"I chose to go to law school because I thought that someday, somehow I'd make a difference." -A.

September 29, 2016

Tayag vs. Lacson

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  • In March 1996 a group of farmer-tenants on three parcels of land owned by the Lacsons assigned to petitioner Tayag their rights as tenants/tillers for p50/sqm. 
  • The said amount would be payable “when the legal impediments to the sale of the property to the petitioner no longer existed.” Tayag would have exclusive rights to purchase the property if and when the Lacsons agreed to sell the property. 
  • Tayag gave varied sums of money to the farmers as partial payments, and the farmers issued receipts. 
  • Sometime later Tayag discovered that the farmers changed their minds and would be selling their rights to the Lacsons instead, prompting Tayag to pray for Injunction against the farmers and Lacson.
  • In their defense, the Lacsons claimed that they did not induce the farmers to violate their contracts with Tayag, and that since the farmers were merely tenants, they had no right to enter into any transactions involving Lacson properties without the owners’ consent. 

Issue: WON there was a valid option contract between Tayag and the farmers by virtue of the deeds of assignment. NO


Option contract defined 
An option is a contract by which the owner of the property agrees with another person that he shall have the right to buy his property at a fixed price within a certain time or under, or in compliance with certain terms and conditions, or which gives to the owner of the property the right to sell or demand a sale. It imposes no binding obligation on the person holding the option, aside from the consideration for the offer. Until accepted, it is not, properly speaking, treated as a contract.

The second party gets in praesenti, not lands, not an agreement that he shall have the lands, but the right to call for and receive lands if he elects.

Until accepted, it is not, properly speaking, treated as a contract. An option contract is a separate and distinct contract from which the parties may enter into upon the conjunction of the option.

Farmers had no right to grant Tayag the option/right to buy the property as they were merely tenants
In this case, the defendants-tenants-subtenants, under the deeds of assignment, granted to the petitioner not only an option but the exclusive right to buy the landholding. But the grantors were merely the defendants-tenants, and not the respondents, the registered owners of the property. Not being the registered owners of the property, the defendants-tenants could not legally grant to the petitioner the option, much less the "exclusive right" to buy the property. Nemo dat quod non habet, literally meaning "no one gives what he doesn't have" applies in this case.

Deeds of Assignment not valid; conditions stipulated did not arise
The full payment of 50/sqm under Tayag and the farmers’ ‘’option contracts’ were on the following conditions:
- that the Lacsons would agree to sell their property
- that the deeds of assignment were subject to the approval of DAR
- that there was a prohibitive period within which the farmers were able to sell their interest in the land

There is no showing in Tayag’s complaint that the farmers had agreed to sell their property, and that the legal impediments to the agreement no longer existed. They had yet to submit the Deeds of Assignment to the Department of Agrarian Reform which, in turn, had to act on and approve or disapprove the same. Unless the DAR approves the deeds, Tayag has no right to enforce the same by asking the trial court to fix a period within which to pay.

  • G.R. No. 134971 
  • March 25, 2004
  • HERMINIO TAYAG, petitioner,

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RP vs. Heirs of Felipe Alejaga Sr.

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  • December 28, 1978: Respondent Felibe Alejaga Sr. filed with the District Land Office of Roxas City a Free Patent Application of a parcel of land. (.3899 hectares, Roxas City)
  • Efren Recio,  Land Inspector, submitted the necessary report regarding the application. (Investigation & Verification Report)
  • March 14, 1979: The District Land Officer (DLO) approved the application and the issuance of a Free Patent to the applicant. It was then forwarded to Register of Deeds for the registration and issuance of a OCT. 
  • Thereafter, Original Certificate of Title and a Free Patent No. (VI-2) 3358 was issued to Alejaga.
  • April 4, 1979: The heirs of Ignacio Arrobang requested the Director of Lands of Manial for the investigation of DLO (conducted by Isagani Cartagena) in Roxas for the irregularities in the issuance of a title of a foreshore land in favor of Alejaga. 
  • After investigation, the Land Management Bureau of Manila requested the Director of Lands to cancel the Free Patent and the corresponding OCT.
  • In the meantime, Alejaga obtained a NACIDA loan. The loan was secured by a real estate mortgage to PNB.
  • April 18, 1990: The government through the Solicitor General instituted an action for Annulment/Cancellation of Patent and Title and Reversion against respondent Alejaga, the PNB of Roxas City and defendant Register of Deeds of Roxas City covering Free Patent Application of the land. While the case was pending, Alejaga was substituted by his heirs.
  • RTC ruled against responding saying that the OCT and Patent were obtained through fraud and misrepresentation. Hence, null and void. CA reversed RTC’s ruling.

