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ACTUAL DAMAGES JRPR

Requisites - Must be alleged and proven with certainty


Grid — this caused a blackout, causing generation losses for NPC as there
◈ LORENZO V. NPC (OCTOBER 2015 - LEONEN, J.) was a failure to generate electricity immediately after the accident.
- The tanks of the barge were also severely damaged; they were cracked and
◈ FACTS: caused a leak of waste of oil in the sea.
• Lorenzo Shipping is the owner and operator of the commercial vessel MV Lorcon
Luzon. Lorenzo Shipping filed a Motion to Dismiss grounded on the RTC’s alleged lack of
• NPC is the owner of Power Barge 104, "a non-propelled power plant barge.” jurisdiction (should be with Board of Marine Inquiry/Philippine Coast Guard)
• Power Barge 104 was stationed at the Makar Wharf in General Santos City when the over the subject matter and NPC’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies — The
MV Lorcon Luzon "hit and rammed it.” RTC denied this.

Nelson Homena, who was the Plant Manager of the Power Barge from NPC, filed a Lorenzo Shipping then filed its Answer, emphasizing that:
MARINE PROTEST before the Board of Marine Inquiry. - MV Lorcon Luzon was commandeered by an official Harbor Pilot to whom it
was “mandatory…to yield operational control” — thus, any liability should be
In his testimony, Captain Villarias, who also filed his own marine protest, claimed that: attributed to the Harbor Pilot and not to the company.
- At the time of the incident, Captain Villarias served as the Master of the MV - Furthermore, "Makar Wharf is a berthing place only for self-propelled vessel”,
Lorcon Luzon. which the Power Barge 104 was not. Therefore, it had no right to lash itself on
- But, the MV Lorcon Luzon was then being piloted by Captain Yape, a Harbor the wharf and upon doing so, it assumed the risk of such ramming because of its
Pilot from the General Santos City pilotage district — as it was mandatory to improper presence.
yield navigational control to the Harbor Pilot while docking.
- Despite this, he “always” remained at the side of Captain Yape and and knew of RTC ruling: absolved Lorenzo Shipping of liability due to NPC’s failure to establish
Lorenzo Shipping's negligence.
Captain Yape's orders for he had to repeat them.
- When MV Lorcon Luzon was docking, Captain Yape ordered the vessel to - While the ramming was found to have been the result of the engine's stoppage,
no malfunctioning was recorded before and after the incident.
proceed "slow ahead," making it move at the speed of about one (1) knot. As
it moved closer to dock, Captain Yape gave the order "dead slow ahead," - Lorenzo Shipping was sued in its capacity as the employer of Captain Villarias
making the vessel move even slower. He then ordered the engine stopped. and that any liability it incurred would have been only subsidiary.
- When the ship got really close to the wharf, Captain Yape ordered the - Nevertheless, as Lorenzo Shipping supposedly exercised due diligence in its
vessel to move backward, i.e., go "slow astern," and subsequently "full astern." selection and supervision of Captain Villarias, no liability could be attributed to it.
- Despite his orders, the engine failed to timely respond.
CA ruling: reversed the RTC; ordered Lorenzo Shipping to pay NPC the amount of
- Thus, Captain Yape ordered the dropping of the anchor, which led to MV Lorcon P876,286.00 as actual damages and P50,000.00 as attorney's fees and expenses of
Luzon ramming into Power Barge 104. litigation.
- Though MV Lorcon Luzon was under compulsory pilotage, Captain Villarias, the
Captain Yape filed a Marine Accident Report.
vessel's Master, remained to be its overall commander — he was remiss in his
duties as he did nothing in the crucial moments when Captain Yape's orders to
*The Board of Marine Inquiry conducted joint hearings on all of these. go astern appeared to not have been heeded.
- Article 2180 of the Civil Code states that: an employer's liability is primary and
To forestall the prescription of its cause of action for damages, NPC filed before
RTC-QC a Complaint for Damages against Lorenzo Shipping claiming that: not subsidiary.
- Due to the ramming, the nylon ropes attached to hold the barge were - Here, Lorenzo Shipping failed to show that it exercised due diligence in the
instantaneously ripped off selection and supervision of Captain Villarias.
- The take-off tower of the barge swayed when it was hit, causing flash over on the *Lorenzo Shipping filed an MR.
