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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 190696 August 3, 2010
ROLITO CALANG and PHILTRANCO SERVICE ENTERPRISES,
INC., Petitioners, vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

Criminal Law; Civil Liability; Quasi-Delicts; Torts; Vicarious Liability; Where the
cause of action against the driver was based on delict, it is error to hold the
employer jointly and severally liable with him, based on quasi-delict under Articles
2176 and 2180 of the Civil Codethese legal provisions pertain to the vicarious
liability of an employer for quasi-delicts that an employee has committed and do
not apply to civil liability arising from delict; If at all, the employers liability may
only be subsidiary.The RTC and the CA both erred in holding Philtranco jointly
and severally liable with Calang. We emphasize that Calang was charged
criminally before the RTC. Undisputedly, Philtranco was not a direct party in this
case. Since the cause of action against Calang was based on delict, both the RTC
and the CA erred in holding Philtranco jointly and severally liable with Calang,
based on quasi-delict under Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code. Articles
2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code pertain to the vicarious liability of an employer for
quasi-delicts that an employee has committed. Such provision of law does not
apply to civil liability arising from delict. If at all, Philtrancos liability may only be
subsidiary. Article 102 of the Revised Penal Code states the subsidiary civil
liabilities of innkeepers, tavernkeepers and proprietors of establishments.
Same; Same; Same; Subsidiary Liability; Requisites; The provisions of the
Revised Penal Code on subsidiary liabilityArticles 102 and 103are deemed
written into the judgments in cases to which they are applicable, and the trial court
need not expressly pronounce the subsidiary liability of the employer in the
dispositive portion of its decision.The provisions of the Revised Penal Code on
subsidiary liabilityArticles 102 and 103are deemed written into the judgments
in cases to which they are applicable. Thus, in the dispositive portion of its
decision, the trial court need not expressly pronounce the subsidiary liability of the
employer. Nonetheless, before the employers subsidiary liability is enforced,
adequate evidence must exist establishing that (1) they are indeed the employers
of the convicted employees; (2) they are engaged in some kind of industry; (3) the
crime was committed by the employees in the discharge of their duties; and (4) the
execution against the latter has not been satisfied due to insolvency. The
determination of these conditions may be done in the same criminal action in
which the employees liability, criminal and civil, has been pronounced, in a
hearing set for that precise purpose, with due notice to the employer, as part of the
proceedings for the execution of the judgment. [Calang vs. People, 626 SCRA
679(2010)]
RESOLUTION
BRION, J.:
We resolve the motion for reconsideration filed by the petitioners, Philtranco
Service Enterprises, Inc. (Philtranco) and Rolito Calang, to challenge our
Resolution of February 17, 2010. Our assailed Resolution denied the petition for
review on certiorari for failure to show any reversible error sufficient to warrant the
exercise of this Courts discretionary appellate jurisdiction.
Antecedent Facts
At around 2:00 p.m. of April 22, 1989, Rolito Calang was driving Philtranco Bus
No. 7001, owned by Philtranco along Daang Maharlika Highway in Barangay
Lambao, Sta. Margarita, Samar when its rear left side hit the front left portion of a
Sarao jeep coming from the opposite direction. As a result of the collision,
Cresencio Pinohermoso, the jeeps driver, lost control of the vehicle, and bumped
and killed Jose Mabansag, a bystander who was standing along the highways
shoulder. The jeep turned turtle three (3) times before finally stopping at about 25
meters from the point of impact. Two of the jeeps passengers, Armando Nablo
and an unidentified woman, were instantly killed, while the other passengers
sustained serious physical injuries.
The prosecution charged Calang with multiple homicide, multiple serious physical
injuries and damage to property thru reckless imprudence before the Regional
Trial Court (RTC), Branch 31, Calbayog City. The RTC, in its decision dated May
21, 2001, found Calang guilty beyond reasonable doubt of reckless imprudence
resulting to multiple homicide, multiple physical injuries and damage to property,
and sentenced him to suffer an indeterminate penalty of thirty days of arresto
menor, as minimum, to four years and two months of prision correccional, as
maximum. The RTC ordered Calang and Philtranco, jointly and severally, to
pay P50,000.00 as death indemnity to the heirs of Armando; P50,000.00 as death
indemnity to the heirs of Mabansag; andP90,083.93 as actual damages to the
private complainants.
The petitioners appealed the RTC decision to the Court of Appeals (CA), docketed
as CA-G.R. CR No. 25522. The CA, in its decision dated November 20, 2009,
affirmed the RTC decision in toto. The CA ruled that petitioner Calang failed to
exercise due care and precaution in driving the Philtranco bus. According to the
CA, various eyewitnesses testified that the bus was traveling fast and encroached
into the opposite lane when it evaded a pushcart that was on the side of the road.
In addition, he failed to slacken his speed, despite admitting that he had already
seen the jeep coming from the opposite direction when it was still half a kilometer
away. The CA further ruled that Calang demonstrated a reckless attitude when he
drove the bus, despite knowing that it was suffering from loose compression,
hence, not roadworthy.
The CA added that the RTC correctly held Philtranco jointly and severally liable
with petitioner Calang, for failing to prove that it had exercised the diligence of a
good father of the family to prevent the accident.
The petitioners filed with this Court a petition for review on certiorari. In our
Resolution dated February 17, 2010, we denied the petition for failure to
sufficiently show any reversible error in the assailed decision to warrant the
exercise of this Courts discretionary appellate jurisdiction.
The Motion for Reconsideration
In the present motion for reconsideration, the petitioners claim that there was no
basis to hold Philtranco jointly and severally liable with Calang because the former
was not a party in the criminal case (for multiple homicide with multiple serious
physical injuries and damage to property thru reckless imprudence) before the
RTC.
The petitioners likewise maintain that the courts below overlooked several relevant
facts, supported by documentary exhibits, which, if considered, would have shown
that Calang was not negligent, such as the affidavit and testimony of witness
Celestina Cabriga; the testimony of witness Rodrigo Bocaycay; the traffic accident
sketch and report; and the jeepneys registration receipt. The petitioners also insist
that the jeeps driver had the last clear chance to avoid the collision.
We partly grant the motion.
Liability of Calang
We see no reason to overturn the lower courts finding on Calangs culpability. The
finding of negligence on his part by the trial court, affirmed by the CA, is a question
of fact that we cannot pass upon without going into factual matters touching on the
finding of negligence. In petitions for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
Revised Rules of Court, this Court is limited to reviewing only errors of law, not of
fact, unless the factual findings complained of are devoid of support by the
evidence on record, or the assailed judgment is based on a misapprehension of
facts.
Liability of Philtranco
We, however, hold that the RTC and the CA both erred in holding Philtranco jointly
and severally liable with Calang. We emphasize that Calang was charged
criminally before the RTC. Undisputedly, Philtranco was not a direct party in this
case. Since the cause of action against Calang was based on delict, both the RTC
and the CA erred in holding Philtranco jointly and severally liable with Calang,
based on quasi-delict under Articles 21761 and 21802 of the Civil Code. Articles
2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code pertain to the vicarious liability of an employer for
quasi-delicts that an employee has committed. Such provision of law does not
apply to civil liability arising from delict.
If at all, Philtrancos liability may only be subsidiary. Article 102 of the Revised
Penal Code states the subsidiary civil liabilities of innkeepers, tavernkeepers and
proprietors of establishments, as follows:
In default of the persons criminally liable, innkeepers, tavernkeepers, and any
other persons or corporations shall be civilly liable for crimes committed in their
establishments, in all cases where a violation of municipal ordinances or some
general or special police regulations shall have been committed by them or their
employees.1avvphil
Innkeepers are also subsidiary liable for the restitution of goods taken by robbery
or theft within their houses from guests lodging therein, or for the payment of the
value thereof, provided that such guests shall have notified in advance the
innkeeper himself, or the person representing him, of the deposit of such goods
within the inn; and shall furthermore have followed the directions which such
innkeeper or his representative may have given them with respect to the care of
and vigilance over such goods. No liability shall attach in case of robbery with
violence against or intimidation of persons unless committed by the innkeepers
employees.
The foregoing subsidiary liability applies to employers, according to Article 103 of
the Revised Penal Code, which reads:
The subsidiary liability established in the next preceding article shall also apply to
employers, teachers, persons, and corporations engaged in any kind of industry
for felonies committed by their servants, pupils, workmen, apprentices, or
employees in the discharge of their duties.
The provisions of the Revised Penal Code on subsidiary liability Articles 102 and
103 are deemed written into the judgments in cases to which they are
applicable. Thus, in the dispositive portion of its decision, the trial court need not
expressly pronounce the subsidiary liability of the employer.3 Nonetheless, before
the employers subsidiary liability is enforced, adequate evidence must exist
establishing that (1) they are indeed the employers of the convicted employees;
(2) they are engaged in some kind of industry; (3) the crime was committed by the
employees in the discharge of their duties; and (4) the execution against the latter
has not been satisfied due to insolvency. The determination of these conditions
may be done in the same criminal action in which the employees liability, criminal
and civil, has been pronounced, in a hearing set for that precise purpose, with due
notice to the employer, as part of the proceedings for the execution of the
judgment.4
WHEREFORE, we PARTLY GRANT the present motion. The Court of Appeals
decision that affirmed in toto the RTC decision, finding Rolito Calang guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, multiple
serious physical injuries and damage to property, is AFFIRMED, with the
MODIFICATION that Philtrancos liability should only be subsidiary. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. L-55138 September 28, 1984
ERNESTO V. RONQUILLO, petitioner, vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS AND ANTONIO P. SO, respondents.
Gloria A. Fortun for petitioner.
Roselino Reyes Isler for respondents.

Certiorari; Motions; Exceptions to the rule that certiorari is premature where motion
for reconsideration still pending.Anent the first issue raised, suffice it to state
that while as a general rule, a motion for reconsideration should precede recourse
to certiorari in order to give the trial court an opportunity to correct the error that it
may have committed, the said rule is not absolute and may be dispensed with in
instances where the filing of a motion for reconsideration would serve no useful
purpose, such as when the motion for reconsideration would raise the same point
stated in the motion or where the error is patent for the order is void or where the
relief is extremely urgent, as in cases where execution had already been ordered
where the issue raised is one purely of law.
