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AQUINAS SCHOOL vs. SPS. JOSE INTON and MA. VICTORIA S.

INTON, on their behalf and on behalf of their


minor child, JOSE LUIS S. INTON, and SR. MARGARITA YAMYAMIN, OP
G.R. No. 184202

January 26, 2011

This case is about the private schools liability for the outside catechists act of shoving a student and kicking him on the
legs when he disobeyed her instruction to remain in his seat and not move around the classroom.
The Facts and the Case
In 1998 respondent Jose Luis Inton (Jose Luis) was a grade three student at Aquinas School (Aquinas). Respondent
Sister Margarita Yamyamin (Yamyamin), a religion teacher who began teaching at that school only in June of that year,
taught Jose Luis grade three religion class.
On July 14, 1998, while Yamyamin was writing on the blackboard, Jose Luis left his assigned seat and went over to a
classmate to play a joke of surprising him. Yamyamin noticed this and sent Jose Luis back to his seat. After a while, Jose
Luis got up again and went over to the same classmate. This time, unable to tolerate the childs behavior, Yamyamin
approached Jose Luis and kicked him on the legs several times. She also pulled and shoved his head on the classmates
seat. Finally, she told the child to stay where he was on that spot of the room and finish copying the notes on the
blackboard while seated on the floor.
As a result of the incident, respondents Jose and Victoria Inton (the Intons) filed an action for damages on behalf of their
son Jose Luis against Yamyamin and Aquinas before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City in Civil Case 67427.
The Intons also filed a criminal action against Yamyamin for violation of Republic Act 7610 to which she pleaded guilty
and was sentenced accordingly.
With regard to the action for damages, the Intons sought to recover actual, moral, and exemplary damages, as well as
attorneys fees, for the hurt that Jose Luis and his mother Victoria suffered. The RTC dismissed Victorias personal claims
but ruled in Jose Luis favor, holding Yamyamin liable to him for moral damages of P25,000.00, exemplary damages
of P25,000.00, and attorneys fees of P10,000.00 plus the costs of suit.1
Not satisfied, the Intons elevated the case to the Court of Appeals (CA).2 They asked the CA to increase the award of
damages and hold Aquinas solidarily liable with Yamyamin. Finding that an employer-employee relation existed between
Aquinas and Yamyamin, the CA found them solidarily liable to Jose Luis. The CA, however, declined to increase the
award of damages.3 Jose Luis moved for partial reconsideration but this was denied. Aquinas, for its part, appealed
directly to this Court from the CA decision through a petition for review on certiorari.
The Issue Presented
The sole issue presented in this case is whether or not the CA was correct in holding Aquinas solidarily liable with
Yamyamin for the damages awarded to Jose Luis.
The Courts Ruling
The CA found Aquinas liable to Jose Luis based on Article 2180 of the Civil Code upon the CAs belief that the school was
Yamyamins employer. Aquinas contests this.
The Court has consistently applied the "four-fold test" to determine the existence of an employer-employee relationship:
the employer (a) selects and engages the employee; (b) pays his wages; (c) has power to dismiss him; and (d) has
control over his work. Of these, the most crucial is the element of control. Control refers to the right of the employer,
whether actually exercised or reserved, to control the work of the employee as well as the means and methods by which
he accomplishes the same.4
In this case, the school directress testified that Aquinas had an agreement with a congregation of sisters under which, in
order to fulfill its ministry, the congregation would send religion teachers to Aquinas to provide catechesis to its students.
Aquinas insists that it was not the school but Yamyamins religious congregation that chose her for the task of catechizing
the schools grade three students, much like the way bishops designate the catechists who would teach religion in public
schools. Under the circumstances, it was quite evident that Aquinas did not have control over Yamyamins teaching

methods. The Intons had not refuted the school directress testimony in this regard. Consequently, it was error for the CA
to hold Aquinas solidarily liable with Yamyamin.1wphi1
Of course, Aquinas still had the responsibility of taking steps to ensure that only qualified outside catechists are allowed to
teach its young students. In this regard, it cannot be said that Aquinas took no steps to avoid the occurrence of improper
conduct towards the students by their religion teacher.
First, Yamyamins transcript of records, certificates, and diplomas showed that she was qualified to teach religion.
Second, there is no question that Aquinas ascertained that Yamyamin came from a legitimate religious
congregation of sisters and that, given her Christian training, the school had reason to assume that she would
behave properly towards the students.
Third, the school gave Yamyamin a copy of the schools Administrative Faculty Staff Manual that set the
standards for handling students. It also required her to attend a teaching orientation before she was allowed to
teach beginning that June of 1998.5
Fourth, the school pre-approved the content of the course she was to teach6 to ensure that she was really
catechizing the students.
And fifth, the school had a program for subjecting Yamyamin to classroom evaluation. 7 Unfortunately, since she
was new and it was just the start of the school year, Aquinas did not have sufficient opportunity to observe her
methods. At any rate, it acted promptly to relieve her of her assignment as soon as the school learned of the
incident. 8 It cannot be said that Aquinas was guilty of outright neglect.
Regarding the Intons plea for an award of greater amounts of damages, the Court finds no justification for this since they
did not appeal from the decision of the CA. The Intons prayed for the increase only in their comment to the petition. They
thus cannot obtain from this Court any affirmative relief other than those that the CA already granted them in its decision. 9
WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition, SETS ASIDE the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV 88106
dated August 4, 2008, and HOLDS petitioner Aquinas School not liable in damages to respondent Jose Luis Inton.
SO ORDERED.

ST. JOSEPH'S COLLEGE, SR. JOSEPHINI AMBATALI, SFIC, and ROSALINDA TABUGO vs. JAYSON MIRANDA,
represented by his father, RODOLFO S. MIRANDA
G.R. No. 182353

June 29, 2010

This petition for review on certiorari seeks to set aside the Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No.
68367, which affirmed in toto the decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 221, Quezon City, in Civil Case No.
Q-95-22889.
The facts, as found by the CA, follow:
On November 17, 1994, at around 1:30 in the afternoon inside St. Joseph Colleges [SJCs] premises, the class to which
[respondent Jayson Val Miranda] belonged was conducting a science experiment about fusion of sulphur powder and iron
fillings under the tutelage of [petitioner] Rosalinda Tabugo, she being the subject teacher and employee of [petitioner]
SJC. The adviser of [Jaysons] class is x x x Estefania Abdan.
Tabugo left her class while it was doing the experiment without having adequately secured it from any untoward incident
or occurrence. In the middle of the experiment, [Jayson], who was the assistant leader of one of the class groups,
checked the result of the experiment by looking into the test tube with magnifying glass. The test tube was being held by
one of his group mates who moved it close and towards the eye of [Jayson]. At that instance, the compound in the test
tube spurted out and several particles of which hit [Jaysons] eye and the different parts of the bodies of some of his group
mates. As a result thereof, [Jaysons] eyes were chemically burned, particularly his left eye, for which he had to undergo
surgery and had to spend for his medication. Upon filing of this case [in] the lower court, [Jaysons] wound had not
completely healed and still had to undergo another surgery.
Upon learning of the incident and because of the need for finances, [Jaysons] mother, who was working abroad, had to
rush back home for which she spent P36,070.00 for her fares and had to forego her salary from November 23, 1994 to
December 26, 1994, in the amount of at least P40,000.00.
Then, too, [Jayson] and his parents suffered sleepless nights, mental anguish and wounded feelings as a result of his
injury due to [petitioners] fault and failure to exercise the degree of care and diligence incumbent upon each one of them.
Thus, they should be held liable for moral damages. Also, [Jayson] sent a demand letter to [petitioners] for the payment of
his medical expenses as well as other expenses incidental thereto, which the latter failed to heed. Hence, [Jayson] was
constrained to file the complaint for damages. [Petitioners], therefore, should likewise compensate [Jayson] for litigation
expenses, including attorneys fees.
On the other hand, [petitioners SJC, Sr. Josephini Ambatali, SFIC, and Tabugo] alleged that [Jayson] was a grade six
pupil of SJC in the school year 1994-1995. On November 17, 1994, at about 1:30 in the afternoon, the class to which
[Jayson] belong[s] was conducting a science experiment under the guidance and supervision of Tabugo, the class
science teacher, about fusion of sulphur powder and iron fillings by combining these elements in a test tube and heating
the same. Before the science experiment was conducted, [Jayson] and his classmates were given strict instructions to
follow the written procedure for the experiment and not to look into the test tube until the heated compound had cooled off.
[Jayson], however, a person of sufficient age and discretion and completely capable of understanding the English
language and the instructions of his teacher, without waiting for the heated compound to cool off, as required in the written
procedure for the experiment and as repeatedly explained by the teacher, violated such instructions and took a
magnifying glass and looked at the compound, which at that moment spurted out of the test tube, a small particle hitting
one of [Jaysons] eyes.
Jayson was rushed by the school employees to the school clinic and thereafter transferred to St. Lukes Medical Center
for treatment. At the hospital, when Tabago visited [Jayson], the latter cried and apologized to his teacher for violating her
instructions not to look into the test tube until the compound had cooled off.
After the treatment, [Jayson] was pronounced ready for discharge and an eye test showed that his vision had not been
impaired or affected. In order to avoid additional hospital charges due to the delay in [Jaysons] discharge, Rodolfo S.
Miranda, [Jaysons] father, requested SJC to advance the amount of P26,176.35 representing [Jaysons] hospital bill until
his wife could arrive from abroad and pay back the money. SJC acceded to the request.
On December 6, 1994, however, the parents of [Jayson], through counsel, wrote SJC a letter demanding that it should
shoulder all the medical expenses of [Jayson] that had been incurred and will be incurred further arising from the accident
caused by the science experiment. In a letter dated December 14, 1994, the counsel for SJC, represented by Sr.

Josephini Ambatali, SFIC, explained that the school cannot accede to the demand because "the accident occurred by
reason of [Jaysons] failure to comply with the written procedure for the experiment and his teachers repeated warnings
and instruction that no student must face, much less look into, the opening of the test tube until the heated compound has
cooled.3
Since SJC did not accede to the demand, Rodolfo, Jaysons father, on Jaysons behalf, sued petitioners for damages.
After trial, the RTC rendered judgment, to wit:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of [Jayson] and against [petitioners]. This
Court orders and holds the [petitioners] joint[ly] and solidarily liable to pay [Jayson] the following amount:
1. To pay [Jayson] the amount of P77,338.25 as actual damages; However, [Jayson] is ordered to reimburse
[petitioner] St. Joseph College the amount of P26,176.36 representing the advances given to pay [Jaysons] initial
hospital expenses or in the alternative to deduct said amount of P26,176.36 from theP77,338.25 actual damages
herein awarded by way of legal compensation;
2. To pay [Jayson] the sum of P50,000.00 as mitigated moral damages;
3. To pay [Jayson] the sum of P30,000.00 as reasonable attorneys fees;
4. To pay the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.4
Aggrieved, petitioners appealed to the CA. However, as previously adverted to, the CA affirmed in toto the ruling of the
RTC, thus:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the assailed decision of the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 221 dated September 6,
2000 is hereby AFFIRMED IN TOTO. Costs against [petitioners].51avvphi1
Undaunted, petitioners appealed` by certiorari to this Court, adamant that the CA grievously erred, thus:
I. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF JAYSONS
INJURY WAS HIS OWN ACT OF LOOKING AT THE HEATED TEST TUBE BEFORE THE COMPOUND HAD COOLED
IN COMPLETE DISREGARD OF INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN PRIOR TO THE EXPERIMENT.
II. THE COURT OF APPEALS FAILED TO APPRECIATE THAT, IN LIGHT OF THE RULING IN THE CASE OF ST.
MARYS COLLEGE V. WILLIAM CARPITANOS, x x x JAYSONS CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE OF PEEKING INTO
THE TEST TUBE WAS IN FACT THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF HIS INJURY FOR WHICH THE PETITIONERS SHOULD
NOT BE HELD LIABLE.
III. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE AWARD OF ACTUAL DAMAGES DESPITE
THE ABSENCE OF PROOF TO SUPPORT THE SAME.
IV. THE LOWER COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN AWARDING MORAL DAMAGES TO [JAYSON].
V. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE AWARD OF ATTORNEYS FEES TO
[JAYSON].
VI. THE LOWER COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN DENYING THE PETITIONERS COUNTERCLAIM.6
We find no reason to depart from the uniform rulings of the lower courts that petitioners were "negligent since they all
failed to exercise the required reasonable care, prudence, caution and foresight to prevent or avoid injuries to the
students."
Jurisprudence dictates that factual findings of the trial court, especially when affirmed by the appellate court, are accorded
the highest degree of respect and are considered conclusive between the parties. 7 A review of such findings by this Court

is not warranted except for highly meritorious circumstances when: (1) the findings of a trial court are grounded entirely on
speculation, surmises or conjectures; (2) a lower courts inference from its factual findings is manifestly mistaken, absurd
or impossible; (3) there is grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts; (4) the findings of the appellate court go
beyond the issues of the case, or fail to notice certain relevant facts which, if properly considered, will justify a different
conclusion; (5) there is a misappreciation of facts; (6) the findings of fact are conclusions without mention of the specific
evidence on which they are based, are premised on the absence of evidence, or are contradicted by evidence on
record.8 None of the foregoing exceptions which would warrant a reversal of the assailed decision obtains in this instance.
Yet, petitioners maintain that the proximate cause of Jaysons injury was his own negligence in disregarding the
instructions given by Tabugo prior to the experiment and peeking into the test tube. Petitioners invoke our ruling in St.
Marys Academy v. Carpitanos9 which absolved St. Marys Academy from liability for the untimely death of its student
during a school sanctioned activity, declaring that "the negligence of petitioner St. Marys Academy was only a remote
cause of the accident."
We are not convinced.
Contrary to petitioners assertions, the lower courts conclusions are borne out by the records of this case. Both courts
correctly concluded that the immediate and proximate cause of the accident which caused injury to Jayson was the
sudden and unexpected explosion of the chemicals, independent of any intervening cause. The assailed Decision of the
CA quotes with favor the RTC decision, thus:
In this case, [petitioners] failed to show that the negligence of [Jayson] was the proximate cause of the latters injury. We
find that the immediate cause of the accident was not the negligence of [Jayson] when he curiously looked into the test
tube when the chemicals suddenly exploded which caused his injury, but the sudden and unexpected explosion of the
chemicals independent of any intervening cause. [Petitioners] could have prevented the mishap if they exercised a higher
degree of care, caution and foresight. The court a quo correctly ruled that:
"All of the [petitioners] are equally at fault and are liable for negligence because all of them are responsible for exercising
the required reasonable care, prudence, caution and foresight to prevent or avoid injuries to the students. The individual
[petitioners] are persons charged with the teaching and vigilance over their students as well as the supervision and
ensuring of their well-being. Based on the facts presented before this Court, these [petitioners] were remiss in their
responsibilities and lacking in the degree of vigilance expected of them. [Petitioner] subject teacher Rosalinda Tabugo
was inside the classroom when the class undertook the science experiment although [Jayson] insisted that said
[petitioner] left the classroom. No evidence, however, was presented to establish that [petitioner] Tabugo was inside the
classroom for the whole duration of the experiment. It was unnatural in the ordinary course of events that [Jayson] was
brought to the school clinic for immediate treatment not by [petitioner] subject teacher Rosalinda Tabugo but by somebody
else. The Court is inclined to believe that [petitioner] subject teacher Tabugo was not inside the classroom at the time the
accident happened. The Court is also perplexed why none of the other students (who were eyewitnesses to the incident)
testified in Court to corroborate the story of the [petitioners]. The Court, however, understands that these other students
cannot testify for [Jayson] because [Jayson] is no longer enrolled in said school and testifying for [Jayson] would incur the
ire of school authorities. Estefania Abdan is equally at fault as the subject adviser or teacher in charge because she
exercised control and supervision over [petitioner] Tabugo and the students themselves. It was her obligation to insure
that nothing would go wrong and that the science experiment would be conducted safely and without any harm or injury to
the students. [Petitioner] Sr. Josephini Ambatali is likewise culpable under the doctrine of command responsibility
because the other individual [petitioners] were under her direct control and supervision. The negligent acts of the other
individual [petitioners] were done within the scope of their assigned tasks.
xxxx
"The defense of due diligence of a good father of a family raised by [petitioner] St. Joseph College will not exculpate it
from liability because it has been shown that it was guilty of inexcusable laxity in the supervision of its teachers (despite
an apparent rigid screening process for hiring) and in the maintenance of what should have been a safe and secured
environment for conducting dangerous experiments. [Petitioner] school is still liable for the wrongful acts of the teachers
and employees because it had full information on the nature of dangerous science experiments but did not take
affirmative steps to avert damage and injury to students. The fact that there has never been any accident in the past
during the conduct of science experiments is not a justification to be complacent in just preserving the status quo and do
away with creative foresight to install safety measures to protect the students. Schools should not simply install safety
reminders and distribute safety instructional manuals. More importantly, schools should provide protective gears and
devices to shield students from expected risks and anticipated dangers.

"Ordinarily, the liability of teachers does not extend to the school or university itself, although an educational institution
may be held liable under the principle of RESPONDENT SUPERIOR. It has also been held that the liability of the
employer for the [tortuous] acts or negligence of its employees is primary and solidary, direct and immediate and not
conditioned upon the insolvency of or prior recourse against the negligent employee." 10
Under the foregoing circumstances, we are hard pressed to disturb the findings of the RTC, which the CA affirmed.
Nonetheless, petitioners make much of the fact that Tabugo specifically instructed her students, including Jayson, at the
start of the experiment, not to look into the heated test tube before the compound had cooled off. Petitioners would
allocate all liability and place all blame for the accident on a twelve (12)-year-old student, herein respondent Jayson.
We disagree.
As found by both lower courts, the proximate cause of Jaysons injury was the concurrent failure of petitioners to prevent
the foreseeable mishap that occurred during the conduct of the science experiment. Petitioners were negligent by failing
to exercise the higher degree of care, caution and foresight incumbent upon the school, its administrators and teachers.
Article 218 of the Family Code, in relation to Article 2180 of the Civil Code, bestows special parental authority on the
following persons with the corresponding obligation, thus:
Art. 218. The school, its administrators and teachers, or the individual, entity or institution engaged in child care shall have
special parental authority and responsibility over the minor child while under their supervision, instruction or custody.
Authority and responsibility shall apply to all authorized activities whether inside or outside the premises of the school,
entity or institution.
Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for ones own acts or omissions, but also for
those of persons for whom one is responsible.
xxxx
Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be liable for damages caused by their pupils and
students or apprentices, so long as they remain in their custody.
Petitioners negligence and failure to exercise the requisite degree of care and caution is demonstrated by the following:
1. Petitioner school did not take affirmative steps to avert damage and injury to its students although it had full
information on the nature of dangerous science experiments conducted by the students during class;
2. Petitioner school did not install safety measures to protect the students who conduct experiments in class;
3. Petitioner school did not provide protective gears and devices, specifically goggles, to shield students from
expected risks and dangers; and
4. Petitioner Tabugo was not inside the classroom the whole time her class conducted the experiment,
specifically, when the accident involving Jayson occurred. In any event, the size of the classfifty (50) students
conducting the experiment is difficult to monitor.
Moreover, petitioners cannot simply deflect their negligence and liability by insisting that petitioner Tabugo gave specific
instructions to her science class not to look directly into the heated compound. Neither does our ruling in St. Marys
preclude their liability in this case.
Unfortunately for petitioners, St. Marys is not in point. In that case, respondents thereat admitted the documentary
exhibits establishing that the cause of the accident was a mechanical defect and not the recklessness of the minor, James
Daniel II, in driving the jeep. We held, thus:
Significantly, respondents did not present any evidence to show that the proximate cause of the accident was the
negligence of the school authorities, or the reckless driving of James Daniel II. x x x.