69 KV line tripping the line and isolated General Santos City from the Mindanao
ACTUAL DAMAGES JRPR
Requisites - Must be alleged and proven with certainty
CA: issued the Amended Decision, noting that the amount of actual damages was - As Master of the MV Lorcon Luzon, he should have been on his toes, keen and
not proven by NPC, so in lieu thereof, P300,000.00 as temperate damages were ready to make decisions in a split second, especially in an evidently precarious
awarded to them. situation.
- Lorenzo Shipping tried to argue that within those 6 minutes, there was a
Lorenzo Shipping filed the Petition for Review on Certiorari to the SC, arguing that:
battle of control as to how to successfully maneuver the ship between the
- No liability could be attributed to it as the MV Lorcon Luzon was under master and the harbor pilot, but both Captain Villarias and Captain Yape must
compulsory pilotage and that NPC assumed risk when it berthed a non-propelled be presumed to have been disciplined officers who knew fully well how to conduct
vessel in the Makar Wharf. themselves in such a situation.
- Even assuming that it was at fault, the award of P300,000.00 as temperate - The crew must also be presumed to have been trained in the same manner
damages was still improper. — Lorenzo Shipping tried to argue that the crew were confused also on
- It claimed that, from the text of Article 2224 of the Civil Code, “temperate how to act because they did not know whose voice was ordering them to
damages can be awarded only in cases where pecuniary loss may have been work.
incurred, but whose exact amount, through the nature of the injury suffered, e.g., - But, from Captain Villarias' quoted testimony, the crew was already
injury to commercial credit or business goodwill, cannot be ascertained.” listening to both his and Captain Yape's voices. He admitted that he repeated
- NPC was well in a position to adduce proof of the exact amount of damage Captain Yape's orders. The crew was, thus, properly disposed to heed
it incurred, but failed to do so. instructions coming from him. If at all, his failure to timely act despite the
crew's presumptive readiness to heed his command only highlights his
negligence.
◈ISSUE/HELD:
1) W/N LORENZO SHIPPING CORPORATION IS LIABLE FOR THE DAMAGE
SUSTAINED BY POWER BARGE EVEN IF IT WAS UNDER MANDATORY There is no basis for holding that Power Barge 104's presence in the Makar Wharf
PILOTAGE BY CAPTAIN YAPE? — YES was improper and tantamount to an assumption of risk.
- Lorenzo Shipping could have very easily adduced proof attesting to Makar Wharf's
Contrary to Lorenzo Shipping's assertion, the MV Lorcon Luzon's having been supposedly being exclusive to self-propelled vessels, but it did not produce a copy
piloted by Captain Yape at the time of the ramming does not automatically of any appropriate regulation, if any, that restricts the use of Makar Wharf to self-
absolve Lorenzo Shipping of liability. propelled vessels or absolutely prohibits NPC from using it as a berthing place for a
- Harbor Pilots are liable only to the extent that they can perform their function power barge.
through the officers and crew of the piloted vessel.
If at all, the MV Lorcon Luzon's ramming of a stationary object is even more
- Where there is failure by the officers and crew to adhere to their orders, Harbor damaging to Lorenzo Shipping's cause.
Pilots cannot be held liable. - Such accidents simply do not occur in the ordinary course of things unless the vessel
- Clearing it of liability requires a demonstration of how the Master, Captain has been mismanaged in some way.
Villarias, conducted himself in those moments when it became apparent that the
MV Lorcon Luzon's engine had stopped and Captain Yape's orders to go "slow
astern" and "full astern" were not being heeded — which were not substantiated.
- In his testinomy, Captain Villarias admitted that about six (6) minutes had
passed before he even realized that there was an engine failure, let alone
acted on this fact. 2) ASSUMING THAT LIABILITY IS TO BE ATTRIBUTED TO LORENZO SHIPPING,
- During the he just stood besides the harbour pilot waiting for a response from the WHAT DAMAGES, IF ANY, MAY BE AWARDED TO NPC? — TEMPERATE
engine department, he could have called the attention of Capt. Yape on his
miscalculations in the docking maneuvers of the vessel. The CA correctly ruled the award of P300,000.00 as temperate damages to NPC.