Same; Same; Urgency of certiorari even if motion for reconsideration pending is
justified by fact that sale of petitioners property on execution was already about to
proceed.In the case at bar, the records show that not only was a writ of
execution issued but petitioners properties were already scheduled to be sold at
public auction on April 2, 1980 at 10:00 a.m. The records likewise show that
petitioners motion for reconsideration of the questioned Order of Execution was
filed on March 17, 1980 and was set for hearing on March 25, 1980 at 8:30 a.m.,
but upon motion of private respondent, the hearing was reset to April 2, 1980 at
8:30 a.m., the very same day when petitioners properties were to be sold at public
auction. Needless to state that under the circumstances, petitioner was faced with
imminent danger of his properties being immediately sold the moment his motion
for reconsideration is denied. Plainly, urgency prompted recourse to the Court of
Appeals and the adequate and speedy remedy for petitioner under the situation
was to file a petition for certiorari with prayer for restraining order to stop the sale.
For him to wait until after the hearing of the motion for reconsideration on April 2,
1980 before taking recourse to the appellate court may already be too late since
without a restraining order, the public sale can proceed at 10:00 that morning. In
fact, the said motion was already denied by the lower court in its order dated April
2, 1980 and were it not for the pendency of the petition with the Court of Appeals
and the restraining order issued thereafter, the public sale scheduled that very
same morning could have proceeded.
Contracts; Obligations; An agreement to be individually liable or individually and
jointly liable denotes a solidary obligation, not a joint liability.Clearly then, by the
express term of the compromise agreement and the decision based upon it, the
defendants obligated themselves to pay their obligation individually and jointly.
The term individually has the same meaning as collectively, separately,
distinctively, respectively or severally. An agreement to be individually liable
undoubtedly creates a several obligation, and a several obligation is one by
which one individual binds himself to perform the whole obligation.
Same; Same; Same.In the case of Parot vs. Gemora We therein ruled that the
phrase juntos or separadamente used in the promissory note is an express
statement making each of the persons who signed it individually liable for the
payment of the full amount of the obligation contained therein. Likewise in Un Pak
Leung vs. Negorra We held that in the absence of a finding of facts that the
defendants made themselves individually liable for the debt incurred they are each
liable only for one-half of said amount. The obligation in the case at bar being
described as individually and jointly, the same is therefore enforceable against
one of the numerous obligors. [Ronquillo vs. Court of Appeals, 132 SCRA
274(1984)]
CUEVAS, J.:
This is a petition to review the Resolution dated June 30, 1980 of the then Court of
Appeals (now the Intermediate Appellate Court) in CA-G.R. No. SP-10573,
entitled "Ernesto V. Ronquillo versus the Hon. Florellana Castro-Bartolome,
etc." and the Order of said court dated August 20, 1980, denying petitioner's
motion for reconsideration of the above resolution.
Petitioner Ernesto V. Ronquillo was one of four (4) defendants in Civil Case No.
33958 of the then Court of First Instance of Rizal (now the Regional Trial Court),
Branch XV filed by private respondent Antonio P. So, on July 23, 1979, for the
collection of the sum of P17,498.98 plus attorney's fees and costs. The other
defendants were Offshore Catertrade Inc., Johnny Tan and Pilar Tan. The amount
of P117,498.98 sought to be collected represents the value of the checks issued
by said defendants in payment for foodstuffs delivered to and received by them.
The said checks were dishonored by the drawee bank.
On December 13, 1979, the lower court rendered its Decision 1 based on the
compromise agreement submitted by the parties, the pertinent portion of which
reads as follows:
1. Plaintiff agrees to reduce its total claim of P117,498-95 to only P11,000 .00
and defendants agree to acknowledge the validity of such claim and further bind
themselves to initially pay out of the total indebtedness of P10,000.00 the
amount of P55,000.00 on or before December 24, 1979, the balance of
P55,000.00, defendants individually and jointly agree to pay within a period of
six months from January 1980, or before June 30, 1980; (Emphasis supplied)
xxx xxx xxx
4. That both parties agree that failure on the part of either party to comply with
the foregoing terms and conditions, the innocent party will be entitled to an
execution of the decision based on this compromise agreement and the
defaulting party agrees and hold themselves to reimburse the innocent party for
attorney's fees, execution fees and other fees related with the execution.
xxx xxx xxx
On December 26, 1979, herein private respondent (then plaintiff filed a Motion for
Execution on the ground that defendants failed to make the initial payment of
P55,000.00 on or before December 24, 1979 as provided in the Decision. Said
motion for execution was opposed by herein petitioner (as one of the defendants)
contending that his inability to make the payment was due to private respondent's
own act of making himself scarce and inaccessible on December 24, 1979.
Petitioner then prayed that private respondent be ordered to accept his payment in
the amount of P13,750.00. 2
During the hearing of the Motion for Execution and the Opposition thereto on
January 16, 1980, petitioner, as one of the four defendants, tendered the amount
of P13,750.00, as his prorata share in the P55,000.00 initial payment. Another
defendant, Pilar P. Tan, offered to pay the same amount. Because private
respondent refused to accept their payments, demanding from them the full initial
installment of P 55,000.00, petitioner and Pilar Tan instead deposited the said
amount with the Clerk of Court. The amount deposited was subsequently
withdrawn by private respondent. 3
On the same day, January 16, 1980, the lower court ordered the issuance of a writ
of execution for the balance of the initial amount payable, against the other two
defendants, Offshore Catertrade Inc. and Johnny Tan 4 who did not pay their
shares.
On January 22, 1980, private respondent moved for the reconsideration and/or
modification of the aforesaid Order of execution and prayed instead for the
"execution of the decision in its entirety against all defendants, jointly and
severally." 5 Petitioner opposed the said motion arguing that under the decision of
the lower court being executed which has already become final, the liability of the
four (4) defendants was not expressly declared to be solidary, consequently each
defendant is obliged to pay only his own pro-rata or 1/4 of the amount due and
payable.
On March 17, 1980, the lower court issued an Order reading as follows:
ORDER
Regardless of whatever the compromise agreement has intended the payment
whether jointly or individually, or jointly and severally, the fact is that only
P27,500.00 has been paid. There appears to be a non-payment in accordance
with the compromise agreement of the amount of P27,500.00 on or before
December 24, 1979. The parties are reminded that the payment is condition
sine qua non to the lifting of the preliminary attachment and the execution of an
affidavit of desistance.
WHEREFORE, let writ of execution issue as prayed for
On March 17, 1980, petitioner moved for the reconsideration of the above order,
and the same was set for hearing on March 25,1980.
Meanwhile, or more specifically on March 19, 1980, a writ of execution was issued
for the satisfaction of the sum of P82,500.00 as against the properties of the
defendants (including petitioner), "singly or jointly hable." 6
On March 20, 1980, Special Sheriff Eulogio C. Juanson of Rizal, issued a notice of
sheriff's sale, for the sale of certain furnitures and appliances found in petitioner's
residence to satisfy the sum of P82,500.00. The public sale was scheduled for
April 2, 1980 at 10:00 a.m. 7
Petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the Order of Execution dated March 17,
1980 which was set for hearing on March 25, 1980, was upon motion of private
respondent reset to April 2, 1980 at 8:30 a.m. Realizing the actual threat to
property rights poised by the re-setting of the hearing of s motion for
reconsideration for April 2, 1980 at 8:30 a.m. such that if his motion for
reconsideration would be denied he would have no more time to obtain a writ from
the appellate court to stop the scheduled public sale of his personal properties at
10:00 a.m. of the same day, April 2, 1980, petitioner filed on March 26, 1980 a
petition for certiorari and prohibition with the then Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. No.
SP-10573), praying at the same time for the issuance of a restraining order to stop
the public sale. He raised the question of the validity of the order of execution, the
writ of execution and the notice of public sale of his properties to satisfy fully the
entire unpaid obligation payable by all of the four (4) defendants, when the lower
court's decision based on the compromise agreement did not specifically state the
liability of the four (4) defendants to be solidary.
On April 2, 1980, the lower court denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration but
the scheduled public sale in that same day did not proceed in view of the
pendency of a certiorari proceeding before the then Court of Appeals.
On June 30, 1980, the said court issued a Resolution, the pertinent portion of
which reads as follows:
This Court, however, finds the present petition to have been filed prematurely.
The rule is that before a petition for certiorari can be brought against an order of
a lower court, all remedies available in that court must first be exhausted. In the
case at bar, herein petitioner filed a petition without waiting for a resolution of
the Court on the motion for reconsideration, which could have been favorable to
the petitioner. The fact that the hearing of the motion for reconsideration had
been reset on the same day the public sale was to take place is of no moment
since the motion for reconsideration of the Order of March 17, 1980 having
been seasonably filed, the scheduled public sale should be suspended.
Moreover, when the defendants, including herein petitioner, defaulted in their
obligation based on the compromise agreement, private respondent had
become entitled to move for an execution of the decision based on the said
agreement.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary
injunction is hereby denied due course. The restraining order issued in our
resolution dated April 9, 1980 is hereby lifted without pronouncement as to
costs.
SO ORDERED.
Petitioner moved to reconsider the aforesaid Resolution alleging that on April 2,
1980, the lower court had already denied the motion referred to and consequently,
the legal issues being raised in the petition were already "ripe" for
determination. 8 The said motion was however denied by the Court of Appeals in
its Resolution dated August 20, 1980.
