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G.R. No.

74431 November 6, 1989 Canada would be held responsible for the acts of the dog
simply because she is one of Miranda's heirs. However, that is
PURITA MIRANDA VESTIL and AGUSTIN VESTIL, petitioners, hardly the point. What must be determined is the possession
vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, DAVID UY and of the dog that admittedly was staying in the house in
TERESITA UY, respondents. question, regardless of the ownership of the dog or of the
Article 2183 reads as follows: The possessor of an animal or whoever
Theness was bitten by a dog while she was playing with a may make use of the same is responsible for the damage which it
child of the petitioners in the house of the late Vicente may cause, although it may escape or be lost. 'This responsibility shall
Miranda, the father of Purita Vestil, in Cebu City. cease only in case the damages should come from force majeure from
She was rushed to the Cebu General Hospital, where she was the fault of the person who has suffered damage.
treated for "multiple lacerated wounds on the forehead" and
administered an anti-rabies vaccine by Dr. Antonio Tautjo. Purita Vestil's testimony that she was not in possession of Miranda's
She was discharged after nine days but was readmitted one house is hardly credible. She said that the occupants of the house left
week later due to "vomiting of saliva." by her father were related to him ("one way or the other") and
The following day, the child died. maintained themselves out of a common fund or by some kind of
The cause of death was certified as broncho-pneumonia. arrangement (on which, however, she did not elaborate ). 7 She
Seven months later, the Uys sued for damages, alleging that mentioned as many as ten of such relatives who had stayed in the
the Vestils were liable to them as the possessors of "Andoy," house at one time or another although they did not appear to be
the dog that bit and eventually killed their daughter. The close kin.8 She at least implied that they did not pay any rent,
Vestils rejected the charge, insisting that the dog belonged to presumably because of their relation with Vicente Miranda
the deceased Vicente Miranda, that it was a tame animal, and notwithstanding that she herself did not seem to know them very
that in any case no one had witnessed it bite Theness. well.
After trial, Judge Jose Ramolete of the Court of First Instance
of Cebu sustained the defendants and dismissed the While it is true that she is not really the owner of the house, which
complaint. was still part of Vicente Miranda's estate, there is no doubt that she
The respondent court arrived at a different conclusion when and her husband were its possessors at the time of the incident in
the case was appealed. 5 It found that the Vestils were in question. She was the only heir residing in Cebu City and the most
possession of the house and the dog and so should be logical person to take care of the property, which was only six
responsible under Article 2183 of the Civil Code for the injuries kilometers from her own house.
caused by the dog.
Accordingly, the Vestils were ordered to pay the Uys damages The petitioners also argue that even assuming that they were the
in the amount of P30,000.00 for the death of Theness, possessors of the dog that bit Theness there was no clear showing
P12,000.00 for medical and hospitalization expenses, and that she died as a result thereof. On the contrary, the death
P2,000.00 as attorney's fees. certificate 17 declared that she died of broncho-pneumonia, which had
Purita Vestil insists that she is not the owner of the house or nothing to do with the dog bites for which she had been previously
of the dog left by her father as his estate has not yet been hospitalized. The Court need not involve itself in an extended
partitioned and there are other heirs to the property. Pursuing scientific discussion of the causal connection between the dog bites
the logic of the Uys, she claims, even her sister living in and the certified cause of death except to note that, first, Theness
developed hydrophobia, a symptom of rabies, as a result of the dog CAEDO, suing through their father, MARCIAL T. CAEDO, as
bites, and second, that asphyxia broncho-pneumonia, which guardian ad litem, plaintiffs-appellants,
ultimately caused her death, was a complication of rabies. vs.
YU KHE THAI and RAFAEL BERNARDO, defendants-appellants.
the Court finds that the link between the dog bites and the certified
cause of death has beep satisfactorily established. We also reiterate MAKALINTAL, J.:
our ruling in Sison v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, 20 that
the death certificate is not conclusive proof of the cause of death but There are two principal questions posed for resolution: (1) who was
only of the fact of death. Indeed, the evidence of the child's responsible for the accident? and (2) if it was defendant Rafael
hydrophobia is sufficient to convince us that she died because she Bernardo, was his employer, defendant Yu Khe Thai, solidarily liable
was bitten by the dog even if the death certificate stated a different with him? On the first question the trial court found Rafael Bernardo
cause of death. negligent; and on the second, held his employer solidarily liable with
In fact, Article 2183 of the Civil Code holds the possessor liable even
if the animal should "escape or be lost" and so be removed from his The mishap occurred at about 5:30 in the morning of March
control. And it does not matter either that, as the petitioners also 24, 1958 on Highway 54 (now E. de los Santos Avenue) in the
contend, the dog was tame and was merely provoked by the child vicinity of San Lorenzo Village.
into biting her. Marcial was driving his Mercury car on his way from his home
in Quezon City to the airport, where his son Ephraim was
According to Manresa the obligation imposed by Article 2183 of the scheduled to take a plane for Mindoro.
Civil Code is not based on the negligence or on the presumed lack of With them in the car were Mrs. Caedo and three daughters.
vigilance of the possessor or user of the animal causing the damage. Coming from the opposite direction was the Cadillac of Yu Khe
It is based on natural equity and on the principle of social interest Thai, with his driver Rafael Bernardo at the wheel, taking the
that he who possesses animals for his utility, pleasure or service must owner from his Paraaque home to Wack Wack for his regular
answer for the damage which such animal may cause. 21 round of golf.
The two cars were traveling at fairly moderate speeds,
We sustain the findings of the Court of Appeals and approve the considering the condition of the road and the absence of
monetary awards except only as to the medical and hospitalization traffic the Mercury at 40 to 50 kilometers per hour, and the
expenses, which are reduced to P2,026.69, as prayed for in the Cadillac at approximately 30 to 35 miles (48 to 56 kilometers).
complaint. While there is no recompense that can bring back to the Their headlights were mutually noticeable from a distance.
private respondents the child they have lost, their pain should at least Ahead of the Cadillac, going in the same direction, was
be eased by the civil damages to which they are entitled. a caretella owned by a certain Pedro Bautista.
The carretela was towing another horse by means of a short
WHEREFORE, the challenged decision is AFFIRMED as above rope coiled around the rig's vertical post on the right side and
modified. The petition is DENIED, with costs against the petitioners. held at the other end by Pedro's son, Julian Bautista.
Rafael Bernardo testified that he was almost upon the rig
G.R. No. L-20392 December 18, 1968 when he saw it in front of him, only eight meters away. This is
the first clear indication of his negligence. The carretela was
MARCIAL T. CAEDO, JUANA SANGALANG CAEDO, and the provided with two lights, one on each side, and they should
Minors, EPHRAIM CAEDO, EILEEN CAEDO, ROSE ELAINE have given him sufficient warning to take the necessary
precautions. And even if he did not notice the lights, as he ART. 2184. In motor vehicle mishaps, the owner is solidarily
claimed later on at the trial, the carretela should anyway have liable with his driver, if the former, who was in the vehicle,
been visible to him from afar if he had been careful, as it must could have, by the use of due diligence, prevented the
have been in the beam of his headlights for a considerable misfortune. It is disputably presumed that a driver was
while. negligent, if he had been found guilty of reckless driving or
violating traffic regulations at least twice within the next
In the meantime the Mercury was coming on its own lane from the preceding two months.
opposite direction. Bernardo, instead of slowing down or stopping
altogether behind the carretela until that lane was clear, veered to the Under the foregoing provision, if the causative factor was the driver's
left in order to pass. As he did so the curved end of his car's right rear negligence, the owner of the vehicle who was present is likewise held
bumper caught the forward rim of the rig's left wheel, wrenching it off liable if he could have prevented the mishap by the exercise of due
and carrying it along as the car skidded obliquely to the other lane, diligence. The rule is not new, although formulated as law for the first
where it collided with the oncoming vehicle. On his part Caedo had time in the new Civil Code. It was expressed in Chapman vs.
seen the Cadillac on its own lane; he slackened his speed, judged the Underwood (1914), 27 Phil. 374, where this Court held:
distances in relation to the carretela and concluded that the Cadillac
would wait behind. Bernardo, however, decided to take a gamble ... The same rule applies where the owner is present, unless
beat the Mercury to the point where it would be in line with the negligent acts of the driver are continued for such a length
the carretela, or else squeeze in between them in any case. It was a of time as to give the owner a reasonable opportunity to
risky maneuver either way, and the risk should have been quite observe them and to direct his driver to desist therefrom. An
obvious. Or, since the car was moving at from 30 to 35 miles per hour owner who sits in his automobile, or other vehicle, and permits
(or 25 miles according to Yu Khe Thai) it was already too late to apply his driver to continue in a violation of the law by the
the brakes when Bernardo saw the carretela only eight meters in front performance of negligent acts, after he has had a reasonable
of him, and so he had to swerve to the left in spite of the presence of opportunity to observe them and to direct that the driver
the oncoming car on the opposite lane. As it was, the clearance cease therefrom, becomes himself responsible for such acts.
Bernardo gave for his car's right side was insufficient. Its rear The owner of an automobile who permits his chauffeur to
bumper, as already stated, caught the wheel of the carretela and drive up the Escolta, for example, at a speed of 60 miles an
wrenched it loose. Caedo, confronted with the unexpected situation, hour, without any effort to stop him, although he has had a
tried to avoid the collision at the last moment by going farther to the reasonable opportunity to do so, becomes himself responsible,
right, but was unsuccessful. The photographs taken at the scene both criminally and civilly, for the results produced by the acts
show that the right wheels of his car were on the unpaved shoulder of of the chauffeur. On the other hand, if the driver, by a sudden
the road at the moment of impact. act of negligence, and without the owner having a reasonable
opportunity to prevent the act or its continuance, injures a
There is no doubt at all that the collision was directly traceable to person or violates the criminal law, the owner of the
Rafael Bernardo's negligence and that he must be held liable for the automobile, although present therein at the time the act was
damages suffered by the plaintiffs. The next question is whether or committed, is not responsible, either civilly or criminally,
not Yu Khe Thai, as owner of the Cadillac, is solidarily liable with the therefor. The act complained of must be continued in the
driver. The applicable law is Article 2184 of the Civil Code, which presence of the owner for such a length of time that the
reads: owner, by his acquiescence, makes his driver act his own.
The basis of the master's liability in civil law is not respondent are not trained or endowed with sufficient discernment to know the
superior but rather the relationship of paterfamilias. The theory is that rules of traffic or to appreciate the relative dangers posed by the
ultimately the negligence of the servant, if known to the master and different situations that are continually encountered on the road.
susceptible of timely correction by him, reflects his own negligence if What would be a negligent omission under aforesaid Article on the
he fails to correct it in order to prevent injury or damage. part of a car owner who is in the prime of age and knows how to
handle a motor vehicle is not necessarily so on the part, say, of an old
In the present case the defendants' evidence is that Rafael Bernardo and infirm person who is not similarly equipped.
had been Yu Khe Thai's driver since 1937, and before that had been
employed by Yutivo Sons Hardware Co. in the same capacity for over The law does not require that a person must possess a certain
ten years. During that time he had no record of violation of traffic measure of skill or proficiency either in the mechanics of driving or in
laws and regulations. No negligence for having employed him at all the observance of traffic rules before he may own a motor vehicle.
may be imputed to his master. Negligence on the part of the latter, if The test of his intelligence, within the meaning of Article 2184, is his
any, must be sought in the immediate setting and circumstances of omission to do that which the evidence of his own senses tells him he
the accident, that is, in his failure to detain the driver from pursuing a should do in order to avoid the accident. And as far as perception is
course which not only gave him clear notice of the danger but also concerned, absent a minimum level imposed by law, a maneuver that
sufficient time to act upon it. We do not see that such negligence may appears to be fraught with danger to one passenger may appear to
be imputed. The car, as has been stated, was not running at an be entirely safe and commonplace to another. Were the law to require
unreasonable speed. The road was wide and open, and devoid of a uniform standard of perceptiveness, employment of professional
traffic that early morning. There was no reason for the car owner to drivers by car owners who, by their very inadequacies, have real need
be in any special state of alert. He had reason to rely on the skill and of drivers' services, would be effectively proscribed.
experience of his driver. He became aware of the presence of
the carretela when his car was only twelve meters behind it, but then We hold that the imputation of liability to Yu Khe Thai, solidarily with
his failure to see it earlier did not constitute negligence, for he was Rafael Bernardo, is an error. The next question refers to the sums
not himself at the wheel. And even when he did see it at that adjudged by the trial court as damages. The award of P48,000 by
distance, he could not have anticipated his driver's sudden decision to way of moral damages is itemized as follows:
pass the carretela on its left side in spite of the fact that another car
was approaching from the opposite direction. The time element was 1. Marcial Caedo P 20,000.00
such that there was no reasonable opportunity for Yu Khe Thai to
assess the risks involved and warn the driver accordingly. The 2. Juana S. Caedo 15,000.00
thought that entered his mind, he said, was that if he sounded a
3. Ephraim Caedo 3,000.00
sudden warning it might only make the other man nervous and make
the situation worse. It was a thought that, wise or not, connotes no 4. Eileen Caedo 4,000.00
absence of that due diligence required by law to prevent the
misfortune. 5. Rose Elaine Caedo 3,000.00

