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G.R. No. 165732 December 14, 2006 6. costs of suit.

SAFEGUARD SECURITY AGENCY, INC., and ADMER PAJARILLO, petitioners, For lack of merit, defendants' counterclaim is hereby DISMISSED.

The RTC found respondents to be entitled to damages. It rejected Pajarillo's claim that he merely acted in
self-defense. It gave no credence to Pajarillo's bare claim that Evangeline was seen roaming around the
area prior to the shooting incident since Pajarillo had not made such report to the head office and the
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed by Safeguard Security Agency, Inc. (Safeguard) and police authorities. The RTC further ruled that being the guard on duty, the situation demanded that he
Admer Pajarillo (Pajarillo) assailing the Decision1 dated July 16, 2004 and the Resolution2 dated October should have exercised proper prudence and necessary care by asking Evangeline for him to ascertain
20, 2004 issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 77462. the matter instead of shooting her instantly; that Pajarillo had already been convicted of Homicide in
Criminal Case No. 0-97-73806; and that he also failed to proffer proof negating liability in the instant
On November 3, 1997, at about 2:50 p.m., Evangeline Tangco (Evangeline) went to Ecology Bank,
Katipunan Branch, Quezon City, to renew her time deposit per advise of the bank's cashier as she would
sign a specimen card. Evangeline, a duly licensed firearm holder with corresponding permit to carry the The RTC also found Safeguard as employer of Pajarillo to be jointly and severally liable with Pajarillo. It
same outside her residence, approached security guard Pajarillo, who was stationed outside the bank, ruled that while it may be conceded that Safeguard had perhaps exercised care in the selection of its
and pulled out her firearm from her bag to deposit the same for safekeeping. Suddenly, Pajarillo shot employees, particularly of Pajarillo, there was no sufficient evidence to show that Safeguard exercised
Evangeline with his service shotgun hitting her in the abdomen instantly causing her death. the diligence of a good father of a family in the supervision of its employee; that Safeguard's evidence
simply showed that it required its guards to attend trainings and seminars which is not the supervision
contemplated under the law; that supervision includes not only the issuance of regulations and
Lauro Tangco, Evangeline's husband, together with his six minor children (respondents) filed with the
instructions designed for the protection of persons and property, for the guidance of their servants and
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, a criminal case of Homicide against Pajarillo, docketed as
employees, but also the duty to see to it that such regulations and instructions are faithfully complied
Criminal Case No. 0-97-73806 and assigned to Branch 78. Respondents reserved their right to file a
separate civil action in the said criminal case. The RTC of Quezon City subsequently convicted Pajarillo
of Homicide in its Decision dated January 19, 2000.3 On appeal to the CA, the RTC decision was affirmed
with modification as to the penalty in a Decision4 dated July 31, 2000. Entry of Judgment was made on Petitioners appealed the RTC decision to the CA. On July 16, 2004, the CA issued its assailed Decision,
August 25, 2001. the dispositive portion of which reads:

Meanwhile, on January 14, 1998, respondents filed with RTC, Branch 273, Marikina City, a complaint 5 for IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED, with the
damages against Pajarillo for negligently shooting Evangeline and against Safeguard for failing to modification that Safeguard Security Agency, Inc.'s civil liability in this case is only subsidiary
observe the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage committed by its security guard. under Art. 103 of the Revised Penal Code. No pronouncement as to costs.9
Respondents prayed for actual, moral and exemplary damages and attorney's fees.
In finding that Safeguard is only subsidiarily liable, the CA held that the applicable provisions are not
In their Answer,6 petitioners denied the material allegations in the complaint and alleged that Safeguard Article 2180 in relation to Article 2176 of the Civil Code, on quasi-delicts, but the provisions on civil
exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of Pajarillo; that liability arising from felonies under the Revised Penal Code; that since Pajarillo had been found guilty of
Evangeline's death was not due to Pajarillo's negligence as the latter acted only in self-defense. Homicide in a final and executory judgment and is said to be serving sentence in Muntinlupa, he must be
Petitioners set up a compulsory counterclaim for moral damages and attorney's fees. adjudged civilly liable under the provisions of Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code since the civil liability
recoverable in the criminal action is one solely dependent upon conviction, because said liability arises
from the offense charged and no other; that this is also the civil liability that is deemed extinguished with
Trial thereafter ensued. On January 10, 2003, the RTC rendered its Decision,7 the dispositive portion of
the extinction of the penal liability with a pronouncement that the fact from which the civil action might
which reads:
proceed does not exist; that unlike in civil liability arising from quasi-delict, the defense of diligence of a
good father of a family in the employment and supervision of employees is inapplicable and irrelevant in
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, the heirs of Evangeline civil liabilities based on crimes or ex-delicto; that Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code provides that the
Tangco, and against defendants Admer Pajarillo and Safeguard Security Agency, Inc. ordering liability of an employer for the civil liability of their employees is only subsidiary, not joint or solidary.
said defendants to pay the plaintiffs, jointly and severally, the following:
Petitioners filed their Motion for Reconsideration which the CA denied in a Resolution dated October 20,
(P157,430.00), as actual damages
2. FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) as death indemnity;
Hence, the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari with the following assignment of errors, to wit:
3. ONE MILLION PESOS (P1,000,000.00), as moral damages;
4. THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P300,000.00), as exemplary damages;
5. THIRTY THOUSAND PESOS (P30,000.00), as attorney's fees; and
The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in finding petitioner Pajarillo liable to felony, e.g., culpa contractual or obligations arising from law under Article 31 of the Civil Code, intentional
respondents for the payment of damages and other money claims. torts under Articles 32 and 34, and culpa aquiliana under Article 2176 of the Civil Code; or (b) where
the injured party is granted a right to file an action independent and distinct from the criminal action under
Article 33 of the Civil Code. Either of these liabilities may be enforced against the offender subject to the
The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred when it applied Article 103 of the Revised Penal
caveat under Article 2177 of the Civil Code that the offended party cannot recover damages twice for the
Code in holding petitioner Safeguard solidarily [sic] liable with petitioner Pajarillo for the
same act or omission or under both causes.13
payment of damages and other money claims.

It is important to determine the nature of respondents' cause of action. The nature of a cause of action is
The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in failing to find that petitioner Safeguard
determined by the facts alleged in the complaint as constituting the cause of action.14 The purpose of an
Security Agency, Inc. exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision of its employees,
action or suit and the law to govern it is to be determined not by the claim of the party filing the action,
hence, should be excused from any liability.10
made in his argument or brief, but rather by the complaint itself, its allegations and prayer for relief. 15

The issues for resolution are whether (1) Pajarillo is guilty of negligence in shooting Evangeline; and (2)
The pertinent portions of the complaint read:
Safeguard should be held solidarily liable for the damages awarded to respondents.

7. That Defendant Admer A. Pajarillo was the guard assigned and posted in the Ecology Bank –
Safeguard insists that the claim for damages by respondents is based on culpa aquiliana under Article
Katipunan Branch, Quezon City, who was employed and under employment of Safeguard Security
217611 of the Civil Code, in which case, its liability is jointly and severally with Pajarillo. However, since it
Agency, Inc. hence there is employer-employee relationship between co-defendants.
has established that it had exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision of Pajarillo, it should
be exonerated from civil liability.
The Safeguard Security Agency, Inc. failed to observe the diligence of a good father of a family to
prevent damage to herein plaintiffs.
We will first resolve whether the CA correctly held that respondents, in filing a separate civil action
against petitioners are limited to the recovery of damages arising from a crime or delict, in which case the
liability of Safeguard as employer under Articles 102 and 103 of the Revised Penal Code 12 is subsidiary 8. That defendant Admer Pajarillo upon seeing Evangeline Tangco, who brought her firearm out of
and the defense of due diligence in the selection and supervision of employee is not available to it. her bag, suddenly without exercising necessary caution/care, and in idiotic manner, with the use of
his shotgun, fired and burst bullets upon Evangeline M. Tangco, killing her instantly. x x x
The CA erred in ruling that the liability of Safeguard is only subsidiary.
The law at the time the complaint for damages was filed is Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal
Procedure, as amended, to wit: 16. That defendants, being employer and the employee are jointly and severally liable for the death
of Evangeline M. Tangco.16
SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. - When a criminal action is instituted, the civil
action for the recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless the Thus, a reading of respondents' complaint shows that the latter are invoking their right to recover
offended party waives the civil action, reserves his right to institute it separately, or institutes the damages against Safeguard for their vicarious responsibility for the injury caused by Pajarillo's act of
civil action prior to the criminal action. shooting and killing Evangeline under Article 2176, Civil Code which provides:

Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the Revised Penal Code, and damages ARTICLE 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or
under Articles 32, 33, 34, and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising from the same act or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-
omission of the accused. existing contractual relation between the parties is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the
provisions of this Chapter.
Respondents reserved the right to file a separate civil action and in fact filed the same on January 14,
1998. The scope of Article 2176 is not limited to acts or omissions resulting from negligence. In Dulay v. Court
of Appeals,17 we held:
The CA found that the source of damages in the instant case must be the crime of homicide, for which he
had already been found guilty of and serving sentence thereof, thus must be governed by the Revised x x x Well-entrenched is the doctrine that Article 2176 covers not only acts committed with
Penal Code. negligence, but also acts which are voluntary and intentional. As far back as the definitive case of
Elcano v. Hill (77 SCRA 98 [1977]), this Court already held that:
We do not agree.
"x x x Article 2176, where it refers to "fault or negligence," covers not only acts "not
punishable by law" but also acts criminal in character, whether intentional and voluntary or
An act or omission causing damage to another may give rise to two separate civil liabilities on the part of
negligent. Consequently, a separate civil action lies against the offender in a criminal act, whether or
the offender, i.e., (1) civil liability ex delicto, under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code; and (2)
not he is criminally prosecuted and found guilty or acquitted, provided that the offended party is not
independent civil liabilities, such as those (a) not arising from an act or omission complained of as a
allowed, if he is actually charged also criminally, to recover damages on both scores, and would be or both. The liability of the employer under Article 2180 is direct and immediate. Therefore, it is incumbent
entitled in such eventuality only to the bigger award of the two, assuming the awards made in the two upon petitioners to prove that they exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and
cases vary. In other words, the extinction of civil liability referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3, Rule 111, supervision of their employee.
refers exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, whereas the civil
liability for the same act considered as quasi-delict only and not as a crime is not extinguished even
We must first resolve the issue of whether Pajarillo was negligent in shooting Evangeline.
by a declaration in the criminal case that the criminal act charged has not happened or has not been
committed by the accused. Briefly stated, We here hold, in reiteration of Garcia, that culpa aquiliana
includes voluntary and negligent acts which may be punishable by law." (Emphasis supplied) The issue of negligence is factual in nature. Whether a person is negligent or not is a question of fact,
which, as a general rule, we cannot pass upon in a petition for review on certiorari, as our jurisdiction is
limited to reviewing errors of law.23 Generally, factual findings of the trial court, affirmed by the CA, are
The civil action filed by respondents was not derived from the criminal liability of Pajarillo in the criminal
final and conclusive and may not be reviewed on appeal. The established exceptions are: (1) when the
case but one based on culpa aquiliana or quasi-delict which is separate and distinct from the civil liability
inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (2) when there is grave abuse of discretion;
arising from crime.18 The source of the obligation sought to be enforced in the civil case is a quasi-
(3) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculations, surmises or conjectures; (4) when the
delict not an act or omission punishable by law.
judgment of the CA is based on misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting; (6)
when the CA, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same is contrary to the
In Bermudez v. Melencio-Herrera,19 where the issue involved was whether the civil action filed by plaintiff- admissions of both appellant and appellee; (7) when the findings of fact are conclusions without citation
appellants is founded on crime or on quasi-delict, we held: of specific evidence on which they are based; (8) when the CA manifestly overlooked certain relevant
facts not disputed by the parties and which, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion;
and (9) when the findings of fact of the CA are premised on the absence of evidence and are
x x x The trial court treated the case as an action based on a crime in view of the reservation made
contradicted by the evidence on record. [24]
by the offended party in the criminal case (Criminal Case No. 92944), also pending before the court,
to file a separate civil action. Said the trial court:
A thorough review of the records of the case fails to show any cogent reason for us to deviate from the
factual finding of the trial court and affirmed by the CA that petitioner Pajarillo was guilty of negligence in
It would appear that plaintiffs instituted this action on the assumption that defendant Pontino's
shooting Evangeline.
negligence in the accident of May 10, 1969 constituted a quasi-delict. The Court cannot accept the
validity of that assumption. In Criminal Case No. 92944 of this Court, plaintiffs had already appeared
as complainants. While that case was pending, the offended parties reserved the right to institute a Respondents' evidence established that Evangeline's purpose in going to the bank was to renew her time
separate civil action. If, in a criminal case, the right to file a separate civil action for damages is deposit.25On the other hand, Pajarillo claims that Evangeline drew a gun from her bag and aimed the
reserved, such civil action is to be based on crime and not on tort. That was the ruling in Joaquin vs. same at him, thus, acting instinctively, he shot her in self-defense.
Aniceto, L-18719, Oct. 31, 1964.
Pajarillo testified that when Evangeline aimed the gun at him at a distance of about one meter or one
We do not agree. The doctrine in the case cited by the trial court is inapplicable to the instant case x arm's length26he stepped backward, loaded the chamber of his gun and shot her.27 It is however
x x.x x x x unimaginable that petitioner Pajarillo could still make such movements if indeed the gun was already
pointed at him. Any movement could have prompted Evangeline to pull the trigger to shoot him.
In cases of negligence, the injured party or his heirs has the choice between an action to enforce the
civil liability arising from crime under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code and an action for quasi- Petitioner Pajarillo would like to justify his action in shooting Evangeline on his mere apprehension that
delict under Article 2176-2194 of the Civil Code. If a party chooses the latter, he may hold the Evangeline will stage a bank robbery. However, such claim is befuddled by his own testimony. Pajarillo
employer solidarily liable for the negligent act of his employee, subject to the employer's defense of testified that prior to the incident, he saw Evangeline roaming under the fly over which was about 10
exercise of the diligence of a good father of the family. meters away from the bank28 and saw her talking to a man thereat;29 that she left the man under the fly-
over, crossed the street and approached the bank. However, except for the bare testimony of Pajarillo,
the records do not show that indeed Evangeline was seen roaming near the vicinity of the bank and
In the case at bar, the action filed by appellant was an action for damages based on quasi-delict. The
acting suspiciously prior to the shooting incident. In fact, there is no evidence that Pajarillo called the
fact that appellants reserved their right in the criminal case to file an independent civil action
attention of his head guard or the bank's branch manager regarding his concerns or that he reported the
did not preclude them from choosing to file a civil action for quasi-delict.20 (Emphasis supplied)
same to the police authorities whose outpost is just about 15 meters from the bank.

Although the judgment in the criminal case finding Pajarillo guilty of Homicide is already final and
Moreover, if Evangeline was already roaming the vicinity of the bank, she could have already apprised
executory, such judgment has no relevance or importance to this case. 21 It would have been entirely
herself that Pajarillo, who was posted outside the bank, was armed with a shotgun; that there were two
different if respondents' cause of action was for damages arising from a delict, in which case the CA is
guards inside the bank30manning the entrance door. Thus, it is quite incredible that if she really had a
correct in finding Safeguard to be only subsidiary liable pursuant to Article 103 of the Revised Penal
companion, she would leave him under the fly-over which is 10 meters far from the bank and stage a
bank robbery all by herself without a back-up. In fact, she would have known, after surveying the area,
that aiming her gun at Pajarillo would not ensure entrance to the bank as there were guards manning the
As clearly shown by the allegations in the complaint, respondents' cause of action is based on quasi- entrance door.
delict. Under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, when the injury is caused by the negligence of the employee,
there instantly arises a presumption of law that there was negligence on the part of the master or the
employer either in the selection of the servant or employee, or in the supervision over him after selection
Evidence, to be believed, must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness, but it must be Article 2180 of the Civil Code provides:
credible in itself — such as the common experience and observation of mankind can approve as
probable under the circumstances. We have no test of the truth of human testimony, except its conformity
Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts or
to our knowledge, observation and experience. Whatever is repugnant to these belongs to the miraculous
omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.
and is outside judicial cognizance.31

That Evangeline just wanted to deposit her gun before entering the bank and was actually in the act of
pulling her gun from her bag when petitioner Pajarillo recklessly shot her, finds support from the
contentions raised in petitioners' petition for review where they argued that when Evangeline approached Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers acting
the bank, she was seen pulling a gun from inside her bag and petitioner Pajarillo who was suddenly within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any business or
beset by fear and perceived the act as a dangerous threat, shot and killed the deceased out of pure industry.
instinct;32 that the act of drawing a gun is a threatening act, regardless of whether or not the gun was
intended to be used against petitioner Pajarillo;33 that the fear that was created in the mind of petitioner
Pajarillo as he saw Evangeline Tangco drawing a gun from her purse was suddenly very real and the
former merely reacted out of pure self-preservation.34
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein mentioned prove that
they observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.
Considering that unlawful aggression on the part of Evangeline is absent, Pajarillo's claim of self-defense
cannot be accepted specially when such claim was uncorroborated by any separate competent evidence
other than his testimony which was even doubtful. Pajarillo's apprehension that Evangeline will shoot him As the employer of Pajarillo, Safeguard is primarily and solidarily liable for the quasi-delict committed by
to stage a bank robbery has no basis at all. It is therefore clear that the alleged threat of bank robbery the former. Safeguard is presumed to be negligent in the selection and supervision of his employee by
was just a figment of Pajarillo's imagination which caused such unfounded unlawful aggression on his operation of law. This presumption may be overcome only by satisfactorily showing that the employer
part. exercised the care and the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and the supervision of its
Petitioners argue that Evangeline was guilty of contributory negligence. Although she was a licensed
firearm holder, she had no business bringing the gun in such establishment where people would react In the selection of prospective employees, employers are required to examine them as to their
instinctively upon seeing the gun; that had Evangeline been prudent, she could have warned Pajarillo qualifications, experience, and service records.35 On the other hand, due diligence in the supervision of
before drawing the gun and did not conduct herself with suspicion by roaming outside the vicinity of the employees includes the formulation of suitable rules and regulations for the guidance of employees and
bank; that she should not have held the gun with the nozzle pointed at Pajarillo who mistook the act as the issuance of proper instructions intended for the protection of the public and persons with whom the
hold up or robbery. employer has relations through his or its employees and the imposition of necessary disciplinary
measures upon employees in case of breach or as may be warranted to ensure the performance of acts
indispensable to the business of and beneficial to their employer. To this, we add that actual
We are not persuaded.
implementation and monitoring of consistent compliance with said rules should be the constant concern
of the employer, acting through dependable supervisors who should regularly report on their supervisory
As we have earlier held, Pajarillo failed to substantiate his claim that Evangeline was seen roaming functions.36 To establish these factors in a trial involving the issue of vicarious liability, employers must
outside the vicinity of the bank and acting suspiciously prior to the shooting incident. Evangeline's death submit concrete proof, including documentary evidence.
was merely due to Pajarillo's negligence in shooting her on his imagined threat that Evangeline will rob
the bank.
We agree with the RTC's finding that Safeguard had exercised the diligence in the selection of Pajarillo
since the record shows that Pajarillo underwent a psychological and neuro-psychiatric evaluation
Safeguard contends that it cannot be jointly held liable since it had adequately shown that it had conducted by the St. Martin de Porres Center where no psychoses ideations were noted, submitted a
exercised the diligence required in the selection and supervision of its employees. It claims that it had certification on the Pre-licensing training course for security guards, as well as police and NBI
required the guards to undergo the necessary training and to submit the requisite qualifications and clearances.
credentials which even the RTC found to have been complied with; that the RTC erroneously found that it
did not exercise the diligence required in the supervision of its employee. Safeguard further claims that it
The RTC did not err in ruling that Safeguard fell short of the diligence required in the supervision of its
conducts monitoring of the activities of its personnel, wherein supervisors are assigned to routinely check
employee, particularly Pajarillo. In this case, while Safeguard presented Capt. James Camero, its
the activities of the security guards which include among others, whether or not they are in their proper
Director for Operations, who testified on the issuance of company rules and regulations, such as the
post and with proper equipment, as well as regular evaluations of the employees' performances; that the
Guidelines of Guards Who Will Be Assigned To Banks,37 Weapons Training,38 Safeguard Training Center
fact that Pajarillo loaded his firearm contrary to Safeguard's operating procedure is not sufficient basis to
Marksmanship Training Lesson Plan,39Disciplinary/Corrective Sanctions,40 it had also been established
say that Safeguard had failed its duty of proper supervision; that it was likewise error to say that
during Camero's cross-examination that Pajarillo was not aware of such rules and
Safeguard was negligent in seeing to it that the procedures and policies were not properly implemented
regulations.41 Notwithstanding Camero's clarification on his re-direct examination that these company
by reason of one unfortunate event.
rules and regulations are lesson plans as a basis of guidelines of the instructors during classroom
instructions and not necessary to give students copy of the same,42 the records do not show that Pajarillo
We are not convinced. had attended such classroom instructions.
The records also failed to show that there was adequate training and continuous evaluation of the Pursuant to Article 2208 of the Civil Code, attorney's fees may be recovered when, as in the instant case,
security guard's performance. Pajarillo had only attended an in-service training on March 1, 1997 exemplary damages are awarded. Hence, we affirm the award of attorney's fees in the amount
conducted by Toyota Sta. Rosa, his first assignment as security guard of Safeguard, which was in of P30,000.00.
collaboration with Safeguard. It was established that the concept of such training was purely on security
of equipments to be guarded and protection of the life of the employees.43
WHEREFORE, the petition for review is DENIED. The Decision dated July 16, 2004 of the Court of
Appeals is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that the civil liability of petitioner Safeguard Security Agency,
It had not been established that after Pajarillo's training in Toyota, Safeguard had ever conducted further Inc. is SOLIDARYand PRIMARY under Article 2180 of the Civil Code.
training of Pajarillo when he was later assigned to guard a bank which has a different nature of business
with that of Toyota. In fact, Pajarillo testified that being on duty in a bank is different from being on duty in
a factory since a bank is a very sensitive area.44

Moreover, considering his reactions to Evangeline's act of just depositing her firearm for safekeeping, i.e., G.R. No. 203335 February 11, 2014
of immediately shooting her, confirms that there was no training or seminar given on how to handle bank
ERNESTO SONIDO, JR., Petitioners,
Furthermore, while Safeguard would like to show that there were inspectors who go around the bank two vs.
times a day to see the daily performance of the security guards assigned therein, there was no record THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND
ever presented of such daily inspections. In fact, if there was really such inspection made, the alleged LOCAL GOVERNMENT, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE INFORMATION AND
suspicious act of Evangeline could have been taken noticed and reported. COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY OFFICE, THE CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
Turning now to the award of damages, we find that the award of actual damages in the G.R. No. 203299
amount P157,430.00 which were the expenses incurred by respondents in connection with the burial of LOUIS "BAROK" C. BIRAOGO, Petitioner,
Evangeline were supported by receipts. The award of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity for the death of vs.
Evangeline is likewise in order. NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION and PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE, Respondents.
As to the award of moral damages, Article 2206 of the Civil Code provides that the spouse, legitimate G.R. No. 203306
children and illegitimate descendants and ascendants of the deceased may demand moral damages for ALAB NG MAMAMAHAYAG (ALAM), HUKUMAN NG MAMAMAYAN MOVEMENT, INC., JERRY S.
mental anguish by reason of the death of the deceased. Moral damages are awarded to enable the YAP, BERTENI "TOTO" CAUSING, HERNANI Q. CUARE, PERCY LAPID, TRACY CABRERA,
injured party to obtain means, diversions or amusements that will serve to alleviate the moral suffering RONALDO E. RENTA, CIRILO P. SABARRE, JR., DERVIN CASTRO, ET AL., Petitioners,
he/she has undergone, by reason of the defendant's culpable action. Its award is aimed at restoration, as vs.
much as possible, of the spiritual status quo ante; thus it must be proportionate to the suffering OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, represented by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, SENATE OF
inflicted.45 The intensity of the pain experienced by the relatives of the victim is proportionate to the THE PHILIPPINES, and HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, Respondents.
intensity of affection for him and bears no relation whatsoever with the wealth or means of the offender.46 x-----------------------x
G.R. No. 203359
In this case, respondents testified as to their moral suffering caused by Evangeline's death was so vs.
sudden causing respondent Lauro to lose a wife and a mother to six children who were all minors at the EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, THE SECRETARY OF THE
time of her death. In People v. Teehankee, Jr.,47 we awarded one million pesos as moral damages to the DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, THE CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE
heirs of a seventeen-year-old girl who was murdered. In Metro Manila Transit Corporation v. Court of NATIONAL POLICE, and DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF
Appeals,48 we likewise awarded the amount of one million pesos as moral damages to the parents of a INVESTIGATION, Respondents.
third year high school student and who was also their youngest child who died in a vehicular accident x-----------------------x
since the girl's death left a void in their lives. Hence, we hold that the respondents are also entitled to the G.R. No. 203378
amount of one million pesos as Evangeline's death left a void in the lives of her husband and minor ALEXANDER ADONIS, ELLEN TORDESILLAS, MA. GISELA ORDENES-CASCOLAN, H. HARRY L.
children as they were deprived of her love and care by her untimely demise. ROQUE, JR., ROMEL R. BAGARES, and GILBERT T. ANDRES, Petitioners,
We likewise uphold the award of exemplary damages in the amount of P300,000.00. Under Article 2229 THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, THE
of the Civil Code, exemplary damages are imposed by way of example or correction for the public good, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT,
in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages.49 It is awarded as a deterrent to THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE, AND THE
socially deleterious actions. In quasi-delict, exemplary damages may be granted if the defendant acted INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY OFFICE-DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND
with gross negligence.50 TECHNOLOGY, Respondents.
G.R. No. 203391
PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR., in his capacity as Executive Secretary and alter-ego of President O. GRAY; JULIUS IVAN F. CABIGON; BENRALPH S. YU; CEBU BLOGGERS SOCIETY, INC.
Benigno Simeon Aquino III, LEILA DE LIMA in her capacity as Secretary of Justice, Respondents. PRESIDENT RUBEN B. LICERA, JR; and PINOY EXPAT/OFW BLOG AWARDS, INC. COORDINATOR
x-----------------------x PEDRO E. RAHON; Petitioners,
G.R. No. 203407 vs.
Artist BIENVENIDO L. LUMBERA, Chairperson of Concerned Artists of the Philippines, ELMER C. Philippines; SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by HON. JUAN PONCE ENRILE, in his
LABOG, Chairperson of Kilusang Mayo Uno, CRISTINA E. PALABAY, Secretary General of capacity as Senate President; HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, represented by FELICIANO R.
Karapatan, FERDINAND R. GAITE, Chairperson of COURAGE, JOEL B. MAGLUNSOD, Vice BELMONTE, JR., in his capacity as Speaker of the House of Representatives; HON. PAQUITO N.
President of Anakpawis Party-List, LANA R. LINABAN, Secretary General Gabriela Women's Party, OCHOA, JR., in his capacity as Executive Secretary; HON. LEILA M. DE LIMA, in her capacity as
ADOLFO ARES P. GUTIERREZ, and JULIUS GARCIA MATIBAG, Petitioners, Secretary of Justice; HON. LOUIS NAPOLEON C. CASAMBRE, in his capacity as Executive
vs. Director, Information and Communications Technology Office; HON. NONNATUS CAESAR R.
BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III, President of the Republic of the Philippines, PAQUITO N. ROJAS, in his capacity as Director, National Bureau of Investigation; and P/DGEN. NICANOR A.
OCHOA, JR., Executive Secretary, SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by SENATE BARTOLOME, in his capacity as Chief, Philippine National Police, Respondents.
FELICIANO BELMONTE, JR., LEILA DE LIMA, Secretary of the Department of Justice, LOUIS G.R. No. 203501
NAPOLEON C. CASAMBRE, Executive Director of the Information and Communications PHILIPPINE BAR ASSOCIATION, INC., Petitioner,
Technology Office, NONNATUS CAESAR R. ROJAS, Director of the National Bureau of vs.
Investigation, D/GEN. NICANOR A. BARTOLOME, Chief of the Philippine National Police, MANUEL HIS EXCELLENCY BENIGNO S. AQUINO III, in his official capacity as President of the Republic of
A. ROXAS II, Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Respondents. the Philippines; HON. PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR., in his official capacity as Executive Secretary;
x-----------------------x HON. LEILA M. DE LIMA, in her official capacity as Secretary of Justice; LOUIS NAPOLEON C.
G.R. No. 203440 CASAMBRE, in his official capacity as Executive Director, Information and Communications
MELENCIO S. STA. MARIA, SEDFREY M. CANDELARIA, AMPARITA STA. MARIA, RAY PAOLO J. Technology Office; NONNATUS CAESAR R. ROJAS, in his official capacity as Director of the
SANTIAGO, GILBERT V. SEMBRANO, and RYAN JEREMIAH D. QUAN (all of the Ateneo Human National Bureau of Investigation; and DIRECTOR GENERAL NICANOR A. BARTOLOME, in his
Rights Center),Petitioners, official capacity as Chief of the Philippine National Police,Respondents.
vs. x-----------------------x
HONORABLE PAQUITO OCHOA in his capacity as Executive Secretary, HONORABLE LEILA DE G.R. No. 203509
LIMA in her capacity as Secretary of Justice, HONORABLE MANUEL ROXAS in his capacity as BAYAN MUNA REPRESENTATIVE NERI J. COLMENARES, Petitioner,
Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government, The CHIEF of the Philippine vs.
National Police, The DIRECTOR of the National Bureau of Investigation (all of the Executive THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO OCHOA, JR., Respondent.
Department of Government), Respondents. x-----------------------x
x-----------------------x G.R. No. 203515
NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (NUJP), PHILIPPINE PRESS capacity as President and in his personal capacity, Petitioner,
GOVERNMENT,Respondents. vs.
DOJ OFFICE OF CYBERCRIME, and THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CYBERCRIME Pending hearing and adjudication of the issues presented in these cases, on February 5, 2013 the Court
INVESTIGATION AND COORDINATING CENTER, Respondents. extended the original 120-day temporary restraining order (TRO) that it earlier issued on October 9,
2012, enjoining respondent government agencies from implementing the cybercrime law until further

The Issues Presented

These consolidated petitions seek to declare several provisions of Republic Act (R.A.) 10175, the
Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, unconstitutional and void.
Petitioners challenge the constitutionality of the following provisions of the cybercrime law that regard
certain acts as crimes and impose penalties for their commission as well as provisions that would enable
The Facts and the Case
the government to track down and penalize violators. These provisions are:

The cybercrime law aims to regulate access to and use of the cyberspace. Using his laptop or computer,
a. Section 4(a)(1) on Illegal Access;
a person can connect to the internet, a system that links him to other computers and enable him, among
b. Section 4(a)(3) on Data Interference;
other things, to:
c. Section 4(a)(6) on Cyber-squatting;
d. Section 4(b)(3) on Identity Theft;
1. Access virtual libraries and encyclopedias for all kinds of information that he needs for e. Section 4(c)(1) on Cybersex;
research, study, amusement, upliftment, or pure curiosity; f. Section 4(c)(2) on Child Pornography;
2. Post billboard-like notices or messages, including pictures and videos, for the general public g. Section 4(c)(3) on Unsolicited Commercial Communications;
or for special audiences like associates, classmates, or friends and read postings from them; h. Section 4(c)(4) on Libel;
3. Advertise and promote goods or services and make purchases and payments; i. Section 5 on Aiding or Abetting and Attempt in the Commission of Cybercrimes;
4. Inquire and do business with institutional entities like government agencies, banks, stock j. Section 6 on the Penalty of One Degree Higher;
exchanges, trade houses, credit card companies, public utilities, hospitals, and schools; and k. Section 7 on the Prosecution under both the Revised Penal Code (RPC) and R.A. 10175;
5. Communicate in writing or by voice with any person through his e-mail address or telephone. l. Section 8 on Penalties;
m. Section 12 on Real-Time Collection of Traffic Data;
n. Section 13 on Preservation of Computer Data;
This is cyberspace, a system that accommodates millions and billions of simultaneous and ongoing o. Section 14 on Disclosure of Computer Data;
individual accesses to and uses of the internet. The cyberspace is a boon to the need of the current p. Section 15 on Search, Seizure and Examination of Computer Data;
generation for greater information and facility of communication. But all is not well with the system since it q. Section 17 on Destruction of Computer Data;
could not filter out a number of persons of ill will who would want to use cyberspace technology for r. Section 19 on Restricting or Blocking Access to Computer Data;
mischiefs and crimes. One of them can, for instance, avail himself of the system to unjustly ruin the s. Section 20 on Obstruction of Justice;
reputation of another or bully the latter by posting defamatory statements against him that people can t. Section 24 on Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC); and
read. u. Section 26(a) on CICC’s Powers and Functions.

And because linking with the internet opens up a user to communications from others, the ill-motivated Some petitioners also raise the constitutionality of related Articles 353, 354, 361, and 362 of the RPC on
can use the cyberspace for committing theft by hacking into or surreptitiously accessing his bank account the crime of libel.
or credit card or defrauding him through false representations. The wicked can use the cyberspace, too,
for illicit trafficking in sex or for exposing to pornography guileless children who have access to the
internet. For this reason, the government has a legitimate right to regulate the use of cyberspace and The Rulings of the Court
contain and punish wrongdoings.
Section 4(a)(1)
Notably, there are also those who would want, like vandals, to wreak or cause havoc to the computer Section 4(a)(1) provides:
systems and networks of indispensable or highly useful institutions as well as to the laptop or computer Section 4. Cybercrime Offenses. – The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable
programs and memories of innocent individuals. They accomplish this by sending electronic viruses or under this Act:
virtual dynamites that destroy those computer systems, networks, programs, and memories. The (a) Offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems:
government certainly has the duty and the right to prevent these tomfooleries from happening and punish (1) Illegal Access. – The access to the whole or any part of a computer system without right.
their perpetrators, hence the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
Petitioners contend that Section 4(a)(1) fails to meet the strict scrutiny standard required of laws that
But petitioners claim that the means adopted by the cybercrime law for regulating undesirable interfere with the fundamental rights of the people and should thus be struck down.
cyberspace activities violate certain of their constitutional rights. The government of course asserts that
the law merely seeks to reasonably put order into cyberspace activities, punish wrongdoings, and prevent
The Court has in a way found the strict scrutiny standard, an American constitutional construct,1 useful in
hurtful attacks on the system.
determining the constitutionality of laws that tend to target a class of things or persons. According to this
standard, a legislative classification that impermissibly interferes with the exercise of fundamental right or
operates to the peculiar class disadvantage of a suspect class is presumed unconstitutional. The burden
is on the government to prove that the classification is necessary to achieve a compelling state interest boundaries of what is proper. But to prevent the State from legislating criminal laws because they instill
and that it is the least restrictive means to protect such interest.2 Later, the strict scrutiny standard was such kind of fear is to render the state powerless in addressing and penalizing socially harmful
used to assess the validity of laws dealing with the regulation of speech, gender, or race as well as other conduct.10 Here, the chilling effect that results in paralysis is an illusion since Section 4(a)(3) clearly
fundamental rights, as expansion from its earlier applications to equal protection.3 describes the evil that it seeks to punish and creates no tendency to intimidate the free exercise of one’s
constitutional rights.
In the cases before it, the Court finds nothing in Section 4(a)(1) that calls for the application of the strict
scrutiny standard since no fundamental freedom, like speech, is involved in punishing what is essentially Besides, the overbreadth challenge places on petitioners the heavy burden of proving that under no set
a condemnable act – accessing the computer system of another without right. It is a universally of circumstances will Section 4(a)(3) be valid.11 Petitioner has failed to discharge this burden.
condemned conduct.4
Section 4(a)(6) of the Cybercrime Law
Petitioners of course fear that this section will jeopardize the work of ethical hackers, professionals who
employ tools and techniques used by criminal hackers but would neither damage the target systems nor
Section 4(a)(6) provides:
steal information. Ethical hackers evaluate the target system’s security and report back to the owners the
vulnerabilities they found in it and give instructions for how these can be remedied. Ethical hackers are
the equivalent of independent auditors who come into an organization to verify its bookkeeping records.5 Section 4. Cybercrime Offenses. – The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable
under this Act:
Besides, a client’s engagement of an ethical hacker requires an agreement between them as to the
extent of the search, the methods to be used, and the systems to be tested. This is referred to as the "get (a) Offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems:
out of jail free card."6Since the ethical hacker does his job with prior permission from the client, such
permission would insulate him from the coverage of Section 4(a)(1).

Section 4(a)(3) of the Cybercrime Law

(6) Cyber-squatting. – The acquisition of domain name over the internet in bad faith to profit, mislead,
destroy the reputation, and deprive others from registering the same, if such a domain name is:
Section 4(a)(3) provides:
(i) Similar, identical, or confusingly similar to an existing trademark registered with the
Section 4. Cybercrime Offenses. – The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable appropriate government agency at the time of the domain name registration;
under this Act:
(ii) Identical or in any way similar with the name of a person other than the registrant, in case of
(a) Offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems: a personal name; and

xxxx (iii) Acquired without right or with intellectual property interests in it.

(3) Data Interference. – The intentional or reckless alteration, damaging, deletion or deterioration of Petitioners claim that Section 4(a)(6) or cyber-squatting violates the equal protection clause 12 in that, not
computer data, electronic document, or electronic data message, without right, including the introduction being narrowly tailored, it will cause a user using his real name to suffer the same fate as those who use
or transmission of viruses. aliases or take the name of another in satire, parody, or any other literary device. For example, supposing
there exists a well known billionaire-philanthropist named "Julio Gandolfo," the law would punish for
cyber-squatting both the person who registers such name because he claims it to be his pseudo-name
Petitioners claim that Section 4(a)(3) suffers from overbreadth in that, while it seeks to discourage data
and another who registers the name because it happens to be his real name. Petitioners claim that,
interference, it intrudes into the area of protected speech and expression, creating a chilling and
considering the substantial distinction between the two, the law should recognize the difference.
deterrent effect on these guaranteed freedoms.

But there is no real difference whether he uses "Julio Gandolfo" which happens to be his real name or
Under the overbreadth doctrine, a proper governmental purpose, constitutionally subject to state
use it as a pseudo-name for it is the evil purpose for which he uses the name that the law condemns. The
regulation, may not be achieved by means that unnecessarily sweep its subject broadly, thereby invading
law is reasonable in penalizing him for acquiring the domain name in bad faith to profit, mislead, destroy
the area of protected freedoms.7 But Section 4(a)(3) does not encroach on these freedoms at all. It
reputation, or deprive others who are not ill-motivated of the rightful opportunity of registering the same.
simply punishes what essentially is a form of vandalism,8 the act of willfully destroying without right the
The challenge to the constitutionality of Section 4(a)(6) on ground of denial of equal protection is
things that belong to others, in this case their computer data, electronic document, or electronic data
message. Such act has no connection to guaranteed freedoms. There is no freedom to destroy other
people’s computer systems and private documents.
Section 4(b)(3) of the Cybercrime Law
All penal laws, like the cybercrime law, have of course an inherent chilling effect, an in terrorem effect 9 or
the fear of possible prosecution that hangs on the heads of citizens who are minded to step beyond the Section 4(b)(3) provides:
Section 4. Cybercrime Offenses. – The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable section regulates are specific actions: the acquisition, use, misuse or deletion of personal identifying data
under this Act: of another. There is no fundamental right to acquire another’s personal data.

xxxx Further, petitioners fear that Section 4(b)(3) violates the freedom of the press in that journalists would be
hindered from accessing the unrestricted user account of a person in the news to secure information
about him that could be published. But this is not the essence of identity theft that the law seeks to
b) Computer-related Offenses:
prohibit and punish. Evidently, the theft of identity information must be intended for an illegitimate
purpose. Moreover, acquiring and disseminating information made public by the user himself cannot be
xxxx regarded as a form of theft.

(3) Computer-related Identity Theft. – The intentional acquisition, use, misuse, transfer, possession, The Court has defined intent to gain as an internal act which can be established through the overt acts of
alteration, or deletion of identifying information belonging to another, whether natural or juridical, without the offender, and it may be presumed from the furtive taking of useful property pertaining to another,
right: Provided: that if no damage has yet been caused, the penalty imposable shall be one (1) degree unless special circumstances reveal a different intent on the part of the perpetrator.20 As such, the press,
lower. whether in quest of news reporting or social investigation, has nothing to fear since a special
circumstance is present to negate intent to gain which is required by this Section.
Petitioners claim that Section 4(b)(3) violates the constitutional rights to due process and to privacy and
correspondence, and transgresses the freedom of the press. Section 4(c)(1) of the Cybercrime Law

The right to privacy, or the right to be let alone, was institutionalized in the 1987 Constitution as a facet of Section 4(c)(1) provides:
the right protected by the guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures.13 But the Court
acknowledged its existence as early as 1968 in Morfe v. Mutuc,14 it ruled that the right to privacy exists
Sec. 4. Cybercrime Offenses.– The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under
independently of its identification with liberty; it is in itself fully deserving of constitutional protection.
this Act:

Relevant to any discussion of the right to privacy is the concept known as the "Zones of Privacy." The
Court explained in "In the Matter of the Petition for Issuance of Writ of Habeas Corpus of Sabio v.
Senator Gordon"15 the relevance of these zones to the right to privacy:
(c) Content-related Offenses:
Zones of privacy are recognized and protected in our laws. Within these zones, any form of intrusion is
impermissible unless excused by law and in accordance with customary legal process. The meticulous (1) Cybersex.– The willful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly or indirectly, of any
regard we accord to these zones arises not only from our conviction that the right to privacy is a lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system, for favor or
"constitutional right" and "the right most valued by civilized men," but also from our adherence to the consideration.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights which mandates that, "no one shall be subjected to arbitrary
interference with his privacy" and "everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such
Petitioners claim that the above violates the freedom of expression clause of the Constitution. 21 They
interference or attacks."
express fear that private communications of sexual character between husband and wife or consenting
adults, which are not regarded as crimes under the penal code, would now be regarded as crimes when
Two constitutional guarantees create these zones of privacy: (a) the right against unreasonable done "for favor" in cyberspace. In common usage, the term "favor" includes "gracious kindness," "a
searches16 and seizures, which is the basis of the right to be let alone, and (b) the right to privacy of special privilege or right granted or conceded," or "a token of love (as a ribbon) usually worn
communication and correspondence.17 In assessing the challenge that the State has impermissibly conspicuously."22 This meaning given to the term "favor" embraces socially tolerated trysts. The law as
intruded into these zones of privacy, a court must determine whether a person has exhibited a written would invite law enforcement agencies into the bedrooms of married couples or consenting
reasonable expectation of privacy and, if so, whether that expectation has been violated by unreasonable individuals.
government intrusion.18
But the deliberations of the Bicameral Committee of Congress on this section of the Cybercrime
The usual identifying information regarding a person includes his name, his citizenship, his residence Prevention Act give a proper perspective on the issue. These deliberations show a lack of intent to
address, his contact number, his place and date of birth, the name of his spouse if any, his occupation, penalize a "private showing x x x between and among two private persons x x x although that may be a
and similar data.19 The law punishes those who acquire or use such identifying information without right, form of obscenity to some."23 The understanding of those who drew up the cybercrime law is that the
implicitly to cause damage. Petitioners simply fail to show how government effort to curb computer- element of "engaging in a business" is necessary to constitute the illegal cybersex.24 The Act actually
related identity theft violates the right to privacy and correspondence as well as the right to due process seeks to punish cyber prostitution, white slave trade, and pornography for favor and consideration. This
of law. includes interactive prostitution and pornography, i.e., by webcam.25

Also, the charge of invalidity of this section based on the overbreadth doctrine will not hold water since The subject of Section 4(c)(1)—lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity—is not novel.
the specific conducts proscribed do not intrude into guaranteed freedoms like speech. Clearly, what this Article 201 of the RPC punishes "obscene publications and exhibitions and indecent shows." The Anti-
Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 penalizes those who "maintain or hire a person to engage in
prostitution or pornography."26 The law defines prostitution as any act, transaction, scheme, or design author bounces off his ideas on Twitter, anyone who replies to the tweet could be considered aiding and
involving the use of a person by another, for sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct in exchange for abetting a cybercrime.
money, profit, or any other consideration.27
The question of aiding and abetting the offense by simply commenting on it will be discussed elsewhere
The case of Nogales v. People28 shows the extent to which the State can regulate materials that serve below. For now the Court must hold that the constitutionality of Section 4(c)(2) is not successfully
no other purpose than satisfy the market for violence, lust, or pornography. 29 The Court weighed the challenged.
property rights of individuals against the public welfare. Private property, if containing pornographic
materials, may be forfeited and destroyed. Likewise, engaging in sexual acts privately through internet
Section 4(c)(3) of the Cybercrime Law
connection, perceived by some as a right, has to be balanced with the mandate of the State to eradicate
white slavery and the exploitation of women.
Section 4(c)(3) provides:
In any event, consenting adults are protected by the wealth of jurisprudence delineating the bounds of
obscenity.30The Court will not declare Section 4(c)(1) unconstitutional where it stands a construction that Sec. 4. Cybercrime Offenses. – The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under
makes it apply only to persons engaged in the business of maintaining, controlling, or operating, directly this Act:
or indirectly, the lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity with the aid of a computer system
as Congress has intended.

Section 4(c)(2) of the Cybercrime Law

(c) Content-related Offenses:

Section 4(c)(2) provides:


Sec. 4. Cybercrime Offenses. – The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under
(3) Unsolicited Commercial Communications. – The transmission of commercial electronic
this Act:
communication with the use of computer system which seeks to advertise, sell, or offer for sale products
and services are prohibited unless:
(i) There is prior affirmative consent from the recipient; or
(c) Content-related Offenses:
(ii) The primary intent of the communication is for service and/or administrative announcements
xxxx from the sender to its existing users, subscribers or customers; or

(2) Child Pornography. — The unlawful or prohibited acts defined and punishable by Republic Act No. (iii) The following conditions are present:
9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, committed through a computer system: Provided, That
the penalty to be imposed shall be (1) one degree higher than that provided for in Republic Act No. 9775.
(aa) The commercial electronic communication contains a simple, valid, and reliable
way for the recipient to reject receipt of further commercial electronic messages (opt-
It seems that the above merely expands the scope of the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 31 (ACPA) to out) from the same source;
cover identical activities in cyberspace. In theory, nothing prevents the government from invoking the
ACPA when prosecuting persons who commit child pornography using a computer system. Actually,
(bb) The commercial electronic communication does not purposely disguise the
ACPA’s definition of child pornography already embraces the use of "electronic, mechanical, digital,
source of the electronic message; and
optical, magnetic or any other means." Notably, no one has questioned this ACPA provision.

(cc) The commercial electronic communication does not purposely include

Of course, the law makes the penalty higher by one degree when the crime is committed in cyberspace.
misleading information in any part of the message in order to induce the recipients to
But no one can complain since the intensity or duration of penalty is a legislative prerogative and there is
read the message.
rational basis for such higher penalty.32 The potential for uncontrolled proliferation of a particular piece of
child pornography when uploaded in the cyberspace is incalculable.
The above penalizes the transmission of unsolicited commercial communications, also known as "spam."
The term "spam" surfaced in early internet chat rooms and interactive fantasy games. One who repeats
Petitioners point out that the provision of ACPA that makes it unlawful for any person to "produce, direct,
the same sentence or comment was said to be making a "spam." The term referred to a Monty Python’s
manufacture or create any form of child pornography"33 clearly relates to the prosecution of persons who
Flying Circus scene in which actors would keep saying "Spam, Spam, Spam, and Spam" when reading
aid and abet the core offenses that ACPA seeks to punish.34 Petitioners are wary that a person who
options from a menu.35
merely doodles on paper and imagines a sexual abuse of a 16-year-old is not criminally liable for
producing child pornography but one who formulates the idea on his laptop would be. Further, if the
The Government, represented by the Solicitor General, points out that unsolicited commercial The libel provision of the cybercrime law, on the other hand, merely incorporates to form part of it the
communications or spams are a nuisance that wastes the storage and network capacities of internet provisions of the RPC on libel. Thus Section 4(c)(4) reads:
service providers, reduces the efficiency of commerce and technology, and interferes with the owner’s
peaceful enjoyment of his property. Transmitting spams amounts to trespass to one’s privacy since the
Sec. 4. Cybercrime Offenses. — The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under
person sending out spams enters the recipient’s domain without prior permission. The OSG contends
this Act:
that commercial speech enjoys less protection in law.

But, firstly, the government presents no basis for holding that unsolicited electronic ads reduce the
"efficiency of computers." Secondly, people, before the arrival of the age of computers, have already
been receiving such unsolicited ads by mail. These have never been outlawed as nuisance since people (c) Content-related Offenses:
might have interest in such ads. What matters is that the recipient has the option of not opening or
reading these mail ads. That is true with spams. Their recipients always have the option to delete or not
to read them.

(4) Libel. — The unlawful or prohibited acts of libel as defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code,
To prohibit the transmission of unsolicited ads would deny a person the right to read his emails, even
as amended, committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in
unsolicited commercial ads addressed to him. Commercial speech is a separate category of speech
the future.
which is not accorded the same level of protection as that given to other constitutionally guaranteed
forms of expression but is nonetheless entitled to protection.36 The State cannot rob him of this right
without violating the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression. Unsolicited advertisements are Petitioners lament that libel provisions of the penal code37 and, in effect, the libel provisions of the
legitimate forms of expression. cybercrime law carry with them the requirement of "presumed malice" even when the latest jurisprudence
already replaces it with the higher standard of "actual malice" as a basis for conviction.38 Petitioners
argue that inferring "presumed malice" from the accused’s defamatory statement by virtue of Article 354
Articles 353, 354, and 355 of the Penal Code
of the penal code infringes on his constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression.

