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Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No.

L-24833 September 23, 1968

FIELDMEN'S INSURANCE CO., INC., petitioner, vs. MERCEDES VARGAS VDA. DE SONGCO, ET AL. and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. Jose S. Suarez for petitioner. Eligio G. Lagman for respondents.

FERNANDO, J.: An insurance firm, petitioner Fieldmen's Insurance Co., Inc., was not allowed to escape liability under a common carrier insurance policy on the pretext that what was insured, not once but twice, was a private vehicle and not a common carrier, the policy being issued upon the insistence of its agent who discounted fears of the insured that his privately owned vehicle might not fall within its terms, the insured moreover being "a man of scant education," finishing only the first grade. So it was held in a decision of the lower court thereafter affirmed by respondent Court of Appeals. Petitioner in seeking the review of the above decision of respondent Court of Appeals cannot be so sanguine as to entertain the belief that a different outcome could be expected. To be more explicit, we sustain the Court of Appeals. The facts as found by respondent Court of Appeals, binding upon us, follow: "This is a peculiar case. Federico Songco of Floridablanca, Pampanga, a man of scant education being only a first grader ..., owned a private jeepney with Plate No. 41-289 for the year 1960. On September 15, 1960, as such private vehicle owner, he was induced by Fieldmen's Insurance Company Pampanga agent Benjamin Sambat to apply for a Common Carrier's Liability Insurance Policy covering his motor vehicle ... Upon paying an annual premium of P16.50, defendant Fieldmen's Insurance Company, Inc. issued on September 19, 1960, Common Carriers Accident Insurance Policy No. 45-HO- 4254 ... the duration of which will be for one (1) year, effective September 15, 1960 to September 15, 1961. On September 22, 1961, the defendant company, upon payment of the corresponding premium, renewed the policy by extending the coverage from October 15, 1961 to October 15, 1962. This time Federico Songco's private jeepney carried Plate No. J-68136-Pampanga-1961. ... On October 29, 1961, during the effectivity of the renewed policy, the insured vehicle while being driven by Rodolfo Songco, a duly licensed driver and son of Federico (the vehicle owner) collided with a car in the municipality of Calumpit, province of Bulacan, as a result of which mishap Federico Songco (father) and Rodolfo Songco (son) died, Carlos Songco (another son), the latter's wife, Angelita Songco, and a family friend by the name of Jose Manuel sustained physical injuries of varying degree." 1 It was further shown according to the decision of respondent Court of Appeals: "Amor Songco, 42-year-old son of deceased Federico Songco, testifying as witness, declared that when insurance agent Benjamin Sambat was inducing his father to insure his vehicle, he butted in saying: 'That cannot be, Mr. Sambat, because our vehicle is an "owner" private vehicle and not for passengers,' to which agent Sambat replied: 'whether our vehicle was an "owner" type or for passengers it could be insured because their company is not owned by the Government and the Government has nothing to do with their company. So they could do what they please whenever they believe a vehicle is insurable' ... In spite of the fact that the present case was filed and tried in the CFI of Pampanga, the defendant company did not even care to rebut Amor Songco's testimony by calling on the witness-stand agent Benjamin Sambat, its Pampanga Field Representative." 2 The plaintiffs in the lower court, likewise respondents here, were the surviving widow and children of the deceased Federico Songco as well as the injured passenger Jose Manuel. On the above facts they prevailed, as had been mentioned, in the lower court and in the respondent Court of Appeals.1awphl.nt The basis for the favorable judgment is the doctrine announced in Qua Chee Gan v. Law Union and Rock Insurance Co., Ltd., 3 with Justice J. B. L. Reyes speaking for the Court. It is now beyond question that where inequitable conduct is shown by an insurance firm, it is "estopped from enforcing forfeitures in its favor, in order to forestall fraud or imposition on the insured." 4 As much, if not much more so than the Qua Chee Gan decision, this is a case where the doctrine of estoppel undeniably calls for application. After petitioner Fieldmen's Insurance Co., Inc. had led the insured Federico Songco to believe that he could qualify under the common carrier liability insurance policy, and to enter into contract of insurance paying the premiums due, it could not, thereafter, in any litigation arising out of such representation, be permitted to change its stand to the detriment of the heirs of the insured. As estoppel is primarily based on the doctrine of good faith and the avoidance of harm that will befall the innocent party due to its injurious reliance, the failure to apply it in this case would result in a gross travesty of justice. That is all that needs be said insofar as the first alleged error of respondent Court of Appeals is concerned, petitioner being adamant in its far-from-reasonable plea that estoppel could not be invoked by the heirs of the insured as a bar to the alleged breach of warranty and condition in the policy. lt would now rely on the fact that the insured owned a private vehicle, not a common carrier, something which it knew all along when not once but twice its agent, no doubt without any objection in its part, exerted the utmost pressure on the insured, a man of scant education, to enter into such a contract.

