General Provisions of Obligations

Based on the Book IV Title I (Obligations) Chapter 1: General provisions of obligations of the Civil Code of the Philippines. For the full codal provision you may visit Obligations and Contracts.
Civil Code Art. 1156-1162.

What is an Obligation?

Philippine Civil Code Article 1156 defines obligation as a juridical necessity to give, to do, or not to do.

Although, the civil code didn’t mention the specific type of obligation, the specific type of obligation being defined by Art. 1156 is a civil obligation.

Examples of Civil Obligations

Obligation to pay your tuition fee at school (to give)
Obligation of a parent to take care of their children (to do)
Obligation of anyone not to steal (not to do)

Why civil obligation is a juridical necessity?

In case of non-compliance, the courts of justice may be called upon to enforce its fulfillment or, in default thereof, the economic value that it represents.

NOT a juridical necessity (therefore NOT civil obligations)

  1. Your obligation to attend masses (moral obligation)
  2. To pay back your debt of gratitude (natural obligation)

Essential Requisites

  1. Passive subject (Obligor) – person who is bound to the fulfillment of the obligation
  2. Active subject (Obligee) – person who is entitled to demand the fulfillment of the obligation
  3. Prestation/Object/Subject Matter – conduct required to be observed by the debtor (It may consist in giving, doing, or not doing)
  4. Juridical tie/Vinculum/Vinculum juris – binds or connects the parties to the obligation

Obligations, Right, Cause of Action (Wrong)

  • Obligation – juridical necessity to give, to do, or not to do
  • Right – the power which a person has under the law, to demand from another any presentation
  • Cause of Action – act or omission which violates a right

Injury, Damage, and Damages

  • Injury – act or omission which causes harm
  • Damage – the harm done to a party
  • Damages – the sum of money recoverable by reason of damage done

Sources of Obligations

  • Law – when imposed by the law itself
  • Contracts –  a contract is a meeting of minds between two persons whereby one binds himself, with respect to the other, to give something or to render some service.
  • Quasi-contracts – a quasi-contract is that juridical relation resulting from certain lawful, voluntary and unilateral acts by virtue of which the parties become bound to each other to the end that no one will be unjustly enriched or benefited at the expense of another.
  • Acts or omissions punished by law – also known as crime or felony; unlike other sources of obligations, delicts produce both criminal and civil liabilities
  • Quasi-delicts – also known as tort or culpa; this is an act or omission by one party which causes damage to another party wherein there is no pre-existing contract.

Scope of Civil Liabilities in Delicts

  1. Restitution – the restitution of the thing itself must be made whenever possible, with allowance for any deterioration, or diminution of value as determined by the court
  2. Reparation for the damage caused – court shall determine the amount of damage, taking into consideration the price of the thing, whenever possible, and its special sentimental value to the injured party and reparation shall be made accordingly
  3. Indemnification for consequential damages – Indemnification for consequential damages shall include not only those caused the injured party, but also those suffered by his family or by a third person by reason of the crime



ARTICLE 1156. An obligation is a juridical necessity to give, to do or not to do. (n)

ARTICLE 1157. Obligations arise from:

(1) Law;

(2) Contracts;

(3) Quasi-contracts;

(4) Acts or omissions punished by law; and

(5) Quasi-delicts. (1089a)

ARTICLE 1158. Obligations derived from law are not presumed. Only those expressly determined in this Code or in special laws are demandable, and shall be regulated by the precepts of the law which establishes them; and as to what has not been foreseen, by the provisions of this Book. (1090)

ARTICLE 1159. Obligations arising from contracts have the force of law between the contracting parties and should be complied with in good faith. (1091a)

ARTICLE 1160. Obligations derived from quasi-contracts shall be subject to the provisions of Chapter 1, Title XVII, of this Book. (n)

ARTICLE 1161. Civil obligations arising from criminal offenses shall be governed by the penal laws, subject to the provisions of article 2177, and of the pertinent provisions of Chapter 2, Preliminary Title, on Human Relations, and of Title XVIII of this Book, regulating damages. (1092a)

ARTICLE 1162. Obligations derived from quasi-delicts shall be governed by the provisions of Chapter 2, Title XVII of this Book, and by special laws. (1093a)

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