Section 4(c)(4) of the Cyber Crime Law

Petitioners would go further. They contend that the laws on libel should be stricken down as
unconstitutional for otherwise good jurisprudence requiring "actual malice" could easily be overturned as
Petitioners dispute the constitutionality of both the penal code provisions on libel as well as Section 4(c) the Court has done in Fermin v. People39 even where the offended parties happened to be public figures.
(4) of the Cybercrime Prevention Act on cyberlibel.
The elements of libel are: (a) the allegation of a discreditable act or condition concerning another; (b)
The RPC provisions on libel read: publication of the charge; (c) identity of the person defamed; and (d) existence of malice.40

Art. 353. Definition of libel. — A libel is public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, There is "actual malice" or malice in fact41 when the offender makes the defamatory statement with the
real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, knowledge that it is false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. 42 The reckless
discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead. disregard standard used here requires a high degree of awareness of probable falsity. There must be
sufficient evidence to permit the conclusion that the accused in fact entertained serious doubts as to the
truth of the statement he published. Gross or even extreme negligence is not sufficient to establish actual
Art. 354. Requirement for publicity. — Every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it
be true, if no good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown, except in the following cases:

The prosecution bears the burden of proving the presence of actual malice in instances where such
1. A private communication made by any person to another in the performance of any legal,
element is required to establish guilt. The defense of absence of actual malice, even when the statement
moral or social duty; and
turns out to be false, is available where the offended party is a public official or a public figure, as in the
cases of Vasquez (a barangay official) and Borjal (the Executive Director, First National Conference on
2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or remarks, of any judicial, Land Transportation). Since the penal code and implicitly, the cybercrime law, mainly target libel against
legislative or other official proceedings which are not of confidential nature, or of any private persons, the Court recognizes that these laws imply a stricter standard of "malice" to convict the
statement, report or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by author of a defamatory statement where the offended party is a public figure. Society’s interest and the
public officers in the exercise of their functions. maintenance of good government demand a full discussion of public affairs.44

Art. 355. Libel means by writings or similar means. — A libel committed by means of writing, printing, Parenthetically, the Court cannot accept the proposition that its ruling in Fermin disregarded the higher
lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or standard of actual malice or malice in fact when it found Cristinelli Fermin guilty of committing libel
any similar means, shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum and medium periods or a fine against complainants who were public figures. Actually, the Court found the presence of malice in fact in
ranging from 200 to 6,000 pesos, or both, in addition to the civil action which may be brought by the that case. Thus:
offended party.
It can be gleaned from her testimony that petitioner had the motive to make defamatory imputations The internet is characterized as encouraging a freewheeling, anything-goes writing style. 50 In a sense,
against complainants. Thus, petitioner cannot, by simply making a general denial, convince us that there they are a world apart in terms of quickness of the reader’s reaction to defamatory statements posted in
was no malice on her part. Verily, not only was there malice in law, the article being malicious in itself, but cyberspace, facilitated by one-click reply options offered by the networking site as well as by the speed
there was also malice in fact, as there was motive to talk ill against complainants during the electoral with which such reactions are disseminated down the line to other internet users. Whether these
campaign. (Emphasis ours) reactions to defamatory statement posted on the internet constitute aiding and abetting libel, acts that
Section 5 of the cybercrime law punishes, is another matter that the Court will deal with next in relation to
Section 5 of the law.
Indeed, the Court took into account the relatively wide leeway given to utterances against public figures
in the above case, cinema and television personalities, when it modified the penalty of imprisonment to
just a fine of ₱6,000.00. Section 5 of the Cybercrime Law

But, where the offended party is a private individual, the prosecution need not prove the presence of Section 5 provides:
malice. The law explicitly presumes its existence (malice in law) from the defamatory character of the
assailed statement.45 For his defense, the accused must show that he has a justifiable reason for the
Sec. 5. Other Offenses. — The following acts shall also constitute an offense:
defamatory statement even if it was in fact true.46

(a) Aiding or Abetting in the Commission of Cybercrime. – Any person who willfully abets or
Petitioners peddle the view that both the penal code and the Cybercrime Prevention Act violate the
aids in the commission of any of the offenses enumerated in this Act shall be held liable.
country’s obligations under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). They point
out that in Adonis v. Republic of the Philippines,47 the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC)
cited its General Comment 34 to the effect that penal defamation laws should include the defense of (b) Attempt in the Commission of Cybercrime. — Any person who willfully attempts to commit
truth. any of the offenses enumerated in this Act shall be held liable.

But General Comment 34 does not say that the truth of the defamatory statement should constitute an Petitioners assail the constitutionality of Section 5 that renders criminally liable any person who willfully
all-encompassing defense. As it happens, Article 361 recognizes truth as a defense but under the abets or aids in the commission or attempts to commit any of the offenses enumerated as cybercrimes. It
condition that the accused has been prompted in making the statement by good motives and for suffers from overbreadth, creating a chilling and deterrent effect on protected expression.
justifiable ends. Thus:
The Solicitor General contends, however, that the current body of jurisprudence and laws on aiding and
Art. 361. Proof of the truth. — In every criminal prosecution for libel, the truth may be given in evidence to abetting sufficiently protects the freedom of expression of "netizens," the multitude that avail themselves
the court and if it appears that the matter charged as libelous is true, and, moreover, that it was published of the services of the internet. He points out that existing laws and jurisprudence sufficiently delineate the
with good motives and for justifiable ends, the defendants shall be acquitted. meaning of "aiding or abetting" a crime as to protect the innocent. The Solicitor General argues that plain,
ordinary, and common usage is at times sufficient to guide law enforcement agencies in enforcing the
law.51 The legislature is not required to define every single word contained in the laws they craft.
Proof of the truth of an imputation of an act or omission not constituting a crime shall not be admitted,
unless the imputation shall have been made against Government employees with respect to facts related
to the discharge of their official duties. Aiding or abetting has of course well-defined meaning and application in existing laws. When a person
aids or abets another in destroying a forest,52 smuggling merchandise into the country,53 or interfering in
the peaceful picketing of laborers,54 his action is essentially physical and so is susceptible to easy
In such cases if the defendant proves the truth of the imputation made by him, he shall be acquitted.
assessment as criminal in character. These forms of aiding or abetting lend themselves to the tests of
common sense and human experience.
Besides, the UNHRC did not actually enjoin the Philippines, as petitioners urge, to decriminalize libel. It
simply suggested that defamation laws be crafted with care to ensure that they do not stifle freedom of
But, when it comes to certain cybercrimes, the waters are muddier and the line of sight is somewhat
expression.48Indeed, the ICCPR states that although everyone should enjoy freedom of expression, its
blurred. The idea of "aiding or abetting" wrongdoings online threatens the heretofore popular and
exercise carries with it special duties and responsibilities. Free speech is not absolute. It is subject to
unchallenged dogmas of cyberspace use.
certain restrictions, as may be necessary and as may be provided by law.49

According to the 2011 Southeast Asia Digital Consumer Report, 33% of Filipinos have accessed the
The Court agrees with the Solicitor General that libel is not a constitutionally protected speech and that
internet within a year, translating to about 31 million users. 55 Based on a recent survey, the Philippines
the government has an obligation to protect private individuals from defamation. Indeed, cyberlibel is
ranks 6th in the top 10 most engaged countries for social networking.56 Social networking sites build
actually not a new crime since Article 353, in relation to Article 355 of the penal code, already punishes it.
social relations among people who, for example, share interests, activities, backgrounds, or real-life
In effect, Section 4(c)(4) above merely affirms that online defamation constitutes "similar means" for
committing libel.

Two of the most popular of these sites are Facebook and Twitter. As of late 2012, 1.2 billion people with
But the Court’s acquiescence goes only insofar as the cybercrime law penalizes the author of the libelous
shared interests use Facebook to get in touch.58 Users register at this site, create a personal profile or an
statement or article. Cyberlibel brings with it certain intricacies, unheard of when the penal code
open book of who they are, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including automatic
provisions on libel were enacted. The culture associated with internet media is distinct from that of print.
notifications when they update their profile.59 A user can post a statement, a photo, or a video on Except for the original author of the assailed statement, the rest (those who pressed Like, Comment and
Facebook, which can be made visible to anyone, depending on the user’s privacy settings. Share) are essentially knee-jerk sentiments of readers who may think little or haphazardly of their
response to the original posting. Will they be liable for aiding or abetting? And, considering the inherent
impossibility of joining hundreds or thousands of responding "Friends" or "Followers" in the criminal
If the post is made available to the public, meaning to everyone and not only to his friends, anyone on
charge to be filed in court, who will make a choice as to who should go to jail for the outbreak of the
Facebook can react to the posting, clicking any of several buttons of preferences on the program’s
challenged posting?
screen such as "Like," "Comment," or "Share." "Like" signifies that the reader likes the posting while
"Comment" enables him to post online his feelings or views about the same, such as "This is great!"
When a Facebook user "Shares" a posting, the original "posting" will appear on his own Facebook profile, The old parameters for enforcing the traditional form of libel would be a square peg in a round hole when
consequently making it visible to his down-line Facebook Friends. applied to cyberspace libel. Unless the legislature crafts a cyber libel law that takes into account its
unique circumstances and culture, such law will tend to create a chilling effect on the millions that use
this new medium of communication in violation of their constitutionally-guaranteed right to freedom of
Twitter, on the other hand, is an internet social networking and microblogging service that enables its
users to send and read short text-based messages of up to 140 characters. These are known as
"Tweets." Microblogging is the practice of posting small pieces of digital content—which could be in the
form of text, pictures, links, short videos, or other media—on the internet. Instead of friends, a Twitter The United States Supreme Court faced the same issue in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 61 a
user has "Followers," those who subscribe to this particular user’s posts, enabling them to read the case involving the constitutionality of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. The law prohibited (1)
same, and "Following," those whom this particular user is subscribed to, enabling him to read their posts. the knowing transmission, by means of a telecommunications device, of
Like Facebook, a Twitter user can make his tweets available only to his Followers, or to the general
public. If a post is available to the public, any Twitter user can "Retweet" a given posting. Retweeting is
"obscene or indecent" communications to any recipient under 18 years of age; and (2) the knowing use
just reposting or republishing another person’s tweet without the need of copying and pasting it.
of an interactive computer service to send to a specific person or persons under 18 years of age or to
display in a manner available to a person under 18 years of age communications that, in context, depict
In the cyberworld, there are many actors: a) the blogger who originates the assailed statement; b) the or describe, in terms "patently offensive" as measured by contemporary community standards, sexual or
blog service provider like Yahoo; c) the internet service provider like PLDT, Smart, Globe, or Sun; d) the excretory activities or organs.
internet café that may have provided the computer used for posting the blog; e) the person who makes a
favorable comment on the blog; and f) the person who posts a link to the blog site.60 Now, suppose Maria
Those who challenged the Act claim that the law violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of
(a blogger) maintains a blog on (blog service provider). She needs the internet to access
speech for being overbroad. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed and ruled:
her blog so she subscribes to Sun Broadband (Internet Service Provider).

The vagueness of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA), 47 U.S.C.S. §223, is a matter of
One day, Maria posts on her internet account the statement that a certain married public official has an
special concern for two reasons. First, the CDA is a content-based regulation of speech. The vagueness
illicit affair with a movie star. Linda, one of Maria’s friends who sees this post, comments online, "Yes, this
of such a regulation raises special U.S. Const. amend. I concerns because of its obvious chilling effect on
is so true! They are so immoral." Maria’s original post is then multiplied by her friends and the latter’s
free speech. Second, the CDA is a criminal statute. In addition to the opprobrium and stigma of a criminal
friends, and down the line to friends of friends almost ad infinitum. Nena, who is a stranger to both Maria
conviction, the CDA threatens violators with penalties including up to two years in prison for each act of
and Linda, comes across this blog, finds it interesting and so shares the link to this apparently
violation. The severity of criminal sanctions may well cause speakers to remain silent rather than
defamatory blog on her Twitter account. Nena’s "Followers" then "Retweet" the link to that blog site.
communicate even arguably unlawful words, ideas, and images. As a practical matter, this increased
deterrent effect, coupled with the risk of discriminatory enforcement of vague regulations, poses greater
Pamela, a Twitter user, stumbles upon a random person’s "Retweet" of Nena’s original tweet and posts U.S. Const. amend. I concerns than those implicated by certain civil regulations.
this on her Facebook account. Immediately, Pamela’s Facebook Friends start Liking and making
Comments on the assailed posting. A lot of them even press the Share button, resulting in the further
spread of the original posting into tens, hundreds, thousands, and greater postings.

The Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA), 47 U.S.C.S. § 223, presents a great threat of
The question is: are online postings such as "Liking" an openly defamatory statement, "Commenting" on
censoring speech that, in fact, falls outside the statute's scope. Given the vague contours of the coverage
it, or "Sharing" it with others, to be regarded as "aiding or abetting?" In libel in the physical world, if Nestor
of the statute, it unquestionably silences some speakers whose messages would be entitled to
places on the office bulletin board a small poster that says, "Armand is a thief!," he could certainly be
constitutional protection. That danger provides further reason for insisting that the statute not be overly
charged with libel. If Roger, seeing the poster, writes on it, "I like this!," that could not be libel since he did
broad. The CDA’s burden on protected speech cannot be justified if it could be avoided by a more
not author the poster. If Arthur, passing by and noticing the poster, writes on it, "Correct!," would that be
carefully drafted statute. (Emphasis ours)
libel? No, for he merely expresses agreement with the statement on the poster. He still is not its author.
Besides, it is not clear if aiding or abetting libel in the physical world is a crime.
Libel in the cyberspace can of course stain a person’s image with just one click of the mouse. Scurrilous
statements can spread and travel fast across the globe like bad news. Moreover, cyberlibel often goes
But suppose Nestor posts the blog, "Armand is a thief!" on a social networking site. Would a reader and
hand in hand with cyberbullying that oppresses the victim, his relatives, and friends, evoking from mild to
his Friends or Followers, availing themselves of any of the "Like," "Comment," and "Share" reactions, be
disastrous reactions. Still, a governmental purpose, which seeks to regulate the use of this cyberspace
guilty of aiding or abetting libel? And, in the complex world of cyberspace expressions of thoughts, when
communication technology to protect a person’s reputation and peace of mind, cannot adopt means that
will one be liable for aiding or abetting cybercrimes? Where is the venue of the crime?
will unnecessarily and broadly sweep, invading the area of protected freedoms.62
If such means are adopted, self-inhibition borne of fear of what sinister predicaments await internet users pornography," does this make Google and its users aiders and abettors in the commission of child
will suppress otherwise robust discussion of public issues. Democracy will be threatened and with it, all pornography crimes?68 Byars highlights a feature in the American law on child pornography that the
liberties. Penal laws should provide reasonably clear guidelines for law enforcement officials and triers of Cybercrimes law lacks—the exemption of a provider or notably a plain user of interactive computer
facts to prevent arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.63 The terms "aiding or abetting" constitute service from civil liability for child pornography as follows:
broad sweep that generates chilling effect on those who express themselves through cyberspace posts,
comments, and other messages.64 Hence, Section 5 of the cybercrime law that punishes "aiding or
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any
abetting" libel on the cyberspace is a nullity.
information provided by another information content provider and cannot be held civilly liable for any
action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or
When a penal statute encroaches upon the freedom of speech, a facial challenge grounded on the void- user considers to be obscene...whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.69
for-vagueness doctrine is acceptable. The inapplicability of the doctrine must be carefully delineated. As
Justice Antonio T. Carpio explained in his dissent in Romualdez v. Commission on Elections,65 "we must
When a person replies to a Tweet containing child pornography, he effectively republishes it whether
view these statements of the Court on the inapplicability of the overbreadth and vagueness doctrines to
wittingly or unwittingly. Does this make him a willing accomplice to the distribution of child pornography?
penal statutes as appropriate only insofar as these doctrines are used to mount ‘facial’ challenges to
When a user downloads the Facebook mobile application, the user may give consent to Facebook to
penal statutes not involving free speech."
access his contact details. In this way, certain information is forwarded to third parties and unsolicited
commercial communication could be disseminated on the basis of this information.70 As the source of this
In an "as applied" challenge, the petitioner who claims a violation of his constitutional right can raise any information, is the user aiding the distribution of this communication? The legislature needs to address
constitutional ground – absence of due process, lack of fair notice, lack of ascertainable standards, this clearly to relieve users of annoying fear of possible criminal prosecution.
overbreadth, or vagueness. Here, one can challenge the constitutionality of a statute only if he asserts a
violation of his own rights. It prohibits one from assailing the constitutionality of the statute based solely
Section 5 with respect to Section 4(c)(4) is unconstitutional. Its vagueness raises apprehension on the
on the violation of the rights of third persons not before the court. This rule is also known as the
part of internet users because of its obvious chilling effect on the freedom of expression, especially since
prohibition against third-party standing.66
the crime of aiding or abetting ensnares all the actors in the cyberspace front in a fuzzy way. What is
more, as the petitioners point out, formal crimes such as libel are not punishable unless
But this rule admits of exceptions. A petitioner may for instance mount a "facial" challenge to the consummated.71 In the absence of legislation tracing the interaction of netizens and their level of
constitutionality of a statute even if he claims no violation of his own rights under the assailed statute responsibility such as in other countries, Section 5, in relation to Section 4(c)(4) on Libel, Section 4(c)(3)
where it involves free speech on grounds of overbreadth or vagueness of the statute. on Unsolicited Commercial Communications, and Section 4(c)(2) on Child Pornography, cannot stand
The rationale for this exception is to counter the "chilling effect" on protected speech that comes from
statutes violating free speech. A person who does not know whether his speech constitutes a crime under But the crime of aiding or abetting the commission of cybercrimes under Section 5 should be permitted to
an overbroad or vague law may simply restrain himself from speaking in order to avoid being charged of apply to Section 4(a)(1) on Illegal Access, Section 4(a)(2) on Illegal Interception, Section 4(a)(3) on Data
a crime. The overbroad or vague law thus chills him into silence.67 Interference, Section 4(a)(4) on System Interference, Section 4(a)(5) on Misuse of Devices, Section 4(a)
(6) on Cyber-squatting, Section 4(b)(1) on Computer-related Forgery, Section 4(b)(2) on Computer-
related Fraud, Section 4(b)(3) on Computer-related Identity Theft, and Section 4(c)(1) on Cybersex. None
As already stated, the cyberspace is an incomparable, pervasive medium of communication. It is
of these offenses borders on the exercise of the freedom of expression.
inevitable that any government threat of punishment regarding certain uses of the medium creates a
chilling effect on the constitutionally-protected freedom of expression of the great masses that use it. In
this case, the particularly complex web of interaction on social media websites would give law enforcers The crime of willfully attempting to commit any of these offenses is for the same reason not
such latitude that they could arbitrarily or selectively enforce the law. objectionable. A hacker may for instance have done all that is necessary to illegally access another
party’s computer system but the security employed by the system’s lawful owner could frustrate his effort.
Another hacker may have gained access to usernames and passwords of others but fail to use these
Who is to decide when to prosecute persons who boost the visibility of a posting on the internet by liking
because the system supervisor is alerted.72 If Section 5 that punishes any person who willfully attempts to
it? Netizens are not given "fair notice" or warning as to what is criminal conduct and what is lawful
commit this specific offense is not upheld, the owner of the username and password could not file a
conduct. When a case is filed, how will the court ascertain whether or not one netizen’s comment aided
complaint against him for attempted hacking. But this is not right. The hacker should not be freed from
and abetted a cybercrime while another comment did not?
liability simply because of the vigilance of a lawful owner or his supervisor.

Of course, if the "Comment" does not merely react to the original posting but creates an altogether new
Petitioners of course claim that Section 5 lacks positive limits and could cover the innocent.73 While this
defamatory story against Armand like "He beats his wife and children," then that should be considered an
may be true with respect to cybercrimes that tend to sneak past the area of free expression, any attempt
original posting published on the internet. Both the penal code and the cybercrime law clearly punish
to commit the other acts specified in Section 4(a)(1), Section 4(a)(2), Section 4(a)(3), Section 4(a)(4),
authors of defamatory publications. Make no mistake, libel destroys reputations that society values.
Section 4(a)(5), Section 4(a)(6), Section 4(b)(1), Section 4(b)(2), Section 4(b)(3), and Section 4(c)(1) as
Allowed to cascade in the internet, it will destroy relationships and, under certain circumstances, will
well as the actors aiding and abetting the commission of such acts can be identified with some
generate enmity and tension between social or economic groups, races, or religions, exacerbating
reasonable certainty through adroit tracking of their works. Absent concrete proof of the same, the
existing tension in their relationships.
innocent will of course be spared.

In regard to the crime that targets child pornography, when "Google procures, stores, and indexes child
Section 6 of the Cybercrime Law
pornography and facilitates the completion of transactions involving the dissemination of child
Section 6 provides: hundred thousand pesos (Ph₱200,000.00) up to a maximum amount commensurate to the damage
incurred or both.
Sec. 6. All crimes defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, if
committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies shall be Any person found guilty of the punishable act under Section 4(a)(5) shall be punished with imprisonment
covered by the relevant provisions of this Act: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be one (1) of prision mayor or a fine of not more than Five hundred thousand pesos (Ph₱500,000.00) or both.
degree higher than that provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, as the
case may be.
If punishable acts in Section 4(a) are committed against critical infrastructure, the penalty of reclusion
temporal or a fine of at least Five hundred thousand pesos (Ph₱500,000.00) up to maximum amount
Section 6 merely makes commission of existing crimes through the internet a qualifying circumstance. As commensurate to the damage incurred or both, shall be imposed.
the Solicitor General points out, there exists a substantial distinction between crimes committed through
the use of information and communications technology and similar crimes committed using other means.
Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Section 4(c)(1) of this Act shall be
In using the technology in question, the offender often evades identification and is able to reach far more
punished with imprisonment of prision mayor or a fine of at least Two hundred thousand pesos
victims or cause greater harm. The distinction, therefore, creates a basis for higher penalties for
(Ph₱200,000.00) but not exceeding One million pesos (Ph₱1,000,000.00) or both.

Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Section 4(c)(2) of this Act shall be
Section 7 of the Cybercrime Law
punished with the penalties as enumerated in Republic Act No. 9775 or the "Anti-Child Pornography Act
of 2009:" Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be one (1) degree higher than that provided for
Section 7 provides: in Republic Act No. 9775, if committed through a computer system.

Sec. 7. Liability under Other Laws. — A prosecution under this Act shall be without prejudice to any Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Section 4(c)(3) shall be punished
liability for violation of any provision of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, or special laws. with imprisonment of arresto mayor or a fine of at least Fifty thousand pesos (Ph₱50,000.00) but not
exceeding Two hundred fifty thousand pesos (Ph₱250,000.00) or both.
The Solicitor General points out that Section 7 merely expresses the settled doctrine that a single set of
acts may be prosecuted and penalized simultaneously under two laws, a special law and the Revised Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Section 5 shall be punished with
Penal Code. When two different laws define two crimes, prior jeopardy as to one does not bar imprisonment one (1) degree lower than that of the prescribed penalty for the offense or a fine of at least
prosecution of the other although both offenses arise from the same fact, if each crime involves some One hundred thousand pesos (Ph₱100,000.00) but not exceeding Five hundred thousand pesos
important act which is not an essential element of the other.74 With the exception of the crimes of online (Ph₱500,000.00) or both.
libel and online child pornography, the Court would rather leave the determination of the correct
application of Section 7 to actual cases.
Section 8 provides for the penalties for the following crimes: Sections 4(a) on Offenses Against the
Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability of Computer Data and Systems; 4(b) on Computer-related
Online libel is different. There should be no question that if the published material on print, said to be Offenses; 4(a)(5) on Misuse of Devices; when the crime punishable under 4(a) is committed against
libelous, is again posted online or vice versa, that identical material cannot be the subject of two separate critical infrastructure; 4(c)(1) on Cybersex; 4(c)(2) on Child Pornography; 4(c)(3) on Unsolicited
libels. The two offenses, one a violation of Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code and the other a violation Commercial Communications; and Section 5 on Aiding or Abetting, and Attempt in the Commission of
of Section 4(c)(4) of R.A. 10175 involve essentially the same elements and are in fact one and the same Cybercrime.
offense. Indeed, the OSG itself claims that online libel under Section 4(c)(4) is not a new crime but is one
already punished under Article 353. Section 4(c)(4) merely establishes the computer system as another
The matter of fixing penalties for the commission of crimes is as a rule a legislative prerogative. Here the
means of publication.75 Charging the offender under both laws would be a blatant violation of the
legislature prescribed a measure of severe penalties for what it regards as deleterious cybercrimes. They
proscription against double jeopardy.76
appear proportionate to the evil sought to be punished. The power to determine penalties for offenses is
not diluted or improperly wielded simply because at some prior time the act or omission was but an
The same is true with child pornography committed online. Section 4(c)(2) merely expands the ACPA’s element of another offense or might just have been connected with another crime. 77 Judges and
scope so as to include identical activities in cyberspace. As previously discussed, ACPA’s definition of magistrates can only interpret and apply them and have no authority to modify or revise their range as
child pornography in fact already covers the use of "electronic, mechanical, digital, optical, magnetic or determined by the legislative department.
any other means." Thus, charging the offender under both Section 4(c)(2) and ACPA would likewise be
tantamount to a violation of the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy.
The courts should not encroach on this prerogative of the lawmaking body.78

Section 8 of the Cybercrime Law

Section 12 of the Cybercrime Law

Section 8 provides:
Section 12 provides:

Sec. 8. Penalties. — Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Sections 4(a)
and 4(b) of this Act shall be punished with imprisonment of prision mayor or a fine of at least Two
Sec. 12. Real-Time Collection of Traffic Data. — Law enforcement authorities, with due cause, shall be wicked can commit cybercrimes from virtually anywhere: from internet cafés, from kindred places that
authorized to collect or record by technical or electronic means traffic data in real-time associated with provide free internet services, and from unregistered mobile internet connectors. Criminals using
specified communications transmitted by means of a computer system. cellphones under pre-paid arrangements and with unregistered SIM cards do not have listed addresses
and can neither be located nor identified. There are many ways the cyber criminals can quickly erase
their tracks. Those who peddle child pornography could use relays of computers to mislead law
Traffic data refer only to the communication’s origin, destination, route, time, date, size, duration, or type
enforcement authorities regarding their places of operations. Evidently, it is only real-time traffic data
of underlying service, but not content, nor identities.
collection or recording and a subsequent recourse to court-issued search and seizure warrant that can
succeed in ferreting them out.
All other data to be collected or seized or disclosed will require a court warrant.
Petitioners of course point out that the provisions of Section 12 are too broad and do not provide ample
Service providers are required to cooperate and assist law enforcement authorities in the collection or safeguards against crossing legal boundaries and invading the people’s right to privacy. The concern is
recording of the above-stated information. understandable. Indeed, the Court recognizes in Morfe v. Mutuc88 that certain constitutional guarantees
work together to create zones of privacy wherein governmental powers may not intrude, and that there
exists an independent constitutional right of privacy. Such right to be left alone has been regarded as the
The court warrant required under this section shall only be issued or granted upon written application and beginning of all freedoms.89
the examination under oath or affirmation of the applicant and the witnesses he may produce and the
showing: (1) that there are reasonable grounds to believe that any of the crimes enumerated hereinabove
has been committed, or is being committed, or is about to be committed; (2) that there are reasonable But that right is not unqualified. In Whalen v. Roe,90 the United States Supreme Court classified privacy
grounds to believe that evidence that will be obtained is essential to the conviction of any person for, or to into two categories: decisional privacy and informational privacy. Decisional privacy involves the right to
the solution of, or to the prevention of, any such crimes; and (3) that there are no other means readily independence in making certain important decisions, while informational privacy refers to the interest in
available for obtaining such evidence. avoiding disclosure of personal matters. It is the latter right—the right to informational privacy—that those
who oppose government collection or recording of traffic data in real-time seek to protect.
Petitioners assail the grant to law enforcement agencies of the power to collect or record traffic data in
real time as tending to curtail civil liberties or provide opportunities for official abuse. They claim that data Informational privacy has two aspects: the right not to have private information disclosed, and the right to
showing where digital messages come from, what kind they are, and where they are destined need not live freely without surveillance and intrusion.91 In determining whether or not a matter is entitled to the
be incriminating to their senders or recipients before they are to be protected. Petitioners invoke the right right to privacy, this Court has laid down a two-fold test. The first is a subjective test, where one claiming
of every individual to privacy and to be protected from government snooping into the messages or the right must have an actual or legitimate expectation of privacy over a certain matter. The second is an
information that they send to one another. objective test, where his or her expectation of privacy must be one society is prepared to accept as
objectively reasonable.92
The first question is whether or not Section 12 has a proper governmental purpose since a law may
require the disclosure of matters normally considered private but then only upon showing that such Since the validity of the cybercrime law is being challenged, not in relation to its application to a particular
requirement has a rational relation to the purpose of the law,79 that there is a compelling State interest person or group, petitioners’ challenge to Section 12 applies to all information and communications
behind the law, and that the provision itself is narrowly drawn.80 In assessing regulations affecting privacy technology (ICT) users, meaning the large segment of the population who use all sorts of electronic
rights, courts should balance the legitimate concerns of the State against constitutional guarantees.81 devices to communicate with one another. Consequently, the expectation of privacy is to be measured
from the general public’s point of view. Without reasonable expectation of privacy, the right to it would
have no basis in fact.
Undoubtedly, the State has a compelling interest in enacting the cybercrime law for there is a need to put
order to the tremendous activities in cyberspace for public good.82 To do this, it is within the realm of
reason that the government should be able to monitor traffic data to enhance its ability to combat all sorts As the Solicitor General points out, an ordinary ICT user who courses his communication through a
of cybercrimes. service provider, must of necessity disclose to the latter, a third person, the traffic data needed for
connecting him to the recipient ICT user. For example, an ICT user who writes a text message intended
for another ICT user must furnish his service provider with his cellphone number and the cellphone
Chapter IV of the cybercrime law, of which the collection or recording of traffic data is a part, aims to number of his recipient, accompanying the message sent. It is this information that creates the traffic
provide law enforcement authorities with the power they need for spotting, preventing, and investigating data. Transmitting communications is akin to putting a letter in an envelope properly addressed, sealing it
crimes committed in cyberspace. Crime-fighting is a state business. Indeed, as Chief Justice Sereno closed, and sending it through the postal service. Those who post letters have no expectations that no
points out, the Budapest Convention on Cybercrimes requires signatory countries to adopt legislative one will read the information appearing outside the envelope.
measures to empower state authorities to collect or record "traffic data, in real time, associated with
specified communications."83 And this is precisely what Section 12 does. It empowers law enforcement
agencies in this country to collect or record such data. Computer data—messages of all kinds—travel across the internet in packets and in a way that may be
likened to parcels of letters or things that are sent through the posts. When data is sent from any one
source, the content is broken up into packets and around each of these packets is a wrapper or header.
But is not evidence of yesterday’s traffic data, like the scene of the crime after it has been committed, This header contains the traffic data: information that tells computers where the packet originated, what
adequate for fighting cybercrimes and, therefore, real-time data is superfluous for that purpose? kind of data is in the packet (SMS, voice call, video, internet chat messages, email, online browsing data,
Evidently, it is not. Those who commit the crimes of accessing a computer system without etc.), where the packet is going, and how the packet fits together with other packets.93 The difference is
right,84 transmitting viruses,85 lasciviously exhibiting sexual organs or sexual activity for favor or that traffic data sent through the internet at times across the ocean do not disclose the actual names and
consideration;86 and producing child pornography87 could easily evade detection and prosecution by addresses (residential or office) of the sender and the recipient, only their coded internet protocol (IP)
simply moving the physical location of their computers or laptops from day to day. In this digital age, the
addresses. The packets travel from one computer system to another where their contents are pieced The authority that Section 12 gives law enforcement agencies is too sweeping and lacks restraint. While
back together. it says that traffic data collection should not disclose identities or content data, such restraint is but an
illusion. Admittedly, nothing can prevent law enforcement agencies holding these data in their hands from
looking into the identity of their sender or receiver and what the data contains. This will unnecessarily
Section 12 does not permit law enforcement authorities to look into the contents of the messages and
expose the citizenry to leaked information or, worse, to extortion from certain bad elements in these
uncover the identities of the sender and the recipient.

For example, when one calls to speak to another through his cellphone, the service provider’s
Section 12, of course, limits the collection of traffic data to those "associated with specified
communication’s system will put his voice message into packets and send them to the other person’s
communications." But this supposed limitation is no limitation at all since, evidently, it is the law
cellphone where they are refitted together and heard. The latter’s spoken reply is sent to the caller in the
enforcement agencies that would specify the target communications. The power is virtually limitless,
same way. To be connected by the service provider, the sender reveals his cellphone number to the
enabling law enforcement authorities to engage in "fishing expedition," choosing whatever specified
service provider when he puts his call through. He also reveals the cellphone number to the person he
communication they want. This evidently threatens the right of individuals to privacy.
calls. The other ways of communicating electronically follow the same basic pattern.

The Solicitor General points out that Section 12 needs to authorize collection of traffic data "in real time"
In Smith v. Maryland,94 cited by the Solicitor General, the United States Supreme Court reasoned that
because it is not possible to get a court warrant that would authorize the search of what is akin to a
telephone users in the ‘70s must realize that they necessarily convey phone numbers to the telephone
"moving vehicle." But warrantless search is associated with a police officer’s determination of probable
company in order to complete a call. That Court ruled that even if there is an expectation that phone
cause that a crime has been committed, that there is no opportunity for getting a warrant, and that unless
numbers one dials should remain private, such expectation is not one that society is prepared to
the search is immediately carried out, the thing to be searched stands to be removed. These
recognize as reasonable.
preconditions are not provided in Section 12.

In much the same way, ICT users must know that they cannot communicate or exchange data with one
The Solicitor General is honest enough to admit that Section 12 provides minimal protection to internet
another over cyberspace except through some service providers to whom they must submit certain traffic
users and that the procedure envisioned by the law could be better served by providing for more robust
data that are needed for a successful cyberspace communication. The conveyance of this data takes
safeguards. His bare assurance that law enforcement authorities will not abuse the provisions of Section
them out of the private sphere, making the expectation to privacy in regard to them an expectation that
12 is of course not enough. The grant of the power to track cyberspace communications in real time and
society is not prepared to recognize as reasonable.
determine their sources and destinations must be narrowly drawn to preclude abuses.95

The Court, however, agrees with Justices Carpio and Brion that when seemingly random bits of traffic
Petitioners also ask that the Court strike down Section 12 for being violative of the void-for-vagueness
data are gathered in bulk, pooled together, and analyzed, they reveal patterns of activities which can then
doctrine and the overbreadth doctrine. These doctrines however, have been consistently held by this
be used to create profiles of the persons under surveillance. With enough traffic data, analysts may be
Court to apply only to free speech cases. But Section 12 on its own neither regulates nor punishes any
able to determine a person’s close associations, religious views, political affiliations, even sexual
type of speech. Therefore, such analysis is unnecessary.
preferences. Such information is likely beyond what the public may expect to be disclosed, and clearly
falls within matters protected by the right to privacy. But has the procedure that Section 12 of the law
provides been drawn narrowly enough to protect individual rights? This Court is mindful that advances in technology allow the government and kindred institutions to
monitor individuals and place them under surveillance in ways that have previously been impractical or
even impossible. "All the forces of a technological age x x x operate to narrow the area of privacy and
Section 12 empowers law enforcement authorities, "with due cause," to collect or record by technical or
facilitate intrusions into it. In modern terms, the capacity to maintain and support this enclave of private
electronic means traffic data in real-time. Petitioners point out that the phrase "due cause" has no
life marks the difference between a democratic and a totalitarian society." 96 The Court must ensure that
precedent in law or jurisprudence and that whether there is due cause or not is left to the discretion of the
laws seeking to take advantage of these technologies be written with specificity and definiteness as to
police. Replying to this, the Solicitor General asserts that Congress is not required to define the meaning
ensure respect for the rights that the Constitution guarantees.
of every word it uses in drafting the law.

Section 13 of the Cybercrime Law

Indeed, courts are able to save vague provisions of law through statutory construction. But the
cybercrime law, dealing with a novel situation, fails to hint at the meaning it intends for the phrase "due
cause." The Solicitor General suggests that "due cause" should mean "just reason or motive" and Section 13 provides:
"adherence to a lawful procedure." But the Court cannot draw this meaning since Section 12 does not
even bother to relate the collection of data to the probable commission of a particular crime. It just says,
Sec. 13. Preservation of Computer Data. — The integrity of traffic data and subscriber information
"with due cause," thus justifying a general gathering of data. It is akin to the use of a general search
relating to communication services provided by a service provider shall be preserved for a minimum
warrant that the Constitution prohibits.
period of six (6) months from the date of the transaction. Content data shall be similarly preserved for six
(6) months from the date of receipt of the order from law enforcement authorities requiring its
Due cause is also not descriptive of the purpose for which data collection will be used. Will the law preservation.
enforcement agencies use the traffic data to identify the perpetrator of a cyber attack? Or will it be used
to build up a case against an identified suspect? Can the data be used to prevent cybercrimes from
Law enforcement authorities may order a one-time extension for another six (6) months: Provided, That
once computer data preserved, transmitted or stored by a service provider is used as evidence in a case,
the mere furnishing to such service provider of the transmittal document to the Office of the Prosecutor Sec. 15. Search, Seizure and Examination of Computer Data. — Where a search and seizure warrant is
shall be deemed a notification to preserve the computer data until the termination of the case. properly issued, the law enforcement authorities shall likewise have the following powers and duties.

The service provider ordered to preserve computer data shall keep confidential the order and its Within the time period specified in the warrant, to conduct interception, as defined in this Act, and:
(a) To secure a computer system or a computer data storage medium;
Petitioners in G.R. 20339197 claim that Section 13 constitutes an undue deprivation of the right to
property. They liken the data preservation order that law enforcement authorities are to issue as a form of
(b) To make and retain a copy of those computer data secured;
garnishment of personal property in civil forfeiture proceedings. Such order prevents internet users from
accessing and disposing of traffic data that essentially belong to them.
(c) To maintain the integrity of the relevant stored computer data;
No doubt, the contents of materials sent or received through the internet belong to their authors or
recipients and are to be considered private communications. But it is not clear that a service provider has (d) To conduct forensic analysis or examination of the computer data storage medium; and
an obligation to indefinitely keep a copy of the same as they pass its system for the benefit of users. By
virtue of Section 13, however, the law now requires service providers to keep traffic data and subscriber
(e) To render inaccessible or remove those computer data in the accessed computer or
information relating to communication services for at least six months from the date of the transaction
computer and communications network.
and those relating to content data for at least six months from receipt of the order for their preservation.

Pursuant thereof, the law enforcement authorities may order any person who has knowledge about the
Actually, the user ought to have kept a copy of that data when it crossed his computer if he was so
functioning of the computer system and the measures to protect and preserve the computer data therein
minded. The service provider has never assumed responsibility for their loss or deletion while in its keep.
to provide, as is reasonable, the necessary information, to enable the undertaking of the search, seizure
and examination.
At any rate, as the Solicitor General correctly points out, the data that service providers preserve on
orders of law enforcement authorities are not made inaccessible to users by reason of the issuance of
Law enforcement authorities may request for an extension of time to complete the examination of the
such orders. The process of preserving data will not unduly hamper the normal transmission or use of the
computer data storage medium and to make a return thereon but in no case for a period longer than thirty
(30) days from date of approval by the court.

Section 14 of the Cybercrime Law

Petitioners challenge Section 15 on the assumption that it will supplant established search and seizure
procedures. On its face, however, Section 15 merely enumerates the duties of law enforcement
Section 14 provides: authorities that would ensure the proper collection, preservation, and use of computer system or data that
have been seized by virtue of a court warrant. The exercise of these duties do not pose any threat on the
rights of the person from whom they were taken. Section 15 does not appear to supersede existing
Sec. 14. Disclosure of Computer Data. — Law enforcement authorities, upon securing a court warrant,
search and seizure rules but merely supplements them.
shall issue an order requiring any person or service provider to disclose or submit subscriber’s
information, traffic data or relevant data in his/its possession or control within seventy-two (72) hours from
receipt of the order in relation to a valid complaint officially docketed and assigned for investigation and Section 17 of the Cybercrime Law
the disclosure is necessary and relevant for the purpose of investigation.
Section 17 provides:
The process envisioned in Section 14 is being likened to the issuance of a subpoena. Petitioners’
objection is that the issuance of subpoenas is a judicial function. But it is well-settled that the power to
Sec. 17. Destruction of Computer Data. — Upon expiration of the periods as provided in Sections 13 and
issue subpoenas is not exclusively a judicial function. Executive agencies have the power to issue
15, service providers and law enforcement authorities, as the case may be, shall immediately and
subpoena as an adjunct of their investigatory powers.98
completely destroy the computer data subject of a preservation and examination.

Besides, what Section 14 envisions is merely the enforcement of a duly issued court warrant, a function
Section 17 would have the computer data, previous subject of preservation or examination, destroyed or
usually lodged in the hands of law enforcers to enable them to carry out their executive functions. The
deleted upon the lapse of the prescribed period. The Solicitor General justifies this as necessary to clear
prescribed procedure for disclosure would not constitute an unlawful search or seizure nor would it
up the service provider’s storage systems and prevent overload. It would also ensure that investigations
violate the privacy of communications and correspondence. Disclosure can be made only after judicial
are quickly concluded.

Petitioners claim that such destruction of computer data subject of previous preservation or examination
Section 15 of the Cybercrime Law
violates the user’s right against deprivation of property without due process of law. But, as already stated,
it is unclear that the user has a demandable right to require the service provider to have that copy of the
Section 15 provides: data saved indefinitely for him in its storage system. If he wanted them preserved, he should have saved
them in his computer when he generated the data or received it. He could also request the service Sec. 20. Noncompliance. — Failure to comply with the provisions of Chapter IV hereof specifically the
provider for a copy before it is deleted. orders from law enforcement authorities shall be punished as a violation of Presidential Decree No. 1829
with imprisonment of prision correctional in its maximum period or a fine of One hundred thousand pesos
(Php100,000.00) or both, for each and every noncompliance with an order issued by law enforcement
Section 19 of the Cybercrime Law

Section 19 empowers the Department of Justice to restrict or block access to computer data:
Petitioners challenge Section 20, alleging that it is a bill of attainder. The argument is that the mere failure
to comply constitutes a legislative finding of guilt, without regard to situations where non-compliance
Sec. 19. Restricting or Blocking Access to Computer Data.— When a computer data is prima facie found would be reasonable or valid.
to be in violation of the provisions of this Act, the DOJ shall issue an order to restrict or block access to
such computer data.
But since the non-compliance would be punished as a violation of Presidential Decree (P.D.)
1829,102 Section 20 necessarily incorporates elements of the offense which are defined therein. If
Petitioners contest Section 19 in that it stifles freedom of expression and violates the right against Congress had intended for Section 20 to constitute an offense in and of itself, it would not have had to
unreasonable searches and seizures. The Solicitor General concedes that this provision may be make reference to any other statue or provision.
unconstitutional. But since laws enjoy a presumption of constitutionality, the Court must satisfy itself that
Section 19 indeed violates the freedom and right mentioned.
P.D. 1829 states:

Computer data99 may refer to entire programs or lines of code, including malware, as well as files that
Section 1. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period, or a fine ranging from 1,000 to
contain texts, images, audio, or video recordings. Without having to go into a lengthy discussion of
6,000 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person who knowingly or willfully obstructs, impedes,
property rights in the digital space, it is indisputable that computer data, produced or created by their
frustrates or delays the apprehension of suspects and the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases
writers or authors may constitute personal property. Consequently, they are protected from unreasonable
by committing any of the following acts:
searches and seizures, whether while stored in their personal computers or in the service provider’s
x x x.
Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides that the right to be secure in one’s papers and
effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be Thus, the act of non-compliance, for it to be punishable, must still be done "knowingly or willfully." There
inviolable. Further, it states that no search warrant shall issue except upon probable cause to be must still be a judicial determination of guilt, during which, as the Solicitor General assumes, defense and
determined personally by the judge. Here, the Government, in effect, seizes and places the computer justifications for non-compliance may be raised. Thus, Section 20 is valid insofar as it applies to the
data under its control and disposition without a warrant. The Department of Justice order cannot provisions of Chapter IV which are not struck down by the Court.
substitute for judicial search warrant.
Sections 24 and 26(a) of the Cybercrime Law
The content of the computer data can also constitute speech. In such a case, Section 19 operates as a
restriction on the freedom of expression over cyberspace. Certainly not all forms of speech are protected.
Sections 24 and 26(a) provide:
Legislature may, within constitutional bounds, declare certain kinds of expression as illegal. But for an
executive officer to seize content alleged to be unprotected without any judicial warrant, it is not enough
for him to be of the opinion that such content violates some law, for to do so would make him judge, jury, Sec. 24. Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center.– There is hereby created, within thirty (30)
and executioner all rolled into one.100 days from the effectivity of this Act, an inter-agency body to be known as the Cybercrime Investigation
and Coordinating Center (CICC), under the administrative supervision of the Office of the President, for
policy coordination among concerned agencies and for the formulation and enforcement of the national
Not only does Section 19 preclude any judicial intervention, but it also disregards jurisprudential
cybersecurity plan.
guidelines established to determine the validity of restrictions on speech. Restraints on free speech are
generally evaluated on one of or a combination of three tests: the dangerous tendency doctrine, the
balancing of interest test, and the clear and present danger rule.101 Section 19, however, merely requires Sec. 26. Powers and Functions.– The CICC shall have the following powers and functions:
that the data to be blocked be found prima facie in violation of any provision of the cybercrime law. Taking
Section 6 into consideration, this can actually be made to apply in relation to any penal provision. It does
(a) To formulate a national cybersecurity plan and extend immediate assistance of real time commission
not take into consideration any of the three tests mentioned above.
of cybercrime offenses through a computer emergency response team (CERT); x x x.

The Court is therefore compelled to strike down Section 19 for being violative of the constitutional
Petitioners mainly contend that Congress invalidly delegated its power when it gave the Cybercrime
guarantees to freedom of expression and against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) the power to formulate a national cybersecurity plan
without any sufficient standards or parameters for it to follow.
Section 20 of the Cybercrime Law
In order to determine whether there is undue delegation of legislative power, the Court has adopted two
Section 20 provides: tests: the completeness test and the sufficient standard test. Under the first test, the law must be
complete in all its terms and conditions when it leaves the legislature such that when it reaches the 1. Section 4(c)(4) that penalizes online libel as VALID and CONSTITUTIONAL with respect to
delegate, the only thing he will have to do is to enforce it.1avvphi1 The second test mandates adequate the original author of the post; but VOID and UNCONSTITUTIONAL with respect to others who
guidelines or limitations in the law to determine the boundaries of the delegate’s authority and prevent the simply receive the post and react to it; and
delegation from running riot.103 2. Section 5 that penalizes aiding or abetting and attempt in the commission of cybercrimes as
VA L I D and CONSTITUTIONAL only in relation to Section 4(a)(1) on Illegal Access, Section
4(a)(2) on Illegal Interception, Section 4(a)(3) on Data Interference, Section 4(a)(4) on System
Here, the cybercrime law is complete in itself when it directed the CICC to formulate and implement a
national cybersecurity plan. Also, contrary to the position of the petitioners, the law gave sufficient
standards for the CICC to follow when it provided a definition of cybersecurity. Interference, Section 4(a)(5) on Misuse of Devices, Section 4(a)(6) on Cyber-squatting, Section 4(b)(1)
on Computer-related Forgery, Section 4(b)(2) on Computer-related Fraud, Section 4(b)(3) on Computer-
related Identity Theft, and Section 4(c)(1) on Cybersex; but VOID and UNCONSTITUTIONAL with
Cybersecurity refers to the collection of tools, policies, risk management approaches, actions, training,
respect to Sections 4(c)(2) on Child Pornography, 4(c)(3) on Unsolicited Commercial Communications,
best practices, assurance and technologies that can be used to protect cyber environment and
and 4(c)(4) on online Libel.1âwphi1
organization and user’s assets.104 This definition serves as the parameters within which CICC should
work in formulating the cybersecurity plan.
Lastly, the Court RESOLVES to LEAVE THE DETERMINATION of the correct application of Section 7
that authorizes prosecution of the offender under both the Revised Penal Code and Republic Act 10175
Further, the formulation of the cybersecurity plan is consistent with the policy of the law to "prevent and
to actual cases, WITH THE EXCEPTION of the crimes of:
combat such [cyber] offenses by facilitating their detection, investigation, and prosecution at both the
domestic and international levels, and by providing arrangements for fast and reliable international
cooperation."105 This policy is clearly adopted in the interest of law and order, which has been considered 1. Online libel as to which, charging the offender under both Section 4(c)(4) of Republic Act
as sufficient standard.106 Hence, Sections 24 and 26(a) are likewise valid. 10175 and Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code constitutes a violation of the proscription
against double jeopardy; as well as
2. Child pornography committed online as to which, charging the offender under both Section
4(c)(2) of Republic Act 10175 and Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009
also constitutes a violation of the same proscription, and, in respect to these, is VOID and
a. Section 4(c)(3) of Republic Act 10175 that penalizes posting of unsolicited commercial
b. Section 12 that authorizes the collection or recording of traffic data in real-time; and
c. Section 19 of the same Act that authorizes the Department of Justice to restrict or block SO ORDERED.
access to suspected Computer Data.
a. Section 4(a)(1) that penalizes accessing a computer system without right; G.R. No. L-19671 November 29, 1965
b. Section 4(a)(3) that penalizes data interference, including transmission of viruses;
c. Section 4(a)(6) that penalizes cyber-squatting or acquiring domain name over the internet in PASTOR B. TENCHAVEZ, plaintiff-appellant,
bad faith to the prejudice of others; vs.
d. Section 4(b)(3) that penalizes identity theft or the use or misuse of identifying information VICENTA F. ESCAÑO, ET AL., defendants-appellees.
belonging to another;
e. Section 4(c)(1) that penalizes cybersex or the lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or
sexual activity for favor or consideration; REYES, J.B.L., J.:
f. Section 4(c)(2) that penalizes the production of child pornography;
g. Section 6 that imposes penalties one degree higher when crimes defined under the Revised Direct appeal, on factual and legal questions, from the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Cebu, in
Penal Code are committed with the use of information and communications technologies; its Civil Case No. R-4177, denying the claim of the plaintiff-appellant, Pastor B. Tenchavez, for legal
h. Section 8 that prescribes the penalties for cybercrimes; separation and one million pesos in damages against his wife and parents-in-law, the defendants-
i. Section 13 that permits law enforcement authorities to require service providers to preserve appellees, Vicente, Mamerto and Mena,1 all surnamed "Escaño," respectively.2
traffic data and subscriber information as well as specified content data for six months;
j. Section 14 that authorizes the disclosure of computer data under a court-issued warrant;
k. Section 15 that authorizes the search, seizure, and examination of computer data under a The facts, supported by the evidence of record, are the following:
court-issued warrant;
l. Section 17 that authorizes the destruction of previously preserved computer data after the Missing her late afternoon classes on 24 February 1948 in the University of San Carlos, Cebu City, where
expiration of the prescribed holding periods; she was then enrolled as a second year student of commerce, Vicenta Escaño, 27 years of age (scion of
m. Section 20 that penalizes obstruction of justice in relation to cybercrime investigations; a well-to-do and socially prominent Filipino family of Spanish ancestry and a "sheltered colegiala"),
n. Section 24 that establishes a Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC); exchanged marriage vows with Pastor Tenchavez, 32 years of age, an engineer, ex-army officer and of
o. Section 26(a) that defines the CICC’s Powers and Functions; and undistinguished stock, without the knowledge of her parents, before a Catholic chaplain, Lt. Moises
p. Articles 353, 354, 361, and 362 of the Revised Penal Code that penalizes libel. Lavares, in the house of one Juan Alburo in the said city. The marriage was the culmination of a previous
Further, the Court DECLARES: love affair and was duly registered with the local civil register.
Vicenta's letters to Pastor, and his to her, before the marriage, indicate that the couple were deeply in Mena Escaño, whom he charged with having dissuaded and discouraged Vicenta from joining her
love. Together with a friend, Pacita Noel, their matchmaker and go-between, they had planned out their husband, and alienating her affections, and against the Roman Catholic Church, for having, through its
marital future whereby Pacita would be the governess of their first-born; they started saving money in a Diocesan Tribunal, decreed the annulment of the marriage, and asked for legal separation and one
piggy bank. A few weeks before their secret marriage, their engagement was broken; Vicenta returned million pesos in damages. Vicenta claimed a valid divorce from plaintiff and an equally valid marriage to
the engagement ring and accepted another suitor, Joseling Lao. Her love for Pastor beckoned; she her present husband, Russell Leo Moran; while her parents denied that they had in any way influenced
pleaded for his return, and they reconciled. This time they planned to get married and then elope. To their daughter's acts, and counterclaimed for moral damages.
facilitate the elopement, Vicenta had brought some of her clothes to the room of Pacita Noel in St. Mary's
Hall, which was their usual trysting place.
The appealed judgment did not decree a legal separation, but freed the plaintiff from supporting his wife
and to acquire property to the exclusion of his wife. It allowed the counterclaim of Mamerto Escaño and
Although planned for the midnight following their marriage, the elopement did not, however, materialize Mena Escaño for moral and exemplary damages and attorney's fees against the plaintiff-appellant, to the
because when Vicente went back to her classes after the marriage, her mother, who got wind of the extent of P45,000.00, and plaintiff resorted directly to this Court.
intended nuptials, was already waiting for her at the college. Vicenta was taken home where she
admitted that she had already married Pastor. Mamerto and Mena Escaño were surprised, because
The appellant ascribes, as errors of the trial court, the following:
Pastor never asked for the hand of Vicente, and were disgusted because of the great scandal that the
clandestine marriage would provoke (t.s.n., vol. III, pp. 1105-06). The following morning, the Escaño
spouses sought priestly advice. Father Reynes suggested a recelebration to validate what he believed to 1. In not declaring legal separation; in not holding defendant Vicenta F. Escaño liable for
be an invalid marriage, from the standpoint of the Church, due to the lack of authority from the damages and in dismissing the complaint;.
Archbishop or the parish priest for the officiating chaplain to celebrate the marriage. The recelebration did
not take place, because on 26 February 1948 Mamerto Escaño was handed by a maid, whose name he
2. In not holding the defendant parents Mamerto Escano and the heirs of Doña Mena Escaño
claims he does not remember, a letter purportedly coming from San Carlos college students and
liable for damages;.
disclosing an amorous relationship between Pastor Tenchavez and Pacita Noel; Vicenta translated the
letter to her father, and thereafter would not agree to a new marriage. Vicenta and Pastor met that day in
the house of Mrs. Pilar Mendezona. Thereafter, Vicenta continued living with her parents while Pastor 3 In holding the plaintiff liable for and requiring him to pay the damages to the defendant
returned to his job in Manila. Her letter of 22 March 1948 (Exh. "M"), while still solicitous of her husband's parents on their counterclaims; and.
welfare, was not as endearing as her previous letters when their love was aflame.
4. In dismissing the complaint and in denying the relief sought by the plaintiff.
Vicenta was bred in Catholic ways but is of a changeable disposition, and Pastor knew it. She fondly
accepted her being called a "jellyfish." She was not prevented by her parents from communicating with
Pastor (Exh. "1-Escaño"), but her letters became less frequent as the days passed. As of June, 1948 the That on 24 February 1948 the plaintiff-appellant, Pastor Tenchavez, and the defendant-appellee, Vicenta
newlyweds were already estranged (Exh. "2-Escaño"). Vicenta had gone to Jimenez, Misamis Escaño, were validly married to each other, from the standpoint of our civil law, is clearly established by
Occidental, to escape from the scandal that her marriage stirred in Cebu society. There, a lawyer filed for the record before us. Both parties were then above the age of majority, and otherwise qualified; and both
her a petition, drafted by then Senator Emmanuel Pelaez, to annul her marriage. She did not sign the consented to the marriage, which was performed by a Catholic priest (army chaplain Lavares) in the
petition (Exh. "B-5"). The case was dismissed without prejudice because of her non-appearance at the presence of competent witnesses. It is nowhere shown that said priest was not duly authorized under civil
hearing (Exh. "B-4"). law to solemnize marriages.

