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GUNTHER AIR LINES,
8. Upon landing at the Manila International Airport. 'Zaldy' and his three companions succeeded in escaping. Demands were thereafter made on PAL by Quisumbing and Loeffler "to indemnify ... (them) on their aforesaid loss, but ... (PAL) refused ... (averring that) it is not liable to (them) in law or in fact." 2 Contending that the "aforesaid loss is a result of breach of ... (PAL's) contractual obligation to carry ... (them) and their belongings and effects to their Manila destination without loss or damage, and constitutes a serious dereliction of ... (PAL's) legal duty to exercise extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the same." , Quisumbing and Loeffler brought suit against PAL in the Court of First Instance of Rizal, as stated in this opinion's opening paragraph, to recover the value of the property lost by them to the robbers as well as moral and exemplary damages, attorney's fees and expenses of litigation. 3 The plaintiffs declared that their suit was instituted "... pursuant to Civil Code articles 1754, 998, 2000 and 2001 and on the ground that in relation to said Civil Code article 2001 the complained-of act of the armed robbers is not a force majeure, as the 'use of arms' or 'irresistible force' was not taken advantage of by said armed robbers in gaining entrance to defendant's ill-fated plane in questions. And, with respect to said Civil Code article 1998, it is not essential that the lost effects and belongings of plaintiffs were actually delivered to defendant's plane personnel or that the latter were notified thereof (De los Santos v. Tamn Khey, [CA] 58 O.G. 7693)." 4 PAL filed answer denying liability, alleging inter alia that the robbery during the flight and after the aircraft was forcibly landed at the Manila Airport did indeed constitute force majeure, and neither of the plaintiffs had notified PAL "or its crew or employees that they were in possession of cash, German marks and valuable jewelries and watches" or surrendered said items to "the crew or personnel on board the aircraft." 5 After trial, the Court of First Instance rendered judgment 'dismissing plaintiffs' complaint with costs against ... (them)." 6 The Court opined that since the plaintiffs "did not notify defendant or its employees that they were in possession of the cash, jewelries, and the wallet they are now claiming," the very provision of law invoked by them, Article 1998 of the Civil Code, denies them any recourse against PAL. The Court also pointed out that... while it is true that the use of gems was not taken advantage of by the robbers in gaining entrance to defendant's ill-fated plane, the armed robbery that took place constitutes force majeure for which defendant is not liable because the robbers were able to gain entrance to the plane with the guns they used already in their possession, which fact could not have been prevented nor avoided by the defendant since it was not authorized to search its passengers for firearms and deadly weapons as shown in Exhibits '6', '7', '8,' and '8-A.' As its robbery constitutes force majeure, defendant is not liable. The plaintiffs appealed to the Court of Appeals. 7 The Court affirmed the trial court's judgment. 8 It rejected the argument that "the use of arms or ... irresistible force" referred to in Article 2001 constitutes force majeure only if resorted to gain entry into the airplane, and not if it attends "the robbery itself." The Court ruled that under the facts, "the highjacking-robbery was force majeure," observing that — ... hijackers do not board an airplane through a blatant display of firepower and violent fury. Firearms, hand-grenades, dynamite, and explosives are introduced into the airplane surreptitiously and with the utmost cunning and stealth, although there is an occasional use of innocent hostages who will be coldly murdered unless a plane is given to the hijackers' complete disposal. The objective of modern-day hijackers is to display the irresistible force amounting to force
Having met with no success in the Court of First Instance of Rizal and in the Court of Appeals, the petitioners are now in this Court in a third and final attempt to recover from the Philippine Airlines, Inc. (hereafter, simply PAL) the value of jewelry, other valuables and money taken from them by four (4) armed robbers on board one of the latter's airplanes while on a flight from Mactan City to Manila, as well as moral and exemplary damages, attorney's fees and expenses of litigation. The petitioners accept the correctness of the basic facts adopted by the Court of Appeals from the judgment of the Court of First Instance, to wit: 1 1. . . . Norberto Quisumbing, Sr. and Gunther Leoffler were among the of ... (PAL's) Fokker 'Friendship' PIC-536 plane in its flight of November 6,1968 which left Mactan City at about 7:30 in the evening with Manila for its destination. 2. After the plane had taken off, Florencio O. Villarin, a Senior NBI Agent who was also a passenger of the said plane, noticed a certain 'Zaldy,' a suspect in the killing of Judge Valdez, seated at the front seat near the door leading to the cockpit of the plane. A check by Villarin with the passenger's ticket in the possession of flight Stewardess Annie Bontigao, who was seated at the last seat right row, revealed that 'Zaldy' had used the name 'Cardente,' one of his aliases known to Villarin. Villarin also came to know from the stewardess that 'Zaldy' had three companions on board the plane." 3. Villarin then scribbled a note addressed to the pilot of the plane requesting the latter to contact NBI duty agents in Manila for the said agents to ask the Director of the NBI to send about six NBI agents to meet the plane because the suspect in the killing of Judge Valdez was on board (Exh. 'G'). The said note was handed by Villarin to the stewardess who in tum gave the same to the pilot. 4. After receiving the note, which was about 15 minutes after take off, the pilot of the plane, Capt. Luis Bonnevie, Jr., came out of the cockpit and sat beside Villarin at the rear portion of the plane and explained that he could not send the message because it would be heard by all ground aircraft stations. Villarin, however, told the pilot of the danger of commission of violent acts on board the plane by the notorious 'Zaldy' and his three companions. 5. While the pilot and Villarin were talking, 'Zaldy' and one of his companions walked to the rear and stood behind them. Capt. Bonnevie then stood up and went back to the cockpit. 'Zaldy' and his companions returned to their seats, but after a few minutes they moved back to the rear throwing ugly looks at Villarin who, sensing danger, stood up and went back to his original seat across the aisle on the second to the last seat near the window. 'Zaldy and his companion likewise went back to their respective seats in front. 6. Soon thereafter an exchange of gunshots ensued between Villarin and 'Zaldy' and the latter's companions. 'Zaldy' announced to the passengers and the pilots in the cockpit that it was a hold-up and ordered the pilot not to send any SOS. The hold-uppers divested passengers of their belongings. 7. Specifically, ... Norberto Quisumbing, Sr. was divested of jewelries and cash in the total amount of P18,650.00 out of which recoveries were made amounting to P4,550.00. . . Gunther Leoffler was divested of a wrist watch, cash and a wallet in the total of P1,700.00. As a result of the incident ... Quisumbing, Sr.suffered shock, because a gun had been pointed at him by one of the holduppers.
The hijackers had already shown their willingness to kill. owned and operated by YHT Realty Corporation. 126780 February 17. it is illusive to assume that had these precautions been taken.000. 2005 YHT REALTY CORPORATION. the use of force to overcome hijackers. more specifically. Payam and Danilo Lopez were employed." No success can therefore attend petitioners' appeal. introducing him to important people. The lives of the rest of the passengers and crew were more important than their properties. the hijacking or the robbery would not have succeeded.000. World experience shows that if a group of armed hijackers want to take over a plane in flight. the compilation of hijacker behavioural profiles. McLoughlin arrived from Australia and registered with Tropicana. which established and uniformly observed axiom proscribes. the imposition of severe penalties. The safety deposit box could only be opened through the use of two keys. Under the circumstance of the instant case. Tan befriended McLoughlin by showing him around. We merely state that where the defendant has faithfully complied with the requirements of government agencies and adhered to the established procedures and precautions of the airline industry at any particular time. the acts of the airline and its crew cannot be faulted as negligence. its failure to take certain steps that a passenger in hindsight believes should have been taken is not the negligence or misconduct which mingles with force majeure as an active and cooperative cause.. The mandatory use of the most sophisticated electronic detection devices and magnetometers. too.. they can elude the latest combined government and airline industry measures. No. J. the amateurish behaviour of the pilot in dealing with the NBI agent. When a registered guest wished to open his safety deposit box. Once again. And as our own experience in Zamboanga City illustrates. with costs against petitioners. respondents. the assignment of sky marshals. Cooperation with the hijackers until they released their hostages at the runway end near the South Superhighway was dictated by the circumstances. with the Appellate Tribunal's wry observation that PAL's "failure to take certain steps that a passenger in hindsight believes should have been taken is not the negligence or misconduct which mingles with force majeure as an active and cooperative cause. the allegedly open cockpit door. and the weight of outraged world opinion may have minimized hijackings but all these have proved ineffective against truly determined hijackers. or that.00) which he placed in two envelopes. by having these guests execute written waivers holding the establishment or its employees free from blame for such loss in light of Article 2003 of the Civil Code which voids such waivers. Brunhilda Mata-Tan (Tan). Lopez served as manager of the hotel while Lainez and Payam had custody of the keys for the safety deposit boxes of Tropicana. one of which is given to the registered guest. A careful analysis of the record in relation to the memoranda and other pleadings of the parties. finding YHT Realty Corporation. it had failed to comply with applicable regulations or universally accepted and observed procedures to preclude hijacking. McLoughlin was aware of the procedure observed by Tropicana relative to its safety deposit boxes. in the light of the circumstances of the case . The Appellate Court also ruled that in light of the evidence PAL could not be faulted for want of diligence." and that "the absence of coded transmissions. petitioners. convinces this Court of the correctness of the essential conclusion of both the trial and appellate courts that the evidence does indeed fail to prove any want of diligence on the part of PAL. vs. 10 but also because those factual conclusions have in this Court's view been correctly drawn from the proofs on record. SO ORDERED. One passenger was in fact killed and another survived gunshot wounds. were not negligent acts sufficient to overcome the force majeure nature of the armed robbery. the Court went on to says. Erlinda Lainez (Lainez) and Anicia Payam (Payam) jointly and solidarily liable for damages in an action filed by Maurice McLoughlin (McLoughlin) for the loss of his American and Australian dollars deposited in the safety deposit box of Tropicana Copacabana Apartment Hotel. he alone could personally request the management who then would assign one of its employees to accompany the guest and assist him in opening the safety deposit box with the two keys." The Court quite agrees. not only because they wish to have a review and modification of factual conclusions of the Court of Appeals.R.. in the light of the circumstances of the case. The factual backdrop of the case follow.00) and the other envelope Five Thousand US Dollars . . accompanying him in visiting impoverished street children and assisting him in buying gifts for the children and in distributing the same to charitable institutions for poor children. As a tourist. used to stay at Sheraton Hotel during his trips to the Philippines prior to 1984 when he met Tan. Insisting that the evidence demonstrates negligence on the part of the PAL crew "occurring before and exposing them to hijacking." Quisumbing and Loeffler have come up to this Court praying that the judgments of the trial Court and the Court of Appeals be reversed and another rendered in their favor. one envelope containing Ten Thousand US Dollars (US$10. We are not in the least bit suggesting that the Philippine Airlines should not do everything humanly possible to protect passengers from hijackers' acts. an Australian businessmanphilanthropist. 