Nor is there any merit to the second alleged error of respondent Court that no legal liability was incurred under the policy by petitioner. Why liability under the terms of the policy 5 was inescapable was set forth in the decision of respondent Court of Appeals. Thus: "Since some of the conditions contained in the policy issued by the defendant-appellant were impossible to comply with under the existing conditions at the time and 'inconsistent with the known facts,' the insurer 'is estopped from asserting breach of such conditions.' From this jurisprudence, we find no valid reason to deviate and consequently hold that the decision appealed from should be affirmed. The injured parties, to wit, Carlos Songco, Angelito Songco and Jose Manuel, for whose hospital and medical expenses the defendant company was being made liable, were passengers of the jeepney at the time of the occurrence, and Rodolfo Songco, for whose burial expenses the defendant company was also being made liable was the driver of the vehicle in question. Except for the fact, that they were not fare paying passengers, their status as beneficiaries under the policy is recognized therein." 6 Even if it be assumed that there was an ambiguity, an excerpt from the Qua Chee Gan decision would reveal anew the weakness of petitioner's contention. Thus: "Moreover, taking into account the well known rule that ambiguities or obscurities must be strictly interpreted against the party that caused them, the 'memo of warranty' invoked by appellant bars the latter from questioning the existence of the appliances called for in the insured premises, since its initial expression, 'the undernoted appliances for the extinction of fire being kept on the premises insured hereby, ... it is hereby warranted ...,' admits of interpretation as an admission of the existence of such appliances which appellant cannot now contradict, should the parol evidence rule apply." 7 To the same effect is the following citation from the same leading case: "This rigid application of the rule on ambiguities has become necessary in view of current business practices. The courts cannot ignore that nowadays monopolies, cartels and concentration of capital, endowed with overwhelming economic power, manage to impose upon parties dealing with them cunningly prepared 'agreements' that the weaker party may not change one whit, his participation in the 'agreement' being reduced to the alternative to 'take it or leave it' labelled since Raymond Saleilles 'contracts by adherence' (contrats d'adhesion), in contrast to those entered into by parties bargaining on an equal footing, such contracts (of which policies of insurance and international bills of lading are prime examples) obviously call for greater strictness and vigilance on the part of courts of justice with a view to protecting the weaker party from abuses and imposition, and prevent their becoming traps for the unwary (New Civil Code. Article 24; Sent. of Supreme Court of Spain, 13 Dec. 1934, 27 February 1942)." 8 The last error assigned which would find fault with the decision of respondent Court of Appeals insofar as it affirmed the lower court award for exemplary damages as well as attorney's fees is, on its face, of no persuasive force at all. The conclusion that inescapably emerges from the above is the correctness of the decision of respondent Court of Appeals sought to be reviewed. For, to borrow once again from the language of the Qua Chee Gan opinion: "The contract of insurance is one of perfect good faith (uberima fides) not for the insured alone,but equally so for the insurer; in fact, it is more so for the latter, since its dominant bargaining position carries with it stricter responsibility." 9 This is merely to stress that while the morality of the business world is not the morality of institutions of rectitude like the pulpit and the academe, it cannot descend so low as to be another name for guile or deception. Moreover, should it happen thus, no court of justice should allow itself to lend its approval and support.1awphl.nt We have no choice but to recognize the monetary responsibility of petitioner Fieldmen's Insurance Co., Inc. It did not succeed in its persistent effort to avoid complying with its obligation in the lower court and the Court of Appeals. Much less should it find any receptivity from us for its unwarranted and unjustified plea to escape from its liability. WHEREFORE, the decision of respondent Court of Appeals of July 20, 1965, is affirmed in its entirety. Costs against petitioner Fieldmen's Insurance Co., Inc. Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro and Angeles, JJ., concur. Footnotes 1Brief for Defendant-Appellant, Appendix A, pp. 27-28. 2Ibid, p. 31. 398 Phil. 85 (1955). 4Ibid, p. 92. 5The policy provided as follows: "The company will, subject to the limits of liability and under terms of this policy, indemnify the insured in the event of accident caused by or arising out of the use of motor vehicle against all sums which the insured will become liable to pay in respect of: death or bodily injury to any fare-paying passenger including the driver, conductor, and/or inspector who is riding in the motor vehicle insured at the time of the accident or injury (RA 9)." (Brief for Defendant-Appellant, p. 36.) 6Ibid, p. 37. 798 Phil. 85, 92-93 (1955). 8Ibid, p. 95.

