General provisions – Obligations Law

1. Concepts

An “obligation” – refers to the juridical necessity to give, to do or not to do. (Article 1156, Civil Code)

2. Elements of an obligation

The obligation is constituted upon the concurrence of these essential elements:

1) The vinculum juris or juridical tie which is the efficient cause established by the various sources of obligations (law, contracts, quasi-contracts, delicts and quasi-delicts);

2) The object which is the prestation or conduct, required to be observed (to give, to do or not to do); and

3) The subject-persons who, viewed from the demandability of the obligation, are the active (obligee) and the passive (obligor) subjects. (The Wellex Group, Inc. v. U-Land Airlines, Co., Ltd., G.R. No. 167519, 14 January 2015)

a. Vinculum juris

“Vinculum juris” – refers to the legal tie that creates a legal relationship between the parties resulting in rights and obligations against each other.

b. Object

The “object” – refers to the conduct that is the subject of the obligation, such as the obligation to give, to do or not to do.

The object of an obligation may also be referred to as prestation in the context of contractual obligations.

c. Subject persons

1) Active subject

The “active subject” – refers to the person who has the right to demand the performance of an obligation against another person.

The active subject may be a creditor or an obligee.

2) Passive subject

The “passive subject” – refers to the person who is under an obligation to give, to do or not to do, in favor of another person.

The passive subject may be a debtor or an obligor.

3. Sources of obligations

The following are the sources of obligations:

1) Law;

2) Contracts;

3) Quasi-contracts;

4) Acts or omissions punished by law; and

5) Quasi-delicts. (Article 1157, Civil Code.)

a. Law

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 Book IV of the Civil Code. (Article 1158, Ibid.)

b. Contracts

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

c. Quasi-contracts

Obligations derived from quasi-contracts shall be subject to the provisions of Chapter 1, Title XVII, of Book IV of the Civil Code.(Article 1160, Ibid.)

d. Punishable by law

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 Book IV of the Civil Code, regulating damages. (Article 1161, Ibid.)

e. Quasi-delict

Obligations derived from quasi-delicts shall be governed by the provisions of Chapter 2, Title XVII of Book IV of the Civil Code, and by special laws.(Article 1162, Ibid.)


⦁ Book IV, Republic Act No. 386, Civil Code

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