CIVIL PERSONALITY 37. Antonio Geluz vs. Court of Appeals 2 SCRA 801 No. L-16439.

July 20, 1961 Doctrine: Since an action for pecuniary damages on account of personal injury or death pertains primarily to the one injured, it is easy to see that if no action for such damages could be instituted on behalf of the unborn child on account of the injuries it received, no such right of action could deliberately accrue to its parents or heirs. In fact, even if a cause of action did accrue on behalf of the unborn child, the same was extinguished by its pre-natal death, since no transmission to anyone can take place from one that lacked of juridical personality under Article 40 of the Civil Code, which expressly limits such provisional personality by imposing the condition that the child should be subsequently alive. FACTS: Reyes, JBL, J. Nita Villanueva came to know the petitioner, a physician, for the first time in 1948 — through her aunt Paula Yambot. The said physician made three abortions on Villanueva on the following circumstances: (1) In 1950, when she became pregnant by her present husband, Oscar Lazo, before they were legally married, and she deisred to conceal her pregnancy from her parents; (2) after their marriage, her second pregnancy proved to be inconvenient as she was then working for the COMELEC; and lastly (3) on February 21, 1955 – she was aborted of a 2-month old fetus for the amount of P50.00. Upon knowing of the last abortion, Lazo filed a complaint for damages against Geluz, claiming that he did not know of, nor gave his consent, to the abortion. The trial court rendered judgment in favor of Lazo and against Geluz, ordering the latter to pay P3,000.00 as damages, P700.00 attorney's fees and the costs of the suit. On appeal, the Court of Appeals sustained the award. ISSUE: W/N the award of damages was proper. HELD: NO.

The Court of Appeals and the trial court predicated the award of damages in the sum of P3,000.06 upon the provisions of the initial paragraph of Article 2206 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. This the Court believes to be error, for the said article, in fixing a minimum award of P3,000.00 for the death of a person, does not cover the case of an unborn foetus that is not endowed with personality; being incapable of having rights and obligations. Since an action for pecuniary damages on account of personal injury or death pertains primarily to the one injured, it is easy to see that if no action for such damages could be instituted on behalf of the unborn child on account of the injuries it received, no such right of action could deliberately accrue to its parents or heirs. In fact, even if a cause of action did accrue on behalf of the unborn child, the same was extinguished by its pre-natal death, since no transmission to anyone can take place from one that lacked of juridical personality under Article 40 of the Civil Code, which expressly limits such provisional personality by imposing the condition that the child should be subsequently alive. Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals have not found any basis for an award of moral damages, evidently because of Lazo’s indifference to the previous abortions of his wife, also caused by the petitioner herein, clearly indicates that he was unconcerned with the frustration of his parental hopes and affections. The lower court expressly found, and the majority opinion of the Court of Appeals did not contradict it, that the appellee Lazo was aware of the second abortion; and the probabilities are that he was likewise aware of the first. Yet despite the suspicious repetition of the event, he appeared to have taken no steps to investigate or pinpoint the causes thereof, and secure the punishment of the responsible practitioner. Even after learning of the third abortion, the appellee does not seem to have taken interest in the administrative and criminal cases against the appellant. His only concern appears to have been directed at obtaining from the doctor a large money payment, since he sued for P50,000.00 damages and P3,000.00 attorney's fees, an "indemnity"

but was more concerned in obtaining from the doctor a large money payment. According to Article 40. under the circumstances of record. But the immorality or illegality of the act does not justify an award of damage that. without medical necessity to warrant it. The damages which the parents of an unborn child can recover are limited to moral damages.claim that. ISSUE: WON husband can claim damages for the death of the unborn fetus? HELD: No. and the consent of the woman or that of her husband does not excuse it. It is unquestionable that the appellant's act in provoking the abortion of appellee's wife. CA 2 SCRA 801 FACTS: Nita Villanueva had three abortions with Dr. is not aware of. Furthermore. and the husband did not further investigate on the causes of the abortion. The child should be born before the parents can seek any recovery for damages. birth determines personality. the fetus does not yet possess a personality to speak of because it was aborted in uterus. was clearly exaggerated. for the act of the appellant Geluz to perform the abortion. willingly sought the abortion. was a criminal and morally reprehensible act. In this case. have no factual or legal basis. the husband. the husband did not seem to have taken interest in the administrative and criminal cases against the appellant. in this case. under the circumstances on record. Action for pecuniary damages on account of personal injury or death pertains primarily to the one injured. There could be no action for such damages that can be instituted on behalf of the unborn child for the injuries it received because it lacked juridical personality. that can not be too severely condemned. Antonio Geluz which Oscar Lazo. The fetus was not yet born and thus does not have civil personality. However. moral damages cannot also be recovered because the wife . GELUZ v. Husband filed for damages of P3000 by virtue of Art 2206 which CA sustained.

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