1. WON there was fraud in the issuance of the OCT and Free Patent. YES 
(Topic: PATENT)
2. WON the State has an imprescriptible right to cause the reversion of a piece of property belonging to the public domain. YES



Fraud attended the application of Free Patent
Republic (petitioner) has adduced a preponderance of evidence before the trial court, showing manifest fraud in procuring the patent. This Court agrees with the RTC that in obtaining a free patent over the lot under scrutiny, petitioner had resorted to misrepresentation or fraud, signs of which were ignored by the Court of Appeals.

First reason: Issuance of the free patent was not made in accordance with the law 
First, the issuance of the free patent was not made in accordance with the procedure laid down by CA or the Public Land Act. Under Section 91 thereof, an investigation should be conducted for the purpose of ascertaining whether the material facts set out in the application are true.

Further, after the filing of the application, the law requires sufficient notice to the municipality and the barrio where the land is located, in order to give adverse claimants the opportunity to present their claims. Note that this notice and the verification and investigation of the parcel of land are to be conducted after an application for free patent has been filed with the Bureau of Lands.

There was no proper investigation and verification of the application
In this case, however, Felipe Alejaga Sr.’s Application for Free Patent was dated and filed on December 28, 1978. On the other hand, the Investigation & Verification Report prepared by Land Inspector Elfren L. Recio of the District Land Office of the Bureau of Lands of Roxas City was dated December 27, 1978. 

As correctly pointed out by the trial court, investigation and verification should have been done only after the filing of the application. Hence, it would have been highly anomalous for Recio (Land Inspector) to conduct his own investigation and verification on December 27, 1998, a day before Felipe Alejaga Sr. filed the Application for Free Patent.

Second reason: The claim of the Alejagas that an actual investigation was conducted is not sustained by the Verification & Investigation Report itself, which bears no signature.
Their reliance on the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty31 is thus misplaced. Since Recio’s signature does not appear on the December 27, 1978 Report, there can be no presumption that an investigation and verification of the parcel of land was actually conducted. Strangely, respondents do not proffer any explanation why the Verification & Investigation Report was not signed by Recio. Even more important and as will later on be explained, this alleged presumption of regularity -- assuming it ever existed -- is overcome by the evidence presented by petitioner.

Third reason: The the report of Special Investigator Isagani P. Cartagena has not been successfully rebutted. 
In that report, Recio supposedly admitted that he had not actually conducted an investigation and ocular inspection of the parcel of land. Cartagena’s statement on Recio’s alleged admission may be considered as "independently relevant." A witness may testify as to the state of mind of another person -- the latter’s knowledge, belief, or good or bad faith -- and the former’s statements may then be regarded as independently relevant without violating the hearsay rule.

Doctrine of independently relevant statements
The doctrine on independently relevant statements holds that conversations communicated to a witness by a third person may be admitted as proof that, regardless of their truth or falsity, they were actually made. Evidence as to the making of such statements is not secondary but primary, for in itself it (a) constitutes a fact in issue or (b) is circumstantially relevant to the existence of such fact.

Since Cartagena’s testimony was based on the report of the investigation he had conducted, his testimony was not hearsay and was, hence, properly admitted by the trial court.

The Free Patent was void (The issuance of the Alejagas’ patent and title was tainted with fraud)
There are several badges of frauds (check the list above). Thus, the free patent granted to Felipe Alejaga Sr. is void. Such fraud is a ground for impugning the validity of the Certificate of Title. The invalidity of the patent is sufficient basis for nullifying the Certificate of Title issued in consequence thereof, since the latter is merely evidence of the former. 


