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THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 117103. January 21, 1999]


Spouses RENATO S. ONG and FRANCIA N. ONG, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, INLAND
TRAILWAYS, INC. and PHILTRANCO SERVICE ENTERPRISE, INC., respondents.
DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:
Evidence not formally offered during the trial
cannot be used for or against a party litigant.
Neither may it be taken into account on appeal.
Furthermore, actual and moral damages must be
proven before any award thereon can be granted.
The Case
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of
the Decision dated May 20, 1993 and the
Resolution dated June 8, 1994, both promulgated
by the Court of Appeals[1] in CA-GR CV No.
33755, modifying the Decision of the trial court in
an action for damages filed by spouses Renato
and Francia Ong (petitioners herein) against
Philtranco Service Enterprise, Inc. and Inland
Trailways, Inc. (respondents herein, hereafter
referred to as Philtranco and Inland, respectively).
The assailed Decision disposed as follows:[2]
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is hereby
MODIFIED by ordering INLAND TRAILWAYS, INC. to
pay [petitioners] P3,977.00 for actual damages,
P30,000.00 as moral damages and ten (10)
percent as contingent attorneys fees and to pay
the costs of the suit.
Reconsideration was denied in the assailed
Resolution:[3]
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, both
motions for reconsideration filed by [petitioners]
and xxx Inland Trailways, Inc. are hereby DENIED.
The Facts
On February 9, 1987, petitioners boarded as
paying passengers Bus No. 101 with Plate No.
EVB-508 (Inland bus, for convenience), which was
owned and operated by Inland Trailways under a
Lease Agreement with Philtranco. It was driven by
Calvin Coronel.[4] Around 3:50 in the morning of
said date, when the Inland bus slowed down to
avoid a stalled cargo truck in Tiaong, Quezon, it
was bumped from the rear by another bus, owned
and operated by Philtranco and driven by
Apolinar Miralles. Francia sustained wounds and

fractures in both of her legs and her right arm,


while Renato suffered injuries on his left chest,
right knee, right arm and left eye.[5] They were
brought to the San Pablo City District Hospital for
treatment and were confined there from February
9 to 18, 1987.[6]
On December 22, 1988, petitioners filed an action
for damages against Philtranco and Inland. [7] In
their Complaint, they alleged that they suffered
injuries, preventing Francia from operating a sarisari store at Las Pias, Metro Manila, where she
derived a daily income of P200; and Renato from
continuing his work as an overseas contract
worker (pipe welder) with a monthly salary of
$690. Stating that they incurred P10,000 as
medical and miscellaneous expenses, they also
claimed moral damages of P500,000 each,
exemplary and corrective damages of P500,000
each, and compensatory damages of P500,000
each plus 35 percent thereof as attorneys fees. In
addition to their testimonies, petitioners also
presented the following documentary evidence:
Exhibit A- Philtranco Bus Ticket No. 333398
B - Philtranco Bus Ticket No. 333399
C - Certification dated February 12, 1987
D - Medical Certificate of Francis Ong dated
February 18, 1987
E - Medical Certificate of Renato S. Ong dated
February 18, 1987
F - Statement of Account of Francia N. Ong in the
amount of P1,153.50
G - Statement of Account of Renato S. Ong in the
amount of P1,973.50
H - Receipt dated February 9, 1987
I' - Receipt dated March 3, 1987
J - Receipt dated February 18, 1987
K - Receipt dated February 24, 1987
L & Picture of face of Renato S. Ong
'L'-1
M &- Picture of face of Renato S. Ong
M-1
N - Payroll Summary for [period ending]
November 1986
O - Payroll Summary for [period ending]
December, 1986
Philtranco answered that the Inland bus with
Plate No. EVB-508 (which had transported
petitioners) was registered and owned by Inland;

that its driver, Calvin Coronel, was an employee


of Inland; that Philtranco was merely leasing its
support facilities, including the use of its bus
tickets, to Inland; and that under their
Agreement, Inland would be solely liable for all
claims and liabilities arising from the operation of
said bus. Philtranco further alleged that, with
respect to its own bus (which bumped the Inland
bus), it exercised the diligence of a good father of
a family in the selection and supervision of its
drivers, and that the proximate cause of the
accident was the negligence of either the cargo
truck or the Inland bus which collided with said
cargo truck.

evidence and, therefore, after all the foregoing,


the case shall be deemed submitted for decision
upon simultaneous memoranda of the parties and
upon submission of complete transcripts.

Inland answered that, according to the Police


Report, it was Apolinar Miralles, the driver of the
Philtanco bus, who was at fault, as shown by his
flight from the situs of the accident; that said bus
was registered and owned by Philtranco; and that
the driver of the Inland bus exercised
extraordinary diligence as testified to by its
passengers. Inland and Philtranco filed crossclaims against each other.

1) P10,000.00 as actual damages for medical and


miscellaneous expenses;
2) P50,000.00 as compensatory damages for the
[diminution] of the use of the right arm of
[petitioner]-wife;
3) P48,000.00 as unrealized profit or income;
4) P50,000.00 as moral damages;
5) 25% of the foregoing as contingent attorneys
fees; and
6) the costs.

Both respondents moved to submit the case for


decision without presenting further evidence.
Consequently, the trial court, in its Order dated
July 5, 1989, resolved:[8]
When this case was called for continuation of
presentation of plaintiffs evidence, over
objections from counsels for defendants, plaintiffs
counsel was allowed to recall his first witness,
Renato S. Ong, for some additional direct
questions[;] and after cross-examination by
defendant Inland Trailways, Inc., adopted by
defendant Philtranco Service Enterprise, Inc.,
plaintiff presented his second witness, [Francia]
Ong, whose testimony on direct, cross and
redirect was terminated[;] and as prayed for,
counsel for the plaintiffs shall have five (5) days
from today within which to submit his formal offer
of evidence, furnishing copies thereof to
defendants who shall have five (5) days from
their receipt within which to submit comments
after which the same shall be deemed submitted
for resolution.
By agreement, considering the stipulations of
parties made of record regarding factual issues
except as to whether or not the bus is included in
the lease, counsels for the two (2) defendants are
given a period of ten (10) days from today within
which to submit simultaneous offer[s] of
admission and denials not only on the above
exception but on any other relevant matter.
Considering that the documents are admitted,
there is no necessity of any formal written offer of

Thereafter, the trial court rendered its May 7,


1991 Decision, which disposed as follows:[9]
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment is
hereby rendered in favor of the [petitioners]
absolving Inland Trailways, Inc., from any liability
whatsoever, and against xxx Philtranco Service
Enterprise, Inc., ordering the latter to pay the
[petitioners]

According to the trial court, the proximate cause


of the accident was the bumping from behind by
the Philtranco bus with Plate No. 259 driven by
Apolinar Miralles based on the Police Report and
the affidavits of passengers, to which Philtranco
did not object. As it failed to prove that it
exercised due diligence in the selection and
supervision of its employees under Article 2176
of the Civil Code, Philtranco was held liable based
on culpa aquiliana.
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
On appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) resolved
that Philtrancos liability for damages could not be
predicated upon the Police Report which had not
been formally offered in evidence. The report was
merely annexed to the answer of Inland, and
petitioner did not adopt or offer it as evidence.
Consequently, it had no probative value and,
thus, Philtranco should be absolved from liability.
Instead, the appellate court found that petitioners
sufficiently established a claim against Inland
based on culpa contractual. As a common carrier,
Inland was required to observe extraordinary
diligence under Articles 1735 and 1750 of the
Code. Its liability arose from its failure to
transport its passengers and cargo safely, and a
finding of fault or negligence was not necessary
to hold it liable for damages. Inland failed to
overcome this presumption of negligence by
contrary evidence; thus, it was liable for breach

of its contractual obligation to petitioners under


Article 2201 of the Civil Code.
The liability of Inland for medical and
miscellaneous expenses was reduced, as the
evidence on record showed that petitioners spent
only P3,977. Deemed self-serving was Francias
testimony that the use of her right arm was
diminished and that she lost income. Thus, the
award for unearned income was disallowed and
the amount of moral damages was reduced to
P30,000.
Hence, this petition.[10]
The Issues
In their Memorandum,[11] petitioners raise the
following issues:[12]
[I] Whether or not public respondent committed
grave abuse of discretion in completely reversing
the decision of the Regional Trial Court, ordering
Philtranco to indemnify petitioners and in lieu
thereof, order[ing] Inland to pay petitioners for
their damages.
[II] Whether or not public respondent committed
grave abuse of discretion in disallowing the
P50,000.00 awarded to petitioner, Francia Ong for
the diminution of the use of her right arm and the
P48,000.00 representing unrealized income.
[III] Whether or not public respondent committed
grave abuse of discretion in reducing the award
for actual and miscellaneous expenses from
P10,000.00 to P3,977.00; the award of
P50,000.00 moral damages to P30,000.00; and
the 25% contingent attorneys fees to 10%
thereof.
Simply stated, the main issues raised are: (1)
whether the Police Report, which was not formally
offered in evidence, could be used to establish a
claim against Philtranco based on culpa aquiliana;
and (2) whether the reduction in the amounts of
damages awarded was proper.
The Courts Ruling
The petition is devoid of merit.
First Issue: Requirement of Formal Offer of
Evidence
Petitioners take exception to the rule requiring
documents to be formally offered in evidence
before they can be given any probative value,
arguing that the parties agreed to submit the

case for resolution based on the July 5, 1989


Order of the trial court. Because of the
agreement, petitioners assumed that all the
pieces of documentary evidence, including the
Complaint and its Annexes, as well as those in the
respective Answers of the private respondents,
were deemed admitted.
We disagree. Section 34, Rule 132 of the Rules of
Court, provides that [t]he court shall consider no
evidence which has not been formally offered. A
formal offer is necessary, since judges are
required to base their findings of fact and their
judgment solely and strictly upon the evidence
offered by the parties at the trial. To allow parties
to attach any document to their pleadings and
then expect the court to consider it as evidence,
even without formal offer and admission, may
draw unwarranted consequences. Opposing
parties will be deprived of their chance to
examine the document and to object to its
admissibility. On the other hand, the appellate
court will have difficulty reviewing documents not
previously scrutinized by the court below.[13]
In adhering to this rule, the appellate court
cannot be faulted with reversible error, as it held:
[14]
xxx [T]he burden of proof lies with the plaintiff in
establishing fault or negligence on the part of the
defendant (Ong vs. Metropolitan Water). This,
however, plaintiff-appellees failed to establish.
Albeit, there was a police investigation report
finding the driver of PHILTRANCO negligent which
became the basis of the court a quo [for] holding
PHILTRANCO liable, this piece of evidence was
merely attached as Annex 1 of INLANDs answer,
nothing more. It was not presented and even
offered as evidence by INLAND nor utilized by
plaintiffs-appellees. Thus, even assuming
arguendo that the same had been identified in
court, it would have no evidentiary value.
Identification of documentary evidence must be
distinguished from its formal offer as an exhibit.
The first is done in the course of the trial and is
accompanied by the marking of the evidence as
an exhibit. The second is done only when the
party rests its case and not before. The mere fact
that a particular document is identified and
marked as an exhibit does not mean it will be or
has been offered as part of the evidence of the
party. The party may decide to offer it if it
believes this will advance the cause, and then
again it may decide not to do so at all (People vs.
Santito, Jr., 201 SCRA 87).
In the case at bar, the defendant INLAND and
plaintiffs-appellees did not identify the said Annex
1 or the Police Investigation Report as evidence.

