Learn With Me 3: The anatomy of a case and how to make a case digest

Hello everyone! Apologies again for the silence, but everything’s been crazy busy, and I sadly got sick last weekend. Then there’s my older brother’s wedding, and the wedding shower the day before that. But I’m here, and I hope you’re all doing fine!

If you’ve read the last Learn With Me post, you already know by now how to look for your assigned cases. And now you’ve found them, and had them photocopied–what’s next? After reading them, you’ll probably have to digest them and hand those digests to your professor at the end of the semester, or the next time your class meets.

But before we start digesting, we’re going to dissect the case. I’m pretty sure you guys remember your high school days, especially that day you dissected a frog for biology class! This time, it’s not a living thing we’re dissecting, but I’m hoping this would help you, especially when you’ll be reading assigned cases for the first time!

 

Remember the case title and citation we used last time as an example? Yep, we’re going to use it again! Here’s my printed copy of the jurisprudence. I’ve labelled the parts and we’ll go through each part.

We’ll start with the title–the short one, that is. Below that is the full title–or rather, the name of the parties in the case. Sometimes, there will be a lot of names–but you will learn that later in Civil Procedure–about class suits, that is. Above that is the docket number, or the GR number. If you’ve missed the last post, you can read what GR stands for here. Next to the GR number is the date of promulgation, or the date the decision was given. In some instances, like this case, it says L-64279, instead of GR. I only remember someone telling me “L” means cases decided after the liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese–but I’ve yet to confirm its veracity, since the case was decided in 1982–more than thirty years after liberation. I’ll ask, and let you guys know the next time.

Next is the syllabus, which lets the reader know which subject area the case might cover. A tip from an upperclassman who helped me out: Look for the subject area you are reading the case for. It does help in spotting issues and the ruling of the Supreme Court.

Next are the facts. Some of them are quite long-winded, and at times, the issues are hard to spot! This is where the tip an upperclassman gave me came in handy–after reading a certain case many times over, so as to get the issues right!

Spotting the issue is a favourite challenge of one of my professors.

Again, do note that some of the issues are not always “obvious”–you’ll have to read the case over and over again to find out what was wrong–and what went wrong.

 

Then there’s the ruling, or what the Court has decided. It connects to the dispositive portion–which answers the question “What’s going to happen next?”

And speaking of what happens next, we’re going to move on to making case digests–admittedly my least favourite part of my law school life–but well, needs must.

A case digest has the following parts: the title, GR number and date of promulgation, the facts, the issue, and the ruling.

The skeleton usually appears like this:

Title of Case

GR Number, Date of Promulgation

Facts–including the background (before the subject of the suit), what happened (what caused the suit), contention of the parties

Issue–usually starts with “Whether or not…”; the main “problem”, or the dispute.

Ruling–the Supreme Court’s decision.

Using a different case this time (one of my old case digests), I shall be sharing a sample of a case digest.

Victoria Barrientos v. Transfiguracion Daarol
Adm. Case 1512
29 January 1993

FACTS:
Complainant, Victoria Barrientos, is single, a college student, and was about 20 years and 7 months old during the time (July-October 1975) of her relationship with respondent, while respondent Transfiguracion Daarol is married, General Manager of Zamboanga del Norte Electric Cooperative, and 41 years old at the time of the said relationship.
Respondent is married to Romualda A. Sumaylo with whom be has a son; that the marriage ceremony was solemnized on September 24, 1955 at Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte by a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Anacleto Pellamo, and that said respondent had been separated from his wife for about 16 years at the time of his relationship with complainant.

Respondent had been known by the Barrientos family for quite sometime, having been a former student of complainant’s father in 1952 and, a former classmate of complainant’s mother at the Andres Bonifacio College in Dipolog City; that he became acquainted with complainant’s sister, Norma in 1963 and eventually with her other sisters, Baby and Delia and, her brother, Boy, as he used to visit Norma at her residence; that he also befriended complainant and who became a close friend when he invited her, with her parents’ consent, to be one of the usherettes during the Masonic Convention in Sicayab, Dipolog City from June 28 to 30, 1973, and he used to fetch her at her residence in the morning and took her home from the convention site after each day’s activities;
Respondent courted complainant, and after a week of courtship, complainant accepted respondent’s love on July 7, 1973; that in the evening of August 20, 1973, complainant with her parents’ permission was respondent’s partner during the Chamber of Commerce affair at the Lopez Skyroom in the Dipolog City, and at about 10:00 o’clock that evening, they left the place but before going home, they went to the airport at Sicayab, Dipolog City and parked the jeep at the beach, where there were no houses around; that after the usual preliminaries, they consummated the sexual act and at about midnight they went home; that after the first sexual act, respondent used to have joy ride with complainant which usually ended at the airport where they used to make love twice or three times a week; that as a result of her intimate relations, complainant became pregnant;

That after a conference among respondent, complainant and complainant’s parents, it was agreed that complainant would deliver her child in Manila, where she went with her mother on October 22, 1973 by boat, arriving in Manila on the 25th and, stayed with her brother-in-law Ernesto Serrano in Singalong, Manila; that respondent visited her there on the 26th, 27th and 28th of October 1973, and again in February and March 1974; that later on complainant decided to deliver the child in Cebu City in order to be nearer to Dipolog City, and she went there in April 1974 and her sister took her to the Good Shepherd Convent at Banawa Hill, Cebu City; that on June 14, 1974, she delivered a baby girl at the Perpetual Succor Hospital in Cebu City and, named her “Dureza Barrientos”; that about the last week of June 1974 she went home to Dipolog City; that during her stay here in Manila and later in Cebu City, the respondent defrayed some of her expenses; that she filed an administrative case against respondent with the National Electrification Administration; which complaint, however, was dismissed; and then she instituted the present disbarment proceedings against respondent.

In view of the foregoing, the undersigned respectfully recommend that after hearing, respondent Transfiguracion Daarol be disbarred as a lawyer.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent Daarol is grossly immoral.

HELD:
Here, respondent, already a married man and about 41 years old, proposed love and marriage to complainant, then still a 20-year-old minor, knowing that he did not have the required legal capacity. Respondent then succeeded in having carnal relations with complainant by deception, made her pregnant, suggested abortion, breached his promise to marry her, and then deserted her and the child. Respondent is therefore guilty of deceit and grossly immoral conduct.

By his acts of deceit and immoral tendencies to appease his sexual desires, respondent Daarol has amply demonstrated his moral delinquency. Hence, his removal for conduct unbecoming a member of the Bar on the grounds of deceit and grossly immoral conduct is in order. Good moral conduct is a condition which precedes admission to the Bar and is not dispensed with upon admission there. It is a continuing qualification to which all lawyers must possess. Otherwise, a lawyer may be suspended or disbarred.

 

Hope this will help you in reading and making case digests! 🙂 Till next time! 🙂

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