Titles obtained by fraud and misrepresentation are not indefeasible; Patent does not vest title it merely confirmed registrant’s existing one
True, once a patent is registered and the corresponding certificate of title issued, the land covered by them ceases to be part of the public domain and becomes private property. Further, the Torrens Title issued pursuant to the patent becomes indefeasible a year after the issuance of the latter.

However, this indefeasibility of a title does not attach to titles secured by fraud and misrepresentation. Well-settled is the doctrine that the registration of a patent under the Torrens System does not by itself vest title; it merely confirms the registrant’s already existing one. Verily, registration under the Torrens System is not a mode of acquiring ownership.

The State may still bring an action for reversion even after the lapse of one year
Therefore, under Section 101 of Commonwealth Act No. 141, the State -- even after the lapse of one year -- may still bring an action for the reversion to the public domain of land that has been fraudulently granted to private individuals. Further, this indefeasibility cannot be a bar to an investigation by the State as to how the title has been acquired, if the purpose of the investigation is to determine whether fraud has in fact been committed in securing the title.

Prohibition Against Alienation or Encumbrance
Assuming arguendo that the Alejagas’ title was validly issued, there is another basis for the cancellation of the grant and the reversion of the land to the public domain. Section 118 of Commonwealth Act No. 14156 proscribes the encumbrance of a parcel of land acquired under a free patent or homestead within five years from its grant. The prohibition against any alienation or encumbrance of the land grant is a proviso attached to the approval of every application.

The mortgage of the land (granted under free patent) violated Section118 of Public Land Act
In the case at bar, Free Patent No. 335860 was approved and issued on March 14, 1979. Corresponding Original Certificate of Title No. P-1561 was issued on the same date. On August 18, 1981, or two (2) years after the grant of the free patent, Felipe Alejaga Sr. obtained from Respondent PNB a loan in the amount of P100,000. Despite the statement on the title certificate itself that the land granted under the free patent shall be inalienable for five (5) years from the grant, a real estate mortgage was nonetheless constituted on the parcel of land covered by OCT No. P-15.

Thus, the mortgage executed by Respondent Felipe Alejaga Sr. falls squarely within the term encumbrance proscribed by Section 118 of the Public Land Act. A mortgage constitutes a legal limitation on the estate, and the foreclosure of the mortgage would necessarily result in the auction of the property.

Reason for prohibition against encumbrance
"It is well-known that the homestead laws were designed to distribute disposable agricultural lots of the State to land-destitute citizens for their home and cultivation. Pursuant to such benevolent intention the State prohibits the sale or encumbrance of the homestead (Section 116) within five years after the grant of the patent."

Mortgage over a parcel of land acquired through a free patent grant nullifies the award and constitutes a cause for the reversion of the property to the state
"SEC. 124. Any acquisition, conveyance, alienation, transfer, or other contract made or executed in violation of any of the provisions of sections one hundred and eighteen, one hundred and twenty, one hundred and twenty-one, one hundred and twenty-two, and one hundred and twenty-three of this Act shall be unlawful and null and void from its execution and shall produce the effect of annulling and canceling the grant, title, patent, or permit originally issued, recognized or confirmed, actually or presumptively, and cause the reversion of the property and its improvements to the State."

The foregoing legal provisions clearly proscribe the encumbrance of a parcel of land acquired under a free patent or homestead within five years from the grant of such patent. Furthermore, such encumbrance results in the cancellation of the grant and the reversion of the land to the public domain.

Since Alejaga violated the condition of the free patent, the property must revert back to the public domain
To comply with the condition for the grant of the free patent, within five years from its issuance, Felipe Alejaga Sr. should not have encumbered the parcel land granted to him. The mortgage he made over the land violated that condition. Hence, the property must necessarily revert to the public domain, pursuant to Section 124 of the Public Land Act.

