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ACTUAL AND COMPENSATORY DAMAGES membership will be permanently cancelled (Exh. 3). There is no showing that the plaintiff
received this letter before December 8, 1989. Confident that he had settled his account with
1. [G.R. No. 120639. September 25, 1998] the issuance of the postdated check, plaintiff invited some guests on December 8, 1989 and
entertained them at Caf Adriatico. When he presented his credit card to Caf Adriatico for the
BPI EXPRESS CARD CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and bill amounting to P735.32, said card was dishonored. One of his guests, Mary Ellen Ringler,
RICARDO J. MARASIGAN, respondents. paid the bill by using her own credit card, a Unibankard (Exhs. M, M-1 and M-2).
DECISION In a letter addressed to the defendant dated December 12, 1989, plaintiff requested that he be
sent the exact billing due him as of December 15, 1989, to withhold the deposit of his
KAPUNAN, J.: postdated check and that said check be returned to him because he had already instructed his
bank to stop the payment thereof as the defendant violated their agreement that the plaintiff
The question before this Court is whether private respondent can recover moral damages
issue the check to the defendant to cover his account amounting to only P8,987.84 on the
arising from the cancellation of his credit card by petitioner credit card corporation.
condition that the defendant will not suspend the effectivity of the card (Exh. D). A letter
The facts of the case are as stated in the decision of the respondent court,[1] to wit: dated December 16, 1989 was sent by the plaintiff to the manager of FEBTC, Ramada
Branch, Manila requesting the bank to stop the payment of the check (Exhs. E, E-1). No
The case arose from the dishonor of the credit card of the plaintiff Atty. Ricardo J. reply was received by plaintiff from the defendant to his letter dated December 12,
Marasigan by Cafe Adriatico, a business establishment accredited with the defendant- 1989. Plaintiff sent defendant another letter dated March 12, 1990 reminding the latter that
appellant BPI Express Card Corporation (BECC for brevity) on December 8, 1989 when the he had long rescinded and cancelled whatever arrangement he entered into with defendant
plaintiff entertained some guests thereat. and requesting for his correct billing, less the improper charges and penalties, and for an
explanation within five (5) days from receipt thereof why his card was dishonored on
The records of this case show that plaintiff, who is a lawyer by profession was a December 8, 1989 despite assurance to the contrary by defendant's personnel-in-charge,
complimentary member of BECC from February 1988 to February 1989 and was issued otherwise the necessary court action shall be filed to hold defendant responsible for the
Credit Card No. 100-012-5534 with a credit limit of P3,000.00 and with a monthly billing humiliation and embarrassment suffered by him (Exh. F). Plaintiff alleged further that after a
every 27th of the month (Exh. N), subject to the terms and conditions stipulated in the few days, a certain Atty. Albano, representing himself to be working with office of Atty.
contract (Exh. 1-b). His membership was renewed for another year or until February 1990 Lopez, called him inquiring as to how the matter can be threshed out extrajudicially but the
and the credit limit was increased to P5,000.00 (Exh. A). The plaintiff oftentimes exceeded latter said that such is a serious matter which cannot be discussed over the phone. The
his credit limits (Exhs. I, I-1 to I-12) but this was never taken against him by the defendant defendant served its final demand to the plaintiff dated March 21, 1990 requiring him to pay
and even his mode of paying his monthly bills in check was tolerated. Their contractual in full his overdue account, including stipulated fees and charges, within 5 days from receipt
relations went on smoothly until his statement of account for October, 1989 amounting thereof or face court action also to replace the postdated check with cash within the same
to P8,987.84 was not paid in due time. The plaintiff admitted having inadvertently failed to period or face criminal suit for violation of the Bouncing Check Law (Exh. G/Exh. 13). The
pay his account for the said month because he was in Quezon province attending to some plaintiff, in a reply letter dated April 5, 1990 (Exh. H), demanded defendant's compliance
professional and personal commitments. He was informed by his secretary that defendant with his request in his first letter dated March 12, 1990 within three (3) days from receipt,
was demanding immediate payment of his outstanding account, was requiring him to issue a otherwise the plaintiff will file a case against them, x x x.[2]
check for P15,000.00 which would include his future bills, and was threatening to suspend
his credit card. Plaintiff issued Far East Bank and Trust Co. Check No. 494675 in the amount Thus, on May 7, 1990 private respondent filed a complaint for damages against petitioner
of P15,000.00, postdated December 15, 1989 which was received on November 23, 1989 by before the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 150, docketed as Civil Case No. 90-1174.
Tess Lorenzo, an employee of the defendant (Exhs. J and J-1), who in turn gave the said
check to Jeng Angeles, a co-employee who handles the account of the plaintiff. The check After trial, the trial court ruled for private respondent, finding that herein petitioner abused
remained in the custody of Jeng Angeles. Mr. Roberto Maniquiz, head of the collection its right in contravention of Article 19 of the Civil Code. [3] The dispositive portion of the
department of defendant was formally informed of the postdated check about a week decision reads:
later. On November 28, 1989, defendant served plaintiff a letter by ordinary mail informing
Wherefore, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the defendant to pay plaintiff the
him of the temporary suspension of the privileges of his credit card and the inclusion of his
account number in their Caution List. He was also told to refrain from further use of his
credit card to avoid any inconvenience/embarrassment and that unless he settles his 1. P100,000.00 as moral damages;
outstanding account with the defendant within 5 days from receipt of the letter, his
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2. P50,000.00 as exemplary damages; and 1. An employee of defendant corporation unconditionally accepted the subject check upon its
delivery, despite its being a postdated one; and the amount did not tally with plaintiff's
3. P20,000.00 by way of attorney's fees. obligation;
On the other hand, plaintiff is ordered to pay defendant its outstanding obligation in the 2. Defendant did not deny nor controvert plaintiff's claim that all his payments were made in
amount of P14,439.41, amount due as of December 15, 1989.[4] checks;

The trial court's ruling was based on its findings and conclusions, to wit: 3. Defendant's main witness, Mr. Maniquiz, categorically stated that the request for plaintiff
to replace his postdated check with cash was merely for the purpose of tallying plaintiff's
There is no question that plaintiff had been in default in the payment of his billings for more outstanding obligation with his payment and not to question the postdated check;
than two months, prompting defendant to call him and reminded him of his
obligation. Unable to personally talk with him, this Court is convinced that somehow one or 4. That the card was suspended almost a week after receipt of the postdated check;
another employee of defendant called him up more than once.
5. That despite the many instances that defendant could have informed plaintiff over the
However, while it is true that, as indicated in the terms and conditions of the application for phone of the cancellation or suspension of his credit card, it did not do so, which could have
BPI credit card, upon failure of the cardholder to pay his outstanding obligation for more prevented the incident of December 8, 1989, the notice allegedly sent thru ordinary mail is
than thirty (30) days, the defendant can automatically suspend or cancel the credit card, that not only unreliable but takes a long time. Such action as suspension of credit card must be
reserved right should not have been abused, as it was in fact abused, in plaintiff's case. What immediately relayed to the person affected so as to avoid embarrassing situations.
is more peculiar here is that there have been admitted communications between plaintiff and
defendant prior to the suspension or cancellation of plaintiff's credit card and his inclusion in 6. And that the postdated check was deposited on December 20, 1989.
the caution list.However, nowhere in any of these communications was there ever a hint
given to plaintiff that his card had already been suspended or cancelled. In fact, the Court In view of the foregoing observations, it is needless to say that there was indeed an
observed that while defendant was trying its best to persuade plaintiff to update its account arrangement between plaintiff and the defendant, as can be inferred from the acts of the
and pay its obligation, it had already taken steps to suspend/cancel plaintiff's card and defendant's employees, that the subject credit card is still good and could still be used by the
include him in the caution list. While the Court admires defendant's diplomacy in dealing plaintiff as it would be honored by the duly accredited establishment of defendant. [5]
with its clients, it cannot help but frown upon the backhanded way defendant dealt with
plaintiff's case. For despite Tess Lorenzo's denial, there is reason to believe that plaintiff was Not satisfied with the Regional Trial Court's decision, petitioner appealed to the Court of
indeed assured by defendant of the continued honoring of his credit card so long as he pays Appeals, which, in a decision promulgated on March 9, 1995 ruled in its dispositive portion:
his obligation of P15,000.00. Worst, upon receipt of the postdated check, defendant kept the
same until a few days before it became due and said check was presented to the head of the WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED with
collection department, Mr. Maniquiz, to take steps thereon, resulting to the embarrassing the MODIFICATION that the defendant-appellant shall pay the plaintiff-appellee the
situation plaintiff found himself in on December 8, 1989. Moreover, Mr. Maniquiz himself following: P50,000.00 as moral damages; P25,000.00 as exemplary damages;
admitted that his request for plaintiff to replace the check with cash was not because it was a and P10,000.00 by way of attorney's fees.
postdated check but merely to tally the payment with the account due.
Likewise, the Court is not persuaded by the sweeping denials made by Tess Lorenzo and her
Hence, the present petition on the following assignment of errors:
claim that her only participation was to receive the subject check. Her immediate superior,
Mr. Maniquiz testified that he had instructed Lorenzo to communicate with plaintiff once or I
twice to request the latter to replace the questioned check with cash, thus giving support to
the testimony of plaintiff's witness, Dolores Quizon, that it was one Tess Lorenzo who she THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DECLARING THAT THERE WAS INDEED AN
had talked over the phone regarding plaintiff's account and plaintiff's own statement that it AGREEMENT OR ARRANGEMENT ENTERED INTO BETWEEN THE PARTIES
was this woman who assured him that his card has not yet been and will not be WHEREIN THE DEFENDANT REQUIRED THE PLAINTIFF TO ISSUE A
cancelled/suspended if he would pay defendant the sum of P15,000.00. POSTDATED CHECK IN ITS FAVOR IN THE AMOUNT OF P15,000.00 AS PAYMENT
Now, on the issue of whether or not upon receipt of the subject check, defendant had agreed CREDIT CARD WILL NOT BE SUSPENDED OR CANCELLED.
that the card shall remain effective, the Court takes note of the following:
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II interest and penalty charges aforementioned, pay the following liquidated damages and/or
fees (a) a collection fee of 25% of the amount due if the account is referred to a collection
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING DEFENDANT LIABLE FOR DAMAGES agency or attorney; (b) a service fee of P100 for every dishonored check issued by the
AND ATTORNEY'S FEES ARISING OUT FROM THE DISHONOR OF THE Cardholder in payment of his account, with prejudice, however, to BECC's right of
PLAINTIFF'S CREDIT CARD.[7] considering Cardholder's obligation unpaid, cable cost for demanding payment or advising
cancellation of membership shall also be for Cardholder's account; and (c) a final fee
We find the petition meritorious. equivalent to 25% of the unpaid balance, exclusive of litigation expenses and judicial costs,
if the payment of the account is enforced through court action. [8]
The first issue to be resolved is whether petitioner had the right to suspend the credit card of
the private respondent. The aforequoted provision of the credit card cannot be any clearer. By his own admission,
private respondent made no payment within thirty days for his original billing/statement
Under the terms and conditions of the credit card, signed by the private respondent, any card dated 27 September 1989. Neither did he make payment for his original billing/statement
with outstanding balances after thirty (30) days from original billing/statement shall dated 27 October 1989.Consequently, as early as 28 October 1989, thirty days from the non-
automatically be suspended, thus: payment of his billing dated 27 September 1989, petitioner corporation could automatically
suspend his credit card.
PAYMENT OF CHARGES - BECC shall furnish the Cardholder a monthly statement of
account made through the use of the CARD and the Cardholder agrees that all charges made The next issue is whether prior to the suspension of private respondent's credit card on 28
through the use of the CARD shall be paid by the Cardholder on or before the last day for November 1989, the parties entered into an agreement whereby the card could still be used
payments, which is twenty (20) days from the date of the said statement of account, and such and would be duly honored by duly accredited establisments.
payment due date may be changed to an earlier date if the Cardholder's account is considered
overdue and/or with balances in excess of the approved credit limit; or to such other date as We agree with the findings of the respondent court, that there was an arrangement between
may be deemed proper by the CARD issuer with notice to the Cardholder on the same the parties, wherein the petitioner required the private respondent to issue a check
monthly statement of account. If the last day for payment falls on a Saturday, Sunday or worth P15,000 as payment for the latter's billings. However, we find that the private
Holiday, the last day for payment automatically becomes the last working day prior to said respondent was not able to comply with his obligation.
payment date. However, notwithstanding the absence or lack of proof of service of the
statement of charges to the Cardholder, the latter shall pay any or all charges made through As the testimony of private respondent himself bears out, the agreement was for the
the use of the CARD within thirty (30) days from the date or dates thereof. Failure of immediate payment of the outstanding account:
Cardholder to pay any and all charges made through the CARD within the payment period as
stated in the statement of charges or within thirty (30) days from actual date or dates Q In said statement of account that you are supposed to pay the P8,974.84 the charge of
whichever occur earlier, shall render him in default without the necessity of demand from interest and penalties, did you note that?
BECC, which the Cardholder expressly waives. These charges or balance thereof remaining
unpaid after the payment due date indicated on the monthly statement of account shall bear A Yes, sir. I noted the date.
interest at the rate of 3% per month and an additional penalty fee equivalent to another 3% of
the amount due for every month or a fraction of a month's delay. PROVIDED, that if there Q When?
occurs any change on the prevailing market rates. BECC shall have the option to adjust the
rate of interest and/or penalty fee due on the outstanding obligation with prior notice to the A When I returned from the Quezon province, sir.
Q When?
xxx xxx xxx
A I think November 22, sir.
Any CARD with outstanding balances unpaid after thirty (30) days from original
Q So that before you used again the credit card you were not able to pay immediately
billing/statement date shall automatically be suspended, and those with accounts unpaid after
this P8,987.84 in cash?
sixty (60) days from said original billing/statement date shall automatically be cancelled,
without prejudice to BECC's right to suspend or cancel any CARD any time and for A I paid P15,000.00, sir.
whatever reason. In case of default in his obligation as provided for in the preceding
paragraph, Cardholder shall surrender his CARD to BECC and shall in addition to the
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Q My question Mr. Witness is, did you pay this P8,987.84 in charge of interest and penalties does not, by itself operate as payment.[9] This is especially true in the case of a postdated
immediately in cash? check.

A In cash no, but in check, sir. Thus, the issuance by the private respondent of the postdated check was not effective
payment. It did not comply with his obligation under the arrangement with Miss
Q You said that you noted the word "immediately" in bold letters in your statement of Lorenzo. Petitioner corporation was therefore justified in suspending his credit card.
account, why did you not pay immediately?
Finally, we find no legal and factual basis for private respondent's assertion that in canceling
A Because I received that late, sir. the credit card of the private respondent, petitioner abused its right under the terms and
conditions of the contract.
Q Yes, on November 22 when you received from the secretary of the defendant telling you
to pay the principal amount of P8,987.84, why did you not pay? To find the existence of an abuse of right under Article 19 the following elements must be
present: (1) There is a legal right or duty; (2) which is exercised in bad faith; (3) for the sole
A There was a communication between me and the defendant, I was required to intent of prejudicing or injuring another.[10]
pay P8,000.00 but I paid in check for P15,000.00, sir.
Time and again this Court has held that good faith is presumed and the burden of proving
Q Do you have any evidence to show that the defendant required you to pay in check bad faith is on the party alleging it.[11] This private respondent failed to do. In fact, the action
for P15,000.00? of the petitioner belies the existence of bad faith. As early as 28 October 1989, petitioner
could have suspended private respondent's card outright. Instead, petitioner allowed private
A Yes, sir. respondent to use his card for several weeks. Petitioner had even notified private respondent
of the impending suspension of his credit card and made special accommodations for him for
Q Where is it?
settling his outstanding account. As such, petitioner cannot be said to have capriciously and
A It was by telecommunication, sir. arbitrarily canceled the private respondent's credit card.

Q So there is no written communication between you and the defendant? We do not dispute the findings of the lower court that private respondent suffered damages
as a result of the cancellation of his credit card. However, there is a material distinction
A There was none, sir. between damages and injury. Injury is the illegal invasion of a legal right; damage is the loss,
hurt, or harm which results from the injury; and damages are the recompense or
Q There is no written agreement which says that P8,987.84 should be paid for P15,000.00 in compensation awarded for the damage suffered. Thus, there can be damage without injury in
check, there is none? those instances in which the loss or harm was not the result of a violation of a legal duty. In
such cases, the consequences must be borne by the injured person alone, the law affords no
A Yes, no written agreement, sir. remedy for damages resulting from an act which does not amount to a legal injury or
wrong. These situations are often called damnum absque injuria.[12]
Q And you as a lawyer you know that a check is not considered as cash specially when it is
postdated sent to the defendant? In other words, in order that a plaintiff may maintain an action for the injuries of which he
complains, he must establish that such injuries resulted from a breach of duty which the
A That is correct, sir. defendant owed to the plaintiff - a concurrence of injury to the plaintiff and legal
responsibility by the person causing it. The underlying basis for the award of tort damages is
Clearly, the purpose of the arrangement between the parties on November 22, 1989, was for the premise that an individual was injured in contemplation of law. Thus, there must first be
the immediate payment of the private respondent's outstanding account, in order that his a breach of some duty and the imposition of liability for that breach before damages may be
credit card would not be suspended. awarded;[13] and the breach of such duty should be the proximate cause of the injury.
As agreed upon by the parties, on the following day, private respondent did issue a check We therefore disagree with the ruling of the respondent court that the dishonor of the credit
for P15,000. However, the check was postdated 15 December 1989. Settled is the doctrine card of the private respondent by Caf Adriatico is attributable to petitioner for its willful or
that a check is only a substitute for money and not money, the delivery of such an instrument gross neglect to inform the private respondent of the suspension of his credit card, the

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unfortunate consequence of which brought social humiliation and embarrassment to the 2. [G.R. No. 117103. January 21, 1999]
private respondent.[14]
Spouses RENATO S. ONG and FRANCIA N. ONG, petitioners, vs. COURT OF
It was petitioner's failure to settle his obligation which caused the suspension of his credit APPEALS, INLAND TRAILWAYS, INC. and PHILTRANCO SERVICE
card and subsequent dishonor at Caf Adriatico. He can not now pass the blame to the ENTERPRISE, INC., respondents.
petitioner for not notifying him of the suspension of his card. As quoted earlier, the
application contained the stipulation that the petitioner could automatically suspend a card 11. CIVIL LAW; DAMAGES; ACTUAL DAMAGES DELETED. The award of actual
whose billing has not been paid for more than thirty days. Nowhere is it stated in the terms damages in the sum of P20,000, representing interment expenses, is deleted for the failure of
and conditions of the application that there is a need of notice before suspension may be the heirs of JAMES to prove the said amount. The record is bereft of any allegation or
effected as private respondent claims.[15] testimony to that effect. likewise, we delete the third award of damages of P50,000 for the
death of the victim. Said award is already recognized under number 1 of the dispositive
This notwithstanding, on November 28, 1989, the day of the suspension of private portion of the trial courts decision.
respondent's card, petitioner sent a letter by ordinary mail notifying private respondent that
his card had been temporarily suspended. Under the Rules on Evidence, there is a disputable DECISION
presumption that letters duly directed and mailed were received on the regular course of
mail.[16] Aside from the private respondent's bare denial, he failed to present evidence to PANGANIBAN, J.:
rebut the presumption that he received said notice. In fact upon cross examination, private
respondent admitted that he did received the letter notifying him of the cancellation: Evidence not formally offered during the trial cannot be used for or against a party
litigant. Neither may it be taken into account on appeal. Furthermore, actual and moral
Q Now you were saying that there was a first letter sent to you by the defendant? damages must be proven before any award thereon can be granted.
The Case
A Your letter, sir.

Q Was that the first letter that you received? Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the Decision dated May 20, 1993 and the
Resolution dated June 8, 1994, both promulgated by the Court of Appeals[1] in CA-GR CV
A Yes, sir. No. 33755, modifying the Decision of the trial court in an action for damages filed by
spouses Renato and Francia Ong (petitioners herein) against Philtranco Service Enterprise,
Q Is it that there was a communication first between you and the defendant? Inc. and Inland Trailways, Inc. (respondents herein, hereafter referred to as Philtranco and
Inland, respectively).
A There was none, sir. I received a cancellation notice but that was after November 27.[17]
The assailed Decision disposed as follows:[2]
As it was private respondent's own negligence which was the proximate cause of his
embarrassing and humiliating experience, we find the award of damages by the respondent WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is hereby MODIFIED by ordering INLAND
court clearly unjustified. We take note of the fact that private respondent has not yet paid his TRAILWAYS, INC. to pay [petitioners] P3,977.00 for actual damages, P30,000.00 as moral
outstanding account with petitioner. damages and ten (10) percent as contingent attorneys fees and to pay the costs of the suit.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision of the Court of Appeals ordering petitioner Reconsideration was denied in the assailed Resolution:[3]
to pay private respondent P100,000.00 as moral damages, P50,000.00 as exemplary damages
and P20,000.00 as attorney's fees, is SET ASIDE. Private respondent is DIRECTED to pay WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, both motions for reconsideration filed by
his outstanding obligation with the petitioner in the amount of P14,439.41. [petitioners] and xxx Inland Trailways, Inc. are hereby DENIED.
The Facts
On February 9, 1987, petitioners boarded as paying passengers Bus No. 101 with Plate No.
EVB-508 (Inland bus, for convenience), which was owned and operated by Inland Trailways
under a Lease Agreement with Philtranco. It was driven by Calvin Coronel.[4] Around 3:50 in

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the morning of said date, when the Inland bus slowed down to avoid a stalled cargo truck in N - Payroll Summary for [period ending] November 1986
Tiaong, Quezon, it was bumped from the rear by another bus, owned and operated by
Philtranco and driven by Apolinar Miralles. Francia sustained wounds and fractures in both O - Payroll Summary for [period ending] December, 1986
of her legs and her right arm, while Renato suffered injuries on his left chest, right knee,
right arm and left eye.[5] They were brought to the San Pablo City District Hospital for Philtranco answered that the Inland bus with Plate No. EVB-508 (which had transported
treatment and were confined there from February 9 to 18, 1987. [6] petitioners) was registered and owned by Inland; that its driver, Calvin Coronel, was an
employee of Inland; that Philtranco was merely leasing its support facilities, including the
On December 22, 1988, petitioners filed an action for damages against Philtranco and use of its bus tickets, to Inland; and that under their Agreement, Inland would be solely liable
Inland. [7] In their Complaint, they alleged that they suffered injuries, preventing Francia for all claims and liabilities arising from the operation of said bus. Philtranco further alleged
from operating a sari-sari store at Las Pias, Metro Manila, where she derived a daily income that, with respect to its own bus (which bumped the Inland bus), it exercised the diligence of
of P200; and Renato from continuing his work as an overseas contract worker (pipe welder) a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of its drivers, and that the
with a monthly salary of $690. Stating that they incurred P10,000 as medical and proximate cause of the accident was the negligence of either the cargo truck or the Inland bus
miscellaneous expenses, they also claimed moral damages of P500,000 each, exemplary and which collided with said cargo truck.
corrective damages of P500,000 each, and compensatory damages of P500,000 each plus 35
percent thereof as attorneys fees. In addition to their testimonies, petitioners also presented Inland answered that, according to the Police Report, it was Apolinar Miralles, the driver of
the following documentary evidence: the Philtanco bus, who was at fault, as shown by his flight from the situs of the accident; that
said bus was registered and owned by Philtranco; and that the driver of the Inland bus
Exhibit A- Philtranco Bus Ticket No. 333398 exercised extraordinary diligence as testified to by its passengers. Inland and Philtranco filed
cross-claims against each other.
B - Philtranco Bus Ticket No. 333399
Both respondents moved to submit the case for decision without presenting further
C - Certification dated February 12, 1987 evidence. Consequently, the trial court, in its Order dated July 5, 1989, resolved: [8]

D - Medical Certificate of Francis Ong dated February 18, 1987 When this case was called for continuation of presentation of plaintiffs evidence, over
objections from counsels for defendants, plaintiffs counsel was allowed to recall his first
E - Medical Certificate of Renato S. Ong dated February 18, 1987 witness, Renato S. Ong, for some additional direct questions[;] and after cross-examination
by defendant Inland Trailways, Inc., adopted by defendant Philtranco Service Enterprise,
F - Statement of Account of Francia N. Ong in the amount of P1,153.50 Inc., plaintiff presented his second witness, [Francia] Ong, whose testimony on direct, cross
and redirect was terminated[;] and as prayed for, counsel for the plaintiffs shall have five (5)
G - Statement of Account of Renato S. Ong in the amount of P1,973.50 days from today within which to submit his formal offer of evidence, furnishing copies
thereof to defendants who shall have five (5) days from their receipt within which to submit
H - Receipt dated February 9, 1987
comments after which the same shall be deemed submitted for resolution.
I' - Receipt dated March 3, 1987
By agreement, considering the stipulations of parties made of record regarding factual issues
J - Receipt dated February 18, 1987 except as to whether or not the bus is included in the lease, counsels for the two (2)
defendants are given a period of ten (10) days from today within which to submit
K - Receipt dated February 24, 1987 simultaneous offer[s] of admission and denials not only on the above exception but on any
other relevant matter.
L & Picture of face of Renato S. Ong
Considering that the documents are admitted, there is no necessity of any formal written
'L'-1 offer of evidence and, therefore, after all the foregoing, the case shall be deemed submitted
for decision upon simultaneous memoranda of the parties and upon submission of complete
M &- Picture of face of Renato S. Ong transcripts.

M-1 Thereafter, the trial court rendered its May 7, 1991 Decision, which disposed as follows: [9]

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IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the The Issues

[petitioners] absolving Inland Trailways, Inc., from any liability whatsoever, and against xxx
Philtranco Service Enterprise, Inc., ordering the latter to pay the [petitioners] In their Memorandum,[11] petitioners raise the following issues:[12]

1) P10,000.00 as actual damages for medical and miscellaneous expenses; [I] Whether or not public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion in completely
reversing the decision of the Regional Trial Court, ordering Philtranco to indemnify
2) P50,000.00 as compensatory damages for the [diminution] of the use of the right arm of petitioners and in lieu thereof, order[ing] Inland to pay petitioners for their damages.
[II] Whether or not public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion in disallowing
3) P48,000.00 as unrealized profit or income; the P50,000.00 awarded to petitioner, Francia Ong for the diminution of the use of her right
arm and the P48,000.00 representing unrealized income.
4) P50,000.00 as moral damages;
[III] Whether or not public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion in reducing the
5) 25% of the foregoing as contingent attorneys fees; and award for actual and miscellaneous expenses from P10,000.00 to P3,977.00; the award
of P50,000.00 moral damages to P30,000.00; and the 25% contingent attorneys fees to 10%
6) the costs. thereof.
According to the trial court, the proximate cause of the accident was the bumping from Simply stated, the main issues raised are: (1) whether the Police Report, which was not
behind by the Philtranco bus with Plate No. 259 driven by Apolinar Miralles based on the formally offered in evidence, could be used to establish a claim against Philtranco based
Police Report and the affidavits of passengers, to which Philtranco did not object. As it failed on culpa aquiliana; and (2) whether the reduction in the amounts of damages awarded was
to prove that it exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees proper.
under Article 2176 of the Civil Code, Philtranco was held liable based on culpa aquiliana.
The Courts Ruling
Ruling of the Court of Appeals

The petition is devoid of merit.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) resolved that Philtrancos liability for damages could
not be predicated upon the Police Report which had not been formally offered in First Issue: Requirement of Formal Offer of Evidence

evidence. The report was merely annexed to the answer of Inland, and petitioner did not
adopt or offer it as evidence.Consequently, it had no probative value and, thus, Philtranco Petitioners take exception to the rule requiring documents to be formally offered in evidence
should be absolved from liability. before they can be given any probative value, arguing that the parties agreed to submit the
case for resolution based on the July 5, 1989 Order of the trial court. Because of the
Instead, the appellate court found that petitioners sufficiently established a claim against agreement, petitioners assumed that all the pieces of documentary evidence, including the
Inland based on culpa contractual. As a common carrier, Inland was required to observe Complaint and its Annexes, as well as those in the respective Answers of the private
extraordinary diligence under Articles 1735 and 1750 of the Code. Its liability arose from its respondents, were deemed admitted.
failure to transport its passengers and cargo safely, and a finding of fault or negligence was
not necessary to hold it liable for damages. Inland failed to overcome this presumption of We disagree. Section 34, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, provides that [t]he court shall
negligence by contrary evidence; thus, it was liable for breach of its contractual obligation to consider no evidence which has not been formally offered. A formal offer is necessary, since
petitioners under Article 2201 of the Civil Code. judges are required to base their findings of fact and their judgment solely and strictly upon
the evidence offered by the parties at the trial. To allow parties to attach any document to
The liability of Inland for medical and miscellaneous expenses was reduced, as the evidence their pleadings and then expect the court to consider it as evidence, even without formal offer
on record showed that petitioners spent only P3,977. Deemed self-serving was Francias and admission, may draw unwarranted consequences. Opposing parties will be deprived of
testimony that the use of her right arm was diminished and that she lost income. Thus, the their chance to examine the document and to object to its admissibility. On the other hand,
award for unearned income was disallowed and the amount of moral damages was reduced the appellate court will have difficulty reviewing documents not previously scrutinized by
to P30,000. the court below.[13]

Hence, this petition.[10]

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In adhering to this rule, the appellate court cannot be faulted with reversible error, as it There is no agreement to submit the case based on the pleading, as contended by the
held:[14] petitioners. The parties had no such intention, nor did said Order evince such an agreement.

xxx [T]he burden of proof lies with the plaintiff in establishing fault or negligence on the Second Issue: Damages Require Evidence

part of the defendant (Ong vs. Metropolitan Water). This, however, plaintiff-appellees failed
to establish. Albeit, there was a police investigation report finding the driver of Petitioners aver that there was grave abuse of discretion when the amount of actual damages
PHILTRANCO negligent which became the basis of the court a quo [for] holding awarded was reduced from P10,000 to P3,977, even if the original amount did not even
PHILTRANCO liable, this piece of evidence was merely attached as Annex 1 of INLANDs include the medical expenses that Francia continued to incur; and when the award
answer, nothing more. It was not presented and even offered as evidence by INLAND nor of P48,000 as unrealized income was deleted despite her testimony which was given
utilized by plaintiffs-appellees. Thus, even assuming arguendo that the same had been credence by the trial court.
identified in court, it would have no evidentiary value. Identification of documentary
evidence must be distinguished from its formal offer as an exhibit. The first is done in the The Court disagrees. Granting arguendo that there was an agreement to submit the case for
course of the trial and is accompanied by the marking of the evidence as an exhibit. The decision based on the pleadings, this does not necessarily imply that petitioners are entitled
second is done only when the party rests its case and not before. The mere fact that a to the award of damages. The fundamental principle of the law on damages is that one
particular document is identified and marked as an exhibit does not mean it will be or has injured by a breach of contract (in this case, the contract of transportation) or by a wrongful
been offered as part of the evidence of the party. The party may decide to offer it if it or negligent act or omission shall have a fair and just compensation, commensurate with the
believes this will advance the cause, and then again it may decide not to do so at all (People loss sustained as a consequence of the defendants acts. Hence, actual pecuniary
vs. Santito, Jr., 201 SCRA 87). compensation is the general rule, except where the circumstances warrant the allowance of
other kinds of damages.
In the case at bar, the defendant INLAND and plaintiffs-appellees did not identify the said
Annex 1 or the Police Investigation Report as evidence. Thus, under Section 35 of Rule 132 Actual damages are such compensation or damages for an injury that will put the injured
of the Revised Rules on Evidence, the court shall consider no evidence which has not been party in the position in which he had been before he was injured. They pertain to such
formally offered.Corollary, the Police Investigation Report of Annex 1 cannot be given any injuries or losses that are actually sustained and susceptible of measurement. Except as
evidentiary value. provided by law or by stipulation, a party is entitled to adequate compensation only for such
pecuniary loss as he has duly proven.
Absen[t] Annex 1 which was the basis of the trial court in finding PHILTRANCO liable, the
latter is thus exonerated from liability. To be recoverable, actual damages must be pleaded and proven in Court. In no instance may
the trial judge award more than those so pleaded and proven. Damages cannot be
Petitioners similarly erred in presuming that said Annex was admitted in evidence by virtue presumed. The award thereof must be based on the evidence presented, not on the personal
of the Order of July 5, 1989. Their presumption has no basis. The Order required counsel for knowledge of the court; and certainly not on flimsy, remote, speculative and nonsubstantial
the petitioners to submit his formal offer of evidence, furnishing copies thereof to defendants proof. Article 2199 of the Civil Code expressly mandates that [e]xcept as provided by law or
who shall have five (5) days from their receipt within which to submit comments after which by stipulation, one is entitled to an adequate compensation only for such pecuniary loss
the same shall be deemed submitted for resolution.[15] In compliance, petitioners filed a suffered by him as he has duly proved.
written offer of evidence on July 12, 1989. [16] Such offer led the trial court, in its Order of
August 2, 1989, to formally admit in evidence Exhibits A-O.[17] Clearly, the Police Report The lack of basis for such award was patent in the trial court Decision:
was neither offered by the petitioners nor admitted by the trial court.
The records will show that from the documentary evidence, [petitioners] have jointly spent
Moreover, the petitioners allegations in their Complaint did not establish a cause of action the sum of P3,977.00. [Respondent] Philtranco has not presented any evidence that it has
against Philtranco. They similarly failed to make any reference to said Police Report during advanced any amount for medicine, hospitalization and doctors fees, but on the contrary,
the presentation of their case. This is precisely why Respondent Philtranco opted not to [petitioners] have testified that they paid for their expenses except at the initial stage wherein
present further evidence. A document or an article is valueless unless it is formally offered in a representative of [respondent] Philtranco went to the hospital to get the receipts of
evidence, and the opposing counsel is given an opportunity to object to it and to cross- medicines only and paid (t.s.n.- June 29, 1989, p. 6). Considering the claim of the
examine any witness called to present or identify it.[18] Evidence not formally offered before [petitioners], as alleged in their complaint they spent P10,000.00 representing medical and
the trial court cannot be considered on appeal, for to consider them at such stage will deny miscellaneous expenses[;] considering that they have gone for consultation to at least two (2)
the other parties their right to rebut them.[19] different doctors, this Court may take judicial notice of the fact that miscellaneous expenses

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[are] bound to be incurred to cover transportation and food, and therefore, finds the amount In the case at bar, petitioner failed to present evidence regarding
of P10,000.00 as actual damages to be reasonable. the feasibility or practicability and the cost of a restorative medical operation on her
arm. Thus, there is no basis to grant her P48,000 for such expense.
Damages, after all, are not intended to enrich the complainant at the expense of the
defendant.[20] Unrealized Income

Moral Damages and Diminution of Use of Francias Arm Protesting the deletion of the award for Francias unrealized income, petitioners contend that
Francias injuries and her oral testimony adequately support their claim. The Court
Petitioners protest the deletion of the amount of P50,000 earlier awarded by the trial court disagrees. Although actual damages include indemnification for profits which the injured
because of the diminution of the use of Francias right arm, arguing that she stated during party failed to obtain (lucro cesante or lucrum cesans),[26] the rule requires that said person
direct examination that it could no longer perform its normal functions, [21] and that private produce the best evidence of which his case is susceptible. [27]
respondents impliedly admitted this matter when they failed to present controverting
evidence. The bare and unsubstantiated assertion of Francia that she usually earned P200 a day from
her market stall is not the best evidence to prove her claim of unrealized income for the
A person is entitled to the physical integrity of his or her body, and if that integrity is eight-month period that her arm was in plaster cast. Her testimony that it was their lessor
violated, damages are due and assessable. However, physical injury, like loss or diminution who filed their income tax returns and obtained business licenses for them does not justify
of use of an arm or a limb, is not a pecuniary loss. Indeed, it is not susceptible of exact her failure to present more credible evidence of her income. Furthermore, after her ten-day
monetary estimation. confinement at the San Pablo Hospital,[28] she could have returned to her work at the public
market despite the plaster cast on her right arm, since she claimed to have two nieces as
Thus, the usual practice is to award moral damages for physical injuries sustained. In Mayo helpers.[29] Clearly, the appellate court was correct in deleting the award for unrealized
v. People,[22] the Court held that the permanent scar on the forehead and the loss of the use of income, because of petitioners utter failure to substantiate her claim.
the right eye entitled the victim to moral damages. The victim, in said case, was devastated
by mental anguish, wounded feelings and shock, which she experienced as a result of her Attorneys Fees

false eye and the scar on her forehead. Furthermore, the loss of vision in her right eye
hampered her professionally for the rest of her life. Counsel for petitioner deeply laments the reduction in the award of attorneys fees. He alleges
that he had to use his own money for transportation, stenographic transcriptions and other
In the case at bar, it was sufficiently shown during the trial that Francias right arm could not court expenses, and for such reason, avers that the award of 25 percent attorneys fees made
function in a normal manner and that, as a result, she suffered mental anguish and by the trial court was proper.
anxiety. Thus, an increase in the amount of moral damages awarded, from P30,000
to P50,000, appears to be reasonable and justified. Renato also suffered mental anxiety and Under the Civil Code, an award of attorneys fees is an indemnity for damages ordered by a
anguish from the accident. Thus, he should be separately awarded P30,000 as moral court to be paid by the losing party to the prevailing party, based on any of the cases
damages. authorized by law.[30] It is payable not to the lawyer but to the client, unless the two have
agreed that the award shall pertain to the lawyer as additional compensation or as part
In some instances, the Court awards the cost of medical procedures to restore the injured thereof. The Court has established a set of standards in fixing the amount of attorneys
person to his or her former condition. However, this award necessitates expert testimony on fees:[31]
the cost of possible restorative medical procedure. In Gatchalian v. Delim,[23] the Court,
reasoning that a scar resulting from the infliction of injury on the face of a woman gave rise (1) [T]he amount and character of the services rendered; (2) labor, time and trouble involved;
to a legitimate claim for restoration to her conditio ante, granted P15,000 as actual damages (3) the nature and importance of the litigation or business in which the services were
for plastic surgery. It bears emphasis that the said amount was based on expert testimony. [24] rendered; (4) the responsibility imposed; (5) the amount of money or the value of the
property affected by the controversy or involved in the employment; (6) the skill and
In another case, the Court granted actual or compensatory damages in the sum of P18,000 for experience called for in the performance of the services; (7) the professional character and
the surgical intervention necessary to arrest the degeneration of the mandible of a young social standing of the attorney; (8) the results secured, it being a recognized rule that an
boy. Again, there was an expert testimony that such medical procedure would cost P3,000 attorney may properly charge a much larger fee when it is contingent than when it is not.
and would have to be repeated several times to restore him to nearly normal condition. [25] Counsels performance, however, does not justify the award of 25 percent attorneys fees. It is
well-settled that such award is addressed to sound judicial discretion and subject to judicial
control.[32] We do not see any abuse thereof in the case at bar. In fact, the appellate court had
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been generous to petitioners counsel, considering that the nature of the case was not At around 9:00 p.m. of 14 December 1996, Kagawad Raymund Marquez
exceptionally difficult, and he was not required to exert Herculean efforts. All told, his of Barangay Siblong, Bucay, Abra, saw Jaime Bao at the funeral wake of one Antonina
handling of the case was sorely inadequate, as shown by his failure to follow elementary Babida. Jaime was very unruly while drinking liquor. He even challenged Raymund to a
norms of civil procedure and evidence. fight, but the latter kept his cool and refused to be provoked. A policeman even requested the
people around to give money to Jaime to induce him to go home. As nobody did, the
WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that Renato policeman gave Jaime P20. Jaime went home with his mother at around 12:00 a.m. of 15
and Francia Ong are separately awarded moral damages in the amount of P30,000 December 1996. A few minutes later, however, Jaime returned to the wake, looking for his
and P50,000, respectively. The ten percent (10%) attorneys fees shall be based on the total wife. He angrily mentioned the name of his wife, Virginia Bao, three times, and said: Vulva
modified award. of her mother. Where is that woman? I am very angry with her and if I will see her I will kill
her. After that, Jaime walked towards the direction of his house. [8]
At about the same time that Raymund was observing an unruly and drunk Jaime, Alicia
Respicio was informing Soledad Piid that Virginia had a quarrel with Jaime that night. At
Alicias house, Soledad saw Virginia crying with a reddish face, which she interpreted as the
result of Jaimes maltreatment. As Virginia was their relative, Soledad and Alicia advised her
to stay with Alicia for the night. Soledad then returned to her house. By 11:00 p.m., however,
3. [G.R. No. 148710. January 15, 2004] Alicia again reported to her that Virginia disregarded their advice and, instead, went
home. However, another quarrel between Jaime and Virginia ensued, with the former
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. JAIME BAO alias JIMMY, appellant.
threatening the latter to kill her. Virginia sought again the refuge of Alicias house. Soledad
DECISION and Alicia pleaded with Virginia to sleep in Alicias house. Virginia agreed.[9]

DAVIDE, JR., C.J.: At about 2:00 a.m. of 15 December 1996, Alicia once more reported to Soledad that Virginia
was not in her bed and left the door open. Very much worried, Soledad and her husband,
Jaime Bao and Virginia Bolesa were married on 12 October 1992 at Bilabila, Sallapadan, Valentin, searched for Virginia. At around 3:00 a.m., while they were standing about seven
Abra.[1] Barely two months after their 4th wedding anniversary, or on 15 December 1996, meters away from the Baos house, they witnessed Jaime repeatedly box Virginia. They saw
Virginia was found dead, floating in a basin of water along the river bank of Abra River the mauling incident through the window at the southwestern portion of the house. They
at Barangay Pagala, Bucay, Abra.[2] Rumors immediately circulated that she drowned.[3] even overheard Virginia remark: Ouch, why dont you get tired of beating me, would it not be
better if you just kill me. Upon observing, however, that the quarrel was apparently
A wake for five days was held in the conjugal house of the Baos at Bucay, Abra. After subsiding, Soledad and Valentin left.[10]
which, Virginia was brought to her hometown in Bilabila, where her mortal remains were
interred.[4] It was known in both towns that Jaime did not attend the wake and burial of his Two and a half hours later, Valentin related to Soledad that while plying his tricycle, he
wife. He was later hospitalized for drinking Vasedine, an insecticide. [5] On 19 March 1997, heard from the vegetable vendors that Virginia was found dead along the river bank
after it was found upon autopsy that Virginia did not die of drowning, Jaime was charged at Barangay Pagala. When Soledad went to see the body of Virginia, she saw Jaime walking
with parricide in an information docketed as Criminal Case No. N-0133, which reads: to and fro beside the cadaver, but not crying. She requested Jaime to change the clothes of
his dead wife, but he did not do or say anything. It was Soledads companions who changed
That on or about December 15, 1996, between 4:00 and 5:00 oclock in the morning in the Virginias clothing.[11]
Municipality of Bucay, Province of Abra, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the said accused, with intent to kill and without legal justification, while Dr. Rolex Gonzales, Medical Officer III of the Abra Provincial Hospital, conducted an
armed with a hard object, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously assault, autopsy on Virginias cadaver. While he heard stories about the victims drowning, his
attack and maul his legitimate wife VIRGINIA BAO, thereby inflicting a depressed skull examination revealed otherwise. He observed that the victims lungs and stomach were
fracture on the left frontal area lateral to the midline of her head, which caused her devoid of water, fluid, or any debris or foreign material, thus negating the theory that she
instantaneous death.[6] drowned. He noticed lacerations, abrasions, and hematoma on different parts of the victims
body. He opined that they were probably inflicted with the use of a hard object on the early
Jaime pleaded not guilty to the charge upon his arraignment. [7] At the trial, the prosecution morning of 15 December 1996. The wound that caused a depressed portion on the skull
presented evidence to establish his guilt, thus: caused the intracerebral hemorrhage, which resulted in the victims death. [12]

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Melecio Bolesa and Cristeta Bolesa Maao, Virginias brother and sister, respectively, testified events taken together points to no other than the accused JAIME BAO as the one who killed
having spent P30,710 relative to the death and burial of their sister. Jaime did not share a his wife Virginia Bao sometime after midnight of December 14, 1996. [20]
single centavo in the expenses.[13] Melecio recalled that Virginia would often go to Bilabila
and complain that Jaime would maltreat her whenever he was drunk and even make her Accordingly, the trial court sentenced Jaime to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and
dance naked.[14] to indemnify the family of Virginia Bao in the amounts of P100,000 as civil indemnity for
moral damages; P40,000 for actual expenses; and the costs of the proceedings. Hence, this
After the prosecution rested its case, the defense filed a Demurrer to Evidence [15] with prior petition ascribing to the trial court grave error in finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt
leave of court on the ground that the prosecution failed to present any eyewitness to the of the crime of parricide on the basis of circumstantial evidence.
commission of the crime or circumstantial evidence sufficient to support a conviction beyond
reasonable doubt. In an Order of 14 May 1998,[16] the trial court denied the demurrer to In support of his lone assigned error, Jaime avers that the prosecution failed to prove the
evidence. The trial then continued, with the defense, through Jaime Bao and his mother, requisites for circumstantial evidence to be sufficient basis for conviction. He claims that the
Linda Bao, proffering a different version of the events. inferences were drawn not from facts established by direct evidence, but from other
inferences. Only the circumstance that he regularly drinks liquor was proved, and the rest are
Jaime admitted to having engaged in a drinking spree at the wake of Antonina Babida from mere presumptions. The fact that Virginias death was caused by intracerebral hemorrhage
9:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight of 14 December 1996. There, he met his mother, who was does not in any way evince that he inflicted the fatal wound. Neither his failure to attend the
selling balut. Since he was so drunk that he could no longer carry his body, he just sat and wake and burial of his wife at Bilabila nor his attempted suicide could be considered
slept beside her mother at the gate where the wake was being held. At 4:30 a.m. of the as indicia of his guilt. Instead, the first circumstance should be accepted as a normal reaction
following day, his mother woke him up, and they proceeded home. [17] to a threat directed at his person by his wifes family, while the second should be deemed as
the normal deportment of a grieving husband who loved his wife dearly. Additionally, the
Jaimes house was, however, locked. He peeped through the window and called his wife. No fact that Virginia returned to their house from Alicias house on the eve of her death proves
answer came. Jaime, therefore, opted to go to his mothers house, which was about a hundred that he did not maltreat her. His wife would not have sought the refuge of their conjugal
meters away. There, he slept only to be later awakened by his mother with the news that his home if, indeed, her life was threatened there. And even granting that he beat up his wife,
wife drowned. He proceeded to the place where the body of his wife was found but met a such would not lead to a logical conclusion that he killed her.
police car along the way. He went inside the police car, found and embraced the lifeless body
of his wife, and cried. He did not see any laceration, abrasion, or contusion on her body at For its part, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) agrees with the trial court that the guilt
the time. Jaime claimed that he could not have mauled, much less killed, his wife in their of Jaime Bao was established through circumstantial evidence. The circumstances that lead
house on the early morning of 15 December 1996 because at the time he was still asleep to Virginias death constitute an unbroken chain of events pointing to Jaime as the author of
beside his mother at the wake. He did not attend his wifes wake and funeral at Bilabila, for her death. It recommends, however, the reduction of the award for actual damages
his wifes family suspected that he was responsible for his wifes death and threatened him not from P40,000 to P30,710, in line with settled jurisprudence that only expenses supported by
to go there. [18] receipts and which appear to have been actually incurred shall be allowed as actual damages.