9 . Private respondent McLoughlin. results in the death and injury of innocent passengers and crew members. ERLINDA LAINEZ and ANICIA PAYAM. Tan took care of McLoughlin's booking at the Tropicana where he started staying during his trips to the Philippines from December 1984 to September 1987.. DECISION TINGA.majeure only when it is most effective and that is when the jetliner is winging its way at Himalayan altitudes and ill-advised heroics by either crew or passengers would send the multi-million peso airplane and the priceless lives of all its occupants into certain death and destruction.4 McLoughlin allegedly placed the following in his safety deposit box: Fifteen Thousand US Dollars (US$15. He rented a safety deposit box as it was his practice to rent a safety deposit box every time he registered at Tropicana in previous trips.: The primary question of interest before this Court is the only legal issue in the case: It is whether a hotel may evade liability for the loss of items left with it for safekeeping by its guests. and the other remaining in the possession of the management of the hotel. the petition is DENIED and the appealed Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. THE COURT OF APPEALS and MAURICE McLOUGHLIN. not in truth negligent acts "sufficient to overcome the force majeure nature of the armed robbery.. and the failure to return to Mactan.. the development of screening procedures. and that the particular acts singled out by the petitioners as supposedly demonstrative of negligence were. particularly for failing "to take positive measures to implement Civil Aeronautics Administration regulations prohibiting civilians from carrying firearms on board aircrafts.3 On 30 October 1987. the issue will be resolved against them. Before this Court is a Rule 45 petition for review of the Decision1 dated 19 October 1995 of the Court of Appeals which affirmed the Decision2 dated 16 December 1991 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). G. Branch 13.. WHEREFORE." In fact. Tan convinced McLoughlin to transfer from Sheraton Hotel to Tropicana where Lainez. of Manila.
His lawyers prepared a letter dated 30 May 1988 which was signed by McLoughlin and sent to President Corazon Aquino. However. Despite the execution of promissory note by Tan. To release and hold free and blameless TROPICANA APARTMENT HOTEL from any liability arising from any loss in the contents and/or use of the said deposit box for any cause whatsoever.13 McLoughlin requested the management for an investigation of the incident. When he arrived in Hongkong. the envelope containing Ten Thousand Australian Dollars (AUS$10. Lopez got in touch with Tan and arranged for a meeting with the police and McLoughlin.00) were missing and in the envelope previously containing Ten Thousand Australian Dollars (AUS$10. McLoughlin went to Malacaňang to follow up on his letter but he was instructed to go to the DOJ. including but not limited to the presentation or use thereof by any other person should the key be lost. and expenses for food and maintenance.00 and US$2.00 or its equivalent in Philippine currency on or before May 5. For several times.. Two Thousand US Dollars (US$2. McLoughlin went back to Australia and he consulted his lawyers as to the validity of the abovementioned stipulations. he immediately confronted Lainez and Payam who admitted that Tan opened the safety deposit box with the key assigned to him. Lainez. except for a diamond bracelet. 1988.000.00) were enclosed therein. however.8 After returning to Manila. long distance calls to Australia. Maurice McLoughlin the amount of AUS$4.000.500. Meetings were held between McLoughlin and his lawyer which resulted to the filing of a complaint for damages on 3 December 1990 against YHT Realty Corporation. Lainez told him that no one in the hotel found such things and none were turned over to the management. However. Ten Thousand Australian Dollars (AUS$10.000. On 16 April 1988.00).00).7 Since he had no idea whether somebody else had tampered with his safety deposit box. arranged side by side inside the safety deposit box.000. Upon his return on 22 October 1990. In the meantime.6 McLoughlin left the other items in the box as he did not check out of his room at the Tropicana during his short visit to Hongkong.00). He placed therein one (1) envelope containing Fifteen Thousand US Dollars (US$15. McLoughlin left for Australia to attend to his business and came back to the Philippines to follow up on his letter to the President but he failed to obtain any concrete assistance. two (2) other envelopes containing letters and credit cards.000. Manila. the case at the Fiscal's Office was dismissed for failure to prosecute.000.000. They opined that the stipulations are void for being violative of universal hotel practices and customs.9 When McLoughlin came back to the Philippines on 4 April 1988. the dispositive portion of which reads: . Mcloughlin requested the reinstatement of the criminal charge for theft.21 The trial court admitted the Amended/Supplemental Complaint.19 McLoughlin left again for Australia and upon his return to the Philippines on 25 August 1989 to pursue his claims against petitioners.000. Payam and Tan (defendants) for the loss of McLoughlin's money which was discovered on 16 April 1988. The promissory note reads as follows: I promise to pay Mr. Tan and Lopez. his passports and his credit cards. McLoughlin left again for Australia to attend to an urgent business matter. Thus. Payam and Lainez.000.17 The Office of the President referred the letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) which forwarded the same to the Western Police District (WPD).10 When McLoughlin discovered the loss. he incurred expenses for hotel bills. But McLoughlin went back to Australia as he had an urgent business matter to attend to. McLoughlin requested Lainez and Payam to open his safety deposit box. McLoughlin and his lawyers wrote letters of demand to those having responsibility to pay the damage.(US$5. He again registered at Tropicana and rented a safety deposit box. Lopez and Tan went to the room of McLoughlin at Tropicana and thereat. he checked out of Tropicana on 18 December 1987 and left for Australia. Payam and YHT Realty Corporation as defendants. he registered at the Echelon Towers at Malate. Meralco power expenses. He also noticed that the jewelry which he bought in Hongkong and stored in the safety deposit box upon his return to Tropicana was likewise missing.000..5 On 12 December 1987.000). McLoughlin opened his safety deposit box with his key and with the key of the management and took therefrom the envelope containing Five Thousand US Dollars (US$5.00).000. To return the key and execute the RELEASE in favor of TROPICANA APARTMENT HOTEL upon giving up the use of the box. he thought that it was just a result of bad accounting since he did not spend anything from that envelope.000.11 McLoughlin went up to his room where Tan was staying and confronted her.22 After trial. and a checkbook. Four Thousand Five Hundred Australian Dollars (AUS$4.14 Lopez requested Tan to sign the promissory note which the latter did and Lopez also signed as a witness. Lopez refused to accept the responsibility relying on the conditions for renting the safety deposit box entitled "Undertaking For the Use Of Safety Deposit Box. McLoughlin came to the Philippines and registered again as a hotel guest of Tropicana. and while staying in the Philippines to attend the hearing. When he arrived in Australia."15specifically paragraphs (2) and (4) thereof.000. two (2) bankbooks. McLoughlin insisted that it must be the hotel who must assume responsibility for the loss he suffered.00) and discovered upon counting that only Three Thousand US Dollars (US$3. the RTC of Manila rendered judgment in favor of McLoughlin. Then he left again for Australia.00). he opened the envelope which contained Five Thousand US Dollars (US$5.16 On 17 May 1988.000. and trial proceeded with only Lainez. to wit: 2. Lopez wrote on a piece of paper a promissory note dated 21 April 1988. he discovered that the envelope with Ten Thousand US Dollars (US$10. Said affidavit became the basis of preliminary investigation. Tan admitted that she had stolen McLoughlin's key and was able to open the safety deposit box with the assistance of Lopez. Lopez. During the trial of the case. before leaving for a brief trip to Hongkong. the WPD conducted an investigation which resulted in the preparation of an affidavit which was forwarded to the Manila City Fiscal's Office.12 Lopez also told McLoughlin that Tan stole the key assigned to McLoughlin while the latter was asleep. When the police did not arrive. The DOJ directed him to proceed to the WPD for documentation. However. McLoughlin filed an Amended/Supplemental Complaint20 dated 10 June 1991 which included another incident of loss of money and jewelry in the safety deposit box rented by McLoughlin in the same hotel which took place prior to 16 April 1988.18 After receiving a copy of the indorsement in Australia.00) were missing. another envelope containing Ten Thousand Australian Dollars (AUS$10. among others.00). he asked Lainez if some money and/or jewelry which he had lost were found and returned to her or to the management. McLoughlin had been in and out of the country to attend to urgent business in Australia. McLoughlin left again for Australia without receiving the notice of the hearing on 24 November 1989. were not served with summons. He noticed that in the envelope containing Fifteen Thousand US Dollars (US$15. 4.00) was short of Five Thousand US Dollars (US$5. airfare and other transportation expenses.00) which he also placed in another envelope. After filing the complaint. .00) and other envelopes containing his traveling papers/documents. After defendants had filed their Pre-Trial Brief admitting that they had previously allowed and assisted Tan to open the safety deposit box.
