Lex Rex Ph

Inspirational Quotes from Cases 1

The highest court of the land does not all the time speak in highfalutin legalese words but sometimes speaks in languages that are highly-relatable to the most ordinary man, endearing, spiritual, and sometimes even Biblical/Quranic and poetic. Here are curated quotes from Supreme Court cases that I find somewhat timeless and resonating where I may need to stop and contemplate.

Individual Freedom vs General Welfare

Liberty is a blessing without which life is a misery, but liberty should not be made to prevail over authority because then society will fall into anarchy. Individual rights may be subordinated so that general welfare will be achieved. Neither should authority be made to prevail over liberty because then the individual will fall into slavery. The citizen should achieve the required balance of liberty and authority in his mind through education and personal discipline, so that there may be established the resultant equilibrium, which means peace and order and happiness for all. (Calalang v. Williams, 1940)

Rule of Law

A judge must apply the law as it is written, not as he or she wishes it were. – Amy Coney Barrett 

Laws must come out in the open in the clear light of the sun instead of sulking in the shadows with their dark, deep secrets. – Justice Isagani Cruz, Tañada v. Tuvera, 146 SCRA 446, 456 (1986)

Influence of Christianity

The old socio-political-economic philosophy of live-and-let-live is now superseded by the benign Christian shibboleth of live-and-help others to live. Those who profess to be Christians should not adhere to Cain’s selfish affirmation that he is not his brother’s keeper. In this our civilization, each one of us is our brother’s keeper. No man is an island. To assert otherwise is to be as atavistic and ante-diluvian… (Tragedy in Tuba Benguet, FLORESCA VS PHILEX MINING 1985)

Life vs Property

The right to life is more sacred than a mere owning a property. That is not to encourage x x x theft, but merely to dull somewhat the … pain-producing edges of the stark realities of life. (People v Macbul)

Body Language

Observing the demeanor of witnesses is the unique opportunity of the trial courts. Appellate (and the Supreme) courts merely rely on records. Truth is established not by quantity of witnesses but by quality of their testimonies. – LITO CORPUZ vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

Overt Manifestation of Repentance

Plea of guilty is an act of repentance and respect for the law. (People v De La Cruz)


Possession of moral integrity is of greater importance than possession of legal learning. The practice of law is a privilege bestowed only on the morally fit. – (Aguirre v Rana)

With integrity, you have nothing to fear because you have nothing to hide…Integrity, at its minimum, entails compliance with the law. –  Solicitor General Jose Calida (The Republic/Calida v Sereno)


Marriage is not an adventure but a lifetime commitment. …  Regrettably, neither law nor society itself can always provide all the specific answers to every individual problem.  (Republic, Santos v Bedia-Santos, 240 SCRA 20 (1995)

Man has not invented a reliable compass by which to steer a marriage in its journey over troubled waters. Laws are seemingly inadequate. Over time, much reliance has been placed in the works of the unseen hand of Him who created all things. Who is to blame when a marriage fails? – Chi Ming Tsoi v CA

Love is useless unless it is shared with another. Indeed, no man is an island, the cruelest act ~xxx~ is to say “I could not have cared less.” This is so because an ungiven self is an unfulfilled self. The egoist has nothing but himself. – Chi Ming Tsoi v CA

Marriage is a most sacred institution: it is the foundation on which society rests. To cancel it, clear and reliable evidence is needed. – Buccat v Buccat

In the cases referred to in the preceding paragraph, no judgment shall be based upon a stipulation of facts or confession of judgment. (88a)

Faith in Harmony with Law

The purpose of including such provision in our [laws] is to harmonize our civil laws with the religious faith of our people – Republic v Molina

Dishonesty in Relationships

Statistics never lie, but lovers often do, quipped a sage. This sad truth has unsettled many a love transformed into matrimony. Any sort of deception between spouses, no matter the gravity, is always disquieting. Deceit to the depth and breadth unveiled in the following pages, dark and irrational as in the modern noir tale, dims any trace of certitude on the guilty spouse’s capability to fulfill the marital obligations even more. – Antonio v Reyes

On Long-Distance Relationships

And although absence can indeed make the heart grow fonder, the opposite can just as well be true: out of sight, out of mind. (Bier v. Bier, G.R. No. 173294)

On “Literal Interpretation” Sometimes Kills

When Samson (his long hair cut by Delilah) was captured, the procurator placed an iron rod burning white-hot two or three inches away from in front of Samson’s eyes. This blinded the man. Upon hearing of what had happened to her beloved, Delilah was beside herself with anger, and fuming with righteous fury, accused the procurator of reneging on his word. The procurator calmly replied: “Did any blade touch his skin? Did any blood flow from his veins?” The procurator was clearly relying on the letter, not the spirit of the agreement. Hence, the legal maxim: “We must interpret not by the letter that killeth, but by the spirit that giveth life.” – (Cayetano vs. Monsod)

“Idolatrous reverence” for the letter of the law sacrifices the human being. The spirit of the law insures man’s survival and ennobles him. In the words of Shakespeare, “the letter of the law killeth; its spirit giveth life.” – FLORESCA VS PHILEX MINING (1985)

Technicalities must be an aid to justice not its enemy. – Gan vs Reyes


“A bad lawyer is one who fails to spot problems, a good lawyer is one who perceives the difficulties, and the excellent lawyer is one who surmounts them.” – Harvard’sBruce Wasserstein

Spirit of Slavery

Only ruthless, unfeeling capitalistics and egoistic reactionaries continue to pay obeisance to such un-Christian doctrine (in Prisley v Fowler)…. it humiliates man and debases him; … refers to the lowly worker as “servant” and utilizes with aristocratic arrogance “master” for “employer.” It robs man of his inherent dignity and dehumanizes him… This is the very selfish doctrine that provoked the American Civil War which generated so much hatred and drew so much precious blood…”  (Tragedy in Tuba Benguet, FLORESCA VS PHILEX MINING 1985)

Illegitimate Children

“The child is one of the most important assets of the nation. It is thus important we be careful in rearing the children even so if they are illegitimates, as in this case. – 

Differences and Respect

One unavoidable consequence of everyone having the freedom to choose is that others may make different choices – choices we would not make for ourselves, choices we may disapprove of, even choices that may shock or offend or anger us. However, choices are not to be legally prohibited merely because they are different, and the right to disagree and debate about important questions of public policy is a core value protected by our Bill of Rights. Indeed, our democracy is built on genuine recognition of, and respect for, diversity and difference in opinion. – Justice Del Castillo in Ang Ladlad vs COMELEC

Law, Secularity, and Religion

A law must have an articulable and discernible secular purpose and justification to pass the scrutiny of the religion clauses. – Justice Del Castillo in Ang Ladlad vs COMELEC

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