In its decision of 3 August 2000,[19] the Regional Trial Court of Abra, Branch 58, convicted We affirm the conviction of appellant Jaime Bao for the crime of parricide. While there was
Jaime Bao of parricide for killing his legitimate wife, Virginia Bolesa Bao, anchored on no eyewitness to the killing of Virginia, the following pieces of circumstantial evidence have
circumstantial evidence, thus: indubitably established that he was responsible for her brutal demise.

It is clear from the facts established that on the night of December 14, 1996 the accused 1. Virginia would often go to her hometown to complain to her family about the beatings she
JAIME BAO was heavily drunk; that he maltreated his wife, and acted violently against her, had been receiving from Jaime whenever he was inebriated. Even Kagawad Raymund
prompting his wife Virginia to seek refuge in the house of Alicia Respicio; that after Marquez, a barangay official and a long-time resident of Bucay, confirmed the regularity of
midnight of December 14, 1996, Jaime Bao was angrily looking for his wife Virginia, that he the beatings whenever Jaime was drunk.
threatened to kill his wife when he finds her, even in public which caught the attention of
Raymond Marquez, Barangay Kagawad; that he was unruly, provoking and making trouble; 2. On the night of 14 December 1996, Virginia sought refuge in the house of her relative and
that he denied his wife suffered physical violence as shown in the physical injuries of the tearfully related her quarrel with Jaime that night. Afterwards, she came back and reported
cadaver, like lacerations, abrasions and hematoma on her face, a fractured skull; that he tried that her husband threatened to kill her.
to poison and kill himself and commit suicide by drinking insecticide, and that he never
attended the burial of his wife at Bilabila, Sallapadan, Abra, for her final wake.This chain of 3. On that same night, Jaime was unruly and violent while drinking liquor at the funeral
wake of one Antonina Babida.
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4. Jaime and his mother left the wake at 12:00 midnight. A few minutes later, he returned to We also uphold the trial courts rejection of the defenses of alibi and denial. For alibi to
the wake alone and very angry. He was looking for his wife and badmouthing her: Vulva of prosper, an accused must show that he was at some other place for such a period of time that
her mother. Where is that woman? I am very angry with her and if I will see her I will kill it was impossible for him to have been at the crime scene at the time of the commission of
her. Not finding his wife, he left the wake and headed home, which the appellant estimated the crime.[24] Virginia died between 3:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. of 15 December 1996. Jaimes
to be 200 meters away. claim that he was asleep beside his mother from 2:00 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. of that tragic day at
the gate where the wake was held was belied by Kagawad Raymund Marquez. The latter
5. By 3:00 a.m. of the following day, Soledad and Valentin saw, through the window of the testified that a few minutes after 12:00 a.m., after looking for his wife and threatening to kill
Baos house, that Jaime was mauling Virginia. They also overheard Virginia utter: Ouch, why her, Jaime left the wake and treaded back to his house, which was only about 200 meters
dont you get tired of beating me, would it not be better if you just kill me. away. Jaimes alibi was also negated by Soledads testimony that she saw him brutally hitting
his wife at around 3:00 a.m. of that fateful day.
6. Barely two hours after Soledad and Valentin left this brutal scenario, or at about 5:30 a.m.,
Virginia was found dead along Abra River. Truly, the incriminating testimonies of prosecution witnesses Soledad Piid
and Kagawad Raymund Marquez remain firm and unchallenged. There being no evidence of
7. The autopsy findings indicate that the lacerations, abrasions, and hematoma on Virginias undue bias or ill motive that would have impelled them to falsely testify against Jaime and
dead body were about two to three hours old, consistent with the physical abuse she received implicate him in so despicable a deed as parricide, we conclude that none existed and that
from Jaimes cruel hands at around 3:00 a.m. their testimonies are worthy of full faith and credit.[25] Jaimes unsubstantiated defenses of
denial and alibi, being negative and self-serving, deserve no weight in law and cannot,
Also notable is Jaimes disturbing behavior after the death of his wife. He was not seen therefore, be given evidentiary value over the testimonies of credible witnesses who testify
grieving. He neither attended the wake and funeral rites at Bilabila nor shared in the on affirmative matters.[26]
expenses relative thereto. He attempted to end his life by drinking a form of insecticide. His
deportment could not possibly be that of a sincerely bereaving husband. Restricted within the A fortiori, Jaime should be held guilty of parricide, which is defined under Article 246 of the
confines of the case, there is merit in the trial courts observation that Jaimes attempt at Revised Penal Code as follows:
suicide by poisoning himself with insecticide was a form of escapism equivalent to flight,
which is an indication of guilt. Art. 246. Parricide. Any person who shall kill his father, mother, or child, whether legitimate
or illegitimate, or any of his ascendants, or descendants, or his spouse, shall be guilty of
Contrary, therefore, to Jaimes assertions, the following requisites for circumstantial evidence parricide and shall be punished by the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death.
to sustain a conviction are present in the case at bar: (a) there is more than one circumstance;
(b) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proved; and (c) the combination of all The elements of parricide are (1) a person is killed; (2) the deceased is killed by the accused;
the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. [21] and (3) the deceased is the father, mother, or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or a
legitimate ascendant, descendant, or spouse of the accused.[27]
A review of Jaimes arguments in support of his lone assigned error discloses that they have
no factual bases. His contention that the cause of Virginias death, intracerebral hemorrhage, Linda Bao, Jaimes legitimate spouse,[28] was shown by circumstantial evidence to have been
does not necessarily mean that he inflicted the wound that produced such hemorrhage might killed by appellant Jaime Bao himself. There being neither aggravating nor mitigating
appear at first glance to be plausible. But it loses persuasive value in face of the overall circumstances, he should be meted the penalty of reclusion perpetua, which is the lower of
evidentiary strength of the circumstances proven and the logical consistency of one the prescribed penalty of reclusion perpetua to death.
circumstance to the other, as well as the inferences deduced from them.
Now, on Jaimes civil liability. The victims heirs should be awarded civil indemnity
Verily, a judgment of conviction based on circumstantial evidence can be upheld when the of P50,000, which is mandatory upon proof of the fact of death of the victim and the
circumstances established would lead to a fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to the culpability of the accused for the death. Likewise, moral damages in the sum of P50,000
accused, to the exclusion of all others, as being the author of the crime. [22] Stated in another should be awarded even in the absence of allegation and proof of the emotional suffering by
way, the chain of events, perhaps insignificant when taken separately and independently, the victims relatives conformably with People v. Carillo,[29] People v. Panela,[30] and People
nevertheless, produces the effect of conviction beyond reasonable doubt when considered v. Panado.[31]
cumulatively. Indeed, it is the quality of the circumstances, rather than the quantity, that
draws the line on whether the circumstances presented consist of an unbroken chain that We, however, delete the award of actual damages, it appearing that it is supported by a mere
fulfills the standard of moral certainty to sustain a conviction. [23] list of expenses and not by official receipts.[32] A list of expenses cannot replace receipts
when the latter should have been issued as a matter of course in business
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transactions. Neither can the mere testimonies of the victims siblings, Melecio Bolesa and of the tomb of the victim; those which appear to have been modified to show an increase in
Cristeta Bolesa Maao, on the amount they spent suffice. It is necessary for a party seeking an the amount of expenditure, such as by adding a number to increase the purchase value from
award for actual damages to produce competent proof or the best evidence obtainable to tens to hundreds; those expenditures which could not be reasonably itemized or determined
justify such award.[33] to have been incurred in connection with the death, wake or burial of the victim; those which
would nonetheless have been incurred despite the death, wake or burial of the victim, the
Nonetheless, in the absence of substantiated and proven expenses relative to the wake and death, wake or burial being merely incidental; and those which were not in fact shouldered
burial of the victim, temperate damages in the amount of P25,000 shall be awarded to the by the immediate heirs of the victim, such as plane trips by relatives or in-laws. Having these
heirs of the victims, since they clearly incurred funeral expenses.[34] as guidelines, the Court puts the gross expenses proved by the immediate heirs of the victim
at P10,175.85.
WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of 3 August 2000 of the Regional Trial Court of Abra,
Branch 58, in Criminal Case No. N-0133 convicting appellant JAIME BAO of parricide 9. ID.; ID.; ID.; OFF-SET BY ALMS RECEIVED. The Court off-sets the amount of
under Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code and sentencing him to suffer the penalty P6,400.00, representing the alms received by the heirs of the victim, against the above
of reclusion perpetua is hereby AFFIRMED with the modification that he is ordered to pay amount of P10,175.85, representing the expenses proved, leaving the amount of P3,775.85 as
the heirs of Virginia Bolesa Bao the sums of P50,000 as civil indemnity; P50,000 as moral the actual amount of loss sustained by immediate heirs of the victim.
damages; and P25,000 as temperate damages.
SO ORDERED. The moral damages in the amount of P200,000.00 awarded by the court a quo are
unexplained and unsupported in the courts decision. While moral damages are incapable of
pecuniary estimation, the Court, under the circumstances attending the loss, considers it
proper to reduce the amount of the award for moral damages to P10,000.00.
4. [G.R. Nos. 89404-05. May 22, 1992.]
11. ID.; ID.; INDEMNITY FOR DEATH TO RAISED P50,000. The Court, hereby
increases the amount of indemnity for the death of Alexander Parilla to P50,000.00, in line
MARINO TABORADA, Defendants, MARINO TABORADA, Defendant-Appellant.
with present jurisprudence.

COMPETENT EVIDENCE. In delict, the defendant is liable for all damages which are Efren Degoma and Marino D. Taborada were charged with the crime of robbery with
the natural and probable consequences of the act or omission complained of. To seek homicide. They were arraigned and after trial, were found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
recovery for actual damages, it is necessary to prove with a reasonable degree of certainty, the crime charged. The dispositive portion of the decision of the trial court read as follows:
premised upon competent proof and on the best evidence obtainable by the injured party, the
actual amount of loss. Courts cannot simply assume that damages were sustained by the "WHEREFORE, premises considered, on the part of Criminal Case No. 5384, the Court
injured party, nor can it rely on speculation or guesswork in determining the fact and amount hereby finds both accused EFREN DEGOMA alias BOY and MARINO TABORADA y
of damages. DECENA, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of ROBBERY WITH HOMICIDE,
and accordingly sentenced them to the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and for both accused to
8. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. The court a quos award of actual damages in the jointly and severally indemnify the owners of Tagbilaran Friendly Bazaar the sum of
amount of P87,947.94 is not sustained by a review of the evidence of record. Of the expenses P200.00 and the equivalent exchange rate prevailing for US$300.00, indemnify the heirs of
allegedly incurred, the Court can only give credence to those supported by a receipt and the late Alexander Parilla in the sum of P36,000.00 for his death, P200,000.00 for moral
which appear to have been genuinely incurred in connection with the death, wake or burial of damages, P87,947.94 for actual expenses, P5,000.00 for attorneys fees for counsel of
the victim. Thus, the Court cannot take account of receipts showing expenses incurred before Parilla, and to pay costs, and subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency." 1
the date of the slaying of the victim; those incurred after a considerable lapse of time from
the burial of the victim and which do not have any relation to the death, wake or burial of the Only Marino Taborada appealed from the judgment of conviction. In his brief, appellant
victim; those incurred for purely aesthetic or social purposes, such as the lining with marble Taborada assigned the following errors:
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Appellant Taborada presented a different view of the facts. He testified the he had known his
"The lower court erred in finding that accused-appellant Marino Taborada is a co-conspirator co-accused Efren Degoma for about a month before the shooting of Alexander Parilla, when
in the crime of robbery with homicide. Degoma was still a member of the Philippine Constabulary Unit quartered in Camp Lapu-
Lapu near Taboradas house in Cebu City. On 11 April 1988, Degoma invited appellant
The lower court erred in convicting accused-appellant of the crime of robbery with homicide Taborada to Tagbilaran City, Bohol, at the formers expense. Taborada accepted the
and sentencing him to the penalty of reclusion perpetua." 2 invitation and stayed with Degomas family while in Tagbilaran.

In its decision, the trial court summarized the facts which it found to have been established in On 12 April 1988, appellant Taborada, while still at Tagbilaran City, asked Degoma to help
the following manner: him raise money to pay for his return trip to Cebu City. In the late afternoon of that same
day, Degoma and appellant Taborada had a few drinks in a place near the Tagbilaran
". . . [O]n April 12, 1988, at about 6:30 in the evening, the peace and quiet of the City of Friendly Bazaar. Later, on the way to Degomas home, they passed by the Friendly Bazaar.
Tagbilaran was disturbed by the reported robbery with homicide in one of the big business Degoma instructed appellant Taborada to wait for the former by the door of the Bazaar.
establishments, the Tagbilaran Friendly Bazaar. In the course of the commission of the While waiting for Degoma, appellant Taborada was, according to him, suddenly
crime, an off-duty but much dedicated policeman in the person of Pat. Verlito Magallanes apprehended by the security guard of the Bazaar. Acting on instinct, Taborada continued, he
was able to collar one of the suspects. Because of the energetic, publicity-shy, well-trained tried to resist but in the ensuing commotion, a third person intervened with the result that
and equally dedicated Station Commander in the person of P/Lt. Cecilio Quevedo, the appellant Taborada was thrown out on the road. While the security guard and the third
second suspect fell into the custody of the police in the matter of about two hours. person were trying to overpower appellant Taborada, Degoma suddenly shot the security
guard, without warning. Appellant Taborada was arrested, but Degoma escaped. At the
There is no question as to how accused Marino Taborada was taken into police custody. He Tagbilaran Police Station, Taborada identified Degoma as his companion at the vicinity of
was the first who was collared by Pat. Magallanes since Taborada was still grappling with the crime and stoutly maintained that he did not know that his companion, Degoma, would
the driver of the store, Ciriaco Baculi. When he was whisked to the police headquarters, he rob the Friendly Bazaar and much less that he would kill the security guard. Thus, appellant
was immediately interrogated and without offering any hard resistance, Taborada told the Taborada insists that there was no conspiracy himself and Degoma and that the prosecution
police that his companion in robbing the store was a PC soldier, Efren Degoma. This fact, had not adequately proved such conspiracy.
therefore, answers the query as to how accuse Efren Degoma was brought into police
custody. With such information from Taborada himself, Station Commander Quevedo then It is, of course, true that the element of conspiracy must be proved by the same kind of proof
formed a group to track down Degoma. They sealed all possible exit points and, true enough, proof beyond reasonable doubt necessary to establish the physical acts constituting the
the police was also able to bring Degoma into the hands of the law. Whatever transpired crime itself. However, the existence of conspiracy need not be established by direct
immediately before, during and after the alleged commission of the crime were well- evidence; not is it necessary to prove prior agreement between the accused to commit the
ventilated by the contending parties as discussed above. crime charged. Indeed, conspiracy is very rarely proved by direct evidence of an explicit
agreement to commit the crime. Thus, the rule is well-settled that conspiracy may be inferred
The following facts were conclusively established during the hearings, to wit: from the conduct of the accused before, during and after the commission of the crime, where
such conduct reasonably shows community of criminal purpose or design. 4
1. The Tagbilaran Friendly Bazaar located along Carlos P. Garcia Avenue, City of
Tagbilaran was a victim of robbery on the evening of April 12, 1988, in the sums of US$300 In the case at bar, the evidence of conspiracy between Degoma and Taborada was consistent
and P200; and clear. Appellant Taborada was penniless at the time of the robbery and needed some
transportation money to go back to Cebu City. Taborada personally knew his co-accused
2. During such robbery, the security guard of the store, in the person of Alexander Parilla Degoma and both were seen together immediately prior to the robbery. both appellant
was shot and killed with the use of a firearm by one of the robbers; Taborada and co-accuse Degoma entered the premises of the Tagbilaran Friendly Bazaar at
the same time, on the pretext that Degoma would purchase some item in the Bazaar.
3. Accused Taborada was apprehended by the police while still grappling with Ciriaco Appellant Taborada stayed at or near the door of the Bazaar while his co-accused Degoma
Baculi, the driver of the store; went straight to where the cashier of the Bazaar was. Appellant Taborada grappled with the
security guard to wrest possession of the service revolver of the guard and to keep him
4. The police was led to accused Efren Degoma on account of the statements made by preoccupied while his co-accused Degoma divested the Bazaars cashier of money at gun-
accused Taborada." 3 point. We consider that these circumstances are entirely adequate to show that appellant
Taborada acted in unison with Degoma in implementation of a common design to rob the
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Tagbilaran Friendly Bazaar. have been found guilty only as an accomplice because his participation in the crime did not
directly aid in the consummation of that crime. This argument will not detain us for long. In
The pretension of appellant Taborada that he had merely stood by idly at the entrance of the the first place, as already noted, the precise legal effect of a finding of conspiracy is that each
Bazaar, does not persuade. The prosecution presented three (3) eye-witnesses all of whom co-conspirator becomes liable for the acts of the other conspirator(s). Taborada did not try to
testified consistently that Taborada had grappled with the slain security guard and had tried prevent either the robbery or the homicide. He did not dissociated or attempt to dissociated
to wrestle away the service revolver of the latter. Like the trial court, we find no reason not himself from the robbery with homicide. Taborada was simply caught and collared by the
to accord credence to the testimonies of the prosecution eye-witnesses. The defense did not police before he could escape from the scene of the crime. Accordingly, he must be held
even try to show that those witnesses were moved by some evil motive falsely to testify guilty of robbery with homicide although it was Degoma who had shot security guard
against Degoma and Taborada. Alexander Parilla in the head and although it was Degoma who had physically spirited away
the dollars and pesos he had extracted at gunpoint from the Bazaars cashier. Secondly,
Appellant Taborada then argues that, granting arguendo that conspiracy had been adequately appellant Taborada had cooperated with Degoma in the execution of the crime by a
shown, he should not be held accountable for the slaying of the security guard because he simultaneous act which was material to and indispensable for the consummation of a crime.
(Taborada) had no prior knowledge that his co-accused Degoma would shoot and kill the Appellant Taborada had engaged the attention of the security guard by grappling with him
security guard. and seeking to pin him down, to prevent the security guard from coming to the aid of the
Bazaars cashier as Degoma at gun-point took away the Bazaars money. Accordingly,
The firmly established rule is that where conspiracy is shown, the act of one conspirator Taborada was not merely an accomplice; he was rather a principal by cooperation. 7 We
becomes the act of all the other conspirators and that the precise extent or modality of agree with the position taken by the Solicitor General on this point:
participation of each of the conspirators in the crime becomes secondary.
"The act of [accused] appellant [Taborada] in holding on to the security guard of the said
In People v. Roel Punzalan, 5 the Court said: store [Tagbilaran Friendly Bazaar], the victim Alex Parilla, and grappling with the latter for
the possession of his gun is not an isolated act but a deliberated and planned course of action
". . . One who joins a criminal conspiracy in effect adopts as his own the criminal designs of designed to both accused to enable accused Efren Degoma to commit the robbery at the cash
his co-conspirators; he merges his will into the common felonious intent. A person who counter of the store, unhampered by the possible intervention of the security guard. In fact,
embraces a criminal conspiracy is properly held to have cast his lot with his fellow [accused] appellants aforesaid participation is an integral part of their plan without which
conspirators and to have taken his chances that things may go awry and that the offended the robbery could not have been consummated. Accused Efren Degomas act of robbing
party may resist or third persons may get killed in the course of implementing the basic money at the cash counter of the said store by holding the manager, Danny Merchandani, at
criminal design. To free himself from such criminal liability, the law requires some overt act gunpoint could not have been made possible were it not for [accused] appellants act of
on the part of the conspirator, to seek to prevent commission of the second or related felony neutralizing the security guard of the sore, so to speak, by grappling with the latter for the
or to abandon or dissociate himself from the conspiracy to commit the initial felony. (People possession of the gun." (Emphasis supplied)
v. Salvador, 163 SCRA 574, 580-582 [1988]; People v. Bazar, 162 SCRA 609, 617 [1988];
People v. Escober, 157 SCRA 541, 567 [1988]; People v. Pelagio, 20 SCRA 153, 159-160 Turning to the civil aspect of the case, the court a quo had overlooked certain evidentiary
[1967])" (Emphasis supplied). facts in its award of damages. In delict, the defendant is liable for all damages which are the
natural and probable consequences of the act or omission complained of. 8 To seek recovery
Thus, we believe and so hold that appellant Taborada cannot exculpate himself from the for actual damages, it is necessary to prove with a reasonable degree of certainty, premised
killing of security guard Parilla which took place by reason or on the occasion of the robbery upon competent proof and on the best evidence obtainable by the injured party, the actual
of the Tagbilaran Friendly Bazaar by simply disclaiming any knowledge that the co- amount of loss. 9 Courts cannot simply assume that damages were sustained by the injured
conspirator would go to the extent of shooting and killing the Bazaars security guard. The party, nor can it rely on speculation or guesswork in determining the fact and amount of
phrases "on the occasion" and "by reason" of the robbery used by Article 294, paragraph 1, damages.
of the Revised Penal Code, refer to a homicide committed in the course of the robbery,
without regard to the robbers precise intention or alleged lack of intention to kill another, The court a quos award of actual damages in the amount of P87,947.94 is not sustained by a
since it is the result rather than the detailed circumstances, specific cause or modes of review of the evidence of record. Of the expenses allegedly incurred, the Court can only give
intervention of particular persons in the commission of the crime that is taken into account in credence to those supported by a receipt and which appear to have been genuinely incurred
characterizing the crime as robbery with homicide. 6 in connection with the death, wake or burial of the victim. Thus, the Court cannot take
account of receipts showing expenses incurred before the date of the slaying of the victim;
Appellant Taborada argues next that while he may have been a co-conspirator, he should those incurred after a considerable lapse of time from the burial of the victim and which do
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not have any relation to the death, wake or burial of the victim; those incurred for purely 5. [G.R. No. 115324. February 19, 2003]
aesthetic or social purposes, such as the lining with marble of the tomb of the victim; those
which appear to have been modified to show an increase in the amount of expenditure, such PRODUCERS BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES (now FIRST INTERNATIONAL
as by adding a number to increase the purchase value from tens to hundreds; those BANK), petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS AND FRANKLIN
expenditures which could not be reasonably itemized or determined to have been incurred in VIVES, respondents.
connection with the death, wake or burial of the victim; those which would nonetheless have
been incurred despite the death, wake or burial of the victim, the death, wake or burial being DECISION
merely incidental; and those which were not in fact shouldered by the immediate heirs of the
victim, such as plane trips by relatives or in-laws. Having these as guidelines, the Court puts CALLEJO, SR., J.:
the gross expenses proved by the immediate heirs of the victim at P10,175.85. 10
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals dated
June 25, 1991 in CA-G.R. CV No. 11791 and of its Resolution[2] dated May 5, 1994, denying
The Court off-sets the amount of P6,400.00, representing the alms received by the heirs of
the motion for reconsideration of said decision filed by petitioner Producers Bank of the
the victim, 11 against the above amount of P10,175.85, representing the expenses proved,
leaving the amount of P3,775.85 as the actual amount of loss sustained by immediate heirs of
the victim. Sometime in 1979, private respondent Franklin Vives was asked by his neighbor and friend
Angeles Sanchez to help her friend and townmate, Col. Arturo Doronilla, in incorporating
The moral damages in the amount of P200,000.00 awarded by the court a quo are his business, the Sterela Marketing and Services (Sterela for brevity). Specifically, Sanchez
unexplained and unsupported in the courts decision. While moral damages are incapable of asked private respondent to deposit in a bank a certain amount of money in the bank account
pecuniary estimation, the Court, under the circumstances attending the loss, considers it of Sterela for purposes of its incorporation. She assured private respondent that he could
proper to reduce the amount of the award for moral damages to P10,000.00. The Court, withdraw his money from said account within a months time. Private respondent asked
however, hereby increases the amount of indemnity for the death of Alexander Parilla to Sanchez to bring Doronilla to their house so that they could discuss Sanchezs request.[3]
P50,000.00 in line with present jurisprudence.
On May 9, 1979, private respondent, Sanchez, Doronilla and a certain Estrella Dumagpi,
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Tagbilaran, Bohol, Branch 2 in Doronillas private secretary, met and discussed the matter. Thereafter, relying on the
Criminal Case No. 5384 dated 26 December 1988, is hereby MODIFIED to the extent that assurances and representations of Sanchez and Doronilla, private respondent issued a check
both accused shall be solidarily liable only for the amounts of: (a) P3,775.85 as actual in the amount of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00) in favor of Sterela. Private
damages; (b) P10,000.00 as moral damages; and (c) P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of respondent instructed his wife, Mrs. Inocencia Vives, to accompany Doronilla and Sanchez
Alexander Parilla. In all other respects, the decision of the trial court is AFFIRMED. No in opening a savings account in the name of Sterela in the Buendia, Makati branch of
pronouncement as to costs. Producers Bank of the Philippines. However, only Sanchez, Mrs. Vives and Dumagpi went
to the bank to deposit the check. They had with them an authorization letter from Doronilla
SO ORDERED. authorizing Sanchez and her companions, in coordination with Mr. Rufo Atienza, to open an
account for Sterela Marketing Services in the amount of P200,000.00. In opening the
account, the authorized signatories were Inocencia Vives and/or Angeles Sanchez. A
passbook for Savings Account No. 10-1567 was thereafter issued to Mrs. Vives.[4]

Subsequently, private respondent learned that Sterela was no longer holding office in the
address previously given to him. Alarmed, he and his wife went to the Bank to verify if their
money was still intact. The bank manager referred them to Mr. Rufo Atienza, the assistant
manager, who informed them that part of the money in Savings Account No. 10-1567 had
been withdrawn by Doronilla, and that only P90,000.00 remained therein. He likewise told
them that Mrs. Vives could not withdraw said remaining amount because it had to answer for
some postdated checks issued by Doronilla. According to Atienza, after Mrs. Vives and
Sanchez opened Savings Account No. 10-1567, Doronilla opened Current Account No. 10-
0320 for Sterela and authorized the Bank to debit Savings Account No. 10-1567 for the
amounts necessary to cover overdrawings in Current Account No. 10-0320. In opening said
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current account, Sterela, through Doronilla, obtained a loan of P175,000.00 from the I.
Bank. To cover payment thereof, Doronilla issued three postdated checks, all of which were
dishonored. Atienza also said that Doronilla could assign or withdraw the money in Savings THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN UPHOLDING THAT THE
Account No. 10-1567 because he was the sole proprietor of Sterela. [5] TRANSACTION BETWEEN THE DEFENDANT DORONILLA AND RESPONDENT
Private respondent tried to get in touch with Doronilla through Sanchez. On June 29, 1979,
he received a letter from Doronilla, assuring him that his money was intact and would be II.
returned to him. On August 13, 1979, Doronilla issued a postdated check for Two Hundred
Twelve Thousand Pesos (P212,000.00) in favor of private respondent. However, upon THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN UPHOLDING THAT
presentment thereof by private respondent to the drawee bank, the check was PETITIONERS BANK MANAGER, MR. RUFO ATIENZA, CONNIVED WITH THE
dishonored. Doronilla requested private respondent to present the same check on September OTHER DEFENDANTS IN DEFRAUDING PETITIONER (Sic. Should be PRIVATE
15, 1979 but when the latter presented the check, it was again dishonored. [6] RESPONDENT) AND AS A CONSEQUENCE, THE PETITIONER SHOULD BE HELD
Private respondent referred the matter to a lawyer, who made a written demand upon
Doronilla for the return of his clients money. Doronilla issued another check for P212,000.00 III.
in private respondents favor but the check was again dishonored for insufficiency of funds. [7]
Private respondent instituted an action for recovery of sum of money in the Regional Trial RECORDS OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT AND AFFIRMING THE JUDGMENT
Court (RTC) in Pasig, Metro Manila against Doronilla, Sanchez, Dumagpi and APPEALED FROM, AS THE FINDINGS OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT WERE
petitioner. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. 44485. He also filed criminal actions BASED ON A MISAPPREHENSION OF FACTS;
against Doronilla, Sanchez and Dumagpi in the RTC. However, Sanchez passed away on
March 16, 1985 while the case was pending before the trial court. On October 3, 1995, the IV.
RTC of Pasig, Branch 157, promulgated its Decision in Civil Case No. 44485, the dispositive
portion of which reads:
Arturo J. Doronila, Estrella Dumagpi and Producers Bank of the Philippines to pay plaintiff APPLICABLE;
Franklin Vives jointly and severally
(a) the amount of P200,000.00, representing the money deposited, with interest at the legal
rate from the filing of the complaint until the same is fully paid;
(b) the sum of P50,000.00 for moral damages and a similar amount for exemplary damages; SEVERALLY LIABLE WITH THE OTHER DEFENDANTS FOR THE AMOUNT OF
(c) the amount of P40,000.00 for attorneys fees; and MORAL DAMAGES, P50,000.00 FOR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES, P40,000.00 FOR
(d) the costs of the suit.
Private respondent filed his Comment on September 23, 1994. Petitioner filed its Reply
SO ORDERED. [8] thereto on September 25, 1995. The Court then required private respondent to submit a
rejoinder to the reply. However, said rejoinder was filed only on April 21, 1997, due to
Petitioner appealed the trial courts decision to the Court of Appeals. In its Decision dated petitioners delay in furnishing private respondent with copy of the reply[12] and several
June 25, 1991, the appellate court affirmed in toto the decision of the RTC.[9] It likewise substitutions of counsel on the part of private respondent. [13] On January 17, 2001, the Court
denied with finality petitioners motion for reconsideration in its Resolution dated May 5, resolved to give due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their respective
1994.[10] memoranda.[14] Petitioner filed its memorandum on April 16, 2001 while private respondent
submitted his memorandum on March 22, 2001.
On June 30, 1994, petitioner filed the present petition, arguing that
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Petitioner contends that the transaction between private respondent and Doronilla is a simple facilitated the opening of Sterelas current account three days after Mrs. Vives and Sanchez
loan (mutuum) since all the elements of a mutuum are present: first, what was delivered by opened a savings account with petitioner for said company, as well as the approval of the
private respondent to Doronilla was money, a consumable thing; and second, the transaction authority to debit Sterelas savings account to cover any overdrawings in its current
was onerous as Doronilla was obliged to pay interest, as evidenced by the check issued by account.[23]
Doronilla in the amount of P212,000.00, or P12,000 more than what private respondent
deposited in Sterelas bank account.[15] Moreover, the fact that private respondent sued his There is no merit in the petition.
good friend Sanchez for his failure to recover his money from Doronilla shows that the
transaction was not merely gratuitous but had a business angle to it. Hence, petitioner argues At the outset, it must be emphasized that only questions of law may be raised in a petition for
that it cannot be held liable for the return of private respondents P200,000.00 because it is review filed with this Court. The Court has repeatedly held that it is not its function to
not privy to the transaction between the latter and Doronilla. [16] analyze and weigh all over again the evidence presented by the parties during trial. [24]The
Courts jurisdiction is in principle limited to reviewing errors of law that might have been
It argues further that petitioners Assistant Manager, Mr. Rufo Atienza, could not be faulted committed by the Court of Appeals.[25] Moreover, factual findings of courts, when adopted
for allowing Doronilla to withdraw from the savings account of Sterela since the latter was and confirmed by the Court of Appeals, are final and conclusive on this Court unless these
the sole proprietor of said company. Petitioner asserts that Doronillas May 8, 1979 letter findings are not supported by the evidence on record. [26] There is no showing of any
addressed to the bank, authorizing Mrs. Vives and Sanchez to open a savings account for misapprehension of facts on the part of the Court of Appeals in the case at bar that would
Sterela, did not contain any authorization for these two to withdraw from said require this Court to review and overturn the factual findings of that court, especially since
account. Hence, the authority to withdraw therefrom remained exclusively with Doronilla, the conclusions of fact of the Court of Appeals and the trial court are not only consistent but
who was the sole proprietor of Sterela, and who alone had legal title to the savings are also amply supported by the evidence on record.
account.[17] Petitioner points out that no evidence other than the testimonies of private
respondent and Mrs. Vives was presented during trial to prove that private respondent No error was committed by the Court of Appeals when it ruled that the transaction between
deposited his P200,000.00 in Sterelas account for purposes of its incorporation.[18] Hence, private respondent and Doronilla was a commodatum and not a mutuum. A circumspect
petitioner should not be held liable for allowing Doronilla to withdraw from Sterelas savings examination of the records reveals that the transaction between them was
account. a commodatum. Article 1933 of the Civil Code distinguishes between the two kinds of loans
in this wise:
Petitioner also asserts that the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial courts decision
since the findings of fact therein were not accord with the evidence presented by petitioner By the contract of loan, one of the parties delivers to another, either something not
during trial to prove that the transaction between private respondent and Doronilla was consumable so that the latter may use the same for a certain time and return it, in which case
a mutuum, and that it committed no wrong in allowing Doronilla to withdraw from Sterelas the contract is called a commodatum; or money or other consumable thing, upon the
savings account.[19] condition that the same amount of the same kind and quality shall be paid, in which case the
contract is simply called a loan or mutuum.
Finally, petitioner claims that since there is no wrongful act or omission on its part, it is not
liable for the actual damages suffered by private respondent, and neither may it be held liable Commodatum is essentially gratuitous.
for moral and exemplary damages as well as attorneys fees. [20]
Simple loan may be gratuitous or with a stipulation to pay interest.
Private respondent, on the other hand, argues that the transaction between him and Doronilla
is not a mutuum but an accommodation,[21] since he did not actually part with the ownership In commodatum, the bailor retains the ownership of the thing loaned, while in simple loan,
of his P200,000.00 and in fact asked his wife to deposit said amount in the account of Sterela ownership passes to the borrower.
so that a certification can be issued to the effect that Sterela had sufficient funds for purposes
The foregoing provision seems to imply that if the subject of the contract is a consumable
of its incorporation but at the same time, he retained some degree of control over his money
thing, such as money, the contract would be a mutuum. However, there are some instances
through his wife who was made a signatory to the savings account and in whose possession
where a commodatum may have for its object a consumable thing. Article 1936 of the Civil
the savings account passbook was given.[22]
Code provides:
He likewise asserts that the trial court did not err in finding that petitioner, Atienzas
Consumable goods may be the subject of commodatum if the purpose of the contract is not
employer, is liable for the return of his money. He insists that Atienza, petitioners assistant
the consumption of the object, as when it is merely for exhibition.
manager, connived with Doronilla in defrauding private respondent since it was Atienza who

18 | P a g e
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Thus, if consumable goods are loaned only for purposes of exhibition, or when the intention found that Atienza allowed said withdrawals because he was party to Doronillas scheme of
of the parties is to lend consumable goods and to have the very same goods returned at the defrauding private respondent:
end of the period agreed upon, the loan is a commodatum and not a mutuum.
The rule is that the intention of the parties thereto shall be accorded primordial consideration
in determining the actual character of a contract.[27] In case of doubt, the contemporaneous But the scheme could not have been executed successfully without the knowledge, help and
and subsequent acts of the parties shall be considered in such determination. [28] cooperation of Rufo Atienza, assistant manager and cashier of the Makati (Buendia) branch
of the defendant bank. Indeed, the evidence indicates that Atienza had not only facilitated the
As correctly pointed out by both the Court of Appeals and the trial court, the evidence shows commission of the fraud but he likewise helped in devising the means by which it can be
that private respondent agreed to deposit his money in the savings account of Sterela done in such manner as to make it appear that the transaction was in accordance with
specifically for the purpose of making it appear that said firm had sufficient capitalization for banking procedure.
incorporation, with the promise that the amount shall be returned within thirty (30)
days.[29] Private respondent merely accommodated Doronilla by lending his money without To begin with, the deposit was made in defendants Buendia branch precisely because
consideration, as a favor to his good friend Sanchez. It was however clear to the parties to Atienza was a key officer therein. The records show that plaintiff had suggested that
the transaction that the money would not be removed from Sterelas savings account and the P200,000.00 be deposited in his bank, the Manila Banking Corporation, but Doronilla
would be returned to private respondent after thirty (30) days. and Dumagpi insisted that it must be in defendants branch in Makati for it will be easier for
them to get a certification. In fact before he was introduced to plaintiff, Doronilla had
Doronillas attempts to return to private respondent the amount of P200,000.00 which the already prepared a letter addressed to the Buendia branch manager authorizing Angeles B.
latter deposited in Sterelas account together with an additional P12,000.00, allegedly Sanchez and company to open a savings account for Sterela in the amount of P200,000.00, as
representing interest on the mutuum, did not convert the transaction from a commodatum into per coordination with Mr. Rufo Atienza, Assistant Manager of the Bank x x x (Exh. 1). This
a mutuum because such was not the intent of the parties and because the is a clear manifestation that the other defendants had been in consultation with Atienza from
additional P12,000.00 corresponds to the fruits of the lending of the P200,000.00. Article the inception of the scheme. Significantly, there were testimonies and admission that Atienza
1935 of the Civil Code expressly states that [t]he bailee in commodatum acquires the use of is the brother-in-law of a certain Romeo Mirasol, a friend and business associate of
the thing loaned but not its fruits. Hence, it was only proper for Doronilla to remit to private Doronilla.
respondent the interest accruing to the latters money deposited with petitioner.
Then there is the matter of the ownership of the fund. Because of the coordination between
Neither does the Court agree with petitioners contention that it is not solidarily liable for the Doronilla and Atienza, the latter knew before hand that the money deposited did not belong
return of private respondents money because it was not privy to the transaction between to Doronilla nor to Sterela. Aside from such foreknowledge, he was explicitly told by
Doronilla and private respondent. The nature of said transaction, that is, whether it is Inocencia Vives that the money belonged to her and her husband and the deposit was merely
a mutuum or a commodatum, has no bearing on the question of petitioners liability for the to accommodate Doronilla. Atienza even declared that the money came from Mrs. Vives.
return of private respondents money because the factual circumstances of the case clearly
show that petitioner, through its employee Mr. Atienza, was partly responsible for the loss of Although the savings account was in the name of Sterela, the bank records disclose that the
private respondents money and is liable for its restitution. only ones empowered to withdraw the same were Inocencia Vives and Angeles B.
Sanchez. In the signature card pertaining to this account (Exh. J), the authorized signatories
Petitioners rules for savings deposits written on the passbook it issued Mrs. Vives on behalf were Inocencia Vives &/or Angeles B. Sanchez. Atienza stated that it is the usual banking
of Sterela for Savings Account No. 10-1567 expressly states that procedure that withdrawals of savings deposits could only be made by persons whose
authorized signatures are in the signature cards on file with the bank. He, however, said that
2. Deposits and withdrawals must be made by the depositor personally or upon his written this procedure was not followed here because Sterela was owned by Doronilla. He explained
authority duly authenticated, and neither a deposit nor a withdrawal will be permitted that Doronilla had the full authority to withdraw by virtue of such ownership. The Court is
except upon the production of the depositor savings bank book in which will be entered not inclined to agree with Atienza. In the first place, he was all the time aware that the
by the Bank the amount deposited or withdrawn.[30] money came from Vives and did not belong to Sterela. He was also told by Mrs. Vives that
they were only accommodating Doronilla so that a certification can be issued to the effect
Said rule notwithstanding, Doronilla was permitted by petitioner, through Atienza, the that Sterela had a deposit of so much amount to be sued in the incorporation of the firm. In
Assistant Branch Manager for the Buendia Branch of petitioner, to withdraw therefrom even the second place, the signature of Doronilla was not authorized in so far as that account is
without presenting the passbook (which Atienza very well knew was in the possession of concerned inasmuch as he had not signed the signature card provided by the bank whenever
Mrs. Vives), not just once, but several times. Both the Court of Appeals and the trial court
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a deposit is opened. In the third place, neither Mrs. Vives nor Sanchez had given Doronilla Doronilla, a customer of the petitioner, were obviously done in furtherance of petitioners
the authority to withdraw. interests[34] even though in the process, Atienza violated some of petitioners rules such as
those stipulated in its savings account passbook.[35] It was established that the transfer of
Moreover, the transfer of fund was done without the passbook having been presented. It is an funds from Sterelas savings account to its current account could not have been accomplished
accepted practice that whenever a withdrawal is made in a savings deposit, the bank requires by Doronilla without the invaluable assistance of Atienza, and that it was their connivance
the presentation of the passbook. In this case, such recognized practice was dispensed which was the cause of private respondents loss.
with. The transfer from the savings account to the current account was without the
submission of the passbook which Atienza had given to Mrs. Vives. Instead, it was made to The foregoing shows that the Court of Appeals correctly held that under Article 2180 of the
appear in a certification signed by Estrella Dumagpi that a duplicate passbook was issued to Civil Code, petitioner is liable for private respondents loss and is solidarily liable with
Sterela because the original passbook had been surrendered to the Makati branch in view of a Doronilla and Dumagpi for the return of the P200,000.00 since it is clear that petitioner
loan accommodation assigning the savings account (Exh. C). Atienza, who undoubtedly had failed to prove that it exercised due diligence to prevent the unauthorized withdrawals from
a hand in the execution of this certification, was aware that the contents of the same are not Sterelas savings account, and that it was not negligent in the selection and supervision of
true. He knew that the passbook was in the hands of Mrs. Vives for he was the one who gave Atienza. Accordingly, no error was committed by the appellate court in the award of actual,
it to her. Besides, as assistant manager of the branch and the bank official servicing the moral and exemplary damages, attorneys fees and costs of suit to private respondent.
savings and current accounts in question, he also was aware that the original passbook was
never surrendered. He was also cognizant that Estrella Dumagpi was not among those WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. The assailed Decision and Resolution of
authorized to withdraw so her certification had no effect whatsoever. the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED.

The circumstance surrounding the opening of the current account also demonstrate that SO ORDERED.
Atienzas active participation in the perpetration of the fraud and deception that caused the
loss. The records indicate that this account was opened three days later after the P200,000.00
was deposited. In spite of his disclaimer, the Court believes that Atienza was mindful and
posted regarding the opening of the current account considering that Doronilla was all the
while in coordination with him. That it was he who facilitated the approval of the authority
to debit the savings account to cover any overdrawings in the current account (Exh. 2) is not
hard to comprehend.

Clearly Atienza had committed wrongful acts that had resulted to the loss subject of this
case. x x x.[31]

Under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, employers shall be held primarily and solidarily liable
for damages caused by their employees acting within the scope of their assigned tasks. To
hold the employer liable under this provision, it must be shown that an employer-employee
relationship exists, and that the employee was acting within the scope of his assigned task
when the act complained of was committed.[32] Case law in the United States of America has
it that a corporation that entrusts a general duty to its employee is responsible to the injured
party for damages flowing from the employees wrongful act done in the course of his general
authority, even though in doing such act, the employee may have failed in its duty to the
employer and disobeyed the latters instructions.[33]

There is no dispute that Atienza was an employee of petitioner. Furthermore, petitioner did
not deny that Atienza was acting within the scope of his authority as Assistant Branch
Manager when he assisted Doronilla in withdrawing funds from Sterelas Savings Account
No. 10-1567, in which account private respondents money was deposited, and in transferring
the money withdrawn to Sterelas Current Account with petitioner. Atienzas acts of helping

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6. G.R. No. 152040 March 31, 2006 Photographs6 of the damaged terrace were taken. Valdellon commissioned Engr. Jesus R.
Regal, Jr. to estimate the cost of repairs, inclusive of labor and painting, and the latter pegged
SUELTO, Petitioners,
vs. In a letter dated October 19, 1992 addressed to the bus company and Suelto, Valdellon
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and ERLINDA V. VALDELLON, Respondents. demanded payment of P148,440.00, within 10 days from receipt thereof, to cover the cost of
the damage to the terrace.8 The bus company and Suelto offered a P30,000.00 settlement
DECISION which Valdellon refused.9

CALLEJO, SR., J.: Valdellon filed a criminal complaint for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property
against Suelto. After the requisite preliminary investigation, an Information was filed with
Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the Decision1 of the Court of the RTC of Quezon City. The accusatory portion of the Information reads:
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 16739 affirming the Joint Decision of the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) in Criminal Case No. Q-93-42629 and Civil Case No. Q-93-16051, where That on or about the 3rd day of October 1992, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused,
Freddie Suelto was convicted of reckless imprudence resulting in damages to property. being then the driver and/or person in charge of a Marikina Auto Line bus bearing Plate No.
NVC-849, did then and there unlawfully, and feloniously drive, manage, and operate the
Erlinda V. Valdellon is the owner of a two-door commercial apartment located at No. 31 same along Kamias Road, in said City, in a careless, reckless, negligent, and imprudent
Kamias Road, Quezon City. The Marikina Auto Line Transport Corporation (MALTC) is the manner, by then and there making the said vehicle run at a speed greater than was reasonable
owner-operator of a passenger bus with Plate Number NCV-849. Suelto, its employee, was and proper without taking the necessary precaution to avoid accident to person/s and damage
assigned as the regular driver of the bus.2 to property, and considering the condition of the traffic at said place at the time, causing as a
consequence of his said carelessness, negligence, imprudence and lack of precaution, the
At around 2:00 p.m. on October 3, 1992, Suelto was driving the aforementioned passenger said vehicle so driven, managed and operated by him to hit and bump, as in fact it hit and
bus along Kamias Road, Kamuning, Quezon City, going towards Epifanio de los Santos bump a commercial apartment belonging to ERLINDA V. VALDELLON located at No. 31
Avenue (EDSA). The bus suddenly swerved to the right and struck the terrace of the Kamias Road, this City, thereby causing damages to said apartment in the total amount
commercial apartment owned by Valdellon located along Kamuning Road. 3 Upon of P171,088.46, Philippine Currency, to her damage and prejudice in the total amount
Valdellons request, the court ordered Sergio Pontiveros, the Senior Building Inspection aforementioned.
Officer of the City Engineers Office, to inspect the damaged terrace. Pontiveros submitted a
report enumerating and describing the damages: CONTRARY TO LAW.10
(1) The front exterior and the right side concrete columns of the covered terrace were Valdellon also filed a separate civil complaint against Suelto and the bus company for
vertically displaced from its original position causing exposure of the vertical reinforcement. damages. She prayed that after due proceedings, judgment be rendered in her favor, thus:
(2) The beams supporting the roof and parapet walls are found with cracks on top of the WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court to issue a writ of
displaced columns. preliminary attachment against the defendants upon approval of plaintiffs bond, and after
trial on the merits, to render a decision in favor of the plaintiff, ordering the defendants,
(3) The 6 CHB walls at [the] right side of the covered terrace were found with cracks jointly and severally, to pay
caused by this accident.
a) the total sum of P171,088.46 constituting the expenses for the repair of the damaged
(4) The front iron grills and concrete balusters were found totally damaged and the later [sic] apartment of plaintiff, with interests to be charged thereon at the legal rate from the date of
beyond repair.4 the formal demand until the whole obligation is fully paid;
He recommended that since the structural members made of concrete had been displaced, the b) the sum of not less than P20,000.00 each as compensatory and exemplary damages;
terrace would have to be demolished "to keep its monolithicness, and to insure the safety and
stability of the building."5 c) the sum of P20,000.00 as attorneys fees and the sum of P1,000.00 for each appearance of
plaintiffs counsel; and costs of suit;

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PLAINTIFF further prays for such other reliefs as may be just and equitable in the With respect to the civil liability, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff Erlinda
premises.11 Valdellon and against defendant Marikina Auto Line Transport Corporation and accused
Freddie Suelto, where both are ordered, jointly and severally, to pay plaintiff:
A joint trial of the two cases was ordered by the trial court.12
a. the sum of P150,000.00, as reasonable compensation sustained by plaintiff for her
The trial court conducted an ocular inspection of the damaged terrace, where defendants damaged apartment;
offered to have it repaired and restored to its original state. Valdellon, however, disagreed
because she wanted the building demolished to give way for the construction of a new one. 13 b. the sum of P20,000.00, as compensatory and exemplary damages;

During the trial, Valdellon testified on the damage caused to the terrace of her apartment, c. the sum of P20,000.00, as attorneys fees; and,
and, in support thereof, adduced in evidence a receipt for P35,000.00, dated October 20,
1993, issued by the BB Construction and Steel Fabricator for "carpentry, masonry, welding d. the costs of suit.
job and electrical [work]."14
Pontiveros of the Office of the City Engineer testified that there was a need to change the
column of the terrace, but that the building should also be demolished because "if concrete is MALTC and Suelto, now appellants, appealed the decision to the CA, alleging that the
destroyed, [one] cannot have it restored to its original position." 15 prosecution failed to prove Sueltos guilt beyond reasonable doubt. They averred that the
prosecution merely relied on Valdellon, who testified only on the damage caused to the
Engr. Jesus Regal, Jr., the proprietor of the SSP Construction, declared that he inspected the terrace of her apartment which appellants also alleged was excessive. Appellant Suelto
terrace and estimated the cost of repairs, including labor, at P171,088.46. further alleged that he should be acquitted in the criminal case for the prosecutions failure to
prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. He maintained that, in an emergency case, he was
Suelto testified that at 2:00 p.m. on October 3, 1992, he was driving the bus on its way to not, in law, negligent. Even if the appellate court affirmed his conviction, the penalty of
Ayala Avenue, Makati, Metro Manila. When he reached the corner of K-H Street at Kamias imprisonment imposed on him by the trial court is contrary to law.
Road, Quezon City, a passenger jeepney suddenly crossed from EDSA going to V. Luna and
swerved to the lane occupied by the bus. Suelto had to swerve the bus to the right upon In its Brief for the People of the Philippines, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG)
which it hit the side front of the terrace of Valdellons two-door apartment.16 Based on his submitted that the appealed decision should be affirmed with modification. On Sueltos
estimate, the cost to the damage on the terrace of the apartment amounted claim that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt for the crime of reckless imprudence
to P40,000.00.17 On cross-examination, Suelto declared that he saw the passenger jeepney resulting in damage to property, the OSG contended that, applying the principle of res ipsa
when it was a meter away from the bus. Before then, he had seen some passenger jeepneys loquitur, the prosecution was able to prove that he drove the bus with negligence and
on the right trying to overtake one another.18 recklessness. The OSG averred that the prosecution was able to prove that Sueltos act of
swerving the bus to the right was the cause of damage to the terrace of Valdellons
Architect Arnulfo Galapate testified that the cost of the repair of the damaged terrace apartment, and in the absence of an explanation to the contrary, the accident was evidently
amounted to P55,000.00.19 due to appellants want of care. Consequently, the OSG posited, the burden was on the
appellant to prove that, in swerving the bus to the right, he acted on an emergency, and failed
On April 28, 1994, the trial court rendered judgment finding Suelto guilty beyond reasonable to discharge this burden. However, the OSG averred that the trial court erred in sentencing
doubt of reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property, and ordered MALTC and appellant to a straight penalty of one year, and recommended a penalty of fine.
Suelto to pay, jointly and severally, P150,000.00 to Valdellon, by way of actual and
compensatory damages, as well as attorneys fees and costs of suit. The fallo of the decision On June 20, 2000, the CA rendered judgment affirming the decision of the trial court, but the
reads: award for actual damages was reduced to P100,000.00. The fallo of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, finding the accused FREDDIE SUELTO Y LIWAG guilty beyond WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision dated April 28, 1994, rendered by the
reasonable doubt of the crime of Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property, said court a quo is AFFIRMED with the modification that the sum of P150,000.00 as
accused is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment of ONE (1) YEAR. compensation sustained by the plaintiff-appellee for her damaged apartment be reduced
to P100,000.00 without pronouncement as to costs.