6 minutes were more than enough time for Captain Villarias to have done Article 2199. Except as provided by law or by stipulation, one is entitled to an
something to remedy the situation, but he did nothing. adequate compensation only for such pecuniary loss suffered by him as he has
ACTUAL DAMAGES JRPR
Requisites - Must be alleged and proven with certainty
duly proved. Such compensation is referred to as actual or compensatory exact amount, through the nature of the injury suffered, e.g., injury to commercial
damages. credit or business goodwill, cannot be ascertained.
- It argues that because the circumstances of this case are such that NPC could
The STANDARD for proving pecuniary loss for ACTUAL DAMAGES: have pleaded and proved a specific—i.e., ascertained—amount of pecuniary loss
- Must be duly proven with a reasonable degree of certainty, premised upon but failed to do so, temperate damages should not be awarded.
competent proof or best evidence obtainable of the actual amount thereof.
- The claimant is duty-bound to point out specific facts that afford a basis for BUT temperate damages may be awarded even in instances where pecuniary
loss could theoretically have been proved with certainty, due to the inadequacy
measuring whatever compensatory damages are borne — A court cannot merely
of the evidence presented by the prosecution.
rely on speculations, conjectures, or guesswork as to the fact and amount of
damages as well as hearsay or uncorroborated testimony whose truth is suspect. - The damage in this case is susceptible to financial reckoning — but NPC
failed to establish the precise amount of its pecuniary loss.
NPC tried to argue that the CA erred in disregarding their competent testimonial - This vice of precision notwithstanding, it would be improper to completely
and documentary evidence for the actual damages of P876,826, namely: turn a blind eye to the loss suffered by NPC and to deny it, as Lorenzo
- The testimony of the manager of Power Barge 104 who testified on the damages Shipping suggests, of any form of recompense.
sustained by said barge as a result of the ramming incident for P1M.
- The "Total Incidental Cost for Drydock and Repair" prepared by PHILSECO was EVID
presented which clearly enumerated and itemized the actual damages sustained A bill of expenses, such as National Power Corporation's Exhibit "F",
by Power Barge 104 and repaired by PHILSECO. is considered a private document as it does not fall under what the
- NPC Disbursement Voucher for P6,775,839.02 proof of payment to PHILSECO Revised Rules on Evidence defines to be public documents.77
for drydocking repairs. Accordingly, for it to have been admitted by the Regional Trial Court
as authentic, Rule 132, Section 30 of the Revised Rules on Evidence
But, NPC still failed to establish the precise amount of pecuniary loss it suffered.
must have been complied with. National Power Corporation failed in
- Manager of the Power Barge’s testimony — INSUFFICIENT; all he did was give
this respect. Thus, in the words of the Regional Trial Court, it:
an estimate of P1M but, a mere estimate does not suffice as proof of actual
pecuniary loss.
- "Total Incidental Cost for Drydock and Repair” — INSUFFICIENT; was not 3. Denies the admission of Exhibit "F" and its submarkings for not
identified nor authenticated and no witness came forward to attest to its HAVING BEEN PROPERLY IDENTIFIED.
authenticity.
- NPC Disbursement Voucher — INSUFFICIENT; all it attests to is a release of It is of no consequence that the substance or contents of Exhibit "F" are
funds in favor of PHILSECO in the total amount of P6,775,839.02, covering no such that they specify an amount. It is of no consequence that it is
specific transaction but a period extending from January 14, 1994. purportedly of such evidentiary weight that it could definitely
establish National Power Corporation's claims.
Article 2224. Temperate or moderate damages, which are more than nominal
but less than compensatory damages, may be recovered when the court finds
that some pecuniary loss has been suffered but its amount can not, from the Admissibility of evidence and weight accorded to evidence are two
nature of the case, be provided with certainty. distinct affairs. Rule 128, Section 3 of the Revised Rules on Evidence
governs admissibility and provides that "[e]vidence is admissible when
Article 2225. Temperate damages must be reasonable under the
circumstances.
it is relevant to the issue and is not excluded by the law of these rules."
When evidence has "such a relation to the fact in issue as to induce
Lorenzo Shipping asserts that under Article 2244, temperate damages can be belief in its existence or non-existence," it is said to be relevant. When
awarded only in cases where pecuniary loss may have been incurred, but whose evidence is not excluded by law or by the Rules, it is said to be
competent.
ACTUAL DAMAGES JRPR
Requisites - Must be alleged and proven with certainty
will not be admissible in court; and that the said test is unconstitutional
The weight accorded to evidence is properly considered only after for it violates his right against self-incrimination.
evidence has been admitted. To this end, courts evaluate evidence in
accordance with the rules stipulated by Rule 133 of the Revised Rules ISSUE: Whether or not Herrera is correct.
on Evidence,80 consistent with basic precepts of rationality and guided
by judicially established standards. It is improper to even speak of HELD: No. It is true that in 1997, the Supreme Court ruled in Pe Lim vs
evidentiary weight when the piece of evidence in question has not CA that DNA testing is not yet recognized in the Philippines and at the
even been admitted. time when he questioned the order of the trial court, the prevailing
doctrine was the Pe Lim case; however, in 2002 there is already no
Exhibit "F" was ruled to have been inadmissible for failing to comply question as to the acceptability of DNA test results as admissible object
with Rule 132, Section 20 thus, it failed the standard of competency. evidence in Philippine courts. This was the decisive ruling in the case
Consistent with this, reliance on National Power Corporation's Exhibit of People vs Vallejo (2002).
"F" and its contents, so as to establish the extent of National Power
Corporation's pecuniary loss, is misplaced. Not having been admitted, In the Vallejo Case, the Supreme Court recognized DNA analysis as
Exhibit "F" does not form part of the body of evidence worthy of admissible evidence. On the other hand, as to determining the weight
judicial consideration. and probative value of DNA test results, the Supreme Court provides,
which is now known as the Vallejo Guidelines:
As National Power Corporation cannot rely on the "Total Incidental Cost
for Drydock and Repair," it is left to rely on the testimony of Nelson In assessing the probative value of DNA evidence, therefore, courts
Hpmena and on NPC Disbursement Voucher No. 093-121304. should consider, among other things, the following data:

how the samples were collected,


how they were handled,
the possibility of contamination of the samples,
the procedure followed in analyzing the samples,
whether the proper standards and procedures were followed in
conducting the tests,
and the qualification of the analyst who conducted the tests.
HERRERA v ALBA The above test is derived from the Daubert Test which is a doctrine
adopted from US jurisprudence (Daubert v. Merrell Dow
In May 1998, Armi Alba, mother of minor Rosendo Alba filed a suit Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) The Daubert Test is a test to be employed by
against Rosendo Herrera in order for the latter to recognize and support courts before admitting scientific test results in evidence. More
Rosendo as his biological son. Herrera denied Armi’s allegations. In the specifically, the Daubert Test inquires:
year 2000, the trial court ordered the parties to undergo a
(deoxyribonucleic acid )DNA testing to establish whether or not Herrera Whether the theory or technique can be tested,
is indeed the biological father of Rosendo Alba. However, Herrera Whether the proffered work has been subjected to peer review,
questioned the validity of the order as he claimed that DNA testing has Whether the rate of error is acceptable,
not yet garnered widespread acceptance hence any result therefrom Whether the method at issue enjoys widespread acceptance
ACTUAL DAMAGES JRPR
Requisites - Must be alleged and proven with certainty
In this case, the Supreme Court declared that in filiation cases, before and Industry Bank, the purchaser and owner of the former Urban Bank
paternity inclusion can be had, the DNA test result must state that the and Urbancorp Investment, Inc.
there is at least a 99.9% probability that the person is the biological
father. However, a 99.9% probability of paternity (or higher but never Estrada was subsequently charged with Plunder. The Sandiganbayan
possibly a 100% ) does not immediately result in the DNA test result a Request for Issuance of Subpoena Duces Tecum for the issuance of
being admitted as an overwhelming evidence. It does not automatically a subpoena directing the President of Export and Industry Bank (EIB,
become a conclusive proof that the alleged father, in this case Herrera, formerly Urban Bank) or his/her authorized representative to produce
is the biological father of the child (Alba). Such result is still a disputable various document related to the investigation.
or a refutable evidence which can be brought down if the Vallejo
Guidelines are not complied with. The Special Prosecution Panel also filed a Request for Issuance of
Subpoena Duces Tecum/Ad Testificandum directed to the authorized
What if the result provides that there is less than 99.9% probability that representative of Equitable-PCI Bank to produce statements of account
the alleged father is the biological father? pertaining to certain accounts in the name of “Jose Velarde” and to
testify thereon.
Then the evidence is merely corroborative.
The Sandiganbayan granted both requests by Resolution and
Anent the issue of self-incrimination, submitting to DNA testing is not subpoenas were accordingly issued. The Special Prosecution Panel
violative of the right against self-incrimination. The right against self- filed still another Request for Issuance of Subpoena Duces Tecum/Ad
incrimination is just a prohibition on the use of physical or moral Testificandum for the President of EIB or his/her authorized
compulsion to extort communication (testimonial evidence) from a representative to produce the same documents subject of the first
defendant, not an exclusion of evidence taken from his body when it Subpoena Duces Tecum and to testify thereon on the hearings
may be material. There is no “testimonial compulsion” in the getting of scheduled and subsequent dates until completion of the testimony.
DNA sample from Herrera, hence, he cannot properly invoke self- The request was likewise granted by the Sandiganbayan. A Subpoena
incrimination Duces Tecum/Ad Testificandum was accordingly issued. Ejercito filed
Ejercito vs. Sandiganbayan G.R. Nos. 157294-95, 30 November various motions to quash the various Subpoenas Duces Tecum/Ad
2006 MARCH 16, 2014 Testificandum previously issued. In his Motion to Quash, he claimed
that his bank accounts are covered by R.A. No. 1405 (The Secrecy of
RA 1405 does not provide for the application of this rule. At all events, Bank Deposits Law) and do not fall under any of the exceptions stated
the Ombudsman is not barred from requiring the production of therein. He further claimed that the specific identification of documents
documents based solely on information obtained by it from sources in the questioned subpoenas, including details on dates and amounts,
independentof its previous inquiry. could only have been made possible by an earlier illegal disclosure
thereof by the EIB and the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation
Facts: Joseph Victor G. Ejercito is the owner of Trust Account No. 858 (PDIC) in its capacity as receiver of the then Urban Bank. The
which was originally opened at Urban Bank but which is now disclosure being illegal, he concluded, the prosecution in the case may
maintained at Export and Industry Bank, which is the purchaser and not be allowed to make use of the information. Before the motion was
owner now of the former Urban Bank and Urbancorp Investment, Inc. resolved by the Sandiganbayan, the prosecution filed another
He is also the owner of Savings Account No. 0116-17345-9 which was
originally opened at Urban Bank but which is now maintained at Export Issue: Whether or not a Trust Account is covered by the term “deposit”
as used in R.A. 1405;
ACTUAL DAMAGES JRPR
Requisites - Must be alleged and proven with certainty
same plunder case. The “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine or the
Held: R.A. 1405 is broad enough to cover Trust Account No. 858. exclusionary rule is inapplicable in cases of unlawful examination of
However, the protection afforded by the law is not absolute. There bank accounts.
being recognized exceptions thereto, as above-quoted Section 2
provides. In the present case, two exceptions apply, to wit: (1) the
examination of bank accounts is upon order of a competent court in
cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials, and (2) the
money deposited or invested is the subject matter of the litigation.
Ejercito contends that since plunder is neither bribery nor dereliction of
duty, his accounts are not excepted from the protection of R.A. 1405.