Thus, under Section 35 of Rule 132 of the Revised


Rules on Evidence, the court shall consider no
evidence which has not been formally offered.
Corollary, the Police Investigation Report of Annex
1 cannot be given any evidentiary value.
Absen[t] Annex 1 which was the basis of the trial
court in finding PHILTRANCO liable, the latter is
thus exonerated from liability.
Petitioners similarly erred in presuming that said
Annex was admitted in evidence by virtue of the
Order of July 5, 1989. Their presumption has no
basis. The Order required counsel for the
petitioners to submit his formal offer of evidence,
furnishing copies thereof to defendants who shall
have five (5) days from their receipt within which
to submit comments after which the same shall
be deemed submitted for resolution.[15] In
compliance, petitioners filed a written offer of
evidence on July 12, 1989.[16] Such offer led the
trial court, in its Order of August 2, 1989, to
formally admit in evidence Exhibits A-O.[17]
Clearly, the Police Report was neither offered by
the petitioners nor admitted by the trial court.
Moreover, the petitioners allegations in their
Complaint did not establish a cause of action
against Philtranco. They similarly failed to make
any reference to said Police Report during the
presentation of their case. This is precisely why
Respondent Philtranco opted not to present
further evidence. A document or an article is
valueless unless it is formally offered in evidence,
and the opposing counsel is given an opportunity
to object to it and to cross-examine any witness
called to present or identify it.[18] Evidence not
formally offered before the trial court cannot be
considered on appeal, for to consider them at
such stage will deny the other parties their right
to rebut them.[19]
There is no agreement to submit the case based
on the pleading, as contended by the petitioners.
The parties had no such intention, nor did said
Order evince such an agreement.
Second Issue: Damages Require Evidence
Petitioners aver that there was grave abuse of
discretion when the amount of actual damages
awarded was reduced from P10,000 to P3,977,
even if the original amount did not even include
the medical expenses that Francia continued to
incur; and when the award of P48,000 as
unrealized income was deleted despite her
testimony which was given credence by the trial
court.

The Court disagrees. Granting arguendo that


there was an agreement to submit the case for
decision based on the pleadings, this does not
necessarily imply that petitioners are entitled to
the award of damages. The fundamental principle
of the law on damages is that one injured by a
breach of contract (in this case, the contract of
transportation) or by a wrongful or negligent act
or omission shall have a fair and just
compensation, commensurate with the loss
sustained as a consequence of the defendants
acts. Hence, actual pecuniary compensation is
the general rule, except where the circumstances
warrant the allowance of other kinds of damages.
Actual damages are such compensation or
damages for an injury that will put the injured
party in the position in which he had been before
he was injured. They pertain to such injuries or
losses that are actually sustained and susceptible
of measurement. Except as provided by law or by
stipulation, a party is entitled to adequate
compensation only for such pecuniary loss as he
has duly proven.
To be recoverable, actual damages must be
pleaded and proven in Court. In no instance may
the trial judge award more than those so pleaded
and proven. Damages cannot be presumed. The
award thereof must be based on the evidence
presented, not on the personal knowledge of the
court; and certainly not on flimsy, remote,
speculative and nonsubstantial proof. Article 2199
of the Civil Code expressly mandates that
[e]xcept as provided by law or by stipulation, one
is entitled to an adequate compensation only for
such pecuniary loss suffered by him as he has
duly proved.
The lack of basis for such award was patent in the
trial court Decision:
The records will show that from the documentary
evidence, [petitioners] have jointly spent the sum
of P3,977.00. [Respondent] Philtranco has not
presented any evidence that it has advanced any
amount for medicine, hospitalization and doctors
fees, but on the contrary, [petitioners] have
testified that they paid for their expenses except
at the initial stage wherein a representative of
[respondent] Philtranco went to the hospital to
get the receipts of medicines only and paid
(t.s.n.- June 29, 1989, p. 6). Considering the claim
of the [petitioners], as alleged in their complaint
they spent P10,000.00 representing medical and
miscellaneous expenses[;] considering that they
have gone for consultation to at least two (2)
different doctors, this Court may take judicial
notice of the fact that miscellaneous expenses
[are] bound to be incurred to cover transportation

and food, and therefore, finds the amount of


P10,000.00 as actual damages to be reasonable.
Damages, after all, are not intended to enrich the
complainant at the expense of the defendant.[20]
Moral Damages and Diminution of Use of Francias
Arm
Petitioners protest the deletion of the amount of
P50,000 earlier awarded by the trial court
because of the diminution of the use of Francias
right arm, arguing that she stated during direct
examination that it could no longer perform its
normal functions,[21] and that private
respondents impliedly admitted this matter when
they failed to present controverting evidence.
A person is entitled to the physical integrity of his
or her body, and if that integrity is violated,
damages are due and assessable. However,
physical injury, like loss or diminution of use of an
arm or a limb, is not a pecuniary loss. Indeed, it is
not susceptible of exact monetary estimation.
Thus, the usual practice is to award moral
damages for physical injuries sustained. In Mayo
v. People,[22] the Court held that the permanent
scar on the forehead and the loss of the use of
the right eye entitled the victim to moral
damages. The victim, in said case, was
devastated by mental anguish, wounded feelings
and shock, which she experienced as a result of
her false eye and the scar on her forehead.
Furthermore, the loss of vision in her right eye
hampered her professionally for the rest of her
life.
In the case at bar, it was sufficiently shown
during the trial that Francias right arm could not
function in a normal manner and that, as a result,
she suffered mental anguish and anxiety. Thus,
an increase in the amount of moral damages
awarded, from P30,000 to P50,000, appears to be
reasonable and justified. Renato also suffered
mental anxiety and anguish from the accident.
Thus, he should be separately awarded P30,000
as moral damages.

In some instances, the Court awards the cost of


medical procedures to restore the injured person
to his or her former condition. However, this
award necessitates expert testimony on the cost
of possible restorative medical procedure. In
Gatchalian v. Delim,[23] the Court, reasoning that
a scar resulting from the infliction of injury on the
face of a woman gave rise to a legitimate claim
for restoration to her conditio ante, granted
P15,000 as actual damages for plastic surgery. It
bears emphasis that the said amount was based
on expert testimony.[24]
In another case, the Court granted actual or
compensatory damages in the sum of P18,000 for
the surgical intervention necessary to arrest the
degeneration of the mandible of a young boy.
Again, there was an expert testimony that such
medical procedure would cost P3,000 and would
have to be repeated several times to restore him
to nearly normal condition.[25]
In the case at bar, petitioner failed to present
evidence regarding the feasibility or practicability
and the cost of a restorative medical operation on
her arm. Thus, there is no basis to grant her
P48,000 for such expense.
Unrealized Income
Protesting the deletion of the award for Francias
unrealized income, petitioners contend that
Francias injuries and her oral testimony
adequately support their claim. The Court
disagrees. Although actual damages include
indemnification for profits which the injured party
failed to obtain (lucro cesante or lucrum cesans),
[26] the rule requires that said person produce
the best evidence of which his case is
susceptible.[27]
The bare and unsubstantiated assertion of Francia
that she usually earned P200 a day from her
market stall is not the best evidence to prove her
claim of unrealized income for the eight-month
period that her arm was in plaster cast. Her
testimony that it was their lessor who filed their
income tax returns and obtained business
licenses for them does not justify her failure to
present more credible evidence of her income.
Furthermore, after her ten-day confinement at
the San Pablo Hospital,[28] she could have
returned to her work at the public market despite
the plaster cast on her right arm, since she
claimed to have two nieces as helpers.[29]
Clearly, the appellate court was correct in
deleting the award for unrealized income,
because of petitioners utter failure to
substantiate her claim.

Attorneys Fees
Counsel for petitioner deeply laments the
reduction in the award of attorneys fees. He
alleges that he had to use his own money for
transportation, stenographic transcriptions and
other court expenses, and for such reason, avers
that the award of 25 percent attorneys fees made
by the trial court was proper.
Under the Civil Code, an award of attorneys fees
is an indemnity for damages ordered by a court
to be paid by the losing party to the prevailing
party, based on any of the cases authorized by
law.[30] It is payable not to the lawyer but to the
client, unless the two have agreed that the award
shall pertain to the lawyer as additional
compensation or as part thereof. The Court has
established a set of standards in fixing the
amount of attorneys fees:[31]
(1) [T]he amount and character of the services
rendered; (2) labor, time and trouble involved; (3)
the nature and importance of the litigation or
business in which the services were rendered; (4)
the responsibility imposed; (5) the amount of
money or the value of the property affected by
the controversy or involved in the employment;

(6) the skill and experience called for in the


performance of the services; (7) the professional
character and social standing of the attorney; (8)
the results secured, it being a recognized rule
that an attorney may properly charge a much
larger fee when it is contingent than when it is
not. Counsels performance, however, does not
justify the award of 25 percent attorneys fees. It
is well-settled that such award is addressed to
sound judicial discretion and subject to judicial
control.[32] We do not see any abuse thereof in
the case at bar. In fact, the appellate court had
been generous to petitioners counsel, considering
that the nature of the case was not exceptionally
difficult, and he was not required to exert
Herculean efforts. All told, his handling of the
case was sorely inadequate, as shown by his
failure to follow elementary norms of civil
procedure and evidence.
WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision is AFFIRMED
with the MODIFICATION that Renato and Francia
Ong are separately awarded moral damages in
the amount of P30,000 and P50,000, respectively.
The ten percent (10%) attorneys fees shall be
based on the total modified award.
SO ORDERED.

FIRST DIVISION
G.Q. GARMENTS, INC. vs. ANGEL MIRANDA, FLORENDA MIRANDA and EXECUTIVE MACHINERIES
And EQUIPMENTCORPORATION,Promulgated: July 20, 2006 G.R. No. 161722
DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
Before the Court is a Petition for Review
to-month basis, at the rate ofP8,000 per month.
on Certiorari for the reversal of the Decision [1] of
EMECO constructed its factory on the property. At
the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No.
the outset, EMECO paid the monthly rentals.
45567, as well as its Resolution[2] denying the
However, after Angelito died on June 21, 1988,
motion for reconsideration thereof.
EMECO failed to pay the rentals but still
continued possessing the leased premises.
Angel Miranda is the registered owner of a 9,646
square meters parcel of land located at Niog,
On November 19, 1989, the factory of EMECO
Bacoor, Cavite (Property). The
property
was
was totally razed by fire. In a letter to EMECO
covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No.
dated June 3, 1991, Angel demanded the
T-60679[3] of the Registry of Deeds of Cavite.
payment of accrued rentals in the amount
of P280,000.00 as of May 1991. EMECO was also
In 1984, Angelito Miranda, the son of Angel
informed that the oral contract of lease would be
Miranda, established the Executive Machineries
terminated effective June 30, 1991. However,
and Equipment Corporation (EMECO), a domestic
EMECO failed to pay the accrued rentals and to
corporation engaged primarily in the manufacture
vacate the property. Another demand letter
and fabrication of rubber rollers. Angelito owned
dated September 27, 1991 was sent to EMECO. It
80% of the stocks of the corporation, while his
vacated the leased premises, but the accrued
wife Florenda owned 10%. That year, Angel
rentals remained unpaid.
entered into a verbal contract of lease over the
Sometime in November 1991, Florenda arrived at
Property with EMECO, and allowed it to build a
the office of petitioner and offered to sublease
factory thereon. The agreement was on a monththe property to Wilson Kho, the Officer-in Charge

of the corporation. Florenda showed Kho a


purported copy of a contract of lease[4] over the
said property allegedly executed by Angel in
favor of EMECO. After visiting and viewing the
property, Kho agreed to rent the area upon the
condition that its true and registered owner would
personally sign the lease contract in his presence.
When Florenda failed to present Angel for said
purpose, Kho turned down her proposal.
Later, Kho was able to locate Angel at
Noveleta, Cavite and offered, in behalf of
petitioner, to lease the property, as to which
Angel agreed. On December 23, 1991, Angel and
the corporation, represented by its Executive
Vice-President, Davy John Barlin, executed a
contract of lease[5] over the subject property. The
lease was for a period of 15 years, commencing
on February 1, 1992 untilJanuary 31, 2007 for a
monthly
rental
of P30,000.00. Petitioner
paid P90,000.00 representing two months deposit
and advance rental for one month. As lessee, it
was authorized to introduce improvements,
structures, and buildings on the property as it
may deem necessary and for the purpose for
which it was leased.
Consequently, petitioner secured the
following documents: mayors permit, sanitary
permit, business sticker, and an application for
municipal license. Thereafter, it moved into the
property
with
its
equipment,
machinery,
appliances, supplies, and other construction
materials. The construction of a building and
factory in the leased premises commenced.
However, on January 27, 1992, Florenda, together
with several armed men who identified
themselves as policemen, forcibly evicted
petitioner from the leased premises, claiming that
she was the owner and that the place was
already covered by another existing contract of
lease. During the encounter, Florenda and her
men took some equipment, machinery and other
properties belonging to petitioner, thereby
causing loss and damage to said properties.
In the meantime, Angel secured a copy of the
purported contract of lease he allegedly executed
in favor of EMECO. On March 12, 1992, he
forthwith filed a complaint for declaration of
nullity of the contract of lease before the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) ofMakati, Branch 66, docketed as
Civil Case No. 92-699. Angel alleged therein that
his signature as lessor in the purported contract
was a forgery. He prayed that judgment be
rendered in his favor declaring the said contract
null and void.
Meanwhile, petitioner sought the help of the
Philippine National Police (PNP). General Gerardo

N. Flores, Deputy Director General and Chief


Directorial Staff, issued a Memorandum [6] to
Superintendent
Wenceslao
A.
Soberano,
Provincial Director of the CavitePNP Provincial
Command, ordering the latter to prevent his men
from
interfering
with
the
pending
civil
case. Petitioner
subsequently
regained
possession over the leased premises. However,
Florenda and her group were undaunted. They
went back to the place and ousted the guards
and other personnel manning the corporations
office, and even removed their equipment, and
ransacked anew their raw materials, electric wire
and other valuables inside.
On April 20, 1992, petitioner instituted an action
for damages and recovery of possession of the
property before the RTC of Cavite City, Branch 17,
with
Angel,
EMECO
and
Florenda,
as alternative defendants. The case was docketed
as Civil Case No. N-5573. The corporation alleged
the following in its complaint:
VI
That on December 23, 1991,
Plaintiff leased from Alternative
Defendant ANGEL MIRANDA the
premises just adverted to, for a
period of FIFTEEN (15) years,
commencing on February 1, 1992
and to expire on January 31, 2007,
as evidenced by the Contract of
Lease x x x ;
VII
That by the terms of said lease
agreement, Plaintiff was to pay to
Alternative ANGEL MIRANDA rentals
in the sum of THIRTY THOUSAND
PESOS (P30,000) per month, with
SIXTY THOUSAND PESOS (P60,000)
as deposit, and THIRTY THOUSAND
PESOS (P30,000) as advance
rental, all of which were complied
with by Plaintiff;
VIII
That in accordance with the same
agreement, Plaintiff was authorized
to introduce into the premises such
improvements as it may find
necessary;
IX
That
Plaintiff
took
possession of the leased premises
and moved thereto its equipments
(sic),
machineries,
appliances,
supplies and kindred items, as well
as certain construction materials

necessary for the repairs and


improvement
of
the
facilities
therein; that, as a matter of fact,
Plaintiff had already commenced
the construction of roofs over the
concrete structures in the leased
premises;

X
That, furthermore, Plaintiff
secured from the proper authorities
all the needful licenses and permits
for its construction and business
activities;
XI
That
on
January
27,
1992,
Alternative Defendant FLORENDA
MIRANDA, in her behalf and in
representation
of
Alternative
Defendant EMECO, and in the
company of armed men, forcibly
evicted Plaintiff from the premises,
not only stopping the construction
works being performed in the
premises, but also physically
bringing out Plaintiffs equipment,
machineries,
and
other
personalities (sic) of the leased
realty;
XII
That
the
Alternative
Defendants just named did the acts
just described under the claim that
the premises are either owned by
Alternative Defendant FLORENDA
MIRANDA or that the same are
covered by [a] still existing lease
agreement
by
and
between
Alternative Defendants, the latter
claim being evidenced by the
Contract of Lease x x x;
XIII
That regardless of the validity of
either claim on the part of
Alternative Defendants FLORENDA
MIRANDA and EMECO, the same
cannot be pleaded in derogation of
Plaintiffs possessory rights over the
premises, for the reason that the
realty in question is covered by a
torrens certificate in the name of
Alternative
Defendant
ANGEL
MIRANDA on which document third
parties have a legally-authorized
right to rely (in the first instance),
and that in order to evict Plaintiff

from
the
premises,
proper
ejectment proceedings would have
to be instituted (in the second
instance);
XIV
That
under
the
law,
Alternative
Defendant
ANGEL
MIRANDA has the obligation to
keep and maintain Plaintiff in
peaceful possession of the leased
premises, which obligation said
defendant failed to observe and
discharge;
XV
That as a result of the
forcible eviction of Plaintiff from the
leased
property,
it
suffered
damages not only in terms of
destruction and/or impairment of
its machineries, equipments (sic),
appliances, personalities, supplies
and materials, but also in terms of
lost
profits
and
business
opportunities,
besmirched
reputation,
administrative
cost
overruns, tarnished goodwill and
impairment of credit facilities, the
total pecuniary value of which
amounts to not less than TWO
MILLION PESOS (P2,000,000);[7]
It prayed that, after due proceedings, judgment
be rendered in its favor, as follows:
1. That upon due notice and
hearing, a writ of preliminary
mandatory
injunction
issue,
restoring Plaintiff to the possession
of the premises in question;
2. That after trial, judgment issue
directing Alternative Defendants,
singly or collectively, and any
person or persons claiming right
under
them
to
surrender
possession of the leased premises
to Plaintiff;
3. That either Defendant, or all of
them, be condemned to pay to
Plaintiff the sum of TWO MILLION
PESOS (P2,000,000) by way of
actual, compensatory, and moral
damages;
4. That either Defendant, or all of
them, be condemned to pay
attorneys
fees
and
litigation

expenses in the sum earlier set


forth; and
5, That either Defendant, or all of
them, be condemned to pay the
costs of this suit;
6. OTHER RELIEFS and remedies as
are just and equitable under the
premises are likewise prayed for.[8]
On June 25, 1992, Angel and petitioner, as
plaintiffs, filed a separate complaint for ejectment
against Florenda before the Municipal Trial Court
(MTC) of Bacoor, Cavite, docketed as Civil Case
No. 1265. After due proceedings, the court
rendered judgment on July 2, 1993, ordering the
eviction of Florenda and all those claiming the
property in her behalf. The decision was appealed
to the RTC. However, for failure to pay
a supersedeas bond, the decision was executed
and Florenda was evicted from the property.
On November 26, 1993, the RTC rendered
judgment in Civil Case No. N-5573, dismissing the
complaint against all the alternative defendants
without prejudice. It declared that plaintiff was
entitled to damages, but it had to dismiss the
complaint because of the pendency of Civil Case
Nos. 92-699 and 92-1265.[9]
However, the RTC resolved to deny the
motion of petitioner prompting it to appeal to the
Court of Appeals. Angel Miranda also appealed
the decision, which was docketed as CA-G.R. CV
No. 45567.
Meantime, on September 22, 1994, the
RTC rendered judgment in Civil Case No. 92-699
in favor of Angel and declared the contract of
lease purportedly executed by him and EMECO
void.
In its Brief as appellant in CA-G.R. CV No. 45567,
petitioner alleged that:
THE LOWER
COURT GRIEVOUSLY
ERRED IN FAILING TO AWARD
DAMAGES IN FAVOR OF PLAINTIFF
BY DISMISSING THE CASE DESPITE
ITS CLEAR FACTUAL FINDINGS THAT
THE LATTER IS ENTITLED TO
DAMAGES PRAYED FOR IN THE
COMPLAINT.
I
THE DISMISSAL OF THE COMPLAINT
ON
THE
GROUND
OF
LITIS

PENDENTIA IS DEVOID OF
FACTUAL AND LEGAL BASIS.