more or less. 9) P10. Petitioners submit for resolution by this Court the following issues: (a) whether the appellate court's conclusion on the alleged prior existence and subsequent loss of the subject money and jewelry is supported by the evidence on record.00 as exemplary damages. jointly and severally. and the sum of AUS$4. Ordering defendants.30 The petition is devoid of merit. 7) One-half of P356.900. the appealed Decision is hereby AFFIRMED but modified as follows: The appellants are directed jointly and severally to pay the plaintiff/appellee the following amounts: 1) P153. "CC"). SO ORDERED.500. jointly and severally.80. with 12% interest from April 16 1988 until said amount has been paid to plaintiff (Item 1. to pay plaintiff the sum of P350.500. "CC"). Exh. The decretal text of the appellate court's decision reads: THE FOREGOING CONSIDERED.25 The trial court also found that defendants acted with gross negligence in the performance and exercise of their duties and obligations as innkeepers and were therefore liable to answer for the losses incurred by McLoughlin.000. kept in Tropicana's safety deposit box.28 The Court of Appeals affirmed the disquisitions made by the lower court except as to the amount of damages awarded.863.000.000. 5.000.00. IV. 6. 5) One-half of P179.24 As regards the loss of Seven Thousand US Dollars (US$7.00 or P178. "CC"). jointly and severally. 2. SO ORDERED.05 or P168.27 Thus. they should be responsible for all damages which may be attributed to the non-performance of their contractual obligations.000. 6) One-half of P7. and IX. was taken by Tan without McLoughlin's consent.00) and jewelry were taken by Tan from the safety deposit box without McLoughlin's consent through the cooperation of Payam and Lainez. 3.200. to wit: 1.238. 3) One-half of P336.00. above premises considered. no claim was made by McLoughlin for such losses in his complaint dated 21 November 1990 because he was not sure how they were lost and who the responsible persons were. DOJ. VII. III. the trial court ruled that paragraphs (2) and (4) of the "Undertaking For The Use Of Safety Deposit Box" are not valid for being contrary to the express mandate of Article 2003 of the New Civil Code and against public policy. Ordering defendants.00 representing expenses for food and maintenance. "CC"). and a fee of P3. there being fraud or wanton conduct on the part of defendants.000.000.880. . Exh. Exhibit CC).000 representing attorney's fees. The taking was effected through the use of the master key which was in the possession of the management. (c) whether the "Undertaking For The Use of Safety Deposit Box" admittedly executed by private respondent is null and void.785 representing payment to Echelon Tower.00. Ordering defendants. Lainez and Payam went to this Court in this appeal by certiorari. jointly and severally.341.26 Moreover.000. for the eleven (11) trips.400.00 as actual and consequential damages arising from the loss of his Australian and American dollars and jewelries complained against and in prosecuting his claim and rights administratively and judicially (Items II. he would not have gone through the trouble and personal inconvenience of seeking aid and assistance from the Office of the President.00 or its equivalent in Philippine Currency of P342. more or less. Ordering defendants. (b) whether the finding of gross negligence on the part of petitioners in the performance of their duties as innkeepers is supported by the evidence on record. V. as well as the amounts thereof. 4) One-half of P152.000.000.23 The trial court found that McLoughlin's allegations as to the fact of loss and as to the amount of money he lost were sufficiently shown by his direct and straightforward manner of testifying in court and found him to be credible and worthy of belief as it was established that McLoughlin's money.207.94 or P3. 4.000. jointly and severally to pay plaintiff the sum of P3.931.000.400.00 as moral damages (Item X. and 7. Plus costs of suit. and 10) P200. VI. The trial court added that if McLoughlin had not lost his dollars. 8) P50.97 representing Meralco power expenses.60 for the taxi xxx transportation from the residence to Sidney [sic] Airport and from MIA to the hotel here in Manila. Payam and Lainez allowed Tan to use the master key without authority from McLoughlin.00 (Item XII.801.00) which allegedly occurred during his stay at Tropicana previous to 4 April 1988. to pay litigation expenses in the sum of P200.00 representing the US$2.683.200. representing the peso value for the air fares from Sidney [sic] to Manila and back for a total of eleven (11) trips. And ordering defendants. jointly and severally. Exh.00) and jewelry worth approximately One Thousand Two Hundred US Dollars (US$1. judgment is hereby rendered by this Court in favor of plaintiff and against the defendants. But considering the admission of the defendants in their pre-trial brief that on three previous occasions they allowed Tan to open the box. or a total of P441.57 or P76. YHT Realty Corporation.00 for moral damages.00 and AUS$4. are proper under the circumstances.00 as exemplary damages (Item XI. police authorities and the City Fiscal's Office in his desire to recover his losses from the hotel management and Tan. Exh.00 as attorney's fees.52 representing payment to Tropicana Apartment Hotel. VIII. to pay plaintiff the sum of P500. With costs.00 for every appearance.00 or its equivalent in Philippine Currency of P99.20 or P89.00. peso equivalent of 2) P308. and (d) whether the damages awarded to private respondent.000.000. the trial court opined that it was logical and reasonable to presume that his personal assets consisting of Seven Thousand US Dollars (US$7.674.103.WHEREFORE. Ordering defendants. to pay plaintiff the sum of US$11.29 Unperturbed. to pay plaintiff the sum of P200.
hotelkeepers are bound to provide not only lodging for hotel guests and security to their persons and belongings. Article 2180. it is presumed that the employer was negligent in selecting and/or supervising him for it is hard for the victim to prove the negligence of such employer. 2003. Petitioners point out that the evidence on record is insufficient to prove the fact of prior existence of the dollars and the jewelry which had been lost while deposited in the safety deposit boxes of Tropicana. Failure to do so warrants the conclusion that the management had been remiss in complying with the obligations imposed upon hotel-keepers under the law.M. It is enough that such effects are within the hotel or inn.net We adhere to the findings of the trial court as affirmed by the appellate court that the fact of loss was established by the credible testimony in open court by McLoughlin. in the performance of their obligations. Article 2003 is controlling. Paragraphs (2) and (4) of the "undertaking" manifestly contravene Article 2003 of the New Civil Code for they allow Tropicana to be released from liability arising from any loss in the contents and/or use of the safety deposit box for any cause whatsoever. however. Likewise. The law in turn does not allow such duty to the public to be negated or diluted by any contrary stipulation in so-called "undertakings" that ordinarily appear in prepared forms imposed by hotel keepers on guests for their signature. they even admitted that they assisted Tan on three separate occasions in opening McLoughlin's safety deposit box. The evidence on record. In fact. The hotel-keeper cannot free himself from responsibility by posting notices to the effect that he is not liable for the articles brought by the guest. The oft-repeated principle is that where the credibility of a witness is an issue. is bereft of any showing that McLoughlin introduced Tan to the management as his wife. Any stipulation between the hotel-keeper and the guest whereby the responsibility of the former as set forth in Articles 1998 to 200137 is suppressed or diminished shall be void. unless the reason for the loss is force majeure. Yet the management failed to notify McLoughlin of the incident and waited for him to discover the taking before it disclosed the matter to him. conduct and attitude under grilling examination. both the assisting employees and YHT Realty Corporation itself. petitioners would have exercised due diligence required of them. it is inevitable to conclude that the management had at least a hand in the consummation of the taking. The twin duty constitutes the essence of the business. Notably. we give full credence to the appreciation of testimonial evidence by the trial court especially if what is at issue is the credibility of the witness. The New Civil Code is explicit that the responsibility of the hotel-keeper shall extend to loss of. Also.36 The issue of whether the "Undertaking For The Use of Safety Deposit Box" executed by McLoughlin is tainted with nullity presents a legal question appropriate for resolution in this petition.35 Thus. in case of loss of any item deposited in the safety deposit box. it is not necessary that they be actually delivered to the innkeepers or their employees. should be held solidarily liable pursuant to Article 2193. Under Article 1170 of the New Civil Code.38 the Court of Appeals through its then Presiding Justice (later Associate Justice of the Court) Jose P. Noteworthy is the fact that Payam and Lainez. With more reason that access to the safety deposit box should be denied if the one requesting for the opening of the safety deposit box is a stranger. In an early case.40 Evidently. Such an inference from the act of McLoughlin will not exculpate the petitioners from liability in the absence of any showing that he made the management believe that Tan was his wife or was duly authorized to have access to the safety deposit box. both the trial court and the appellate court found the same to be null and void.nét The trial court had the occasion to observe the demeanor of McLoughlin while testifying which reflected the veracity of the facts testified to by him. those who. while the latter was still asleep. he must request the management for the other key to open the same. Tan's acts should have prompted the management to investigate her relationship with McLoughlin. Tropicana should be held responsible for the damage suffered by McLoughlin by reason of the negligence of its employees. however. as owner and operator of Tropicana. to 7:30 A. petitioners dispute the finding of gross negligence on their part as not supported by the evidence on record.M. had custody of the master key of the management when the loss took place. they should have confronted him as to his relationship with Tan considering that the latter had been observed opening McLoughlin's safety deposit box a number of times at the early hours of the morning. The management contends. given the fact that the loss of McLoughlin's money was consummated through the negligence of Tropicana's employees in allowing Tan to open the safety deposit box without the guest's consent. We are not persuaded.32 We are also not impressed by petitioners' argument that the finding of gross negligence by the lower court as affirmed by the appellate court is not supported by evidence.31 The trial court is in the best position to assess the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies because of its unique opportunity to observe the witnesses firsthand and note their demeanor. The hotel business like the common carrier's business is imbued with public interest. Therefore.It is worthy of note that the thrust of Rule 45 is the resolution only of questions of law and any peripheral factual question addressed to this Court is beyond the bounds of this mode of review. who were employees of Tropicana. The management should have guarded against the occurrence of this incident considering that Payam admitted in open court that she assisted Tan three times in opening the safety deposit box of McLoughlin at around 6:30 A. that McLoughlin.34 In light of the circumstances surrounding this case. the loss of McLoughlin's money could and should have been avoided. it is undeniable that without the acquiescence of the employees of Tropicana to the opening of the safety deposit box. If the guest desires to open his safety deposit box. by his act. Mere close companionship and intimacy are not enough to warrant such conclusion considering that what is involved in the instant case is the very safety of McLoughlin's deposit. The evidence reveals that two keys are required to open the safety deposit boxes of Tropicana. Article 2003 was incorporated in the New Civil Code as an expression of public policy precisely to apply to situations such as that presented in this case. as in this case. On this score. Bengzon. the undertaking was intended to bar any claim against Tropicana for any loss of the contents of the safety deposit box whether or not negligence was incurred by Tropicana or its employees. In other words.33 This only proves that Tropicana had prior knowledge that a person aside from the registered guest had access to the safety deposit box. Catering to the public. ruled that to hold hotelkeepers or innkeeper liable for the effects of their guests. the established rule is that great respect is accorded to the evaluation of the credibility of witnesses by the trial court. As to who shall bear the burden of paying damages.l^vvphi1. or injury to. If only petitioners exercised due diligence in taking care of McLoughlin's safety deposit box. made its employees believe that Tan was his spouse for she was always with him most of the time.39 With greater reason should the liability of the hotelkeeper be enforced when the missing items are taken without the guest's knowledge and consent from a safety deposit box provided by the hotel itself.1awphi1. the guest alone cannot open the safety deposit box without the assistance of the management or its employees. thus: Art. Thus. One key is assigned to the guest while the other remains in the possession of the management. are guilty of negligence. Then. We find no reason to reverse their common conclusion. this Court has ruled that if an employee is found negligent. are liable for damages. Such findings are factual and therefore beyond the ambit of the present petition. paragraph (4) of the same Code provides that the owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise are likewise responsible for damages caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which the latter are employed or on the occasion of their functions. the personal property of the guests even if caused by servants or employees of the keepers of hotels or inns as . the basis of the trial court and the appellate court being the sole testimony of McLoughlin as to the contents thereof.
