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G.R. No. L-20089 December 26, 1964 On August 23, 1955 defendant failed to appear before court.

On August 23, 1955 defendant failed to appear before court. Instead, on the following
BEATRIZ P. WASSMER, plaintiff-appellee, vs.FRANCISCO X. VELEZ, defendant- day his counsel filed a motion to defer for two weeks the resolution on defendants
appellant. petition for relief. The counsel stated that he would confer with defendant in Cagayan
BENGZON, J.P., J.: de Oro City — the latter's residence — on the possibility of an amicable element. The
court granted two weeks counted from August 25, 1955.
The facts that culminated in this case started with dreams and hopes, followed by
appropriate planning and serious endeavors, but terminated in frustration and, what is Plaintiff manifested on June 15, 1956 that the two weeks given by the court had expired
worse, complete public humiliation. on September 8, 1955 but that defendant and his counsel had failed to appear.

Francisco X. Velez and Beatriz P. Wassmer, following their mutual promise of love, Another chance for amicable settlement was given by the court in its order of July 6,
decided to get married and set September 4, 1954 as the big day. On September 2, 1954 1956 calling the parties and their attorneys to appear on July 13, 1956. This time.
Velez left this note for his bride-to-be: however, defendant's counsel informed the court that chances of settling the case
amicably were nil.
Dear Bet —
On July 20, 1956 the court issued an order denying defendant's aforesaid petition.
Will have to postpone wedding — My mother opposes it. Am leaving on the Convair Defendant has appealed to this Court. In his petition of June 21, 1955 in the court a
today. quo defendant alleged excusable negligence as ground to set aside the judgment by
default. Specifically, it was stated that defendant filed no answer in the belief that an
amicable settlement was being negotiated.
Please do not ask too many people about the reason why — That would only create
a scandal.
A petition for relief from judgment on grounds of fraud, accident, mistake or excusable
negligence, must be duly supported by an affidavit of merits stating facts constituting a
valid defense. (Sec. 3, Rule 38, Rules of Court.) Defendant's affidavit of merits attached
to his petition of June 21, 1955 stated: "That he has a good and valid defense against
But the next day, September 3, he sent her the following telegram: plaintiff's cause of action, his failure to marry the plaintiff as scheduled having been due
to fortuitous event and/or circumstances beyond his control." An affidavit of merits like
NOTHING CHANGED REST ASSURED RETURNING VERY SOON APOLOGIZE this stating mere conclusions or opinions instead of facts is not valid. (Cortes vs. Co Bun
MAMA PAPA LOVE . Kim, L-3926, Oct. 10, 1951; Vaswani vs. P. Tarrachand Bros., L-15800, December 29,
Defendant, however, would contend that the affidavit of merits was in fact unnecessary,
Thereafter Velez did not appear nor was he heard from again. or a mere surplusage, because the judgment sought to be set aside was null and void, it
having been based on evidence adduced before the clerk of court. In Province
of Pangasinan vs. Palisoc, L-16519, October 30, 1962, this Court pointed out that the
Sued by Beatriz for damages, Velez filed no answer and was declared in default. Plaintiff
procedure of designating the clerk of court as commissioner to receive evidence is
adduced evidence before the clerk of court as commissioner, and on April 29, 1955,
sanctioned by Rule 34 (now Rule 33) of the Rules of Court. Now as to defendant's
judgment was rendered ordering defendant to pay plaintiff P2,000.00 as actual damages;
consent to said procedure, the same did not have to be obtained for he was declared in
P25,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages; P2,500.00 as attorney's fees; and the costs.
default and thus had no standing in court (Velez vs. Ramas, 40 Phil. 787; Alano vs. Court
of First Instance, L-14557, October 30, 1959).
On June 21, 1955 defendant filed a "petition for relief from orders, judgment and
proceedings and motion for new trial and reconsideration." Plaintiff moved to strike it
In support of his "motion for new trial and reconsideration," defendant asserts that the
cut. But the court, on August 2, 1955, ordered the parties and their attorneys to appear
judgment is contrary to law. The reason given is that "there is no provision of the Civil
before it on August 23, 1955 "to explore at this stage of the proceedings the possibility of
Code authorizing" an action for breach of promise to marry. Indeed, our ruling
arriving at an amicable settlement." It added that should any of them fail to appear "the
in Hermosisima vs. Court of Appeals (L-14628, Sept. 30, 1960), as reiterated in Estopa vs.
petition for relief and the opposition thereto will be deemed submitted for resolution."
Biansay (L-14733, Sept. 30, 1960), is that "mere breach of a promise to marry" is not an

actionable wrong. We pointed out that Congress deliberately eliminated from the draft G.R. No. L-18630 December 17, 1966
of the new Civil Code the provisions that would have it so. APOLONIO TANJANCO, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and
ARACELI SANTOS, respondents.
It must not be overlooked, however, that the extent to which acts not contrary to law REYES, J.B.L., J.:
may be perpetrated with impunity, is not limitless for Article 21 of said Code provides
that "any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is Appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeals (in its Case No. 27210-R) revoking an
contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the order of the Court of First Instance of Rizal (in Civil Case No. Q-4797) dismissing
damage." appellant's action for support and damages.

The record reveals that on August 23, 1954 plaintiff and defendant applied for a license The essential allegations of the complaint are to the effect that, from December, 1957, the
to contract marriage, which was subsequently issued (Exhs. A, A-1). Their wedding was defendant (appellee herein), Apolonio Tanjanco, courted the plaintiff, Araceli Santos,
set for September 4, 1954. Invitations were printed and distributed to relatives, friends both being of adult age; that "defendant expressed and professed his undying love and
and acquaintances (Tsn., 5; Exh. C). The bride-to-be's trousseau, party drsrses and other affection for plaintiff who also in due time reciprocated the tender feelings"; that in
apparel for the important occasion were purchased (Tsn., 7-8). Dresses for the maid of consideration of defendant's promise of marriage plaintiff consented and acceded to
honor and the flower girl were prepared. A matrimonial bed, with accessories, was defendant's pleas for carnal knowledge; that regularly until December 1959, through his
bought. Bridal showers were given and gifts received (Tsn., 6; Exh. E). And then, with protestations of love and promises of marriage, defendant succeeded in having carnal
but two days before the wedding, defendant, who was then 28 years old,: simply left a access to plaintiff, as a result of which the latter conceived a child; that due to her
note for plaintiff stating: "Will have to postpone wedding — My mother opposes it ... " pregnant condition, to avoid embarrassment and social humiliation, plaintiff had to
He enplaned to his home city in Mindanao, and the next day, the day before the resign her job as secretary in IBM Philippines, Inc., where she was receiving P230.00 a
wedding, he wired plaintiff: "Nothing changed rest assured returning soon." But he month; that thereby plaintiff became unable to support herself and her baby; that due to
never returned and was never heard from again. defendant's refusal to marry plaintiff, as promised, the latter suffered mental anguish,
besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, and social humiliation. The
prayer was for a decree compelling the defendant to recognize the unborn child that
Surely this is not a case of mere breach of promise to marry. As stated, mere breach of
plaintiff was bearing; to pay her not less than P430.00 a month for her support and that
promise to marry is not an actionable wrong. But to formally set a wedding and go
of her baby, plus P100,000.00 in moral and exemplary damages, plus P10,000.00
through all the above-described preparation and publicity, only to walk out of it when
attorney's fees.
the matrimony is about to be solemnized, is quite different. This is palpably and
unjustifiably contrary to good customs for which defendant must be held answerable in
damages in accordance with Article 21 aforesaid. Upon defendant's motion to dismiss, the court of first instance dismissed the complaint
for failure to state a cause of action.
Defendant urges in his afore-stated petition that the damages awarded were excessive.
No question is raised as to the award of actual damages. What defendant would really Plaintiff Santos duly appealed to the Court of Appeals, and the latter ultimately decided
assert hereunder is that the award of moral and exemplary damages, in the amount of the case, holding with the lower court that no cause of action was shown to compel
P25,000.00, should be totally eliminated. recognition of a child as yet unborn, nor for its support, but decreed that the complaint
did state a cause of action for damages, premised on Article 21 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines, prescribing as follows:
Per express provision of Article 2219 (10) of the New Civil Code, moral damages are
recoverable in the cases mentioned in Article 21 of said Code. As to exemplary damages,
defendant contends that the same could not be adjudged against him because under ART. 21. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner
Article 2232 of the New Civil Code the condition precedent is that "the defendant acted that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the
in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or malevolent manner." The argument is latter for the damage.
devoid of merit as under the above-narrated circumstances of this case defendant clearly
acted in a "wanton ... , reckless [and] oppressive manner." This Court's opinion, The Court of Appeals, therefore, entered judgment setting aside the dismissal and
however, is that considering the particular circumstances of this case, P15,000.00 as directing the court of origin to proceed with the case.
moral and exemplary damages is deemed to be a reasonable award.
Defendant, in turn, appealed to this Court, pleading that actions for breach of a promise
PREMISES CONSIDERED, with the above-indicated modification, the lower court's to marry are not permissible in this jurisdiction, and invoking the rulings of this Court
judgment is hereby affirmed, with costs.
in Estopa vs. Piansay, L-14733, September 30, 1960; Hermosisima vs. Court of Appeals, L- induced to depart from the path of virtue by the use of some species of arts,
14628, January 29, 1962; and De Jesus vs. SyQuia, 58 Phil. 886. persuasions and wiles, which are calculated to have and do have that effect,
and which result in her ultimately submitting her person to the sexual
We find this appeal meritorious. embraces of her seducer (27 Phil. 123).

In holding that the complaint stated a cause of action for damages, under Article 21 And in American Jurisprudence we find:
above mentioned, the Court of Appeals relied upon and quoted from the memorandum
submitted by the Code Commission to the Legislature in 1949 to support the original On the other hand, in an action by the woman, the enticement, persuasion or
draft of the Civil Code. Referring to Article 23 of the draft (now Article 21 of the Code), deception is the essence of the injury; and a mere proof of intercourse is
the Commission stated: insufficient to warrant a recover.

But the Code Commission has gone farther than the sphere of wrongs defined Accordingly it is not seduction where the willingness arises out of sexual desire
or determined by positive law. Fully sensible that there are countless gaps in or curiosity of the female, and the defendant merely affords her the needed
the statutes, which leave so many victims of moral wrongs helpless, even opportunity for the commission of the act. It has been emphasized that to allow
though they have actually suffered material and moral injury, the Commission a recovery in all such cases would tend to the demoralization of the female sex,
has deemed it necessary, in the interest of justice, to incorporate in the and would be a reward for unchastity by which a class of adventuresses would
proposed Civil Code the following rule: be swift to profit." (47 Am. Jur. 662)

"ART. 23. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in Bearing these principles in mind, let us examine the complaint. The material allegations
a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy there are as follows:
shall compensate the latter for the damage."
I. That the plaintiff is of legal age, single, and residing at 56 South E. Diliman,
An example will illustrate the purview of the foregoing norm: "A" seduces the Quezon City, while defendant is also of legal age, single and residing at 525
nineteen-year old daughter of "X". A promise of marriage either has not been Padre Faura, Manila, where he may be served with summons;
made, or can not be proved. The girl becomes pregnant. Under the present
laws, there is no crime, as the girl is above eighteen years of age. Neither can II. That the plaintiff and the defendant became acquainted with each other
any civil action for breach of promise of marriage be filed. Therefore, though sometime in December, 1957 and soon thereafter, the defendant started visiting
the grievous moral wrong has been committed, and though the girl and her and courting the plaintiff;
family have suffered incalculable moral damage, she and her parents cannot
bring any action for damages. But under the proposed article, she and her
III. That the defendant's visits were regular and frequent and in due time the
parents would have such a right of action.
defendant expressed and professed his undying love and affection for the
plaintiff who also in due time reciprocated the tender feelings;
The Court of Appeals seems to have overlooked that the example set forth in the Code
Commission's memorandum refers to a tort upon a minor who has been seduced. The
IV. That in the course of their engagement, the plaintiff and the defendant as
essential feature is seduction, that in law is more than mere sexual intercourse, or a
are wont of young people in love had frequent outings and dates, became very
breach of a promise of marriage; it connotes essentially the idea of deceit, enticement,
close and intimate to each other and sometime in July, 1958, in consideration
superior power or abuse of confidence on the part of the seducer to which the woman
of the defendant's promises of marriage, the plaintiff consented and acceded to
has yielded (U.S. vs. Buenaventura, 27 Phil. 121; U.S. vs. Arlante, 9 Phil. 595).
the former's earnest and repeated pleas to have carnal knowledge with him;

It has been ruled in the Buenaventura case (supra) that —

V. That subsequent thereto and regularly until about July, 1959 except for a
short period in December, 1958 when the defendant was out of the country, the
To constitute seduction there must in all cases be some sufficient promise or defendant through his protestations of love and promises of marriage
inducement and the woman must yield because of the promise or other inducement. succeeded in having carnal knowledge with the plaintiff;
If she consents merely from carnal lust and the intercourse is from mutual
desire, there is no seduction (43 Cent. Dig. tit. Seduction, par. 56). She must be

VI. That as a result of their intimate relationship, the plaintiff started conceiving that in 1925 their house thereon was demolished as it was old; that they planted
which was confirmed by a doctor sometime in July, 1959; bamboos on the land; that Jose Bautista Santiago, a nephew-in-law, erected a house
on said lot and lived therein for sometime until he became a widower when he
VII. That upon being certain of her pregnant condition, the plaintiff informed transferred to another house; that said Jose Bautista Santiago one day accompanied
the defendant and pleaded with him to make good his promises of marriage, his sister Estrudes Bautista to stay in that house; and that Santiago was allowed by
but instead of honoring his promises and righting his wrong, the defendant his father to build a house on said lot on condition that he would pay for the land
stopped and refrained from seeing the plaintiff since about July, 1959 has not taxes as compensation for the use of the land. He admitted, however, that be only
visited the plaintiff and to all intents and purposes has broken their learned about this agreement from his father. On September 15,1962, and September
engagement and his promises. 24,1962 he sent written demands to defendant Bruno Bautista, thru his lawyer, to
vacate the lot and remove the houses thereon, (Exhs. A & B). The testimony of the
other witness Juan Bunag was stricken from the records as he failed to return to court
Over and above the partisan allegations, the facts stand out that for one whole year,
for cross-examination.
from 1958 to 1959, the plaintiff-appellee, a woman of adult age, maintained intimate
sexual relations with appellant, with repeated acts of intercourse. Such conduct is
incompatible with the idea of seduction. Plainly there is here voluntariness and mutual On the other hand, the evidence for the defendant consist of the testimony of
passion; for had the appellant been deceived, had she surrendered exclusively because defendant Bruno Bautista who testified that he is the owner of the land in question
of the deceit, artful persuasions and wiles of the defendant, she would not have again by virtue of a deed of sale, of January 3, 1941, signed by Apolonio Bunag with his
yielded to his embraces, much less for one year, without exacting early fulfillment of the thumbmark; that Bunag first offered it for sale to his brother Jose Bautista, but as the
alleged promises of marriage, and would have cut chart all sexual relations upon finding latter had no money, he referred the matter to his father; that after he was contacted
that defendant did not intend to fulfill his promises. Hence, we conclude that no case is in Baguio by his father, he sent the P100.00 as consideration of the sale and so the
made under Article 21 of the Civil Code, and no other cause of action being alleged, no sale was consummated between his father and Bunag; that he came down from
error was committed by the Court of First Instance in dismissing the complaint. Baguio and had the house repaired and he stayed there with his family until
liberation when they left the house and allowed his sister Estrudes Bautista to live
therein; that he planted bananas, chicos, trees, calamansi, eggplants, thereon; that he
Of course, the dismissal must be understood as without prejudice to whatever actions
had been paying the land taxes thereon (Exhs. 5 to 5-M); that the property is declared
may correspond to the child of the plaintiff against the defendant-appellant, if any. On
in his name (Exh. 6); and he denies that her sister Estrudes requested Apolonio
that point, this Court makes no pronouncement, since the child's own rights are not here
Bunag to allow her to stay on the property as her sister had a house of her own then.

