Our Rights to Sue
by Atty. Karissa Tolentino

1. The right to seek redress of a wrongWe all have rights - those inherent to us as humans and those granted by our Constitution and other laws. The first are called human rights, the second Constitutional rights, and the third is classified as statutory rights. As civilized society, we live by a set of rules in order to maintain harmony. When one commits an act that violates the right of another person, the harmony that we seek to maintain becomes disturbed and in order to restore the balance, the offended party is given the right to seek redress for the wrong done or to enforce a right granted to him. Read : Article 19 of the Constitution.

2 When does our right to action begin?

Section 1 of Rule 2 of the 1997 Rules of Court provides that “every ordinary civil action must be based on a cause of action.” In other words, we have to have cause (a reason) before we can file an action (in lay terms, a case). But what is a cause of action? To define it, we have to look into its elements. The essential elements of a cause of actions are (1) a right in favor of the plaintiff by whatever means and under whatever law it arises or is created; (2) an obligation on the part of the named defendant to respect or not to violate such right; and (3) an act or omission on the part of such defendant in violation of the right of the plaintiff or constituting a breach of the obligation of the defendant to the plaintiff for which the latter may maintain an action for recovery of damages or other appropriate relief. (SOLOIL Inc v. PCA, G.R. No. 174806, August 11, 2010) Simply put, you have an actionable case ( you can sue another) if another person violates your right or when you want to enforce a right. In either case, you go to court so that you can obtain the proper judgment.

3 How does this affect us?

It is important to know that we need NOT take the law into our own hands. We have a procedure if you want reparation from the wrong you experience or when you want to enforce your right against others. Taking legal matters into our own hands will most likely create more problems than solutions. However, you are the best judge of your situation. If you think you can settle disputes in the most sensible manner, then that would be a win-win situation.

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