9Ibid, p. 95. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. L-16163 February 28, 1963

IGNACIO SATURNINO, in his own behalf and as the JUDICIAL GUARDIAN OF CARLOS SATURNINO, minor, plaintiffs-appellants, vs. THE PHILIPPINE AMERICAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, defendant-appellee. Eleazaro A. Samson for plaintiffs-appellants. Abello & Macias for defendant-appellee. MAKALINTAL, J.: Plaintiffs, now appellants, filed this action in the Court of First Instance of Manila to recover the sum of P5,000.00, corresponding to the face value of an insurance policy issued by defendant on the life of Estefania A. Saturnino, and the sum of P1,500.00 as attorney's fees. Defendant, now appellee, set up special defenses in its answer, with a counterclaim for damages allegedly sustained as a result of the unwarranted presentation of this case. Both the complaint and the counterclaim were dismissed by the trial court; but appellants were declared entitled to the return of the premium already paid; plus interest at 6% up to January 8, 1959, when a check for the corresponding amount P359.65 was sent to them by appellee. The policy sued upon is one for 20-year endowment non-medical insurance. This kind of policy dispenses with the medical examination of the applicant usually required in ordinary life policies. However, detailed information is called for in the application concerning the applicant's health and medical history. The written application in this case was submitted by Saturnino to appellee on November 16, 1957, witnessed by appellee's agent Edward A. Santos. The policy was issued on the same day, upon payment of the first year's premium of P339.25. On September 19, 1958 Saturnino died of pneumonia, secondary to influenza. Appellants here, who are her surviving husband and minor child, respectively, demanded payment of the face value of the policy. The claim was rejected and this suit was subsequently instituted. It appears that two months prior to the issuance of the policy or on September 9, 1957, Saturnino was operated on for cancer, involving complete removal of the right breast, including the pectoral muscles and the glands found in the right armpit. She stayed in the hospital for a period of eight days, after which she was discharged, although according to the surgeon who operated on her she could not be considered definitely cured, her ailment being of the malignant type. Notwithstanding the fact of her operation Estefania A. Saturnino did not make a disclosure thereof in her application for insurance. On the contrary, she stated therein that she did not have, nor had she ever had, among other ailments listed in the application, cancer or other tumors; that she had not consulted any physician, undergone any operation or suffered any injury within the preceding five years; and that she had never been treated for nor did she ever have any illness or disease peculiar to her sex, particularly of the breast, ovaries, uterus, and menstrual disorders. The application also recites that the foregoing declarations constituted "a further basis for the issuance of the policy." The question at issue is whether or not the insured made such false representations of material facts as to avoid the policy. There can be no dispute that the information given by her in her application for insurance was false, namely, that she had never had cancer or tumors, or consulted any physician or undergone any operation within the preceding period of five years. Are the facts then falsely represented material? The Insurance Law (Section 30) provides that "materiality is to be determined not by the event, but solely by the probable and reasonable influence of the facts upon the party to whom the communication is due, in forming his estimate of the proposed contract, or in making his inquiries." It seems to be the contention of appellants that the facts subject of the representation were not material in view of the "non-medical" nature of the insurance applied for, which does away with the usual requirement of medical examination before the policy is issued. The contention is without merit. If anything, the waiver of medical examination renders even more material the information required of the applicant concerning previous condition of health and diseases suffered, for such information necessarily constitutes an important factor which the insurer takes into consideration in deciding whether to issue the policy or not. It is logical to assume that if appellee had been properly apprised of the insured's medical history she would at least have been made to undergo medical examination in order to determine her insurability. Appellants argue that due information concerning the insured's previous illness and operation had been given to appellees agent Edward A. Santos, who filled the application form after it was signed in blank by Estefania A. Saturnino. This was denied by Santos in his testimony, and the trial court found such testimony to be true. This is a finding of fact which is binding upon us, this appeal having been taken upon questions of law alone. We do not deem it necessary, therefore, to consider appellee's additional argument, which was upheld by the trial court, that in signing the application form in blank and leaving it to Edward A. Santos to fill (assuming that to be the truth) the insured in effect made Santos her agent for that purpose and consequently was responsible for the errors in the entries made by him in that capacity. In the application for insurance signed by the insured in this case, she agreed to submit to a medical examination by a duly appointed examiner of appellee if in the latter's opinion such examination was necessary as further evidence of insurability. In not asking her to submit to a medical examination, appellants maintain, appellee was guilty of negligence, which precluded it from finding about her actual state of health.