6. Merilyn Caedo 3,000.00

The test of imputed negligence under Article 2184 of the Civil Code is,
to a great degree, necessarily subjective. Car owners are not held to a
uniform and inflexible standard of diligence as are professional Plaintiffs appealed from the award, claiming that the Court should
drivers. In many cases they refrain from driving their own cars and have granted them also actual or compensatory damages,
instead hire other persons to drive for them precisely because they aggregating P225,000, for the injuries they sustained. Defendants, on
the other hand maintain that the amounts awarded as moral damages Due to the fall, his head hit the rim of the manhole breaking
are excessive and should be reduced. We find no justification for his eyeglasses and causing broken pieces thereof to pierce his
either side. The amount of actual damages suffered by the individual left eyelid.
plaintiffs by reason of their injuries, other than expenses for medical As blood flowed therefrom, impairing his vision, several
treatment, has not been shown by the evidence. Actual damages, to persons came to his assistance and pulled him out of the
be compensable, must be proven. Pain and suffering are not capable manhole.
of pecuniary estimation, and constitute a proper ground for granting One of them brought Teotico to the Philippine General
moral, not actual, damages, as provided in Article 2217 of the Civil Hospital, where his injuries were treated, after which he was
Code. taken home.
In addition to the lacerated wound in his left upper eyelid,
It is our opinion that, considering the nature and extent of the above- Teotico suffered contusions on the left thigh, the left upper
mentioned injuries, the amounts of moral damages granted by the arm, the right leg and the upper lip apart from an abrasion on
trial court are not excessive. the right infra-patella region.
These injuries and the allergic eruption caused by anti-tetanus
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is modified in the sense of injections administered to him in the hospital, required further
declaring defendant-appellant Yu Khe Thai free from liability, and is medical treatment by a private practitioner who charged
otherwise affirmed with respect to defendant Rafael Bernardo, with therefor P1,400.00.
costs against the latter.
As a consequence of the foregoing occurrence, Teotico filed, with the
G.R. No. L-23052 January 29, 1968 Court of First Instance of Manila, a complaint which was,
subsequently, amended for damages against the City of Manila, its
CITY OF MANILA, petitioner, mayor, city engineer, city health officer, city treasurer and chief of
vs. police. As stated in the decision of the trial court, and quoted with
GENARO N. TEOTICO and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. approval by the Court of Appeals,