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Appellants filed a Motion for Reconsideration, but the CA denied the same. 22 [O]ne who suddenly finds himself in a place of danger, and is required to act without time to
consider the best means that may be adopted to avoid the impending danger, is not guilty of
MALTC and Suelto, now petitioners, filed the instant petition reiterating its submissions in negligence if he fails to adopt what subsequently and upon reflection may appear to have
the CA: (a) the prosecution failed to prove the crime charged against petitioner Suelto; (b) been a better method unless the emergency in which he finds himself is brought about by his
the prosecution failed to adduce evidence to prove that respondent suffered actual damages own negligence.
in the amount of P100,000.00; and (c) the trial court erred in sentencing petitioner Suelto to
one (1) year prison term. Under Section 37 of Republic Act No. 4136, as amended, otherwise known as the Land
Transportation and Traffic Code, motorists are mandated to drive and operate vehicles on the
On the first issue, petitioners aver that the prosecution was mandated to prove that petitioner right side of the road or highway:
Suelto acted with recklessness in swerving the bus to the right thereby hitting the terrace of
private respondents apartment. However, the prosecution failed to discharge its burden. On SEC. 37. Driving on right side of highway. Unless a different course of action is required
the other hand, petitioner Suelto was able to prove that he acted in an emergency when a in the interest of the safety and the security of life, person or property, or because of
passenger jeepney coming from EDSA towards the direction of the bus overtook another unreasonable difficulty of operation in compliance herewith, every person operating a motor
vehicle and, in the process, intruded into the lane of the bus. vehicle or an animal-drawn vehicle on a highway shall pass to the right when meeting
persons or vehicles coming toward him, and to the left when overtaking persons or vehicles
On the second issue, petitioners insist that private respondent was able to prove only the going the same direction, and when turning to the left in going from one highway to another,
amount of P35,000.00 by way of actual damages; hence, the award of P100,000.00 is barren every vehicle shall be conducted to the right of the center of the intersection of the highway.
of factual basis.
Section 35 of the law provides, thus:
On the third issue, petitioner Suelto posits that the straight penalty of imprisonment
recommended by the trial court, and affirmed by the CA, is contrary to Article 365 of the Sec. 35. Restriction as to speed.(a) Any person driving a motor vehicle on a highway shall
Revised Penal Code. drive the same at a careful and prudent speed, not greater nor less than is reasonable and
proper, having due regard for the traffic, the width of the highway, and of any other
The petition is partially granted. condition then and there existing; and no person shall drive any motor vehicle upon a
highway at such a speed as to endanger the life, limb and property of any person, nor at a
On the first issue, we find and so resolve that respondent People of the Philippines was able speed greater than will permit him to bring the vehicle to a stop within the assured clear
to prove beyond reasonable doubt that petitioner Suelto swerved the bus to the right with distance ahead (emphasis supplied).
recklessness, thereby causing damage to the terrace of private respondents apartment.
Although she did not testify to seeing the incident as it happened, petitioner Suelto himself In relation thereto, Article 2185 of the New Civil Code provides that "unless there is proof to
admitted this in his answer to the complaint in Civil Case No. Q-93-16051, and when he the contrary, it is presumed that a person driving a motor vehicle has been negligent, if at the
testified in the trial court. time of mishap, he was violating any traffic regulation." By his own admission, petitioner
Suelto violated the Land Transportation and Traffic Code when he suddenly swerved the bus
Suelto narrated that he suddenly swerved the bus to the right of the road causing it to hit the to the right, thereby causing damage to the property of private respondent.
column of the terrace of private respondent. Petitioners were burdened to prove that the
damage to the terrace of private respondent was not the fault of petitioner Suelto. However, the trial court correctly rejected petitioner Sueltos defense, in light of his
contradictory testimony vis--vis his Counter-Affidavit submitted during the preliminary
We have reviewed the evidence on record and find that, as ruled by the trial court and the investigation:
appellate court, petitioners failed to prove that petitioner acted on an emergency caused by
the sudden intrusion of a passenger jeepney into the lane of the bus he was driving. It is clear from the photographs submitted by the prosecution (Exhs. C, D, G, H & I) that the
commercial apartment of Dr. Valdellon sustained heavy damage caused by the bus being
It was the burden of petitioners herein to prove petitioner Sueltos defense that he acted on driven by Suelto. "It seems highly improbable that the said damages were not caused by a
an emergency, that is, he had to swerve the bus to the right to avoid colliding with a strong impact. And, it is quite reasonable to conclude that, at the time of the impact, the bus
passenger jeep coming from EDSA that had overtaken another vehicle and intruded into the was traveling at a high speed when Suelto tried to avoid the passenger jeepney." Such a
lane of the bus. The sudden emergency rule was enunciated by this Court in Gan v. Court of conclusion finds support in the decision of the Supreme Court in People vs. Ison, 173 SCRA
Appeals,23 thus: 118, where the Court stated that "physical evidence is of the highest order. It speaks more
eloquently than a hundred witnesses." The pictures submitted do not lie, having been taken
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immediately after the incident. The damages could not have been caused except by a of P150,000.00 as compensation sustained by the plaintiff-appellee for her damaged
speeding bus. Had the accused not been speeding, he could have easily reduced his speed apartment is an unconscionable amount.
and come to a full stop when he noticed the jeep. Were he more prudent in driving, he could
have avoided the incident or even if he could not avoid the incident, the damages would have The damaged portions of the apartment in question are not disputed.
been less severe.
Considering the aforesaid damages which are the direct result of the accident, the reasonable,
In addition to this, the accused has made conflicting statements in his counter-affidavit and and adequate compensation due is hereby fixed at P100,000.00.25
his testimony in court. In the former, he stated that the reason why he swerved to the right
was because he wanted to avoid the passenger jeepney in front of him that made a sudden Under Article 2199 of the New Civil Code, actual damages include all the natural and
stop. But, in his testimony in court, he said that it was to avoid a passenger jeepney coming probable consequences of the act or omission complained of, classified as one for the loss of
from EDSA that was overtaking by occupying his lane. Such glaring inconsistencies on what a person already possesses (dao emergente) and the other, for the failure to receive, as
material points render the testimony of the witness doubtful and shatter his credibility. a benefit, that which would have pertained to him (lucro cesante). As expostulated by the
Furthermore, the variance between testimony and prior statements renders the witness Court in PNOC Shipping and Transport Corporation v. Court of Appeals: 26
unreliable. Such inconsistency results in the loss in the credibility of the witness and his
testimony as to his prudence and diligence. Under Article 2199 of the Civil Code, actual or compensatory damages are those awarded in
satisfaction of, or in recompense for, loss or injury sustained. They proceed from a sense of
As already maintained and concluded, the severe damages sustained could not have resulted natural justice and are designed to repair the wrong that has been done, to compensate for the
had the accused acted as a reasonable and prudent man would. The accused was not diligent injury inflicted and not to impose a penalty. In actions based on torts or quasi-delicts, actual
as he claims to be. What is more probable is that the accused had to swerve to the right and damages include all the natural and probable consequences of the act or omission
hit the commercial apartment of the plaintiff because he could not make a full stop as he was complained of. There are two kinds of actual or compensatory damages: one is the loss of
driving too fast in a usually crowded street.24 what a person already possesses (dao emergente), and the other is the failure to receive as a
benefit that which would have pertained to him (lucro cesante). 27
Moreover, if the claim of petitioners were true, they should have filed a third-party complaint
against the driver of the offending passenger jeepney and the owner/operator thereof. The burden of proof is on the party who would be defeated if no evidence would be
presented on either side. The burden is to establish ones case by a preponderance of
Petitioner Sueltos reliance on the sudden emergency rule to escape conviction for the crime evidence which means that the evidence, as a whole, adduced by one side, is superior to that
charged and his civil liabilities based thereon is, thus, futile. of the other. Actual damages are not presumed. The claimant must prove the actual amount
of loss with a reasonable degree of certainty premised upon competent proof and on the best
On the second issue, we agree with the contention of petitioners that respondents failed to evidence obtainable. Specific facts that could afford a basis for measuring whatever
prove that the damages to the terrace caused by the incident amounted to P100,000.00. The compensatory or actual damages are borne must be pointed out. Actual damages cannot be
only evidence adduced by respondents to prove actual damages claimed by private anchored on mere surmises, speculations or conjectures. As the Court declared:
respondent were the summary computation of damage made by Engr. Jesus R. Regal, Jr.
amounting to P171,088.46 and the receipt issued by the BB Construction and Steel As stated at the outset, to enable an injured party to recover actual or compensatory damages,
Fabricator to private respondent for P35,000.00 representing cost for carpentry works, he is required to prove the actual amount of loss with reasonable degree of certainty
masonry, welding, and electrical works. Respondents failed to present Regal to testify on his premised upon competent proof and on the best evidence available. The burden of proof is
estimation. In its five-page decision, the trial court awarded P150,000.00 as actual damages on the party who would be defeated if no evidence would be presented on either side. He
to private respondent but failed to state the factual basis for such award. Indeed, the trial must establish his case by a preponderance of evidence which means that the evidence, as a
court merely declared in the decretal portion of its decision that the "sum of P150,000.00 as whole, adduced by one side is superior to that of the other. In other words, damages cannot
reasonable compensation sustained by plaintiff for her damaged apartment." The appellate be presumed and courts, in making an award, must point out specific facts that could afford a
court, for its part, failed to explain how it arrived at the amount of P100,000.00 in its three- basis for measuring whatever compensatory or actual damages are borne. 28
page decision. Thus, the appellate court merely declared:
The Court further declared that "where goods are destroyed by the wrongful act of defendant,
With respect to the civil liability of the appellants, they contend that there was no urgent the plaintiff is entitled to their value at the time of the destruction, that is, normally, the sum
necessity to completely demolish the apartment in question considering the nature of the of money which he would have to pay in the market for identical or essentially similar
damages sustained as a result of the accident. Consequently, appellants continue, the award goods, plus in a proper case, damages for the loss of the use during the period before
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While claimants bare testimonial assertions in support of their claims for damages should Any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall commit an act which would,
not be discarded altogether, however, the same should be admitted with extreme caution. otherwise, constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium
Their testimonies should be viewed in light of claimants self-interest, hence, should not be and maximum periods; if it would have constituted a less serious felony, the penalty of
taken as gospel truth. Such assertion should be buttressed by independent evidence. In the arresto mayor in its minimum period shall be imposed.
language of the Court:
When the execution of the act covered by this article shall have only resulted in damage to
For this reason, Del Rosarios claim that private respondent incurred losses in the total the property of another, the offender shall be punished by a fine ranging from an amount
amount of P6,438,048.00 should be admitted with extreme caution considering that, because equal to the value of said damages to three times such value, but which shall in no case be
it was a bare assertion, it should be supported by independent evidence. Moreover, because less than 25 pesos.
he was the owner of private respondent corporation whatever testimony he would give with
regard to the value of the lost vessel, its equipment and cargoes should be viewed in the light A fine not exceeding two hundred pesos and censure shall be imposed upon any person who,
of his self-interest therein. We agree with the Court of Appeals that his testimony as to the by simple imprudence or negligence, shall cause some wrong which, if done maliciously,
equipment installed and the cargoes loaded on the vessel should be given credence would have constituted a light felony.
considering his familiarity thereto. However, we do not subscribe to the conclusion that his
valuation of such equipment, cargo, and the vessel itself should be accepted as gospel truth. In the imposition of these penalties, the courts shall exercise their sound discretion, without
We must, therefore, examine the documentary evidence presented to support Del Rosarios regard to the rules prescribed in Article 64 (Emphasis supplied).
claim as regards the amount of losses.30
In the present case, the only damage caused by petitioner Sueltos act was to the terrace of
An estimate of the damage cost will not suffice: private respondents apartment, costing P55,000.00. Consequently, petitioners contention
that the CA erred in awarding P100,000.00 by way of actual damages to private respondent
Private respondents failed to adduce adequate and competent proof of the pecuniary loss they is correct. We agree that private respondent is entitled to exemplary damages, and find that
actually incurred. It is not enough that the damage be capable of proof but must be actually the award given by the trial court, as affirmed by the CA, is reasonable. Considering the
proved with a reasonable degree of certainty, pointing out specific facts that afford a basis attendant circumstances, we rule that private respondent Valdellon is entitled to
for measuring whatever compensatory damages are borne. Private respondents merely only P20,000.00 by way of exemplary damages.
sustained an estimated amount needed for the repair of the roof of their subject building.
What is more, whether the necessary repairs were caused only by petitioners alleged IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The joint
negligence in the maintenance of its school building, or included the ordinary wear and tear decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City is AFFIRMED WITH THE
of the house itself, is an essential question that remains indeterminable.31 MODIFICATION that petitioner Suelto is sentenced to pay a fine of P55,000.00 with
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. Petitioners are ORDERED to pay to Erlinda
We note, however, that petitioners adduced evidence that, in their view, the cost of the V. Valdellon, jointly and severally, the total amount of P55,000.00 by way of actual
damage to the terrace of private respondent would amount to P55,000.00.32 Accordingly, damages, and P20,000.00 by way of exemplary damages.
private respondent is entitled to P55,000.00 actual damages.
No pronouncement as to costs.
We also agree with petitioner Sueltos contention that the trial court erred in sentencing him
to suffer a straight penalty of one (1) year. This is so because under the third paragraph of SO ORDERED.
Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code, the offender must be sentenced to pay a fine when
the execution of the act shall have only resulted in damage to property. The said provision
reads in full:

ART. 365. Imprudence and negligence. Any person who, by reckless imprudence, shall
commit any act which, had it been intentional, would constitute a grave felony, shall suffer
the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period, to prision correccional in its medium
period; if it would have constituted a less grave felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its
minimum and medium periods shall be imposed; if it would have constituted a light felony,
the penalty of arresto menor in its maximum period shall be imposed.

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Not satisfied therewith, private respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals which, in a decision 3
7. G.R. No. 95582 October 7, 1991 in CA-G.R. CV No. 19504
promulgated on August 14, 1990, set aside the decision of the lower court, and ordered
DANGWA TRANSPORTATION CO., INC. and THEODORE LARDIZABAL y petitioners to pay private respondents:
MALECDAN, petitioners,
vs. 1. The sum of Thirty Thousand (P30,000.00) Pesos by way of indemnity for death of the
DANTE CUDIAMAT, SAMUEL CUDIAMAT and LIGAYA CUDIAMAT, all Heirs of 2. The sum of Twenty Thousand (P20,000.00) by way of moral damages;
the late Pedrito Cudiamat represented by Inocencia Cudiamat, respondents.
3. The sum of Two Hundred Eighty Eight Thousand (P288,000.00) Pesos as actual and
Francisco S. Reyes Law Office for petitioners. compensatory damages;
Antonio C. de Guzman for private respondents.
4. The costs of this suit. 4
REGALADO, J.: Petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied by the Court of Appeals in its resolution dated October 4, 1990, 5
hence this
On May 13, 1985, private respondents filed a complaint 1 for damages against petitioners for petition with the central issue herein being whether respondent court erred in reversing the
the death of Pedrito Cudiamat as a result of a vehicular accident which occurred on March decision of the trial court and in finding petitioners negligent and liable for the damages
25, 1985 at Marivic, Sapid, Mankayan, Benguet. Among others, it was alleged that on said claimed.
date, while petitioner Theodore M. Lardizabal was driving a passenger bus belonging to
petitioner corporation in a reckless and imprudent manner and without due regard to traffic It is an established principle that the factual findings of the Court of Appeals as a rule are
rules and regulations and safety to persons and property, it ran over its passenger, Pedrito final and may not be reviewed by this Court on appeal. However, this is subject to settled
Cudiamat. However, instead of bringing Pedrito immediately to the nearest hospital, the said exceptions, one of which is when the findings of the appellate court are contrary to those of
driver, in utter bad faith and without regard to the welfare of the victim, first brought his the trial court, in which case a reexamination of the facts and evidence may be undertaken. 6
other passengers and cargo to their respective destinations before banging said victim to the
Lepanto Hospital where he expired. In the case at bar, the trial court and the Court of Appeal have discordant positions as to who between the petitioners an the victim is guilty of
negligence. Perforce, we have had to conduct an evaluation of the evidence in this case for the prope calibration of their conflicting factual
On the other hand, petitioners alleged that they had observed and continued to observe the
findings and legal conclusions.
extraordinary diligence required in the operation of the transportation company and the
The lower court, in declaring that the victim was negligent, made the following findings:
supervision of the employees, even as they add that they are not absolute insurers of the
safety of the public at large. Further, it was alleged that it was the victim's own carelessness
This Court is satisfied that Pedrito Cudiamat was negligent in trying to board a moving vehicle, especially with one of his hands holding an
and negligence which gave rise to the subject incident, hence they prayed for the dismissal of
umbrella. And, without having given the driver or the conductor any indication that he wishes to board the bus. But defendants can also be
the complaint plus an award of damages in their favor by way of a counterclaim. found wanting of the necessary diligence. In this connection, it is safe to assume that when the deceased Cudiamat attempted to board
defendants' bus, the vehicle's door was open instead of being closed. This should be so, for it is hard to believe that one would even attempt to
On July 29, 1988, the trial court rendered a decision, effectively in favor of petitioners, with
board a vehicle (i)n motion if the door of said vehicle is closed. Here lies the defendant's lack of diligence. Under such circumstances, equity
this decretal portion:
demands that there must be something given to the heirs of the victim to assuage their feelings. This, also considering that initially, defendant
common carrier had made overtures to amicably settle the case. It did offer a certain monetary consideration to the victim's heirs. 7
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby pronounced that Pedrito
Cudiamat was negligent, which negligence was the proximate cause of his death.
However, respondent court, in arriving at a different opinion, declares that:
Nonetheless, defendants in equity, are hereby ordered to pay the heirs of Pedrito Cudiamat
the sum of P10,000.00 which approximates the amount defendants initially offered said heirs
for the amicable settlement of the case. No costs.
From the testimony of appellees'own witness in the person of Vitaliano Safarita, it is evident that the subject bus was at full stop when the
SO ORDERED. victim Pedrito Cudiamat boarded the same as it was precisely on this instance where a certain Miss Abenoja alighted from the bus. Moreover,
contrary to the assertion of the appellees, the victim did indicate his intention to board the bus as can be seen from the testimony of the said
witness when he declared that Pedrito Cudiamat was no longer walking and made a sign to board the bus when the latter was still at a distance

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from him. It was at the instance when Pedrito Cudiamat was closing his umbrella at the platform of the bus when the latter made a sudden jerk increasing the peril to a passenger while he was attempting to board the same. The premature acceleration of the bus in this case was a breach
movement (as) the driver commenced to accelerate the bus. of such duty. 11
It is the duty of common carriers of passengers, including common carriers by railroad train, streetcar, or motorbus, to stop their conveyances a
Evidently, the incident took place due to the gross negligence of the appellee-driver in prematurely stepping on the accelerator and in not reasonable length of time in order to afford passengers an opportunity to board and enter, and they are liable for injuries suffered by boarding
waiting for the passenger to first secure his seat especially so when we take into account that the platform of the bus was at the time slippery passengers resulting from the sudden starting up or jerking of their conveyances while they are doing so. 12
and wet because of a drizzle. The defendants-appellees utterly failed to observe their duty and obligation as common carrier to the end that they Further, even assuming that the bus was moving, the act of the victim in boarding the same cannot be considered negligent under the
should observe extra-ordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods and for the safety of the passengers transported by them according to circumstances. As clearly explained in the testimony of the aforestated witness for petitioners, Virginia Abalos, th bus had "just started" and
the circumstances of each case (Article 1733, New Civil Code).8 "was still in slow motion" at the point where the victim had boarded and was on its platform. 13
It is not negligence per se, or as a matter of law, for one attempt to board a train or streetcar which is moving slowly. 14
An ordinarily
After a careful review of the evidence on record, we find no reason to disturb the above holding of the Court of Appeals. Its aforesaid findings
prudent person would have made the attempt board the moving conveyance under the same
are supported by the testimony of petitioners' own witnesses. One of them, Virginia Abalos, testified on cross-examination as follows:
or similar circumstances. The fact that passengers board and alight from slowly moving
vehicle is a matter of common experience both the driver and conductor in this case could
not have been unaware of such an ordinary practice.
Q It is not a fact Madam witness, that at bunkhouse 54, that is before the place of the incident, there is a crossing?
The victim herein, by stepping and standing on the platform of the bus, is already considered
A The way going to the mines but it is not being pass(ed) by the bus.
a passenger and is entitled all the rights and protection pertaining to such a contractual
Q And the incident happened before bunkhouse 56, is that not correct?
relation. Hence, it has been held that the duty which the carrier passengers owes to its
patrons extends to persons boarding cars as well as to those alighting therefrom. 15
A It happened between 54 and 53 bunkhouses. 9
Common carriers, from the nature of their business and reasons of public policy, are bound to observe extraordina diligence for the safety of
the passengers transported by the according to all the circumstances of each case. 16
The bus conductor, Martin Anglog, also declared: A common carrier is bound to carry
the passengers safely as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost
diligence very cautious persons, with a due regard for all the circumstances. 17
Q When you arrived at Lepanto on March 25, 1985, will you please inform this Honorable Court if there was anv unusual incident that
occurred? It has also been repeatedly held that in an action based on a contract of carriage, the court need not make an express finding of fault or

A When we delivered a baggage at Marivic because a person alighted there between Bunkhouse 53 and 54. negligence on the part of the carrier in order to hold it responsible to pay the damages sought by the passenger. By contract of carriage, the

Q What happened when you delivered this passenger at this particular place in Lepanto? carrier assumes the express obligation to transport the passenger to his destination safely and observe extraordinary diligence with a due regard

A When we reached the place, a passenger alighted and I signalled my driver. When we stopped we went out because I saw an umbrella about for all the circumstances, and any injury that might be suffered by the passenger is right away attributable to the fault or negligence of the

a split second and I signalled again the driver, so the driver stopped and we went down and we saw Pedrito Cudiamat asking for help because carrier. This is an exception to the general rule that negligence must be proved, and it is therefore incumbent upon the carrier to prove that it

he was lying down. has exercised extraordinary diligence as prescribed in Articles 1733 and 1755 of the Civil Code. 18

Q How far away was this certain person, Pedrito Cudiamat, when you saw him lying down from the bus how far was he?
Moreover, the circumstances under which the driver and the conductor failed to bring the gravely injured victim immediately to the hospital for
A It is about two to three meters.
medical treatment is a patent and incontrovertible proof of their negligence. It defies understanding and can even be stigmatized as callous
Q On what direction of the bus was he found about three meters from the bus, was it at the front or at the back?
indifference. The evidence shows that after the accident the bus could have forthwith turned at Bunk 56 and thence to the hospital, but its
driver instead opted to first proceed to Bunk 70 to allow a passenger to alight and to deliver a refrigerator, despite the serious condition of the
A At the back, sir. 10 (Emphasis supplied.)
victim. The vacuous reason given by petitioners that it was the wife of the deceased who caused the delay was tersely and correctly confuted by
respondent court:
The foregoing testimonies show that the place of the accident and the place where one of the passengers alighted were both between
Bunkhouses 53 and 54, hence the finding of the Court of Appeals that the bus was at full stop when the victim boarded the same is correct.
... The pretension of the appellees that the delay was due to the fact that they had to wait for about twenty minutes for Inocencia Cudiamat to
They further confirm the conclusion that the victim fell from the platform of the bus when it suddenly accelerated forward and was run over by
get dressed deserves scant consideration. It is rather scandalous and deplorable for a wife whose husband is at the verge of dying to have the
the rear right tires of the vehicle, as shown by the physical evidence on where he was thereafter found in relation to the bus when it stopped.
luxury of dressing herself up for about twenty minutes before attending to help her distressed and helpless husband. 19
Under such circumstances, it cannot be said that the deceased was guilty of negligence.

Further, it cannot be said that the main intention of petitioner Lardizabal in going to Bunk 70 was to inform the victim's family of the mishap,
The contention of petitioners that the driver and the conductor had no knowledge that the victim would ride on the bus, since the latter had
since it was not said bus driver nor the conductor but the companion of the victim who informed his family thereof. 20
supposedly not manifested his intention to board the same, does not merit consideration. When the bus is not in motion there is no necessity for
In fact, it was
a person who wants to ride the same to signal his intention to board. A public utility bus, once it stops, is in effect making a continuous offer to
only after the refrigerator was unloaded that one of the passengers thought of sending
bus riders. Hence, it becomes the duty of the driver and the conductor, every time the bus stops, to do no act that would have the effect of

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somebody to the house of the victim, as shown by the testimony of Virginia Abalos again, to 8. G.R. No. L-69666 January 23, 1992
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
Q Why, what happened to your refrigerator at that particular time? vs.
GUMERCINDO QUILATON y EBAROLA, defendant-appellant.
A I asked them to bring it down because that is the nearest place to our house and when I
went down and asked somebody to bring down the refrigerator, I also asked somebody to The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
call the family of Mr. Cudiamat.
Public Attorney's Office for accused-appellant
Q Why did you ask somebody to call the family of Mr. Cudiamat?
Appellant Gumercindo Quilaton was found guilty of murder and sentenced to suffer the
A Because Mr. Cudiamat met an accident, so I ask somebody to call for the family of Mr. penalty of reclusion perpetua, and required to pay the heirs of the offended party
Cudiamat. various amounts of money.

Q But nobody ask(ed) you to call for the family of Mr. Cudiamat? Appellant was tried and convicted under the following information:

A No sir. 21 That on or about the 16th day of August, 1983, in the municipality of San Simon, province of
Pampanga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
With respect to the award of damages, an oversight was, however, committed by respondent Court of Appeals in computing the actual damages
based on the gross income of the victim. The rule is that the amount recoverable by the heirs of a victim of a tort is not the loss of the entire
armed with a knife (balisong), with deliberate intent to kill, by means of treachery and with
earnings, but rather the loss of that portion of the earnings which the beneficiary would have received. In other words, only net earnings, not
evident premeditation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack,
gross earnings, are to be considered, that is, the total of the earnings less expenses necessary in the creation of such earnings or income and
assault and wound ROLANDO S. MANAHAN, thereby inflicting upon him serious and fatal
minus living and other incidental expenses. 22
injuries, which directly caused the death of the said Rolando S. Manahan.
We are of the opinion that the deductible living and other expense of the deceased may fairly and reasonably be fixed at P500.00 a month or
All contrary to law. 1
P6,000.00 a year. In adjudicating the actual or compensatory damages, respondent court found that the deceased was 48 years old, in good
health with a remaining productive life expectancy of 12 years, and then earning P24,000.00 a year. Using the gross annual income as the
Appellant pleaded not guilty on arraignment and the case proceeded to trial. In time, the trial
basis, and multiplying the same by 12 years, it accordingly awarded P288,000. Applying the aforestated rule on computation based on the net
court rendered adecision with the following dispositive portion:
earnings, said award must be, as it hereby is, rectified and reduced to P216,000.00. However, in accordance with prevailing jurisprudence, the
death indemnity is hereby increased to P50,000.00. 23 WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby finds the accused GUMERCINDO
QUILATON yERABOLA, also known as Roberto Sandoval guilty beyond reasonable doubt
of the crime of Murder as charged in the Information and hereby sentences him to suffer the
penalty of Reclusion Perpetua.
WHEREFORE, subject to the above modifications, the challenged judgment and resolution of respondent Court of Appeals are hereby
AFFIRMED in all other respects.
The Court further sentences him to indemnify the heirs of Rolando S. Manahan the sum of
One Hundred Thousand (P100,000.00) Pesos, Philippine Currency, for the death of Rolando
S. Manahan, the sum of Twenty Six Thousand Four Hundred Forty Five (P26,445.00) Pesos,
Philippine Currency, for actual damages incurred for burial and other expenses of the
deceased, the sum of Two Hundred Fifty Thousand (P250,000.00) Pesos, Philippine
Currency, for moral damages. The Court further orders the accused to pay the costs.


Appellant has assigned the following errors in his brief:

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1. The court a quo gravely erred in not finding that the victim was armed with a bladed A post mortem examination of the cadaver of Rolando Manahan was conducted by Dra.
weapon and was the aggressor. Maria Theresa Santos, Municipal Health Officer of San Simon, Pampanga. Dra. Santos'
report indicated that Rolando Manahan sustained seven (7) wounds, two (2) of which,
2. The court a quo gravely erred in finding that the killing of the victim was qualified by located in the chest, were fatal. 5
Appellant submitted a different version of the facts. He alleged that on the night of 16
3. The court a quo gravely erred in not finding that the accused-appellant acted in self- August 1983 when he left the PROFEM office, he became alarmed upon noting that Rolando
defense. 3 Manahan was following him. Appellant quickened his steps but because the road was
slippery, he fell on the ground with the bag he was carrying, and his shoes spilled onto the
The evidence for the prosecution discloses that the appellant was a laborer in the Bureau of road. Rolando Manahan kicked his shoes away and continued walking. As Rolando Manahan
Forest Development assigned at the PROFEM Nursery in San Agustin, San Simon, came nearer, appellant ran away only to be stopped in a fenced area. Rolando Manahan there
Pampanga until 3 June 1983 when his services were terminated. While still a laborer and attacked him with a bladed weapon but appellant was able to wrest possession of the bladed
occasionally after his termination, appellant would spend the night in one of the rooms of the weapon. Appellant then instinctively stabbed Rolando Manahan until the latter died.
PROFEM office. The PROFEM office, it seemed, was converted by appellant into sleeping Appellant claims that after the incident, he walked towards Apalit, Pampanga to surrender as
quarters during the night. he did not know where the municipal building of San Simon, Pampanga was. He was on his
way to surrender when the police authorities arrested him. 6
On 16 August 1983, between the hours of 6:00 and 9:00 o'clock in the evening, Rolando
Manahan, then officer-in-charge of the PROFEM, called for appellant to see Manahan at the The principal contention of appellant is that he had acted in self-defense when he stabbed
latter's office. Appellant, who was around the PROFEM office at that time, refused to see Rolando Manahan to death. He imputes unlawful aggression to Rolando Manahan who, he
Manahan at his office. Rolando Manahan came out of his office and proceeded to admonish claims, deeply resented him as a cumulative result of antecedent events namely: (1) Rolando
appellant to discontinue his practice of sleeping inside the office, sometimes with women Manahan had been reprimanded for his inaction on the report that had reached the Central
brought from the town. Appellant was reported to have replied: "yes, sir, and from now on I Office that appellant was bringing girls during the night inside the PROFEM office; and (2)
will not bring girls inside the office." A heated exchange of words then ensued between Rolando Manahan, as officer-in-charge of the PROFEM, was humiliated by appellant's lack
Rolando Manahan and appellant. of respect in refusing to see the former at his office. Thus, according to appellant, Rolando
Manahan pursued him even as he had left the PROFEM office during the night of 16 August
Appellant who remained outside the office later requested Lamberto Abugan, an employee 1983.
of the PROFEM, to give him his (appellant's) bag of clothes which had been left inside the
room. Lamberto Abugan initially refused, but on instructions of Rolando Manahan, By invoking self-defense as a justifying circumstance, appellant in effect admitted that he
complied. With his bag of clothes, appellant left the office. had indeed killed Rolando Manahan. In order that he may be relieved of criminal liability, he
is obliged to establish the presence of the following requisites: (1) unlawful aggression; (2)
Rolando Manahan, however, decided to follow appellant, apparently to make certain that reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it; and (3) lack of sufficient
appellant would in fact leave the premises of the Nursery. Lamberto Abugan, who had provocation on the part of the person defending himself. 7 In so doing, appellant must rely on
noticed Rolando Manahan leave the office, also went out to look after them. Lamberto the strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of that of the prosecution for even
Abugan caught up with the two (2) at the provincial road where he saw Rolando Manahan if the prosecution's evidence were weak, it cannot be disbelieved after appellant has admitted
kick appellant's shoes which were lying on the road; the heated altercation between the two the killing. 8
(2) continued. Moments later, appellant pulled a fan knife (balisong) from his right hip and
told Rolando Manahan: "this time I am going to kill you, I shall not forgive you." Rolando The evidence of appellant on his claim of self-defense consisted solely of his own testimony.
Manahan started to run away; appellant chased him. The trial court rejected that testimony, firstly, because it was not supported by convincing
corroborative evidence and, secondly, because the trial court had perceived appellant to be
Lamberto Abugan also ran from the scene to seek help. He proceeded to the police a liar.
headquarters in San Simon, Pampanga and from there returned to the provincial road aboard
a tricycle in the company of Pfc. Nicolas Yambao. They saw Rolando Manahan lying on the During trial of the case, the prosecution had marked and offered in evidence the letter of the
road, already dead. Appellant, upon the other hand, was found in Sampaloc, Apalit, INP Station Commander in Dalaguete, Cebu informing the INP Station Commander in San
Pampanga where he was arrested and searched. A fan knife and a bloodstained shirt were Simon, Pampanga that appellant had two (2) pending cases in Dalaguete, Cebu. One of those
recovered from the possession of appellant. 4 cases was for murder and the other for double murder. Certified true copies of the alias

29 | P a g e
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warrants for the arrest of appellant in both cases were also marked in evidence by the findings of fact of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses are entitled to great respect
prosecution. 9 Appellant had denied the pendency of the cases. On cross-examination, he considering that the trial court was in a position to evaluate the deportment of witnesses
testified as follows: while testifying. 11 The Court does not see any compelling reason to depart from the general
Q Mr. Quilaton, in your town in Dalaguete, Cebu your Mayor is Paz Wong?
This Court, however, agrees with the Solicitor General that appellant should be convicted of
A I do not know her, sir. homicide only. The information here filed specified treachery and evident premeditation as
qualifying circumstances. The trial court disregarded evident premeditation, holding that the
Q And who is the mayor whom you know in your town? prosecution had not adequately established the presence of that circumstance. But it
considered appellant's act of stabbing the unarmed Rolando Manahan as treachery and took
A Legaspi, sir. this into account in convicting appellant of murder.
Q Who was your Station Commander when you left Dalaguete, Cebu? Treachery cannot be appreciated in the absence of evidence of the mode of attack; 12 it
cannot be presumed but must be proven positively. 13 This is so because treachery exists only
A I do not know his name, sir.
"when the offender commits any of the crimes against the person, employing means,
Q Mr. Quilaton, is it not a fact that you have a pending case of double murder in the methods, or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its
Municipal Trial Court of Dalaguete, Cebu docketed as Crim. Case No. 3032 before the execution, without risk to himself arising from any defense which the offended party might
Honorable Judge Buenconsejo? make." 14

A I do not know that, sir. The sole eyewitness to the incident which started inside the PROFEM Nursery and ended on
the provincial road was Lamberto Abugan. Lamberto Abugan had testified about a "falling
Q You do not also know that there is also another pending murder case docketed as Crim. out" or quarrel between Rolando Manahan and appellant after the former confronted
Case No. 2710 before the Hon. Dominador Tumulak? appellant and told him to desist from sleeping inside the PROFEM office and from bringing
women sleeping companions therein. This culminated in a heated argument that led appellant
A I do not know that, sir. to leave the office in haste and anger. The verbal dispute continued up to the provincial road
where Rolando Manahan had followed appellant. Lamberto Abugan, however, did not
Q Will you deny that you have also another pending case before the RTC, Branch 26 of witness the actual stabbing by appellant of Rolando Manahan as he ran away just then to
Ardaos, Cebu? seek help.

A None, sir. The testimony of Lamberto Abugan offers no sufficient basis for reasonably inferring that
treachery attended the commission of the crime. On the contrary, considering that the attack
Q You mean you have no pending case in Cebu? was preceded by a heated argument, it cannot be fairly regarded as sudden and unexpected.
The tense and hostile atmosphere should have sufficiently put Rolando Manahan on guard
A None, sir. against physical violence; Rolando Manahan should have been aware that he was in effect
inviting trouble in following appellant into the provincial road and kicking the latter's shoes
Q Is it not a fact Mr. Quilaton that you were a convict-escapee in the Provincial Jail of Cebu?
that had fallen to the ground.
A No, sir. The trial court had ordered appellant to pay the heirs of Rolando Manahan P26,445.00 as
actual damages, representing interment and related expenses incurred by the heirs of
Q Since you left Cebu, have you returned to Cebu?
Rolando Manahan. The brother of Rolando Manahan testified on this matter and submitted
A Not yet, sir. 10 various receipts in support of their claim for actual damages; appellant did not controvert this
claim nor the amount thereof.
The trial court instead gave credence to the testimony of Lamberto Abugan who had seen
appellant initiate a deadly assault on the victim Roland Manahan by drawing a fan knife The amount of P100,000.00 awarded to the heirs of Rolando Manahan as indemnity for
from his right hip and by announcing his intention to kill Manahan. The ordinary rule is that death must, however, be reduced to P50,000.00 conformably with prevailing jurisprudence

30 | P a g e
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on the matter. 15 The propriety of the award of P250,000.00 by the trial court in concept of Considering that Rolando Manahan was 26 years of age at the time of death, he was
moral damages needs some analysis. expected to live for another 46 years. This is derived by using the generally accepted formula
in computing for life expectancy, based on the 1980 CSO table:
The monetary liabilities of a person accused and convicted of a crime are specified in Article
2206 of the Civil Code: S (Lx + 1, Lx + 2, . . ., Lx + n), where n = 100 - x

Art. 2206. The amount of damages for death caused by a crime or quasi-delict shall be at x = age upon death
least three thousand pesos, even though there may have been mitigating circumstances. In
addition: Lx L = number of people in

(1) The defendant shall be liable for the loss of the earning capacity of the deceased, and the sample surviving after x number of years
indemnity shall be paid to the heirs of the latter; such indemnity shall in every case be
assessed and awarded by the court, unless the deceased on account of permanent physical But a man does not normally continue working to earn money up to the final month or year
disability not caused by the defendant, had no earning capacity at the time of his death; of his life; hence 46 years could be reasonably reduced to 39 years. 21 Besides, Rolando
Manahan was a government employee who is expected to retire at the age of 65. If there are
(2) If the deceased was obliged to give support according to the provisions of article 291, the 261 working days in a year 22 and Rolando Manahan was receiving P23.00 a day, 23 Rolando
recipient who is not an heir called to the decedent's inheritance by the law of testate or Manahan's gross earnings would be approximately P234,000.00. A reasonable amount must
intestate succession, may demand support from the person causing the death, for a period not be deducted therefrom that would represent Rolando Manahan's necessary expenses had he
exceeding five years, the exact duration to be fixed by the court; been living, in this case P120,000.00. The net or compensable earnings lost by reason of
Rolando Manahan's death is, accordingly, P114,000.00.
(3) The spouses, legitimate and illegitimate descendants and ascendants may demand moral
damages for mental anguish by reason of the death of the deceased. (Emphasis supplied) Finally, the Court in the exercise of its discretion, considers it appropriate and reasonable to
award the amount of P20,000.00 to the heirs of Rolando Manahan by way of moral damages.
Aside, therefore, from the ordinary indemnity for death which is currently set by case law at Ruben Manahan, brother of Rolando Manahan, testified that their mother suffered a mild
P50,000.00, appellant is obliged: (1) to compensate the heirs of Rolando Manahan for the stroke upon learning of Rolando Manahan's slaying; this eventually resulted in the mother's
latter's loss of earning capacity; (2) to give support in the form of expenses for education to semi-paralysis. 24
the sisters of Rolando Manahan who had been dependent on him therefor; and (3) to pay the
heirs of Rolando Manahan moral damages for the mental anguish suffered by them. 16In the WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 54, Macabebe, Pampanga
instant case, the trial court lumped these monetary obligations into what it called "moral is hereby SET ASIDE; the Court instead finds appellant Gumercindo Quilaton guilty of
damages." HOMICIDE. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, appellant is hereby SENTENCED
to suffer imprisonment for an indeterminate period ranging from ten (10) years as minimum
The more important variables taken into account in determining the compensable amount of to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months as maximum. Appellant is ORDERED to pay the
lost earnings are: (1) the number of years for which the victim would otherwise have lived; heirs of Rolando Manahan the following amounts:
and (2) the rate of loss sustained by the heirs of the deceased. 17 In Villa Rey-Transit,
Inc. v. Court of-Appeals (supra), the Court computed the first factor, i.e., life expectancy, by 1. P50,000.00 as indemnity for death;
applying the formula (2/3 x [80 - age at death) adopted in the American Expectancy Table of
Mortality or the actuarial Combined Experience Table of Mortality. That formula was 2. P26,445.00 as actual damages;
followed by the Court in cases subsequent to Villa Rey Transit, e.g. Philippine Airlines
v. Court of Appeals; 18 People v. Daniel (supra); and Dangwa Transportation Co., 3. P114,000.00 by way of lost earnings;
Inc. v. Court of Appeals. 19 The Court notes that the formula used in Villa Rey Transitwas
4. P10,000.00 by way of educational assistance to Rolando Manahan's two (2) sisters; and
based on a table derived from actuarial experience prior to 1970 when the decision in Villa
Rey Transit was promulgated. Actuarial experience subsequent to 1970 has, however, 5. P20,000.00 as moral damages.
changed and indicates a longer life expectancy in the Philippines due to conditions including,
among other things, advances in medical science, improved nutrition and food supply, diet Costs against appellant.
consciousness and health maintenance. The 1970 mortality table was updated in 1980 to
reflect the changes of conditions. 20 SO ORDERED.
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9. G.R. No. 103225 September 15, 1994 Tito and Federico were arraigned on April 17, 1986. They pleaded not guilty 2 and
underwent trial. Roberto Balanag, on the other hand, has remained at large. Before the
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, prosecution could finish cross-examining Tito Balanag, he absconded. 3 He was thus tried in
vs. absentia.
FEDERICO BALANAG alias "Pedring," accused-appellant,
The essential facts came mainly from the testimonies of eyewitnesses Iluminada Lopez and
TITO BALAWAG alias "Andres," (at large) and ROBERTO Genoveva Lopez y Obra.
BALANAG alias "Berto," (at large) accused.
On November 24, 1985, at about 7:30 P.M., GUILLERMO LOPEZ, SR., a dentist, was
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. talking to his wife, ILUMINADA LOPEZ, in the living room of their house, situated in Sitio
Salapac, Aringay, La Union, while their daughter, GENOVEVA LOPEZ y OBRA, was in
Agaton D. Yaranon, Jr. for accused-appellant. the kitchen, brushing her teeth. Suddenly, three (3) men barged into the front door of Dr.
Lopez' house. Iluminada and Genoveva recognized two (2) of them as their neighbors TITO
BALANAG (a.k.a. Andres) and FEDERICO BALANAG (a.k.a. Pedring). The third man,
whom the Lopezes had seen for the first time, was later identified as SERAFIN DACANAY,
a "compadre" of Federico.
Accused-appellant Federico Balanag and father and son Roberto and Tito Balanag were
Serafin immediately announced a "hold-up." He poked a gun at the head of Iluminada, held
charged with Robbery with Homicide. 1 The Information against them, dated March 14,
her arm and then led her towards Genoveva's room on the second floor of the house. Serafin
1986, reads:
demanded money and other valuables from Iluminada. She then summoned Genoveva to
That on or about the 24th day of November, 1985, in the Municipality of Aringay, Province give her the keys to the cabinet. Her daughter followed.
of La Union, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
Upon seeing Genoveva upstairs, Serafin also poked the gun at her head. Genoveva thus
named accused, conspiring and confederating with one Serafin Dacanay y Ordonio who is
obediently proceeded towards the cabinet, near the door of her room, and she was about to
now deceased, and helping one another, and being then armed with handguns and bladed
open the cabinet when her father, Dr. Lopez, rushed upstairs. As Dr. Lopez was ascending
and/or sharp-pointed weapons, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously with
the stairs, Serafin yelled at him saying: "Okinam nga lakay sica ti ngangidarum quen Berto
intent to gain and by means of force, violence and intimidation, and taking advantage of
Balanag (Vulva of your mother, you are (sic) the one (who) filed a case against Berto
nighttime, enter the dwelling of one Dr. Guillermo Lopez y Ferrer and once inside, take,
Balanag." 4 He shot Dr. Lopez who fell down the stairs which had no railings. Downstairs,
steal, and carry away a shoulder bag containing a diamond ring and earrings worth
the victim was met by accused Tito Balanag who stabbed him (the victim) with a dagger.
P3,000.00, a United States fifty dollar bill (US $50.00), Philippine currency in the amount of
Serafin then went downstairs and, likewise, stabbed the victim. Seeing the helpless condition
Two Hundred Pesos (P200.00), as well as a mini-stereo cassette valued at Two Thousand
of her father, Genoveva screamed. She and her mother also rushed downstairs. Iluminada
Pesos (2,000.00) belonging to Genoveva L. Obra, a daughter of the aforenamed Dr.
thought of asking for help from their neighbors. Thus, she ran past her husband and
Guillermo Lopez y Ferrer, and with intent to kill, by reason or on occasion of the afore-
proceeded outside their house thru the backdoor. Genoveva, on the other hand, went to her
described robbery, treacherously and taking advantage of their superior strength shoot with
father's aid as Serafin continued assaulting her father. During the commotion, Tito and
the said handguns and stab with the said bladed and/or sharp-pointed weapons the
Federico fled, taking with them Genoveva's shoulder bag containing a diamond ring and
aforenamed Dr. Guillermo Lopez y Ferrer, thereby inflicting upon the latter mortal wounds
earrings worth three thousand pesos (P3,000.00); fifty dollars
which were the direct and immediate cause of his death thereafter, to the damage and
(US $50.00) cash; two hundred pesos (P200.00) cash; and a mini-stereo cassette, valued at
prejudice of the heirs of the said Dr. Guillermo Lopez y Ferrer.
That in the commission of the offense, the following aggravating circumstances were
Iluminada had barely stepped out of the house when she was blocked by "Berto" (Roberto)
present: (1) the above-named accused took advantage of nighttime, to facilitate the
Balanag, Tito's father, who aimed his gun at her. Iluminada quickly retreated to the house
commission of the offense, (2) the offense was committed in the dwelling of the offended
and closed the backdoor. She stood behind the door and locked it as Berto tried to force his
parties (3) the killing of the victim Dr. Guillermo Lopez y Ferrer was committed with an
way in.
unlicensed firearm.