No such negligence can be imputed to appellee. It was precisely because the insured had given herself a clean bill of health that appellee no longer considered an actual medical checkup necessary. Appellants also contend there was no fraudulent concealment of the truth inasmuch as the insured herself did not know, since her doctor never told her, that the disease for which she had been operated on was cancer. In the first place the concealment of the fact of the operation itself was fraudulent, as there could not have been any mistake about it, no matter what the ailment. Secondly, in order to avoid a policy it is not necessary to show actual fraud on the part of the insured. In the case of Kasprzyk v. Metropolitan Insurance Co., 140 N.Y.S. 211, 214, it was held: Moreover, if it were the law that an insurance company could not depend a policy on the ground of misrepresentation, unless it could show actual knowledge on the part of the applicant that the statements were false, then it is plain that it would be impossible for it to protect itself and its honest policyholders against fraudulent and improper claims. It would be wholly at the mercy of any one who wished to apply for insurance, as it would be impossible to show actual fraud except in the extremest cases. It could not rely on an application as containing information on which it could act. There would be no incentive to an applicant to tell the truth. Wherefore, the parties respectfully pray that the foregoing stipulation of facts be admitted and approved by this Honorable Court, without prejudice to the parties adducing other evidence to prove their case not covered by this stipulation of facts. 1wph1.t In this jurisdiction a concealment, whether intentional or unintentional, entitles the insurer to rescind the contract of insurance, concealment being defined as "negligence to communicate that which a party knows and ought to communicate" (Sections 24 & 26, Act No. 2427). In the case of Argente v. West Coast Life Insurance Co., 51 Phil. 725, 732, this Court said, quoting from Joyce, The Law of Insurance, 2nd ed., Vol. 3: "The basis of the rule vitiating the contract in cases of concealment is that it misleads or deceives the insurer into accepting the risk, or accepting it at the rate of premium agreed upon. The insurer, relying upon the belief that the assured will disclose every material fact within his actual or presumed knowledge, is misled into a belief that the circumstance withheld does not exist, and he is thereby induced to estimate the risk upon a false basis that it does not exist." The judgment appealed from, dismissing the complaint and awarding the return to appellants of the premium already paid, with interest at 6% up to January 29, 1959, affirmed, with costs against appellants. Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes, Dizon and Regala, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G.R. No. L-31845 April 30, 1979

GREAT PACIFIC LIFE ASSURANCE COMPANY, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. G.R. No. L-31878 April 30, 1979

LAPULAPU D. MONDRAGON, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and NGO HING, respondents. Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako and Sycip, Salazar, Luna & Manalo for petitioner Company. Voltaire Garcia for petitioner Mondragon. Pelaez, Pelaez & Pelaez for respondent Ngo Hing.

DE CASTRO, J.: The two above-entitled cases were ordered consolidated by the Resolution of this Court dated April 29, 1970, (Rollo, No. L-31878, p. 58), because the petitioners in both cases seek similar relief, through these petitions for certiorari by way of appeal, from the amended decision of respondent Court of Appeals which affirmed in toto the decision of the Court of First Instance of Cebu, ordering "the defendants (herein