Cases of unexplained wealth are similar to cases of bribery or


dereliction of duty and no reason is seen why these two classes of
cases cannot be excepted from the rule making bank deposits
confidential. The policy as to one cannot be different from the policy as
to the other. This policy expresses the notion that a public office is a
public trust and any person who enters upon its discharge does so with
the full knowledge that his life, so far as relevant to his duty, is open to
public scrutiny. Undoubtedly, cases for plunder involve unexplained
wealth. The crime of bribery and the overt acts constitutive of plunder
are crimes committed by public officers, noble idea that “a public office
is a public trust and any person who enters upon its discharge does so
with the full knowledge that his life, so far as relevant to his duty, is open
to public scrutiny” applies with equal force.

Also, the plunder case now pending with the Sandiganbayan


necessarily involves an inquiry into the whereabouts of the amount
purportedly acquired illegally by former President Joseph Estrada.
Republic Act No. 1405 allows the disclosure of bank deposits in cases
where the money deposited is the subject matter of the litigation.
Hence, these accounts are no longer protected by the Secrecy of Bank
Deposits Law, there being two exceptions to the said law applicable in
this case, namely: (1)the examination of bank accounts is upon order
of a competent court in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public
officials, and (2)the money deposited or invested is the subject matter
of the litigation. Exception (1) applies since the plunder case pending
against former President Estrada is analogous to bribery or dereliction
of duty, while exception (2) applies because the money deposited in
Ejercito’s bank accounts is said to form part of the subject matter of the
ACTUAL DAMAGES JRPR
Requisites - Must be alleged and proven with certainty
MARQUEZ V. DESIERTO (G.R. NO. 135882) The bank personnel and the account holder must be notified to be
Facts: present during the inspection, and such inspection may cover only the
account identified in the pending case.
Petitioner Lourdes Marquez received an Order from respondent
Ombudsman Aniano Desierto to produce several bank documents for In the case at bar, there is yet no pending litigation before any court of
purposes of inspection in camera relative to various accounts competent authority. What is existing is an investigation by the Office
maintained at the bank where petitioner is the branch manager. The of the Ombudsman. In short, what the office of the ombudsman would
accounts to be inspected are involved in a case pending with the wish to do is to fish for additional evidence to formally charge Amado
Ombudsman entitled, Fact-Finding and Intelligence Bureau (FFIB) v. Lagdameo, et. al., with the Sandiganbayan. Clearly, there was no
Amado Lagdameo. It appears that a certain George Trivinio purchased pending case in court which would warrant the opening of the bank
trail managers check and deposited some of it to an account maintained account for inspection.
at petitioner’s branch. Petitioner after meeting with the FFIB Panel to
ensure the veracity of the checks agreed to the in camera inspection. *In contrast to Ejercito v. Sandiganbayan. Interestingly, time is of the
Petitioner being unable to readily identify the accounts in question, the essence. A different ruling in Ejercito was enunciated because there
Ombudsman issued an order directing petitioner to produce the bank was already a pending investigation months before the ruling made in
documents. Thus, petitioner sought a declaration of her rights from the this case as to the exemption in the power of the Ombudsman.
court due to the clear conflict between RA 6770 and RA 1405.
Meanwhile, FFIB moved to cite petitioner in contempt before the
Ombudsman.