On 24 June 1950, without informing her husband, she applied for a passport, indicating in her application The chaplain's alleged lack of ecclesiastical authorization from the parish priest and the Ordinary, as
that she was single, that her purpose was to study, and she was domiciled in Cebu City, and that she required by Canon law, is irrelevant in our civil law, not only because of the separation of Church and
intended to return after two years. The application was approved, and she left for the United States. On State but also because Act 3613 of the Philippine Legislature (which was the marriage law in force at the
22 August 1950, she filed a verified complaint for divorce against the herein plaintiff in the Second time) expressly provided that —
Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada in and for the County of Washoe, on the ground of "extreme
cruelty, entirely mental in character." On 21 October 1950, a decree of divorce, "final and absolute", was SEC. 1. Essential requisites. Essential requisites for marriage are the legal capacity of the
issued in open court by the said tribunal. contracting parties and consent. (Emphasis supplied)

In 1951 Mamerto and Mena Escaño filed a petition with the Archbishop of Cebu to annul their daughter's The actual authority of the solemnizing officer was thus only a formal requirement, and, therefore, not
marriage to Pastor (Exh. "D"). On 10 September 1954, Vicenta sought papal dispensation of her essential to give the marriage civil effects,3 and this is emphasized by section 27 of said marriage act,
marriage (Exh. "D"-2). which provided the following:

On 13 September 1954, Vicenta married an American, Russell Leo Moran, in Nevada. She now lives with SEC. 27. Failure to comply with formal requirements. No marriage shall be declared invalid
him in California, and, by him, has begotten children. She acquired American citizenship on 8 August because of the absence of one or several of the formal requirements of this Act if, when it was
1958. performed, the spouses or one of them believed in good faith that the person who solemnized
the marriage was actually empowered to do so, and that the marriage was perfectly legal.
But on 30 July 1955, Tenchavez had initiated the proceedings at bar by a complaint in the Court of First
Instance of Cebu, and amended on 31 May 1956, against Vicenta F. Escaño, her parents, Mamerto and
The good faith of all the parties to the marriage (and hence the validity of their marriage) will be From the preceding facts and considerations, there flows as a necessary consequence that in this
presumed until the contrary is positively proved (Lao vs. Dee Tim, 45 Phil. 739, 745; Francisco vs. Jason, jurisdiction Vicenta Escaño's divorce and second marriage are not entitled to recognition as valid; for her
60 Phil. 442, 448). It is well to note here that in the case at bar, doubts as to the authority of the previous union to plaintiff Tenchavez must be declared to be existent and undissolved. It follows, likewise,
solemnizing priest arose only after the marriage, when Vicenta's parents consulted Father Reynes and that her refusal to perform her wifely duties, and her denial of consortium and her desertion of her
the archbishop of Cebu. Moreover, the very act of Vicenta in abandoning her original action for husband constitute in law a wrong caused through her fault, for which the husband is entitled to the
annulment and subsequently suing for divorce implies an admission that her marriage to plaintiff was corresponding indemnity (Civil Code, Art. 2176). Neither an unsubstantiated charge of deceit nor an
valid and binding. anonymous letter charging immorality against the husband constitute, contrary to her claim, adequate
excuse. Wherefore, her marriage and cohabitation with Russell Leo Moran is technically "intercourse with
a person not her husband" from the standpoint of Philippine Law, and entitles plaintiff-appellant
Defendant Vicenta Escaño argues that when she contracted the marriage she was under the undue
Tenchavez to a decree of "legal separation under our law, on the basis of adultery" (Revised Penal Code,
influence of Pacita Noel, whom she charges to have been in conspiracy with appellant Tenchavez. Even
Art. 333).
granting, for argument's sake, the truth of that contention, and assuming that Vicenta's consent was
vitiated by fraud and undue influence, such vices did not render her marriage ab initio void, but merely
voidable, and the marriage remained valid until annulled by a competent civil court. This was never done, The foregoing conclusions as to the untoward effect of a marriage after an invalid divorce are in accord
and admittedly, Vicenta's suit for annulment in the Court of First Instance of Misamis was dismissed for with the previous doctrines and rulings of this court on the subject, particularly those that were rendered
non-prosecution. under our laws prior to the approval of the absolute divorce act (Act 2710 of the Philippine Legislature).
As a matter of legal history, our statutes did not recognize divorces a vinculo before 1917, when Act 2710
became effective; and the present Civil Code of the Philippines, in disregarding absolute divorces, in
It is equally clear from the record that the valid marriage between Pastor Tenchavez and Vicenta Escaño
effect merely reverted to the policies on the subject prevailing before Act 2710. The rulings, therefore,
remained subsisting and undissolved under Philippine law, notwithstanding the decree of absolute
under the Civil Code of 1889, prior to the Act above-mentioned, are now, fully applicable. Of these, the
divorce that the wife sought and obtained on 21 October 1950 from the Second Judicial District Court of
decision in Ramirez vs. Gmur, 42 Phil. 855, is of particular interest. Said this Court in that case:
Washoe County, State of Nevada, on grounds of "extreme cruelty, entirely mental in character." At the
time the divorce decree was issued, Vicenta Escaño, like her husband, was still a Filipino citizen. 4 She
was then subject to Philippine law, and Article 15 of the Civil Code of the Philippines (Rep. Act No. 386), As the divorce granted by the French Court must be ignored, it results that the marriage of Dr.
already in force at the time, expressly provided: Mory and Leona Castro, celebrated in London in 1905, could not legalize their relations; and
the circumstance that they afterwards passed for husband and wife in Switzerland until her
death is wholly without legal significance. The claims of the very children to participate in the
Laws relating to family rights and duties or to the status, condition and legal capacity of
estate of Samuel Bishop must therefore be rejected. The right to inherit is limited to legitimate,
persons are binding upon the citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad.
legitimated and acknowledged natural children. The children of adulterous relations are wholly
excluded. The word "descendants" as used in Article 941 of the Civil Code cannot be
The Civil Code of the Philippines, now in force, does not admit absolute divorce, quo ad vinculo interpreted to include illegitimates born of adulterous relations. (Emphasis supplied)
matrimonii; and in fact does not even use that term, to further emphasize its restrictive policy on the
matter, in contrast to the preceding legislation that admitted absolute divorce on grounds of adultery of
Except for the fact that the successional rights of the children, begotten from Vicenta's marriage to Leo
the wife or concubinage of the husband (Act 2710). Instead of divorce, the present Civil Code only
Moran after the invalid divorce, are not involved in the case at bar, the Gmur case is authority for the
provides for legal separation (Title IV, Book 1, Arts. 97 to 108), and, even in that case, it expressly
proposition that such union is adulterous in this jurisdiction, and, therefore, justifies an action for legal
prescribes that "the marriage bonds shall not be severed" (Art. 106, subpar. 1).
separation on the part of the innocent consort of the first marriage, that stands undissolved in Philippine
law. In not so declaring, the trial court committed error.
For the Philippine courts to recognize and give recognition or effect to a foreign decree of absolute
divorce betiveen Filipino citizens could be a patent violation of the declared public policy of the state,
True it is that our ruling gives rise to anomalous situations where the status of a person (whether divorced
specially in view of the third paragraph of Article 17 of the Civil Code that prescribes the following:
or not) would depend on the territory where the question arises. Anomalies of this kind are not new in the
Philippines, and the answer to them was given in Barretto vs. Gonzales, 58 Phil. 667:
Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and those which have for their
object public order, policy and good customs, shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or
The hardship of the existing divorce laws in the Philippine Islands are well known to the
judgments promulgated, or by determinations or conventions agreed upon in a foreign country.
members of the Legislature. It is the duty of the Courts to enforce the laws of divorce as written
by Legislature if they are constitutional. Courts have no right to say that such laws are too strict
Even more, the grant of effectivity in this jurisdiction to such foreign divorce decrees would, in effect, give or too liberal. (p. 72)
rise to an irritating and scandalous discrimination in favor of wealthy citizens, to the detriment of those
members of our polity whose means do not permit them to sojourn abroad and obtain absolute divorces
The appellant's first assignment of error is, therefore, sustained.
outside the Philippines.

However, the plaintiff-appellant's charge that his wife's parents, Dr. Mamerto Escaño and his wife, the late
From this point of view, it is irrelevant that appellant Pastor Tenchavez should have appeared in the
Doña Mena Escaño, alienated the affections of their daughter and influenced her conduct toward her
Nevada divorce court. Primarily because the policy of our law cannot be nullified by acts of private parties
husband are not supported by credible evidence. The testimony of Pastor Tenchavez about the Escaño's
(Civil Code,Art. 17, jam quot.); and additionally, because the mere appearance of a non-resident consort
animosity toward him strikes us to be merely conjecture and exaggeration, and are belied by Pastor's
cannot confer jurisdiction where the court originally had none (Area vs. Javier, 95 Phil. 579).
own letters written before this suit was begun (Exh. "2-Escaño" and "Vicenta," Rec. on App., pp. 270-
274). In these letters he expressly apologized to the defendants for "misjudging them" and for the "great
unhappiness" caused by his "impulsive blunders" and "sinful pride," "effrontery and audacity" [sic]. All told, we are of the opinion that appellant should recover P25,000 only by way of moral damages and
Plaintiff was admitted to the Escaño house to visit and court Vicenta, and the record shows nothing to attorney's fees.
prove that he would not have been accepted to marry Vicente had he openly asked for her hand, as good
manners and breeding demanded. Even after learning of the clandestine marriage, and despite their
With regard to the P45,000 damages awarded to the defendants, Dr. Mamerto Escaño and Mena
shock at such unexpected event, the parents of Vicenta proposed and arranged that the marriage be
Escaño, by the court below, we opine that the same are excessive. While the filing of this unfounded suit
recelebrated in strict conformity with the canons of their religion upon advice that the previous one was
must have wounded said defendants' feelings and caused them anxiety, the same could in no way have
canonically defective. If no recelebration of the marriage ceremony was had it was not due to defendants
seriously injured their reputation, or otherwise prejudiced them, lawsuits having become a common
Mamerto Escaño and his wife, but to the refusal of Vicenta to proceed with it. That the spouses Escaño
occurrence in present society. What is important, and has been correctly established in the decision of
did not seek to compel or induce their daughter to assent to the recelebration but respected her decision,
the court below, is that said defendants were not guilty of any improper conduct in the whole deplorable
or that they abided by her resolve, does not constitute in law an alienation of affections. Neither does the
affair. This Court, therefore, reduces the damages awarded to P5,000 only.
fact that Vicenta's parents sent her money while she was in the United States; for it was natural that they
should not wish their daughter to live in penury even if they did not concur in her decision to divorce
Tenchavez (27 Am. Jur. 130-132). Summing up, the Court rules:

There is no evidence that the parents of Vicenta, out of improper motives, aided and abetted her original (1) That a foreign divorce between Filipino citizens, sought and decreed after the effectivity of the present
suit for annulment, or her subsequent divorce; she appears to have acted independently, and being of Civil Code (Rep. Act 386), is not entitled to recognition as valid in this jurisdiction; and neither is the
age, she was entitled to judge what was best for her and ask that her decisions be respected. Her marriage contracted with another party by the divorced consort, subsequently to the foreign decree of
parents, in so doing, certainly cannot be charged with alienation of affections in the absence of malice or divorce, entitled to validity in the country;
unworthy motives, which have not been shown, good faith being always presumed until the contrary is (2) That the remarriage of divorced wife and her co-habitation with a person other than the lawful
proved. husband entitle the latter to a decree of legal separation conformably to Philippine law;
(3) That the desertion and securing of an invalid divorce decree by one consort entitles the other to
recover damages;
SEC. 529. Liability of Parents, Guardians or Kin. — The law distinguishes between the right of
(4) That an action for alienation of affections against the parents of one consort does not lie in the
a parent to interest himself in the marital affairs of his child and the absence of rights in a
absence of proof of malice or unworthy motives on their part.
stranger to intermeddle in such affairs. However, such distinction between the liability of
WHEREFORE, the decision under appeal is hereby modified as follows;
parents and that of strangers is only in regard to what will justify interference. A parent isliable
(1) Adjudging plaintiff-appellant Pastor Tenchavez entitled to a decree of legal separation from defendant
for alienation of affections resulting from his own malicious conduct, as where he wrongfully
Vicenta F. Escaño;
entices his son or daughter to leave his or her spouse, but he is not liable unless he acts
(2) Sentencing defendant-appellee Vicenta Escaño to pay plaintiff-appellant Tenchavez the amount of
maliciously, without justification and from unworthy motives. He is not liable where he acts and
P25,000 for damages and attorneys' fees;
advises his child in good faith with respect to his child's marital relations in the interest of his
(3) Sentencing appellant Pastor Tenchavez to pay the appellee, Mamerto Escaño and the estate of his
child as he sees it, the marriage of his child not terminating his right and liberty to interest
wife, the deceased Mena Escaño, P5,000 by way of damages and attorneys' fees.
himself in, and be extremely solicitous for, his child's welfare and happiness, even where his
conduct and advice suggest or result in the separation of the spouses or the obtaining of a
divorce or annulment, or where he acts under mistake or misinformation, or where his advice Neither party to recover costs.
or interference are indiscreet or unfortunate, although it has been held that the parent is liable
for consequences resulting from recklessness. He may in good faith take his child into his
home and afford him or her protection and support, so long as he has not maliciously enticed G.R. No. L-20089 December 26, 1964
his child away, or does not maliciously entice or cause him or her to stay away, from his or her
spouse. This rule has more frequently been applied in the case of advice given to a married BEATRIZ P. WASSMER, plaintiff-appellee,
daughter, but it is equally applicable in the case of advice given to a son. vs.
FRANCISCO X. VELEZ, defendant-appellant..
Plaintiff Tenchavez, in falsely charging Vicenta's aged parents with racial or social discrimination and with
having exerted efforts and pressured her to seek annulment and divorce, unquestionably caused them BENGZON, J.P., J.:
unrest and anxiety, entitling them to recover damages. While this suit may not have been impelled by
actual malice, the charges were certainly reckless in the face of the proven facts and circumstances.
Court actions are not established for parties to give vent to their prejudices or spleen. 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 worse, complete public humiliation.
In the assessment of the moral damages recoverable by appellant Pastor Tenchavez from defendant
Vicente Escaño, it is proper to take into account, against his patently unreasonable claim for a million Francisco X. Velez and Beatriz P. Wassmer, following their mutual promise of love, decided to get
pesos in damages, that (a) the marriage was celebrated in secret, and its failure was not characterized married and set September 4, 1954 as the big day. On September 2, 1954 Velez left this note for his
by publicity or undue humiliation on appellant's part; (b) that the parties never lived together; and (c) that bride-to-be:
there is evidence that appellant had originally agreed to the annulment of the marriage, although such a
promise was legally invalid, being against public policy (cf. Art. 88, Civ. Code). While appellant is unable Dear Bet —
to remarry under our law, this fact is a consequence of the indissoluble character of the union that Will have to postpone wedding — My mother opposes it. Am leaving on the Convair
appellant entered into voluntarily and with open eyes rather than of her divorce and her second marriage. today.
Please do not ask too many people about the reason why — That would only create had no standing in court (Velez vs. Ramas, 40 Phil. 787; Alano vs. Court of First Instance, L-14557,
a scandal. October 30, 1959).
But the next day, September 3, he sent her the following telegram:
In support of his "motion for new trial and reconsideration," defendant asserts that the judgment is
contrary to law. The reason given is that "there is no provision of the Civil Code authorizing" an action for
breach of promise to marry. Indeed, our ruling in Hermosisima vs. Court of Appeals (L-14628, Sept. 30,
1960), as reiterated in Estopa vs. 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 of
Thereafter Velez did not appear nor was he heard from again. the new Civil Code the provisions that would have it so.

Sued by Beatriz for damages, Velez filed no answer and was declared in default. Plaintiff adduced It must not be overlooked, however, that the extent to which acts not contrary to law may be perpetrated
evidence before the clerk of court as commissioner, and on April 29, 1955, judgment was rendered with impunity, is not limitless for Article 21 of said Code provides that "any person who wilfully causes
ordering defendant to pay plaintiff P2,000.00 as actual damages; P25,000.00 as moral and exemplary loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall
damages; P2,500.00 as attorney's fees; and the costs. compensate the latter for the damage."

On June 21, 1955 defendant filed a "petition for relief from orders, judgment and proceedings and motion The record reveals that on August 23, 1954 plaintiff and defendant applied for a license to contract
for new trial and reconsideration." Plaintiff moved to strike it cut. But the court, on August 2, 1955, marriage, which was subsequently issued (Exhs. A, A-1). Their wedding was set for September 4, 1954.
ordered the parties and their attorneys to appear before it on August 23, 1955 "to explore at this stage of Invitations were printed and distributed to relatives, friends and acquaintances (Tsn., 5; Exh. C). The
the proceedings the possibility of arriving at an amicable settlement." It added that should any of them fail bride-to-be's trousseau, party drsrses and other apparel for the important occasion were purchased (Tsn.,
to appear "the petition for relief and the opposition thereto will be deemed submitted for resolution." 7-8). Dresses for the maid of honor and the flower girl were prepared. A matrimonial bed, with
accessories, was bought. Bridal showers were given and gifts received (Tsn., 6; Exh. E). And then, with
but two days before the wedding, defendant, who was then 28 years old,: simply left a note for plaintiff
On August 23, 1955 defendant failed to appear before court. Instead, on the following day his counsel
stating: "Will have to postpone wedding — My mother opposes it ... " He enplaned to his home city in
filed a motion to defer for two weeks the resolution on defendants petition for relief. The counsel stated
Mindanao, and the next day, the day before the wedding, he wired plaintiff: "Nothing changed rest
that he would confer with defendant in Cagayan de Oro City — the latter's residence — on the possibility
assured returning soon." But he never returned and was never heard from again.
of an amicable element. The court granted two weeks counted from August 25, 1955.

Surely this is not a case of mere breach of promise to marry. As stated, mere breach of promise to marry
Plaintiff manifested on June 15, 1956 that the two weeks given by the court had expired on September 8,
is not an actionable wrong. But to formally set a wedding and go through all the above-described
1955 but that defendant and his counsel had failed to appear.
preparation and publicity, only to walk out of it when 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
Another chance for amicable settlement was given by the court in its order of July 6, 1956 calling the answerable in damages in accordance with Article 21 aforesaid.
parties and their attorneys to appear on July 13, 1956. This time. however, defendant's counsel informed
the court that chances of settling the case amicably were nil.
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 assert hereunder is that the
On July 20, 1956 the court issued an order denying defendant's aforesaid petition. Defendant has award of moral and exemplary damages, in the amount of P25,000.00, should be totally eliminated.
appealed to this Court. In his petition of June 21, 1955 in the court a quo defendant alleged excusable
negligence as ground to set aside the judgment by default. Specifically, it was stated that defendant filed
Per express provision of Article 2219 (10) of the New Civil Code, moral damages are recoverable in the
no answer in the belief that an amicable settlement was being negotiated.
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 Article 2232 of the New Civil Code the condition
A petition for relief from judgment on grounds of fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence, must precedent is that "the defendant acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or malevolent
be duly supported by an affidavit of merits stating facts constituting a valid defense. (Sec. 3, Rule 38, manner." The argument is devoid of merit as under the above-narrated circumstances of this case
Rules of Court.) Defendant's affidavit of merits attached to his petition of June 21, 1955 stated: "That he defendant clearly acted in a "wanton ... , reckless [and] oppressive manner." This Court's opinion,
has a good and valid defense against plaintiff's cause of action, his failure to marry the plaintiff as however, is that considering the particular circumstances of this case, P15,000.00 as moral and
scheduled having been due to fortuitous event and/or circumstances beyond his control." An affidavit of exemplary damages is deemed to be a reasonable award.
merits like this stating mere conclusions or opinions instead of facts is not valid. (Cortes vs. Co Bun Kim,
L-3926, Oct. 10, 1951; Vaswani vs. P. Tarrachand Bros., L-15800, December 29, 1960.)
PREMISES CONSIDERED, with the above-indicated modification, the lower court's judgment is hereby
affirmed, with costs.
Defendant, however, would contend that the affidavit of merits was in fact unnecessary, 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 procedure of designating the clerk of court as commissioner to
receive evidence is sanctioned by Rule 34 (now Rule 33) of the Rules of Court. Now as to defendant's
consent to said procedure, the same did not have to be obtained for he was declared in default and thus
G.R. No. 146322 December 6, 2006 On July 30, 1994, the trial court rendered a decision10 finding that petitioner Uypitching was motivated
with malice and ill will when he called respondent a thief, took the motorcycle in an abusive manner and
filed a baseless complaint for qualified theft and/or violation of the Anti-Fencing Law. Petitioners’ acts
were found to be contrary to Articles 1911 and 2012 of the Civil Code. Hence, the trial court held petitioners
liable to respondent for P500,000 moral damages, P200,000 exemplary damages and P50,000 attorney’s
ERNESTO QUIAMCO, respondent.
fees plus costs.

Petitioners appealed the RTC decision but the CA affirmed the trial court’s decision with modification,
reducing the award of moral and exemplary damages to P300,000 and P100,000,
Honeste vivere, non alterum laedere et jus suum cuique tribuere. To live virtuously, not to injure others respectively.13 Petitioners sought reconsideration but it was denied. Thus, this petition.
and to give everyone his due. These supreme norms of justice are the underlying principles of law and
order in society. We reaffirm them in this petition for review on certiorari assailing the July 26, 2000
In their petition and memorandum, petitioners submit that the sole (allegedly) issue to be resolved here is
decision1 and October 18, 2000 resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 47571.
whether the filing of a complaint for qualified theft and/or violation of the Anti-Fencing Law in the Office of
the City Prosecutor warranted the award of moral damages, exemplary damages, attorney’s fees and
In 1982, respondent Ernesto C. Quiamco was approached by Juan Davalan,2 Josefino Gabutero and costs in favor of respondent.
Raul Generoso to amicably settle the civil aspect of a criminal case for robbery3 filed by Quiamco against
them. They surrendered to him a red Honda XL-100 motorcycle and a photocopy of its certificate of
Petitioners’ suggestion is misleading. They were held liable for damages not only for instituting a
registration. Respondent asked for the original certificate of registration but the three accused never
groundless complaint against respondent but also for making a slanderous remark and for taking the
came to see him again. Meanwhile, the motorcycle was parked in an open space inside respondent’s
motorcycle from respondent’s establishment in an abusive manner.
business establishment, Avesco-AVNE Enterprises, where it was visible and accessible to the public.

Correctness of the Findings of the RTC and CA

It turned out that, in October 1981, the motorcycle had been sold on installment basis to Gabutero by
petitioner Ramas Uypitching Sons, Inc., a family-owned corporation managed by petitioner Atty. Ernesto
Ramas Uypitching. To secure its payment, the motorcycle was mortgaged to petitioner corporation.4 As they never questioned the findings of the RTC and CA that malice and ill will attended not only the
public imputation of a crime to respondent14 but also the taking of the motorcycle, petitioners were
deemed to have accepted the correctness of such findings. This alone was sufficient to hold petitioners
When Gabutero could no longer pay the installments, Davalan assumed the obligation and continued the
liable for damages to respondent.
payments. In September 1982, however, Davalan stopped paying the remaining installments and told
petitioner corporation’s collector, Wilfredo Veraño, that the motorcycle had allegedly been "taken by
respondent’s men." Nevertheless, to address petitioners’ concern, we also find that the trial and appellate courts correctly
ruled that the filing of the complaint was tainted with malice and bad faith. Petitioners themselves in fact
described their action as a "precipitate act."15 Petitioners were bent on portraying respondent as a thief. In
Nine years later, on January 26, 1991, petitioner Uypitching, accompanied by policemen,5 went to
this connection, we quote with approval the following findings of the RTC, as adopted by the CA:
Avesco-AVNE Enterprises to recover the motorcycle. The leader of the police team, P/Lt. Arturo Vendiola,
talked to the clerk in charge and asked for respondent. While P/Lt. Vendiola and the clerk were talking,
petitioner Uypitching paced back and forth inside the establishment uttering "Quiamco is a thief of a x x x There was malice or ill-will [in filing the complaint before the City Prosecutor’s Office]
motorcycle." because Atty. Ernesto Ramas Uypitching knew or ought to have known as he is a lawyer, that
there was no probable cause at all for filing a criminal complaint for qualified theft and fencing
activity against [respondent]. Atty. Uypitching had no personal knowledge that [respondent]
On learning that respondent was not in Avesco-AVNE Enterprises, the policemen left to look for
stole the motorcycle in question. He was merely told by his bill collector ([i.e.] the bill collector
respondent in his residence while petitioner Uypitching stayed in the establishment to take photographs
of Ramas Uypitching Sons, Inc.)[,] Wilfredo Veraño[,] that Juan Dabalan will [no longer] pay the
of the motorcycle. Unable to find respondent, the policemen went back to Avesco-AVNE Enterprises and,
remaining installment(s) for the motorcycle because the motorcycle was taken by the men of
on petitioner Uypitching’s instruction and over the clerk’s objection, took the motorcycle.
[respondent]. It must be noted that the term used by Wilfredo Veraño in informing Atty. Ernesto
Ramas Uypitching of the refusal of Juan Dabalan to pay for the remaining installment was
On February 18, 1991, petitioner Uypitching filed a criminal complaint for qualified theft and/or violation of [‘]taken[’], not [‘]unlawfully taken[’] or ‘stolen.’ Yet, despite the double hearsay, Atty. Ernesto
the Anti-Fencing Law6 against respondent in the Office of the City Prosecutor of Dumaguete Ramas Uypitching not only executed the [complaint-affidavit] wherein he named [respondent]
City.7 Respondent moved for dismissal because the complaint did not charge an offense as he had as ‘the suspect’ of the stolen motorcycle but also charged [respondent] of ‘qualified theft and
neither stolen nor bought the motorcycle. The Office of the City Prosecutor dismissed the complaint 8 and fencing activity’ before the City [Prosecutor’s] Office of Dumaguete. The absence of probable
denied petitioner Uypitching’s subsequent motion for reconsideration. cause necessarily signifies the presence of malice. What is deplorable in all these is that Juan
Dabalan, the owner of the motorcycle, did not accuse [respondent] or the latter’s men of
stealing the motorcycle[,] much less bother[ed] to file a case for qualified theft before the
Respondent filed an action for damages against petitioners in the RTC of Dumaguete City, Negros authorities. That Atty. Uypitching’s act in charging [respondent] with qualified theft and fencing
Oriental, Branch 37.9 He sought to hold the petitioners liable for the following: (1) unlawful taking of the activity is tainted with malice is also shown by his answer to the question of Cupid
motorcycle; (2) utterance of a defamatory remark (that respondent was a thief) and (3) precipitate filing of Gonzaga16 [during one of their conversations] - "why should you still file a complaint? You have
a baseless and malicious complaint. These acts humiliated and embarrassed the respondent and injured already recovered the motorcycle…"[:] "Aron motagam ang kawatan ug motor." ("To teach a
his reputation and integrity. lesson to the thief of motorcycle.")17
Moreover, the existence of malice, ill will or bad faith is a factual matter. As a rule, findings of fact of the Triple costs against petitioners, considering that petitioner Ernesto Ramas Uypitching is a lawyer and an
trial court, when affirmed by the appellate court, are conclusive on this Court. We see no compelling officer of the court, for his improper behavior.
reason to reverse the findings of the RTC and the CA.
Petitioners Abused Their Right of Recovery as Mortgagee(s)

G.R. No. 132344 February 17, 2000

Petitioners claim that they should not be held liable for petitioner corporation’s exercise of its right as
seller-mortgagee to recover the mortgaged vehicle preliminary to the enforcement of its right to foreclose
on the mortgage in case of default. They are clearly mistaken. UNIVERSITY OF THE EAST, petitioner,
ROMEO A. JADER, respondent.
True, a mortgagee may take steps to recover the mortgaged property to enable it to enforce or protect its
foreclosure right thereon. There is, however, a well-defined procedure for the recovery of possession of
mortgaged property: if a mortgagee is unable to obtain possession of a mortgaged property for its sale on YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
foreclosure, he must bring a civil action either to recover such possession as a preliminary step to the
sale, or to obtain judicial foreclosure.18 May an educational institution be held liable for damages for misleading a student into believing that the
latter had satisfied all the requirements for graduation when such is not the case? This is the issue in the
Petitioner corporation failed to bring the proper civil action necessary to acquire legal possession of the instant petition for review premised on the following undisputed facts as summarized by the trial court
motorcycle. Instead, petitioner Uypitching descended on respondent’s establishment with his policemen and adopted by the Court of Appeals (CA),1 to wit:
and ordered the seizure of the motorcycle without a search warrant or court order. Worse, in the course
of the illegal seizure of the motorcycle, petitioner Uypitching even mouthed a slanderous statement. Plaintiff was enrolled in the defendants' College of Law from 1984 up to 1988. In the first
semester of his last year (School year 1987-1988), he failed to take the regular final
No doubt, petitioner corporation, acting through its co-petitioner Uypitching, blatantly disregarded the examination in Practice Court I for which he was given an incomplete grade (Exhibits "2", also
lawful procedure for the enforcement of its right, to the prejudice of respondent. Petitioners’ acts violated Exhibit "H"). He enrolled for the second semester as fourth year law student (Exhibit "A") and
the law as well as public morals, and transgressed the proper norms of human relations. on February 1, 1988 he filed an application for the removal of the incomplete grade given him
by Professor Carlos Ortega (Exhibits "H-2", also Exhibit "2") which was approved by Dean
Celedonio Tiongson after payment of the required fee. He took the examination on March 28,
The basic principle of human relations, embodied in Article 19 of the Civil Code, provides: 1988. On May 30, 1988, Professor Carlos Ortega submitted his grade. It was a grade of five
(5). (Exhibits "H-4", also Exhibits "2-L", "2-N").1âwphi1.nêt
Art. 19. Every person must in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act
with justice, give every one his due, and observe honesty and good faith. In the meantime, the Dean and the Faculty Members of the College of Law met to deliberate
on who among the fourth year students should be allowed to graduate. The plaintiff's name
Article 19, also known as the "principle of abuse of right," prescribes that a person should not use his appeared in the Tentative List of Candidates for graduation for the Degree of Bachelor of Laws
right unjustly or contrary to honesty and good faith, otherwise he opens himself to liability. 19 It seeks to (LL.B) as of Second Semester (1987-1988) with the following annotation:
preclude the use of, or the tendency to use, a legal right (or duty) as a means to unjust ends.
There is an abuse of right when it is exercised solely to prejudice or injure another. 20 The exercise of a
right must be in accordance with the purpose for which it was established and must not be excessive or Def. Conflict of Laws — x-1-87-88, Practice Court I Inc., 1-87-88 C-1 to submit transcript with
unduly harsh; there must be no intention to harm another.21 Otherwise, liability for damages to the injured S.O. (Exhibits "3", "3-C-1", "3-C-2").
party will attach.

The 35th Investitures & Commencement Ceremonies for the candidates of Bachelor of Laws
In this case, the manner by which the motorcycle was taken at petitioners’ instance was not only attended was scheduled on the 16th of April 1988 at 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon, and in the invitation
by bad faith but also contrary to the procedure laid down by law. Considered in conjunction with the for that occasion the name of the plaintiff appeared as one of the candidates. (Exhibits "B", "B-
defamatory statement, petitioners’ exercise of the right to recover the mortgaged vehicle was utterly 6", "B-6-A"). At the foot of the list of the names of the candidates there appeared however the
prejudicial and injurious to respondent. On the other hand, the precipitate act of filing an unfounded following annotation:
complaint could not in any way be considered to be in accordance with the purpose for which the right to
prosecute a crime was established. Thus, the totality of petitioners’ actions showed a calculated design to
embarrass, humiliate and publicly ridicule respondent. Petitioners acted in an excessively harsh fashion This is a tentative list Degrees will be conferred upon these candidates who
to the prejudice of respondent. Contrary to law, petitioners willfully caused damage to respondent. Hence, satisfactorily complete requirements as stated in the University Bulletin and as
they should indemnify him.22 approved of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (Exhibit "B-7-A").

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. The July 26, 2000 decision and October 18, 2000 The plaintiff attended the investiture ceremonies at F. dela Cruz Quadrangle, U.E., Recto
resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 47571 are AFFIRMED. Campus, during the program of which he went up the stage when his name was called,
escorted by her (sic) mother and his eldest brother who assisted in placing the Hood, and his The petition lacks merit.
Tassel was turned from left to right, and he was thereafter handed by Dean Celedonio a rolled
white sheet of paper symbolical of the Law Diploma. His relatives took pictures of the occasion
When a student is enrolled in any educational or learning institution, a contract of education is entered
(Exhibits "C" to "C-6", "D-3" to "D-11").
into between said institution and the student. The professors, teachers or instructors hired by the school
are considered merely as agents and administrators tasked to perform the school's commitment under
He tendered a blow-out that evening which was attended by neighbors, friends and relatives the contract. Since the contracting parties are the school and the student, the latter is not duty-bound to
who wished him good luck in the forthcoming bar examination. There were pictures taken too deal with the former's agents, such as the professors with respect to the status or result of his grades,
during the blow-out (Exhibits "D" to "D-1"). although nothing prevents either professors or students from sharing with each other such information.
The Court takes judicial notice of the traditional practice in educational institutions wherein the professor
directly furnishes his/her students their grades. It is the contractual obligation of the school to timely
He thereafter prepared himself for the bar examination. He took a leave of absence without pay
inform and furnish sufficient notice and information to each and every student as to whether he or she
from his job from April 20, 1988 to September 30, 1988 (Exhibit "G") and enrolled at the pre-bar
had already complied with all the requirements for the conferment of a degree or whether they would be
review class in Far Eastern University. (Exhibits "F" to "F-2"). Having learned of the deficiency
included among those who will graduate. Although commencement exercises are but a formal ceremony,
he dropped his review class and was not able to take the bar examination. 2
it nonetheless is not an ordinary occasion, since such ceremony is the educational institution's way of
announcing to the whole world that the students included in the list of those who will be conferred a
Consequently, respondent sued petitioner for damages alleging that he suffered moral shock, mental degree during the baccalaureate ceremony have satisfied all the requirements for such degree. Prior or
anguish, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings and sleepless nights when he was not subsequent to the ceremony, the school has the obligation to promptly inform the student of any problem
able to take the 1988 bar examinations arising from the latter's negligence. He prayed for an award of involving the latter's grades and performance and also most importantly, of the procedures for remedying
moral and exemplary damages, unrealized income, attorney's fees, and costs of suit. the same.

In its answer with counterclaim, petitioner denied liability arguing mainly that it never led respondent to Petitioner, in belatedly informing respondent of the result of the removal examination, particularly at a
believe that he completed the requirements for a Bachelor of Laws degree when his name was included time when he had already commenced preparing for the bar exams, cannot be said to have acted in
in the tentative list of graduating students. After trial, the lower court rendered judgment as follows: good faith. Absence of good faith must be sufficiently established for a successful prosecution by the
aggrieved party in a suit for abuse of right under Article 19 of the Civil Code. Good faith connotes an
honest intention to abstain from taking undue advantage of another, even though the forms and
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and technicalities of the law, together with the absence of all information or belief of facts, would render the
against the defendant ordering the latter to pay plaintiff the sum of THIRTY FIVE THOUSAND transaction unconscientious.5 It is the school that has access to those information and it is only the school
FOUR HUNDRED SEVENTY PESOS (P35,470.00) with legal rate of interest from the filing of that can compel its professors to act and comply with its rules, regulations and policies with respect to the
the complaint until fully paid, the amount of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P5,000.00) as computation and the prompt submission of grades. Students do not exercise control, much less
attorney's fees and the cost of suit. influence, over the way an educational institution should run its affairs, particularly in disciplining its
professors and teachers and ensuring their compliance with the school's rules and orders. Being the
Defendant's counterclaim is, for lack of merit, hereby dismissed. party that hired them, it is the school that exercises general supervision and exclusive control over the
professors with respect to the submission of reports involving the students' standing. Exclusive control
means that no other person or entity had any control over the instrumentality which caused the damage
SO ORDERED.3 or injury.6

which on appeal by both parties was affirmed by the Court of Appeals (CA) with modification. The The college dean is the senior officer responsible for the operation of an academic program, enforcement
dispositive portion of the CA decision reads: of rules and regulations, and the supervision of faculty and student services.7 He must see to it that his
own professors and teachers, regardless of their status or position outside of the university, must comply
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the lower Court's Decision is hereby AFFIRMED with the rules set by the latter. The negligent act of a professor who fails to observe the rules of the
with the MODIFICATION that defendant-appellee, in addition to the sum adjudged by the lower school, for instance by not promptly submitting a student's grade, is not only imputable to the professor
court in favor of plaintiff-appellant, is also ORDERED to pay plaintiff-appellant the amount of but is an act of the school, being his employer.
FIFTY THOUSAND (P50,000.00) PESOS for moral damages. Costs against defendant-
appellee. Considering further, that the institution of learning involved herein is a university which is engaged in legal
education, it should have practiced what it inculcates in its students, more specifically the principle of
SO ORDERED.4 good dealings enshrined in Articles 19 and 20 of the Civil Code which states:

Upon the denial of its motion for reconsideration, petitioner UE elevated the case to this Court on a Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties,
petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, arguing that it has no liability to respondent act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.
Romeo A. Jader, considering that the proximate and immediate cause of the alleged damages incurred
by the latter arose out of his own negligence in not verifying from the professor concerned the result of Art. 20. Every person who, contrary to law, wilfully or negligently causes damage to another,
his removal exam. shall indemnify the latter for the same.
Art. 19 was intended to expand the concept of torts by granting adequate legal remedy for the untold order. Given these considerations, we fail to see how respondent could have suffered untold
number of moral wrongs which is impossible for human foresight to provide specifically in statutory embarrassment in attending the graduation rites, enrolling in the bar review classes and not being able to
law.8 In civilized society, men must be able to assume that others will do them no intended injury — that take the bar exams. If respondent was indeed humiliated by his failure to take the bar, he brought this
others will commit no internal aggressions upon them; that their fellowmen, when they act affirmatively upon himself by not verifying if he has satisfied all the requirements including his school records, before
will do so with due care which the ordinary understanding and moral sense of the community exacts and preparing himself for the bar examination. Certainly, taking the bar examinations does not only entail a
that those with whom they deal in the general course of society will act in good faith. The ultimate thing in mental preparation on the subjects thereof; there are also prerequisites of documentation and submission
the theory of liability is justifiable reliance under conditions of civilized society. 9 Schools and professors of requirements which the prospective examinee must meet.
cannot just take students for granted and be indifferent to them, for without the latter, the former are
WHEREFORE, the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION.
Petitioner is ORDERED to PAY respondent the sum of Thirty-five Thousand Four Hundred Seventy
Educational institutions are duty-bound to inform the students of their academic status and not wait for Pesos (P35,470.00), with legal interest of 6% per annum computed from the date of filing of the
the latter to inquire from the former. The conscious indifference of a person to the rights or welfare of the complaint until fully paid; the amount of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) as attorney's fees; and the
person/persons who may be affected by his act or omission can support a claim for damages.10 Want of costs of the suit. The award of moral damages is DELEIED.1âwphi1.nêt
care to the conscious disregard of civil obligations coupled with a conscious knowledge of the cause
naturally calculated to produce them would make the erring party liable. 11 Petitioner ought to have known
that time was of the essence in the performance of its obligation to inform respondent of his grade. It
cannot feign ignorance that respondent will not prepare himself for the bar exams since that is precisely
the immediate concern after graduation of an LL.B. graduate. It failed to act seasonably. Petitioner cannot G.R. No. 183984 April 13, 2011
just give out its student's grades at any time because a student has to comply with certain deadlines set
by the Supreme Court on the submission of requirements for taking the bar. Petitioner's liability arose
from its failure to promptly inform respondent of the result of an examination and in misleading the latter ARTURO SARTE FLORES, Petitioner,
into believing that he had satisfied all requirements for the course. Worth quoting is the following vs.
disquisition of the respondent court: SPOUSES ENRICO L. LINDO, JR. and EDNA C. LINDO, Respondents.

It is apparent from the testimony of Dean Tiongson that defendant-appellee University had CARPIO, J.:
been informed during the deliberation that the professor in Practice Court I gave plaintiff- The Case
appellant a failing grade. Yet, defendant-appellee still did not inform plaintiff-appellant of his Before the Court is a petition for review1 assailing the 30 May 2008 Decision2 and the 4 August 2008
failure to complete the requirements for the degree nor did they remove his name from the Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 94003.
tentative list of candidates for graduation. Worse, defendant-appellee university, despite the The Antecedent Facts
knowledge that plaintiff-appellant failed in Practice Court I, again included plaintiff-appellant's
name in the "tentative list of candidates for graduation which was prepared after the The facts, as gleaned from the Court of Appeals’ Decision, are as follows:
deliberation and which became the basis for the commencement rites program. Dean Tiongson
reasons out that plaintiff-appellant's name was allowed to remain in the tentative list of
candidates for graduation in the hope that the latter would still be able to remedy the situation On 31 October 1995, Edna Lindo (Edna) obtained a loan from Arturo Flores (petitioner) amounting to
in the remaining few days before graduation day. Dean Tiongson, however, did not explain how ₱400,000 payable on 1 December 1995 with 3% compounded monthly interest and 3% surcharge in
plaintiff appellant Jader could have done something to complete his deficiency if defendant- case of late payment. To secure the loan, Edna executed a Deed of Real Estate Mortgage 4 (the Deed)
appellee university did not exert any effort to inform plaintiff-appellant of his failing grade in covering a property in the name of Edna and her husband Enrico (Enrico) Lindo, Jr. (collectively,
Practice Court I.12 respondents). Edna also signed a Promissory Note5and the Deed for herself and for Enrico as his
Petitioner cannot pass on its blame to the professors to justify its own negligence that led to the delayed
relay of information to respondent. When one of two innocent parties must suffer, he through whose Edna issued three checks as partial payments for the loan. All checks were dishonored for insufficiency
agency the loss occurred must bear it.13 The modern tendency is to grant indemnity for damages in cases of funds, prompting petitioner to file a Complaint for Foreclosure of Mortgage with Damages against
where there is abuse of right, even when the act is not illicit.14 If mere fault or negligence in one's acts can respondents. The case was raffled to the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 33 (RTC, Branch 33)
make him liable for damages for injury caused thereby, with more reason should abuse or bad faith make and docketed as Civil Case No. 00-97942.
him liable. A person should be protected only when he acts in the legitimate exercise of his right, that is,
when he acts with prudence and in good faith, but not when he acts with negligence or abuse.15 In its 30 September 2003 Decision,6 the RTC, Branch 33 ruled that petitioner was not entitled to judicial
foreclosure of the mortgage. The RTC, Branch 33 found that the Deed was executed by Edna without the
However, while petitioner was guilty of negligence and thus liable to respondent for the latter's actual consent and authority of Enrico. The RTC, Branch 33 noted that the Deed was executed on 31 October
damages, we hold that respondent should not have been awarded moral damages. We do not agree with 1995 while the Special Power of Attorney (SPA) executed by Enrico was only dated 4 November 1995.
the Court of Appeals' findings that respondent suffered shock, trauma and pain when he was informed
that he could not graduate and will not be allowed to take the bar examinations. At the very least, it The RTC, Branch 33 further ruled that petitioner was not precluded from recovering the loan from Edna
behooved on respondent to verify for himself whether he has completed all necessary requirements to be as he could file a personal action against her. However, the RTC, Branch 33 ruled that it had no
eligible for the bar examinations. As a senior law student, respondent should have been responsible jurisdiction over the personal action which should be filed in the place where the plaintiff or the defendant
enough to ensure that all his affairs, specifically those pertaining to his academic achievement, are in resides in accordance with Section 2, Rule 4 of the Revised Rules on Civil Procedure.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. In its Order7 dated 8 January 2004, the RTC, Branch 33 Hence, the petition before this Court.
denied the motion for lack of merit.
The Issue
On 8 September 2004, petitioner filed a Complaint for Sum of Money with Damages against respondents.
It was raffled to Branch 42 (RTC, Branch 42) of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, and docketed as Civil
The sole issue in this case is whether the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in dismissing the
Case No. 04-110858.
complaint for collection of sum of money on the ground of multiplicity of suits.