Further, there was no evidence that petitioner school allowed the minor James Daniel II to drive the jeep of respondent
Vivencio Villanueva. It was Ched Villanueva, grandson of respondent Vivencio Villanueva, who had possession and
control of the jeep. He was driving the vehicle and he allowed James Daniel II, a minor, to drive the jeep at the time of the
accident.
Hence, liability for the accident, whether caused by the negligence of the minor driver or mechanical detachment of the
steering wheel guide of the jeep, must be pinned on the minors parents primarily. The negligence of petitioner St. Marys
Academy was only a remote cause of the accident. Between the remote cause and the injury, there intervened the
negligence of the minors parents or the detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep.11
In marked contrast, both the lower courts similarly concluded that the mishap which happened during the science
experiment was foreseeable by the school, its officials and teachers. This neglect in preventing a foreseeable injury and
damage equates to neglect in exercising the utmost degree of diligence required of schools, its administrators and
teachers, and, ultimately, was the proximate cause of the damage and injury to Jayson. As we have held in St. Marys,
"for petitioner [St. Marys Academy] to be liable, there must be a finding that the act or omission considered as negligent
was the proximate cause of the injury caused because the negligence must have a causal connection to the accident." 12
As regards the contributory negligence of Jayson, we see no need to disturb the lower courts identical rulings thereon:
As earlier discussed, the proximate cause of [Jaysons] injury was the explosion of the heated compound independent of
any efficient intervening cause. The negligence on the part of [petitioner] Tabugo in not making sure that the science
experiment was correctly conducted was the proximate cause or reason why the heated compound exploded and injured
not only [Jayson] but his classmates as well. However, [Jayson] is partly responsible for his own injury, hence, he should
not be entitled to recover damages in full but must likewise bear the consequences of his own negligence. [Petitioners],
therefore, should be held liable only for the damages actually caused by their negligence. 13
Lastly, given our foregoing ruling, we likewise affirm the lower courts award of actual and moral damages, and grant of
attorneys fees. The denial of petitioners counterclaim is also in order.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 68367 is AFFIRMED.
Costs against petitioners.
SO ORDERED.

JOSEPH SALUDAGA vs. FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY and EDILBERTO C. DE JESUS in his capacity as President
of FEU
G.R. No. 179337

April 30, 2008

This Petition for Review on Certiorari1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assails the June 29, 2007 Decision2 of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 87050, nullifying and setting aside the November 10, 2004 Decision 3 of the Regional
Trial Court of Manila, Branch 2, in Civil Case No. 98-89483 and dismissing the complaint filed by petitioner; as well as its
August 23, 2007 Resolution4 denying the Motion for Reconsideration.5
The antecedent facts are as follows:
Petitioner Joseph Saludaga was a sophomore law student of respondent Far Eastern University (FEU) when he was shot
by Alejandro Rosete (Rosete), one of the security guards on duty at the school premises on August 18, 1996. Petitioner
was rushed to FEU-Dr. Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation (FEU-NRMF) due to the wound he sustained.6 Meanwhile,
Rosete was brought to the police station where he explained that the shooting was accidental. He was eventually
released considering that no formal complaint was filed against him.
Petitioner thereafter filed a complaint for damages against respondents on the ground that they breached their obligation
to provide students with a safe and secure environment and an atmosphere conducive to learning. Respondents, in turn,
filed a Third-Party Complaint7 against Galaxy Development and Management Corporation (Galaxy), the agency
contracted by respondent FEU to provide security services within its premises and Mariano D. Imperial (Imperial),
Galaxy's President, to indemnify them for whatever would be adjudged in favor of petitioner, if any; and to pay attorney's
fees and cost of the suit. On the other hand, Galaxy and Imperial filed a Fourth-Party Complaint against AFP General
Insurance.8
On November 10, 2004, the trial court rendered a decision in favor of petitioner, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, from the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered ordering:
1. FEU and Edilberto de Jesus, in his capacity as president of FEU to pay jointly and severally Joseph
Saludaga the amount of P35,298.25 for actual damages with 12% interest per annum from the filing of
the complaint until fully paid; moral damages of P300,000.00, exemplary damages of P500,000.00,
attorney's fees of P100,000.00 and cost of the suit;
2. Galaxy Management and Development Corp. and its president, Col. Mariano Imperial to indemnify
jointly and severally 3rd party plaintiffs (FEU and Edilberto de Jesus in his capacity as President of FEU)
for the above-mentioned amounts;
3. And the 4th party complaint is dismissed for lack of cause of action. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.9
Respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals which rendered the assailed Decision, the decretal portion of which
provides, viz:
WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby GRANTED. The Decision dated November 10, 2004 is hereby REVERSED
and SET ASIDE. The complaint filed by Joseph Saludaga against appellant Far Eastern University and its
President in Civil Case No. 98-89483 is DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.10
Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was denied; hence, the instant petition based on the following grounds:
THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN MANNER CONTRARY TO LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE
IN RULING THAT:
5.1. THE SHOOTING INCIDENT IS A FORTUITOUS EVENT;

5.2. RESPONDENTS ARE NOT LIABLE FOR DAMAGES FOR THE INJURY RESULTING FROM A GUNSHOT
WOUND SUFFERED BY THE PETITIONER FROM THE HANDS OF NO LESS THAN THEIR OWN SECURITY
GUARD IN VIOLATION OF THEIR BUILT-IN CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION TO PETITIONER, BEING THEIR
LAW STUDENT AT THAT TIME, TO PROVIDE HIM WITH A SAFE AND SECURE EDUCATIONAL
ENVIRONMENT;
5.3. SECURITY GAURD, ALEJANDRO ROSETE, WHO SHOT PETITIONER WHILE HE WAS WALKING ON
HIS WAY TO THE LAW LIBRARY OF RESPONDENT FEU IS NOT THEIR EMPLOYEE BY VIRTUE OF THE
CONTRACT FOR SECURITY SERVICES BETWEEN GALAXY AND FEU NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT
THAT PETITIONER, NOT BEING A PARTY TO IT, IS NOT BOUND BY THE SAME UNDER THE PRINCIPLE
OF RELATIVITY OF CONTRACTS; and
5.4. RESPONDENT EXERCISED DUE DILIGENCE IN SELECTING GALAXY AS THE AGENCY WHICH
WOULD PROVIDE SECURITY SERVICES WITHIN THE PREMISES OF RESPONDENT FEU.11
Petitioner is suing respondents for damages based on the alleged breach of student-school contract for a safe learning
environment. The pertinent portions of petitioner's Complaint read:
6.0. At the time of plaintiff's confinement, the defendants or any of their representative did not bother to visit and
inquire about his condition. This abject indifference on the part of the defendants continued even after plaintiff was
discharged from the hospital when not even a word of consolation was heard from them. Plaintiff waited for more
than one (1) year for the defendants to perform their moral obligation but the wait was fruitless. This indifference
and total lack of concern of defendants served to exacerbate plaintiff's miserable condition.
xxxx
11.0. Defendants are responsible for ensuring the safety of its students while the latter are within the University
premises. And that should anything untoward happens to any of its students while they are within the University's
premises shall be the responsibility of the defendants. In this case, defendants, despite being legally and morally
bound, miserably failed to protect plaintiff from injury and thereafter, to mitigate and compensate plaintiff for said
injury;
12.0. When plaintiff enrolled with defendant FEU, a contract was entered into between them. Under this contract,
defendants are supposed to ensure that adequate steps are taken to provide an atmosphere conducive to study
and ensure the safety of the plaintiff while inside defendant FEU's premises. In the instant case, the latter
breached this contract when defendant allowed harm to befall upon the plaintiff when he was shot at by, of all
people, their security guard who was tasked to maintain peace inside the campus. 12
In Philippine School of Business Administration v. Court of Appeals,13 we held that:
When an academic institution accepts students for enrollment, there is established a contract between them,
resulting in bilateral obligations which both parties are bound to comply with. For its part, the school undertakes to
provide the student with an education that would presumably suffice to equip him with the necessary tools and
skills to pursue higher education or a profession. On the other hand, the student covenants to abide by the
school's academic requirements and observe its rules and regulations.
Institutions of learning must also meet the implicit or "built-in" obligation of providing their students with an
atmosphere that promotes or assists in attaining its primary undertaking of imparting knowledge. Certainly, no
student can absorb the intricacies of physics or higher mathematics or explore the realm of the arts and other
sciences when bullets are flying or grenades exploding in the air or where there looms around the school
premises a constant threat to life and limb. Necessarily, the school must ensure that adequate steps are taken to
maintain peace and order within the campus premises and to prevent the breakdown thereof.14
It is undisputed that petitioner was enrolled as a sophomore law student in respondent FEU. As such, there was created a
contractual obligation between the two parties. On petitioner's part, he was obliged to comply with the rules and
regulations of the school. On the other hand, respondent FEU, as a learning institution is mandated to impart knowledge
and equip its students with the necessary skills to pursue higher education or a profession. At the same time, it is obliged
to ensure and take adequate steps to maintain peace and order within the campus.

It is settled that in culpa contractual, the mere proof of the existence of the contract and the failure of its compliance
justify, prima facie, a corresponding right of relief.15 In the instant case, we find that, when petitioner was shot inside the
campus by no less the security guard who was hired to maintain peace and secure the premises, there is a prima facie
showing that respondents failed to comply with its obligation to provide a safe and secure environment to its students.
In order to avoid liability, however, respondents aver that the shooting incident was a fortuitous event because they could
not have reasonably foreseen nor avoided the accident caused by Rosete as he was not their employee; 16 and that they
complied with their obligation to ensure a safe learning environment for their students by having exercised due diligence in
selecting the security services of Galaxy.
After a thorough review of the records, we find that respondents failed to discharge the burden of proving that they
exercised due diligence in providing a safe learning environment for their students. They failed to prove that they ensured
that the guards assigned in the campus met the requirements stipulated in the Security Service Agreement. Indeed,
certain documents about Galaxy were presented during trial; however, no evidence as to the qualifications of Rosete as a
security guard for the university was offered.
Respondents also failed to show that they undertook steps to ascertain and confirm that the security guards assigned to
them actually possess the qualifications required in the Security Service Agreement. It was not proven that they examined
the clearances, psychiatric test results, 201 files, and other vital documents enumerated in its contract with Galaxy. Total
reliance on the security agency about these matters or failure to check the papers stating the qualifications of the guards
is negligence on the part of respondents. A learning institution should not be allowed to completely relinquish or abdicate
security matters in its premises to the security agency it hired. To do so would result to contracting away its inherent
obligation to ensure a safe learning environment for its students.
Consequently, respondents' defense of force majeure must fail. In order for force majeure to be considered, respondents
must show that no negligence or misconduct was committed that may have occasioned the loss. An act of God cannot be
invoked to protect a person who has failed to take steps to forestall the possible adverse consequences of such a loss.
One's negligence may have concurred with an act of God in producing damage and injury to another; nonetheless,
showing that the immediate or proximate cause of the damage or injury was a fortuitous event would not exempt one from
liability. When the effect is found to be partly the result of a person's participation - whether by active intervention, neglect
or failure to act - the whole occurrence is humanized and removed from the rules applicable to acts of God. 17
Article 1170 of the Civil Code provides that those who are negligent in the performance of their obligations are liable for
damages. Accordingly, for breach of contract due to negligence in providing a safe learning environment, respondent FEU
is liable to petitioner for damages. It is essential in the award of damages that the claimant must have satisfactorily proven
during the trial the existence of the factual basis of the damages and its causal connection to defendant's acts. 18
In the instant case, it was established that petitioner spent P35,298.25 for his hospitalization and other medical
expenses.19 While the trial court correctly imposed interest on said amount, however, the case at bar involves an
obligation arising from a contract and not a loan or forbearance of money. As such, the proper rate of legal interest is six
percent (6%) per annum of the amount demanded. Such interest shall continue to run from the filing of the complaint until
the finality of this Decision.20 After this Decision becomes final and executory, the applicable rate shall be twelve percent
(12%) per annum until its satisfaction.
The other expenses being claimed by petitioner, such as transportation expenses and those incurred in hiring a personal
assistant while recuperating were however not duly supported by receipts. 21 In the absence thereof, no actual damages
may be awarded. Nonetheless, temperate damages under Art. 2224 of the Civil Code may be recovered where it has
been shown that the claimant suffered some pecuniary loss but the amount thereof cannot be proved with certainty.
Hence, the amount of P20,000.00 as temperate damages is awarded to petitioner.
As regards the award of moral damages, there is no hard and fast rule in the determination of what would be a fair
amount of moral damages since each case must be governed by its own peculiar circumstances. 22 The testimony of
petitioner about his physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, and moral shock resulting from the shooting
incident23 justify the award of moral damages. However, moral damages are in the category of an award designed to
compensate the claimant for actual injury suffered and not to impose a penalty on the wrongdoer. The award is not meant
to enrich the complainant at the expense of the defendant, but to enable the injured party to obtain means, diversion, or
amusements that will serve to obviate the moral suffering he has undergone. It is aimed at the restoration, within the limits
of the possible, of the spiritual status quo ante, and should be proportionate to the suffering inflicted. Trial courts must
then guard against the award of exorbitant damages; they should exercise balanced restrained and measured objectivity

to avoid suspicion that it was due to passion, prejudice, or corruption on the part of the trial court.24 We deem it just and
reasonable under the circumstances to award petitioner moral damages in the amount of P100,000.00.
Likewise, attorney's fees and litigation expenses in the amount of P50,000.00 as part of damages is reasonable in view of
Article 2208 of the Civil Code.25 However, the award of exemplary damages is deleted considering the absence of proof
that respondents acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or malevolent manner.
We note that the trial court held respondent De Jesus solidarily liable with respondent FEU. In Powton Conglomerate, Inc.
v. Agcolicol,26 we held that:
[A] corporation is invested by law with a personality separate and distinct from those of the persons composing it,
such that, save for certain exceptions, corporate officers who entered into contracts in behalf of the corporation
cannot be held personally liable for the liabilities of the latter. Personal liability of a corporate director, trustee or
officer along (although not necessarily) with the corporation may so validly attach, as a rule, only when - (1) he
assents to a patently unlawful act of the corporation, or when he is guilty of bad faith or gross negligence in
directing its affairs, or when there is a conflict of interest resulting in damages to the corporation, its stockholders
or other persons; (2) he consents to the issuance of watered down stocks or who, having knowledge thereof,
does not forthwith file with the corporate secretary his written objection thereto; (3) he agrees to hold himself
personally and solidarily liable with the corporation; or (4) he is made by a specific provision of law personally
answerable for his corporate action.27
None of the foregoing exceptions was established in the instant case; hence, respondent De Jesus should not be held
solidarily liable with respondent FEU.
Incidentally, although the main cause of action in the instant case is the breach of the school-student contract, petitioner,
in the alternative, also holds respondents vicariously liable under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, which provides:
Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts or omissions, but
also for those of persons for whom one is responsible.
xxxx
Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers acting within the
scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any business or industry.
xxxx
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.
We agree with the findings of the Court of Appeals that respondents cannot be held liable for damages under Art. 2180 of
the Civil Code because respondents are not the employers of Rosete. The latter was employed by Galaxy. The
instructions issued by respondents' Security Consultant to Galaxy and its security guards are ordinarily no more than
requests commonly envisaged in the contract for services entered into by a principal and a security agency. They cannot
be construed as the element of control as to treat respondents as the employers of Rosete.28
As held in Mercury Drug Corporation v. Libunao:29
In Soliman, Jr. v. Tuazon,30 we held that where the security agency recruits, hires and assigns the works of its
watchmen or security guards to a client, the employer of such guards or watchmen is such agency, and not the
client, since the latter has no hand in selecting the security guards. Thus, the duty to observe the diligence of a
good father of a family cannot be demanded from the said client:
[I]t is settled in our jurisdiction that where the security agency, as here, recruits, hires and assigns the
work of its watchmen or security guards, the agency is the employer of such guards or watchmen. Liability
for illegal or harmful acts committed by the security guards attaches to the employer agency, and not to
the clients or customers of such agency. As a general rule, a client or customer of a security agency has
no hand in selecting who among the pool of security guards or watchmen employed by the agency shall
be assigned to it; the duty to observe the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection of the

guards cannot, in the ordinary course of events, be demanded from the client whose premises or property
are protected by the security guards.
xxxx
The fact that a client company may give instructions or directions to the security guards assigned to it, does not,
by itself, render the client responsible as an employer of the security guards concerned and liable for their
wrongful acts or omissions.31
We now come to respondents' Third Party Claim against Galaxy. In Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of the
Philippines v. Tempengko,32 we held that:
The third-party complaint is, therefore, a procedural device whereby a 'third party' who is neither a party nor privy
to the act or deed complained of by the plaintiff, may be brought into the case with leave of court, by the
defendant, who acts as third-party plaintiff to enforce against such third-party defendant a right for contribution,
indemnity, subrogation or any other relief, in respect of the plaintiff's claim. The third-party complaint is actually
independent of and separate and distinct from the plaintiff's complaint. Were it not for this provision of the Rules of
Court, it would have to be filed independently and separately from the original complaint by the defendant against
the third-party. But the Rules permit defendant to bring in a third-party defendant or so to speak, to litigate his
separate cause of action in respect of plaintiff's claim against a third-party in the original and principal case with
the object of avoiding circuitry of action and unnecessary proliferation of law suits and of disposing expeditiously
in one litigation the entire subject matter arising from one particular set of facts. 33
Respondents and Galaxy were able to litigate their respective claims and defenses in the course of the trial of petitioner's
complaint. Evidence duly supports the findings of the trial court that Galaxy is negligent not only in the selection of its
employees but also in their supervision. Indeed, no administrative sanction was imposed against Rosete despite the
shooting incident; moreover, he was even allowed to go on leave of absence which led eventually to his
disappearance.34 Galaxy also failed to monitor petitioner's condition or extend the necessary assistance, other than the
P5,000.00 initially given to petitioner. Galaxy and Imperial failed to make good their pledge to reimburse petitioner's
medical expenses.
For these acts of negligence and for having supplied respondent FEU with an unqualified security guard, which resulted to
the latter's breach of obligation to petitioner, it is proper to hold Galaxy liable to respondent FEU for such damages
equivalent to the above-mentioned amounts awarded to petitioner.
Unlike respondent De Jesus, we deem Imperial to be solidarily liable with Galaxy for being grossly negligent in directing
the affairs of the security agency. It was Imperial who assured petitioner that his medical expenses will be shouldered by
Galaxy but said representations were not fulfilled because they presumed that petitioner and his family were no longer
interested in filing a formal complaint against them.35
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The June 29, 2007 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 87050
nullifying the Decision of the trial court and dismissing the complaint as well as the August 23, 2007 Resolution denying
the Motion for Reconsideration are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila,
Branch 2, in Civil Case No. 98-89483 finding respondent FEU liable for damages for breach of its obligation to provide
students with a safe and secure learning atmosphere, is AFFIRMED with the following MODIFICATIONS:
a. respondent Far Eastern University (FEU) is ORDERED to pay petitioner actual damages in the amount of P35,298.25,
plus 6% interest per annum from the filing of the complaint until the finality of this Decision. After this decision becomes
final and executory, the applicable rate shall be twelve percent (12%) per annum until its satisfaction;
b. respondent FEU is also ORDERED to pay petitioner temperate damages in the amount of P20,000.00; moral damages
in the amount of P100,000.00; and attorney's fees and litigation expenses in the amount of P50,000.00;
c. the award of exemplary damages is DELETED.
The Complaint against respondent Edilberto C. De Jesus is DISMISSED. The counterclaims of respondents are
likewise DISMISSED.