City Fiscal Manuel T. Reyes for petitioner. At the time of the incident, plaintiff was a practicing public
Sevilla, Daza and Associates for respondents. accountant, a businessman and a professor at the University
of the East. He held responsible positions in various business
CONCEPCION, C.J.: firms like the Philippine Merchandising Co., the A.U. Valencia
and Co., the Silver Swan Manufacturing Company and the
at about 8:00 p.m., Genaro N. Teotico was at the corner of Sincere Packing Corporation. He was also associated with
the Old Luneta and P. Burgos Avenue, Manila, within a several civic organizations such as the Wack Wack Golf Club,
"loading and unloading" zone, waiting for a jeepney to take the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Y's Men Club of
him down town. Manila and the Knights of Rizal. As a result of the incident,
After waiting for about five minutes, he managed to hail a plaintiff was prevented from engaging in his customary
jeepney that came along to a stop. occupation for twenty days. Plaintiff has lost a daily income of
As he stepped down from the curb to board the jeepney, and about P50.00 during his incapacity to work. Because of the
took a few steps, he fell inside an uncovered and unlighted incident, he was subjected to humiliation and ridicule by his
catch basin or manhole on P. Burgos Avenue. business associates and friends. During the period of his
treatment, plaintiff was under constant fear and anxiety for
the welfare of his minor children since he was their only The first issue raised by the latter is whether the present case is
support. Due to the filing of this case, plaintiff has obligated governed by Section 4 of Republic Act No. 409 (Charter of the City of
himself to pay his counsel the sum of P2,000.00. Manila) reading:

On the other hand, the defense presented evidence, oral and The city shall not be liable or held for damages or injuries to
documentary, to prove that the Storm Drain Section, Office of persons or property arising from the failure of the Mayor, the
the City Engineer of Manila, received a report of the uncovered Municipal Board, or any other city officer, to enforce the
condition of a catchbasin at the corner of P. Burgos and Old provisions of this chapter, or any other law or ordinance, or
Luneta Streets, Manila, on January 24, 1958, but the same from negligence of said Mayor, Municipal Board, or other
was covered on the same day (Exhibit 4); that again the iron officers while enforcing or attempting to enforce said
cover of the same catch basin was reported missing on provisions.
January 30, 1958, but the said cover was replaced the next
day (Exhibit 5); that the Office of the City Engineer never or by Article 2189 of the Civil Code of the Philippines which provides:
received any report to the effect that the catchbasin in
question was not covered between January 25 and 29, 1968; Provinces, cities and municipalities shall be liable for damages
that it has always been a policy of the said office, which is for the death of, or injuries suffered by, any person by reason
charged with the duty of installation, repair and care of storm of defective conditions of road, streets, bridges, public
drains in the City of Manila, that whenever a report is received buildings, and other public works under their control or
from whatever source of the loss of a catchbasin cover, the supervision.
matter is immediately attended to, either by immediately
replacing the missing cover or covering the catchbasin with Manila maintains that the former provision should prevail over the
steel matting that because of the lucrative scrap iron business latter, because Republic Act 409, is a special law, intended exclusively
then prevailing, stealing of iron catchbasin covers was for the City of Manila, whereas the Civil Code is a general law,
rampant; that the Office of the City Engineer has filed applicable to the entire Philippines.
complaints in court resulting from theft of said iron covers;
that in order to prevent such thefts, the city government has The Court of Appeals, however, applied the Civil Code, and, we think,
changed the position and layout of catchbasins in the City by correctly. It is true that, insofar as its territorial application is
constructing them under the sidewalks with concrete cement concerned, Republic Act No. 409 is a special law and the Civil Code a
covers and openings on the side of the gutter; and that these general legislation; but, as regards the subject-matter of the
changes had been undertaken by the city from time to time provisions above quoted, Section 4 of Republic Act 409 establishes a
whenever funds were available. general rule regulating the liability of the City of Manila for: "damages
or injury to persons or property arising from the failure of" city
After appropriate proceedings the Court of First Instance of Manila officers "to enforce the provisions of" said Act "or any other law or
rendered the aforementioned decision sustaining the theory of the ordinance, or from negligence" of the city "Mayor, Municipal Board, or
defendants and dismissing the amended complaint, without costs. other officers while enforcing or attempting to enforce said
provisions." Upon the other hand, Article 2189 of the Civil Code
On appeal taken by plaintiff, this decision was affirmed by the Court constitutes a particular prescription making "provinces, cities and
of Appeals, except insofar as the City of Manila is concerned, which municipalities . . . liable for damages for the death of, or injury
was sentenced to pay damages in the aggregate sum of suffered by any person by reason" specifically "of the defective
P6,750.00. 1 Hence, this appeal by the City of Manila. condition of roads, streets, bridges, public buildings, and other-public
works under their control or supervision." In other words, said section national highway, this circumstance would not necessarily detract
4 refers to liability arising from negligence, in general, regardless of from its "control or supervision" by the City of Manila, under Republic
the object thereof, whereas Article 2189 governs liability due to Act 409. In fact Section 18(x) thereof provides:
"defective streets," in particular. Since the present action is based
upon the alleged defective condition of a road, said Article 2189 is Sec. 18. Legislative powers. The Municipal Board shall have the
decisive thereon. following legislative powers:

It is urged that the City of Manila cannot be held liable to Teotico for (x) Subject to the provisions of existing law to provide for the laying
damages: 1) because the accident involving him took place in a out, construction and improvement, and to regulate the use of
national highway; and 2) because the City of Manila has not been streets, avenues, alleys, sidewalks, wharves, piers, parks, cemeteries,
negligent in connection therewith. and other public places; to provide for lighting, cleaning, and
sprinkling of streets and public places; . . . to provide for the
As regards the first issue, we note that it is based upon an allegation inspection of, fix the license fees for and regulate the openings in the
of fact not made in the answer of the City. Moreover, Teotico alleged same for the laying of gas, water, sewer and other pipes, the building
in his complaint, as well as in his amended complaint, that his injuries and repair of tunnels, sewers, and drains, and all structures in and
were due to the defective condition of a street which is "under the under the same and the erecting of poles and the stringing of wires
supervision and control" of the City. In its answer to the amended therein; to provide for and regulate cross-works, curbs, and gutters
complaint, the City, in turn, alleged that "the streets aforementioned therein, . . . to regulate traffic and sales upon the streets and other
were and have been constantly kept in good condition and regularly public places; to provide for the abatement of nuisances in the same
inspected and the storm drains and manholes thereof covered by the and punish the authors or owners thereof; to provide for the
defendant City and the officers concerned" who "have been ever construction and maintenance, and regulate the use, of bridges,
vigilant and zealous in the performance of their respective functions viaducts and culverts; to prohibit and regulate ball playing, kite-flying,
and duties as imposed upon them by law." Thus, the City had, in hoop rolling, and other amusements which may annoy persons using
effect, admitted that P. Burgos Avenue was and is under its control the streets and public places, or frighten horses or other animals;
and supervision. to regulate the speed of horses and other animals, motor and other
vehicles, cars, and locomotives within the limits of the city;
Moreover, the assertion to the effect that said Avenue is a national to regulate the lights used on all vehicles, cars, and locomotives; . . .
highway was made, for the first time, in its motion for reconsideration to provide for and change the location, grade, and crossing of
of the decision of the Court of Appeals. Such assertion raised, railroads, and compel any such railroad to raise or lower its tracks to
therefore, a question of fact, which had not been put in issue in the conform to such provisions or changes; and to require railroad
trial court, and cannot be set up, for the first time, on appeal, much companies to fence their property, or any part thereof, to provide
less after the rendition of the decision of the appellate court, in a suitable protection against injury to persons or property, and
motion for the reconsideration thereof. to construct and repair ditches, drains, sewers, and culverts along and
under their tracks, so that the natural drainage of the streets and
At any rate, under Article 2189 of the Civil Code, it is not necessary adjacent property shall not be obstructed.
for the liability therein established to attach that the defective roads
or streets belong to the province, city or municipality from which This authority has been neither withdrawn nor restricted by Republic
responsibility is exacted. What said article requires is that the Act No. 917 and Executive Order No. 113, dated May 2, 1955, upon
province, city or municipality have either "control or supervision" over which the City relies. Said Act governs the disposition or appropriation
said street or road. Even if P. Burgos Avenue were, therefore, a of the highway funds and the giving of aid to provinces, chartered
cities and municipalities in the construction of roads and streets within and he had to be carried to Dr. Juanita Mascardo. Despite the
their respective boundaries, and Executive Order No. 113 merely medicine administered to him by the latter, his left leg swelled with
implements the provisions of said Republic Act No. 917, concerning great pain. He was then rushed to the Veterans Memorial Hospital
the disposition and appropriation of the highway funds. Moreover, it where he had to be confined for twenty (20) days due to high fever
provides that "the construction, maintenance and improvement of and severe pain.
national primary, national secondary and national aid provincial and
city roads shall be accomplished by the Highway District Engineers Upon his discharge from the hospital, he had to walk around with
and Highway City Engineers under the supervision of the crutches for fifteen (15) days. His injury prevented him from
Commissioner of Public Highways and shall be financed from such attending to the school buses he is operating. As a result, he had to
appropriations as may be authorized by the Republic of the Philippines engage the services of one Bienvenido Valdez to supervise his
in annual or special appropriation Acts." business for an aggregate compensation of nine hundred pesos
(P900.00). (Decision, AC-G.R. CV No. 01387, Rollo, pp. 13-20).
Then, again, the determination of whether or not P. Burgos Avenue is
under the control or supervision of the City of Manila and whether the Petitioner sued for damages the City of Manila and the Asiatic
latter is guilty of negligence, in connection with the maintenance of Integrated Corporation under whose administration the Sta. Ana
said road, which were decided by the Court of Appeals in the Public Market had been placed by virtue of a Management and
affirmative, is one of fact, and the findings of said Court thereon are Operating Contract (Rollo, p. 47).
not subject to our review.
The lower court decided in favor of respondents, the dispositive
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from should be as it is hereby portion of the decision reading:
affirmed, with costs against the City of Manila. It is so ordered.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the defendants
G.R. No. 71049 May 29, 1987 and against the plaintiff dismissing the complaint with costs against
the plaintiff. For lack of sufficient evidence, the counterclaims of the
BERNARDINO JIMENEZ, petitioner, vs. CITY OF MANILA and defendants are likewise dismissed. (Decision, Civil Case No. 96390,
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, respondents. Rollo, p. 42).