Respondents filed their Answer with Affirmative Defenses and Counterclaims where they admitted the
The Ruling of this Court
loan but stated that it only amounted to ₱340,000. Respondents further alleged that Enrico was not a
party to the loan because it was contracted by Edna without Enrico’s signature. Respondents prayed for
the dismissal of the case on the grounds of improper venue, res judicata and forum-shopping, invoking The petition has merit.
the Decision of the RTC, Branch 33. On 7 March 2005, respondents also filed a Motion to Dismiss on the
grounds of res judicata and lack of cause of action.
The rule is that a mortgage-creditor has a single cause of action against a mortgagor-debtor, that is, to
recover the debt.10 The mortgage-creditor has the option of either filing a personal action for collection of
The Decision of the Trial Court sum of money or instituting a real action to foreclose on the mortgage security. 11 An election of the first
bars recourse to the second, otherwise there would be multiplicity of suits in which the debtor would be
tossed from one venue to another depending on the location of the mortgaged properties and the
On 22 July 2005, the RTC, Branch 42 issued an Order8 denying the motion to dismiss. The RTC, Branch
residence of the parties.12
42 ruled that res judicata will not apply to rights, claims or demands which, although growing out of the
same subject matter, constitute separate or distinct causes of action and were not put in issue in the
former action. Respondents filed a motion for reconsideration. In its Order9 dated 8 February 2006, the The two remedies are alternative and each remedy is complete by itself. 13 If the mortgagee opts to
RTC, Branch 42 denied respondents’ motion. The RTC, Branch 42 ruled that the RTC, Branch 33 foreclose the real estate mortgage, he waives the action for the collection of the debt, and vice
expressly stated that its decision did not mean that petitioner could no longer recover the loan petitioner versa.14 The Court explained:
extended to Edna.
x x x in the absence of express statutory provisions, a mortgage creditor may institute against the
Respondents filed a Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus with Prayer for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction mortgage debtor either a personal action for debt or a real action to foreclose the mortgage. In other
and/or Temporary Restraining Order before the Court of Appeals. words, he may pursue either of the two remedies, but not both. By such election, his cause of action can
by no means be impaired, for each of the two remedies is complete in itself. Thus, an election to bring a
personal action will leave open to him all the properties of the debtor for attachment and execution, even
The Decision of the Court of Appeals
including the mortgaged property itself. And, if he waives such personal action and pursues his remedy
against the mortgaged property, an unsatisfied judgment thereon would still give him the right to sue for
In its 30 May 2008 Decision, the Court of Appeals set aside the 22 July 2005 and 8 February 2006 deficiency judgment, in which case, all the properties of the defendant, other than the mortgaged
Orders of the RTC, Branch 42 for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion. property, are again open to him for the satisfaction of the deficiency. In either case, his remedy is
complete, his cause of action undiminished, and any advantages attendant to the pursuit of one or the
other remedy are purely accidental and are all under his right of election. On the other hand, a rule that
The Court of Appeals ruled that while the general rule is that a motion to dismiss is interlocutory and not
would authorize the plaintiff to bring a personal action against the debtor and simultaneously or
appealable, the rule admits of exceptions. The Court of Appeals ruled that the RTC, Branch 42 acted with
successively another action against the mortgaged property, would result not only in multiplicity of suits
grave abuse of discretion in denying respondents’ motion to dismiss.
so offensive to justice (Soriano v. Enriques, 24 Phil. 584) and obnoxious to law and equity (Osorio v. San
Agustin, 25 Phil. 404), but also in subjecting the defendant to the vexation of being sued in the place of
The Court of Appeals ruled that under Section 3, Rule 2 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, a party his residence or of the residence of the plaintiff, and then again in the place where the property lies.15
may not institute more than one suit for a single cause of action. If two or more suits are instituted on the
basis of the same cause of action, the filing of one on a judgment upon the merits in any one is available
The Court has ruled that if a creditor is allowed to file his separate complaints simultaneously or
ground for the dismissal of the others. The Court of Appeals ruled that on a nonpayment of a note
successively, one to recover his credit and another to foreclose his mortgage, he will, in effect, be
secured by a mortgage, the creditor has a single cause of action against the debtor, that is recovery of
authorized plural redress for a single breach of contract at so much costs to the court and with so much
the credit with execution of the suit. Thus, the creditor may institute two alternative remedies: either a
vexation and oppressiveness to the debtor.16
personal action for the collection of debt or a real action to foreclose the mortgage, but not both. The
Court of Appeals ruled that petitioner had only one cause of action against Edna for her failure to pay her
obligation and he could not split the single cause of action by filing separately a foreclosure proceeding In this case, however, there are circumstances that the Court takes into consideration.
and a collection case. By filing a petition for foreclosure of the real estate mortgage, the Court of Appeals
held that petitioner had already waived his personal action to recover the amount covered by the
Petitioner filed an action for foreclosure of mortgage. The RTC, Branch 33 ruled that petitioner was not
promissory note.
entitled to judicial foreclosure because the Deed of Real Estate Mortgage was executed without Enrico’s
consent. The RTC, Branch 33 stated:
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. In its 4 August 2008 Resolution, the Court of Appeals denied
the motion.
All these circumstances certainly conspired against the plaintiff who has the burden of proving his cause Article 124 of the Family Code provides:
of action. On the other hand, said circumstances tend to support the claim of defendant Edna Lindo that
her husband did not consent to the mortgage of their conjugal property and that the loan application was
Art. 124. The administration and enjoyment of the conjugal partnership property shall belong to both
her personal decision.
spouses jointly. In case of disagreement, the husband’s decision shall prevail, subject to recourse to the
court by the wife for proper remedy, which must be availed of within five years from the date of contract
Accordingly, since the Deed of Real Estate Mortgage was executed by defendant Edna Lindo lacks the implementing such decision.
consent or authority of her husband Enrico Lindo, the Deed of Real Estate Mortgage is void pursuant to
Article 96 of the Family Code.
In the event that one spouse is incapacitated or otherwise unable to participate in the administration of
the conjugal properties, the other spouse may assume sole powers of administration. These powers do
This does not mean, however, that the plaintiff cannot recover the ₱400,000 loan plus interest which he not include disposition or encumbrance without authority of the court or the written consent of the other
extended to defendant Edna Lindo. He can institute a personal action against the defendant for the spouse. In the absence of such authority or consent the disposition or encumbrance shall be
amount due which should be filed in the place where the plaintiff resides, or where the defendant or any void. However, the transaction shall be construed as a continuing offer on the part of the
of the principal defendants resides at the election of the plaintiff in accordance with Section 2, Rule 4 of consenting spouse and the third person, and may be perfected as a binding contract upon the
the Revised Rules on Civil Procedure. This Court has no jurisdiction to try such personal action. 17 acceptance by the other spouse or authorization by the court before the offer is withdrawn by
either or both offerors. (Emphasis supplied)
Edna did not deny before the RTC, Branch 33 that she obtained the loan. She claimed, however, that her
husband did not give his consent and that he was not aware of the transaction.18 Hence, the RTC, Branch Article 124 of the Family Code of which applies to conjugal partnership property, is a reproduction of
33 held that petitioner could still recover the amount due from Edna through a personal action over which Article 96 of the Family Code which applies to community property.
it had no jurisdiction.
Both Article 96 and Article 127 of the Family Code provide that the powers do not include disposition or
Edna also filed an action for declaratory relief before the RTC, Branch 93 of San Pedro Laguna (RTC, encumbrance without the written consent of the other spouse. Any disposition or encumbrance without
Branch 93), which ruled: the written consent shall be void. However, both provisions also state that "the transaction shall be
construed as a continuing offer on the part of the consenting spouse and the third person, and may be
perfected as a binding contract upon the acceptance by the other spouse x x x before the offer is
At issue in this case is the validity of the promissory note and the Real Estate Mortgage executed by
withdrawn by either or both offerors."
Edna Lindo without the consent of her husband.

In this case, the Promissory Note and the Deed of Real Estate Mortgage were executed on 31 October
The real estate mortgage executed by petition Edna Lindo over their conjugal property is undoubtedly an
1995. The Special Power of Attorney was executed on 4 November 1995. The execution of the SPA is
act of strict dominion and must be consented to by her husband to be effective. In the instant case, the
the acceptance by the other spouse that perfected the continuing offer as a binding contract
real estate mortgage, absent the authority or consent of the husband, is necessarily void. Indeed, the real
between the parties, making the Deed of Real Estate Mortgage a valid contract.
estate mortgage is this case was executed on October 31, 1995 and the subsequent special power of
attorney dated November 4, 1995 cannot be made to retroact to October 31, 1995 to validate the
mortgage previously made by petitioner. However, as the Court of Appeals noted, petitioner allowed the decisions of the RTC, Branch 33 and the
RTC, Branch 93 to become final and executory without asking the courts for an alternative relief. The
Court of Appeals stated that petitioner merely relied on the declarations of these courts that he could file
The liability of Edna Lindo on the principal contract of the loan however subsists notwithstanding the
a separate personal action and thus failed to observe the rules and settled jurisprudence on multiplicity of
illegality of the mortgage. Indeed, where a mortgage is not valid, the principal obligation which it
suits, closing petitioner’s avenue for recovery of the loan.
guarantees is not thereby rendered null and void. That obligation matures and becomes demandable in
accordance with the stipulation pertaining to it. Under the foregoing circumstances, what is lost is merely
the right to foreclose the mortgage as a special remedy for satisfying or settling the indebtedness which Nevertheless, petitioner still has a remedy under the law.
is the principal obligation. In case of nullity, the mortgage deed remains as evidence or proof of a
personal obligation of the debtor and the amount due to the creditor may be enforced in an ordinary
In Chieng v. Santos,20 this Court ruled that a mortgage-creditor may institute against the mortgage-debtor
either a personal action for debt or a real action to foreclose the mortgage. The Court ruled that the
remedies are alternative and not cumulative and held that the filing of a criminal action for violation
In view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the deed of real estate mortgage as void of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 was in effect a collection suit or a suit for the recovery of the mortgage-
in the absence of the authority or consent of petitioner’s spouse therein. The liability of petitioner on the debt.21 In that case, however, this Court pro hac vice, ruled that respondents could still be held liable for
principal contract of loan however subsists notwithstanding the illegality of the real estate mortgage. 19 the balance of the loan, applying the principle that no person may unjustly enrich himself at the expense
of another.22
The RTC, Branch 93 also ruled that Edna’s liability is not affected by the illegality of the real estate
mortgage. The principle of unjust enrichment is provided under Article 22 of the Civil Code which provides:

Both the RTC, Branch 33 and the RTC, Branch 93 misapplied the rules.
Art. 22. Every person who through an act of performance by another, or any other means, acquires or materials and labor for the project under the latter s business known as JNT Aggregates. Their
comes into possession of something at the expense of the latter without just or legal ground, shall return agreement stipulated, among others, that Tarnate would pay to Gonzalo eight percent and four percent of
the same to him. the contract price, respectively, upon Tarnate s first and second billing in the project. 2

There is unjust enrichment "when a person unjustly retains a benefit to the loss of another, or when a In furtherance of their agreement, Gonzalo executed on April 6, 1999 a deed of assignment whereby he,
person retains money or property of another against the fundamental principles of justice, equity and as the contractor, was assigning to Tarnate an amount equivalent to 10% of the total collection from the
good conscience."23 The principle of unjust enrichment requires two conditions: (1) that a person is DPWH for the project. This 10% retention fee (equivalent to ₱233,526.13) was the rent for Tarnate’s
benefited without a valid basis or justification, and (2) that such benefit is derived at the expense of equipment that had been utilized in the project. In the deed of assignment, Gonzalo further authorized
another.241avvphi1 Tarnate to use the official receipt of Gonzalo Construction in the processing of the documents relative to
the collection of the 10% retention fee and in encashing the check to be issued by the DPWH for that
purpose.3 The deed of assignment was submitted to the DPWH on April 15, 1999. During the processing
The main objective of the principle against unjust enrichment is to prevent one from enriching himself at
of the documents for the retention fee, however, Tarnate learned that Gonzalo had unilaterally rescinded
the expense of another without just cause or consideration.25 The principle is applicable in this case
the deed of assignment by means of an affidavit of cancellation of deed of assignment dated April 19,
considering that Edna admitted obtaining a loan from petitioners, and the same has not been fully paid
1999 filed in the DPWH on April 22, 1999;4 and that the disbursement voucher for the 10% retention fee
without just cause. The Deed was declared void erroneously at the instance of Edna, first when she
had then been issued in the name of Gonzalo, and the retention fee released to him.5
raised it as a defense before the RTC, Branch 33 and second, when she filed an action for declaratory
relief before the RTC, Branch 93. Petitioner could not be expected to ask the RTC, Branch 33 for an
alternative remedy, as what the Court of Appeals ruled that he should have done, because the RTC, Tarnate demanded the payment of the retention fee from Gonzalo, but to no avail. Thus, he brought this
Branch 33 already stated that it had no jurisdiction over any personal action that petitioner might have suit against Gonzalo on September 13, 1999 in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Mountain Province to
against Edna. recover the retention fee of ₱233,526.13, moral and exemplary damages for breach of contract, and
attorney’s fees.6
Considering the circumstances of this case, the principle against unjust enrichment, being a substantive
law, should prevail over the procedural rule on multiplicity of suits. The Court of Appeals, in the assailed In his answer, Gonzalo admitted the deed of assignment and the authority given therein to Tarnate, but
decision, found that Edna admitted the loan, except that she claimed it only amounted to ₱340,000. Edna averred that the project had not been fully implemented because of its cancellation by the DPWH, and
should not be allowed to unjustly enrich herself because of the erroneous decisions of the two trial courts that he had then revoked the deed of assignment. He insisted that the assignment could not stand
when she questioned the validity of the Deed. Moreover, Edna still has an opportunity to submit her independently due to its being a mere product of the subcontract that had been based on his contract
defenses before the RTC, Branch 42 on her claim as to the amount of her indebtedness. with the DPWH; and that Tarnate, having been fully aware of the illegality and ineffectuality of the deed of
assignment from the time of its execution, could not go to court with unclean hands to invoke any right
based on the invalid deed of assignment or on the product of such deed of assignment.7
WHEREFORE, the 30 May 2008 Decision and the 4 August 2008 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. SP No. 94003 are SET ASIDE. The Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 42 is directed to
proceed with the trial of Civil Case No. 04-110858. Ruling of the RTC

SO ORDERED. On January 26, 2001, the RTC, opining that the deed of assignment was a valid and binding contract,
and that Gonzalo must comply with his obligations under the deed of assignment, rendered judgment in
favor of Tarnate as follows:
G.R. No. 160600 January 15, 2014
WHEREFORE, premises considered and as prayed for by the plaintiff, John Tarnate, Jr. in his Complaint
DOMINGO GONZALO, Petitioner, for Sum of Money, Breach of Contract With Damages is hereby RENDERED in his favor and against the
vs. above-named defendant Domingo Gonzalo, the Court now hereby orders as follows:
JOHN TARNATE, JR., Respondent.
1. Defendant Domingo Gonzalo to pay the Plaintiff, John Tarnate, Jr., the amount of TWO
(₱233,526.13) representing the rental of equipment;
The doctrine of in pari delicto which stipulates that the guilty parties to an illegal contract are not entitled
to any relief, cannot prevent a recovery if doing so violates the public policy against unjust enrichment. 2. Defendant to pay Plaintiff the sum of THIRTY THOUSAND (₱30,000.00) PESOS by way of
reasonable Attorney’s Fees for having forced/compelled the plaintiff to litigate and engage the
Antecedents services of a lawyer in order to protect his interest and to enforce his right. The claim of the
plaintiff for attorney’s fees in the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (₱50,000.00) plus
THREE THOUSAND PESOS (₱3,000.00) clearly appears to be unconscionable and therefore
After the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) had awarded on July 22, 1997 the contract reduced to Thirty Thousand Pesos (₱30,000.00) as aforestated making the same to be
for the improvement of the Sadsadan-Maba-ay Section of the Mountain Province-Benguet Road in the reasonable;
total amount of 7 014 963 33 to his company, Gonzalo Construction,1 petitioner Domingo Gonzalo
(Gonzalo) subcontracted to respondent John Tarnate, Jr. (Tarnate) on October 15, 1997, the supply of
3. Defendant to pay Plaintiff the sum of FIFTEEN THOUSAND PESOS (₱15,000.00) by way of There is no question that every contractor is prohibited from subcontracting with or assigning to another
litigation expenses; person any contract or project that he has with the DPWH unless the DPWH Secretary has approved the
subcontracting or assignment. This is pursuant to Section 6 of Presidential Decree No. 1594, which
4. Defendant to pay Plaintiff the sum of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (₱20,000.00) for moral
damages and for the breach of contract; and
Section 6. Assignment and Subcontract. – The contractor shall not assign, transfer, pledge, subcontract
or make any other disposition of the contract or any part or interest therein except with the approval of
5. To pay the cost of this suit.
the Minister of Public Works, Transportation and Communications, the Minister of Public Highways, or the
Minister of Energy, as the case may be. Approval of the subcontract shall not relieve the main contractor
Award of exemplary damages in the instant case is not warranted for there is no showing that the from any liability or obligation under his contract with the Government nor shall it create any contractual
defendant acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or malevolent manner analogous to the relation between the subcontractor and the Government.
case of Xentrex Automotive, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 291 SCRA 66.8
Gonzalo, who was the sole contractor of the project in question, subcontracted the implementation of the
Gonzalo appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA). project to Tarnate in violation of the statutory prohibition. Their subcontract was illegal, therefore, because
it did not bear the approval of the DPWH Secretary. Necessarily, the deed of assignment was also illegal,
because it sprung from the subcontract. As aptly observed by the CA:
Decision of the CA

x x x. The intention of the parties in executing the Deed of Assignment was merely to cover up the
On February 18, 2003, the CA affirmed the RTC.9 illegality of the sub-contract agreement. They knew for a fact that the DPWH will not allow plaintiff-
appellee to claim in his own name under the Sub-Contract Agreement.
Although holding that the subcontract was an illegal agreement due to its object being specifically
prohibited by Section 6 of Presidential Decree No. 1594; that Gonzalo and Tarnate were guilty of entering Obviously, without the Sub-Contract Agreement there will be no Deed of Assignment to speak of. The
into the illegal contract in violation of Section 6 of Presidential Decree No. 1594; and that the deed of illegality of the Sub-Contract Agreement necessarily affects the Deed of Assignment because the rule is
assignment, being a product of and dependent on the subcontract, was also illegal and unenforceable, that an illegal agreement cannot give birth to a valid contract. To rule otherwise is to sanction the act of
the CA did not apply the doctrine of in pari delicto, explaining that the doctrine applied only if the fault of entering into transaction the object of which is expressly prohibited by law and thereafter execute an
one party was more or less equivalent to the fault of the other party. It found Gonzalo to be more guilty apparently valid contract to subterfuge the illegality. The legal proscription in such an instance will be
than Tarnate, whose guilt had been limited to the execution of the two illegal contracts while Gonzalo had easily rendered nugatory and meaningless to the prejudice of the general public.12
gone to the extent of violating the deed of assignment. It declared that the crediting of the 10% retention
fee equivalent to ₱233,256.13 to his account had unjustly enriched Gonzalo; and ruled, accordingly, that
Gonzalo should reimburse Tarnate in that amount because the latter’s equipment had been utilized in the Under Article 1409 (1) of the Civil Code, a contract whose cause, object or purpose is contrary to law is a
project. void or inexistent contract. As such, a void contract cannot produce a valid one.13 To the same effect is
Article 1422 of the Civil Code, which declares that "a contract, which is the direct result of a previous
illegal contract, is also void and inexistent."
Upon denial of his motion for reconsideration,10 Gonzalo has now come to the Court to seek the review
and reversal of the decision of the CA.
We do not concur with the CA’s finding that the guilt of Tarnate for violation of Section 6 of Presidential
Decree No. 1594 was lesser than that of Gonzalo, for, as the CA itself observed, Tarnate had voluntarily
Issues entered into the agreements with Gonzalo.14 Tarnate also admitted that he did not participate in the
bidding for the project because he knew that he was not authorized to contract with the DPWH. 15 Given
Gonzalo contends that the CA erred in affirming the RTC because: (1) both parties were in pari delicto; that Tarnate was a businessman who had represented himself in the subcontract as "being financially
(2) the deed of assignment was void; and (3) there was no compliance with the arbitration clause in the and organizationally sound and established, with the necessary personnel and equipment for the
subcontract. performance of the project,"16 he justifiably presumed to be aware of the illegality of his agreements with
Gonzalo. For these reasons, Tarnate was not less guilty than Gonzalo.
Gonzalo submits in support of his contentions that the subcontract and the deed of assignment, being
specifically prohibited by law, had no force and effect; that upon finding both him and Tarnate guilty of According to Article 1412 (1) of the Civil Code, the guilty parties to an illegal contract cannot recover from
violating the law for executing the subcontract, the RTC and the CA should have applied the rule of in one another and are not entitled to an affirmative relief because they are in pari delicto or in equal fault.
pari delicto, to the effect that the law should not aid either party to enforce the illegal contract but should The doctrine of in pari delicto is a universal doctrine that holds that no action arises, in equity or at law,
leave them where it found them; and that it was erroneous to accord to the parties relief from their from an illegal contract; no suit can be maintained for its specific performance, or to recover the property
predicament.11 agreed to be sold or delivered, or the money agreed to be paid, or damages for its violation; and where
the parties are in pari delicto, no affirmative relief of any kind will be given to one against the other. 17
Nonetheless, the application of the doctrine of in pari delicto is not always rigid.1âwphi1 An accepted
exception arises when its application contravenes well-established public policy.18 In this jurisdiction,
We deny the petition for review, but we delete the grant of moral damages, attorney’s fees and litigation
public policy has been defined as "that principle of the law which holds that no subject or citizen can SO ORDERED.
lawfully do that which has a tendency to be injurious to the public or against the public good." 19
Unjust enrichment exists, according to Hulst v. PR Builders, Inc., 20 "when a person unjustly retains a Associate Justice
benefit at the loss of another, or when a person retains money or property of another against the
fundamental principles of justice, equity and good conscience." The prevention of unjust enrichment is a
recognized public policy of the State, for Article 22 of the Civil Code explicitly provides that "[e]very
person who through an act of performance by another, or any other means, acquires or comes into
possession of something at the expense of the latter without just or legal ground, shall return the same to G.R. No. L-13505 February 4, 1919
him." It is well to note that Article 22 "is part of the chapter of the Civil Code on Human Relations, the
provisions of which were formulated as basic principles to be observed for the rightful relationship
between human beings and for the stability of the social order; designed to indicate certain norms that GEO. W. DAYWALT, plaintiff-appellant,
spring from the fountain of good conscience; guides for human conduct that should run as golden threads vs.
through society to the end that law may approach its supreme ideal which is the sway and dominance of LA CORPORACION DE LOS PADRES AGUSTINOS RECOLETOS, ET AL., defendants-appellees.
There is no question that Tarnate provided the equipment, labor and materials for the project in
compliance with his obligations under the subcontract and the deed of assignment; and that it was In the year 1902, Teodorica Endencia, an unmarried woman, resident in the Province of Mindoro,
Gonzalo as the contractor who received the payment for his contract with the DPWH as well as the 10% executed a contract whereby she obligated herself to convey to Geo. W. Daywalt, a tract of land situated
retention fee that should have been paid to Tarnate pursuant to the deed of assignment.22 Considering in the barrio of Mangarin, municipality of Bulalacao, now San Jose, in said province. It was agreed that a
that Gonzalo refused despite demands to deliver to Tarnate the stipulated 10% retention fee that would deed should be executed as soon as the title to the land should be perfected by proceedings in the Court
have compensated the latter for the use of his equipment in the project, Gonzalo would be unjustly of Land Registration and a Torrens certificate should be produced therefore in the name of Teodorica
enriched at the expense of Tarnate if the latter was to be barred from recovering because of the rigid Endencia. A decree recognizing the right of Teodorica as owner was entered in said court in August 1906,
application of the doctrine of in pari delicto. The prevention of unjust enrichment called for the exception but the Torrens certificate was not issued until later. The parties, however, met immediately upon the
to apply in Tarnate’s favor. Consequently, the RTC and the CA properly adjudged Gonzalo liable to pay entering of this decree and made a new contract with a view to carrying their original agreement into
Tarnate the equivalent amount of the 10% retention fee (i.e., ₱233,526.13). effect. This new contract was executed in the form of a deed of conveyance and bears date of August 16,
1906. The stipulated price was fixed at P4,000, and the area of the land enclosed in the boundaries
Gonzalo sought to justify his refusal to turn over the ₱233,526.13 to Tarnate by insisting that he defined in the contract was stated to be 452 hectares and a fraction.
(Gonzalo) had a debt of ₱200,000.00 to Congressman Victor Dominguez; that his payment of the 10%
retention fee to Tarnate was conditioned on Tarnate paying that debt to Congressman Dominguez; and The second contract was not immediately carried into effect for the reason that the Torrens certificate was
that he refused to give the 10% retention fee to Tarnate because Tarnate did not pay to Congressman not yet obtainable and in fact said certificate was not issued until the period of performance contemplated
Dominguez.23 His justification was unpersuasive, however, because, firstly, Gonzalo presented no proof in the contract had expired. Accordingly, upon October 3, 1908, the parties entered into still another
of the debt to Congressman Dominguez; secondly, he did not competently establish the agreement on agreement, superseding the old, by which Teodorica Endencia agreed upon receiving the Torrens title to
the condition that supposedly bound Tarnate to pay to Congressman Dominguez;24 and, thirdly, burdening the land in question, to deliver the same to the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank in Manila, to be forwarded
Tarnate with Gonzalo’s personal debt to Congressman Dominguez to be paid first by Tarnate would to the Crocker National Bank in San Francisco, where it was to be delivered to the plaintiff upon payment
constitute another case of unjust enrichment. of a balance of P3,100.

The Court regards the grant of moral damages, attorney’s fees and litigation expenses to Tarnate to be The Torrens certificate was in time issued to Teodorica Endencia, but in the course of the proceedings
inappropriate. We have ruled that no damages may be recovered under a void contract, which, being relative to the registration of the land, it was found by official survey that the area of the tract inclosed in
nonexistent, produces no juridical tie between the parties involved.25 It is notable, too, that the RTC and the boundaries stated in the contract was about 1.248 hectares of 452 hectares as stated in the contract.
the CA did not spell out the sufficient factual and legal justifications for such damages to be granted. In view of this development Teodorica Endencia became reluctant to transfer the whole tract to the
purchaser, asserting that she never intended to sell so large an amount of land and that she had been
Lastly, the letter and spirit of Article 22 of the Civil Code command Gonzalo to make a full reparation or misinformed as to its area.
compensation to Tarnate. The illegality of their contract should not be allowed to deprive Tarnate from
being fully compensated through the imposition of legal interest. Towards that end, interest of 6% per This attitude of hers led to litigation in which Daywalt finally succeeded, upon appeal to the Supreme
annum reckoned from September 13, 1999, the time of the judicial demand by Tarnate, is imposed on the Court, in obtaining a decree for specific performance; and Teodorica Endencia was ordered to convey the
amount of ₱233,526.13. Not to afford this relief will make a travesty of the justice to which Tarnate was entire tract of land to Daywalt pursuant to the contract of October 3, 1908, which contract was declared to
entitled for having suffered too long from Gonzalo’s unjust enrichment. be in full force and effect. This decree appears to have become finally effective in the early part of the
year 1914.1
WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM the decision promulgated on February 18, 2003, but DELETE the awards of
moral damages, attorney’s fees and litigation expenses; IMPOSE legal interest of 6% per annum on the The defendant, La Corporacion de los Padres Recoletos, is a religious corporation, with its domicile in
principal oL₱233,526.13 reckoned from September 13, 1999; and DIRECT the petitioner to pay the costs the city of Manila. Said corporation was formerly the owner of a large tract of land, known as the San
of suit. Jose Estate, on the island of Mindoro, which was sold to the Government of the Philippine Islands in the
year 1909. The same corporation was at this time also the owner of another estate on the same island not accept this view. It is rather improbable that 1,248 hectares of wild Mindoro land would
immediately adjacent to the land which Teodorica Endencia had sold to Geo. W. Daywalt; and for many furnish sufficient pasturage for one thousand head of cattle during the entire year, and,
years the Recoletos Fathers had maintained large herds of cattle on the farms referred to. Their considering the locality, the rate of forty centavos per head monthly seems too high. The
representative, charged with management of these farms, was father Isidoro Sanz, himself a members of evidence shows that after having recovered possession of the land the plaintiff rented it to the
the order. Father Sanz had long been well acquainted with Teodorica Endencia and exerted over her an defendant corporation for fifty centavos per hectares annually, the tenant to pay the taxes on
influence and ascendency due to his religious character as well as to the personal friendship which the land, and this appears to be a reasonable rent. There is no reason to suppose that the land
existed between them. Teodorica appears to be a woman of little personal force, easily subject to was worth more for grazing purposes during the period from 1909 to 1913, than it was at the
influence, and upon all the important matters of business was accustomed to seek, and was given, the later period. Upon this basis the plaintiff is entitled to damages in the sum of p2,497, and is
advice of father Sanz and other members of his order with whom she came in contact. under no obligation to reimburse the defendants for the land taxes paid by either of them
during the period the land was occupied by the defendant corporation. It may be mentioned in
this connection that the Lontok tract adjoining the land in question and containing over three
Father Sanz was fully aware of the existence of the contract of 1902 by which Teodorica Endencia
thousand hectares appears to have been leased for only P1,000 a year, plus the taxes.
agreed to sell her land to the plaintiff as well as of the later important developments connected with the
history of that contract and the contract substituted successively for it; and in particular Father Sanz, as
well as other members of the defendant corporation, knew of the existence of the contract of October 3, From this it will be seen that the trial court estimated the rental value of the land for grazing purposes at
1908, which, as we have already seen finally fixed the rights of the parties to the property in question. 50 centavos per hectare per annum, and roughly adopted the period of four years as the time for which
When the Torrens certificate was finally issued in 1909 in favor of Teodorica Endencia, she delivered it for compensation at that rate should be made. As the court had already found that the defendant was liable
safekeeping to the defendant corporation, and it was then taken to Manila where it remained in the for these damages from June, 1, 1909, to May 1, 1914, or a period of four years and eleven months,
custody and under the control of P. Juan Labarga the procurador and chief official of the defendant there seems some ground for the contention made in the appellant's first assignment of error that the
corporation, until the deliver thereof to the plaintiff was made compulsory by reason of the decree of the court's computation was erroneous, even accepting the rule upon which the damages were assessed, as
Supreme Court in 1914. it is manifest that at the rate of 50 centavos per hectare per annum, the damages for four years and
eleven months would be P3,090.
When the defendant corporation sold the San Jose Estate, it was necessary to bring the cattle off of that
property; and, in the first half of 1909, some 2,368 head were removed to the estate of the corporation Notwithstanding this circumstance, we are of the opinion that the damages assessed are sufficient to
immediately adjacent to the property which the plaintiff had purchased from Teodorica Endencia. As compensate the plaintiff for the use and occupation of the land during the whole time it was used. There
Teodorica still retained possession of said property Father Sanz entered into an arrangement with her is evidence in the record strongly tending to show that the wrongful use of the land by the defendant was
whereby large numbers of cattle belonging to the defendant corporation were pastured upon said land not continuous throughout the year but was confined mostly to the reason when the forage obtainable on
during a period extending from June 1, 1909, to May 1, 1914. the land of the defendant corporation was not sufficient to maintain its cattle, for which reason it became
necessary to allow them to go over to pasture on the land in question; and it is not clear that the whole of
the land was used for pasturage at any time. Considerations of this character probably led the trial court
Under the first cause stated in the complaint in the present action the plaintiff seeks to recover from the
to adopt four years as roughly being the period during which compensation should be allowed. But
defendant corporation the sum of P24,000, as damages for the use and occupation of the land in
whether this was advertently done or not, we see no sufficient reason, in the uncertainty of the record
question by reason of the pasturing of cattle thereon during the period stated. The trial court came to the
with reference to the number of the cattle grazed and the period when the land was used, for substituting
conclusion that the defendant corporation was liable for damages by reason of the use and occupation of
our guess for the estimate made by the trial court.
the premises in the manner stated; and fixed the amount to be recovered at P2,497. The plaintiff
appealed and has assigned error to this part of the judgment of the court below, insisting that damages
should have been awarded in a much larger sum and at least to the full extent of P24,000, the amount In the second cause of action stated in the complaint the plaintiff seeks to recover from the defendant
claimed in the complaint. corporation the sum of P500,000, as damages, on the ground that said corporation, for its own selfish
purposes, unlawfully induced Teodorica Endencia to refrain from the performance of her contract for the
sale of the land in question and to withhold delivery to the plaintiff of the Torrens title, and further,
As the defendant did not appeal, the property of allowing damages for the use and occupation of the land
maliciously and without reasonable cause, maintained her in her defense to the action of specific
to the extent o P2,497, the amount awarded, is not now in question an the only thing here to be
performance which was finally decided in favor of the plaintiff in this court. The cause of action here
considered, in connection with this branch of the case, is whether the damages allowed under this head
stated is based on liability derived from the wrongful interference of the defendant in the performance of
should be increased. The trial court rightly ignored the fact that the defendant corporation had paid
the contract between the plaintiff and Teodorica Endencia; and the large damages laid in the complaint
Teodorica Endencia of ruse and occupation of the same land during the period in question at the rate of
were, according to the proof submitted by the plaintiff, incurred as a result of a combination of
P425 per annum, inasmuch as the final decree of this court in the action for specific performance is
circumstances of the following nature: In 1911, it appears, the plaintiff, as the owner of the land which he
conclusive against her right, and as the defendant corporation had notice of the rights of the plaintiff
had bought from Teodorica Endencia entered into a contract (Exhibit C) with S. B. Wakefield, of San
under this contract of purchase, it can not be permitted that the corporation should escape liability in this
Francisco, for the sale and disposal of said lands to a sugar growing and milling enterprise, the
action by proving payment of rent to a person other than the true owner.
successful launching of which depended on the ability of Daywalt to get possession of the land and the
Torrens certificate of title. In order to accomplish this end, the plaintiff returned to the Philippine Islands,
With reference to the rate of which compensation should be estimated the trial court came to the communicated his arrangement to the defendant,, and made repeated efforts to secure the registered
following conclusion: title for delivery in compliance with said agreement with Wakefield. Teodorica Endencia seems to have
yielded her consent to the consummation of her contract, but the Torrens title was then in the possession
of Padre Juan Labarga in Manila, who refused to deliver the document. Teodorica also was in the end
As to the rate of the compensation, the plaintiff contends that the defendant corporation contract with the plaintiff, with the result that the plaintiff was kept out of possession until the Wakefield
maintained at leas one thousand head of cattle on the land and that the pasturage was of the project for the establishment of a large sugar growing and milling enterprise fell through. In the light of
value of forty centavos per head monthly, or P4,800 annually, for the whole tract. The court can
what has happened in recent years in the sugar industry, we feel justified in saying that the project above person who entices a servant from his employment is liable in damages to the master. The master's
referred to, if carried into effect, must inevitably have proved a great success. interest in the service rendered by his employee is here considered as a distinct subject of juridical right.
It being thus accepted that it is a legal wrong to break up a relation of personal service, the question now
arose whether it is illegal for one person to interfere with any contract relation subsisting between others.
The determination of the issue presented in this second cause of action requires a consideration of two
Prior to the decision of Lumley vs. Gye [supra] it had been supposed that the liability here under
points. The first is whether a person who is not a party to a contract for the sale of land makes himself
consideration was limited to the cases of the enticement of menial servants, apprentices, and others to
liable for damages to the vendee, beyond the value of the use and occupation, by colluding with the
whom the English Statutes of Laborers were applicable. But in the case cited the majority of the judges
vendor and maintaining him in the effort to resist an action for specific performance. The second is
concurred in the opinion that the principle extended to all cases of hiring. This doctrine was followed by
whether the damages which the plaintiff seeks to recover under this head are too remote and speculative
the Court of Appeal in Bowen vs. Hall ([1881], 6 Q. B., Div., 333); and in Temperton vs.Russell ([1893], Q.
to be the subject of recovery.
B., 715), it was held that the right of action for maliciously procuring a breach of contract is not confined
to contracts for personal services, but extends to contracts in general. In that case the contract which the
As preliminary to a consideration of the first of these questions, we deem it well it dispose of the defendant had procured to be breached was a contract for the supply of building material.
contention that the members of the defendants corporation, in advising and prompting Teodorica
Endencia not to comply with the contract of sale, were actuated by improper and malicious motives. The
Malice in some form is generally supposed to be an essential ingredient in cases of interference with
trial court found that this contention was not sustained, observing that while it was true that the
contract relations. But upon the authorities it is enough if the wrong-doer, having knowledge of the
circumstances pointed to an entire sympathy on the part of the defendant corporation with the efforts of
existence of the contract relations, in bad faith sets about to break it up. Whether his motive is to benefit
Teodorica Endencia to defeat the plaintiff's claim to the land, the fact that its officials may have advised
himself or gratify his spite by working mischief to the employer is immaterial. Malice in the sense of ill-will
her not to carry the contract into effect would not constitute actionable interference with such contract. It
or spite is not essential.
may be added that when one considers the hardship that the ultimate performance of that contract
entailed on the vendor, and the doubt in which the issue was involved — to the extent that the decision of
the Court of the First Instance was unfavorable to the plaintiff and the Supreme Court itself was divided Upon the question as to what constitutes legal justification, a good illustration was put in the leading
— the attitude of the defendant corporation, as exhibited in the conduct of its procurador, Juan Labarga, case. If a party enters into contract to go for another upon a journey to a remote and unhealthful climate,
and other members of the order of the Recollect Fathers, is not difficult to understand. To our mind a fair and a third person, with a bona fide purpose of benefiting the one who is under contract to go, dissuades
conclusion on this feature of the case is that father Juan Labarga and his associates believed in good him from the step, no action will lie. But if the advice is not disinterested and the persuasion is used for
faith that the contract cold not be enforced and that Teodorica would be wronged if it should be carried "the indirect purpose of benefiting the defendant at the expense of the plaintiff," the intermedler is liable if
into effect. Any advice or assistance which they may have given was, therefore, prompted by no mean or his advice is taken and the contract broken.
improper motive. It is not, in our opinion, to be denied that Teodorica would have surrendered the
documents of title and given possession of the land but for the influence and promptings of members of
The doctrine embodied in the cases just cited has sometimes been found useful, in the complicated
the defendants corporation. But we do not credit the idea that they were in any degree influenced to the
relations of modern industry, as a means of restraining the activities of labor unions and industrial
giving of such advice by the desire to secure to themselves the paltry privilege of grazing their cattle upon
societies when improperly engaged in the promotion of strikes. An illustration of the application of the
the land in question to the prejudice of the just rights of the plaintiff.
doctrine in question in a case of this kind is found in South Wales Miners Federation vs. Glamorgan Coal
Co. ([1905]), A. C., 239). It there appeared that certain miners employed in the plaintiff's collieries, acting
The attorney for the plaintiff maintains that, by interfering in the performance of the contract in question under the order of the executive council of the defendant federation, violated their contract with the
and obstructing the plaintiff in his efforts to secure the certificate of tittle to the land, the defendant plaintiff by abstaining from work on certain days. The federation and council acted without any actual
corporation made itself a co-participant with Teodorica Endencia in the breach of said contract; and malice or ill-will towards the plaintiff, and the only object of the order in question was that the price of coal
inasmuch as father Juan Labarga, at the time of said unlawful intervention between the contracting might thereby be kept up, a factor which affected the miner's wage scale. It was held that no sufficient
parties, was fully aware of the existence of the contract (Exhibit C) which the plaintiff had made with S. B. justification was shown and that the federation was liable.
Wakefield, of San Francisco, it is insisted that the defendant corporation is liable for the loss consequent
upon the failure of the project outlined in said contract.
In the United States, the rule established in England by Lumley vs. Gye [supra] and subsequent cases is
commonly accepted, though in a few of the States the broad idea that a stranger to a contract can be
In this connection reliance is placed by the plaintiff upon certain American and English decisions in which held liable upon its is rejected, and in these jurisdictions the doctrine, if accepted at all, is limited to the
it is held that a person who is a stranger to contract may, by an unjustifiable interference in the situation where the contract is strictly for personal service. (Boyson vs. Thorn, 98 Cal., 578; Chambers &
performance thereof, render himself liable for the damages consequent upon non-performance. It is said Marshall vs. Baldwin 91 Ky., 121; Bourlier vs. Macauley, 91 Ky., 135; Glencoe Land & Gravel
that the doctrine of these cases was recognized by this court in Gilchrist vs. Cuddy (29 Phil. Rep., 542); Co. vs. Hudson Bros. Com. Co., 138 Mo., 439.)
and we have been earnestly pressed to extend the rule there enunciated to the situation here presente.
It should be observed in this connection that, according to the English and American authorities, no
Somewhat more than half a century ago the English Court of the Queen's Bench saw its way clear to question can be made as to the liability to one who interferes with a contract existing between others by
permit an action for damages to be maintained against a stranger to a contract wrongfully interfering in its means which, under known legal cannons, can be denominated an unlawful means. Thus, if performance
performance. The leading case on this subject is Lumley vs. Gye ([1853], 2 El. & Bl., 216). It there is prevented by force, intimidation, coercion, or threats, or by false or defamatory statements, or by
appeared that the plaintiff, as manager of a theatre, had entered into a contract with Miss Johanna nuisance or riot, the person using such unlawful means is, under all the authorities, liable for the damage
Wagner, an opera singer,, whereby she bound herself for a period to sing in the plaintiff's theatre and which ensues. And in jurisdictions where the doctrine of Lumley vs. Gye [supra] is rejected, no liability
nowhere else. The defendant, knowing of the existence of this contract, and, as the declaration alleged, can arise from a meddlesome and malicious interference with a contract relation unless some such
"maliciously intending to injure the plaintiff," enticed and produced Miss Wagner to leave the plaintiff's unlawful means as those just indicated are used. (See cases last above cited.)
employment. It was held that the plaintiff was entitled to recover damages. The right which was here
recognized had its origin in a rule, long familiar to the courts of the common law, to the effect that any
This brings us to the decision made by this court in Gilchrist vs. Cuddy (29 Phil. Rep., 542). It there presently to be stated, we are of the opinion that neither the doctrine of Lumley vs. Gye [supra] nor the
appeared that one Cuddy, the owner of a cinematographic film, let it under a rental contract to the plaintiff application made of it by this court in Gilchrist vs. Cuddy (29 Phil. Rep., 542), affords any basis for the
Gilchrist for a specified period of time. In violation of the terms of this agreement, Cuddy proceeded to recovery of the damages which the plaintiff is supposed to have suffered by reason of his inability to
turn over the film also under a rental contract, to the defendants Espejo and Zaldarriaga. Gilchrist comply with the terms of the Wakefield contract.
thereupon restored to the Court of First Instance and produced an injunction restraining the defendants
from exhibiting the film in question in their theater during the period specified in the contract of Cuddy
Whatever may be the character of the liability which a stranger to a contract may incur by advising or
with Gilchrist. Upon appeal to this court it was in effect held that the injunction was not improperly
assisting one of the parties to evade performance, there is one proposition upon which all must agree.
granted, although the defendants did not, at the time their contract was made, know the identity of the
This is, that the stranger cannot become more extensively liable in damages for the nonperformance of
plaintiff as the person holding the prior contract but did know of the existence of a contract in favor of
the contract than the party in whose behalf he intermeddles. To hold the stranger liable for damages in
someone. It was also said arguendo, that the defendants would have been liable in damages under
excess of those that could be recovered against the immediate party to the contract would lead to results
article 1902 of the Civil Code, if the action had been brought by the plaintiff to recover damages. The
at once grotesque and unjust. In the case at bar, as Teodorica Endencia was the party directly bound by
force of the opinion is, we think, somewhat weakened by the criticism contain in the concurring opinion,
the contract, it is obvious that the liability of the defendant corporation, even admitting that it has made
where it is said that the question of breach of contract by inducement was not really involved in the case.
itself coparticipant in the breach of the contract, can in no even exceed hers. This leads us to consider at
Taking the decision upon the point which was rally decided, it is authority for the proposition that one who
this point the extent of the liability of Teodorica Endencia to the plaintiff by reason of her failure to
buys something which he knows has been sold to some other person can be restrained from using that
surrender the certificate of title and to place the plaintiff in possession.
thing to the prejudice of the person having the prior and better right.

It should in the first place be noted that the liability of Teodorica Endencia for damages resulting from the
Translated into terms applicable to the case at bar, the decision in Gilchrist vs. Cuddy (29 Phil. Rep.,
breach of her contract with Daywalt was a proper subject for adjudication in the action for specific
542), indicates that the defendant corporation, having notice of the sale of the land in question to
performance which Daywalt instituted against her in 1909 and which was litigated by him to a successful
Daywalt, might have been enjoined by the latter from using the property for grazing its cattle thereon.
conclusion in this court, but without obtaining any special adjudication with reference to damages.
That the defendant corporation is also liable in this action for the damage resulting to the plaintiff from the
Indemnification for damages resulting from the breach of a contract is a right inseparably annexed to
wrongful use and occupation of the property has also been already determined. But it will be observed
every action for the fulfillment of the obligation (art. 1124, Civil Code); and its is clear that if damages are
that in order to sustain this liability it is not necessary to resort to any subtle exegesis relative to the
not sought or recovered in the action to enforce performance they cannot be recovered in an
liability of a stranger to a contract for unlawful interference in the performance thereof. It is enough that
independent action. As to Teodorica Endencia, therefore, it should be considered that the right of action
defendant use the property with notice that the plaintiff had a prior and better right.
to recover damages for the breach of the contract in question was exhausted in the prior suit. However,
her attorneys have not seen fit to interpose the defense of res judicata in her behalf; and as the
Article 1902 of the Civil Code declares that any person who by an act or omission, characterized by fault defendant corporation was not a party to that action, and such defense could not in any event be of any
or negligence, causes damage to another shall be liable for the damage so done. Ignoring so much of avail to it, we proceed to consider the question of the liability of Teodorica Endencia for damages without
this article as relates to liability for negligence, we take the rule to be that a person is liable for damage refernce to this point.
done to another by any culpable act; and by "culpable act" we mean any act which is blameworthy when
judged by accepted legal standards. The idea thus expressed is undoubtedly broad enough to include
The most that can be said with refernce to the conduct of Teodorica Endencia is that she refused to carry
any rational conception of liability for the tortious acts likely to be developed in any society. Thus
out a contract for the sale of certain land and resisted to the last an action for specific performance in
considered, it cannot be said that the doctrine of Lumley vs. Gye [supra] and related cases is repugnant
court. The result was that the plaintiff was prevented during a period of several years from exerting that
to the principles of the civil law.
control over the property which he was entitled to exert and was meanwhile unable to dispose of the
property advantageously. Now, what is the measure of damages for the wrongful detention of real
Nevertheless, it must be admitted that the codes and jurisprudence of the civil law furnish a somewhat property by the vender after the time has come for him to place the purchaser in possession?
uncongenial field in which to propagate the idea that a stranger to a contract may sued for the breach
thereof. Article 1257 of the Civil Code declares that contracts are binding only between the parties and
The damages ordinarily and normally recoverable against a vendor for failure to deliver land which he
their privies. In conformity with this it has been held that a stranger to a contract has no right of action for
has contracted to deliver is the value of the use and occupation of the land for the time during which it is
the nonfulfillment of the contract except in the case especially contemplated in the second paragraph of
wrongfully withheld. And of course where the purchaser has not paid the purchaser money, a deduction
the same article. (Uy Tam and Uy Yet vs. Leonard, 30 Phil. Rep., 471.) As observed by this court in
may be made in respect to the interest on the money which constitutes the purchase price. Substantially
Manila Railroad Co. vs. Compañia Transatlantica, R. G. No. 11318 (38 Phil. Rep., 875), a contract, when
the same rule holds with respect to the liability of a landlord who fails to put his tenant in possession
effectually entered into between certain parties, determines not only the character and extent of the
pursuant to contract of lease. The measure of damages is the value of the leasehold interest, or use and
liability of the contracting parties but also the person or entity by whom the obligation is exigible. The
occupation, less the stipulated rent, where this has not been paid. The rule that the measure of damages
same idea should apparently be applicable with respect to the person against whom the obligation of the
for the wrongful detention of land is normally to be found in the value of use and occupation is, we
contract may be enforced; for it is evident that there must be a certain mutuality in the obligation, and if
believe, one of the things that may be considered certain in the law (39 cyc., 1630; 24 Cyc., 1052
the stranger to a contract is not permitted to sue to enforce it, he cannot consistently be held liable upon
Sedgewick on Damages, Ninth ed., sec. 185.) — almost as wellsettled, indeed, as the rule that the
measure of damages for the wrongful detention of money is to be found in the interest.

If the two antagonistic ideas which we have just brought into juxtaposition are capable of reconciliation,
We recognize the possibility that more extensive damages may be recovered where, at the time of the
the process must be accomplished by distinguishing clearly between the right of action arising from the
creation of the contractual obligation, the vendor, or lessor, is aware of the use to which the purchaser or
improper interference with the contract by a stranger thereto, considered as an independent act generate
lessee desires to put the property which is the subject of the contract, and the contract is made with the
of civil liability, and the right of action ex contractu against a party to the contract resulting from the
eyes of the vendor or lessor open to the possibility of the damage which may result to the other party
breach thereof. However, we do not propose here to pursue the matter further, inasmuch as, for reasons
from his own failure to give possession. The case before us is not this character, inasmuch as at the time
when the rights of the parties under the contract were determined, nothing was known to any to them made the damage a possible and likely consequence of the breach was known to the defendant at the
about the San Francisco capitalist who would be willing to back the project portrayed in Exhibit C. time the contract was made.

The extent of the liability for the breach of a contract must be determined in the light of the situation in The statement that special damages may be recovered where the likelihood of such damages flowing
existence at the time the contract is made; and the damages ordinarily recoverable are in all events from the breach of the contract is contemplated and foreseen by the parties needs to be supplemented
limited to such as might be reasonable are in all events limited to such as might be reasonably foreseen by a proposition which, though not enunciated in Hadley vs. Baxendale, is yet clearly to be drawn from
in the light of the facts then known to the contracting parties. Where the purchaser desires to protect subsequent cases. This is that where the damage which a plaintiff seeks to recover as special damage is
himself, in the contingency of the failure of the vendor promptly to give possession, from the possibility of so far speculative as to be in contemplation of law remote, notification of the special conditions which
incurring other damages than such as the incident to the normal value of the use and occupation, he make that damage possible cannot render the defendant liable therefor. To bring damages which would
should cause to be inserted in the contract a clause providing for stipulated amount to the paid upon ordinarily be treated as remote within the category of recoverable special damages, it is necessary that
failure of the vendor to give possession; and not case has been called to our attention where, in the the condition should be made the subject of contract in such sense as to become an express or implied
absence of such a stipulation, damages have been held to be recoverable by the purchaser in excess of term of the engagement. Horne vs. Midland R. Co. (L. R., 8 C. P., 131) is a case where the damage
the normal value of use and occupation. On the contrary, the most fundamental conceptions of the law which was sought to be recovered as special damage was really remote, and some of the judges rightly
relative to the assessment of damages are inconsistent with such idea. places the disallowance of the damage on the ground that to make such damage recoverable, it must so
far have been within the contemplation of the parties as to form at least an implied term of the contract.
But others proceeded on the idea that the notice given to the defendant was not sufficiently full and
The principles governing this branch of the law were profoundly considered in the case
definite. The result was the same in either view. The facts in that case were as follows: The plaintiffs,
Hadley vs. Baxendale (9 Exch., 341), decided in the English Court of Exchequer in 1854; and a few
shoe manufacturers at K, were under contract to supply by a certain day shoes to a firm in London for the
words relative to the principles governing will here be found instructive. The decision in that case is
French government. They delivered the shoes to a carrier in sufficient time for the goods to reach London
considered a leading authority in the jurisprudence of the common law. The plaintiffs in that case were
at the time stipulated in the contract and informed the railroad agent that the shoes would be thrown back
proprietors of a mill in Gloucester, which was propelled by steam, and which was engaged in grinding
upon their hands if they did not reach the destination in time. The defendants negligently failed to forward
and supplying meal and flour to customers. The shaft of the engine got broken, and it became
the good in due season. The sale was therefore lost, and the market having fallen, the plaintiffs had to
necessarily that the broken shaft be sent to an engineer or foundry man at Greenwich, to serve as a
sell at a loss.
model for casting or manufacturing another that would fit into the machinery. The broken shaft could be
delivered at Greenwich on the second day after its receipts by the carrier it. It was delivered to the
defendants, who were common carriers engaged in that business between these points, and who had In the preceding discussion we have considered the plaintiff's right chiefly against Teodorica Endencia;
told plaintiffs it would be delivered at Greenwich on the second day after its delivery to them, if delivered and what has been said suffices in our opinion to demonstrate that the damages laid under the second
at a given hour. The carriers were informed that the mill was stopped, but were not informed of the cause of action in the complaint could not be recovered from her, first, because the damages laid under
special purpose for which the broken shaft was desired to forwarded, They were not told the mill would the second cause of action in the complaint could not be recovered from her, first, because the damages
remain idle until the new shaft would be returned, or that the new shaft could not be manufactured at in question are special damages which were not within contemplation of the parties when the contract
Greenwich until the broken one arrived to serve as a model. There was delay beyond the two days in was made, and secondly, because said damages are too remote to be the subject of recovery. This
delivering the broken shaft at Greenwich, and a corresponding delay in starting the mill. No explanation conclusion is also necessarily fatal to the right of the plaintiff to recover such damages from the
of the delay was offered by the carriers. The suit was brought to recover damages for the lost profits of defendant corporation, for, as already suggested, by advising Teodorica not to perform the contract, said
the mill, cause by the delay in delivering the broken shaft. It was held that the plaintiff could not recover. corporation could in no event render itself more extensively liable than the principle in the contract.

