In order to identify the CALESA targets, five (5) studies has been prepared by researchers from Ateneo de Manila Law  UP Law, USA Law and Ateneo de Zamboanga Law using desk research and field interviews, on the state of: (a) the Philippine legal education system, (b) Philippine multilingualism, (c) the modernization of the Philippine civil, criminal and commercial codes, (d) the Philippine human rights situation, and (e) ASEAN integration.


The CALESA Project aims to contribute to the upgrading of the academic capacities of the Philippine partner institutions. Among the activities designed for this purpose, one of the most valuable is the translation of relevant legal texts.

This is due to the special idiosyncrasy of Philippine law, largely inherited from Spanish due to its historical link of more than 300 years. In fact, the current Philippine Civil and Criminal Codes are based on the corresponding Spanish 19th century codes. 

In fact, the link between the Spanish and Philippine jurists was maintained until the 1960s. The Supreme Courts of both countries were in contact and shared information. It is not in vain that CASTAN, who was the president of the Spanish Supreme Court, is one of the authors who has most influenced modern Philippine private law. Until that date it was equally common for Philippine professors to move to Spain to write their doctoral theses.

However, after that date, when Spanish was no longer used as a language to discuss the rulings of the Philippine Supreme Court, the link was weakened until it was completely lost.

This implies that there are two legal systems with symmetrical legal texts, albeit in different languages; but with a complete disconnection between them. This 60-year absence of contact, together with the change of language in the legal field, has meant that the new generation of Filipino jurists hardly knows the foundations of their private and criminal law. To this we must add the fact that the university model chosen for the Law Schools in the Philippines is the American one, in fact the Schools are called “professional”, with the professional aspect taking precedence over the researcher. Moreover, the vast majority of the professors who teach in Philippine law schools are part-time, as they are prestigious professionals who practice law. While this is an advantage in some respects, it is also a disadvantage in others as it prevents law school faculty from spending time on research. In fact, very few professors in Philippine law schools hold doctoral degrees.

The end result is that there is a lack of research capacity in academia that does not facilitate the updating of the law. For example, the latest project to update the Philippine Penal Code was commissioned from a commission of German lawyers, but the reform has not been successful. 

This is why it is so important to provide Filipino academics with the tools to start research and resume work that has been paralysed for 60 years. This is to regain academic contact with Europe in the legal field.

While most of the texts that could support these tasks are written in Spanish, due to the remarkable parallelism between Philippine and Spanish legal texts; and due to the loss of capacity of Philippine jurists to master the Spanish language; one of the main objectives of the CALESA Project is to translate key legal texts of Spanish civil and criminal law, so that they can serve as an impact to promote and accelerate legal research and the updating of private and criminal law in the Philippines.

These are the texts that we are initially going to translate thanks to Proyecto Calesa. As the project develops, we will include new translations:

Translation of Legal texts Spanish-English on: 1 Obligations on Teoría general del Contrato and Teoría general de las obligaciones. 2.- on Obligations on Contratos en particular; teoría general de los cuasicontratos and  teoría general del derecho de daños. 3.- on Introducción al Derecho Turístico. 4.- on Propuesta de modernización del Anteproyecto de Ley de Modernización de obligaciones y contratos (Part of Spanish Civil Code).