PARAS, J.: As above stated, on appeal, the Intermediate Appellate Court held the
Asiatic Integrated Corporation liable for damages but absolved
The evidence of the plaintiff (petitioner herein) shows that in the respondent City of Manila.
morning of August 15, 1974 he, together with his neighbors, went to
Sta. Ana public market to buy "bagoong" at the time when the public Hence this petition.
market was flooded with ankle deep rainwater. After purchasing the
"bagoong" he turned around to return home but he stepped on an The lone assignment of error raised in this petition is on whether or
uncovered opening which could not be seen because of the dirty not the Intermediate Appellate Court erred in not ruling that
rainwater, causing a dirty and rusty four- inch nail, stuck inside the respondent City of Manila should be jointly and severally liable with
uncovered opening, to pierce the left leg of plaintiff-petitioner Asiatic Integrated Corporation for the injuries petitioner suffered.
penetrating to a depth of about one and a half inches. After
administering first aid treatment at a nearby drugstore, his In compliance with the resolution of July 1, 1985 of the First Division
companions helped him hobble home. He felt ill and developed fever of this Court (Rollo, p. 29) respondent City of Manila filed its comment
on August 13, 1985 (Rollo, p. 34) while petitioner filed its reply on other law or ordinance, or from negligence of said
August 21, 1985 (Reno, p. 51). Mayor, Municipal Board, or any other officers while
enforcing or attempting to enforce said provisions.
Thereafter, the Court in the resolution of September 11, 1985 (Rollo,
p. 62) gave due course to the petition and required both parties to This issue has been laid to rest in the case of City of Manila v.
submit simultaneous memoranda Teotico (22 SCRA 269-272 [1968]) where the Supreme Court squarely
ruled that Republic Act No. 409 establishes a general rule regulating
Petitioner filed his memorandum on October 1, 1985 (Rollo, p. 65) the liability of the City of Manila for "damages or injury to persons or
while respondent filed its memorandum on October 24, 1985 (Rollo, property arising from the failure of city officers" to enforce the
p. 82). provisions of said Act, "or any other law or ordinance or from
negligence" of the City "Mayor, Municipal Board, or other officers
In the resolution of October 13, 1986, this case was transferred to the while enforcing or attempting to enforce said provisions."
Second Division of this Court, the same having been assigned to a
member of said Division (Rollo, p. 92). Upon the other hand, Article 2189 of the Civil Code of the Philippines
which provides that:
The petition is impressed with merit.
Provinces, cities and municipalities shall be liable for
As correctly found by the Intermediate Appellate Court, there is no damages for the death of, or injuries suffered by any
doubt that the plaintiff suffered injuries when he fell into a drainage person by reason of defective conditions of roads,
opening without any cover in the Sta. Ana Public Market. Defendants streets, bridges, public buildings and other public
do not deny that plaintiff was in fact injured although the Asiatic works under their control or supervision.
Integrated Corporation tries to minimize the extent of the injuries,
claiming that it was only a small puncture and that as a war veteran, constitutes a particular prescription making "provinces, cities and
plaintiff's hospitalization at the War Veteran's Hospital was free. municipalities ... liable for damages for the death of, or injury suffered
(Decision, AC-G.R. CV No. 01387, Rollo, p. 6). by any person by reason" specifically "of the defective condition
of roads, streets, bridges, public buildings, and other public works
Respondent City of Manila maintains that it cannot be held liable for under their control or supervision." In other words, Art. 1, sec. 4, R.A.
the injuries sustained by the petitioner because under the No. 409 refers to liability arising from negligence, in general,
Management and Operating Contract, Asiatic Integrated Corporation regardless of the object, thereof, while Article 2189 of the Civil Code
assumed all responsibility for damages which may be suffered by third governs liability due to "defective streets, public buildings and other
persons for any cause attributable to it. public works" in particular and is therefore decisive on this specific
It has also been argued that the City of Manila cannot be held liable
under Article 1, Section 4 of Republic Act No. 409 as amended In the same suit, the Supreme Court clarified further that under
(Revised Charter of Manila) which provides: Article 2189 of the Civil Code, it is not necessary for the liability
therein established to attach, that the defective public works belong
The City shall not be liable or held for damages or to the province, city or municipality from which responsibility is
injuries to persons or property arising from the failure exacted. What said article requires is that the province, city or
of the Mayor, the Municipal Board, or any other City municipality has either "control or supervision" over the public
Officer, to enforce the provisions of this chapter, or any building in question.
In the case at bar, there is no question that the Sta. Ana Public services of the said corporation to undertake the
Market, despite the Management and Operating Contract between physical management, maintenance, rehabilitation and
respondent City and Asiatic Integrated Corporation remained under development of the City's public markets and'
the control of the former. Talipapas' subject to the control and supervision of the
For one thing, said contract is explicit in this regard, when it provides:
It is believed that there is nothing incongruous in the
II That immediately after the execution of this contract, the SECOND exercise of these powers vis-a-vis the existence of the
PARTY shall start the painting, cleaning, sanitizing and repair of the contract, inasmuch as the City retains the power of
public markets and talipapas and within ninety (90) days thereof, the supervision and control over its public markets
SECOND PARTY shall submit a program of improvement, and talipapas under the terms of the contract. (Exhibit
development, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the city public "7-A") (Emphasis supplied.) (Rollo, p. 75).
markets and talipapas subject to prior approval of the FIRST PARTY.
(Rollo, p. 44) In fact, the City of Manila employed a market master for the Sta. Ana
Public Market whose primary duty is to take direct supervision and
VI That all present personnel of the City public markets and talipapas control of that particular market, more specifically, to check the safety
shall be retained by the SECOND PARTY as long as their services of the place for the public.
remain satisfactory and they shall be extended the same rights and
privileges as heretofore enjoyed by them. Provided, however, that the Finally, Section 30 (g) of the Local Tax Code as amended, provides:
SECOND PARTY shall have the right, subject to prior approval of the
FIRST PARTY to discharge any of the present employees for cause. The treasurer shall exercise direct and immediate supervision
(Rollo, p. 45). administration and control over public markets and the personnel
thereof, including those whose duties concern the maintenance and
VII That the SECOND PARTY may from time to time be required by upkeep of the market and ordinances and other pertinent rules and
the FIRST PARTY, or his duly authorized representative or regulations. (Emphasis supplied.) (Rollo, p. 76)
representatives, to report, on the activities and operation of the City
public markets and talipapas and the facilities and conveniences The contention of respondent City of Manila that petitioner should not
installed therein, particularly as to their cost of construction, operation have ventured to go to Sta. Ana Public Market during a stormy
and maintenance in connection with the stipulations contained in this weather is indeed untenable. As observed by respondent Court of
Contract. (lbid) Appeals, it is an error for the trial court to attribute the negligence to
herein petitioner. More specifically stated, the findings of appellate
The fact of supervision and control of the City over subject public court are as follows:
market was admitted by Mayor Ramon Bagatsing in his letter to
Secretary of Finance Cesar Virata which reads: ... The trial court even chastised the plaintiff for going to market on a
rainy day just to buy bagoong. A customer in a store has the right to
These cases arose from the controversy over the assume that the owner will comply with his duty to keep the premises
Management and Operating Contract entered into on safe for customers. If he ventures to the store on the basis of such
December 28, 1972 by and between the City of Manila assumption and is injured because the owner did not comply with his
and the Asiatic Integrated Corporation, whereby in duty, no negligence can be imputed to the customer. (Decision, AC-G.
consideration of a fixed service fee, the City hired the R. CV No. 01387, Rollo, p. 19).
As a defense against liability on the basis of a quasi-delict, one must Respondent City of Manila and Asiatic Integrated Corporation being
have exercised the diligence of a good father of a family. (Art. 1173 joint tort-feasors are solidarily liable under Article 2194 of the Civil
of the Civil Code). Code.