Galaxy Development and Management Corporation (Galaxy) and its president, Mariano D. Imperial areORDERED to
jointly and severally pay respondent FEU damages equivalent to the above-mentioned amounts awarded to petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

*Footnotes:
25

Civil Code, Art. 2208:


In the absence of stipulation, attorney's fees and expenses of litigation, other than judicial costs, cannot be
recovered, except:
(2) when the defendant's act or omission has compelled the plaintiff to litigate with third persons or to incur
expenses to protect his interest;

JOAQUINITA P. CAPILI vs. SPS. DOMINADOR CARDAA and ROSALITA CARDAA


G.R. No. 157906

November 2, 2006

Before us is a petition for review assailing the Decision 1 dated October 18, 2002 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV.
No. 54412, declaring petitioner liable for negligence that resulted in the death of Jasmin Cardaa, a school child aged 12,
enrolled in Grade 6, of San Roque Elementary School, where petitioner is the principal. Likewise assailed is the
Resolution2 dated March 20, 2003 denying reconsideration.
The facts are as follows:
On February 1, 1993, Jasmin Cardaa was walking along the perimeter fence of the San Roque Elementary School when
a branch of a caimito tree located within the school premises fell on her, causing her instantaneous death. Thus, her
parents - Dominador and Rosalita Cardaa - filed a case for damages before the Regional Trial Court of Palo, Leyte
against petitioner.
The Cardaas alleged in their complaint that even as early as December 15, 1992, a resident of the barangay, Eufronio
Lerios, reported on the possible danger the tree posed to passersby. Lerios even pointed to the petitioner the tree that
stood near the principals office. The Cardaas averred that petitioners gross negligence and lack of foresight caused the
death of their daughter.
Petitioner denied the accusation and said that at that time Lerios had only offered to buy the tree. She also denied
knowing that the tree was dead and rotting. To prove her point, she presented witnesses who attested that she had
brought up the offer of Lerios to the other teachers during a meeting on December 15, 1992 and assigned Remedios
Palaa to negotiate the sale.
In a Decision3 dated February 5, 1996, the trial court dismissed the complaint for failure of the respondents to establish
negligence on the part of the petitioner.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial courts decision. The appellate court found the appellee (herein
petitioner) liable for Jasmins death, as follows:
Foregoing premises considered, the instant appeal is GRANTED. Appellee Joaquinita Capili is hereby declared liable for
negligence resulting to the death of Jasmin D. Cardaa. She is hereby ordered to indemnify appellants, parents of
Jasmin, the following amounts:
1. For the life of Jasmin D. Cardaa P50,000.00;
2. For burial expenses 15,010.00;
3. For moral damages 50,000.00;
4. For attorneys fees and litigation 10,000.00.
expenses
SO ORDERED.4
Petitioners motion for reconsideration was denied. Petitioner now comes before us submitting the following issues for our
resolution:
I
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS VIS--VIS THE SET OF FACTS STATED IN THE
CHALLENGED DECISION, ERRED IN FINDING THE PETITIONER NEGLIGENT AND THEREFORE LIABLE
FOR DAMAGES UNDER ARTICLE 2206 OF THE CIVIL CODE AND IN ORDERING THE PETITIONER TO PAY
DAMAGES TO THE RESPONDENTS; AND
II

WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DENYING PETITIONERS MOTION FOR
RECONSIDERATION.5
On the other hand, respondents posit the following issue:
Whether or not the Decision of the Honorable Court of Appeals, Twelfth Division, in CA G.R. CV. No. 54412 promulgated
on October 18, 2002 should be affirmed and respected, thus remain undisturbed.6
Primarily, the issue is whether petitioner is negligent and liable for the death of Jasmin Cardaa.
Petitioner asserts that she was not negligent about the disposal of the tree since she had assigned her next-in-rank,
Palaa, to see to its disposal; that despite her physical inspection of the school grounds, she did not observe any
indication that the tree was already rotten nor did any of her 15 teachers inform her that the tree was already rotten; 7 and
that moral damages should not be granted against her since there was no fraud nor bad faith on her part.
On the other hand, respondents insist that petitioner knew that the tree was dead and rotting, yet, she did not exercise
reasonable care and caution which an ordinary prudent person would have done in the same situation.
To begin, we have to point out that whether petitioner was negligent or not is a question of fact which is generally not
proper in a petition for review, and when this determination is supported by substantial evidence, it becomes conclusive
and binding on this Court.8 However, there is an exception, that is, when the findings of the Court of Appeals are
incongruent with the findings of the lower court.9 In our view, the exception finds application in the present case.
The trial court gave credence to the claim of petitioner that she had no knowledge that the tree was already dead and
rotting and that Lerios merely informed her that he was going to buy the tree for firewood. It ruled that petitioner exercised
the degree of care and vigilance which the circumstances require and that there was an absence of evidence that would
require her to use a higher standard of care more than that required by the attendant circumstances. 10 The Court of
Appeals, on the other hand, ruled that petitioner should have known of the condition of the tree by its mere sighting and
that no matter how hectic her schedule was, she should have had the tree removed and not merely delegated the task to
Palaa. The appellate court ruled that the deadcaimito tree was a nuisance that should have been removed soon after
petitioner had chanced upon it.11
A negligent act is an inadvertent act; it may be merely carelessly done from a lack of ordinary prudence and may be one
which creates a situation involving an unreasonable risk to another because of the expectable action of the other, a third
person, an animal, or a force of nature. A negligent act is one from which an ordinary prudent person in the actors
position, in the same or similar circumstances, would foresee such an appreciable risk of harm to others as to cause him
not to do the act or to do it in a more careful manner.12
The probability that the branches of a dead and rotting tree could fall and harm someone is clearly a danger that is
foreseeable. As the school principal, petitioner was tasked to see to the maintenance of the school grounds and safety of
the children within the school and its premises. That she was unaware of the rotten state of a tree whose falling branch
had caused the death of a child speaks ill of her discharge of the responsibility of her position.
In every tort case filed under Article 2176 of the Civil Code, plaintiff has to prove by a preponderance of evidence: (1) the
damages suffered by the plaintiff; (2) the fault or negligence of the defendant or some other person for whose act he must
respond; and (3) the connection of cause and effect between the fault or negligence and the damages incurred. 13
The fact, however, that respondents daughter, Jasmin, died as a result of the dead and rotting tree within the schools
premises shows that the tree was indeed an obvious danger to anyone passing by and calls for application of the principle
of res ipsa loquitur.
The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur applies where (1) the accident was of such character as to warrant an inference that it
would not have happened except for the defendants negligence; (2) the accident must have been caused by an agency
or instrumentality within the exclusive management or control of the person charged with the negligence complained of;
and (3) the accident must not have been due to any voluntary action or contribution on the part of the person injured. 14
The effect of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is to warrant a presumption or inference that the mere falling of the branch of
the dead and rotting tree which caused the death of respondents daughter was a result of petitioners negligence, being
in charge of the school.

In the case of D.M. Consunji, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,15 this Court held:
As a rule of evidence, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is peculiar to the law of negligence which recognizes thatprima
facie negligence may be established without direct proof and furnishes a substitute for specific proof of negligence.
The concept of res ipsa loquitur has been explained in this wise:
While negligence is not ordinarily inferred or presumed, and while the mere happening of an accident or injury will not
generally give rise to an inference or presumption that it was due to negligence on defendants part, under the doctrine
of res ipsa loquitur, which means, literally, the thing or transaction speaks for itself, or in one jurisdiction, that the thing or
instrumentality speaks for itself, the facts or circumstances accompanying an injury may be such as to raise a
presumption, or at least permit an inference of negligence on the part of the defendant, or some other person who is
charged with negligence.
x x x where it is shown that the thing or instrumentality which caused the injury complained of was under the control or
management of the defendant, and that the occurrence resulting in the injury was such as in the ordinary course of things
would not happen if those who had its control or management used proper care, there is sufficient evidence, or, as
sometimes stated, reasonable evidence, in the absence of explanation by the defendant, that the injury arose from or was
caused by the defendants want of care.
The procedural effect of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is that petitioners negligence is presumed once respondents
established the requisites for the doctrine to apply. Once respondents made out a prima facie case of all requisites, the
burden shifts to petitioner to explain. The presumption or inference may be rebutted or overcome by other evidence and,
under appropriate circumstances a disputable presumption, such as that of due care or innocence, may outweigh the
inference.16
Was petitioners explanation as to why she failed to have the tree removed immediately sufficient to exculpate her?
As the school principal, petitioner was tasked to see to the maintenance of the school grounds and safety of the children
within the school and its premises. That she was unaware of the rotten state of the tree calls for an explanation on her
part as to why she failed to be vigilant.
Petitioner contends she was unaware of the state of the dead and rotting tree because Lerios merely offered to buy the
tree and did not inform her of its condition. Neither did any of her teachers inform her that the tree was an imminent
danger to anyone. She argues that she could not see the immediate danger posed by the tree by its mere sighting even
as she and the other teachers conducted ground inspections. She further argues that, even if she should have been
aware of the danger, she exercised her duty by assigning the disposition of the tree to another teacher.
We find petitioners explanation wanting. As school principal, petitioner is expected to oversee the safety of the schools
premises.1wphi1 The fact that she failed to see the immediate danger posed by the dead and rotting tree shows she
failed to exercise the responsibility demanded by her position.
Moreover, even if petitioner had assigned disposal of the tree to another teacher, she exercises supervision over her
assignee.17 The record shows that more than a month had lapsed from the time petitioner gave instruction to her assistant
Palaa on December 15, 1992, to the time the incident occurred on February 1, 1993. Clearly, she failed to check
seasonably if the danger posed by the rotting tree had been removed. Thus, we cannot accept her defense of lack of
negligence.
Lastly, petitioner questions the award of moral damages. Moral damages are awarded if the following elements exist in
the case: (1) an injury clearly sustained by the claimant; (2) a culpable act or omission factually established; (3) a wrongful
act or omission by the defendant as the proximate cause of the injury sustained by the claimant; and (4) the award of
damages predicated on any of the cases stated in Article 2219 of the Civil Code. 18However, the person claiming moral
damages must prove the existence of bad faith by clear and convincing evidence for the law always presumes good faith.
It is not enough that one merely suffered sleepless nights, mental anguish, and serious anxiety as the result of the
actuations of the other party. Invariably, such action must be shown to have been willfully done in bad faith or with ill
motive.19 Under the circumstances, we have to concede that petitioner was not motivated by bad faith or ill motive vis-vis respondents daughters death. The award of moral damages is therefore not proper.
In line with applicable jurisprudence, we sustain the award by the Court of Appeals of P50,000 as indemnity for the death
of Jasmin,20 and P15,010 as reimbursement of her burial expenses.21

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated October 18, 2002 and the Resolution dated March 20, 2003,
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV. No. 54412 are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION such that the award of moral
damages is hereby deleted.
Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

DENNIS D. SY
vs.
METROPOLITAN BANK & TRUST COMPANY
G.R. No. 160618

November 2, 2006

For review on certiorari is the Decision1 dated June 7, 2002 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 68149, which
reinstated the Decision2 dated June 19, 2000 of the Labor Arbiter dismissing petitioners complaint for illegal suspension,
illegal dismissal, and money claims.
The pertinent facts are as follows:
Petitioner Dennis D. Sy, herein substituted by his heirs Soledad Y. Sy, Ronald Allan Y. Sy, and Melinda S. Pompenada,
was the branch manager in Bajada, Davao City, of respondent Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company.
Under the banks Retirement Plan, an employee must retire upon reaching the age of 55 years or after rendering 30 years
of service, whichever comes first. Sy would have rendered 30 years of service by August 18, 1999. 3However, on February
5, 1999, he was reappointed as branch manager for a term of one year starting August 18, 1999 until August 18,
2000.4 His monthly compensation was accordingly increased from P50,400 to P54,500, effective August 16, 1999.5
Meanwhile, on November 10 and 15, 1999, the bank released the results of the audit conducted in its Bajada branch. On
November 15, 1999, Sy tendered an irrevocable letter of retirement. 6 In his letter, he requested the timely release of his
retirement pay and other benefits. His request was denied.7
The bank alleged that Sy allowed spouses Gorgonio and Elizabeth Ong to conduct "kiting" activities in their account with
the bank, to wit:
1. Approving DBP accommodations beyond the authority limits established by Management;
2. Approving DBP accommodations against accounts already found to be engaged (sic) in irregular and unsound
banking practice;
3. Releasing/renewing loans without Head Office approval;
4. Allowing persons other than the depositor to purchase Cashiers Checks without authority;
5. Ignoring previous Banks warning to discontinue granting such accommodations; and
6. Debit of the depositors account as payment for the purchase of Cashiers Check without conformity or
authority.8
Thus, the bank placed Sy under preventive suspension and gave him 48 hours to submit a written explanation. In
response, Sy wrote a letter explaining that he only made a wrong credit judgment. 9 Not satisfied with his answer, the bank
notified Sy of other alleged violations of company policies, to wit:
1. Granting of DBP-Clean accommodations totaling [P9.11M] from March to April 1999 to Sps. Samuel Aquino
and Charito Sy-Aquino, your [brother-in-law] and sister, respectively. This is in patent abuse of authority as you
have knowledge that your branchs lending authority has been suspended since January 1998.
2. Purchasing checks, Philam Bank and Bank of Commerce under Account Nos. 001103-00467 and 00-901431103-4 which are payable to Landcraft Transport Services a company owned by your aforementioned relatives.
Please note that the signatories to the said checks are also your aforementioned sister and [brother-in-law]. This
has allowed your relatives to conduct kiting activities through your branch with your knowledge and consent.10
In reply, Sy explained in writing that the accommodation granted to spouses Samuel Aquino and Charito Sy-Aquino was
only P650,000, not P9.11M as claimed by the bank. He added that the spouses even offered a parcel of land as collateral
and were willing to sell a vehicle in settlement of their obligation with the bank. 11

Unconvinced, the bank dismissed Sy on December 15, 1999. The termination letter reads in part:
SPS. GORGONIO & ELIZABETH ONG ACCOUNT
1. Your wanton violations of Bank rules as stated in our November 17, 1999 letter have allowed the above clients
to do kiting activities in your branch and have resulted to a possible loss of over TEN MILLION PESOS
(P10,000,000.00)
2. The account has already become past due and the clients involved have already absconded.
SPS. SAMUEL & CHARITO SY-AQUINO (Your Brother-in-law And Sister)
1. As stated in our letter dated December 3, 1999 evidence shows that you have allowed your brother-in-law and
sister to conduct kiting activities through your branch. Their DBP accommodations of SIX HUNDRED FIFTY
THOUSAND PESOS (P650,000.00) rolled over daily from March to April 1999 accumulates to over NINE
MILLION PESOS (P9,000,000.00);
2. The above account has already become past due in the principal amount of SIX HUNDRED FIFTY
THOUSAND PESOS (P650,000.00).12
Sy filed against the bank a complaint for illegal suspension, illegal dismissal and money claims, docketed as RAB-11-0100024-0. However, the Labor Arbiter dismissed the case for lack of merit.13
On appeal, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) deemed Sy compulsorily retired. Thus, the NLRC awarded
him retirement benefits, unpaid salary, monetary value of unused leave credits, 13th month pay, Christmas bonus, and
refund of provident fund.
The parties sought reconsideration, which were both denied for lack of merit. Respondent bank elevated the matter to the
Court of Appeals, which set aside the ruling of the NLRC and reinstated the Decision of the Labor Arbiter. On motion for
reconsideration, however, the Court of Appeals modified its ruling and ordered the bank to reimburse Sys contribution to
the provident fund.14
Hence, the instant petition raising the following issues:
(1) WHETHER OR NOT AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE COMPULSORY RETIREMENT DATE HAD ALREADY
ELAPSED CAN STILL BE DISMISSED FROM HIS EMPLOYMENT BY HIS EMPLOYER?
(2) WHETHER OR NOT, IF AN EMPLOYEES SERVICE WAS UNILATERALLY EXTENDED BY HIS
EMPLOYER BEYOND HIS COMPULSORY RETIREMENT DATE, THEN SUBSEQUENTLY HE WAS
DISMISSED, HIS DISMISSAL WOULD PERTAIN TO THE "EXTENDED PERIOD" ONLY OR ALSO TO HIS
PREVIOUS TENURE OF EMPLOYMENT FROM WHICH HE WAS SUPPOSED TO COMPULSORILY RETIRE?
(3) WHETHER OR NOT THE EMPLOYMENT OF AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS MERELY PLACED UNDER
PREVENTIVE SUSPENSION IS DEEMED SEVERED?
(4) WHETHER OR NOT METROBANK IS IN ESTOPPEL CONSIDERING THAT IT UNILATERALLY EXTENDED
DENNIS SYS SERVICE BY REASON OF HIS EXEMPLARY PERFORMANCE, AND ON AUGUST 16, 1999 (I.E.
TWO DAYS BEFORE DENNIS SYS COMPULSORY RETIREMENT DATE AUGUST 18, 1999) IT
INCREASED DENNIS SYS COMPENSATION?
(5) WHETHER OR NOT AN EMPLOYEE CAN BE DEPRIVED OF HIS RETIREMENT BENEFITS AND OTHER
FRINGE BENEFITS AFTER RENDERING THE 30-YEAR EMPLOYMENT, A CONDITION SINE QUA NON FOR
COMPULSORY RETIREMENT AS STIPULATED IN HIS EMPLOYERS RETIREMENT PLAN?15
Petitioner Sy contends that his dismissal pertains solely to his extended one-year term of employment and should not
affect the benefits owing to his 30-year tenure. He points out that the reappointment letter itself separates his 30-year
tenure from his extended employment by providing that, except for retirement benefits, he was to enjoy the benefits of a
regular employee, thus:

We are pleased to inform you of your [reappointment] for another term from August 18, 1999 to August 18, 2000.
You will continue to enjoy the benefits of a regular employee except for retirement benefits. 16
He adds that his extension was at the instance of the bank, which was a violation of its own retirement policy. He also
claims that the alleged anomalous transactions were not at all prohibited, but were allowed on a case-to-case basis; they
were, at worst, simple errors of judgment on his part.
Respondent bank, however, counters that petitioner Sy committed acts of fraud, dishonesty, and willful breach of the trust
reposed in him, justifying his dismissal. Further, it argues that Sys reappointment was not a unilateral act, but a
consensual agreement to extend his employment. Lastly, the bank posits that since his termination was for a just cause,
which transpired prior to his retirement, the forfeiture of his retirement benefits was but proper.
Simply put, the issues are: (1) Was petitioner illegally terminated? (2) If his dismissal was valid, would he still be entitled to
retirement benefits?
We hold that petitioner Sy was validly dismissed on the ground of fraud and willful breach of trust under Article 282 of the
Labor Code.17 Records show that as bank manager, he authorized "kiting" or drawing of checks against uncollected
funds18 in wanton violation of the banks policies.19 It was sufficient basis for the bank to lose trust in him.
Unlike a rank-and-file worker, where breach of trust as a ground for valid dismissal requires proof of involvement in the
alleged anomaly and where mere uncorroborated accusation by the employer will not suffice, the sheer existence of a
basis for believing that the employers trust has been breached is enough for the dismissal of amanagerial employee.20
Petitioners conduct betrays his culpability. Shortly after the audit conducted in the Bajada branch, he tendered an
"irrevocable letter of retirement." In the said letter, he requested that his retirement be made effective December 1, 1999.
Said request arouses suspicion considering that he had previously agreed to the extension of his employment as branch
manager until August 18, 2000. Petitioners evident failure to offer any reasonable explanation for such sudden shift in his
plans is prejudicial to his cause.
As for the requirement of due process, records21 show that it has been fully satisfied in the instant case. The bank had
complied with the two-notice requirement, i.e.: (a) a written notice of the cause for his dismissal to afford him ample
opportunity to be heard and to defend himself with the assistance of counsel, if he so desires; and (b) a written notice of
the decision to terminate him, stating clearly the reason therefor. 22
Petitioner, however, theorizes that having been compulsorily retired, he could no longer be dismissed by the bank. His
premise is absurd. Indeed, he would have qualified for compulsory retirement under the banks Retirement Plan.
However, he opted to accept the banks offer of extending his employment for another year with a corresponding salary
increase. Thus, in effect, he had never retired. Unfortunately for him, while serving such extended term, the bank
discovered his unauthorized grant of accommodation to accounts engaged in "kiting" activity. Such act is a clear breach of
the trust reposed in him by the bank. He cannot now elude dismissal for a just cause by claiming he was already retired
compulsorily.
Is petitioner nevertheless entitled to retirement benefits?
Under the Labor Code, only unjustly dismissed employees are entitled to retirement benefits and other privileges including
reinstatement and backwages.23 Since petitioners dismissal was for a just cause, he is not entitled to any retirement
benefit. To hold otherwise would be to reward acts of willful breach of trust by the employee. It would also open the
floodgate to potential anomalous banking transactions by bank employees whose employments have been extended.
Since a banks operation is essentially imbued with public interest, it owes great fidelity to the public it deals with. In turn, it
cannot be compelled to continue in its employ a person in whom it has lost trust and confidence and whose continued
employment would patently be inimical to the banks interest.24 While the scale of justice is tilted in favor of workers, the
law does not authorize blind submission to the claim of labor regardless of merit.
While the Court commiserates with petitioner who has spent with the bank the best three decades of his employable life,
we find no room to accord him compassionate justice. Records showed that he violated the bank policies prior to his
compulsory retirement.25 Thus, there can be no earned retirement benefits to speak of. No such provision is provided for
by the Labor Code. In fact, even the Civil Service Law imposes forfeiture of retirement benefits in valid dismissal cases. 26

Notably, the Court has also disallowed claims for retirement benefits in valid dismissal cases because the retirement plan
itself precluded employees dismissed for cause from availing it.27 Although no such prohibition in the retirement plan was
alleged or proved in this case, we nevertheless deny petitioners claims because his offenses, vis--vis his long years of
service with the bank, reflect a regrettable lack of loyalty which he should have strengthened instead of betrayed. 28
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. The Decision dated June 7, 2002 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
No. 68149, which reinstated the Decision dated June 19, 2000 of the Labor Arbiter, is AFFIRMEDtogether with the Court
of Appeals Resolution dated September 30, 2003 thereby ordering the respondent bank to reimburse petitioners
contribution to the provident fund. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

*Footnotes:
17

Art. 282. Termination by employer. An employer may terminate an employment for any of the following causes:
xxxx
(c) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized
representative;
xxxx

UNIVERSITY OF THE EAST vs. ROMEO A. JADER


G.R. No. 132344

February 17, 2000

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 instant petition for review
premised on the following undisputed facts as summarized by the trial court and adopted by the Court of Appeals
(CA),1 to wit:
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 examination in Practice Court I for which he was given
an incomplete grade (Exhibits "2", also Exhibit "H"). He enrolled for the second semester as fourth year law
student (Exhibit "A") and 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, 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", "2N").1wphi1.nt
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 appeared in the Tentative List of
Candidates for graduation for the Degree of Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) as of Second Semester (1987-1988) with the
following annotation:
JADER ROMEO A.
Def. Conflict of Laws x-1-87-88, Practice Court I Inc., 1-87-88 C-1 to submit transcript with S.O. (Exhibits "3",
"3-C-1", "3-C-2").
The 35th Investitures & Commencement Ceremonies for the candidates of Bachelor of Laws was scheduled on
the 16th of April 1988 at 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon, and in the invitation for that occasion the name of the
plaintiff appeared as one of the candidates. (Exhibits "B", "B-6", "B-6-A"). At the foot of the list of the names of the
candidates there appeared however the following annotation:
This is a tentative list Degrees will be conferred upon these candidates who satisfactorily complete
requirements as stated in the University Bulletin and as approved of the Department of Education, Culture
and Sports (Exhibit "B-7-A").
The plaintiff attended the investiture ceremonies at F. dela Cruz Quadrangle, U.E., Recto 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 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 (Exhibits "C" to "C-6", "D-3" to "D-11").
He tendered a blow-out that evening which was attended by neighbors, friends and relatives who wished him
good luck in the forthcoming bar examination. There were pictures taken too during the blow-out (Exhibits "D" to
"D-1").
He thereafter prepared himself for the bar examination. He took a leave of absence without pay from his job from
April 20, 1988 to September 30, 1988 (Exhibit "G") and enrolled at the pre-bar review class in Far Eastern
University. (Exhibits "F" to "F-2"). Having learned of the deficiency he dropped his review class and was not able
to take the bar examination.2
Consequently, respondent sued petitioner for damages alleging that he suffered moral shock, mental anguish, serious
anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings and sleepless nights when he was not able to take the 1988 bar
examinations arising from the latter's negligence. He prayed for an award of moral and exemplary damages, unrealized
income, attorney's fees, and costs of suit.

In its answer with counterclaim, petitioner denied liability arguing mainly that it never led respondent to believe that he
completed the requirements for a Bachelor of Laws degree when his name was included in the tentative list of graduating
students. After trial, the lower court rendered judgment as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against the
defendant ordering the latter to pay plaintiff the sum of THIRTY FIVE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED SEVENTY
PESOS (P35,470.00) with legal rate of interest from the filing of the complaint until fully paid, the amount of FIVE
THOUSAND PESOS (P5,000.00) as attorney's fees and the cost of suit.
Defendant's counterclaim is, for lack of merit, hereby dismissed.
SO ORDERED.3
which on appeal by both parties was affirmed by the Court of Appeals (CA) with modification. The dispositive portion of
the CA decision reads:
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the lower Court's Decision is hereby AFFIRMED with the
MODIFICATION that defendant-appellee, in addition to the sum adjudged by the lower court in favor of plaintiffappellant, is also ORDERED to pay plaintiff-appellant the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND (P50,000.00) PESOS for
moral damages. Costs against defendant-appellee.
SO ORDERED.4
Upon the denial of its motion for reconsideration, petitioner UE elevated the case to this Court on a petition for review
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, arguing that it has no liability to respondent 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 his removal exam.
The petition lacks merit.
When a student is enrolled in any educational or learning institution, a contract of education is entered 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 the contract. Since the contracting parties are the
school and the student, the latter is not duty-bound to deal with the former's agents, such as the professors with respect to
the status or result of his grades, 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 inform and furnish
sufficient notice and information to each and every student as to whether he or she had already complied with all the
requirements for the conferment of a degree or whether they would be included among those who will graduate. Although
commencement exercises are but a formal ceremony, 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 degree during the baccalaureate ceremony have satisfied all the requirements for such degree. Prior or
subsequent to the ceremony, the school has the obligation to promptly inform the student of any problem involving the
latter's grades and performance and also most importantly, of the procedures for remedying the same.
Petitioner, in belatedly informing respondent of the result of the removal examination, particularly at a time when he had
already commenced preparing for the bar exams, cannot be said to have acted in 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 technicalities of the law, together with the absence of all information or belief of facts, would render
the transaction unconscientious.5 It is the school that has access to those information and it is only the school that can
compel its professors to act and comply with its rules, regulations and policies with respect to the computation and the
prompt submission of grades. Students do not exercise control, much less 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 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 or injury. 6
The college dean is the senior officer responsible for the operation of an academic program, enforcement 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 with the rules set by the latter. The negligent
act of a professor who fails to observe the rules of the school, for instance by not promptly submitting a student's grade, is
not only imputable to the professor but is an act of the school, being his employer.
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 good dealings enshrined in
Articles 19 and 20 of the Civil Code which states:
Art. 19. Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give
everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.
Art. 20. Every person who, contrary to law, wilfully or negligently causes damage to another, 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 number of moral
wrongs which is impossible for human foresight to provide specifically in statutory law. 8 In civilized society, men must be
able to assume that others will do them no intended injury that others will commit no internal aggressions upon them;
that their fellowmen, when they act affirmatively will do so with due care which the ordinary understanding and moral
sense of the community exacts and that those with whom they deal in the general course of society will act in good faith.
The ultimate thing in the theory of liability is justifiable reliance under conditions of civilized society. 9 Schools and
professors cannot just take students for granted and be indifferent to them, for without the latter, the former are useless.
Educational institutions are duty-bound to inform the students of their academic status and not wait for the latter to inquire
from the former. The conscious indifference of a person to the rights or welfare of the person/persons who may be
affected by his act or omission can support a claim for damages. 10 Want of 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 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 into believing that he had satisfied all requirements
for the course. Worth quoting is the following disquisition of the respondent court:
It is apparent from the testimony of Dean Tiongson that defendant-appellee University had been informed during
the deliberation that the professor in Practice Court I gave plaintiff-appellant a failing grade. Yet, defendantappellee still did not inform plaintiff-appellant of his failure to complete the requirements for the degree nor did
they remove his name from the tentative list of candidates for graduation. Worse, defendant-appellee university,
despite the knowledge that plaintiff-appellant failed in Practice Court I, againincluded plaintiff-appellant's name in
the "tentative list of candidates for graduation which was prepared after the 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 in the remaining few days before graduation day. Dean Tiongson, however, did not explain
how plaintiff appellant Jader could have done something to complete his deficiency if defendant-appellee
university did not exert any effort to inform plaintiff-appellant of his failing grade in Practice Court I.12
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 agency the loss occurred
must bear it.13 The modern tendency is to grant indemnity for damages in cases where there is abuse of right, even when
the act is not illicit.14 If mere fault or negligence in one's acts can make him liable for damages for injury caused thereby,
with more reason should abuse or bad faith make 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
However, while petitioner was guilty of negligence and thus liable to respondent for the latter's actual damages, we hold
that respondent should not have been awarded moral damages. We do not agree with 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 behooved on respondent to verify for himself whether he has completed all
necessary requirements to be eligible for the bar examinations. As a senior law student, respondent should have been
responsible enough to ensure that all his affairs, specifically those pertaining to his academic achievement, are in order.

Given these considerations, we fail to see how respondent could have suffered untold embarrassment in attending the
graduation rites, enrolling in the bar review classes and not being able to take the bar exams. If respondent was indeed
humiliated by his failure to take the bar, he brought this upon himself by not verifying if he has satisfied all the
requirements including his school records, before preparing himself for the bar examination. Certainly, taking the bar
examinations does not only entail a mental preparation on the subjects thereof; there are also prerequisites of
documentation and submission of requirements which the prospective examinee must meet.
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 Pesos (P35,470.00), with legal interest of
6% per annum computed from the date of filing of the complaint until fully paid; the amount of Five Thousand Pesos
(P5,000.00) as attorney's fees; and the costs of the suit. The award of moral damages is DELEIED.1wphi1.nt
SO ORDERED.

PHILIPPINE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, JUAN D. LIM, BENJAMIN P. PAULINO, ANTONIO M.


MAGTALAS, COL. PEDRO SACRO and LT. M. SORIANO vs. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. REGINA ORDOEZBENITEZ, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of Branch 47, Regional Trial Court, Manila, SEGUNDA R. BAUTISTA
and ARSENIA D. BAUTISTA
G.R. No. 84698 February 4, 1992
A stabbing incident on 30 August 1985 which caused the death of Carlitos Bautista while on the second-floor premises of
the Philippine School of Business Administration (PSBA) prompted the parents of the deceased to file suit in the Regional
Trial Court of Manila (Branch 47) presided over by Judge (now Court of Appeals justice) Regina Ordoez-Benitez, for
damages against the said PSBA and its corporate officers. At the time of his death, Carlitos was enrolled in the third year
commerce course at the PSBA. It was established that his assailants were not members of the school's academic
community but were elements from outside the school.
Specifically, the suit impleaded the PSBA and the following school authorities: Juan D. Lim (President), Benjamin P.
Paulino (Vice-President), Antonio M. Magtalas (Treasurer/Cashier), Col. Pedro Sacro (Chief of Security) and a Lt. M.
Soriano (Assistant Chief of Security). Substantially, the plaintiffs (now private respondents) sought to adjudge them liable
for the victim's untimely demise due to their alleged negligence, recklessness and lack of security precautions, means and
methods before, during and after the attack on the victim. During the proceedings a quo, Lt. M. Soriano terminated his
relationship with the other petitioners by resigning from his position in the school.
Defendants a quo (now petitioners) sought to have the suit dismissed, alleging that since they are presumably sued under
Article 2180 of the Civil Code, the complaint states no cause of action against them, as jurisprudence on the subject is to
the effect that academic institutions, such as the PSBA, are beyond the ambit of the rule in the afore-stated article.
The respondent trial court, however, overruled petitioners' contention and thru an order dated 8 December 1987, denied
their motion to dismiss. A subsequent motion for reconsideration was similarly dealt with by an order dated 25 January
1988. Petitioners then assailed the trial court's disposition before the respondent appellate court which, in a
decision * promulgated on 10 June 1988, affirmed the trial court's orders. On 22 August 1988, the respondent appellate
court resolved to deny the petitioners' motion for reconsideration. Hence, this petition.
At the outset, it is to be observed that the respondent appellate court primarily anchored its decision on the law ofquasidelicts, as enunciated in Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code. 1 Pertinent portions of the appellate court's now
assailed ruling state:
Article 2180 (formerly Article 1903) of the Civil Code is an adoption from the old Spanish Civil Code. The
comments of Manresa and learned authorities on its meaning should give way to present day changes.
The law is not fixed and flexible (sic); it must be dynamic. In fact, the greatest value and significance of
law as a rule of conduct in (sic) its flexibility to adopt to changing social conditions and its capacity to
meet the new challenges of progress.
Construed in the light of modern day educational system, Article 2180 cannot be construed in its narrow
concept as held in the old case of Exconde vs. Capuno 2 and Mercado vs. Court of Appeals; 3hence, the
ruling in the Palisoc 4 case that it should apply to all kinds of educational institutions, academic or
vocational.
At any rate, the law holds the teachers and heads of the school staff liable unless they relieve themselves
of such liability pursuant to the last paragraph of Article 2180 by "proving that they observed all the
diligence to prevent damage." This can only be done at a trial on the merits of the case. 5
While we agree with the respondent appellate court that the motion to dismiss the complaint was correctly denied and the
complaint should be tried on the merits, we do not however agree with the premises of the appellate court's ruling.
Article 2180, in conjunction with Article 2176 of the Civil Code, establishes the rule of in loco parentis. This Court
discussed this doctrine in the afore-cited cases of Exconde, Mendoza, Palisoc and, more recently, in Amadora vs.Court of
Appeals. 6 In all such cases, it had been stressed that the law (Article 2180) plainly provides that the damage should have
been caused or inflicted by pupils or students of he educational institution sought to be held liable for the acts of its pupils
or students while in its custody. However, this material situation does not exist in the present case for, as earlier indicated,
the assailants of Carlitos were not students of the PSBA, for whose acts the school could be made liable.

