Nov 4, 2012

Cabanas v Pilapil Digest

1. Florentino Pilapil insured himself and indicated his child to be his sole beneficiary. He likewise indicated that if he dies while the child is still a minor, the proceeds shall be administered by his brother Francisco. Florentino died when the child was only ten years old hence, Francisco took charge of Florentino’s benefits for the child. Meanwhile, the mother of the child Melchora CabaƱas filed a complaint seeking the delivery of the sum of money in her favor and allow herself to be the child’s trustee. Francisco asserted the terms of the insurance policy and contended that as a private contract its terms and obligations must be binding only to the parties and intended beneficiaries.

ISSUE: Whether or not the state may interfere by virtue of “parens patriae” to the terms of the insurance policy?


The Constitution provides for the strengthening of the family as the basic social unit, and that whenever any member thereof such as in the case at bar would be prejudiced and his interest be affected then the judiciary if a litigation has been filed should resolve according to the best interest of that person.

The uncle here should not be the trustee, it should be the mother as she was the immediate relative of the minor child and it is assumed that the mother shows more care towards the child than an uncle.

 It is buttressed by its adherence to the concept that the judiciary, as an agency of the State acting as parens patriae, is called upon whenever a pending suit of litigation affects one who is a minor to accord priority to his best interest. It may happen, family relations may press their respective claims. It would be more in consonance not only with the natural order of things but the tradition of the country for a parent to be preferred. it could have been different if the conflict were between father and mother. Such is not the case at all. It is a mother asserting priority. Certainly the judiciary as the instrumentality of the State in its role of parens patriae, cannot remain insensible to the validity of her plea.