05 or P184.108.40.2061.341. (8) P50.44 In the case at bar.00) or their peso equivalent at the time of payment.51 one-half of P179. who was not the registered guest. Branch 11. 39705. are undisputed.500.683.207.900. foregoing premises considered.l^vvphi1. the appellate court may modify or change the amount awarded when it is palpably and scandalously excessive. The appellate court also correctly awarded the sum of P308.00 or P178. the loss would not have occurred. 1979. petitioner. jointly and severally. to pay private respondent the following amounts: (1) US$2.47 being the amounts duly proven by evidence.000. WHEREFORE. (5) One-half of P179.42 Petitioners likewise anchor their defense on Article 200243 which exempts the hotel-keeper from liability if the loss is due to the acts of his guest.341. (2) P308. representing the peso value for the air fares from Sydney to Manila and back for a total of eleven (11) trips.880.52 representing payment to Tropicana.000. QUISUMBING. (4) One-half of P152. JR.20 or P89. Thus. to open the safety deposit box of McLoughlin. G.net They are awarded only to enable the injured party to obtain means.R.52 representing payment to Tropicana Copacabana Apartment Hotel.97 representing Meralco power expenses. The act that breaks the contract may also be tort.785 representing payment to Echelon Tower. (9) P10. CV No.80. The facts of the case. under the pretense of being a family member or a visitor of the guest. Petitioners contend that McLoughlin's case was mounted on the theory of contract. (6) One-half of P7. diversion or amusements that will serve to alleviate the moral suffering he has undergone. the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 19 October 1995 is hereby AFFIRMED. With costs.R.55 The awards of P10. the appellate court correctly awarded McLoughlin Two Thousand US Dollars (US$2. Jr. representing the peso value for the air fares from Sydney to Manila and back for a total of eleven (11) trips. COURT OF APPEALS and DR. plaintiff-appellee [herein petitioner] Pablo U. by reason of defendants' culpable action. DIONISIO CALIBO.00 representing expenses for food and maintenance. his family.00 for moral damages is reasonable.000. and (10) P200.97 representing Meralco power expenses. Although trial courts are given discretion to determine the amount of moral damages.000.400.48 The alleged loss that took place prior to 16 April 1988 was not considered since the amounts alleged to have been taken were not sufficiently established by evidence. A depositary is not responsible for the loss of goods by theft.000. The justification they raise would render nugatory the public interest sought to be protected by the provision.94 or P3. (3) One-half of P336.00 or P178. for the eleven (11) trips. In the case at bar.000.785 representing payment to Echelon Tower. Petitioners are directed. which affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu.52 one-half of P7.net Moral damages are not intended to enrich a complainant at the expense of a defendant. even assuming that the latter was also guilty of negligence in allowing another person to use his key.00 representing expenses for food and maintenance.l^vvphi1.05 or P168.well as by strangers.60 for the taxi or transportation expenses from McLoughlin's residence to Sydney Airport and from MIA to the hotel here in Manila.53 one-half of P356.000 representing attorney's fees. Thus.931.45 There is nothing anomalous in how the lower courts decided the controversy for this Court has pronounced a jurisprudential rule that tort liability can exist even if there are already contractual relations.000.00 representing attorney's fees are likewise sustained. No.00 as exemplary damages.. ABELLA. we see no reason to modify the amounts awarded by the appellate court for the same were based on facts and law.57 or P76. to have access to the safety deposit box without fear of any liability that will attach thereafter in case such person turns out to be a complete stranger.00 or their peso equivalent at the time of payment.94 or P3. but the trial court and the appellate court upheld the grant of the claims of the latter on the basis of tort.500.683. To rule otherwise would result in undermining the safety of the safety deposit boxes in hotels for the management will be given imprimatur to allow any person.50 one-half of P152.000. "…on January 25.900.863. there is no showing that the act of the thief or robber was done with the use of arms or through an irresistible force to qualify the same as force majeure.207.00 and AUS$4.46 As to damages awarded to McLoughlin. (7) One-half of P356. Tropicana was guilty of concurrent negligence in allowing Tan.801.49one-half of P336. Without the assistance of hotel employees. or visitors.863.20 or P89. SO ORDERED. for the eleven (11) trips. Even a cursory reading of the provision would lead us to reject petitioners' contention.: Before us is the petition for review on certiorari by petitioner Dionisio Calibo.00 as exemplary damages and P200. J. assailing the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. vs.80. respondents. the responsibility of securing the safety deposit box was shared not only by the guest himself but also by the management since two keys are necessary to open the safety deposit box.57 orP76. 120528 January 29.00 for moral damages. as summarized by respondent court.60 for the taxi or transportation expense from McLoughlin's residence to Sydney Airport and from MIA to the hotel here in Manila..880.103. It is within the province of lower courts to settle factual issues such as the proper amount of damages awarded and such finding is binding upon this Court especially if sufficiently proven by evidence and not unconscionable or excessive. What if the negligence of the employer or its employees facilitated the consummation of a crime committed by the registered guest's relatives or visitor? Should the law exculpate the hotel from liability since the loss was due to the act of the visitor of the registered guest of the hotel? Hence. this provision presupposes that the hotel-keeper is not guilty of concurrent negligence or has not contributed in any degree to the occurrence of the loss.54 The amount of P50. unless his actionable negligence contributes to the loss. declaring private respondent as the lawful possessor of a tractor subject of a replevin suit and ordering petitioner to pay private respondent actual damages and attorney's fees.400.41 It is the loss through force majeurethat may spare the hotelkeeper from liability. Abella purchased an MF 210 agricultural tractor . except as it may proceed from any force majeure. 2001 ATTY. PABLO U.801.00) and Four Thousand Five Hundred Australian dollars (AUS$4. This will allow the hotel to evade responsibility for any liability incurred by its employees in conspiracy with the guest's relatives and visitors.
