CO KIM CHAM (alias CO KIM CHAM), petitioner,
EUSEBIO VALDEZ TAN KEH and ARSENIO P. DIZON, Judge of First Instance of Manila, respondents.
75 PHIL 113
SEPTEMBER 17, 1945
Petitioner filed a motion for mandamus praying that the respondent judge be ordered to continue the proceedings in civil case no. 3012, which was initiated under the regime of the so-called Republic of the Philippines established during the Japanese military occupation of the islands.
The respondent judge refused to take cognizance of and continue the proceedings on the following grounds: (1) the proclamation issued on October 23, 1944 by Gen. Mac Arthur had the effect of invalidating and nullifying all judicial proceedings and judgments of the courts of the Philippines under the Philippine Executive Commission and the Republic established during the Japanese occupation;(2) the lower courts have no jurisdiction to take cognizance of and continue judicial proceedings pending in the courts of the defunct Republic in the absence of enabling law granting such authority; (3) the government established in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation was not a de facto government.
- Whether the government established during the Japanese occupation was a de facto government.
- Whether the judicial acts and proceedings of the courts existing in the Philippines under the Phil. Executive Commission and the Republic of the Philippines were good and valid and remained so even after the liberation or reoccupation of the Philippines by the US and Filipino forces.
- Whether the proclamation issued by Gen. Mac Arthur declaring ―all laws, regulations and processes of any other government in the Philippines than that of the Commonwealth are null and void and without legal effect in areas of the Philippines free of enemy occupation and control has invalidated al judgments and judicial acts and proceedings of the said courts.
- Whether the courts of Commonwealth, which were the same courts existing prior to and continue during the Japanese military occupation of the Philippines may continue those proceedings in said courts at the time the Philippines were reoccupied and liberated by the US and Filipino forces and the Commonwealth of the Philippines were reestablished.
- YES. The government established under the names of Philippine Executive Commission and Republic of the Philippines during the Japanese occupation was a civil government and a de facto government of the second kind: that which is established and maintained by military forces who invade and occupy a territory of the enemy in the course of war. The distinguishing characteristics of this kind of de facto government are; (1) that its existence is maintained by active military power within the territories, and against the rightful authority of an established and lawful government; and (2) that while it exists it must necessarily be obeyed in civil matters by private citizens who, by acts of obedience rendered in submission to such force, do not become responsible, as wrongdoers, for those acts, though not warranted by the laws of the rightful government.
- YES. Being a de facto government, it necessarily follows that the judicial acts and proceedings of the courts of justice of those governments, which are not of a political complexion, were good and valid, and, by virtue of the well-known principle of postliminy in international law, remained good and valid after the liberation or reoccupation of the Philippines by the American and Filipino forces.
- NO. The phrase ―processes of any other government is broad and may refer not only to judicial processes, but also to administrative or legislative, as well as constitutional processes of the Republic of the Philippines or other governmental agencies established in the Islands during the Japanese occupation. Taking into consideration the fact that, according to the well-known principles of international law, all judgments and judicial proceedings, which are not of a political complexion, of the de facto government during the Japanese occupation were good and valid before and remained so after the occupied territory had come again into the power of the titular sovereign, it should be presumed that it was not, and could not have been, the intention of the Gen. Mac Arthur, in using the phrase ―processes of any government to refer to judicial processes, in violation of said principles of international law. The only reasonable construction of the said phrase is that it refers to governmental processes other than judicial processes, or court proceedings, for according to a well-known statutory construction, statute ought never to be construed to violate the law of nations if any other possible construction remains.
- YES. Although in theory, the authority of the local civil and judicial administration is suspended as a matter of course as soon as military occupation takes place, in practice, the invader does not usually take the administration of justice into his own hands, but continues the ordinary courts or tribunals to administer the laws of the country to which he is enjoined, unless absolutely prevented. If the proceedings pending in the different courts of the Islands prior to the Japanese military occupation had been continued during the Japanese military administration, the Philippine Executive Commission and the so-called Republic of the Philippines, it stands to reason the same courts, which become reestablished and conceived of as having been in continued existence upon the reoccupation and liberation of the Philippines by virtue of the principle of postliminy, may continue the proceedings in cases then pending in said courts, without necessity of enacting laws conferring jurisdiction upon them to continue said proceedings.
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