You are on page 1of 3

Sergio Amonoy vs.

Spouses Jose and Angela Gutierrez


February 15, 2001 351 SCRA 73
Ponente: Justice Panganiban
Facts: The case springs from Special Proceedings of estate of Julio Cantolos.
Amonoy was the counsel of the intestate. The attorneys fee charged was
P27,000.00 and 2 of the intestate, Asuncion Pasamba and Alonso Formilda
executed a real estate mortgage of the 2 parcels of land adjudicated for them in
favor of Amonoy to secure the said attorneys fee. It was only on August 6, 1969
when the taxes are paid, claims are settles and properties adjudicated, the real
estate was declared closed and terminated. Amonoy filed a civil case because he
was not paid, but the fees were decreased. On September 1972, judgment was in
favor of Amonoy ordering the heirs to pay within 90 days and if not 2 lots will be
sold for public auction. Amonoy was the highest bidder and included were the lot
where the house of the Gutierrezs was built. On September 1985 twin motions
were filed and a TRO was issued. The decision of the SC was promulgated but the
house was already demolished. A complaint for damages were filed in the RTC,
dismissed the suit. On appeal to the CA, the RTC was set aside and ordering the
petitioner to pay.
Issue: Whether or not the petitioner is liable for damages?
Held: This case cannot be one of those cases that held damnum absque
injuria. Clearly then, the demolition of respondents house by petitioner,
despite his receipt of the TRO, was not only an abuse but also an unlawful
exercise of such right. In insisting on his alleged right, he wantonly violated this
Courts Order and wittingly caused the destruction of respondents house.

AMONOY v. SPS. GUTIERREZ(G.R. No. 140420, February 15, 2001)FACTS:


A Special Proceedings for the settlement of the estate involving six (6) parcels of
land was filed.Petitioner Sergio Amonoy was the counsel Francisca Catolos, Agnes
Catolos, Asuncion Pasambaand Alfonso Formida. The partition of the estate was
approved and two (2) of the said lots wereadjudicated to Asuncion Pasamba and
Alfonso Formilda. The Attorney's fees charged by Amonoywas P27,600.00 and on
20 January 1965 Asuncion and Alfonso executed a deed of real estatemortgage on
the said two (2) lots in favor of Amonoy to secure the payment of his attorney's
fees.But by the time the estate was declared closed on Aug. 1969, both Asuncion
and Alfonso were bothdead. Among the heirs of the latter was his daughter,
plaintiff-appellant Angela Gutierrez.Because his Attorney's fees secured by the
two lots were not paid Amonoy filed for their foreclosure.The heirs opposed,
contending that the attorney's fees charged [were] unconscionable. Judgmentwas
rendered in favor of Amonoy requiring the heirs to pay within 90 days and failure
to do so wouldresult to the sale of the two (2) lots in a public auction.The
attorneys fees remained unpaid and so the lots were sold in a public auction
where Amonoywas the highest bidder. The CFI on 25 July 1985 issued a Writ of
Possession and pursuant to whicha notice to vacate was made on 26 August
1985. On Amonoy's motion orders of 25 April 1986 and 6May 1986 were issued for
the demolition of structures in the said lots, including the house of theGutierrez
spouses.On 27 September 1985 the petition for Certiori was filed by several
persons including respondent Angela Gutierrez). A temporary restraining order
was then granted by the SC on 2 June 1986enjoining the demolition of the
petitioners' houses.On October 5,1988 the certiorari was granted enjoining the
sheriff from demolishing the houses inthe subject lots including that of Sps.
Gutierrez and ordering Amonoy to return the lot to the Sps.Gutierrez among
others.But by the time the Supreme Court promulgated the abovementioned
Decision, respondents' househad already been destroyed, supposedly in
accordance with a Writ of Demolition ordered by thelower court.Thus, a Complaint
for damages in connection with the destruction of their house was filed
byrespondents against petitioner. The RTC dismissed respondents' suit. On appeal,
the CA set asidethe lower court's ruling and ordered petitioner Amonoy to pay
respondents P250,000 as actualdamages. Amonoyr then filed a Motion for
Reconsideration, which was also denied.
ISSUE:
"Whether or not tAmonoy is liable to Sps. Gutierrez for respondents for damages.
HELD:
Yes. Petitioner invokes the legal principle damnum absque injuria wherein damage
resulting fromthe legitimate exercise of a person's rights is a loss without injury
for which the law gives no remedy.

351 SCRA 73 Civil Law Article 19 Abuse of Rights Damnum Absque Injuria
In 1965, Atty. Sergio Amonoy represented Alfonso Fornilda (Formida in some
records) in a partition case. Since Fornilda had no money to pay, he agreed to
make use of whatever property he acquires as a security for the payment of
Amonoys attorneys fees which amounts to P27k. In July 1969, Fornilda died. A
month later, the property was finally adjudicated and Fornilda, through his heirs,
got his just share from the property in dispute. Fornilda was however unable to
pay Amonoy. Hence, Amonoy sought to foreclose the property in 1970. The heirs
of Fornilda, the spouses Jose Gutierrez and Angela Fornilda then sued Amonoy
questioning the validity of his mortgage agreement with Fornilda. It was their
claim that the attorneys fees he was collecting was unconscionable and that the
same was based on an invalid mortgage due to the existing att0rney-client
relationship between him and Fornilda at the time the mortgage was executed.
The spouses lost in the trial court as well as in the Court of Appeals but they
appealed to the Supreme Court, docketed as G.R.No. L-72306. Meanwhile, in
1973, Amonoy was able to foreclose the property. Amonoy was also the highest
bidder in the public sale conducted in view of the foreclosure. He was able to buy
the property of Fornilda for P23k. But constructed on said property was the house
of the spouses Gutierrez.
Pending the spousess appeal with the Supreme Court, Amonoy was able to
secure a demolition order and so on May 30, 1986, Amonoy started demolishing
the houses of the spouses. But on June 2, 1986, the Supreme Court issued a
Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the demolition order. On June 4, 1986,
Amonoy received a copy of the TRO. Finally, on June 24, 1989, the Supreme Court
promulgated a decision on G.R.No. L-72306 where it ruled that the mortgage
between Amonoy and Fornilda is void, hence, Amonoy has no right over the
property. But by this time, the house of the spouses was already demolished
because it appears that despite the TRO, Amonoy continued demolishing the
house until it was fully demolished in the middle of 1987.
The spouses then sued Amonoy for damages. It is now the contention of Amonoy
that he incurred no liability because he was merely exercising his right to
demolish (pursuant to the demolition order) hence what happened was a case of
damnum absque injuria (injury without damage).
ISSUE: Whether or not Amonoy is correct.
HELD: No. Amonoy initially had the right to demolish but when he received the
TRO that right had already ceased. Hence, his continued exercise of said right
after the TRO was already unjustified. As quoted by the Supreme Court: The
exercise of a right ends when the right disappears, and it disappears when it is
abused, especially to the prejudice of others.
What Amonoy did is an abuse of right. Article 19, known to contain what is
commonly referred to as the principle of abuse of rights, sets certain standards
which may be observed not only in the exercise of ones rights but also in the
performance of ones duties. These standards are the following: to act with
justice; to give everyone his due; recognizes the primordial limitation on all rights:
that in their exercise, the norms of human conduct set forth in Article 19 and
results in damage to another, a legal wrong is thereby committed for which the
wrongdoer must be held responsible.
Clearly then, the demolition of the spousess house by Amonoy, despite his
receipt of the TRO, was not only an abuse but also an unlawful exercise of such
right.