5) which he used in his farm in Dagohoy. there is no valid pledge. then Mike was acting not only without appellee's authority but without the latter's knowledge as well. The following month. Here.nêt In January 1987 when a new tenant moved into the house formerly leased to Mike. he stopped doing so. the principal must know that another person is acting on his behalf without authority. Hence. Mike Abella. Clearly. in addition to issuing postdated checks to cover the unpaid electric and water bills the correctness of which Pablo said he still had to verify with Mike. in Tagbilaran City. Mike reassured Calibo that the tractor would stand as a guarantee for its payment. or in that of a third person to whom it has been delivered. Calibo learned that Mike had never paid the charges for electric and water consumption in the leased premises which the latter was duty-bound to shoulder. a principal-agent relationship may be implied between Mike Abella and private respondent. unsuccessful in his attempt to take possession of the tractor. In the alternative. who left the equipment with him for safekeeping.. As adverted to above. private respondent.00-check only if the latter would execute a promissory note in his favor to cover the amount of the unpaid electric and water bills. P126M00199 (Exhibit A. private respondent is bound by the pledge. Mike even asked Calibo to help him find a buyer for the tractor so he could sooner pay his outstanding obligation. is absent in this case. For the contract to be valid. The tractor was owned by his father. Mike had been religiously paying the monthly rentals therefor. Hence. private respondent asserts that respondent court had correctly ruled on the matter. (2) the pledgor be the absolute owner of the thing pledged. Mike Abella. also in Tagbilaran City. this petition. Petitioner maintains that even if Mike Abella were not the owner of the tractor.00 in payment of Mike's unpaid lease rentals. Bohol. During this confrontation. on deposit and that he may validly hold on thereto until Mike Abella pays his obligations. The Court of Appeals reduced the amount of actual damages payable to private respondent. On the other hand. offering the tractor as security. even if it were beyond the authority of his son to pledge the tractor. under Article 1911 of the Civil Code. the second requisite for a valid pledge. securing payment of a debt. if not a pledge. Mike abella rented for residential purpose the house of defendant-appellant Dionosio R. and left it in the safekeeping of his son. the trial court ruled in favor of private respondent. and (3) the person constituting the pledge has the free disposal of his property. Jr. nor was he authorized by its owner to pledge the tractor.2 As found by the trial court and affirmed by respondent court. On all three occasions. was not the absolute owner of the tractor that was allegedly pledged to petitioner. Calibo visited him in his Cebu City address in January. private respondent instituted an action for replevin. Calibo confronted Mike about his rental arrears and the unpaid electric and water bills. knowing that his son is acting on his behalf without authority when he pledged the tractor to petitioner. The two of them having failed to come to an agreement. and definitely not for him to pledge or alienate the same. Pablo Abella. The Court of Appeals said that under the Civil Code. Record. p. 00105 and Engine No. 1987 and tried to collect payment. February and March."1 On November 25. If it were true that Mike pledged appeellee's tractor to appellant. We agree with the Court of Appeals that: "As indicated in Article 1869. informed Pablo that Mike left the tractor with him as security for the payment of Mike's obligation to him. that he be legally authorized for the purpose. as in this case. 1988. Essentially. in the concept of an innkeeper. Pablo was not amenable to this proposal. Calibo had the tractor moved to the garage of his father's house. Since he started renting Calibo's house. In a contract of pledge. The Court of Appeals sustained the ruling of the trial court that Mike Abella could not have validly pledged the subject tractor to petitioner since he was not the owner thereof. "He who is not the owner or proprietor of the property pledged or mortgaged to guarantee the fulfillment of a principal obligation. Mike also assured Calibo that he would be settling his account with the latter. Calibo. Calibo. Petitioner argues that. After a long while. the creditor is given the right to retain his debtor's movable property in his possession. claiming ownership of the tractor and seeking to recover possession thereof from petitioner. On his third trip to Cebu City."3 There also does not appear to be any agency in this case. the primary purpose of a deposit is only safekeeping and not. and in the absence thereof. until the debt is paid. 1988. Bohol. petitioner claims that the tractor in question was validly pledged to him by private respondent's son Mike Abella to answer for the latter's monetary obligations to petitioner. Mike kept the tractor in the garage of the house he was leasing from Calibo. Pablo Abella's son. and the pledgee or mortgagee in such a case acquires no right whatsoever in the property pledged or mortgaged. He contends that the latter failed to repudiate the alleged agency. Sometimes in October or November 1985.with Serial No. Bohol. appellee categorically stated that the only purpose for his leaving the subject tractor in the care and custody of Mike Abella was for safekeeping. Pablo left and went back to Cebu City. but beginning November of 1986. to Cebu City. That was the last time Calibo saw or heard from Mike. since he allowed his son to act as though he had full powers. in Tagbilaran City. Mike's father. Pablo Abella pulled out his aforementioned tractor from his farm in Dagohoy. Calibo was unable to talk to Mike as the latter was reportedly out of town. came to Tagbilaran City to claim and take possession of the tractor. The following week. or on November 22.000. . deducting therefrom the cost of transporting the tractor from Tagbilaran. however. Mike saw Calibo in Tagbilaran City to inquire about the possible tractor buyer. for an agency relationship to be deemed as implied. then a deposit was created.000. When again confronted with his outstanding obligation. cannot legally constitute such a guaranty as may validly bind the property in favor of his creditor. Respondent court also rejected petitioner's contention that. Thus. Apprehensive over Mike's unsettled account. the pledgor in this case. so did the Court of Appeals when petitioner appealed. In October 1986. Calibo left word with the occupants of the Abella residence thereat that there was a prospective buyer for the tractor. Calibo told Pablo that he would accept the P2. it is necessary that: (1) the pledge is constituted to secure the fulfillment of a principal obligation. Pablo offered to write Mike a check for P2. that the pledgor be the absolute owner of the property. The sale. however. Mike informed Calibo that he (Mike) would be staying in the leased property only until the end of December 1986. did not push through as the buyer did not come back anymore. petitioner asserts that the tractor was left with him.1âwphi1.
39705 is AFFIRMED. holding petitioner Durban Apartments Corporation solely liable to respondent Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation for the loss of Jeffrey See’s (See’s) vehicle. the Vitara has not yet been recovered since July 23. and [respondent] Pioneer Insurance required him to sign a Sequestration or Judicial Deposit .].nêt We do not here pass upon the other assignment of errors made by petitioner concerning alleged irregularities in the raffle and disposition of the case at the trial court. Upon service of Summons. the Makati City Police Anti-Carnapping Unit investigated Hotel Security Officer. and blocked its possible path but to no avail. In a contract of deposit. and See was duly and immediately informed of the carnapping of his Vitara. the lower court granted the motion of [respondent] Pioneer Insurance. by right of subrogation. at about 11:30 in the evening. it is a special privilege that it gave to Montero and See.] and 1:00 [a. WHEREFORE. investigated the incident. and the same holds true even if it was See himself who parked his Vitara within the premises of the hotel as evidenced by the valet parking customer’s claim stub issued to him. valet parking services are provided by the hotel for the convenience of its customers looking for a parking space near the hotel premises. See was awakened in his room by [a] telephone call from the Hotel Chief Security Officer who informed him that his Vitara was carnapped while it was parked unattended at the parking area of Equitable PCI Bank along Makati Avenue between the hours of 12:00 [a. PIONEER INSURANCE AND SURETY CORPORATION.5 Petitioner himself states that he received the tractor not to safely keep it but as a form of security for the payment of Mike Abella's obligations. but did not file their pre-trial brief. and defendant x x x Justimbaste. while he and Montero were waiting in front of the hotel. which was within See’s view. whom he had later known to be defendant x x x Justimbaste. petitioner had no right to refuse delivery of the tractor to its lawful owner. and a police officer came accompanied them to the Anti-Carnapping Unit of the said station for investigation. doing business under the name and style of City Garden Hotel. Quezon City. a certain Atty. Ernesto T. he and Montero. it does not include responsibility for any losses or damages to motor vehicles and its accessories in the parking area. and filed a Complaint Sheet with the PNP Traffic Management Group in Camp 2 Crame. a person receives an object belonging to another with the obligation of safely keeping it and of returning the same. on April 30."4 There is likewise no valid deposit in this case.163. XBH-510 under Policy No.6 Consequently.1âwphi1. Branch 66. CV No. [petitioner] Durban Apartments and [defendant] Justimbaste filed their Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim alleging that: See did not check in at its hotel. which affirmed the decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). it paid the P1. On the other hand. and lawful claim despite written demands. Inc. and the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. thereafter. 2002. [respondent] Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation x x x. On November 5. defendant x x x Justimbaste did not get the ignition key of See’s Vitara. 2002 as evidenced by a Certification of Non. During the pre-trial conference on November 28. he tried to run after it. the instant petition is DENIED for lack of merit. 86869. 2002. vs. There is no deposit where the principal purpose for receiving the object is not safekeeping. DURBAN APARTMENTS CORPORATION. as found by the CA. Makati City. he filed his claim with [respondent] Pioneer Insurance. filed [with the RTC of Makati City] a Complaint for Recovery of Damages against [petitioner] Durban Apartments Corporation. and flashing of a voice alarm. On July 22. the matter was reported to the nearest police precinct. at about 1:00 o’clock in the morning. on the contrary. it stands to reason that the former could not have allowed the latter to pledge the tractor as if he had full powers to do so.m. 2002.Petitioner. defendant x x x Justimbaste saw the Vitara speeding away from the place where it was parked. mandates that the principal is solidarily liable with the agent if the former allowed the latter to act as though he had full powers.00. Horlador. just. and issued him a valet parking customer’s claim stub. 2003. they made a written denial of the demand of [respondent] Pioneer Insurance for want of legal basis. private respondent. he drove his Vitara and stopped in front of City Garden Hotel in Makati Avenue. it was See who requested a parking attendant to park the Vitara at any available parking space.R. on May 1. approached and asked for his ignition key. taking of their sworn statements.Article 1911. [petitioner] Durban Apartments was wanting in due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees particularly defendant x x x Justimbaste.00 money claim of See and mortgagee ABN AMRO Savings Bank. 2004. including the institution of the instant action for replevin. counsel for [respondent] Pioneer Insurance was present. instead. and defendant x x x Justimbaste and [petitioner] Durban Apartments failed and refused to pay its valid. the carnapper was able to open the Vitara without using the key given earlier to the parking attendant and subsequently turned over to See after the Vitara was stolen. who is also an adjuster of Vesper Insurance Adjusters-Appraisers [Vesper].m. See went to see the Hotel Chief Security Officer. in view of appellee's lack of knowledge of Mike's pledging the tractor without any authority from him. the Hotel Security Officer whom he later knew to be Horlador called his attention to the fact that his Vitara was carnapped while it was parked at the parking lot of Equitable PCI Bank which is in front of the hotel. despite the opposition of [petitioner] Durban Apartments and Justimbaste.000. [Respondent averred] that: it is the insurer for loss and damage of Jeffrey S. and a flash alarm was issued. as indemnity for the loss of the Vitara. in Civil Case No. and its parking attendant. and it was parked at the Equitable Bank parking area. told him that the latter would park the Vitara for him in front of the hotel.Recovery issued by the PNP TMG. See’s [the insured’s] 2001 Suzuki Grand Vitara x x x with Plate No. A petition for review on certiorari is not the proper vehicle for such allegations. as owner. on the other hand. Monina Lee x x x. counsel of record of [petitioner] Durban Apartments and Justimbaste was absent. x x x and defendant x x x Justimbaste. had every right to seek to repossess the tractor. on the contrary. thereafter reported the incident to the Operations Division of the Makati City Police Anti-Carnapping Unit. Nestor Mejia appeared for [petitioner] Durban Apartments and Justimbaste. Makati City. Costs against petitioner. a parking attendant. he together with Horlador and defendant x x x Justimbaste went to Precinct 19 of the Makati City Police to report the carnapping incident. at around 1:00 in the morning. O]n May 1.250. he likewise reported the said incident in PNP TMG in Camp Crame where another alarm was issued. and a representative of the latter. Respondent. See gave his Sinumpaang Salaysay to the police investigator. he was a guest of a certain Ching Montero x x x. 2003.R. doing business under the name and style of City Garden Hotel. 2002. and Horlador submitted themselves to police investigation. and allowed [respondent] Pioneer Insurance to present its evidence ex parte before the Branch Clerk of Court. 03-857. Again.175. defendant x x x Justimbaste got the key to said Vitara from See to park it[. See arrived and checked in at the City Garden Hotel in Makati corner Kalayaan Avenues. See testified that: on April 30. Jr.2 For review is the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. his Vitara was insured with [respondent] Pioneer Insurance. are simple. and [defendant before the RTC] Vicente Justimbaste x x x. SO ORDERED. The facts. Makati City before midnight. CV No. checked in at the said hotel. MC-CV-HO-010003846-00-D in the amount of P1. the Vitara was lost due to the negligence of [petitioner] Durban Apartments and [defendant] Justimbaste because it was discovered during the investigation that this was the second time that a similar incident of carnapping happened in the valet parking service of [petitioner] Durban Apartments and no necessary precautions were taken to prevent its repetition. Atty.
and verified the authenticity of the same.00. are premised on the absence of evidence. if properly considered. SO ORDERED. with the receipt of claims and documents from the insured. this recourse by petitioner.000. and place the ignition keys in their safety key box.00 per court appearance. obtained the necessary documents for the processing of the claim. will justify a different conclusion. it has an agreement with Equitable PCI Bank permitting the hotel to use the parking space of the bank at night. 2005. Sarajan & Associates were engaged. 4. respectively. surmises.B. to submit to alternative modes of dispute resolution. he monitored the processing of See’s claim when the latter reported the incident to [respondent] Pioneer Insurance. and to enter into stipulations or admissions of facts and documents. (4) when the findings of the appellate court go beyond the issues of the case. and the services of R. who prepared and sent demand letters to [petitioner] Durban Apartments and [defendant] Justimbaste. Makati City in Civil Case No. See contested the recommendation of Vesper by reasoning out that the 10% depreciation should not be applied in this case considering the fact that the Vitara was used for barely eight (8) months prior to its loss. the matter was referred and forwarded to their counsel.6A review of such findings by this Court is not warranted except upon a showing of highly meritorious circumstances.4 On appeal.163. 03-857 is hereby AFFIRMED insofar as it holds [petitioner] Durban Apartments Corporation solely liable to [respondent] Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation for the loss of Jeffrey See’s Suzuki Grand Vitara.00 as attorney’s fees plus P3.250. and monitoring of the processing of the claim until its payment. considering that the hotel has only twelve (12) available parking slots. SO ORDERED. for being devoid of merit. (2) when a lower court’s inference from its factual findings is manifestly mistaken.7 None of the foregoing exceptions permitting a reversal of the assailed decision exists in this instance. Whether the lower courts erred in declaring petitioner as in default for failure to appear at the pre-trial conference and to file a pre-trial brief. Branch 66. they evaluated the case upon receipt of the subrogation documents and the adjuster’s report.00. as follows: WHEREFORE. the lower courts did not err in holding petitioner liable for the loss of See’s vehicle.250. The petition must fail. or conjectures. he conducted his investigation of the matter by interviewing See.5 Hence.B. the RTC rendered a decision. 2003 until the obligation is fully paid and attorney’s fees and litigation expenses amounting toP120. going to the City Garden Hotel.250. and he was the one actually assigned to investigate it. and [respondent] Pioneer Insurance acceded to See’s contention.000. among others. and tendered a settlement check to See. on January 27. is mandatory.–It shall be the duty of the parties and their counsel to appear at the pre-trial. 2005 and October 20. absurd.163. 2006 of the RTC. and Horlador and defendant x x x Justimbaste admitted the occurrence of the same in their sworn statements before the Anti-Carnapping Unit of the Makati City Police. Ricardo F. and 4. upon verification with the PNP TMG [Unit] in Camp Crame. he learned that it is the standard procedure of the said hotel as regards its valet parking service to assist their guests as soon as they get to the lobby entrance.163. Well-entrenched in jurisprudence is the rule that factual findings of the trial court. such as: (1) when the findings of a trial court are grounded entirely on speculation.250. We are not persuaded. (5) when there is a misappreciation of facts. Red testified that: he is a claims evaluator of [petitioner] Pioneer Insurance tasked.: WHEREFORE.00.00 for his claim. [respondent] Pioneer Insurance assigned to Vesper the investigation of See’s case. Petitioner urges us. to prosecute the claims of [respondent] Pioneer Insurance against [petitioner] Durban Apartments and Justimbaste before the lower court. viz. Ferdinand Cacnio testified that: he is an adjuster of Vesper. investigation of the said claim. Vesper recommended to [respondent] Pioneer Insurance to settle See’s claim for P1. Thus. R. Whether petitioner is liable to respondent for attorney’s fees in the amount of P120. the appellate court affirmed the decision of the trial court. or are contradicted by evidence on record. who did not pay [respondent] Pioneer Insurance notwithstanding their receipt of the demand letters. .3 Thereafter. conducted an investigation. or fail to notice certain relevant facts which. Likewise. inspection of damages. 3. the Decision dated January 27. (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts. correctly allowed respondent to present evidence ex-parte. appearance of parties and their counsel at the pre-trial conference. whether the trial court correctly allowed respondent to present evidence ex-parte. nay. Sarajan & Associates.00 as settlement. and signed a release of claim and subrogation receipt. are accorded the highest degree of respect and are considered conclusive between the parties.000. We are in complete accord with the common ruling of the lower courts that petitioner was in default for failure to appear at the pre-trial conference and to file a pre-trial brief. and eventually recommended for its settlement for the sum of P1. whether petitioner is liable to respondent for the loss of See’s vehicle. required subrogation documents from See. Corollary thereto. along with the filing of a corresponding pre-trial brief. disposing. premises considered. he learned that See’s Vitara has not yet been recovered. (6) when the findings of fact are conclusions without mention of the specific evidence on which they are based. that "strong [and] compelling reason[s]" such as the prevention of miscarriage of justice warrant a suspension of the rules and excuse its and its counsel’s non-appearance during the pre-trial conference and their failure to file a pre-trial brief.00 which was accepted by See. for P100. The non-appearance of a party may be excused only if a valid cause is shown therefor or if a representative shall appear in his behalf fully authorized in writing to enter into an amicable settlement. however. 2006.00 with legal interest thereon from July 22. he also learned that a Hyundai Starex van was carnapped at the said place barely a month before the occurrence of this incident because Liberty Insurance assigned the said incident to Vespers. their duty. upon evaluation. Ultimately. tendered the sum of P1.163. 2. and thus. Rule 18 of the Rules of Court leaves no room for equivocation. the former accepted it. [respondent] Pioneer Insurance assigned the case to Vesper who verified See’s report. judgment is hereby rendered ordering [petitioner Durban Apartments Corporation] to pay [respondent Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation] the sum of P1. park the cars for their guests.Release of Claim and Subrogation Receipt. The issues for our resolution are: 1. The lower court denied the Motion to Admit Pre-Trial Brief and Motion for Reconsideration field by [petitioner] Durban Apartments and Justimbaste in its Orders dated May 4. Appearance of parties. Section 4 and Section 6 thereof provide: SEC. taking of pictures of insured unit.045.750. and finally paid him the sum of P1. especially when affirmed by the appellate court. or impossible.000.
This refusal constrained respondent. among others: xxxx Failure to file the pre-trial brief shall have the same effect as failure to appear at the pre-trial. In that span of time.9 We are not unmindful that defendant’s (petitioner’s) preclusion from presenting evidence during trial does not automatically result in a judgment in favor of plaintiff (respondent). was correctly rejected by the trial court. there is no deposit but some other contract. of the effects brought by the guests and that. If the safekeeping of the thing delivered is not the principal purpose of the contract. the insurer of See. it would be inutile to continue with the plaintiff’s presentation of evidence each time the defendant is declared in default.13 or when the court deems it just and equitable. petitioner and its counsel of record were not present at the scheduled pre-trial conference. On this score. in such manner as shall ensure their receipt thereof at least three (3) days before the date of the pre-trial.11 Article 1962. thus: Everyone knows that a pre-trial in civil actions is mandatory. Some courts consider it a mere technicality. In all. their respective pre-trial briefs which shall contain. Petitioner claims that the award is not substantiated by the evidence on record. Mejia at the pre-trial conference. Petitioner is adamant and harps on the fact that November 28. which Justimbaste received with the obligation of safely keeping and returning it. Justimbaste. petitioner assails the lower courts’ award of attorney’s fees to respondent in the amount of P120. Attorney’s fees may be awarded when a party is compelled to litigate or incur expenses to protect its interest. 1998. a contract of necessary deposit existed between the insured See and petitioner. Their non-appearance cannot be excused as Section 4. Lee. who was charged with the duty of notifying petitioner of the scheduled pre-trial conference.10 Otherwise. Hence. the lawyer or representative cannot be deemed capacitated to appear in place of the party. and another person substitutes for him. This is a great pity. And in those instances where a party may not himself be present at the pre-trial. A deposit is constituted from the moment a person receives a thing belonging to another. The appearance of Atty. petitioner has not shown any persuasive reason why it should be exempt from abiding by the rules. See gave notice to the doorman and parking attendant of the said hotel.–The parties shall file with the court and serve on the adverse party. the contract of deposit was perfected from See’s delivery. without a pre-trial brief and with only his bare allegation that he is counsel for petitioner. parked the Vitara at the Equitable PCI Bank parking area. occasionally to furnish ground for non-suiting the plaintiff. Ultimately. received the notice of pre-trial on October 27. 2003 was merely the first scheduled date for the pre-trial conference. or to their employees. .00. and he [must] therefore "be non-suited or considered as in default. or. Worse. The pre-trial device is not thus put to full use. which was deposited with it for safekeeping.1avvphi1 The keepers of hotels or inns shall be responsible for them as depositaries. the Rules oblige not only the lawyers but the parties as well to appear for this purpose before the Court. Mejia "did not have in his possession the Special Power of Attorney issued by petitioner’s Board of Directors. Art. and (2) appearance of a representative on behalf of a party who is fully authorized in writing to enter into an amicable settlement. petitioner.000. through the latter’s employee. Thus. but connotes as importantly. or the mere physical presentation by a party of one’s self." As pointed out by the CA. in relation to Section 6. petitioner refused to answer for the loss of See’s vehicle. with the obligation of safely keeping it and returning the same.e. we find no error in the following disquisition of the appellate court: [The] records also reveal that upon arrival at the City Garden Hotel. on the part of the latter. hence. Mejia appeared on its behalf. respondent substantiated the allegations in its complaint. i. Contrary to the foregoing rules. this Atty. provided that notice was given to them. they take the precautions which said hotel-keepers or their substitutes advised relative to the care and vigilance of their effects. to submit to alternative modes of dispute resolution. While it is a sound policy not to set a premium on the right to litigate. Pre-trial brief. about his Vitara when he entrusted its ignition key to the latter. when he handed over to Justimbaste the keys to his vehicle. it has failed in the main to accomplish the chief objective for it: the simplification. allows only two exceptions: (1) a valid excuse." Without that special authority. on said date.SEC. preparedness to go into the different subject assigned by law to a pre-trial. or declaring a defendant in default. abbreviation and expedition of the trial. Yet to this day its place in the scheme of things is not fully appreciated. The Equitable PCI Bank parking area became an annex of City Garden Hotel when the management of the said bank allowed the parking of the vehicles of hotel guests thereat in the evening after banking hours. xxxx Consistently with the mandatory character of the pre-trial. the trial court.12 we find that respondent is entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees. it will be considered that the latter has failed to put in an appearance at all. thirty-two (32) days prior to the scheduled conference. The deposit of effects made by travelers in hotels or inns shall also be regarded as necessary. it also did not proffer a reason why it likewise failed to file a pre-trial brief. because the objective is attainable. Accordingly. as affirmed by the appellate court. In turn. through Atty. However. 1964. and it receives but perfunctory treatment in many courts. and placed the ignition key inside a safety key box while See proceeded to the hotel lobby to check in. 1962. if not indeed its dispensation.8 petitioner. armed with the appropriate authority therefor. 6. in relation to Article 1998. x x x Justimbaste issued a valet parking customer claim stub to See.14 In this case. 2003. serving no useful purpose save perhaps. We disagree. it is imperative for that representative of the lawyer to have "special authority" to make such substantive agreements as only the client otherwise has capacity to make. they did not file a pre-trial brief. The plaintiff must still substantiate the allegations in its complaint. petitioner failed to comply with not just one rule. That "special authority" should ordinarily be in writing or at the very least be "duly established by evidence other than the self-serving assertion of counsel (or the proclaimed representative) himself. did not err in allowing respondent to present evidence ex-parte. or his lawyer undertakes to appear not only as an attorney but in substitution of the client’s person. if the device were more intelligently and extensively handled. Lastly. Lee. wistfully. and with not much difficulty. from the facts found by the lower courts. Plainly. petitioner is liable for the loss of See’s vehicle. and Atty. and has been so since January 1. of the Civil Code defines a contract of deposit and a necessary deposit made by persons in hotels or inns: Art. and a certain Atty." notwithstanding his lawyer’s or delegate’s presence. to bring about a compromise. and when a party "fails to appear at a pretrial conference (he) may be non-suited or considered as in default. Mejia should have discussed which lawyer would appear at the pre-trial conference with petitioner. Justimbaste issued a claim stub to See." The obligation "to appear" denotes not simply the personal appearance. its assertion is belied by its own admission that. Narvasa’s words continue to resonate. Former Chief Justice Andres R. x x x Justimbaste. the insured See deposited his vehicle for safekeeping with petitioner. and to enter into stipulations or admissions of facts and documents.. Sadly. Atty. In this case.
53355. or in the alternative. prompting the petitioners to amend [their] complaint. the Quezon City Hall building where the Register of Deeds was then holding office was razed by fire. CV No. respondents. "On July 2. "Let a writ of preliminary injunction issue in this case to restrain the respondent bank from proceeding with the foreclosure and consolidation of the title over the subject property upon posting by petitioners of a bond in the amount of Php20. among others. and registered in the name of petitioner Pacita."3 The Order of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City (Branch 220). The application for issuance of writ of preliminary injunction is hereby DENIED. 203492 covering a parcel of land situated in Diliman. Statement of the Case Before us is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. 1999. consolidating title to the subject property. the respondent bank filed its Manifestation. PACITA O.: A writ of preliminary injunction is issued to preserve the status quo ante. 1999 insofar as it denied the petitioners’ application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. 1997.000. Macy was able to cause the issuance of TCT No. petitioners lodged an action in court against Macy and the respondent bank for Annulment of Title. AND LOURDES AFRICA. the respondent bank in utter bad faith. On the strength of the forged Deed of Absolute Sale. 2000 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals2 (CA) in CA-GR SP No. The case was originally assigned to Branch 99 of the RTC of Quezon City and docketed as Civil Case No. destroying some of its records/documents among which was the original Transfer . Q-94-20898.00. RTC Branch 220.000. The decretal portion of the Decision reads as follows: "WHEREFORE. Deed of Absolute Sale and Deed of Mortgage. PANGANIBAN. Branch 99. let this case be set for pre-trial on May 28. 81519 in the name of Pacita. INC. this time incorporating therein a prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction.. for the cancellation of the hearing thereon. or caused the forgery of. (1) the right to be protected exists prima facie. Quezon City. premises considered. 1997. RT-76140 (203492) PR-36463 was issued in the name of Pacita Africa. SOCORRO AFRICA. to stop the respondent bank from. 2002 Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 1996 without due notice to the petitioners. Felix M. for the denial of petitioner’s application for a writ of preliminary injunction. 1998 praying that Hon. However. 1999 at 8:30 o’ clock in the morning. the Order of the Court dated July 22. On July 18. inhibit himself from further trying the case. is hereby RECALLED and SET ASIDE. Macy allegedly forged. 1997. 1997. While the reconstituted title was in her possession. 1997 is hereby recalled and set aside. To protect their interests over the subject property. WHEREFORE. "On request of Pacita. without the knowledge of any of herein petitioners.00 in view of the simplicity of the issues involved in this case. "On April 19. which was reversed by the CA.00. the aforesaid court denied the respondent bank’s motion to postpone and proceeded with the hearing of petitioners’ application. 1997 followed by a Motion for Inhibition on January 1. foreclosed the subject property on June 11. namely. Meanwhile. vs. the Court issued an Order granting petitioners’ application for a writ of preliminary injunction to which respondent bank filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated July 11.00 to P60. inter alia. J. petitioners discovered private respondent’s fraudulent act. to litigate and incur expenses. Send notice of pre-trial to the parties and counsels. 81519 in her name."4 The Facts The factual antecedents of the case are summarized by the Court of Appeals in this wise: "Petitioner Pacita Africa (Pacita for brevity) is the widow of Alberto Africa and the rest of her co-petitioners are their children. "After the filing of the aforesaid case. The same was done and a new Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. upon an applicant’s showing of two important requisite conditions. It must be proven that the violation sought to be prevented would cause an irreparable injustice. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. This latter motion was granted. private respondent Macy Africa. SO ORDERED. the common-law wife of petitioner Antonio Africa. The Order dated April 19. and (2) the acts sought to be enjoined are violative of that right. 143994 July 11. ARISTEO AFRICA. Pacita’s signature on a Deed of Absolute Sale dated December 29. petitioners’ application was considered submitted for resolution.and subrogated to the latter’s right. issued the questioned Order. Thereafter. purporting to transfer ownership of the subject property to Macy. GLORIA AFRICA. Costs against petitioner.R. which the former showed to the latter to make Pacita believe that the said title was issued in her (Pacita’s) name. G. 1992. "Still as part of the scheme to defraud petitioners.R. 1999. ANTONIO AFRICA. public respondent herein. 203492. The aforesaid property was part of the conjugal property of petitioner Pacita and her late husband Alberto Africa. "Issues in this case having been joined. AFRICA. assailing the June 30. de Guzman. presiding judge of RTC. "Records disclose that sometime in June 1989. reads as follows: "WHEREFORE. and the case was re-raffled and assigned to Branch 220. praying. and granted the issuance of a preliminary injunction to restrain petitioner from LOS BAÑOS RURAL BANK. RTC Branch 99 issued an Order granting petitioners’ application for a temporary restraining order. Macy caused the preparation of a fake TCT No. the petition is DENIED. "On July 22.000. worked for the reconstitution of the aforesaid TCT No. No. 86869 is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the award of attorney’s fees is reduced to P60."5 Ruling of the Court of Appeals The CA overturned the RTC Order dated April 19. petitioner. Opposition and Motion to Postpone dated July 11. the petition is GRANTED.000. CONSUELO AFRICA. "Sometime in March 1994. They (petitioners) likewise came to know that the subject property was mortgaged by Macy to the respondent bank. we reduce the award of P120.