Issue:

Whether or not the order of Ombudsman to have an in camera


inspection of the accounts is an allowable exception of R.A. No. 1405.

Ruling: NO.

The order of the Ombudsman to produce for in camera inspection the


subject accounts with the Union Bank of the Philippines, Julia Vargas
Branch, is based on a pending investigation at the Office of the
Ombudsman against Amado Lagdameo, et. al. for violation of R.A. No.
3019, Sec. 3 (e) and (g) relative to the Joint Venture Agreement
between the Public Estates Authority and AMARI.

We rule that before an in camera inspection may be allowed, there must


be a pending case before a court of competent jurisdiction. Further, the
account must be clearly identified, the inspection limited to the subject
matter of the pending case before the court of competent jurisdiction.
ACTUAL DAMAGES JRPR
Requisites - Must be alleged and proven with certainty
Ganaan IAC: affirmed the decision of the trial court.

FACTS: Hence, this petition. The case at bar involves an interpretation of the
Republic Act No. 4200 or also known as Anti-Wiretapping Act.
A direct assault case against Leonardo Laconico was filed by Petitioner contends that telephones or extension telephones are not
complainant Atty. Tito Pintor and his client Manuel Montebon. The said included in the enumeration of "commonly known" listening or recording
complainants made a telephone call to Laconico to give their terms for devices, nor do they belong to the same class of enumerated electronic
withdrawal of their complaint. devices contemplated by law.

Laconico, later on, called appellant Gaanan, who is also a lawyer, to However, respondent argues that an extension telephone is embraced
come to his office to advise him about the proposed settlement. When and covered by the term "device" within the context of the
complainant called up, Laconico requested appellant to secretly listen aforementioned law because it is not a part or portion of a complete set
to the telephone conversation through a telephone extension so as to of a telephone apparatus.
hear personally the proposed conditions for the settlement. After
enumerating the conditions, several calls were made to finally confirm ISSUE:
if the settlement is agreeable to both parties.
Whether or not an extension telephone is among the prohibited devices
in Section 1 of the Act, such that its use to overhear a private
conversation would constitute unlawful interception of communications
As part of their agreement, Laconico has to give the money to the between the two parties using a telephone line.
complainant's wife at the office of the Department of Public Highways.
But, he insisted to give the money to the complainant himself. HELD:

After receiving the money, the complainant was arrested by the agents No.
of the Philippine Constabulary, who were alerted earlier before the
exchange. Section 1 of Republic Act No. 4200
Section 1. It shall be unlawful for any person, not being authorized by
Appellant stated on his affidavit that he heard complainant demand all the parties to any private communication or spoken word, to tap any
P8,000.00 for the withdrawal of the case for direct assault. Laconico wire or cable, or by using any other device or arrangement, to secretly
attached the affidavit of appellant to the complainant for overhear, intercept, or record such communication or spoken word by
robbery/extortion which he filed against the complainant. using a device commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or
dictaphone or walkie-talkie or tape recorder, or however otherwise
In defense, complainant charged appellant and Laconico with violation described:
of the Anti-Wiretapping Act as the appellant heard the telephone It shall also be unlawful for any person, be he a participant or not in the
conversation without complainant's consent. act or acts penalized in the next preceding sentence, to knowingly
possess any tape record, wire record, disc record, or any other such
Trial Court: both Gaanan and Laconico were guilty of violating Sect. 1 record, or copies thereof, of any communication or spoken word
of RA No. 4200. secured either before or after the effective date of this Act in the manner
ACTUAL DAMAGES JRPR
Requisites - Must be alleged and proven with certainty
prohibited by this law; or to replay the same for any other person or Facts:
persons; or to communicate the contents thereof, either verbally or in
writing, or to furnish transcriptions thereof, whether complete or partial, A civil case damages was filed by petitioner Socorro Ramirez in the
to any other person: Provided, That the use of such record or any Quezon City RTC alleging that the private respondent, Ester Garcia, in
copies thereof as evidence in any civil, criminal investigation or trial of a confrontation in the latter’s office, allegedly vexed, insulted and
offenses mentioned in section 3 hereof, shall not be covered by this humiliated her in a “hostile and furious mood” and in a manner offensive
prohibition. to petitioner’s dignity and personality,” contrary to morals, good
customs and public policy.”
The law refers to a "tap" of a wire or cable or the use of a "device or
arrangement" for the purpose of secretly overhearing, intercepting, or In support of her claim, petitioner produced a verbatim transcript of the
recording the communication. There must be either a physical event and sought damages. The transcript on which the civil case was
interruption through a wiretap or the deliberate installation of a device based was culled from a tape recording of the confrontation made by
or arrangement in order to overhear, intercept, or record the spoken petitioner.
words.
As a result of petitioner’s recording of the event and alleging that the
An extension telephone cannot be placed in the same category as a said act of secretly taping the confrontation was illegal, private
dictaphone, dictagraph or the other devices enumerated in Section 1 of respondent filed a criminal case before the Pasay RTC for violation of
RA No. 4200 as the use thereof cannot be considered as "tapping" the Republic Act 4200, entitled “An Act to prohibit and penalize wire tapping
wire or cable of a telephone line. and other related violations of private communication, and other
purposes.”
Hence, the phrase "device or arrangement", although not exclusive to
that enumerated therein, should be construed to comprehend Petitioner filed a Motion to Quash the Information, which the RTC later
instruments of the same or similar nature, that is, instruments the use on granted, on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute an
of which would be tantamount to tapping the main line of a telephone. offense, particularly a violation of R.A. 4200.
It refers to instruments whose installation or presence cannot be
presumed by the party or parties being overheard because, by their The CA declared the RTC’s decision null and void and denied the
very nature, they are not of common usage and their purpose is petitioner’s MR, hence the instant petition.
precisely for tapping, intercepting or recording a telephone
conversation.