The discussion contained in the opinion of the court in that case leads to the conclusion that the Our conclusion is that the judgment of the trial court should be affirmed, and it is so ordered, with costs
damages recoverable in case of the breach of a contract are two sorts, namely, (1) the ordinary, natural, against the appellant.
and in a sense necessary damage; and (2) special damages.

G.R. No. L-9356 February 18, 1915

Ordinary damages is found in all breaches of contract where the are no special circumstances to
distinguish the case specially from other contracts. The consideration paid for an unperformed promise is
an instance of this sort of damage. In all such cases the damages recoverable are such as naturally and C. S. GILCHRIST, plaintiff-appellee,
generally would result from such a breach, "according to the usual course of things." In case involving vs.
only ordinary damage no discussion is ever indulged as to whether that damage was contemplated or E. A. CUDDY, ET AL., defendants.
not. This is conclusively presumed from the immediateness and inevitableness of the damage, and the JOSE FERNANDEZ ESPEJO and MARIANO ZALDARRIAGA, appellants.
recovery of such damage follows as a necessary legal consequence of the breach. Ordinary damage is
assumed as a matter of law to be within the contemplation of the parties. TRENT, J.:

Special damage, on the other hand, is such as follows less directly from the breach than ordinary An appeal by the defendants, Jose Fernandez Espejo and Mariano Zaldarriaga, from a judgment of the
damage. It is only found in case where some external condition, apart from the actual terms to the Court of First Instance of Iloilo, dismissing their cross-complaint upon the merits for damages against the
contract exists or intervenes, as it were, to give a turn to affairs and to increase damage in a way that the plaintiff for the alleged wrongful issuance of a mandatory and a preliminary injunction.
promisor, without actual notice of that external condition, could not reasonably be expected to foresee.
Concerning this sort of damage, Hadley vs.Baxendale (1854) [supra] lays down the definite and just rule
that before such damage can be recovered the plaintiff must show that the particular condition which Upon the application of the appellee an ex parte mandatory injunction was issued on the 22d of May,
1913, directing the defendant, E. A. Cuddy, to send to the appellee a certain cinematograph film called
"Zigomar" in compliance with an alleged contract which had been entered into between these two parties, satisfactory reason for the omission, and that the missing portion of the evidence must be submitted
and at the time an ex partepreliminary injunction was issued restraining the appellants from receiving and within sixty days or cause shown for failing to do so. The other cases making exceptions to the rule are
exhibiting in their theater the Zigomar until further orders of the court. On the 26th of that month the based upon peculiar circumstances which will seldom arise in practice and need not here be set forth, for
appellants appeared and moved the court to dissolve the preliminary injunction. When the case was the reason that they are wholly inapplicable to the present case. The appellants would be entitled to
called for trial on August 6, the appellee moved for the dismissal of the complaint "for the reason that indulgence only under the doctrine of the Olsen case. But from that portion of the record before us, we
there is no further necessity for the maintenance of the injunction." The motion was granted without are not inclined to believe that the missing deposition would be sufficient to justify us in reversing the
objection as to Cuddy and denied as to the appellants in order to give them an opportunity to prove that findings of fact of the trial court that the contract in question had been made. There is in the record not
the injunction were wrongfully issued and the amount of damages suffered by reason thereof. only the positive and detailed testimony of Gilchrist to this effect, but there is also a letter of apology from
Cuddy to Gilchrist in which the former enters into a lengthy explanation of his reasons for leasing the film
to another party. The latter could only have been called forth by a broken contract with Gilchrist to lease
The pertinent part of the trial court's findings of fact in this case is as follows:
the film to him. We, therefore, fail to find any reason for overlooking the omission of the defendants to
bring up the missing portion of the evidence and, adhering to the general rule above referred to, proceed
It appears in this case that Cuddy was the owner of the film Zigomar and that on the 24th of to examine the questions of law raised by the appellants.
April he rented it to C. S. Gilchrist for a week for P125, and it was to be delivered on the 26th of
May, the week beginning that day. A few days prior to this Cuddy sent the money back to
From the above-quoted findings of fact it is clear that Cuddy, a resident of Manila, was the owner of the
Gilchrist, which he had forwarded to him in Manila, saying that he had made other
"Zigomar;" that Gilchrist was the owner of a cinematograph theater in Iloilo; that in accordance with the
arrangements with his film. The other arrangements was the rental to these defendants Espejo
terms of the contract entered into between Cuddy and Gilchrist the former leased to the latter the
and his partner for P350 for the week and the injunction was asked by Gilchrist against these
"Zigomar" for exhibition in his (Gilchrist's) theater for the week beginning May 26, 1913; and that Cuddy
parties from showing it for the week beginning the 26th of May.
willfully violate his contract in order that he might accept the appellant's offer of P350 for the film for the
same period. Did the appellants know that they were inducing Cuddy to violate his contract with a third
It appears from the testimony in this case, conclusively, that Cuddy willfully violated his party when they induced him to accept the P350? Espejo admitted that he knew that Cuddy was the
contract, he being the owner of the picture, with Gilchrist because the defendants had offered owner of the film. He received a letter from his agents in Manila dated April 26, assuring him that he
him more for the same period. Mr. Espejo at the trial on the permanent injunction on the 26th of could not get the film for about six weeks. The arrangement between Cuddy and the appellants for the
May admitted that he knew that Cuddy was the owner of the film. He was trying to get it exhibition of the film by the latter on the 26th of May were perfected after April 26, so that the six weeks
through his agents Pathe Brothers in Manila. He is the agent of the same concern in Iloilo. would include and extend beyond May 26. The appellants must necessarily have known at the time they
There is in evidence in this case on the trial today as well as on the 26th of May, letters made their offer to Cuddy that the latter had booked or contracted the film for six weeks from April 26.
showing that the Pathe Brothers in Manila advised this man on two different occasions not to Therefore, the inevitable conclusion is that the appellants knowingly induced Cuddy to violate his contract
contend for this film Zigomar because the rental price was prohibitive and assured him also with another person. But there is no specific finding that the appellants knew the identity of the other
that he could not get the film for about six weeks. The last of these letters was written on the party. So we must assume that they did not know that Gilchrist was the person who had contracted for
26th of April, which showed conclusively that he knew they had to get this film from Cuddy and the film.
from this letter that the agent in Manila could not get it, but he made Cuddy an offer himself
and Cuddy accepted it because he was paying about three times as much as he had
The appellants take the position that if the preliminary injunction had not been issued against them they
contracted with Gilchrist for. Therefore, in the opinion of this court, the defendants failed
could have exhibited the film in their theater for a number of days beginning May 26, and could have also
signally to show the injunction against the defendant was wrongfully procured.
subleased it to other theater owners in the nearby towns and, by so doing, could have cleared, during the
life of their contract with Cuddy, the amount claimed as damages. Taking this view of the case, it will be
The appellants duly excepted to the order of the court denying their motion for new trial on the ground unnecessary for us to inquire whether the mandatory injunction against Cuddy was properly issued or
that the evidence was insufficient to justify the decision rendered. There is lacking from the record before not. No question is raised with reference to the issuance of that injunction.
us the deposition of the defendant Cuddy, which apparently throws light upon a contract entered into
between him and the plaintiff Gilchrist. The contents of this deposition are discussed at length in the brief
The right on the part of Gilchrist to enter into a contract with Cuddy for the lease of the film must be fully
of the appellants and an endeavor is made to show that no such contract was entered into. The trial
recognized and admitted by all. That Cuddy was liable in an action for damages for the breach of that
court, which had this deposition before it, found that there was a contract between Cuddy and Gilchrist.
contract, there can be no doubt. Were the appellants likewise liable for interfering with the contract
Not having the deposition in question before us, it is impossible to say how strongly it militates against
between Gilchrist and Cuddy, they not knowing at the time the identity of one of the contracting parties?
this findings of fact. By a series of decisions we have construed section 143 and 497 (2) of the Code of
The appellants claim that they had a right to do what they did. The ground upon which the appellants
Civil Procedure to require the production of all the evidence in this court. This is the duty of the appellant
base this contention is, that there was no valid and binding contract between Cuddy and Gilchrist and
and, upon his failure to perform it, we decline to proceed with a review of the evidence. In such cases we
that, therefore, they had a right to compete with Gilchrist for the lease of the film, the right to compete
rely entirely upon the pleadings and the findings of fact of the trial court and examine only such assigned
being a justification for their acts. If there had been no contract between Cuddy and Gilchrist this defense
errors as raise questions of law. (Ferrer vs. Neri Abejuela, 9 Phil. Rep., 324; Valle vs. Galera, 10 Phil.
would be tenable, but the mere right to compete could not justify the appellants in intentionally inducing
Rep., 619; Salvacion vs. Salvacion, 13 Phil. Rep., 366; Breta vs. Smith, Bell & Co., 15 Phil. Rep., 446;
Cuddy to take away the appellee's contractual rights.
Arroyo vs. Yulo, 18 Phil. Rep., 236; Olsen & Co. vs. Matson, Lord & Belser Co., 19 Phil. Rep., 102;
Blum vs. Barretto, 19 Phil. Rep., 161; Cuyugan vs. Aguas, 19 Phil. Rep., 379; Mapa vs. Chaves, 20 Phil.
Rep., 147; Mans vs. Garry, 20 Phil. Rep., 134.) It is true that some of the more recent of these cases Chief Justice Wells in Walker vs. Cronin (107 Mass., 555), said: "Everyone has a right to enjoy the fruits
make exceptions to the general rule. Thus, in Olsen & Co. vs.Matson, Lord & Belser Co., (19 Phil. Rep., and advantages of his own enterprise, industry, skill and credit. He has no right to be free from malicious
102), that portion of the evidence before us tended to show that grave injustice might result from a strict and wanton interference, disturbance or annoyance. If disturbance or loss come as a result of
reliance upon the findings of fact contained in the judgment appealed from. We, therefore, gave the competition, or the exercise of like rights by others, it is damnum absque injuria, unless some superior
appellant an opportunity to explain the omission. But we required that such explanation must show a right by contract or otherwise is interfered with."
In Read vs. Friendly Society of Operative Stonemasons ([1902] 2 K. B., 88), Darling, J., said: "I think the We subsequently affirmed the doctrine of the Devesa case in Palafox vs. Madamba (19 Phil., Rep., 444),
plaintiff has a cause of action against the defendants, unless the court is satisfied that, when they and we take this occasion of again affirming it, believing, as we do, that the indiscriminate use of
interfered with the contractual rights of plaintiff, the defendants had a sufficient justification for their injunctions should be discouraged.
interference; . . . for it is not a justification that `they acted bona fide in the best interests of the society of
masons,' i. e., in their own interests. Nor is it enough that `they were not actuated by improper motives.' I
Does the fact that the appellants did not know at the time the identity of the original lessee of the film
think their sufficient justification for interference with plaintiff's right must be an equal or superior right in
militate against Gilchrist's right to a preliminary injunction, although the appellant's incurred civil liability
themselves, and that no one can legally excuse himself to a man, of whose contract he has procured the
for damages for such interference? In the examination of the adjudicated cases, where in injunctions
breach, on the ground that he acted on a wrong understanding of his own rights, or without malice,
have been issued to restrain wrongful interference with contracts by strangers to such contracts, we have
or bona fide, or in the best interests of himself, or even that he acted as an altruist, seeking only good of
been unable to find any case where this precise question was involved, as in all of those cases which we
another and careless of his own advantage." (Quoted with approval in Beekman vs. Marsters, 195 Mass.,
have examined, the identity of both of the contracting parties was known to the tort-feasors. We might
say, however, that this fact does not seem to have a controlling feature in those cases. There is nothing in
section 164 of the Code of Civil Procedure which indicates, even remotely, that before an injunction may
It is said that the ground on which the liability of a third party for interfering with a contract between others issue restraining the wrongful interference with contrast by strangers, the strangers must know the
rests, is that the interference was malicious. The contrary view, however, is taken by the Supreme Court identity of both parties. It would seem that this is not essential, as injunctions frequently issue against
of the United States in the case of Angle vs. Railway Co. (151 U. S., 1). The only motive for interference municipal corporations, public service corporations, public officers, and others to restrain the commission
by the third party in that case was the desire to make a profit to the injury of one of the parties of the of acts which would tend to injuriously affect the rights of person whose identity the respondents could
contract. There was no malice in the case beyond the desire to make an unlawful gain to the detriment of not possibly have known beforehand. This court has held that in a proper case injunction will issue at the
one of the contracting parties. instance of a private citizen to restrain ultra vires acts of public officials. (Severino vs. Governor-General,
16 Phil. Rep., 366.) So we proceed to the determination of the main question of whether or not the
preliminary injunction ought to have been issued in this case.
In the case at bar the only motive for the interference with the Gilchrist — Cuddy contract on the part of
the appellants was a desire to make a profit by exhibiting the film in their theater. There was no malice
beyond this desire; but this fact does not relieve them of the legal liability for interfering with that contract As a rule, injunctions are denied to those who have an adequate remedy at law. Where the choice is
and causing its breach. It is, therefore, clear, under the above authorities, that they were liable to Gilchrist between the ordinary and the extraordinary processes of law, and the former are sufficient, the rule will
for the damages caused by their acts, unless they are relieved from such liability by reason of the fact not permit the use of the latter. (In re Debs, 158 U. S., 564.) If the injury is irreparable, the ordinary
that they did not know at the time the identity of the original lessee (Gilchrist) of the film. process is inadequate. In Wahle vs.Reinbach (76 Ill., 322), the supreme court of Illinois approved a
definition of the term "irreparable injury" in the following language: "By `irreparable injury' is not meant
such injury as is beyond the possibility of repair, or beyond possible compensation in damages, nor
The liability of the appellants arises from unlawful acts and not from contractual obligations, as they were
necessarily great injury or great damage, but that species of injury, whether great or small, that ought not
under no such obligations to induce Cuddy to violate his contract with Gilchrist. So that if the action of
to be submitted to on the one hand or inflicted on the other; and, because it is so large on the one hand,
Gilchrist had been one for damages, it would be governed by chapter 2, title 16, book 4 of the Civil Code.
or so small on the other, is of such constant and frequent recurrence that no fair or reasonable redress
Article 1902 of that code provides that a person who, by act or omission, causes damages to another
can be had therefor in a court of law." (Quoted with approval in Nashville R. R. Co. vs. McConnell, 82
when there is fault or negligence, shall be obliged to repair the damage do done. There is nothing in this
Fed., 65.)
article which requires as a condition precedent to the liability of a tort-feasor that he must know the
identity of a person to whom he causes damages. In fact, the chapter wherein this article is found clearly
shows that no such knowledge is required in order that the injured party may recover for the damage The case at bar is somewhat novel, as the only contract which was broken was that between Cuddy and
suffered. Gilchrist, and the profits of the appellee depended upon the patronage of the public, for which it is
conceded the appellants were at liberty to complete by all fair does not deter the application of remarked
in the case of the "ticket scalpers" (82 Fed., 65), the novelty of the facts does not deter the application of
But the fact that the appellants' interference with the Gilchrist contract was actionable did not of itself
equitable principles. This court takes judicial notice of the general character of a cinematograph or
entitle Gilchrist to sue out an injunction against them. The allowance of this remedy must be justified
motion-picture theater. It is a quite modern form of the play house, wherein, by means of an apparatus
under section 164 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which specifies the circumstance under which an
known as a cinematograph or cinematograph, a series of views representing closely successive phases
injunction may issue. Upon the general doctrine of injunction we said in Devesa vs. Arbes (13 Phil. Rep.,
of a moving object, are exhibited in rapid sequence, giving a picture which, owing to the persistence of
vision, appears to the observer to be in continuous motion. (The Encyclopedia Britanica, vol. 6, p. 374.)
The subjects which have lent themselves to the art of the photographer in this manner have increased
An injunction is a "special remedy" adopted in that code (Act No. 190) from American practice, enormously in recent years, as well as have the places where such exhibition are given. The attendance,
and originally borrowed from English legal procedure, which was there issued by the authority and, consequently, the receipts, at one of these cinematograph or motion-picture theaters depends in no
and under the seal of a court of equity, and limited, as in order cases where equitable relief is small degree upon the excellence of the photographs, and it is quite common for the proprietor of the
sought, to cases where there is no "plain, adequate, and complete remedy at law," which "will theater to secure an especially attractive exhibit as his "feature film" and advertise it as such in order to
not be granted while the rights between the parties are undetermined, except in extraordinary attract the public. This feature film is depended upon to secure a larger attendance that if its place on the
cases where material and irreparable injury will be done," which cannot be compensated in program were filled by other films of mediocre quality. It is evident that the failure to exhibit the feature
damages, and where there will be no adequate remedy, and which will not, as a rule, be film will reduce the receipts of the theater.
granted, to take property out of the possession of one party and put it into that of
another whose title has not been established by law.
Hence, Gilchrist was facing the immediate prospect of diminished profits by reason of the fact that the
appellants had induced Cuddy to rent to them the film Gilchrist had counted upon as his feature film. It is
quite apparent that to estimate with any decree of accuracy the damages which Gilchrist would likely
suffer from such an event would be quite difficult if not impossible. If he allowed the appellants to exhibit Co., 151 U. S., 1; 14 Sup. Ct., 240; 38 L. Ed., 55; Martens vs. Reilly, 109 Wis., 464, 84 N. W.,
the film in Iloilo, it would be useless for him to exhibit it again, as the desire of the public to witness the 840; Rice vs. Manley, 66 N. Y., 82; 23 Am. Rep., 30; Bitterman vs. L. & N. R. R. Co., 207 U. S.,
production would have been already satisfied. In this extremity, the appellee applied for and was granted, 205; 28 Sup. Ct., 91; 52 L. Ed., 171; Beekman vs. Marsters, 195 Mass., 205; 80 N. E., 817; 11
as we have indicated, a mandatory injunction against Cuddy requiring him to deliver the Zigomar to L. R. A. [N. S.] 201; 122 Am. St. Rep., 232; South Wales Miners' Fed. vs.Glamorgan Coal Co.,
Gilchrist, and a preliminary injunction against the appellants restraining them from exhibiting that film in Appeal Cases, 1905, p. 239.)
their theater during the weeks he (Gilchrist) had a right to exhibit it. These injunction saved the plaintiff
harmless from damages due to the unwarranted interference of the defendants, as well as the difficult
See also Nims on Unfair Business Competition, pp. 351- 371.
task which would have been set for the court of estimating them in case the appellants had been allowed
to carry out their illegal plans. As to whether or not the mandatory injunction should have been issued, we
are not, as we have said, called upon to determine. So far as the preliminary injunction issued against the In 3 Elliot on Contracts, section 2511, it is said: "Injunction is the proper remedy to prevent a wrongful
appellants is concerned, which prohibited them from exhibiting the Zigomar during the week which interference with contract by strangers to such contracts where the legal remedy is insufficient and the
Gilchrist desired to exhibit it, we are of the opinion that the circumstances justified the issuance of that resulting injury is irreparable. And where there is a malicious interference with lawful and valid contracts a
injunction in the discretion of the court. permanent injunction will ordinarily issue without proof of express malice. So, an injunction may be
issued where the complainant to break their contracts with him by agreeing to indemnify who breaks his
contracts of employment may be adjoined from including other employees to break their contracts and
We are not lacking in authority to support our conclusion that the court was justified in issuing the
enter into new contracts with a new employer of the servant who first broke his contract. But the remedy
preliminary injunction against the appellants. Upon the precise question as to whether injunction will
by injunction cannot be used to restrain a legitimate competition, though such competition would involve
issue to restrain wrongful interference with contracts by strangers to such contracts, it may be said that
the violation of a contract. Nor will equity ordinarily enjoin employees who have quit the service of their
courts in the United States have usually granted such relief where the profits of the injured person are
employer from attempting by proper argument to persuade others from taking their places so long as they
derived from his contractual relations with a large and indefinite number of individuals, thus reducing him
do not resort to force or intimidations on obstruct the public thoroughfares."
to the necessity of proving in an action against the tort-feasor that the latter was responsible in each case
for the broken contract, or else obliging him to institute individual suits against each contracting party and
so exposing him to a multiplicity of suits. Sperry & Hutchinson Co. vs.Mechanics' Clothing Co. (128 Fed., Beekman vs. Marster, supra, is practically on all fours with the case at bar in that there was only one
800); Sperry & Hutchinson Co. vs. Louis Weber & Co. (161 Fed., 219); Sperry & Hutchinson contract in question and the profits of the injured person depended upon the patronage of the public.
Co. vs. Pommer (199 Fed., 309); were all cases wherein the respondents were inducing retail merchants Hamby & Toomer vs.Georgia Iron & Coal Co., supra, is also similar to the case at bar in that there was
to break their contracts with the company for the sale of the latters' trading stamps. Injunction issued in only one contract, the interference of which was stopped by injunction.
each case restraining the respondents from interfering with such contracts.
For the foregoing reasons the judgment is affirmed, with costs, against the appellants.
In the case of the Nashville R. R. Co. vs. McConnell (82 Fed., 65), the court, among other things, said:
"One who wrongfully interferes in a contract between others, and, for the purpose of gain to himself
Arellano, C.J., Torres, Carson and Araullo, JJ., concur.
induces one of the parties to break it, is liable to the party injured thereby; and his continued interference
may be ground for an injunction where the injuries resulting will be irreparable."
G.R. No. 155831 February 18, 2008
In Hamby & Toomer vs. Georgia Iron & Coal Co. (127 Ga., 792), it appears that the respondents were MA. LOURDES T. DOMINGO, petitioner,
interfering in a contract for prison labor, and the result would be, if they were successful, the shutting vs.
down of the petitioner's plant for an indefinite time. The court held that although there was no contention ROGELIO I. RAYALA, respondent.
that the respondents were insolvent, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting a preliminary x-------------------------x
injunction against the respondents. G.R. No. 155840 February 18, 2008
ROGELIO I. RAYALA, petitioner,
In Beekman vs. Marsters (195 Mass., 205), the plaintiff had obtained from the Jamestown Hotel OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT; RONALDO V. ZAMORA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary; ROY
Corporation, conducting a hotel within the grounds of the Jamestown Exposition, a contract whereby he V. SENERES, in his capacity as Chairman of the National Labor Relations Commission (in lieu of
was made their exclusive agent for the New England States to solicit patronage for the hotel. The RAUL T. AQUINO, in his capacity as Acting Chairman of the National labor Relations
defendant induced the hotel corporation to break their contract with the plaintiff in order to allow him to Commission); and MA. LOURDES T. DOMINGO, respondents.
act also as their agent in the New England States. The court held that an action for damages would not x-------------------------x
have afforded the plaintiff adequate relief, and that an injunction was proper compelling the defendant to G.R. No. 158700 February 18, 2008
desist from further interference with the plaintiff's exclusive contract with the hotel company. The REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT; and
ALBERTO G. ROMULO, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, petitioners,
In Citizens' Light, Heat & Power Co. vs. Montgomery Light & Water Power Co. (171 Fed., 553), the court, vs.
while admitting that there are some authorities to the contrary, held that the current authority in the United ROGELIO I. RAYALA, respondent.
States and England is that:
The violation of a legal right committed knowingly is a cause of action, and that it is a violation
of a legal right to interfere with contractual relations recognized by law, if there be no sufficient NACHURA, J.:
justification for the interference. (Quinn vs. Leatham, supra, 510; Angle vs. Chicago, etc., Ry.
Sexual harassment is an imposition of misplaced "superiority" which is enough to dampen an employee’s Lourdes: Huwag na ho hindi ko kailangan.
spirit and her capacity for advancement. It affects her sense of judgment; it changes her life.1 Chairman: Hindi sige, kuhanin mo. Ayusin mo ang dapat ayusin.
Tinanggap ko po ang pera ng may pag-aalinlangan. Natatakot at kinakabahan na kapag hindi
ko tinanggap ang pera ay baka siya magagalit kasabay na rito ang pagtapon sa akin kung
Before this Court are three Petitions for Review on Certiorari assailing the October 18, 2002 Resolution
saan-saan opisina o kaya ay tanggalin ako sa posisyon.
of the CA’s Former Ninth Division2 in CA-G.R. SP No. 61026. The Resolution modified the December 14,
Chairman: Paglabas mo itago mo ang pera. Ayaw ko ng may makaka-alam nito. Just
2001 Decision3 of the Court of Appeals’ Eleventh Division, which had affirmed the Decision of the Office
the two of us.
of the President (OP) dismissing from the service then National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC)
Lourdes: Bakit naman, Sir?
Chairman Rogelio I. Rayala (Rayala) for disgraceful and immoral conduct.
Chairman: Basta. Maraming tsismosa diyan sa labas. But I don’t give them a damn.
Hindi ako mamatay sa kanila.
All three petitions stem from the same factual antecedents. Tumayo na ako at lumabas. Pumanhik na ako ng 8th Floor at pumunta ako sa officemate ko na
si Agnes Magdaet. Ikinwento ko ang nangyari sa akin sa opisina ni Chairman. Habang
kinikwento ko ito kay Agnes ay binilang namin ang pera na nagkakahalaga ng tatlong libong
On November 16, 1998, Ma. Lourdes T. Domingo (Domingo), then Stenographic Reporter III at the piso (PHP 3,000). Sinabi ni Agnes na isauli ko raw ang pera, pero ang sabi ko ay natatakot ako
NLRC, filed a Complaint for sexual harassment against Rayala before Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma baka magalit si Sir. Nagsabi agad kami kay EC Perlita Velasco at sinalaysay ko ang nangyari.
of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Sinabi niya na isauli ko ang pera at noong araw ding iyon ay nagpasiya akong isauli na nga ito
ngunit hindi ako nagkaroon ng pagkakataon dahil marami siyang naging bisita. Isinauli ko nga
To support the Complaint, Domingo executed an Affidavit narrating the incidences of sexual harassment ang pera noong Lunes, Setyembre 14, 1998.
complained of, thus: 7. Noong huling linggo ng Setyembre, 1998, ay may tinanong din sa akin si Chairman Rayala
na hindi ko masikmura, at sa aking palagay at tahasang pambabastos sa akin.
Chairman: Lot, may ka live-in ka ba?
xxxx Lourdes: Sir, wala po.
Chairman: Bakit malaki ang balakang mo?
4. Sa simula ay pabulong na sinasabihan lang ako ni Chairman Rayala ng mga salitang "Lot, Lourdes: Kayo, Sir ha! Masama sa amin ang may ka live-in.
gumaganda ka yata?" Chairman: Bakit, ano ba ang relihiyon ninyo?
Lourdes: Catholic, Sir. Kailangan ikasal muna.
Chairman: Bakit ako, hindi kasal.
5. Sa ibang mga pagkakataon nilalapitan na ako ni Chairman at hahawakan ang aking balikat Lourdes: Sir, di magpakasal kayo.
sabay pisil sa mga ito habang ako ay nagta-type at habang nagbibigay siya ng diktasyon. Sa Chairman: Huh. Ibahin na nga natin ang usapan.
mga pagkakataong ito, kinakabahan ako. Natatakot na baka mangyari sa akin ang mga 8. Noong Oktubre 29, 1998, ako ay pumasok sa kwarto ni Chairman Rayala. Ito ay sa
napapabalitang insidente na nangyari na noon tungkol sa mga sekretarya niyang nagbitiw kadahilanang ang fax machine ay nasa loob ng kaniyang kwarto. Ang nag-aasikaso nito, si
gawa ng mga mahahalay na panghihipo ni Chairman. Riza Ocampo, ay naka-leave kaya ako ang nag-asikaso nito noong araw na iyon. Nang
mabigyan ko na ng fax tone yung kausap ko, pagharap ko sa kanan ay nakaharang sa
6. Noong ika-10 ng Setyembre, 1998, nang ako ay nasa 8th Floor, may nagsabi sa akin na dadaanan ko si Chairman Rayala. Tinitingnan ako sa mata at ang titig niya ay umuusad mula
kailangan akong bumaba sa 7th Floor kung nasaan ang aming opisina dahil sa may koreksyon ulo hanggang dibdib tapos ay ngumiti na may mahalay na pakahulugan.
daw na gagawin sa mga papel na tinayp ko. Bumaba naman ako para gawin ito. Habang 9. Noong hapon naman ng pareho pa ring petsa, may nag-aapply na sekretarya sa opisina,
ginagawa ko ito, lumabas si Chairman Rayala sa silid ni Mr. Alex Lopez. Inutusan ako ni sinabi ko ito kay Chairman Rayala:
Chairman na sumunod sa kaniyang silid. Nang nasa silid na kami, sinabi niya sa akin: Lourdes: Sir, si Pinky po yung applicant, mag-papainterview po yata sa inyo.
Chairman: Sabihin mo magpa-pap smear muna siya
Chairman: O sige, i-refer mo kay Alex. (Alex Lopez, Chief of Staff).
Chairman: Lot, I like you a lot. Naiiba ka sa lahat. 10. Noong Nobyembre 9, 1998, ako ay tinawag ni Chairman Rayala sa kaniyang opisina upang
kuhanin ko ang diktasyon niya para kay ELA Oscar Uy. Hindi pa kami nakakatapos ng unang
At pagkatapos ako ay kaniyang inusisa tungkol sa mga personal na bagay sa aking buhay. Ang talata, may pumasok na bisita si Chairman, si Baby Pangilinan na sinamahan ni Riza Ocampo.
ilan dito ay tungkol sa aking mga magulang, kapatid, pag-aaral at kung may boyfriend na raw Pinalabas muna ako ni Chairman. Nang maka-alis na si Ms. Pangilinan, pinapasok na niya ako
ba ako. ulit. Umupo ako. Lumapit sa likuran ko si Chairman, hinawakan ang kaliwang balikat ko na
pinipisil ng kanang kamay niya at sinabi:
Chairman: Saan na ba tayo natapos?
Chairman: May boyfriend ka na ba? Palakad-lakad siya sa aking likuran habang nag-didikta. Huminto siya pagkatapos, at nilagay
Lourdes: Dati nagkaroon po. niya ang kanang kamay niya sa aking kanang balikat at pinisil-pisil ito pagkatapos ay
Chairman: Nasaan na siya? pinagapang niya ito sa kanang bahagi ng aking leeg, at pinagapang hanggang kanang tenga
Lourdes: Nag-asawa na ho. at saka kiniliti. Dito ko inalis ang kaniyang kamay sa pamamagitan ng aking kaliwang kamay. At
Chairman: Bakit hindi kayo nagkatuluyan? saka ko sinabi:
Lourdes: Nainip po. Lourdes: Sir, yung kamay ninyo alisin niyo!
Chairman: Pagkatapos mo ng kurso mo ay kumuha ka ng Law at ako ang bahala sa
iyo, hanggang ako pa ang Chairman dito.
Pagkatapos ay kumuha siya ng pera sa kaniyang amerikana at inaabot sa akin. Natapos ko rin ang liham na pinagagawa niya pero halos hindi ko na maintindihan ang na-
Chairman: Kuhanin mo ito. isulat ko dahil sa takot at inis na nararamdaman ko.4
After the last incident narrated, Domingo filed for leave of absence and asked to be immediately had shown an attitude, a frame of mind, a disgraceful conduct, which renders him unfit to
transferred. Thereafter, she filed the Complaint for sexual harassment on the basis of Administrative remain in the service.
Order No. 250, the Rules and Regulations Implementing RA 7877 in the Department of Labor and
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respondent Rogelio I. Rayala, Chairman, National
Labor Relations Commission, is found guilty of the grave offense of disgraceful and immoral
Upon receipt of the Complaint, the DOLE Secretary referred the Complaint to the OP, Rayala being a conduct and is hereby DISMISSED from the service effective upon receipt of this Order.
presidential appointee. The OP, through then Executive Secretary Ronaldo Zamora, ordered Secretary
Laguesma to investigate the allegations in the Complaint and create a committee for such purpose. On
December 4, 1998, Secretary Laguesma issued Administrative Order (AO) No. 280, Series of
1998,5 constituting a Committee on Decorum and Investigation (Committee) in accordance with Republic
Act (RA) 7877, the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995.6 Rayala filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which the OP denied in a Resolution 8 dated May 24, 2000. He
then filed a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order under Rule
65 of the Revised Rules on Civil Procedure before this Court on June 14, 2000.9 However, the same was
The Committee heard the parties and received their respective evidence. On March 2, 2000, the
dismissed in a Resolution dated June 26, 2000 for disregarding the hierarchy of courts. 10 Rayala filed a
Committee submitted its report and recommendation to Secretary Laguesma. It found Rayala guilty of the
Motion for
offense charged and recommended the imposition of the minimum penalty provided under AO 250, which
it erroneously stated as suspension for six (6) months.
Reconsideration11 on August 15, 2000. In its Resolution12 dated September 4, 2000, the Court recalled its
June 26 Resolution and referred the petition to the Court of Appeals (CA) for appropriate action.
The following day, Secretary Laguesma submitted a copy of the Committee Report and Recommendation
to the OP, but with the recommendation that the penalty should be suspension for six (6) months and one
(1) day, in accordance with AO 250. The CA rendered its Decision13 on December 14, 2001. It held that there was sufficient evidence on
record to create moral certainty that Rayala committed the acts he was charged with. It said:
On May 8, 2000, the OP, through Executive Secretary Zamora, issued AO 119,7 the pertinent portions of
which read: The complainant narrated her story complete with details. Her straightforward and uninhibited
testimony was not emasculated by the declarations of Commissioner Rayala or his witnesses.
Upon a careful scrutiny of the evidence on record, I concur with the findings of the Committee
as to the culpability of the respondent [Rayala], the same having been established by clear and
convincing evidence. However, I disagree with the recommendation that respondent be meted Moreover, Commissioner Rayala has not proven any vicious motive for Domingo and her
only the penalty of suspension for six (6) months and one (1) day considering the witnesses to invent their stories. It is very unlikely that they would perjure themselves only to
circumstances of the case. accommodate the alleged conspiracy to oust petitioner from office. Save for his empty
conjectures and speculations, Rayala failed to substantiate his contrived conspiracy. It is a
hornbook doctrine that conspiracy must be proved by positive and convincing evidence
What aggravates respondent’s situation is the undeniable circumstance that he took advantage
(People v. Noroña, 329 SCRA 502 [2000]). Besides, it is improbable that the complainant
of his position as the superior of the complainant. Respondent occupies the highest position in
would concoct a story of sexual harassment against the highest official of the NLRC and
the NLRC, being its Chairman. As head of said office, it was incumbent upon respondent to set
thereby expose herself to the possibility of losing her job, or be the subject of reprisal from her
an example to the others as to how they should conduct themselves in public office, to see to it
superiors and perhaps public ridicule if she was not telling the truth.
that his subordinates work efficiently in accordance with Civil Service Rules and Regulations,
and to provide them with healthy working atmosphere wherein co-workers treat each other with
respect, courtesy and cooperation, so that in the end the public interest will be benefited (City It also held that Rayala’s dismissal was proper. The CA pointed out that Rayala was dismissed for
Mayor of Zamboanga vs. Court of Appeals, 182 SCRA 785 [1990]). disgraceful and immoral conduct in violation of RA 6713, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for
Public Officials and Employees. It held that the OP was correct in concluding that Rayala’s acts violated
RA 6713:
What is more, public service requires the utmost integrity and strictest discipline (Gano vs.
Leonen, 232 SCRA 99 [1994]). Thus, a public servant must exhibit at all times the highest
sense of honesty and integrity, and "utmost devotion and dedication to duty" (Sec. 4 (g), RA Indeed, [Rayala] was a public official, holding the Chairmanship of the National Labor Relations
6713), respect the rights of others and shall refrain from doing acts contrary to law, and good Commission, entrusted with the sacred duty of administering justice. Occupying as he does
morals (Sec. 4(c)). No less than the Constitution sanctifies the principle that a public office is a such an exalted position, Commissioner Rayala must pay a high price for the honor bestowed
public trust, and enjoins all public officers and employees to serve with the highest degree of upon him. He must comport himself at all times in such a manner that the conduct of his
responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency (Section 1, Article XI, 1987 Constitution). everyday life should be beyond reproach and free from any impropriety. That the acts
complained of were committed within the sanctuary of [his] office compounded the
objectionable nature of his wrongdoing. By daring to violate the complainant within the solitude
Given these established standards, I see respondent’s acts not just [as] a failure to give due
of his chambers, Commissioner Rayala placed the integrity of his office in disrepute. His
courtesy and respect to his co-employees (subordinates) or to maintain good conduct and
disgraceful and immoral conduct warrants his removal from office.14
behavior but defiance of the basic norms or virtues which a government official must at all
times uphold, one that is contrary to law and "public sense of morality." Otherwise stated,
respondent – to whom stricter standards must apply being the highest official [of] the NLRC – Thus, it dismissed the petition, to wit:
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED and She argues that the power to remove Rayala, a presidential appointee, is lodged with the President who
Administrative Order No. 119 as well [as] the Resolution of the Office of the President in O.P. has control of the entire Executive Department, its bureaus and offices. The OP’s decision was arrived at
Case No. 00-E-9118 dated May 24, 2000 are AFFIRMED IN TOTO. No cost. after affording Rayala due process. Hence, his dismissal from the service is a prerogative that is entirely
with the President.22
As to the applicability of AO No. 250, she argues that the same was not intended to cover cases against
presidential appointees. AO No. 250 refers only to the instances wherein the DOLE Secretary is the
Rayala timely filed a Motion for Reconsideration. Justices Vasquez and Tolentino voted to affirm the
disciplining authority, and thus, the AO does not circumscribe the power of the President to dismiss an
December 14 Decision. However, Justice Reyes dissented mainly because AO 250 states that the
erring presidential appointee.
penalty imposable is suspension for six (6) months and one (1) day.16 Pursuant to the internal rules of the
CA, a Special Division of Five was constituted.17 In its October 18, 2002 Resolution, the CA modified its
earlier Decision: G.R. No. 155840

ACCORDINGLY, the Decision dated December [14], 2001 is MODIFIED to the effect that the In his petition, Rayala raises the following issues:
penalty of dismissal is DELETED and instead the penalty of suspension from service for the
maximum period of one (1) year is HEREBY IMPOSED upon the petitioner. The rest of the
challenged decision stands.

Domingo filed a Petition for Review18 before this Court, which we denied in our February 19, 2003 II. CONTRARY TO THE FINDINGS OF THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, INTENT
Resolution for having a defective verification. She filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which the Court IS AN INDISPENSABLE ELEMENT IN A CASE FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT. THE
Rayala likewise filed a Petition for Review19 with this Court essentially arguing that he is not guilty of any
Meanwhile, the Republic filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the CA’s October 18, 2002 Resolution. The
CA denied the same in its June 3, 2003 Resolution, the dispositive portion of which reads:

ACCORDINGLY, by a majority vote, public respondents’ Motion for Reconsideration, (sic)

Invoking Aquino v. Acosta,24 Rayala argues that the case is the definitive ruling on what constitutes
sexual harassment. Thus, he posits that for sexual harassment to exist under RA 7877, there must be:
(a) demand, request, or requirement of a sexual favor; (b) the same is made a pre-condition to hiring, re-
SO ORDERED. employment, or continued employment; or (c) the denial thereof results in discrimination against the
The Republic then filed its own Petition for Review.20
Rayala asserts that Domingo has failed to allege and establish any sexual favor, demand, or request
from petitioner in exchange for her continued employment or for her promotion. According to Rayala, the
On June 28, 2004, the Court directed the consolidation of the three (3) petitions. acts imputed to him are without malice or ulterior motive. It was merely Domingo’s perception of malice in
his alleged acts – a "product of her own imagination"25 – that led her to file the sexual harassment
G.R. No. 155831 complaint.

Domingo assails the CA’s resolution modifying the penalty imposed by the Office of the President. She Likewise, Rayala assails the OP’s interpretation, as upheld by the CA, that RA 7877 is malum
raises this issue: prohibitum such that the defense of absence of malice is unavailing. He argues that sexual harassment is
considered an offense against a particular person, not against society as a whole. Thus, he claims that
intent is an essential element of the offense because the law requires as a conditio sine qua non that a
The Court of Appeals erred in modifying the penalty for the respondent from dismissal to sexual favor be first sought by the offender in order to achieve certain specific results. Sexual
suspension from service for the maximum period of one year. The President has the harassment is committed with the perpetrator’s deliberate intent to commit the offense.26
prerogative to determine the proper penalty to be imposed on an erring Presidential appointee.
The President was well within his power when he fittingly used that prerogative in deciding to
dismiss the respondent from the service.21 Rayala next argues that AO 250 expands the acts proscribed in RA 7877. In particular, he assails the
definition of the forms of sexual harassment:
Rule IV behavior.33 Since Rayala’s security of tenure is conditioned upon his good behavior, he may be removed
from office if it is proven that he has failed to live up to this standard.
All the issues raised in these three cases can be summed up in two ultimate questions, namely:
Section 1. Forms of Sexual Harassment. – Sexual harassment may be committed in any of
the following forms: (1) Did Rayala commit sexual harassment?

a) Overt sexual advances; (2) If he did, what is the applicable penalty?

b) Unwelcome or improper gestures of affection; Initially, however, we must resolve a procedural issue raised by Rayala. He accuses the Office of the
Solicitor General (OSG), as counsel for the Republic, of forum shopping because it filed a motion for
reconsideration of the decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 61026 and then filed a comment in G.R. No. 155840
c) Request or demand for sexual favors including but not limited to going out on dates, outings
before this Court.
or the like for the same purpose;

We do not agree.
d) Any other act or conduct of a sexual nature or for purposes of sexual gratification which is
generally annoying, disgusting or offensive to the victim.27
Forum shopping is an act of a party, against whom an adverse judgment or order has been rendered in
one forum, of seeking and possibly securing a favorable opinion in another forum, other than by appeal
He posits that these acts alone without corresponding demand, request, or requirement do not constitute
or special civil action for certiorari.34 It consists of filing multiple suits involving the same parties for the
sexual harassment as contemplated by the law.28 He alleges that the rule-making power granted to the
same cause of action, either simultaneously or successively, for the purpose of obtaining a favorable
employer in Section 4(a) of RA 7877 is limited only to procedural matters. The law did not delegate to the
employer the power to promulgate rules which would provide other or additional forms of sexual
harassment, or to come up with its own definition of sexual harassment.29
There is forum shopping when the following elements concur: (1) identity of the parties or, at least, of the
parties who represent the same interest in both actions; (2) identity of the rights asserted and relief
G.R. No. 158700
prayed for, as the latter is founded on the same set of facts; and (3) identity of the two preceding
particulars such that any judgment rendered in the other action will amount to res judicata in the action
The Republic raises this issue: under consideration or will constitute litis pendentia.36

Whether or not the President of the Philippines may validly dismiss respondent Rayala Reviewing the antecedents of these consolidated cases, we note that the CA rendered the assailed
as Chairman of the NLRC for committing acts of sexual harassment.30 Resolution on October 18, 2002. The Republic filed its Motion for Reconsideration on November 22,
2002. On the other hand, Rayala filed his petition before this Court on November 21, 2002. While the
Republic’s Motion for Reconsideration was pending resolution before the CA, on December 2, 2002, it
The Republic argues that Rayala’s acts constitute sexual harassment under AO 250. His acts constitute was directed by this Court to file its Comment on Rayala’s petition, which it submitted on June 16, 2003.
unwelcome or improper gestures of affection and are acts or conduct of a sexual nature, which are
generally annoying or offensive to the victim.31
When the CA denied the Motion for Reconsideration, the Republic filed its own Petition for Review with
this Court on July 3, 2003. It cited in its "Certification and Verification of a Non-Forum Shopping" (sic),
It also contends that there is no legal basis for the CA’s reduction of the penalty imposed by the OP. that there was a case involving the same facts pending before this Court denominated as G.R. No.
Rayala’s dismissal is valid and warranted under the circumstances. The power to remove the NLRC 155840. With respect to Domingo’s petition, the same had already been dismissed on February 19, 2003.
Chairman solely rests upon the President, limited only by the requirements under the law and the due Domingo’s petition was reinstated on June 16, 2003 but the resolution was received by the OSG only on
process clause. July 25, 2003, or after it had filed its own petition.37

The Republic further claims that, although AO 250 provides only a one (1) year suspension, it will not Based on the foregoing, it cannot be said that the OSG is guilty of forum shopping. We must point out
prevent the OP from validly imposing the penalty of dismissal on Rayala. It argues that even though that it was Rayala who filed the petition in the CA, with the Republic as the adverse party. Rayala himself
Rayala is a presidential appointee, he is still subject to the Civil Service Law. Under the Civil Service Law, filed a motion for reconsideration of the CA’s December 21, 2001 Decision, which led to a more favorable
disgraceful and immoral conduct, the acts imputed to Rayala, constitute grave misconduct punishable by ruling, i.e., the lowering of the penalty from dismissal to one-year suspension. The parties adversely
dismissal from the service.32 The Republic adds that Rayala’s position is invested with public trust and his affected by this ruling (Domingo and the Republic) had the right to question the same on motion for
acts violated that trust; thus, he should be dismissed from the service.
reconsideration. But Domingo directly filed a Petition for Review with this Court, as did Rayala. When the
Republic opted to file a motion for reconsideration, it was merely exercising a right. That Rayala and
This argument, according to the Republic, is also supported by Article 215 of the Labor Code, which Domingo had by then already filed cases before the SC did not take away this right. Thus, when this
states that the Chairman of the NLRC holds office until he reaches the age of 65 only during good Court directed the Republic to file its Comment on Rayala’s petition, it had to comply, even if it had an
unresolved motion for reconsideration with the CA, lest it be cited for contempt.
Accordingly, it cannot be said that the OSG "file[d] multiple suits involving the same parties for the same discriminate, deprive or diminish employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect said
cause of action, either simultaneously or successively, for the purpose of obtaining a favorable employee;
(2) The above acts would impair the employee’s rights or privileges under existing labor laws;
We now proceed to discuss the substantive issues. or

It is noteworthy that the five CA Justices who deliberated on the case were unanimous in upholding the (3) The above acts would result in an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for the
findings of the Committee and the OP. They found the assessment made by the Committee and the OP employee.
to be a "meticulous and dispassionate analysis of the testimonies of the complainant (Domingo), the
respondent (Rayala), and their respective witnesses." 38 They differed only on the appropriate imposable
This section, in relation to Section 7 on penalties, defines the criminal aspect of the unlawful act of sexual
harassment. The same section, in relation to Section 6, authorizes the institution of an independent civil
action for damages and other affirmative relief.
That Rayala committed the acts complained of – and was guilty of sexual harassment – is, therefore, the
common factual finding of not just one, but three independent bodies: the Committee, the OP and the
Section 4, also in relation to Section 3, governs the procedure for administrative cases, viz.:
CA. It should be remembered that when supported by substantial evidence, factual findings made by
quasi-judicial and administrative bodies are accorded great respect and even finality by the courts. 39 The
principle, therefore, dictates that such findings should bind us.40 Sec. 4. Duty of the Employer or Head of Office in a Work-related, Education or Training
Environment. – It shall be the duty of the employer or the head of the work-related, educational
or training environment or institution, to prevent or deter the commission of acts of sexual
Indeed, we find no reason to deviate from this rule. There appears no valid ground for this Court to
harassment and to provide the procedures for the resolution, settlement or prosecution of acts
review the factual findings of the CA, the OP, and the Investigating Committee. These findings are now
of sexual harassment. Towards this end, the employer or head of office shall:
conclusive on the Court. And quite significantly, Rayala himself admits to having committed some of the
acts imputed to him.
(a) Promulgate appropriate rules and regulations in consultation with and jointly
approved by the employees or students or trainees, through their duly designated
He insists, however, that these acts do not constitute sexual harassment, because Domingo did not
representatives, prescribing the procedure for the investigation or sexual harassment
allege in her complaint that there was a demand, request, or requirement of a sexual favor as a condition
cases and the administrative sanctions therefor.
for her continued employment or for her promotion to a higher position. 41 Rayala urges us to apply to his
case our ruling in Aquino v. Acosta.42
Administrative sanctions shall not be a bar to prosecution in the proper courts for
unlawful acts of sexual harassment.
We find respondent’s insistence unconvincing.

The said rules and regulations issued pursuant to this section (a) shall include,
Basic in the law of public officers is the three-fold liability rule, which states that the wrongful acts or
among others, guidelines on proper decorum in the workplace and educational or
omissions of a public officer may give rise to civil, criminal and administrative liability. An action for each
training institutions.
can proceed independently of the others.43 This rule applies with full force to sexual harassment.

(b) Create a committee on decorum and investigation of cases on sexual

The law penalizing sexual harassment in our jurisdiction is RA 7877. Section 3 thereof defines work-
harassment. The committee shall conduct meetings, as the case may be, with other
related sexual harassment in this wise:
officers and employees, teachers, instructors, professors, coaches, trainors and
students or trainees to increase understanding and prevent incidents of sexual
Sec. 3. Work, Education or Training-related Sexual Harassment Defined. – Work, education or harassment. It shall also conduct the investigation of the alleged cases constituting
training-related sexual harassment is committed by an employer, manager, supervisor, agent of sexual harassment.
the employer, teacher, instructor, professor, coach, trainor, or any other person who, having
authority, influence or moral ascendancy over another in a work or training or education
In the case of a work-related environment, the committee shall be composed of at least one (1)
environment, demands, requests or otherwise requires any sexual favor from the other,
representative each from the management, the union, if any, the employees from the
regardless of whether the demand, request or requirement for submission is accepted by the
supervisory rank, and from the rank and file employees.
object of said Act.