Brigida Bautista testified that her brother bought the said property from Apolonio
FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, the decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed,
Bunag and that she was present when Bunag affixed Ms thumbmark on the
and that of the Court of First Instance is affirmed. No costs.
document (Exh. 1); that aside from this deed, there were other documents supporting
the sale as the note (Exh. 2) containing the consideration and the parties. Assessor's
G.R. No. L-39013 February 29,1988 Field Sheet of the property (Exh. 3) and the letter of the assessor to Bunag in 1941
FRANCISCO BUNAG, petitioner, vs.COURT OF APPEALS, ESTRUDES informing him of the revision of the assessment. (Rollo, pp. 15-18).
BAUTISTA Vda. de BITUIN and BRUNO BAUTISTA, respondents.
The trial court decided in favor of petitioner, the dispositive portion of the decision
reading as follows:
The core of the controversy in this case is a thumb-marked. non-notarized and non-
witnessed deed of sale of a parcel of unregistered land, which on its face cannot but
cause a prudent man to doubt its due execution and authenticity. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, judgment is rendered in favor of the plaintiff. The
defendants, Bruno Bautista and Estrudes Bautista vda. de Bituin, are hereby ordered
to vacate the property herein described and to deliver possession thereof to the
The facts are briefly summarized in the decision of the Court of Appeals:
plaintiff, Francisco Bunag; ordering the said defendants, jointly and severally, to pay
the land taxes of the property up to and including the year 1968; and to pay the
The evidence of the plaintiff consisting of the sole testimony of said plaintiff is to the plaintiff the sum of P15.00 per month as reasonable rentals thereof from the date of
effect that the property in question was originally owned by his father Apolonio this judgment until the property is delivered to the plaintiff; to pay the plaintiff the
Bunag Aguas as shown by Tax Declaration Nos. 546 for 1941 and 320 for 1960 (Exhs. sum of P200.00 as expenses of litigation and costs. For lack of merit, the counterclaim
B & E), located at San Nicolas, Betis, Pampanga; that he had been living in their house of the defendants are dismiss (Rollo, pp. 14-15)
thereon with his father until 1920 when they transferred their residence to Tarlac;
The Court of Appeals, finding the deed of sale (Exhibit 1) to have been validly executed Q. Do you know if there is any document evidencing the purchase of the said
and, thus, concluding that "the preponderance of evidence leans heavily in favor of the property from Apolonio Bunag.?
claim of the ownership of defendant Bruno Bautista" [Rollo p. 18], set aside the decision A. Yes, sir.
of the trial court and dismissed the complaint. The motion for reconsideration was Q. Showing to you this document already marked as Exhibit 1, do you recognize
subsequently denied by the Court of Appeals in a minute resolution for lack of merit. this?
A. Yes, sir, this is the document showing the purchase and sale of the lot in litigation.
Consequently, resolution of the instant petition primarily revolves around the issue of Q. At the bottom portion thereof, appears a thumbmark above the typewritten name
the due execution authenticity of the deed of sale (Exhibit 1). The petitioner assigned the Apolonio Bunag, do you know whose thumbmark this is?
following errors: A. That is the thumbmark of Apolonio Bunag, sir, and I know that is his because I
saw him affixed (sic) his thumbmark. TSN, March 25,1967, pp. 1-2).
(EXHIBIT "1") WAS DULY EXECUTED AND AUTHENTICATED. However, the trial court found proof of the due execution and authenticity of the deed
of sale (Exhibit 1) wanting, reasoning that:
ACCORDANCE WITH THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD. The testimony of this witness (Brigida Bautista) has to be received with caution,
coming as it does from a sister of the defendants. The circumstances other alleged
presence during the "execution" of the deed of sale was not related. Neither does she
At the outset, it must be emphasized that the deed of sale (Exhibit 1) was not
give any light as to whether Apolonio Bunag understood the document. It should be
acknowledged before a notary public and neither are there any signatures in the blank
noted that (Exhibit "1") was written in English. Since it appears that said document
spaces for the signatures of attesting witnesses. The document is typewritten in English
was merely thumb-marked, it could reasonably be inferred that Apolonio Bunag, the
and over the similarly typewritten words "APOLONIO BUNIAG" is a thumbprint.
supposed vendor, was illiterate. Under the stances, the minimum proof necessary to
establish due authenticity should, in the least, include evidence that the document
The deed of sale (Exhibit 1) is not notarized and is, therefore, a private writing (U.S. v. (Exhibit "1") was duly read, explained and translated to Apolonio Bunag.
Orera, 11 Phil. 596 (1908)], whose due execution and authenticity must be proved before Unfortunately, no such evidence was presented. Another fact which compels this
it can be received in evidence (Nolan v. Sales, 7 Phil. 1 (1906); U.S. v. Evangelists, 29 Phil. Court to proceed with caution is the fact that there are no instrumental witnesses in
215 (1915); Antillon v. Barcelon, 37 Phil. 148 (1917)]. the document. The mischief that lurks behind accepting at face value a document
that is merely thumb-marked. without any witnesses to it, and not acknowledged
Proof of the due execution and authenticity of private writings is required under Section before a notary public could be one of the reasons behind the requirement of the
21, Rule 132 of the Revised Rules of Court, to wit: rules on evidence that a private writing must be shown to be duly executed and
authenticated. The probative value of the testimony of Brigida Bautista, who did not
Sec. 21. Private writing, its execution and authenticity, how proved. — Before any furnish us with any details surrounding the execution of Exhibit "l," coming as it
private writing may be received in evidence, its due execution and authenticity does from a person whose partisanship can not, and should not, be overlook (sic),
must be proved either: fags short from (sic) the minimum requirements of credibility. Indeed it has been
(a) By anyone who saw the writing executed; said that the testimony of an eye-witness as to the execution of a private document
(b) By evidence of the genuineness of the handwriting of the maker; or must be positive. He must state that the document was actually executed by the
(c) By a subscribing witness. person whose name is subscribed thereto. It is not sufficient if he states in a general
manner that such person made the writing (Nolan vs. Salas, Bail. More so if the
document was merely thumb-marked.
To support its conclusion as to the due execution and authenticity of the deed of sale
(Exhibit 1), the Court of Appeals relied on the testimony of Brigida Bautista, a sister of
private respondents. She testified as follows: Regretably, this Court can not accept, for failure of proof as to its due execution and
authenticity, the probative value of Exhibit "1". (Record on Appeal, pp.38-39).
Q. Who is the owner of the property?
A My brother Bruno Bautista. The Court sustains and adopts the trial court's findings and its conclusion that private
Q. Do you know how your brother, Bruno Bautista, came to own the same property? respondents have failed to prove the due execution and authenticity of the deed of sale
A. Yes, sir. He bought it from Apolonio Bunag. (Exhibit 1).

The due execution and authenticity of the deed of sale, (Exhibit 1) not having been Thus, this Court finds merit in petitioner's contention that the Court of Appeals's
satisfactorily proven, such private document should be excluded [Paz v. Santiago, 47 conclusion is not supported by the record, for said conclusion is contrary to the
Phil. 334 (1925); Alejandrino v. Reyes, 53 Phil. 973 (1929); Chapman v. Garcia, 64 Phil. stipulated fact and the evidence offered by private respondents, which support
618 (1937); General Enterprises v. Lianga Bay Logging Co., G.R. No. L-18487, August 31, petitioner's contention that his father did not sen the disputed property to private
1964, 11 SCRA 733]. respondents' father, but merely allowed their brother to build a house on the land on
the condition that the latter would pay for the realty taxes due.
2. Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred in arriving at a conclusion not
supported by the record, when it said: With the exclusion of the deed of sale (Exhibit 1), the conclusiveness of the stipulation
regarding the payment of realty taxes and the declaration of Apolonio Bunag Aguas as
The pretension of the plaintiff that the defendant bound himself to pay the taxes for the owner in the Real Estate Tax Receipts (Exhibits 5-5-M) it becomes apparent that
the use of the land is belied by the fact that the defendant paid the taxes in his own petitioner's father never ceased to own the disputed property.
name and not in the name of Bunag, and the defendant kept the receipts of payment
and did not deliver even one of those receipts to Bunag. (Rollo, p. 19.) At this juncture, it would be opportune to address private respondent's submission that
the questions raised in petitioner's petition for review are questions of fact and not of
Petitioner argues that this finding is grossly erroneous, considering that in the law and, therefore, this Court should not disturb the findings of fact of the Court of
stipulation of facts submitted by both parties before the trial court, it is expressly Appeals. While the Court agrees with private respondents that, ordinarily, the Supreme
provided: Court should not review questions of fact in appeals of this nature, the Court finds,
however, that an exception obtains in the instant case, for clearly evident is a
misapprehension of facts [De la Cruz v. Sosing, 94 Phil. 26 (1953); Castillo v. Court of
3. That the parties hereto hereby stipulate and agree that the defendant, Bruno
Appeals, G.R. No. 1,48290, September 29, 1983, 124 SCRA 808]. As summarized by the
Bautista, has been paying the land taxes due on the aforesaid property, personally
Court in a recent decision:
or thru his wife, Consolacion Capati, for the period from 1940 to 1964, as shown by
the corresponding official land tax receipts duly issued by the Municipal Treasurer
of Guagua, Pampanga; however, under the column NAME OF DECLARED The jurisdiction of this Court in cases brought to us from the Court of Appeals (now
OWNER thereof, the name Bunag Aguas Apolonio is written. Intermediate Appellate Court) is limited to the review of errors of law, said appellate
court's findings of fact being conclusive upon us except (1) when the conclusion is a
finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmises or conjectures; (2) when the
As this fact was stipulated by the parties, it need not be proven, it cannot be contradicted
inference made is manifestly absurd, mistaken or impossible; (3) when there is grave
by evidence to the contrary, and it is conclusive upon the parties, unless it is shown that
abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts; (4) when the judgment is premised
the admission was made through a palpable mistake [Irlanda v. Pitargue, 22 Phil. 383
on a misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting; and (6)
(1912); Board of Administrators, Philippine Veterans Administration v. Agcaoili, G.R.
when the Court of Appeals, in making its findings went beyond the issues of the case
No. L-38129, July 23,1974, 58 SCRA 72].
and the same is contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee ... [Rizal
Cement Co., Inc. v. Villareal, G.R. No. L-30272, February 28, 1985, 135 SCRA 151].
There being no allegation of a palpable mistake that would relieve private respondents
from the stipulation of facts, the stipulated fact above-quoted is conclusive upon the
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED, the decision of the Court of Appeals
is set aside and the decision of the trial court is affirmed in toto. This Decision is
immediately executory.
The Court of Appeals cannot arbitrarily disregard the statement of facts agreed upon by
the parties [Siping v. Cacob, 10 Phil. 717 (1908)]. It is duty bound to render judgment
strictly in accordance with the stipulation of facts [Cabrera v. Lacson, 71 Phil. 182 (1940)].

G.R. No. 57227 May 14, 1992

It may also be added that, indeed, in the Real Estate Tax Receipts (Exhibits 5-5-M)
covering the years 1947 to 1964 presented by private respondents as their evidence,
represented herein by the former, his mother and natural guardian, petitioners, vs.
under the column entitled "NAME OF DECLARED OWNER" the name "Bunag Aguas
Apolonio" is written. This assumes greater significance considering that the payors in
these receipts were either private respondent Bruno Bautista, his wife Consolacion
Capati or Ambrosio Bautista.

This is a petition for review on certiorari questioning the decision1 dated April 30, 1981 After hearing, the trial court rendered a decision dated June 21, 1976, the dispositive
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 61552-R which dismissed petitioner's complaint portion of which reads, viz:
and set aside the resolution2 dated October 21, 1976 of the then Court of First Instance
of Davao, 16th Judicial District, amending the dispositive portion of its decision dated WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of
June 21, 1976 and ordering private respondent Ivan Mendez: (1) to acknowledge the plaintiff Amelita Constantino and against defendant Ivan Mendez, ordering the
minor Michael Constantino as his illegitimate child; (2) to give a monthly support of latter to pay Amelita Constantino the sum of P8,000.00 by way of actual and moral
P300.00 to the minor child; (3) to pay complainant Amelita Constantino the sum of damages; and, the sum of P3,000.00, as and by way of attorney's fees. The defendant
P8,200.00 as actual and moral damages; and (4) to pay attorney's fees in the sum of shall pay the costs of this suit.
P5,000 plus costs.
It appears on record that on June 5, 1975, petitioner Amelita Constantino filed an action
for acknowledgment, support and damages against private respondent Ivan Mendez.
From the above decision, both parties filed their separate motion for reconsideration.
The case was filed with the then CFI of Davao, 10th Judicial District and docketed as
Ivan Mendez anchored his motion on the ground that the award of damages was not
Civil Case No. 8881. In her complaint, Amelita Constantino alleges, among others, that
supported by evidence. Amelita Constantino, on the other hand, sought the recognition
sometime in the month of August, 1974, she met Ivan Mendez at Tony's Restaurant
and support of her son Michael Constantino as the illegitimate son of Ivan Mendez.
located at Sta. Cruz, Manila, where she worked as a waitress; that the day following
their first meeting, Ivan invited Amelita to dine with him at Hotel Enrico where he was
billeted; that while dining, Ivan professed his love and courted Amelita; that Amelita In its resolution dated October 21, 1976, the trial court granted Amelita Constantino's
asked for time to think about Ivan's proposal; that at about 11:00 o'clock in the evening, motion for reconsideration, and amended the dispositive portion of its decision dated
Amelita asked Ivan to bring her home to which the latter agreed, that on the pretext of June 21, 1976 to read as follows, viz:
getting something, Ivan brought Amelita inside his hotel room and through a promise
of marriage succeeded in having sexual intercourse with the latter; that after the sexual WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of
contact, Ivan confessed to Amelita that he is a married man; that they repeated their plaintiff Amelita Constantino and plaintiff-minor Michael Constantino, and against
sexual contact in the months of September and November, 1974, whenever Ivan is in defendant Ivan Mendez ordering the latter to pay Amelita Constantino the sum of
Manila, as a result of which Amelita got pregnant; that her pleas for help and support P8,000.00 by way of actual and moral damages and the sum of P200.00 as and by
fell on deaf ears; that Amelita had no sexual relations with any other man except Ivan way of payment of the hospital and medical bills incurred during the delivery of
who is the father of the child yet to be born at the time of the filing of the complaint; that plaintiff-minor Michael Constantino; to recognize as his own illegitimate child the
because of her pregnancy, Amelita was forced to leave her work as a waitress; that Ivan plaintiff-minor Michael Constantino who shall be entitled to all the rights, privileges
is a prosperous businessman of Davao City with a monthly income of P5,000 to P8,000. and benefits appertaining to a child of such status; to give a permanent monthly
As relief, Amelita prayed for the recognition of the unborn child, the payment of actual, support in favor of plaintiff Michael Constantino the amount of P300.00; and the sum
moral and exemplary damages, attorney's fees plus costs. of P5,000.00 as and by way of attorney's fees. The defendant shall pay the costs of
this suit.
In his answer dated August 5, 1975, Ivan admitted that he met Amelita at Tony's Cocktail
Lounge but denied having sexual knowledge or illicit relations with her. He prayed for Let this Order form part of the decision dated June 21, 1976.
the dismissal of the complaint for lack of cause of action. By way of counterclaim, he
further prayed for the payment of exemplary damages and litigation expense including SO ORDERED.
attorney's fees for the filing of the malicious complaint.
On appeal to the Court of Appeals, the above amended decision was set aside and the
On September 1, 1975, Amelita Constantino filed a motion for leave to amend the complaint was dismissed. Hence, this petition for review.
complaint impleading as co-plaintiff her son Michael Constantino who was born on
August 3, 1975. In its order dated September 4, 1975, the trial court admitted the
Basically, the issue to be resolved in the case at bar is whether or not the Court of Appeals
amended complaint.
committed a reversible error in setting aside the decision of the trial court and in
dismissing the complaint.
On September 11, 1975, Ivan Mendez filed his answer to the amended complaint
reiterating his previous answer denying that Michael Constantino is his illegitimate son.
Petitioners contend that the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the factual findings of
the trial and in not affirming the decision of the trial court. They also pointed out that
the appellate court committed a misapprehension of facts when it concluded that Ivan Petitioner's assertion that Ivan is her first and only boyfriend (TSN, December 8, 1975,
did not have sexual access with Amelita during the first or second week of November, p. 65) is belied by Exhibit 2, her own letter addressed to Mrs. Mendez where she revealed
1976 (should be 1974), the time of the conception of the child. the reason for her attachment to Ivan who possessed certain traits not possessed by her
boyfriend. She also confided that she had a quarrel with her boyfriend because of
It must be stressed at the outset that factual findings of the trial court have only a gossips so she left her work. An order for recognition and support may create an
persuasive and not a conclusive effect on the Court of Appeals. In the exercise of its unwholesome atmosphere or may be an irritant in the family or lives of the parties so
appellate jurisdiction, it is the duty of the Court of Appeals to review the factual findings that it must be issued only if paternity or filiation is established by clear and convincing
of the trial court and rectify the errors it committed as may have been properly assigned evidence. The burden of proof is on Amelita to establish her affirmative allegations that
and as could be established by a re-examination of the evidence on record. It is the Ivan is the father of her son. Consequently, in the absence of clear and convincing
factual findings of the Court of Appeals, not those of the trial court, that as a rule are evidence establishing paternity or filiation, the complaint must be dismissed.
considered final and conclusive even on this Court (Hermo v. Hon. Court of Appeals, et
al., 155 SCRA 24 [1987]). This being a petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of As regards Amelita's claim for damages which is based on Articles 193 & 214 of the Civil
Court, this Court will review only errors of law committed by the Court of Appeals. It Code on the theory that through Ivan's promise of marriage, she surrendered her
is not the function of this Court to re-examine all over again the oral and documentary virginity, we cannot but agree with the Court of Appeals that more sexual intercourse
evidence submitted by the parties unless the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals is is not by itself a basis for recovery. Damages could only be awarded if sexual intercourse
not supported by the evidence on record or the judgment is based on misapprehension is not a product of voluntariness and mutual desire. At the time she met Ivan at Tony's
of facts (Remalante v. Tibe, et al., 158 SCRA 138 [1988]; Hernandez v. Court of Appeals, Restaurant, Amelita was already 28 years old and she admitted that she was attracted
et al., 149 SCRA 97 [1987]). to Ivan (TSN, December 3, 1975, p. 83). Her attraction to Ivan is the reason why she
surrendered her womanhood. Had she been induced or deceived because of a promise
It is the conclusion of the Court of Appeals, based on the evidence on record, that of marriage, she could have immediately severed her relation with Ivan when she was
Amelita Constantino has not proved by clear and convincing evidence her claim that informed after their first sexual contact sometime in August, 1974, that he was a married
Ivan Mendez is the father of her son Michael Constantino. Such conclusion based on the man. Her declaration that in the months of September, October and November, 1974,
evaluation of the evidence on record is controlling on this Court as the same is supported they repeated their sexual intercourse only indicates that passion and not the alleged
by the evidence on record. Even the trial court initially entertained such posture. It promise of marriage was the moving force that made her submit herself to Ivan.
ordered the recognition of Michael as the illegitimate son of Ivan only when acting on
the motions for reconsideration, it reconsidered, on October 21, 1976, its earlier decision WHEREFORE, the instant petition is Dismissed for lack of merit.
dated June 21, 1976. Amelita's testimony on cross-examination that she had sexual
contact with Ivan in Manila in the first or second week of November, 1974 (TSN, THIRD DIVISION
December 8, 1975, p. 108) is inconsistent with her response that she could not remember [G.R. No. 47013. February 17, 2000]
the date of their last sexual intercourse in November, 1974 (Ibid, p. 106). Sexual contact ANDRES LAO, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, THE ASSOCIATED ANGLO-
of Ivan and Amelita in the first or second week of November, 1974 is the crucial point AMERICAN TOBACCO CORPORATION and ESTEBAN CO, respondents.
that was not even established on direct examination as she merely testified that she had [G.R. No. 60647. February 17, 2000]
sexual intercourse with Ivan in the months of September, October and November, 1974. ESTEBAN CO, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and ANDRES
LAO, respondents. Esmsc
Michael Constantino is a full-term baby born on August 3, 1975 (Exhibit 6) so that as [G.R. No. 60958-59. February 17, 2000]
correctly pointed out by private respondent's counsel, citing medical science (Williams THE ASSOCIATED ANGLO-AMERICAN TOBACCO CORPORATION, petitioner,
Obstetrics, Tenth Ed., p. 198) to the effect that "the mean duration of actual pregnancy, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, ANDRES LAO, JOSE LAO, and TOMAS
counting from the day of conception must be close to 267 days", the conception of the LAO, respondents.
child (Michael) must have taken place about 267 days before August 3, 1975 or sometime
in the second week of November, 1974. While Amelita testified that she had sexual DECISION
contact with Ivan in November, 1974, nevertheless said testimony is contradicted by her
own evidence (Exh. F), the letter dated February 11, 1975, addressed to Ivan Mendez PURISIMA, J.: PURISIMA
requesting for a conference, prepared by her own counsel Atty. Roberto Sarenas to
whom she must have confided the attendant circumstances of her pregnancy while still
These consolidated petitions for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
fresh in her memory, informing Ivan that Amelita is four (4) months pregnant so that
revolve around discrepant statements of accountability between a principal and its
applying the period of the duration of actual pregnancy, the child was conceived on or
agent in the sale of cigarettes.
about October 11, 1974.
The common factual background at bar follows: had huge collectibles from his customers, nothing was due the Corporation from Laos
clients. From then on, Lao no longer received shipments from the Corporation which
On April 6, 1965, The Associated Anglo-American Tobacco Corporation (Corporation transferred its vehicles to another compound controlled by Ngo Kheng. Shipments of
for brevity) entered into a "Contract of Sales Agent" with Andres Lao. Under the cigarettes and the corresponding invoices were also placed in the name of Ngo Kheng.
contract, Lao agreed to sell cigarettes manufactured and shipped by the Corporation to
his business address in Tacloban City. Lao would in turn remit the sales proceeds to the On May 21, 1970, Andres, Jose and Tomas Lao brought a complaint for accounting and
Corporation. For his services, Lao would receive commission depending on the kind of damages with writ of preliminary injunction[3] against the Corporation, docketed as
cigarettes sold, fixed monthly salary, and operational allowance. As a guarantee to Laos Civil Case No. 4452 before the then Court of First Instance of Leyte, Branch I in Tacloban
compliance with his contractual obligations, his brother Jose and his father Tomas City, which court[4] came out with its decision[5] on March 26, 1975, disposing as follows:
executed a deed of mortgage[1] in favor of the Corporation in the amount of P200,000.00
"IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING PREMISES, and upon a clear preponderance
In compliance with the contract, Lao regularly remitted the proceeds of his sales to the of evidence in favor of the plaintiffs, the court hereby renders judgment as
Corporation, generating, in the process, a great deal of business. Thus, the Corporation follows: Esmso
awarded him trophies and plaques in recognition of his outstanding performance from
1966 to 1968. However, in February 1968 and until about seven (7) months later, Lao 1........Ordering both the plaintiffs and defendant corporation to undergo a Court
failed to accomplish his monthly sales report. In a conference in Cebu, Ching Kiat Kam, supervised accounting of their respective account with the view of establishing once
the President of the Corporation, reminded Lao of his enormous accounts and the and for all, by a reconciliation of their respective books of accounts, the true and
difficulty of obtaining a tally thereon despite Laos avowal of regular remittances of his correct accountability of Andres Lao to the defendant corporation. Pursuant thereto,
collections. both plaintiff Andres Lao and the defendant The Associated Anglo-American
Tobacco Corporation are directed to make available all their records pertainting [sic]
Sometime in August and September 1969, Esteban Co, the vice-president and general to their business transactions with each other under the contract of sales agent, from
manager of the Corporation, summoned Lao to Pasay City for an accounting. It was then 1965 up to the time Andres Lao ceased being the agent of the defendant. A
and there established that Laos liability amounted to P525,053.47. And so, Lao and his Committee on Audit is hereby formed to be composed of three (3) members, one
brother Lao Y Ka, enlisted the services of the Sycip Gorres and Velayo Accounting Firm member to be nominated by the plaintiffs, another to be nominated by the defendant
(SGV) to check and reconcile the accounts. Esmmis corporation and the third member who shall act as the Committee Chairman to be
appointed by this Court. As Committee Chairman, the Court hereby appoints the
Ching Kiat Kam allowed Lao to continue with the sales agency provided Lao would Branch Clerk of Court of this Court, Atty. Victorio Galapon, who shall immediately
reduce his accountability to P200,000.00, the amount secured by the mortgage. The convene the Committee upon appointment of the other two members, and
Corporation thereafter credited in favor of Lao the amount of P325,053.47 representing undertake to finish their assigned task under his decision within two (2) months.
partial payments he had made but without prejudice to the result of the audit of
accounts. However, the SGV personnel Lao had employed failed to conclude their 2........Ordering the defendant corporation to pay Plaintiffs the amount of P180,000
services because the Corporation did not honor its commitment to assign two of its representing actual loss of earnings.
accountants to assist them. Neither did the Corporation allow the SGV men access to its
records. 3........Ordering the defendant to pay plaintiffs moral damages in the amount of
Subsequently, the Corporation discovered that Lao was engaging in the construction
business so much so that it suspected that Lao was diverting the proceeds of his sales to 4........Ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiffs, exemplary damages in the
finance his business. In the demand letter of April 15, 1979,[2]counsel for the Corporation amount of P50,000.00.
sought payment of the obligations of Lao, warning him of the intention of the
Corporation to foreclose the mortgage. Attached to said letter was a statement of account
5........Ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiffs, attorneys fees in the amount of
indicating that Laos total obligations duly supported by receipts amounted to

6........Ordering the plaintiffs and the defendant to pay the compensation of the
Since Lao appeared to encounter difficulties in complying with his obligations under the
commissioners pro-rata.
contract of agency, the Corporation sent Ngo Kheng to supervise Laos sales operations
in Leyte and Samar. Ngo Kheng discovered that, contrary to Laos allegation that he still
7........Finally ordering the defendant to pay the cost of this suit. On February 28, 1977, the trial court[7] promulgated a supplemental decision wherein it
dismissed Laos claim that he had made an overpayment of P556,444.20. The alleged
SO ORDERED." overpayment was arrived at after deducting the total payment made by Lao in the
amount of P13,686,148.80 from the total volume of shipments made by the Corporation
in the amount of P13,129,704.60, without including the amount of P597,239.40,
The Committee of Audit that was eventually constituted was composed of Atty. Victorio
representing alleged shipments covered by bills of lading and factory consignment
L. Galapon, Jr., as chairman, Wilfredo Madarang, Jr. and Cesar F.P. Corcuera, as
invoices but with no supporting delivery receipts, and the amount of P126,950.00,
representatives of the Corporation, and Lao himself. On September 16, 1976, said
representing shipments with factory consignment invoices but not covered by bills of
committee submitted a report[6] with the following findings: Msesm
lading and delivery receipts. The trial court, in rejecting the claim of overpayment, held
that "when he (referring to Lao) made partial payments amounting to P325,053.47
"Total remittances made by Mr. subsequent to the demand in September, 1969, he is deemed to have admitted his
Andres Lao in favor of Associated liability and his claim of overpayment is not only preposterous but devoid of logic."
from April 10, 1965 to November P13,686,148.8 Therefore, with the sums of P597,239.40 and P126,950.00 included in the total volume of
1969 which are substantially 0 shipments made by the Corporation in the amount of P13,129,704.60, Laos total
supported by official receipt remittances of P13,686,248.80 were short of P167,745.20. Thus, the trial court held:
Shipments by Associated to Mr. "WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring plaintiff
Andres Lao duly supported by bills Andres Laos accountability to defendant Corporation in the amount
of lading, factory consignment 9,110,777.00 of P167,745.20 and ordering him to pay said amount of P167,745.20 to
invoices and delivery defendant The Associated Anglo-American Tobacco
receipts.................................. Corporation." Exsm
Shipments by Associated to Mr.
Andres Lao, covered by bills of
The Corporation appealed the decision, dated March 26, 1975, just as Lao appealed the
lading and factory consignment
supplemental decision, dated February 28, 1977, to the Court of Appeals. Docketed as
invoices but with no supporting
CA-G.R. No. 62532-R, the appeal was resolved in the Decision of the Court of Appeals
delivery receipts purported to have
4,018,927.60 dated October 26, 1981,[8] disposing thus:
been delivered to Mr. Lao on the
basis of sales made by him as
reported in his monthly sales reports "WHEREFORE, in connection with the decision of March 26, 1975, defendant
(except for sales in December, 1968 corporation is hereby ordered to pay plaintiffs P150,000.00 actual damages for loss
and November and December 1968 of earnings, P30,000.00 by way of moral damages and P10,000.00 for exemplary
where the sales reports were not damages. As modified, the decision is AFFIRMED in all other respects.
available to the Audit
Committee)............................................ As for the supplemental decision of February 28, 1977, the same is hereby reversed
... and set aside, and defendant-appellant corporation sentenced to reimburse Andres
Shipments covered by bills of lading Laos overpayment in the amount of P556,444.20. Costs against defendant-appellant
and factory consignment invoices corporation."
but with no supporting delivery 597,239.40
receipts The Corporation presented a motion for reconsideration[9] of the said Decision but the
...................................................... same was denied in a Resolution dated May 18, 1982. [10] A motion for leave to file a
Shipments with covering factory second motion for reconsideration was likewise denied. [11] Kylex
consignment invoices but not
covered by bills of lading and 126,950.00" Meanwhile, on June 24, 1974 and during the pendency of Civil Case No. 4452, Esteban
delivery receipts Co, representing the Corporation as its new vice-president, filed an affidavit of
...................................................... complaint[12] with the Pasay City Fiscals Office under I.S. No. 90994; alleging that Lao
failed to remit the amount of P224,585.82 which he allegedly misappropriated and
converted to his personal use. Although the amount supposedly defalcated was put up
as a counterclaim in Civil Case No. 4452 for accounting, the Corporation averred that it SO ORDERED."
reserved the right to institute a criminal case against Lao.
The Corporation and Esteban Co both appealed the aforesaid decision to the Court of
On July 31, 1974, after finding a prima facie case against Lao, the Pasay City Fiscal filed Appeals under CA-G.R. No. 61925-R.
an information[13] for estafa against Lao, docketed as Criminal Case No. 2650-P before
the then Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch XXVII. Lao sought a reinvestigation[14] of On April 18, 1977, Lao presented a motion for execution pending appeal[19] before the
the case, contending that he was never served a subpoena or notice of preliminary trial court. The opposition of the Corporation notwithstanding, on June 8, 1977 the trial
investigation that was considered mandatory in cases cognizable by Court of First court issued a special order granting the motion for execution pending appeal,[20] and
Instance, now Regional Trial Court. Apparently, the preliminary investigation on the following day, the corresponding writ of execution issued. [21]
proceeded ex-parte because Esteban Co made it appear that Lao could not be
located. Kycalr
On June 10, 1977, the Court of Appeals issued a Restraining Order enjoining the
execution of subject judgment.[22] The said order was issued on account of a petition for
On December 17, 1974, without awaiting the termination of the criminal case, Lao certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with preliminary injunction [23]filed by the
lodged a complaint[15] for malicious prosecution against the Corporation and Esteban Corporation and Esteban Co with the said appellate court. Docketed as CA-G.R. No.
Co, praying for an award of damages for violation of Articles 20 and 21 of the Civil Code. 06761, the petition was received by the Court of Appeals on June 9, 1977. A supplemental
The case was docketed as Civil Case No. 5528 before Branch I of the then Court of First to the petition and a "compliance" were also received on the same time and date. [24] On
Instance in Cotabato City. June 21, 1977, Lao moved to lift the restraining order.

In his resolution dated January 3, 1975,[16] then Pasay City Fiscal Jose Flaminiano found On September 14, 1977, the Court of Appeals resolved in CA-G.R. No. 06761 thus:
merit in the petition for reinvestigation of the estafa case. He opined that Lao had not
committed estafa as his liability was essentially civil in nature. The Fiscal entertained
"WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is hereby granted, the
doubts about the motive of the Corporation in instituting the criminal case against Lao
special order granting execution pending appeal is annulled and the
because of the undue delay in its filing, aside from the fact that the estafa case involved
restraining order heretofore issued is made permanent.
the same subject matter the Corporation sued upon by way of counterclaim in Civil Case
No. 4452. Eventually, on May 13, 1976, the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch XXVII,
in Pasay City, promulgated a decision[17] acquitting Lao of the crime charged and No pronouncement as to costs."
adopting in toto the said Resolution of Fiscal Flaminiano.
On October 21, 1981, the Court of Appeals likewise rendered a Decision [25] in CA-G.R.
On March 18, 1977, the Court of First Instance of Samar [18]
handed down a decision in No. 62532-R, affirming the trial courts finding that Criminal Case No. 2650-P was filed
Civil Case No. 5528, the action for damages arising from malicious prosecution, without probable cause and with malice; and held the Corporation and Esteban Co
disposing thus: solidarily liable for damages, attorneys fees and costs.

"WHEREFORE, the Court declares that the defendants filed Criminal Case No. 2650- The Corporation and Esteban Co moved to reconsider [26] the said decision in CA-G.R.
P against the plaintiff for estafa before the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch No. 61925-R but to no avail. The motion for reconsideration was denied in a Resolution
XXVII, Pasay City, without probable cause and with malice and therefore orders the promulgated on May 18, 1992. A motion for leave of court to file a second motion for
defendants Associated Anglo-American Tobacco Corporation and Esteban Co to reconsideration[27] met the same fate. It was likewise denied in a Resolution[28] dated
jointly and severally pay the plaintiff: June 23, 1982.

a........P30,000 as actual damages; Calrky From the said cases sprung the present petitions which were ordered consolidated in
the Resolutions of December 15, 1982 and November 11, 1985.[29] Subject petitions are to
be passed upon in the order they were filed. Mesm
b........P150,000.00 as moral damages;

G.R. No. 47013

c........P100,000.00 as exemplary damages;

A petition for review on certiorari of the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No.
d........P50,000.00 as attorneys fees and costs.
06761 that Lao filed, contending that:
1........The Court of Appeals cannot validly give due course to an original action "compliance" submitted to the appellate court a copy of the special order bearing the
for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus where the petition is fatally defective for same time of receipt. He theorized that the writ of execution could have been issued by
not being accompanied by a copy of the trial courts questioned process/order. the Court of First Instance of Samar at the earliest, at 8:30 a.m. on July 9, 1977. Petitioner
Lao then noted that, the restraining order enjoining execution pending appeal did not
2........The Court of Appeals, cannot, in a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mention the date of issuance of the writ subsequently issued and the names of the special
mandamus, disregard, disturb and substitute its own judgment for the findings of sheriffs tasked to execute it simply because when the restraining order was issued the
facts of the trial court, particularly as in the present case, where the trial court did copy of the writ of execution was not yet filed with the Court of Appeals. Petitioner Lao
not exceed nor abuse its discretion. also averred that because his counsel was furnished a copy of the restraining order
through the mail, he was deprived of the opportunity to take immediate "remedial steps
in connection with the improvident issuance of the restraining order." [36]
3........The Court of Appeals did not act in accordance with established jurisprudence
when it overruled the trial courts holding that the posting of a good and solvent
bond is a good or special reason for execution pending appeal. In their comment on the petition, respondent Corporation and Co assail petitioner Laos
insinuation of irregularity in the filing of their pleadings. They aver that in view of
petitioner Laos allegation, they, made inquiries in the Docket Section of the Court of
For clarity, the petition for review on certiorari questioning the Decision of the Court of
Appeals, and they were informed that the receiving machine of said section was out of
Appeals that nullified the special order granting execution pending appeal is anchored
order when the pleadings were received "as the time of receipt appearing therein is
on the antecedent facts as follows: Slx
always 8:00 a.m."[37]

After the Court of First Instance of Samar had decided in favor of Lao in the action for
This Court cannot gloss over, as it has never glossed over allegations of irregularity in
damages by reason of malicious prosecution, Lao filed a motion for execution pending
the handling of pleadings filed in the Court. However, in the absence of concrete proof
appeal[30] even as the Corporation and Co had interposed an appeal from the said
that there was malicious intent to derail the propriety of procedure, this Court has no
decision. In that motion, Lao theorized that the appeal had no merit and the judgment
basis on which to arrive at a conclusion thereon. The documentary evidence of
in his favor would be rendered ineffectual on account of losses incurred by the
simultaneous receipt of pleadings that should ordinarily be received one after another
Corporation in the 1972 floods in Luzon and in a fire that cost the Corporation P5
is simply insufficient to warrant any conclusion on irregularity of procedure.
million, as well as the fact that the properties of the Corporation were heavily
encumbered as it had even incurred an overdraft with a bank; for which reasons, Lao
evinced his willingness to post a bond although Section 2, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court All court personnel are enjoined to do their jobs properly and according to law. Should
does not require such bond. Lao thereafter sent in a supplemental motion [31] asserting they notice anything in the performance of their duties that may generate even a mere
that the Corporations properties were mortgaged in the total amount of Seven Million suspicion of irregularity, they are duty-bound to correct the same. In this case, more
(P7,000,000.00) Pesos. The Corporation and Co opposed both motions. diligence on the part of the personnel handling the receiving machine could have
prevented the stamping on the pleadings with erroneous date and time of receipt and
would have averted suspicion of an anomaly in the filing of pleadings. Persons
On June 8, 1977, after hearing and presentation of evidence by both parties, the Court of
responsible for the negligence should be taken to task. However, since this is not the
First Instance of Samar issued a special order granting the motion for execution pending
proper forum for whatever administrative measures may be taken under the premises,
appeal.[32] The following day, June 9, 1977, the corresponding writ of execution pending
the Court opts to discuss the merits of the petition for review on certiorari at bar rather
appeal issued.[33] At 8:00 a.m. on the same day, the Corporation and Co filed a petition
than tarry more on an administrative matter that is fundamentally extraneous to the
for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with preliminary injunction with the Court of
petition. Slxsc
Appeals, the filling of which petition was followed by the filing of a supplement to the
petition and a "compliance" with each pleading bearing the docket stamp showing that
the Court of Appeals also received the same at 8:00 a.m.[34] Scslx Petitioner Lao maintains that the Court of Appeals should not have been given due
course to the petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus considering that it was
fatally defective for failure of the petitioners to attach thereto a copy of the questioned
In the petition under consideration, petitioner Lao contends that the supplemental
writ of execution. On their part, private respondents concede the mandatory character
petition and "compliance" could not have been filed with the Court of Appeals at the
of the requirement of Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court - that the petition "shall be
same time as the original petition; pointing out that the supplemental petition contains
accompanied by a certified true copy of the judgment or order subject thereof, together
an allegation to the effect that the special order granting execution pending appeal was
with copies of all pleadings and documents relevant and pertinent thereto." However,
then still "being flown to Manila" and would be attached to the petition "as soon as it
private respondents asked that their submission of a certified true copy of the special
arrives in Manila which is expected tomorrow, June 10, 1977 or Saturday." [35] Petitioner
Lao thus expressed incredulity on the fact that both the supplemental petition and the
order granting execution pending appeal attached to their "compliance" dated June 9, writ of execution pending appeal. It should be stressed that what was at issue was not
1977[38] be taken as substantial compliance with the rule. the award of damages itself but the issuance of said writ.

The Court gives due consideration to private respondents stance. Strict adherence to Petitioner Laos position that the posting of a good and solvent bond is a special reason
procedural rules must at all times be observed. However, it is not the end-all and be-all for the issuance of the writ of execution pending appeal is utterly barren of merit. Mere
of litigation. As this Court said: posting of a bond to answer for damages does not suffice as a good reason for the
granting of execution pending appeal, within the context of "good reasons" under
"xxx adjective law is not to be taken lightly for, without it, the enforcement of Section 2, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court.[42] In Roxas v. Court of Appeals,[43] the Court
substantive law may not remain assured. The Court must add, nevertheless, that held: Missdaa
technical rules of procedure are not ends in themselves but primarily devised and
designed to help in the proper and expedient dispensation of justice. In appropriate "It is not intended obviously that execution pending appeal shall issue as a matter
cases, therefore, the rules may have to be so construed liberally as to meet and advance of course. Good reasons, special, important, pressing reasons must exist to justify
the cause of substantial justice."[39] it; otherwise, instead of an instrument of solicitude and justice, it may well become
a tool of oppression and inequity. But to consider the mere posting of a bond a
Thus, in holding that the Court of Appeals may entertain a second motion for good reason would precisely make immediate execution of a judgment pending
reconsideration of its decision although the filing of such motion violates a prohibition appeal routinary, the rule rather than the exception. Judgments would be executed
thereof, the Court said: immediately, as a matter of course, once rendered, if all that the prevailing party
needed to do was to post a bond to answer for damages that might result
therefrom. This is a situation, to repeat, neither contemplated nor intended by
"xxx (I)t is within the power of this Court to temper rigid rules in favor of substantial
justice. While it is desirable that the Rules of Court be faithfully and even
meticulously observed, courts should not be so strict about procedural lapses that
do not really impair the proper administration of justice. If the rules are intended to G.R. No. 60647
ensure the orderly conduct of litigation, it is because of the higher objective they seek
which is the protection of substantive rights of the parties."[40] Slxmis From the decision of the Court of First Instance of Samar in Civil Case No. 5528, finding
that they are liable for malicious prosecution and therefore, they must pay Lao damages,
In the case under consideration, private respondents substantially complied with the the Corporation and Co appealed to the Court of Appeals. In affirming the lower courts
Rules of Court when they submitted a copy of the writ of execution sought to be enjoined decision, the Court of Appeals deduced from the facts established that the Corporation
on the same day they filed the petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus. knew all along that Laos liability was civil in nature. However, after around four (4)
Petitioner Cos allegation of irregularity as to the time of receipt of the "compliance" to years had elapsed and sensing that Civil Case No. 4452 would result in a decision against
which copy of the writ was attached being unsubstantiated, the presumption of them, they instituted the criminal case for estafa. In awarding damages in the total
regularity of its receipt on the day the original petition was filed should prevail. amount of P330,000, the Court of Appeals took into account Laos social and business
Petitioner Co argues that the Court of Appeals cannot disturb the factual findings of the
trial court and substitute its own in a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus From the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 61925-R, Co filed the instant
where the basic issue is one of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion. It is well-settled, petition for review on certiorari; contending that the Court of Appeals erred in affirming
however, that in a petition for certiorari and mandamus, the Court of Appeals, when the decision of the Samar Court of First Instance because when the case for malicious
inevitable, may examine the factual merits of the case.[41] In the present case, it was prosecution was commenced there was as yet no cause of action as the criminal case was
necessary and inevitable for the Court of Appeals to look into the diverse factual still pending decision. Co also asserted that he should not be held jointly and severally
allegations of the parties. It is worthy to note that petitioners motion for execution liable with the Corporation because in filing the affidavit-complaint against respondent
pending appeal was premised on his contention that the award of damages in his favor Lao, he was acting as the executive vice-president of the Corporation and his action was
would be meaningless on account of respondent Corporations precarious financial within the scope of his authority as such corporate officer.
status. On the other hand, respondent Corporation countered that it was operating at a
profit, an assurance that at the time, it was a stable business entity that could answer for The issue of whether the Court of Appeals correctly ruled that the Corporation and
its obligations. In the face of these contradictory allegations, the appellate court correctly petitioner Co should be held liable for damages on account of malicious prosecution
opted to make its own finding of facts on the issue of the propriety of the issuance of the shall be ratiocinated upon and resolved with the issues submitted for resolution in G.R.
Nos. 60958-59. What should concern the Court here is whether petitioner Co should be
held solidarily liable with the Corporation for whatever damages would be imposed 3........The respondent Court of Appeals erred and/or committed grave abuse of
upon them for filing the complaint for malicious prosecution. discretion when it awarded moral damages in Civil Case No. 4452 which was not
prayed for because Andres Lao prayed for moral damages and was already awarded
Petitioner Co argues that following the dictum in agency, the suit should be against his in Civil Case No. 5528. Moral damages must be specifically prayed for. xxx. [49]
principal unless he acted on his own or exceeded the limits of his agency.
Petitioner Corporation contends that the complaint for malicious prosecution brought
A perusal of his affidavit-complaint reveals that at the time he filed the same on June 24, by Lao during the pendency of subject criminal case for estafa, states no cause of action
1974, petitioner Co was the vice-president of the Corporation. As a corporate officer, his as it was prematurely filed when the criminal case that resulted in the acquittal of Lao
power to bind the Corporation as its agent must be sought from statute, charter, by- was not yet terminated. On the other hand, respondent Lao countered that the elements
laws, a delegation of authority to a corporate officer, or from the acts of the board of supportive of an action for malicious prosecution are evidentiary in nature and their
directors formally expressed or implied from a habit or custom of doing business.[46] In existence or non-existence cannot be the subject of evaluation and conclusion upon the
this case, no such sources of petitioners authority from which to deduce whether or not filing of the complaint. For Lao, those elements must be determined at the time the
he was acting beyond the scope of his responsibilities as corporate vice-president are plaintiff has offered all his evidence and rested his case. Kortex
mentioned, much less proven. It is thus logical to conclude that the board of directors or
by laws- of the corporation vested petitioner Co with certain executive duties[47]one of Malicious prosecution has been defined as an action for damages brought by one against
which is a case for the Corporation. whom a criminal prosecution, civil suit or other legal proceeding has been instituted
maliciously and without probable cause, after the termination of such prosecution, suit
That petitioner Co was authorized to institute the estafa case is buttressed by the fact or other proceeding in favor of the defendant therein.[50] As thus defined, the fact of
that the Corporation failed to make an issue out of his authority to file said case. Upon termination of the criminal prosecution, civil suit or legal proceeding maliciously filed
well-established principles of pleading, lack of authority of an officer of a corporation to and without probable cause, should precede the complaint for malicious prosecution.
bind it by contract executed by him in its name, is a defense which should have been Such a complaint states a cause of action if it alleges: (a) that the defendant was himself
specially pleaded by the Corporation.[48] The Corporations failure to interpose such a the prosecutor or at least instigated the prosecution; (b) that the prosecution finally
defense could only mean that the filing of the affidavit-complaint by petitioner Co was terminated in the acquittal of the plaintiff; (c) that in bringing the action the prosecutor
with the consent and authority of the Corporation. In the same vein, petitioner Co may acted without probable cause, and (d) that the prosecutor was actuated by malice, i.e.,
not be held personally liable for acts performed in pursuance of an authority and by improper and sinister motives.[51]
therefore, holding him solidarily liable with the Corporation for the damages awarded
to respondent Lao does accord with law and jurisprudence. Rtcspped Ocamp v. Buenaventura[52] demonstrates the importance of the requirement that the case
maliciously commenced should be terminated before a claim for damages arising from
G.R. No. 606958-59 the filing of such case should be presented. In that case, a complaint for damages arising
from the alleged malicious filing of an administrative case for serious misconduct, grave
abuse of authority and commission of a felony, was held to be premature during the
In this petition for review on certiorari of the Decisions of the Court of Appeals in CA-
pendency of said administrative case before the then Police Commission (POLCOM).
G.R. No. 61925-R, regarding Laos claim for damages on account of malicious
Observing that the complaint for damages was based on the claim that the
prosecution, and in CA-G.R. No. 62532-R that arose from Laos complaint for accounting
administrative case brought before the POLCOM was malicious, unfounded and aimed
and damages, petitioner Corporation assigns as errors, that:
to harass the respondents, the Court there held:

1........The respondent Court of Appeals erred and/or committed a grave abuse of

"xxx. The veracity of this allegation is not for us to determine, for if We rule and
discretion in affirming the erroneous decision of the lower court. The civil case for
allow the civil case for damages to proceed on that ground, there is the possibility
malicious prosecution was filed during the pendency of the criminal case upon
that the court a quo in deciding said case might declare the respondents victims of
which the civil suit was based. There is as yet no cause of action. xxx.
harassment and thereby indirectly interfere with the proceedings before the
POLCOM. The respondents case for damages before the lower court is, therefore,
2........The respondent Court of Appeals erred and/or committed a grave abuse of premature as it was filed during the pendency of the administrative case against the
discretion when it reversed or set aside the supplemental decision of the lower court respondents before the POLCOM. The possibility cannot be overlooked that the
in Civil Case No. 4452, which reversal was merely based on surmises and POLCOM may hand down a decision adverse to the respondents, in which case the
conjectures. xxx. damage suit will become unfounded and baseless for wanting in cause of action. Of

persuasive force is the ruling in William H. Brown vs. Bank of the Philippine Islands based on the principle of abuse of rights or malicious prosecution, a reading of the
and Santiago Freixas, 101 Phil. 309, 312, where this Court said: Sclaw complaint here reveals that it is founded on the mere filing of the estafa charge against
respondent Lao. As such, it was prematurely filed and it failed to allege a cause of action.
"xxx. In effect, plaintiff herein seeks to recover damages upon the ground that the Should the action for malicious prosecution be entertained and the estafa charge would
detainer case has been filed, and is being maintained, maliciously and without result in respondent Laos conviction during the pendency of the damage suit, even if it
justification; but this pretense affects the merits of said detainer case. Should final is based on Articles 20 and 21, such suit would nonetheless become groundless and
judgment be eventually rendered in that case in favor of the plaintiffs therein, such unfounded. To repeat; that the estafa case, in fact, resulted in respondent Laos acquittal
as the one rendered in the municipal court, the validity of the cause of action of said would not infuse a cause of action on the malicious prosecution case already
lessors against Brown, would thereby be conclusively established, and necessarily, commenced and pending resolution.
his contention in the present case would have to be rejected. Similarly, we cannot
sustain the theory of Brown in the case at bar, without prejudging the issue in the The complaint for damages based on malicious prosecution and/or on Articles 20 and
detainer case, which is still pending. Until final determination of said case, plaintiff 21 should have been dismissed for lack of cause of action and therefore, the Court of
herein cannot, and does not, have, therefore, a cause of action - if any, on which we Appeals erred in affirming the decision of the trial court of origin. It should be stressed,
do not express our opinion - against the herein defendants. In short, the lower court however, that the dismissal of subject complaint should not be taken as an adjudication
has correctly held that the present action is premature, and, that, consequently, the on the merits, the same being merely grounded on the failure of the complaint to state a
complain herein does not set forth a cause of action against the defendants."[53] cause of action.[59]

A similar ruling was laid down in Cabacungan v. Corrales[54] where the Court sustained As regards the Decision in CA-G.R. No. 62532-R which was spawned by respondent
the dismissal of an action for damages on the ground of prematurity. The records Laos complaint for accounting, petitioner contends that the appellate court erred when
disclosed that the alleged false and malicious complaint charging plaintiffs with it reversed and set aside the supplemental decision in Civil Case No. 4452 and directed
malicious mischief was still pending trial when the action for damages based on the the corporation to reimburse the amount of P556,444.20, representing Laos overpayment
subject complaint was brought. to the Corporation. The Court would normally have restricted itself to questions of law
and shunned away from questions of fact were it not for the conflicting findings of fact
Premises studiedly viewed in proper perspective, the contention of Lao that the by the trial court and appellate court on the matter. The Court is therefore constrained
elements of an action for malicious prosecution are evidentiary in nature and should be to relax the rule on conclusiveness of factual findings of the Court of Appeals and, on
determined at the time the plaintiff offers evidence and rests his case, is untenable. To the basis of the facts on record, make its own findings.[60]
rule otherwise would, in effect, sanction the filing of actions without a cause of action.
The existence of a cause of action is determined solely by the facts alleged in the It is significant to note that as per decision of the trial court dated March 26, 1975, a court-
complaint. Consideration of other facts is proscribed and any attempt to prove supervised accounting was directed so as to ascertain the true and correct accountability
extraneous circumstances is not allowed.[55] As this Court said in Surigao Mine of Andres Lao to the defendant corporation. Thus, a three-man audit committee was
Exploration Co., Inc. v. Harris,[56] "unless the plaintiff has a valid and subsisting cause of formed with the branch of clerk of court, Atty. Victorio Galapon, as chairman, and two
action at the time his action is commenced, the defect cannot be cured or remedied by other certified public accountants respectively nominated by the parties, as members.
the acquisition or accrual of one while the action is pending, and a supplemental
complaint or an amendment setting up such after-accrued cause of action is not On September 16, 1976, the said Audit Committee submitted its report[61] and in the
permissible."[57]Thus, the circumstance that the estafa case concluded in respondent Laos hearing of November 25, 1976, the parties interposed no objection thereto and
acquittal during the pendency of the complaint for malicious prosecution did not cure unanimously accepted the Audit Committee Report. The Committee found that Andres
the defect of lack of cause of action at the time of filing of the complaint. Sclex Lao has made a total overpayment to defendant corporation in the amount
of P556,444.20. Xlaw
Neither does the Court find merit in respondent Laos submission that the complaint for
malicious prosecution is viable inasmuch as it is also anchored on Articles 20 and 21 of Trial by commissioners is allowed by the Rules of Court when a) the trial of an issue of
the Civil Code. This may appear to be a persuasive argument since there is no hard and fact requires the examination of a long account on either side, in which case the
fast rule which can be applied in the determination of whether or not the principle of commissioner may be directed to hear and report upon the whole issue or any specific
abuse of rights has been violated, resulting in damages under the said articles of the question involved therein; b) when the taking of an account is necessary for the
Civil Code on Human Relations. Indeed, a party injured by the filing of a court case information of the court before judgment, or for carrying a judgment or order into effect;
against him, even if he is later on absolved, may file a case for damages grounded either and c) when a question of fact, other than upon the pleadings, arises upon motion or
on the principle of abuse of rights or on malicious prosecution.[58] However, whether otherwise, at any stage of a case, or for carrying a judgment or order into

effect.[62] Ultimately, the trial court, in the exercise of its sound discretion, may either Likewise, a factory consignment invoice is not evidence of actual delivery of the goods.
adopt, modify, or reject in whole or in part, the commissioners report or it may recommit An invoice is nothing more than a detailed statement of the nature, quantity and cost of
the same with instructions, or require the parties to present additional evidence before the thing sold.[65] It is not proof that the thing or goods were actually delivered to the
the commissioners or before the court.[63] vendee or the consignee. As admitted by the witness for the corporation:

In the case under consideration, it is thus within the power of the trial court to refer the A: Factory consignment invoices represents what the company billed the plaintiff
accounting to court-appointed commissioners because a true and correct accounting is Mr. Lao and the bill of lading represents the goods which were supposed to have
necessary for the information of the court before it can render judgment. Moreover, the been shipped.
technical nature of the audit procedure necessitates the assistance of a certified public
accountant. And since both parties offered no objection to the commissioners report,
they are deemed to have accepted and admitted the findings therein contained.
A: Shipments covered by factory consignment invoices simply meant these are
There is no discernible cause for veering from the findings of the Audit Committee. In billings made again by the Associated Anglo-American Tobacco Corporation to
arriving at its conclusion, the Audit Committee subtracted the total remittances of Lao plaintiff Andres Lao. (t.s.n., November 25, 1976, pp. 45-47 as cited in Respondent
in the amount of P13,686,148.80 from the entire volume of shipments made by the Laos Comment, Rollo, p. 259)
corporation. In determining the total volume of shipments made by the corporation, the
Audit Committee did not include the shipments covered by bills of lading and factory
Thus, in the absence of proof that the goods were actually received by Lao as evidenced
consignment invoices but without the corresponding delivery receipts. These included
by delivery receipts, the shipments allegedly made by the corporation in the amount
shipments in the amount of P597, 239.40 covered by bills of lading and factory
of P597,239.40 and P126,950.00 covered only by bills of lading and factory consignment
consignment invoices but with no supporting delivery receipts, and shipments
invoices cannot be included in Laos accountability. Sc
worth P126, 950.00 with factory consignment invoices but not covered by bills of lading
and delivery receipts. However, the Audit Committee considered shipments made by
the corporation to Lao in the amount of P9,110,777.00 covered by bills of lading and However, as to the shipments worth P4,018,927.60 likewise covered only by bills of
factory invoices but without the corresponding delivery receipts because subject lading and factory consignment invoices, the Audit Committee correctly considered
shipments were duly reported in Laos monthly sales report. Xsc them in Laos account because such shipments were reported in the latters sales reports.
The fact that Lao included them in his sales reports is an implied admission that subject
goods were actually delivered to him, and that he received the said goods for resale.
The Audit Committee correctly excluded the shipments not supported by delivery
receipts, albeit covered by bills of lading and factory consignment invoices. Under
Article 1497 of the Civil Code, a thing sold shall be understood as delivered when it is As regards the award of moral damages, petitioner Corporation faults the Court of
placed in the control or possession of the vendee. Unless possession or control has been Appeals for awarding such damages not specifically prayed for in the complaint for
transferred to the vendee, the thing or goods sold cannot be considered as delivered. accounting and damages in Civil Case No. 4452. Petitioner Corporation argues that
Thus, in the present case, the Audit Committee was correct when it adopted as guideline moral damages were prayed for and duly awarded in Civil Case No. 5528 and therefore,
that accountability over the goods shipped was transferred from the corporation to it would be unfair and unjust to allow once again, recovery of moral damages on similar
Andres Lao only upon actual delivery of the goods to him. For it is only when the goods grounds.
were actually delivered to and received by Lao, did Lao have control and possession
over subject goods, and only when he had control and possession over said goods could Contrary to the allegation of the petitioner Corporation, the award of moral damages
he sell the same. was specifically prayed for in the complaint albeit it left the amount of the same to the
discretion of the court.[66] Moreover, Civil Case Nos. 4452 and 5528 were on varied
Delivery is generally evidenced by a written acknowledgement of a person that he or causes of action. While the award for moral damages in Civil Case No. 4452 was based
she has actually received the thing or the goods, as in delivery receipts. A bill of lading on the evident bad faith of the petitioner Corporation in unilaterally rescinding
cannot substitute for a delivery receipt. This is because it is a written acknowledgement respondent Laos sales agency through his immediate replacement by Ngo Kheng, the
of the receipt of the goods by the carrier and an agreement to transport and deliver them claim for moral damages in Civil Case No. 5528 was anchored on the supposed malice
at a specific place to a person named or upon his order.[64] It does not evidence receipt that attended the filing of the criminal case for estafa.
of the goods by the consignee or the person named in the bill of lading; rather, it is
evidence of receipt by the carrier of the goods from the shipper for transportation and Petitioner Corporation also opposes for being conjectural, the award of P150,000.00 in
delivery. Civil Case No. 4452, representing actual damages for loss of earnings. True, damages

cannot be presumed or premised on conjecture or even logic. A party is entitled to SO ORDERED.
adequate compensation only for duly substantiated pecuniary loss actually suffered by
him or her.[67] In this case, however, the trial court correctly found that an award for
actual damages was justified because several months before their contract of agency was [G.R. No. 107019. March 20, 1997]
due to expire in 1969, the petitioner Corporation replaced Lao with Ngo Kheng as sales FRANKLIN M. DRILON, AURELIO C. TRAMPE, GREGORIO A. ARIZALA, CESAR
agent for the areas of Leyte and Samar. This, despite the fact that they had already M. SOLIS and FERDINAND R. ABESAMIS, petitioners, vs. COURT OF
agreed that Lao would continue to act as the corporations sales agent provided that he APPEALS, HON. GEORGE C. MACLI-ING, in his capacity as Presiding
would reduce his accountability to P200,000.00, the amount covered by his bond, and Judge of Branch 100 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, and
engaged the services of an independent accounting firm to do an audit to establish Laos HOMOBONO ADAZA, respondents.
true liability. Due to his ouster as sales agent, Lao failed to realize a net income from his DECISION
sales agency in the amount of P30,000.00 a year. Scmis HERMOSISIMA, JR., J.:

Petitioners seek the reversal of the Resolutions of respondent Court of Appeals in

However, the amount of actual damages should be reduced to P30,000.00 only instead
CA-G.R. SP No. 25080 dated January 31, 1992 and September 2, 1992 affirming the
of the P150,000.00 awarded by the appellate court. Since the contract of sales agency was
Orders, dated February 8, 1991 and May 14, 1991, of respondent Judge George C. Macli-
on a yearly basis, the actual damages Lao suffered should be limited to the annual net
ing which denied herein petitioners Motion to Dismiss the complaint filed in Civil Case
income he failed to realize due to his unjust termination as sales agent prior to the
No. Q-90-6073 by respondent Homobono Adaza.
expiration of his contract in 1969. Unrealized income for the succeeding years cannot be
awarded to Lao because the corporation is deemed to have opted not to renew the The facts are not in dispute.
contract with Lao for the succeeding years.
In a letter-complaint to then Secretary of Justice Franklin Drilon[1] dated March 20,
1990, General Renato de Villa,[2] who was then the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of
As to the award of exemplary damages, suffice it to state that in contracts and quasi-
the Philippines, requested the Department of Justice to order the investigation of several
contracts, the court may award exemplary damages if the defendant acted in a wanton,
individuals named therein, including herein private respondent Homobono Adaza, for
fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or malevolent manner. [68] In the case under scrutiny,
their alleged participation in the failed December 1989 coup detat. The letter-complaint
the Court finds the award of exemplary damages unjustified or unwarranted in the
was based on the affidavit of Brigadier General Alejandro Galido, Captain Oscarlito
absence of any proof that the petitioner Corporation acted in a wanton, fraudulent,
Mapalo, Colonel Juan Mamorno, Colonel Hernani Figueroa and Major Eduardo
reckless, oppressive, and malevolent manner. For the same reasons, the award for
attorneys fees should be deleted.
Gen. de Villas letter-complaint with its annexes was referred for preliminary
WHEREFORE, inquiry to the Special Composite Team of Prosecutors created pursuant to Department
of Justice Order No. 5 dated January 10, 1990. Petitioner then Assistant Chief State
In G.R. No. L-47013, the petition for review on certiorari is DENIED for lack of merit; Prosecutor Aurelio Trampe,[3] the Team Leader, finding sufficient basis to continue the
inquiry, issued a subpoena to the individuals named in the letter-complaint, Adaza
included, and assigned the case for preliminary investigation to a panel of investigators
In G.R. No. 60647, the petition is GRANTED and the assailed decision is SET ASIDE; composed of prosecutors George Arizala, as Chairman, and Ferdinand Abesamis and
and the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 61925-R, finding Esteban Co Cesar Solis as members. The case was docketed as I.S. No. DOJ-SC-90-013.
solidarily liable with the respondent Associated Anglo-American Tobacco Corporation
for damages, is REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. As above ratiocinated, the respondent On April 17, 1990, the panel released its findings, thru a Resolution, which reads:
corporation cannot be held liable for damages.
PREMISES CONSIDERED, we find and so hold that there is probable cause to hold
In G.R. Nos. 60958-59, the Decision in CA-G.R. No. 61925-R is REVERSED AND SET herein respondents for trial for the crime of REBELLION WITH MURDER AND
ASIDE; the respondent corporation is adjudged not liable for malicious prosecution due FRUSTRATED MURDER. Hence we respectfully recommend the filing of the
to the prematurity of the action; while the Decision in CA-G.R. No. 62532-R is corresponding information against them in court.[4]
AFFIRMED, insofar as it ordered respondent corporation to reimburse Andres Laos
overpayment in the amount of P556,444.20, but MODIFIED, in that only an award The above Resolution became the basis for the filing of an Information,[5] dated
of P30,000.00 for actual damages is GRANTED, and all the other monetary awards are April 18, 1990, charging private respondent with the crime of rebellion with murder and
deleted. No pronouncement as to costs. frustrated murder before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, with no
recommendation as to bail.[6]
Feeling aggrieved by the institution of these proceedings against him, private violation by the petitioners of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known
respondent Adaza filed a complaint for damages,[7] dated July 11, 1990, before Branch as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. It was not a suit for malicious prosecution.
100 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. The complaint was docketed as Civil
Case No. Q-90-6073 entitled, Homobono Adaza, plaintiff versus Franklin Drilon, et al., Private respondent is taking us for a ride. A cursory perusal of the complaint filed
respondents. In his complaint, Adaza charged petitioners with engaging in a deliberate, by Adaza before respondent Judge George Macli-ing reveals that it is one for malicious
willful and malicious experimentation by filing against him a charge of rebellion prosecution against the petitioners for the latters filing of the charge against him of
complexed with murder and frustrated murder when petitioners, according to Adaza, rebellion with murder and frustrated murder. An examination of the records would
were fully aware of the non-existence of such crime in the statute books. show that this latest posture as to the nature of his cause of action is only being raised
for the first time on appeal. Nowhere in his complaint filed with the trial court did
On October 15, 1990, petitioners filed a Motion to Dismiss Adazas complaint on respondent Adaza allege that his action is one based on tort or on Section 3 (e) of
the ground that said complaint states no actionable wrong constituting a valid cause of Republic Act No. 3019. Such a change of theory cannot be allowed. When a party adopts
action against petitioners. a certain theory in the court below, he will not be permitted to change his theory on
appeal, for to permit him to do so would not only be unfair to the other party but it
On February 8, 1991, public respondent judge issued an Order [8] denying would also be offensive to the basic rules of fair play, justice and due process. [15] Any
petitioners Motion to Dismiss. In the same Order, petitioners were required to file their member of the Bar, even if not too schooled in the art of litigation, would easily discern
answer to the complaint within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the Order. that Adazas complaint is no doubt a suit for damages for malicious prosecution against
Petitioners moved for a reconsideration of the Order of denial, but the same was the herein petitioners. Unfortunately, however, his complaint filed with the trial court
likewise denied by respondent Judge in another Order dated May 14, 1991. [9] The suffers from a fatal infirmity -- that of failure to state a cause of action -- and should have
subsequent Order reiterated that petitioners file their responsive pleading within the been dismissed right from the start. We shall show why.
prescribed reglementary period. The term malicious prosecution has been defined in various ways. In American
Instead of filing their answer as ordered, petitioners filed on June 5, 1991 a petition jurisdiction, it is defined as:
for certiorari under Rule 65 before the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. No. 25080,
alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of the respondent Judge in ruling that One begun in malice without probable cause to believe the charges can be sustained
sufficient cause of action exists to warrant a full-blown hearing of the case filed by Adaza (Eustace v. Dechter, 28 Cal. App. 2d. 706,83 P. 2d. 525). Instituted with intention of
and thus denying petitioners Motion to Dismiss. injuring defendant and without probable cause, and which terminates in favor of the
person prosecuted. For this injury an action on the case lies, called the action of
In its Resolution promulgated on January 31, 1992, the appellate court dismissed malicious prosecution (Hicks v. Brantley, 29 S.E. 459, 102 Ga. 264; Eggett v. Allen, 96
the petition for lack of merit and ordered respondent Judge to proceed with the trial of N.W. 803, 119 Wis. 625).[16]
Civil Case No. Q-90-6073.[10] A Motion for Reconsideration having been subsequently
filed on February 28, 1992, the court a quo denied the same in a Resolution dated
In Philippine jurisdiction, it has been defined as:
September 2, 1992.[11]

Hence, this petition, dated October 9, 1992, pleading this Court to exercise its An action for damages brought by one against whom a criminal prosecution, civil suit,
power of review under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court. or other legal proceeding has been instituted maliciously and without probable cause,
after the termination of such prosecution, suit, or other proceeding in favor of the
On January 13, 1993, however, this Court, thru the Second Division, dismissed the
defendant therein. The gist of the action is the putting of legal process in force,
petition for failure to comply with Revised Circular No. 1-88, particularly the
regularly, for the mere purpose of vexation or injury (Cabasaan v. Anota, 14169-R,
requirement on the payment of the prescribed docketing fees. [12]
November 19, 1956).[17]
On March 8, 1993,[13] we reinstated the petition and required the respondents to
comment on the aforesaid petition. In the same Resolution, a temporary restraining The statutory basis for a civil action for damages for malicious prosecution are
order was issued by this Court enjoining respondent Judge from further proceeding found in the provisions of the New Civil Code on Human Relations and on damages
with Civil Case No. Q-90-6073 until further orders from this Court. particularly Articles 19, 20, 21, 26, 29, 32, 33, 35, 2217 and 2219 (8). [18] To constitute
malicious prosecution, however, there must be proof that the prosecution was prompted
The petition has merit.
by a sinister design to vex and humiliate a person, and that it was initiated deliberately
In his Comment,[14] dated March 23, 1993, respondent Adaza maintains that his by the defendant knowing that his charges were false and groundless. Concededly, the
claim before the trial court was merely a suit for damages based on tort by reason of mere act of submitting a case to the authorities for prosecution does not make one liable
petitioners various malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance in office, as well as for for malicious prosecution.[19] Thus, in order for a malicious prosecution suit to prosper,

the plaintiff must prove three (3) elements: (1) the fact of the prosecution and the further as a necessary means to commit rebellion, or in furtherance thereof. Thus, the fiscal
fact that the defendant was himself the prosecutor and that the action finally terminated filed an information for rebellion alleging those common crimes as a necessary means
with an acquittal; (2) that in bringing the action, the prosecutor acted without probable of committing the offense charged under the second part of Article 48, RPC.
cause; and (3) that the prosecutor was actuated or impelled by legal malice, that is by
improper or sinister motive.[20] All these requisites must concur. We, however, find no occasion to apply the Hernandez ruling since as intimated
Judging from the face of the complaint itself filed by Adaza against the herein above, the crimes of murder and frustrated murder in this case were absolutely
petitioners, none of the foregoing requisites have been alleged therein, thus rendering unnecessary to commit rebellion although they were the natural consequences of the
the complaint dismissible on the ground of failure to state a cause of action under Section unlawful bombing. Hence, the applicable provision is the first part of Article 48 of the
1 (g), Rule 16 of the Revised Rules of Court.

There is nothing in the records which shows, and the complaint does not allege, While the Supreme Court in the case of Enrile v. Salazar,[26] addressing the issue of
that Criminal Case No. Q-90-11855, filed by the petitioners against respondent Adaza whether or not the Hernandez doctrine is still good law, in a 10-3 vote, did not sustain
for Rebellion with Murder and Frustrated Murder, has been finally terminated and the position espoused by the herein petitioners on the matter,three justices[27] felt the
therein accused Adaza acquitted of the charge. Not even Adaza himself, thru counsel, need to re-study the Hernandez ruling in light of present-day developments, among
makes any positive asseveration on this aspect that would establish his acquittal. Insofar whom was then Chief Justice Marcelo Fernan who wrote a dissenting opinion in this
as Criminal Case No. Q-90-11855 is concerned, what appears clear from the records only wise:
is that respondent has been discharged on a writ of habeas corpus and granted
bail.[21] This is not, however, considered the termination of the action contemplated
I am constrained to write this separate opinion on what seems to be a rigid adherence
under Philippine jurisdiction to warrant the institution of a malicious prosecution suit
to the 1956 ruling of the Court. The numerous challenges to the doctrine enunciated in
against those responsible for the filing of the informaion against him.
the case of People vs. Hernandez, 99 Phil. 515 (1956), should at once demonstrate the
The complaint likewise does not make any allegation that the prosecution acted need to redefine the applicability of said doctrine so as to make it conformable with
without probable cause in filing the criminal information dated April 18, 1990 for accepted and well-settled principles of criminal law and jurisprudence.
rebellion with murder and frustrated murder. Elementarily defined, probable cause is
the existence of such facts and circumstances as would excite the belief, in a reasonable To my mind, the Hernandez doctrine should not be interpreted as an all-embracing
mind, acting on the facts within the knowledge of the prosecutor, that the person authority for the rule that all common crimes committed on the occasion, or in
charged was guilty of the crime for which he was prosecuted. It is well-settled that one furtherance of, or in connection with, rebellion are absorbed by the latter. To that
cannot be held liable for maliciously instituting a prosecution where one has acted with extent, I cannot go along with the view of the majority in the instant case that
probable cause. Elsewise stated, a suit for malicious prosecution will lie only in cases Hernandez remains binding doctrine operating to prohibit the complexing of rebellion
where a legal prosecution has been carried on without probable cause. The reason for with any other offense committed on the occasion thereof, either as a means necessary
this rule is that it would be a very great discouragement to public justice, if prosecutors, to its commission or as an unintended effect of an activity that constitutes rebellion (p.
who had tolerable ground of suspicion, were liable to be sued at law when their 9, Decision).
indictment miscarried.[22]

In the case under consideration, the decision of the Special Team of Prosecutors to The Hernandez doctrine has served the purpose for which it was applied by the Court
file the information for rebellion with murder and frustrated murder against respondent in 1956 during the communist-inspired rebellion of the Huks. The changes in our
Adaza, among others, cannot be dismissed as the mere product of whim or caprice on society in the span of 34 years since then have far-reaching effects on the all-embracing
the part of the prosecutors who conducted the preliminary investigation. Said decision applicability of the doctrine considering the emergence of alternative modes of seizing
was fully justified in an eighteen (18)-page Resolution dated April 17, 1990.[23] While it the powers of the duly-constituted Government not contemplated in Articles 134 and
is true that the petitioners were fully aware of the prevailing jurisprudence enunciated 135 of the Revised Penal Code and their consequent effects on the lives of our
in People v. Hernandez,[24] which proscribes the complexing of murder and other common people.The doctrine was good law then, but I believe that there is a certain aspect of
crimes with rebellion, petitioners were of the honest conviction that the Hernandez Case the Hernandez doctrine that needs clarification.[28]
can be differentiated from the present case. The petitioners thus argued:
Apparently, not even the Supreme Court then was of one mind in debunking the
Of course we are aware of the ruling in People vs. Hernandez, 99 Phil. 515, which held theory being advanced by the petitioners in this case, some of whom were also the
that common crimes like murder, arson, etc. are absorbed by rebellion. However, the petitioners in the Enrile case. Nevertheless, we held in Enrile that the Information filed
Hernandez case is different from the present case before us. In the Hernandez case, the therein properly charged an offense -- that of simple rebellion --[29] and thereupon
common crimes of murder, arson, etc. were found by the fiscal to have been committed ordered the remand of the case to the trial court for the prosecution of the named
accused[30] in the Information therein. Following this lead, the Information against Rule 65 may be availed of. The reason is that it would be unfair to require the defendants
Adaza in Criminmal Case No. Q-90-11855 was not quashed, but was instead treated (petitioners in this case) to undergo the ordeal and expense of trial under such
likewise as charging the crime of simple rebellion. circumstances, because the remedy of appeal then would then not be plain and
adequate.[36] Judge Macli-ing committed grave abuse of discretion in denying
A doubtful or difficult question of law may become the basis of good faith and, in petitioners motion to dismiss the Adaza complaint, and thus public respondent Court
this regard, the law always accords to public officials the presumption of good faith and of Appeals should have issued the writ of certiorari prayed for by the petitioners and
regularity in the performance of official duties.[31] Any person who seeks to establish annulled the February 8, 1991 and May 14, 1991 Orders of respondent Judge. It was
otherwise has the burden of proving bad faith or ill-motive. Here, since the petitioners grievous error on the part of the court a quo not to have done so. This has to be
were of the honest conviction that there was probable cause to hold respondent Adaza corrected. Respondent Adazas baseless action cannot be sustained for this would
for trial for the crime of rebellion with murder and frustrated murder, and since Adaza unjustly compel the petitioners to needlessly go through a protracted trial and thereby
himself, through counsel, did not allege in his complaint lack of probable cause, we find unduly burden the court with one more futile and inconsequential case.
that the petitioners cannot be held liable for malicious prosecution. Needless to say,
probable cause was not wanting in the institution of Criminal Case No. Q-90-11855 WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Resolutions of respondent Court of
against Adaza. Appeals dated January 31, 1992 and September 2, 1992 affirming the February 8, 1991
and May 14, 1991 Orders of respondent Judge George C. Macli-ing are all hereby
As to the requirement that the prosecutor must be impelled by malice in bringing NULLIFIED AND SET ASIDE. Respondent Judge is DIRECTED to take no further
the unfounded action, suffice it to state that the presence of probable cause signifies, as action on Civil Case No. Q-90-6073 except to DISMISS the same.
a legal consequence, the absence of malice.[32] At the risk of being repetitious, it is evident
in this case that petitioners were not motivated by malicious intent or by a sinister design SO ORDERED.
to unduly harass private respondent, but only by a well-founded belief that respondent
G.R. No. L-51832 April 26, 1989
Adaza can be held for trial for the crime alleged in the information.
All told, the complaint, dated July 11, 1990, filed by Adaza before Branch 100 of CFI CAPIZ, BRANCH II and BIENVENIDO BACALOCOS, respondents.
the Regional Trial Court against the petitioners does not allege facts sufficient to PADILLA, J.:
constitute a cause of action for malicious prosecution. Lack of cause of action, as a
ground for a motion to dismiss under Section 1 (g), Rule 16 of the Revised Rules of Court, Petition for review on certiorari of the Order 1 of the Court of First Instance of Capiz,
must appear on the face of the complaint itself, meaning that it must be determined from Branch II, on the motion for reconsideration flied by private respondent Bienvenido
the allegations of the complaint and from none other.[33] The infirmity of the complaint Bacalocos, dismissing the complaint for damages against the latter, docketed as Civil
in this regard is only too obvious to have escaped respondent judges Case No. V-3937.
attention. Paragraph 14 of the complaint which states:

xxxxxxxxx Petitioner Rafael Patricio, an ordained Catholic priest, and actively engaged in social
and civic affairs in Pilar, Capiz, where he is residing, was appointed Director General of
the 1976 Religious and Municipal Town Fiesta of Pilar, Capiz.
14. The malicious prosecution, nay persecution, of plaintiff for a non-existent crime
had severely injured and besmirched plaintiffs name and reputation and forever
stigmatized his stature as a public figure, thereby causing him extreme physical On 16 May 1976 at about 10:00 o'clock in the evening, while a benefit dance was on-
suffering, serious anxiety, mental anguish, moral shock and social humiliation. [34] going in connection with the celebration of the town fiesta, petitioner together with two
(2) policemen were posted near the gate of the public auditorium to check on the
assigned watchers of the gate. Private respondent Bienvenido Bacalocos, President of
is a mere conclusion of law and is not an averment or allegation of ultimate facts. It does
the Association of Barangay Captains of Pilar, Capiz and a member of the Sangguniang
not, therefore, aid in any wise the complaint in setting forth a valid cause of action
Bayan, who was in a state of drunkenness and standing near the same gate together with
against the petitioners.
his companions, struck a bottle of beer on the table causing an injury on his hand which
It is worthy to note that this case was elevated to the public respondent Court of started to bleed. Then, he approached petitioner in a hostile manner and asked the latter
Appeals and now to this Court because of respondent Judge Macli-ings denial of if he had seen his wounded hand, and before petitioner could respond, private
petitioners motion to dismiss the Adaza complaint. The ordinary procedure, as a general respondent, without provocation, hit petitioner's face with his bloodied hand. As a
rule, is that petitioners should have filed an answer, go to trial, and if the decision is consequence, a commotion ensued and private respondent was brought by the
adverse, reiterate the issue on appeal.[35] This general rule, however, is subject to certain policemen to the municipal building. 2
exceptions, among which are, if the court denying the motion to dismiss acts without or
in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion, in which case certiorari under
As a result of the incident, a criminal complaint for "Slander by Deed was flied by Upon review of the facts of the case, it appears and the Court finds merit in the
petitioner with the Municipal Trial Court of Pilar, Capiz, docketed as Criminal Case No. motion for reconsideration, particularly noting that there is indeed no showing of
2228, but the same was dismissed. 3 Subsequently, a complaint for damages was filed compensatory damages being proved.
by petitioner with the court a quo. In a decision 4 dated 18 April 1978, the court ruled in
favor of herein petitioner (as complainant), holding private respondent liable to the WHEREFORE, tills Court reconsiders its decision to conform to the facts and the law,
former for moral damages as a result of the physical suffering, moral shock and social namely, that moral and exemplary damages, in order to merit, the plaintiff ought to
humiliation caused by private respondent's act of hitting petitioner on the face in public. have proven actual or compensatory damages.
The dispositive part of the decision reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, this case is ordered dismissed.
WHEREFORE, the Court orders defendant to pay plaintiff the
damages as follows:
a) Moral damages of P10,000.00
b) Exemplary damages, P1,000.00 and
c) Attorney's fees, P2,000.00. Not satisfied with said order, petitioner filed the petition at bar contending that no copy
of the Motion for consideration was served upon petitioner and no proof of service as
SO ORDERED. 5 well as notice of hearing were attached to said motion when filed with the court a
quo; thus, the motion for reconsideration did not interrupt the running of the period to
appeal. The alleged mailing of a copy of said motion by ordinary mail did not, according
On 9 June 1978, petitioner filed a motion for execution of judgment, alleging that the 18
to petitioner, cure the defect. Petitioner further argues that respondent's admission that
April 1978 decision had become final and executory after the lapse of thirty (30) days
he slapped herein petitioner in public causing him physical suffering and social
from receipt thereof by private respondent, without any motion for reconsideration or
humiliation, entitles the latter to moral damages. Actual and compensatory damages
appeal having been filed. 6 However, said motion was denied by the court a quo on the
need not be proven before an award of moral damages can be granted, so petitioner
ground that there was a pending motion for reconsideration filed by private
respondent. 7 Subsequently, private respondent filed a supplemental motion for
reconsideration 8 and the court ordered petitioner to file a reply (opposition)
thereto. 9 In compliance, petitioner flied a reply (opposition) to the motion for On the other hand, private respondent claims that the order of the court a quo apprising
reconsideration, alleging that the filing of said motion and supplement thereto was petitioner of the motion for reconsideration filed by private respondent and requiring
without notice to the adverse party and proof of service, hence, the decision sought to the former to file a reply (opposition) thereto, had cured the defect of lack of proof of
be reconsidered had already become final and unappealable. 10 service and notice of hearing of said motion for reconsideration; and that the award of
moral damages to petitioner is without basis for lack of proof of bad faith on the part of
private respondent.
Private respondent filed a rejoinder (reply) and a manifestation stating that petitioner
was duly served with a copy of said motion for reconsideration by ordinary mail,
attaching thereto the affidavit of Godofredo Almazol who stated that he mailed the With respect to the alleged lack of service on petitioner of a copy of the motion and
envelope to counsel for herein petitioner. 11 The court a quo then scheduled the motion notice of hearing and failure to attach to the motion proof of service thereof, the general
for oral argument and the parties were allowed to extensively argue their respective rule is that notice of motion is required where a party has a right to resist the relief
causes. sought by the motion and principles of natural justice demand that his rights be not
affected without an opportunity to be heard. 13
On 3 August 1979, an order 12 of dismissal of the petitioner's complaint was issued by
the trial court, thus — In the case at bar, a copy of the motion for reconsideration was served upon petitioner,
although service was effected through ordinary mail and not by registered mail as
reqired by the rules. But, petitioner was duly given the full opportunity to be heard and
to argue his case when the court a quo required him to file a reply (opposition) to the
motion for reconsideration and subsequently set the motion for oral argument.
This is a motion for reconsideration of the decision of this Court dated April 18, 1978,
filed by counsel for defendant on May 18, 1978.
What the law really eschews is not the lack of previous notice of hearing but the lack of
opportunity to be heard. It has been held that parties should not rely on mere
In view of the recent trend in the Supreme Court to liberally construe the Rules, and technicalities which, in the interest of justice, may be relaxed. 14The rifles of procedure
in view of Section 2, Rule 1, the Court resolves to give due course to the motion.
should be viewed as mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. Their Code (Articles 19 to 36), without need of proof that the wrongful act complained of had
strict and rigid application, which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate caused any physical injury upon the complainant. 17 It is clear from the report of the
rather than promote substantial justice, must be avoided. 15 Moreover, the case should, Code Commission that the reason underlying an award of damages under Art. 21 of the
as much as possible, be decided on the merits and not merely on technicalities. Civil Code is to compensate the injured party for the moral injury caused upon his
person, thus —
As to the petitioner's claim for moral damages, we find the same to be meritorious. There
is no question that moral damages may be recovered in cases where a defendant's ... . Fully sensible that there are countless gaps in the statutes, which leave so many
wrongful act or omission has caused the complainant physical suffering, mental victims of moral wrongs helpless, even though they have actually suffered material
anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, and moral injury, the Commission has deemed it necessary, in the interest of justice,
social humiliation and similar injury. 16 An award of moral damages is allowed in cases to incorporate in the proposed Civil Code the following rule:
specified or analogous to those provided in Article 2219 of the Civil Code, to wit:
ART. 23. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that
ART. 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for
analogous cases the damage.
(1) A criminal offense resulting in physical injuries;
(2) Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries; xxx xxx xxx 18
(3) Seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious acts.
(4) Adultery or concubinage;
In addition to the award of moral damages, exemplary or corrective damages may be
(5) Illegal or arbitrary detention or arrest;
imposed upon herein private respondent by way of example or correction for the public
(6) Illegal search;
good. 19 Exemplary damages are required by public policy to suppress the wanton acts
(7) Libel, slander or any other form of defamation;
of the offender. They are an antidote so that the poison of wickedness may not run
(8) Malicious prosecution;
through the body politic. 20 The amount of exemplary damages need not be proved
(9) Acts mentioned in article 309;
where it is shown that plaintiff is entitled to either moral, temperate or compensatory
(10) Acts and actions referred to in articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32,
damages, as the case may be, 21 although such award cannot be recovered as a matter
34, and 35.
of right. 22
xxx xxx xxx

In cases where exemplary damages are awarded to the injured party, attorney's fees are
Private respondent's contention that there was no bad faith on his part in slapping
also recoverable. 23
petitioner on the face and that the incident was merely accidental is not tenable. It was
established before the court a quo that there was an existing feud between the families of
both petitioner and private respondent and that private respondent slapped the WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The order appealed from, dated 3 August
petitioner without provocation in the presence of several persons. 1979, is REVERSED and the decision of the court a quo dated 18 April 1978 is hereby
REINSTATED. With costs against private respondent.
The act of private respondent in hitting petitioner on the face is contrary to morals and
good customs and caused the petitioner mental anguish, moral shock, wounded feelings SO ORDERED.
and social humiliation. Private respondent has to take full responsibility for his act and
his claim that he was unaware of what he had done to petitioner because of drunkenness G.R. No. L-48250 December 28, 1979
is definitely no excuse and does not relieve him of his liability to the latter. GRAND UNION SUPERMARKET, INC. and NELIA SANTOS
Pursuant to Art. 21 of the Civil Code in relation to par. (10) of Art. 2219 of the same Code, OF APPEALS, respondents.
"any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to GUERRERO, J.
morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage."
This is a petition tor certiorari by way of appeal from the decision of the Court of
The fact that no actual or compensatory damage was proven before the trial court, does Appeals 1 dated September 26, 1977 rendered in CA-G.R. No. 55186-R entitled "Jose J.
not adversely affect petitioner's right to recover moral damages. Moral damages may be Espino, Jr., plaintiff-appellant. versus Grand Union Supermarket, Inc. and Nelia Santos-
awarded in appropriate cases referred to in the chapter on human relations of the Civil Fandino, defendants-appellees," the dispositive portion of which states;

WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment is hereby reversed and set items" (Exhibit A). Meanwhile, the plaintiff's wife joined him and asked what had taken
aside. Defendants are ordered to pay plaintiff-jointly and severally, him so long.
the sum of Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00) by way of moral
damages. Twenty-Five Thousand Pesos (P25,000.00) as exemplary "The guard who had accosted plaintiff took him back inside the supermarket in the
damages, and Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) as attorney's fee, Costs company of his wife. Plaintiff and his wife were directed across the main entrance to the
of both instances shall be taxed against the defendant defendants. shopping area, down the line of check-out counters, to a desk beside the first checkout
counter. To the woman seated at the desk, who turned out to be defendant Nelia Santos-
The facts of the case are as stated in the decision of the respondent court to wit: Fandino, the guard presented the incident report and the file, Exhibit B. Defendant
Fandino read the report and addressing the guard remarked: "Ano, nakaw na naman
"Upon the evidence, and from the findings of the lower court, it appears that in the ito" (p. 22, Id.). Plaintiff explained and narrated the incident that led to the finding of the
morning of August 22, 1970, plaintiff Jose J. Espino. Jr., a civil engineer and an executive file in his pocket, telling Fandino that he was going to pay for the file because he needed
of Procter and Gamble Philippines, Inc., and his wife and their two daughters went to it. But this defendant replied: "That is all they say, the people whom we cause not paying
shop at the defendants' South Supermarket in Makati. While his wife was shopping at for the goods say... They all intended to pay for the things that are found to them." (p.
the groceries section, plaintiff browsed around the other parts of the market. Finding a 23, Id). Plaintiff objected and said that he was a regular customer of the supermarket.
cylindrical "rat tail" file which he needed in his hobby and had been wanting to buy,
plaintiff picked up that item from one of the shelves. He held it in his hand thinking that "Extracting a P5.00 bill from his pocket, plaintiff told Fandino that he was paying for the
it might be lost, because of its tiny size, if he put it in his wife's grocery cart. In the course file whose cost was P3.85. Fandino reached over and took the P5.00 bill from plaintiff
of their shopping, plaintiff and his wife saw the maid of plaintiff's aunt. While talking with these words: "We are fining you P5.00. That is your the fine." Plaintiff was shocked.
to this maid, plaintiff stuck the file into the front breast pocket of his shirt with a good He and his wife objected vigorously that he was not a common criminal, and they
part of the merchandise exposed. wanted to get back the P5.00. But Fandino told them that the money would be given as
an incentive to the guards who apprehend pilferers. People were milling around them
"At the check-out counter, the plaintiff paid for his wife's purchases which amounted to and staring at the plaintiff. Plaintiff gave up the discussion. He drew a P50.00 bill and
P77.00, but he forgot to pay for the file. As he was leaving by the exit of the supermarket took back the file. Fandino directed him to the nearest check-out counter where he had
on his way to his car, carrying two bags of groceries and accompanied by his wife and to fall in line. The people who heard the exchange of words between Fandino and
two daughter, plaintiff was approached by a uniformed guard of the supermarket who plaintiff continued to stare at him. At the trial, plaintiff expressed his embarrassment
said: "Excuse me, Mr., I think you have something in your pocket which you have not and humiliation thus: " I felt as though I wanted to disappear into a hole on the ground"
paid for." (p. 5, tsn, Aug. 13, 1971), pointing to his left front breast pocket. Suddenly (p. 34, Id.). After paying for the file, plaintiff and his wife walked as fast as they could
reminded of the file, plaintiff apologized thus: "I am sorry," and he turned back toward out of the supermarket. His first impulse was to go back to the supermarket that night
the cashier to pay for the file. But the guard stopped him and led him instead toward to throw rocks at its glass windows. But reason prevailed over passion and he thought
the rear of the supermarket. The plaintiff protested but the guard was firm saying: "No, that justice should take its due course.
Mr., please come with me. It is the procedure of the supermarket to bring people that
we apprehend to the back of the supermarket" (p. 8, Ibid). The time was between 9 and "Plaintiff was certain during the trial that when he signed the incident report, Exhibit A,
10 o'clock. A crowd of customers on their way into the supermarket saw the plaintiff inside the cubicle at the back of the supermarket only his brief statement of the facts
being stopped and led by a uniformed guard toward the rear of the supermarket. (Exhibit A-2), aside from his name and personal circumstances, was written thereon. He
Plaintiff acquiesced and signaled to his wife and daughters to wait. swore that the following were not in the incident report at, the time he signed it:

"Into a cubicle which was immediately adjacent to the area where deliveries to the Exhibit A-I which says opposite the stenciled word SUBJECT
supermarket were being made, the plaintiff was ushered. The guard directed him to a "Shoplifting"
table and gave the file to the man seated at the desk. Another man stood beside the
plaintiff. The man at the desk looked at the plaintiff and the latter immediately explained Exhibit A-3 which says opposite the stenciled words Action Taken:
the circumstances that led to the finding of the file in his possession. The man at the desk Released by Mrs. Fandino after paying the item.
pulled out a sheet of paper and began to ask plaintiff's name, age, residence and other
personal data. Plaintiff was asked to make a brief statement, and on the sheet of paper
Exhibit A-4 which says opposite the stenciled words Remarks
or "Incident Report" he wrote down the following: "While talking to my aunt's maid
Noted: "Grd. Ebreo requested Grd. Paunil to apprehend subject
with my wife, I put this item in my shirt pocket. I forgot to check it out with my wife's

Private respondent's complaint filed on October 8, 1970 is founded on Article 21 in This Court needs only to stress the following undisputed facts which strongly and
relation to Article 2219 of the New Civil Code and prays for moral damages, exemplary convincingly uphold the conclusion that private respondent was not "shoplifting." Thus,
damages, attorney s fees and 'expenses of litigation, costs of the suit and the return of the facts that private respondent after picking the cylindrical "rat-tail" file costing P3.85
the P5.00 fine. After trial, the Court of First Instance of Pasig, Rizal, Branch XIX had placed it inside his left front breast pocket with a good portion of the item exposed
dismissed the complaint, Interposing the appeal to the Court of Appeals, the latter to view and that he did not conceal it in his person or hid it from sight as well as the fact
reversed and set aside the appealed judgment, granting and damages as earlier stated. that he paid the purchases of his wife amounting to P77.00 at the checkout counter of
the Supermarket, owed that he was not acting suspiciously or furtively. And the
Not satisfied with the decision of the respondent court, petitioners instituted the present circumstance that he was with his family consisting of his wife Mrs. Caridad Jayme
petition and submits the following grounds and/or assignment of errors, to wit: Espino, and their two daughters at the time negated any criminal intent on his part to
steal. Moreover, when private respondent was approached by the guard of the
Supermarket as he was leaving by the exit to his car who told him, "Excuse me, Mr., I
I Respondent Court of Appeals erred in awarding moral and exemplary damages to the
think you have something in your pocket which you have not paid for," Espino,
respondent Espino under Articles 19 and 21 in relation to Article 2219 of the Civil Code,
immediately apologized and answered, "I am sorry," which indicated his sincere
considering that —
apology or regrets. He turned back towards the cashier to pay for the file which proved
his honesty sincerity and good faith in buying the item, and not to shoplift the same. His
A. Respondent Espino was guilty of theft; brief statement on the sheet of paper called the Incident Report where private
respondent wrote the following: "While talking to my aunt's maid with my wife, I put
B. Petitioners legitimately exercised their right of defense of property within the context this item in in my shirt pocket. I forgot to check it out with my wife's item," was an
of Article 429 of the Civil Code negating the application of Articles 19 and 21 of the same instant and contemporaneous explanation of the incident.
Considering further the personal circumstances of the private respondent. his education,
C. Petitioners acted upon probable cause in stopping and investigating respondent position and character showing that he is a graduate Mechanical Engineer from U.P.
Espino for shoplifting and as held in various decisions in the United States on Class 1950, employed as an executive of Proctor & Gamble Phils., Inc., a corporate
shoplifting, a merchant who acts upon probable cause should not be held liable in manager incharge of motoring and warehousing therein; honorably discharged from the
damages by the suspected shoplifter; Philippine Army in 1946; a Philippine government pensionado of the United States for
six months; member of the Philippine veterans Legion; author of articles published in
D. Petitioners did not exercise their right maliciously, wilfully or in bad faith; and/or the Manila Sunday Times and Philippines Free Press; member of the Knights of
Columbus, Council No. 3713; son of the late Jose Maria Espino, retired Minister,
Department of Foreign Affairs at the Philippine Embassy Washington, We are fully
E. The proximate cause of respondent Espino's alleged injury or suffering was his own
convinced, as the trial and appellate courts were, that private respondent did not intend
negligence or forgetfulness; petitioners acted in good faith.
to steal the article costing P3.85. Nothing in the records intimates or hints whatsoever
that private respondent has had any police record of any sort much less suspicion of
II Assuming arguendo that petitioners are hable for moral and exemplary damages, the stealing or shoplifting.
award of P75,000.00 for moral damages and P25,000.00 for exemplary damages by the
respondent Court of Appeals is not legally justified and/or is grossly excessive in the
We do not lay down here any hard-and-fast rule as to what act or combination of acts
constitute the crime of shoplifting for it must be stressed that each case must be
considered and adjudged on a case-to-case basis and that in the determination of
III The award of P5,000.00 for attorney's fees by the respondent Court of Appeals is whether a person suspected of shoplifting has in truth and in fact committed the same,
unjustified and unwarranted under Article 2199 of the Civil Code. all the attendant facts and circumstances should be considered in their entirety and not
from any single fact or circumstance from which to impute the stigma of shoplifting on
We agree with the holding of the respondent appellate court that "the evidence sustains any person suspected and apprehended therefor.
the court's finding that the plaintiff had absolutely no intention to steal the file." The
totality of the facts and circumstances as found by the Court of Appeals unerringly We likewise concur with the Court of Appeals that "(u)pon the facts and under the law,
points to the conclusion that private respondent did not intend to steal the file and that plaintiff has clearly made the cause of action for damages against the defendants.
is act of picking up the file from the open shelf was not criminal nor done with malice Defendants wilfully caused loss or injury to plaintiff in a manner that was contrary to
or criminal intent for on the contrary, he took the item with the intention of buying and morals, good customs or public policy, making them amenable to damages under
paying for it. Articles 19 and 21 in relation to Article 2219 of the Civil Code." 2
That private respondent was falsely accused of shoplifting is evident. The Incident degrade the dignity of a person. Everyone must respect the dignity, personality, privacy
Report (Exhibit A) with the entries thereon under Exhibit A-1 which says opposite the and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons (Article 26, Civil Code). And one
stenciled word SUBJECT: "Shoplifting," Exhibit A-3 which says opposite the stenciled must act with justice, give everyone his due and observe honesty and good faith (Article
words Action Taken: Relesed by Mrs. Fandino after paying the item," Exhibit A-4 which 19, Civil Code).
says opposite the stenciled words Remarks Noted: Grd. Ebreo requested Grd. Paunil to
apprehend subject shoplifter," established the opinion, judgment or thinking of the Private respondent is entitled to damages but We hold that the award of Seventy-Five
management of petitioner's supermarket upon private respondent's act of picking up Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00) for moral damages and Twenty-Five Thousand Pesos
the file. ln plain words, private respondent was regarded and pronounced a shoplifter (P25,000.00, for exemplary damages is unconscionable and excessive.
and had committed "shoplifting."
While no proof of pecuniary loss is necessary in order that moral, nominal, temperate,
We also affirm the Court of Appeals' finding that petitioner Nelia Santos Fandino, after liquidated or exemplary damages may be adjudicated, the assessment of such damages,
reading the incident report, remarked the following: "Ano, nakaw na naman ito". Such except liquidated ones, is left to the discretion of the court, according to the
a remark made in the presence of private respondent and with reference to the incident circumstances of each case (Art. 2216, New Civil Code). In the case at bar, there is no
report with its entries, was offensive to private respondent's dignity and defamatory to question that the whole incident that befell respondent had arisen in such a manner that
his character and honesty. When Espino explained that he was going to pay the file but was created unwittingly by his own act of forgetting to pay for the file. It was his
simply forgot to do so, Fandino doubted the explanation. saying: "That is all what they forgetfullness in checking out the item and paying for it that started the chain of events
say, the people whom we caught not paying for the goods say... they all intended to pay which led to his embarassment and humiliation thereby causing him mental anguish,
for the things that are found to them." Private respondent objected and said that he was wounded feelings and serious anxiety. Yet, private respondent's act of omission
a regular customer of the Supermarket. contributed to the occurrence of his injury or loss and such contributory negligence is a
factor which may reduce the damages that private respondent may recover (Art. 2214,
The admission of Fandino that she required private respondent to pay a fine of P5.00 New Civil Code). Moreover, that many people were present and they saw and heard the
and did in fact take the P5.00 bill of private respondent tendered by the latter to pay for ensuing interrogation and altercation appears to be simply a matter of coincidence in a
the file, as a fine which would be given as an incentive to the guards who apprehend supermarket which is a public place and the crowd of onlookers, hearers or bystanders
pilferers clearly proved that Fandino branded private respondent as a thief which was was not deliberately sought or called by management to witness private respondent's
not right nor justified. predicament. We do not believe that private respondent was intentionally paraded in
order to humiliate or embarrass him because petitioner's business depended for its
The testimony of the guard that management instructed them to bring the suspected success and patronage the good will of the buying public which can only be preserved
customers to the public area for the people to see those kind of customers in order that and promoted by good public relations.
they may be embarassed (p. 26, tsn, Sept. 30, 1971); that management wanted "the
customers to be embarrassed in public so that they will not repeat the stealing again" (p. As succinctly expressed by Mr. Justice J. B. L. Reyes in his concurring and dissenting
2, tsn, Dec. 10, 1971); that the management asked the guards "to bring these customers opinion in Pangasinan Transportation Company, Inc, vs. Legaspi, 12 SCRA 598, the
to different cashiers in order that they will know that they are pilferers" (p. 2, Ibid.) may purpose of moral damages is essentially indemnity or reparation, both punishment or
indicate the manner or pattern whereby a confirmed or self-confessed shoplifter is correction. Moral damages are emphatically not intended to enrich a complainant at the
treated by the Supermarket management but in the case at bar, there is no showing that expense of a defendant; they are awarded only to enable the injured party to obtain
such procedure was taken in the case of the private respondent who denied strongly means, diversion or amusements that will serve to alleviate the moral suffering he has
and vehemently the charge of shoplifting. undergone, by reason of the defendant's culpable action. In other words, the award of
moral damages is aimed at a restoration, within the limits of the possible, of the
Nonetheless, the false accusation charged against the private respondent after detaining spiritual status quo ante and, it must be proportionate to the suffering inflicted.
and interrogating him by the uniformed guards and the mode and manner in which he
was subjected, shouting at him, imposing upon him a fine, threatening to call the police In Our considered estimation and assessment, moral damages in the amount of Five
and in the presence and hearing of many people at the Supermarket which brought and Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) is reasonable and just to award to private respondent.
caused him humiliation and embarrassment, sufficiently rendered the petitioners liable
for damages under Articles 19 and 21 in relation to Article 2219 of the Civil Code. We The grant of Twenty-Five Thousand Pesos (P25,000.00) as exemplary damages is
rule that under the facts of the case at bar, petitioners wilfully caused loss or injury to unjustified. Exemplary or corrective damages are imposed by way of example or
private respondent in a manner that was contrary to morals, good customs or public correction for the public good, in addition to the moral, temperate, liquidated or
policy. It is against morals, good customs and public policy to humiliate, embarrass and compensatory damages (Art. 2229, New Civil Code). Exemplary damages cannot be

recovered as a matter of right; the court will decide whether or not they could be ART. 27. Any person suffering material or moral loss because a public servant
adjudicated (Art. 2223, New Civil Code). Considering that exemplary damages are or employee refuses or neglects, without just cause, to perform his official duty
awarded for wanton acts, that they are penal in character granted not by way of may file an action for damages and other relief against the latter, without
compensation but as a punishment to the offender and as a warning to others as a sort prejudice to any disciplinary administrative action that may be taken.
of deterrent, We hold that the facts and circumstances of the case at bar do not warrant
the grant of exemplary damages. The complaint was dismissed upon appellee's motion in the court below on the ground
that it does not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. The only question
Petitioners acted in good faith in trying to protect and recover their property, a right now before us refers to correctness of the order dismissal.
which the law accords to them. Under Article 429, New Civil Code, the owner or lawful
possessor of a thing has a right to exclude any person from the enjoyment and disposal The pertinent allegations in the complaint are that on October 5, 1958 appellant Jose
thereof and for this purpose, he may use such force as may be reasonably necessary to Amaro was assaulted and shot at near the city government building of Silay; that the
repel or prevent an actual or threatened unlawful physical invasion or usurpation of his following day he, together with his father (Cornelio Amaro) and his witnesses, "went to
property. And since a person who acts in the fulfillment of a duty or in the lawful the office of the defendant but instead of obtaining assistance to their complaint they
exercise of a right or office exempts him from civil or criminal liability, petitioner may were harassed and terrorized;" that in view thereof they "gave up and renounced their
not be punished by imposing exemplary damages against him. We agree that petitioners right and interest in the prosecution of the crime . . . .;" that upon advice of the City
acted upon probable cause in stopping and investigating private respondent for taking Mayor given to appellee an investigation (of said crime) was conducted and as a result
the file without paying for it, hence, the imposition of exemplary damages as a warning the city attorney of Silay was about to file or had already filed an information for illegal
to others by way of a deterrent is without legal basis. We, therefore, eliminate the grant discharge of firearm against the assailant; and that "having finished the investigation of
of exemplary damages to the private respondent. the crime complained of, the defendant chief of police is now harassing the plaintiffs in
their daily work, ordering them thru his police to appear in his office when he is absent,
In the light of the reduction of the damages, We hereby likewise reduce the original and he is about to order the arrest of the plaintiffs to take their signatures in prepared
award of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) as attorney's fees to Two Thousand Pesos affidavits exempting the police from any dereliction of duty in their case against the
(P2,000.00). perpetrator of the crime."

WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the judgment of the Court of Appeals We are of the opinion that the facts set out constitute an actionable dereliction on
is hereby modified. Petitioners are hereby ordered to pay, jointly and severally, to appellee's part in the light of Article 27 of the Civil Code. That appellants were "harrased
private respondent moral damages in the sum of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) and and terrorized" may be a conclusion of law and hence improperly pleaded. Their claim
the amount of Two Thousand Pesos (P2,000.00) as and for attorney's fees; and further, for relief, however, is not based on the fact of harassment and terrorization but on
to return the P5.00 fine to private respondent. No costs. appellee's refusal to give them assistance, which it was his duty to do as an officer of the
law. The requirement under the aforesaid provision that such refusal must be "without
SO ORDERED. just cause" is implicit in the context of the allegation. The statement of appellee's
dereliction is repeated in a subsequent paragraph of the complaint, where it is alleged
that "he is about to order the arrest of the plaintiffs" to make them sign affidavits of
G.R. No. L-14986 July 31, 1962
exculpation in favor of the policemen.
CORNELIO AMARO and JOSE AMARO, plaintiffs-appellants, vs. AMBROSIO
SUMANGUIT, defendant-appellee.
MAKALINTAL, J.: The complaint is, without doubt, imperfectly drafted. It suffers from vagueness and
generalization. But all that the Rules require is that there be a showing by a statement of
ultimate facts, that the plaintiff his a right and that such right has been violated by the
Appellants filed suit for damages in the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental
defendant. An action should not be dismissed upon mere ambiguity, indefiniteness or
against the chief of police of the City of Silay. Although not specifically alleged in the
uncertainty, for these are not grounds for a motion to dismiss, under Rule 8, but rather
complaint, it is admitted by both parties, as shown in their respective briefs, that the
for a bill of particulars according to Rule 16. Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court,
action is predicated on Articles 21 and/or 27 of the Civil Code, which provide:
1957 ed., Vol. I, p. 111. In two cases decided by this Court, it was observed:

ART. 21. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner
Under the new Rules of Court, an action cannot be dismissed upon the ground
that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the
that the complaint is vague, ambiguous, or indefinite (see Rule 8, section 1),
latter for the damage.
because the defendant, in such case, may ask for more particulars (Rule 16) or

he may compel the plaintiff to disclose more relevant facts under the different from the din and dust of city life yet near all facilities. Plans took shape
methods of discovery provided by the Rules. (Rules 18, 20, 21, 22 and 23.) when they heard of BROOKSIDE HILLS. With thrift and
Professor Sunderland once said "The real test of good pleading under the new determination, they bought a lot and built their dream house ... for
rules is whether the information given is sufficient to enable the party to plead P31,000. The Arcadios are now part of the friendly, thriving
and prepare for trial. A legal conclusion may serve the purpose of pleading as community of BROOKSIDE HILLS... a beautiful first-class
well as anything else if it gives the proper information. If the party wants more subdivision planned for wholesome family living.
he may ask for more details in regard to the particular matter that is stated too
generally (Vol. XIII, Cincinnati Law Review, January 1939.) Co Tiamco vs. Diaz, The same advertisement appeared in the Sunday Times dated January 5, 1969. Doctor
75 Phil. 672. Aramil a neuropsychiatrist and a member of the faculty of the U. E. Ramon Magsaysay
Memorial Hospital, noticed the mistake. On that same date, he wrote St. Louis Realty
At any rate, if respondent's complaint, which was clear enough, had created the following letter of protest:
confusion in petitioner's mind as to the foundation of her cause of action, then
it should have moved for a more definite statement of the same before the Dear Sirs:
trial. De Leon Brokerage Co., Inc. vs. The Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. L-15247,
Feb. 28, 1962.
This is anent to your advertisements appearing in the December 15,
1968 and January 5, 1969 issues of the Sunday Times which boldly
The fact, cited by the court below in the order subject to review, that appellants have depicted my house at the above-mentioned address and implying that
another recourse (in connection with the crime of illegal discharge of firearm supposedly it belonged to another person. I am not aware of any permission or
committed against one of them) as by filing their complaint directly with the city authority on my part for the use of my house for such publicity.
attorney of Silay or by lodging an administrative charge against appellee herein, does
not preclude this action for damages under Article 27 of the Civil Code and hence does
This unauthorized use of my house for your promotional gain and much more
not justify its dismissal.
the apparent distortions therein are I believe not only transgression to my
private property but also damaging to my prestige in the medical profession
THE ORDER APPEALED from is set aside and the case is remanded to the Court of I have had invited in several occasions numerous medical colleagues, medical
origin for further proceedings. Costs against appellee. students and friends to my house and after reading your December 15
advertisement some of them have uttered some remarks purporting doubts as
G.R. No. L-46061 November 14, 1984 to my professional and personal integrity. Such sly remarks although in light
ST. LOUIS REALTY CORPORATION, petitioner, vs.COURT OF APPEALS and vein as "it looks like your house," "how much are you renting from the
CONRADO J. ARAMIL, respondents. Arcadios?", " like your wife portrayed in the papers as belonging to another
AQUINO, J.: husband," etc., have resulted in no little mental anguish on my part.

This case is about the recovery of damages for a wrongful advertisement in the Sunday I have referred this matter to the Legal Panel of the Philippine Medical
Times where Saint Louis Realty Corporation misrepresented that the house of Doctor Association and their final advice is pending upon my submission of
Conrado J. Aramil belonged to Arcadio S. Arcadio. supporting ownership papers.

St. Louis Realty caused to be published with the permission of Arcadio S. Arcadio (but I will therefore be constrained to pursue court action against your
without permission of Doctor Aramil) in the issue of the Sunday Times of December 15, corporation unless you could satisfactorily explain this matter within
1968 an advertisement with the heading "WHERE THE HEART IS". Below that heading a week upon receipt of this letter.
was the photograph of the residence of Doctor Aramil and the Arcadio family and then
below the photograph was the following write-up: The letter was received by Ernesto Magtoto, an officer of St. Louis Realty in charge of
advertising. He stopped publication of the advertisement. He contacted Doctor Aramil
Home is where the heart is. And the hearts of MR. AND MRS. and offered his apologies. However, no rectification or apology was published.
ARCADIO S. ARCADIO and their family have been captured by
BROOKSIDE HILLS. They used to rent a small 2-bedroom house in a On February 20, 1969, Aramil's counsel demanded from St. Louis Realty actual, moral
cramped neighborhood, sadly inadequate and unwholesome for the and exemplary damages of P110,000 (Exh. D). In its answer dated March 10, St. Louis
needs of a large family. They dream(ed) of a more pleasant place free
Realty claimed that there was an honest mistake and that if Aramil so desired, St. Louis Realty also contends that the decision is contrary to law and that the case was
rectification would be published in the Manila Times (Exh. 3). decided in a way not in conformity with the rulings of this Court. It argues that the case
is not covered by article 26 which provides that "every person shall respect the dignity,
It published in the issue of the Manila Times of March 18, 1969 a new advertisement with personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons". "Prying into
the Arcadio family and their real house. But it did not publish any apology to Doctor the privacy of another's residence" and "meddling with or disturbing the private life or
Aramil and an explanation of the error. family relations of another" and "similar acts", "though they may not constitute a criminal
offense, shall produce a cause of action for damages, prevention and other relief".
On March 29, Aramil filed his complaint for damages. St. Louis Realty published in the
issue of the Manila Times of April 15, 1969 the following "NOTICE OF RECTIFICATION" The damages fixed by Judge Leuterio are sanctioned by Articles 2200, 2208 and 2219 of
in a space 4 by 3 inches: the Civil Code. Article 2219 allows moral damages for acts and actions mentioned in
Article 26. As lengthily explained by Justice Gatmaitan, the acts and omissions of the
firm fan under Article 26.
This will serve as a notice that our print ad 'Where the Heart is' which
appeared in the Manila Timesissue of March 18, 1969 is a rectification
of the same ad that appeared in the Manila Times issues rectification St. Louis Realty's employee was grossly negligent in mixing up the Aramil and Arcadio
of the same ad that appeal of December 15, 1968 and January 5, 1969 residences in a widely circulated publication like the Sunday Times. To suit its purpose,
wherein a photo of the house of another Brookside Homeowner (Dr. it never made any written apology and explanation of the mix-up. It just contented itself
Aramil-private respondent) was mistakenly used as a background for with a cavalier "rectification ".
the featured homeowner's the Arcadio family.
Persons, who know the residence of Doctor Aramil, were confused by the distorted,
The ad of March 18, 1969 shows the Arcadio family with their real lingering impression that he was renting his residence from Arcadio or that Arcadio had
house in the background, as was intended all along. leased it from him. Either way, his private life was mistakenly and unnecessarily
exposed. He suffered diminution of income and mental anguish.
Judge Jose M. Leuterio observed that St. Louis Realty should have immediately published
a rectification and apology. He found that as a result of St. Louis Realty's mistake, WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Appellate Court is affirmed. Costs against the
magnified by its utter lack of sincerity, Doctor Aramil suffered mental anguish and his petitioner.
income was reduced by about P1,000 to P1,500 a month. Moreover, there was violation
of Aramil's right to privacy (Art. 26, Civil Code). SO ORDERED.

The trial court awarded Aramil P8,000 as actual damages, P20,000 as moral damages
and P2,000 as attorney's fees. St. Louis Realty appealed to the Court of Appeals.

The Appellate Court affirmed that judgment, with Acting Presiding Justice Magno S.
Gatmaitan as ponente, and Justices Sixto A. Domondon and Samuel F. Reyes concurring.

The Appellate Court reasoned out that St. Louis Realty committed an actionable quasi-
delict under articles 21 and 26 of the Civil Code because the questioned advertisements
pictured a beautiful house which did not belong to Arcadio but to Doctor Aramil who,
naturally, was annoyed by that contretemps.

In this appeal, St. Louis Realty contends that the Appellate Court ignored certain facts
and resorted to surmises and conjectures. This contention is unwarranted. The Appellate
Court adopted the facts found by the trial court. Those factual findings are binding on
this Court.