32 | P a g e
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In the meantime, Genoveva and Serafin grappled for the bolo of the latter. Irked, he lunged at about 6:30 A.M. She returned home from school at 4:30 P.M. She saw her father an hour
at her, but she bravely parried the thrust with her arm. Her left forefinger was cut in the later. Her father slept at 7:30 P.M. after dinner.
process. Serafin also fired at her but missed. By stroke of luck, Genoveva managed to get
a bolo and attacked Serafin in self defense. Serafin died. So did the wounded Dr. Lopez. She claimed further that, at about 6:30 A.M., the morning following the incident, she was on
Several neighbors of the Lopezes who heard the commotion arrived at the scene. One of her way to school. As she was nearing the house of Dr. Lopez, Genoveva and the latter's
them, a certain Jose Dulay, reported the incident to the authorities. sister who was then carrying a wooden stick ("malo"), were waiting for her (Gina) and her
companions ("Agharang da amin"). She decided to skip school.
That evening, police authorities, namely: Station Commander P/Sgt. Alejandro Basallo, Pfc.
Benjamin Rulloda, Pat. Simeon Madarang, and Pat. Wilson Argame inspected the locus The Balanags described their dwelling as a one room house that it would not be possible for
criminis. They found the bloodied bodies of Dr. Guillermo Lopez and Serafin Dacanay, them to leave without being seen or noticed by the other members of the family. Prior to the
sprawled on the floor. They also recovered the following: a Ruby Magnum, Cal. 22, with robbery and killing, the Balanags were in good terms with the Lopezes. Federico denied he
serial no. 05522; two (2) bolos soiled with blood; a double bladed dagger; six (6) empty was in the company of his cousin Tito Balanag and Serafin Dacanay that fateful evening of
shells; and one live ammunition found inside the gun's chamber. November 24, 1985. He admitted, however, that Serafin was the godfather of one of his
Dr. Armando Avena, Medical Officer of the Rural Health Unit of Doa Gregoria Memorial
District Hospital in Aringay, La Union, conducted the postmortem examination on the After trial, the court a quo found Federico Balanag and his co-accused Tito Balanag guilty of
victim's body. Based on his examination, Dr. Lopez sustained abrasion wound, two (2) stab Robbery with Homicide. 7 They were meted the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The court a
wounds, and multiple gunshot wounds (on the right breast upper outer quadrant, right quo also ordered accused-appellant and Tito Balanag, to indemnify, solidarily, the heirs of
zygomatic area and right upper lip). 5 Dr. Avena also treated Genoveva Lopez Obra who the deceased Dr. Guillermo Lopez, the following amounts:
sustained lacerated wound on the 3rd left forefinger. 6
a) P50,000.00 for the death of Guillermo Lopez;
According to the widow, Iluminada, her dentist husband used to earn P10,000.00 monthly. b) P48,110.00 as actual damages;
At the time of her husband's death, they had three (3) children in college. She suffered c) P20,000.00 as moral damages; and
mental anguish and could hardly sleep or eat upon her husband's death. During the two d) P172,000.00 for loss of earning capacity.
weeks wake for her deceased husband, she spent, more or less, P25,000.00.
Both accused appealed. 8 However, Tito Balanag, who has remained at large, did not file the
Federico Balanag interposed the defense of alibi. In the morning of November 24, 1985, he required Appellant's Brief. His appeal was considered abandoned for failure to prosecute his
was allegedly in a farm in Salapac, Aringay, La Union, together with his brother Renato and appeal and, more importantly, for his refusal to submit himself to the jurisdiction of the
mother-in-law, Florencia Hidalgo. At about 5:00 P.M., after a day's work of threshing palay, authorities. 9
they proceeded towards Federico's house. They arrived home at 5:30 P.M., and dined
together thirty minutes later. Thereafter, Federico slept in the room with his youngest son Accused-appellant Federico Balanag now contends:
Ronald. His wife, Teresita and the rest of the family went to bed at 8:00 P.M.
According to Teresita, her husband was sound asleep when she woke up at around 11:00 BALANAG, OF THE COMPLEX CRIME OF ROBBERY WITH HOMICIDE AND/OR IN
P.M. to urinate. She then nursed her eight-month old baby and stayed awake until midnight. NOT EXONERATING HIM OF THE OFFENSE.
At around 2:00 A.M. the following day, the policemen came and took her husband with
them. She learned later that Dr. Lopez had been killed. She and her daughter Gina visited We affirm the judgment of conviction.
Federico in Jail. On their way to the municipal building, they passed by the house of the
Prefatorily, the defense assails the validity of the Criminal Complaint, dated November 27,
victim. There were several persons in the vicinity but she did not inquire what happened.
1985, 10 and the amended Criminal Complaint, dated December 2, 1985, 11 filed by
At the police station, Teresita noticed that her husband had bruises. He then told her he was investigating officer P/Sgt. Alejandro Basallo, on the ground that the owner of the stolen
manhandled by Station Commander Alejandro Basallo. items Genoveva Lopez y Obra, was not identified. She was merely referred to as the
"offended party." Accused-appellant avers that a valid complaint for robbery, must specify
Gina Balanag corroborated the testimonies of her parents pertaining to the whereabouts of the owner of the stolen property, considering that the phrase "personal property belonging to
her father, the accused-appellant. She averred that on November 24, 1985, she went to school another," as an essential element of the crime of robbery, should be clearly established. 12 He
claims, further that he could be convicted of the crime of robbery with homicide since the
33 | P a g e
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victim of the robbery, Genoveva Lopez y Obra, did not file any complaint for robbery, and Nonetheless, accused-appellant stresses that nobody testified on his participation to the
the person killed, Dr. Guillermo Lopez, was not robbed of his personal belongings. The killing. He points out that, since there was no proof of conspiracy, he could not be held
argument lacks merit. responsible for the death of Dr. Lopez. We hold otherwise.

We need not delve lengthily on the cited defect in the Criminal Complaint and Amended Conspiracy need not be proved by direct evidence of prior agreement to commit the crime. It
Criminal Complaint since the said error was corrected in the Information, dated March 14, could be inferred from the conduct of the accused before, during or after the commission of
1986. 13 Said information alleged that the stolen items belong to Genoveva Lopez y Obra, the crime, showing that the accused had acted in unison with each other, evincing a common
daughter of Dr. Guillermo Lopez. purpose or design. 23 The circumstances in field show the existence of conspiracy among
accused-appellant and his cohorts. Federico, Serafin and Tito simultaneously barged thru the
We have also ruled that in this kind of a complex crime, the victim of the robbery need not front door of Dr. Lopez' residence. To further secure the area, Roberto Balanag stood on
necessarily be the victim of homicide. 14 Thus, in People vs. Disimban, 15 we affirmed the guard at the back portion of the house. Serafin then led Iluminada upstairs, while Tito and
conviction of the accused for robbery with homicide although the robbery victim was Federico stayed downstairs. Their plan was almost perfect and would have been successful if
different from the homicide victim. There is robo con homicido even if the victim killed was Dr. Lopez did not attempt to rescue his wife and daughter from Serafin. Dr. Lopez'
an innocent unexpected resistance, albeit futile in the hands of the armed robbers, aborted the well-
bystander. 16 Or that death supervened by mere accident, provided that the homicide was planned robbery. Thus, Tito and Federico hastily got Genoveva's shoulder bag and the mini-
produced by reason or on the occasion of robbery, inasmuch as it is only the result obtained, stereo cassette. They fled together, leaving behind Serafin who was still grappling with
without reference or distinction as to the circumstances, causes, modes or persons Genoveva. Without a doubt, accused-appellant acted in unison and cooperated with his
intervening in the commission of the crime, that has to be taken into consideration. 17 In the companions in committing the robbery.
recent case of People vs. Pamintuan, 18 the accused prisoners were held liable for robbery
with homicide although the items robbed, i.e., five (5) shotguns and three (3) guns, Ruby It is settled that when homicide is committed as a consequence or on the occasion of the
Cal. 22, belong to the armory of the Provincial Jail of San Fernando, Pampanga, and not the robbery, all those who took part as principals in the robbery will also be liable as principals
personal properties of the homicide victims, the provincial jail guards. of the special crime of robbery with homicide, although they did not actually take part in the
homicide. The exception to the rule is when it is clearly shown that they endeavored to
We now come to the more important issues of whether the guilt of accused-appellant was prevent the unlawful killing. 24 In this case, there is no evidence that accused-appellant tried
established beyond reasonable doubt. We rule in the affirmative. to prevent the killing of Dr. Lopez. His claim of innocence is believe by the fact that, after
Dr. Lopez was shot and stabbed by his cohorts, he carried away the mini-stereo cassette of
At least two credible witnesses, Iluminada and Genoveva, positively identified accused- the Lopezes. Accused-appellant was, therefore, correctly found guilty of the special complex
appellant Federico Balanag as among those who barged into their house that tragic evening. crime of robbery with homicide.
Genoveva even saw accused-appellant when he fled from the scene, taking with him a mini-
stereo cassette. These eyewitnesses could not have been mistaken as they knew Federico and Accused-appellant's defense of alibi cannot succeed because of circumstances pointing to its
Tito even before the incident. The records reveal that the Lopezes and the Balanags were contrived nature and his positive identification by the prosecution witnesses. 25 The records
neighbors since birth. 19 show that accused-appellant's house was about 120 meters from the house of the Dr, Lopez,
thus, it was not physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime and to commit
It was also not improbable for the eyewitnesses to recognized the faces of the culprits. the crime. 26
According to Genoveva, the accused were not wearing masks, albeit Serafin was wearing a
hat. At that time, too, the place of incident was well lighted as 50 watts electric bulbs, The testimonies given by accused-appellant's wife and daughter vis-a-vis that of
installed along the porch, in the living room and the kitchen, were on. 20 eyewitnesses Iluminada and Genoveva, do not inspire belief. For one, Gina lied when she
testified she attended school on November 24, 1985. When confronted that it was a Sunday,
The credibility of these eyewitnesses is further enhanced by the fact that Iluminada and she got confused and said she went to school on November 22, 1985 or January 22, 1985.
Genoveva had no ill feelings against Federico prior to the incident. Accused-appellant Gina also denied knowing Dr. Lopez, only to admit later that she knew him as he was their
himself confirmed this lack of ill motive. 21 Thus, we see no reason to depart from the well neighbor. 27 She also claimed that Genoveva and her sister waited for them after the incident,
established rule that when there is no evidence to show that the prosecution witnesses were prompting her not to proceed to school. On cross-examination, however, Gina admitted that
actuated by improper motive, their identification of the accused should be given full faith she was not sure if they were really waiting for them.
credit. 22

34 | P a g e
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The testimony of Teresita appears to be more consistent in contrast to her daughter's story. La Union, in Criminal Case No. A-1540. Accordingly, the indeminification granted in favor
However, the trial court gave greater credence on the prosecution witnesses' testimonies. It is of the heirs of DR. GUILLERMO LOPEZ, are modified as follows:
settled that when the issue of credibility of witnesses is involved, appellate courts will
generally not disturb the findings of the trial court considering that the latter is in a better a) P50,000.00, for the death of Dr. Lopez;
position to decide the question, having heard the witnesses themselves and observed their
deportment and manner of testifying during the trial, unless certain facts of value have been b) P20,000.00, for moral damages;
plainly overlooked which if considered, might affect the result of the case. 28
c) P44,482.00, for actual expenses; and
Robbery with Homicide is punishable with reclusion perpetua, notwithstanding the
aggravating circumstances attending the commission of the crime, 29 since at the time of the d) P144,000.00, for loss of the earning capacity.
commission of the offense, Congress had yet to restore the imposition of death penalty.
No costs.
In connection with the civil liability of accused-appellant, the award of P48,110.00, for
actual or compensatory damages, is not fully supported by evidence. The records show that
the total amount incurred for burial/funeral expenses was P19,482.00, not P23,110.00. 30

Anent Mrs. Lopez' additional claim of P25,000.00 for the expenses incurred during the two
weeks wake for the victim, we find the said claim reasonable considering the social standing
of the Lopezes in the community. The Lopezes are prominent in their place, not to mention 10. G.R. No. 97412 July 12, 1994
they belong to a big family. (Mr. and Mrs. Lopez sired 13 children, most of whom are
professionals and gainfully employed). The total award for actual damages should then be EASTERN SHIPPING LINES, INC., petitioner,
P44,482.00, and not P48,110.00. vs.
With respect to the claim for loss of earning capacity of the victim, we note that the victim INC., respondents.
was already 69 years old at the time he was killed on November 24, 1985. His income as a
dentist was P10,000.00 per month, or P120,000.00 per annum. After deducting therefrom the Alojada & Garcia and Jimenea, Dala & Zaragoza for petitoner.
necessary and incidental expenses which the victim would have incurred if he were alive, the
court a quo, declared that the victim's annual net income would be P24,000.00. The trial Zapa Law Office for private respondent.
court multiplied his net annual income by his life expectancy of seven (7) years and two (2)
months, 31hence, P172,000.00 was awarded for loss of the earning capacity of the victim.

In computing the loss of the earning capacity of the victim, several factors are considered VITUG, J.:
besides the mathematical computation of annual income times life expectancy. Allowances
are made for circumstances which could reduce the computed life expectancy of the The issues, albeit not completely novel, are: (a) whether or not a claim for damage sustained
victim, e.g., nature of work of the victim, 32 his lifestyle, age, and state of health prior to his on a shipment of goods can be a solidary, or joint and several, liability of the common
death. 33 In addition, we have to consider the rate of loss sustained by the heirs of the carrier, the arrastre operator and the customs broker; (b) whether the payment of legal
victim. 34 In this case, albeit there was no evidence on the state of health of the victim, interest on an award for loss or damage is to be computed from the time the complaint is
considering his advanced age, we find it reasonable and fair to assume that he would not be filed or from the date the decision appealed from is rendered; and (c) whether the applicable
able work and earn, as a dentist, until he reaches the final moment of his life. 35 Thus, we rate of interest, referred to above, is twelve percent (12%) or six percent (6%).
reduce the award for loss of the earning capacity of the deceased to P144,000.00, which is
the approximate amount he would have earned until his 75th birthday. 36 The findings of the court a quo, adopted by the Court of Appeals, on the antecedent and
undisputed facts that have led to the controversy are hereunder reproduced:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we AFFIRM WITH MODIFICATION the assailed
Decision, dated September 5, 1991, of the Regional Trial Court (Branch XXXIII) of Bauang, This is an action against defendants shipping company, arrastre operator and broker-
forwarder for damages sustained by a shipment while in defendants' custody, filed by the
insurer-subrogee who paid the consignee the value of such losses/damages.
35 | P a g e
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On December 4, 1981, two fiber drums of riboflavin were shipped from Yokohama, Japan The issues are:
for delivery vessel "SS EASTERN COMET" owned by defendant Eastern Shipping Lines
under Bill of Lading 1. Whether or not the shipment sustained losses/damages;
No. YMA-8 (Exh. B). The shipment was insured under plaintiff's Marine Insurance Policy
No. 81/01177 for P36,382,466.38. 2. Whether or not these losses/damages were sustained while in the custody of defendants (in
whose respective custody, if determinable);
Upon arrival of the shipment in Manila on December 12, 1981, it was discharged unto the
custody of defendant Metro Port Service, Inc. The latter excepted to one drum, said to be in 3. Whether or not defendant(s) should be held liable for the losses/damages (see plaintiff's
bad order, which damage was unknown to plaintiff. pre-Trial Brief, Records, p. 34; Allied's pre-Trial Brief, adopting plaintiff's Records, p. 38).

On January 7, 1982 defendant Allied Brokerage Corporation received the shipment from As to the first issue, there can be no doubt that the shipment sustained losses/damages. The
defendant Metro Port Service, Inc., one drum opened and without seal (per "Request for Bad two drums were shipped in good order and condition, as clearly shown by the Bill of Lading
Order Survey." Exh. D). and Commercial Invoice which do not indicate any damages drum that was shipped (Exhs. B
and C). But when on December 12, 1981 the shipment was delivered to defendant Metro
On January 8 and 14, 1982, defendant Allied Brokerage Corporation made deliveries of the Port Service, Inc., it excepted to one drum in bad order.
shipment to the consignee's warehouse. The latter excepted to one drum which contained
spillages, while the rest of the contents was adulterated/fake (per "Bad Order Waybill" No. Correspondingly, as to the second issue, it follows that the losses/damages were sustained
10649, Exh. E). while in the respective and/or successive custody and possession of defendants carrier
(Eastern), arrastre operator (Metro Port) and broker (Allied Brokerage). This becomes
Plaintiff contended that due to the losses/damage sustained by said drum, the consignee evident when the Marine Cargo Survey Report (Exh. G), with its "Additional Survey Notes",
suffered losses totaling P19,032.95, due to the fault and negligence of defendants. Claims are considered. In the latter notes, it is stated that when the shipment was "landed on vessel"
were presented against defendants who failed and refused to pay the same (Exhs. H, I, J, K, to dock of Pier # 15, South Harbor, Manila on December 12, 1981, it was observed that "one
L). (1) fiber drum (was) in damaged condition, covered by the vessel's Agent's Bad Order Tally
Sheet No. 86427." The report further states that when defendant Allied Brokerage withdrew
As a consequence of the losses sustained, plaintiff was compelled to pay the consignee the shipment from defendant arrastre operator's custody on January 7, 1982, one drum was
P19,032.95 under the aforestated marine insurance policy, so that it became subrogated to all found opened without seal, cello bag partly torn but contents intact. Net unrecovered
the rights of action of said consignee against defendants (per "Form of Subrogation", spillages was
"Release" and Philbanking check, Exhs. M, N, and O). (pp. 85-86, Rollo.) 15 kgs. The report went on to state that when the drums reached the consignee, one drum
was found with adulterated/faked contents. It is obvious, therefore, that these losses/damages
There were, to be sure, other factual issues that confronted both courts. Here, the appellate occurred before the shipment reached the consignee while under the successive custodies of
court said: defendants. Under Art. 1737 of the New Civil Code, the common carrier's duty to observe
extraordinary diligence in the vigilance of goods remains in full force and effect even if the
Defendants filed their respective answers, traversing the material allegations of the complaint goods are temporarily unloaded and stored in transit in the warehouse of the carrier at the
contending that: As for defendant Eastern Shipping it alleged that the shipment was place of destination, until the consignee has been advised and has had reasonable opportunity
discharged in good order from the vessel unto the custody of Metro Port Service so that any to remove or dispose of the goods (Art. 1738, NCC). Defendant Eastern Shipping's own
damage/losses incurred after the shipment was incurred after the shipment was turned over to exhibit, the "Turn-Over Survey of Bad Order Cargoes" (Exhs. 3-Eastern) states that on
the latter, is no longer its liability (p. 17, Record); Metroport averred that although subject December 12, 1981 one drum was found "open".
shipment was discharged unto its custody, portion of the same was already in bad order (p.
11, Record); Allied Brokerage alleged that plaintiff has no cause of action against it, not and thus held:
having negligent or at fault for the shipment was already in damage and bad order condition
when received by it, but nonetheless, it still exercised extra ordinary care and diligence in the WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, judgment is hereby rendered:
handling/delivery of the cargo to consignee in the same condition shipment was received by
it. A. Ordering defendants to pay plaintiff, jointly and severally:

From the evidence the court found the following: 1. The amount of P19,032.95, with the present legal interest of 12% per annum from October
1, 1982, the date of filing of this complaints, until fully paid (the liability of defendant
36 | P a g e
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Eastern Shipping, Inc. shall not exceed US$500 per case or the CIF value of the loss, The common carrier's duty to observe the requisite diligence in the shipment of goods lasts
whichever is lesser, while the liability of defendant Metro Port Service, Inc. shall be to the from the time the articles are surrendered to or unconditionally placed in the possession of,
extent of the actual invoice value of each package, crate box or container in no case to and received by, the carrier for transportation until delivered to, or until the lapse of a
exceed P5,000.00 each, pursuant to Section 6.01 of the Management Contract); reasonable time for their acceptance by, the person entitled to receive them (Arts. 1736-1738,
Civil Code; Ganzon vs. Court of Appeals, 161 SCRA 646; Kui Bai vs. Dollar Steamship
2. P3,000.00 as attorney's fees, and Lines, 52 Phil. 863). When the goods shipped either are lost or arrive in damaged condition,
a presumption arises against the carrier of its failure to observe that diligence, and there need
3. Costs. not be an express finding of negligence to hold it liable (Art. 1735, Civil Code; Philippine
National Railways vs. Court of Appeals, 139 SCRA 87; Metro Port Service vs. Court of
B. Dismissing the counterclaims and crossclaim of defendant/cross-claimant Allied Appeals, 131 SCRA 365). There are, of course, exceptional cases when such presumption of
Brokerage Corporation. fault is not observed but these cases, enumerated in Article 1734 1 of the Civil Code, are
exclusive, not one of which can be applied to this case.
SO ORDERED. (p. 207, Record).
The question of charging both the carrier and the arrastre operator with the obligation of
Dissatisfied, defendant's recourse to US.
properly delivering the goods to the consignee has, too, been passed upon by the Court.
The appeal is devoid of merit. In Fireman's Fund Insurance vs. Metro Port Services (182 SCRA 455), we have explained,
in holding the carrier and the arrastre operator liable in solidum,thus:
After a careful scrutiny of the evidence on record. We find that the conclusion drawn
therefrom is correct. As there is sufficient evidence that the shipment sustained damage The legal relationship between the consignee and the arrastre operator is akin to that of a
while in the successive possession of appellants, and therefore they are liable to the appellee, depositor and warehouseman (Lua Kian v. Manila Railroad Co., 19 SCRA 5 [1967]. The
as subrogee for the amount it paid to the consignee. (pp. 87-89, Rollo.) relationship between the consignee and the common carrier is similar to that of the consignee
and the arrastre operator (Northern Motors, Inc. v. Prince Line, et al., 107 Phil. 253 [1960]).
The Court of Appeals thus affirmed in toto the judgment of the court Since it is the duty of the ARRASTRE to take good care of the goods that are in its custody
a quo. and to deliver them in good condition to the consignee, such responsibility also devolves
upon the CARRIER. Both the ARRASTRE and the CARRIER are therefore charged with
In this petition, Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc., the common carrier, attributes error and grave the obligation to deliver the goods in good condition to the consignee.
abuse of discretion on the part of the appellate court when
We do not, of course, imply by the above pronouncement that the arrastre operator and the
I. IT HELD PETITIONER CARRIER JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY LIABLE WITH THE customs broker are themselves always and necessarily liable solidarily with the carrier,
ARRASTRE OPERATOR AND CUSTOMS BROKER FOR THE CLAIM OF PRIVATE or vice-versa, nor that attendant facts in a given case may not vary the rule. The instant
RESPONDENT AS GRANTED IN THE QUESTIONED DECISION; petition has been brought solely by Eastern Shipping Lines, which, being the carrier and not
having been able to rebut the presumption of fault, is, in any event, to be held liable in this
II. IT HELD THAT THE GRANT OF INTEREST ON THE CLAIM OF PRIVATE particular case. A factual finding of both the court a quo and the appellate court, we take
RESPONDENT SHOULD COMMENCE FROM THE DATE OF THE FILING OF THE note, is that "there is sufficient evidence that the shipment sustained damage while in the
COMPLAINT AT THE RATE OF TWELVE PERCENT PER ANNUM INSTEAD OF successive possession of appellants" (the herein petitioner among them). Accordingly, the
FROM THE DATE OF THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT AND ONLY AT THE liability imposed on Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc., the sole petitioner in this case, is inevitable
RATE OF SIX PERCENT PER ANNUM, PRIVATE RESPONDENT'S CLAIM BEING regardless of whether there are others solidarily liable with it.
It is over the issue of legal interest adjudged by the appellate court that deserves more than
The petition is, in part, granted. just a passing remark.

In this decision, we have begun by saying that the questions raised by petitioner carrier are Let us first see a chronological recitation of the major rulings of this Court:
not all that novel. Indeed, we do have a fairly good number of previous decisions this Court
can merely tack to. The early case of Malayan Insurance Co., Inc., vs. Manila Port
Service,2 decided3 on 15 May 1969, involved a suit for recovery of money arising out of

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short deliveries and pilferage of goods. In this case, appellee Malayan Insurance (the court for execution, and this was when the trial court issued its assailed resolution which
plaintiff in the lower court) averred in its complaint that the total amount of its claim for the applied the 6% interest per annum prescribed in Article 2209 of the Civil Code. In their
value of the undelivered goods amounted to P3,947.20. This demand, however, was neither petition for review on certiorari, the petitioners contended that Central Bank Circular
established in its totality nor definitely ascertained. In the stipulation of facts later entered No. 416, providing thus
into by the parties, in lieu of proof, the amount of P1,447.51 was agreed upon. The trial court
rendered judgment ordering the appellants (defendants) Manila Port Service and Manila By virtue of the authority granted to it under Section 1 of Act 2655, as amended, Monetary
Railroad Company to pay appellee Malayan Insurance the sum of P1,447.51 with legal Board in its Resolution No. 1622 dated July 29, 1974, has prescribed that the rate of interest
interest thereon from the date the complaint was filed on 28 December 1962 until full for the loan, or forbearance of any money, goods, or credits and the rate allowed in
payment thereof. The appellants then assailed, inter alia, the award of legal interest. In judgments, in the absence of express contract as to such rate of interest, shall be twelve
sustaining the appellants, this Court ruled: (12%) percent per annum. This Circular shall take effect immediately. (Emphasis found in
the text)
Interest upon an obligation which calls for the payment of money, absent a stipulation, is the
legal rate. Such interest normally is allowable from the date of demand, judicial or should have, instead, been applied. This Court6 ruled:
extrajudicial. The trial court opted for judicial demand as the starting point.
The judgments spoken of and referred to are judgments in litigations involving loans or
But then upon the provisions of Article 2213 of the Civil Code, interest "cannot be recovered forbearance of any money, goods or credits. Any other kind of monetary judgment which has
upon unliquidated claims or damages, except when the demand can be established with nothing to do with, nor involving loans or forbearance of any money, goods or credits does
reasonable certainty." And as was held by this Court in Rivera vs. Perez,4 L-6998, February not fall within the coverage of the said law for it is not within the ambit of the authority
29, 1956, if the suit were for damages, "unliquidated and not known until definitely granted to the Central Bank.
ascertained, assessed and determined by the courts after proof (Montilla c. Corporacion de
P.P. Agustinos, 25 Phil. 447; Lichauco v.Guzman, xxx xxx xxx
38 Phil. 302)," then, interest "should be from the date of the decision." (Emphasis supplied)
Coming to the case at bar, the decision herein sought to be executed is one rendered in an
The case of Reformina vs. Tomol, rendered on 11 October 1985, was for "Recovery of Action for Damages for injury to persons and loss of property and does not involve any loan,
Damages for Injury to Person and Loss of Property." After trial, the lower court decreed: much less forbearances of any money, goods or credits. As correctly argued by the private
respondents, the law applicable to the said case is Article 2209 of the New Civil Code which
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and third party reads
defendants and against the defendants and third party plaintiffs as follows:
Art. 2209. If the obligation consists in the payment of a sum of money, and the debtor
Ordering defendants and third party plaintiffs Shell and Michael, Incorporated to pay jointly incurs in delay, the indemnity for damages, there being no stipulation to the contrary, shall
and severally the following persons: be the payment of interest agreed upon, and in the absence of stipulation, the legal interest
which is six percent per annum.
xxx xxx xxx
The above rule was reiterated in Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc., v. Cruz,7 promulgated on
(g) Plaintiffs Pacita F. Reformina and Francisco Reformina the sum of P131,084.00 which is 28 July 1986. The case was for damages occasioned by an injury to person and loss of
the value of the boat F B Pacita III together with its accessories, fishing gear and equipment property. The trial court awarded private respondent Pedro Manabat actual and
minus P80,000.00 which is the value of the insurance recovered and the amount of compensatory damages in the amount of P72,500.00 with legal interest thereon from the
P10,000.00 a month as the estimated monthly loss suffered by them as a result of the fire of filing of the complaint until fully paid. Relying on the Reformina v. Tomol case, this
May 6, 1969 up to the time they are actually paid or already the total sum of P370,000.00 as Court8modified the interest award from 12% to 6% interest per annum but sustained the time
of June 4, 1972 with legal interest from the filing of the complaint until paid and to pay computation thereof, i.e., from the filing of the complaint until fully paid.
attorney's fees of P5,000.00 with costs against defendants and third party plaintiffs.
(Emphasis supplied.) In Nakpil and Sons vs. Court of Appeals,9 the trial court, in an action for the recovery of
damages arising from the collapse of a building, ordered,
On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the latter modified the amount of damages awarded but inter alia, the "defendant United Construction Co., Inc. (one of the petitioners)
sustained the trial court in adjudging legal interest from the filing of the complaint until fully . . . to pay the plaintiff, . . . , the sum of P989,335.68 with interest at the legal rate from
paid. When the appellate court's decision became final, the case was remanded to the lower November 29, 1968, the date of the filing of the complaint until full payment . . . ." Save from
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the modification of the amount granted by the lower court, the Court of Appeals sustained the IAC, to be inconceivably large. The Court12 thus set aside the decision of the appellate
the trial court's decision. When taken to this Court for review, the case, on 03 October 1986, court and rendered a new one, "ordering the petitioner to pay private respondent the sum of
was decided, thus: One Hundred Thousand (P100,000.00) Pesos as moral damages, with
six (6%) percent interest thereon computed from the finality of this decision until paid.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby MODIFIED and considering the (Emphasis supplied)
special and environmental circumstances of this case, we deem it reasonable to render a
decision imposing, as We do hereby impose, upon the defendant and the third-party Reformina came into fore again in the 21 February 1989 case of Florendo v. Ruiz13 which
defendants (with the exception of Roman Ozaeta) a solidary (Art. 1723, Civil Code, Supra. arose from a breach of employment contract. For having been illegally dismissed, the
p. 10) indemnity in favor of the Philippine Bar Association of FIVE MILLION petitioner was awarded by the trial court moral and exemplary damages without, however,
(P5,000,000.00) Pesos to cover all damages (with the exception to attorney's fees) providing any legal interest thereon. When the decision was appealed to the Court of
occasioned by the loss of the building (including interest charges and lost rentals) and an Appeals, the latter held:
additional ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND (P100,000.00) Pesos as and for attorney's fees,
the total sum being payable upon the finality of this decision. Upon failure to pay on such WHEREFORE, except as modified hereinabove the decision of the CFI of Negros Oriental
finality, twelve (12%) per cent interest per annum shall be imposed upon aforementioned dated October 31, 1972 is affirmed in all respects, with the modification that defendants-
amounts from finality until paid. Solidary costs against the defendant and third-party appellants, except defendant-appellant Merton Munn, are ordered to pay, jointly and
defendants (Except Roman Ozaeta). (Emphasis supplied) severally, the amounts stated in the dispositive portion of the decision, including the sum of
P1,400.00 in concept of compensatory damages, with interest at the legal rate from the date
A motion for reconsideration was filed by United Construction, contending that "the interest of the filing of the complaint until fully paid(Emphasis supplied.)
of twelve (12%) per cent per annum imposed on the total amount of the monetary award was
in contravention of law." The Court10 ruled out the applicability of the Reformina and The petition for review to this Court was denied. The records were thereupon transmitted to
Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines cases and, in its resolution of 15 April 1988, it explained: the trial court, and an entry of judgment was made. The writ of execution issued by the trial
court directed that only compensatory damages should earn interest at 6% per annum from
There should be no dispute that the imposition of 12% interest pursuant to Central Bank the date of the filing of the complaint. Ascribing grave abuse of discretion on the part of the
Circular No. 416 . . . is applicable only in the following: (1) loans; (2) forbearance of any trial judge, a petition for certiorari assailed the said order. This Court said:
money, goods or credit; and
(3) rate allowed in judgments (judgments spoken of refer to judgments involving loans or . . . , it is to be noted that the Court of Appeals ordered the payment of interest "at the legal
forbearance of any money, goods or credits. (Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines Inc. v. Cruz, 143 rate" from the time of the filing of the complaint. . . Said circular [Central Bank Circular No.
SCRA 160-161 [1986]; Reformina v. Tomol, Jr., 139 SCRA 260 [1985]). It is true that in the 416] does not apply to actions based on a breach of employment contract like the case at bar.
instant case, there is neither a loan or a forbearance, but then no interest is actually imposed (Emphasis supplied)
provided the sums referred to in the judgment are paid upon the finality of the judgment. It is
delay in the payment of such final judgment, that will cause the imposition of the interest. The Court reiterated that the 6% interest per annum on the damages should be computed
from the time the complaint was filed until the amount is fully paid.
It will be noted that in the cases already adverted to, the rate of interest is imposed on the
total sum, from the filing of the complaint until paid; in other words, as part of the judgment Quite recently, the Court had another occasion to rule on the matter. National Power
for damages. Clearly, they are not applicable to the instant case. (Emphasis supplied.) Corporation vs. Angas,14decided on 08 May 1992, involved the expropriation of certain
parcels of land. After conducting a hearing on the complaints for eminent domain, the trial
The subsequent case of American Express International, Inc., vs. Intermediate Appellate court ordered the petitioner to pay the private respondents certain sums of money as just
Court11 was a petition for review on certiorari from the decision, dated 27 February 1985, of compensation for their lands so expropriated "with legal interest thereon . . . until fully paid."
the then Intermediate Appellate Court reducing the amount of moral and exemplary damages Again, in applying the 6% legal interest per annum under the Civil Code, the
awarded by the trial court, to P240,000.00 and P100,000.00, respectively, and its resolution, Court15 declared:
dated 29 April 1985, restoring the amount of damages awarded by the trial court, i.e.,
P2,000,000.00 as moral damages and P400,000.00 as exemplary damages with interest . . . , (T)he transaction involved is clearly not a loan or forbearance of money, goods or
thereon at 12% per annum from notice of judgment, plus costs of suit. In a decision of 09 credits but expropriation of certain parcels of land for a public purpose, the payment of
November 1988, this Court, while recognizing the right of the private respondent to recover which is without stipulation regarding interest, and the interest adjudged by the trial court is
damages, held the award, however, for moral damages by the trial court, later sustained by in the nature of indemnity for damages. The legal interest required to be paid on the amount
of just compensation for the properties expropriated is manifestly in the form of indemnity
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for damages for the delay in the payment thereof. Therefore, since the kind of interest unwise, by way of clarification and reconciliation, to suggest the following rules of thumb
involved in the joint judgment of the lower court sought to be enforced in this case is interest for future guidance.
by way of damages, and not by way of earnings from loans, etc. Art. 2209 of the Civil Code
shall apply. I. When an obligation, regardless of its source, i.e., law, contracts, quasi-contracts, delicts or
quasi-delicts18 is breached, the contravenor can be held liable for damages. 19 The provisions
Concededly, there have been seeming variances in the above holdings. The cases can under Title XVIII on "Damages" of the Civil Code govern in determining the measure of
perhaps be classified into two groups according to the similarity of the issues involved and recoverable damages.20
the corresponding rulings rendered by the court. The "first group" would consist of the cases
of Reformina v. Tomol (1985), Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines v. Cruz(1986), Florendo II. With regard particularly to an award of interest in the concept of actual and compensatory
v. Ruiz (1989) damages, the rate of interest, as well as the accrual thereof, is imposed, as follows:
and National Power Corporation v. Angas (1992). In the "second group" would be Malayan
Insurance Company v.Manila Port Service (1969), Nakpil and Sons v. Court of 1. When the obligation is breached, and it consists in the payment of a sum of money, i.e., a
Appeals (1988), and American Express International v.Intermediate Appellate Court (1988). loan or forbearance of money, the interest due should be that which may have been stipulated
in writing.21 Furthermore, the interest due shall itself earn legal interest from the time it is
In the "first group", the basic issue focuses on the application of either the 6% (under the judicially demanded.22 In the absence of stipulation, the rate of interest shall be 12% per
Civil Code) or 12% (under the Central Bank Circular) interest per annum. It is easily annum to be computed from default, i.e., from judicial or extrajudicial demand under and
discernible in these cases that there has been a consistent holding that the Central Bank subject to the provisions of Article 116923 of the Civil Code.
Circular imposing the 12% interest per annum applies only to loans or forbearance16 of
money, goods or credits, as well as to judgments involving such loan or forbearance of 2. When an obligation, not constituting a loan or forbearance of money, is breached, an
money, goods or credits, and that the 6% interest under the Civil Code governs when the interest on the amount of damages awarded may be imposed at the discretion of the court24 at
transaction involves the payment of indemnities in the concept of damage arising from the the rate of 6% per annum.25 No interest, however, shall be adjudged on unliquidated claims
breach or a delay in the performance of obligations in general. Observe, too, that in these or damages except when or until the demand can be established with reasonable
cases, a common time frame in the computation of the 6% interest per annum has been certainty.26 Accordingly, where the demand is established with reasonable certainty, the
applied, i.e., from the time the complaint is filed until the adjudged amount is fully paid. interest shall begin to run from the time the claim is made judicially or extrajudicially (Art.
1169, Civil Code) but when such certainty cannot be so reasonably established at the time
The "second group", did not alter the pronounced rule on the application of the 6% or 12% the demand is made, the interest shall begin to run only from the date the judgment of the
interest per annum,17depending on whether or not the amount involved is a loan or court is made (at which time the quantification of damages may be deemed to have been
forbearance, on the one hand, or one of indemnity for damage, on the other hand. Unlike, reasonably ascertained). The actual base for the computation of legal interest shall, in any
however, the "first group" which remained consistent in holding that the running of the legal case, be on the amount finally adjudged.
interest should be from the time of the filing of the complaint until fully paid, the "second
group" varied on the commencement of the running of the legal interest. 3. When the judgment of the court awarding a sum of money becomes final and executory,
the rate of legal interest, whether the case falls under paragraph 1 or paragraph 2, above,
Malayan held that the amount awarded should bear legal interest from the date of the shall be 12% per annum from such finality until its satisfaction, this interim period being
decision of the court a quo,explaining that "if the suit were for damages, 'unliquidated and deemed to be by then an equivalent to a forbearance of credit.
not known until definitely ascertained, assessed and determined by the courts after proof,'
then, interest 'should be from the date of the decision.'" American Express International WHEREFORE, the petition is partly GRANTED. The appealed decision is AFFIRMED with
v. IAC, introduced a different time frame for reckoning the 6% interest by ordering it to be the MODIFICATION that the legal interest to be paid is SIX PERCENT (6%) on the amount
"computed from the finality of (the) decision until paid." The Nakpil and Sons case ruled that due computed from the decision, dated
12% interest per annum should be imposed from the finality of the decision until the 03 February 1988, of the court a quo. A TWELVE PERCENT (12%) interest, in lieu of SIX
judgment amount is paid. PERCENT (6%), shall be imposed on such amount upon finality of this decision until the
payment thereof.
The ostensible discord is not difficult to explain. The factual circumstances may have called
for different applications, guided by the rule that the courts are vested with discretion, SO ORDERED.
depending on the equities of each case, on the award of interest. Nonetheless, it may not be

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MORAL DAMAGES GIVING AND GRANTING unto our said attorney-in-fact full power and authority as we
might or could do if personally present and acting in person, and hereby CONFIRMING all
1. G.R. No. 104576 January 20, 1995 that our said attorney-in-fact may lawfully do under and by virtue of these presents.
MARIANO L. DEL MUNDO, petitioner, Only the duplicate copy of the SPA was given to Del Mundo by the Francisco. The latter
vs. kept the original copy but agreed to have it delivered to Del Mundo once he would have been
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, JOSE U. FRANCISCO and GENOVEVA V. able to firm up the P125,000.00 financing to cover their (the Franciscos) proposed
ROSALES, respondents. subscription.5 Aside from the special power of attorney, the Franciscos, who were then about
to depart for abroad,6 turned over to Del Mundo the physical possession of the real property
VITUG, J.: along with its existing facilities and equipment.
Mariano Del Mundo ("Del Mundo") impugns in this petition for review on certiorari the
07th April 1989 decision 1 of the Court of appeals which has affirmed, with modification, the Del Mundo proceeded to the Republic Planters Bank ("RPB") to apply for the loan. After the
29th June 1984 decision2 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City ordering him, together loan application was approved, Del Mundo executed a deed of real estate mortgage over the
with the Republic Planters bank ("RPB"), inter alia, to pay jointly and severally herein Franciscos' property to secure a P265,000.00 loan. The mortgage, however, could not be
private respondents, the spouses Jose Francisco and Genoveva Francisco ("Franciscos"), the annotated on the owner's copy of OCT NO. 0-3267, then in the possession of the
sum of P200,000.00 by way of actual and moral damages, as well as P6,000.00 of attorney's Development Bank of the Philippines ("DBP") which had a previous mortgage lien on it. To
fees, plus litigation expenses. obtain said owner's copy, the RPB agreed to assume, and thereafter paid, Franciscos'
The Franciscos are the owners of a parcel of land, with an area of 38,010 square meters, outstanding indebtedness to the DBP. The latter, despite the payment, refused to release the
situated in Barrio Anilao, Municipality of Mabini, Province of Batangas, covered by and owner's copy of the certificate of title due to Franciscos' objection. 7 In order to allow the
described in Original Certificate of title ("OCT") No. 0-3267 of the Registry of deeds of release of the loan proceeds, Del Mundo submitted additional collaterals. The RPB then
Batangas. Del Mundo, on the other hand, is the operator of a dive camp resort adjacent to the withdrew its previous payment to the DBP of P22,621.75, and the P265,000.00 loan was
property. forthwith released to Del Mundo.8

Sometime in June of 1980, Del Mundo, on the other hand, is the operator of a dive camp The joint venture did not materialize. The Franciscos wrote a demand letter addressed to Del
resort adjacent to the property. Mundo for the payment of rentals for the use of their property at the rate of P3,000.00 a
month (totalling P42,000.00) and for the return of the equipment taken by Del Mundo from
Sometime in June of 1980, Del Mundo proposed a corporate joint venture with the the bodega of the Franciscos valued at P15,000.00.9
Franciscos for the development of the latter's property. The corporation (to be named the
"Anilao Development Corporation") would have a capital stock of One Million Since Del Mundo failed to settle with the Franciscos, the latter sued Del Mundo, along with
(P1,000,000.00) Pesos to be subscribed equally between Del Mundo and the Franciscos. To the RPB, for annulment of the mortgage, as well as for damages, before the Regional Trial
cover the proposed subscription of the Franciscos, Del Mundo assured the couple that he Court of Quezon City. The Franciscos asserted that Del Mundo made use of their property
could get from them a P125,000.00 loan secured by the realty. 3 for his sole benefit and purpose, and that the use of the property could not have been availed
by Del Mundo himself had it not been for the latter's proposal to put up the joint venture.
The Franciscos executed a special power of attorney ("SPA"), dated 25 July 1980, 4 in favor After trial, the trial court rendered judgment, dated 29 June 1984, 10 in favor of the
of Del Mundo authorizing him to obtain a bank loan. The SPA, in part, provided: Franciscos thusly:
1. To negotiate for a loan with any bank or financial institution, in such amount or amounts (1) Declaring the real estate mortgage (Exh. E) executed by defendant Mariano Del Mundo
as our said attorney-in-fact may deem proper and expedient and under such terms and in favor of defendant Republic Planters Bank on January 10, 1981, null and void ab initio;
conditions as he may also deem proper and convenient;
(2) Declaring the unauthorized payments made by defendant Republic Planters Bank to the
2. To sign, execute and deliver by way of first mortgage in favor of said bank or financial Development Bank of the Philippines for the account of plaintiffs as null and void;
institution on our property situated in Anilao, Mabini, Batangas, . . .
(3) Ordering defendant Mariano L. del Mundo to pay to plaintiffs the sum of P42,000.00 as
3. To receive and receipt for the proceeds of the loan, and to sign such other papers and reasonable rental payment for the use and occupancy of plaintiffs' property, plus P15,000.00
documents as may be necessary in connection therewith; representing the value of equipment taken by said defendant from plaintiffs;

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(4) Ordering defendants jointly and severally, to pay to plaintiffs the sum of P200,000.00 as B.
actual and moral damages, plus P6,000.00 as attorney's fees and litigation expenses, plus
(5) Ordering plaintiffs to reimburse defendant Republic Planters Bank the sum of THE LAW ON WHICH IT IS BASED IN GROSS VIOLATION OF SEC. 9, X OF THE

(6) Dismissing defendants' counterclaims for lack of merit. 11 C.