In the case of the educational or training institution, the committee shall be composed of at
(a) In a work-related or employment environment, sexual harassment is committed when:
least one (1) representative from the administration, the trainors, teachers, instructors,
professors or coaches and students or trainees, as the case maybe.
(1) The sexual favor is made as a condition in the hiring or in the employment, re-employment
or continued employment of said individual, or in granting said individual favorable
The employer or head of office, educational or training institution shall disseminate or post a
compensation, terms, conditions, promotions, or privileges; or the refusal to grant the sexual
copy of this Act for the information of all concerned.
favor results in limiting, segregating or classifying the employee which in a way would
The CA, thus, correctly ruled that Rayala’s culpability is not to be determined solely on the basis of fact, she did not even relate to anyone what happened to her. Undeniably, there is no manifest
Section 3, RA 7877, because he is charged with the administrative offense, not the criminal infraction, of sexual undertone in all those incidents.47
sexual harassment.44 It should be enough that the CA, along with the Investigating Committee and the
Office of the President, found substantial evidence to support the administrative charge.
This Court agreed with Justice Salonga, and Judge Acosta was exonerated.

Yet, even if we were to test Rayala’s acts strictly by the standards set in Section 3, RA 7877, he would
To repeat, this factual milieu in Aquino does not obtain in the case at bench. While in Aquino, the Court
still be administratively liable. It is true that this provision calls for a "demand, request or requirement of a
interpreted the acts (of Judge Acosta) as casual gestures of friendship and camaraderie, done during
sexual favor." But it is not necessary that the demand, request or requirement of a sexual favor be
festive or special occasions and with other people present, in the instant case, Rayala’s acts of holding
articulated in a categorical oral or written statement. It may be discerned, with equal certitude, from the
and squeezing Domingo’s shoulders, running his fingers across her neck and tickling her ear, and the
acts of the offender. Holding and squeezing Domingo’s shoulders, running his fingers across her neck
inappropriate comments, were all made in the confines of Rayala’s office when no other members of his
and tickling her ear, having inappropriate conversations with her, giving her money allegedly for school
staff were around. More importantly, and a circumstance absent in Aquino, Rayala’s acts, as already
expenses with a promise of future privileges, and making statements with unmistakable sexual overtones
adverted to above, produced a hostile work environment for Domingo, as shown by her having reported
– all these acts of Rayala resound with deafening clarity the unspoken request for a sexual favor.
the matter to an officemate and, after the last incident, filing for a leave of absence and requesting
transfer to another unit.
Likewise, contrary to Rayala’s claim, it is not essential that the demand, request or requirement be made
as a condition for continued employment or for promotion to a higher position. It is enough that the
Rayala also argues that AO 250 does not apply to him. First, he argues that AO 250 does not cover the
respondent’s acts result in creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for the
NLRC, which, at the time of the incident, was under the DOLE only for purposes of program and policy
employee.45 That the acts of Rayala generated an intimidating and hostile environment for Domingo is
coordination. Second, he posits that even assuming AO 250 is applicable to the NLRC, he is not within its
clearly shown by the common factual finding of the Investigating Committee, the OP and the CA that
coverage because he is a presidential appointee.
Domingo reported the matter to an officemate and, after the last incident, filed for a leave of absence and
requested transfer to another unit.
We find, however, that the question of whether or not AO 250 covers Rayala is of no real consequence.
46 The events of this case unmistakably show that the administrative charges against Rayala were for
Rayala’s invocation of Aquino v. Acosta is misplaced, because the factual setting in that case is different
violation of RA 7877; that the OP properly assumed jurisdiction over the administrative case; that the
from that in the case at bench. In Aquino, Atty. Susan Aquino, Chief of the Legal and Technical Staff of
participation of the DOLE, through the Committee created by the Secretary, was limited to initiating the
the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA), charged then CTA Presiding Judge (now Presiding Justice) Ernesto
investigation process, reception of evidence of the parties, preparation of the investigation report, and
Acosta of sexual harassment. She complained of several incidents when Judge Acosta allegedly kissed
recommending the appropriate action to be taken by the OP. AO 250 had never really been applied to
her, embraced her, and put his arm around her shoulder. The case was referred to CA Justice Josefina
Rayala. If it was used at all, it was to serve merely as an auxiliary procedural guide to aid the Committee
G. Salonga for investigation. In her report, Justice Salonga found that "the complainant failed to show by
in the orderly conduct of the investigation.
convincing evidence that the acts of Judge Acosta in greeting her with a kiss on the cheek, in a `beso-
beso’ fashion, were carried out with lustful and lascivious desires or were motivated by malice or ill
motive. It is clear from the circumstances that most of the kissing incidents were done on festive and Next, Rayala alleges that the CA erred in holding that sexual harassment is an offense malum
special occasions," and they "took place in the presence of other people and the same was by reason of prohibitum. He argues that intent is an essential element in sexual harassment, and since the acts
the exaltation or happiness of the moment." Thus, Justice Salonga concluded: imputed to him were done allegedly without malice, he should be absolved of the charges against him.

In all the incidents complained of, the respondent's pecks on the cheeks of the complainant We reiterate that what is before us is an administrative case for sexual harassment. Thus, whether the
should be understood in the context of having been done on the occasion of some festivities, crime of sexual harassment is malum in se or malum prohibitum is immaterial.
and not the assertion of the latter that she was singled out by Judge Acosta in his kissing
escapades. The busses on her cheeks were simply friendly and innocent, bereft of malice and
We also reject Rayala’s allegations that the charges were filed because of a conspiracy to get him out of
lewd design. The fact that respondent judge kisses other people on the cheeks in the 'beso-
office and thus constitute merely political harassment. A conspiracy must be proved by clear and
beso' fashion, without malice, was corroborated by Atty. Florecita P. Flores, Ms. Josephine
convincing evidence. His bare assertions cannot stand against the evidence presented by Domingo. As
Adalem and Ms. Ma. Fides Balili, who stated that they usually practice 'beso-beso' or kissing
we have already ruled, the acts imputed to Rayala have been proven as fact. Moreover, he has not
on the cheeks, as a form of greeting on occasions when they meet each other, like birthdays,
proven any ill motive on the part of Domingo and her witnesses which would be ample reason for her to
Christmas, New Year's Day and even Valentine's Day, and it does not matter whether it is
conjure stories about him. On the contrary, ill motive is belied by the fact that Domingo and her witnesses
Judge Acosta's birthday or their birthdays. Theresa Cinco Bactat, a lawyer who belongs to
– all employees of the NLRC at that time – stood to lose their jobs or suffer unpleasant consequences for
complainant's department, further attested that on occasions like birthdays, respondent judge
coming forward and charging their boss with sexual harassment.
would likewise greet her with a peck on the cheek in a 'beso-beso' manner. Interestingly, in one
of several festive occasions, female employees of the CTA pecked respondent judge on the
cheek where Atty. Aquino was one of Judge Acosta's well wishers. Furthermore, Rayala decries the alleged violation of his right to due process. He accuses the Committee
on Decorum of railroading his trial for violation of RA 7877. He also scored the OP’s decision finding him
guilty of "disgraceful and immoral conduct" under the Revised Administrative Code and not for violation of
In sum, no sexual harassment had indeed transpired on those six occasions. Judge Acosta's
RA 7877. Considering that he was not tried for "disgraceful and immoral conduct," he argues that the
acts of bussing Atty. Aquino on her cheek were merely forms of greetings, casual and
verdict is a "sham and total nullity."
customary in nature. No evidence of intent to sexually harass complainant was apparent, only
that the innocent acts of 'beso-beso' were given malicious connotations by the complainant. In
We hold that Rayala was properly accorded due process. In previous cases, this Court held that:
[i]n administrative proceedings, due process has been recognized to include the following: (1) In this case, it is the President of the Philippines, as the proper disciplining authority, who would
the right to actual or constructive notice of the institution of proceedings which may affect a determine whether there is a valid cause for the removal of Rayala as NLRC Chairman. This power,
respondent’s legal rights; (2) a real opportunity to be heard personally or with the assistance of however, is qualified by the phrase "for cause as provided by law." Thus, when the President found that
counsel, to present witnesses and evidence in one’s favor, and to defend one’s rights; (3) a Rayala was indeed guilty of disgraceful and immoral conduct, the Chief Executive did not have unfettered
tribunal vested with competent jurisdiction and so constituted as to afford a person charged discretion to impose a penalty other than the penalty provided by law for such offense. As cited above,
administratively a reasonable guarantee of honesty as well as impartiality; and (4) a finding by the imposable penalty for the first offense of either the administrative offense of sexual harassment or for
said tribunal which is supported by substantial evidence submitted for consideration during the disgraceful and immoral conduct is suspension of six (6) months and one (1) day to one (1) year.
hearing or contained in the records or made known to the parties affected.48 Accordingly, it was error for the Office of the President to impose upon Rayala the penalty of dismissal
from the service, a penalty which can only be imposed upon commission of a second offense.
The records of the case indicate that Rayala was afforded all these procedural due process safeguards.
Although in the beginning he questioned the authority of the Committee to try him,49 he appeared, Even if the OP properly considered the fact that Rayala took advantage of his high government position,
personally and with counsel, and participated in the proceedings. it still could not validly dismiss him from the service. Under the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative
Cases in the Civil Service,56 taking undue advantage of a subordinate may be considered as an
aggravating circumstance57 and where only aggravating and no mitigating circumstances are present, the
On the other point raised, this Court has held that, even in criminal cases, the designation of the offense
maximum penalty shall be imposed.58Hence, the maximum penalty that can be imposed on Rayala is
is not controlling, thus:
suspension for one (1) year.

What is controlling is not the title of the complaint, nor the designation of the offense charged
Rayala holds the exalted position of NLRC Chairman, with the rank equivalent to a CA Justice. Thus, it is
or the particular law or part thereof allegedly violated, these being mere conclusions of law
not unavailing that rigid standards of conduct may be demanded of him. In Talens-Dabon v. Judge
made by the prosecutor, but the description of the crime charged and the particular facts
Arceo,59 this Court, in upholding the liability of therein respondent Judge, said:
therein recited. The acts or omissions complained of must be alleged in such form as is
sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is intended to be
charged, and enable the court to pronounce proper judgment. No information for a crime will be The actuations of respondent are aggravated by the fact that complainant is one of his
sufficient if it does not accurately and clearly allege the elements of the crime charged. Every subordinates over whom he exercises control and supervision, he being the executive judge.
element of the offense must be stated in the information. What facts and circumstances are He took advantage of his position and power in order to carry out his lustful and lascivious
necessary to be included therein must be determined by reference to the definitions and desires. Instead of he being in loco parentis over his subordinate employees, respondent was
essentials of the specified crimes. The requirement of alleging the elements of a crime in the the one who preyed on them, taking advantage of his superior position.
information is to inform the accused of the nature of the accusation against him so as to enable
him to suitably prepare his defense.50
In yet another case, this Court declared:

It is noteworthy that under AO 250, sexual harassment amounts to disgraceful and immoral
As a managerial employee, petitioner is bound by more exacting work ethics. He failed to live
conduct.51 Thus, any finding of liability for sexual harassment may also be the basis of culpability for
up to his higher standard of responsibility when he succumbed to his moral perversity. And
disgraceful and immoral conduct.
when such moral perversity is perpetrated against his subordinate, he provides a justifiable
ground for his dismissal for lack of trust and confidence. It is the right, nay, the duty of every
With the foregoing disquisitions affirming the finding that Rayala committed sexual harassment, we now employer to protect its employees from oversexed superiors.60
determine the proper penalty to be imposed.
It is incumbent upon the head of office to set an example on how his employees should conduct
Rayala attacks the penalty imposed by the OP. He alleges that under the pertinent Civil Service Rules, themselves in public office, so that they may work efficiently in a healthy working atmosphere. Courtesy
disgraceful and immoral conduct is punishable by suspension for a period of six (6) months and one (1) demands that he should set a good example.61
day to one (1) year. He also argues that since he is charged administratively, aggravating or mitigating
circumstances cannot be appreciated for purposes of imposing the penalty.
Rayala has thrown every argument in the book in a vain effort to effect his exoneration. He even puts
Domingo’s character in question and casts doubt on the morality of the former President who ordered,
Under AO 250, the penalty for the first offense is suspension for six (6) months and one (1) day to one (1) albeit erroneously, his dismissal from the service. Unfortunately for him, these are not significant factors
year, while the penalty for the second offense is dismissal.52 On the other hand, Section 22(o), Rule XVI in the disposition of the case. It is his character that is in question here and sadly, the inquiry showed that
of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of the Administrative Code of 198753 and Section 52 A(15) of he has been found wanting.
the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service 54 both provide that the first
offense of disgraceful and immoral conduct is punishable by suspension of six (6) months and one (1)
WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the October 18, 2002 Resolution of the Court of
day to one (1) year. A second offense is punishable by dismissal.
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 61026 is AFFIRMED. Consequently, the petitions in G.R. Nos. 155831,
155840, and 158700 are DENIED. No pronouncement as to costs.
Under the Labor Code, the Chairman of the NLRC shall hold office during good behavior until he or she
reaches the age of sixty-five, unless sooner removed for cause as provided by law or becomes
incapacitated to discharge the duties of the office.55
G.R. No. 187495 April 21, 2014 Contrary to and in Violation of R.A. 8353, the Anti-Rape Law of 1997.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, Meanwhile the Information in Criminal Case No. 99-669 reads:
EDGAR JUMAWAN, Accused-Appellant.
That on or about 10:30 in the evening more or less, of October 10, 1998, at Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused by means of
DECISION force upon person did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with the
private complainant, her [sic] wife, against the latter's will.
"Among the duties assumed by the husband are his duties to love, cherish and protect his wife, to give
her a home, to provide her with the comforts and the necessities of life within his means, to treat her Contrary to and in Violation of R.A. 8353, the Anti-Rape Law of 1997.
kindly and not cruelly or inhumanely. He is bound to honor her x x x; it is his duty not only to maintain and
support her, but also to protect her from oppression and wrong."1
The accused-appellant was arrested upon a warrant issued on July 21, 1999.11 On August 18, 1999, the
accused-appellant filed a Motion for Reinvestigation,12 which was denied by the trial court in an
REYES, J.: Order13 dated August 19, 1999. On even date, the accused-appellant was arraigned and he entered a
plea of not guilty to both charges.14
Husbands do not have property rights over their wives' bodies. Sexual intercourse, albeit within the realm
of marriage, if not consensual, is rape. This is the clear State policy expressly legislated in Section 266-A On January 10, 2000, the prosecution filed a Motion to Admit Amended Information15 averring that the
of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), as amended by Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8353 or the Anti-Rape Law of name of the private complainant was omitted in the original informations for rape. The motion also stated
1997. that KKK, thru a Supplemental Affidavit dated November 15, 1999,16 attested that the true dates of
commission of the crime are October 16, 1998 and October 1 7, 1998 thereby modifying the dates stated
in her previous complaint-affidavit. The motion was granted on January 18, 2000.17 Accordingly, the
The Case
criminal informations were amended as follows:

This is an automatic review2 of the Decision3 dated July 9, 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R.
Criminal Case No. 99-668:
CR-HC No. 00353, which affirmed the Judgment4 dated April 1, 2002 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Cagayan de Oro City, Branch 19, in Criminal Case Nos. 99-668 and 99-669 convicting him to suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count. That on or about October 16, 1998 at Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused by means of force upon person did then and there
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with the private complainant, his wife, [KKK],
The Facts
against the latter's will.

Accused-appellant and his wife, KKK,5 were married on October 18, 1975. They Ii ved together since
Contrary to and in violation of R.A. 8353, the Anti-Rape Law of 1997.18
then and raised their four (4) children6 as they put up several businesses over the years.

Criminal Case No. 99-669:

On February 19, 1999, KKK executed a Complaint-Affidavit,7 alleging that her husband, the accused-
appellant, raped her at 3 :00 a.m. of December 3, 1998 at their residence in Phase 2, Villa Ernesto,
Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City, and that on December 12, 1998, the accused-appellant boxed her shoulder That on or about October 17, 1998 at Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction
for refusing to have sex with him. of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused by means of force upon person did then and there
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with the private complainant, his wife, [KKK],
against the latter's will.
On June 11, 1999, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Cagayan de Oro City issued a Joint
Resolution,8 finding probable cause for grave threats, less serious physical injuries and rape and
recommending that the appropriate criminal information be filed against the accused-appellant. Contrary to and in violation of R.A. 8353, the Anti-Rape Law of 1997.19

On July 16, 1999, two Informations for rape were filed before the RTC respectively docketed as Criminal The accused-appellant was thereafter re-arraigned. He maintained his not guilty plea to both indictments
Case No. 99-6689 and Criminal Case No. 99-669.10 The Information in Criminal Case No. 99-668 charged and a joint trial of the two cases forthwith ensued.
the accused-appellant as follows:
Version of the prosecution
That on or about 10:30 in the evening more or less, of October 9, 1998, at Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused by means of
The prosecution's theory was anchored on the testimonies of KKK, and her daughters MMM and 000,
force upon person did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with the
which, together with pertinent physical evidence, depicted the following events:
private complainant, her [sic] wife, against the latter[']s will.
KKK met the accused-appellant at the farm of her parents where his father was one of the laborers. They lifted the cot and threw it against the wall causing KKK to fall on the floor. Terrified, KKK stood up from
got married after a year of courtship.20 When their first child, MMM, was born, KKK and the accused- where she fell, took her pillow and transferred to the bed.37
appellant put up a sari-sari store.21 Later on, they engaged in several other businesses -trucking, rice mill
and hardware. KKK managed the businesses except for the rice mill, which, ideally, was under the
The accused-appellant then lay beside KKK and not before long, expressed his desire to copulate with
accused-appellant's supervision with the help of a trusted employee. In reality, however, he merely
her by tapping his fingers on her lap. She politely declined by warding off his hand and reiterating that
assisted in the rice mill business by occasionally driving one of the trucks to haul goods. 22
she was not feeling well.38

Accused-appellant's keenness to make the businesses flourish was not as fervent as KKK's dedication.
The accused-appellant again asserted his sexual yearning and when KKK tried to resist by holding on to
Even the daughters observed the disproportionate labors of their parents.23 He would drive the trucks
her panties, he pulled them down so forcefully they tore on the sides.39 KKK stayed defiant by refusing to
sometimes but KKK was the one who actively managed the businesses.24
bend her legs.40

She wanted to provide a comfortable life for their children; he, on the other hand, did not acquiesce with
The accused-appellant then raised KKK's daster,41 stretched her legs apart and rested his own legs on
that objective.25
them. She tried to wrestle him away but he held her hands and succeeded in penetrating her. As he was
carrying out his carnal desires, KKK continued to protest by desperately shouting: "[D]on 't do that to me
In 1994, KKK and the accused-appellant bought a lot and built a house in Villa Ernesto, Gusa, Cagayan because I'm not feeling well."42
de Oro City.26 Three of the children transferred residence therein while KKK, the accused-appellant and
one of their sons stayed in Dangcagan, Bukidnon. She shuttled between the two places regularly and
With a concrete wall on one side and a mere wooden partition on the other enclosing the spouses'
sometimes he accompanied her.27 In 1998, KKK stayed in Gusa, Cagayan De Oro City most of the days
bedroom,43KKK's pleas were audible in the children's bedroom where MMM lay awake.
of the week.28 On Wednesdays, she went to Dangcagan, Bukidnon to procure supplies for the family
store and then returned to Cagayan de Oro City on the same day.29
Upon hearing her mother crying and hysterically shouting: "Eddie, don't do that to me, have pity on
me,"44 MMM woke up 000 who prodded her to go to their parents' room.45 MMM hurriedly climbed
Conjugal intimacy did not really cause marital problems between KKK and the accused-appellant. It was,
upstairs, vigorously knocked on the door of her parents' bedroom and inquired: "Pa, why is it that Mama
in fact, both frequent and fulfilling. He treated her well and she, of course, responded with equal degree
is crying?"46 The accused-appellant then quickly put on his briefs and shirt, partly opened the door and
of enthusiasm.30However, in 1997, he started to be brutal in bed. He would immediately remove her
said: "[D]on 't interfere because this is a family trouble," before closing it again.47 Since she heard her
panties and, sans any foreplay, insert her penis in her vagina. His abridged method of lovemaking was
mother continue to cry, MMM ignored his father's admonition, knocked at the bedroom door again, and
physically painful for her so she would resist his sexual ambush but he would threaten her into
then kicked it.48 A furious accused-appellant opened the door wider and rebuked MMM once more: "Don't
interfere us. Go downstairs because this is family trouble!" Upon seeing KKK crouching and crying on top
of the bed, MMM boldly entered the room, approached her mother and asked: "Ma, why are you crying?"
In 1998, KKK and the accused-appellant started quarrelling usually upon his complaint that she failed to before asking her father: "Pa, what happened to Mama why is it that her underwear is torn[?]" 49
attend to him. She was preoccupied with financial problems in their businesses and a bank loan. He
wanted KKK to stay at home because "a woman must stay in the house and only good in bed (sic) x x x."
When MMM received no definite answers to her questions, she helped her mother get up in order to
She disobeyed his wishes and focused on her goal of providing a good future for the children.32
bring her to the girls' bedroom. KKK then picked up her tom underwear and covered herself with a
blanket.50 However, their breakout from the room was not easy. To prevent KKK from leaving, the
Four days before the subject rape incidents or on October 12, 1998, KKK and the accused-appellant accused-appellant blocked the doorway by extending his arm towards the knob. He commanded KKK to
slept together in Cebu City where the graduation rites of their eldest daughter were held. By October 14, "[S]tay here, you sleep in our room," when the trembling KKK pleaded: "Eddie, allow me to go out." He
1998, the three of them were already back in Cagayan de Oro City.33 then held KKK's hands but she pulled them back. Determined to get away, MMM leaned against door and
embraced her mother tightly as they pushed their way out.51
On October 16, 1998, the accused-appellant, his wife KKK and their children went about their nightly
routine. The family store in their residence was closed at about 9:00 p.m. before supper was taken. In their bedroom, the girls gave their mother some water and queried her as to what happened.52 KKK
Afterwards, KKK and the children went to the girls' bedroom at the mezzanine of the house to pray the relayed: "[Y]our father is an animal, a beast; he forced me to have sex with him when I'm not feeling
rosary while the accused-appellant watched television in the living room.34 OOO and MMM then prepared well." The girls then locked the door and let her rest."53
their beds. Soon after, the accused-appellant fetched KKK and bid her to come with him to their conjugal
bedroom in the third floor of the house. KKK complied.35
The accused-appellant's aggression recurred the following night. After closing the family store on October
17, 1998, KKK and the children took their supper. The accused-appellant did not join them since,
Once in the bedroom, KKK changed into a daster and fixed the matrimonial bed but she did not lie according to him, he already ate dinner elsewhere. After resting for a short while, KKK and the children
thereon with the accused-appellant and instead, rested separately in a cot near the bed. Her reclusive proceeded to the girls' bedroom and prayed the rosary. KKK decided to spend the night in the room's
behavior prompted him to ask angrily: "[W]hy are you lying on the c{o]t[?]", and to instantaneously order: small bed and the girls were already fixing the beddings when the accused-appellant entered.
"You transfer here [to] our bed."36
"Why are you sleeping in the room of our children", he asked KKK, who responded that she preferred to
KKK insisted to stay on the cot and explained that she had headache and abdominal pain due to her sleep with the children.54 He then scoffed: "Its alright if you will not go with me, anyway, there are women
forthcoming menstruation. Her reasons did not appease him and he got angrier. He rose from the bed, that could be paid [P] 1,000.00." She dismissed his comment by turning her head away after retorting:
"So be it." After that, he left the room.55
He returned 15 minutes later56 and when KKK still refused to go with him, he became infuriated. He lifted left there by the accused-appellant in October 7 and thereafter, bring it to Cagayan de Oro City together
her from the bed and attempted to carry her out of the room as he exclaimed: "Why will you sleep here[?] with the separate truck loaded with com.
Lets go to our bedroom." When she defied him, he grabbed her short pants causing them to tear
apart.57 At this point, MMM interfered, "Pa, don't do that to Mama because we are in front of you." 58
They arrived in Maluko at 7:00 p.m. and it took them three hours to turn the truck around and hoist it to
the towing bar of the other truck. At around 10:00 p.m., the accused-appellant arrived in Maluko. The four
The presence of his children apparently did not pacify the accused-appellant who yelled, "[E]ven in front of them then proceeded to Cagayan de Oro City where they arrived at 3 :00 a.m. of October 18, 1998.
of you, I can have sex of your mother [sic J because I'm the head of the family." He then ordered his The accused-appellant went to Gusa while the other three men brought the damaged truck to Cugman.65
daughters to leave the room. Frightened, the girls obliged and went to the staircase where they
subsequently heard the pleas of their helpless mother resonate with the creaking bed.59
The accused-appellant asserted that KKK merely fabricated the rape charges as her revenge because he
took over the control and management of their businesses as well as the possession of their pick-up
The episodes in the bedroom were no less disturbing. The accused-appellant forcibly pulled KKK's short truck in January 1999. The accused-appellant was provoked to do so when she failed to account for their
pants and panties. He paid no heed as she begged, "[D]on 't do that to me, my body is still aching and bank deposits and business earnings. The entries in their bank account showed the balance of
also my abdomen and I cannot do what you wanted me to do [sic]. I cannot withstand sex." 60 ₱3,190,539.83 on October 31, 1996 but after only a month or on November 30, 1996, the amount
dwindled to a measly ₱9,894.88.66 Her failure to immediately report to the police also belies her rape
After removing his own short pants and briefs, he flexed her legs, held her hands, mounted her and
forced himself inside her. Once gratified, the accused-appellant put on his short pants and briefs, stood
up, and went out of the room laughing as he conceitedly uttered: "[I]t s nice, that is what you deserve KKK wanted to cover-up her extra-marital affairs, which the accused-appellant gradually detected from
because you are [a] flirt or fond of sex." He then retreated to the masters' bedroom.61 her odd behavior. While in Cebu on October 12, 1998 for MMM's graduation rites, the accused-appellant
and KKK had sexual intercourse. He was surprised when his wife asked him to get a napkin to wipe her
after having sex. He tagged her request as "high-tech," because they did not do the same when they had
Sensing that the commotion in their bedroom has ceased, MMM and OOO scurried upstairs but found
sex in the past. KKK had also become increasingly indifferent to him. When he arrives home, it was an
the door locked. MMM pulled out a jalousie window, inserted her arm, reached for the doorknob inside
employee, not her, who opened the door and welcomed him. She prettied herself and would no longer
and disengaged its lock. Upon entering the room, MMM and OOO found their mother crouched on the
ask for his permission whenever she went out.68
bed with her hair disheveled. The girls asked: "Ma, what happened to you, why are you crying?" KKK
replied: "[Y}our father is a beast and animal, he again forced me to have sex with him even if I don't feel
well. "62 Bebs,69 KKK's cousin and a cashier in their Bukidnon store, gave the accused-appellant several love
letters purportedly addressed to Bebs but were actually intended for KKK. 70
Version of the defense
KKK had more than ten paramours some of whom the accused-appellant came to know as: Arsenio,
Jong-Jong, Joy or Joey, somebody from the military or the Philippine National Police, another one is a
The defense spun a different tale. The accused-appellant's father owned a land adjacent to that of KKK's
government employee, a certain Fernandez and three other priests.71 Several persons told him about the
father. He came to know KKK because she brought food for her father's laborers. When they got married
paramours of his wife but he never confronted her or them about it because he trusted her.72
on October 18, 1975, he was a high school graduate while she was an elementary graduate.

What further confirmed his suspicions was the statement made by OOO on November 2, 1998. At that
Their humble educational background did not deter them from pursuing a comfortable life. Through their
time, OOO was listening loudly to a cassette player. Since he wanted to watch a television program, he
joint hard work and efforts, the couple gradually acquired personal properties and established their own
asked OOO to tum down the volume of the cassette player. She got annoyed, unplugged the player,
businesses that included a rice mill managed by the accused-appellant. He also drove their trucks that
spinned around and hit the accused-appellant's head with the socket. His head bled. An altercation
hauled coffee, copra, or com.63
between the accused-appellant and KKK thereafter followed because the latter took OOO's side. During
the argument, OOO blurted out that KKK was better off without the accused-appellant because she had
The accused-appellant denied raping his wife on October 16 and 17, 1998. He claimed that on those somebody young, handsome, and a businessman unlike the accused-appellant who smelled bad, and
dates he was in Dangcagan, Bukidnon, peeling com. On October 7, his truck met an accident was old, and ugly.73
somewhere in Angeles Ranch, Maluko, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. He left the truck by the roadside
because he had to attend MMM's graduation in Cebu on October 12 with KKK. When they returned to
KKK also wanted their property divided between them with three-fourths thereof going to her and one-
Bukidnon on October 14, he asked KKK and MMM to proceed to Cagayan de Oro City and just leave him
fourth to the accused-appellant. However, the separation did not push through because the accused-
behind so he can take care of the truck and buy some com.64
appellant's parents intervened.74 Thereafter, KKK pursued legal separation from the accused-appellant by
initiating Barangay Case No. 00588-99 before the Office of Lupong Tagapamayapa of Gusa, Cagayan de
Ryle Equia (Equia), the spouses' driver from January 1996 until June 1999 corroborated the above Oro City and thereafter obtaining a Certificate to File Action dated February 18, 1999.75
claims. According to him, on October 16, 1998, the accused-appellant was within the vicinity of the rice
mill's loading area in Dangcagan, Bukidnon, cleaning a pick-up truck. On October 17, 1998, he and the
Ruling of the RTC
accused-appellant were in Dangcagan, Bukidnon, loading sacks of com into the truck. They finished
loading at 3 :00 p.m. The accused-appellant then instructed Equia to proceed to Maluko, Manolo Fortich,
Bukidnon while the former attended a fiesta in New Cebu, Kianggat, Dangcagan, Bukidnon. At around In its Judgment76 dated April 1, 2002, the RTC sustained the version proffered by the prosecution by
4:00 p.m., Equia, together with a helper and a mechanic, left for Maluko in order to tow the stalled truck giving greater weight and credence to the spontaneous and straightforward testimonies of the
prosecution's witnesses. The trial court also upheld as sincere and genuine the two daughters'
testimonies, as it is not natural in our culture for daughters to testify against their own father for a crime WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the appealed Judgment is hereby AFFIRMED.
such as rape if the same was not truly committed.
The trial court rejected the version of the defense and found unbelievable the accused-appellant's
accusations of extra-marital affairs and money squandering against KKK. The trial court shelved the
Hence, the present review. In the Court Resolution80 dated July 6, 2009, the Court notified the parties
accused-appellant's alibi for being premised on inconsistent testimonies and the contradicting
that, if they so desire, they may file their respective supplemental briefs. In a Manifestation and
declarations of the other defense witness, Equia, as to the accused-appellant's actual whereabouts on
Motion81 dated September 4, 2009, the appellee, through the Office of the Solicitor General, expressed
October 16, 1998. Accordingly, the RTC ruling disposed as follows:
that it intends to adopt its Brief before the CA. On April 16, 2012, the accused-appellant, through counsel,
filed his Supplemental Brief, arguing that he was not in Cagayan de Oro City when the alleged rape
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby finds accused Edgar Jumawan "GUILTY" beyond reasonable doubt of incidents took place, and the presence of force, threat or intimidation is negated by: (a) KKK's voluntary
the two (2) separate charges of rape and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of reclusion act of going with him to the conjugal bedroom on October 16, 1998; (b) KKK's failure to put up resistance
perpetua for each, to pay complainant [P]50,000.00 in each case as moral damages, indemnify or seek help from police authorities; and ( c) the absence of a medical certificate and of blood traces in
complainant the sum of (P]75,000.00 in each case, [P]50,000.00 as exemplary damages and to pay the KKK's panties.82
Our Ruling
I. Rape and marriage: the historical connection
Ruling of the CA
The evolution of rape laws is actually traced to two ancient English practices of 'bride capture' whereby a
In its Decision78 dated July 9, 2008, the CA affirmed in toto the RTC ruling. The CA held that Section 14, man conquered a woman through rape and 'stealing an heiress' whereby a man abducted a woman and
Rule 110 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, sanctioned the amendment of the original informations. married her.83
Further, the accused-appellant was not prejudiced by the amendment because he was re-arraigned with
respect to the amended informations.
The rape laws then were intended not to redress the violation of the woman's chastity but rather to punish
the act of obtaining the heiress' property by forcible marriage84 or to protect a man's valuable interest in
The CA found that the prosecution, through the straightforward testimony of the victim herself and the his wife's chastity or her daughter's virginity.85
corroborative declarations of MMM and OOO, was able to establish, beyond reasonable doubt, all the
elements of rape under R.A. No. 8353. The accused-appellant had carnal knowledge of KKK by using
If a man raped an unmarried virgin, he was guilty of stealing her father's property and if a man raped his
force and intimidation.
wife, he was merely using his property.86

The CA also ruled that KKK's failure to submit herself to medical examination did not negate the
Women were subjugated in laws and society as objects or goods and such treatment was justified under
commission of the crime because a medical certificate is not necessary to prove rape.
three ideologies.

The CA rejected the accused-appellant's argument that since he and KKK are husband and wife with
Under the chattel theory prevalent during the 6th century, a woman was the property of her father until
mutual obligations of and right to sexual intercourse, there must be convincing physical evidence or
she marries to become the property of her husband.87 If a man abducted an unmarried woman, he had to
manifestations of the alleged force and intimidation used upon KKK such as bruises. The CA explained
pay the owner, and later buy her from the owner; buying and marrying a wife were synonymous. 88
that physical showing of external injures is not indispensable to prosecute and convict a person for rape;
what is necessary is that the victim was forced to have sexual intercourse with the accused.
From the 11th century to the 16th century, a woman lost her identity upon marriage and the law denied
her political power and status under the feudal doctrine of coverture.89
In addition, the CA noted that the fact that KKK and the accused-appellant are spouses only reinforces
the truthfulness of KKK's accusations because no wife in her right mind would accuse her husband of
having raped her if it were not true. A husband had the right to chastise his wife and beat her if she misbehaved, allowing him to bring order
within the family.90
The delay in the filing of the rape complaint was sufficiently explained by KKK when she stated that she
only found out that a wife may charge his husband with rape when the fiscal investigating her separate This was supplanted by the marital unity theory, which espoused a similar concept. Upon marrying, the
complaint for grave threats and physical injuries told her about it. woman becomes one with her husband. She had no right to make a contract, sue another, own personal
property or write a will.91
Finally, the CA dismissed the accused-appellant's alibi for lack of convincing evidence that it was
physically impossible for him to be at his residence in Cagayan de Oro City at the time of the commission II. The marital exemption rule
of the crimes, considering that Dangcagan, Bukidnon, the place where he allegedly was, is only about
four or five hours away. Accordingly, the decretal portion of the decision read:
In the 17th century, Sir Matthew Hale (Hale), a Chief Justice in England, conceived the irrevocable The other traditional justifications for the marital exemption were the common-law doctrines that a woman
implied consent theory that would later on emerge as the marital exemption rule in rape. He stated that: was the property of her husband and that the legal existence of the woman was "incorporated and
consolidated into that of the husband x x x." Both these doctrines, of course, have long been rejected in
this State. Indeed, "[nowhere] in the common-law world - [or] in any modem society - is a woman
[T]he husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual
regarded as chattel or demeaned by denial of a separate legal identity and the dignity associated with
matrimonial consent and contract the wife hath given up herself in this kind unto her husband, which she
recognition as a whole human being x x x."102 (Citations omitted)
cannot retract.92

By 1993, marital rape was a crime in all 50 states, with 17 of them, as well as the District of Columbia,
The rule was observed in common law countries such as the United States of America (USA) and
outlawing the act without exemptions. Meanwhile, the 33 other states granted some exemptions to a
England. It gives legal immunity to a man who forcibly sexually assaults his wife, an act which would be
husband from prosecution such as when the wife is mentally or physically impaired, unconscious, asleep,
rape if committed against a woman not his wife.93 In those jurisdictions, rape is traditionally defined as
or legally unable to consent.103
"the forcible penetration of the body of a woman who is not the wife of the perpetrator." 94

III. Marital Rape in the Philippines

The first case in the USA that applied the marital exemption rule was Commonwealth v.
Fogerty95 promulgated in 1857. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts pronounced that it would
always be a defense in rape to show marriage to the victim. Several other courts adhered to a similar Interestingly, no documented case on marital rape has ever reached this Court until now. It appears,
rationale with all of them citing Hale's theory as basis.96 however, that the old provisions of rape under Article 335 of the RPC adhered to Hale's irrevocable
implied consent theory, albeit in a limited form. According to Chief Justice Ramon C. Aquino, 104 a husband
may not be guilty of rape under Article 335 of Act No. 3815 but, in case there is legal separation, the
The rule was formally codified in the Penal Code of New York in 1909. A husband was endowed with
husband should be held guilty of rape if he forces his wife to submit to sexual intercourse.105
absolute immunity from prosecution for the rape of his wife.97 The privilege was personal and pertained to
him alone. He had the marital right to rape his wife but he will be liable when he aids or abets another
person in raping her.98 In 1981, the Philippines joined 180 countries in ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Elimination
of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (UN-CEDAW). 106 Hailed as the first international women's
bill of rights, the CEDAW is the first major instrument that contains a ban on all forms of discrimination
In the 1970s, the rule was challenged by women's movements in the USA demanding for its abolition for
against women. The Philippines assumed the role of promoting gender equality and women's
being violative of married women's right to be equally protected under rape laws.99
empowerment as a vital element in addressing global concerns.107 The country also committed, among
others, to condemn discrimination against women in all its forms, and agreed to pursue, by all
In 1978, the rule was qualified by the Legislature in New York by proscribing the application of the rule in appropriate means and without delay, a policy of eliminating discrimination against women and, to this
cases where the husband and wife are living apart pursuant to a court order "which by its terms or in its end, undertook:
effects requires such living apart," or a decree, judgment or written agreement of separation.100
(a) To embody the principle of the equality of men and women in their national constitutions or
In 1983, the marital exemption rule was abandoned in New York when the Court of Appeals of New York other appropriate legislation if not yet incorporated therein and to ensure, through law and
declared the same unconstitutional in People v. Liberta101 for lack of rational basis in distinguishing other appropriate means, the practical realization of this principle;
between marital rape and non-marital rape. The decision, which also renounced Hale's irrevocable
implied consent theory, ratiocinated as follows:
(b) To adopt appropriate legislative and other measures, including sanctions where
appropriate, prohibiting all discrimination against women;
We find that there is no rational basis for distinguishing between marital rape and nonmarital rape. The
various rationales which have been asserted in defense of the exemption are either based upon archaic
notions about the consent and property rights incident to marriage or are simply unable to withstand even
the slightest scrutiny. We therefore declare the marital exemption for rape in the New York statute to be
unconstitutional. (f) To take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish existing laws,
regulations, customs and practices which constitute discrimination against women;
Lord Hale's notion of an irrevocable implied consent by a married woman to sexual intercourse has been
cited most frequently in support of the marital exemption. x x x Any argument based on a supposed (g) To repeal all national penal provisions which constitute discrimination against women. 108
consent, however, is untenable. Rape is not simply a sexual act to which one party does not consent.
Rather, it is a degrading, violent act which violates the bodily integrity of the victim and frequently causes
In compliance with the foregoing international commitments, the Philippines enshrined the principle of
severe, long-lasting physical and psychic harm x x x. To ever imply consent to such an act is irrational
gender equality in the 1987 Constitution specifically in Sections 11 and 14 of Article II thereof, thus:
and absurd. Other than in the context of rape statutes, marriage has never been viewed as giving a
husband the right to coerced intercourse on demand x x x. Certainly, then, a marriage license should not
be viewed as a license for a husband to forcibly rape his wife with impunity. A married woman has the Sec. 11. The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human
same right to control her own body as does an unmarried woman x x x. If a husband feels "aggrieved" by rights.
his wife's refusal to engage in sexual intercourse, he should seek relief in the courts governing domestic
relations, not in "violent or forceful self-help x x x."
Sec. 14. The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the fundamental MR. LARA: x x x [I]n this jurisdiction, well, I only have a limited, very limited 17 years of private practice in
equality before the law of women and men. The Philippines also acceded to adopt and implement the the legal profession, Madam Speaker, and I believe that I can put at stake my license as a lawyer in this
generally accepted principles of international law such as the CEDA W and its allied issuances, viz: jurisdiction there is no law that prohibits a husband from being sued by the wife for rape. Even
jurisprudence, we don't have any jurisprudence that prohibits a wife from suing a husband. That is why
even if we don't provide in this bill expanding the definition of crime that is now being presented for
Article II, Section 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, and adopts the
approval, Madam Speaker, even if we don't provide here for marital rape, even if we don't provide for
generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy
sexual rape, there is the right of the wife to go against the husband. The wife can sue the husband for
of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations. (Emphasis ours)
marital rape and she cannot be prevented from doing so because in this jurisdiction there is no law that
prohibits her from doing so. This is why we had to put second paragraph of 266-C because it is the belief
The Legislature then pursued the enactment of laws to propagate gender equality. In 1997, R.A. No. of many of us. x x x, that if it is true that in this jurisdiction there is marital rape even if we don't provide it
8353 eradicated the stereotype concept of rape in Article 335 of the RPC. 109 The law reclassified rape as here, then we must provide for something that will unify and keep the cohesion of the family together that
a crime against person and removed it from the ambit of crimes against chastity. More particular to the is why we have the second paragraph.
present case, and perhaps the law's most progressive proviso is the 2nd paragraph of Section 2 thereof
recognizing the reality of marital rape and criminalizing its perpetration, viz:
MR. DAMASING: Madam Speaker, Your Honor, under the House version specifically House Bill No. 6265
our provision on a husband forcing the wife is not marital rape, it is marital sexual assault.
Article 266-C. Effect of Pardon. - The subsequent valid marriage between the offended party shall
extinguish the criminal action or the penalty imposed.
MR. LARA: That is correct, Madam Speaker.

In case it is the legal husband who is the offender, the subsequent forgiveness by the wife as the
MR. DAMASING: But here it is marital rape because there is no crime of sexual assault. So, Your Honor,
offended party shall extinguish the criminal action or the penalty: Provided, That the crime shall not be
direct to the point, under Article 266-C, is it our understanding that in the second paragraph, quote: "In
extinguished or the penalty shall not be abated if the marriage is void ab initio.
case it is the legal husband who is the offender, this refers to marital rape filed against the husband? Is
that correct?
Read together with Section 1 of the law, which unqualifiedly uses the term "man" in defining rape, it is
unmistakable that R.A. No. 8353 penalizes the crime without regard to the rapist's legal relationship with
MR. LARA: No, Madam Speaker, not entirely, no. The answer is no.
his victim, thus:

MR. DAMASING: So if the husband is guilty of sexual assault, what do you call- it?
Article 266-A. Rape: When And How Committed. - Rape is committed:

MR. LARA: Sexual assault, Madam Speaker.

1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:

MR. DAMASING: There is no crime of sexual assault, Your Honor, we have already stated that. Because
a) Through force, threat, or intimidation;
under 1 and 2 it is all denominated as rape, there is no crime of sexual assault. That is why I am sorry
that our House version which provided for sexual assault was not carried by the Senate version because
b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; all sexual crimes under this bicameral conference committee report are all now denominated as rape
whether the penalty is from reclusion perpetua to death or whether the penalty is only prision mayor. So
there is marital rape, Your Honor, is that correct?
c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and

d) When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though
none of the circumstances mentioned above be present.
MR. DAMASING: Madam Speaker, Your Honor, I am in favor of this. I am in favor of punishing the
husband who forces the wife even to 30 years imprisonment. But please do not call it marital rape, call it
The explicit intent to outlaw marital rape is deducible from the records of the deliberations of the 10th marital sexual assault because of the sanctity of marriage. x x x. 110 (Emphasis ours)
Congress on the law's progenitor's, House Bill No. 6265 and Senate Bill No. 650. In spite of qualms on
tagging the crime as 'marital rape' due to conservative Filipino impressions on marriage, the consensus
of our lawmakers was clearly to include and penalize marital rape under the general definition of 'rape,' HON. APOSTOL: In our version, we did not mention marital rape but marital rape is not excluded.
HON. ROCO: Yeah. No. But I think there is also no specific mention.
MR. DAMASING: Madam Speaker, Your Honor, one more point
HON. APOSTOL: No. No. No. Silent lang 'yung marital rape.
of clarification in the House version on Anti-Rape Bill, House Bill No. 6265, we never agreed to marital
rape. But under Article 266-C, it says here: "In case it is the legal husband who is the offender... " Does
this presuppose that there is now marital rape? x x x.
HON. ROCO: xx x [I]f we can retain the effect of pardon, then this marital rape can be implicitly contained CHAIRMAN LARA: x x x We all agree on the substance of the point in discussion. The only disagreement
in the second paragraph. x x x So marital rape actually was in the House version x x x. But it was not now is where to place it. Let us clear this matter. There are two suggestions now on marital rape. One is
another definition of rape. You will notice, it only says, that because you are the lawful husband does not that it is rape if it is done with force or intimidation or any of the circumstances that would define rape x x
mean that you cannot commit rape. Theoretically, I mean, you can beat up your wife until she's blue. And x immaterial. The fact that the husband and wife are separated does not come into the picture. So even if
if the wife complains she was raped, I guess that, I mean, you just cannot raise the defense x x x[:] I am they are living under one roof x x x for as long as the attendant circumstances of the traditional rape is
the husband. But where in the marriage contract does it say that I can beat you up? That's all it means. present, then that is rape.112
That is why if we stop referring to it as marital rape, acceptance is easy. Because parang ang marital
rape, married na nga kami. I cannot have sex. No, what it is saying is you're [the] husband but you
PRESIDING OFFICER ANGARA-CASTILLO: Mr. Chairman, x x x [t]his provision on marital rape, it does
cannot beat me up. x x x. That's why to me it's not alarming. It was just a way of saying you're [the]
not actually change the meaning of rape. It merely erases the doubt in anybody's mind, whether or not
husband, you cannot say when I am charged with rape x x x.
rape can indeed be committed by the husband against the wife. So the bill really says, you having been
married to one another is not a legal impediment. So I don't really think there is any need to change the
PRESIDING OFFICER SHAHAN!: All right, so how do you propose it if we put it in[?] concept of rape as defined presently under the revised penal code. This do[es] not actually add anything
to the definition of rape. It merely says, it is merely clarificatory. That if indeed the wife has evidence to
show that she was really brow beaten, or whatever or forced or intimidated into having sexual intercourse
HON. ROCO: x x x [A]ll we are saying [is] that if you are the lawful husband does not mean you can have
against her will, then the crime of rape has been committed against her by the husband, notwithstanding
carnal knowledge by force[,] threat or intimidation or by depriving your wife reason, a grave abuse of
the fact that they have been legally married. It does not change anything at all, Mr. Chairman.
authority, I don't know how that cannot apply. Di ba yung, or putting an instrument into the, yun ang
sinasabi ko lang, it is not meant to have another classification of rape. It is all the same definition x x x.
PRESIDING OFFICER APOSTOL: Yes, I think, there is no change on this x x x.113
The paradigm shift on marital rape in the Philippine jurisdiction is further affirmed by R.A. No.
9262,114 which regards rape within marriage as a form of sexual violence that may be committed by a
HON.ROCO: What is 266-F? x x x. Now if we can retain 266-F x x x, we can say that this rule is implicit
man against his wife within or outside the family abode, viz:
already in the first proviso. It implies na there is an instance when a husband can be charged [with] rape
x x x.
Violence against women and their children refers to any act or a series of acts committed by any person
against a woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a woman with whom the person has or had a
HON. ROXAS: Otherwise, silent na.
sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or against her child whether
legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in.
HON. ROCO: Otherwise, we are silent na. So parang i-delete natin ito. But it is understood that this rule physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse including threats of such acts,
of evidence is now transport[ed], put into 266-F, the effect of pardon. battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. It includes, but is not limited to,
the following acts:
PRESIDING OFFICER APOSTOL: We will retain this effect of pardon. We will remove marital rape.
A. "Physical Violence" refers to acts that include bodily or physical harm;
HON. ROCO: No, yun ang, oo we will remove this one on page 3 but we will retain the one on page 8,
the effect of pardon. x x x [I]t is inferred but we leave it because after all it is just a rule of evidence. But I B. "Sexual violence" refers to an act which is sexual in nature, committed against a woman or
think we should understand that a husband cannot beat at his wife to have sex. Di ha? I think that should her child. It includes, but is not limited to:
be made clear. x x x.
a) rape, sexual harassment, acts of lasciviousness, treating a woman or her child as
xxxx a sex object, making demeaning and sexually suggestive remarks, physically
attacking the sexual parts of the victim's body, forcing her/him to watch obscene
publications and indecent shows or forcing the woman or her child to do indecent
HON. ROCO: x x x [W]e are not defining a crime of marital rape. All we are saying is that if you're [the] acts and/or make films thereof, forcing the wife and mistress/lover to live in the
legal husband, Jesus Christ, don't beat up to have sex. I almost want, you are my wife, why do you have conjugal home or sleep together in the same room with the abuser;
to beat me up.

b) acts causing or attempting to cause the victim to engage in any sexual activity by
So, ganoon. So, if we both justify it that way in the Report as inferred in proviso, I mean, we can face up, force, threat of force, physical or other harm or threat of physical or other harm or
I hope, to the women and they would understand that it is half achieved. coercion;

HON. ZAMORA: I think, Raul, as long as we understand that we are not defining or creating a new crime c) Prostituting the woman or child.
but instead, we are just defining a rule of evidence. x x x.

Statistical figures confirm the above characterization. Emotional and other forms of non-personal violence
HON. ROCO: Then, in which case we may just want to clarify as a rule of evidence the fact that he is are the most common type of spousal violence accounting for 23% incidence among ever-married
husband is not, does not negate.111
women. One in seven ever-married women experienced physical violence by their husbands while eight Clearly, it is now acknowledged that rape, as a form of sexual violence, exists within marriage. A man
percent (8%) experienced sexual violence.115 who penetrates her wife without her consent or against her will commits sexual violence upon her, and
the Philippines, as a State Party to the CEDA W and its accompanying Declaration, defines and
penalizes the act as rape under R.A. No. 8353.
IV. Refutation of the accused-appellant's arguments

A woman is no longer the chattel-antiquated practices labeled her to be. A husband who has sexual
The crux of the accused-appellant's plea for acquittal mirrors the irrevocable implied consent theory. In
intercourse with his wife is not merely using a property, he is fulfilling a marital consortium with a fellow
his appeal brief before the CA, he posits that the two incidents of sexual intercourse, which gave rise to
human being with dignity equal120 to that he accords himself. He cannot be permitted to violate this dignity
the criminal charges for rape, were theoretically consensual, obligatory even, because he and the victim,
by coercing her to engage in a sexual act without her full and free consent. Surely, the Philippines cannot
KKK, were a legally married and cohabiting couple. He argues that consent to copulation is presumed
renege on its international commitments and accommodate conservative yet irrational notions on marital
between cohabiting husband and wife unless the contrary is proved.
activities121 that have lost their relevance in a progressive society.

The accused-appellant further claims that this case should be viewed and treated differently from
It is true that the Family Code,122 obligates the spouses to love one another but this rule sanctions
ordinary rape cases and that the standards for determining the presence of consent or lack thereof must
affection and sexual intimacy, as expressions of love, that are both spontaneous and mutual123 and not
be adjusted on the ground that sexual community is a mutual right and obligation between husband and
the kind which is unilaterally exacted by force or coercion.