However, does the appellate court's failure to consider such material facts mean the exculpation of the petitioners from
liability? It does not necessarily follow.
When an academic institution accepts students for enrollment, there is established a contract between them, resulting in
bilateral obligations which both parties are bound to comply with. 7 For its part, the school undertakes to provide the
student with an education that would presumably suffice to equip him with the necessary tools and skills to pursue higher
education or a profession. On the other hand, the student covenants to abide by the school's academic requirements and
observe its rules and regulations.
Institutions of learning must also meet the implicit or "built-in" obligation of providing their students with an atmosphere
that promotes or assists in attaining its primary undertaking of imparting knowledge. Certainly, no student can absorb the
intricacies of physics or higher mathematics or explore the realm of the arts and other sciences when bullets are flying or
grenades exploding in the air or where there looms around the school premises a constant threat to life and limb.
Necessarily, the school must ensure that adequate steps are taken to maintain peace and order within the campus
premises and to prevent the breakdown thereof.
Because the circumstances of the present case evince a contractual relation between the PSBA and Carlitos Bautista, the
rules on quasi-delict do not really govern. 8 A perusal of Article 2176 shows that obligations arising from quasi-delicts or
tort, also known as extra-contractual obligations, arise only between parties not otherwise bound by contract, whether
express or implied. However, this impression has not prevented this Court from determining the existence of a tort even
when there obtains a contract. In Air France vs. Carrascoso (124 Phil. 722), the private respondent was awarded
damages for his unwarranted expulsion from a first-class seat aboard the petitioner airline. It is noted, however, that the
Court referred to the petitioner-airline's liability as one arising from tort, not one arising from a contract of carriage. In
effect, Air France is authority for the view that liability from tort may exist even if there is a contract, for the act that breaks
the contract may be also a tort. (Austro-America S.S. Co. vs. Thomas, 248 Fed. 231).
This view was not all that revolutionary, for even as early as 1918, this Court was already of a similar mind. InCangco
vs. Manila Railroad (38 Phil. 780), Mr. Justice Fisher elucidated thus:
The field of non-contractual obligation is much broader than that of contractual obligation, comprising, as
it does, the whole extent of juridical human relations. These two fields, figuratively speaking, concentric;
that is to say, the mere fact that a person is bound to another by contract does not relieve him from extracontractual liability to such person. When such a contractual relation exists the obligor may break the
contract under such conditions that the same act which constitutes a breach of the contract would have
constituted the source of an extra-contractual obligation had no contract existed between the parties.
Immediately what comes to mind is the chapter of the Civil Code on Human Relations, particularly Article 21, which
provides:
Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good
custom or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage. (emphasis supplied).
Air France penalized the racist policy of the airline which emboldened the petitioner's employee to forcibly oust the private
respondent to cater to the comfort of a white man who allegedly "had a better right to the seat." InAustro-American, supra,
the public embarrassment caused to the passenger was the justification for the Circuit Court of Appeals, (Second Circuit),
to award damages to the latter. From the foregoing, it can be concluded that should the act which breaches a contract be
done in bad faith and be violative of Article 21, then there is a cause to view the act as constituting a quasi-delict.
In the circumstances obtaining in the case at bar, however, there is, as yet, no finding that the contract between the
school and Bautista had been breached thru the former's negligence in providing proper security measures. This would be
for the trial court to determine. And, even if there be a finding of negligence, the same could give rise generally to a
breach of contractual obligation only. Using the test of Cangco, supra, the negligence of the school would not be relevant
absent a contract. In fact, that negligence becomes material only because of the contractual relation between PSBA and
Bautista. In other words, a contractual relation is a condition sine qua nonto the school's liability. The negligence of the
school cannot exist independently of the contract, unless the negligence occurs under the circumstances set out in Article
21 of the Civil Code.
This Court is not unmindful of the attendant difficulties posed by the obligation of schools, above-mentioned, for
conceptually a school, like a common carrier, cannot be an insurer of its students against all risks. This is specially true in
the populous student communities of the so-called "university belt" in Manila where there have been reported several

incidents ranging from gang wars to other forms of hooliganism. It would not be equitable to expect of schools to
anticipate all types of violent trespass upon their premises, for notwithstanding the security measures installed, the same
may still fail against an individual or group determined to carry out a nefarious deed inside school premises and environs.
Should this be the case, the school may still avoid liability by proving that the breach of its contractual obligation to the
students was not due to its negligence, here statutorily defined to be the omission of that degree of diligence which is
required by the nature of the obligation and corresponding to the circumstances of persons, time and place. 9
As the proceedings a quo have yet to commence on the substance of the private respondents' complaint, the record is
bereft of all the material facts. Obviously, at this stage, only the trial court can make such a determination from the
evidence still to unfold.
WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The court of origin (RTC, Manila, Br. 47) is
hereby ordered to continue proceedings consistent with this ruling of the Court. Costs against the petitioners.
SO ORDERED.

*Footnotes:
* Penned by Justice Jose C. Campos, Jr. and concurred in by Justices Ricardo J. Francisco and Alfredo L. Benipayo.
1 Article 2176 provides:
Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage
done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict
and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.
Article 2180 provides:
The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of
persons for whom one is responsible.
xxx xxx xxx
Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be liable for damages caused by their pupils and
students or apprentices, so long as they remain in their custody.
The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the person herein mentioned prove that they observed all the
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage."
7 In Non vs. Dames II, G.R. No. 89317, 20 May 1990, 185 SCRA 535, it was held that the contract between school and
student is one "imbued with public interest" but a contract nonetheless.
8 Article 2176, Civil Code is re-quoted for stress:
Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage
done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict
and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter. (emphasis supplied)
9 Article 1173, Civil Code provides:
The fault or negligence of the obligor consists in the omission of that diligence which is required by the nature of the
obligation and corresponds with the circumstances of the persons, of the time and of the place. When negligence shows
bad faith, the provisions of articles 1171 and 2201, paragraph 2, shall apply.

ST. FRANCIS HIGH SCHOOL, as represented by SPS. FERNANDO NANTES AND ROSARIO LACANDULA,
BENJAMIN ILUMIN, TIRSO DE CHAVEZ, LUISITO VINAS, CONNIE ARQUIO AND PATRIA CADIZ
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, ELEVENTH DIVISION and DR. ROMULO CASTILLO and LILIA CADIZ
G.R. No. 82465

February 25, 1991

This is a petition for review of the decision * of the Court of Appeals, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the decision under appeal is hereby affirmed, with the following modifications: (1) Exemplary
damages in the amount of P20,000.00 are hereby awarded to plaintiffs, in addition to the actual damages of
P30,000.00, moral damages of P20,000.00 and attorney's fees in the amount of P15,000.00 awarded to plaintiffs
in the decision under appeal; (2) St. Francis High School, represented by the Spouses Fernando Nantes and
Rosario Lacandula, and Benjamin Illumin, are hereby held jointly and severally liable with defendants Connie
Arquio, Tirso de Chaves, Luisito Vinas and Patria Cadis for the payment to plaintiffs of the abovementioned actual
damages, moral damages, exemplary damages and attorney's fees, and for costs; and (3) Defendants Yoly Jaro
and Nida Aragones are hereby absolved from liability, and the case against them, together with their respective
counterclaims, is hereby ordered dismissed.
SO ORDERED. (p. 60, Rollo)
The complaint alleged that Ferdinand Castillo, then a freshman student of Section 1-C at the St. Francis High School,
wanted to join a school picnic undertaken by Class I-B and Class I-C at Talaan Beach, Sariaya, Quezon. Ferdinand's
parents, respondents spouses Dr. Romulo Castillo and Lilia Cadiz Castillo, because of short notice, did not allow their son
to join but merely allowed him to bring food to the teachers for the picnic, with the directive that he should go back home
after doing so. However, because of persuasion of the teachers, Ferdinand went on with them to the beach.
During the picnic and while the students, including Ferdinand, were in the water, one of the female teachers was
apparently drowning. Some of the students, including Ferdinand, came to her rescue, but in the process, it was Ferdinand
himself who drowned. His body was recovered but efforts to resuscitate him ashore failed. He was brought to a certain Dr.
Luna in Sariaya, Quezon and later to the Mt. Cannel General Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Thereupon, respondent spouses filed a complaint docketed as Civil Case No. 8834, in the Regional Trial Court, Branch
LVIII of Lucena City, against the St. Francis High School, represented by the spouses Fernando Nantes and Rosario
Lacandula, Benjamin Illumin (its principal), and the teachers: Tirso de Chaves, Luisito Vinas, Connie Arquio, Nida
Aragones, Yoly Jaro, and Patria Cadiz, for Damages which respondents allegedly incurred from the death of their 13-year
old son, Ferdinand Castillo. Contending that the death of their son was due to the failure of the petitioners to exercise the
proper diligence of a good father of the family in preventing their son's drowning, respondents prayed of actual, moral and
exemplary damages, attorney's fees and expenses for litigation.
The trial court found in favor of the respondents and against petitioners-teachers Arquio, de Chaves, Vinas, Aragones,
Jaro and Cadiz, ordering all of them jointly and severally to pay respondents the sum of P30,000.00 as actual damages,
P20,000.00 as moral damages, P15,000.00 as attorney's fees, and to pay the costs. The court a quo reasoned:
Taking into consideration the evidence presented, this Court believes that the defendant teachers namely: Connie
Arquio, Luisito Vinas, Tirso de Chaves, Yoly Jaro, Nida Aragones and Patria Cadiz had failed to exercise the
diligence required of them by law under the circumstances to guard against the harm they had foreseen. (pp.
2930, Rollo)
xxx

xxx

xxx

While it is alleged that when defendants Yoly Jaro and Nida Aragones arrived at the picnic site, the drowning
incident had already occurred, such fact does not and cannot excuse them from their liability. In fact, it could be
said that by coming late, they were remiss in their duty to safeguard the students. (p. 30,Rollo)
The students, young as they were then (12 to 13 years old), were easily attracted to the sea without aforethought
of the dangers it offers. Yet, the precautions and reminders allegedly performed by the defendants-teachers
definitely fell short of the standard required by law under the circumstances. While the defendants-teachers
admitted that some parts of the sea where the picnic was held are deep, the supposed lifeguards of the children

did not even actually go to the water to test the depth of the particular area where the children would swim. And
indeed the fears of the plaintiffs that the picnic area was dangerous was confirmed by the fact that three persons
during the picnic got drowned at the same time. Had the defendant teachers made an actual and physical
observation of the water before they allowed the students to swim, they could have found out that the area where
the children were swimming was indeed dangerous. And not only that, the male teachers who according to the
female teachers were there to supervise the children to ensure their safety were not even at the area where the
children were swimming. They were somewhere and as testified to by plaintiffs' witness they were having a
drinking spree. (pp. 55-56, Rollo)
On the other hand, the trial court dismissed the case against the St. Francis High School, Benjamin Illumin and Aurora
Cadorna. Said the court a quo:
As shown and adverted to above, this Court cannot find sufficient evidence showing that the picnic was a school
sanctioned one. Similarly no evidence has been shown to hold defendants Benjamin Illumin and Aurora Cadorna
responsible for the death of Ferdinand Castillo together with the other defendant teachers. It has been sufficiently
shown that Benjamin Illumin had himself not consented to the picnic and in fact he did not join it. On the other
hand, defendant Aurora Cadorna had then her own class to supervise and in fact she was not amongst those
allegedly invited by defendant Connie Arquio to supervise class I-C to which Ferdinand Castillo belongs. (p.
30, Rollo)
Both petitioners and respondents appealed to the Court of Appeals. Respondents-spouses assigned the following errors
committed by the trial court:
1. The lower court erred in not declaring the defendant St. Francis High School and its administrator/principal
Benjamin Illumin as equally liable not only for its approved co-curricular activities but also for those which they
unreasonably failed to exercise control and supervision like the holding of picnic in the dangerous water of Talaan
Beach, Sariaya, Quezon.
2. The lower court erred in not declaring the St. Francis High School and principal Benjamin Illumin as jointly and
solidarily liable with their co-defendants-teachers Rosario Lacandula, et als., for the tragic death of Ferdinand
Castillo in a picnic at Talaan Beach, Sariaya, Quezon, last March 20, 1982.
3. The lower court erred in not declaring higher amount for actual and moral damages for the untimely and tragic
death of Ferdinand Castillo in favor of plaintiffs-appellants against all the defendants. (pp. 56-57,Rollo)
The Court of Appeals ruled:
We find plaintiffs-appellants' submission well-taken.
Even were We to find that the picnic in question was not a school-sponsored activity, nonetheless it cannot be
gainsaid that the same was held under the supervision of the teachers employed by the said school, particularly
the teacher in charge of Class I-C to whom the victim belonged, and those whom she invited to help her in
supervising the class during the picnic. Considering that the court a quo found negligence on the part of the six
defendants-teachers who, as such, were charged with the supervision of the children during the picnic, the St.
Francis High School and the school principal, Benjamin Illumin, are liable under Article 2176 taken together with
the 1st, 4th and 5th paragraphs of Article 2180 of the Civil Code. They cannot escape liability on the mere excuse
that the picnic was not an "extra-curricular activity of the St. Francis High School." We find from the evidence that,
as claimed by plaintiffs-appellants, the school principal had knowledge of the picnic even from its planning stage
and had even been invited to attend the affair; and yet he did not express any prohibition against undertaking the
picnic, nor did he prescribe any precautionary measures to be adopted during the picnic. At the least, We must
find that the school and the responsible school officials, particularly the principal, Benjamin Illumin, had
acquiesced to the holding of the picnic.
Under Article 2180, supra, the defendant school and defendant school principal must be found jointly and
severally liable with the defendants-teachers for the damages incurred by the plaintiffs as a result of the death of
their son. It is the rule that in cases where the above-cited provisions find application, the negligence of the
employees in causing the injury or damage gives rise to a presumption of negligence on the part of the owner
and/or manager of the establishment (in the present case, St. Francis High School and its principal); and while
this presumption is not conclusive, it may be overthrown only by clear and convincing proof that the owner and/or
manager exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and/or supervision of the

employee or employees causing the injury or damage (in this case, the defendants-teachers). The record does
not disclose such evidence as would serve to overcome the aforesaid presumption and absolve the St. Francis
High School and its principal from liability under the above-cited provisions.
As to the third assigned error interposed by plaintiffs-appellants, while We cannot but commiserate with the
plaintiffs for the tragedy that befell them in the untimely death of their son Ferdinand Castillo and understand their
suffering as parents, especially the victim's mother who, according to appellants, suffered a nervous breakdown
as a result of the tragedy, We find that the amounts fixed by the court a quo as actual damages and moral
damages (P30,000.00 and P20,000.00, respectively) are reasonable and are those which are sustained by the
evidence and the law.
However, We believe that exemplary or corrective damages in the amount of P20,000.00 may and should be, as
it is hereby, imposed in the present case by way of example of correction for the public good, pursuant to Article
2229 of the Civil Code. (pp. 57-59, Rollo)
On the other hand, petitioners-teachers assigned the following errors committed by the trial court:
1. ". . . in finding the defendants Connie Arquio, Tirso de Chavez, Luisito Vinas, Nida Aragones, Yoly Jaro and
Patria Cadiz guilty of negligence and jointly and severally liable for damages such finding not being supported by
facts and evidence.
2. ". . . in dismissing the counterclaim interposed by the defendants. (p. 59, Rollo)
On this score, respondent Court ruled:
The main thrust of defendants-appellants appeal is that plaintiffs, the parents of the victim Ferdinand Castillo,
were not able to prove by their evidence that they did not give their son consent to join the picnic in question.
However, We agree with the trial court in its finding that whether or not the victim's parents had given such
permission to their son was immaterial to the determination of the existence of liability on the part of the
defendants for the damage incurred by the plaintiffs-appellants as a result of the death of their son. What is
material to such a determination is whether or not there was negligence on the part of defendants vis-a-vis the
supervision of the victim's group during the picnic; and, as correctly found by the trial court, an affirmative reply to
this question has been satisfactorily established by the evidence, as already pointed out.
However, We sustain defendants-appellants insofar as two of the defendants-teachers, Yoly Jaro and Nida
Aragones, are concerned. As to them, the trial court found:
While it is alleged that when defendants Yoly Jaro and Nida Aragones arrived at the picnic site, the
drowning incident had already occurred, such fact does not and cannot excuse them from their liability. In
fact, it could be said that by coming late, they were remiss in their duty to safeguard the students.
The evidence shows that these two defendants had satisfactorily explained why they were late in going to the
picnic site, namely, that they had to attend to the entrance examination being conducted by the school which is
part of their duty as teachers thereof. Since they were not at the picnic site during the occurrence in question, it
cannot be said that they had any participation in the negligence attributable to the other defendants-teachers who
failed to exercise diligence in the supervision of the children during the picnic and which failure resulted in the
drowning of plaintiffs' son. Thus, We may not attribute any act or omission to the two teachers, Yoly Jaro and Nida
Aragones, as to make them liable for the injury caused to the plaintiffs because of the death of their son resulting
from his drowning at the picnic. Accordingly, they must be absolved from any liability.
As to the second assigned error raised by defendants-appellants, We agree with the court a quo that the
counterclaim must be dismissed for lack of merit. (pp. 59-60, Rollo)
Hence, this petition.
The issues presented by petitioners are:
A) Whether or not there was negligence attributable to the defendants which will warrant the award of damages to
the plaintiffs;

B) Whether or not Art. 2180, in relation to Art. 2176 of the New Civil Code is applicable to the case at bar;
C) Whether or not the award of exemplary and moral damages is proper under the circumstances surrounding the
case at bar. (pp. 81-82, Rollo)
In the resolution of January 16, 1989, We gave due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their
respective memoranda.
The petition is impressed with merit.
If at all petitioners are liable for negligence, this is because of their own negligence or the negligence of people under
them. In the instant case however, as will be shown hereunder, petitioners are neither guilty of their own negligence or
guilty of the negligence of those under them.
Hence, it cannot be said that they are guilty at all of any negligence. Consequently they cannot be held liable for damages
of any kind.
At the outset, it should be noted that respondent spouses, parents of the victim Ferdinand, allowed their son to join the
excursion.
Testimony of Dr. Castillo on cross exam. by Atty. Flores
Q Now, when your son asked you for money to buy food, did you not ask him where he will bring this?
A I asked him where he was going, he answered, I am going to the picnic, and when I asked him where,
he did not answer, sir.
Q And after giving the money, you did not tell him anything more?
A No more, sir.
Q And after that you just learned that your son join the picnic?
A Yes, sir.
Q And you came to know of it after the news that your son was drowned in the picnic came to you, is that
correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q From 8:00 o'clock in the morning up to 12:00 o'clock noon of March 20, 1982, you did not know that
your son join the picnic?
A No, sir, I did not know.
Q Did you not look for your son during that time?
A I am too busy with my profession, that is why I was not able, sir.
Q You did not ask your wife?
A I did not, sir.
Q And neither did your wife tell you that your son join the picnic?
A Later on after 12:00, sir.