while a clear showing of the right is necessary. a loss that would result in unnecessary and protracted proceedings involving third parties. Main Propriety of Preliminary Injunction Issue: We agree with respondents. Rule 58. either for a limited period or perpetually. this Petition.16 Moreover. agency or a person is doing. namely. the evidence required to justify the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction in the hearing thereon need not be conclusive or complete.proceeding with the foreclosure and the consolidation of title over the subject property. This Court’s Ruling The Petition is not meritorious.] III "Whether the Court of Appeals acted with patent grave abuse of discretion when it ignored. and that it is directly threatened by the act sought to be enjoined. or (c)That a party. like other equitable remedies.6 Hence. its existence need not be conclusively established. or in requiring the performance of an act or acts. The CA ruled that respondents had title to and possession of the property and were deprived thereof by petitioner. The grounds for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction are enumerated in Rule 58. as alleged in the Complaint.17 It is proper only when the plaintiff appears to be entitled to the relief demanded in the complaint. we find ample justification for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. RT-76140 (203492) PR-36463. or is attempting to do. The evidence need only be a "sampling" intended merely to give the court an idea of the justification for the preliminary injunction. is merely temporary. (b)That the commission.14 A preliminary injunction.9 Furthermore. Further. the question on whether or not respondents possess the requisite right hinges on the prima facie existence of their legal title to the subject property.18 In particular. Section 3 of the Revised Rules of Court. petitioner raises the following issues for the Court’s consideration: I "Whether the Court of Appeals acted with patent grave abuse of discretion in applying the ruling in Verzosa vs. to the instant case to justify its reversal of the 19 April 1999 Order of Branch 220 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City in Civil Case No.21 It must be proven that the violation sought to be prevented would cause an irreparable injustice. they would lose their ancestral home. Court of Appeals. the issues boil down to whether the appellate court erred in issuing a writ of preliminary injunction to stop petitioner’s consolidation of its title to the subject property. pending the decision of the case on the merits. threatening. which reads as follows: "Sec. Grounds for issuance of preliminary injunction. respondents maintain that they would suffer great irreparable damage if the writ of preliminary injunction is not granted. respondents had a clear and unmistakable right to protect their title and possession. the validity of the Deed of Sale30 dated December 29.7 Issues In its Memorandum. because they merely have possession of the property. or is procuring or suffering to be done.20 Thus. (1) the right to be protected exists prima facie. Thus. some act or acts probably in violation of the rights of the applicant respecting the subject of the action or proceeding.29 issued by the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City. it claims that the consolidation of title in its name does not constitute an "invasion of a right that is material and substantial. and tending to render the judgment ineffectual." Injunction is a preservative remedy aimed at no other purpose than to protect the complainant’s substantive rights and interests13 during the pendency of the principal action.24 First Existence of the Right Requisite: Petitioner argues that respondents do not have a right to the relief demanded. continuance or non-performance of the act or acts complained of during the litigation would probably work injustice to the applicant. as the legal title is in the name of Macy Africa. Q-94-20898[.27 First.28 Respondent Pacita Africa is the registered owner of the subject property. of the Revised Rules of Court providing for the grounds for issuance of preliminary injunction."10 On the other hand. court. it has not shown any reversible error in the CA’s Decision.25 Evidently. 1992. the existence of the right and the violation thereof must appear in the allegations of the complaint19 and must constitute at least a prima facie showing of a right to the final relief. is still in dispute because Respondent Pacita Africa claims that . 3.] II "Whether the Court of Appeals acted with patent grave abuse of discretion when it rationalized its decision by citing factual premises therein that are not borne out by the records nor based on evidence and in fact contrary to reality[. Her ownership is evidenced by the reconstituted Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No.15 It is to be resorted to only when there is a pressing necessity to avoid injurious consequences that cannot be remedied under any standard of compensation. as the term itself suggests. and the whole or part of such relief consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the act or acts complained of.23 Thus. (299 SCRA 100). (a)That the applicant is entitled to the relief demanded. respondents are only required to show that they have the ostensible right to the final relief prayed for in their Complaint. should be issued only at the instance of a suitor who has sufficient interest in or title to the right or the property sought to be protected. disregarded and/or deviated from established jurisprudence governing the issuance of preliminary injunction demanded by private respondents against the petitioner bank[.22 In fact.26 They have shown that they have that right."8 In sum.12 In the case at bar.] IV "Whether the Court [of] Appeals acted with patent grave abuse of discretion when it disregarded the pertinent provisions of Section 3. and (2) the acts sought to be enjoined are violative of that right. there are two requisite conditions for the issuance of a preliminary injunction. Second. to be entitled to the writ. injunction. – A preliminary injunction may be granted when it is established.11 They likewise contend that if petitioner is allowed to consolidate its title to the subject property.
her signature was forged by the vendee. hence. the Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals AFFIRMED.is not contingent on the existence of a final judgment on the action and ordinarily has no effect on the merits thereof.38 This notwithstanding. because they caused a notice of lis pendens to be annotated at the back of TCT No. A notice of lis pendens serves as an announcement to the whole world that a particular real property is in litigation and as a warning that those who acquire an interest in the property do so at their own risk -. respondents filed on June 12. 1994 an action for Annulment of Title. not being the owner. compel them to litigate needlessly with third persons who may have acquired an interest in the property.60 We cannot rule on the allegation of petitioner that this case is a "scam perpetrated by private respondents" to defraud it. it would render ineffectual a final judgment in their favor or.49 However. and its preservation is the office of an injunctive writ.62 WHEREFORE. on the basis of the evidence presented. thus. the notice of lis pendens does not suffice to protect herein respondents’ rights over the property. 1996. 81519. registered in the name of Macy P. no parcel of land was ever transferred to the purported buyer34 who.the existence of a right to be protected -. to the damage and prejudice of respondents. the last actual uncontested status that preceded the controversy was when the property in dispute was still registered in the name of Macy Africa. Furthermore. After having discovered that the property had been mortgaged to petitioner.46 Such a situation cannot be countenanced. Macy Africa.35 Consequently.43 Clearly. pending a full consideration of the evidence that would be presented by the parties. we refrain from expressing any opinion on the merits of the case.52 It does not provide complete and ample protection. petitioner foreclosed it on June 11.47 Lis Pendens Petitioner further contends that respondents are not entitled to the relief prayed for.ever acquired any title thereto. As to the second requisite. no evidence was presented by petitioner to controvert these allegations put forward by respondents. Status Quo Ante Petitioner further claims that the RTC erred in enjoining the foreclosure sale of the subject property.39 To enjoin petitioner from consolidating the title in its name.57 In the instant case. and Mortgage to protect their rights over the property. the status quo was the situation of the parties at the time of the filing of the Amended Complaint58 with a prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction. Unless legally stopped. the act sought to be enjoined is violative of their proprietary right over the property. at the very least. 8151933 registered in the name of Macy Africa. respondents possess the right to prevent petitioner from consolidating the title in its name. Africa. neither has petitioner -. SO ORDERED.56 Status quo is defined as the last actual peaceful uncontested situation that precedes a controversy.44 A writ of preliminary injunction is issued precisely to preserve threatened or continuous irremediable injury to some of the parties before their claims can be thoroughly studied and adjudicated. the issuance of the writ would no doubt preserve the status quo. there is doubt as to the validity of the mortgage in favor of petitioner.48 We are not persuaded. Costs against petitioner.41 What respondents stand to lose is material and substantial. petitioner may consolidate title to the property in its name and enjoy the unbridled freedom to dispose of it to third persons. because it has long been effected since 1996. 8151932 registered in the name of Pacita Africa and (2) TCT No. petitioner not having consolidated in its name the title thereto.53 It argues that the foreclosure may no . that notice provided ample protection of their rights and interests.the buyer and mortgagee of the same lot -. The first requisite -.50 Its continuance or removal -. Verily. Deed of Sale. what is sought to be enjoined by respondents is the consolidation of the title to the subject property in petitioner’s name.54 We agree with petitioner. could no longer be enjoined from going on with the foreclosure. respondents then filed an Amended Complaint. If indeed the Deed of Sale is a forgery. Clearly then.45 Denial of the application for the writ may make the Complaint of respondents moot and academic. 59 Thus. the cancellation of such notice may be ordered by the court that has jurisdiction over it at any given time.40 praying for a writ of preliminary injunction. could not have validly mortgaged the property. because there exists on record two TCTs covering the mortgaged property: (1) TCT No.42 They would lose their ancestral home even without the benefit of a trial.like the continuance or the removal of a preliminary attachment or injunction -. However.37 Second Violation of Applicant’s Right Requisite: longer be enjoined.they gamble on the result of the litigation over it.36 Significantly.61 The truth or the falsity of that assertion cannot be ascertained by this Court at this time. It is a well-entrenched rule that consummated acts can no longer be restrained by injunction55 whose sole objective is to preserve the status quo until the merits of the case are fully heard.31 Third.51 Thus. It was that point at which petitioner had already foreclosed the subject property and.is thus present.
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