ANY

II
IN THE SAME VEIN, THE AWARD OF
DAMAGES IN THE PRESENT CASE
WOULD
NOT
PRE-EMPT
ANY
DECISION
THAT
MIGHT
BE
RENDERED
IN
THE
PENDING
CASES.[10]
It maintained that the trial court erred in
dismissing its complaint on the ground of litis
pendentia and in not ordering Angel Miranda to
reimburse the P360,000.00 it had paid as rentals
for the property.
For his part, Angel averred that the trial
court should have dismissed the complaint
against him with prejudice for the reason that
there is no allegation in the complaint that he
participated, directly or indirectly, in the forcible
ejectment of petitioner from the property, and in
the looting and taking of its properties. [11] He
insisted that it was Florenda who forcibly evicted
the corporation and took its properties. Thus, he
cannot be held responsible for the tortious and
wrongful acts of third persons, as there is no law
to that effect. Under Article 1664 of the New Civil
Code, he is not obliged to answer for a mere act
of trespass, and the lessee has a direct action
against the intruder. He pointed out that the law
unconditionally and unequivocally absolves the
lessor from any liability arising from an act of
trespass by a third person. The duty to maintain
the lessee in the peaceful and adequate
enjoyment of the lease for the duration of the
contract is merely a warranty by the lessor that
the lessee shall not be disturbed in his legal, not
physical, possession.
On October 29, 2002, the CA rendered
judgment reversing the decision of the
RTC. The fallo reads:
WHEREFORE, the judgment
appealed from is hereby REVERSED
and SET ASIDE and a new one
entered dismissing the complaint
with
prejudice
against
Angel
Miranda and ordering Florenda
Miranda to pay G.Q. Garments, Inc.
the amount of:
1. P300,000.00 as and for
nominal damages;
2. P200,000.00 as and for
attorneys fees; and
3. To pay the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.[12]

The appellate court absolved Angel of any


liability due to the absence of evidence showing
that he had participated, directly or indirectly, in
the looting of GQ Garments properties and in
forcibly ejecting the latter from the premises in
question. While under Article 1654, paragraph 3,
of the New Civil Code, a lessor is obliged to
maintain the lessee in peaceful and adequate
enjoyment of the lease for the entire duration of
the contract, the law, however, does not apply to
him since the unlawful acts were caused by a
third person or an intruder. Under Article 1664, he
is not obliged to answer for a mere act of
trespass which a third person may cause on the
use of the thing leased, but the lessee shall have
a direct action against the intruder.
Moreover, the appellate court declared
that the warranty of a lessor under Article 1654 of
the New Civil Code extends only to nondisturbance of legal possession and not of
physical possession. As ruled in the case
of Bohol, Sr. v. Torres,[13] the duty to maintain the
lessee in the peaceful and adequate enjoyment of
the lease for the duration of the contract is
merely a warranty that the lessee shall not be
disturbed in his legal, not physical possession.
According to the CA, the evidence on record
clearly showed that Florenda disturbed only the
physical possession of the leased premises, and
not legal possession. Thus, the complaint with
respect to Angel Miranda should be dismissed
with prejudice for lack of cause of action.[14]
Petitioner moved to have the decision
reconsidered on the following grounds:
I
THE
HONORABLE
COURT
ERRONEOUSLY HELD THAT THE
LOSS OF THE ARTICLES VALUED
AT P9,960,000.00
WAS
NOT
PROVED BY EVIDENCE.
II
THE HONORABLE COURT ERRED IN
NOT
FINDING
DEFENDANTAPPELLANT
ANGEL
MIRANDA
LIABLE TO HEREIN PLAINTIFFAPPELLANT.[15]
Petitioner filed
a motion
for
the
reconsideration of the decision,[16] claiming that it
adduced proof that it sustained actual damages.
It claimed that Angel was liable for damages
against it for disturbance in law. It was not just a
mere act of trespass, since Florenda claimed to

have a prior contract of lease with Angel and by


virtue
of
a
supposedly
legal
judicial
order, Florenda questioned its (GQ Garments)
right to enjoy the property and deprived it of
possession thereof. Besides, Angel filed an
ejectment suit and an action for the nullity of the
contract of lease against Florenda only after it
was dispossessed of the subject property.[17]
Petitioner averred that Angel was liable for
damages under Article 1654(3) of the New Civil
Code, under which, as lessor, he was obliged to
maintain the lessee in the peaceful and adequate
enjoyment of the lease for the entire duration of
the contract. It likewise cited De la Cruz vs.
Seminary of Manila[18] where it was ruled that in
case of legal disturbance, the lessor is liable for
whatever the lessee has lost by virtue of the
breach of the contract and that it is the duty of
the lessor to place the lessee in legal possession
of the premises and to maintain him in the
peaceful possession of the property during the
lifetime of the lease. It insisted that the lessor
who fails in the performance of such obligation
must indemnify the lessee for the damages
occasioned thereby, the true measure of
damages being the actual loss to the lessee
arising from the breach of the contract on the
part of the lessor.
Petitioner averred that it complied fully with its
contract of lease and had paid Angel two (2)
months deposit in the amount ofP60,000.00; one
(1) month advance rental of P30,000.00 and nine
(9) months advance deposit in the amount
of P270,000.00 or the total sum of P360,000.00.
On cross-examination, Angel admitted that
he received P360,000.00 from petitioner. The
plaintiff asserted that, in the interest of justice
and fairness, the trial court should order the
defendant to reimburse the actual damages it
suffered and return the amounts of rentals and
deposits received, considering that it failed to
enjoy the leased premises. To rule otherwise,
according to GQ Garments, would be to sanction
the unjust enrichment of one at the expense of
another.[19]
The CA denied the motion.
Petitioner filed the instant petition for
review on certiorari on the following issues:
I.
WHETHER
OR
NOT
THE
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS
COMMITTED A MANIFEST ERROR IN

AWARDING
DAMAGES
TO
THE PETITIONER WAY BELOW THAT
PRAYED FOR IN THE COMPLAINT,
THUS, TOTALLY DISREGARDING THE
EVIDENCE ON RECORD.
II.
WHETHER
OR
NOT
THE
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS
SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT FINDING
THAT
RESPONDENT
ANGEL
MIRANDA SHOULD LIKEWISE BE
HELD LIABLE FOR DAMAGES TO
THE PETITIONER.[20]
Petitioner
asserts
that
it
adduced
preponderant evidence that it sustained actual
damages when its equipment and machineries
were destroyed, and that such damaged property
is valued at P10,000,000.00. It points out that
aside from respondent Florenda Mirandas
testimony, it also adduced in evidence
photographs
of
the
damaged
property.
Respondent Angel Miranda failed to adduce any
evidence to rebut the same. Petitioner also avers
that the damages it suffered was not merely an
act of trespass but a disturbance in law for which
respondent Angel Miranda is liable. He violated its
right, as lessee; hence, he is liable for damages
under Article 1654(3) of the New Civil Code. To
buttress its claim, petitioner cites the ruling of
this Court in De la Cruz vs. Seminary of Manila.
[21]
It insists that respondent Angel Miranda should
pay
actual
damages
of P10,000,000.00
and P360,000.00 it had paid to him by way of
reimbursement, and prays that the Court
render judgment as follows:
1. Respondents Florenda
Miranda and Angel Miranda to pay
petitioner, jointly and severally,
actual damages in the sum
ofP10,000,000.00;
2.
Respondent
Florenda
Miranda
to
pay
petitioner
exemplary damages in the amount
to be determined by the Honorable
Court;
3.
Respondent
Angel
Miranda to reimburse petitioner the
amount
of P360,000.00
plus
interest at 12% per annum from
the time the complaint was filed
until the same is fully paid;
4.
Respondent
Angel
Miranda to pay petitioner moral,

exemplary, temperate and nominal


damages for breach of his warranty
in the Contract of Lease;
5. Respondents to pay
attorneys fees and the costs of suit.
Other
reliefs
just
and
equitable under the premises are
likewise prayed for.[22]
Respondents did not file any comment on
the petition, and were thus considered to have
waived their right to do so.
The issues are the following: (1) whether
respondents are liable to petitioner for the
amount of P10,000,000.00 by way of actual
damages; (2) whether respondent Angel Miranda
is
liable
to
reimburse
to
petitioner
the P360,000.00 paid as rentals.
Petitioner asserts that the P10,000,000.00
in actual damages was specifically alleged in its
complaint and that evidence was adduced to
prove the same, consisting of the testimonies of
respondent Florenda Miranda and her witnesses
to determine the extent of petitioners damages.
We agree with the ruling of the appellate
court that petitioners claim for actual damages
was not properly substantiated by evidence. The
CA correctly ruled as follows:
Considering
the
above
provisions of the law, there is no
question that defendant-appellee
Florenda Miranda and/or EMECO
should be held accountable for the
damage sustained by plaintiffappellant due to their willful and
wanton disregard of the lease
rights of plaintiff-appellant over the
property in question. However, we
find that the alleged loss of
articles, machinery and equipment
in the total sum ofP9,960,000.00
was not proven by clear and
convincing evidence. Other than
the bare testimony of Mr. Wilson
Kho
and
the
witnesses
he
presented, there was no poof as to
the
existence
of
these
items prior to the taking over of
Florenda over the property in
question. The listing of lost items
contained in plaintiff-appellants
Exhibits
I
and
I-1
is selfserving considering
that no
inventory was made on the

said items prior to its delivery


to the premises in question and
that no receipt or proof of
acquisition of these listed items
were presented during the trial of
the case.[23]
Under Article 2199 of the New Civil Code, actual
damages include all the natural and probable
consequences of the act or omission complained
of, classified as one (1) for the loss of what a
person already possesses (dao emergente) and
the other, for the failure to receive, as a benefit,
that which would have pertained to him (lucro
cesante). As expostulated by the Court:
Under Article 2199 of the Civil
Code, actual or compensatory
damages are those awarded in
satisfaction of, or in recompense
for, loss or injury sustained. They
proceed from a sense of natural
justice and are designed to repair
the wrong that has been done, to
compensate for the injury inflicted
and not to impose a penalty. In
actions based on torts or quasidelicts, actual damages include all
the
natural
and
probable
consequences of the act or
omission complained of. There are
two
kinds
of
actual
or
compensatory damages: one is the
loss of what a person already
possesses, (dao emergente), and
the other is the failure to receive as
a benefit that which would have
pertained to him (lucro cesante)
(citations omitted).[24]
The burden of proof is on the party who will be
defeated if no evidence is presented on either
side. His burden is to establish his case by
preponderance of evidence which means that
the evidence, as whole, adduced by one side, is
superior to that of the other.Actual damages are
not presumed. The claimant must prove the
actual amount of loss with a reasonable degree
of certainty premised upon competent proof and
on the best evidence obtainable. He must point
out specific facts that could afford a basis for
measuring whatever compensatory or actual
damages are borne. Actual damages cannot be
anchored on mere surmises, speculations or
conjectures. As the Court declared:
As stated at the outset, to enable
an injured party to recover actual
or compensatory damages, he is

required to prove the actual


amount of loss with reasonable
degree of certainty premised upon
competent proof and on the best
evidence available. The burden of
proof is on the party who would be
defeated if no evidence would be
presented on either side. He must
establish
his
case
by
a
preponderance of evidence which
means that the evidence, as a
whole, adduced by one side is
superior to that of the other. In
other words, damages cannot be
presumed and courts, in making
an award must point out specific
facts that could afford a basis for
measuring
whatever
compensatory or actual damages
are borne.[25]
The claimants are not, however, mandated
to prove damages in any specific or certain
amount in order to recover damages for a
substantial amount.[26] When the existence of a
loss is established, absolute certainty as to its
amount is not required. [27] The amount of the
damages should be determined with reasonable
certainty. The law does not require that the
amount fixed be absolute or beyond conjectural
possibilities. The ascertainment of the amount of
damages should be by the plainest, easiest and
most accurate measure which will do justice in
the premises.[28]
The Court further declared that where
goods are destroyed by the wrongful acts of the
defendant, the plaintiff is entitled to their value at
the time of the destruction, that is normally, the
sum of money which he would have to pay in the
market for identical or essentially similar good
plus, in a proper case, damages for the loss of the
use during the period before replacement. [29]
To be entitled to an award of actual
damages, it is necessary to prove the precise
amount of the loss with a reasonable degree of
certainty, premised upon competent proof and on
the best evidence obtainable by the injured party
to justify such award.[30] The award of actual
damages cannot be simply based on the mere
allegation of a witness without any tangible
claim, such as receipts or other documentary
proofs to support such claim.[31] Failing to satisfy
the court that petitioner certainly suffered actual
damages, its claim must now fail.
In this case, there is no question that,
indeed, petitioner sustained damages because its
equipment, machineries, and other valuables

were taken, and its building was destroyed by


respondent
Florenda
Miranda
and
her cohorts. Respondent Angel Miranda did not
cause the damages sustained by petitioners
property. However, the only evidence adduced by
the petitioner to prove the value of said property
is the testimony of Kho, viz.:
ATTY. QUIJANO:
Q You

said defendant Miranda


looted
all
your
items,
machinery
and
other
valuables
inside
the
premises, do you have a list
of those which you claimed
to [have] been lost and
stolen from the premises?