Q And during that time you were too busy that you did not inquire whether your son have joined that
picnic?
A Yes, sir.
(TSN, pp. 16-17, hearing of April 2, 1984 witness Romulo Castillo)
The fact that he gave money to his son to buy food for the picnic even without knowing where it will be held, is a sign of
consent for his son to join the same. Furthermore.
Testimony of Dr. Lazaro on cross examination:
Q How did you conduct this mental and physical examination?
A I have interviewed several persons and the patient herself She even felt guilty about the death of her
son because she cooked adobo for him so he could join the excursion where her son died of drowning.
Q Why were you able to say she was feeling guilty because she was the one who personally cooked the
adobo for her son?
A It was during the interview that I had gathered it from the patient herself. She was very sorry had she
not allowed her son to join the excursion her son would have not drowned. I don't know if she actually
permitted her son although she said she cooked adobo so he could join. (Emphasis Supplied) (TSN, p.
19, hearing of April 30, 1984, Dr. Lazaro witness).
Respondent Court of Appeals committed an error in applying Article 2180 of the Civil Code in rendering petitioner school
liable for the death of respondent's son.
Article 2180, par. 4 states that:
The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those
of persons for whom one is responsible.
xxx

xxx

xxx

Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers acting within the
scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any business or industry.
Under this paragraph, it is clear that before an employer may be held liable for the negligence of his employee, the act or
omission which caused damage or prejudice must have occurred while an employee was in the performance of his
assigned tasks.
In the case at bar, the teachers/petitioners were not in the actual performance of their assigned tasks. The incident
happened not within the school premises, not on a school day and most importantly while the teachers and students were
holding a purely private affair, a picnic. It is clear from the beginning that the incident happened while some members of
the I-C class of St. Francis High School were having a picnic at Talaan Beach. This picnic had no permit from the school
head or its principal, Benjamin Illumin because this picnic is not a school sanctioned activity neither is it considered as an
extra-curricular activity.
As earlier pointed out by the trial court, mere knowledge by petitioner/principal Illumin of the planning of the picnic by the
students and their teachers does not in any way or in any manner show acquiescence or consent to the holding of the
same. The application therefore of Article 2180 has no basis in law and neither is it supported by any jurisprudence. If we
were to affirm the findings of respondent Court on this score, employers wig forever be exposed to the risk and danger of
being hailed to Court to answer for the misdeeds or omissions of the employees even if such act or omission he
committed while they are not in the performance of their duties.
Finally, no negligence could be attributable to the petitioners-teachers to warrant the award of damages to the
respondents-spouses.

Petitioners Connie Arquio the class adviser of I-C, the section where Ferdinand belonged, did her best and exercised
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent any untoward incident or damages to all the students who joined the
picnic.
In fact, Connie invited co-petitioners Tirso de Chavez and Luisito Vinas who are both P.E. instructors and scout masters
who have knowledge in First Aid application and swimming. Moreover, even respondents' witness, Segundo Vinas,
testified that "the defendants (petitioners herein) had life savers especially brought by the defendants in case of
emergency." (p. 85, Rollo) The records also show that both petitioners Chavez and Vinas did all what is humanly possible
to save the child.
Testimony of Luisito Vinas on cross examination,
Q And when you saw the boy, Ferdinand Castillo, you approached the boy and claim also having applied
first aid on him?
A Yes, sir.
Q And while you were applying the so called first aid, the children were covering you up or were
surrounding you?
A Yes, sir.
Q You were rattled at that time, is it not?
A No, sir.
Q You mean you were in calm and peaceful condition?
A Yes, sir.
Q Despite the fact that the boy was no longer responding to your application of first aid?
A Yes, sir.
Q You have never been disturbed, "nababahala" in the process of your application of the first aid on the
body of Ferdinand Castillo?
A No, sir, because we were attending to the application of first aid that we were doing, sir.
Q After you have applied back to back pressure and which you claimed the boy did not respond, were
you not disturb anyway?
A I was disturbed during that time, sir.
Q For how many minutes have you applied the back to back pressure?
A From 9 to 11 times, sir.
Q You mean 9 to 11 times of having applied the pressure of your body on the body of Ferdinand Castillo?
A Yes, sir.
Q Will you please describe how you applied a single act of back to back pressure?
A This has been done by placing the boy lay first downwards, then the face was a little bit facing right and
doing it by massaging the back of the child, sir." (TSN, pp. 32-35, hearing of July 30, 1984)

Testimony of Tirso de Chavez on direct examination


ATTY. FLORES:
Q Who actually applied the first aid or artificial respiration to the child?
A Myself, sir.
Q How did you apply the first aid to the guy?
A The first step that I took, with the help of Mr. Luisito Vinas, was I applied back to back pressure and
took notice of the condition of the child. We placed the feet in a higher position, that of the head of the
child, sir.
Q After you have placed the boy in that particular position, where the feet were on a higher level than that
of the head, what did you do next?
A The first thing that we did, particularly myself, was that after putting the child in that position, I applied
the back to back pressure and started to massage from the waistline up, but I noticed that the boy was
not responding, sir.
Q For how long did you apply this back to back pressure on the boy?
A About 10 seconds, sir.
Q What about Mr. Vinas?
A Almost the same a little longer, for 15 seconds, sir.
Q After you noticed that the boy was not responding, what did you do?
A When we noticed that the boy was not responding, we changed the position of the boy by placing the
child facing upwards laying on the sand then we applied the mouth to mouth resuscitation, sir. (pp. 9293, Rollo)
With these facts in mind, no moral nor exemplary damages may be awarded in favor of respondents-spouses. The case
at bar does not fall under any of the grounds to grant moral damages.
Art. 2217. Moral Damages include physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched
reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injury. Though incapable of pecuniary
computation, moral damages may be recovered if they are the proximate result of the defendant's wrongful act or
omission.
Moreover, as already pointed out hereinabove, petitioners are not guilty of any fault or negligence, hence, no moral
damages can be assessed against them.
While it is true that respondents-spouses did give their consent to their son to join the picnic, this does not mean that the
petitioners were already relieved of their duty to observe the required diligence of a good father of a family in ensuring the
safety of the children. But in the case at bar, petitioners were able to prove that they had exercised the required diligence.
Hence, the claim for moral or exemplary damages becomes baseless.
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the questioned decision dated November 19, 1987, finding petitioners herein guilty of
negligence and liable for the death of Ferdinand Castillo and awarding the respondents damages, is hereby SET ASIDE
insofar as the petitioners herein are concerned, but the portion of the said decision dismissing their counterclaim, there
being no merit, is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

BENJAMIN SALVOSA and BAGUIO COLLEGES FOUNDATION


vs.
THE INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, EDUARDO B. CASTRO, DIOMEDES B. CASTRO, VIRGINIA B. CASTRO
and RODOLFO B. CASTRO
G.R. No. 70458 October 5, 1988
In this petition for review on certiorari, petitioners seek the reversal of the
decision 1 of respondent Intermediate Appellate Court, dated 7 December 1984, in AC-G.R. No. CV 69876, in so far as it
affirmed the decision 2 of the Court of First Instance of Tarlac (hereinafter referred to as the Trial Court), which held,
among others, petitioners solidarily hable with Jimmy B. Abon, under Art. 2180 of the Civil Code.
The relevant facts, as found by the Trial Court and adopted by reference by the respondent Court, are:
... Baguio Colleges Foundation (BCF, hereafter) is an academic institution ... [However], it is also an institution of arts and
trade. It has so advertised itself, as its own evidence shows. Its brochure (Exh. 2) shows that BCF has a full-fledged
technical-vocational department offer Communication, Broadcast and Teletype Technician courses as well as Electronics
Serviceman and Automotive Mechanics courses... these courses divest BCF of the nature or character of being purely or
exclusively an academic institution. 3
Within the premises of the BCF is an ROTC Unit, the Baguio Colleges Foundation Reserve Officers Training Corps
(ROTC) Unit, which is under the fifth control of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. 4 The ROTC Unit, by way of
accommodation to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), pursuant to Department Order No. 14, Series of 1975 of
the Department of Education and Culture, 5 is provided by the BCF an office and an armory located at the basement of its
main building. 6
The Baguio Colleges Foundation ROTC Unit had Jimmy B. Abon as its duly appointed armorer. 7 As armorer of the ROTC
Unit, Jimmy B. Abon received his appointment from the AFP. Not being an employee of the BCF, he also received his
salary from the AFP, 8 as well as orders from Captain Roberto C. Ungos, the Commandant of the Baguio Colleges
Foundation ROTC Unit, concurrent Commandant of other ROTC units in Baguio and an employee (officer) of the
AFP. 9Jimmy B. Abon was also a commerce student of the BCF. 10
On 3 March 1977, at around 8:00 p.m., in the parking space of BCF, Jimmy B. Abon shot Napoleon Castro a student of
the University of Baguio with an unlicensed firearm which the former took from the armory of the ROTC Unit of the
BCF. 11 As a result, Napoleon Castro died and Jimmy B. Abon was prosecuted for, and convicted of the crime of Homicide
by Military Commission No. 30, AFP. 12
Subsequently, the heirs of Napoleon Castro sued for damages, impleading Jimmy B. Abon, Roberto C. Ungos (ROTC
Commandant Benjamin Salvosa (President and Chairman of the Board of BCF), Jesus Salvosa (Executive Vice President
of BCF), Libertad D. Quetolio (Dean of the College of Education and Executive Trustee of BCF) and the Baguio Colleges
Foundation Inc. as party defendants. After hearing, the Trial Court rendered a decision, (1) sentencing defendants Jimmy
B. Abon, Benjamin Salvosa and Baguio Colleges Foundation, Inc., jointly and severally, to pay private respondents, as
heirs of Napoleon Castro: a) P12,000.00 for the death of Napoleon Castro, (b) P316,000.00 as indemnity for the loss of
earning capacity of the deceased, (c) P5,000.00 as moral damages, (d) P6,000.00 as actual damages, and (e) P5,000.00
as attorney's fees, plus costs; (2) absolving the other defendants; and (3) dismissing the defendants' counterclaim for lack
of merit. 13 On appeal by petitioners, the respondent Court affirmed with modification the decision of the Trial Court. The
modification consisted in reducing the award for loss of earning capacity of the deceased from P316,000.00 to P30,000.00
by way of temperate damages, and increasing the indemnity for the death of Napoleon Castro from P12,000.00 to
P30,000.00.
Hence, this petition.
The central issue in this case is whether or not petitioners can be held solidarity hable with Jimmy B. Abon for damages
under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, as a consequence of the tortious act of Jimmy B. Abon.
Under the penultimate paragraph of Art. 2180 of the Civil Code, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades
are hable for "damages caused by their pupils and students or apprentices, so long as they remain in their custody." The
rationale of such liability is that so long as the student remains in the custody of a teacher, the latter "stands, to a certain
extent, in loco parentis [as to the student] and [is] called upon to exercise reasonable supervision over the conduct of the

[student]." 14 Likewise, "the phrase used in [Art. 2180 'so long as (the students) remain in their custody means the
protective and supervisory custody that the school and its heads and teachers exercise over the pupils and students for
as long as they are at attendance in the school, including recess time." 15
In the case at bar, in holding that Jimmy B. Abon was stin in the protective and supervisory custody of the Baguio
Colleges Foundation when he shot Napoleon Castro, the respondent Court ruled that:
it is true that Abon was not attending any class or school function at the time of the shooting incident,
which was at about 8 o'clock in the evening; but considering that Abon was employed as an armorer and
property custodian of the BCF ROTC unit, he must have been attending night classes and therefore that
hour in the evening was just about dismissal time for him or soon thereafter. The time interval is safely
within the "recess time" that the trial court spoke of and envisioned by the Palisoc case,
supra. 16 (Emphasis supplied)
In line with the case of Palisoc, 17 a student not "at attendance in the school" cannot be in "recess" thereat. A "recess," as
the concept is embraced in the phrase "at attendance in the school," contemplates a situation of temporary adjournment
of school activities where the student still remains within call of his mentor and is not permitted to leave the school
premises, or the area within which the school activity is conducted. Recess by its nature does not include
dismissal. 18Likewise, the mere fact of being enrolled or being in the premises of a school without more does not
constitute "attending school" or being in the "protective and supervisory custody' of the school, as contemplated in the
law.
Upon the foregoing considerations, we hold that Jimmy B. Abon cannot be considered to have been "at attendance in the
school," or in the custody of BCF, when he shot Napoleon Castro. Logically, therefore, petitioners cannot under Art. 2180
of the Civil Code be held solidarity liable with Jimmy B. Abon for damages resulting from his acts.
Besides, the record shows that before the shooting incident, Roberto B. Ungos ROTC Unit Commandant, AFP, had
instructed Jimmy B. Abon "not to leave the office and [to keep the armory] well guarded." 19 Apart from negating a finding
that Jimmy B. Abon was under the custody of the school when he committed the act for which the petitioners are sought
to be held liable, this circumstance shows that Jimmy B. Abon was supposed to be working in the armory with definite
instructions from his superior, the ROTC Commandant, when he shot Napoleon Castro.
Petitioners also raise the issue that, under Art. 2180 of the Civil Code, a school which offers both academic and
technical/vocational courses cannot be held liable for a tort committed by a student enrolled only in its academic program;
however, considering that Jimmy B. Abon was not in the custody of BCF when he shot Napoleon Castro, the Court deems
it unnecessary to pass upon such other issue. 20
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby REVERSED in so far as it holds petitioners solidarily liable with
Jimmy B. Abon for his tortious act in the killing of Napoleon Castro. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

CRESENCIO BAO AND HEIRS OF THE DECEASED AMANCIO ASUMBRADO, NAMELY: ROSALINDA
ASUMBRADO, VICENTE ASUMBRADO, ROEL ASUMBRADO, ANNALYN ASUMBRADO, ARNIEL ASUMBRADO,
ALFIE ASUMBRADO and RUBELYN ASUMBRADO
vs.
BACHELOR EXPRESS, INC./ CERES LINER, INC. and WENIFREDO SALVAA
G.R. No. 191703

March 12, 2012

This petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assails the February 20, 2009 Decision 1 and February 9, 2010
Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 00190, which reduced the amount of damages awarded to
petitioners by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Tagum City, Branch 30 in its June 30, 2004 Decision.3
The Facts
In the early afternoon of November 6, 1993, respondent Wenifredo Salvaa (Salvaa) was driving the bus owned by
respondent Bachelor Express, Inc./Ceres Liner, Inc. with plate number LVD-273 and body number 4042 (Bus 4042) along
the national highway at Magdum, Tagum City bound for Davao City. At about 1:20 in the afternoon, he overtook a Lawin
PUJ jeepney while negotiating a blind curve in a descending road at Km. 60, causing him to intrude into the opposite lane
and bump the 10-wheeler Hino dump truck of petitioner Cresencio Bao (Bao) running uphill from the opposite direction.
The collision resulted in damage to both vehicles, the subsequent death of the truck driver, Amancio Asumbrado
(Asumbrado), and serious physical injuries to bus driver Salvaa.
On March 11, 1994, Bao and the heirs of Asumbrado (collectively called "petitioners") filed a complaint 4 for quasi-delict,
damages and attorney's fees against respondents, accusing Salvaa of negligently driving Bus 4042 causing it to collide
with the dump truck.
Respondents denied liability, claiming that prior to the collision, Bus 4042 was running out of control because of a problem
in the steering wheel system which could not have been avoided despite their maintenance efforts. Instead, they claimed
that Asumbrado had the last clear chance to avoid the collision had he not driven the dump truck at a very fast speed.
The RTC Decision
After due proceedings, the RTC found that the immediate and proximate cause of the accident was the reckless
negligence of the bus driver, Salvaa, in attempting to overtake a jeepney along a descending blind curve and completely
invading the opposite lane. The photographs taken immediately after the collision, the Traffic Accident and Investigation
Report, and the Sketch all showed the dump truck at the shoulder of its proper lane while the bus was positioned
diagonally in the same lane with its right side several feet from the center line.
Having established the negligence of its employee, the presumption of fault or negligence on the part of the employer,
respondent Bachelor Express, Inc./Ceres Liner, Inc., arose, which it failed to rebut by evidence that it exercised due
diligence in the selection and supervision of its bus driver Salvaa. The RTC thus disposed of the case as follows:
"In View Of All The Foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants;
ordering the defendants to solidarily pay:
1. To plaintiff Cresencio Bao (a) P700,000.00, as payment for his Hino dump truck which was rendered a total wreck;
(b) P296,601.50 per month, as loss of earning of the Hino dump truck, to be computed from November 6,
1993 with legal interest thereon until the P700,000.00 mentioned in the next preceding number will be
fully paid by the defendants to plaintiff Cresencio Bao;
(c) P100,000.00 and P50,000.00, as moral damages and exemplary damages, respectively;
2. To the Heirs of the late Amancio Asumbrado (a) P50,000.00, as civil indemnity for the death of Amancio Asumbrado;

(b) P20,268.45, as reimbursement for the medicines, hospitalization and funeral expenses incurred by the
late Amancio Asumbrado;
(c) P576,000.00, as loss of earning capacity of the late Amancio Asumbrado;
(d) P100,000.00 and P50,000.00, as moral damages and exemplary damages, respectively;
3. To the Plaintiffs (a) P25,000.00, as reimbursement of the expenses incurred initially by them in the preparation of this
complaint and other expenses in instituting the suit;
(b) Attorney's fee in the sum of equivalent to 25% of plaintiffs' total claim against the defendants plus
P14,500.00, as appearance fees;
(c) Costs of suit.
SO ORDERED."5
The CA Ruling
On appeal, the CA affirmed the RTC's findings on respondents' negligence and liability for damages, but deleted the
separate awards of exemplary damages in favor of petitioners for their failure to prove that respondents acted with gross
negligence.
Similarly, the appellate court deleted the awards for the value of and lost income from the dump truck for lack of sufficient
basis, awarding in their stead temperate damages in the sums of P100,000.00 and P200,000.00, respectively. The CA
also deleted the award of moral damages to Bao for the damage to his property.
With respect to petitioner Heirs, the CA reduced the RTC's awards of actual damages representing the hospital and
funeral expenses from P20,268.45 to P19,136.90; loss of earning capacity from P576,000.00 to P415,640.16; and moral
damages from P100,000.00 to P50,000.00.
Finally, the appellate court deleted the award of litigation expenses and reduced the award of attorney's fees from 25% of
petitioners' claims to P50,000.00.
The Issues Before The Court
In the instant petition, petitioners posit that respondent Salvaa was grossly negligent in continuing to drive the bus even
after he had discovered the malfunction in its steering wheel. They further averred that the CA erred in reducing the
amounts of damages awarded by the RTC despite sufficient evidence.
The Court's Ruling
While the courts a quo, in their respective decisions, have concurred that the proximate cause of the collision was the
negligence of the bus driver, Salvaa, in overtaking the jeepney in front as the bus traversed a curve on the highway,
they, however, imputed varied degrees of negligence on him. Thus, although the issue of negligence is basically
factual,6 the Court may properly pass upon this question under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
In the case of Government Service Insurance System v. Pacific Airways Corporation,7 the Court has definedgross
negligence as "one that is characterized by the want of even slight care, acting or omitting to act in a situation where there
is a duty to act, not inadvertently but willfully and intentionally with a conscious indifference to consequences insofar as
other persons may be affected."
In the present case, records show that when bus driver Salvaa overtook the jeepney in front of him, he was rounding a
blind curve along a descending road. Considering the road condition, and that there was only one lane on each side of the
center line for the movement of traffic in opposite directions, it

would have been more prudent for him to confine his bus to its proper place. Having thus encroached on the opposite
lane in the process of overtaking the jeepney, without ascertaining that it was clear of oncoming traffic that resulted in the
collision with the approaching dump truck driven by deceased Asumbrado, Salvaa was grossly negligent in driving his
bus. He was remiss in his duty to determine that the road was clear and not to proceed if he could not do so in safety.8
Consequently, the CA erred in deleting the awards of exemplary damages, which the law grants to serve as a warning to
the public and as a deterrent against the repetition of similar deleterious actions. However, the award should be tempered
as it is not intended to enrich one party or to impoverish another.9 Thus, the Court reinstates the separate awards of
exemplary damages to petitioners in the amount of P50,000.00.1wphi1
With respect to Bao, the award of moral damages for the loss of his dump truck was correctly deleted since the damage
to his vehicle was not shown to have been made willfully or deliberately. 10 However, the Court finds the grant of
P100,000.00 as temperate damages for the damaged vehicle to be insufficient considering its type as a 10-wheeler dump
truck and its good running condition at the time of the incident. Instead, the Court finds the amount of P400,000.00 as fair
and reasonable under the circumstances. With respect to the adjudged lost income from the dump truck, the Court
sustains, for being just and equitable, the award of temperate damages in the sum of P200,000.00.
On the other hand, the Court upholds the grant to petitioner Heirs of P19,136.90 as actual damages corresponding to the
pecuniary loss that they have actually sustained, P50,000.00 as death indemnity, the reduced awards of P50,000.00 as
moral damages and P415,640.16 as loss of earning capacity of the deceased Asumbrado, which are all in conformity with
prevailing jurisprudence.11
Finally, the attorney's fees of P50,000.00 as awarded by the CA is increased to P100,000.00 considering the length of
time that this case has been pending, or a period of about 18 years since the complaint a quo was filed on March 11,
1994.
WHEREFORE, the assailed February 20, 2009 Decision and February 9, 2010 Resolution of the Court of Appeals
are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. Respondents are ordered to solidarily pay:
(1) petitioner Heirs of Amancio Asumbrado:
(a) P19,136.90 as actual damages representing hospital and funeral expenses;
(b) P415,640.16 as loss of earning capacity of the deceased Asumbrado;
(c) P50,000.00 as death indemnity;
(d) P50,000.00 as moral damages; and
(e) P50,000.00 as exemplary damages.
(2) petitioner Cresencio Bao:
(a) P400,000.00 as temperate damages for his damaged dump truck;
(b) P200,000.00 as lost income of the said truck; and
(c) P50,000.00 as exemplary damages.
(3) attorney's fees of P100,000.00 to petitioners collectively.
SO ORDERED.

