Rights

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Rights are are inherent upon us and just like any property, it can be obtained, lost, or transferred. The violation or non observance of these rights by other persons may be the subject of suits in order to protect of preserve them. Most of our laws have the objective of defining, respecting, or protecting the rights of persons in order to preserve the peace and maintain order in our society.
Rights are inherent upon all persons whether natural or juridical. For us natural persons, we start having rights even before birth as under the circumstances stated in Article 40 of the Civil Code. In law school an entire course is dedicated for the study of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution. Almost the same list of rights is contained in the in Article 32 of the Civil Code. While those stated in the Constitution are considered to be limitations on the inherent powers of the State, the Civil Code provisions can be grounds for legal action for damages against any person who impedes or violates any of the stated rights.

Our Rights

There is no definitive list of our rights anywhere and we can come up with our own list which may just be derivatives of those stated in our Constitution and our Civil Code, other laws, and rules. In addition to our Constitution and our Civil Code, our rights are also contained in Supreme Court Decisions, the Rules of Court, other laws, issuances of the president and other government agencies, and we can say that rights are also stated in contracts. The contracting parties can actually define each others rights in their contract and a party can go to court to enforce these or ask for relief in case of violation. Laws and rules are enacted to protect or enforce these rights and we have remedies for them. If we sustain damages for the act or neglect of others then we can demand for compensation.

Waiver

Rights are at the option of the one entitled to it. I mean, the decision to avail of the rights is dependent upon the will of the person who has it. He may or may not accept or even reject it. No person may be compelled to avail of his rights except perhaps the right to appeal in case the penalty imposed is death where the Supreme Court automatically reviews the case even without any appeal from the accused. We can in fact relinquish or waive our rights by action or inaction. We can waive our right to appeal cases by our inaction. If a party fails to file his appeal against a decision within 15 days the decision becomes final and executory and the right to appeal is lost. Our right to object against the presentation of inadmissible evidence is waived if the same is not raised within the time allowed by the rules. Even our right to recover claims may be waived by our inaction for a certain number of years and a court action will no longer prosper. A party however, cannot waive his right if it will prejudice another person. Under the Civil Code a creditor may collect from the debtor of his debtor in case the latter is unable to pay his obligations even though he no longer desires to collect it. In case of inheritance, the creditors of an heir who repudiates his inheritance may petition the court to authorise them to accept it in the name of the heirs (Article 1052 of the Civil Code).

In criminal cases, a person waives his right to question the validity of his arrest or the conduct of preliminary investigation if he allows himself to be arraigned. The right to be assisted by a lawyer during custodial investigation may only be waived in writing and in the presence of a lawyer.

Yes we can waive our rights because it is ours but even the right to waive it is still subject to some limitations stated by law, rules and jurisprudence. We must be mindful of our rights because our inaction or neglect may bar us from enforcing them.

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