MR. KHO:
A We have a partial list of the
equipment and materials
lost.
ATTY. QUIJANO:
May we request that the list be
marked as Exhibits I and I1, respectively.
WITNESS:
The first page represents the items
lost on January 27 and the
second page, items lost in
the middle of March up the
(sic) of June.
COURT:
Mark it. x x x .
xxxxxxxxx
Q Considering that you have been
forcibly evicted from the
premises, what did you do?
A We seek (sic) the services of M
.R. Pamaran Law Office.
Q And

do
you
have
any
arrangement
with
said
office?
A The agreement is P200,000.00
plus P2,000.00
per
appearance, damaged
equipment
and
loss
is P10,000,000.00 and the
actual items lost is more
than P10,000,000.00
plus
construction
materials, P11,000,000.00.

COURT:
Q The
actual
damage
is P10,000,000.00?
A P10,000,000.00, including the
building x x x.
(TSN dated 10 July 1992, pp. 26-28,
bold ours)[32]
No other proof was adduced to establish the
value or price of the equipment, machineries and
valuables taken by respondent Florenda Miranda,
as well as the damage to petitioners building. The
bare claim of Kho that the petitioner sustained
actual
damages
in
the
amount
of
P10,000,000.00 is utterly insufficient on which to
anchor a judgment for actual damages in the
amount of P10,000,000.00; it is speculative and
merely a surmise.
The Court notes that respondent Florenda
Miranda admitted, when she testified, that she
and her cohorts caused the damages to the
property of the petitioner:
ATTY. QUIJANO:
Q When you went to the premises
in question, you found out that
there
were already some construction
going on?
MS. MIRANDA:
A Construction?
construction but there
some machineries
inside but not installed.

Not
[were]

xxxxxxxxx
Q There [were] purlins and trusses already
in the ?
A No, in the latter part only.
xxxxxxxxx
Q You said that you did not throw
their equipment but just pulled it
out
and transferred it to another
lot. How long did it take you to
transfer
that?
A The first one it took us one
day to
be able to pull out or get
outside,
I
think
six
or
nine
machineries and then it was stopped.
Q How did you bring it out?
A By means of forklift.
Q So, you hired a forklift?

A Yes, Sir.
xxxxxxxxx
Q Are all the machineries pulled out?
A On the first time, it wasnt
because it was stopped x x x so it
took us
another, I think a month or weeks
also before we could hire another
trucking firm.
Q You mean this truck was hired by
Mr. Kho and not by you?
A No, by me.
xxxxxxxxx
Q So, you hired this truck to
pull all these machineries out?
A Yes. x x x (TSN dated 11 June
1993, pp. 20-23 before the RTC,
Cavite, emphasis ours)[33]
With this admission, Florenda Miranda is clearly
liable for damages to the equipment, machineries
and building of petitioner.
We agree with the ruling of the CA that
respondent Angel Miranda is not liable for
damages caused to petitioners property. Article
1654 of the New Civil Code reads:
Art. 1654. The lessor is obliged:
(1) To deliver the thing which is the
object of the contract in such a
condition as to render it fit for the
use intended;
(2) To make on the same during the
lease all the necessary repairs in
order to keep it suitable for the use
to which it has been devoted,
unless there is a stipulation to the
contrary;
(3) To maintain the less in the
peaceful and adequate enjoyment
of the lease for the entire duration
of the contract.
Under the provision, a lessor is obliged to
maintain petitioners peaceful and adequate
enjoyment of the premises for the entire duration
of the lease. In case of noncompliance with these
obligations, the lessee may ask for the rescission
of the lease contract and indemnification for
damages or only the latter, allowing the contract
to remain in force.[34]
The trespass referred to in Article 1654,
paragraph 3, of the New Civil Code, is legal

trespass or perturbacion de mero derecho. The


lessor is not liable for the mere fact of a trespass
or trespass in fact (perturbacion de mero
hecho) made by a third person of the leased
property. The lessee shall have a direct action
against the trespasser and not against the
lessor. As explained by the Court, if the act of
trespass is not accompanied or preceded by
anything which reveals a really juridic intention
on the part of the trespasser, in such wise that
the lessee can only distinguish the material fact,
such a trespass is merely a trespass in fact.[35]
The duty of the lessor to maintain the lessee in
the peaceful and adequate enjoyment of the
leased property for the entire duration of the
contract is merely a warranty that the lessee shall
not be disturbed in having legal and not physical
possession of the property.[36]
In this case, the trespass perpetrated by
respondent
Florenda
Miranda
and
her
confederates was merely trespass in fact. They
forcibly entered the property and caused damage
to the equipment and building of petitioner,
because the latter refused to enter into a contract
of lease with EMECO over the property upon
respondent Florenda Mirandas failure to present
respondent Angel Miranda to sign the contract of
lease. It turned out that respondent Florenda
Miranda attempted to hoodwink petitioner and
forged respondent Angel Mirandas signature on
the contract of lease she showed to petitioner. It
appears that respondent Florenda Miranda tried
to coerce the petitioner into executing a contract
of lease with EMECO over the property, only to be
rebuffed by the petitioner.
Petitioner cannot rely on the ruling of this Court
in De la Cruz v. Seminary of Manila,[37] because, in
this case, respondent Angel Miranda had the legal
power to place petitioner in the peaceful
possession of the property upon the execution of
the contract of lease between him and petitioner;
in fact, actual possession of the property was
placed in the hands of petitioner, enabling it to
start the construction of its factory.
It bears stressing that respondent Angel Miranda
was not content in adopting a mere passive
stance in the face of respondent Florenda
Mirandas act of trespass. He and the petitioner
filed a case for forcible entry against Florenda
Miranda; he also succeeded in having the RTC, in
Civil Case No. 92-699, declare the contract of
lease which respondent Florenda Miranda showed
petitioner as null and void, with the courts ruling
that his signature on the contract was a forgery.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition
is DENIED. Cost against the petitioner.

SO ORDERED.
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 179044
December 6, 2010
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee,vs. RodrigPuez LUCERO y PAW-AS alias "Kikit," Appellant.
DECISION
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
On appeal is the November 29, 2006 Decision1 of
the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-HC No.
00340 which affirmed with modifications the July
19, 2002 Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court of
Bislig City, Surigao del Sur, Branch 29, finding
appellant Rodriguez Lucero y Paw-as guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder.
Factual Antecedents
On October 20, 1998, an Information3 was filed
charging appellant with the crime of murder
committed as follows:
That on or about 1:30 [a.m.] of July 21, 1998, at
Purok 6, Barangay Sta. Cruz, Municipality of
Tagbina, Province of Surigao del Sur, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused with treachery
and evident premeditation and with intent to kill,
did then and there wil[l]fully, unlawfully and
feloniously attack, assault and hack one Edgar
Aydaon, a Barangay Kagawad, with the use of a
bolo, thereby hitting the victim[']s head, which
wound and injury caused the instantaneous death
of the victim, to the damage and prejudice of the
heirs of said Aydaon.
CONTRARY TO LAW x x x
Appellant pleaded not guilty to the charge. Trial
thereafter ensued.
Version of the Prosecution
The prosecution presented Leonito Maceda
(Maceda), Rafael Ampis and SPO1 Daniel Barrios
as witnesses. Based on their combined
testimonies, the prosecution established the
following:

At about midnight of July 20, 1998, Maceda went


out of his house to get "kasla," a medicinal herb
for his sick child. After getting the herb, he went
to a waiting shed located about 10 meters away
from his house as he saw a certain Linda Basalo
(Basalo) thereat waiting for a ride. While at the
waiting shed, the victim Edgar Aydaon passed by.
But after a while, the victim returned and helped
Basalo load the vegetables in the jeepney.
After the jeepney left, appellant arrived and
called out the victim. Appellant pleaded that he
be allowed by the victim to go with him as he
(appellant) was allegedly being pursued by a
certain Pandeta. The victim acceded to the
request and even invited appellant to sleep in his
house. However, after walking a distance of about
10 meters, appellant suddenly hacked the victim
at the left side of his head causing the victim to
fall to the ground. In spite of the fact that the
victim was already lying on the ground, appellant
further stabbed him on his waist. Thereafter,
appellant left the premises.
Version of the Defense
The defense presented appellant as its lone
witness who could only offer denial and alibi. He
claimed that on July 21, 1998, he was at his farm
located at Nyholm, Agusan del Sur. He alleged
that he had no prior disagreement with the victim
or any of the prosecution witnesses. Hence, he
could not understand why he was being
implicated in the crime.
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
The trial court found appellant guilty of murder
qualified by treachery. It noted that appellant
"beguiled [the victim by] pleading for help"4 but
after walking a distance of about 10 meters,
suddenly hacked him on the head leaving him
with no opportunity to defend himself.
The trial court however found that the qualifying
circumstance of evident premeditation was not

present. It noted that the prosecution failed to


prove "(1) the time when the offender determined
to commit the crime; (2) an act manifestly
indicating that the culprit clung to his
determination; and (3) sufficient lapse of time
between the determination and execution to
allow him to reflect upon the consequences of his
act."5
The trial court disregarded appellants denial and
alibi for being uncorroborated. Besides, appellant
himself admitted that the distance between his
farm and the scene of the crime is only 10
kilometers and could be traversed by motorcycle
in one hour or even less. Thus, he failed to prove
that it was physically impossible for him to be at
the crime scene at the time it was committed.
Besides, appellants alibi could not stand scrutiny
vis--vis the testimony of Maceda positively
identifying appellant as the author of the crime.
Finally, the trial court found the inconsistencies in
the testimony of Maceda only minor and trivial as
they did not touch on the elements of the crime.
The dispositive portion of the Decision of the trial
court reads:
Wherefore, finding the accused RODRIGUEZ
LUCERO Y PAW-AS alias "KIKIT" guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of MURDER defined
and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised
Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No.
7659, this Court hereby sentences him to suffer
the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua with all the
accessory penalties provided for under Article 41
of the Revised Penal Code.
To pay the heirs of the victim the sum of fifty
thousand pesos (P50,000.00) as [civil] indemnity
and ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) as
exemplary damages.
To pay the costs.
The accused shall serve his sentence at the
National Penitentiary now New Bilibid Prisons,
Muntinlupa City.