Both parties appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals. While the appeal was pending, RESPONDENT C.A. ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURT'S DECISION
Jose Francisco died; he was substituted by his heirs. On 07 April 1989, the court of Appeals ORDERING PETITIONER AND CO-DEFENDANT REPUBLIC PLANTERS BANK
rendered its now assailed decision 12 which decreed: ("RPB") TO PAY PRIVATE RESPONDENTS, JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY, THE SUM
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED in all respects subject to the AND COSTS/EXPENSES OF LITIGATION.
modification that plaintiff-appellants be absolved of any liability to appellant bank. 13
We see partial merit in the petition.
On its assumption that the decision had already become final and executory, the Court of
Appeals made an entry of judgment on 28 September 1989. 14 Thus, RPB, sometime in In its 29th June 1984 decision, the trial court, after summarizing the conflicting asseverations
October 1990, paid Genoveva Francisco and the substituted heirs the amount of of the parties, went on to discuss, and forthwith to conclude on, the kernel issue of the case
P209,126.00, the extent to which RPB was held to be jointly and solidarily liable with Del in just two paragraphs, to wit:
Mundo conformably with the appellate court's decision (affirming that of the trial
court). 15 The Franciscos acknowledged the payment and manifested that "(t)he only amount The evidence disclose that defendant RPB executed said mortgage with del Mundo, although
not satisfied . . . (was) the amount due solely from defendant Mariano L. Del Mundo" the original of said special power-of-attorney and the original of the owner's duplicate
pursuant to that portion of the judgment certificate of title was not presented to it and without requiring its registration. Under the
circumstances, the mortgage to defendant RPB was irregularity executed, justifying
3) Ordering defendant Mariano L. Del Mundo to pay plaintiffs the sum of P42,000.00 as annulment of said mortgage in its favor.
reasonable rental payment for the use and occupancy of plaintiff's property, plus P15,000.00
representing the value of equipment taken by said defendant from plaintiffs; 16 However, the evidence disclose that plaintiffs has received the sum of P45,000.00 from del
Mundo, and the sum of P22,300.00 was paid to DBP (Exh. F) and applied to plaintiffs'
When Del Mundo learned, for the first time, that a writ of execution pursuant to the appellate previous loan with DBP, as part of an agreement between plaintiffs and del Mundo, or a total
court's decision was sought to be implemented against his property on 09 October 1990, he of P67,300.00. Plaintiffs are, therefore, duty bound to make reimbursement of said amount to
filed on the very next day, or on 10 October 1990, an urgent manifestation with motion to lift RPB, as they cannot be allowed to enrich themselves at RPB's expense and prejudice. 20
the entry of judgment against him alleging non-service of the assailed decision. 17 The
appellate court acted favorably on Del Mundo's motion and, "in the interest of justice," 18 he After that brief disquisition, the trial court disposed of the case by ordering Del Mundo and
was also allowed to file his own for reconsideration. He did in due time. 19 RPB, inter alia, jointly and severally to pay the Franciscos the sum of P200,000.00 as actual
and moral damages, P6,000.00 as attorney's fees, and litigation expenses plus costs.
After Del Mundo's motion for reconsideration was denied on 18 March 1992, the present
petition was seasonably instituted assigning three alleged errors; viz: It is understandable that courts, with their heavy dockets and time constraints, often find
themselves with little to spare in the preparation of decisions to the extent most desirable.
A. We have thus pointed out that judges might learn to synthesize and to simplify their
pronouncements. 21 Nevertheless, concisely written such as they may be, decisions must still
RESPONDENT C.A. ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURT'S FINDING THAT distinctly and clearly express, at least in minimum essence, its factual and legal bases. 22
DESPITE THE TOTAL ABSENCE OF DAMAGE ON THE PART OF PRIVATE The two awards one for actual damages and the other for moral damages cannot be
RESPONDENTS. dealt with in the aggregate; neither being kindred terms nor governed by a coincident set of
rules, each must be separately identified and independently justified. A requirement common
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to both, of course, is that an injury must have been sustained by the claimant. The nature of [G.R. No. 145712. September 24, 2002]
that injury, nonetheless, differs for while it is pecuniary in actual or compensatory
damages, 23 it is, upon the other hand, non-pecuniary in the case of moral damages. 24 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. VICTOR HATE, accused-
A party is entitled to an adequate compensation for such pecuniary loss actually suffered by
him as he has duly proved. 25 Such damages, to be recoverable, must not only be capable of DECISION
proof, but must actually be proved with a reasonable degree of certainty. 26 We have
emphasized that these damages cannot be presumed, 27 and courts, in making an award must YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
point out specific facts which could afford a basis for measuring whatever compensatory or
actual damages are borne. 28 This is an appeal from the decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court of Sorsogon, Branch 52, in
Criminal Case No. 98-4583, convicting accused-appellant Victor Hate of the crime of
Moral damages, upon the other hand, may be awarded to compensate one for manifold Murder and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the heirs of
injuries such as physical suffering, mental anguish, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, the victim the sum of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and P15,000.00 as reasonable actual
wounded feelings and social humiliation. These damages must be understood to be in the expenses and to pay the cost.
concept of grants, not punitive 29 or corrective30 in nature, calculated to compensate the
claimant for the injury suffered.31 Although incapable of exactness and no proof of pecuniary The Information against accused-appellant reads:
loss is necessary in order that moral damages may be awarded, the amount of indemnity
That on or about 12:00 midnight of December 31, 1997, at barangay Central, municipality of
being left to the discretion of the court,32 it is imperative, nevertheless, that (1) injury must
Casiguran, province of Sorsogon, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
have been suffered by the claimant, and (2) such injury must have sprung from any of the
Court, the above-named accused, with treachery and evident premeditation armed with
cases expressed in Article 2219 33 and Article 2220 34 of the civil Code. A causal relation, in
bladed weapon, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, attack, assault and
fine, must exist between the act or omission referred to in the Code which underlies, or gives
stab one MARCIAL DIO, inflicting upon him a fatal injury which caused his death, to the
rise to, the case or proceeding, on the one hand, and the resulting injury, on the other hand;
damage and prejudice of his legal heirs.
i.e., the first must be the proximate cause and the latter the direct consequence thereof.
A judicious review of the records in the case at bench, indeed, fails to show that substantial
legal basis was shown to support the herein questioned collective award for the questioned Upon arraignment on June 4, 1998, accused-appellant, assisted by counsel de parte, entered
damages. We are, therefore, constrained to disregard them. a plea of not guilty. Thereafter, trial ensued. The prosecution presented the following
witnesses: (1) Bernardo Palacio; (2) Joselito Esmea; (3) Dr. Antonio Lopez; and (4)
As regards the other issues raised by petitioner, the findings of the appellate court, involving
Remedios Dio.
such as they do mainly factual matters that are not entirely bereft of substantial basis, must
be respected and held binding on this Court. On the other hand, the defense presented accused-appellant and Zoraida Barbiran.
In passing, we have taken note of the fact that the RPB, itself a judgment co-debtor in The facts as narrated by the eyewitness presented by the prosecution are as follows:
solidum with Del Mundo, did not join the latter in this appeal. The Court, accordingly,
cannot here and now make any pronouncement on the effects of said bank's payment to Del At about midnight of December 31, 1997, Bernardo Palacio was walking from the church of
Mundo under and by virtue of the appellate court's appealed decision. Casiguran, Sorsogon towards the transportation terminal with Marcial Dio on his left side,
Joselito Esmea on his right side and one Dante ahead of them. Suddenly, Marcial Dio cried, I
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is accordingly MODIFIED by deleting was hit. Bernardo immediately turned to his left side and saw accused-appellant stab the
the award of P200,000.00 for actual and moral damages. In all other respects, the appealed victim from behind with a sharp instrument. Accused-appellant thereafter ran away. He was
decision is AFFIRMED. No costs. able to identify the accused-appellant because the latter stared at him and a beam of
flashlight shone on his face. The victim was brought to the Sorsogon Provincial
Hospital. Bernardo then went to Cogon, Casiguran, Sorsogon with Joselito Esmea to tell the
victims parents what had happened.[3]

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Joselito Esmea corroborated the testimony of Bernardo Palacio and further testified that they Accused-appellant asserts that the prosecutions witnesses failed to properly identify the
chased accused-appellant for about two meters but they stopped because stones were pelted perpetrator of the crime because the locus criminis was dark and the assailant ran away when
at them;[4] and that he signed a sworn statement before Judge Rica H. Lacson. Palacio focused the flashlight on him. Furthermore, both Bernardo Palacio and Joselito
Esmea were not familiar with the assailants name.
Dr. Antonio Lopez, the doctor who performed the surgical operation on the victim and issued
the corresponding death certificate, testified that the victim died at 5:10 in the morning of The issue of whether or not appellant was in fact identified by the prosecution eyewitnesses
January 1, 1998 and the immediate cause of death was aspiration of gastric content is anchored on the issue of credibility. It is well-entrenched in this jurisdiction that factual
secondary to stab wound in the lumbar area which is considered a vital organ. [5] findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies are entitled to
the highest respect and will not be disturbed on appeal in the absence of any clear showing
Remedios Dio, the mother of the victim, testified on the damages they suffered caused by the that the trial court overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts or circumstances of
untimely demise of their son.[6] weight and substance that would have affected the result of the case. Having seen and heard
the witnesses themselves and observed their behavior and manner of testifying, the trial court
For his defense, accused-appellant denied authorship of the crime. He alleged that at around was in a better position to decide the question of credibility. [10]
10:00 in the evening of December 31, 1997, he stayed at the house of his uncle, Rommel
Grecia, at Logger, Casiguran, Sorsogon because he was suffering from stomachache.At A thorough review of the records of the instant case shows that there is no reason to deviate
around 2:00 in the morning, he requested that he be brought to the house of his sister, from the trial courts evaluation and assessment of the credibility of witnesses. The trial court
Zoraida Barbiran.[7] did not err in giving credence to the testimony of the prosecutions witnesses that they were
able to identify accused-appellant as the perpetrator of the crime. We do not doubt the
Zoraida Barbiran testified that Rommel Grecia brought her brother, accused-appellant, to her identification of accused-appellant considering that the place was not so dark,[11] and
house. She gave him leblon, a medicine for stomach pains, and hot water. After several Bernardo Palacio was able to focus the beam of his flashlight on the face of accused-
hours, accused-appellant was relieved, but he stayed in her house until 7:00 in the morning appellant.[12] Moreover, his distance from accused-appellant was less than a
of January 1, 1998.[8] meter.[13] Bernardo Palacios testimony is further bolstered by Dr. Antonio Lopezs testimony
to the effect that the victim sustained one stab wound at the back. A detailed testimony
After trial, judgment was rendered against the accused-appellant, the dispositive portion of acquires greater weight and credibility when confirmed by autopsy findings. [14]
which reads:
We are likewise not persuaded by accused-appellants claim that Bernardo Palacio and
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court finds accused Victor Hate guilty beyond Joselito Esmea did not know his real name at the time of the alleged crime. The records
reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder, defined and penalized under Article 248 of the reveal that although it was the police who supplied the name of accused-appellant; it was
Revised Penal Code with the qualifying circumstance of treachery, the Court hereby done after Bernardo Palacio described the facial features of the perpetrator. Thus, he stated
sentences him to an imprisonment of Reclusion Perpetua and to pay the heirs of Marcial Dio on cross examination:[15]
the sum of Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos, Philippine currency, as civil indemnity
without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, to reimburse the heirs of the victim Atty. Gojol:
the amount of P15,000.00 as reasonable actual expenses and to pay the cost.
Accused being detained, his detention shall be credited in full in the service of his sentence.
q. And who told you his name?
a. The policeman.
In this appeal, accused-appellant raises the lone issue of:
THE TEST OF GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT, IRRESPECTIVE OF THE q. Why did that policeman tell you his name?
WHICH IS INHERENTLY THE WEAKEST OF ALL DEFENSES. a. Because I described the facial feature of the assailant to the police.

q. So it was the police who told you that it was Victor Hate?
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a. Yes, sir. those made at the witness stand seldom discredit the declarant. [19] To be sure, even without
the testimony of Joselito Esmea, the testimony of Bernardo Palacio is sufficient to convict
q. When was that Victor Hate presented to you? the accused.

a. After two weeks, after he was arrested. Accused-appellants defense of alibi fails to overthrow the straightforward accounts of the
credible prosecution eyewitnesses and his positive identification as the perpetrator of the
On re-direct examination,[16] Bernardo Palacio clarified how he was able to identify the murder of Marcial Dio. We agree with the trial court that the defense of alibi is inherently a
accused-appellant, thus: weak defense and cannot prevail over the positive testimony of the witnesses that the
accused-appellant committed the crime.[20]
Atty. Gerona:
The trial court correctly appreciated treachery as a qualifying circumstance in the killing of
xxxxxxxxx the victim. The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack by an aggressor on
an unsuspecting victim, depriving the latter of any real chance to defend himself, thereby
q. That person you saw during the arraignment who, according to you, was the same person
ensuring its commission without risk to the aggressor, without the slightest provocation on
you saw at the police station, was he also the same person you saw who stabbed Marcial
the part of the victim.[21] In the case at bar, accused-appellant stabbed the victim at the back
and at a place which was not so illuminated. There was no provocation on the part of the
a. Yes, sir. victim as he just had finished hearing Mass and the incident happened so fast. Clearly, the
victim was in no position to defend himself and to repel the attack of accused-appellant.
q. Even without a flashlight, could you recognize Victor Hate to be the one you saw when
you turned your back as the one who stabbed Marcial? Hence, the trial court was correct in convicting accused-appellant of the crime of
Murder. Under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for Murder is reclusion
a. I really recognized him because it was not so dark. perpetua to death. The lesser of the two indivisible penalties shall be imposed considering
that there are no other attendant circumstances.[22]
q. How near were you to him when you stared at each other?
The award of actual damages amounting to P15,000.00 was not duly proven by the
a. Less than a meter. prosecution. In awarding said damages, the trial court merely relied on the list of
expenses[23] presented by Remedios Dio. The list of expenses cannot replace receipts when
q. What is the facial feature of Victor Hate, what do you remember most which you told the the latter should have been issued as a matter of course in business transaction. Only
police? substantiated and proven expenses, or those that appear to have been genuinely incurred in
connection with the death, wake or burial of the victim will be recognized in court. [24] Thus,
a. He is dark with curly hair and with thick eyebrows. the award of actual damages must be deleted for lack of competent proof. [25] However, as the
heirs of the victim incurred medical and funeral expenses, we deem it proper to award
Accused-appellant failed to show that prosecution witnesses were prompted by any ill- P10,000.00 by way of nominal damages so that a right which has been violated may be
motive to falsely testify or wrongfully accuse him of so grave a crime of murder. The Court recognized or vindicated.[26]
adheres to the established rule that in the absence of any evidence to show that the witness
was actuated by any improper motive, his identification of the assailant should be given full In People v. Ciron,[27] the Court held that the unlawful killing of a person, which may either
faith and credit.[17] be murder or homicide, entitles the heirs of the deceased to moral damages without need of
independent proof other than the fact of death of the victim. Thus, an award of P50,000.00 is
Moreover, the witnesses need not know the names of the accused as long as they recognize proper and reasonable under current case law.[28]
their faces. What is important is that the witnesses are positive as to the perpetrators physical
identification from the witnesses own personal knowledge. [18] Finally, an award of exemplary damages in the amount of P25,000.00 is in order, in view of
the attendance of the qualifying circumstance of treachery. In People v. Catubig,[29] we held
As regards the inconsistencies between the testimony and the sworn statement executed by that in criminal cases, exemplary damages in the amount of P25,000.00 is recoverable if
Joselito Esmea before the police as to what happened to Erwin Enano, suffice it to say that there is present an aggravating circumstance, whether qualifying or ordinary, in the
affidavits are generally not prepared by the affiants themselves but by others, and affiants are commission of the crime.[30]
only made to sign them. Certain discrepancies between declarations made in the affidavit and
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WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Corporation upon orders of the branch manager Mr. Gaspar de los Santos, without any
Sorsogon, Branch 52, in Criminal Case No. 98-4583, convicting accused-appellant Victor receipt, who claimed that he was delinquent in the payments of his vehicle. The plaintiff
Hate of the crime of Murder and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua is reported the loss to the PC (Exhibit "Y") and after proper verification from the office of the
AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION as to damages. Accused-appellant is ordered to pay the Filinvest, the said vehicle was recovered from the Crisologo Compound which was later
heirs of the victim the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral released by Rosario Fronda Assistant Manager of the Filinvest, and Arturo Balatbat as
damages, P25,000.00 as exemplary damages, and P10,000.00 as nominal damages. The caretaker of the compound. The police blotter of the Integrated National Police of Dagupan
award of actual damages in the amount of P15,000.00 is DELETED for lack of sufficient City shows that Nestor Sunga and T/Sgt. Isidro Pascual of the 153rd PC Company sought the
basis. Cost de oficio. assistance of the Dagupan police and one Florence Onia of the Filinvest explained that the
minibus was confiscated because the balance was already past due. After verification that his
SO ORDERED. accounts are all in order, Florence Onia admitted it was their fault. The motor vehicle was
returned to the plaintiff upon proper receipt.

After trial, the court a quo rendered its decision 6 the decretal portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court hereby renders judgment as follows, to wit:
3. G.R. No. L-65935 September 30, 1988
(1) ORDERING the defendant Filinvest Credit Corporation to pay the plaintiff Nestor Sunga
FILINVEST CREDIT CORPORATION, petitioner, Jr. the following damages, to wit:
JR., respondents. (b) Loss on Income of the minibus for three days 600.00
(c) Actual damages 500.00
Labaguis, Loyola, Angara Law Offices for petitioner. (d) Litigation expenses 5,000.00
(e) Attorney's Fees 10,000.00
Juan C. Navarro, Jr. for private respondent.
(2) And to pay the costs.
In this special civil action for certiorari, Filinvest Credit Corporation implores us to declare
the nullity of the Decision 1 dated September 30, 1983 and the Resolution 2 dated December Dissatisfied with the aforecited decision, the defendant (petitioner herein), interposed a
16, 1983 of the Intermediate Appellate Courts 3 (now Court of Appeals) which were timely appeal with the respondent court. On September 30, 1983, the latter promulgated its
allegedly issued with grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack of jurisdiction, or in decision affirming in toto the decision of the trial court dated July 17, 1981, "except with
excess of jurisdiction, and with patent denial of due process. 4 regard to the moral damages which, under the circumstances of the accounting error incurred
by Filinvest, is hereby increased from P30,000.00 to P50,000.00." 7 As the reconsideration of
The facts as found by the trial court are as follows: 5 said decision proved futile in view of its denial by the respondent court in its resolution of
December 16, 1983, the petitioners come to us thru this instant petition for certiorari under
This is a case for damages filed by Nestor B. Sunga Jr., businessman and owner of the NBS Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
Machineries Marketing and the NAP-NAP Transit. Plaintiff alleged that he purchased a
passenger minibus Mazda from the Motor center, Inc. at Calasiao, Pangasinan on March 21, The petitioner alleges the following errors: 8
1978 and for which he executed a promissory note (Exhibit "B") to cover the amount of
P62,592.00 payable monthly in the amount of P2,608.00 for 24 months due and payable the It is a patent grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction and a bare denial of
1st day of each month starting May 1, 1978 thru and inclusive of May 1, 1980. On the same petitioner's constitutional right to due process of law, when the respondent Court completely
date, however, a chattel mortgage was executed by him in favor of the Motor center, Inc. ignored the assigned errors in the petitioner's Brief upon which private respondent had joined
(Exhibit "A"). The Chattel Mortgage and Assignment was assigned to the Filinvest Credit issues with petitioner.
Corporation with the conformity of the plaintiff. Nestor Sunga claimed that on October 21,
1978, the minibus was seized by two (2) employees of the defendant Filinvest Credit
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In resolving the appeal before it thru matters and questions not raised at the trial or on the same had no legal basis. 15 It rationalizes that the respondent court's invocation of a
appeal, by either of the parties, respondent Court exceeded its jurisdiction and acted with pending bill in the legislature, Batasan Bill 3075, to support its decision, is
grave abuse of discretion. untenable. 16 Lastly, it deposits that Rebosura is riot on all fours with the case at bar and
therefore adherence thereto was misplaced, 17 citing the following distinctions: 18 1)
When the respondent Court granted private respondent MORAL DAMAGES in an In Rebosura, there was unlawful entry while in this case, there was none; 2) in the former,
exaggerated and unconscionable amount, respondent Court exceeded the bounds of its the plaintiff did not breach the contract whereas in this case there is a finding by the court a
discretion, amounting to an absence or lack of jurisdiction. quo of such violation; 3) in the former, the contract was denominated Deed of Sale with
Reservation of Title, while in this case, the contracts referred to are the Promissory Note and
Respondent Court had NO authority to increase the award of DAMAGES to private Deed of Mortgage; 4) in the former, the defendant Oropeza was an unpaid seller while the
respondent when the latter did not appeal the decision because private respondent considered plaintiff Rebosura was the buyer, whereas, in this case, the petitioner is the promissor-
the judgment (questioned by petitioner on appeal) as "perfect", "sound" and "wise" (at pp. 17 mortgagee while Sunga is the promissor-mortgagor; 5) in the former, there was no notice of
to 20, Brief for Appellee). delinquency and repossession, whereas, in this case, there is notice and demand; and 6) in the
former, the contract was in fine print, whereas, in this case, it is not so.
In relying upon a BILL pending before the Batasan Pambansa to buttress its judgment, the
respondent Court acted contrary to law and jurisprudence, making of its judgment a On the other side, the private respondent maintains that the respondent court did not abuse its
NULLITY. discretion, stressing that a careful reading and understanding of the assailed decision would
manifest that all assigned errors were resolved, citing portions of the decision which dealt
The extensive citation and adherence by the respondent Court on (sic) its decision in the case specifically with each of the errors assigned. 19 He maintains that the award of moral
of "Edilberto Rebosura, et al. versus Rogaciano Oropeza, CA-G.R. No. 63048-R, December damages, impeached as exaggerated and unconscionable, is justified by the prayer in the
17, 1983" (which is non-doctrinal and under question in the Honorable Supreme Court) is appellee's (respondent Sunga's brief, to wit: FURTHER REMEDIES AND RELIEFS
not warranted in law and jurisprudence, and amounts to a grave abuse of discretion. DEEMED JUST AND EQUITABLE UNDER AND WITHIN THE PREMISES ARE
PRAYED FOR. 20 Lastly, the private respondent submits that the references to Batasan Bill
The various assignments of error may be synthesized into the sole issues 9 of. Whether or not
No. 3075 and Rebosura were mere passing comments which did not in any way detract from
the respondent court a) in allegedly ignoring the various assigned errors in petitioners brief;
the validity of the assailed decision. 21
b) in resolving issues not raised at the trial and on appeal; c) in increasing the amount of
moral damages; and (d) in adhering to its decision in Edilberto Rebosura et al. vs. Rogaciano After carefully considering and weighing all the arguments of both protagonists, we hold that
Oropeza, CA-G.R. No. 63048-R, as well as to Batasan Bill No. 3075, which is yet to be the respondent court committed a grave abuse of discretion in increasing extravagantly the
enacted into law, acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. award of moral damages and in granting litigation expenses. In those respects, the petition is
granted and to that extent the questioned decision is modified.
Contrary views are espoused by the parties in this case. Petitioner maintains that it was
patent grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction and a bare denial of the There is no gainsaying that the plaintiff-appellee (respondent Sunga did not appeal from the
petitioner's constitutional right to due process of law, when the respondent court completely decision of the court a quo which awarded him the sum of P30,000.00 by way of moral
brushed aside the assigned errors in its brief. 10 It asserts that the constitutionality of the damages. "Well settled is the rule in this jurisdiction that whenever an appeal is taken in a
contractual stipulation between the parties embodied in the documents denominated as civil case an appellee who has not himself appealed cannot obtain from the appellate court
Promissory Note and Deed of Mortgage was not in issue in the court a quo and neither was any affirmative relief other than the ones granted in the decision of the court
the same raised on appea 11 and therefore should not have been passed upon based on the below." 22 Verily the respondent court disregarded such a well settled rule when it increased
premise that the appellate court should not consider any error other than those assigned or the award for moral damages from P30,000.00 to P50,000.00, notwithstanding the fact that
specified. 12 Further, it submits that the controversy on appeal is capable of adjudication on the private respondent did not appeal from the judgment of the trial court, an act indicative of
other substantive grounds, without necessarily treading into constitutional questions. 13 It is grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.
also the petitioner's submission that the increase in the award of moral damages from the
P30,000.00 adjudged by the trial court which was not appealed by respondent Sunga who felt Certiorari lies when a court has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse
that the award was "perfect," "sound," and "wise," to a "whopping P50,000.00" imposed by of discretion. 'without jurisdiction' means that the court acted with absolute want of
the respondent Intermediate Appellate Court (now Court of Appeals) amounted to a grave jurisdiction. There is "excess of jurisdiction" where the court has jurisdiction but has
abuse of discretion. 14 Thus, the increase in the award which the respondent appellate court transcended the same or acted without any statutory authority Leung Ben vs. O'Brien, 38
justified by the accounting error committed by the petitioner, should not be countenanced, as Phils., 182; Salvador Campos y CIA vs. Del Rosario, 41 Phil., 45). "Grave abuse of

47 | P a g e
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discretion" implies such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to We do not agree with private respondent's argument that the increase in the award of moral
lack of jurisdiction (Abad Santos vs. Province of Tarlac, 38 Off. Gaz., 83.) or in other words, damages is justified by the prayer in its brief, to wit: FURTHER REMEDIES AND
where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or RELIEFS DEEMED JUST AND EQUITABLE UNDER AND WITHIN THE PREMISES
personal hostility, and it must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive ARE PRAYED FOR. Such statement is usually extant in practically all pleadings as a final
duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of statement; it is rhetorical flourish as it were and could not be a substitute for appeal as
law. (Talavera-Luna vs. Nable, 38 Off. Gaz., 62). 23 required by the rules for "the appellee cannot seek modification or reversal of the judgment
or affirmative relief, unless he has also appealed therefrom." 31
Or, as held in the recent case of Robert Young vs. Julio A. Sulit, Jr., 24 "(F)or certiorari to lie,
there must be capricious, arbitrary, and whimsical exercise of power, the very antithesis of With regard to the award of litigation expenses in the sum of P5,000.00, the same is hereby
the judicial prerogative in accordance with centuries of civil law and common law tradition." disallowed, there being no price for litigation.

We had occasion to state that "there is no hard and fast rule in the determination of what WHEREFORE, the petition is partially GRANTED. The award of moral damages is
would be a fair amount of moral damages, since each case must be governed by its own REDUCED to P10,000.00 and the grant of litigation expenses is ELIMINATED. The rest of
peculiar circumstances." 25 Be that as it may and in amplification of this generalization, we the judgment is AFFIRMED. Without costs.
set the criterion that "in the case of moral damages, the yardstick should be that the "amount
awarded should not be palpably and scandalously excessive" so as to indicate that it was the SO ORDERED.
result of passion, prejudice or corruption on the part of the trial court ... . Moreover, the
actual losses sustained by the aggrieved parties and the gravity of the injuries must be
considered in arriving at reasonable levels ... ." 26

There is no dispute that the private respondent, a businessman and owner of the NBS
Machineries Marketing and NAP-NAP Transit, is entitled to moral damages due to the 4. [G.R. No. 126466. January 14, 1999]
unwarranted seizure of the minibus Mazda, allegedly because he was delinquent in the
payment of its monthly amortizations, which as stated above, turned out to be ARTURO BORJAL a.k.a. ART BORJAL and MAXIMO SOLIVEN, petitioners, vs.
incorrect. 27 No doubt such intent tainted private respondent Sunga's reputation in the COURT OF APPEALS and FRANCISCO WENCESLAO, respondents.
business community, thus causing him mental anguish, serious anxiety, besmirched
reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, and social humiliation. Considering, however,
that respondent Sunga was dispossessed of his motor vehicle for barely three days, that is, "The question is not so much as who was aimed at as who was hit." (Pound, J., in Corrigan
from October 21, 1978 to October 23, 1978, possession of which was restored to him soon v. Bobbs-Merill Co., 228 N.Y. 58 [1920]).
after the accounting errors were ironed out, we find that the award of moral damages even in
the sum of P30,000.00 is excessive for it must be emphasized that "damages are not intended BELLOSILLO, J.:
to enrich the complainant at the expense of a defendant. They are awarded only to enable the
injured parties to obtain means, diversions or amusements that will serve to alleviate the PERPETUALLY HAGRIDDEN as the public is about losing one of the most basic yet oft
moral sufferings the injured parties have undergone by reason of defendant's culpable action. hotly contested freedoms of man, the issue of the right of free expression bestirs and presents
In other words, the award of moral damages is aimed at a restoration within the limits of the itself time and again, in cyclic occurrence, to inveigle, nay, challenge the courts to re-survey
possible, of the spiritual status quo ante; and therefore it must be proportionate to the its ever shifting terrain, explore and furrow its heretofore uncharted moors and valleys and
suffering inflicted." 28 Moreover, "(M)oral damages though not incapable of pecuniary finally redefine the metes and bounds of its controversial domain. This, prominently, is one
estimations, are in the category of an award designed to compensate the claimant for actual such case.
injury suffered and not to impose a penalty on the wrongdoer. 29
Perhaps, never in jurisprudential history has any freedom of man undergone radical doctrinal
It behooves us therefore to reiterate the caveat to lower courts "to guard against the award of metamorphoses than his right to freely and openly express his views. Blackstone's pontifical
exorbitant damages that are way out of proportion to the environmental circumstances of a comment that "where blasphemous, immoral, treasonable, schismatical, seditious, or
case and which time and again, this Court has reduced or eliminated. Judicial discretion scandalous libels are punished by English law . . . the liberty of the press, properly
granted to the courts in the assessment of damages must always be exercised with balanced understood, is by no means infringed or violated," found kindred expression in the landmark
restraints and measured objectivity. 30 opinion of England's Star Chamber in the Libelis Famosis case in 1603.[1] That case
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established two major propositions in the prosecution of defamatory remarks: first, that libel the FNCLT was to draft an omnibus bill that would embody a long-term land transportation
against a public person is a greater offense than one directed against an ordinary man, and policy for presentation to Congress. The conference which, according to private respondent,
second, that it is immaterial that the libel be true. was estimated to cost around P1,815,000.00 would be funded through solicitations from
various sponsors such as government agencies, private organizations, transport firms, and
Until republicanism caught fire in early America, the view from the top on libel was no less individual delegates or participants.[2]
dismal. Even the venerable Justice Holmes appeared to waffle as he swayed from the
concept of criminal libel liability under the clear and present danger rule, to the other end of On 28 February 1989, at the organizational meeting of the FNCLT, private respondent
the spectrum in defense of the constitutionally protected status of unpopular opinion in free Francisco Wenceslao was elected Executive Director. As such, he wrote numerous
society. solicitation letters to the business community for the support of the conference.

Viewed in modern times and the current revolution in information and communication Between May and July 1989 a series of articles written by petitioner Borjal was published on
technology, libel principles formulated at one time or another have waxed and waned different dates in his column Jaywalker. The articles dealt with the alleged anomalous
through the years in the constant ebb and flow of judicial review. At the very least, these activities of an "organizer of a conference" without naming or identifying private
principles have lost much of their flavor, drowned and swamped as they have been by the respondent. Neither did it refer to the FNCLT as the conference therein mentioned. Quoted
ceaseless cacophony and din of thought and discourse emanating from just about every hereunder are excerpts from the articles of petitioner together with the dates they were
source and direction, aided no less by an increasingly powerful and irrepressible mass published[3] -
media. Public discourse, laments Knight, has been devalued by its utter commonality; and
we agree, for its logical effect is to benumb thought and sensibility on what may be 31 May 1989
considered as criminal illegitimate encroachments on the right of persons to enjoy a good,
honorable and reputable name. This may explain the imperceptible demise of criminal Another self-proclaimed hero of the EDSA Revolution goes around organizing seminars and
prosecutions for libel and the trend to rely instead on indemnity suits to repair any damage conferences for a huge fee. This is a simple ploy coated in jazzy letterheads and slick
on one's reputation. prose. The hero has the gall to solicit fees from anybody with bucks to spare. Recently, in his
usual straightforward style, Transportation Secretary Rainerio Ray Reyes, asked that his
In this petition for review, we are asked to reverse the Court of Appeals in "Francisco name be stricken off from the letterheads the hero has been using to implement one of his pet
Wenceslao v. Arturo Borjal and Maximo Soliven," CA-G.R. No. 40496, holding on 25 March seminars. Reyes said: I would like to reiterate my request that you delete my name. Note that
1996 that petitioners Arturo Borjal and Maximo Soliven are solidarily liable for damages for Ray Reyes is an honest man who would confront anybody eyeball to eyeball without blinking.
writing and publishing certain articles claimed to be derogatory and offensive to private
respondent Francisco Wenceslao. 9 June 1989

Petitioners Arturo Borjal and Maximo Soliven are among the incorporators of Philippines Another questionable portion of the so-called conference is its unauthorized use of the names
Today, Inc. (PTI), now PhilSTAR Daily, Inc., owner of The Philippine Star, a daily of President Aquino and Secretary Ray Reyes. The conference program being circulated
newspaper. At the time the complaint was filed, petitioner Borjal was its President while claims that President Aquino and Reyes will be main speakers in the conference. Yet, the
Soliven was (and still is) Publisher and Chairman of its Editorial Board. Among the regular word is that Cory and Reyes have not accepted the invitation to appear in this confab. Ray
writers of The Philippine Star is Borjal who runs the column Jaywalker. Reyes even says that the conference should be unmasked as a moneymaking gimmick.

Private respondent Francisco Wenceslao, on the other hand, is a civil engineer, businessman, 19 June 1989
business consultant and journalist by profession. In 1988 he served as a technical adviser of
Congressman Fabian Sison, then Chairman of the House of Representatives Sub-Committee x x x some 3,000 fund solicitation letters were sent by the organizer to every Tom, Dick and
on Industrial Policy. Harry and to almost all government agencies. And the letterheads carried the names of
Reyes and Periquet. Agrarian Reform Secretary on leave Philip Juico received one, but he
During the congressional hearings on the transport crisis sometime in September 1988 decided to find out from Reyes himself what the project was all about. Ray Reyes, in effect,
undertaken by the House Sub-Committee on Industrial Policy, those who attended agreed to advised Juico to put the fund solicitation letter in the waste basket. Now, if the 3,000 persons
organize the First National Conference on Land Transportation (FNCLT) to be participated and agencies approached by the organizer shelled out 1,000 each, thats easily P3 million to
in by the private sector in the transport industry and government agencies concerned in order a project that seems so unsophisticated. But note that one garment company gave P100,000,
to find ways and means to solve the transportation crisis. More importantly, the objective of after which the Garments Regulatory Board headed by Trade and Industry Undersecretary

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Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was approached by the organizer to expedite the garment license xxx
application of the P100,000 donor.
A cabinet secretary has one big wish. He is hoping for a broad power to ban crooks and
21 June 1989 influence-peddlers from entering the premises of his department. But the Cabinet man might
not get his wish. There is one 'organizer' who, even if physically banned, can still concoct
A 'conference organizer' associated with shady deals seems to have a lot of trash tucked ways of doing his thing. Without a tinge of remorse, the 'organizer' could fill up his
inside his closet. The Jaywalker continues to receive information about the mans dubious letterheads with names of Cabinet members, congressmen, and reputable people from the
deals. His notoriety, according to reliable sources, has reached the Premier Guest House private sector to shore up his shady reputation and cover up his notoriety.
where his name is spoken like dung.
3 July 1989
A supposed conference on transportation was a big failure. The attendance was very poor
The first information says that the 'organizer' tried to mulct half a million pesos from a and the few who participated in the affair were mostly leaders of jeepney drivers
garment producer and exporter who was being investigated for violation of the rules of the groups. None of the government officials involved in regulating public transportation was
Garments, Textile, Embroidery and Apparel Board. The 'organizer' told the garment there. The big names in the industry also did not participate. With such a poor attendance,
exporter that the case could be fixed for a sum of P500,000.00. The organizer got the shock one wonders why the conference organizers went ahead with the affair and tried so hard to
of his life when the exporter told him: 'If I have that amount, I will hire the best lawyers, not convince 3,000 companies and individuals to contribute to the affair.
you.' The organizer left in a huff, his thick face very pale.
The conference was doomed from the start. It was bound to fail. The personalities who count
Friends in government and the private sector have promised the Jaywalker more 'dope' on in the field of transportation refused to attend the affair or withdrew their support after
the 'organizer.' It seems that he was not only indiscreet; he even failed to cover his finding out the background of the organizer of the conference. How could a conference on
tracks. You will be hearing more of the 'organizers' exploits from this corner soon. transportation succeed without the participation of the big names in the industry and
government policy-makers?
22 June 1989
Private respondent reacted to the articles. He sent a letter to The Philippine Star insisting that
The scheming 'organizer' we have been writing about seems to have been spreading his he was the organizer alluded to in petitioner Borjals columns.[4] In a subsequent letter to The
wings too far. A congressional source has informed the Jaywalker that the schemer once Philippine Star, private respondent refuted the matters contained in petitioner Borjals
worked for a congressman from the North as some sort of a consultant on economic columns and openly challenged him in this manner -
affairs. The first thing the organizer did was to initiate hearings and round-the-table
discussions with people from the business, export and -- his favorite -- the garments sector. To test if Borjal has the guts to back up his holier than thou attitude, I am prepared to
relinquish this position in case it is found that I have misappropriated even one peso of
xxx FNCLT money. On the other hand, if I can prove that Borjal has used his column as a
hammer to get clients for his PR Firm, AA Borjal Associates, he should resign from the
The 'organizers' principal gamely went along, thinking that his 'consultant' had nothing but STAR and never again write a column. Is it a deal?[5]
the good of these sectors in mind. It was only later that he realized that the 'consultant' was
acting with a burst of energy 'in aid of extortion.' The 'consultant' was fired. Thereafter, private respondent filed a complaint with the National Press Club (NPC) against
petitioner Borjal for unethical conduct. He accused petitioner Borjal of using his column as a
xxx form of leverage to obtain contracts for his public relations firm, AA Borjal Associates. [6] In
turn, petitioner Borjal published a rejoinder to the challenge of private respondent not only to
There seems to be no end to what a man could do to pursue his dubious ways. He has tried to
protect his name and honor but also to refute the claim that he was using his column for
operate under a guise of a well-meaning reformist. He has intellectual pretensions - and
character assassination.[7]
sometimes he succeeds in getting his thoughts in the inside pages of some newspapers, with
the aid of some naive newspaper people. He has been turning out a lot of funny-looking Apparently not satisfied with his complaint with the NPC, private respondent filed a criminal
advice on investments, export growth, and the like. case for libel against petitioners Borjal and Soliven, among others. However, in a Resolution
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dated 7 August 1990, the Assistant Prosecutor handling the case dismissed the complaint for review. The petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals erred: (a) in ruling that private
insufficiency of evidence. The dismissal was sustained by the Department of Justice and later respondent Wenceslao was sufficiently identified by petitioner Borjal in the questioned
by the Office of the President. articles; (b) in refusing to accord serious consideration to the findings of the Department of
Justice and the Office of the President that private respondent Wenceslao was not
On 31 October 1990 private respondent instituted against petitioners a civil action for sufficiently identified in the questioned articles, this notwithstanding that the degree of proof
damages based on libel subject of the instant case.[8] In their answer, petitioners interposed required in a preliminary investigation is merely prima facie evidence which is significantly
compulsory counterclaims for actual, moral and exemplary damages, plus attorneys fees and less than the preponderance of evidence required in civil cases; (c) in ruling that the subject
costs. After due consideration, the trial court decided in favor of private respondent articles do not constitute qualifiedly privileged communication; (d) in refusing to apply the
Wenceslao and ordered petitioners Borjal and Soliven to indemnify private "public official doctrine" laid down in New York Times v. Sullivan; (e) in ruling that the
respondent P1,000,000.00 for actual and compensatory damages, in addition to P200,000.00 questioned articles lost their privileged character because of their publication in a newspaper
for moral damages, P100,000.00 for exemplary damages, P200,000.00 for attorneys fees, and of general circulation; (f) in ruling that private respondent has a valid cause of action for libel
to pay the costs of suit. against petitioners although he failed to prove actual malice on their part, and that the
prosecutors of the City of Manila, the Department of Justice, and eventually, the Office of
The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the court a quo but reduced the amount of the the President, had already resolved that there was no sufficient evidence to prove the
monetary award to P110,000.00 actual damages, P200,000.00 moral damages existence of libel; and, (g) assuming arguendo that Borjal should be held liable, in adjudging
and P75,000.00 attorney's fees plus costs. In a 20-page Decision promulgated 25 March petitioner Soliven solidarily liable with him. Thus, petitioners pray for the reversal of the
1996, the appellate court ruled inter alia that private respondent was sufficiently identifiable, appellate courts ruling, the dismissal of the complaint against them for lack of merit, and the
although not named, in the questioned articles; that private respondent was in fact defamed award of damages on their counterclaim.
by petitioner Borjal by describing him variously as a "self-proclaimed hero," "a conference
organizer associated with shady deals who has a lot of trash tucked inside his closet," "thick The petition is impressed with merit. In order to maintain a libel suit, it is essential that the
face," and "a person with dubious ways;" that petitioners claim of privilege communication victim be identifiable although it is not necessary that he be named. It is also not sufficient
was unavailing since the privileged character of the articles was lost by their publication in a that the offended party recognized himself as the person attacked or defamed, but it must be
newspaper of general circulation; that petitioner could have performed his office as a shown that at least a third person could identify him as the object of the libelous
newspaperman without necessarily transgressing the rights of Wenceslao by calling the publication.[10] Regrettably, these requisites have not been complied with in the case at bar.
attention of the government offices concerned to examine the authority by which Wenceslao
acted, warning the public against contributing to a conference that, according to his In ruling for private respondent, the Court of Appeals found that Borjal's column writings
perception, lacked the univocal indorsement of the responsible government officials, or sufficiently identified Wenceslao as the "conference organizer." It cited the First National
simply informing the public of the letters Wenceslao wrote and the favors he requested or Conference on Land Transportation, the letterheads used listing different telephone numbers,
demanded; and, that when he imputed dishonesty, falsehood and misrepresentation, the donation of P100,000.00 from Juliano Lim and the reference to the "organizer of the
shamelessness and intellectual pretentions to Wenceslao, petitioner Borjal crossed the thin conference" - the very same appellation employed in all the column items - as having
but clear line that separated fair comment from actionable defamation. sufficiently established the identity of private respondent Wenceslao for those who knew
about the FNCLT who were present at its inception, and who had pledged their assistance to
Private respondent manifested his desire to appeal that portion of the appellate courts it.
decision which reduced the amount of damages awarded him by filing with this Court
a Petition for Extension of Time to File Petition and a Motion for Suspension of Time to File We hold otherwise. These conclusions are at variance with the evidence at hand. The
Petition.[9] However, in a Resolution dated 27 May 1996, the Second Division denied both questioned articles written by Borjal do not identify private respondent Wenceslao as the
motions: the first, for being premature, and the second, for being a wrong remedy. organizer of the conference. The first of the Jaywalker articles which appeared in the 31 May
1989 issue of The Philippine Star yielded nothing to indicate that private respondent was the
On 20 November 1996 when the First Division consolidated and transferred the present case person referred to therein. Surely, as observed by petitioners, there were millions of "heroes"
to the Second Division, there was no longer any case thereat with which to consolidate this of the EDSA Revolution and anyone of them could be "self-proclaimed" or an "organizer of
case since G.R. No. 124396 had already been disposed of by the Second Division almost six seminars and conferences." As a matter of fact, in his 9 June 1989 column petitioner Borjal
(6) months earlier. wrote about the "so-called First National Conference on Land Transportation whose
principal organizers are not specified" (italics supplied).[11] Neither did the FNCLT
On their part, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but the Court of Appeals denied letterheads[12] disclose the identity of the conference organizer since these contained only an
the motion in its Resolution of 12 September 1996. Hence the instant petition for enumeration of names where private respondent Francisco Wenceslao was described as
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Executive Director and Spokesman and not as a conference organizer. [13] The printout[14] and Art. 354. Requirement for publicity. - Every defamatory imputation is presumed to be
tentative program[15] of the conference were devoid of any indication of Wenceslao as malicious, even if it be true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is
organizer. The printout which contained an article entitled "Who Organized the NCLT?" did shown, except in the following cases:
not even mention private respondent's name, while the tentative program only denominated
private respondent as "Vice Chairman and Executive Director," and not as organizer. 1) A private communication made by any person to another in the performance of any legal,
moral or social duty; and,
No less than private respondent himself admitted that the FNCLT had several organizers and
that he was only a part of the organization, thus - 2) A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or remarks, of any
judicial, legislative or other official proceedings which are not of confidential nature, or of
I would like to clarify for the record that I was only a part of the organization. I was invited any statement, report or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed
then because I was the head of the technical panel of the House of Representatives Sub- by public officers in the exercise of their functions.
Committee on Industrial Policy that took care of congressional hearings.[16]
Respondent court explained that the writings in question did not fall under any of the
Significantly, private respondent himself entertained doubt that he was the person spoken of exceptions described in the above-quoted article since these were neither "private
in Borjal's columns. The former even called up columnist Borjal to inquire if he (Wenceslao) communications" nor "fair and true report x x x without any comments or remarks." But this
was the one referred to in the subject articles.[17] His letter to the editor published in the 4 is incorrect.
June 1989 issue of The Philippine Star even showed private respondent Wenceslao's
uncertainty - A privileged communication may be either absolutely privileged or qualifiedly
privileged. Absolutely privileged communications are those which are not actionable even if
Although he used a subterfuge, I was almost certain that Art Borjal referred to the First the author has acted in bad faith. An example is found in Sec. 11, Art. VI, of the 1987
National Conference on Land Transportation (June 29-30) and me in the second paragraph of Constitution which exempts a member of Congress from liability for any speech or debate in
his May 31 column x x x[18] the Congress or in any Committee thereof. Upon the other hand, qualifiedly privileged
communications containing defamatory imputations are not actionable unless found to have
Identification is grossly inadequate when even the alleged offended party is himself unsure been made without good intention or justifiable motive. To this genre belong "private
that he was the object of the verbal attack. It is well to note that the revelation of the identity communications" and "fair and true report without any comments or remarks."
of the person alluded to came not from petitioner Borjal but from private respondent himself
when he supplied the information through his 4 June 1989 letter to the editor. Had private Indisputably, petitioner Borjals questioned writings are not within the exceptions of Art. 354
respondent not revealed that he was the "organizer" of the FNCLT referred to in the Borjal of The Revised Penal Code for, as correctly observed by the appellate court, they are
articles, the public would have remained in blissful ignorance of his identity. It is therefore neither private communications nor fair and true report without any comments or
clear that on the element of identifiability alone the case falls. remarks. However this does not necessarily mean that they are not privileged. To be sure, the
enumeration under Art. 354 is not an exclusive list of qualifiedly privileged communications
The above disquisitions notwithstanding, and on the assumption arguendo that private since fair commentaries on matters of public interest are likewise privileged. The rule on
respondent has been sufficiently identified as the subject of Borjal's disputed comments, we privileged communications had its genesis not in the nation's penal code but in the Bill of
now proceed to resolve the other issues and pass upon the pertinent findings of the courts a Rights of the Constitution guaranteeing freedom of speech and of the press. [19] As early as
quo. 1918, in United States v. Caete,[20] this Court ruled that publications which are privileged for
reasons of public policy are protected by the constitutional guaranty of freedom of
The third, fourth, fifth and sixth assigned errors all revolve around the primary question of speech. This constitutional right cannot be abolished by the mere failure of the legislature to
whether the disputed articles constitute privileged communications as to exempt the author give it express recognition in the statute punishing libels.
from liability.
The concept of privileged communications is implicit in the freedom of the press. As held
The trial court ruled that petitioner Borjal cannot hide behind the proposition that his articles in Elizalde v. Gutierrez[21] and reiterated in Santos v. Court of Appeals[22] -
are privileged in character under the provisions of Art. 354 of The Revised Penal Code which
state - To be more specific, no culpability could be imputed to petitioners for the alleged offending
publication without doing violence to the concept of privileged communications implicit in
the freedom of the press. As was so well put by Justice Malcolm in Bustos: Public policy, the
welfare of society, and the orderly administration of government have demanded protection
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of public opinion. The inevitable and incontestable result has been the development and A: Well, from sponsors such as government agencies and private sectors or organizations as
adoption of the doctrine of privilege. well as individual transport firms and from individual delegates/participants.[26]

The doctrine formulated in these two (2) cases resonates the rule that privileged The declared objective of the conference, the composition of its members and participants,
communications must, sui generis, be protective of public opinion. This closely adheres to and the manner by which it was intended to be funded no doubt lend to its activities as being
the democratic theory of free speech as essential to collective self-determination and eschews genuinely imbued with public interest. An organization such as the FNCLT aiming to
the strictly libertarian view that it is protective solely of self- expression which, in the words reinvent and reshape the transportation laws of the country and seeking to source its funds
of Yale Sterling Professor Owen Fiss,[23] makes its appeal to the individualistic ethos that so for the project from the public at large cannot dissociate itself from the public character of its
dominates our popular and political culture. It is therefore clear that the restrictive mission. As such, it cannot but invite close scrutiny by the media obliged to inform the
interpretation vested by the Court of Appeals on the penal provision exempting from liability public of the legitimacy of the purpose of the activity and of the qualifications and integrity
only private communications and fair and true report without comments or remarks defeats, of the personalities behind it.
rather than promotes, the objective of the rule on privileged communications, sadly
contriving as it does, to suppress the healthy effloresence of public debate and opinion as This in effect is the strong message in New York Times v. Sullivan[27] which the appellate
shining linchpins of truly democratic societies. court failed to consider or, for that matter, to heed. It insisted that private respondent was not,
properly speaking, a "public offical" nor a "public figure," which is why the defamatory
To reiterate, fair commentaries on matters of public interest are privileged and constitute a imputations against him had nothing to do with his task of organizing the FNCLT.
valid defense in an action for libel or slander. The doctrine of fair comment means that while
in general every discreditable imputation publicly made is deemed false, because every man New York Times v. Sullivan was decided by the U. S. Supreme Court in the 1960s at the
is presumed innocent until his guilt is judicially proved, and every false imputation is height of the bloody rioting in the American South over racial segregation. The then City
deemed malicious, nevertheless, when the discreditable imputation is directed against a Commissioner L. B. Sullivan of Montgomery, Alabama, sued New York Times for publishing
public person in his public capacity, it is not necessarily actionable. In order that such a paid political advertisement espousing racial equality and describing police atrocities
discreditable imputation to a public official may be actionable, it must either be a false committed against students inside a college campus. As commissioner having charge over
allegation of fact or a comment based on a false supposition. If the comment is an expression police actions Sullivan felt that he was sufficiently identified in the ad as the perpetrator of
of opinion, based on established facts, then it is immaterial that the opinion happens to be the outrage; consequently, he sued New York Times on the basis of what he believed were
mistaken, as long as it might reasonably be inferred from the facts. [24] libelous utterances against him.