*Footnote:

Section 41(a), Republic Act No. 4136 otherwise known as the "Land and Transportation and Traffic Code," as amended
provides:
"Section 41. Restrictions on overtaking and passing.
(a) The driver of a vehicle shall not drive to the left side of the center line of a highway in overtaking or passing
another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, unless such left side is clearly visible, and is free of oncoming
traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking or passing to be made in safety.
xxx

PAULITA "EDITH" SERRA vs. NELFA T. MUMAR


G.R. No. 193861

March 14, 2012

Before the Court is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court, assailing the 31 July 2009
Decision2 and 27 July 2010 Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 00023-MIN.
The Facts
At around 6:30 in the evening of 3 April 2000, there was a vehicular accident along the National Highway in Barangay
Apopong, General Santos City, which resulted in the death of Armando Mumar (Mumar), husband of respondent Nelfa T.
Mumar (respondent).
Based on the evidence presented before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of General Santos City, one Armando Tenerife
(Tenerife) was driving his Toyota Corolla sedan on the National Highway heading in the direction of Polomolok, South
Cotabato. Tenerife noticed the van owned by petitioner Paulita "Edith" Serra (petitioner) coming from the opposite
direction, which was trying to overtake a passenger jeep, and in the process encroached on his lane. The left side of the
sedan was hit by the van, causing the sedan to swerve to the left and end up on the other side of the road. The van
collided head on with the motorcycle, which was about 12 meters behind the sedan on the outer lane, causing injuries to
Mumar, which eventually led to his death.
On the other hand, petitioner denied that her van was overtaking the jeepney at the time of the incident. She claimed that
the left tire of Tenerifes sedan burst, causing it to sideswipe her van. Consequently, the left front tire of the van also burst
and the vans driver, Marciano de Castro (de Castro), lost control of the vehicle. The van swerved to the left towards
Mumars motorcycle. The impact resulted in the death of Mumar.
Subsequently, respondent filed a complaint against petitioner for Damages by Reason of Reckless Imprudence resulting
to Homicide and Attachment before the General Santos City RTC.
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
On 20 November 2003, the General Santos City RTC promulgated a judgment,4 the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered against defendant Paulita Sierra, her co-defendant not having been served
with summons because he could no longer be found, finding her liable for damages by reason of reckless imprudence,
and she is hereby ordered to pay plaintiff the sum of:
1. P65,000.00 for burial damages;
2. P300,000.00 for loss of income;
3. P50,000.00 as moral damages; and
4. P50,000.00 as exemplary damages.
SO ORDERED.5
The RTC found that, based on the evidence presented at the trial, at the time of impact "the van was overtaking another
vehicle without due regard for the safety of others, bumped the Toyota Car (sic) and the motorcycle traveling in the right
lane going to Polomolok, South Cotabato." The RTC noted that the damage to the van was located at the bumper,
evincing a frontal collision, while the damage to the sedan was on the left side door and window, evincing that the van
sideswiped the sedan. Likewise, the RTC found that the van encroached on the sedan and motorcycles lane, in the
process hitting the motorcycle, causing the injuries and subsequent death of Mumar. 6
As to the claim for damages, the RTC said that Nelfa testified that her husband was earning about P6,000.00 a month
without presenting any documentary evidence to prove her claim, but nonetheless awarded herP300,000.00 for damages
due to loss of income.

Petitioner appealed the RTC ruling to the CA.


Ruling of the Court of Appeals
In its 31 July 2009 Decision, the CA denied the appeal and affirmed with modification the RTCs ruling:
FOR REASONS STATED, the appeal is DENIED. The assailed Decision of the Regional Trial Court of General Santos
City, 11th Judicial Region, Branch 23, in Civil Case No. 6764 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that the appellant is
ordered to pay appellee the following:
1. Civil indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00;
2. Indemnity for loss of earning capacity in the amount of P1,224,000.00;
3. Temperate damages amounting to P25,000.00 in lieu of the award for burial expenses;
4. Moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00.
5. The total amount of damages shall bear an interest of 12% per annum from the finality of this Decision until
fully paid.
The awards for burial expenses and exemplary damages are deleted.
SO ORDERED.7
The CA adopted the factual findings of the RTC. It also ruled that the RTC erred in awarding burial expenses and actual
damages for loss of earning capacity despite lack of proof. Based on the wifes claim that the victim earned not less
than P6,000.00 a month and his age at the time of death, based on his birth certificate (29), the CA applied the formula:
Net earning capacity = 2/3 x (80 less the age of the victim at time of death) x [Gross Annual Income less the Reasonable
and Necessary Living Expenses (50% of gross income)]
Using the foregoing formula, the CA awarded damages due to loss of earning capacity in the amount ofP1,224,000.00.8
Likewise, the CA said that the RTC erred in not awarding civil indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00. The CA also
awarded temperate damages of P25,000.00 finding that respondent spent for her husbands burial although the exact
amount could not be proven.
Petitioners Arguments
Petitioner raises the following issues:
I. Whether or not the (sic) both the lower court and the Court of Appeals committed reversible error in finding that
the incident which killed Armando Mumar was not purely accidental for which defendants may not be held liable[;]
II. Whether or not both the lower court and the Court of Appeals committed reversible error in holding Editha
Serra as liable for damages and in not appreciating that she was not negligent in the selection and supervision of
the driver of the van, Marciano de Castro[;]
III. Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in awarding to herein respondent "loss of earning capacity" despite
complete absence of documentary evidence that the deceased Mumar was self-employed and earning less than
the minimum wage under current labor laws in force at the time of his death, following the ruling in People v.
Mallari, G.R. No. 145993, June 17, 2003[.]9
Petitioner maintains that it was Tenerifes sedan that encroached on the lane of the van after the sedans left front tire
blew out. Petitioner points out that Tenerife himself admitted that what happened was merely a "sliding collision." 10 She
points out that the sedan not only cut across two lanes headed in the opposite direction, it also made a half-circle such
that it stopped on the shoulder of the left side of the road (opposite its original lane), and then faced towards its origin,

General Santos City. This could be for no other reason than that Tenerife completely lost control of his vehicle because
the tire burst. Then, the sedan rammed into the van causing the latters front tire to tear; thus, the vans driver also lost
control of the vehicle and headed towards the opposite lane and hit Mumar. Yet, the van was still facing its destination
General Santos City. The greater damage to the van was from hitting the signboard on the side of the road and not from
hitting the sedan.
Petitioner argues that the foregoing description of the events proves that it is purely accidental and without negligence on
her drivers part.
Petitioner also insists that she was not negligent in the selection and supervision of the driver of the van. Respondent had
the burden to prove that petitioner was negligent but failed to do so, petitioner claims.
As to the CAs award of damages due to loss of earning capacity, petitioner argues that the same has no basis. She
points out that there was no documentary evidence presented or formally offered at the trial to substantiate the claim for
damages due to loss of earning capacity. Likewise, petitioner further argues that, based on Nelfas testimony that her
husband was earning "not less than P6,000 a month," the conclusion was that he was earning not less than the minimum
wage at the time of the accident.
Petitioner counters that in 2005 the minimum wage in Region XII, where the accident occurred, was P200.00 per day plus
a cost of living allowance of P13.50, or P5,558.00 per month. Petitioner posits that it was safe to assume that at the time
of the accident on 3 April 2000, the minimum wage was lower than the rate in 2005.
Petitioner also argues that in Mumars line of work contracting and manufacturing steel grills, fences and gates some
form of documentary evidence would be available to support his widows claim. That these were not presented in
evidence would remove the claim from the exceptions to the requirement that the amount of actual damages must be duly
proved.11
Thus, petitioner prays that the assailed CA decision and resolution be reversed and set aside. In the alternative, petitioner
prays that, should the Court sustain the finding of negligence, that the award of damages for loss of earning capacity in
the sum of P1,224,000.00 be completely deleted for lack of evidentiary basis.12
Respondents Argument
In her Comment, respondent counters that petitioner raises no new matter, and the arguments are merely a rehash of
those raised before the lower courts, which had already ruled on these. 13
The Courts Ruling
The petition is partly granted. The Court affirms the decision of the CA, but modifies the award for damages.
Uniform Findings of Fact by the RTC and CA
A petition for review on certiorari should raise only questions of law. In resolving a petition for review, the Court "does not
sit as an arbiter of facts for it is not the function of the Supreme Court to analyze or weigh all over again the evidence
already considered in the proceedings below."14
When supported by substantial evidence, the factual findings of the CA affirming those of the trial court 15 are final and
conclusive on this Court and may not be reviewed on appeal, 16 unless petitioner can show compelling or exceptional
reasons17 for this Court to disregard, overturn or modify such findings.
In the present case, the Court notes the uniform factual findings by the RTC and CA, and petitioner has not shown
compelling or exceptional reasons warranting deviation from these findings.
Both the trial court and the CA found that it was petitioners van, then being driven by de Castro, that encroached on the
sedans lane, then hit the latter and, eventually, Mumars motorcycle.
The Court has previously held that evidence to be worthy of credit, must not only proceed from a credible source but
must, in addition, be credible in itself. The evidence must be natural, reasonable and probable as to make it easy to

believe. No better test has yet been found to determine the value of the testimony of a witness than its conformity to the
knowledge and common experience of mankind.18
Petitioners testimony is not credible considering that she admitted that she did not see the actual bumping of the van with
the sedan because "it was dark and showering."19 When she came out of the van, she said she did not notice the sedan.
She then left the scene to ask help from her brother, without even coming to the aid of her driver.20
Moreover, the traffic investigators findings are more consistent with human experience.
As found by the investigator, the van ended up on the other side of the road, opposite the lane it was originally traversing.
The vans forward momentum was going towards the opposite side. If indeed the van stayed on its proper lane when the
sedans tire blew out and lost control, the sedan would have bumped into the van on the latters lane and the van would
have ended up on the side of the road with the sedan. Likewise, if the van had stayed on its lane, and the impact of the
sedan propelled it forward, the van would have hit the jeepney in front of it, not Mumars motorcycle, which was on the
opposite lane to the right of the sedan. The only plausible explanation is it was the van, while trying to overtake the
jeepney in front of it at a fast speed, that bumped into the sedan and subsequently, Mumars motorcycle.
Petitioner insists that the traffic investigator SPO3 Haron Abdullatips report should be disregarded because he was not at
the scene when the accident happened.
Rarely does it happen that the investigating officer personally witnesses an accident that he investigates, yet this does not
mean that his observations are not valid. A traffic investigators training and experience allow him to determine how an
accident occurred even without witnessing the accident himself.
In this case, Abdullatip had been a traffic investigator for nine years. 21 Even if he arrived at the scene after the accident,
he saw the vehicles in their relative positions as a result of the accident. His experience, as well as his evaluation of the
statements from various witnesses, guided him in assessing who was at fault. In any case, the presumption of regularity in
the exercise of functions is in his favor and therefore his report must be given credence.
Liability for Damages of Petitioner
Under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, employers are liable for the damages caused by their employees acting within the
scope of their assigned tasks. Whenever an employees negligence causes damage or injury to another, there instantly
arises a presumption that the employer failed to exercise the due diligence of a good father of the family in the selection or
supervision of its employees.22 The liability of the employer is direct or immediate. It is not conditioned upon prior recourse
against the negligent employee and a prior showing of insolvency of such employee.23
Moreover, under Article 2184 of the Civil Code, 24 if the causative factor was the drivers negligence, the owner of the
vehicle who was present is likewise held liable if he could have prevented the mishap by the exercise of due diligence.
Petitioner failed to show that she exercised the level of diligence required in supervising her driver in order to prevent the
accident. She admitted that de Castro had only been her driver for one year and she had no knowledge of his driving
experience or record of previous accidents. She also admitted that it was de Castro who maintained the vehicle and would
even remind her "to pay the installment of the car."25
Petitioner also admitted that, at the time of the accident, she did not know what was happening and only knew they
bumped into another vehicle when the driver shouted. She then closed her eyes and a moment later felt something heavy
fall on the roof of the car. When the vehicle stopped, petitioner left the scene purportedly to ask help from her brother,
leaving the other passengers to come to the aid of her injured driver.
Damages for Loss of Earning Capacity
Next, the Court holds that the CA erred in awarding damages for loss of earning capacity in the absence of documentary
evidence to support the claim.
Damages for loss of earning capacity is in the nature of actual damages,26 which as a rule must be duly proven27 by
documentary evidence, not merely by the self-serving testimony of the widow.

By way of exception, damages for loss of earning capacity may be awarded despite the absence of documentary
evidence when (1) the deceased is self-employed earning less than the minimum wage under current labor laws, and
judicial notice may be taken of the fact that in the deceaseds line of work no documentary evidence is available; or (2) the
deceased is employed as a daily wage worker earning less than the minimum wage under current labor laws. 28
Based solely on Nelfas testimony, the CA determined that the deceased falls within one of these exceptions. Nelfa
testified that her husband was in the business of contracting and manufacturing grills, fences and gates, 29and his earnings
"exceed P6,000.00"30 per month prior to his death. She presented no documentary proof of her claims.
It was error for the CA to have awarded damages for loss of earning capacity based on Nelfas testimony alone.
First, while it is conceded that the deceased was self-employed, the Court cannot accept that in his line of work there was
no documentary proof available to prove his income from such occupation. There would have been receipts, job orders, or
some form of written contract or agreement between the deceased and his clients when he is contracted for a job.
Second, and more importantly, decedent was not earning "less than the minimum wage" at the time of his death.
Wage Order No. RTWPB-XI-07,31 issued by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-XI of the National
Wages and Productivity Commission, under the Department of Labor and Employment, took effect on 1 November 1999
and mandated the minimum wage rate in Region XI, including General Santos City, at the time of the accident. Section 1
provides:
SECTION 1. NEW MINIMUM WAGE RATES. Effective November 1, 1999, the new minimum wage rates in Region XI
shall be as follows:
SECTOR/INDUSTRY

NON-AGRICULTURE
AGRICULTURE
- Plantation (i.e. more than 24
Hectares or employing at least
20 workers)
- Non-Plantation
RETAIL/SERVICE
- Employing more than 10
workers
- Employing not more than 10
workers

Davao City
General Santos City
Island Garden City of
Samal
Tagum City

Provinces of:
Davao del Norte
Davao del Sur
Davao Oriental
Compostela Valley
South Cotabato

148.00

146.00

138.00

136.00

117.00

115.00

148.00

146.00

117.00

115.00

Respondent testified that her husband was earning not less than P6,000.00 per month.1wphi1 On the other hand, the
highest minimum wage rate at the time of the accident, based on Wage Order No. RTWPB-XI-07, was P148.00. At that
rate, the monthly minimum wage would be P3,256.00,32 clearly an amount less than what respondent testified to as her
husbands monthly earnings. The deceased would not fall within the recognized exceptions.
There is therefore no basis for the CAs computation for Mumars supposed net earning capacity and the subsequent
award of damages due to loss of earning capacity.
WHEREFORE, we GRANT IN PART the petition. We AFFIRM WITH MODIFICATION the Decision of the Court of
Appeals dated 31 July 2009 and Resolution dated 27 July 2010 in CA-G.R. CV No. 00023-MIN. We ORDERpetitioner to
pay respondent the following:
1. Civil indemnity of P50,000.00;

2. Temperate damages of P25,000.00, in lieu of the award for burial expenses;


3. Moral damages of P50,000.00; and
4. Interest on the total monetary award at the rate of 12% per annum from the finality of this decision until the
award is fully satisfied.
SO ORDERED.

*Footnotes:
24Art.

2184. In motor vehicle mishaps, the owner is solidarily liable with his driver, if the former, who was in the vehicle,
could have, by the use of due diligence, prevented the misfortune. It is disputably presumed that a driver was negligent, if
he had been found guilty of reckless driving or violating traffic regulations at least twice within the next preceding two
months.
If the owner was not in the motor vehicle, the provisions of Article 2180 are applicable.
26

Article 2205, Civil Code of the Philippines; People v. Cuenca, 425 Phil. 722, 743 (2002) citing People v. Panabang, 424
Phil. 596, 614 (2002).
27

Article 2199, Civil Code of the Philippines.