The CA affirmed with modifications the Decision


of the trial court, thus:
FOR THE REASONS STATED, the appealed
Decision convicting RODRIGUEZ LUCERO Y PAWAS alias "[K]ikit of Murder is hereby AFFIRMED
with the MODIFICATION[S] that he is ORDERED to
pay the heirs of the victimP50,000.00 as
indemnity, P25,000.00 as exemplary
damages, P3,000.00 as actual damages
and P50,000.00 as moral damages. Costs de
officio.
SO ORDERED.7
As did the trial court, the appellate court found
the alleged inconsistencies adverted to by the
appellant minor and did not impair the credibility
of Maceda. According to the CA, there was no
inconsistency in "the narration of the principal
occurrence [or] the positive identification of the
assailant."8 Further, "minor inconsistencies, far
from detracting from the veracity of the
testimony, even enhance the credibility of the
witnesses, for they remove any suspicion that the
testimony was contrived or rehearsed."9
The appellate court also affirmed the findings of
the trial court that treachery attended the
commission of the crime. According to the CA,
treachery was
clearly demonstrated when appellant suddenly
attacked and stabbed the victim who offered the
accused to sleep in his house and having
conversation at that time, with absolutely no
inkling of the impending danger as the accused
suddenly and without warning, hacked and
stabbed the victim, giving the victim no x x x
chance to defend himself. x x x10
Hence, this appeal.
On October 15, 2007, we notified both parties
that they may file their respective supplemental
briefs. However, in separate manifestations, both
parties opted not to file their briefs.
Assignment of Errors

SO ORDERED.

Ruling of the Court of Appeals

Appellant raises the following assignment of


errors:

I. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN GIVING


FULL WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO THE
INCONSISTENT TESTIMONY OF
PROSECUTION WITNESS LEONITO MACEDA
AND IN DISREGARDING THE DEFENSE
INTERPOSED BY THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANT.
II. THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN
CONVICTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF THE
CRIME CHARGED DESPITE THE FACT THAT
HIS GUILT WAS NOT PROVEN BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT.11
Our Ruling
The appeal lacks merit.
The defense basically assails the credibility of
prosecution eyewitness Maceda. As it did before
the CA, the defense claims that credence should
not have been given to the testimony of
prosecution eyewitness Maceda as it bore several
inconsistencies.
We find this contention untenable. Basic is the
rule that the Supreme Court accords great
respect and even finality to the findings of
credibility of the trial court, more so if the same
were affirmed by the CA, as in this case. Besides,
upon our review of the records of this case, we
find that both the trial court and the CA did not
overlook or misunderstand any substance or fact
which would have materially affected the
outcome of this case.
Our ruling in People v. Elarcosa12 is instructive,
thus:
In this regard, it should be noted that questions
concerning the credibility of a witness are best
addressed to the sound discretion of the trial
court, since it is the latter which is in the best
position to observe the demeanor and bodily
movements of a witness. This becomes all the
more compelling when the appellate court affirms
the findings of the trial court. Thus, we generally
defer to the trial courts assessment, unless there
is a clear showing that such findings are tainted
with arbitrariness, capriciousness or palpable
error. x x x

Moreover, the alleged inconsistencies referred to


by the defense indeed refer to minor details
which are very inconsequential to the outcome of
the case. According to the defense, "Maceda first
testified that when the victim was about to leave,
[appellant] came out and mauled the victim.
However, he contradicted himself when he
further testified that when [appellant] came out,
the latter conversed with the victim and it was
only after the victim and the [appellant] reached
the distance of ten (10) meters that he saw the
appellant [hack] the victim."13
This contention was satisfactorily debunked by
the prosecution. We thus agree that whether the
appellant immediately mauled the victim or he
mauled him only after walking a distance of 10
meters does not deviate from the fact that
appellant did indeed maul and hack the victim.
Moreover, the prosecution correctly argued that
"appellant quoted x x x Macedas testimony
separately and took it out of context."14 The
records show that after making a general
statement that appellant came out and mauled
the victim, Maceda further explained when
pressed for details that appellant hacked the
victim after they conversed and walked the
distance of about 10 meters.15
The defense also pointed out that Maceda was
inconsistent whether he got the "kasla" in the
morning or evening of July 20, 1998. However,
whether Maceda got the "kasla" in the morning or
evening has no bearing with the crime of murder
committed by the appellant against the victim.
The fact remains that Maceda positively identified
appellant as the person who hacked the victim on
the head and stabbed him on the waist. No ill
motive could be attributed to Maceda for
testifying against the appellant. In fact, appellant
even admitted that he had no quarrel or previous
misunderstanding or disagreement with Maceda.
"Pertinently, the absence of such improper
motive on the part of the witness for the
prosecution strongly tends to sustain the
conclusion that no such improper motive exists
and that [his] testimony is worthy of full faith and
credit. Indeed, there is no reason to deviate from
the factual findings of the trial court."16
Finally, we agree with both the trial court and the
CA that treachery attended the commission of the
crime. Records show that appellant lulled the

victim into believing that he was being pursued


by somebody. Believing in the tale being spun by
the appellant, the victim even offered appellant
the security and protection of his house.
However, appellant reciprocated the victims trust
and hospitality by suddenly hacking him on the
head and stabbing him on the waist. "The settled
rule is that treachery can exist even if the attack
is frontal, as long as the attack is sudden and
unexpected, giving the victim no opportunity to
repel it or to defend himself. What is decisive is
that the execution of the attack, without the
slightest provocation from an unarmed victim,
made it impossible for the victim to defend
himself or to retaliate."171avvphi1
The Penalty
Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code provides for
the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death for the
crime of murder. If no aggravating or mitigating
circumstance attended the commission of the
crime, the imposable penalty is reclusion
perpetua. In this case, the qualifying
circumstances of treachery and evident
premeditation were both alleged in the
Information. However, only the qualifying
circumstance of treachery was found to have
attended the commission of the crime which
nevertheless qualified the killing to murder. There
being no other aggravating or mitigating
circumstances, both the trial court and the CA
therefore correctly imposed upon the appellant
the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
The Damages
"Based on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code,
every person criminally liable for a felony is also
civilly liable. Thus, when death occurs due to a
crime, the following damages may be awarded:
(1) civil indemnity ex delicto for the death of the
victim; (2) actual or compensatory damages; (3)
moral damages; (4) exemplary damages; (5)
attorneys fees and expenses of litigation; and (6)
interest, in proper cases. In cases of murder and
homicide, civil indemnity of PhP75,000.00 and
moral damages of PhP50,000.00 are awarded
automatically. Indeed, such awards are
mandatory without need of allegation and proof

other than the death of the victim, owing to the


fact of the commission of murder or homicide."18
In the instant case, we note that the CA awarded
the amounts of P50,000.00 as civil
indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral
damages, P25,000.00 as exemplary damages,
and P3,000.00 as actual damages. Thus, pursuant
to prevailing jurisprudence,19 the award
of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity must be
increased to P75,000.00. The award
of P25,000.00 as exemplary damages is likewise
increased to P30,000.00.
Anent the actual damages, we note that the CA
awarded P3,000.00 representing the amount
spent for the embalming as shown by the receipt.
However, the prosecution also presented a list of
expenses such as those spent for the coffin, etc.,
which were not duly covered by receipt. "Under
Article 2224 of the Civil Code, temperate
damages may be recovered, as it cannot be
denied that the heirs of the victims suffered
pecuniary loss although the exact amount was
not proved."20 "The award of P25,000.00 as
temperate damages in x x x murder cases is
proper when no evidence of burial and funeral
expenses is presented in the trial court."21 Thus,
we delete the award of P3,000.00 as actual
damages given by the CA. In lieu thereof, we
hereby award to the heirs of the victim the
amount of P25,000.00 as temperate damages.
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The
November 29, 2006 Decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 00340 which
affirmed with modifications the July 19, 2002
Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Bislig City,
Surigao del Sur, Branch 29, finding appellant
Rodriguez Lucero y Paw-as guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of murder, is
AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS that the awards
of civil indemnity is increased toP75,000.00,
exemplary damages is increased to P30,000.00;
the award of P3,000.00 as actual damages is
deleted and in lieu thereof, appellant is ordered
to pay the heirs of the victim the amount
of P25,000.00 as temperate damages.
SO ORDERED.

FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 201447 : January 9, 2013
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ANASTACIO AMISTOSO y BROCA, AccusedAppellant.
DECISION
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
Before the Court is the appeal of accusedappellant Anastacio Amistoso y Broca (Amistosn)
of theDecision1 dated August 25,2011 of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 04012,
affirming with modification the Decision2 dated
March 23, 2006 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
of Masbate City, Branch 48, in Criminal Case No.
10106, which found Amistoso guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the qualified rape of his
daughter AAA.3
Amistoso was charged by the Provincial
Prosecutor of Masbate in an Information4 dated
August 30, 2000,5 which reads:
The undersigned 3rd Assistant Provincial
Prosecutor upon a sworn complaint filed by
private offended party, accuses ANASTACIO
AMISTOSO y BROCA, for VIOLATION OF ANTI-RAPE
LAW OF 1997 (art. 266-A, par. 1 sub par. (d)
committed as follows:
That on or about the 10th day of July 2000, at
about 8:00 oclock in the evening thereof, at x x x
Province of Masbate, Philippines and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused with lewd design and with intent
to have carnal knowledge with AAA, a 12-year old
girl, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously succeed in having carnal knowledge
with the victim against her will and without her
consent.
With the aggravating circumstance of
relationship, accused being the father of the
victim.
When arraigned on July 23, 2002, Amistoso
pleaded not guilty to the crime charged.6
Trial on the merits ensued.

The prosecution presented three witnesses:


AAA,7 the victim herself; Dr. Ulysses V. Francisco
(Francisco),8 the Municipal Health Officer who
conducted the physical examination of AAA; and
Senior Police Officer (SPO) 4 Restituto Lipatan
(Lipatan),9 the police investigator on duty at the
police station on July 13, 2000. The prosecution
also submitted as documentary evidence the
Complaint10 dated July 13, 2000 filed by BBB,
AAAs mother, against Amistoso; AAAs
Affidavit11 dated July 13, 2000; Dr. Franciscos
Medico-Legal Report12 dated July 13, 2000; AAAs
Certificate of Live Birth;13 AAAs elementary school
records;14 and a photocopy of the page in the
Police Blotter containing the entries for July 13,
2000.15
The evidence for the prosecution presented the
following version of events:
AAA was born on June 2, 1988, the second of five
children of Amistoso and BBB. Their family lived
in a one-room shanty in Masbate. On July 10,
2000, AAA was exactly 12 years, one month, and
eight days old.
Prior to July 10, 2000, Amistoso had often scolded
AAA, maliciously pinched AAAs thighs, and even
whipped AAA. At around 11:00 a.m. of July 10,
2000, Amistoso was again mad at AAA because
AAA, then busy cooking rice, refused to go with
her father to the forest to get a piece of wood
which Amistoso would use as a handle for his
bolo. Because of this, a quarrel erupted between
Amistoso and BBB. In his fury, Amistoso
attempted to hack AAA. BBB ran away with her
other children to her mothers house in another
barangay. AAA though stayed behind because
she was afraid that Amistoso would get even
madder at her.
On the night of July 10, 2000, AAA had fallen
asleep while Amistoso was eating. AAA was
awakened at around 8:00 p.m. when Amistoso,
already naked, mounted her. Amistoso reached

under AAAs skirt and removed her panties. AAA


shouted, "Pa, ayaw man!" (Pa, please dont!), but
Amistoso merely covered AAAs mouth with one
hand. Amistoso then inserted his penis inside
AAAs vagina. The pain AAA felt made her cry.
After he had ejaculated, Amistoso stood up. AAA
noticed white substance and blood coming from
her vagina. Amistoso told AAA not to tell anyone
what happened between them, otherwise, he
would kill her.