There is no denying that the questioned articles dealt with matters of public interest. In his The U. S. Supreme Court speaking through Mr. Justice William J. Brennan Jr. ruled against
testimony, private respondent spelled out the objectives of the conference thus - Sullivan holding that honest criticisms on the conduct of public officials and public figures
are insulated from libel judgments. The guarantees of freedom of speech and press prohibit a
x x x x The principal conference objective is to come up with a draft of an Omnibus Bill that public official or public figure from recovering damages for a defamatory falsehood relating
will embody a long term land transportation policy for presentation to Congress in its next to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with actual malice, i.e.,
regular session in July. Since last January, the National Conference on Land Transportation with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.
(NCLT), the conference secretariat, has been enlisting support from all sectors to ensure the
success of the project.[25] The raison d'etre for the New York Times doctrine was that to require critics of official
conduct to guarantee the truth of all their factual assertions on pain of libel judgments would
Private respondent likewise testified that the FNCLT was raising funds through solicitation lead to self-censorship, since would-be critics would be deterred from voicing out their
from the public - criticisms even if such were believed to be true, or were in fact true, because of doubt
whether it could be proved or because of fear of the expense of having to prove it. [28]
Q: Now, in this first letter, you have attached a budget and it says here that in this seminar of
the First National Conference on Land Transportation, you will need around One million In the present case, we deem private respondent a public figure within the purview of
eight hundred fifteen thousand pesos, is that right? the New York Times ruling. At any rate, we have also defined "public figure" in Ayers
Production Pty., Ltd. v. Capulong[29] as -
A: That was the budget estimate, sir.
x x x x a person who, by his accomplishments, fame, mode of living, or by adopting a
Q: How do you intend as executive officer, to raise this fund of your seminar? profession or calling which gives the public a legitimate interest in his doings, his affairs and
his character, has become a public personage. He is, in other words, a celebrity. Obviously,
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to be included in this category are those who have achieved some degree of reputation by The Court of Appeals concluded that since malice is always presumed in the publication of
appearing before the public, as in the case of an actor, a professional baseball player, a defamatory matters in the absence of proof to the contrary, the question of privilege is
pugilist, or any other entertainer. The list is, however, broader than this. It includes public immaterial.
officers, famous inventors and explorers, war heroes and even ordinary soldiers, infant
prodigy, and no less a personage than the Great Exalted Ruler of the lodge. It includes, in We reject this postulate. While, generally, malice can be presumed from defamatory words,
short, anyone who has arrived at a position where the public attention is focused upon him as the privileged character of a communication destroys the presumption of
a person. malice.[32] The onus of proving actual malice then lies on plaintiff, private respondent
Wenceslao herein. He must bring home to the defendant, petitioner Borjal herein, the
The FNCLT was an undertaking infused with public interest. It was promoted as a joint existence of malice as the true motive of his conduct.[33]
project of the government and the private sector, and organized by top government officials
and prominent businessmen. For this reason, it attracted media mileage and drew public Malice connotes ill will or spite and speaks not in response to duty but merely to injure the
attention not only to the conference itself but to the personalities behind as well. As its reputation of the person defamed, and implies an intention to do ulterior and unjustifiable
Executive Director and spokesman, private respondent consequently assumed the status of a harm.[34] Malice is bad faith or bad motive.[35] It is the essence of the crime of libel.[36]
public figure.
In the milieu obtaining, can it be reasonably inferred that in writing and publishing the
But even assuming ex-gratia argumenti that private respondent, despite the position he articles in question petitioner Borjal acted with malice?
occupied in the FNCLT, would not qualify as a public figure, it does not necessarily follow
that he could not validly be the subject of a public comment even if he was not a public Primarily, private respondent failed to substantiate by preponderant evidence that petitioner
official or at least a public figure, for he could be, as long as he was involved in a public was animated by a desire to inflict unjustifiable harm on his reputation, or that the articles
issue. If a matter is a subject of public or general interest, it cannot suddenly become less so were written and published without good motives or justifiable ends. On the other hand, we
merely because a private individual is involved or because in some sense the individual did find petitioner Borjal to have acted in good faith. Moved by a sense of civic duty and
not voluntarily choose to become involved. The publics primary interest is in the event; the prodded by his responsibility as a newspaperman, he proceeded to expose and denounce
public focus is on the conduct of the participant and the content, effect and significance of what he perceived to be a public deception. Surely, we cannot begrudge him for that. Every
the conduct, not the participant's prior anonymity or notoriety. [30] citizen has the right to enjoy a good name and reputation, but we do not consider that
petitioner Borjal has violated that right in this case nor abused his press freedom.
There is no denying that the questioned articles dealt with matters of public interest. A
reading of the imputations of petitioner Borjal against respondent Wenceslao shows that all Furthermore, to be considered malicious, the libelous statements must be shown to have been
these necessarily bore upon the latter's official conduct and his moral and mental fitness as written or published with the knowledge that they are false or in reckless disregard of
Executive Director of the FNCLT. The nature and functions of his position which included whether they are false or not.[37] "Reckless disregard of what is false or not" means that the
solicitation of funds, dissemination of information about the FNCLT in order to generate defendant entertains serious doubt as to the truth of the publication,[38] or that he possesses a
interest in the conference, and the management and coordination of the various activities of high degree of awareness of their probable falsity. [39]
the conference demanded from him utmost honesty, integrity and competence. These are
matters about which the public has the right to be informed, taking into account the very The articles subject of the instant case can hardly be said to have been written with
public character of the conference itself. knowledge that these are false or in reckless disregard of what is false or not. This is not to
say however that the very serious allegations of petitioner Borjal assumed by private
Concededly, petitioner Borjal may have gone overboard in the language employed respondent to be directed against him are true. But we nevertheless find these at least to have
describing the "organizer of the conference." One is tempted to wonder if it was by some been based on reasonable grounds formed after the columnist conducted several personal
mischievous gambit that he would also dare test the limits of the "wild blue yonder" of free interviews and after considering the varied documentary evidence provided him by his
speech in this jurisdiction.But no matter how intemperate or deprecatory the utterances sources. Thus, the following are supported by documentary evidence: (a) that private
appear to be, the privilege is not to be defeated nor rendered inutile for, as succinctly respondent requested Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, then head of the Garments and Textile
expressed by Mr. Justice Brennan in New York Times v. Sullivan, "[D]ebate on public issues Export Board (GTEB), to expedite the processing and release of the import approval and
should be uninhibited, robust and wide open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic certificate of availability of a garment firm in exchange for the monetary contribution of
and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on the government and public officials. [31] Juliano Lim, which necessitated a reply from the office of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
explaining the procedure of the GTEB in processing applications and clarifying that all
applicants were treated equally;[40] (b) that Antonio Periquet was designated Chairman of the

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Executive Committee of the FNCLT notwithstanding that he had previously declined the We must however take this opportunity to likewise remind media practitioners of the high
offer;[41] and, (c) that despite the fact that then President Aquino and her Secretary of ethical standards attached to and demanded by their noble profession. The danger of an
Transportation Rainerio Reyes declined the invitation to be guest speakers in the conference, unbridled irrational exercise of the right of free speech and press, that is, in utter contempt of
their names were still included in the printout of the FNCLT. [42] Added to these are the the rights of others and in willful disregard of the cumbrous responsibilities inherent in it, is
admissions of private respondent that: (a) he assisted Juliano Lim in his application for a the eventual self-destruction of the right and the regression of human society into a veritable
quota allocation with the GTEB in exchange for monetary contributions to the Hobbesian state of nature where life is short, nasty and brutish. Therefore, to recognize that
FNCLT;[43] (b) he included the name of then Secretary of Transportation Rainerio Reyes in there can be no absolute "unrestraint" in speech is to truly comprehend the quintessence of
the promotional materials of the conference notwithstanding the latter's refusal to lend his freedom in the marketplace of social thought and action, genuine freedom being that which
name to and participate in the FNCLT;[44] and, (c) he used different letterheads and telephone is limned by the freedom of others. If there is freedom of the press, ought there not also be
numbers.[45] freedom from the press? It is in this sense that self-regulation as distinguished from self-
censorship becomes the ideal mean for, as Mr. Justice Frankfurter has warned, "[W]ithout x
Even assuming that the contents of the articles are false, mere error, inaccuracy or even x x a lively sense of responsibility, a free press may readily become a powerful instrument of
falsity alone does not prove actual malice. Errors or misstatements are inevitable in any injustice."[49]
scheme of truly free expression and debate. Consistent with good faith and reasonable care,
the press should not be held to account, to a point of suppression, for honest mistakes or Lest we be misconstrued, this is not to diminish nor constrict that space in which expression
imperfections in the choice of language. There must be some room for misstatement of fact freely flourishes and operates. For we have always strongly maintained, as we do now, that
as well as for misjudgment. Only by giving them much leeway and tolerance can they freedom of expression is man's birthright - constitutionally protected and guaranteed, and
courageously and effectively function as critical agencies in our democracy. [46] In Bulletin that it has become the singular role of the press to act as its "defensor fidei" in a democratic
Publishing Corp. v. Noel[47] we held - society such as ours. But it is also worth keeping in mind that the press is the servant, not the
master, of the citizenry, and its freedom does not carry with it an unrestricted hunting license
A newspaper especially one national in reach and coverage, should be free to report on to prey on the ordinary citizen.[50]
events and developments in which the public has a legitimate interest with minimum fear of
being hauled to court by one group or another on criminal or civil charges for libel, so long On petitioners counterclaim for damages, we find the evidence too meager to sustain any
as the newspaper respects and keeps within the standards of morality and civility prevailing award. Indeed, private respondent cannot be said to have instituted the present suit in abuse
within the general community. of the legal processes and with hostility to the press; or that he acted maliciously, wantonly,
oppressively, fraudulently and for the sole purpose of harassing petitioners, thereby entitling
To avoid the self-censorship that would necessarily accompany strict liability for erroneous the latter to damages. On the contrary, private respondent acted within his rights to protect
statements, rules governing liability for injury to reputation are required to allow an adequate his honor from what he perceived to be malicious imputations against him. Proof and motive
margin of error by protecting some inaccuracies. It is for the same reason that the New York that the institution of the action was prompted by a sinister design to vex and humiliate a
Times doctrine requires that liability for defamation of a public official or public figure may person must be clearly and preponderantly established to entitle the victim to damages. The
not be imposed in the absence of proof of "actual malice" on the part of the person making law could not have meant to impose a penalty on the right to litigate, nor should counsels
the libelous statement. fees be awarded every time a party wins a suit.[51]
At any rate, it may be salutary for private respondent to ponder upon the advice of Mr. For, concluding with the wisdom in Warren v. Pulitzer Publishing Co.[52] -
Justice Malcolm expressed in U.S. v. Bustos,[48] that "the interest of society and the
maintenance of good government demand a full discussion of public affairs. Complete Every man has a right to discuss matters of public interest. A clergyman with his flock, an
liberty to comment on the conduct of public men is a scalpel in the case of free speech. The admiral with his fleet, a general with his army, a judge with his jury, we are, all of us, the
sharp incision of its probe relieves the abscesses of officialdom. Men in public life may subject of public discussion. The view of our court has been thus stated: It is only in
suffer under a hostile and unjust accusation; the wound may be assuaged by the balm of a despotisms that one must speak sub rosa, or in whispers, with bated breath, around the
clear conscience. A public official must not be too thin-skinned with reference to comments corner, or in the dark on a subject touching the common welfare. It is the brightest jewel in
upon his official acts. the crown of the law to speak and maintain the golden mean between defamation, on one
hand, and a healthy and robust right of free public discussion, on the other.
The foregoing disposition renders the second and seventh assigned errors moot and
academic, hence, we find no necessity to pass upon them. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals of 25
March 1996 and its Resolution of 12 September 1996 denying reconsideration are

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REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the complaint for damages against petitioners is fifteen (15) days, and incapacitated and will incapacitate said victim from performing his
DISMISSED. Petitioners counterclaim for damages is likewise DISMISSED for lack of customary labor for the same period of time, and also causing physical injuries upon Mae
merit. No costs. Custodio, which needed and will need medical attendance for a period of from three (3) to
four (4) weeks, and incapacitated and will incapacitate said victim from performing his (sic)
SO ORDERED. customary labor for the same period of time, likewise causing physical injuries upon June
Navarette, Noel Reynaldo Navarette, Legionaria Panopio, Mercy Panopio and Raymond
Asprer, which needed and did need medical attendance for a period of from seven (7) to
eight (8) days and incapacitated and will incapacitate said victims from performing their
customary labor for the same period of time.
5. G.R. No. 91201 December 5, 1991 All contrary to law. (Rollo, pp. 40-42; Original Records, pp. 46-47)
EUSTAQUIO MAYO Y AGPAOA, petitioner, The facts as found by the trial court and quoted by the Court of Appeals are not disputed.
vs. These are:
The evidence for the prosecution shows that on August 7, 1982, between 4:00 to 4:30 o'clock
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: in the afternoon, June Navarette was driving a Mitsubishi Lancer, owned by Linda Navarette,
her sister, along MacArthur Highway in Bo. Mamatitang, travelling towards the general
The petition seeks to review the decision of the Court of Appeals insofar as the appellate direction of Manila on board the Lancer car were Linda Navarette, Legionaria Panopio, Mae
court affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City, Branch 57, awarding Custodio, Noel Reynaldo Navarette, Raymond Asprer (aged 6 years), Antonette Asprer
the amount of Seven Hundred Thousand Pesos (P700,000.00) as moral damages in favor of (aged 4 years), and Mercy Panopio. Noel Reynaldo Navarette and Raymond Asprer were
Linda Navarette, complainant in Criminal Case No. 5633, entitled "People of the Philippines seated on the front seat at the right side of the driver. Linda and the rest of the passengers
v. Eustaquio Mayo y Agpaoa." were all seated at the back seat.
Petitioner Eustaquio Mayo y Agpaoa was charged withthe crime of "Reckless Imprudence The Lancer car was then cruising steadily at the right lane of the road in Bo. Mamatitang,
Resulting in Damage to Property with Multiple Serious, Less Serious, and Slight Physical Mabalacat, Pampanga at a rate of speed of about forty kilometers per hour (40 kph),
Injuries" in an information filed by the Provincial Fiscal of Pampanga with the Regional southbound for Manila. No other vehicle was preceding the Lancer car. There was, however,
Trial Court of Angeles City allegedly committed as follows: the Philippine Rabbit bus driven by accused Eustaquio Mayo, Jr. trailing closely behind the
Lancer car. Behind the Philippine Rabbit bus was a Tamaraw jeep driven by Danilo Miranda
That on or about the 7th day of August, 1982, at more or less 4:10 o'clock in the afternoon,
along the MacArthur Highway, at barangay Mamatitang, in the municipality of Mabalacat,
province of Pampanga, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the As the vehicles approached the vicinity of Mabalacat Institute, the Rabbit bus picked up
above-named accused EUSTAQUIO MAYO Y AGPAOA, being the driver and person in speed and swerved to the left lane to overtake the Lancer car which was running on the right
charge of a Philippine Rabbit bus bearing Plate No. 888 FG PUB Pilipinas, without lane of the highway. When the Rabbit bus was abreast with the Lancer, an oncoming vehicle
observing traffic rules, regulations and ordinances, without exercising due precaution to from the opposite direction appeared and flashed its headlights to warn the Rabbit bus to
avoid accident to persons and damage to property, by giving the said bus a speed far greater give way. The Rabbit bus swerved to its right in an effort to return to the right lane to avoid
than is allowed by law, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously drive, operate collision with the oncoming vehicle, and in the process it hit and bumped the left rear side
and manage said vehicle in a careless, reckless and imprudent manner, causing as a result of portion of the Lancer car wih its right front bumper. Because of the impact the driver of the
his carelessness, recklessness and imprudence to bump and hit a Lancer car bearing Plate No. Lancer car lost control of the wheel and the car swerved across to the left and hit Narciso
NSJ 720 L Pilipinas, thereby causing damage to the said Lancer car in the total amount of Yandan, a bystander, and thereafter crashed against the concrete fence of Mr. Bernie Reyes.
ONE CENTAVOS (P67,925.41) and belonging to June Navarette, to the damage and
prejudice of the said owner, in the total amount of P67,925.41, Philippine Currency, likewise xxx xxx xxx
causing injuries causing partial disfigurement on the facial portion of the said Linda
Navarette, a total loss of vision on her right, also causing physical injuries upon Narciso It was established that before the accident took place, the Tamaraw jeep was first ahead,
Yandan, which needed and will need medical attendance for a period of from ten (10) to followed by the Lancer car, and behind the Lancer car was the Rabbit bus, travelling towards
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the direction of Manila. The Lancer car as well as the Rabbit bus following one after the (b) P50,000.00 as moral damages.
other overtook the Tamaraw jeep. The Rabbit bus, still trailing behind the Lancer car, then
tried to overtake the Lancer car. And when the Rabbit bus, was abreast with the Lancer car, 4. June Navarette the sum of
there was an oncoming vehicle approaching and signalling through the flash of its headlights
from the opposite direction. The Rabbit bus, to avoid a head-on collision with the vehicle, (a) P495.00 as actual damages; and
tried to get back to its lane to the right, and in the process it bumped the left rear portion of
the Lancer car (Exhibit `H-1-A'), which was then cruising on the right lane of the road. Thus (b) P5,000.00 as moral damages.
because of the impact, precipitated by the reckless imprudence of the accused, a chain
And in case of insolvency, the Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. is subsidiarily liable to pay
reaction occurred; the driver of the Lancer car lost control of the wheel and the car swerved
or indemnify the aforenamed injured passengers of the Lancer car.
to the left and darted across the road, hitting thereat Narciso Yandan, a pedestrian, and
stopped only when it crashed against the concrete fence of Mr. Bernie Reyes. SO ORDERED. (pp. 235-236, orig. rec.) (Rollo, pp. 39-40)
The Lancer car was heavily damaged. It was almost a total wreck; the passengers, including The petitioner filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals. The trial court's decision was
the driver, sustained physical injuries in varying degrees. affirmed with the modification that the appellant suffer a straight penalty of three months
which was recommended by the Solicitor General on the ground that the Indeterminate
xxx xxx xxx
Sentence Law is not applicable in the instant case, the maximum penalty imposable not
(p. 234, orig. rec.) (Rollo, pp. 42-44) exceeding one year (Sec. 2, Art. No. 4103, as amended)

On the basis of these factual findings, the petitioner was convicted as charged. The civil A motion for reconsideration was denied for lack of merit.
aspect of the case was heard in the criminal case. Hence, the complainants in the criminal
Hence, this petition.
case were awarded damages. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
In a resolution dated April 22, 1991, we gave due course to the petition.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused
Eustaquio Mayo Jr. y Agpaoa guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the felony of Reckless As stated earlier, the instant petition is limited to the moral damages in the amount of
Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property with Multiple Serious, Less Serious, and Slight P700,000.00. Initially, the petitioner alleged the amount of P1,000,000.00 as moral damages
Physical Injuries as charged in the information, and the Court sentences the said accused awarded to Linda Navarette. The amount was later clarified to be P700,000.00 awarded to
Eustaquio Mayo Jr. y Agpaoa to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of twenty (20) days of complainant Linda Navarette as a result of the vehicular accident.
Arresto Menor as minimum to four (4) months of Arresto Mayor as maximum, and to
indemnify: The petitioner summarizes its objections to the award of moral damages in favor of Linda
Navarette as follows:
1. Linda Navarette the sum of
1. The Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion and seriously erred in awarding moral
(a) P192,236.07 as actual damages; damages to the private complainant without citing the factual basis for such an award and
without giving the justification for granting such an arbitrary and exorbitant amount of over
(b) P700,000.00 as moral damages;
One Million Pesos.
(c) P67,925.41 for the repair of the Lancer car; and
2. The Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion and seriously erred in awarding an
(d) P80,000.00 as attorney's fees. exorbitant amount of One Million Pesos to complainant Linda Navarette by way of moral
damages despite the fact that: a) the complainant had placed a value of only P500,000.00 for
2. Noel Reynaldo Navarette the sum of P60,000.00 as moral damages. her mental, psychological and moral sufferings, and b) the complainant's claim for moral
damages for the loss of her boyfriend in the amount of P1,000.000.00 can have no legal or
3. Mae Custodio the sum of factual basis. (Rollo, p. 16-17)

(a) P2,032.00 as actual damages; and xxx xxx xxx

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As alleged by the petitioner, the Court of Appeals did not discuss specific factual xxx xxx xxx
circumstances which would justify the award of moral damages in favor of Navarette.
Instead, the appellate court in general terms stated that: On advice of Dr. Carlos L. Sevilla, Eye Specialist of the Makati Medical Center (Exhibit
"G") Linda Navarette went to San Francisco, U.S.A. for further treatment. ..."
The Court has gone over decision appealed from and finds it replete with facts, with the
details, the anguish, the fright, the anxieties, the shock and loss, that the victims had gone xxx xxx xxx
through and suffered. As to legal provisions, the law is specific concerning the award of
moral damages. ... (Rollo, p. 46) She was examined and treated by Dr. William Danz an Eye Specialist, at the Dental
Building, Posch Street, in San Francisco, California. After her check-up and treatment, she
The appellate court then cited the provisions of the Civil Code, specifically Articles 2217 was asked by Dr. Danz to return to the U.S. after eight (8) months for another round of
and 2219 to justify the legal basis for the award of moral damages. It then concluded that examination because the doctor noticed some changes in her ruptured right eye. ...
"The record shows ample proof introduced in support of the award of damages in this case.
The Court is satisfied that the amount of award is not excessive and is in accord with the law xxx xxx xxx
and the facts of the case." (Rollo, p. 48)
She expressed her desire to go back to the United States for another round of check-up and
We examine the decision of the trial court as regards the propriety of the award of moral examination for which she expects to spend from P60,000.00 to P80,000.00 because she
damages in favor of Linda Navarette willalso undergo plastic surgery (Exhibit "II").

Extant from the trial court's decision are the following findings of the said court: Linda Navarette is an Economist by profession. She is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in
Home Economics at the University of the Philippines. She is at present the Assistant Vice-
Linda R. Navarette is 32 years old, single, Assistant Vice-President and Resident Manager of President as well as the Resident Manager of Club Solviento, and as such she received a
Club Solviento, Quezon City. gross take-home pay of P10,000.00 a month (Exhibit "B"). And prior to her mishap she was
also the Food Consultant of Food City for which she received a monthly salary of P7,000.00.
xxx xxx xxx She lost her consultancy job because of her prolonged absence and because of her physical
handicap she suffered as a result of the accident, that she had to resign (Exhibit "U").
As a result of the bumping incident the car was severely damaged, its passengers sustained
physical injuries and Linda Navarette suffered the most among them: For four (4) months immediately following the accident she was unable to report for work
and she had to avail of her vacations and sick leaves from the two (2) companies, which in
xxx xxx xxx the past, if the same were not availed of, she converted them into cash. But because of the
accident, and having been forced to use them, she was not able to avail herself of the cash
As to her injuries, she claimed that she was first brought to the Central Luzon Hospital in equivalent amounting to P32,000.00.
San Fernando, Pampanga for treatment. A medical certificate was issued to her by Dr.
Ramon B. Po (Exhibit "M"). She was also brought to the U.S.T. Hospital (Exhibits "N" and Were it not for the accident and the injuries she sustained, she could, according to her,
"N-1") and at the Makati Medical Center for further treatment of her injuries (Exhibits "CC" continue performing her job as Consultant for ten (10) to twenty (20) years more.
and "EE"). That in her medical certificate (Exhibits "N" and "N-1") the doctor concluded that
`Permanent partial facial disfigurement and total loss of vision of the right eye will result'; xxx xxx xxx
that Linda Navarette showed to the Court the ugly scar on her forehead and the total loss of
vision of her right eye, now replaced by a false eye. She also presented for appreciation five Linda Navarette claimed that the general anaesthesia applied to her has greatly impaired her
(5) copies of her pictures depicting the permanent partial facial disfigurement and damage of memory. She declared that she easily forgets what she is supposed to say and what she is
the right eye (Exhibits "O", "O-1", "O-2", "O-3" and "O-4"). supposed to do. According to her it has negatively affected her job as Assistant Vice-
President and Resident Manager of Club Solviento. She claimed that she lost her other work
Linda Navarette declared that she had a boyfriend. She lost him after the accident. She broke and salary of P7,000.00 a month as consultant of Food City.
down and couldn't help but cry and between sobs she bewailed over her misfortune.
According to her she had worked for so many years thirteen (13) long years that it took xxx xxx xxx
her time to get her career, and couldn't bear losing her eye simply because of a reckless
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She placed a value of her mental, psychological and moral sufferings in the amount of (3) Seduction, abduction, rape or other lascivious acts.
P500,000.00 as moral damages, and for the loss of her boyfriend she asked to double the
amount giving as a reason that her boyfriend would have been her lifetime partner and her (4) Adultery or concubinage.
guide of her eye forever had she not lost him.
(5) Illegal search.
xxx xxx xxx
(6) Libel, slander or any other form of defamation.
Dr. Brion is a physician and lawyer by profession. From 1939 up to the present, he has been
the medico-legal consultant of the U.S.T. Hospital. ... (7) Malicious prosecution.

xxx xxx xxx (8) Acts mentioned in article 309.

Dr. Brion is certain that permanent facial disfigurement and total loss of vision of the right (9) Acts and actions referred to in articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34 and 35.
eye would inevitably result from the injuries sustained by Linda Navarette. He further
declared that after the wounds in the face of Linda Navarette had healed, they would surely xxx xxx xxx
leave a permanent scar in her face.
We agree that complainant Linda Navarette is entitled to moral damages. She suffered
According to Dr. Brion, there is no way or medical process by which the loss of vision of injuries as a result of the criminal offense of the petitioner. Moreover, her injuries resulting
Linda Navarette's right eye could be saved because, necessarily, the right eyeball, which was in a permanent scar at her forehead and the loss of her right eye undoubtedly gave her mental
injured, had to be removed. It had to be removed for the reason that the contused-laceration anguish, wounded feelings and shock. The psychological effect on her as regards the scar on
of the right eyeball involving the cornea, ciliary body, sclera with extension to vitreus, retina her forehead and her false eye must have devastated her considering that women in general
and choroid destroyed the right eyeball; that it cannot be saved and there is a necessity of are fastidious on how they look.
artificial eye placement on the socket. He said he has treated and observed considerable
More important, however, was the loss of vision of her right eye which was severely injured
number of cases similar to Linda Navarette's and in all those cases, total loss of vision had
as a result of the accident. Since the accident, Linda Navarette had to contend with the loss
resulted. (Rollo, pp. 71-75)
of her eyesight on her right eye which necessarily hampers her not only physically but also
The foregoing findings form the only basis for the award of moral damages in favor of Linda professionally for the rest of her life. Before the accident, Linda Navarette who is a home
Navarette. These were adopted by the appellate court in affirming the trial court's decision as economist by profession was doing well in her career. A graduate of the University of the
regards the award of moral damages in favor of Linda Navarette. Philippines with the degree of Home Economics, she is the Assistant-Vice President as well
as Resident Manager of Club Solviento receiving a gross income of P10,000.00 a month.
The vital question now is whether or not the said findings of the trial court justify the award Simultaneously with her work at Club Solviento, she served as Food Consultant of Food City
of moral damages in the amount of P700,000.00 in favor of complainant Linda Navarette. where she received a monthly salary of P7,000.00. She, however, had to give up her
consultancy job after the accident not only because of her prolonged absences but because of
There is no question that moral damages include physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, the physical handicap she suffered.
serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation
and similar injury. Though incapable of pecuniary computation, moral damages may be Nevertheless, we find no justification to award moral damages in favor of Linda Navarette
recovered if they are the proximate result of the defendant's wrongful act or omission. for the lossof her boyfriend. No doubt, the loss of her boyfriend after the accident added to
(Article 2217, New Civil Code; People v. Baylon, 129 SCRA 62 [1984]; Prudenciado v. her mental and emotional sufferings and psychologically affected and disturbed her.
Alliance Transport System, Inc., 148 SCRA 440 [1987]). Moreover, Article 2219 of the New However, there is no clear evidence on record to show that her boyfriend left her after the
Civil Code provides that: accident due to her physical injuries. He may have left her even if she did not suffer the
slightest injury. The reasons for the break-up of a courtship are too many and too
ART. 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous cases: complicated such that they should not form the basis of damages arising from a vehicular
accident. Moreover, granting that her boyfriend left her due to her physical injuries, we still
(1) A criminal offense resulting in physical injuries. find no legal basis for the award of moral damages in favor of complainant Navarette
because of the loss of a boyfriend. Article 2719 of the New Civil Code quoted earlier
(2) Quasi-delicto causing physical injuries. enumerates cases wherein moral damages may be granted. Loss of a boyfriend as a result of
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physical injuries suffered after an accident is not one of them. Neither can it be categorized inadvertently inserted by one of their secretaries (while fixing the table of Atty. Rex G. Rico)
as an analogous case. among the files of other cases of the law firm; that this unfortunate incident precluded the
partner-in-charge to review, correct or modify the draft of the memorandum; and that after
With the foregoing findings we now resolve the issue as regards the amount of moral discovery of the incident they immediately finalized and filed the memorandum on October
damages to which Linda Navarette is entitled. 8, 1991.
The well-entrenched principle is that moral damages depend upon the discretion of the trial We find the explanation of Atty. Balgos-Guballa unsatisfactory. The law firm should have
courts based on the facts and circumstances of each case. (Prudenciado v. Alliance Transport adopted a more systematic procedure to handle pleadings required to be filed in court. In the
System, supra; Pleno v. Court of Appeals, 161 SCRA 208 [1988]). This discretion is, instant case, the memorandum was due on July 22, 1991 yet and it would seem that the law
however, conditioned in that the "amount awarded should not be palpably and scandalously firm, if believed, discovered the secretary's blunder two (2) months or more thereafter. Such
excessive" so as to indicate that it was the result of prejudice or corruption on the part of the inaction on the part of the law firm, specifically Atty. Rico and Atty. Balgos-Guballa to
trial court." (Gellada v. Warner Barnes & Co., Inc., 57 O.G. [4] 7347, 7358; Sadie v. check whether or not the required memorandum has been filed with the Court within the
Bachrach Motors Co., Inc. 57 O.G. [4] 636; Prudenciado v. Alliance Transport System, reglementary period is equivalent to gross negligence on their part to comply with the
Inc. supra; Pleno v. Court of Appeals, supra; Siguenza v. Court of Appeals, 137 SCRA 570 directive of the Court.
[1985]). In determining the amount of moral damages, the actual losses sustained by the
aggrieved party and the gravity of the injuries must be considered. (Pleno v. Court of WHEREFORE, the instant petition is partly GRANTED. The questioned decision of the
Appeals, supra; Prudenciado v. Alliance Transport System, Inc. supra; Siguenza v. Court of Court of Appeals is MODIFIED in that the amount of P700,000.00 as moral damages
Appeals; supra) Finally, "moral damages are emphatically not intended to enrich a granted to complainant Linda Navarette is reduced to P200,000.00.
complainant at the expense of the defendant. They are awarded only to enable the injured
party to obtain means, diversion or amusements that will serve to alleviate the moral Atty. Rex G. Rico and Atty. Evelyn Balgos-Guballa are hereby REPRIMANDED for non-
suffering he has undergone, by reason of the defendant's culpable action." (R & B Surety & compliance with theResolution dated September 25, 1991 with the warning that further gross
Insurance Co., Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 129 SCRA 736 [1984]; citing Grand negligence of this nature committed by them would be dealt with more severely.
Union Super- market, Inc. v. Espino, Jr., 94 SCRA 953 [1979], citedin Prudenciado v.
Alliance Transport System, Inc. supra) SO ORDERED.

Applying these principles in the instant case, we rule that the award of P700,000.00 as moral
damages in favor of complainant Linda Navarette is unconscionable and excessive. We
rejected Navarette's claim for the amount of P1,000,000.00 as moral damages for the loss of
her boyfriend. We note that she asked for the amount of P500,000.00 as moral damages due
to her personal injuries. Therefore, the award for moral damages should not exceed the
amount of P500,000.00 (Makabali v. Court of Appeals, 157 SCRA 253 [1988]) We rule that
under the circumstances of the instant case, the amount of P200,000.00 as moral damages in
favor of complainant Linda Navarette is reasonable, just and fair.

One final consideration.

In a resolution dated September 25, 1991, we required Atty. Evelyn Balgos-Guballa of the
Acosta and Rico Law Offices, counsel for the private respondent, to show cause why
disciplinary action should not be taken against her for failure to file the required
memorandum within the extended period which expired on July 22, 1991 within ten days
from notice.

In her "COMPLIANCE", Atty. Evelyn Balgos-Guballa stated that she finished the draft of
the memorandum as early as the first week of July and submitted it to the partner-in-charge,
Atty. Rex G. Rico; that it was only recently, that she discovered that the memorandum was

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[G.R. No. 141994. January 17, 2005] Second: Earlier AMEC students in Physical Therapy had complained that the course is
not recognized by DECS. xxx
AND EDUCATIONAL CENTER-BICOL CHRISTIAN COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, Third: Students are required to take and pay for the subject even if the subject does not
(AMEC-BCCM) and ANGELITA F. AGO, respondents. have an instructor - such greed for money on the part of AMECs administration. Take
the subject Anatomy: students would pay for the subject upon enrolment because it is offered
DECISION by the school. However there would be no instructor for such subject. Students would be
informed that course would be moved to a later date because the school is still searching for
CARPIO, J.: the appropriate instructor.
The Case xxx
[1] [2]
This petition for review assails the 4 January 1999 Decision and 26 January 2000 It is a public knowledge that the Ago Medical and Educational Center has survived and has
Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 40151. The Court of Appeals been surviving for the past few years since its inception because of funds support from
affirmed with modification the 14 December 1992 Decision[3] of the Regional Trial Court of foreign foundations. If you will take a look at the AMEC premises youll find out that the
Legazpi City, Branch 10, in Civil Case No. 8236. The Court of Appeals held Filipinas names of the buildings there are foreign soundings. There is a McDonald Hall. Why not Jose
Broadcasting Network, Inc. and its broadcasters Hermogenes Alegre and Carmelo Rima Rizal or Bonifacio Hall? That is a very concrete and undeniable evidence that the support of
liable for libel and ordered them to solidarily pay Ago Medical and Educational Center-Bicol foreign foundations for AMEC is substantial, isnt it? With the report which is the basis of the
Christian College of Medicine moral damages, attorneys fees and costs of suit. expose in DZRC today, it would be very easy for detractors and enemies of the Ago family
to stop the flow of support of foreign foundations who assist the medical school on the basis
The Antecedents of the latters purpose. But if the purpose of the institution (AMEC) is to deceive students at
cross purpose with its reason for being it is possible for these foreign foundations to lift or
Expos is a radio documentary[4] program hosted by Carmelo Mel Rima (Rima) and
suspend their donations temporarily.[8]
Hermogenes Jun Alegre (Alegre).[5] Expos is aired every morning over DZRC-AM which is
owned by Filipinas Broadcasting Network, Inc. (FBNI). Expos is heard over Legazpi City, xxx
the Albay municipalities and other Bicol areas.[6]
On the other hand, the administrators of AMEC-BCCM, AMEC Science High School
In the morning of 14 and 15 December 1989, Rima and Alegre exposed various alleged and the AMEC-Institute of Mass Communication in their effort to minimize expenses
complaints from students, teachers and parents against Ago Medical and Educational Center- in terms of salary are absorbing or continues to accept rejects. For example how many
Bicol Christian College of Medicine (AMEC) and its administrators. Claiming that the teachers in AMEC are former teachers of Aquinas University but were removed because of
broadcasts were defamatory, AMEC and Angelita Ago (Ago), as Dean of AMECs College of immorality? Does it mean that the present administration of AMEC have the total definite
Medicine, filed a complaint for damages[7] against FBNI, Rima and Alegre on 27 February moral foundation from catholic administrator of Aquinas University. I will prove to you my
1990. Quoted are portions of the allegedly libelous broadcasts: friends, that AMEC is a dumping ground, garbage, not merely of moral and physical
misfits. Probably they only qualify in terms of intellect. The Dean of Student Affairs of
AMEC is Justita Lola, as the family name implies. She is too old to work, being an old
Let us begin with the less burdensome: if you have children taking medical course at woman. Is the AMEC administration exploiting the very [e]nterprising or compromising and
AMEC-BCCM, advise them to pass all subjects because if they fail in any subject they undemanding Lola? Could it be that AMEC is just patiently making use of Dean Justita Lola
will repeat their year level, taking up all subjects including those they have passed were if she is very old. As in atmospheric situation zero visibility the plane cannot land,
already. Several students had approached me stating that they had consulted with the DECS meaning she is very old, low pay follows. By the way, Dean Justita Lola is also the chairman
which told them that there is no such regulation. If [there] is no such regulation why is of the committee on scholarship in AMEC. She had retired from Bicol University a long time
AMEC doing the same? ago but AMEC has patiently made use of her.

xxx xxx


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xxx My friends based on the expose, AMEC is a dumping ground for moral and physically On 14 December 1992, the trial court rendered a Decision[12] finding FBNI and Alegre liable
misfit people. What does this mean? Immoral and physically misfits as teachers. for libel except Rima. The trial court held that the broadcasts are libelous per se. The trial
court rejected the broadcasters claim that their utterances were the result of straight reporting
May I say Im sorry to Dean Justita Lola. But this is the truth. The truth is this, that your are because it had no factual basis. The broadcasters did not even verify their reports before
no longer fit to teach. You are too old. As an aviation, your case is zero visibility. Dont airing them to show good faith. In holding FBNI liable for libel, the trial court found that
insist. FBNI failed to exercise diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees.