petitioners Great Pacific Ligfe Assurance Company and Mondragon) jointly and severally to pay plaintiff (herein private respondent Ngo Hing) the amount of P50,000.00 with interest at 6% from the date of the filing of the complaint, and the sum of P1,077.75, without interest. It appears that on March 14, 1957, private respondent Ngo Hing filed an application with the Great Pacific Life Assurance Company (hereinafter referred to as Pacific Life) for a twenty-year endownment policy in the amount of P50,000.00 on the life of his one-year old daughter Helen Go. Said respondent supplied the essential data which petitioner Lapulapu D. Mondragon, Branch Manager of the Pacific Life in Cebu City wrote on the corresponding form in his own handwriting (Exhibit I-M). Mondragon finally type-wrote the data on the application form which was signed by private respondent Ngo Hing. The latter paid the annual premuim the sum of P1,077.75 going over to the Company, but he reatined the amount of P1,317.00 as his commission for being a duly authorized agebt of Pacific Life. Upon the payment of the insurance premuim, the binding deposit receipt (Exhibit E) was issued to private respondent Ngo Hing. Likewise, petitioner Mondragon handwrote at the bottom of the back page of the application form his strong recommendation for the approval of the insurance application. Then on April 30, 1957, Mondragon received a letter from Pacific Life disapproving the insurance application (Exhibit 3-M). The letter stated that the said life insurance application for 20-year endowment plan is not available for minors below seven years old, but Pacific Life can consider the same under the Juvenile Triple Action Plan, and advised that if the offer is acceptable, the Juvenile Non-Medical Declaration be sent to the company. The non-acceptance of the insurance plan by Pacific Life was allegedly not communicated by petitioner Mondragon to private respondent Ngo Hing. Instead, on May 6, 1957, Mondragon wrote back Pacific Life again strongly recommending the approval of the 20-year endowment insurance plan to children, pointing out that since 1954 the customers, especially the Chinese, were asking for such coverage (Exhibit 4-M). It was when things were in such state that on May 28, 1957 Helen Go died of influenza with complication of bronchopneumonia. Thereupon, private respondent sought the payment of the proceeds of the insurance, but having failed in his effort, he filed the action for the recovery of the same before the Court of First Instance of Cebu, which rendered the adverse decision as earlier refered to against both petitioners. The decisive issues in these cases are: (1) whether the binding deposit receipt (Exhibit E) constituted a temporary contract of the life insurance in question; and (2) whether private respondent Ngo Hing concealed the state of health and physical condition of Helen Go, which rendered void the aforesaid Exhibit E. 1. At the back of Exhibit E are condition precedents required before a deposit is considered a BINDING RECEIPT. These conditions state that: A. If the Company or its agent, shan have received the premium deposit ... and the insurance application, ON or PRIOR to the date of medical examination ... said insurance shan be in force and in effect from the date of such medical examination, for such period as is covered by the deposit ..., PROVIDED the company shall be satisfied that on said date the applicant was insurable on standard rates under its rule for the amount of insurance and the kind of policy requested in the application. D. If the Company does not accept the application on standard rate for the amount of insurance and/or the kind of policy requested in the application but issue, or offers to issue a policy for a different plan and/or amount ..., the insurance shall not be in force and in effect until the applicant shall have accepted the policy as issued or offered by the Company and shall have paid the full premium thereof. If the applicant does not accept the policy, the deposit shall be refunded. E. If the applicant shall not have been insurable under Condition A above, and the Company declines to approve the application the insurance applied for shall not have been in force at any time and the sum paid be returned to the applicant upon the surrender of this receipt. (Emphasis Ours). The aforequoted provisions printed on Exhibit E show that the binding deposit receipt is intended to be merely a provisional or temporary insurance contract and only upon compliance of the following conditions: (1) that the company shall be satisfied that the applicant was insurable on standard rates; (2) that if the company does not accept the application and offers to issue a policy for a different plan, the insurance contract shall not be binding until the applicant accepts the policy offered; otherwise, the deposit shall be reftmded; and (3) that if the applicant is not ble according to the standard rates, and the company disapproves the application, the insurance applied for shall not be in force at any time, and the premium paid shall be returned to the applicant. Clearly implied from the aforesaid conditions is that the binding deposit receipt in question is merely an acknowledgment, on behalf of the company, that the latter's branch office had received from the applicant the insurance premium and had accepted the application subject for processing by the insurance company; and that the latter will either approve or reject the same on the basis of whether or not the applicant is "insurable on standard rates." Since petitioner Pacific Life disapproved the insurance application of respondent Ngo Hing, the binding deposit receipt in question had never become in force at any time. Upon this premise, the binding deposit receipt (Exhibit E) is, manifestly, merely conditional and does not insure outright. As held by this Court, where an agreement is made between the applicant and the agent, no liability shall attach until the principal approves the risk and a receipt is given by the agent. The acceptance is merely conditional and is subordinated to the act of the company in approving or rejecting the application. Thus, in life insurance, a "binding slip" or "binding receipt" does not insure by itself (De Lim vs. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, 41 Phil. 264). It bears repeating that through the intra-company communication of April 30, 1957 (Exhibit 3-M), Pacific Life disapproved the insurance application in question on the ground that it is not offering the twenty-year endowment insurance policy to children less than seven years of age. What it offered instead is another plan known as the Juvenile Triple Action, which private respondent failed to accept. In the absence of a meeting of the minds between petitioner Pacific Life and private respondent Ngo Hing over the 20-year endowment life insurance in the

