ANTONIO

GELUZ
vs.
G.R.
No.
L-16439,

COURT
July

OF
20,

APPEALS
1961

them, as distinguished from injury or violation of the rights of the
deceased child.

FACTS:
Her present husband impregnated Nita Villanueva before they were
legally married. Desiring to conceal her pregnancy from the parent,
she had herself aborted by petitioner Antonio Geluz. After her
marriage, she again became pregnant. As she was then employed
in the COMELEC and her pregnancy proved to be inconvenient, she
had herself aborted again by Geluz. Less than 2 years later, Nita
incurred a third abortion of a two-month old fetus, in consideration
of the sum of P50.00. Her husband did not know of, nor consented
to the abortion. Hence Oscar Lazo, private respondent, sued
petitioner for damages based on the third and last abortion.
The trial court rendered judgment ordering Antonio Geluz to pay
P3,000.00 as damages, P700.00 as attorney’s fee and the cost of
the
suit.
Court
of
Appeals
affirmed
the
decision.

CONTINENTAL STEEL vs. HON. ACCREDITED VOLUNTARY
ARBITRATO
In January 2006, the wife of Rolando Hortillano had a miscarriage
which caused the death of their unborn child. Hortillano, in
accordance with the collective bargaining agreement, then filed
death benefits claim from his employer, the Continental Steel
Manufacturing Corporation which denied the claim. Eventually, the
issue was submitted for arbitration and both parties agreed to have
Atty. Allan Montaño act as the arbitrator. Montaño ruled that
Hortillano is entitled to his claims. The Court of Appeals affirmed
the decision of Montaño.

ISSUE:
Is an unborn child covered with personality so that if the unborn
child incurs injury, his parents may recover damages from the ones
who
caused
the
damage
to
the
unborn
child?

On appeal, Continental Steel insisted that Hortillano is not entitled
because under the CBA, death benefits are awarded if an
employee’s legitimate dependent has died; but that in this case, no
“death” has occurred because the fetus died inside the womb of
the mother, that a fetus has no juridical personality because it was
never born pursuant to Article 40 of the Civil Code which provides a
conceived child acquires personality only when it is born; that the
fetus was not born hence it is not a legitimate dependent as
contemplated by the CBA nor did it suffer death as contemplated
under civil laws.

RULING:
Personality begins at conception. This personality is called
presumptive personality. It is, of course, essential that birth should
occur later, otherwise the fetus will be considered as never having
possessed
legal
personality.
Since an action for pecuniary damages on account of injury or
death pertains primarily to the one injured, it is easy to see that if
no action for damages could be instituted on behalf of the unborn
child on account of injuries it received, no such right of action could
derivatively accrue to its parents or heirs. In fact, even if a cause of
action did accrue on behalf of the unborn child, the same was
extinguished by its pre-natal death, since no transmission to
anyone can take place from one that lacked juridical personality.
It is no answer to invoke the presumptive personality of a
conceived child under Article 40 of the Civil Code because that
same article expressly limits such provisional personality by
imposing the condition that the child should be subsequently born
alive. In the present case, the child was dead when separated from
its
mother’s
womb.
This is not to say that the parents are not entitled to damages.
However, such damages must be those inflicted directly upon

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the fetus is a legitimate dependent?
2. Whether or not a person has to be born before it could die?
HELD:
1. Yes. In the first place, the fact of marriage between Hortillano
and his wife was never put in question, hence they are presumed to

1

Moreover. In this case. life should not be equated to civil personality. Hence. children conceived or born during the marriage of the parents are legitimate. Second. But nevertheless. Certainly. Death is defined as “cessation of life”. Hortillano’s fetus had had life inside the womb as evidenced by the fact that it clung to life for 38 weeks before the unfortunate miscarriage. the unborn child (fetus) is already a legitimate dependent the moment it was conceived (meeting of the sperm and egg cell). it does not explicitly state that only those who have acquired juridical personality could die. There is no need to discuss whether or not the unborn child acquired juridical personality – that is not the issue 2 . 2. Thus. while the Civil Code expressly provides that civil personality may be extinguished by death. a child in the womb has life. here. death occurred on a dependent hence Hortillano as an employee is entitled to death benefit claims as provided for in their CBA.be married. No.