The lone evidence for the defense was Amistosos


testimony.18

The following day, July 11, 2000, AAA left their


residence without Amistosos consent to hide at
the house of a certain Julie, a recruiter. AAA
narrated to Julie her ordeal in Amistosos hands.
BBB subsequently found AAA at Julies house. On
July 13, 2000, AAA told BBB what Amistoso did to
her. BBB brought AAA to the Department of Social
Welfare and Development (DSWD), which in turn,
brought AAA to Dr. Francisco for physical
examination.

When Amistoso arrived home, he found the door


and the windows to the house tied shut. The
house was primarily made of nipa with bamboo
flooring. It was raised a foot from the ground.
Amistosos children were inside the house with
BBB and an unknown man. Although he could not
see inside the house, Amistoso heard BBB and
the man talking. Amistoso suspected that BBB
and the man were having sexual intercourse
because they did not open the door when
Amistoso called out. Amistoso was told to wait so
he did wait outside the house for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, BBB and the man made a hole in the
floor of the house from where they slipped out,
crawled under the house, and fled.

Thereafter, BBB and AAA went to the police for


the execution of AAAs Affidavit and the filing of
BBBs Complaint against Amistoso. A Municipal
Circuit Trial Court in Masbate, after conducting
the necessary preliminary examination, issued an
Order of Arrest against Amistoso on July 13, 2000.
Amistoso was arrested the same day and the fact
thereof was entered in the Police Blotter by SPO4
Lipatan.
Dr. Franciscos findings in his Medico-Legal Report
dated July 13, 2000 were as follows:
Hymen: Old hymenal lacerations noted at 7 and 3
oclock corresponding to the face of the clock.
Vaginal canal: Showed less degree of resistance
and admits about two of the examiners fingers.
REMARKS:
Physical Virginity has been lost to AAA16
Dr. Francisco explained on the witness stand that
the cause of AAAs hymenal lacerations was the
penetration of a blunt object, which could be a
penis. He also opined that a hymenal laceration,
just like any wound, would take at least a week to
heal. Upon further questioning, he answered that
"in minimum it would heal in one week time
except when there is no infection."17

Amistoso recounted that on July 10, 2000, he was


working, unloading diesel and kerosene, at his
employers warehouse. After finishing his work at
around 8:00 p.m., Amistoso had dinner at his
employers place before going home. The distance
between his employers warehouse and his house
was about a kilometer, a 10-minute hike away.

Amistoso said the children had been sleeping


inside the house, but BBB woke the children up.
When BBB and her lover fled, the children were
left together. However, Amistoso also said that he
slept alone in the house on the night of July 10,
2000.19
Amistoso did not take any action after catching
BBB and her lover. He did not chase after BBB
and her lover when the two fled on July 10, 2000;
he did not report the incident to the police; and
he did not file charges of adultery against BBB in
the days after.
Amistoso believed that BBB, afraid she got
caught with another man, manipulated AAA to
falsely charge Amistoso with rape. Amistoso
averred that BBB actually wanted to reconcile
with him and apologized to him in May 2001 for
what had happened, but he refused.20
On March 23, 2006, the RTC rendered
its Decision finding Amistoso guilty of qualified
rape, to wit:

In view of the foregoing, this Court is convinced


and so holds that the prosecution has proved the
guilt of accused Anastacio Amistoso beyond
reasonable doubt of qualified rape, punished
under Article 266-B, par. 5, sub. Par. 1.
WHEREFORE, accused ANASTACIO AMISTOSO,
having been convicted of Qualified Rape, he is
hereby sentenced to the capital penalty of
DEATH; to pay the victim the sum of
Seventy[-]Five
Thousand Pesos (PhP75,000.00) as indemnity; to
pay the said victim the sum of Fifty Thousand
Pesos (PhP50,000.00) as for moral damages, and
to pay the costs.21
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed
Amistosos conviction for qualified rape but
modified the penalties imposed. Below is the
decretal portion of the Decision dated August 25,
2011 of the appellate court:
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED and the
assailed Decision dated March 23, 2006 of the
Regional Trial Court of Masbate City, Branch 48, in
Criminal Case No. 10106 is AFFIRMED WITH
MODIFICATION.
Accused-appellant Anastacio Amistoso is
sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua without eligibility for parole. In addition
to civil indemnity in the amount of P75,000.00, he
is ordered to pay the victim P75,000.00 as moral
damages and P30,000.00 as exemplary
damages.22
Hence, Amistoso comes before this Court via the
instant appeal with a lone assignment of error:
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING
THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY OF THE CRIME
CHARGED DESPITE THE PROSECUTIONS FAILURE
TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT.23
Amistoso argues that the defense of denial and
alibi should not be viewed with outright disfavor.
Such defense, notwithstanding its inherent
weakness, may still be a plausible excuse. Be that
as it may, the prosecution cannot profit from the
weakness of Amistosos defense; it must rely on
the strength of its own evidence and establish

Amistosos guilt beyond reasonable doubt.


Amistoso asserts that the prosecution failed even
in this regard.
Amistoso was charged in the Information with
statutory rape under Article 266-A, paragraph
1(d) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. The
elements of said crime are: (1) that the accused
had carnal knowledge of a woman; and (2) that
the woman is below 12 years of age or is
demented.
According to Amistoso, there is no proof beyond
reasonable doubt that he had carnal knowledge
of AAA. AAAs claim that Amistoso was able to
insert his penis into her vagina on July 10, 2000
was contrary to the physical evidence on record.
Dr. Francisco testified that hymenal lacerations
would take a minimum of one week to heal; but in
his Medico-Legal Report, prepared on July 13,
2000, just three days after AAAs alleged rape, he
stated that AAAs hymenal lacerations were
already healed. Amistoso also asserts that AAA
had ulterior motive to falsely accuse him of rape.
AAA admitted that Amistoso had been
maltreating her and that she had already
developed hatred or ill feeling against Amistoso.
Such admission casts doubts on the veracity and
credibility of AAAs rape charge and raises the
question of whether the act complained of
actually occurred.
Amistoso further claims lack of showing that AAA
was below 12 years old or demented when she
was supposedly raped on July 10, 2000.
According to the prosecutions own evidence, AAA
was precisely 12 years, one month, and eight
days old on July 10, 2000; while the prosecution
did not at all present any evidence of AAAs
mental condition.
Amistosos appeal is without merit.
Reproduced hereunder are the pertinent
provisions of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended:cralawlibrary
ART. 266-A. Rape; when and how committed.
Rape is committed
1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of
a woman under any of the following
circumstances:

a) Through force, threat or intimidation;


b) When the offended party is deprived of reason
or is otherwise unconscious;
c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave
abuse of authority;
d) When the offended party is under twelve (12)
years of age or is demented, even though none of
the circumstances mentioned above be present.
xxx
ART. 266-B. Penalties. Rape under paragraph 1 of
the next preceding article shall be punished by
reclusion perpetua.
xxx
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the
crime of rape is committed with any of the
following aggravating/qualifying circumstances:
1) When the victim is under eighteen (18) years
of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant,
stepparent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or
affinity within the third civil degree, or the
common-law spouse of the parent of the victim.
(Emphases supplied.)
Amistoso was specifically charged in the
Information with statutory rape under Article 266A, paragraph (1)(d) of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended. It is undisputed that AAA was over 12
years old on July 10, 2000, thus, Amistoso cannot
be convicted of statutory rape. Nonetheless, it
does not mean that Amistoso cannot be
convicted of rape committed under any of the
other circumstances described by Article 266-A,
paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended, as long as the facts constituting the
same are alleged in the Information and proved
during trial. What is controlling in an Information
should not be the title of the complaint, nor the
designation of the offense charged or the
particular law or part thereof allegedly violated,
these being, by and large, mere conclusions of
law made by the prosecutor, but the description
of the crime charged and the particular facts
therein recited.24 In addition, the Information
need not use the language of the statute in
stating the acts or omissions complained of as

constituting the offense. What is required is that


the acts or omissions complained of as
constituting the offense are stated in ordinary
and concise language sufficient to enable a
person of common understanding to know the
offense charged.25
In this case, a perusal of the Information against
Amistoso reveals that the allegations therein
actually constitute a criminal charge for qualified
rape under Article 266-A, paragraph (1)(a), in
relation to Section 266-B, paragraph (1) of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended.
The elements of rape under Article 266-A,
paragraph (1)(a) of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended, are: (1) that the offender had carnal
knowledge of a woman; and (2) that such act was
accomplished through force, threat, or
intimidation.26 But when the offender is the
victims father, there need not be actual force,
threat, or intimidation, as the Court expounded in
People v. Fragante27
It must be stressed that the gravamen of rape is
sexual congress with a woman by force and
without consent. In People v. Orillosa, we held
that actual force or intimidation need not be
employed in incestuous rape of a minor because
the moral and physical dominion of the father is
sufficient to cow the victim into submission to his
beastly desires. When a father commits the
odious crime of rape against his own daughter,
his moral ascendancy or influence over the latter
substitutes for violence and intimidation. The
absence of violence or offer of resistance would
not affect the outcome of the case because the
overpowering and overbearing moral influence of
the father over his daughter takes the place of
violence and offer of resistance required in
rape cases committed by an accused who did not
have blood relationship with the victim. (Citations
omitted.)
Then to raise the crime of simple rape to qualified
rape under Article 266-B, paragraph (1) of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended, the twin
circumstances of minority of the victim and her
relationship to the offender must concur.28
The foregoing elements of qualified rape under
Article 266-A, paragraph (1)(a), in relation to
Article 266-B , paragraph (1), of the Revised Penal

Code, as amended, are sufficiently alleged in the


Information against Amistoso, viz: (1) Amistoso
succeeded in having carnal knowledge of AAA
against her will and without her consent; (2) AAA
was 12 years old on the day of the alleged rape;
and (3) Amistoso is AAAs father.
Amistoso cannot claim that he had been deprived
of due process in any way. He adequately
understood from the Information that he was
being charged with the rape of his own daughter
AAA to which he proffered the defense of denial
and alibi, totally refuting the fact of AAAs rape
regardless of how it was purportedly committed.

substance and value were overlooked which, if


considered, might affect the result of the case, its
assessment must be respected, for it had the
opportunity to observe the conduct and
demeanor of the witnesses while testifying and
detect if they were lying. The rule finds an even
more stringent application where the said
findings are sustained by the Court of Appeals.
(Citations omitted.)
There is no cogent reason herein for the Court to
depart from the general rule and reverse any of
the factual findings of the RTC, as affirmed by the
Court of Appeals.