amount of P50,000.00 in favor of the latter's one-year old daughter, and with the non-compliance of the abovequoted conditions stated in the disputed binding deposit receipt, there could have been no insurance contract duly perfected between thenl Accordingly, the deposit paid by private respondent shall have to be refunded by Pacific Life. As held in De Lim vs. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, supra, "a contract of insurance, like other contracts, must be assented to by both parties either in person or by their agents ... The contract, to be binding from the date of the application, must have been a completed contract, one that leaves nothing to be dione, nothing to be completed, nothing to be passed upon, or determined, before it shall take effect. There can be no contract of insurance unless the minds of the parties have met in agreement." We are not impressed with private respondent's contention that failure of petitioner Mondragon to communicate to him the rejection of the insurance application would not have any adverse effect on the allegedly perfected temporary contract (Respondent's Brief, pp. 13-14). In this first place, there was no contract perfected between the parties who had no meeting of their minds. Private respondet, being an authorized insurance agent of Pacific Life at Cebu branch office, is indubitably aware that said company does not offer the life insurance applied for. When he filed the insurance application in dispute, private respondent was, therefore, only taking the chance that Pacific Life will approve the recommendation of Mondragon for the acceptance and approval of the application in question along with his proposal that the insurance company starts to offer the 20-year endowment insurance plan for children less than seven years. Nonetheless, the record discloses that Pacific Life had rejected the proposal and recommendation. Secondly, having an insurable interest on the life of his one-year old daughter, aside from being an insurance agent and an offense associate of petitioner Mondragon, private respondent Ngo Hing must have known and followed the progress on the processing of such application and could not pretend ignorance of the Company's rejection of the 20-year endowment life insurance application. At this juncture, We find it fit to quote with approval, the very apt observation of then Appellate Associate Justice Ruperto G. Martin who later came up to this Court, from his dissenting opinion to the amended decision of the respondent court which completely reversed the original decision, the following: Of course, there is the insinuation that neither the memorandum of rejection (Exhibit 3-M) nor the reply thereto of appellant Mondragon reiterating the desire for applicant's father to have the application considered as one for a 20-year endowment plan was ever duly communicated to Ngo; Hing, father of the minor applicant. I am not quite conninced that this was so. Ngo Hing, as father of the applicant herself, was precisely the "underwriter who wrote this case" (Exhibit H-1). The unchallenged statement of appellant Mondragon in his letter of May 6, 1957) (Exhibit 4-M), specifically admits that said Ngo Hing was "our associate" and that it was the latter who "insisted that the plan be placed on the 20-year endowment plan." Under these circumstances, it is inconceivable that the progress in the processing of the application was not brought home to his knowledge. He must have been duly apprised of the rejection of the application for a 20-year endowment plan otherwise Mondragon would not have asserted that it was Ngo Hing himself who insisted on the application as originally filed, thereby implictly declining the offer to consider the application under the Juvenile Triple Action Plan. Besides, the associate of Mondragon that he was, Ngo Hing should only be presumed to know what kind of policies are available in the company for minors below 7 years old. What he and Mondragon were apparently trying to do in the premises was merely to prod the company into going into the business of issuing endowment policies for minors just as other insurance companies allegedly do. Until such a definite policy is however, adopted by the company, it can hardly be said that it could have been bound at all under the binding slip for a plan of insurance that it could not have, by then issued at all. (Amended Decision, Rollo, pp- 52-53). 2. Relative to the second issue of alleged concealment. this Court is of the firm belief that private respondent had deliberately concealed the state of health and piysical condition of his daughter Helen Go. Wher private regpondeit supplied the required essential data for the insurance application form, he was fully aware that his one-year old daughter is typically a mongoloid child. Such a congenital physical defect could never be ensconced nor disguished. Nonetheless, private respondent, in apparent bad faith, withheld the fact materal to the risk to be assumed by the insurance compary. As an insurance agent of Pacific Life, he ought to know, as he surely must have known. his duty and responsibility to such a material fact. Had he diamond said significant fact in the insurance application fom Pacific Life would have verified the same and would have had no choice but to disapprove the application outright. The contract of insurance is one of perfect good faith uberrima fides meaning good faith, absolute and perfect candor or openness and honesty; the absence of any concealment or demotion, however slight [Black's Law Dictionary, 2nd Edition], not for the alone but equally so for the insurer (Field man's Insurance Co., Inc. vs. Vda de Songco, 25 SCRA 70). Concealment is a neglect to communicate that which a partY knows aDd Ought to communicate (Section 25, Act No. 2427). Whether intentional or unintentional the concealment entitles the insurer to rescind the contract of insurance (Section 26, Id.: Yu Pang Cheng vs. Court of Appeals, et al, 105 Phil 930; Satumino vs. Philippine American Life Insurance Company, 7 SCRA 316). Private respondent appears guilty thereof. We are thus constrained to hold that no insurance contract was perfected between the parties with the noncompliance of the conditions provided in the binding receipt, and concealment, as legally defined, having been comraitted by herein private respondent. WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby set aside, and in lieu thereof, one is hereby entered absolving petitioners Lapulapu D. Mondragon and Great Pacific Life Assurance Company from their civil liabilities as found by respondent Court and ordering the aforesaid insurance company to reimburse the amount of P1,077.75, without interest, to private respondent, Ngo Hing. Costs against private respondent. SO ORDERED. Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Guerrero and Melencio-Herrera, JJ., concur. Fernandez, J., took no part.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC

G.R. No. L-27932

October 30, 1972

UNION MANUFACTURING CO., INC. and the REPUBLIC BANK, plaintiffs, REPUBLIC BANK, plaintiff-appellant, vs. PHILIPPINE GUARANTY CO., INC., defendant-appellee. Armando L. Abad, Sr. for plaintiff-appellant. Gamelo, Francisco and Aquino for defendant-appellee.