There is no argument that it is the duty of the City of Manila to PREMISES CONSIDERED, the decision of the Court of Appeals is
exercise reasonable care to keep the public market reasonably safe hereby MODIFIED, making the City of Manila and the Asiatic
for people frequenting the place for their marketing needs. Integrated Corporation solidarily liable to pay the plaintiff P221.90
actual medical expenses, P900.00 for the amount paid for the
While it may be conceded that the fulfillment of such duties is operation and management of the school bus, P20,000.00 as moral
extremely difficult during storms and floods, it must however, be damages due to pain, sufferings and sleepless nights and P10,000.00
admitted that ordinary precautions could have been taken during as attorney's fees.
good weather to minimize the dangers to life and limb under those
difficult circumstances. G.R. No. 150304 June 15, 2005

For instance, the drainage hole could have been placed under the QUEZON CITY GOVERNMENT and Engineer RAMIR J.
stalls instead of on the passage ways. Even more important is the TIAMZON, Petitioners, vs. FULGENCIO DACARA*, Respondent.
fact, that the City should have seen to it that the openings were
covered. Sadly, the evidence indicates that long before petitioner fell PANGANIBAN, J.:
into the opening, it was already uncovered, and five (5) months after
the incident happened, the opening was still uncovered. (Rollo, pp. The Facts
57; 59). Moreover, while there are findings that during floods the
vendors remove the iron grills to hasten the flow of water (Decision, "Sometime on February 28, 1988 at about 1:00 A.M., Fulgencio
AC-G.R. CV No. 0 1387; Rollo, p. 17), there is no showing that such Dacara, Jr., son of Fulgencio P. Dacara, Sr. and owner of '87 Toyota
practice has ever been prohibited, much less penalized by the City of Corolla 4-door Sedan with Plate No. 877 (sic), while driving the said
Manila. Neither was it shown that any sign had been placed vehicle, rammed into a pile of earth/street diggings found at
thereabouts to warn passersby of the impending danger. Matahimik St., Quezon City, which was then being repaired by the
Quezon City government. As a result, Dacarra (sic), Jr. allegedly
To recapitulate, it appears evident that the City of Manila is likewise sustained bodily injuries and the vehicle suffered extensive damage
liable for damages under Article 2189 of the Civil Code, respondent for it turned turtle when it hit the pile of earth.
City having retained control and supervision over the Sta. Ana Public
Market and as tort-feasor under Article 2176 of the Civil Code on "Indemnification was sought from the city government (Record, p.
quasi-delicts 22), which however, yielded negative results. Consequently, Fulgencio
P. Dacara (hereinafter referred to as FULGENCIO), for and in behalf of
Petitioner had the right to assume that there were no openings in the his minor son, Jr., filed a Complaint (Record, p. 1) for damages
middle of the passageways and if any, that they were adequately against the Quezon City and Engr. Ramir Tiamzon, as defendants,
covered. Had the opening been covered, petitioner could not have before the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region,
fallen into it. Thus the negligence of the City of Manila is the Branch 101, Quezon City, docketed as Civil Case No. Q-88-233.
proximate cause of the injury suffered, the City is therefore liable for FULGENCIO prayed that the amount of not less than 20,000.00
the injury suffered by the peti- 4 petitioner. actual or compensatory damages, 150,000.00 moral damages,
30,000.00 exemplary damages, and 20,000.00 attorney's fees and The CA agreed with the RTC's finding that petitioners' negligence was
costs of the suit be awarded to him. the proximate cause of the damage suffered by respondent.9 Noting
the failure of petitioners to present evidence to support their
"In an Answer with Affirmative and/or Special Defenses (Record, p. contention that precautionary measures had indeed been observed, it
11), defendants admitted the occurrence of the incident but alleged ruled thus:
that the subject diggings was provided with a moun[d] of soil and
barricaded with reflectorized traffic paint with sticks placed before or "x x x. Sadly, the evidence indicates that [petitioners] failed to show
after it which was visible during the incident on February 28, 1988 at that they placed sufficient and adequate precautionary signs at
1:00 A.M. In short, defendants claimed that they exercised due care Matahimik Street to minimize or prevent the dangers to life and limb
by providing the area of the diggings all necessary measures to avoid under the circumstances. Contrary to the testimony of the witnesses
accident. Hence, the reason why Fulgencio Dacara, Jr. fell into the for the [petitioners], namely Engr. Ramir Tiamzon, Ernesto Landrito
diggings was precisely because of the latter's negligence and failure and Eduardo Castillo, that there were signs, gasera which was buried
to exercise due care."5 so that its light could not be blown off by the wind and barricade,
none was ever presented to stress and prove the sufficiency and
After trial on the merits, the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 101, adequacy of said contention."10
Quezon City, rendered its Decision6 dated June 29, 1990. The
evidence proffered by the complainant (herein respondent) was found Further upholding the trial court's finding of negligence on the part of
to be sufficient proof of the negligence of herein petitioners. Under herein petitioners, the CA gave this opinion:
Article 2189 of the Civil Code,7 the latter were held liable as follows:
"x x x. As observed by the trial court, the negligence of [petitioners]
"WHEREFORE, premises above considered, based on the quantum of was clear based on the investigation report of Pfc. William P.
evidence presented by the plaintiff which tilts in their favor elucidating Villafranca stating to the effect 'that the subject vehicle rammed into
the negligent acts of the city government together with its employees a pile of earth from a deep excavation thereat without any warning
when considered in the light of Article 2189, judgment is hereby devi[c]e whatsoever and as a consequence thereof, Dacara, Jr. lost
rendered ordering the defendants to indemnify the plaintiff the sum of control of his driven car and finally turned-turtle causing substantial
twenty thousand pesos as actual/compensatory damages, 10,000.00 damage to the same.' As a defense against liability on the basis of
as moral damages, 5,000.00 as exemplary damages, 10,000.00 as quasi-delict, one must have exercised the diligence of a good father
attorney's fees and other costs of suit."8 of a family which [petitioners] failed to establish in the instant case."11

In their appeal to the CA, petitioners maintained that they had Whether Article 2189 is applicable to cases in which there has been
observed due diligence and care in installing preventive warning no death or physical injury, the CA ruled in the affirmative:
devices, and that it was in fact the plaintiff who had failed to exercise
prudence by driving too fast to avoid the diggings. Moreover, the "x x x. More importantly, we find it illogical to limit the liability to
lower court allegedly erred in using Article 2189 of the Civil Code, death or personal injury only as argued by appellants in the case at
which supposedly applied only to liability for the death or injuries bar applying the foregoing provisions. For, injury is an act that
suffered by a person, not for damage to property. damages, harms or hurts and mean in common as the act or result of
inflicting on a person or thing something that causes loss, pain,
Ruling of the Court of Appeals distress, or impairment. Injury is the most comprehensive, applying to
an act or result involving an impairment or destruction of right,
health, freedom, soundness, or loss of something of value."12
Hence, this Petition.13 Jr.) of respondent's car was overspeeding, and that his own
negligence was therefore the sole cause of the incident.
Proximate cause is defined as any cause that produces injury in a
Petitioners raise the following issues for our consideration: natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient
intervening cause, such that the result would not have occurred
"1. The Honorable Court of Appeals decided a question of otherwise.15 Proximate cause is determined from the facts of each
law/substance contrary to applicable law and jurisprudence case, upon a combined consideration of logic, common sense, policy
when it affirmed the award of moral damage suit (sic) the and precedent.16
amount of 10,000.00.
What really caused the subject vehicle to turn turtle is a factual issue
2. The Honorable Court of Appeals decided a question of that this Court cannot pass upon, absent any whimsical or capricious
law/substance contrary to applicable law and jurisprudence exercise of judgment by the lower courts or an ample showing that
when it affirmed the award of exemplary damage sin (sic) the they lacked any basis for their conclusions.17 The unanimity of the CA
amount of 5,000.00 and attorney's fee in the [a]mount of and the trial court in their factual ascertainment that petitioners'
10,000.00. negligence was the proximate cause of the accident bars us from
supplanting their findings and substituting these with our own. The
3. The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred and/;or (sic) function of this Court is limited to the review of the appellate court's
had acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack alleged errors of law. It is not required to weigh all over again the
and/or excess of jurisdiction when it refused to hold that factual evidence already considered in the proceedings
respondent's son in the person of Fulgencio Dacara, Jr. was below.18 Petitioners have not shown that they are entitled to an
negligent at the time of incident."14 exception to this rule.19 They have not sufficiently demonstrated any
special circumstances to justify a factual review.
Because the issues regarding the liability of petitioners for moral and
exemplary damages presuppose that their negligence caused the That the negligence of petitioners was the proximate cause of the
vehicular accident, we first resolve the question of negligence or the accident was aptly discussed in the lower court's finding, which we
proximate cause of the incident. quote:

The Court's Ruling "Facts obtaining in this case are crystal clear that the accident of
February 28, 1988 which caused almost the life and limb of Fulgencio
The Petition is partly meritorious. Dacara, Jr. when his car turned turtle was the existence of a pile of
earth from a digging done relative to the base failure at Matahimik
First Issue: Street nary a lighting device or a reflectorized barricade or sign
perhaps which could have served as an adequate warning to motorist
Negligence especially during the thick of the night where darkness is pervasive.

Maintaining that they were not negligent, petitioners insist that they "Contrary to the testimony of the witnesses for the defense that there
placed all the necessary precautionary signs to alert the public of a were signs, gasera which was buried so that its light could not be
roadside construction. They argue that the driver (Fulgencio Dacara blown off by the wind and barricade, none was ever presented to
stress the point that sufficient and adequate precautionary signs were
placed at Matahimik Street. If indeed signs were placed thereat, how Indeed, both the trial and the appellate courts' findings, which are
then could it be explained that according to the report even of the amply substantiated by the evidence on record, clearly point to
policeman which for clarity is quoted again, none was found at the petitioners' negligence as the proximate cause of the damages
scene of the accident. suffered by respondent's car. No adequate reason has been given to
overturn this factual conclusion.
"Negligence of a person whether natural or juridical over a particular
set of events is transfixed by the attending circumstances so that the Second Issue:
greater the danger known or reasonably anticipated, the greater is
the degree of care required to be observed. Moral Damages

"The provisions of Article 2189 of the New Civil Code capsulizes the Petitioners argue that moral damages are recoverable only in the
responsibility of the city government relative to the maintenance of instances specified in Article 221926 of the Civil Code. Although the
roads and bridges since it exercises the control and supervision over instant case is an action for quasi-delict, petitioners contend that
the same. Failure of the defendant to comply with the statutory moral damages are not recoverable, because no evidence of physical
provision found in the subject-article is tantamount to negligence per injury were presented before the trial court.27
se which renders the City government liable. Harsh application of the
law ensues as a result thereof but the state assumed the To award moral damages, a court must be satisfied with proof of the
responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the roads and bridges following requisites: (1) an injury -- whether physical, mental, or
and neither exception nor exculpation from liability would deem just psychological -- clearly sustained by the claimant; (2) a culpable act
and equitable."20 (Emphasis supplied) or omission factually established; (3) a wrongful act or omission of
the defendant as the proximate cause of the injury sustained by the
Petitioners belatedly point out that Fulgencio Jr. was driving at the claimant; and (4) the award of damages predicated on any of the
speed of 60 kilometers per hour (kph) when he met the accident. This cases stated in Article 2219.28
speed was allegedly well above the maximum limit of 30 kph allowed
on "city streets with light traffic, when not designated 'through Article 2219(2) specifically allows moral damages to be recovered for
streets,'" as provided under the Land Transportation and Traffic Code quasi-delicts, provided that the act or omission caused physical
(Republic Act 4136). Thus, petitioners assert that Fulgencio Jr., injuries. There can be no recovery of moral damages unless the
having violated a traffic regulation, should be presumed negligent quasi-delict resulted in physical injury.29 This rule was enunciated
pursuant to Article 218521 of the Civil Code.22 in Malonzo v. Galang30 as follows:

These matters were, however, not raised by petitioners at any time "x x x. Besides, Article 2219 specifically mentions 'quasi-delicts
during the trial. It is evident from the records that they brought up for causing physical injuries,' as an instance when moral damages may
the first time the matter of violation of RA 4136 in their Motion for be allowed, thereby implying that all other quasi-delicts not resulting
Reconsideration23 of the CA Decision dated February 21, 2001. It is in physical injuries are excluded, excepting of course, the special torts
too late in the day for them to raise this new issue. It is well-settled referred to in Art. 309 (par. 9, Art. 2219) and in Arts. 21, 26, 27, 28,
that points of law, theories or arguments not brought out in the 29, 30, 32, 34 and 35 on the chapter on human relations (par. 10,
original proceedings cannot be considered on review or appeal.24 To Art. 2219)."
consider their belatedly raised arguments at this stage of the
proceedings would trample on the basic principles of fair play, justice, In the present case, the Complaint alleged that respondent's son
and due process.25 Fulgencio Jr. sustained physical injuries. The son testified that he
suffered a deep cut on his left arm when the car overturned after solidly anchored on a definite showing that
hitting a pile of earth that had been left in the open without any respondent actually experienced emotional and mental sufferings.
warning device whatsoever. Mere allegations do not suffice; they must be substantiated by clear
and convincing proof.36
It is apparent from the Decisions of the trial and the appellate courts,
however, that no other evidence (such as a medical certificate or Third Issue:
proof of medical expenses) was presented to prove Fulgencio Jr.'s
bare assertion of physical injury. Thus, there was no credible proof Exemplary Damages
that would justify an award of moral damages based on Article
2219(2) of the Civil Code. Petitioners argue that exemplary damages and attorney's fees are not
recoverable. Allegedly, the RTC and the CA "did not find that
Moreover, the Decisions are conspicuously silent with respect to the petitioners were guilty of gross negligence in the performance of their
claim of respondent that his moral sufferings were due to the duty and responsibilities."37
negligence of petitioners. The Decision of the trial court, which
summarizes the testimony of respondent's four witnesses, makes no Exemplary damages cannot be recovered as a matter of right.38 While
mention of any statement regarding moral suffering, such as mental granting them is subject to the discretion of the court, they can be
anguish, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, social humiliation awarded only after claimants have shown their entitlement to moral,
and the like. temperate or compensatory damages.39 In the case before us,
respondent sufficiently proved before the courts a quo that
Moral damages are not punitive in nature, but are designed to petitioners' negligence was the proximate cause of the incident,
compensate and alleviate in some way the physical suffering, mental thereby establishing his right to actual or compensatory damages. He
anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded has adduced adequate proof to justify his claim for the damages
feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injury unjustly caused his car. The question that remains, therefore, is whether
inflicted on a person.31 Intended for the restoration of the exemplary damages may be awarded in addition to compensatory
psychological or emotional status quo ante, the award of moral damages.
damages is designed to compensate emotional injury suffered, not to
impose a penalty on the wrongdoer. Article 2231 of the Civil Code mandates that in cases of quasi-delicts,
exemplary damages may be recovered if the defendant acted with
For the court to arrive upon a judicious approximation of emotional or gross negligence.40 Gross negligence means such utter want of care
moral injury, competent and substantial proof of the suffering as to raise a presumption that the persons at fault must have been
experienced must be laid before it. Essential to this approximation conscious of the probable consequences of their carelessness, and
are definite findings as to what the supposed moral damages suffered that they must have nevertheless been indifferent (or worse) to the
consisted of; otherwise, such damages would become a penalty danger of injury to the person or property of others.41 The negligence
rather than a compensation for actual injury suffered.32 must amount to a reckless disregard for the safety of persons or
property. Such a circumstance obtains in the instant case.
Furthermore, well-settled is the rule that moral damages cannot be
awarded -- whether in a civil33 or a criminal case34 -- in the absence of A finding of gross negligence can be discerned from the Decisions of
proof of physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, both the CA and the trial court. We quote from the RTC Decision:
besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social
humiliation, or similar injury.35 The award of moral damages must be
"Sad to state that the City Government through its instrumentalities WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby PARTLY GRANTED. The
have (sic) failed to show the modicum of responsibility, much less, Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED, with
care expected of them (sic) by the constituents of this City. It is even the MODIFICATION that the award of moral damages
more deplorable that it was a case of a street digging in a side street is DELETED. No costs.
which caused the accident in the so-called 'premier city.'"
G.R. No. L-25723 June 29, 1984
The CA reiterated the finding of the trial court that petitioners'
negligence was clear, considering that there was no warning THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS and HEIRS OF THE DECEASED
device whatsoever43 at the excavation site. HOMESTEADERS, namely, IGNACIO BANGUG, PASCUAL
The facts of the case show a complete disregard by petitioners of any ANTONIO DERAY, petitioners-appellants,
adverse consequence of their failure to install even a single warning vs. COURT OF APPEALS and HEIRS OF BRUNO
device at the area under renovation. Considering further that the CABAUATAN, respondents-appellees.
street was dimly lit,44 the need for adequate precautionary measures
was even greater. By carrying on the road diggings without any AQUINO, J.:
warning or barricade, petitioners demonstrated a wanton disregard
for public safety. Indeed, the February 28, 1988 incident was bound This is a land registration case involving 128 hectares of land located
to happen due to their gross negligence. It is clear that under the in Cabagan, Isabela. On page 125 of the Gaceta de Manila dated
circumstances, there is sufficient factual basis for a finding of gross January 30, 1884, it was published that the land applied Or by Bruno
negligence on their part. Cabanatan (sic) "en la jurisdiction de Cabagan de la de Isabela de
Luzon" was declared "enagenables" (Exh. P).
Article 2229 of the Civil Code provides that exemplary damages may
be imposed by way of example or correction for the public good. The On page 142 of the Gaceta de Manila dated August 2, 1885, this entry
award of these damages is meant to be a deterrent to socially was published: "Adjudicando a ... D. Bruno Cabanatan (sic) la
deleterious actions.45 Public policy requires such imposition to extension de 138 hectareas, 91 areas y 50 centiareas de terreno
suppress wanton acts of an offender.46 It must be emphasized that situado en el pueblo de Cabagan, en Isabela de Luzon, en la cantidad
local governments and their employees should be responsible not only de pfs. 188'71 6/81" (Exh. Q. The name is "Cabauatan" in Exh. M).
for the maintenance of roads and streets, but also for the safety of
the public. Thus, they must secure construction areas with adequate "Bruno Cabanatan "of Cabagan, Isabela appears as No. 322 in
precautionary measures. a handwritten list of "Expedientes Remitidos A Terrenos Publicos"
(terminated cases) dated November 30, 1901 in the files the Division
Not only is the work of petitioners impressed with public interest; of Archives (Exh. L and O).
their very existence is justified only by public service. Hence, local
governments have the paramount responsibility of keeping the However, the applicants have not produced in evidence any
interests of the public foremost in their agenda. For these reasons, it composition title, the basis of their application. It was allegedly
is most disturbing to note that the present petitioners are the very burned in the house of Pepe Buraga during the war (34 tsn June 26,
parties responsible for endangering the public through such a rash 1956). So, we do not know the boundaries of the 138 hectares land
and reckless act. allegedly adjudicated to Bruno Cabanatan, granting that he was the
same as Bruno Cabauatan, the ancestor of the applicants; in what
barrio or sitio of Cabagan it is located; why in 1932 the 138 hectares
had been increased to 154 hectares. and why in 1921 the same land that the land is located at Malasi, Cabagan, bounded on the north,
was declared for tax purposes in the name of Honofre Cabauatan, east and south by public land (P.D.) and on the west by a mountain.
Bruno's nephew, and not in the names of Bruno s heirs. How Onofre came to have a tax declaration for that land has not been
adequately explained.
As correctly contended by the Solicitor General, the land applied for
must be Identified. The claim of possession or having a composition Emilio Cabauatan, a son of Onofre, in his opposition and testimony
title is inutile if the land is not Identified. claimed that lawyer Miguel Binag, in behalf of Bruno's heirs, in 1937
proposed to use the said declaration in the land registration
Bruno died during the Spanish regime. The year when he died is not proceeding. He promised to give the heirs of Onofre Cabauatan one-
known. He is survived by seven children with the following third of the land. However, lawyer Binag denied that he ever made
descendants: such a proposition.

1. Candida, survived by Lucio Guingab and Jose Emilio also claimed that the land of Bruno is in Sitio Malini, three
Buraga. kilometers from Sitio Malasi. The trial court and Binag denied that
there was a sitio in Cabagan called Malini. It was not found in the list
2. Paulina, survived by Maria, Jose Gregorio and of sitios in the governor's office.
Epifania, surnamed Samus (children of the first
marriage) and by Eugenia and Vicente Uanan children On March 5,1934 Judge Mariano Rosauro issued Decree No. 536561
of her second marriage. for the registration of a parcel of land, plan 95520, with an area of 25
hectares located at the "sitio of Malisi, Barrio of Aggub," Cabagan. It
3. Francisco, survived by Manuel, Faustina, Juan and was registered in the names of the following heirs of Bruno
Remedios. as proindiviso co-owners without regard to the right of
representation (Exh. J)
4. Bruno 2nd, survived by Purisima, Francisco, Cristeta,
Benjamin and Respicio. 1. Candida Cabauatan 16. Rufina Cabauatan

5. Salvador, survived by Paz, Lucio, Lourdes and Pilar, 2. Maria Samus 17. Paz Cabauatan
who is dead and is in turn survived by her children 3. Jose Samus 18. Lucio Cabauatan
Celso Mesa and Ruben, Mesa.
4. Gregorio Samus 19. Lourdes Cabauatan
6. Heculina, survived by Faustino, Maria, Alejandra,
5. Epifanio Samus 20. Cervex Mesa
Genoveva, Amada and Francisco, all surnamed Cauan.
Genoveva Cauan is dead and is survived by her child, 6. Eugenia Uanan 21. Ruben Mesa
Josefina Balmaceda.
7. Vicente Uanan 22. Faustino Cauan

7. Guillermo, survived by his son, Pedro Cabauatan. 8. Manuel Cabauatan 23. Maria Cauan

Bruno had a brother named Leon, who had a son named Honofre 9. Faustino Cabauatan 24. Alejandra Cauan
(Onofre) who, curiously enough, obtained in 1921 a tax declaration 10. Juan Cabauatan 25. Genoveva Cauan
for the 138 hectares at P5,200. In that tax declaration, it was stated
Lot No. 6 Claimed by Ramon Guingab (already registered,).
11. Remedios Cabauatan 26. Amada Cauan
Lot No. 7 Claimed by Vicente Ramos and Casiano Magbayad.
12. Purisima Cabauatan 27. Francisco Cauan
The provincial fiscal, in representation of the Director of Lands,
13. Francisco Cabauatan 28. Josefina Balmaceda alleged in his opposition that the land claimed by Bruno's heirs was
14. Cristeta Cabauatan And
covered by the approved and subsisting homestead applications of (1)
Santiago Aggabao, deceased, now heirs represented by Simplicio
15. Benjamin Cabauatan 29. Pedro Cabauatan Aggabao; (2) Ignacio Bangug, deceased, now his heirs represented
by Anacleto Bangug; (3) Eusebio Gumiran, deceased, now his heirs
The 25 hectares land already registered has as boundaries parts of represented by Luis Gumiran; (4) Antonio Deray, deceased, now his
the land under controversy. Thus, the decree states that the 25 heirs represented by Pablo Deray; (5) Casiano Magbayad, transferor,
hectares are bounded on the northeast and south by public lands; on now Rodolfo Albano, transferee, and (6) Gaudencio Flores (p. 23,
the east by property of Tomas Vinarao vs. heirs of Bruno RA).
Cabauatan; on the west by property of Lucas Pagulayan vs. heirs of
Bruno Cabauatan and on the northwest by the Lagoon Malasi Grande As already stated, the instant second registration case was filed in
and public land. 1937 based on an expanded survey. The applicants are the very same
heirs of Bruno who were the applicants in the first registration case.
It may be asked: why did not that 1934 registration case embrace the
whole 138 hectares allegedly covered by Bruno's composition title and They claim the land without taking into account the rule on
why did Bruno's heirs have to resort to a second or another representation. The record does not disclose why the case was not
registration case in 1937? The applicants have not offered any finished before liberation. The trial commenced in 1956 or almost
satisfactory explanation. twenty years after the application was filed. That is an unusual
feature of the case.
In 1934, the year the 25 hectares of land located at Malasi, Cabagan,
was registered in the names of Bruno's heirs, they produced a survey Evidence for the applicants, Bruno's heirs. From the testimonies of
plan Psu-95458, for his land which had an area of 154 hectares, much Candida Cabauatan, Jose Buraga, Gabriel Zipagan and Placido
larger than the 138 hectares adjudicated to Bruno in 1885. Clearly, Angoluan, the trial court found that the land in question (128.8 plus
the area was inflated by 16 hectares. The land consisted of seven 25.4 or 154 hectares) was administered by Bruno's son, Salvador.
contiguous lots located in Barrio Aggub, Cabagan. It included the 25 There were allegedly forty tenants during the Spanish regime working
hectares of plan Psu-95520 which was already registered and which in the middle portion of the land.
was designated as Lot No. 6.
Some of the tenants were still on the land during the American
The plan was based on a 1932 survey. The surveyor in 1934 indicated regime. They have been cultivating the land under the overseers,
in the plan Psu-95458 the following claimants of the seven lots (Exh. Zipagan and Angoluan. During the Spanish regime, Bruno's children
F) received 1/3 of the products, such as corn and palay, as the owner's
share. The tenants also planted kapok, acacia trees and some
Lot No. 1 Claimed by Pascual Bangug. oranges.
Lot No. 2 Claimed by Heirs of Antonio Deray.
Lot No. 3 Claimed by Heirs of Ignacio Bangug. They allegedly constructed rice paddies and built dwelling houses.
Lot No. 4 Claimed by Eusebio Gumiran. Bruno's heirs have possessed the land openly, peacefully,
Lot No. 5 Uncultivated.
continuously and in the concept of owner since the Spanish regime up Ignacio Bangug in 1917 occupied about ten hectares of the land in
to the present time. Sitio Malasi. He planted it to rice, corn, tobacco and beans. He applied
in 1926 for a homestead over that parcel of land (Exh. 11). He paid
In 1916, about 50 hectares of the land were under cultivation, the the land taxes as early as 1922 (Exh. 1 to 10). His application was
greater portion of which is included in Lot No. 6, which, as already approved in 1931. After his death in 1931, his son Jose continued to
mentioned, was registered in 1934 in the names of Bruno's heirs, the occupy the homestead. Jose Bangug did not know that the land was
same applicants in this 1937 case. The land taxes were paid since included in the survey made for Bruno's heirs.
1921 in the name of Honofre, not an heir of Bruno.
Pascual Bangug, who died in 1950, had cultivated a portion of the
Evidence for the Director of Lands and homesteaders. As oppositor, disputed land since 1910 and in 1911 he filed his homestead
the Director of Lands presented the following documentary evidence: application (Exh. F). He declared it for tax purposes and paid the land
taxes since 1916 (Exh. 2 to 24). The homestead patent was issued in
(1) The 1924 homestead application of Eusebio Gumiran and his 1931 (Exh. 25). He built his house on the land. His heirs continued his
intention to make final proof dated July 22, 1930 for 24 hectares of possession after his death. Pascual planted the land to rice, corn,
land located at Sitio Malasi, Barrio Aggub, Cabagan (Exh- 1-3). mongo, peanuts, oranges, lemon, acacia and bamboos.

(2) The order dated August 28, 1931 for the issuance of a patent Eusebio Gumiran occupied in 1924 a portion of Lots Nos. 4 and 5
to Pascual Bangug for 24 hectares covered by his 1911 application (Exh. K). He filed his homestead application in that same year. He
(Exh. 5 and 6-DL). planted the land to rice and other staple crops. He made a final proof
in 1930. After his death in 1942, his children and widow continued to
(3) The approval dated November 23, 1931 of Ignacio possess the homestead.
Bangug's homestead application for 10 hectares (Exh. 7 and 8-DL).
Santiago Aggabao started occupying the land in Sitio Malasi in 1927.
(4) The approval dated March 23, 1932 of Casiano It has an area of 24 hectares. His homestead application was
Mabbayad's homestead application for 24 hectares (Exh. 10 and 11- approved in 1932 (Exh. 16). His children have possessed the
DL) homestead after his death. They planted it to rice, corn and
(5) The approval dated August 12, 1950 of Gaudencio
Flores' homestead application for 24 hectares (Exh. 12 and 13-DL). Antonio Deray filed in 1924 his homestead application for 24 hectares
in what is now Lot No. 2 of the survey plan. It was approved in 1928
(6) The approval dated August 24, 1932 of Santiago Agabao's 1926 (Exh. 17 and 18-DL). His heirs have been in possession of the
homestead application for 24 hectares (Exh. 14 and 16-DL). homestead.

(7) The approval dated May 15, 1928 of Antonio Deray's homestead Gaudencio Flores and the heirs of Honofre Cabauatan also presented
application for 24 hectares (Exh. 17-DL). evidence as oppositors but they did not appeal to this Court.

As noted by the Solicitor General, the Court of Appeals failed to Ruling. The trial court granted the application for registration of the
mention in its decision the evidence for the homesteaders. The six lots with an area of 128 hectares, in addition to the often
following is a summary of that evidence by the Solicitor General and mentioned 25 hectares already registered. It reasoned out that if
the trial court. Bruno's heirs had possession of the said 25 hectares, they could be
deemed to have "constructive possession" of the remaining part of
the land provided that the same is not in the adverse possession of
another person (Ramos vs. Director of Lands, 39 Phil. 175).lwphl@it

We hold that the rule on constructive possession does not apply to

this case because the major portion of the disputed 128 hectares has
been in the adverse possession of homesteaders and their heirs and is
still part of the public domain until the patents are issued.

The area claimed is in excess of that mentioned in the committed

position title. The alleged lost composition title cannot be given any
probative value. Its contents were not proven by secondary evidence.
The precise location of the land and the possession thereof were not
proven by the applicants. The alleged possession of Bruno's heirs may
refer to the 25 hectares already registered in their names.
Inexplicably, the registration of the 154 hectares was made in two

WHEREFORE, the decisions of the Court of Appeals and the trial court
are reversed and set aside. The application for registration is
dismissed. The Director of Lands should issue to appellant heirs of the
deceased homesteaders their patents in accordance with the Public
Land Law. Costs against the applicants.