  • G.R. No. 146030           
  • December 3, 2002 

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September 27, 2016

Reyes vs. Sisters of Mercy

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  • Jorge Reyes has been suffering from recurring fever with chills for around days.
  • Home medication afforded him no relief so he went to Mercy Community Clinic. He was then attended by Dr. Marlyn Rico.
  • Since typhoid fever was common at that time, the Widal test was performed and he was found positive for typhoid.
  • Thereafter, Dr. Marlyn Rico indorse Jorge Reyes to Dr. Marvie Blanes. 
  • Suspecting that that Jorge had typhoid fever, Dr. Marvie Blanes ordered that Jorge be tested for compatibility with chloromycetin, an antibiotic. Such test was conducted by Nurse Pagente.
  • As there was no adverse reaction, Dr. Blanes administered 500 mg of the antibiotic. Another dose was given 3 hours later.
  • Subsequently, Jorge Reyes developed high fever and experienced vomiting and convulsions. He then turned blue due to deficiency in oxygen – cyanosis – and died. The cause of death was stated to be “ventricular arrhythmia secondary to hyperpyrexia and typhoid fever.”
  • The heirs of Reyes filed with the RTC a complaint for damages against Sisters of Mercy, Sister Rose Palacio, Dr. Blanes, Dr. Rico and Mercy Community Clinic contending that the death of Jorge was due to the wrongful administration of chloromycetin. (NOTE: Petitioner’s action is for medical malpractice.)
  • RTC ruled in favor of the respondents. The CA affirmed in toto the RTC decision. Hence, this appeal.
  • Petitioners contend that:
    • Dr. Marlyn Rico hastily and erroneously relied upon the Widal test, diagnosed Jorge’s illness as typhoid fever, and immediately prescribed the administration of the antibiotic chloromycetin
    • Dr. Marvie Blanes erred in ordering the administration of the second dose of 500 milligrams of chloromycetin barely 3 hours after the first was given.
  • Testimony presented: That of Dr. Apolinar Vacalares, (Chief Pathologist of the Northern Mindanao Training Hospital) who performed an autopsy on the body – Dr. Vacalares testified that Reyes did not die of typhoid fever but of shock undetermined, which could be due to allergic reaction or chloromycetin overdose. 

Issue: WON there was medical malpractice. NO


Dr. Apolinar Vacalares is not a specialist of typhoid fever and he is thus not qualified to prove that Dr. Marlyn Rico erred in her diagnosis.
While petitioners presented Dr. Apolinar Vacalares as an expert witness, we do not find him to be so as he is not a specialist on infectious diseases like typhoid fever. Furthermore, although he may have had extensive experience in performing autopsies, he admitted that he had yet to do one on the body of a typhoid victim at the time he conducted the postmortem on Jorge Reyes. It is also plain from his testimony that he has treated only about three cases of typhoid fever.

The two doctors presented by respondents clearly were experts on the subject
They vouched for the correctness of Dr. Marlyn Rico’s diagnosis. Dr. Peter Gotiong, a diplomate whose specialization is infectious diseases and microbiology and an associate professor at the Southwestern University College of Medicine and the Gullas College of Medicine, testified that he has already treated over a thousand cases of typhoid fever.

According to him, when a case of typhoid fever is suspected, the Widal test is normally used, and if the 1:320 results of the Widal test on Jorge Reyes had been presented to him along with the patient’s history, his impression would also be that the patient was suffering from typhoid fever. As to the treatment of the disease, he stated that chloromycetin was the drug of choice. He also explained that despite the measures taken by respondent doctors and the intravenous administration of two doses of chloromycetin, complications of the disease could not be discounted.

Respondents also presented the testimony of Dr. Ibarra T. Panopio who is a member of the Philippine and American Board of Pathology, an examiner of the Philippine Board of Pathology, and chief pathologist at the MetroCebu Community Hospital, Perpetual Succor Hospital, and the Andres Soriano Jr. Memorial Medical Center. 

He stated that, as a clinical pathologist, he recognized that the Widal test is used for typhoid patients, although he did not encourage its use because a single test would only give a presumption necessitating that the test be repeated, becoming more conclusive at the second and third weeks of the disease.

He corroborated Dr. Gotiong’s testimony that the danger with typhoid fever is really the possible complications which could develop like perforation, hemorrhage, as well as liver and cerebral complications.

Dr. Rico was not negligent in administering the 2 doses of 500 g of chloromycetin
The chloromycetin was likewise a proper prescription is best established by medical authority. Even if the deceased suffered from an anaphylactic shock, this, of itself, would not yet establish the negligence of the appellee-physicians for all that the law requires of them is that they perform the standard tests and perform standard procedures. The law cannot require them to predict every possible reaction to all drugs administered.