FERNANDO, J.:p In a suit arising from a fire insurance policy, the insurer, Philippine Guaranty Co., Inc., defendant in the lower court and now appellee, was able to avoid liability upon proof that there was a violation of a warranty. There was no denial thereof from the insured, Union Manufacturing Co., Inc. With such a legally crippling blow, the effort of the Republic Bank, the main plaintiff and now the sole appellant, to recover on such policy as mortgagee, by virtue of the cover note in the insurance policy providing that it is entitled to the payment of loss or damages as its interest may appear, was in vain. The defect being legally incurable, its appeal is likewise futile. We affirm. As noted in the decision, the following facts are not disputed: "(1) That on January 12, 1962, the Union Manufacturing Co., Inc. obtained certain loans, overdrafts and other credit accommodations from the Republic Bank in the total sum of P415,000.00 with interest at 9% per annum from said date and to secure the payment thereof, said Union Manufacturing Co., Inc. executed a real and chattel mortgages on certain properties, which are more particularly described and listed at the back of the mortgage contract ...; (2) That as additional condition of the mortgage contract, the Union Manufacturing Co., Inc. undertook to secure insurance coverage over the mortgaged properties for the same amount of P415,000.00 distributed as follows: (a) Buildings, P30,000.00; (b) Machineries, P300,000.00; and (c) Merchandise Inventory, P85,000.00, giving a total of P415,000.00; (3) That as Union Manufacturing Co., Inc. failed to secure insurance coverage on the mortgaged properties since January 12, 1962, despite the fact that Cua Tok, its general manager, was reminded of said requirement, the Republic Bank procured from the defendant, Philippine Guaranty Co., Inc. an insurance coverage on loss against fire for P500,000.00 over the properties of the Union Manufacturing Co., Inc., as described in defendant's 'Cover Note' dated September 25, 1962, with the annotation that loss or damage, if any, under said Cover Note is payable to Republic Bank as its interest may appear, subject however to the printed conditions of said defendant's Fire Insurance Policy Form; (4) That on September 27, 1962, Fire Insurance Policy No. 43170 ... was issued for the sum of P500,000.00 in favor of the assured, Union Manufacturing Co., Inc., for which the corresponding premium in the sum of P8,328.12, which was reduced to P6,688.12, was paid by the Republic Bank to the defendant, Philippine Guaranty Co., Inc. ...; (5) That upon the expiration of said fire policy on September 25, 1963, the same was renewed by the Republic Bank upon payment of the corresponding premium in the same amount of P6,663.52 on September 26, 1963; (6) That in the corresponding voucher ..., it appears that although said renewal premium was paid by the Republic Bank, such payment was for the account of Union Manufacturing Co., Inc. and that the cash voucher for the payment of the first premium was paid also by the Republic Bank but for the account Union Manufacturing Co., Inc.; (7) That sometime on September 6, 1964, a fire occurred in the premises of the Union Manufacturing Co., Inc.; (8) That on October 6, 1964, the Union Manufacturing Co., Inc. filed its fire claim with the defendant Philippine Guaranty Co., Inc., thru its adjuster, H. H. Bayne Adjustment Co., which was denied by said defendant in its letter dated November 27, 1964 ..., on the following grounds: 'a. Policy Condition No. 3 and/or the 'Other Insurance Clause' of the policy violated because you did not give notice to us the other insurance which you had taken from New India for P80,000.00, Sincere Insurance for P25,000.00 and Manila Insurance for P200,000.00 with the result that these insurances, of which we became aware of only after the fire, were not endorsed on our policy; and (b) Policy Condition No. 11 was not complied with because you have failed to give to our representatives the required documents and other proofs with respect to your claim and matters touching on our liability, if any, and the amount of such liability'; (9) That as of September, 1962, when the defendant Philippine Guaranty Co., issued Fire Insurance Policy No. 43170 ... in the sum of P500,000.00 to cover the properties of the Union Manufacturing Co., Inc., the same properties were already covered by Fire Policy No. 1533 of the Sincere Insurance Company for P25,000.00 for the period from October 7, 1961 to October 7, 1962 ...; and by insurance policies Nos. F-2314 ... and F-2590 ... of the Oceanic Insurance Agency for the total sum of P300,000.00 and for periods respectively, from January 27, 1962 to January 27, 1963, and from June 1, 1962 to June 1, 1963; and (10) That when said defendant's Fire Insurance Policy No. 43170 was already in full force and effect, the Union Manufacturing Co., Inc. without the consent of the defendant, Philippine Guaranty Co., Inc., obtained other insurance policies totalling P305,000.00 over the same properties prior to the fire, to wit: (1) Fire Policy No. 250 of New India Assurance Co., Ltd., for P80,000.00 for the period from May 27, 1964 to May 27, 1965 ...; (2) Fire Policy No. 3702 of the Sincere Insurance Company for P25,000.00 for the period from October 7, 1963 to October 7, 1964 ...; and (3) Fire Policy No. 6161 of Manila Insurance Co. for P200,000.00 for the period from May 15, 1964 to May 15, 1965 ... ." 1 There is in the cover note 2 and in the fire insurance policy 3 the following warranty: "[Co- Insurance Declared]: Nil." 4 Why the appellant Republic Bank could not recover, as payee, in case of loss as its "interest may appear subject to the terms and conditions, clauses and warranties" of the policy was expressed in the appealed decision thus: "However, inasmuch as the Union Manufacturing Co., Inc.