Now as to the truth of the charge in the


Information, the RTC found, and the Court
of Appealsaffirmed, that the prosecution was able
to prove beyond reasonable doubt all the
elements and circumstances necessary for
convicting Amistoso for the qualified rape of AAA.
The RTC accorded credence and weight to the
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses,
especially the victim AAA, and disbelieved the
denial and alibi of Amistoso.

AAA gave a clear, consistent, and credible


account of the events of July 10, 2000, in a
straightforward and candid manner:

In People v. Aguilar,29 the Court explained that:

A At our house.

Time and again, we have held that when it


comes to the issue of credibility of the victim or
the prosecution witnesses, the findings of the trial
courts carry great weight and respect and,
generally, the appellate courts will not overturn
the said findings unless the trial court overlooked,
misunderstood or misapplied some facts or
circumstances of weight and substance which will
alter the assaileddecision or affect the result of
the case. This is so because trial courts are in the
best position to ascertain and measure the
sincerity and spontaneity of witnesses through
their actual observation of the witnesses manner
of testifying, their demeanor and behavior in
court. Trial judges enjoy the advantage of
observing the witness deportment and manner of
testifying, her "furtive glance, blush of conscious
shame, hesitation, flippant or sneering tone,
calmness, sigh, or the scant or full realization of
an oath" all of which are useful aids for an
accurate determination of a witness honesty and
sincerity. Trial judges, therefore, can better
determine if such witnesses are telling the truth,
being in the ideal position to weigh conflicting
testimonies. Again, unless certain facts of

ASST. PROS. LEGASPI continuing)


Q Now, remember where you were on July 10,
2000, at about eleven oclock in the morning?
xxx

xxx
Q Do you recall if there was an incident happened
on that particular day and time?
xxx
A My mother and my father have a quarell (sic).
Q Why did they have a quarell (sic)?
xxx
A My father got mad at me because I refused to
go with him to get a piece of wood for a handle of
our bolo.
xxx
Q And what happened after that?
A He attempted to hack me.
Q And what did your mother do?

A She ran away.

A A skirt.
xxx

xxx

Q Did she return on that day to your house?

Q What did you do when he removed your panty?

A No, she did not.

A I shouted.

Q On July 10, 2000, at around eight oclock in the


evening where were you?

COURT to the witness)


Q What was your shouted (sic) about?

A At our house.
A In order to stop him.
Q And who was with you in your house.
xxx
A My father.
ASST. PROS. LEGASPI continuing)
Q What were you doing at that time?
Q When you shouted "ayaw man", what did your
father do?

A I was sleeping.
Q While you were sleeping, do you recall having
been awakened?

A He covered my mouth.

A Yes, sir.

Q After he covered your mouth, what did he do


next.

Q Why were you awakened?

A He inserted his penis into my vagina.

A Because my father mounted on me.


Q And what did you notice from him when he
mounted on you?

xxx
Q And what did you feel?
A I felt pain.

A That he was already naked.


Q Because you felt pain, did you cry?
Q When he mounted on top of you, what did he
do?

A Yes, sir.

A He removed my panty.

Q What happened after that?

COURT to the witness)

A After that he stood up.

Q What about your clothes?

Q Did you feel if there was an ejaculation?

A No, only my panty.

A Yes, there was.


xxx

Q Did you notice a white substance in your


vagina?

ASST. PROS. LEGASPI continuing)


A Yes, sir.
Q What did (sic) you wearing at that time?

Q After your father had sexual intercourse with


you, what did you notice after that?
A There was a blood coming from me.

A In most cases this laceration is the same with


any wound and it would heal for one week.
xxx

Q What did your father tell you?

PROS. LEGASPI on re-direct)

A That I must not tell anybody, otherwise he will


kill us.30?r?l1

Q When you made mentioned as to the period of


healing of this hymenal lacerations, when you
said within one week time, could it be possible
that it heals less than a week?

AAAs aforequoted testimony already established


the elements of rape under Article 266-A,
paragraph (1)(a) of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended. AAA had positively and categorically
testified that Amistosos penis had entered her
vagina, so Amistoso succeeded in having carnal
knowledge of AAA. The Court reiterates that in an
incestuous rape of a minor, actual force or
intimidation need not be employed where the
overpowering moral influence of the father would
suffice.31?r?l1
That Dr. Francisco, during his physical
examination of AAA on July 13, 2000, already
found healed lacerations, does not negatively
affect AAAs credibility nor disprove her rape.
Worth repeating are the following
pronouncements of the Court in People v.
Orilla32:cralawlibrary
The absence of fresh lacerations in Remilyns
hymen does not prove that appellant did not rape
her. A freshly broken hymen is not an essential
element of rape and healed lacerations do not
negate rape. In addition, a medical examination
and a medical certificate are merely corroborative
and are not indispensable to the prosecution of a
rape case. The credible disclosure of a minor that
the accused raped her is the most important
proof of the sexual abuse. (Emphases supplied,
citations omitted.)
In addition, while Dr. Francisco testified that
hymenal lacerations normally heal in one week,
he did not foreclose the possibility of hymenal
lacerations healing in less than a week when
there is no infection, to wit:cralawlibrary
COURT to the Witness)
Q In your opinion Doctor, how many days more or
less would the hymenal lacerations heal?

xxx
A In minimum it would heal in one week time
except when there is no infection.33 (Emphasis
supplied.)
Even the twin circumstances for qualified rape,
namely, minority and relationship, were
satisfactorily proved by the prosecution. That AAA
was 12 years old on July 10, 2000 and that she is
Amistosos daughter were established by AAAs
Certificate of Live Birth34 and Amistosos
admission35 before the RTC.
The Court is not persuaded by Amistosos
insinuation that AAA and BBB were only falsely
accusing him of rape out of hatred and ill feeling.
Alleged motives of family feuds, resentment, or
revenge are not uncommon defenses, and have
never swayed the Court from lending full
credence to the testimony of a complainant who
remained steadfast throughout her direct and
cross-examinations, especially a minor as in this
case.36
Moreover, the Court finds it difficult to believe
that a young girl would fabricate a rape charge
against her own father as revenge for previous
maltreatment, ruling in People v. Canoy37 as
follows:
We must brush aside as flimsy the appellants
insistence that the charges were merely
concocted by his daughter to punish him for
bringing in his illegitimate daughters to live with
them and for maltreating her. It is unthinkable for
a daughter to accuse her own father, to submit
herself for examination of her most intimate
parts, put her life to public scrutiny and expose
herself, along with her family, to shame, pity or

even ridicule not just for a simple offense but for


a crime so serious that could mean the death
sentence to the very person to whom she owes
her life, had she really not have been aggrieved.
Nor do we believe that the victim would fabricate
a story of rape simply because she wanted to
exact revenge against her father, appellant
herein, for allegedly scolding and maltreating her.
(Citations omitted.)
Neither is the Court convinced that BBB would
use and manipulate her own daughter AAA to
wrongfully accuse Amistoso, her husband and
AAAs father, of rape, just to cover-up her alleged
affair with another man. It is unthinkable that a
mother would sacrifice her daughters honor to
satisfy her grudge, knowing fully well that such
an experience would certainly damage her
daughters psyche and mar her entire life. A
mother would not subject her daughter to a
public trial with its accompanying stigma on her
as the victim of rape, if said charges were not
true.38
The Court rejects Amistosos defense of denial and
alibi for the very same reasons stated in People v.
Abulon39:
Nothing is more settled in criminal
law jurisprudence than that alibi and denial
cannot prevail over the positive and categorical
testimony and identification of the complainant.
Alibi is an inherently weak defense, which is
viewed with suspicion because it can easily be
fabricated. Denial is an intrinsically weak defense
which must be buttressed with strong evidence of
non- culpability to merit credibility.
The records disclose that not a shred of evidence
was adduced by appellant to corroborate his alibi.
Alibi must be supported by credible corroboration
from disinterested witnesses, otherwise, it is fatal
to the accused. Further, for alibi to prosper, it
must be demonstrated that it was physically
impossible for appellant to be present at the
place where the crime was committed at the time
of its commission. By his own testimony,
appellant clearly failed to show that it was
physically impossible for him to have been
present at the scene of the crime when the rapes
were alleged to have occurred. Except for the first
incident, appellant was within the vicinity of his
home and in fact alleged that he was supposedly

even sleeping therein on the occasion of the


second and third incidents. (Citations omitted.)
Except for his own testimony, Amistoso presented
no other evidence to corroborate his alibi that he
was working at his employers warehouse when
AAA was raped. Amistoso even admitted that his
employers warehouse was only a kilometer or a
10-minute hike away from the house where AAA
was raped, so it was not physically impossible for
Amistoso to be present at the scene of the crime
at the time it occurred.
Amistosos version of events is also implausible
and irrational. Amistoso claimed that his wife BBB
was having an affair with another man, but he
could not even identify the man. He did not see
the man on the night of July 10, 2000, but
purportedly heard BBB and the man talking inside
the house and concluded that the two were
having sexual intercourse. Amistoso further said
he wanted to hack BBB and her lover, yet, he
patiently waited outside for 15 minutes before
entering the house. It appears physically
impossible for BBB and her lover, both fully grown
adults, to escape by crawling through the onefoot space beneath the house. And finally,
Amistoso was unable to explain why he did not
run after BBB and her lover nor took any legal
action against the two even days after catching
them having sexual intercourse; where were the
children, who BBB supposedly left behind after
running away with her lover on the night of July
10, 2000, as Amistoso claimed he slept alone at
the house that same night; and how would BBB,
the spouse allegedly guilty of having an affair,
benefit in influencing AAA to falsely charge
Amistoso with rape.
For the qualified rape of his daughter AAA, the
Court of Appeals was correct in imposing upon
Amistoso the penalty of reclusion perpetua
without the eligibility of parole, in lieu of the
death penalty, pursuant to Republic Act No.
9346;40 and ordering Amistoso to pay AAA the
amounts of P75,000.00 as civil
indemnity, P75,000.00 as moral damages,
and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages. The
Court adds that Amistoso is liable to pay interest
on all damages awarded at the legal rate of 6%
per annum from the date of finality of
this Decision.41

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the


instant appeal of Anastacio Amistoso y Broca is
DENIED. The Decision dated August 25, 2011 of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No.
04012 is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that
Amistoso is further OHDERED to pay interest on
all damages awarded at the legal rate of 6% per
annum from the date of finality of this Decision.

SO ORDERED.