court of the place in which the deposition is to be taken. The clerk shall not, however, issue a subpoena duces tecum to any such person without an order of the court. (5a, R23) Section 6. Service. — Service of a subpoena shall be made in the same manner as personal or substituted service of summons. The original shall be exhibited and a copy thereof delivered to the person on whom it is served, tendering to him the fees for one day’s attendance and the kilometrage allowed by these Rules, except that, when a subpoena is issued by or on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines or an officer or agency thereof, the tender need not be made. The service must be made so as to allow the witness a reasonable time for preparation and travel to the place of attendance. If the subpoena is duces tecum, the reasonable cost of producing the books, documents or things demanded shall also be tendered. (6a, R23) Section 7. Personal appearance in court. — A person present in court before a judicial officer may be required to testify as if he were in attendance upon a subpoena is sued by such court or officer. (10, R23) Section 8. Compelling attendance. — In case of failure of a witness to attend, the court or judge issuing the subpoena, upon proof of the service thereof and of the failure of the witness, may issue a warrant to the sheriff of the province, or his deputy, to arrest the witness and bring him before the court or officer where his attendance is required, and the cost of such warrant and seizure of such witness shall be paid by the witness if the court issuing it shall determine that his failure to answer the subpoena was willful and without just excuse. (11, R23) Section 9. Contempt. — Failure by any person without adequate cause to obey a subpoena served upon him shall be deemed a contempt of the court from which the subpoena is issued. If the subpoena was not issued by a court, the disobedience thereto shall be punished in accordance with the applicable law or Rule. (12a R23)
Section 1. Demurrer to evidence. — After the plaintiff has completed the presentation of his evidence, the defendant may move for dismissal on the ground that upon the facts and the law the plaintiff has shown no right to relief. If his motion is denied he shall have the right to present evidence. If the motion is granted but on appeal the order of dismissal is reversed he shall be deemed to have waived the right to present evidence. (1a, R35)
Judgment on Pleadings
Section 1. Judgment on the pleadings. — Where an answer fails to tender an issue, or otherwise admits the material allegations of the adverse party’s pleading, the court may; on motion of that party, direct judgment on such pleading. However, in actions for declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage or for legal separation, the material facts alleged in the complaint shall always be proved. (1a, R19)
Summary Judgments
Section 1. Summary judgment for claimant. — A party seeking to recover upon a claim, counterclaim, or cross-claim or to obtain a declaratory relief may, at any time after the pleading in answer thereto has been served, move with supporting affidavits, depositions or admissions for a summary judgment in his favor upon all or any part thereof. (1a, R34) Section 2. Summary judgment for defending party. — A party against whom a claim, counterclaim, or cross-claim is asserted or a declaratory relief is sought may, at any time, move with supporting affidavits, depositions or admissions for a summary judgment in his favor as to all or any part thereof. (2a, R34)
Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.
Nelson Mandela

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Martin Luther King Jr.

Treat people as if they were what they should be, and you help them become what they are capable of becoming.


Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.