The petition is granted and the petitioner is acquitted of the crime of


Issue:
violation of Republic Act No. 4200.
W/N the Anti-Wiretapping Act applies in recordings by one of the parties
RAMIREZ V CA
in the conversation
7
NOV
G.R. No. 93833 | September 28, 1995 | J. Katipunan
Held:
ACTUAL DAMAGES JRPR
Requisites - Must be alleged and proven with certainty
Section 1 of R.A. 4200. As the Solicitor General pointed out in his
Yes. Section 1 of R.A. 4200 entitled, ” An Act to Prohibit and Penalized COMMENT before the respondent court: “Nowhere (in the said law) is
Wire Tapping and Other Related Violations of Private Communication it required that before one can be regarded as a violator, the nature of
and Other Purposes,” provides: the conversation, as well as its communication to a third person should
be professed.”
Sec. 1. It shall be unlawful for any person, not being authorized by all
the parties to any private communication or spoken word, to tap any Petitioner’s contention that the phrase “private communication” in
wire or cable, or by using any other device or arrangement, to secretly Section 1 of R.A. 4200 does not include “private conversations”
overhear, intercept, or record such communication or spoken word by narrows the ordinary meaning of the word “communication” to a point
using a device commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or of absurdity. The word communicate comes from the latin word
detectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape recorder, or however otherwise communicare, meaning “to share or to impart.” In its ordinary
described. signification, communication connotes the act of sharing or imparting
signification, communication connotes the act of sharing or imparting,
The aforestated provision clearly and unequivocally makes it illegal for as in a conversation, or signifies the “process by which meanings or
any person, not authorized by all the parties to any private thoughts are shared between individuals through a common system of
communication to secretly record such communication by means of a symbols (as language signs or gestures)”
tape recorder. The law makes no distinction as to whether the party
sought to be penalized by the statute ought to be a party other than or These definitions are broad enough to include verbal or non-verbal,
different from those involved in the private communication. The written or expressive communications of “meanings or thoughts” which
statute’s intent to penalize all persons unauthorized to make such are likely to include the emotionally-charged exchange, on February 22,
recording is underscored by the use of the qualifier “any”. 1988, between petitioner and private respondent, in the privacy of the
Consequently, as respondent Court of Appeals correctly concluded, latter’s office. Any doubts about the legislative body’s meaning of the
“even a (person) privy to a communication who records his private phrase “private communication” are, furthermore, put to rest by the fact
conversation with another without the knowledge of the latter (will) that the terms “conversation” and “communication” were
qualify as a violator” under this provision of R.A. 4200. interchangeably used by Senator Tañada in his Explanatory Note to the
Bill.
A perusal of the Senate Congressional Records, moreover, supports
the respondent court’s conclusion that in enacting R.A. 4200 our BSB GROUP V. SALLY GO (G.R. NO. 168644)
lawmakers indeed contemplated to make illegal, unauthorized tape Facts:
recording of private conversations or communications taken either by
the parties themselves or by third persons. Petitioner is a duly organized domestic corporation presided by its
representative, Ricardo Bangayan, husband of herein respondent Sally
The nature of the conversations is immaterial to a violation of the Go. Respondent was employed as a cashier, and was engaged, among
statute. The substance of the same need not be specifically alleged in others, to receive and account for the payments made by the various
the information. What R.A. 4200 penalizes are the acts of secretly customers of the company. Bangayan filed with the Manila Prosecutor’s
overhearing, intercepting or recording private communications by Office a complaint for estafa/qualified theft against respondent alleging
means of the devices enumerated therein. The mere allegation that an that several checks issued by the company’s customers in payment of
individual made a secret recording of a private communication by their obligation were, instead of being turned over to the company’s
means of a tape recorder would suffice to constitute an offense under coffers, indorsed by respondent who deposited the same to her
ACTUAL DAMAGES JRPR
Requisites - Must be alleged and proven with certainty
personal banking account maintained at Security Bank. Accordingly, involves the checks subject of the testimonial and documentary
respondent was charged and the prosecution moved for the issuance evidence sought to be suppressed. Neither do the allegations in said
of subpoena duces tecum/ad testificandum against the respective Information make mention of the supposed bank account in which the
managers or records custodians of Security Bank and Asian Savings funds represented by the checks have allegedly been kept.
Bank. Respondent opposed and meanwhile, prosecution was able to
present in court the testimony of one Security Bank representative. In other words, it can hardly be inferred from the indictment itself that
Petitioner moved to exclude the testimony but was denied by the trial the Security Bank account is the ostensible subject of the prosecution’s
court. CA reversed and set aside the order. inquiry. Without needlessly expanding the scope of what is plainly
alleged in the Information, the subject matter of the action in this case
Issue: is the money alleged to have been stolen by respondent, and not the
money equivalent of the checks which are sought to be admitted in
Whether or not the testimony on the particulars of respondent’s account evidence. Thus, it is that, which the prosecution is bound to prove with
with Security Bank, as well as of the corresponding evidence of the its evidence, and no other.
checks allegedly deposited in said account, constitutes an unallowable
inquiry under R.A. 1405. It comes clear that the admission of testimonial and documentary
evidence relative to respondent’s Security Bank account serves no
Ruling: YES. other purpose than to establish the existence of such account, its nature
and the amount kept in it. It constitutes an attempt by the prosecution
The Court found guidance in the relevant portions of the legislative at an impermissible inquiry into a bank deposit account the privacy and
deliberations on Senate Bill No. 351 and House Bill No. 3977, which confidentiality of which is protected by law. On this score alone, the
later became the Bank Secrecy Act, and it held that the absolute objection posed by respondent in her motion to suppress should have
confidentiality rule in R.A. No. 1405 actually aims at protection from indeed put an end to the controversy at the very first instance it was
unwarranted inquiry or investigation if the purpose of such inquiry or raised before the trial court.
investigation is merely to determine the existence and nature, as well
as the amount of the deposit in any given bank account.

What indeed constitutes the subject matter in litigation in relation to


Section 2 of R.A. No. 1405 has been pointedly and amply addressed in
Union Bank of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, in which the Court
noted that the inquiry into bank deposits allowable under R.A. No. 1405
must be premised on the fact that the money deposited in the account
is itself the subject of the action. Given this perspective, we deduce that
the subject matter of the action in the case at bar is to be determined
from the indictment that charges respondent with the offense, and not
from the evidence sought by the prosecution to be admitted into the
records. In the criminal Information filed with the trial court, respondent,
unqualifiedly and in plain language, is charged with qualified theft by
abusing petitioner’s trust and confidence and stealing cash. The said
Information makes no factual allegation that in some material way