Hence, this petition for review, petitioner contending that the Court of Appeals
erred in
(a) declaring as premature, and in denying due course to the petition to restrain
implementation of a writ of execution issued at variance with the final decision of
the lower court filed barely four (4) days before the scheduled public sale of the
attached movable properties;
(b) denying reconsideration of the Resolution of June 30, 1980, which declared as
premature the filing of the petition, although there is proof on record that as of April
2, 1980, the motion referred to was already denied by the lower court and there
was no more motion pending therein;
(c) failing to resolve the legal issues raised in the petition and in not declaring the
liabilities of the defendants, under the final decision of the lower court, to be only
joint;
(d) not holding the lower court's order of execution dated March 17, 1980, the writ
of execution and the notice of sheriff's sale, executing the lower court's decision
against "all defendants, singly and jointly", to be at variance with the lower court's
final decision which did not provide for solidary obligation; and
(e) not declaring as invalid and unlawful the threatened execution, as against the
properties of petitioner who had paid his pro-rata share of the adjudged obligation,
of the total unpaid amount payable by his joint co-defendants.
The foregoing assigned errors maybe synthesized into the more important issues
of
1. Was the filing of a petition for certiorari before the then Court of Appeals against
the Order of Execution issued by the lower court, dated March 17, 1980, proper,
despite the pendency of a motion for reconsideration of the same questioned
Order?
2. What is the nature of the liability of the defendants (including petitioner), was it
merely joint, or was it several or solidary?
Anent the first issue raised, suffice it to state that while as a general rule, a motion
for reconsideration should precede recourse to certiorari in order to give the trial
court an opportunity to correct the error that it may have committed, the said rule is
not absolutes 9 and may be dispensed with in instances where the filing of a
motion for reconsideration would serve no useful purpose, such as when the
motion for reconsideration would raise the same point stated in the motion 10 or
where the error is patent for the order is void 11 or where the relief is extremely
urgent, as in cases where execution had already been ordered 12 where the issue
raised is one purely of law. 13
In the case at bar, the records show that not only was a writ of execution issued
but petitioner's properties were already scheduled to be sold at public auction on
April 2, 1980 at 10:00 a.m. The records likewise show that petitioner's motion for
reconsideration of the questioned Order of Execution was filed on March 17, 1980
and was set for hearing on March 25, 1980 at 8:30 a.m., but upon motion of
private respondent, the hearing was reset to April 2, 1980 at 8:30 a.m., the very
same clay when petitioner's properties were to be sold at public auction. Needless
to state that under the circumstances, petitioner was faced with imminent danger
of his properties being immediately sold the moment his motion for reconsideration
is denied. Plainly, urgency prompted recourse to the Court of Appeals and the
adequate and speedy remedy for petitioner under the situation was to file a
petition for certiorari with prayer for restraining order to stop the sale. For him to
wait until after the hearing of the motion for reconsideration on April 2, 1980 before
taking recourse to the appellate court may already be too late since without a
restraining order, the public sale can proceed at 10:00 that morning. In fact, the
said motion was already denied by the lower court in its order dated April 2, 1980
and were it not for the pendency of the petition with the Court of Appeals and the
restraining order issued thereafter, the public sale scheduled that very same
morning could have proceeded.
The other issue raised refers to the nature of the liability of petitioner, as one of the
defendants in Civil Case No. 33958, that is whether or not he is liable jointly or
solidarily.
In this regard, Article 1207 and 1208 of the Civil Code provides
Art. 1207. The concurrence of two or more debtors in one and the same
obligation does not imply that each one of the former has a right to demand, or
that each one of the latter is bound to render, entire compliance with the
prestation. Then is a solidary liability only when the obligation expressly so
states, or when the law or the nature of the obligation requires solidarity.
Art. 1208. If from the law,or the nature or the wording of the obligation to which
the preceding article refers the contrary does not appear, the credit or debt shall
be presumed to be divided into as many equal shares as there are creditors
and debtors, the credits or debts being considered distinct from one another,
subject to the Rules of Court governing the multiplicity of quits.
The decision of the lower court based on the parties' compromise agreement,
provides:
1. Plaintiff agrees to reduce its total claim of P117,498.95 to only P110,000.00
and defendants agree to acknowledge the validity of such claim and further bind
themselves to initially pay out of the total indebtedness of P110,000.00, the
amount of P5,000.00 on or before December 24, 1979, the balance of
P55,000.00, defendants individually and jointly agree to pay within a period of
six months from January 1980 or before June 30, 1980. (Emphasis supply)
Clearly then, by the express term of the compromise agreement and the decision
based upon it, the defendants obligated themselves to pay their obligation
"individually and jointly".
The term "individually" has the same meaning as "collectively", "separately",
"distinctively", respectively or "severally". An agreement to be "individually liable"
undoubtedly creates a several obligation, 14 and a "several obligation is one by
which one individual binds himself to perform the whole obligation. 15
In the case of Parot vs. Gemora 16 We therein ruled that "the phrase juntos or
separadamente or in the promissory note is an express statement making each of
the persons who signed it individually liable for the payment of the fun amount of
the obligation contained therein." Likewise in Un Pak Leung vs. Negorra 17 We
held that "in the absence of a finding of facts that the defendants made
themselves individually hable for the debt incurred they are each liable only for
one-half of said amount
The obligation in the case at bar being described as "individually and jointly", the
same is therefore enforceable against one of the numerous obligors.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the instant petition is hereby
DISMISSED. Cost against petitioner. SO ORDERED.
Makasiar (Chairman), Abad Santos and Escolin, JJ., concur.
Aquino, J., concurs in the result.
Concepcion, Jr. and Guerrero, JJ., are on leave.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. L-36413 September 26, 1988
MALAYAN INSURANCE CO., INC., petitioner,
vs.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS (THIRD DIVISION) MARTIN C. VALLEJOS,
SIO CHOY, SAN LEON RICE MILL, INC. and PANGASINAN
TRANSPORTATION CO., INC., respondents.
Freqillana Jr. for petitioner.
B.F. Estrella & Associates for respondent Martin Vallejos.
Vicente Erfe Law Office for respondent Pangasinan Transportation Co., Inc.
Nemesio Callanta for respondent Sio Choy and San Leon Rice Mill, Inc.
Insurance; Third-Party Liability; Solidary Obligation; The direct liability of the
insurer under indemnity contracts against third-party liability does not mean that
the insurer can be held solidarily liable with the insured and/or the other parties
found at fault.While it is true that where the insurance contract provide for
indemnity against liability to third persons, such third persons can directly sue the
insurer, however, the direct liability of the insurer under indemnity contracts
against third party liability does not mean that the insurer can be held solidarily
liable with the insured and/or the other parties found at fault. The liability of the
insurer is based on contract; that of the insured is based on tort.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Petitioner as insurer of Sio Choy is liable to
respondent Vallejos but it cannot be made solidarily liable with the two principal
tortfeasors.In the case at bar, petitioner as insurer of Sio Choy, is liable to
respondent Vallejos, but it cannot, as incorrectly held by the trial court, be made
solidarily liable with the two principal tortfeasors, namely respondents Sio Choy
and San Leon Rice Mill, Inc. For if petitioner-insurer were solidarily liable with said
two (2) respondents by reason of the indemnity contract against third party
liabilityunder which an insurer can be directly sued by a third partythis will
result in a violation of the principles underlying solidary obligation and insurance
contracts.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; The trial court as upheld by the Court of
Appeals erred in holding petitioner solidarily liable with respondents Sio Choy and
San Leon Rice Mill, Inc. to respondent Vallejos.In the case at bar, the trial court
held petitioner together with respondents Sio Choy and San Leon Rice Mills Inc.
solidarily liable to respondent Vallejos for a total amount of P29,103.00, with the
qualification that petitioners liability is only up to P20,000.00 In the context of a
solidary obligation, petitioner may be compelled by respondent Vallejos to pay the
entire obligation of P29,103.00, notwithstanding the qualification made by the trial
court. But, how can petitioner be obliged to pay the entire obligation when the
amount stated in its insurance policy with respondent Sio Choy for indemnity
against third party liability is only P20,000.00? Moreover, the qualification made in
the decision of the trial court to the effect that petitioner is sentenced to pay up to
P20,000.00 only when the obligation to pay P29,103.00 is made solidary, is an
evident breach of the concept of a solidary obligation. Thus, We hold that the trial
court, as upheld by the Court of Appeals, erred in holding petitioner, solidarily
liable with respondents Sio Choy and San Leon Rice Mill, Inc. to respondent
Vallejos.
Civil Law; Subrogation; Principle of Subrogation.x x x Sub-rogation is a normal
incident of indemnity insurance (Aetna L. Ins. Co. vs. Moses, 287 U.S. 530, 77 L.
ed. 477). Upon payment of the loss, the insurer is entitled to be subrogated pro
tanto to any right of action which the insured may have against the third person
whose negligence or wrongful act caused the loss (44 Am. Jr. 2nd 745, citing
Standard Marine Ins. Co. vs. Scottish Metropolitan Assurance Co., 283 U.S. 284,
75 L. ed. 1037). The right of subrogation is of the highest equity. The loss in the
first instance is that of the insured but after reimbursement or compensation, it
becomes the loss of the insurer.
Same; Same; Same; The equitable right of subrogation as the legal effect of
payment inures to the insurer without any formal assignment or any express
stipulation to that effect in the policy.Although many policies including policies in
the standard form, now provide for subrogation, and thus determine the rights of
the insurer in this respect, the equitable right of subrogation as the legal effect of
payment inures to the insurer without any formal assignment or any express
stipulation to that effect in the policy (44 Am. Jur. 2nd 746). Stated otherwise,
when the insurance company pays for the loss, such payment operates as an
equitable assignment to the insurer of the property and all remedies which the
insured may have for the recovery thereof. That right is not dependent upon, nor
does it grow out of, any privity of contract, (italics supplied) or upon written
assignment of claim, and payment to the insured makes the insurer an assignee in
equity.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Petitioner is subrogated to whatever rights Sio Choy
has against respondent San Leon Rice Mill, Inc.It follows, therefore, that
petitioner, upon paying respondent Vallejos the amount of not exceeding
P20,000.00, shall become the subrogee of the insured, the respondent Sio Choy;
as such, it is subrogated to whatever rights the latter has against respondent San
Leon Rice Mill, Inc. Article 1217 of the Civil Code gives to a solidary debtor who
has paid the entire obligation the right to be reimbursed by his co-debtors for the
share which corresponds to each. In accordance with Article 1217, petitioner, upon
payment to respondent Vallejos and thereby becoming the subrogee of solidary
debtor Sio Choy, is entitled to reimbursement from respondent San Leon Rice Mill,
Inc. [Malayan Insurance Co., Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 165 SCRA 536(1988)]

PADILLA, J.:
Review on certiorari of the judgment * of the respondent appellate court in CA-
G.R. No. 47319-R, dated 22 February 1973, which affirmed, with some
modifications, the decision, ** dated 27 April 1970, rendered in Civil Case No. U-
2021 of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan.