The practice of medicine requires the highest degree of diligence
The practice of medicine is a profession engaged in only by qualified individuals. It is a right earned through years of education, training, and by first obtaining a license from the state through professional board examinations. Such license may, at any time and for cause, be revoked by the government. In addition to state regulation, the conduct of doctors is also strictly governed by the Hippocratic Oath, an ancient code of discipline and ethical rules which doctors have imposed upon themselves in recognition and acceptance of their great responsibility to society. Given these safeguards, there is no need to expressly require of doctors the observance of “extraordinary” diligence. 

As it is now, the practice of medicine is already conditioned upon the highest degree of diligence. And, as we have already noted, the standard contemplated for doctors is simply the reasonable average merit among ordinarily good physicians. That is reasonable diligence for doctors or, as the Court of Appeals called it, the reasonable “skill and competence . . . that a physician in the same or similar locality . . . should apply.”

There are thus four elements involved in medical negligence cases, namely: duty, breach, injury, and proximate causation
Petitioner’s action is for medical malpractice. This is a particular form of negligence which consists in the failure of a physician or surgeon to apply to his practice of medicine that degree of care and skill which is ordinarily employed by the profession generally, under similar conditions, and in like surrounding circumstances.

In order to successfully pursue such a claim, a patient must prove that the physician or surgeon either failed to do something which a reasonably prudent physician or surgeon would have done, or that he or she did something that a reasonably prudent physician or surgeon would not have done, and that the failure or action caused injury to the patient. 

The doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitor is not applicable in this case.

Was there a physician-patient relationship between the respondent doctors and Jorge Reyes? Yes.
Respondents were thus duty-bound to use at least the same level of care that any reasonably competent doctor would use to treat a condition under the same circumstances. It is breach of this duty which constitutes actionable malpractice.

As to this aspect of medical malpractice, the determination of the reasonable level of care and the breach thereof, expert testimony is essential. Inasmuch as the causes of the injuries involved in malpractice actions are determinable only in the light of scientific knowledge, it has been recognized that expert testimony is usually necessary to support the conclusion as to causation.

The doctrine of res ipsa loquitor is not applicable in the case at bar
Though expert testimony is usually needed to prove malpractice, where common knowledge and experience teach that the injury would not have occurred if due care had been exercised, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur can be invoked to establish negligence.  

Hence, in cases where the res ipsa loquitur is applicable, the court is permitted to find a physician negligent upon proper proof of injury to the patient, without the aid of expert testimony, where the court from its fund of common knowledge can determine the proper standard of care. Where common knowledge and experience teach that a resulting injury would not have occurred to the patient if due care had been exercised, an inference of negligence may be drawn giving rise to an application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur without medical evidence, which is ordinarily required to show not only what occurred but how and why it occurred. 

When the doctrine is appropriate, all that the patient must do is prove a nexus between the particular act or omission complained of and the injury sustained while under the custody and management of the defendant without need to produce expert medical testimony to establish the standard of care.

There is nothing unusual about the death of Jorge Reyes (absence of 1st requisite that the accident was of a kind which does not ordinarily occur unless someone is negligent)
In this case, while it is true that the patient died just a few hours after professional medical assistance was rendered, there is really nothing unusual or extraordinary about his death. 

Prior to his admission, the patient already had recurring fevers and chills for five days unrelieved by the analgesic, antipyretic, and antibiotics given him by his wife. This shows that he had been suffering from a serious illness and professional medical help came too late for him. 

It must be conceded that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur can have no application in a suit against a physician or a surgeon which involves the merits of a diagnosis or of a scientific treatment. The physician or surgeon is not required at his peril to explain why any particular diagnosis was not correct, or why any particular scientific treatment did not produce the desired result.

  • G.R. No. 130547
  • October 3, 2000
  • LEAH ALESNA REYES, ROSE NAHDJA, JOHNNY, and minors LLOYD and KRISTINE, all surnamed REYES, represented by their mother, LEAH ALESNA REYES, petitioners, vs. SISTERS OF MERCY HOSPITAL, SISTER ROSE PALACIO, DR. MARVIE BLANES, and DR. MARLYN RICO, respondents.