xxx Why did AMEC still absorb her as a teacher, a dean, and chairman of the scholarship In absolving Rima from the charge, the trial court ruled that Rimas only participation was
committee at that. The reason is practical cost saving in salaries, because an old person is not when he agreed with Alegres expos. The trial court found Rimas statement within the bounds
fastidious, so long as she has money to buy the ingredient of beetle juice. The elderly can get of freedom of speech, expression, and of the press. The dispositive portion of the decision
by thats why she (Lola) was taken in as Dean. reads:

xxx WHEREFORE, premises considered, this court finds for the plaintiff. Considering the
degree of damages caused by the controversial utterances, which are not found by this
xxx On our end our task is to attend to the interests of students. It is likely that the students court to be really very serious and damaging, and there being no showing that indeed
would be influenced by evil. When they become members of society outside of campus the enrollment of plaintiff school dropped, defendants Hermogenes Jun Alegre, Jr. and
will be liabilities rather than assets. What do you expect from a doctor who while studying Filipinas Broadcasting Network (owner of the radio station DZRC), are hereby jointly and
at AMEC is so much burdened with unreasonable imposition? What do you expect from a severally ordered to pay plaintiff Ago Medical and Educational Center-Bicol Christian
student who aside from peculiar problems because not all students are rich in their struggle College of Medicine (AMEC-BCCM) the amount of P300,000.00 moral damages,
to improve their social status are even more burdened with false regulations. plus P30,000.00 reimbursement of attorneys fees, and to pay the costs of suit.
xxx[9] (Emphasis supplied)
SO ORDERED. [13] (Emphasis supplied)
The complaint further alleged that AMEC is a reputable learning institution. With the
supposed exposs, FBNI, Rima and Alegre transmitted malicious imputations, and as such, Both parties, namely, FBNI, Rima and Alegre, on one hand, and AMEC and Ago, on the
destroyed plaintiffs (AMEC and Ago) reputation. AMEC and Ago included FBNI as other, appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial
defendant for allegedly failing to exercise due diligence in the selection and supervision of courts judgment with modification. The appellate court made Rima solidarily liable with
its employees, particularly Rima and Alegre. FBNI and Alegre. The appellate court denied Agos claim for damages and attorneys fees
because the broadcasts were directed against AMEC, and not against her. The dispositive
On 18 June 1990, FBNI, Rima and Alegre, through Atty. Rozil Lozares, filed an portion of the Court of Appeals decision reads:
Answer[10] alleging that the broadcasts against AMEC were fair and true. FBNI, Rima and
Alegre claimed that they were plainly impelled by a sense of public duty to report the WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED, subject to the
goings-on in AMEC, [which is] an institution imbued with public interest. modification that broadcaster Mel Rima is SOLIDARILY ADJUDGED liable with FBN[I]
and Hermo[g]enes Alegre.
Thereafter, trial ensued. During the presentation of the evidence for the defense, Atty.
Edmundo Cea, collaborating counsel of Atty. Lozares, filed a Motion to Dismiss [11] on SO ORDERED.[14]
FBNIs behalf. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss. Consequently, FBNI filed a
separate Answer claiming that it exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision of FBNI, Rima and Alegre filed a motion for reconsideration which the Court of Appeals
Rima and Alegre. FBNI claimed that before hiring a broadcaster, the broadcaster should (1) denied in its 26 January 2000 Resolution.
file an application; (2) be interviewed; and (3) undergo an apprenticeship and training
program after passing the interview. FBNI likewise claimed that it always reminds its Hence, FBNI filed this petition.[15]
broadcasters to observe truth, fairness and objectivity in their broadcasts and to refrain from
using libelous and indecent language. Moreover, FBNI requires all broadcasters to pass The Ruling of the Court of Appeals
the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) accreditation test and to secure a KBP
permit. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial courts ruling that the questioned broadcasts are
libelous per se and that FBNI, Rima and Alegre failed to overcome the legal presumption of
malice. The Court of Appeals found Rima and Alegres claim that they were actuated by their
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moral and social duty to inform the public of the students gripes as insufficient to justify the damages in cases of defamation, fraud, and physical injuries. AMEC also invokes Article
utterance of the defamatory remarks. 19[20] of the Civil Code to justify its claim for damages. AMEC cites Articles 2176 [21] and
2180[22] of the Civil Code to hold FBNI solidarily liable with Rima and Alegre.
Finding no factual basis for the imputations against AMECs administrators, the Court of
Appeals ruled that the broadcasts were made with reckless disregard as to whether they were I.
true or false. The appellate court pointed out that FBNI, Rima and Alegre failed to present in
court any of the students who allegedly complained against AMEC. Rima and Alegre merely Whether the broadcasts are libelous
gave a single name when asked to identify the students. According to the Court of Appeals,
these circumstances cast doubt on the veracity of the broadcasters claim that they were A libel[23] is a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or
impelled by their moral and social duty to inform the public about the students gripes. imaginary, or any act or omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the
dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of
The Court of Appeals found Rima also liable for libel since he remarked that (1) AMEC- one who is dead.[24]
BCCM is a dumping ground for morally and physically misfit teachers; (2) AMEC obtained
the services of Dean Justita Lola to minimize expenses on its employees salaries; and (3) There is no question that the broadcasts were made public and imputed to AMEC defects or
AMEC burdened the students with unreasonable imposition and false regulations.[16] circumstances tending to cause it dishonor, discredit and contempt. Rima and Alegres
remarks such as greed for money on the part of AMECs administrators; AMEC is a dumping
The Court of Appeals held that FBNI failed to exercise due diligence in the selection and ground, garbage of xxx moral and physical misfits; and AMEC students who graduate will
supervision of its employees for allowing Rima and Alegre to make the radio broadcasts be liabilities rather than assets of the society are libelous per se. Taken as a whole, the
without the proper KBP accreditation. The Court of Appeals denied Agos claim for damages broadcasts suggest that AMEC is a money-making institution where physically and morally
and attorneys fees because the libelous remarks were directed against AMEC, and not unfit teachers abound.
against her. The Court of Appeals adjudged FBNI, Rima and Alegre solidarily liable to pay
AMEC moral damages, attorneys fees and costs of suit. However, FBNI contends that the broadcasts are not malicious. FBNI claims that Rima and
Alegre were plainly impelled by their civic duty to air the students gripes. FBNI alleges that
Issues there is no evidence that ill will or spite motivated Rima and Alegre in making the
broadcasts. FBNI further points out that Rima and Alegre exerted efforts to obtain AMECs
FBNI raises the following issues for resolution: side and gave Ago the opportunity to defend AMEC and its administrators. FBNI concludes
that since there is no malice, there is no libel.
FBNIs contentions are untenable.
Every defamatory imputation is presumed malicious. [25] Rima and Alegre failed to show
III. WHETHER THE AWARD OF ATTORNEYS FEES IS PROPER; and adequately their good intention and justifiable motive in airing the supposed gripes of the
students. As hosts of a documentary or public affairs program, Rima and Alegre should have
IV. WHETHER FBNI IS SOLIDARILY LIABLE WITH RIMA AND ALEGRE FOR presented the public issues free from inaccurate and misleading information.[26] Hearing the
PAYMENT OF MORAL DAMAGES, ATTORNEYS FEES AND COSTS OF SUIT. students alleged complaints a month before the expos, [27] they had sufficient time to verify
their sources and information. However, Rima and Alegre hardly made a thorough
The Courts Ruling investigation of the students alleged gripes. Neither did they inquire about nor confirm the
purported irregularities in AMEC from the Department of Education, Culture and Sports.
We deny the petition.
Alegre testified that he merely went to AMEC to verify his report from an alleged AMEC
This is a civil action for damages as a result of the allegedly defamatory remarks of Rima official who refused to disclose any information. Alegre simply relied on the words of the
and Alegre against AMEC.[17] While AMEC did not point out clearly the legal basis for its students because they were many and not because there is proof that what they are saying is
complaint, a reading of the complaint reveals that AMECs cause of action is based on true.[28] This plainly shows Rima and Alegres reckless disregard of whether their report was
Articles 30 and 33 of the Civil Code. Article 30 [18] authorizes a separate civil action to true or not.
recover civil liability arising from a criminal offense. On the other hand, Article
Contrary to FBNIs claim, the broadcasts were not the result of straight reporting.
33[19] particularly provides that the injured party may bring a separate civil action for
Significantly, some courts in the United States apply the privilege of neutral reportage in
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libel cases involving matters of public interest or public figures. Under this privilege, a Secondly, there is reason to believe that defendant radio broadcasters, contrary to the
republisher who accurately and disinterestedly reports certain defamatory statements made mandates of their duties, did not verify and analyze the truth of the reports before they aired
against public figures is shielded from liability, regardless of the republishers subjective it, in order to prove that they are in good faith.
awareness of the truth or falsity of the accusation.[29] Rima and Alegre cannot invoke the
privilege of neutral reportage because unfounded comments abound in the broadcasts. Alegre contended that plaintiff school had no permit and is not accredited to offer Physical
Moreover, there is no existing controversy involving AMEC when the broadcasts were Therapy courses. Yet, plaintiff produced a certificate coming from DECS that as of Sept. 22,
made. The privilege of neutral reportage applies where the defamed person is a public figure 1987 or more than 2 years before the controversial broadcast, accreditation to offer Physical
who is involved in an existing controversy, and a party to that controversy makes the Therapy course had already been given the plaintiff, which certificate is signed by no less
defamatory statement.[30] than the Secretary of Education and Culture herself, Lourdes R. Quisumbing (Exh. C-
rebuttal). Defendants could have easily known this were they careful enough to verify. And
However, FBNI argues vigorously that malice in law does not apply to this case. yet, defendants were very categorical and sounded too positive when they made the
Citing Borjal v. Court of Appeals,[31] FBNI contends that the broadcasts fall within the erroneous report that plaintiff had no permit to offer Physical Therapy courses which they
coverage of qualifiedly privileged communications for being commentaries on matters of were offering.
public interest. Such being the case, AMEC should prove malice in fact or actual malice.
Since AMEC allegedly failed to prove actual malice, there is no libel. The allegation that plaintiff was getting tremendous aids from foreign foundations like
Mcdonald Foundation prove not to be true also. The truth is there is no Mcdonald
FBNIs reliance on Borjal is misplaced. In Borjal, the Court elucidated on the doctrine of fair Foundation existing. Although a big building of plaintiff school was given the name
comment, thus: Mcdonald building, that was only in order to honor the first missionary in Bicol of plaintiffs
religion, as explained by Dr. Lita Ago. Contrary to the claim of defendants over the air, not a
[F]air commentaries on matters of public interest are privileged and constitute a valid single centavo appears to be received by plaintiff school from the aforementioned McDonald
defense in an action for libel or slander. The doctrine of fair comment means that while in Foundation which does not exist.
general every discreditable imputation publicly made is deemed false, because every man is
presumed innocent until his guilt is judicially proved, and every false imputation is deemed Defendants did not even also bother to prove their claim, though denied by Dra. Ago, that
malicious, nevertheless, when the discreditable imputation is directed against a public person when medical students fail in one subject, they are made to repeat all the other subject[s],
in his public capacity, it is not necessarily actionable. In order that such discreditable even those they have already passed, nor their claim that the school charges laboratory fees
imputation to a public official may be actionable, it must either be a false allegation of even if there are no laboratories in the school. No evidence was presented to prove the bases
fact or a comment based on a false supposition. If the comment is an expression of for these claims, at least in order to give semblance of good faith.
opinion, based on established facts, then it is immaterial that the opinion happens to be
mistaken, as long as it might reasonably be inferred from the facts. [32] (Emphasis supplied) As for the allegation that plaintiff is the dumping ground for misfits, and immoral teachers,
defendant[s] singled out Dean Justita Lola who is said to be so old, with zero visibility
True, AMEC is a private learning institution whose business of educating students is already. Dean Lola testified in court last Jan. 21, 1991, and was found to be 75 years old. xxx
genuinely imbued with public interest. The welfare of the youth in general and AMECs Even older people prove to be effective teachers like Supreme Court Justices who are still
students in particular is a matter which the public has the right to know. Thus, similar to the very much in demand as law professors in their late years. Counsel for defendants is past 75
newspaper articles in Borjal, the subject broadcasts dealt with matters of public interest. but is found by this court to be still very sharp and effective. So is plaintiffs counsel.
However, unlike in Borjal, the questioned broadcasts are not based on established facts.
The record supports the following findings of the trial court: Dr. Lola was observed by this court not to be physically decrepit yet, nor mentally infirmed,
but is still alert and docile.
xxx Although defendants claim that they were motivated by consistent reports of students
and parents against plaintiff, yet, defendants have not presented in court, nor even gave name The contention that plaintiffs graduates become liabilities rather than assets of our society is
of a single student who made the complaint to them, much less present written complaint or a mere conclusion. Being from the place himself, this court is aware that majority of the
petition to that effect. To accept this defense of defendants is too dangerous because it could medical graduates of plaintiffs pass the board examination easily and become prosperous and
easily give license to the media to malign people and establishments based on flimsy excuses responsible professionals.[33]
that there were reports to them although they could not satisfactorily establish it. Such laxity
would encourage careless and irresponsible broadcasting which is inimical to public Had the comments been an expression of opinion based on established facts, it is immaterial
interests. that the opinion happens to be mistaken, as long as it might reasonably be inferred from the

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facts.[34] However, the comments of Rima and Alegre were not backed up by facts. A juridical person is generally not entitled to moral damages because, unlike a natural
Therefore, the broadcasts are not privileged and remain libelous per se. person, it cannot experience physical suffering or such sentiments as wounded feelings,
serious anxiety, mental anguish or moral shock.[40] The Court of Appeals cites Mambulao
The broadcasts also violate the Radio Code[35] of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Lumber Co. v. PNB, et al.[41] to justify the award of moral damages. However, the Courts
Pilipinas, Ink. (Radio Code). Item I(B) of the Radio Code provides: statement in Mambulao that a corporation may have a good reputation which, if besmirched,
may also be a ground for the award of moral damages is an obiter dictum.[42]
Nevertheless, AMECs claim for moral damages falls under item 7 of Article 2219 [43] of the
1. x x x Civil Code. This provision expressly authorizes the recovery of moral damages in cases of
libel, slander or any other form of defamation. Article 2219(7) does not qualify whether the
4. Public affairs program shall present public issues free from personal bias, prejudice plaintiff is a natural or juridical person. Therefore, a juridical person such as a corporation
and inaccurate and misleading information. x x x Furthermore, the station shall strive to can validly complain for libel or any other form of defamation and claim for moral
present balanced discussion of issues. x x x. damages.[44]
xxx Moreover, where the broadcast is libelous per se, the law implies damages.[45] In such a case,
evidence of an honest mistake or the want of character or reputation of the party libeled goes
7. The station shall be responsible at all times in the supervision of public affairs, public
only in mitigation of damages.[46] Neither in such a case is the plaintiff required to introduce
issues and commentary programs so that they conform to the provisions and standards of this
evidence of actual damages as a condition precedent to the recovery of some damages. [47] In
this case, the broadcasts are libelous per se. Thus, AMEC is entitled to moral damages.
8. It shall be the responsibility of the newscaster, commentator, host and announcer to
However, we find the award of P300,000 moral damages unreasonable. The record shows
protect public interest, general welfare and good order in the presentation of public affairs
that even though the broadcasts were libelous per se, AMEC has not suffered any substantial
and public issues.[36] (Emphasis supplied)
or material damage to its reputation. Therefore, we reduce the award of moral damages
The broadcasts fail to meet the standards prescribed in the Radio Code, which lays down the from P300,000 to P150,000.
code of ethical conduct governing practitioners in the radio broadcast industry. The Radio
Code is a voluntary code of conduct imposed by the radio broadcast industry on its own
members. The Radio Code is a public warranty by the radio broadcast industry that radio Whether the award of attorneys fees is proper
broadcast practitioners are subject to a code by which their conduct are measured for lapses,
liability and sanctions. FBNI contends that since AMEC is not entitled to moral damages, there is no basis for the
award of attorneys fees. FBNI adds that the instant case does not fall under the enumeration
The public has a right to expect and demand that radio broadcast practitioners live up to the in Article 2208[48] of the Civil Code.
code of conduct of their profession, just like other professionals. A professional code of
conduct provides the standards for determining whether a person has acted justly, honestly The award of attorneys fees is not proper because AMEC failed to justify satisfactorily its
and with good faith in the exercise of his rights and performance of his duties as required by claim for attorneys fees. AMEC did not adduce evidence to warrant the award of attorneys
Article 19[37] of the Civil Code. A professional code of conduct also provides the standards fees. Moreover, both the trial and appellate courts failed to explicitly state in their respective
for determining whether a person who willfully causes loss or injury to another has acted in a decisions the rationale for the award of attorneys fees.[49] In Inter-Asia Investment
manner contrary to morals or good customs under Article 21 [38] of the Civil Code. Industries, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,[50] we held that:
II. [I]t is an accepted doctrine that the award thereof as an item of damages is the exception
rather than the rule, and counsels fees are not to be awarded every time a party wins a
Whether AMEC is entitled to moral damages suit. The power of the court to award attorneys fees under Article 2208 of the Civil
Code demands factual, legal and equitable justification, without which the award is a
FBNI contends that AMEC is not entitled to moral damages because it is a corporation. [39]
conclusion without a premise, its basis being improperly left to speculation and
conjecture. In all events, the court must explicitly state in the text of the decision, and not

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only in the decretal portion thereof, the legal reason for the award of attorneys hosts of FBNIs radio program Expos when they aired the broadcasts. FBNI neither alleged
fees.[51] (Emphasis supplied) nor proved that Rima and Alegre went beyond the scope of their work at that time. There
was likewise no showing that FBNI did not authorize and ratify the defamatory broadcasts.
While it mentioned about the award of attorneys fees by stating that it lies within the
discretion of the court and depends upon the circumstances of each case, the Court of Moreover, there is insufficient evidence on record that FBNI exercised due diligence in
Appeals failed to point out any circumstance to justify the award. the selection and supervision of its employees, particularly Rima and Alegre. FBNI merely
showed that it exercised diligence in the selection of its broadcasters without introducing any
IV. evidence to prove that it observed the same diligence in the supervision of Rima and Alegre.
FBNI did not show how it exercised diligence in supervising its broadcasters. FBNIs alleged
Whether FBNI is solidarily liable with Rima and Alegre constant reminder to its broadcasters to observe truth, fairness and objectivity and to refrain
from using libelous and indecent language is not enough to prove due diligence in the
for moral damages, attorneys fees supervision of its broadcasters. Adequate training of the broadcasters on the industrys code
of conduct, sufficient information on libel laws, and continuous evaluation of the
and costs of suit
broadcasters performance are but a few of the many ways of showing diligence in the
FBNI contends that it is not solidarily liable with Rima and Alegre for the payment of supervision of broadcasters.
damages and attorneys fees because it exercised due diligence in the selection and
FBNI claims that it has taken all the precaution in the selection of Rima and Alegre as
supervision of its employees, particularly Rima and Alegre. FBNI maintains that its
broadcasters, bearing in mind their qualifications. However, no clear and convincing
broadcasters, including Rima and Alegre, undergo a very regimented process before they are
evidence shows that Rima and Alegre underwent FBNIs regimented process of application.
allowed to go on air. Those who apply for broadcaster are subjected to interviews,
Furthermore, FBNI admits that Rima and Alegre had deficiencies in their KBP
examinations and an apprenticeship program.
accreditation,[56] which is one of FBNIs requirements before it hires a broadcaster.
FBNI further argues that Alegres age and lack of training are irrelevant to his competence as Significantly, membership in the KBP, while voluntary, indicates the broadcasters strong
a broadcaster. FBNI points out that the minor deficiencies in the KBP accreditation of Rima commitment to observe the broadcast industrys rules and regulations. Clearly, these
and Alegre do not in any way prove that FBNI did not exercise the diligence of a good father circumstances show FBNIs lack of diligence in selecting and supervising Rima and Alegre.
of a family in selecting and supervising them. Rimas accreditation lapsed due to his non- Hence, FBNI is solidarily liable to pay damages together with Rima and Alegre.
payment of the KBP annual fees while Alegres accreditation card was delayed allegedly for
WHEREFORE, we DENY the instant petition. We AFFIRM the Decision of 4 January
reasons attributable to the KBP Manila Office. FBNI claims that membership in the KBP is
1999 and Resolution of 26 January 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 40151
merely voluntary and not required by any law or government regulation.
with the MODIFICATION that the award of moral damages is reduced from P300,000
FBNIs arguments do not persuade us. to P150,000 and the award of attorneys fees is deleted. Costs against petitioner.

The basis of the present action is a tort. Joint tort feasors are jointly and severally liable for SO ORDERED.
the tort which they commit.[52] Joint tort feasors are all the persons who command, instigate,
promote, encourage, advise, countenance, cooperate in, aid or abet the commission of a tort,
or who approve of it after it is done, if done for their benefit. [53] Thus, AMEC correctly
anchored its cause of action against FBNI on Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code.

As operator of DZRC-AM and employer of Rima and Alegre, FBNI is solidarily liable to
pay for damages arising from the libelous broadcasts. As stated by the Court of Appeals,
recovery for defamatory statements published by radio or television may be had from
the owner of the station, a licensee, the operator of the station, or a person who procures,
or participates in, the making of the defamatory statements. [54] An employer and employee
are solidarily liable for a defamatory statement by the employee within the course and scope
of his or her employment, at least when the employer authorizes or ratifies the
defamation.[55] In this case, Rima and Alegre were clearly performing their official duties as
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NOMINAL DAMAGES driver Brigido Avorque, for P6,000 compensatory damages, P30,000 moral damages,
P10,000 exemplary damages, P10,000 nominal damages, P5,000 attorneys fees, and costs,
(Nasa dating compilation na to.) while defendant Rosario Avorque was absolved from liability. From this judgment,
defendant Cresencia appealed.
[ G.R. No. L-8194, July 11, 1956 ]
We have already held in the case of Montoya vs. Ignacio, 94 Phil., 182 (December 29,
EMERENCIANA M. VDA. DE MEDINA, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS AND APPELLEES 1953), which the court below cited, that the law (section 20 [g], C. A. No. 146 as amended)
VS. GUILLERMO CRESENCIA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS. GUILLERMO requires the approval of the Public Service Commission in order that a franchise, or any
CRESENCIA, APPELLANT. privilege pertaining thereto, may be sold or leased without infringing the certificate issued
to the grantee; and that if property covered by the franchise is transferred or leased without
DECISION this requisite approval, the transfer is not binding against the public or the Service
Commission; and in contemplation of law, the grantee of record continues to be
REYES, J.B.L., J.: responsible under the franchise in relation to the Commission and to the public. There we
gave the reason for this rule to be as follows:
Appeal by defendant Guillermo Cresencia from the judgment of the Court of First
Instance of Manila in its civil case No. 19890, sentencing appellant, jointly and severally "* * * Since a franchise is personal in nature any transfer or lease thereof should be
with his co-defendant Brigido Avorque, to pay plaintiffs Emerencia M. Vda. de Medina notified to the Public Service Commission so that the latter may take proper safeguards to
and her minor children damages in the total amount of P56,000, P5,000 attorneys' fees, and protect the interest of the public In fact, the law requires that, before the approval is
costs. granted, there should be a public hearing, with notice to all interested parties, in order that
the Commission may determine if there are good and reasonable grounds justifying the
It appears that on May 31, 1953, passenger jeepney bearing plate No. TPU-2232
transfer or lease of the property covered by the franchise, or if the sale or lease is
(Manila), driven by Brigido Avorque, smashed into a Meralco post on Azcarraga Street,
detrimental to public interest. * * *"
resulting in the death of Vicente Medina, one of its passengers. A criminal case for
homicide through reckless imprudence was filed against Avorque (criminal case No. 22775 The above ruling was later reiterated in the cases of Timbol vs. Osias, L-7547, April 30,
of the Court of First Instance of Manila), to which lie pleaded guilty on September 9, 1953. 1955 and Roque vs. Malibay Transit Inc., L-8561, November 18, 1955.
The heirs of the deceased, however, reserved their right to file a separate action fbr
damages, and on June 16, 1953, brought suit against the driver Brigido Avorque and As the sale of the jeepney here in question was admittedly without the approval of the
appellant Guillermo Cresencia, the registered owner and operator of the jeepney in question. Public Service Commission, appellant herein, Guillermo Cresencia, who is the registered
Defendant Brigido Avorque did not file any answer; while defendant Cresencia answered, owner and operator thereof, continued to be liable to the Commission and the public for
disclaiming liability on the ground that he had sold the jeepney in question on October 14, the consequences incident to its operation. Wherefore, the lower court did not err in holding
1950 to one Maria A. Cudiamat; that the jeepney had been repeatedly sold by one buyer him, and not the buyer Rosario Avorque, responsible for the damages sustained by plaintiff
after another, until the vehicle was purchased on January 29, 1953 by Rosario Avorque, by reason of the death of Vicente Medina resulting from the reckless negligence of the
the absolute owner thereof at the time of the accident. In view of Cresencia's answer, jeepney's driver, Brigido Avorque.
plaintiffs filed leave, and was allowed, to amend their complaint making Rosario Avorque a
co-defendant; and the latter, by way of answer, admitted having purchased the aforesaid Appellant also argues that the basis of plaintiffs' action being the employer's subsidiary
jeepney on May 31, 1953, but alleged in defense that she was never the public utility liability under the Revised Penal Code for damages arising from his, employee's criminal
operator thereof. The case then proceeded to trial, during which, after the plaintiffs had acts, it is defendant Rosario Avorque who should answer subsidiarily for the damages
presented their evidence, defendants Guillermo Cresencia and Rosario Avorque made sustained by plaintiffs, since she admits that she, and not appellant, is the employer of the
manifestations admitting' that the former was still the registered operator of the jeepney in negligent driver Brigido Avorque. The argument is untenable/because plaintiffs' action for
question in the records of the Motor Vehicles Office and the Public Service Commission, damages is independent of the criminal case filed against Brigido Avorque, and based, not
while the latter was the owner thereof at the time of the accident; and submitted the case for on the employer's subsidiary liability under the Revised Penal Code, but on a breach of the
the decision on the question of who, as between the two, should be held liable to plaintiffs carrier's contractual obligation to carry his passengers safely to their destination (culpa
for damages. The lower court, by Judge Jose Zulueta, held that as far as the public is contractual). And it is also for this reason that there is no need of first proving the
concerned, defendant Cresencia, in the eyes of the law, continued to be the legal owner of insolvency of the driver Brigido Avorque before damages can be recovered from the
the jeepney in question; and rendered judgment against him, jointly and severally with the

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carrier, for in culpa contractual, the liability of the carrier is not merely subsidiary or TEMPERATE DAMAGES
secondary, but direct and immediate (Articles 1755, 1756, and 1759, New Civil Code).
[G.R. No. 111263. May 21, 1998]
The propriety of the damages awarded has not been questioned. Nevertheless, it is patent
upon the record that the award of P10,000 by way of nominal damages is untenable as a THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. MARIO PADLAN @
matter of law, since nominal damages can not co-exist with compensatory damages. The MARCOS, ROMEO MAGLEO @ MOTMOT, and ALFREDO MAGLEO @
purpose of nominal damages is to vindicate or recognize a right that has been violated, in BOY, accused-appellants.
order to preclude further contest thereon; "and not for the purpose of indemnifying the
plaintiff for any loss suffered by him" (Articles 2221, 2223, new Civil Code.) Since the DECISION
court below has already awarded compensatory and exemplary damages that are in
themselves a judicial recognition that plaintiff's right was violated, the award of nominal MENDOZA, J.:
damages is unnecessary and improper." Anyway, ten thousand pesos can not, in common
This is an appeal from the decision,[1] dated June 30, 1993, rendered by the Regional Trial
sense, be deemed "nominal".
Court, Branch 56 of San Carlos City, Pangasinan, in Criminal Case No. SCC-1960, finding
With the modification that the award of P10,000 nominal damages" be eliminated, the accused-appellants Mario Marcos Padlan, Romeo Motmot Magleo, and Alfredo BoyMagleo
decision appealed from id affirmed. Costs against appellant. So ordered. guilty of two counts of murder and sentencing each of them

to suffer an imprisonment of:

1. Reclusion perpetua, for the death of Rodolfo Manzon.

2. Reclusion perpetua, for the death of Mateo Manzon.

and to indemnify the heirs of the deceased as follows:

1) P60,000.00 for the death of Rodolfo Manzon.

2) P50,000.00 for the death of Mateo Manzon.

3) P100,000.00 for actual and temperate damages.

4) P200,000.00 as moral damages.

5) P5,000.00 as exemplary damages.

The information filed against accused-appellants charged

That on or about the 15th day of November, 1992, at around 1:15 oclock in the morning at
Barangay Libas, San Carlos City in Pangasinan, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating, and mutually aiding each other,
with evident premeditation, treachery, and intent to kill, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully, and feloniously, with the use of high-powered long firearm, attack and shoot
Rodolfo Manzon and Mateo Manzon, killing them instantaneously as a consequence, to the
damage and prejudice of the heirs of the said victims in the amount of P ____________.

Contrary to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code.[2]

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When arraigned on June 7, 1993, accused-appellants pleaded not guilty, whereupon trial was Cardioza said he interviewed Jordan Pagsolingan and was told that Mario Padlan fired at
held. The prosecutions main witnesses were Carlito Manzon and Jordan Pagsolingan. Carlito them and that with Padlan were Romeo and Alfredo Magleo. [15] SPO Cardioza said that he
Manzon is a nephew of the deceased Rodolfo Manzon, Carlitos father being the brother of and his companions after sometime found Mario Padlan in the house of his father-in-law, but
Rodolfo Manzon. Jordan Pagsolingan is the son of Carlito Manzons sister, Flora they were unable to locate the other accused-appellants Romeo and Alfredo Magleo in their
Pagsolingan, and therefore is a grandnephew of the deceased Rodolfo Manzon. residences.[16]

Per their testimonies,[3] at around 11 p.m. of November 14, 1992, at a pre-wedding dance in Lolita Manzon, the wife and mother of the victims, testified [17] that prior to their death,
Barangay Libas, San Carlos City, Rufo Manzon was beaten up by accused-appellant Mario Rodolfo Manzon worked as a tenant farmer on land that produced eight cavans a year, while
Padlan and a certain Lito Fernandez. He was saved from further punishment by the timely her son Mateo, 15 years of age, was a high school sophomore who helped his father farm the
intervention of Carlito Manzon and Jordan Pagsolingan who took him away and led him to land. She bought coffins but could not remember how much she paid for them because of her
the house of Flora Pagsolingan in Barangay Anando. Carlito Manzon and Jordan shock and grief. The deaths of her husband and son were for her very painful because there
Pagsolingan then went to Barangay Payar to fetch Rufos father, Rodolfo Manzon. Mateo, a were two of them.[18]
brother of Rufo, came along in response.
Dr. Juan I. Pizarro, who conducted the postmortem examination of the bodies of the victims,
At Sitio Caniogon of Barangay Libas, the four saw accused-appellants Mario Padlan, Romeo found Rodolfo Manzon to have suffered the following wounds:
Magleo, and Alfredo Magleo. They tried to avoid them, but they were pursued by the
three. Romeo Magleo ordered them to stop, shouting Hoy! at them. Carlito and Jordan saw 1. Lacerated wound, anterior surface of left forearm, 3 inches from the elbow, measuring
that Mario Padlan was armed with a rifle. Jordan also saw that accused-appellant Alfredo 11/2 by 11/2 inch.
Magleo had a knife.
2. Incised wound rectangular in shape 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch deep located 1/2 inch just
Carlito and Jordan were young boys aged 16 and 15, respectively. Mario Padlan went around below wound No. 1.
the two boys to get near Rodolfo Manzon and then shot the latter. Mario Padlan fired three
times at Rodolfo Manzon,[4] as the other accused-appellants watched.[5] 3. Gunshot wound with point of entrance, circular in shape, 10 mm. in diameter, located at
the left epigastric area along anterior axillary line 3 inches below the coastal line with
Frightened, Jordan Pagsolingan and Carlito Manzon ran away. As they were fleeing, Jordan irregular borders penetrating the abdominal cavity with portion of the intestine protruding
Pagsolingan said he heard two more shots fired.[6] He and Carlito went home to Barangay outside through this wound.
Anando to report the incident. Upon learning of the incident, Jordans mother, Flora
Pagsolingan, and Eling Manzon lost no time and went to the city proper to report the matter Point of Exit - None.[19]
to the police.
Dr. Pizarro testified that wound no. 1 could have been caused by a pointed instrument and
Flora Pagsolingan corroborated the testimonies of her son Jordan and her brother Carlito wound no. 2 by a sharp-bladed instrument. Wound no. 3 was the fatal wound, which caused
Manzon.[7] She testified that the incident was entered in the blotter of the police.[8] massive internal hemorrhage.[20]

SPO4 Alberto Castro of the Philippine National Police in San Carlos City also testified. [9] He Dr. Pizarro found Mateo Manzon to have suffered a [g]aping incised wound 2 1/2 inches long
said that upon receipt of Flora Pagsolingans report, at 3:20 a.m. of November 15, 1992, a and 11/2 inches wide and 51/2 inches deep horizontally across the anterior chest wall just
team of policemen went to the scene of the crime and afterwards to the residence of Mario below the medial end of the right clavicle lacerating the right first rib and right portion of the
Padlan in Barangay Libas, but was told by the latters wife that he did not go home that sternum, directed posteriorily to the left lacerating the lungs and the heart. [21] According to
night. The police finally found him at about 7 a.m., in the house of his father-in-law, Dr. Pizarro, the wound, which was caused by a sharp-pointed instrument, was fatal.[22]
Alejandro Magleo. Magleo, a former barangay captain, surrendered Mario Padlan to the
police.SPO4 Castro said that the report mentioning the participation of the two other Accused-appellant Alfredo Magleo admitted[23] that he was at the pre-wedding party in
accused-appellants, Romeo and Alfredo Magleo, came only at about 5 in the morning. [10] Barangay Libas in the evening of November 14, 1992. He claimed, however, that he and
accused-appellant Mario Padlan and others did not leave the place until 4 a.m. of the
SPO Virgilio G. Cardioza, who was a member of the team, testified that they recovered from following day, November 15, 1992. Alfredo said that from the party he went home to
the scene of the crime four empty shells fired from an armalite rifle. [11] Rodolfo Manzon had Barangay Anando, and that in the morning, while the police officers went to the house of his
a short bolo which the police found to be in its scabbard, [12] while Mateo Manzon had a father and arrested his brother-in-law, accused-appellant Mario Padlan, they did not arrest
slingshot with darts.[13] Near the feet of Rodolfo Manzon the police found a knife. [14] SPO him (Alfredo Magleo) despite the fact that his house was only 15 meters away.
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Accused-appellants Mario Padlan and Romeo Magleo also interposed the defense of THE HEREIN ACCUSED-APPELLANTS BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT IN THE
alibi. Padlan claimed[24] that they were in the house of Aniceto de la Cruz for the pre- CASE AT BAR.
wedding party for the latters daughter, Evangeline de la Cruz, and Roly Domingo which
lasted from 7 p.m. of November 14, 1992 up to 4 a.m. of November 15, 1992; and that after II.
the party, accused-appellant Romeo Magleo stayed behind, as he had been asked by Aniceto
de la Cruz to help prepare the food for the guests on the day of the wedding. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT GIVING WEIGHT TO THE EVIDENCE OF THE
Padlan claimed that from the party, he went to the house of his father-in-law Alejandro
Magleo because his wife was there. It was there that the police found him and invited him to The contentions are without merit.
go with them to the police station for questioning. He said he denied involvement in the
killing and even asked to be given a paraffin test by the National Bureau of Investigation, but First. Accused-appellants were positively identified by prosecution witnesses Jordan
that although he was taken to the NBI, he could not be tested because of lack of Pagsolingan and Carlito Manzon as the ones who had stopped them on the way on the day of
equipment. Padlan also testified that he had no misunderstanding with the Pagsolingan the incident. While accused-appellants claimed they were in the house of Aniceto de la Cruz
family. attending a pre-wedding party, their alibi cannot prevail over the testimonies of the
prosecution witnesses positively identifying them as the assailants. The place where accused-
For his part, Romeo Magleo testified[25] that before he left the house of Aniceto de la Cruz appellants were at the time of the killing is in Barangay Libas where the crime also took
(where the party was held) at 8:30 a.m. of November 15, 1992, Flora Pagsolingan arrived place. It was not at all physically impossible for them to have committed the crime. [29] Each
with some policemen and asked if any untoward incident had happened during the of the accused-appellants claimed he had no quarrel with the deceased or the prosecutions
celebration, to which Romeo Magleo said he answered in the negative; and that he (Romeo main witnesses. Their identification, however, makes it irrelevant that there is no proof of ill
Magleo) was not apprehended by the police officers. motive on their part to commit the crime. Motive assumes significance only where there is
no showing of who the perpetrators of the crimes were. [30]
Aniceto de la Cruz, in whose house the party was held, testified that none of the accused-
appellants had left the party before it ended at 4 a.m. of November 15, 1992.[26] It is contended that the testimonies of the two prosecution eyewitnesses, Carlito Manzon and
Jordan Pagsolingan, are at odds with the entry in the police blotter. Accused-appellants
The defense also presented as witnesses three farmers, Rodolfo Lavarias, Tomas Lavarias, Romeo and Alfredo Magleo contend that entry in the police blotter does not name them as
and Ernesto Lavarias, all of whom were residents of Barangay Anando. Ernesto Lavarias among those involved in the killing of Rodolfo Manzon and his son Mateo.
testified[27] that at around midnight of November 14, 1992, he heard cries coming from the
house of Flora Pagsolingan less than 30 meters away. For this reason, he said, he fetched his The entry reads:
brother Tomas and the two of them then went to Floras house. There they learned that Rufo
Manzon had been beaten up. Rufo was brought to the house of Flora. According to Ernesto FIRST, SECOND & THIRD SHIFT: 0800h-0800h 14-15 NOVEMBER 1992.
Lavarias, Flora Pagsolingan sent her son Jordan Pagsolingan and Carlito Manzon to fetch
Entry Nr-496
Rufos parents. In no time, Jordan and Lito were back with news that Rufos parents were
coming. Date: 11-15-92
On rebuttal, Flora Pagsolingan testified[28] that actually Ernesto and Tomas Lavarias went to Time: 0320H = Flora Pagsolingan y Manzon, 39 years old, widow, housekeeper, high school
her house only at about 1:15 in the morning of November 15, 1992, and that was because of graduate, and resident of Brgy. Anando, this city came and reported to this office that
the news that Rodolfo Manzon had been shot. Rodolfo Manzon and Mateo Manzon, Carlito Manzon and Jordan Pagsolingan were fired
upon by Marcos Pagsolingan in company w/ two other whom they do not know their
The trial court found accused-appellants guilty as charged in its decision, the dispositive
names. Reportee further reported that they do not know whether Mateo Manzon and Rodolfo
portion of which was quoted earlier herein. Hence, this appeal. Accused-appellants contend:
Manzon were hit. Incident happened at about 1:15 A.M. today November 15, 1992 at Brgy.
I. Libas, this city per her signature appear herein.


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SPO4 Albert Castro, SPO4 A. Patayan PO3 Viduya, PO3 Cardinoza, SPO2 Tamayo and A If I am not mistaken, before 5:00 oclock, sir.
PO3 Lazaro were dispatched to investigate.
Q 5:00 oclock in the morning?
A Yes, sir.
Desk Officer[31]
Q And you immediately formed a team and investigated the veracity of the report, can you
Flora Pagsolingan explained that at the time she made the report, she was in [a] state of tell us further what time more or less did you go to the place of the incident?
shock ... confused, and did not know what [she] was doing. [32] She must have been in such a
state of agitation that even the police investigator, who took down her statement, identified A 3:20 oclock in the morning of November 15, sir.
accused-appellant Mario Marcos Padlan as Marcos Pagsolingan, although Flora maintains
she never said the assailant was Marcos Pagsolingan. As she testified: Q So that, do we understand from you senior police officer that the report was made at 5:00
oclock in the morning of November 15?
A No, sir, what I mean, I am referring to the other accused that if I am not mistaken, there
Q Now, in this police blotter, it was entered by the police, which you also confirmed, that it were three (3) accused in this particular case. We received a report only at about 5:00
was Marcos Pagsolingan who fired his gun? oclock in the morning mentioning the two (2) accused.

A What I said was Marcos Padlan, sir. Q Who were the two (2) accused?

Q So, in other words, this entry in this police blotter is not accurate? A Magleo brothers, sir.

A I said Marcos Padlan, your Honor, and I did not put so much attention on the two because Q In what manner are they accused of?
my mind was confused.
A In the first place, this Flora Pagsolingan and her son only mentioned Marcos Padlan, so,
Q In other words, you confirmed the fact that your son Jordan Pagsolingan and this Carlito we concentrated on Marcos Padlan, we invited him to the police station, sir.[35]
Manzon told you that it was Marcos Padlan who fired his gun at Rodolfo Manzon and Mateo
Manzon? Thus what SPO4 Castro said was that while in the beginning only accused-appellant Mario
Padlan was named by Flora Pagsolingan and her son Jordan, the police later received a report
A It was what they were telling me, sir.[33] at 5 a.m. that accused-appellants Romeo Magleo and Alfredo (Boy) Magleo were also
involved in the killing of Rodolfo Manzon and his son Mateo. In fact, according to the police
Accused-appellants contend that Floras son, Jordan, and Carlito Manzon could have blotter, Rodolfo Manzon, his son Mateo, Carlito Manzon, and Jordan Pagsolingan were fired
corrected her or otherwise helped her since the two boys were with her when she gave her at by Mario Marcos Padlan (erroneously identified therein as Marcos Pagsolingan) and two
statement to the police. But the two boys said they were themselves agitated if not in shock unidentified men. Another member of the police team, SPO Virgilio G. Cardioza, also
as well as in fear[34] and so possibly could not have corrected Floras mistakes. testified that, during their investigation at the scene of the crime, Jordan Pagsolingan named
the two Magleos as the companions of Mario Padlan. [36]
Accused-appellants cite the testimony of SPO4 Alberto Castro which allegedly corroborates
the blotter entry naming accused-appellant Mario Padlan as the only assailant. That is not It is not surprising that attention should focus on Mario Padlan because he was the one seen
so. SPO4 Castros testimony is as follows: by Jordan Pagsolingan and Carlito Manzon shooting Rodolfo Manzon. In the process, the
participation of the other two as coconspirators was obscured. But when it came to their turn
Q Aside from Marcos Padlan, did [Jordan Pagsolingan] also mention others? to make their sworn statements and later to testify in court, Jordan Pagsolingan and Carlito
Manzon categorically stated that the Magleo brothers were present at the shooting.
A Actually, at the crime scene when we conducted an investigation, Flora Pagsolingan and
her son were only mentioning Marcos Padlan, sir. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that entries in police blotters, though regularly done in
the course of the performance of official duty, are not conclusive proof of the truth stated in
Q Now, what time did you receive that report from Flora Pagsolingan on November 15, such entries and should not be given undue significance or probative value because they are
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usually incomplete and inaccurate. Sometimes they are based on partial suggestion or the eyewitnesses and the Manzons, the prosecution witnesses would not have recognized
inaccurate reporting and hearsay, untested in the crucible of a trial on the merits. [37] But an accused-appellants. As Jordan Pagsolingan explained, however, it was quite bright that early
indication of the guilt of the Magleos is the fact that shortly after the killing they went into morning because there was a moon and accused-appellants were known to them because we
hiding. They could not be found in their respective residences for which reason an alias usually joke together.[40] Carlito Manzon also testified that the moon was bright at that
warrant had to be issued by the trial court for their arrest. Flight has been held to be evidence time.[41]
of guilt.[38]
Finally, accused-appellants brand the prosecution evidence as fabricated because of the close
Second. Accused-appellants focus on the credibility of the prosecution witnesses. Accused- relationship of the prosecutions main witnesses to the victims. In the absence of proof of
appellants point out a discrepancy between Jordan Pagsolingan and Carlito Manzons improper motive, the mere relationship of the prosecution witnesses to the victims is not a
testimonies to the effect that they were with Rufo Manzon when the latter was attacked by ground for doubting their truthfulness. On the contrary, their natural interest to secure the
Mario Padlan and Lito Fernandez and their affidavits[39] in which they stated that they were conviction of the real culprits could have deterred them from implicating otherwise innocent
on their way to the pre-wedding dance party when they came upon Rufo Manzon being persons, for then the real culprits would go scot free. [42] In this case, there is additional
beaten up. There really appears to be a discrepancy concerning this matter. However, it is not reason for rejecting accused-appellants contention that because of their relationship to the
denied that Rufo Manzon had been beaten up by Mario Padlan and Lito Fernandez, and this deceased the prosecution witnesses concocted stories to lay the blame for the killing on
was the reason his father, the deceased Rodolfo Manzon, was summoned. Whether Rufo accused-appellants: accused-appellants admitted that they had no quarrel or
Manzon was with Carlito Manzon and Jordan Pagsolingan when he was set upon or whether misunderstanding with the Pagsolingan family which could make Jordan Pagsolingan and
he was then alone is therefore of little moment. Carlito Manzon testify falsely against them.

Accused-appellants point out other discrepancies in the evidence of the The various criticisms made by accused-appellants against the testimonies of Jordan
prosecution. Accused-appellants cite Jordan Pagsolingans testimony that accused-appellant Pagsolingan and Carlito Manzon boil down to a question of their credibility. The trial court,
Mario Padlan fired three times at Rodolfo Manzon and that, as he and Carlito Manzon were which was in the unique position to hear the witnesses and observe their deportment and
fleeing, he heard two more gunshots, so that in all accused-appellant fired at the victims five manner of testifying, believed their testimonies.[43] We have considered the contrary view of
times. accused-appellants which we find to be without merit. Accused-appellants have not shown
that, in the evaluation of the testimonies of the witnesses for both parties, the trial court
Accused-appellants say that this is contrary to the evidence that Rodolfo Manzon sustained overlooked matters of substance and weight justifying reversal of the findings of the trial
only one gunshot wound. court.[44] Accordingly, we give its findings full faith and credit.
The number of wounds does not have to be equal to the number of shots, because some of Third. Accused-appellants claim that even if all of them were present at the scene of the
the shots may have missed their mark. It is also possible that in the excitement of the crime, no inference of conspiracy can be drawn since the two prosecution eyewitnesses did
moment, Jordan Pagsolingan may have made a mistake as to the number of shots he not see Romeo and Alfredo Magleo attack the victims. Several circumstances indicate,
heard. What is important is that although Rodolfo Manzon suffered only one gunshot wound, however, that there was a conspiracy to kill Rodolfo Manzon and his son, Mateo, in addition
the fact is that the police recovered four empty shells from the scene of the crime. This to the fact that all of accused-appellants were at the scene of the crime, to wit: (1) accused-
confirms the statement of Jordan Pagsolingan that several gunshots had been fired by appellant Romeo Magleo shouted Hoy! at the Manzons to make them stop as the latter were
accused-appellant Mario Padlan. running away; (2) accused-appellants pursued the Manzons when the latter tried to flee from
them; and (3) accused-appellant Alfredo Magleo was seen by Jordan Pagsolingan with a
Accused-appellants claim that had it been their intention to kill the victims, they could easily knife, which fits the description of the weapon used in wounding Rodolfo Manzon and
have ambushed the victims instead of openly confronting them, considering that they are Mateo Manzon: pointed and sharp-bladed.[45]
known to the witnesses and the victims. This assumes that accused-appellants knew that the
Manzons were going to pass the place where they were so as to enable them to waylay their Nevertheless, we do not think that the crime committed was murder. The qualifying
victims. The fact, however, is that it was the Manzons who saw accused-appellants at a circumstances of evident premeditation and treachery have not been shown in this
distance and who tried to run away from them, but accused-appellants, using a shortcut, were case. Proof of conspiracy does not imply the existence of evident premeditation. Evident
able to overtake the Manzons. premeditation can be presumed only where conspiracy is directly established, not where, as
in this case, conspiracy is only implied.[46] Nor was treachery established with
Accused-appellants doubt whether the prosecution witnesses really recognized certainty.[47] The prosecution has not shown that there was that swift and unexpected attack
them. Accused-appellants argue that if Mario Padlan trained his flashlight on the group of of an unarmed victim, which is the essence of treachery.[48] First, the victims were not

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defenseless, since they too were armed. Rodolfo had a bolo, while Mateo had a slingshot Manzon but not because from the nature of the case it was not possible to show with
with darts. Second, the sight of accused-appellants at a distance must have sufficiently certainty the amount of the damage done. For the same reason, no award of actual damages
warned the Manzons of accused-appellants and their intentions; that was why they tried to can be made.[59]
evade them. Thus, an important condition for the existence of treachery under Art. 14(16) of
the Revised Penal Code has not been proven: that the means of execution employed was The award of P200,000.00 for moral damages is excessive. As moral damages are not
deliberately and consciously adopted so as to give the person attacked no opportunity to intended to enrich the prevailing party,[60] an award of P50,000.00 would be in keeping with
defend himself or to retaliate. Accordingly, the killing of Rodolfo Manzon and his son Mateo this purpose of the law.
constitutes not murder but only homicide.
The award of exemplary damages is warranted under Art. 2230 of the Civil Code in view of
The trial court found that the killing was attended by the aggravating circumstances of (1) the presence of the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength. Imposition of
abuse of superior strength, (2) aid of armed men, and (3) nocturnity. Indeed, there was abuse exemplary damages is also justified under Art. 2229 of the Civil Code in order to set an
of superior strength in this case. Whatever superiority in number the victims had over example for the public good. For this purpose, we believe that the amount of P20,000.00 can
accused-appellants (four to three) was more than offset by the fact that the latter group was be appropriately awarded.[61] In reviewing the records of this case, we noticed a variance
composed of adult males in their physical prime. Accused-appellant Mario Padlan was between the allegation in the information and the evidence presented regarding the manner in
28,[49] while accused-appellants Romeo and Alfredo Magleo were 26[50] and which Mateo Manzon was killed. The information alleged that he and his father Rodolfo
32,[51]respectively. In contrast, the former group, with the sole exception of Rodolfo Manzon, Manzon were killed with the use of high-powered long firearm, but the medical certificate
who was 43,[52] was composed of youths barely in their early teens. Mateo Manzon and indicates that while Rodolfo Manzon suffered both incised and lacerated wounds as well as a
Jordan Pagsolingan were both 15 years old,[53] while Carlito Manzon was 16 years of gunshot wound, his son Mateo suffered only a [g]aping incised wound 2 1/2 inches long and
age.[54]More importantly, the group of accused-appellants had a firearm and a knife which 11/2 inches wide and 51/2 inches deep horizontally across the anterior chest wall just below
gave them a clear advantage over the bolo and slingshot of the victims. the medial end of the right clavicle lacerating the right first rib and right portion of the
sternum, directed posteriorily to the left lacerating the lungs and the heart. The variance,
But we do not think the aggravating circumstance of nocturnity can be appreciated as however, is not an obstacle to finding the accused-appellants liable for double homicide. The
nocturnity was not shown to have been purposely sought by accused-appellants the better to variance does not affect or change the nature of the crime charged, namely, murder, which in
commit the crime.[55] Nor can the aggravating circumstance of aid of armed men be view of our finding is actually homicide. The variance concerns merely the manner of
appreciated, considering that accused-appellants, as coconspirators, acted under the same execution of the crime. The defense could have objected to the presentation of the evidence,
plan and for the same purpose.[56] in which event the court could have ordered the amendment of the information so as to make
the allegation conform to the evidence presented and the accused-appellants would be none
Under Art. 249 of the Revised Penal Code the penalty for homicide is reclusion temporal. As the worse for it. Accordingly, we hold that accused-appellants are liable for two counts of
there was one aggravating circumstance (abuse of superior strength), the penalty should be homicide.
fixed in its maximum period, the duration of which is from 17 years, 4 months, and 1 day to
20 years. Under the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum of the penalty is prision WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court is AFFIRMED with the
mayor, which is from 6 years and 1 day to 12 years, as the penalty next lower in degree MODIFICATION that the accused-appellants are found guilty of two counts of homicide
to reclusion temporal. and each one is sentenced to two prison terms of 12 years of prision mayor, as minimum, to
20 years of reclusion temporal, as maximum, and to pay to the heirs of the
In addition, we find errors committed by the trial court in awarding damages for the death of victims P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of Rodolfo Manzon, P50,000.00 as indemnity
Rodolfo Manzon and his son Mateo. The indemnity for death as currently for the death of Mateo Manzon, P50,000.00 as moral damages, and P20,000.00 as exemplary
fixed[57] is P50,000.00 so the trial courts award of P60,000.00 for the death of Rodolfo damages.
Manzon should be reduced accordingly.
The award of P100,000.00 for actual and temperate damages cannot be allowed. Damages
cannot be both actual and temperate. Temperate or moderate damages are allowed because,
while some pecuniary loss has been suffered, from the nature of the case its amount cannot
be proved with certainty.[58] This is not the case here. The trial court awarded
the P100,000.00 as temperate damages apparently because the prosecution failed to adduce
proof of expenses in connection with the death, wake, or burial of Rodolfo and Mateo