The antecedent facts of the case are as follows:
On 29 March 1967, herein petitioner, Malayan Insurance Co., Inc., issued in favor
of private respondent Sio Choy Private Car Comprehensive Policy No. MRO/PV-
15753, effective from 18 April 1967 to 18 April 1968, covering a Willys jeep with
Motor No. ET-03023 Serial No. 351672, and Plate No. J-21536, Quezon City,
1967. The insurance coverage was for "own damage" not to exceed P600.00 and
"third-party liability" in the amount of P20,000.00.
During the effectivity of said insurance policy, and more particularly on 19
December 1967, at about 3:30 o'clock in the afternoon, the insured jeep, while
being driven by one Juan P. Campollo an employee of the respondent San Leon
Rice Mill, Inc., collided with a passenger bus belonging to the respondent
Pangasinan Transportation Co., Inc. (PANTRANCO, for short) at the national
highway in Barrio San Pedro, Rosales, Pangasinan, causing damage to the
insured vehicle and injuries to the driver, Juan P. Campollo, and the respondent
Martin C. Vallejos, who was riding in the ill-fated jeep.
As a result, Martin C. Vallejos filed an action for damages against Sio Choy,
Malayan Insurance Co., Inc. and the PANTRANCO before the Court of First
Instance of Pangasinan, which was docketed as Civil Case No. U-2021. He
prayed therein that the defendants be ordered to pay him, jointly and severally, the
amount of P15,000.00, as reimbursement for medical and hospital expenses;
P6,000.00, for lost income; P51,000.00 as actual, moral and compensatory
damages; and P5,000.00, for attorney's fees.
Answering, PANTRANCO claimed that the jeep of Sio Choy was then operated at
an excessive speed and bumped the PANTRANCO bus which had moved to, and
stopped at, the shoulder of the highway in order to avoid the jeep; and that it had
observed the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage, especially
in the selection and supervision of its employees and in the maintenance of its
motor vehicles. It prayed that it be absolved from any and all liability.
Defendant Sio Choy and the petitioner insurance company, in their answer, also
denied liability to the plaintiff, claiming that the fault in the accident was solely
imputable to the PANTRANCO.
Sio Choy, however, later filed a separate answer with a cross-claim against the
herein petitioner wherein he alleged that he had actually paid the plaintiff, Martin
C. Vallejos, the amount of P5,000.00 for hospitalization and other expenses, and,
in his cross-claim against the herein petitioner, he alleged that the petitioner had
issued in his favor a private car comprehensive policy wherein the insurance
company obligated itself to indemnify Sio Choy, as insured, for the damage to his
motor vehicle, as well as for any liability to third persons arising out of any accident
during the effectivity of such insurance contract, which policy was in full force and
effect when the vehicular accident complained of occurred. He prayed that he be
reimbursed by the insurance company for the amount that he may be ordered to
pay.
Also later, the herein petitioner sought, and was granted, leave to file a third-party
complaint against the San Leon Rice Mill, Inc. for the reason that the person
driving the jeep of Sio Choy, at the time of the accident, was an employee of the
San Leon Rice Mill, Inc. performing his duties within the scope of his assigned
task, and not an employee of Sio Choy; and that, as the San Leon Rice Mill, Inc. is
the employer of the deceased driver, Juan P. Campollo, it should be liable for the
acts of its employee, pursuant to Art. 2180 of the Civil Code. The herein petitioner
prayed that judgment be rendered against the San Leon Rice Mill, Inc., making it
liable for the amounts claimed by the plaintiff and/or ordering said San Leon Rice
Mill, Inc. to reimburse and indemnify the petitioner for any sum that it may be
ordered to pay the plaintiff.
After trial, judgment was rendered as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing findings of this Court judgment
is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against Sio Choy and
Malayan Insurance Co., Inc., and third-party defendant San Leon Rice
Mill, Inc., as follows:
(a) P4,103 as actual damages;
(b) P18,000.00 representing the unearned income of plaintiff Martin C.
Vallejos for the period of three (3) years;
(c) P5,000.00 as moral damages;
(d) P2,000.00 as attomey's fees or the total of P29,103.00, plus costs.
The above-named parties against whom this judgment is rendered are
hereby held jointly and severally liable. With respect, however, to
Malayan Insurance Co., Inc., its liability will be up to only P20,000.00.
As no satisfactory proof of cost of damage to its bus was presented by
defendant Pantranco, no award should be made in its favor. Its
counter-claim for attorney's fees is also dismissed for not being
proved. 1
On appeal, the respondent Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial
court that Sio Choy, the San Leon Rice Mill, Inc. and the Malayan Insurance Co.,
Inc. are jointly and severally liable for the damages awarded to the plaintiff Martin
C. Vallejos. It ruled, however, that the San Leon Rice Mill, Inc. has no obligation to
indemnify or reimburse the petitioner insurance company for whatever amount it
has been ordered to pay on its policy, since the San Leon Rice Mill, Inc. is not a
privy to the contract of insurance between Sio Choy and the insurance company. 2
Hence, the present recourse by petitioner insurance company.
The petitioner prays for the reversal of the appellate court's judgment, or, in the
alternative, to order the San Leon Rice Mill, Inc. to reimburse petitioner any
amount, in excess of one-half (1/2) of the entire amount of damages, petitioner
may be ordered to pay jointly and severally with Sio Choy.
The Court, acting upon the petition, gave due course to the same, but "only insofar
as it concerns the alleged liability of respondent San Leon Rice Mill, Inc. to
petitioner, it being understood that no other aspect of the decision of the Court of
Appeals shall be reviewed, hence, execution may already issue in favor of
respondent Martin C. Vallejos against the respondents, without prejudice to the
determination of whether or not petitioner shall be entitled to reimbursement by
respondent San Leon Rice Mill, Inc. for the whole or part of whatever the former
may pay on the P20,000.00 it has been adjudged to pay respondent Vallejos." 3
However, in order to determine the alleged liability of respondent San Leon Rice
Mill, Inc. to petitioner, it is important to determine first the nature or basis of the
liability of petitioner to respondent Vallejos, as compared to that of respondents
Sio Choy and San Leon Rice Mill, Inc.
Therefore, the two (2) principal issues to be resolved are (1) whether the trial
court, as upheld by the Court of Appeals, was correct in holding petitioner and
respondents Sio Choy and San Leon Rice Mill, Inc. "solidarily liable" to respondent
Vallejos; and (2) whether petitioner is entitled to be reimbursed by respondent San
Leon Rice Mill, Inc. for whatever amount petitioner has been adjudged to pay
respondent Vallejos on its insurance policy.
As to the first issue, it is noted that the trial court found, as affirmed by the
appellate court, that petitioner and respondents Sio Choy and San Leon Rice Mill,
Inc. are jointly and severally liable to respondent Vallejos.
We do not agree with the aforesaid ruling. We hold instead that it is only
respondents Sio Choy and San Leon Rice Mill, Inc, (to the exclusion of the
petitioner) that are solidarily liable to respondent Vallejos for the damages
awarded to Vallejos.
It must be observed that respondent Sio Choy is made liable to said plaintiff as
owner of the ill-fated Willys jeep, pursuant to Article 2184 of the Civil Code which
provides:
Art. 2184. In motor vehicle mishaps, the owner is solidarily liable with
his driver, if the former, who was in the vehicle, could have, by the use
of due diligence, prevented the misfortune it is disputably presumed
that a driver was negligent, if he had been found guilty of reckless
driving or violating traffic regulations at least twice within the next
preceding two months.
If the owner was not in the motor vehicle, the provisions of article 2180
are applicable.
On the other hand, it is noted that the basis of liability of respondent San Leon
Rice Mill, Inc. to plaintiff Vallejos, the former being the employer of the driver of the
Willys jeep at the time of the motor vehicle mishap, is Article 2180 of the Civil
Code which reads:
Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not
only for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for
whom one is responsible.
xxx xxx xxx
Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees
and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks,
even though the former are not engaged ill any business or industry.
xxx xxx xxx
The responsibility treated in this article shall cease when the persons
herein mentioned proved that they observed all the diligence of a good
father of a family to prevent damage.
It thus appears that respondents Sio Choy and San Leon Rice Mill, Inc. are the
principal tortfeasors who are primarily liable to respondent Vallejos. The law states
that the responsibility of two or more persons who are liable for a quasi-delict is
solidarily. 4
On the other hand, the basis of petitioner's liability is its insurance contract with
respondent Sio Choy. If petitioner is adjudged to pay respondent Vallejos in the
amount of not more than P20,000.00, this is on account of its being the insurer of
respondent Sio Choy under the third party liability clause included in the private
car comprehensive policy existing between petitioner and respondent Sio Choy at
the time of the complained vehicular accident.
In Guingon vs. Del Monte, 5 a passenger of a jeepney had just alighted therefrom,
when he was bumped by another passenger jeepney. He died as a result thereof.
In the damage suit filed by the heirs of said passenger against the driver and
owner of the jeepney at fault as well as against the insurance company which
insured the latter jeepney against third party liability, the trial court, affirmed by this
Court, adjudged the owner and the driver of the jeepney at fault jointly and
severally liable to the heirs of the victim in the total amount of P9,572.95 as
damages and attorney's fees; while the insurance company was sentenced to pay
the heirs the amount of P5,500.00 which was to be applied as partial satisfaction
of the judgment rendered against said owner and driver of the jeepney. Thus, in
said Guingon case, it was only the owner and the driver of the jeepney at fault, not
including the insurance company, who were held solidarily liable to the heirs of the
victim.
While it is true that where the insurance contract provides for indemnity against
liability to third persons, such third persons can directly sue the insurer, 6 however,
the direct liability of the insurer under indemnity contracts against third party
liability does not mean that the insurer can be held solidarily liable with the insured
and/or the other parties found at fault. The liability of the insurer is based on
contract; that of the insured is based on tort.
In the case at bar, petitioner as insurer of Sio Choy, is liable to respondent
Vallejos, but it cannot, as incorrectly held by the trial court, be made "solidarily"
liable with the two principal tortfeasors namely respondents Sio Choy and San
Leon Rice Mill, Inc. For if petitioner-insurer were solidarily liable with said two (2)
respondents by reason of the indemnity contract against third party liability-under
which an insurer can be directly sued by a third party this will result in a
violation of the principles underlying solidary obligation and insurance contracts.
In solidary obligation, the creditor may enforce the entire obligation against one of
the solidary debtors. 7 On the other hand, insurance is defined as "a contract
whereby one undertakes for a consideration to indemnify another against loss,
damage, or liability arising from an unknown or contingent event." 8
In the case at bar, the trial court held petitioner together with respondents Sio
Choy and San Leon Rice Mills Inc. solidarily liable to respondent Vallejos for a
total amount of P29,103.00, with the qualification that petitioner's liability is only up
to P20,000.00. In the context of a solidary obligation, petitioner may be compelled
by respondent Vallejos to pay the entire obligation of P29,013.00, notwithstanding
the qualification made by the trial court. But, how can petitioner be obliged to pay
the entire obligation when the amount stated in its insurance policy with
respondent Sio Choy for indemnity against third party liability is only P20,000.00?
Moreover, the qualification made in the decision of the trial court to the effect that
petitioner is sentenced to pay up to P20,000.00 only when the obligation to pay
P29,103.00 is made solidary, is an evident breach of the concept of a solidary
obligation. Thus, We hold that the trial court, as upheld by the Court of Appeals,
erred in holding petitioner, solidarily liable with respondents Sio Choy and San
Leon Rice Mill, Inc. to respondent Vallejos.
As to the second issue, the Court of Appeals, in affirming the decision of the trial
court, ruled that petitioner is not entitled to be reimbursed by respondent San Leon
Rice Mill, Inc. on the ground that said respondent is not privy to the contract of
insurance existing between petitioner and respondent Sio Choy. We disagree.
The appellate court overlooked the principle of subrogation in insurance contracts.
Thus
... Subrogation is a normal incident of indemnity insurance (Aetna L. Ins. Co. vs.
Moses, 287 U.S. 530, 77 L. ed. 477). Upon payment of the loss, the insurer is
entitled to be subrogated pro tanto to any right of action which the insured may
have against the third person whose negligence or wrongful act caused the loss
(44 Am. Jur. 2nd 745, citing Standard Marine Ins. Co. vs. Scottish Metropolitan
Assurance Co., 283 U.S. 284, 75 L. ed. 1037).
The right of subrogation is of the highest equity. The loss in the first instance is
that of the insured but after reimbursement or compensation, it becomes the
loss of the insurer (44 Am. Jur. 2d, 746, note 16, citing Newcomb vs. Cincinnati
Ins. Co., 22 Ohio St. 382).
Although many policies including policies in the standard form, now provide for
subrogation, and thus determine the rights of the insurer in this respect, the
equitable right of subrogation as the legal effect of payment inures to the insurer
without any formal assignment or any express stipulation to that effect in the
policy" (44 Am. Jur. 2nd 746). Stated otherwise, when the insurance company
pays for the loss, such payment operates as an equitable assignment to the
insurer of the property and all remedies which the insured may have for the
recovery thereof. That right is not dependent upon , nor does it grow out of any
privity of contract (emphasis supplied) or upon written assignment of claim, and
payment to the insured makes the insurer assignee in equity (Shambley v.
Jobe-Blackley Plumbing and Heating Co., 264 N.C. 456, 142 SE 2d 18). 9
It follows, therefore, that petitioner, upon paying respondent Vallejos the amount of
riot exceeding P20,000.00, shall become the subrogee of the insured, the
respondent Sio Choy; as such, it is subrogated to whatever rights the latter has
against respondent San Leon Rice Mill, Inc. Article 1217 of the Civil Code gives to
a solidary debtor who has paid the entire obligation the right to be reimbursed by
his co-debtors for the share which corresponds to each.
Art. 1217. Payment made by one of the solidary debtors extinguishes the
obligation. If two or more solidary debtors offer to pay, the creditor may choose
which offer to accept.
He who made the payment may claim from his co-debtors only the share which
corresponds to each, with the interest for the payment already made. If the
payment is made before the debt is due, no interest for the intervening period
may be demanded.
xxx xxx xxx
In accordance with Article 1217, petitioner, upon payment to respondent Vallejos
and thereby becoming the subrogee of solidary debtor Sio Choy, is entitled to
reimbursement from respondent San Leon Rice Mill, Inc.
To recapitulate then: We hold that only respondents Sio Choy and San Leon Rice
Mill, Inc. are solidarily liable to the respondent Martin C. Vallejos for the amount of
P29,103.00. Vallejos may enforce the entire obligation on only one of said solidary
debtors. If Sio Choy as solidary debtor is made to pay for the entire obligation
(P29,103.00) and petitioner, as insurer of Sio Choy, is compelled to pay
P20,000.00 of said entire obligation, petitioner would be entitled, as subrogee of
Sio Choy as against San Leon Rice Mills, Inc., to be reimbursed by the latter in the
amount of P14,551.50 (which is 1/2 of P29,103.00 )
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the trial court, as
affirmed by the Court of Appeals, is hereby AFFIRMED, with the modification
above-mentioned. Without pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera (Chairperson), Paras, Sarmiento and Regalado, JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. L-28046 May 16, 1983
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, plaintiff-appellant,
vs.
INDEPENDENT PLANTERS ASSOCIATION, INC., ANTONIO DIMAYUGA,
DELFIN FAJARDO, CEFERINO VALENCIA, MOISES CARANDANG, LUCIANO
CASTILLO, AURELIO VALENCIA, LAURO LEVISTE, GAVINO GONZALES,
LOPE GEVANA and BONIFACIO LAUREANA, defendants-appellees.
Basa, Ilao, del Rosario Diaz for plaintiff-appellant.
Laurel Law Office for Dimayuga.
Tomas Yumol for Fajardo, defendant-appellee.
Actions; Obligations; If one of the alleged solidary debtors dies during the
pendency of the collection case, the court where said case is pending retains
jurisdiction to continue hearing the charge as against the surviving defendants.It
is crystal clear that Article 1216 of the New Civil Code is the applicable provision in
this matter. Said provision gives the creditor the right to proceed against anyone
of the solidary debtors or some or all of them simultaneously. The choice is
undoubtedly left to the solidary creditor to determine against whom he will enforce
collection. In case of the death of one of the solidary debtors, he (the creditor)
may, if he so chooses, proceed against the surviving solidary debtors without
necessity of filing a claim in the estate of the deceased debtors. It is not mandatory
for him to have the case dismissed against the surviving debtors and file its claim
in the estate of the deceased solidary debtor . . .
Same; Same; Same; Statutes; Rules of procedure cannot prevail over substantive
law.As correctly argued by petitioner, if Section 6, Rule 86 of the Revised Rules
of Court were applied literally, Article 1216 of the New Civil Code would, in effect,
be repealed since under the Rules of Court, petitioner has no choice but to
proceed against the estate of Manuel Barredo only. Obviously, this provision
diminishes the Banks right under the New Civil Code to proceed against any one,
some or all of the solidary debtors. Such a construction is not sanctioned by the
principle, which is too well settled to require citation, that a substantive law cannot
be amended by a procedural rule. Otherwise stated, Section 6, Rule 86 of the
Revised Rules of Court cannot be made to prevail over Article 1216 of the New
Civil Code, the former being merely procedural, while the latter, substantive.
[Philippine National Bank vs. Independent Planters Association, Inc., 122 SCRA
113(1983)]
PLANA, J.:
Appeal by the Philippine National Bank (PNB) from the Order of the defunct Court
of First Instance of Manila (Branch XX) in its Civil Case No. 46741 dismissing
PNB's complaint against several solidary debtors for the collection of a sum of
money on the ground that one of the defendants (Ceferino Valencia) died during
the pendency of the case (i.e., after the plaintiff had presented its evidence) and
therefore the complaint, being a money claim based on contract, should be
prosecuted in the testate or intestate proceeding for the settlement of the estate of
the deceased defendant pursuant to Section 6 of Rule 86 of the Rules of Court
which reads:
SEC. 6. Solidary obligation of decedent. the obligation of the
decedent is solidary with another debtor, the claim shall be filed against
the decedent as if he were the only debtor, without prejudice to the right
of the estate to recover contribution from the other debtor. In a joint
obligation of the decedent, the claim shall be confined to the portion
belonging to him.
The appellant assails the order of dismissal, invoking its right of recourse against
one, some or all of its solidary debtors under Article 1216 of the Civil Code
ART. 1216. The creditor may proceed against any one of the solidary
debtors or some or all of them simultaneously. The demand made
against one of them shall not be an obstacle to those which may
subsequently be directed against the others, so long as the debt has
not been fully collected.
The sole issue thus raised is whether in an action for collection of a sum of money
based on contract against all the solidary debtors, the death of one defendant
deprives the court of jurisdiction to proceed with the case against the surviving
defendants.
It is now settled that the quoted Article 1216 grants the creditor the substantive
right to seek satisfaction of his credit from one, some or all of his solidary debtors,
as he deems fit or convenient for the protection of his interests; and if, after
instituting a collection suit based on contract against some or all of them and,
during its pendency, one of the defendants dies, the court retains jurisdiction to
continue the proceedings and decide the case in respect of the surviving
defendants. Thus in Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. vs. Villarama et al., 107 Phil.
891 at 897, this Court ruled:
Construing Section 698 of the Code of Civil Procedure from whence the
aforequoted provision (Sec. 6, Rule 86) was taken, this Court held that where
two persons are bound in solidum for the same debt and one of them dies, the
whole indebtedness can be proved against the estate of the latter, the
decedent's liability being absolute and primary; and if the claim is not presented
within the time provided by the rules, the same will be barred as against the
estate. It is evident from the foregoing that Section 6 of Rule 87 (now Rule 86)
provides the procedure should the creditor desire to go against the deceased
debtor, but there is certainly nothing in the said provision making compliance
with such procedure a condition precedent before an ordinary action against the
surviving solidary debtors, should the creditor choose to demand payment from
the latter, could be entertained to the extent that failure to observe the same
would deprive the court jurisdiction to take cognizance of the action against the
surviving debtors. Upon the other hand, the Civil Code expressly allows the
creditor to proceed against any one of the solidary debtors or some or all of
them simultaneously. There is, therefore, nothing improper in the creditor's filing
of an action against the surviving solidary debtors alone, instead of instituting a
proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the deceased debtor wherein his
claim could be filed.
Similarly, in PNB vs. Asuncion, 80 SCRA 321 at 323-324, this Court, speaking thru
Mr. Justice Makasiar, reiterated the doctrine.
A cursory perusal of Section 6, Rule 86 of the Revised Rules of Court
reveals that nothing therein prevents a creditor from proceeding against the
surviving solidary debtors. Said provision merely sets up the procedure in
enforcing collection in case a creditor chooses to pursue his claim against
the estate of the deceased solidary, debtor.
It is crystal clear that Article 1216 of the New Civil Code is the applicable
provision in this matter. Said provision gives the creditor the right to 'proceed
against anyone of the solidary debtors or some or all of them
simultaneously.' The choice is undoubtedly left to the solidary, creditor to
determine against whom he will enforce collection. In case of the death of
one of the solidary debtors, he (the creditor) may, if he so chooses, proceed
against the surviving solidary debtors without necessity of filing a claim in the
estate of the deceased debtors. It is not mandatory for him to have the case
dismissed against the surviving debtors and file its claim in the estate of the
deceased solidary debtor . . .
As correctly argued by petitioner, if Section 6, Rule 86 of the Revised Rules
of Court were applied literally, Article 1216 of the New Civil Code would, in
effect, be repealed since under the Rules of Court, petitioner has no choice
but to proceed against the estate of Manuel Barredo only. Obviously, this
provision diminishes the Bank's right under the New Civil, Code to proceed
against any one, some or all of the solidary debtors. Such a construction is
not sanctioned by the principle, which is too well settled to require citation,
that a substantive law cannot be amended by a procedural rule. Otherwise
stared, Section 6, Rule 86 of the Revised Rules of Court cannot be made to
prevail over Article 1216 of the New Civil Code, the former being merely
procedural, while the latter, substantive.
WHEREFORE the appealed order of dismissal of the court a quo in its Civil Case
No. 46741 is hereby set aside in respect of the surviving defendants; and the case
is remanded to the corresponding Regional Trial Court for proceedings.
proceedings. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee (Acta. C.J.), Escolin ** Vasquez and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.
Melencio-Herrera and Relova, JJ., is on leave.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-28497 November 6, 1928
THE BACHRACH MOTOR CO., INC., plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
FAUSTINO ESPIRITU, defendant-appellant.
------------------------------
G.R. No. L-28498 November 6, 1928
THE BACHRACH MOTOR CO., INC., plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
FAUSTINO ESPIRITU, defendant-appellant, and
ROSARIO ESPIRITU, intervenor-appellant.
Ernesto Zaragoza and Simeon Ramos for defendant-appellant.
Benito Soliven and Jose Varela Calderon for intervenor-appellant.
B. Francisco for appellee.
1.CHATTEL MORTGAGE; PENAL CLAUSE.Article 1152 of the Civil Code
permits the agreement upon a penalty apart from the interest. Should there be
such an agreement, the penalty, as was held in the case of Lopez vs. Hernaez (32
Phil., 631), does not include the interest, and as such the two are different and
distinct things which may be demanded separately. The penalty is not to be added
to the interest for the determination of whether the interest exceeds the rate fixed
by the law, since said rate was fixed only for the interest.
2.ID.; ID.; REDUCTION OF PENALTY.When the obligation has been partly
performed, article 1154 of the Civil Code authorizes the court to reduce the penalty
imposed therein. [Bachrach Motor Co. vs. Espiritu, 52 Phil. 346(1928)]
AVANCEA, C. J.:
These two cases, Nos. 28497 and 28948, were tried together.
It appears, in connection with case 28497; that on July 28, 1925 the defendant
Faustino Espiritu purchased of the plaintiff corporation a two-ton White truck for
P11,983.50, paying P1,000 down to apply on account of this price, and obligating
himself to pay the remaining P10,983.50 within the periods agreed upon. To
secure the payment of this sum, the defendants mortgaged the said truck
purchased and, besides, three others, two of which are numbered 77197 and
92744 respectively, and all of the White make (Exhibit A). These two trucks had
been purchased from the same plaintiff and were fully paid for by the defendant
and his brother Rosario Espiritu. The defendant failed to pay P10,477.82 of the
price secured by this mortgage.
In connection with case 28498, it appears that on February 18, 1925 the
defendant bought a one-ton White truck of the plaintiff corporation for the sum of
P7,136.50, and after having deducted the P500 cash payment and the 12 per cent
annual interest on the unpaid principal, obligated himself to make payment of this
sum within the periods agreed upon. To secure this payment the defendant
mortgaged to the plaintiff corporation the said truck purchased and two others,
numbered 77197 and 92744, respectively, the same that were mortgaged in the
purchase of the other truck referred to in the other case. The defendant failed to
pay P4,208.28 of this sum.
In both sales it was agreed that 12 per cent interest would be paid upon the
unpaid portion of the price at the executon of the contracts, and in case of non-
payment of the total debt upon its maturity, 25 per cent thereon, as penalty.
In addition to the mortagage deeds referred to, which the defendant executed in
favor of the plaintiff, the defendant at the same time also signed a promissory note
solidarily with his brother Rosario Espiritu for the several sums secured by the two
mortgages (Exhibits B and D).
Rosario Espiritu appeared in these two cases as intervenor, alleging to be the
exclusive owner of the two White trucks Nos. 77197 and 92744, which appear to
have been mortgaged by the defendants to the plaintiff. lawphi1.net
While these two cases were pending in the lower court the mortgaged trucks were
sold by virtue of the mortgage, all of them together bringing in, after deducting the
sheriff's fees and transportation charges to Manila, the net sum of P3,269.58.
The judgment appealed from ordered the defendants and the intervenor to pay
plaintiff in case 28497 the sum of P7,732.09 with interest at the rate of 12 per cent
per annum from May 1, 1926 until fully paid, and 25 per cent thereof in addition as
penalty. In case 28498, the trial court ordered the defendant and the intervenor to
pay plaintiff the sum of P4,208.28 with interest at 12 per cent per annum from
December 1, 1925 until fully paid, and 25 per cent thereon as penalty.
The appellants contend that trucks 77197 and 92744 were not mortgaged,
because, when the defendant signed the mortgage deeds these trucks were not
included in those documents, and were only put in later, without defendant's
knowledge. But there is positive proof that they were included at the time the
defendant signed these documents. Besides, there were presented two of
defendant's letters to Hidalgo, an employee of the plaintiff's written a few days
before the transaction, acquiescing in the inclusion of all his White trucks already
paid for, in the mortgage (Exhibit H-I).
Appellants also alleged that on February 4, 1925, the defendant sold his rights in
said trucks Nos. 77197 and 92744 to the intervenor, and that as the latter did not
sign the mortgage deeds, such trucks cannot be considered as mortgaged. But the
evidence shows that while the intervenor Rosario Espiritu did not sign the two
mortgage deeds (Exhibits A and C), yet, together with the defendants Faustino
Espiritu, he signed the two promissory notes (Exhibits B and D) secured by these
two mortgages. All these instruments were executed at the same time, and when
the trucks 77197 and 92744 were included in the mortgages, the intervenor
Rosario Espiritu was aware of it and consented to such inclusion. These facts are
supported by the testimony of Bachrach, manager of the plaintiff corporation, of
Agustin Ramirez, who witnessed the execution of all these documents, and of
Angel Hidalgo, who witnessed the execution of Exhibits B and D.
We do not find the statement of the intervenor Rosario Espiritu that he did not sign
promissory notes Exhibits B and C to be sufficient to overthrow this evidence. A
comparison of his genuine signature on Exhibit AA with those appearing on
promissory notes B and C, convinces us that the latter are his signatures. And
such is our conclusion, notwithstanding the evidence presented to establish that
on the date when Exhibits B appears to have been signed, that is July 25, 1925,
the intervenor was in Batac, Ilocos Norte, many miles away from Manila. And the
fact that on the 24th of said month of July, the plaintiff sent some truck accessory
parts by rail to Ilocos for the intervenor does not necessarily prove that the latter
could not have been in Manila on the 25th of that month.
In view of his conclusion that the intervenor signed the promissory notes secured
by trucks 77197 and 92744 and consented to the mortgage of the same, it is
immaterial whether he was or was not the exclusive owner thereof.
It is finally contended that the 25 per cent penalty upon the debt, in addition to the
interest of 12 per cent per annum, makes the contract usurious. Such a contention
is not well founded. Article 1152 of the Civil Code permits the agreement upon a
penalty apart from the interest. Should there be such an agreemnet, the penalty,
as was held in the case of Lopez vs. Hernaez (32 Phil., 631), does not include the
interest, and which may be demamded separetely. According to this, the penalty is
not to be added to the interest for the determination of whether the interest
exceeds the rate fixed by the law, since said rate was fixed only for the interest.
But considering that the obligation was partly performed, and making use of the
power given to the court by article 1154 of the Civil Code, this penalty is reduced
to 10 per cent of the unpaid debt.
With the sole modification that instead of 25 per cent upon the sum owed, the
defendants need pay only 10 per cent thereon as penalty, the judgment appealed
from is affired in all other respects without special pronouncement as to costs. So
ordered.
Malcolm, Villamor, Ostrand, Romualdez and Villa-Real, JJ., concur.
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. L-41093 October 30, 1978
ROBES-FRANCISCO REALTY & DEVELOPMENT
CORPORATION, petitioner, vs.
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF RIZAL (BRANCH XXXIV), and LOLITA
MILLAN, respondents.
Purugganan & Bersamin for petitioner.
Salvador N. Beltran for respondent.

Contracts; Sale; Damages; A contract of sale which stipulate payment of interest


at 4% per annum in case vendor fails to issue a certificate of title to vendee is not
a penal clause because even without it vendee would be entitled to interest at the
legal rate of 6% per annum.The foregoing argument of petitioner is totally devoid
of merit. We would agree with petitioner if the clause in question were to be
considered as a penal clause. Nevertheless, for very obvious reasons, said clause
does not convey any penalty, for even without it, pursuant to Article 2209 of the
Civil Code, the vendee would be entitled to recover the amount paid by her with
legal rate of interest which is even more than the 4% provided for in the clause. It
is therefore inconceivable that the aforecited provision in the deed of sale is a
penal clause which will preclude an award of damages to the vendee Millan. In
fact the clause is so worded as to work to the advantage of petitioner corporation.
Same; Same; Same; Nominal damages are not for indemnification of loss but
vindication of right violated or invaded.Nominal damages are not intended for
indemnification of loss suffered but for the vindication or recognition of a right
violated or invaded. They are recoverable where some injury has been done the
amount of which the evidence fails to show, the assessment of damages being left
to the discretion of the court according to the circumstances of the case.
Same; Same; Same; P10,000.00 awarded as nominal damages is not
unreasonable.To conclude, We hold that the sum of Ten Thousand Pesos
(P10,000.00) by way of nominal damages is fair and just under the following
circumstances, viz: respondent Millan bought the lot from petitioner in May, 1962,
and paid in full her installments on December 22, 1971, but it was only on March
2, 1973, that a deed of absolute sale was executed in her favor, and
notwithstanding the lapse of almost three years since she made her last payment,
petitioner still failed to convey the corresponding transfer certificate of title to Millan
who accordingly was compelled to file the instant complaint in August of 1974.
[Robes-Francisco Realty & Development Corporation vs. Court of First Instance of
Rizal (Branch XXXIV), 86 SCRA 59(1978)]
MUOZ PALMA, J.:
This is a direct appeal on questions of law from a decision of the Court of First
Instance of Rizal, Branch XXXIV, presided by the Honorable Bernardo P. Pardo,
the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered commanding the defendant to
register the deed of absolute sale it had executed in favor of plaintiff with the
Register of Deeds of Caloocan City and secure the corresponding title in the
name of plaintiff within ten (10) days after finality of this decision; if, for any
reason, this not possible, defendant is hereby sentenced to pay plaintiff the sum
of P5,193.63 with interest at 4% per annum from June 22, 1972 until fully paid.
In either case, defendant is sentenced to pay plaintiff nominal damages in the
amount of P20,000.00 plus attorney's fee in the amount of P5,000.00 and costs.
SO ORDERED.
Caloocan City, February 11, 1975. (rollo, p. 21)
Petitioner corporation questions the award for nominal damages of P20,000.00
and attorney's fee of P5,000.00 which are allegedly excessive and unjustified.
In the Court's resolution of October 20, 1975, We gave due course to the Petition
only as regards the portion of the decision awarding nominal damages. 1
The following incidents are not in dispute:
In May 1962 Robes-Francisco Realty & Development Corporation, now petitioner,
agreed to sell to private respondent Lolita Millan for and in consideration of the
sum of P3,864.00, payable in installments, a parcel of land containing an area of
approximately 276 square meters, situated in Barrio Camarin, Caloocan City,
known as Lot No. 20, Block No. 11 of its Franville Subdivision. 2
Millan complied with her obligation under the contract and paid the installments
stipulated therein, the final payment having been made on December 22, 1971.
The vendee made a total payment of P5,193.63 including interests and expenses
for registration of title. 3
Thereafter, Lolita Millan made repeated demands upon the corporation for the
execution of the final deed of sale and the issuance to her of the transfer
certificate of title over the lot. On March 2, 1973, the parties executed a deed of
absolute sale of the aforementioned parcel of land. The deed of absolute sale
contained, among others, this particular provision:
That the VENDOR further warrants that the transfer certificate of title of the
above-described parcel of land shall be transferred in the name of the VENDEE
within the period of six (6) months from the date of full payment and in case the
VENDOR fails to issue said transfer certificate of title, it shall bear the obligation
to refund to the VENDEE the total amount already paid for, plus an interest at
the rate of 4% per annum. (record on appeal, p. 9)
Notwithstanding the lapse of the above-mentioned stipulated period of six (6)
months, the corporation failed to cause the issuance of the corresponding transfer
certificate of title over the lot sold to Millan, hence, the latter filed on August 14,
1974 a complaint for specific performance and damages against Robes-Francisco
Realty & Development Corporation in the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch
XXXIV, Caloocan City, docketed therein as Civil Case No. C-3268. 4
The complaint prayed for judgment (1) ordering the reformation of the deed of
absolute sale; (2) ordering the defendant to deliver to plaintiff the certificate of title
over the lot free from any lien or encumbrance; or, should this be not possible, to
pay plaintiff the value of the lot which should not be less than P27,600.00
(allegedly the present estimated value of the lot); and (3) ordering the defendant to
pay plaintiff damages, corrective and actual in the sum of P15 000.00. 5
The corporation in its answer prayed that the complaint be dismissed alleging that
the deed of absolute sale was voluntarily executed between the parties and the
interest of the plaintiff was amply protected by the provision in said contract for
payment of interest at 4% per annum of the total amount paid, for the delay in the
issuance of the title. 6
At the pretrial conference the parties agreed to submit the case for decision on the
pleadings after defendant further made certain admissions of facts not contained
in its answer. 7
Finding that the realty corporation failed to cause the issuance of the
corresponding transfer certificate of title because the parcel of land conveyed to
Millan was included among other properties of the corporation mortgaged to the
GSIS to secure an obligation of P10 million and that the owner's duplicate
certificate of title of the subdivision was in the possession of the Government
Service Insurance System (GSIS), the trial court, on February 11, 1975, rendered
judgment the dispositive portion of which is quoted in pages 1 and 2 of this
Decision. We hold that the trial court did not err in awarding nominal damages;
however, the circumstances of the case warrant a reduction of the amount of
P20,000.00 granted to private respondent Millan.
There can be no dispute in this case under the pleadings and the admitted facts
that petitioner corporation was guilty of delay, amounting to nonperformance of its
obligation, in issuing the transfer certificate of title to vendee Millan who had fully
paid up her installments on the lot bought by her. Article 170 of the Civil Code
expressly provides that those who in the performance of their obligations are guilty
of fraud, negligence, or delay, and those who in any manner contravene the tenor
thereof, are liable for damages.
Petitioner contends that the deed of absolute sale executed between the parties
stipulates that should the vendor fail to issue the transfer certificate of title within
six months from the date of full payment, it shall refund to the vendee the total
amount paid for with interest at the rate of 4% per annum, hence, the vendee is
bound by the terms of the provision and cannot recover more than what is agreed
upon. Presumably, petitioner in invoking Article 1226 of the Civil Code which
provides that in obligations with a penal clause, the penalty shall substitute the
indemnity for damages and the payment of interests in case of noncompliance, if
there is no stipulation to the contrary.
The foregoing argument of petitioner is totally devoid of merit. We would agree
with petitioner if the clause in question were to be considered as a penal clause.
Nevertheless, for very obvious reasons, said clause does not convey any penalty,
for even without it, pursuant to Article 2209 of the Civil Code, the vendee would be
entitled to recover the amount paid by her with legal rate of interest which is even
more than the 4% provided for in the clause. 7-A
It is therefore inconceivable that the aforecited provision in the deed of sale is a
penal clause which will preclude an award of damages to the vendee Millan. In
fact the clause is so worded as to work to the advantage of petitioner corporation.
Unfortunately, the vendee, now private respondent, submitted her case below
without presenting evidence on the actual damages suffered by her as a result of
the nonperformance of petitioner's obligation under the deed of sale. Nonetheless,
the facts show that the right of the vendee to acquire title to the lot bought by her
was violated by petitioner and this entitles her at the very least to nominal
damages.
The pertinent provisions of our Civil Code follow:
Art. 2221. Nominal damages are adjudicated in order that a right of the plaintiff,
which has been violated or invaded by the defendant, may be vindicated or
recognized, and not for the purpose of indemnifying the plaintiff for any loss
suffered by him.
Art. 2222. The court may award nominal damages in every obligation arising
from any source enumerated in article 1157, or in every case where any
property right has been invaded.
Under the foregoing provisions nominal damages are not intended for
indemnification of loss suffered but for the vindication or recognition of a right
violated or invaded. They are recoverable where some injury has been done the
amount of which the evidence fails to show, the assessment of damages being left
to the discretion of the court according to the circumstances of the case. 8
It is true as petitioner claims that under American jurisprudence nominal damages
by their very nature are small sums fixed by the court without regard to the extent
of the harm done to the injured party.
It is generally held that a nominal damage is a substantial claim, if based upon
the violation of a legal right; in such case, the law presumes a damage,
although actual or compensatory damages are not proven; in truth nominal
damages are damages in name only and not in fact, and are allowed, not as an
equivalent of a wrong inflicted, but simply in recogniton of the existence of a
technical injury. (Fouraker v. Kidd Springs Boating and Fishing Club, 65 S. W.