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September 26, 2016

Nordic Asia vs. CA

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  • This case involves two cases.
  • The first case was an extrajudicial foreclosure of property instituted by Nordic Asia against Sextant Maritime for the latter’s failure in paying a loan.
  • The second case was a collection case filed by Nam Ung Maritime and 27 crew members against Sextant Maritime for recovery of unpaid wages, overtime pay and other benefits. The crew members here were able to cause the attachment of the vessel.
  • Upon learning of the collection case, Nordic Asia thereafter filed a motion for leave to intervene in the said case. 
  • It alleged that they hold a mortgage over the vessel and that their intervention is only for the purpose of opposing the crew members' unfounded and grossly exaggerated claim. 
  • RTC granted the said motion. (NOTE: the attachment of the vessel was discharged after Nordic put up a counterbound)
  • The lower court ruled Nordic Asia has no right to intervene because its complaint-in-intervention failed to state a cause of action and that the requisites for intervention are not present.

Issue: WON the complaint-in-intervention filed by Nordic Asia was proper. NO


The Supreme Court ruled in the negative. It enumerated the two requirements for intervention; namely:
[a] legal interest in the matter in litigation; and 
[b]consideration must be given as to whether the adjudication of the rights of the original parties may be delayed or prejudiced, or whether the intervenor's rights may be protected in a separate proceeding or not.

In this case, Nordic Asia failed to meet the requirements.

As to the first requirement, the SC said that: Legal interest, which entitles a person to intervene, must be in the matter in litigation and of such direct and immediate character that the intervenor will either gain or lose by direct legal operation and effect of the judgment.

Nordic Asia, being co-creditors, are not the parties liable for the claims of Nam Ung and the crew members. Also, their remedies as unpaid mortgagees remain preserved as the collection case will not preclude the foreclosure of the vessel. Therefore, the collection case has no “direct” effect on the petitioners.

As to the second requisite, Nordic Asis’a rights were already protected through the extrajudicial foreclosure proceeding while on the other hand, the rights of Nam Ung and crew members have been unduly delayed or prejudiced. It was noted by the SC that the decision of the RTC in favor of Nam Ung and crew members never attained finality even if the actual judgment obligors (Sextant) neverf filed an appeal. Clearly, the only parties prolonging the collection case are the intervenors or Nordic Asia.

Re: intervention pro interesse suo *citing Int’l. Banking Corp vs. Corrales case (a lien or statutory right of preference clothed the intervenor with an interest in the subject-matter in litigation) and Joaquin Herrera (intervention pro interesse suo is a mode of intervention wherein a stranger desires to intervene for the purpose of asserting a property right which is the subject matter of litigation without becoming a formal plaintiff or defendant)

As to the argument of Nordic Asia that its intervention was in the nature of an intervention pro interesse suo, the SC said that:
In the International Banking Corp. case, intervention was allowed because the intervenor had a superior right of preference over the subject property and he had sought to enforce his own claims against the defendant and to foreclose on the said subject property. 
o Nordic prayed in this casethat they be allowed to intervene, on the basis of their secondary right as unpaid mortgagees, merely to oppose the claims of respondents and not for the purpose of enforcing their own claims.
In the Joaquin case, the plaintiff sought to compel the local officials of Caloocan to issue a cockpit license to him. A third party intervened to oppose the plaintiff's application and to assert his own right by asking that the cockpit license be issued to him instead. 
o In this case, Nordic wanted only to oppose the claims of respondents without asserting their unpaid mortgage.

o Legal interest, which entitles a person to intervene, must be in the matter in litigation and of such direct and immediate character that the intervenor will either gain or lose by direct legal operation and effect of the judgment.
o Mortgagee – Nordic Asia
o Mortagagor – Sextant Maritime

  • G.R. No. 111159             
  • July 13, 2004
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Q & A: Certification Election

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The BUREAU OF LABOR RELATIONS covers the important aspects of labor relations. This department sets the environment for a healthy relationship by making both the employer and the employee aware of their rights and obligations. The BLR fosters an environment where employers and employees can reach a compromise regarding their issues and contribute in policy-making.

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