Further, the delicate and reverent nature of sexual intimacy between a husband and wife excludes cruelty
The contentions failed to muster legal and rational merit.
and coercion. Sexual intimacy brings spouses wholeness and oneness. It is a gift and a participation in
the mystery of creation. It is a deep sense of spiritual communion. It is a function which enlivens the hope
The ancient customs and ideologies from which the irrevocable implied consent theory evolved have of procreation and ensures the continuation of family relations. It is an expressive interest in each other's
already been superseded by modem global principles on the equality of rights between men and women feelings at a time it is needed by the other and it can go a long way in deepening marital
and respect for human dignity established in various international conventions, such as the CEDAW. The relationship.124 When it is egoistically utilized to despoil marital union in order to advance a felonious urge
Philippines, as State Party to the CEDAW, recognized that a change in the traditional role of men as well for coitus by force, violence or intimidation, the Court will step in to protect its lofty purpose, vindicate
as the role of women in society and in the family is needed to achieve full equality between them. justice and protect our laws and State policies. Besides, a husband who feels aggrieved by his indifferent
Accordingly, the country vowed to take all appropriate measures to modify the social and cultural patterns or uninterested wife's absolute refusal to engage in sexual intimacy may legally seek the court's
of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices, customs and all intervention to declare her psychologically incapacitated to fulfill an essential marital obligation. 125 But he
other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on cannot and should not demand sexual intimacy from her coercively or violently.
stereotyped roles for men and women.117 One of such measures is R.A. No 8353 insofar as it eradicated
the archaic notion that marital rape cannot exist because a husband has absolute proprietary rights over
Moreover, to treat marital rape cases differently from non-marital rape cases in terms of the elements that
his wife's body and thus her consent to every act of sexual intimacy with him is always obligatory or at
constitute the crime and in the rules for their proof, infringes on the equal protection clause. The
least, presumed.
Constitutional right to equal protection of the laws126 ordains that similar subjects should not be treated
differently, so as to give undue favor to some and unjustly discriminate against others; no person or class
Another important international instrument on gender equality is the UN Declaration on the Elimination of of persons shall be denied the same protection of laws, which is enjoyed, by other persons or other
Violence Against Women, which was Promulgated118 by the UN General Assembly subsequent to the classes in like circumstances.127
CEDA W. The Declaration, in enumerating the forms of gender-based violence that constitute acts of
discrimination against women, identified 'marital rape' as a species of sexual violence, viz:
As above discussed, the definition of rape in Section 1 of R.A. No. 8353 pertains to: (a) rape, as
traditionally known; (b) sexual assault; and (c) marital rape or that where the victim is the perpetrator's
Article 1 own spouse. The single definition for all three forms of the crime shows that the law does not distinguish
between rape committed in wedlock and those committed without a marriage. Hence, the law affords
protection to women raped by their husband and those raped by any other man alike.
For the purposes of this Declaration, the term "violence against women" means any act of gender-based
violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to
women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in The posture advanced by the accused-appellant arbitrarily discriminates against married rape victims
public or in private life. over unmarried rape victims because it withholds from married women raped by their husbands the penal
redress equally granted by law to all rape victims.
Article 2
Further, the Court adheres to and hereby adopts the rationale in Liberta in rejecting the argument akin to
those raised by herein accused-appellant. A marriage license should not be viewed as a license for a
Violence against women shall be understood to encompass, but not be limited to, the following: husband to forcibly rape his wife with impunity. A married woman has the same right to control her own
body, as does an unmarried woman.128 She can give or withhold her consent to a sexual intercourse with
(a) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse her husband and he cannot unlawfully wrestle such consent from her in case she refuses.
of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and
other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to
exploitation;119 (Emphasis ours)
Lastly, the human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and insinuated for them to have sex. When she rejected his advances due to abdominal pain and headache,
responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of his request for intimacy transformed into a stubborn demand. Unyielding, KKK held her panties but the
coercion, discrimination and violence.129 Women do not divest themselves of such right by contracting accused-appellant forcibly pulled them down. The tug caused the small clothing to tear apart. She
marriage for the simple reason that human rights are inalienable.130 reiterated that she was not feeling well and begged him to stop. But no amount of resistance or begging
subdued him. He flexed her two legs apart, gripped her hands, mounted her, rested his own legs on hers
and inserted his penis into her vagina. She continued pleading but he never desisted.133
In fine, since the law does not separately categorize marital rape and non-marital rape nor provide for
different definition or elements for either, the Court, tasked to interpret and apply what the law dictates,
cannot trudge the forbidden sphere of judicial legislation and unlawfully divert from what the law sets Her accurate recollection of the second rape incident on October 1 7, 1998 is likewise unmistakable. After
forth. Neither can the Court frame distinct or stricter evidentiary rules for marital rape cases as it would the appalling episode in the conjugal bedroom the previous night, KKK decided to sleep in the children's
inequitably burden its victims and unreasonably and irrationally classify them differently from the victims bedroom. While her daughters were fixing the beddings, the accused-appellant barged into the room and
of non-marital rape. berated her for refusing to go with him to their conjugal bedroom. When KKK insisted to stay in the
children's bedroom, the accused-appellant got angry and pulled her up. MMM's attempt to pacify the
accused-appellant further enraged him. He reminded them that as the head of the family he could do
Indeed, there exists no legal or rational reason for the Court to apply the law and the evidentiary rules on
whatever he wants with his wife. To demonstrate his role as patriarch, he ordered the children to go out of
rape any differently if the aggressor is the woman's own legal husband. The elements and quantum of
the room and thereafter proceeded to force KKK into sexual intercourse. He forcibly pulled down her
proof that support a moral certainty of guilt in rape cases should apply uniformly regardless of the legal
short pants and panties as KKK begged "Dont do that to me, my body is still aching and also my
relationship between the accused and his accuser.
abdomen and I cannot do what you wanted me to do. I cannot withstand sex."134 But her pleas fell on
deaf ears. The accused-appellant removed his shorts and briefs, spread KKK's legs apart, held her
Thus, the Court meticulously reviewed the present case in accordance with the established legal hands, mounted her and inserted his penis into her vagina. After gratifying himself, he got dressed, left
principles and evidentiary policies in the prosecution and resolution of rape cases and found that no the room as he chuckled: "Its nice, that is what you deserve because you are [a] flirt or fond of sex." 135
reversible error can be imputed to the conviction meted the accused-appellant.
Entrenched is the rule that in the prosecution of rape cases, the essential element that must be proved is
The evidence for the prosecution was the absence of the victim's consent to the sexual congress.136
based on credible witnesses who gave
equally credible testimonies
Under the law, consent is absent when: (a) it was wrestled from the victim by force, threat or intimidation,
fraudulent machinations or grave abuse of authority; or (b) the victim is incapable of giving free and
In rape cases, the conviction of the accused rests heavily on the credibility of the victim. Hence, the strict voluntary consent because he/she is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious or that the offended
mandate that all courts must examine thoroughly the testimony of the offended party. While the accused party is under 12 years of age or is demented.
in a rape case may be convicted solely on the testimony of the complaining witness, courts are,
nonetheless, duty-bound to establish that their reliance on the victim's testimony is justified. Courts must
Contrary to the accused-appellant's asseverations, KKK's consent was wrestled from her through force
ensure that the testimony is credible, convincing, and otherwise consistent with human nature. If the
and intimidation both of which were established beyond moral certainty by the prosecution through the
testimony of the complainant meets the test of credibility, the accused may be convicted on the basis
pertinent testimony of KKK, viz:

On the October 16, 1998 rape incident:

It is settled that the evaluation by the trial court of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies are
entitled to the highest respect. This is in view of its inimitable opportunity to directly observe the
witnesses and their deportment, conduct and attitude, especially during cross-examination. Thus, unless (Direct Examination)
it is shown that its evaluation was tainted with arbitrariness or certain facts of substance and value have ATTY. LARGO:
been plainly overlooked, misunderstood, or misapplied, the same will not be disturbed on appeal. 132 Q So, while you were already lying on the bed together with your husband, do you remember what
A He lie down beside me and asked me to have sex with him.
After approximating the perspective of the trial court thru a meticulous scrutiny of the entire records of the
Q How did he manifest that he wanted to have sex with you?
trial proceedings and the transcript of each witnesses' testimony, the Court found no justification to
A He put his hand on my lap and asked me to have sex with him but I warded off his hand.
disturb its findings.
Q Can you demonstrate to this Court how did he use his hand?
A Yes. "witness demonstrating on how the accused used his finger by touching or knocking her lap which
Rather, the Court observed that KKK and her testimony were both credible and spontaneous. Hailed to means that he wanted to have sex."
the witness stand on six separate occasions, KKK never wavered neither did her statements vacillate Q So, what did you do after that?
between uncertainty and certitude. She remained consistent, categorical, straightforward, and candid A I warded off his hand and refused because I was not feeling well. (at this juncture the witness is
during the rigorous cross-examination and on rebuttal examination, she was able to convincingly explain sobbing)
and debunk the allegations of the defense. Q So, what did your husband do when you refused him to have sex with you?
A He insisted and he pulled my pantie forcibly, that is why my pantie [sic] was tom.
Q Why, what did you do when he started to pull your pantie [sic]?
She vividly recounted how the accused-appellant forced her to have sex with him despite her refusal on A I resisted and tried to hold my pantie [sic] but I failed, because he is so strong.
October 16, 1998. He initially ordered her to sleep beside him in their conjugal bed by violently throwing xx xx
the cot where she was resting. In order not to aggravate his temper, KKK obeyed. On the bed, he
Q So, when your pantie [sic] was tom by your husband, what else did he do? The accused-appellant forced his wife when he knowingly overpowered her by gripping her hands,
A He flexed my two legs and rested his two legs on my legs. flexing her legs and then resting his own legs thereon in order to facilitate the consummation of his much-
Q So after that what else did he do? desired non-consensual sexual intercourse.
A He succeeded in having sex with me because he held my two hands no matter how I wrestled but I
failed because he is stronger than me.
Records also show that the accused-appellant employed sufficient intimidation upon KKK. His actuations
COURT: Make it of record that the witness is sobbing while she is giving her testimony.
prior to the actual moment of the felonious coitus revealed that he imposed his distorted sense of moral
ATTY. LARGO: (To the witness cont'ng.)
authority on his wife. He furiously demanded for her to lay with him on the bed and thereafter coerced her
Q So, what did you do when your husband already stretched your two legs and rode on you and held
to indulge his sexual craving.
your two hands?
A I told him, "don't do that because I'm not feeling well and my whole body is aching."
Q How did you say that to your husband? The fury the accused-appellant exhibited when KKK refused to sleep with him on their bed, when she
A I told him, "don't do that to me because I'm not feeling well." insisted to sleep in the children's bedroom and the fact that he exercises dominance over her as husband
Q Did you say that in the manner you are saying now? all cowed KKK into submission.
A I shouted when I uttered that words.
The fact that KKK voluntarily went with the accused-appellant to their conjugal bedroom on October 16,
1998 cannot be stretched to mean that she consented to the forced sexual intercourse that ensued. The
Q Was your husband able to consummate his desire?
accused-appellant was KKK's husband and hence it was customary for her to sleep in the conjugal
bedroom. No consent can be deduced from such act of KKK because at that juncture there were no
A Yes, sir, because I cannot do anything.137
indications that sexual intercourse was about to take place. The issue of consent was still irrelevant since
the act for which the same is legally required did not exist yet or at least unclear to the person from whom
the consent was desired. The significant point when consent must be given is at that time when it is clear
Q Every time you have sex with your husband it was your husband normally remove your panty?
to the victim that her aggressor is soliciting sexual congress. In this case, that point is when the accused-
A Yes, Sir.
appellant tapped his fingers on her lap, a gesture KKK comprehended to be an invitation for a sexual
Q It was not unusual for your husband then to remove your panty because according to you he normally
intercourse, which she refused.
do that if he have sex with you?
A Yes, Sir.
Q And finally according to you your husband have sex with you? Resistance, medical certificate and blood traces.
A Yes, Sir because he forcibly used me in spite of holding my panty because I don't want to have sex with
him at that time.
Q You did not spread your legs at that time when he removed your panty? We cannot give credence to the accused-appellant's argument that KKK should have hit him to convey
A Yes, Sir. that she was resisting his sexual onslaught. Resistance is not an element of rape and the law does not
Q Meaning, your position of your legs was normal during that time? impose upon the victim the burden to prove resistance140 much more requires her to raise a specific kind
A I tried to resist by not flexing my legs. thereof.
Q At that time when your husband allegedly removed your panty he also remove your nightgown? At any rate, KKK put up persistent, audible and intelligible resistance for the accused-appellant to
A No, Sir. recognize that she seriously did not assent to a sexual congress. She held on to her panties to prevent
Q And he did pull out your duster [sic] towards your face? him from undressing her, she refused to bend her legs and she repeatedly shouted and begged for him to
A He raised my duster [sic] up. stop.
Q In other words your face was covered when he raised your duster [sic]?
A No, only on the breast level.138
On the October 17, 1998 rape incident: Moreover, as an element of rape, force or intimidation need not be irresistible; it may be just enough to
(Direct Examination) bring about the desired result. What is necessary is that the force or intimidation be sufficient to
ATTY. LARGO consummate the purpose that the accused had in mind141 or is of such a degree as to impel the
Q So, after your children went out of the room, what transpired? defenseless and hapless victim to bow into submission.142
A He successfully having sex with me because he pulled my short pant and pantie forcible.
Q So, what did you say when he forcibly pulled your short and pantie? Contrary to the accused-appellant's allusions, the absence of blood traces in KKK's panties or the lack of
A I told him, "don't do that to me, my body is still aching and also my abdomen and I cannot do what you a medical certificate do not negate rape. It is not the presence or absence of blood on the victim's
wanted me to do. I cannot withstand sex." underwear that determines the fact of rape143 inasmuch as a medical certificate is dispensable evidence
Q So, what happened to your short when he forcibly pulled it down? that is not necessary to prove rape.144These details do not pertain to the elements that produce the
A It was tom. gravamen of the offense that is -sexual intercourse with a woman against her will or without her
Q And after your short and pantie was pulled down by your husband, what did he do? consent.145
A He also removed his short and brief and flexed my two legs and mounted on me and succeeded in
having sex with me.139
The accused-appellant harps on the acquittal ruling in People v. Godoy, 146 the evidentiary circumstances
of which are, however, disparate from those in the present case. In Godoy, the testimony of the
complainant was inherently weak, inconsistent, and was controverted by the prosecution's medico-legal
expert witness who stated that force was not applied based on the position of her hymenal laceration.
This led the Court to conclude that the absence of any sign of physical violence on the victim's body is an At that time, KKK and her daughters were not aware that a husband forcing his wife to submit to sexual
indication of consent.147 Here, however, KKK's testimony is, as discussed earlier, credible, spontaneous intercourse is considered rape. In fact, KKK only found out that she could sue his husband for rape when
and forthright. Prosecutor Benjamin Tabique, Jr. (Prosecutor Tabique) told her about it when she filed the separate
charges for grave threats and physical injuries against the accused-appellant.151
The corroborative testimonies of
MMM and OOO are worthy of credence. It must be noted that the incidents occurred a year into the effectivity of R.A. No. 8353 abolishing marital
exemption in rape cases hence it is understandable that it was not yet known to a layman as opposed to
legal professionals like Prosecutor Tabique. In addition, fear of reprisal thru social humiliation which is the
The accused-appellant's assertion that MMM and OOO's testimonies lacked probative value as they did
common factor that deter rape victims from reporting the crime to the authorities is more cumbersome in
not witness the actual rape is bereft of merit. It must be stressed that rape is essentially committed in
marital rape cases. This is in view of the popular yet outdated belief that it is the wife's absolute obligation
relative isolation, thus, it is usually only the victim who can testify with regard to the fact of the forced
to submit to her husband's carnal desires. A husband raping his own wife is often dismissed as a peculiar
sexual intercourse.148 Hence, the probative value of MMM and OOO's testimonies rest not on whether
occurrence or trivialized as simple domestic trouble.
they actually witnessed the rape but on whether their declarations were in harmony with KKK's narration
of the circumstances, preceding, subsequent to and concurrent with, the rape incidents.
Unfamiliarity with or lack of knowledge of the law criminalizing marital rape, the stigma and public scrutiny
that could have befallen KKK and her family had the intervention of police authorities or even the
MMM and OOO's testimonies substantiated significant points in KKK's narration. MMM heard KKK
neighbors been sought, are acceptable explanations for the failure or delay in reporting the subject rape
shouting and crying: "Eddie, don’t do that to me, have pity on me"149 on the night of October 16, 1998
shortly after KKK and the accused-appellant went to their conjugal bedroom. When MMM went upstairs
to check on her mother, the accused-appellant admonished her for meddling. Frustrated to aid her
mother who persistently cried, MMM kicked the door so hard the accused-appellant was prompted to The victim -S testimony on the
open it and rebuke MMM once more. OOO heard all these commotion from the room downstairs. witness stand rendered
unnecessary the presentation of her
complaint-affidavit as evidence.
MMM then saw her mother crouched on the bed, crying, with her hair disheveled while her tom panty lay
on the floor. After a brief struggle with the accused-appellant, MMM and KKK were finally able to escape
and retreat to the children's bedroom where KKK narrated to her daughters: "[Y]our father is an animal, a The failure of the prosecution to present KKK's complaint-affidavit for rape is not fatal in view of the
beast; he forced me to have sex with him when I'm not feeling well. " credible, candid and positive testimony of KKK on the witness stand. Testimonial evidence carries more
weight than the affidavit since it underwent the rudiments of a direct, cross, re-direct and re-cross
examinations. Affidavits or statements taken ex parte are generally considered incomplete and
KKK gave a similar narration to MMM and OOO the following night after the accused-appellant barged
inaccurate. Thus, by nature, they are inferior to testimony given in court.152
inside the children's bedroom. The couple had an argument and when MMM tried to interfere, the
accused-appellant ordered her and OOO to get out after bragging that he can have sex with his wife
even in front of the children because he is the head of the family. The girls then stayed by the staircase Ill motive imputed to the victim
where they afterwards heard their mother helplessly crying and shouting for the accused-appellant to
The ill motive, which the accused-appellant imputed to KKK, does not inspire belief as it is riddled with
loopholes generated by incongruent and flimsy evidence. The prosecution was able to establish that the
Indeed, the testimonies of KKK, MMM and OOO coherently depicted that the accused-appellant, through ₱3 Million deposit in the spouses' bank account was the proceeds of their loan from the Bank of
the use of force and intimidation, had non-consensual and forced carnal knowledge of his wife, KKK on Philippine Islands (BPI). Exhibit J, which is a BPI ML instruction sheet dated October 31, 1996 in the
the nights of October 16 and 17, 1998. amount of ₱3,149,840.63 is the same amount the accused-appellant claimed to have entrusted to her
wife. Although the accused-appellant denied being aware of such loan, he admitted that approximately
₱3 Million was spent for the construction of their house. These pieces of evidence effectively belie the
KKK's helpless screams and pleas from inside the bedroom coupled with her verbal and physical
accused appellant's allegation that KKK could not account for the money deposited in the bank. 153
resistance were clear manifestations of coercion. Her appearance when MMM saw her on the bed after
the accused appellant opened the door on October 16, 1998, her conduct towards the accused-appellant
on her way out of the room, and her categorical outcry to her children after the two bedroom episodes - Anent, KKK's alleged extra-marital affairs, the accused-appellant failed to explain how Bebs could be his
all generate the conclusion that the sexual acts that occurred were against her will. wife KKK when the letter-sender greeted Bebs a "happy birthday" on October 28 while KKK's birthday is
June 23. The accused-appellant also did not present Bebs herself, being a more competent witness to
the existence of the alleged love letters for KKK. He likewise failed, despite promise to do so, to present
Failure to immediately report to the
the original copies of such love letters neither did he substantiate KKK's supposed extra-marital affairs by
police authorities, if satisfactorily
presenting witnesses who could corroborate his claims. Further, the Court finds it unbelievable that an
explained, is not fatal to the
able man would not have the temerity to confront his wife who has fooled around with 10 men - some of
credibility of a witness.
whom he has even met. The accused-appellant's erratic statements on the witness stand are inconsistent
with the theory of extra-marital romance making it reasonable to infer that he merely made up those
The testimonies of KKK and her daughters cannot be discredited merely because they failed to report the malicious stories as a desperate ploy to extricate himself out of this legal quandary.
rape incidents to the police authorities or that KKK belatedly filed the rape charges. Delay or vacillation
by the victims in reporting sexual assaults does not necessarily impair their credibility if such delay is
satisfactorily explained.150
At best, the basis of the alleged illicit affairs of KKK were the accused-appellant's unfounded suspicions eligible for parole pursuant to Section 3 of R.A. No. 9346, which states that "persons convicted of
that hold no evidentiary weight in law and thus incompetent to destroy KKK's credibility and that of her offenses punished with reclusion perpetua, or whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua, by
testimony. In sum, the defense failed to present sufficiently convincing evidence that KKK is a mere reason of this Act, shall not be eligible for parole under Act No. 4180, otherwise known as the
vindictive wife who is harassing the accused-appellant with fabricated rape charges. Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended."157

Alibi The Court sustains the moral damages awarded in the amount of ₱50,000.00. Moral damages are
granted to rape victims without need of proof other than the fact of rape under the assumption that the
victim suffered moral injuries from the experience she underwent. 158
It must be stressed that in raising the irrevocable implied consent theory as defense, the accused-
appellant has essentially admitted the facts of sexual intercourse embodied in the two criminal
informations for rape. This admission is inconsistent with the defense of alibi and any discussion thereon The award of civil indemnity is proper; it is mandatory upon the finding that rape took
will thus be irrelevant. place.1âwphi1 Considering that the crime committed is simple rape, there being no qualifying
circumstances attendant in its commission, the appropriate amount is ₱50,000.00 159 and not ₱75,000.00
as awarded by the RTC.
At any rate, the courts a quo correctly rejected his alibi.

To serve as an example for public good and in order to deter a similar form of domestic violence, an
Alibi is one of the weakest defenses not only because it is inherently frail and unreliable, but also
award of ₱30,000.00 as exemplary damages is imperative.160
because it is easy to fabricate and difficult to check or rebut. It cannot prevail over the positive
identification of the accused by eyewitnesses who had no improper motive to testify falsely.154
The damages awarded shall earn legal interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum to be reckoned
from the date of finality of this judgment until fully paid.161
For the defense of alibi to prosper, the accused must prove not only that he was at some other place at
the time of the commission of the crime, but also that it was physically impossible for him to be at the
locus delicti or within its immediate vicinity. Physical impossibility refers not only to the geographical A Final Note
distance between the place where the accused was and the place where the crime was committed when
the crime transpired, but more importantly, the facility of access between the two places. 155
Rape is a crime that evokes global condemnation because it is an abhorrence to a woman's value and
dignity as a human being. It respects no time, place, age, physical condition or social status. It can
Even granting in arguendo that the accused-appellant had indeed attended a fiesta in Dangcagan, happen anywhere and it can happen to anyone. Even, as shown in the present case, to a wife, inside her
Bukidnon or was hauling com with Equia on the dates of commission of the crime, the same will not time-honored fortress, the family home, committed against her by her husband who vowed to be her
easily exonerate him. The accused-appellant failed to adduce clear and convincing evidence that it was refuge from cruelty. The herein pronouncement is an affirmation to wives that our rape laws provide the
physically impossible for him to be at his residence in Cagayan de Oro City at the time of the commission atonement they seek from their sexually coercive husbands.
of the crime. Dangcagan, Bukidnon can be traversed by about four or five hours from Cagayan de Oro
City, and even less by private vehicle which was available to the accused appellant at any time. 156 Thus, it
Husbands are once again reminded that marriage is not a license to forcibly rape their wives. A husband
was not physically impossible for him to be at the situs criminis at the dates and times when the two rape
does not own his wife's body by reason of marriage. By marrying, she does not divest herself of the
incidents were committed.
human right to an exclusive autonomy over her own body and thus, she can lawfully opt to give or
withhold her consent to marital coitus. A husband aggrieved by his wife's unremitting refusal to engage in
Between the accused-appellant's alibi and denial, and the positive identification and credible testimony of sexual intercourse cannot resort to felonious force or coercion to make her yield. He can seek succor
the victim, and her two daughters, the Court must give weight to the latter, especially in the absence of ill before the Family Courts that can determine whether her refusal constitutes psychological incapacity
motive on their part to falsely testify against the accused-appellant. justifying an annulment of the marriage.

Conclusion Sexual intimacy is an integral part of marriage because it is the spiritual and biological communion that
achieves the marital purpose of procreation. It entails mutual love and self-giving and as such it
contemplates only mutual sexual cooperation and never sexual coercion or imposition.
All told, the presumption of innocence endowed an accused-appellant was sufficiently overcome by
KKK's clear, straightforward, credible, and truthful declaration that on two separate occasions, he
succeeded in having sexual intercourse with her, without her consent and against her will. Evidence of The Court is aware that despite the noble intentions of the herein pronouncement, menacing
overwhelming force and intimidation to consummate rape is extant from KKK's narration as believably personalities may use this as a tool to harass innocent husbands. In this regard, let it be stressed that
corroborated by the testimonies of MMM and OOO and the physical evidence of KKK's tom panties and safeguards in the criminal justice system are in place to spot and scrutinize fabricated or false marital
short pants. Based thereon, the reason and conscience of the Court is morally certain that the accused- rape complaints and any person who institutes untrue and malicious charges will be made answerable
appellant is guilty of raping his wife on the nights of October 16 and 17, 1998. under the pertinent provisions of the RPC and/or other laws.

Penalties WHEREFORE, all the foregoing considered, the Decision dated July 9, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 00353 is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. Accused-appellant Edgar
Jumawan is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of RAPE and is sentenced to
The Court affirms the penalty of reclusion perpetua, for each count of rape, meted upon the accused-
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count, without eligibility for parole. He is further ordered
appellant for being in accord with Article 266-A in relation to 266-B of the RPC. Further, he shall not be
to pay the victim, KKK, the amounts of PS0,000.00 as civil indemnity, ₱50,000.00 as moral damages, THAT on or about 15 July 1988, in Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines, a place within the jurisdiction of this
and ₱30,000.00 as exemplary damages, for each count of rape. The award of damages shall earn legal Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with evident bad faith and deceit, did, then and there,
interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum from the finality of this judgment until fully paid. willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, misrepresent to FERRO CHEMICALS, INC. (FCI) represented by
Ramon M. Garcia, that his share of stock/proprietary share with Ayala Alabang Country Club, Inc. and
Manila Polo Club, Inc. collectively valued at about ₱10.00 Million Pesos, being part of other shares of
stock subject matter of a Deed of Absolute Sale and Purchase of Shares of Stock between the accused
and FCI, were free from all liens, encumbrances and claims by third persons, when in truth and in fact,
G.R. No. 172505 October 1, 2014 accused well knew that aforesaid share of stock/proprietary share had already been garnished in July
1985 and subsequently sold at public auction in September 1989, and which misrepresentation and
assurance FCI relied upon and paid the consideration in accordance with the stipulated condition/manner
ANTONIO M. GARCIA, Petitioner, of payment, all to the damage and prejudice of FCI in the aforestated amount of ₱10.00 Million Pesos.
Contrary to law.13

In the decision dated December 12, 1996 of the Regional Trial Court, Antonio Garcia was acquitted for
insufficiency of evidence.14 The Regional Trial Court held:
From the foregoing, it is very clear that private complainant was aware of the status of the subject CLUB
Before this court is a petition for review on certiorari1 assailing the decision2 of the Court of Appeals dated SHARES. Thus, the element of false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means which constitute the
August 11, 2005 and its· resolution3 dated April 27, 2006, denying petitioner Antonio Garcia's motion for very cause or the only motive which induced the private complainant to enter into the questioned deed of
reconsideration. sale (Exh. "A") is wanting in the case at bar.15 (Underscoring in the original)

Antonio Garcia, as seller, and Ferro Chemicals, Inc., through Ramon Garcia, as buyer, entered into a Ferro Chemicals, Inc. filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied by the Regional Trial Court in
deed of absolute· sale and purchase of shares of stock on July 15, 1988. The deed was for the sale and the order dated July 29, 1997.16
purchase of shares of stock from various corporations, including one class "A" share in Alabang Country
Club, Inc. and one proprietary membership in the Manila Polo Club, Inc. 4 These shares of stock were in
the name of Antonio Garcia.5 The contract was allegedly entered into to prevent these shares of stock On August 25, 1997, Ferro Chemicals, Inc. appealed to the Court of Appeals the July 29, 1997 order of
from being sold at public auction to pay the outstanding obligations of Antonio Garcia. 6 the Regional Trial Court as to the civil aspect of the case.17 The notice of appeal18 filed was entitled
"Notice of Appeal Ex Gratia Abudantia Ad Cautelam (Of The Civil Aspect of the Case)." It alleged:

On March 3, 1989, a deed of right of repurchase over the same shares of stock subject of the deed of
absolute sale and purchase of shares of stock was entered into between Antonio Garcia and Ferro 4. Herein private complainant hereby gives notice, out of extreme caution, that it is appealing the
Chemicals, Inc. Under the deed of right of repurchase, Antonio Garcia can redeem the properties sold Decision dated 12 December 1996 and the Order dated 29 July 1997 on the civil aspect of the case to
within 180 days from the signing of the agreement.7 the Court of Appeals on the ground that it is notin accordance with the law and the facts of the case.

Before the end of the 180-day period, Antonio Garcia exercised his right to repurchase the 5. This notice of appeal is without prejudice to the filing of an appropriate petition for certiorari under Rule
properties.8 However, Ferro Chemicals, Inc. did not agree to the repurchase ofthe shares of stock.9 Thus, 65 of the Rules of Court on the criminal aspect, upon the giving of due course thereto, private
Antonio Garcia filed an action for specific performance and annulment of transfer of shares. 10 complainant shall endeavor to seek the consolidation of this appeal with the said petition.19

On September 6, 1989, the class "A" share in Alabang Country Club, Inc. and proprietary membership in On October 15, 1997, the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office and Ferro Chemicals, Inc. also filed a petition
the Manila Polo Club, Inc., which were included in the contracts entered intobetween Antonio Garcia and for certiorari20 with this court, assailing the Regional Trial Court’s December 12, 1996 decision and July
Ferro Chemicals, Inc., were sold at public auction to Philippine Investment System Organization.11 29, 1997 order acquitting Antonio Garcia.21

On September 3, 1990, the information based on the complaint of Ferro Chemicals, Inc. was filed against The petition for certiorari22 filed before this court sought to annul the decision of the trial court acquitting
Antonio Garcia before the Regional Trial Court.12 He was charged with estafaunder Article 318 (Other Antonio Garcia. People of the Philippines and Ferro Chemicals, Inc. argued that the trial court "acted in
Deceits) of the Revised Penal Code for allegedly misrepresenting to Ferro Chemicals, Inc. that the grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it rendered the judgment of
shares subject of the contracts entered into were free from all liens and encumbrances. The information acquittal based on affidavits not at all introduced in evidence by either of the parties thereby depriving the
reads: people of their substantive right to due process of law."23 The verification/certification against forum
shopping, signed by Ramon Garcia as president of Ferro Chemicals, Inc., disclosed that the notice of
appeal was filed "with respect to the civil aspect of the case."24
The undersigned Assistant Prosecutor accuses Antonio M. Garcia of the felony of Estafa as defined and
penalized under Art. 318 of the Revised Penal Code as amended, committed as follows:
In the resolution25 dated November 16, 1998, this court dismissed the petition for certiorari filed, and entry
of judgment was made on December 24, 1998.26
On the other hand, the Court of Appeals,27 in its decision28 dated August 11, 2005, granted the appeal and Philippines and Ferro Chemicals, Inc. v. Hon. Dennis Villa Ignacio and Antonio Garcia where the
awarded Ferro Chemicals, Inc. the amount of ₱1,000,000.00 as actual loss with legal interest and admissibility of the affidavits was put in issue held that the trial court did not commit any grave abuse of
attorney’s fees in the amount of ₱20,000.00.29 The appellate court found that Antonio Garcia failed to discretion in the challenged decision.37 He then reasoned that "pursuant to the law of the case, [the
disclose the Philippine Investment and Savings Organization’s lien over the club shares. 30 Thus: affidavits of Gonzalez and Navarro] are admissible and should be given weight." 38

The issue in this case is whether or not Antonio Garcia disclosed to Ferro-Chemicals, during the Finally, Antonio Garcia claims thatboth he and and Ferro Chemicals, Inc. acted in bad faith when they
negotiation stage of the impending sale of the imputed club shares, the third attachment lien in favor of entered into the deed of absolute sale as a scheme to defraud Antonio Garcia’s creditors. Thus, they are
Philippine Investment and Savings Organization (PISO) which, ultimately, became the basis of the in pari delicto and Ferro Chemicals, Inc. should not be allowed to recover from Antonio Garcia.39
auction sale of said club shares. We have scrutinized the records of the case but found no evidence that
Antonio Garcia intimated to his brother the third attachment lien of PISO over the said club shares. While
In its comment,40 Ferro Chemicals, Inc. points out that Antonio Garcia raised factual issues not proper ina
it is true that Antonio Garcia divulged the two liens of Security Bank and Insular Bank of Asia and
Rule 45 petition and reiterates the findings of the Court of Appeals.41
America, the lien of PISO was clearly not discussed. The affidavits executed by the two lawyers to the
effect that the lien of PISO was considered but deliberately left out in the deed cannot be given much
weight as they were never placed on the witness stand and cross-examined by Ferro-Chemicals. If their There are pertinent and important issues that the parties failed to raise before the trial court, Court of
affidavits, although not offered, were considered inthe criminal aspect and placed a cloud on the Appeals, and this court. Nonetheless, we resolve to rule on these issues.
prosecution’s thrust, theycannot be given the same probative value in this civil aspect as only a
preponderance of evidence is necessary to carry the day for the plaintiff, Ferro Chemicals.
As a general rule, this court through its appellate jurisdiction can only decide on matters or issues raised
by the parties.42 However, the rule admits of exceptions.43 When the unassigned error affects jurisdiction
While Antonio Garcia insists that no consideration was ever made over the club shares as the same were over the subject matter44 or when the consideration of the error is necessary for a complete resolution of
merely given for safekeeping, the document denominated as Deed of Absolute Sale states otherwise. It is the case,45 this court can still decide on these issues.
a basic rule of evidence that between documentary evidence and oral evidence, the former carries more
We cannot turn a blind eye on glaring misapplications of the law or patently erroneous decisions or
resolutions simply because the parties failed to raise these errors before the court. Otherwise, we will be
Also, We have observed that in Antonio Garcia’s letter of redemption addressed to Ferro Chemicals, he allowing injustice by reason of the mistakes of the parties’ counsel and condoning reckless and negligent
mentioned his interest in redeeming the company shares only. That he did not include the club shares acts of lawyers to the prejudice of the litigants. Failure to rule on these issues amounts to an abdication
only meant that said club shares no longer had any much redeemable value as there was a lienover of our duty to dispense justice to all parties.
them. To redeem them would be pointless.
The issues are:
If they had no redeemable value to Antonio Garcia, to Ferro Chemical they were certainly marketable
assets. The non-disclosure of the third lien in favor of PISO materially affected Ferro Chemicals since it
I. Whether the Regional Trial Court had jurisdiction over the case
was not able to act on time to protect its interest when the auction sale over the club shares actually took
place. As a result, Ferro Chemicals suffered losses due to the unfortunate public auction sale. It is but
just and fair that Antonio Garcia be made to compensate the loss pursuant to Articles 21 and 2199 of the II. Whether the act of FerroChemicals, Inc. in filing the notice of appeal before the Court of
Civil Code. Appeals and the petition for certiorari assailing the same trial court decision amounted to forum
The actual loss suffered by Ferro Chemicals amounted to ₱1,000,000.00 which correspondents to the bid
value of the club shares at the time of the auction as evidenced by the Sheriff’s Certificate of III. Whether Ferro Chemicals, Inc. was entitled to the awards given as civil liability ex delicto
Sale.31 (Citations omitted)
The Regional Trial Court did not have jurisdiction
Antonio Garcia filed a motion for reconsideration and Ferro Chemicals, Inc. filed a partial motion for
reconsideration of the decision of the Court of Appeals.32 These motions were denied in the
resolution33 dated April 27, 2006. Thus, Antonio Garcia filed this petition for review on Jurisdiction of a court over the subject matter is vested by law.46 In criminal cases, the imposable penalty
certiorari,34 assailing the decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals. of the crime charged in the information determines the court that has jurisdiction over the case. 47

Antonio Garcia argues that the factual findings of the Court of Appeals were erroneous35 and insists that The information charged Antonio Garcia with violation of Article 318 of the Revised Penal Code, which is
"[Ferro Chemicals, Inc.] was fully aware that the shares covered by the Deed of Absolute Sale, including punishable by arresto mayor, or imprisonment for a period of one (1) month and one (1) day to six (6)
the Subject Club Shares, were not free from liens and encumbrances and that the Deed [of] Sale was months. Article 318 states:
executed [to] warehouse [Antonio Garcia’s] assets based on, among other evidence, the affidavits
executed by Jaime Gonzales . . . and Rolando Navarro. . . ."36 ART. 318: Other deceits. – The penalty of arresto mayor and a fine of not less than the amount of the
damage caused and not more than twice such amount shall be imposed upon any person who shall
Antonio Garcia faults the Court of Appeals in disregarding the affidavits executed by Jaime Gonzales and defraud or damage another by any other deceit not mentioned in the preceding articles of this chapter.
Rolando Navarro. Antonio Garcia argues that even thiscourt in G.R. No. 130880 entitled People of the
Any person who, for profit or gain, shall interpret dreams, make forecasts, tell fortunes, or take advantage in, or already resolved adversely by some other court . . . to increase his chances of obtaining a favorable
of the credulity of the public in any other similar manner, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayoror a fine decision if not in one court, then in another’."52 Once clearly established that forum shopping was
not exceeding 200 pesos. committed willfully and deliberately by a party or his or her counsel, the case may be summarily
dismissed with prejudice, and the act shall constitute direct contempt and a cause for administrative
When the information was filed on September 3, 1990, the law in force was Batas Pambansa Blg. 129
before it was amended by Republic Act No. 7691. Under Section 32 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, the
Metropolitan Trial Court had jurisdiction over the case: Forum shopping is prohibited, and sanctions are imposed on those who commit forum shopping as "it
trifles with the courts, abuses their processes, degrades the administration of justice and adds to the
already congested court dockets."54 This court has said:
SEC. 32. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts in criminal cases.–
What is critical is the vexation brought upon the courts and the litigants by a party who asks different
courts to rule on the same or related causes and grant the same or substantially the same reliefs and in
the process creates the possibility of conflicting decisions being rendered by the different fora upon the
same issues, regardless of whether the court in which one of the suits was brought has no jurisdiction
2. Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment of not exceeding four over the action.55 (Citation omitted)
years and two months, or a fine of not more than four thousand pesos, or both such fine and
imprisonment, regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties, including the civil liability
The test and requisites that must concur to establish when a litigant commits forum shopping are the
arising from such offenses or predicated thereon, irrespective of kind, nature, value, or amount thereof:
Provided, however, That in offenses involving damage to property through criminal negligence they shall
have exclusive original jurisdiction where the imposable fine does not exceed twenty thousand pesos.
(Emphasis supplied) The test for determining the existence of forum shopping is whether the elements of litis pendentiaare
present, or whether a final judgment in one case amounts to res judicatain another. Thus, there is forum
shopping when the following elements are present: (a) identity of parties, or at least such parties
The Regional Trial Court did not have jurisdiction to hear and decide the case. This lack of jurisdiction
asrepresent the same interests in both actions; (b) identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for, the
resulted in voiding all of the trial court’s proceedings and the judgment rendered.48 Although the trial
relief being founded on the same facts; and (c) the identity of the two preceding particulars, such that any
court’s lack of jurisdiction was never raised as an issue in any part of the proceedings and even until it
judgment rendered in the other action will, regardless of which party is successful, amount to res
reached this court, we proceed with resolving the matter.
judicatain the action under consideration; said requisites are also constitutive of the requisites for auter
action pendant or lis pendens.56 (Citation omitted)
In Pangilinan v. Court of Appeals,49 this court held:
There is no question that Ferro Chemicals, Inc. committed forum shopping when it filed an appeal before
Thus, we apply the general rule thatjurisdiction is vested by law and cannot be conferred or waived by the Court of Appeals and a petition for certiorari before this court assailing the same trial court decision.
the parties. Even on appeal and even if the reviewing parties did not raise the issue of jurisdiction, the This is true even if Ferro Chemicals, Inc.’s notice of appeal to the Court of Appeals was entitled "Notice of
reviewing court is not precluded fromruling that the lower court had no jurisdiction over the case[.] Appeal Ex Gratia Abudantia Ad Cautelam (Of The Civil Aspect of the Case)." 57 The "civil aspect of the
case" referred to by Ferro Chemicals, Inc. is for the recovery of civil liability ex delicto. However, it failed
to make a reservation before the trial court to institute the civil action for the recovery of civil liability ex
.... delictoor institute a separate civil action prior to the filing of the criminal case.

Having arrived at the conclusion that the Regional Trial Court did not have jurisdiction to try the case There is identity of parties. Petitioner, Antonio Garcia, and respondent, Ferro Chemicals, Inc., are both
against the appellant, it is no longer necessary to consider the other issues raised as the decision of the parties in the appeal filed before the Court of Appeals and the petition for certiorari before this court.
Regional Trial Court is null and void.50

There is identity of the rights asserted and reliefs prayed for in both actions. At a glance, it may appear
The trial court’s lack of jurisdiction cannot be cured by the parties’ silence on the matter. 51 The failure of that Ferro Chemicals, Inc. asserted different rights: The appeal before the Court of Appeals is purely on
the parties to raise the matter of jurisdiction also cannot be construed as a waiver of the parties. the civil aspect of the trial court’s decision while the petition for certiorari before this court is allegedly only
Jurisdiction is conferred by law and cannot be waived by the parties. onthe criminal aspect of the case. However, the civil liability asserted by Ferro Chemicals, Inc. before the
Court of Appeals arose from the criminal act. It is in the nature of civil liability ex delicto. Ferro Chemicals,
The assailed decision is void, considering that it originates from a void decision of the Regional Trial Inc. did not reserve the right to institute the civil action for the recovery of civil liability ex delictoor institute
Court for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter. a separate civil action prior to the filing of the criminal case.58 Thus, it is an adjunct of the criminalaspect
of the case.1âwphi1 As held in Lim v. Kou Co Ping:59
Ferro Chemicals, Inc. committed forum shopping
The civil liability arising from the offense or ex delictois based on the acts or omissions that constitute the
criminal offense; hence, its trial is inherently intertwined with the criminal action.For this reason, the civil
Forum shopping is defined as "theact of a litigant who ‘repetitively availed of several judicial remedies in liability ex delictois impliedly instituted with the criminal offense. If the action for the civil liability ex
different courts, simultaneously or successively, all substantially founded on the same transactions and delictois instituted prior to or subsequent to the filing of the criminal action, its proceedings are
the same essential facts and circumstances, and all raising substantially the same issues either pending
suspended until the final outcome of the criminal action. The civil liability based on delict is extinguished undertaken, whenever legally feasible, insofar as the criminal aspect there of is concerned and may be
when the court hearing the criminal action declares that ‘the act or omission from which the civil liability made only by the public prosecutor; or in the case of an appeal, by the State only, through the OSG. The
may arise did not exist’."60 (Emphasis supplied, citations omitted). private complainant or offended party may not undertake such motion for reconsideration or appeal on
the criminal aspect of the case.However, the offended party or private complainant may file a motion for
reconsideration of such dismissal or acquittal or appeal therefrom but only insofar as the civil aspect
When the trial court’s decision was appealed as to its criminal aspect in the petition for certiorari before
thereof is concerned. In so doing, the private complainant or offended party need not secure the
thiscourt, the civil aspect thereof is deemed included in the appeal. Thus, the relief prayed for by Ferro
conformity of the public prosecutor. If the court denies his motion for reconsideration, the private
Chemicals, Inc., that is, recovery of civil liability ex delicto, is asserted in both actions before this court
complainant or offended party may appeal or file a petition for certiorarior mandamus,if grave abuse
and the Court of Appeals.
amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction is shown and the aggrieved party has no right of appeal or
given an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.67 (Citations omitted)
Even the allegations in the notice of appeal readily show that Ferro Chemicals, Inc. committedforum
shopping, to wit:
This is in consonance with the doctrine that:

5. This notice of appeal is without prejudice to the filing of an appropriate petition for certiorari under Rule
[T]he extinction of the penal action does not necessarily carry with it the extinction ofthe civil action,
65 of the Rules of Court on the criminal aspect, upon the giving of due course thereto, private
whether the latter is instituted with or separately from the criminal action. The offended party may still
complainant shall endeavor to seek the consolidation of this appeal with the said petition.61
claim civil liability ex delictoif there is a finding in the final judgment in the criminal action that the act or
omission from which the liability may arise exists. Jurisprudence has enumerated three instances when,
As to the third requisite, on the assumption that the trial court had jurisdiction over the case, this court’s notwithstanding the accused’s acquittal, the offended party may still claim civil liability ex delicto: (a) if the
decision in G.R. No. 130880 affirming the trial court’s decision acquitting the accused for lack of an acquittal is based on reasonable doubt as only preponderance of evidence is required; (b) if the court
essential element of the crime charged amounts to res judicatato assert the recovery of civil liability declared that the liability of the accused is only civil;and (c) if the civil liability of the accused does not
arising from the offense. This court’s resolution dismissing the petition for certiorari filed by Ferro arise from or is not based upon the crime of which the accused is acquitted. 68
Chemicals, Inc. states:
However, if the state pursues an appeal on the criminal aspect of a decision of the trial court acquitting
In any event, petitioners failed to sufficiently show that any grave abuse of discretion was committed by the accused and private complainant/s failed to reserve the right to institute a separate civil action,the
the Regional Trial Court in rendering the challenged decision and order which, on the contrary, appear to civil liability ex delictothat is inherently attached to the offense is likewise appealed. The appeal of the civil
be in accord with the facts and the applicable law and jurisprudence.62 liability ex delictois impliedly instituted with the petition for certiorari assailing the acquittal of the accused.
Private complainant cannot anymore pursue a separate appeal from that of the state without violating the
doctrine of non-forum shopping.
Litigants cannot avail themselves of two separate remedies for the same relief in the hope that in one
forum, the relief prayed for will be granted. This is the evil sought tobe averted by the doctrine of non-
forum shopping, and this is the problem that has happened in this case. This court denied the petition for On the other hand, the conclusion isdifferent if private complainant reserved the right to institute the civil
certiorari filed byFerro Chemicals, Inc. resulting in finality of the trial court’s decision.1awp++i1 The action for the recovery of civil liability ex delicto before the Regional Trial Court orinstitute a separate civil
decision found Antonio Garcia not guilty of the offense charged, and no civil liability was awarded to Ferro action prior to the filing of the criminal case in accordance with Rule 111 of the Rules of Court. In these
Chemicals, Inc. However, at present,there is a conflicting decision from the Court of Appeals awarding situations, the filing of an appealas to the civil aspect of the case cannot be considered as forum
Ferro Chemicals, Inc. civil indemnity arising from the offense charged. shopping.1âwphi1 This is not the situation here.

When the civil action for the recovery of civil liability ex delicto is instituted with the criminal action, We see no more reason to discuss the issues presented by the parties in light of the foregoing
whether by choice of private complainant (i.e., no reservation is made or no prior filing of a separate civil discussion.
action) or as required by the law or rules, the case will be prosecuted under the direction and control of
the public prosecutor.63 The civil action cannot proceed independently of the criminal case. This includes
Entry of judgment having been made on the resolution of the court in G.R. No. 130880 involving the
subsequent proceedings on the criminal action such as an appeal. In any case, Ferro Chemicals, Inc.
same parties and issues and by virtue of the doctrine of finality of judgment, we reiterate the resolution of
joined the public prosecutor in filing the petition for certiorari before this court. Ramon Garcia, President
this court.
of Ferro Chemicals, Inc., signed the verification and certification of non-forum shopping of the petition for
WHEREFORE, the resolution in G.R. No. 130880 is reiterated. We grant the petition insofar as it prays
for the setting aside of the Court of Appeals' decision d~ted August 11, 2005 and resolution dated April
We must clarify, however, that private complainants in criminal cases are not precluded from filing a
27, 2006 as a final decision over the assailed Regional Trial Court decision that was rendered on
motion for reconsideration and subsequently an appeal on the civil aspect of a decision acquitting the
November 16, 1998 in G.R. No. 130880.
accused. An exception to the rule that only the Solicitor General can bring actions in criminal proceedings
before the Court of Appeals or this court is "when the private offended party questions the civil aspect of
a decision of a lower court."65 As discussed in Mobilia Products, Inc. v. Hajime Umezawa:66 SO ORDERED.