2d 796-797, citing 17 C.J. 720, and a number of authorities). 9
In this jurisdiction, in Vda. de Medina, et al. v. Cresencia, et al. 1956, which was
an action for damages arising out of a vehicular accident, this Court had occasion
to eliminate an award of P10,000.00 imposed by way of nominal damages, the
Court stating inter alia that the amount cannot, in common sense, be demeed
"nominal". 10
In a subsequent case, viz: Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. Nicolas L. Cuenca, 1965, this
Court, however, through then Justice Roberto Concepcion who later became Chief
Justice of this Court, sustained an award of P20,000.00 as nominal damagesin
favor of respnodent Cuenca. The Court there found special reasons for
considering P20,000.00 as "nominal". Cuenca who was the holder of a first class
ticket from Manila to Tokyo was rudely compelled by an agent of petitioner Airlines
to move to the tourist class notwithstanding its knowledge that Cuenca as
Commissioner of Public Highways of the Republic of the Philippines was travelling
in his official capacity as a delegate of the country to a conference in Tokyo." 11
Actually, as explained in the Court's decision in Northwest Airlines, there is no
conflict between that case and Medina, for in the latter, the P10,000.00 award for
nominal damages was eliminated principally because the aggrieved party had
already been awarded P6,000.00 as compensatory damages, P30,000.00 as
moral damages and P10,000.00 as exemplary damages, and "nominal damages
cannot coexist with compensatory damages," while in the case of Commissioner
Cuenca, no such compensatory, moral, or exemplary damages were granted to
the latter. 12
At any rate, the circumstances of a particular case will determine whether or not
the amount assessed as nominal damages is within the scope or intent of the law,
more particularly, Article 2221 of the Civil Code.
In the situation now before Us, We are of the view that the amount of P20,000.00
is excessive. The admitted fact that petitioner corporation failed to convey a
transfer certificate of title to respondent Millan because the subdivision property
was mortgaged to the GSIS does not in itself show that there was bad faith or
fraud. Bad faith is not to be presumed. Moreover, there was the expectation of the
vendor that arrangements were possible for the GSIS to make partial releases of
the subdivision lots from the overall real estate mortgage. It was simply
unfortunate that petitioner did not succeed in that regard.
For that reason We cannot agree with respondent Millan Chat the P20,000.00
award may be considered in the nature of exemplary damages.
In case of breach of contract, exemplary damages may be awarded if the guilty
party acted in wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or malevolent
manner. 13 Furthermore, exemplary or corrective damages are to be imposed by
way of example or correction for the public good, only if the injured party has
shown that he is entitled to recover moral, temperate or compensatory damages."
Here, respondent Millan did not submit below any evidence to prove that she
suffered actual or compensatory damages. 14
To conclude, We hold that the sum of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) by way
of nominal damages is fair and just under the following circumstances, viz:
respondent Millan bought the lot from petitioner in May, 1962, and paid in full her
installments on December 22, 1971, but it was only on March 2, 1973, that a deed
of absolute sale was executed in her favor, and notwithstanding the lapse of
almost three years since she made her last payment, petitioner still failed to
convey the corresponding transfer certificate of title to Millan who accordingly was
compelled to file the instant complaint in August of 1974.
PREMISES CONSIDERED, We modify the decision of the trial court and reduce
the nominal damages to Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00). In all other respects
the aforesaid decision stands.
Without pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.
Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Fernandez and Guerrero, JJ., concur.
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-19670 June 24, 1965
PEDRO D. PAMINTUAN, petitioner,
vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS (Third Division), respondent.
Hermogenes Datuin for petitioner.
Gelasio L. Dimaano for respondent.
CONCEPCION, J.:
Appeal by certiorari from a decision of the Court of Appeals.
On May 12, 1959, Jose Valeriano commenced in the Municipal Court of Manila
Civil Case No. 67399 thereof, against Pedro D. Pamintuan, to eject him from a
property of Valerians. In due course, said court rendered judgment on August 3,
1959 sentencing Pamintuan to vacate said property and to pay a sum of money for
its use, plus attorney's fees and costs. On September 16, 1960, the Sheriff of
Manila ejected Pamintuan from the property and turned it over to Valeriano. Soon
later, however, Pamintuan reoccupied the property, allegedly by force. After
appropriate proceedings, Pamintuan was, accordingly, adjudged guilty of contempt
of court, and sentenced accordingly. Subsequently, on motion of Valeriano, the
Municipal Judge ordered the issuance of an alias writ of execution directing the
Sheriff to eject Pamintuan once more and to collect from him the amount of the
money judgment. Before this writ could be executed, Pamintuan instituted Civil
Case No. 44410 of the Court of First Instance of Manila, against Valeriano, as well
as the Municipal Judge and the Sheriff.
In Pamintuan's complaint, he prayed that judgment be rendered
1. Immediately enjoining the defendants from proceeding with the said order
of the Municipal Court ordering the herein plaintiff to vacate within four (4)
days from October 1, 1960 the premises in question;
2. After trial making the injunction above-mentioned permanent and ordering
the defendant not to eject the herein plaintiff without first filing a suit for
ejectment based on the new contract created into between the herein plaintiff
and the herein defendant; and
3. Plaintiff further prays for any other relief that may be found just and
equitable under the premises.
upon the ground that Pamintuan had paid a sum of money to Valeriano; that the
balance of the money judgment in his favor was covered by several pieces of
jewelry delivered by Pamintuan to Valeriano; and that Pamintuan had retaken
possession of the aforementioned property in pursuance of a contract with
Valeriano, who had agreed, not only to re-et the property, but, also, to sell it to
Pamintuan. Sometime after the filing of said complaint and of the answer thereto,
the lower court issued, after due hearing, the writ of preliminary injunction prayed
for by Pamintuan.
In due course, subsequently, or on April 17, 1961, the court, then presided over by
Hon. Juan P. Enriquez, Judge, rendered judgment dismissing Pamintuan's
complaint and sentencing him to pay P500 to Valeriano as attorney's fees and
costs, and dissolving the writ of preliminary injunction aforementioned, as well as
sentencing Pamintuan and his surety to pay Valeriano P500, as damages for the
issuance of said writ. Copy of this decision was served upon Pamintuan on April
22, 1961. Thirty (30) days later, or on May 22, 1961, Pamintuan filed his notice of
appeal, record on appeal, and appeal bond, but the lower court, then presided by
another Judge, respondent, Hon. Manuel P. Barcelona, disapproved the record on
appeal, upon the ground that the decision sought to be appealed from had
become final and executory fifteen (15) days after notice of said decision, the case
being one of certiorari, not injunction, as contended by Pamintuan and declared by
Judge Enriquez.
Judge Barcelona having refused to reconsider its aforementioned view, Pamintuan
thereupon filed with the Court of Appeals a petition docketed as CA-G.R. No.
30156-R for a writ of certiorari and mandamus against Judge Barcelona as well
as the Sheriff of Manila and Valeriano, to compel approval of the aforementioned
record on appeal, upon the ground that Civil Case No. 44410 is an injunction case,
not one for certiorari, and that Pamintuan had, accordingly, thirty (30) days from
notice, within which to appeal from the decision therein rendered. However, on
December 29, 1961, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision sustaining the view
of Judge Barcelona and, consequently, dismissing Pamintuan's petition
for certiorari and mandamus. A reconsideration of this decision of the Court of
Appeals having been denied, Pamintuan now seeks a review thereof by certiorari.
The only question we are called upon to resolve is the nature of the cause of
action set forth in Pamintuan's complaint in said case No. 44410. Respondent
Judge and the Court of Appeals held that it was one for certiorari because
Pamintuan impugned therein the jurisdiction of the municipal court of issue the
aforementioned alias writ of execution. it is well settled, however, that the nature of
an action is determined by the allegations of the pleadings therein. Pamintuan's
complaint in case No. 44410 contained, however, no allegation, either express or
implied, assailing the jurisdiction of the municipal court to issue said alias writ of
execution. There are in the complaint none of the allegations required in petitions
forcertiorari, namely, an act performed without jurisdiction or in excess of
jurisdiction or with the grave abuse of discretion, amounting to want of jurisdiction,
and absence of a plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of
law (Rule 65, Section 1, Rules of Court).
Pamintuan merely relied in his complaint, upon a contract he allegedly had with
Valeriano, after the rendition of the decision of the municipal court and the partial
execution thereof, whereby Valeriano had agreed to re-let and to sell the property
in question to Pamintuan. What is more he made in his complaint the allegations
peculiar to petitions for injunction, such as, for instance, that the alias writ of
execution "would not only cause great and irreparable injury, but will, also, work
injustice" to him (see Rule 58, Sections 3 and 5, Rules of Court). In fact, the
complaint stated that it was "for injunction" and the decision of Judge Enriquez so
characterized it. In other words, the cause of action set forth in Pamintuan's
complaint was actually one for injunction, and so was the prayer in said pleading,
regardless of whether or not the relief he should haveapplied for was certiorari, so
that he had thirty (30) days from notice to appeal from said decision.
The least that can be said, from a strictly technical viewpoint, is that the complaint
could be considered as one either of injunction or of certiorari. Since, from the
filing of said pleading up to the rendition of the decision on the merits the parties
and the court had considered the case as one of injunction, and the Rules of Court
shall be "liberally construed in order to promote their object and to assist the
parties in obtaining just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action
and proceeding" (Rule 1, Section 2, Rules of Court), the spirit of the Rules and the
interest of justice and fair play would be served by allowing Pamintuan to perfect
his appeal within the period prescribed for injunction cases (Alonzo vs. Villamor,
16 Phil. 315; Case vs. Jugo, 77 Phil. 517; International Tobacco Co. vs. Yatco, 55
Off. Gaz. 811).
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby reversed and
respondent Judge is, accordingly, directed to approve the record on appeal filed
by petitioner herein in said Civil Case No. 44410 of the Court of First Instance of
Manila and to certify it to the appellate court, with costs against herein respondent
Jose Valeriano. It is so ordered.
Bengzon, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Paredes, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P.,
and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.
Bautista Angelo, J., took no part. Barrera, J., is on leave