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[G.R. No. 159636. November 25, 2004] On November 6, 1998, the trial court rendered its decision in favor of respondents, the
dispositive portion of which reads:
GAMMAD, ROI ROZANO P. GAMMAD and DIANA FRANCES P. WHEREFORE, premises considered and in the interest of justice, judgment is hereby
GAMMAD, respondents. rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendant Victory Liner, Incorporated,
ordering the latter to pay the following:
1. Actual Damages -------------------- P 122,000.00
2. Death Indemnity --------------------- 50,000.00
Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari is the April 11, 2003 decision[1] of the Court
of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 63290 which affirmed with modification the November 6, 3. Exemplary and Moral Damages----- 400,000.00
1998 decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court of Tuguegarao, Cagayan, Branch 5 finding
petitioner Victory Liner, Inc. liable for breach of contract of carriage in Civil Case No. 5023. 4. Compensatory Damages ---------- 1,500,000.00

The facts as testified by respondent Rosalito Gammad show that on March 14, 1996, his wife 5. Attorneys Fees ------------ 10% of the total amount granted
Marie Grace Pagulayan-Gammad,[3] was on board an air-conditioned Victory Liner bus
bound for Tuguegarao, Cagayan from Manila. At about 3:00 a.m., the bus while running at a 6. Cost of the Suit.
high speed fell on a ravine somewhere in Barangay Baliling, Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya, which
resulted in the death of Marie Grace and physical injuries to other passengers. [4] SO ORDERED.[19]

On May 14, 1996, respondent heirs of the deceased filed a complaint [5] for damages arising On appeal by petitioner, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court with
from culpa contractual against petitioner. In its answer,[6] the petitioner claimed that the modification as follows:
incident was purely accidental and that it has always exercised extraordinary diligence in its
[T]he Decision dated 06 November 1998 is hereby MODIFIED to reflect that the following
50 years of operation.
are hereby adjudged in favor of plaintiffs-appellees:
After several re-settings,[7] pre-trial was set on April 10, 1997.[8] For failure to appear on the
1. Actual Damages in the amount of P88,270.00;
said date, petitioner was declared as in default.[9] However, on petitioners motion[10] to lift
the order of default, the same was granted by the trial court. [11] 2. Compensatory Damages in the amount of P1,135,536,10;
At the pre-trial on May 6, 1997, petitioner did not want to admit the proposed stipulation that 3. Moral and Exemplary Damages in the amount of P400,000.00; and
the deceased was a passenger of the Victory Liner Bus which fell on the ravine and that she
was issued Passenger Ticket No. 977785. Respondents, for their part, did not accept 4. Attorneys fees equivalent to 10% of the sum of the actual, compensatory, moral, and
petitioners proposal to pay P50,000.00.[12] exemplary damages herein adjudged.
After respondent Rosalito Gammad completed his direct testimony, cross-examination was The court a quos judgment of the cost of the suit against defendant-appellant is hereby
scheduled for November 17, 1997[13] but moved to December 8, 1997,[14] because the parties AFFIRMED.
and the counsel failed to appear. On December 8, 1997, counsel of petitioner was absent
despite due notice and was deemed to have waived right to cross-examine respondent SO ORDERED.[20]
Represented by a new counsel, petitioner on May 21, 2003 filed a motion for reconsideration
Petitioners motion to reset the presentation of its evidence to March 25, 1998 [16] was granted. praying that the case be remanded to the trial court for cross- examination of respondents
However, on March 24, 1998, the counsel of petitioner sent the court a witness and for the presentation of its evidence; or in the alternative, dismiss the respondents
telegram[17] requesting postponement but the telegram was received by the trial court on complaint.[21] Invoking APEX Mining, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,[22] petitioner argues, inter
March 25, 1998, after it had issued an order considering the case submitted for decision for alia, that the decision of the trial court should be set aside because the negligence of its
failure of petitioner and counsel to appear.[18] former counsel, Atty. Antonio B. Paguirigan, in failing to appear at the scheduled hearings
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and move for reconsideration of the orders declaring petitioner to have waived the right to The case of APEX Mining, Inc., invoked by petitioner is not on all fours with the case at bar.
cross-examine respondents witness and right to present evidence, deprived petitioner of its In APEX, the negligent counsel not only allowed the adverse decision against his client to
day in court. become final and executory, but deliberately misrepresented in the progress report that the
case was still pending with the Court of Appeals when the same was dismissed 16 months
On August 21, 2003, the Court of Appeals denied petitioners motion for reconsideration. [23] ago.[29] These circumstances are absent in this case because Atty. Paguirigan timely filed an
appeal from the decision of the trial court with the Court of Appeals.
Hence, this petition for review principally based on the fact that the mistake or gross
negligence of its counsel deprived petitioner of due process of law. Petitioner also argues In Gold Line Transit, Inc. v. Ramos,[30] the Court was similarly confronted with the issue of
that the trial courts award of damages were without basis and should be deleted. whether or not the client should bear the adverse consequences of its counsels negligence. In
that case, Gold Line Transit, Inc. (Gold Line) and its lawyer failed to appear at the pre-trial
The issues for resolution are: (1) whether petitioners counsel was guilty of gross negligence; despite notice and was declared as in default. After the plaintiffs presentation of evidence ex
(2) whether petitioner should be held liable for breach of contract of carriage; and (3) parte, the trial court rendered decision ordering Gold Line to pay damages to the heirs of its
whether the award of damages was proper. deceased passenger. The decision became final and executory because counsel of Gold Line
did not file any appeal. Finding that Goldline was not denied due process of law and is thus
It is settled that the negligence of counsel binds the client. This is based on the rule that any bound by the negligence of its lawyer, the Court held as follows
act performed by a counsel within the scope of his general or implied authority is regarded as
an act of his client. Consequently, the mistake or negligence of counsel may result in the This leads us to the question of whether the negligence of counsel was so gross and reckless
rendition of an unfavorable judgment against the client. However, the application of the that petitioner was deprived of its right to due process of law. We do not believe so. It cannot
general rule to a given case should be looked into and adopted according to the surrounding be denied that the requirements of due process were observed in the instant case. Petitioner
circumstances obtaining. Thus, exceptions to the foregoing have been recognized by the was never deprived of its day in court, as in fact it was afforded every opportunity to be
court in cases where reckless or gross negligence of counsel deprives the client of due heard. Thus, it is of record that notices were sent to petitioner and that its counsel was able to
process of law, or when its application will result in outright deprivation of the clients liberty file a motion to dismiss the complaint, an answer to the complaint, and even a pre-trial brief.
or property or where the interests of justice so require, and accord relief to the client who What was irretrievably lost by petitioner was its opportunity to participate in the trial of the
suffered by reason of the lawyers gross or palpable mistake or negligence. [24] case and to adduce evidence in its behalf because of negligence.
The exceptions, however, are not present in this case. The record shows that Atty. Paguirigan In the application of the principle of due process, what is sought to be safeguarded against is
filed an Answer and Pre-trial Brief for petitioner. Although initially declared as in default, not the lack of previous notice but the denial of the opportunity to be heard. The question is
Atty. Paguirigan successfully moved for the setting aside of the order of default. In fact, not whether petitioner succeeded in defending its rights and interests, but simply, whether it
petitioner was represented by Atty. Paguirigan at the pre-trial who proposed settlement for had the opportunity to present its side of the controversy. Verily, as petitioner retained the
P50,000.00. Although Atty. Paguirigan failed to file motions for reconsideration of the services of counsel of its choice, it should, as far as this suit is concerned, bear the
orders declaring petitioner to have waived the right to cross-examine respondents witness consequences of its choice of a faulty option. Its plea that it was deprived of due process
and to present evidence, he nevertheless, filed a timely appeal with the Court of Appeals echoes on hollow ground and certainly cannot elicit approval nor sympathy.
assailing the decision of the trial court. Hence, petitioners claim that it was denied due
process lacks basis. To cater to petitioners arguments and reinstate its petition for relief from judgment would put
a premium on the negligence of its former counsel and encourage the non-termination of this
Petitioner too is not entirely blameless. Prior to the issuance of the order declaring it as in case by reason thereof. This is one case where petitioner has to bear the adverse
default for not appearing at the pre-trial, three notices (dated October 23, 1996, [25] January consequences of its counsels act, for a client is bound by the action of his counsel in the
30, 1997,[26] and March 26, 1997,[27]) requiring attendance at the pre-trial were sent and duly conduct of a case and he cannot thereafter be heard to complain that the result might have
received by petitioner. However, it was only on April 27, 1997, after the issuance of the been different had his counsel proceeded differently. The rationale for the rule is easily
April 10, 1997 order of default for failure to appear at the pre-trial when petitioner, through discernible. If the negligence of counsel be admitted as a reason for opening cases, there
its finance and administrative manager, executed a special power of attorney[28] authorizing would never be an end to a suit so long as a new counsel could be hired every time it is
Atty. Paguirigan or any member of his law firm to represent petitioner at the pre-trial. shown that the prior counsel had not been sufficiently diligent, experienced or learned. [31]
Petitioner is guilty, at the least, of contributory negligence and fault cannot be imputed solely
on previous counsel. Similarly, in Macalalag v. Ombudsman,[32] a Philippine Postal Corporation employee
charged with dishonesty was not able to file an answer and position paper. He was found

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guilty solely on the basis of complainants evidence and was dismissed with forfeiture of all deceased is self-employed earning less than the minimum wage under current labor laws, and
benefits and disqualification from government service. Challenging the decision of the judicial notice may be taken of the fact that in the deceaseds line of work no documentary
Ombudsman, the employee contended that the gross negligence of his counsel deprived him evidence is available; or (2) the deceased is employed as a daily wage worker earning less
of due process of law. In debunking his contention, the Court said than the minimum wage under current labor laws.[38]

Neither can he claim that he is not bound by his lawyers actions; it is only in case of gross or In People v. Oco,[39] the evidence presented by the prosecution to recover damages for loss of
palpable negligence of counsel when the courts can step in and accord relief to a client who earning capacity was the bare testimony of the deceaseds wife that her husband was earning
would have suffered thereby. If every perceived mistake, failure of diligence, lack of P8,000.00 monthly as a legal researcher of a private corporation. Finding that the deceased
experience or insufficient legal knowledge of the lawyer would be admitted as a reason for was neither self-employed nor employed as a daily-wage worker earning less than the
the reopening of a case, there would be no end to controversy. Fundamental to our judicial minimum wage under the labor laws existing at the time of his death, the Court held that
system is the principle that every litigation must come to an end. It would be a clear mockery testimonial evidence alone is insufficient to justify an award for loss of earning capacity.
if it were otherwise. Access to the courts is guaranteed, but there must be a limit to it.
Likewise, in People v. Caraig,[40] damages for loss of earning capacity was not awarded
Viewed vis--vis the foregoing jurisprudence, to sustain petitioners argument that it was because the circumstances of the 3 deceased did not fall within the recognized exceptions,
denied due process of law due to negligence of its counsel would set a dangerous precedent. and except for the testimony of their wives, no documentary proof about their income was
It would enable every party to render inutile any adverse order or decision through the presented by the prosecution. Thus
simple expedient of alleging gross negligence on the part of its counsel. The Court will not
countenance such a farce which contradicts long-settled doctrines of trial and procedure.[33] The testimonial evidence shows that Placido Agustin, Roberto Raagas, and Melencio Castro
Jr. were not self-employed or employed as daily-wage workers earning less than the
Anent the second issue, petitioner was correctly found liable for breach of contract of minimum wage under the labor laws existing at the time of their death. Placido Agustin was
carriage. A common carrier is bound to carry its passengers safely as far as human care and a Social Security System employee who received a monthly salary of P5,000. Roberto
foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with due regard to Raagas was the President of Sinclair Security and Allied Services, a family owned
all the circumstances. In a contract of carriage, it is presumed that the common carrier was at corporation, with a monthly compensation of P30,000. Melencio Castro Jr. was a taxi
fault or was negligent when a passenger dies or is injured. Unless the presumption is driver of New Rocalex with an average daily earning of P500 or a monthly earning of
rebutted, the court need not even make an express finding of fault or negligence on the P7,500. Clearly, these cases do not fall under the exceptions where indemnity for loss of
part of the common carrier. This statutory presumption may only be overcome by evidence earning capacity can be given despite lack of documentary evidence. Therefore, for lack of
that the carrier exercised extraordinary diligence.[34] documentary proof, no indemnity for loss of earning capacity can be given in these cases.
(Emphasis supplied)
In the instant case, there is no evidence to rebut the statutory presumption that the proximate
cause of Marie Graces death was the negligence of petitioner. Hence, the courts below Here, the trial court and the Court of Appeals computed the award of compensatory damages
correctly ruled that petitioner was guilty of breach of contract of carriage. for loss of earning capacity only on the basis of the testimony of respondent Rosalito that the
deceased was 39 years of age and a Section Chief of the Bureau of Internal Revenue,
Nevertheless, the award of damages should be modified. Tuguergarao District Office with a salary of P83,088.00 per annum when she died. [41] No
other evidence was presented. The award is clearly erroneous because the deceaseds earnings
Article 1764[35] in relation to Article 2206[36] of the Civil Code, holds the common carrier in does not fall within the exceptions.
breach of its contract of carriage that results in the death of a passenger liable to pay the
following: (1) indemnity for death, (2) indemnity for loss of earning capacity, and (3) moral However, the fact of loss having been established, temperate damages in the amount of
damages. P500,000.00 should be awarded to respondents. Under Article 2224 of the Civil Code,
temperate or moderate damages, which are more than nominal but less than compensatory
In the present case, respondent heirs of the deceased are entitled to indemnity for the death of damages, may be recovered when the court finds that some pecuniary loss has been suffered
Marie Grace which under current jurisprudence is fixed at P50,000.00. [37] but its amount can not, from the nature of the case, be proved with certainty.
The award of compensatory damages for the loss of the deceaseds earning capacity should be In Pleno v. Court of Appeals,[42] the Court sustained the trial courts award of P200,000.00 as
deleted for lack of basis. As a rule, documentary evidence should be presented to substantiate temperate damages in lieu of actual damages for loss of earning capacity because the income
the claim for damages for loss of earning capacity. By way of exception, damages for loss of of the victim was not sufficiently proven, thus
earning capacity may be awarded despite the absence of documentary evidence when (1) the
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The trial court based the amounts of damages awarded to the petitioner on the following award respondents the amount of P100,000.00 as moral damages and P100,000.00 as
circumstances: exemplary damages. These amounts are not excessive.[50]

As to the loss or impairment of earning capacity, there is no doubt that Pleno is an The actual damages awarded by the trial court reduced by the Court of Appeals should be
ent[re]preneur and the founder of his own corporation, the Mayon Ceramics Corporation. It further reduced. In People v. Duban,[51] it was held that only substantiated and proven
appears also that he is an industrious and resourceful person with several projects in line, and expenses or those that appear to have been genuinely incurred in connection with the death,
were it not for the incident, might have pushed them through. On the day of the incident, wake or burial of the victim will be recognized. A list of expenses (Exhibit J), [52] and the
Pleno was driving homeward with geologist Longley after an ocular inspection of the site of contract/receipt for the construction of the tomb (Exhibit F) [53] in this case, cannot be
the Mayon Ceramics Corporation. His actual income however has not been sufficiently considered competent proof and cannot replace the official receipts necessary to justify the
established so that this Court cannot award actual damages, but, an award of temperate or award. Hence, actual damages should be further reduced to P78,160.00, [54] which was the
moderate damages may still be made on loss or impairment of earning capacity. That Pleno amount supported by official receipts.
sustained a permanent deformity due to a shortened left leg and that he also suffers from
double vision in his left eye is also established. Because of this, he suffers from some Pursuant to Article 2208[55] of the Civil Code, attorneys fees may also be recovered in the
inferiority complex and is no longer active in business as well as in social life. In similar case at bar where exemplary damages are awarded. The Court finds the award of attorneys
cases as in Borromeo v. Manila Electric Railroad Co., 44 Phil 165; Coriage, et al. v. LTB fees equivalent to 10% of the total amount adjudged against petitioner reasonable.
Co., et al., L-11037, Dec. 29, 1960, and in Araneta, et al. v. Arreglado, et al., L-11394, Sept.
9, 1958, the proper award of damages were given. Finally, in Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,[56] it was held that when an
obligation, regardless of its source, i.e., law, contracts, quasi-contracts, delicts or quasi-
We rule that the lower courts awards of damages are more consonant with the factual delicts is breached, the contravenor can be held liable for payment of interest in the concept
circumstances of the instant case. The trial courts findings of facts are clear and well- of actual and compensatory damages, subject to the following rules, to wit
developed. Each item of damages is adequately supported by evidence on record.
1. When the obligation is breached, and it consists in the payment of a sum of money, i.e., a
Article 2224 of the Civil Code was likewise applied in the recent cases of People v. loan or forbearance of money, the interest due should be that which may have been stipulated
Singh[43] and People v. Almedilla,[44] to justify the award of temperate damages in lieu of in writing. Furthermore, the interest due shall itself earn legal interest from the time it
damages for loss of earning capacity which was not substantiated by the required is judicially demanded. In the absence of stipulation, the rate of interest shall be 12% per
documentary proof. annum to be computed from default, i.e., from judicial or extrajudicial demand under and
subject to the provisions of Article 1169 of the Civil Code.
Anent the award of moral damages, the same cannot be lumped with exemplary damages
because they are based on different jural foundations. [45] These damages are different in 2. When an obligation, not constituting a loan or forbearance of money, is breached, an
nature and require separate determination.[46] In culpa contractual or breach of contract, interest on the amount of damages awarded may be imposed at the discretion of the court at
moral damages may be recovered when the defendant acted in bad faith or was guilty of the rate of 6% per annum. No interest, however, shall be adjudged on unliquidated claims or
gross negligence (amounting to bad faith) or in wanton disregard of contractual obligations damages except when or until the demand can be established with reasonable certainty.
and, as in this case, when the act of breach of contract itself constitutes the tort that results in Accordingly, where the demand is established with reasonable certainty, the interest shall
physical injuries. By special rule in Article 1764 in relation to Article 2206 of the Civil begin to run from the time the claim is made judicially or extrajudicially (Art. 1169, Civil
Code, moral damages may also be awarded in case the death of a passenger results from a Code) but when such certainty cannot be so reasonably established at the time the demand is
breach of carriage.[47] On the other hand, exemplary damages, which are awarded by way of made, the interest shall begin to run only from the date the judgment of the court is made (at
example or correction for the public good may be recovered in contractual obligations if the which time the quantification of damages may be deemed to have been reasonably
defendant acted in wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or malevolent manner.[48] ascertained). The actual base for the computation of legal interest shall, in any case, be on
the amount finally adjudged.
Respondents in the instant case should be awarded moral damages to compensate for the
grief caused by the death of the deceased resulting from the petitioners breach of contract of 3. When the judgment of the court awarding a sum of money becomes final and
carriage. Furthermore, the petitioner failed to prove that it exercised the extraordinary executory, the rate of legal interest, whether the case falls under paragraph 1 or
diligence required for common carriers, it is presumed to have acted recklessly. [49] Thus, the paragraph 2, above, shall be 12% per annum from such finality until its satisfaction,
award of exemplary damages is proper. Under the circumstances, we find it reasonable to this interim period being deemed to be by then an equivalent to a forbearance of credit.
(Emphasis supplied).

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In the instant case, petitioner should be held liable for payment of interest as damages for EXEMPLARY DAMAGES
breach of contract of carriage. Considering that the amounts payable by petitioner has been
determined with certainty only in the instant petition, the interest due shall be computed G.R. No. L-41970 March 25, 1988
upon the finality of this decision at the rate of 12% per annum until satisfaction, per
paragraph 3 of the aforecited rule.[57] CENON MEDELO, petitioner,
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The THE HON. NATHANAEL M. GOROSPE, Judge of the Court of First Instance of
April 11, 2003 decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 63290, which modified Lanao del Norte, Branch II, City of Iligan, PEDRO ERMAC, and his children ELENA,
the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Tuguegarao, Cagayan in Civil Case No. 5023, is CARLOS, ANTONIO, LUCIANO, HILARIO, INADALECIO and FRANCISCA, all
AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. As modified, petitioner Victory Liner, Inc., is ordered surnamed ERMAC, respondents.
to pay respondents the following: (1) P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of Marie Grace
Pagulayan-Gammad; (2) P100,000.00 as moral damages; (3) P100,000.00 as exemplary
damages; (4) P78,160.00 as actual damages; (5) P500,000.00 as temperate damages; (6) 10%
of the total amount as attorneys fees; and the costs of suit. GANCAYCO, J.:

Furthermore, the total amount adjudged against petitioner shall earn interest at the rate of This is a petition for mandamus with damages seeking the issuance of an order directing the
12% per annum computed from the finality of this decision until fully paid. respondent judge to immediately order the execution of the lower court's order dated June
25, 1970.
The deceased spouses Potenciano Ermac and Anastacia Mariquit left as the only property to
be inherited by their heirs a parcel of land, Lot No. 1827, Iligan Cadastre No. 292, covered
by OCT No. RP-355 (262) of the Register of Deeds of Iligan, with an assessed value of
P590.00. Herein petitioner Cenon Medelo, one of the grandchildren of the said spouses
(being one of the children of their pre-deceased daughter Digna Ermac filed on September
18, 1969 a petition for summary settlement of the said estate. Since no opposition thereto
was flied and all requirements were complied with, the Honorable Judge Hernando Pineda,
then the presiding judge of the Court of First Instance of Lanao del Norte, Branch II, City of
Iligan, issued on January 21, 1970 an order summarily settling the estate of the deceased
spouses, enumerating all the heirs entitled to participate in the inheritance and ordering
petitioner to present the project of partition of said lot.

Consequently, petitioner submitted on February 5, 1970 a project of partition. After the filing
of the said project of partition, private respondent Pedro Ermac one of the children of the
deceased spouses filed a motion for reconsideration of the order of settlement, asking that an
order be issued eliminating Lot 1327 from the estate on the ground that it belonged to him
and his wife. The lower court denied the motion and ruled that the proper remedy was a
separate suit. Thus, Pedro Ermac together with his children, filed Civil Case No. 1564 for
Quieting of Title with the Court of First instance (CFI) of Lanao del Norte involving the
same Lot 1327, Cad. 292.

On June 25, 1970, the above-mentioned project of partition was approved. The private
respondents Ermac family members (the other private respondents), filed a motion for
reconsideration of the order approving the project of partition. The said motion was,
however, denied on July 15, 1970.

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On July 20, 1970, the private respondents filed before this Court a Petition for Review Petitioner Cenon Medelo filed a motion for reconsideration of said order to which the private
alleging excess of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion on the part of the lower court in respondents also flied their opposition. Respondent-judge denied the said motion for
approving the project of partition notwithstanding the fact that it was being claimed by the reconsideration. Hence, the present petition for mandamus with damages.
respondents in a separate civil action.
Petitioner Cenon Medelo argues in his memorandum that this Court's decision dismissing the
On June 19, 1975, this court rendered a decision which in part states: petition for review filed by respondents has long become final and executory by operation of
law and as such it is the lower court's ministerial duty to issue a writ of execution.
The policy of the law is to terminate proceedings for the settlement of the estate of deceased
persons with the least loss of time. This is specially true with small estates for which the The private respondents contend that this Court's previous decision was subject to a
rules provide precisely a summary procedure dispensing with the appointment of an condition as stated in the phrase... Such claim must be ventilated in an independent action,
administrator together with the other involved and cumbersome steps ordinarily required in and the probate court should proceed to the distribution of the estate, if there are no legal
the determination of the assets of the deceased and the persons entitled to inherit therefrom obstacles to it... ." (Emphasis supplied.) Respondents further allege that the filing of the
and the payment of his obligations. Definitely, the probate court is not the beat forum for the separate civil case (Civil Case No. 1564) is the condition or legal obstacle to the outcome of
resolution of adverse claims of ownership of any property ostensibly belonging to the which the distribution of the estate is subject to. Furthermore, since the decision sought to be
decedent's estate. While there are settled exceptions to this rule as applied to regular executed is conditional, respondents argue that mandamus will not prosper to enforce a right
administration proceedings, it is not proper to delay the summary settlement of the estate of a which is conditional or incomplete. 3
deceased person just because an heir or a third person claims that certain properties do not
belong to the estate but to him. Such claim must be ventilated in an independent action, and Respondents also state that "justice and equality" can best be served by the stay of the
the probate court should proceed to the distribution of the estate, if there are no other legal execution until Civil Case No. 1564 is terminated since the land in question had already been
obstacles to it, for after all, such distribution must always be subject to the results of the suit. titled in the name of respondents since 1956 and that they had introduced improvements,
For the protection of the claimant, the appropriate step is to have the proper annotation of lis paid taxes and exercised dominion thereto. The present petition is impressed with merit. Rule
pendens entered. 39, Section 1 of the Rules of Court states:

Accordingly, the instant petition is dismissed without prejudice to petitioner having the Execution upon final judgment or orders. Execution shall issue only upon a judgment or
proper annotation of lis pendens regarding Civil Case No. 1564 made on the title covering order that finally disposes of the action or proceeding. Such execution shall issue as a matter
Lot 1327. of right upon the expiration of the period to appeal therefrom if no appeal has been duly
Costs against petitioner. 1
If the judgment has been duly appealed, execution may issue as a matter of right from the
On August 20, 1975, petitioner Cenon Medelo filed a motion for execution of the lower date of the service of the notice provided in Sec. 11 of Rule 51.
court's order approving the project of partition dated June 25, 1970 based upon this Court's
decision of June 19, 1975. The private respondents filed their opposition to said motion on This Court's decision of June 19, 1975 has long become final and executory due to the fact
August 28, 1975. that respondents did not seasonably question said decision. A judgment becomes final and
executory by operation of law and not by judicial declaration. 4 Furthermore, the prevailing
On October 7, 1975, the respondent judge denied the said motion, stating in an order the party is entitled to have the judgment executed as a matter of right when the defeated party
following: has not availed of his right to appeal. 5 The issuance of an order of execution is, therefore, in
order and is compellable by mandamus.
Acting on the Motion for Execution filed by Atty. Irene Jurado, representing the petitioner
and the Opposition filed by Atty. Teddy Rodriguez on behalf of the oppositors, and The private respondents also maintain that this Court's previous ruling is conditional and will
considering that the decision of the Supreme Court itself referred to in the Motion for stay execution as embodied in the phrase 'if there are no legal obstacles to it.' They allege
Execution states that the distribution of the estate involved in this instant case is 'subject to that the pending civil suit is sufficient to stay execution.
the results of the suit' (referring to Civil Case No. 1564 which is still pending trial before this
Court), in the meantime, therefore, that the said Civil Case has not been terminated and The previous statement of this Court as appearing in the body of the decision is not
decided, the Motion for Execution is hereby DENIED. 2 controlling since:

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The only portion of the decision that becomes the subject of execution is that ordained or First. They may be imposed by way of example or correction only in addition to
decreed in the dispositive part. Whatever may be found in the body of the decision can only compensatory damages and cannot be recovered as a matter of right, their determination
be considered as part of the reasons or conclusion of the court and while they may serve as depending upon the amount of compensatory damages that may be awarded to the claimant.
guide or enlightenment to determine the ratio decidendi what is controlling is what appears
in the dispositive part of the decision. 6 Second: The claimant must first establish his right to moral, temperate, liquidated or
compensatory damages. Third: The wrongful act must be accompanied by bad faith, and the
The dispositive portion of this Court's previous decision states: award would be allowed only if the guilty party acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless,
oppressive or malevolent manner. 12
Accordingly, the instant petition is dismissed, without prejudice to petitioner having the
proper annotation of lis pendens regarding Civil Case No. 1564 made on the title covering WHEREFORE, the instant petition for mandamus is hereby GRANTED and the respondent
Lot 1327. "Costs against petitioners." judge is directed to issue a writ of execution of the lower court's order of June 25, 1970
approving the project of partition. The orders of the respondent judge of October 4, 1975 and
It is, therefore, clear that it is the dispositive portion that is subject to execution and not the October 7, 1975 denying the motion for execution are reversed and set aside. No
body of the decision. Furthermore, said dispositive portion is unequivocal as to what is to be pronouncement as to costs. This decision is immediately executory.
performed leaving no further doubt as to the nature of its execution. The doctrine that the
final judgment as rendered is the judgment of the court irrespective of all seemingly contrary SO ORDERED.
statements in the decision is well-recognized in this jurisdiction. 7

... At the root of the doctrine that the premises must yield to the conclusion is perhaps, side
by side with the needs of writing his to litigations, the recognition of the truth that the trained
intuition of the judge continually leads him to right results for which he is puzzled to give
unimpeachable legal reasons. ... 8

We previously held in this case that the appropriate remedy was to have the proper
annotation of lis pendensentered. The annotation of lis pendens is sufficient to protect the
rights of the private respondents for once a notice of lis pendens has been duly entered, any
cancellation or issuance of title of the land involved as well as any subsequent transaction
affecting the same, would have to be subject to the outcome of the litigation. The rights of
the private respondents are sufficiently protected since upon the termination of the litigation
there can be no risk of losing the property or any part of it as a result of any conveyance of
the land or any encumbrance that may be made thereon posterior to the filing of the notice
of lis pendens. 9

Petitioner requests for P1,000.00 as actual damages. Unfortunately, this Court cannot award
it in the absence of proof of the amount thereof. 10

Petitioner likewise requests the award of P20,000.00 as exemplary damages to "set as an

example and warning that decisions of the Supreme Court, final and executory, cannot be
trifled with." The award cannot be granted. It has been held that exemplary damages are not
generally recoverable in a special civil action for mandamus unless the defendant patently
acted with vindictiveness or wantonness and not in the exercise of honest judgment. 11 The
preceding elements do not exist in the present case. Furthermore, the following requisites for
award of exemplary damages are not satisfied.

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G.R. Nos. 86883-85 January 29, 1993 Espia alias Rudy, Efren Pleago and Roger Bedao GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the
offense of Murder, and with the aggravating circumstances of superior strength and
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, treachery, hereby sentences each of them to a penalty of imprisonment of reclusion perpetua;
vs. to pay the Pontifical Institute of Foreign Mission (PIME) Brothers, the congregation to
NORBERTO MANERO, JR., EDILBERTO MANERO, ELPIDIO MANERO, which Father Tulio Favali belonged, a civil indemnity of P12,000.00; attorney's fees in the
SEVERINO LINES, RUDY LINES, EFREN PLEAGO, ROGER BEDAO, sum of P50,000.00 for each of the eight (8) accused or a total sum of P400,000.00; court
RODRIGO ESPIA, ARSENIO VILLAMOR, JR., JOHN DOE and PETER appearance fee of P10,000.00 for every day the case was set for trial; moral damages in the
DOE, accused. sum of P100,000.00; and to pay proportionately the costs.

SEVERINO LINES, RUDY LINES, EFREN PLEAGO and ROGER Further, the Court finds the accused Norberto Manero, Jr. alias Commander Bucay GUILTY
BENDAO, accused-appellants. beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of Arson and with the application of the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, hereby sentences him to an indeterminate penalty of
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. imprisonment of not less than four (4) years, nine (9) months, one (1) day of prision
correccional, as minimum, to six (6) years of prision correccional, as maximum, and to
Romeo P. Jorge for accused-appellants. indemnify the Pontifical Institute of Foreign Mission (PIME) Brothers, the congregation to
which Father Tulio Favali belonged, the sum of P19,000.00 representing the value of the
motorcycle and to pay the costs.
Finally, the Court finds the accused Norberto Manero, Jr., alias Commander Bucay,
This was gruesome murder in a main thoroughfare an hour before sundown. A hapless Edilberto Manero alias Edil, Elpidio Manero, Severino Lines, Rudy Lines, Rodrigo Espia
foreign religious minister was riddled with bullets, his head shattered into bits and pieces alias Rudy, Efren Pleago and Roger Bedao GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the
amidst the revelling of his executioners as they danced and laughed around their quarry, offense of Attempted Murder and with the application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law,
chanting the tune "Mutya Ka Baleleng", a popular regional folk song, kicking and scoffing at hereby sentences each of them to an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of not less than
his prostrate, miserable, spiritless figure that was gasping its last. Seemingly unsatiated with two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of prision correccional, and minimum, to
the ignominy of their manslaughter, their leader picked up pieces of the splattered brain and eight (8) years and twenty (20) days of prision mayor, as maximum, and to pay the
mockingly displayed them before horrified spectators. Some accounts swear that acts of complainant Rufino Robles the sum of P20,000.00 as attorney's fees and P2,000.00 as court
cannibalism ensued, although they were not sufficiently demonstrated. However, for their appearance fee for every day of trial and to pay proportionately the costs.
outrageous feat, the gangleader already earned the monicker "cannibal priest-killer" But,
The foregoing penalties shall be served by the said accused successively in the order of their
what is indubitable is that Fr. Tulio Favali1 was senselessly killed for no apparent reason than
respective severity in accordance with the provisions of Article 70 of the Revised Penal
that he was one of the Italian Catholic missionaries laboring in heir vineyard in the
Code, as amended.7
hinterlands of Mindanao.2
From this judgment of conviction only accused Severino Lines, Rudy Lines, Efren Pleago
In the aftermath of the murder, police authorities launched a massive manhunt which resulted
and Roger Bedao appealed with respect to the cases for Murder and Attempted Murder. The
in the capture of the perpetrators except Arsenio Villamor, Jr., and two unidentified persons
Manero brothers as well as Rodrigo Espia did not appeal; neither did Norberto Manero, Jr.,
who eluded arrest and still remain at large.
in the Arson case. Consequently, the decision as against them already became final.
Informations for Murder,3 Attempted Murder4 and Arson5 were accordingly filed against
Culled from the records, the facts are: On 11 April 1985, around 10:00 o'clock in the
those responsible for the frenzied orgy of violence that fateful day of 11 April 1985. As these
morning, the Manero brothers Norberto Jr., Edilberto and Elpidio, along with Rodrigo Espia,
cases arose from the same occasion, they were all consolidated in Branch 17 of the Regional
Severino Lines, Rudy Lines, Efren Pleago and Roger Bedao, were inside the eatery of one
Trial Court of Kidapawan, Cotabato.6
Reynaldo Diocades at Km. 125, La Esperanza, Tulunan, Cotabato. They were conferring
After trial, the court a quo held with Arsenio Villamor, Jr., private secretary to the Municipal Mayor of Tulunan, Cotabato,
and his two (2) unidentified bodyguards. Plans to liquidate a number of suspected communist
WHEREFORE . . . the Court finds the accused Norberto Manero, Jr. alias Commander sympathizers were discussed. Arsenio Villamor, Jr. scribbled on a cigarette wrapper the
Bucay, Edilberto Manero alias Edil, Elpidio Manero, Severino Lines, Rudy Lines, Rodrigo following "NPA v. NPA, starring Fr. Peter, Domingo Gomez, Bantil, Fred Gapate, Rene

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alias Tabagac and Villaning." "Fr. Peter" is Fr. Peter Geremias, an Italian priest suspected of Slighted over the remark, Edilberto jumped over the prostrate body three (3) times, kicked it
having links with the communist movement; "Bantil" is Rufino Robles, a Catholic lay leader twice, and fired anew. The burst of gunfire virtually shattered the head of Fr. Favali, causing
who is the complaining witness in the Attempted Murder; Domingo Gomez is another lay his brain to scatter on the road. As Norberto, Jr., flaunted the brain to the terrified onlookers,
leader, while the others are simply "messengers". On the same occasion, the conspirators his brothers danced and sang "Mutya Ka Baleleng" to the delight of their comrades-in-arms
agreed to Edilberto Manero's proposal that should they fail to kill Fr. Peter Geremias, who now took guarded positions to isolate the victim from possible assistance. 13
another Italian priest would be killed in his stead.8
In seeking exculpation from criminal liability, appellants Severino Lines, Rudy Lines, Efren
At about 1:00 o'clock that afternoon, Elpidio Manero with two (2) unidentified companions Pleago and Roger Bedao contend that the trial court erred in disregarding their respective
nailed a placard on a street-post beside the eatery of Deocades. The placard bore the same defenses of alibi which, if properly appreciated, would tend to establish that there was no
inscriptions as those found on the cigarette wrapper except for the additional phrase "versus prior agreement to kill; that the intended victim was Fr. Peter Geremias, not Fr. Tulio Favali;
Bucay, Edil and Palo." Some two (2) hours later, Elpidio also posted a wooden placard that there was only one (1) gunman, Edilberto; and, that there was absolutely no showing
bearing the same message on a street cross-sign close to the eatery.9 that appellants cooperated in the shooting of the victim despite their proximity at the time to
Later, at 4:00 o'clock, the Manero brothers, together with Espia and the four (4) appellants,
all with assorted firearms, proceeded to the house of "Bantil", their first intended victim, But the evidence on record does not agree with the arguments of accused-appellants.
which was also in the vicinity of Deocades' carinderia. They were met by "Bantil" who
confronted them why his name was included in the placards. Edilberto brushed aside the On their defense of alibi, accused brothers Severino and Rudy Lines claim that they were
query; instead, he asked "Bantil" if he had any qualms about it, and without any provocation, harvesting palay the whole day of 11 April 1985 some one kilometer away from the crime
Edilberto drew his revolver and fired at the forehead of "Bantil". "Bantil" was able to parry scene. Accused Roger Bedao alleges that he was on an errand for the church to buy lumber
the gun, albeit his right finger and the lower portion of his right ear were hit. Then they and nipa in M'lang, Cotabato, that morning of 11 April 1985, taking along his wife and sick
grappled for its possession until "Bantil" was extricated by his wife from the fray. But, as he child for medical treatment and arrived in La Esperanza, Tulunan, past noontime.
was running away, he was again fired upon by Edilberto. Only his trousers were hit. "Bantil"
however managed to seek refuge in the house of a certain Domingo Gomez. 10 Norberto, Jr., Interestingly, all appellants similarly contend that it was only after they heard gunshots that
ordered his men to surround the house and not to allow any one to get out so that "Bantil" they rushed to the house of Norberto Manero, Sr., Barangay Captain of La Esperanza, where
would die of hemorrhage. Then Edilberto went back to the restaurant of Deocades and pistol- they were joined by their fellow CHDF members and co-accused, and that it was only then
whipped him on the face and accused him of being a communist coddler, while appellants that they proceeded together to where the crime took place at Km. 125.
and their cohorts relished the unfolding drama. 11
It is axiomatic that the accused interposing the defense of alibi must not only be at some
Moments later, while Deocades was feeding his swine, Edilberto strewed him with a burst of other place but that it must also be physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the
gunfire from his M-14 Armalite. Deocades cowered in fear as he knelt with both hands crime at the time of its commission. 14
clenched at the back of his head. This again drew boisterous laughter and ridicule from the
dreaded desperados. Considering the failure of appellants to prove the required physical impossibility of being
present at the crime scene, as can be readily deduced from the proximity between the places
At 5:00 o'clock, Fr. Tulio Favali arrived at Km. 125 on board his motorcycle. He entered the where accused-appellants were allegedly situated at the time of the commission of the
house of Gomez. While inside, Norberto, Jr., and his co-accused Pleago towed the offenses and the locus criminis, 15 the defense of alibi is definitely feeble. 16 After all, it has
motorcycle outside to the center of the highway. Norberto, Jr., opened the gasoline tank, been the consistent ruling of this Court that no physical impossibility exists in instances
spilled some fuel, lit a fire and burned the motorcycle. As the vehicle was ablaze, the felons where it would take the accused only fifteen to twenty minutes by jeep or tricycle, or some
raved and rejoiced. 12 one-and-a-half hours by foot, to traverse the distance between the place where he allegedly
was at the time of commission of the offense and the scene of the crime. 17 Recently, we
Upon seeing his motorcycle on fire, Fr. Favali accosted Norberto, Jr. But the latter simply ruled that there can be no physical impossibility even if the distance between two places is
stepped backwards and executed a thumbs-down signal. At this point, Edilberto asked the merely two (2) hours by bus. 18 More important, it is well-settled that the defense of alibi
priest: "Ano ang gusto mo, padre (What is it you want, Father)? Gusto mo, Father, bukon ko cannot prevail over
ang ulo mo (Do you want me, Father, to break your head)?" Thereafter, in a flash, Edilberto the positive identification of the authors of the crime by the prosecution witnesses. 19
fired at the head of the priest. As Fr. Favali dropped to the ground, his hands clasped against
his chest, Norberto, Jr., taunted Edilberto if that was the only way he knew to kill a priest. In the case before Us, two (2) eyewitnesses, Reynaldo Deocades and Manuel Bantolo,
testified that they were both inside the eatery at about 10:00 o'clock in the morning of 11
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April 1985 when the Manero brothers, together with appellants, first discussed their plan to accused-appellants may not have delivered the fatal shots themselves, their collective action
kill some communist sympathizers. The witnesses also testified that they still saw the showed a common intent to commit the criminal acts.
appellants in the company of the Manero brothers at 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon when
Rufino Robles was shot. Further, at 5:00 o'clock that same afternoon, appellants were very While it may be true that Fr. Favali was not originally the intended victim, as it was Fr. Peter
much at the scene of the crime, along with the Manero brothers, when Fr. Favali was brutally Geremias whom the group targetted for the kill, nevertheless, Fr. Favali was deemed a good
murdered. 20 Indeed, in the face of such positive declarations that appellants were at the locus substitute in the murder as he was an Italian priest. On this, the conspirators expressly
criminis from 10:00 o'clock in the morning up to about 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon, the agreed. As witness Manuel Bantolo explained 28
alibi of appellants that they were somewhere else, which is negative in nature, cannot
prevail. 21 The presence of appellants in the eatery at Km. 125 having been positively Q Aside from those persons listed in that paper to be killed, were there other persons who
established, all doubts that they were not privy to the plot to liquidate alleged communist were to be liquidated?
sympathizers are therefore removed. There was direct proof to link them to the conspiracy.
A There were some others.
There is conspiracy when two or more persons come to an agreement to commit a crime and
decide to commit it. 22 It is not essential that all the accused commit together each and every Q Who were they?
act constitutive of the offense. 23 It is enough that an accused participates in an act or deed
A They said that if they could not kill those persons listed in that paper then they will (sic)
where there is singularity of purpose, and unity in its execution is present. 24
kill anyone so long as he is (sic) an Italian and if they could not kill the persons they like to
The findings of the court a quo unmistakably show that there was indeed a community of kill they will (sic) make Reynaldo Deocades as their sample.
design as evidenced by the concerted acts of all the accused. Thus
That appellants and their co-accused reached a common understanding to kill another Italian
The other six accused, all armed with high powered firearms, were positively identified priest in the event that Fr. Peter Geremias could not be spotted was elucidated by Bantolo
with Norberto Manero, Jr. and Edilberto Manero in the carinderia of Reynaldo Deocades in thus 29
La Esperanza, Tulunan, Cotabato at 10:00 o'clock in the morning of 11 April 1985 morning .
Q Who suggested that Fr. Peter be the first to be killed?
. . they were outside of the carinderia by the window near the table where Edilberto Manero,
Norberto Manero, Jr., Jun Villamor, Elpidio Manero and unidentified members of the A All of them in the group.
airborne from Cotabato were grouped together. Later that morning, they all went to the
cockhouse nearby to finish their plan and drink tuba. They were seen again with Edilberto Q What was the reaction of Norberto Manero with respect to the plan to kill Fr. Peter?
Manero and Norberto Manero, Jr., at 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon of that day near the house
of Rufino Robles (Bantil) when Edilberto Manero shot Robles. They surrounded the house of A He laughed and even said, "amo ina" meaning "yes, we will kill him ahead."
Domingo Gomez where Robles fled and hid, but later left when Edilberto Manero told them
to leave as Robles would die of hemorrhage. They followed Fr. Favali to Domingo Gomez' xxx xxx xxx
house, witnessed and enjoyed the burning of the motorcycle of Fr. Favali and later stood
guard with their firearms ready on the road when Edilberto Manero shot to death Fr. Favali. Q What about Severino Lines? What was his reaction?
Finally, they joined Norberto Manero, Jr. and Edilberto Manero in their enjoyment and
merriment on the death of the priest. 26 A He also laughed and so conformed and agreed to it.

From the foregoing narration of the trial court, it is clear that appellants were not merely Q Rudy Lines.
innocent bystanders but were in fact vital cogs in perpetrating the savage murder of Fr.
Favali and the attempted murder of Rufino Robles by the Manero brothers and their A He also said "yes".
militiamen. For sure, appellants all assumed a fighting stance to discourage if not prevent
Q What do you mean "yes"?
any attempt to provide assistance to the fallen priest. They surrounded the house of Domingo
Gomez to stop Robles and the other occupants from leaving so that the wounded Robles may A He also agreed and he was happy and said "yes" we will kill him.
die of hemorrhage. 27Undoubtedly, these were overt acts to ensure success of the commission
of the crimes and in furtherance of the aims of the conspiracy. The appellants acted in xxx xxx xxx
concert in the murder of Fr. Favali and in the attempted murder of Rufino Robles. While

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Q What about Efren Pleago? P12,000.00 to P50,000.00 is awarded to the lawful heirs of the deceased plus exemplary
damages of P100,000.00; however, the award of moral damages is deleted.
A He also agreed and even commented laughing "go ahead".
Costs against accused-appellants.
Q Roger Bedao, what was his reaction to that suggestion that should they fail to kill Fr.
Peter, they will (sic) kill anybody provided he is an Italian and if not, they will (sic) make SO ORDERED.
Reynaldo Deocades an example?

A He also agreed laughing.

Conspiracy or action in concert to achieve a criminal design being sufficiently shown, the act
of one is the act of all the other conspirators, and
the precise extent or modality of participation of each of them becomes secondary. 30

The award of moral damages in the amount of P100,000.00 to the congregation, the
Pontifical Institute of Foreign Mission (PIME) Brothers, is not proper. There is nothing on
record which indicates that the deceased effectively severed his civil relations with his
family, or that he disinherited any member thereof, when he joined his religious
congregation. As a matter of fact, Fr. Peter Geremias of the same congregation, who was
then a parish priest of Kidapawan, testified that "the religious family belongs to the natural
family of origin." 31 Besides, as We already held, 32 a juridical person is not entitled to moral
damages because, not being a natural person, it cannot experience physical suffering or such
sentiments as wounded feelings, serious anxiety, mental anguish or moral shock. It is only
when a juridical person has a good reputation that is debased, resulting in social humiliation,
that moral damages may be awarded.

Neither can We award moral damages to the heirs of the deceased who may otherwise be
lawfully entitled thereto pursuant to par. (3), Art. 2206, of the Civil Code, 33 for the reason
that the heirs never presented any evidence showing that they suffered mental anguish; much
less did they take the witness stand. It has been held 34 that moral damages and their causal
relation to the defendant's acts should be satisfactorily proved by the claimant. It is
elementary that in order that moral damages may be awarded there must be proof of moral
suffering. 35However, considering that the brutal slaying of Fr. Tulio Favali was attended
with abuse of superior strength, cruelty and ignominy by deliberately and inhumanly
augmenting the pain and anguish of the victim, outraging or scoffing at his person or corpse,
exemplary damages may be awarded to the lawful heirs, 36 even though not proved nor
expressly pleaded in the complaint, 37 and the amount of P100,000.00 is considered

With respect to the civil indemnity of P12,000.00 for the death of Fr. Tulio Favali, the
amount is increased to P50,000.00 in accordance with existing jurisprudence, which should
be paid to the lawful heirs, not the PIME as the trial court ruled.

WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from being in accord with law and the evidence is
AFFIRMED with the modification that the civil indemnity which is increased from

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