In a criminal case in which the offended party is the State, the interest of the private complainant or the G.R. No. 74431 November 6, 1989
offended party is limited to the civil liability arising there from. Hence, if a criminal case is dismissed by
the trial court or if there is an acquittal, a reconsideration of the order of dismissal or acquittal may be
PURITA MIRANDA VESTIL and AGUSTIN VESTIL, petitioners, Purita Vestil's testimony that she was not in possession of Miranda's house is hardly credible. She said
vs. that the occupants of the house left by her father were related to him ("one way or the other") and
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, DAVID UY and TERESITA UY, respondents. maintained themselves out of a common fund or by some kind of arrangement (on which, however, she
did not elaborate ). 7 She mentioned as many as ten of such relatives who had stayed in the house at one
time or another although they did not appear to be close kin.8 She at least implied that they did not pay
any rent, presumably because of their relation with Vicente Miranda notwithstanding that she herself did
not seem to know them very well.
Little Theness Tan Uy was dead at the age of three. Her parents said she died because she was bitten by
a dog of the petitioners, but the latter denied this, claiming they had nothing to do with the dog. The Uys
There is contrary evidence that the occupants of the house, were boarders (or more of boarders than
sued the Vestils, who were sustained by the trial court. On appeal, the decision of the court a quo was
relatives) who paid the petitioners for providing them with meals and accommodations. It also appears
reversed in favor of the Uys. The Vestils are now before us. They ask us to set aside the judgment of the
that Purita Vestil had hired a maid, Dolores Jumao-as, who did the cooking and cleaning in the said
respondent court and to reinstate that of the trial court.
house for its occupants. 9 Her mother, Pacita, who was a nursemaid of Purita herself, categorically
declared that the petitioners were maintaining boarders in the house where Theness was bitten by a
On July 29, 1915, Theness was bitten by a dog while she was playing with a child of the petitioners in the dog.10 Another witness, Marcial Lao, testified that he was indeed a boarder and that the Vestils were
house of the late Vicente Miranda, the father of Purita Vestil, at F. Ramos Street in Cebu City. She was maintaining the house for business purposes. 11 And although Purita denied paying the water bills for the
rushed to the Cebu General Hospital, where she was treated for "multiple lacerated wounds on the house, the private respondents submitted documentary evidence of her application for water connection
forehead" 1 and administered an anti-rabies vaccine by Dr. Antonio Tautjo. She was discharged after nine with the Cebu Water District, which strongly suggested that she was administering the house in
days but was readmitted one week later due to "vomiting of saliva." 2 The following day, on August 15, question. 12
1975, the child died. The cause of death was certified as broncho-pneumonia. 3
While it is true that she is not really the owner of the house, which was still part of Vicente Miranda's
Seven months later, the Uys sued for damages, alleging that the Vestils were liable to them as the estate, there is no doubt that she and her husband were its possessors at the time of the incident in
possessors of "Andoy," the dog that bit and eventually killed their daughter. The Vestils rejected the question. She was the only heir residing in Cebu City and the most logical person to take care of the
charge, insisting that the dog belonged to the deceased Vicente Miranda, that it was a tame animal, and property, which was only six kilometers from her own house. 13 Moreover, there is evidence showing that
that in any case no one had witnessed it bite Theness. After trial, Judge Jose R. Ramolete of the Court of she and her family regularly went to the house, once or twice weekly, according to at least one
First Instance of Cebu sustained the defendants and dismissed the complaint. 4 witness, 14 and used it virtually as a second house. Interestingly, her own daughter was playing in the
house with Theness when the little girl was bitten by the dog. 15 The dog itself remained in the house
even after the death of Vicente Miranda in 1973 and until 1975, when the incident in question occurred. It
The respondent court arrived at a different conclusion when the case was appealed. 5 It found that the is also noteworthy that the petitioners offered to assist the Uys with their hospitalization expenses
Vestils were in possession of the house and the dog and so should be responsible under Article 2183 of although Purita said she knew them only casually. 16
the Civil Code for the injuries caused by the dog. It also held that the child had died as a result of the dog
bites and not for causes independent thereof as submitted by the appellees. Accordingly, the Vestils were
ordered to pay the Uys damages in the amount of P30,000.00 for the death of Theness, P12,000.00 for The petitioners also argue that even assuming that they were the possessors of the dog that bit Theness
medical and hospitalization expenses, and P2,000.00 as attorney's fees. there was no clear showing that she died as a result thereof. On the contrary, the death
certificate 17 declared that she died of broncho-pneumonia, which had nothing to do with the dog bites for
which she had been previously hospitalized. The Court need not involve itself in an extended scientific
In the proceedings now before us, Purita Vestil insists that she is not the owner of the house or of the dog discussion of the causal connection between the dog bites and the certified cause of death except to note
left by her father as his estate has not yet been partitioned and there are other heirs to the property. that, first, Theness developed hydrophobia, a symptom of rabies, as a result of the dog bites, and
Pursuing the logic of the Uys, she claims, even her sister living in Canada would be held responsible for second, that asphyxia broncho-pneumonia, which ultimately caused her death, was a complication of
the acts of the dog simply because she is one of Miranda's heirs. However, that is hardly the point. What rabies. That Theness became afraid of water after she was bitten by the dog is established by the
must be determined is the possession of the dog that admittedly was staying in the house in question, following testimony of Dr. Tautjo:
regardless of the ownership of the dog or of the house.

COURT: I think there was mention of rabies in the report in the second admission?
Article 2183 reads as follows:

A: Now, the child was continuously vomiting just before I referred to Dr. Co earlier in the morning
The possessor of an animal or whoever may make use of the same is responsible and then the father, because the child was asking for water, the father tried to give the child water
for the damage which it may cause, although it may escape or be lost. 'This and this child went under the bed, she did not like to drink the water and there was fright in her
responsibility shall cease only in case the damages should come from force eyeballs. For this reason, because I was in danger there was rabies, I called Dr. Co.
majeure from the fault of the person who has suffered damage.

Q: In other words, the child had hydrophobia?

Thus, in Afialda v. Hisole, 6 a person hired as caretaker of a carabao gored him to death and his heirs
thereupon sued the owner of the animal for damages. The complaint was dismissed on the ground that it
was the caretaker's duty to prevent the carabao from causing injury to any one, including himself. A: Yes, sir. 18

As for the link between rabies and broncho-pneumonia, the doctor had the following to say under oath:
A: Now, as 1 said before, broncho-pneumonia can result from physical, chemical and bacterial While there is no recompense that can bring back to the private respondents the child they have lost,
means. ... It can be the result of infection, now, so if you have any other disease which can lower their pain should at least be assuaged by the civil damages to which they are entitled.
your resistance you can also get pneumonia.
WHEREFORE, the challenged decision is AFFIRMED as above modified. The petition is DENIED, with
xxx xxx xxx costs against the petitioners. It is so ordered.

Q: Would you say that a person who has rabies may die of complication which is broncho- Narvasa, Gancayco, Griño-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. L-2075 November 29, 1949

A: Yes.

MARGARITA AFIALDA, plaintiff-appellant,

Q: For the record, I am manifesting that this book shown the witness is know as CURRENT vs.
DIANOSIS & TREATMENT, 1968 by Henry Brainerd, Sheldon Margen and Milton Chaton. Now, I BASILIO HISOLE and FRANCISCO HISOLE, defendants-appellees..
invite your attention, doctor, to page 751 of this book under the title "Rabies." There is on this
page, "Prognosis" as a result of rabies and it says: Once the symptoms, have appeared death
inevitably occurs after 2-3 days as a result of cardiac or respiratory failure or generalized REYES, J.:
paralysis. After a positive diagnosis of rabies or after a bite by a suspected animal if the animal
cannot be observed or if the bite is on the head, give rabies vaccine (duck embryo). Do you This is an action for damages arising from injury caused by an animal. The complaint alleges that the
believe in this statement? now deceased, Loreto Afialda, was employed by the defendant spouses as caretaker of their carabaos at
a fixed compensation; that while tending the animals he was, on March 21, 1947, gored by one of them
A: Yes. and later died as a consequence of his injuries; that the mishap was due neither to his own fault nor
to force majeure; and that plaintiff is his elder sister and heir depending upon him for support.
Q: Would you say therefore that persons who have rabies may die of respiratory failure which
leave in the form of bronco-pneumonia? Before filing their answer, defendants moved for the dismissal of the complaint for lack of a cause of
action, and the motion having been granted by the lower court, plaintiff has taken this appeal.
A: Broncho-pneumonia can be a complication of rabies. 19
Plaintiff seeks to hold defendants liable under article 1905 of the Civil Code, which reads:
On the strength of the foregoing testimony, the Court finds that the link between the dog bites and the
certified cause of death has beep satisfactorily established. We also reiterate our ruling in Sison v. Sun The possessor of an animal, or the one who uses the same, is liable for any damages it may
Life Assurance Company of Canada, 20 that the death certificate is not conclusive proof of the cause of cause, even if such animal should escape from him or stray away.
death but only of the fact of death. Indeed, the evidence of the child's hydrophobia is sufficient to
convince us that she died because she was bitten by the dog even if the death certificate stated a This liability shall cease only in case, the damage should arise from force majeure or from the
different cause of death. The petitioner's contention that they could not be expected to exercise remote fault of the person who may have suffered it.
control of the dog is not acceptable. In fact, Article 2183 of the Civil Code holds the possessor liable even
if the animal should "escape or be lost" and so be removed from his control. And it does not matter either
that, as the petitioners also contend, the dog was tame and was merely provoked by the child into biting The question presented is whether the owner of the animal is liable when damage is caused to its
her. The law does not speak only of vicious animals but covers even tame ones as long as they cause caretaker.
injury. As for the alleged provocation, the petitioners forget that Theness was only three years old at the
time she was attacked and can hardly be faulted for whatever she might have done to the animal. The lower court took the view that under the above-quoted provision of the Civil Code, the owner of an
animal is answerable only for damages caused to a stranger, and that for damage caused to the
It is worth observing that the above defenses of the petitioners are an implied rejection of their original caretaker of the animal the owner would be liable only if he had been negligent or at fault under article
posture that there was no proof that it was the dog in their father's house that bit Theness. 1902 of the same code. Claiming that the lower court was in error, counsel for plaintiff contends that the
article 1905 does not distinguish between damage caused to the caretaker and makes the owner liable
whether or not he has been negligent or at fault. For authority counsel cites the following opinion which
According to Manresa the obligation imposed by Article 2183 of the Civil Code is not based on the Manresa quotes from a decision of the Spanish Supreme Court:
negligence or on the presumed lack of vigilance of the possessor or user of the animal causing the
damage. It is based on natural equity and on the principle of social interest that he who possesses
animals for his utility, pleasure or service must answer for the damage which such animal may cause. 21 El articulo 1905 del codigo Civil no consienta otra interpretacion que la que, clara y
evidentemente, se deriva de sus terminos literales, bastando, segun el mismo, que un animal
cause perjuicio para que nasca la responsibilidad del dueno, aun no imputandose a este
We sustain the findings of the Court of Appeals and approve the monetary awards except only as to the ninguna clase de culpa o negligencia, habida,sin duda, cuenta por el lgislador de que tal
medical and hospitalization expenses, which are reduced to P2,026.69, as prayed for in the complaint. concepto de dueno es suficiente para que arrastre las consecuencias favorables o adversas
de esta clase de propiedad, salvo la exception en el mismo contenida. (12 Manresa, On March 12, 1960 the judgment was amended so as to include an additional award of P3,705.11 in
Commentaries on the Spanish CivilCode, 573.) favor of the plaintiffs for the damage sustained by their car in the accident.

This opinion, however, appears to have been rendered in a case where an animal caused injury to a Both parties appealed to the Court of Appeals, which certified the case to us in view of the total amount of
stranger or third person. It is therefore no authority for a case like the present where the person injured the plaintiffs' claim.
was the caretaker of the animal. The distinction is important. For the statute names
the possessor or user of the animal as the person liable for "any damages it may cause," and this for the
There are two principal questions posed for resolution: (1) who was responsible for the accident? and (2)
obvious reason that the possessor or user has the custody and control of the animal and is therefore the
if it was defendant Rafael Bernardo, was his employer, defendant Yu Khe Thai, solidarily liable with him?
one in a position to prevent it from causing damage.
On the first question the trial court found Rafael Bernardo negligent; and on the second, held his
employer solidarily liable with him.
In the present case, the animal was in custody and under the control of the caretaker, who was paid for
his work as such. Obviously, it was the caretaker's business to try to prevent the animal from causing
The mishap occurred at about 5:30 in the morning of March 24, 1958 on Highway 54 (now E. de los
injury or damage to anyone, including himself. And being injured by the animal under those
Santos Avenue) in the vicinity of San Lorenzo Village. Marcial was driving his Mercury car on his way
circumstances, was one of the risks of the occupation which he had voluntarily assumed and for which he
from his home in Quezon City to the airport, where his son Ephraim was scheduled to take a plane for
must take the consequences.
Mindoro. With them in the car were Mrs. Caedo and three daughters. Coming from the opposite direction
was the Cadillac of Yu Khe Thai, with his driver Rafael Bernardo at the wheel, taking the owner from his
In a decision of the Spanish Supreme Court, cited by Manresa in his Commentaries (Vol. 12, p. 578), the Parañaque home to Wack Wack for his regular round of golf. The two cars were traveling at fairly
death of an employee who was bitten by a feline which his master had asked him to take to his moderate speeds, considering the condition of the road and the absence of traffic — the Mercury at 40 to
establishment was by said tribunal declared to be "a veritable accident of labor" which should come 50 kilometers per hour, and the Cadillac at approximately 30 to 35 miles (48 to 56 kilometers). Their
under the labor laws rather than under article 1905 of the Civil Code. The present action, however, is not headlights were mutually noticeable from a distance. Ahead of the Cadillac, going in the same direction,
brought under the Workmen's Compensation Act, there being no allegation that, among other things, was a caretella owned by a certain Pedro Bautista. The carretela was towing another horse by means of
defendant's business, whatever that might be, had a gross income of P20,000. As already stated, a short rope coiled around the rig's vertical post on the right side and held at the other end by Pedro's
defendant's liability is made to rest on article 1905 of the Civil Code. but action under that article is not son, Julian Bautista.
tenable for the reasons already stated. On the other hand, if action is to be based on article 1902 of the
Civil Code, it is essential that there be fault or negligence on the part of the defendants as owners of the
Rafael Bernardo testified that he was almost upon the rig when he saw it in front of him, only eight meters
animal that caused the damage. But the complaint contains no allegation on those points.
away. This is the first clear indication of his negligence. The carretela was provided with two lights, one
on each side, and they should have given him sufficient warning to take the necessary precautions. And
There being no reversible error in the order appealed from, the same is hereby affirmed, but without even if he did not notice the lights, as he claimed later on at the trial, the carretela should anyway have
costs in view of the financial situation of the appellant. been visible to him from afar if he had been careful, as it must have been in the beam of his headlights
for a considerable while.

G.R. No. L-20392 December 18, 1968

In the meantime the Mercury was coming on its own lane from the opposite direction. Bernardo, instead
of slowing down or stopping altogether behind the carretela until that lane was clear, veered to the left in
MARCIAL T. CAEDO, JUANA SANGALANG CAEDO, and the Minors, EPHRAIM CAEDO, EILEEN order to pass. As he did so the curved end of his car's right rear bumper caught the forward rim of the
CAEDO, ROSE ELAINE CAEDO, suing through their father, MARCIAL T. CAEDO, as guardian ad rig's left wheel, wrenching it off and carrying it along as the car skidded obliquely to the other lane, where
litem, plaintiffs-appellants, it collided with the oncoming vehicle. On his part Caedo had seen the Cadillac on its own lane; he
vs. slackened his speed, judged the distances in relation to the carretela and concluded that the Cadillac
YU KHE THAI and RAFAEL BERNARDO, defendants-appellants. would wait behind. Bernardo, however, decided to take a gamble — beat the Mercury to the point where
it would be in line with the carretela, or else squeeze in between them in any case. It was a risky
MAKALINTAL, J.: maneuver either way, and the risk should have been quite obvious. Or, since the car was moving at from
30 to 35 miles per hour (or 25 miles according to Yu Khe Thai) it was already too late to apply the brakes
when Bernardo saw the carretela only eight meters in front of him, and so he had to swerve to the left in
As a result of a vehicular accident in which plaintiff Marcial Caedo and several members of his family spite of the presence of the oncoming car on the opposite lane. As it was, the clearance Bernardo gave
were injured they filed this suit for recovery of damages from the defendants. The judgment, rendered by for his car's right side was insufficient. Its rear bumper, as already stated, caught the wheel of
the Court of First Instance of Rizal on February 26, 1960 (Q-2952), contains the following disposition: the carretela and wrenched it loose. Caedo, confronted with the unexpected situation, tried to avoid the
collision at the last moment by going farther to the right, but was unsuccessful. The photographs taken at
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the court renders a judgment, one in favor of the plaintiffs and the scene show that the right wheels of his car were on the unpaved shoulder of the road at the moment
against the defendants, Yu Khe Thai and Rafael Bernardo, jointly and severally, to pay to of impact.
plaintiffs Marcial Caedo, et al., the sum of P1,929.70 for actual damages; P48,000.00 for moral
damages; P10,000.00 for exemplary damages; and P5,000.00 for attorney's fees, with costs There is no doubt at all that the collision was directly traceable to Rafael Bernardo's negligence and that
against the defendants. The counterclaim of the defendants against the plaintiffs is hereby he must be held liable for the damages suffered by the plaintiffs. The next question is whether or not Yu
ordered dismissed, for lack of merits. Khe Thai, as owner of the Cadillac, is solidarily liable with the driver. The applicable law is Article 2184 of
the Civil Code, which reads:
ART. 2184. In motor vehicle mishaps, the owner is solidarily liable with his driver, if the former, traffic or to appreciate the relative dangers posed by the different situations that are continually
who was in the vehicle, could have, by the use of due diligence, prevented the misfortune. It is encountered on the road. What would be a negligent omission under aforesaid Article on the part of a car
disputably presumed that a driver was negligent, if he had been found guilty of reckless driving owner who is in the prime of age and knows how to handle a motor vehicle is not necessarily so on the
or violating traffic regulations at least twice within the next preceding two months. part, say, of an old and infirm person who is not similarly equipped.

Under the foregoing provision, if the causative factor was the driver's negligence, the owner of the vehicle The law does not require that a person must possess a certain measure of skill or proficiency either in the
who was present is likewise held liable if he could have prevented the mishap by the exercise of due mechanics of driving or in the observance of traffic rules before he may own a motor vehicle. The test of
diligence. The rule is not new, although formulated as law for the first time in the new Civil Code. It was his intelligence, within the meaning of Article 2184, is his omission to do that which the evidence of his
expressed in Chapman vs. Underwood (1914), 27 Phil. 374, where this Court held: own senses tells him he should do in order to avoid the accident. And as far as perception is concerned,
absent a minimum level imposed by law, a maneuver that appears to be fraught with danger to one
passenger may appear to be entirely safe and commonplace to another. Were the law to require a
... The same rule applies where the owner is present, unless the negligent acts of the driver are
uniform standard of perceptiveness, employment of professional drivers by car owners who, by their very
continued for such a length of time as to give the owner a reasonable opportunity to observe
inadequacies, have real need of drivers' services, would be effectively proscribed.
them and to direct his driver to desist therefrom. An owner who sits in his automobile, or other
vehicle, and permits his driver to continue in a violation of the law by the performance of
negligent acts, after he has had a reasonable opportunity to observe them and to direct that the We hold that the imputation of liability to Yu Khe Thai, solidarily with Rafael Bernardo, is an error. The
driver cease therefrom, becomes himself responsible for such acts. The owner of an next question refers to the sums adjudged by the trial court as damages. The award of P48,000 by way
automobile who permits his chauffeur to drive up the Escolta, for example, at a speed of 60 of moral damages is itemized as follows:
miles an hour, without any effort to stop him, although he has had a reasonable opportunity to
do so, becomes himself responsible, both criminally and civilly, for the results produced by the
acts of the chauffeur. On the other hand, if the driver, by a sudden act of negligence, and
without the owner having a reasonable opportunity to prevent the act or its continuance, injures 1. Marcial Caedo P 20,000.00
a person or violates the criminal law, the owner of the automobile, although present therein at
the time the act was committed, is not responsible, either civilly or criminally, therefor. The act
complained of must be continued in the presence of the owner for such a length of time that 2. Juana S. Caedo 15,000.00
the owner, by his acquiescence, makes his driver act his own.
3. Ephraim Caedo 3,000.00
The basis of the master's liability in civil law is not respondent superior but rather the relationship
of paterfamilias. The theory is that ultimately the negligence of the servant, if known to the master and 4. Eileen Caedo 4,000.00
susceptible of timely correction by him, reflects his own negligence if he fails to correct it in order to
prevent injury or damage.
5. Rose Elaine Caedo 3,000.00
In the present case the defendants' evidence is that Rafael Bernardo had been Yu Khe Thai's driver since
1937, and before that had been employed by Yutivo Sons Hardware Co. in the same capacity for over 6. Merilyn Caedo 3,000.00
ten years. During that time he had no record of violation of traffic laws and regulations. No negligence for
Plaintiffs appealed from the award, claiming that the Court should have granted them also actual or
having employed him at all may be imputed to his master. Negligence on the part of the latter, if any,
compensatory damages, aggregating P225,000, for the injuries they sustained. Defendants, on the other
must be sought in the immediate setting and circumstances of the accident, that is, in his failure to detain
hand maintain that the amounts awarded as moral damages are excessive and should be reduced. We
the driver from pursuing a course which not only gave him clear notice of the danger but also sufficient
find no justification for either side. The amount of actual damages suffered by the individual plaintiffs by
time to act upon it. We do not see that such negligence may be imputed. The car, as has been stated,
reason of their injuries, other than expenses for medical treatment, has not been shown by the evidence.
was not running at an unreasonable speed. The road was wide and open, and devoid of traffic that early
Actual damages, to be compensable, must be proven. Pain and suffering are not capable of pecuniary
morning. There was no reason for the car owner to be in any special state of alert. He had reason to rely
estimation, and constitute a proper ground for granting moral, not actual, damages, as provided in Article
on the skill and experience of his driver. He became aware of the presence of the carretela when his car
2217 of the Civil Code.
was only twelve meters behind it, but then his failure to see it earlier did not constitute negligence, for he
was not himself at the wheel. And even when he did see it at that distance, he could not have anticipated
his driver's sudden decision to pass the carretela on its left side in spite of the fact that another car was The injuries sustained by plaintiffs are the following:
approaching from the opposite direction. The time element was such that there was no reasonable
opportunity for Yu Khe Thai to assess the risks involved and warn the driver accordingly. The thought that
entered his mind, he said, was that if he sounded a sudden warning it might only make the other man MARCIAL T. CAEDO:
nervous and make the situation worse. It was a thought that, wise or not, connotes no absence of that A. Contusion, with hematoma, scalp, frontal left; abrasions, chest wall, anterior;
due diligence required by law to prevent the misfortune. B. Multiple fractures, ribs, right, lst to 5th inclusive. Third rib has a double fracture;
Subparieto-plaural hematoma; Basal disc atelectasis, lung, right lower lobe,
The test of imputed negligence under Article 2184 of the Civil Code is, to a great degree, necessarily C. Pseudotosis, left, secondary to probable basal fracture, skull.
subjective. Car owners are not held to a uniform and inflexible standard of diligence as are professional JUANA SANGALANG CAEDO:
drivers. In many cases they refrain from driving their own cars and instead hire other persons to drive for A. Abrasions, multiple:
them precisely because they are not trained or endowed with sufficient discernment to know the rules of (1)frontal region, left; (2) apex of nose; (3) upper eyelid, left; (4) knees.
B. Wound, lacerated, irregular, deep, frontal; He suffered chest pains and was confined at the Central Luzon Doctor’s Hospital in Tarlac City on August
C. Fracture, simple, 2nd rib posterior, left with displacement. 12, 1995. Upon discharge on August 17, 1995, he was diagnosed to be suffering from Coronary Artery
D. Fracture, simple, base, proximal phalanx right, big toe. Disease (CAD): Triple Vessel and Unstable Angina. His medical records showed him to be hypertensive
E. Fracture, simple, base, metatarsals III and V right. for 10 years and a smoker.
F. Concussion, cerebral.
On account of his CAD, he was given by the SSS the following EC/SSS Permanent Partial Disability
A. Abrasions, multiple:
(PPD) benefits: (a) 8 monthly pensions effective September 1, 1994 and (b) 4 monthly pensions effective
(1) left temporal area; (2) left frontal; (3) left supraorbital
January 3, 1997. He became an SSS retirement pensioner on February 1, 2002.
A. Lacerated wound (V-shaped), base, 5th finger, right, lateral aspect.
B. Abrasions, multiple: Sometime in 2003, an SSS audit revealed the need to recover the EC benefits already paid to him on the
(1) dorsum, proximal phalanx middle finger; (2) Knee, anterior, bilateral; (3) shin, ground that his CAD, being attributed to his chronic smoking, was not work-related. He was notified
lower 1/3. thereof through a letter dated July 31, 2003.
A. Abrasions, multiple: (1) upper and lower lids; (2) left temporal; (3) nasolabial
Convinced that he was entitled to the benefits, he assailed the decision but the SSS maintained its
region; (4) leg, lower third, anterior.
position. The SSS also denied his motion for reconsideration.
A. Abrasions, multiple: (1)shin, lower 1/3 right; (2) arm, lower third
C. Contusion with hematoma, shin, lower 1/3, anterior aspect, right. (See Exhibits D, He elevated the matter to the ECC, which denied his appeal on December 10, 2004, essentially ruling
D-1, D-2, D-3, D-4, and D- 5) that although his CAD was a cardiovascular disease listed as an occupational disease under Annex A of
the Implementing Rules on Employees’ Compensation, nothing on record established the presence of the
qualifying circumstances for responsibility; that it was incumbent upon him to prove that the nature of his
It is our opinion that, considering the nature and extent of the above-mentioned injuries, the amounts of
previous employment and the conditions prevailing therein had increased the risk of contracting his CAD;
moral damages granted by the trial court are not excessive.
and that he had failed to prove this requisite. The ECC concluded:

WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is modified in the sense of declaring defendant-appellant Yu
As explained medically, the development of IHD or otherwise termed as Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
Khe Thai free from liability, and is otherwise affirmed with respect to defendant Rafael Bernardo, with
is caused by atherosclerosis, the hardening of the inner lining of arteries. One of the risk factors
costs against the latter.
considered by medical science for the development of atherosclerosis is smoking. Appellant had been
documented to be a chronic smoker and such factor which is not in any way related to any form of
G.R. No. 174725 January 26, 2011 employment increased his risk of contracting heart disease.

ALEXANDER B. GATUS, Petitioner, Hence, this recourse, wherein he contends that he had contracted the disease due to the presence of
vs. harmful fuel smoke emission of methane gas from a nearby biological waste digester and a railway
SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, Respondent. terminal where diesel-fed locomotive engines had "spew(ed) black smoke;" and that he had been
exposed for 30 years to various smoke emissions that had contained carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide,
sulfur, oxide of nitrogen and unburned carbon.3(Emphases added.)

In the assailed Decision, the Court of Appeals held that petitioner is not entitled to compensation benefits
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals dated May 24, 2006 in under Presidential Decree No. 626, as amended, affirming the Decision of the Employees’ Compensation
CA-G.R. SP No. 88691 (the assailed Decision) and the Resolution2 dated August 7, 2006 issued by the Commission (ECC), which was likewise a confirmation of the audit conducted by the Social Security
same court in said case. System (SSS).

The facts, as summarized by the Court of Appeals, are as follows: Thus, this petition wherein, even without assistance of counsel, petitioner comes to this Court contending
that "the appellate court’s decision is flawed [and] if not reversed will result in irreparable damage to the
[Petitioner Alexander B.] Gatus worked at the Central Azucarera de Tarlac beginning on January 1, 1972. interest of the petitioner."4
He was a covered member of the SSS (SS No. 02-0055015-6). He optionally retired from Central
Azucarera de Tarlac upon reaching 30 years of service on January 31, 2002, at the age of 62 years. By Petitioner lists the following as errors in the questioned Decision:
the time of his retirement, he held the position of Tender assigned at the Distillery Cooling Tower.

I. The appellate court’s decision is against existing jurisprudence on increased risk theory of
In the course of his employment in Central Azucarera de Tarlac, he was certified fit to work on October rebook condition and progression and deterioration of illness that supervened during
21, 1975 and was accordingly promoted to a year-round regular employment. employment and persisted after optional retirement.

II. Violation of due process.5

The Court of Appeals agreed with the ECC’s findings that based on his medical records, petitioner has The sole issue to be determined is whether the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion in
been hypertensive for ten (10) years and smokes 20 packs of cigarettes a year.6 His medical condition affirming the finding of the ECC that petitioner’s ailment is not compensable under Presidential Decree
was explained in the following manner by the ECC: No. 626, as amended.

Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) is the generic designation for a group of closely related syndromes The grounds for compensability are set forth in Section 1, Rule III of the Amended Rules on Employees’
resulting from ischemia – an imbalance between the supply and demand of the heart for oxygenated Compensation (the "Amended Rules"), the pertinent portion of which states:
blood. Because coronary artery narrowing or obstruction owing to atherosclerosis underlies MI, it is often
termed coronary artery disease (CAD). Atherosclerosis which is primarily due to smoking, diet,
hypertension and diabetes is the main culprit in the development of CAD. (Pathologic Basis of Disease
by Robbins, 5th edition.)7 (Emphasis supplied.)

Sec. 1. Grounds — x x x
Petitioner claims that he was in good health when he first entered the Central Azucarera de Tarlac as a
factory worker at the Alcohol Distillery Plant in 1972.8 He alleges that in the course of his employment he
suffered "essential hypertension" starting 1995, when he experienced chest pains and was confined at (b) For the sickness and the resulting disability or death to be compensable, the sickness must be the
the Central Luzon Doctor’s Hospital in Tarlac City; that he was diagnosed as having "Coronary Artery result of an occupational disease listed under Annex "A" of these Rules with the conditions set therein
Disease (CAD) [Triple] Vessel and Angina Pectoris" and hypertension; that he was initially granted satisfied; otherwise, proof must be shown that the risk of contracting the disease is increased by the
disability benefits by the SSS but his request for additional benefits was denied; and that the ECC denied working conditions.
his appeal due to allegations of smoking. He asserts that he has cited "technical, scientific and medical
authorities to bolster his claim" including the exposure he experienced for thirty (30) years from the
Further, under Annex "A" of the Amended Rules,
alcohol distillery to "hydrocarbons and [locomotives]," carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur,
phosphorous, nitrogen oxides and soot (particulate matter). 9
For an occupational disease and the resulting disability or death to be compensable, all of the following
conditions must be satisfied:
Petitioner uses various references, including encyclopedia and medical books, to discuss the general
effects of pollution, mostly caused by the burning of fossil fuels, to people with cardiovascular diseases;
and the aggravation of coronary artery diseases brought about by exposure to carbon 1. The employee's work must involve the risks described herein;
monoxide.10 Petitioner claims that "air pollution (carbon monoxide and lead from gasoline) contributed to
the development of essential hypertension and its complications: [c]oronary artery disease, hypertensive
cardiovascular disease and stroke."11 2. The disease was contracted as a result of the employee's exposure to the described risks;

Petitioner insists that the allegation of cigarette smoking was not proven and that the ECC did not present 3. The disease was contracted within a period of exposure and under such other factors
a document signed by competent medical authority to back such claim. Petitioner claims that there is no necessary to contract it;
showing that the ECC records were elevated to the Court of Appeals, and that the latter had completely
ignored his evidence. 4. There was no notorious negligence on the part of the employee.

In its Comment12 dated December 11, 2006, respondent SSS alleges that the Decision of the Court of Cardiovascular diseases are considered as occupational when contracted under any of the following
Appeals affirming the Decision of the ECC was in accordance with law and existing jurisprudence. conditions:
Respondent SSS further alleges that as viewed from the records of the case, the petitioner failed to show
proof by mere substantial evidence that the development of his disease was work-related; 13 that
petitioner’s heart ailment had no causal relation with his employment; and that "[as] viewed from by his (a) If the heart disease was known to have been present during employment there must be
lifestyle, he was a chain smoker, a habit [which had] contributed to the development of his heart proof that an acute exacerbation clearly precipitated by the unusual strain by reason of the
ailment."14 nature of his work.

Respondent further alleges that medical findings have revealed that nicotine in cigarette smoke damages (b) The strain of work that brings about an acute attack must be of sufficient severity and must
the blood vessels of the heart, making them susceptible to the hardening of the inner lining of the be followed within twenty-four (24) hours by the clinical signs of a cardiac insult to constitute
arteries. As to petitioner’s contention that there were harmful fuel and smoke emissions due to the causal relationship.
presence of methane gas from a nearby biological waste as well as a railway terminal where diesel-fed
locomotive engines spewed black smoke, respondent counters that these were mere allegations that (c) If a person who was apparently asymptomatic before subjecting himself to strain at work
were not backed by scientific and factual evidence and that petitioner had failed to show which harmful showed signs and symptoms of cardiac injury during the performance of his work and such
emissions or substances were present in his working environment and how much exposure thereto had symptoms and signs persisted, it is reasonable to claim a causal relationship.16
contributed to the development of his illness. Respondent points out that petitioner’s "bare allegations do
not constitute such evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support the conclusion
that there is a causal relationship between his working conditions" and his sickness and that "the law is The burden of proof is thus on petitioner to show that any of the above conditions have been met in his
clear that award of compensation cannot rest on speculations or presumptions." 15 case. The required proof is further discussed in Ortega v. Social Security Commission 17 :
The requisite quantum of proof in cases filed before administrative or quasi-judicial bodies is neither proof x x x What kind and quantum of evidence would constitute an adequate basis for a reasonable man (not
beyond reasonable doubt nor preponderance of evidence. In this type of cases, a fact may be deemed necessarily a medical scientist) to reach one or the other conclusion, can obviously be determined only
established if it is supported by substantial evidence, or that amount of relevant evidence which a on a case-to-case basis. That evidence must, however, be real and substantial, and not merely apparent;
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. In this case, substantial evidence for the duty to prove work-causation or work-aggravation imposed by existing law is real… not merely
abounds.18 apparent…

As found by the Court of Appeals, petitioner failed to submit substantial evidence that might have shown Moreover, he failed to show the presence of any of the conditions imposed for cardio-vascular diseases
that he was entitled to the benefits he had applied for. We thus affirm in toto the findings and conclusions by Sec. 18. Hence, the affirmance of the SSS decision was properly made.
of the Court of Appeals in the questioned Decision and quote with approval the following
pronouncements of the appellate court:
The petitioner’s plight might call for sympathy, particularly in the light of his 30 years of service to the
company, but his petition cannot be granted on that basis alone. The policy of extending the applicability
The degree of proof required under P.D. 626 is merely substantial evidence, which means such relevant of P.D. 626 as many qualified employees as possible should be balanced by the equally vital interest of
evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Accordingly, the denying undeserving claims for compensation.
claimant must show, at least by substantial evidence, that the development of the disease was brought
about largely by the conditions present in the nature of the job. What the law requires is a reasonable
In fine, Gatus was not qualified for the disability benefits under the employees compensation law.
work connection, not a direct causal relation.

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Employees Compensation Commission is AFFIRMED. 19

Gatus was diagnosed to have suffered from CAD; Triple Vessel and Unstable Angina, diseases or
conditions falling under the category of Cardiovascular Diseases which are not considered occupational
diseases under the Amended Rules on Employees Compensation. His disease not being listed as an Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration but this was denied by the Court of Appeals in its Resolution
occupational disease, he was expected to show that the illness or the fatal disease was caused by his dated August 7, 2006, which states:
employment and the risk of contracting the disease was increased or aggravated by the working
conditions. His proof would constitute a reasonable basis for arriving at a conclusion that the conditions
Finding nothing cogent and persuasive in the petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration dated June 20,
of his employment had caused the disease or that such working conditions had aggravated the risk of
2006, we DENY the motion.
contracting the illness or the fatal disease.

We point out that our decision of May 24, 2006 has fully explained the bases for the ruling we have
Under ECC Resolution No. 432 dated July 20, 1977, cardiovascular disease is deemed compensable
made, including the matters being discussed by the petitioner in his Motion for Reconsideration. We
under any of the following conditions, viz:
consider it repetitious and redundant to discuss them herein again.20

(a) If the heart disease was known to have been present during employment, there must be
The questioned Decision deemed as established fact that petitioner is a cigarette smoker; but petitioner
proof that an acute exacerbation was clearly precipitated by the unusual strain by reasons of
vehemently denies this, saying there is no competent evidence to prove he had that habit. What
the nature of his work.
petitioner would like this Court to do is to pass upon a question of fact, which the ECC, the SSS, and the
Court of Appeals have used to deny his claim for compensation. This is not allowed under Section 1 of
(b) The strain of work that brings about an acute attack must be of sufficient severity and must Rule 45, which states that "[t]he petition shall raise only questions of law which must be distinctly set
be followed within 28 hours of the clinical signs of cardiac insult to constitute causal forth."21 Hence, questions of fact may not be taken up in a petition for review on certiorari such as this
relationship. case now before us. As we have held previously:

xxxx A question of fact exists when the doubt centers on the truth or falsity of the alleged facts while a
question of law exists if the doubt centers on what the law is on a certain set of facts. There is a question
of fact if the issue requires a review of the evidence presented or requires the re-evaluation of the
Gatus did not discharge the burden of proof imposed under the Labor Code to show that his ailment was
credibility of witnesses. However, if the issue raised is capable of being resolved without need of
work-related. While he might have been exposed to various smoke emissions at work for 30 years, he did
reviewing the probative value of the evidence, the question is one of law.22
not submit satisfactory evidence proving that the exposure had contributed to the development of his
disease or had increased the risk of contracting the illness. Neither did he show that the disease had
progressed due to conditions in his job as a factory worker. In fact, he did not present any physician’s This was emphasized in La Union Cement Workers Union v. National Labor Relations
report in order to substantiate his allegation that the working conditions had increased the risk of Commission,23 thus:
acquiring the cardiovascular disease.
As an overture, clear and unmistakable is the rule that the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. Just as
Verily, his mere contention of exposure to various smoke emissions in the working environment for a well entrenched is the doctrine that pure issues of fact may not be the proper subject of appeal by
period of time does not ipso facto make the resulting disability compensable. Awards of compensation certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court as this mode of appeal is generally confined to
cannot rest on speculations or presumptions, for the claimant must prove a positive proposition. As questions of law. We therefore take this opportunity again to reiterate that only questions of law, not
pronounced in Sante v. Employees’ Compensation Commission: questions of fact, may be raised before the Supreme Court in a petition for review under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court. This Court cannot be tasked to go over the proofs presented by the petitioners in the
lower courts and analyze, assess and weigh them to ascertain if the court a quo and the appellate court 2.01 The CONTRACTOR agrees to install water service connections, transfer location of tapping to the
were correct in their appreciation of the evidence.24 nearest main, undertake separation of service connection, change rusted connections, within the service
area of the MWSS specified in each job order covered by this Contract, from the water main up to the
installation of the verticals. Tapping of the service pipe connection and mounting of water meter shall be
The matter of petitioner’s cigarette smoking, established by two competent government agencies and the
undertaken exclusively or solely by the MWSS;
appellate court, is thus a matter that cannot be questioned before us via petition for review.

On 20 May 1988, KC was given a Job Order by the South Sector Office of MWSS to conduct and effect
There is no doubt that petitioner deserves sympathy because even the benefits already given to him
excavations at the corner of M. Paterno and Santolan Road, San Juan, Metro Manila, a national road, for
were questioned after the SSS found that he was a chronic cigarette smoker. For humanitarian reasons,
the laying of water pipes and tapping of water to the respective houses of water concessionaires.
as he pursued his claim all the way to the Court as an indigent litigant, and due to his advancing age, we
would like to clarify that what had already been given him should no longer be taken away from him. But
he is not entitled to further compensation for his condition. That same day, KC dispatched five (5) of its workers under Project Engineer Ernesto Battad, Jr. to
conduct the digging operations in the specified place. The workers installed four (4) barricades made up
of two-inch thick GI pipes welded together, 1.3 meters wide and 1.2 meters high, at the area where the
We have once more put great weight to the factual findings of administrative agencies and quasi-judicial
digging is to take place. The digging operations started at 9 o’clock in the morning and ended at about 3
bodies, namely the SSS and the ECC, as they have acquired expertise in all matters relating to employee
o’clock in the afternoon. The workers dug a hole one (1) meter wide and 1.5 meters deep, after which
compensation and disability benefits. As we have held in Ortega v. Social Security Commission 25 :
they refilled the excavated portion of the road with the same gravel and stone excavated from the area.
At that time, only ¾ of the job was finished in view of the fact that the workers were still required to re-
It is settled that the Court is not a trier of facts and accords great weight to the factual findings of lower excavate that particular portion for the tapping of pipes for the water connections to the concessionaires.
courts or agencies whose function is to resolve factual matters. It is not for the Court to weigh evidence
all over again. Moreover, findings of fact of administrative agencies and quasi-judicial bodies, which have
Meanwhile, between 10 o’clock and 11 o’clock in the evening of 31 May 1988, Priscilla Chan was driving
acquired expertise because their jurisdiction is confined to specific matters, are generally accorded not
her Toyota Crown car with Plate No. PDK 991 at a speed of thirty (30) kilometers per hour on the right
only respect but finality when affirmed by the Court of Appeals.26
side of Santolan Road towards the direction of Pinaglabanan, San Juan, Metro Manila. With her on board
the car and seated on the right front seat was Assistant City Prosecutor Laura Biglang-awa. The road
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby DENIED. was flooded as it was then raining hard. Suddenly, the left front wheel of the car fell on a manhole where
the workers of KC had earlier made excavations. As a result, the humerus on the right arm of Prosecutor
Biglang-awa was fractured. Thereupon, Priscilla Chan contacted Biglang-awa’s husband who
SO ORDERED. immediately arrived at the scene and brought his wife to the Cardinal Santos Hospital.

G.R. No. 121920 August 9, 2005 Dispatched to the scene of the accident to conduct an investigation thereof, Pfc. Felix Ramos of the
Traffic Division of the San Juan Police Station, upon arriving thereat, saw Priscilla Chan’s car already
THE MUNICIPALITY OF SAN JUAN, METRO MANILA, Petitioners, extracted from the manhole and placed beside the excavated portion of the road. According to this police
vs. officer, he did not see any barricades at the scene when he arrived less than an hour later. A Traffic
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, LAURA BIGLANG-AWA, METROPOLITAN WATERWORKS AND Accident Investigation Report3 was thereafter prepared and signed by Pfc. Ramos.
At the hospital, the attending physician, after having performed a close reduction and application of
DECISION abduction splint on Biglang-awa, placed a plastic cast on her right arm. Barring complications, the injury
she suffered was expected to heal in four (4) to six (6) weeks, although she must revisit her doctor from
time to time for check-up and rehabilitation. After some time, the plastic cast was removed. Biglang-awa
GARCIA, J.: sustained no deformity and no tenderness of the area of the injury but she could not sleep on her right
side because she still felt pain in that portion of her body. A Medical Certificate4 on her injuries was issued
In this appeal by way of a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, petitioner by Dr. Antonio Rivera.
Municipality of San Juan urges us to annul and set aside the decision dated 08 September 19951 of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 38906, affirming with modification an earlier decision of the Regional Consequent to the foregoing incident, Biglang-awa filed before the Regional Trial Court at Pasig, Metro
Trial Court at Pasig City in an action for damages thereat commenced by private respondent Laura Manila a complaint for damages against MWSS, the Municipality of San Juan and a number of San Juan
Biglang-awa against, among others, the herein petitioner. municipal officials.

The material facts are not at all disputed: Later, Biglang-awa amended her complaint twice. In her second amended complaint, she included KC as
one of the defendants.
Under a "Contract For Water Service Connections"2 entered into by and between the Metropolitan
Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and Kwok Cheung as sole proprietor of K.C. Waterworks After due proceedings, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of Biglang-awa adjudging MWSS and
System Construction (KC, for short), the former engaged the services of the latter to install water service the Municipality of San Juan jointly and severally liable to her. Dated 29 February 1992, the
connections. Article 11 (Scope of Work), paragraph 2.01 of the agreement provides: decision5 dispositively reads in full, thus:
WHEREFORE, foregoing considered, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the Municipality of San With no similar recourse having been taken by the other parties, the Court shall limit itself to the liability
Juan, Metro Manila and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System jointly and severally liable to or non-liability of petitioner municipality for the injury sustained by Biglang-awa.
the plaintiff [Biglang-awa]. Both defendants are ordered to pay plaintiff the amounts of:
In denying liability for the subject accident, petitioner essentially anchored its defense on two provisions
(a) ₱18,389.55, for actual damages suffered by the plaintiff; of laws, namely: (1) Section 149, [1][z] of Batas Pambansa Blg. 337, otherwise known as the Local
Government Code of 1983; and (2) Section 8, Ordinance 82-01, of the Metropolitan Manila Commission.
(b) ₱15,000.00, for moral damages;
Petitioner maintains that under Section 149, [1][z] of the Local Government Code,6 it is obliged to provide
for the construction, improvement, repair and maintenance of only municipal streets, avenues, alleys,
(c) ₱10,000.00, for exemplary damages;
sidewalks, bridges, parks and other public places. Ergo, since Santolan Road is concededly a national
and not a municipal road, it cannot be held liable for the injuries suffered by Biglang-awa on account of
(d) ₱5,000.00, for attorney’s fees; and the accident that occurred on said road.

(e) to pay the costs. Additionally, petitioner contends that under Section 8, Ordinance No. 82-01, of the Metropolitan Manila
Commission, which reads:
In the event of death, injury and/or damages caused by the non-completion of such works and/or failure
of one undertaking the work to adopt the required precautionary measures for the protection of the
Unable to accept the judgment, both Biglang-awa and the Municipality of San Juan went to the Court of general public or violation of any of the terms or conditions of the permit, the permittee/excavator shall
Appeals via ordinary appeal under Rule 41 of the Rules of Court, which appeal was thereat docketed assume fully all liabilities for such death, injury or damage arising therefrom. For this purpose, the
as CA-G.R. CV No. 38906. excavator/permittee shall purchase insurance coverage to answer for third party liability,

As stated at the outset hereof, the appellate court, in a decision dated 08 September 1995, affirmed with only the Project Engineer of KC and MWSS can be held liable for the same accident.
modification that of the trial court, to wit:

The petition must have to be denied.

IN THE LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Decision appealed from is AFFIRMED but modified as
Jurisprudence7 teaches that for liability to arise under Article 21898 of the Civil Code, ownership of the
roads, streets, bridges, public buildings and other public works, is not a controlling factor, it being
1. The Appellees KC and MWSS and the Appellant San Juan are hereby ordered to pay, jointly and sufficient that a province, city or municipality has control or supervision thereof. This, we made clear
severally, to [Biglang-awa] the amounts of ₱50,000.00 by way of moral damages, ₱50,000.00 by way of in City of Manila vs. Teotico, et al9 :
exemplary damages and ₱5,000.00 by way of attorney’s fees, without prejudice to the right of the
Appellee MWSS for reimbursement from the Appellee KC under the Contract, Exhibit "3-MWSS":
At any rate, under Article 2189 of the Civil Code, it is not necessary for the liability therein established to
attach that the defective roads or streets belong to the province, city or municipality from which
2. The counterclaims of the Appellees and Appellant San Juan and the cross-claim of the latter responsibility is exacted. What said article requires is that the province, city or municipality have either
are DISMISSED. Without pronouncement as to costs. "control or supervision" over said street or road. x x x

SO ORDERED. (Words in bracket supplied). It is argued, however, that under Section 149, [1][z] of the Local Government Code, petitioner has control
or supervision only over municipal and not national roads, like Santolan Road.
Therefrom, petitioner Municipality of San Juan came to this Court thru the present recourse, on its
submissions that: Sadly, petitioner failed to take note of the other provisions of Section 149 of the same Code, more
particularly the following:
Section 149. Powers and Duties. – (1) The sangguniang bayan shall:
HEREFORE DECIDED BY THE SUPREME COURT. (bb) Regulate the drilling and excavation of the ground for the laying of gas, water, sewer, and other
pipes; the building and repair of tunnels, sewers, drains and other similar structures; erecting of poles
II. and the use of crosswalks, curbs and gutters therein, and adopt measures to ensure public safety against
open canals, manholes, live wires and other similar hazards to life and property, and provide just
compensation or relief for persons suffering from them; (Underscoring supplied)
Clear it is from the above that the Municipality of San Juan can "regulate" the drilling and excavation of It is the duty of the municipal authorities to exercise an active vigilance over the streets; to see that they
the ground for the laying of gas, water, sewer, and other pipes within its territorial jurisdiction. are kept in a reasonably safe condition for public travel. They cannot fold their arms and shut their eyes
and say they have no notice. (Todd versus City of Troy, 61 New York 506). (Words in bracket supplied).
Doubtless, the term "regulate" found in the aforequoted provision of Section 149 can only mean that
petitioner municipality exercises the power of control, or, at the very least, supervision over all Nor can petitioner seek shelter on Section 8 of Ordinance 82-01 of the Metropolitan Manila Commission.
excavations for the laying of gas, water, sewer and other pipes within its territory.
Concededly, Section 8 of the Ordinance makes the permittee/excavator liable for death, injury and/or
We must emphasize that under paragraph [1][bb] of Section 149, supra, of the Local Government Code, damages caused by the non-completion of works and/or failure of the one undertaking the works to adopt
the phrases "regulate the drilling and excavation of the ground for the laying of gas, water, sewer, and the required precautionary measures for the protection of the general public. Significantly, however,
other pipes", and "adopt measures to ensure public safety against open canals, manholes, live wires and nowhere can it be found in said Ordinance any provision exempting municipalities in Metro Manila from
other similar hazards to life and property", are not modified by the term "municipal road". And neither can liabilities caused by their own negligent acts. Afortiori, nothing prevents this Court from applying other
it be fairly inferred from the same provision of Section 149 that petitioner’s power of regulation vis-à- relevant laws concerning petitioner’s liability for the injuries sustained by Biglang-awa on that fateful rainy
vis the activities therein mentioned applies only in cases where such activities are to be performed evening of 31 May 1988.
in municipal roads. To our mind, the municipality’s liability for injuries caused by its failure to regulate the
drilling and excavation of the ground for the laying of gas, water, sewer, and other pipes, attaches
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED and the assailed decision of the appellate
regardless of whether the drilling or excavation is made on a national or municipal road, for as long as
the same is within its territorial jurisdiction.

Costs against petitioner.

We are thus in full accord with the following pronouncements of the appellate court in the decision under
While it may be true that the Department of Public Works and Highways may have issued the requisite
permit to the Appellee KC and/or concessionaires for the excavation on said road, the Appellant San
Juan is not thereby relieved of its liability to [Biglang-awa] for its own gross negligence. Indeed,
Evangeline Alfonso, the witness for the Appellant San Juan unabashedly [sic] admitted, when she
testified in the Court a quo, that even if the Department of Public Works and Highways failed to effect the
requisite refilling, the Appellant San Juan was mandated to undertake the necessary precautionary
measures to avert accidents and insure the safety of pedestrians and commuters:


The [petitioner] cannot validly shirk from its obligation to maintain and insure the safe condition of the
road merely because the permit for the excavation may have been issued by a government entity or unit
other than the Appellant San Juan or that the excavation may have been done by a contractor under
contract with a public entity like the Appellee MWSS.

Neither is the [petitioner] relieved of liability based on its purported lack of knowledge of the excavation
and the condition of the road during the period from May 20, 1988 up to May 30, 1988 when the accident
occurred. It must be borne in mind that the obligation of the [petitioner] to maintain the safe condition of
the road within its territory is a continuing one which is not suspended while a street is being repaired
(Corpus Juris Secundum, MunicipalCorporations, page 120). Knowledge of the condition of the road and
the defects and/or obstructions on the road may be actual or constructive. It is enough that the authorities
should have known of the aforesaid circumstances in the exercise of ordinary care
(City of Louiseville versus Harris, 180 Southwestern Reporter. page 65). In the present recourse,
Santolan Road and the Greenhills area coming from Ortigas Avenue going to Pinaglabanan, San Juan,
Metro Manila is a busy thoroughfare. The gaping hole in the middle of the road of Santolan Road could
not have been missed by the authorities concerned. After all, the [petitioner] San Juan is mandated to
effect a constant and unabated monitoring of the conditions of the roads to insure the safety of motorists.
Persuasive authority has it that: