Chapter 1: Provisional Measures in Case of Absence (Title XIV, Book I, Civil Code

Note: The following are annotations or notes on legal provisions. They are intended to be as a helping guide to better understanding the law. They are, however, not sources of law nor authorities. (Please refer to our full Disclaimer.)

Article 381. When a person disappears from his domicile, his whereabouts being unknown, and without leaving an agent to administer his property, the judge, at the instance of an interested party, a relative, or a friend, may appoint a person to represent him in all that may be necessary.
This same rule shall be observed when under similar circumstances the power conferred by the absentee has expired. (181a)
Article 382. The appointment referred to in the preceding article having been made, the judge shall take the necessary measures to safeguard the rights and interests of the absentee and shall specify the powers, obligations and remuneration of his representative, regulating them, according to the circumstances, by the rules concerning guardians. (182)
Article 383. In the appointment of a representative, the spouse present shall be preferred when there is no legal separation.
If the absentee left no spouse, or if the spouse present is a minor, any competent person may be appointed by the court. (183a)


1) Definitions.

a. Absentees – refers to individuals or natural persons who have disappeared from their domicile with their whereabouts are unknown and there is no agent to administer their property. (Civil Code, Article 381)

b. Interested party – for absentee purposes, refers to any person who may have any interest on the person and/or the property/business of the absentee.

c. Relative – for absentee purposes, refers to individuals or natural persons who are related by blood to the absentee. (NB: The provision did not specify whether it is limited to the third or fourth civil degree.)

d. Friend – for absentee purposes, refers to any individuals or natural persons who have a good, trusted, and friendly relationship with the absentee. (NB: For practical purposes, the judge may require that the petitioner-friend show some proof of the friendship, such as shared history with the absentee – e.g. neighbors, went to same school, worked at same companies, etc.)

2) Rules on court-appointed representatives of absentees.

a. Who may file the petition. The petition for court-appointment of a representative of an absentee  may be initiated by:

(a) Interested party;

(b) Relative; or

(c) Friend.

b. Appointment by a court. The judge may act on the petition by appointing a representative for the absentee.

c. Safeguards. In issuing court orders, the judge shall take the necessary measures to safeguard the rights and interests of absentee, such as:

(1) Specifying the powers of the representatives;

(2) Listing the obligations of the representatives;

(3) Providing for the remuneration of the representatives;

(4) Regulating the powers, obligations, and remuneration according to the circumstances following the rules on guardianship.

d. Order of priority in choosing representative. The following is the order of priority in choosing a court-appointed representative for an absentee:

(1) Spouse – preferred, unless there is a legal separation; or

(2) Any competent person.

NB: Even if there is a legal separation, it is still possible for a spouse to be designated as the court-appointed person as the spouse may still qualify as a competent person. There is only preference for a spouse if there is no legal separation; it does not completely rule out the spouse. However, if there is legal separation, the spouse stands in the same footing with any other competent person when the court is deciding.


• Title XIV – Absence, Book I, Civil Code


/Updated: April 23, 2023

Disclaimer: All information is for educational and general information only. These should not be taken as professional legal advice or opinion. Please consult a competent lawyer to address your specific concerns. Any statements or opinions of the author are solely his own and do not reflect that of any organization he may be connected.

Top Read

Parental Authority

1. GENERAL PROVISIONS Scope and extent of parental authority. Pursuant to the natural right and duty of parents over the person and property of their

Succession in general

1. DEFINTIONS Succession. Succession – is a mode of acquisition by virtue of which the property, rights and obligations to the extent of the value

Video Lessons

Legal Maxims

verba legis non est recedendum

Latin maxim. • “from the words of a statute there should be no departure” (Chavez v. JBC, En Banc, G.R. No. 202242, July 17, 2012)

delegatus non potest delegare

Latin maxim. • “that a delegated power may not be further delegated by the person to whom such power is delegated, and that in all

Suggested Answers to Bar Exam Questions

Read more


Anti-Carnapping Act

“Body building” – refers to a job undertaken on a motor vehicle in order to replace its entire body with a new body. (Section 2[a],

You cannot copy content of this page