has violated the condition of the policy to the effect that it did not reveal the existence of other insurance policies over the same properties, as required by the warranty appearing on the face of the policy issued by the defendant and that on the other hand said Union Manufacturing Co., Inc. represented that there were no other insurance policies at the time of the issuance of said defendant's policy, and it appearing furthermore that while the policy of the defendant was in full force and effect the Union Manufacturing Co., Inc. secured other fire insurance policies without the written consent of the defendant endorsed on the policy, the conclusion is inevitable that both the Republic Bank and Union Manufacturing Co., Inc. cannot recover from the same policy of the defendant because the same is null and void." 5 The tone of confidence apparent in the above excerpts from the lower court decision is understandable. The conclusion reached by the lower court finds support in authoritative precedents. It is far from easy, therefore, for appellant Republic Bank to impute to such a decision a failure to abide by the law. Hence, as noted at the outset, the appeal cannot prosper. An affirmance is indicated. It is to Santa Ana v. Commercial Union Assurance Co., 6 a 1930 decision, that one turns to for the first explicit formulation as to the controlling principle. As was made clear in the opinion of this Court, penned by Justice Villa-Real: "Without deciding whether notice of other insurance upon the same property must be given in writing, or whether a verbal notice is sufficient to render an insurance valid which requires such notice, whether oral or written, we hold that in the absolute absence of such notice when it is one of the conditions specified in the fire insurance policy, the policy is null and void." 7 The next year, in Ang Giok Chip v. Springfield Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 8 the conformity of the insured to the terms of the policy, implied from the failure to express any disagreement with what is provided for, was stressed in these words of the ponente, Justice Malcolm: "It is admitted that the policy before us was accepted by the plaintiff. The receipt of this policy by the insured without objection binds both the acceptor and the insured to the terms thereof. The insured may not thereafter be heard to say that he did not read the policy or know its terms, since it is his duty to read his policy and it will be assumed that he did so." 9 As far back as 1915, in Young v. Midland Textile Insurance Company, 10 it was categorically set forth that as a condition precedent to the right of recovery, there must be compliance on the part of the insured with the terms of the policy. As stated in the opinion of the Court through Justice Johnson: "If the insured has violated or failed to perform the conditions of the contract, and such a violation or want of performance has not been waived by the insurer, then the insured cannot recover. Courts are not permitted to make contracts for the parties. The function and duty of the courts consist simply in enforcing and carrying out the contracts actually made. While it is true, as a general rule, that contracts of insurance are construed most favorably to the insured, yet contracts of insurance, like other contracts, are to be construed according to the sense and meaning of the terms which the parties themselves have used. If such terms are clear and unambiguous they must be taken and understood in their plain, ordinary and popular sense." 11 More specifically, there was a reiteration of this Santa Ana ruling in a decision by the then Justice, later Chief Justice, Bengzon, in General Insurance & Surety Corp. v. Ng Hua. 12 Thus: "The annotation then, must be deemed to be a warranty that the property was not insured by any other policy. Violation thereof entitles the insurer to rescind. (Sec. 69, Insurance Act) Such misrepresentation is fatal in the light of our views in Santa Ana v. Commercial Union Assurance Company, Ltd. ... . The materiality of non-disclosure of other insurance policies is not open to doubt." 13 As a matter of fact, in a 1966 decision, Misamis Lumber Corp. v. Capital Ins. & Surety Co., Inc., 14 Justice J.B.L. Reyes, for this Court, made manifest anew its adherence to such a principle in the face of an assertion that thereby a highly unfavorable provision for the insured would be accorded recognition. This is the language used: "The insurance contract may be rather onerous ('one sided', as the lower court put it), but that in itself does not justify the abrogation of its express terms, terms which the insured accepted or adhered to and which is the law between the contracting parties." 15 There is no escaping the conclusion then that the lower court could not have disposed of this case in a way other than it did. Had it acted otherwise, it clearly would have disregarded pronouncements of this Court, the compelling force of which cannot be denied. There is, to repeat, no justification for a reversal. WHEREFORE, the decision of the lower court of March 31, 1967 is affirmed. No costs. Concepcion, C.J., Zaldivar, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio and Esguerra, JJ., concur. Castro and Teehankee, JJ., reserve their votes. Makalintal, J., is on leave.

Footnotes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Decision of the lower court, Record on Appeal, pp. 116-120. Exhibit A. Exhibit C. Decision of the lower court, Record on Appeal, p. 120. Ibid, 128-129. 55 Phil. 329. Ibid, 335. 56 Phil. 375.

9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Ibid, 381. 30 Phil. 617. Ibid, 622. 106 Phil. 117 (1960). Ibid, 1119. L-21380, May 20, 1966, 17 SCRA 228. Ibid, 231.