MARITER MENDOZA
vs.
ADRIANO CASUMPANG, JENNIFER ADRIANE and JOHN ANDRE, all surnamed CASUMPANG
G.R. No. 197987

March 19, 2012

Josephine Casumpang, substituted by her respondent husband Adriano and their children Jennifer Adriane and John
Andre, filed an action for damages against petitioner Dr. Mariter Mendoza in 1993 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
of Iloilo City.
On February 13, 1993 Josephine underwent hysterectomy and myomectomy that Dr. Mendoza performed on her at the
Iloilo Doctors Hospital. After her operation, Josephine experienced recurring fever, nausea, and vomiting. Three months
after the operation, she noticed while taking a bath something protruding from her genital. She tried calling Dr. Mendoza
to report it but the latter was unavailable. Josephine instead went to see another physician, Dr. Edna Jamandre-Gumban,
who extracted a foul smelling, partially expelled rolled gauze from her cervix.
The discovery of the gauze and the illness she went through prompted Josephine to file a damage suit against Dr.
Mendoza before the RTC of Iloilo City. Because Josephine died before trial could end, her husband and their children
substituted her in the case. She was a housewife and 40 years old when she died.
On March 7, 2005 the RTC rendered judgment, finding Dr. Mendoza guilty of neglect that caused Josephines illness and
eventual death and ordering her to pay plaintiffs heirs actual damages of P50,000.00, moral damages of P200,000.00,
and attorneys fees of P20,000.00 plus costs of suit.
On motion for reconsideration, however, the RTC reversed itself and dismissed the complaint in an order dated June 23,
2005.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) rendered a decision on March 18, 2011, 1 reinstating the RTCs original decision.
The CA held that Dr. Mendoza committed a breach of her duty as a physician when a gauze remained in her patients
body after surgery. The CA denied her motion for reconsideration on July 18, 2011, prompting her to file the present
petition.
Petitioner claims that no gauze or surgical material was left in Josephines body after her surgery as evidenced by the
surgical sponge count in the hospital record.
But she raises at this Courts level a question of fact when parties may raise only questions of law before it in petitions for
review on certiorari from the CA. With few exceptions, the factual findings of the latter court are generally binding. None of
those exceptions applies to this case.2
As the RTC pointed out, Josephine did not undergo any other surgical operation. And it would be much unlikely for her or
for any woman to inject a roll of gauze into her cervix. As the Court held in Professional Services, Inc. v. Agana: 3
An operation requiring the placing of sponges in the incision is not complete until the sponges are properly removed, and
it is settled that the leaving of sponges or other foreign substances in the wound after the incision has been closed is at
least prima facie negligence by the operating surgeon. To put it simply, such act is considered so inconsistent with due
care as to raise an inference of negligence.1wphi1 There are even legions of authorities to the effect that such act is
negligence per se.
The Court notes, however, that neither the CA nor the RTC awarded exemplary damages against Dr. Mendoza when,
under Article 2229 of the Civil Code, exemplary damages are imposed by way of example or correction for the public
good, in addition to moral damages. Exemplary damages may also be awarded in cases of gross negligence. 4
A surgical operation is the responsibility of the surgeon performing it. He must personally ascertain that the counts of
instruments and materials used before the surgery and prior to sewing the patient up have been correctly done. To
provide an example to the medical profession and to stress the need for constant vigilance in attending to a patients
health, the award of exemplary damages in this case is in order.

Further, in view of Josephines death resulting from petitioners negligence, civil indemnity under Article 2206 5 of the Civil
Code should be given to respondents as heirs. The amount of P50,000.00 is fixed by prevailing jurisprudence for this
kind.61wphi1
The Court also deems it just and equitable under Article 2208 of the Civil Code to increase the award of attorneys fees
from P20,000.00 to P50,000.00.
WHEREFORE, the Court entirely AFFIRMS the decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 18, 2011 with the
MODIFICATION ordering petitioner Mariter Mendoza to pay respondents Adriano, Jennifer Adriane and John Andre, all
surnamed Casumpang, an additional P50,000.00 as exemplary damages, additional P30,000.00 as attorneys fees and
civil indemnity arising from death in the amount of P50,000.00.
SO ORDERED.

*Footnotes:
4

Civil Code, Article 2231.

Art. 2206. The amount of damages for death caused by a crime or quasi-delict shall be at least three thousand pesos,
even though there may have been mitigating circumstances. x x x

Dr. EMMANUEL JARCIA, Jr. and Dr. MARILOU BASTAN


vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
G.R. No. 187926

February 15, 2012

Even early on, patients have consigned their lives to the skill of their doctors. Time and again, it can be said that the most
important goal of the medical profession is the preservation of life and health of the people. Corollarily, when a physician
departs from his sacred duty and endangers instead the life of his patient, he must be made liable for the resulting injury.
This Court, as this case would show, cannot and will not let the act go unpunished. 1
This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court challenging the August 29, 2008 Decision 2 of the Court of
Appeals (CA), and its May 19, 2009 Resolution3 in CA-G.R. CR No. 29559, dismissing the appeal and affirming in toto the
June 14, 2005 Decision4 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 43, Manila (RTC), finding the accused guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of simple imprudence resulting to serious physical injuries.
THE FACTS
Belinda Santiago (Mrs. Santiago) lodged a complaint with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against the
petitioners, Dr. Emmanuel Jarcia, Jr. (Dr. Jarcia) and Dr. Marilou Bastan (Dr. Bastan), for their alleged neglect of
professional duty which caused her son, Roy Alfonso Santiago (Roy Jr.), to suffer serious physical injuries. Upon
investigation, the NBI found that Roy Jr. was hit by a taxicab; that he was rushed to the Manila Doctors Hospital for an
emergency medical treatment; that an X-ray of the victims ankle was ordered; that the X-ray result showed no fracture as
read by Dr. Jarcia; that Dr. Bastan entered the emergency room (ER) and, after conducting her own examination of the
victim, informed Mrs. Santiago that since it was only the ankle that was hit, there was no need to examine the upper leg;
that eleven (11) days later, Roy Jr. developed fever, swelling of the right leg and misalignment of the right foot; that Mrs.
Santiago brought him back to the hospital; and that the X-ray revealed a right mid-tibial fracture and a linear hairline
fracture in the shaft of the bone.
The NBI indorsed the matter to the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila for preliminary investigation. Probable cause
was found and a criminal case for reckless imprudence resulting to serious physical injuries, was filed against Dr. Jarcia,
Dr. Bastan and Dr. Pamittan,5 before the RTC, docketed as Criminal Case No. 01-196646.
On June 14, 2005, the RTC found the petitioners guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Simple Imprudence
Resulting to Serious Physical Injuries. The decretal portion of the RTC decision reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court finds accused DR. EMMANUEL JARCIA, JR. and DR. MARILOU
BASTAN GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of SIMPLE IMPRUDENCE RESULTING TO SERIOUS
PHYSICAL INJURIES and are hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of ONE (1) MONTH and ONE (1) DAY to TWO (2)
MONTHS and to indemnify MRS. BELINDA SANTIAGO the amount of P 3,850.00 representing medical expenses without
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay the costs.
It appearing that Dr. Pamittan has not been apprehended nor voluntarily surrendered despite warrant issued for her
arrest, let warrant be issued for her arrest and the case against her be ARCHIVED, to be reinstated upon her
apprehension.
SO ORDERED.6
The RTC explained:
After a thorough and in depth evaluation of the evidence adduced by the prosecution and the defense, this court finds that
the evidence of the prosecution is the more credible, concrete and sufficient to create that moral certainty in the mind of
the Court that accused herein [are] criminally responsible. The Court believes that accused are negligent when both failed
to exercise the necessary and reasonable prudence in ascertaining the extent of injury of Alfonso Santiago, Jr.
However, the negligence exhibited by the two doctors does not approximate negligence of a reckless nature but merely
amounts to simple imprudence. Simple imprudence consists in the lack of precaution displayed in those cases in which
the damage impending to be caused is not the immediate nor the danger clearly manifest. The elements of simple
imprudence are as follows.

1. that there is lack of precaution on the part of the offender; and


2. that the damage impending to be caused is not immediate of the danger is not clearly manifest.
Considering all the evidence on record, The Court finds the accused guilty for simple imprudence resulting to physical
injuries. Under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty provided for is arresto mayor in its minimum period. 7
Dissatisfied, the petitioners appealed to the CA.
As earlier stated, the CA affirmed the RTC decision in toto. The August 29, 2008 Decision of the CA pertinently reads:
This Court holds concurrently and finds the foregoing circumstances sufficient to sustain a judgment of conviction against
the accused-appellants for the crime of simple imprudence resulting in serious physical injuries. The elements of
imprudence are: (1) that the offender does or fails to do an act; (2) that the doing or the failure to do that act is voluntary;
(3) that it be without malice; (4) that material damage results from the imprudence; and (5) that there is inexcusable lack
of precaution on the part of the offender, taking into consideration his employment or occupation, degree of intelligence,
physical condition, and other circumstances regarding persons, time and place.
Whether or not Dr. Jarcia and Dr. Bastan had committed an "inexcusable lack of precaution" in the treatment of their
patient is to be determined according to the standard of care observed by other members of the profession in good
standing under similar circumstances, bearing in mind the advanced state of the profession at the time of treatment or the
present state of medical science. In the case of Leonila Garcia-Rueda v. Pascasio, the Supreme Court stated that, in
accepting a case, a doctor in effect represents that, having the needed training and skill possessed by physicians and
surgeons practicing in the same field, he will employ such training, care and skill in the treatment of his patients. He
therefore has a duty to use at least the same level of care that any other reasonably competent doctor would use to treat
a condition under the same circumstances.
In litigations involving medical negligence, the plaintiff has the burden of establishing accused-appellants negligence, and
for a reasonable conclusion of negligence, there must be proof of breach of duty on the part of the physician as well as a
causal connection of such breach and the resulting injury of his patient. The connection between the negligence and the
injury must be a direct and natural sequence of events, unbroken by intervening efficient causes. In other words, the
negligence must be the proximate cause of the injury. Negligence, no matter in what it consists, cannot create a right of
action unless it is the proximate cause of the injury complained of. The proximate cause of an injury is that cause which, in
natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury and without which the
result would not have occurred.
In the case at bench, the accused-appellants questioned the imputation against them and argued that there is no causal
connection between their failure to diagnose the fracture and the injury sustained by Roy.
We are not convinced.
The prosecution is however after the cause which prolonged the pain and suffering of Roy and not on the failure of the
accused-appellants to correctly diagnose the extent of the injury sustained by Roy.
For a more logical presentation of the discussion, we shall first consider the applicability of the doctrine of res ipsa
loquitur to the instant case. Res ipsa loquitur is a Latin phrase which literally means "the thing or the transaction speaks
for itself. The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is simply a recognition of the postulate that, as a matter of common knowledge
and experience, the very nature of certain types of occurrences may justify an inference of negligence on the part of the
person who controls the instrumentality causing the injury in the absence of some explanation by the accused-appellant
who is charged with negligence. It is grounded in the superior logic of ordinary human experience and, on the basis of
such experience or common knowledge, negligence may be deduced from the mere occurrence of the accident itself.
Hence, res ipsa loquitur is applied in conjunction with the doctrine of common knowledge.
The specific acts of negligence was narrated by Mrs. Santiago who accompanied her son during the latters ordeal at the
hospital. She testified as follows:
Fiscal Formoso:

Q: Now, he is an intern did you not consult the doctors, Dr. Jarcia or Dra. Pamittan to confirm whether you should go
home or not?
A: Dra. Pamittan was inside the cubicle of the nurses and I asked her, you let us go home and you dont even clean the
wounds of my son.
Q: And what did she [tell] you?
A: They told me they will call a resident doctor, sir.
xxx

xxx

xxx

Q: Was there a resident doctor [who] came?


A: Yes, Sir. Dra. Bastan arrived.
Q: Did you tell her what you want on you to be done?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What did you [tell] her?
A: I told her, sir, while she was cleaning the wounds of my son, are you not going to x-ray up to the knee because my son
was complaining pain from his ankle up to the middle part of the right leg.
Q: And what did she tell you?
A: According to Dra. Bastan, there is no need to x-ray because it was the ankle part that was run over.
Q: What did you do or tell her?
A: I told her, sir, why is it that they did not examine[x] the whole leg. They just lifted the pants of my son.
Q: So you mean to say there was no treatment made at all?
A: None, sir.
xxx

xxx

xxx

xxx

xxx

xxx

A: I just listened to them, sir. And I just asked if I will still return my son.
xxx

xxx

xxx

xxx

xxx

xxx

Q: And you were present when they were called?


A: Yes, sir.
Q: And what was discussed then by Sis. Retoria?
A: When they were there they admitted that they have mistakes, sir.
Still, before resort to the doctrine may be allowed, the following requisites must be satisfactorily shown:

1. The accident is of a kind which ordinarily does not occur in the absence of someones negligence;
2. It is caused by an instrumentality within the exclusive control of the defendant or defendants; and
3. The possibility of contributing conduct which would make the plaintiff responsible is eliminated.
In the above requisites, the fundamental element is the "control of the instrumentality" which caused the damage. Such
element of control must be shown to be within the dominion of the accused-appellants. In order to have the benefit of the
rule, a plaintiff, in addition to proving injury or damage, must show a situation where it is applicable and must establish
that the essential elements of the doctrine were present in a particular incident. The early treatment of the leg of Roy
would have lessen his suffering if not entirely relieve him from the fracture. A boy of tender age whose leg was hit by a
vehicle would engender a well-founded belief that his condition may worsen without proper medical attention. As junior
residents who only practice general surgery and without specialization with the case consulted before them, they should
have referred the matter to a specialist. This omission alone constitutes simple imprudence on their part. When Mrs.
Santiago insisted on having another x-ray of her child on the upper part of his leg, they refused to do so. The mother
would not have asked them if they had no exclusive control or prerogative to request an x-ray test. Such is a fact because
a radiologist would only conduct the x-ray test upon request of a physician.
The testimony of Mrs. Santiago was corroborated by a bone specialist Dr. Tacata. He further testified based on his
personal knowledge, and not as an expert, as he examined himself the child Roy. He testified as follows:
Fiscal Macapagal:
Q: And was that the correct respon[se] to the medical problem that was presented to Dr. Jarcia and Dra. Bastan?
A: I would say at that stage, yes. Because they have presented the patient and the history. "At sabi nila, nadaanan lang
po ito." And then, considering their year of residency they are still junior residents, and they are not also orthopedic
residents but general surgery residents, its entirely different thing. Because if you are an orthopedic resident, I am not
trying to saybut if I were an orthopedic resident, there would be more precise and accurate decision compare to a
general surgery resident in so far as involved.
Q: You mean to say there is no supervisor attending the emergency room?
A: At the emergency room, at the Manila Doctors Hospital, the supervisor there is a consultant that usually comes from a
family medicine. They see where a certain patient have to go and then if they cannot manage it, they refer it to the
consultant on duty. Now at that time, I dont [know] why they dont.Because at that time, I think, it is the decision. Since
the x-rays.
Ordinarily, only physicians and surgeons of skill and experience are competent to testify as to whether a patient has been
treated or operated upon with a reasonable degree of skill and care. However, testimony as to the statements and acts of
physicians, external appearances, and manifest conditions which are observable by any one may be given by non-expert
witnesses. Hence, in cases where the res ipsa loquitur is applicable, the court is permitted to find a physician negligent
upon proper proof of injury to the patient, without the aid of expert testimony, where the court from its fund of common
knowledge can determine the proper standard of care. Where common knowledge and experience teach that a resulting
injury would not have occurred to the patient if due care had been exercised, an inference of negligence may be drawn
giving rise to an application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur without medical evidence, which is ordinarily required to
show not only what occurred but how and why it occurred. In the case at bench, we give credence to the testimony of Mrs.
Santiago by applying the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.
Res ipsa loquitur is not a rigid or ordinary doctrine to be perfunctorily used but a rule to be cautiously applied, depending
upon the circumstances of each case. It is generally restricted to situations in malpractice cases where a layman is able to
say, as a matter of common knowledge and observation, that the consequences of professional care were not as such as
would ordinarily have followed if due care had been exercised. A distinction must be made between the failure to secure
results and the occurrence of something more unusual and not ordinarily found if the service or treatment rendered
followed the usual procedure of those skilled in that particular practice. The latter circumstance is the primordial issue that
confronted this Court and we find application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur to be in order.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the appeal in this case is hereby DISMISSED and the assailed decision of the
trial court finding accused-appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt of simple imprudence resulting in serious physical
injuries is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.

SO ORDERED.8
The petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, but it was denied by the CA in its May 19, 2009 Resolution.
Hence, this petition.
The petitioners pray for the reversal of the decision of both the RTC and the CA anchored on the following
GROUNDS1. IN AFFIRMING ACCUSED-PETITIONERS CONVICTION, THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT
HOLDING THAT THE ACTUAL, DIRECT, IMMEDIATE, AND PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE PHYSICAL
INJURY OF THE PATIENT (FRACTURE OF THE LEG BONE OR TIBIA), WHICH REQUIRED MEDICAL
ATTENDANCE FOR MORE THAN THIRTY (30) DAYS AND INCAPACITATED HIM FROM PERFORMING HIS
CUSTOMARY DUTY DURING THE SAME PERIOD OF TIME, WAS THE VEHICULAR ACCIDENT WHERE
THE PATIENTS RIGHT LEG WAS HIT BY A TAXI, NOT THE FAILURE OF THE ACCUSED-PETITIONERS TO
SUBJECT THE PATIENTS WHOLE LEG TO AN X-RAY EXAMINATION.
2. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DISREGARDING ESTABLISHED FACTS CLEARLY NEGATING
PETITIONERS ALLEGED NEGLIGENCE OR IMPRUDENCE. SIGNIFICANTLY, THE COURT OF APPEALS
UNJUSTIFIABLY DISREGARDED THE OPINION OF THE PROSECUTIONS EXPERT WITNESS, DR. CIRILO
TACATA, THAT PETITIONERS WERE NOT GUILTY OF NEGLIGENCE OR IMPRUDENCE COMPLAINED OF.
3. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE FAILURE OF PETITIONERS TO SUBJECT
THE PATIENTS WHOLE LEG TO AN X-RAY EXAMINATION PROLONGED THE PAIN AND SUFFERING OF
THE PATIENT, SUCH CONCLUSION BEING UNSUPPORTED BY, AND EVEN CONTRARY TO, THE
EVIDENCE ON RECORD.
4. ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THE PATIENT EXPERIENCED PROLONGED PAIN AND SUFFERING, THE
COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE ALLEGED PAIN AND SUFFERING WERE DUE
TO THE UNJUSTIFIED FAILURE OF THE PATIENTS MOTHER, A NURSE HERSELF, TO IMMEDIATELY
BRING THE PATIENT BACK TO THE HOSPITAL, AS ADVISED BY THE PETITIONERS, AFTER HE
COMPLAINED OF SEVERE PAIN IN HIS RIGHT LEG WHEN HE REACHED HOME AFTER HE WAS SEEN BY
PETITIONERS AT THE HOSPITAL. THUS, THE PATIENTS ALLEGED INJURY (PROLONGED PAIN AND
SUFFERING) WAS DUE TO HIS OWN MOTHERS ACT OR OMISSION.
5. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT NO PHYSICIAN-PATIENT RELATIONSHIP
EXISTED BETWEEN PETITIONERS AND PATIENT ALFONSO SANTIAGO, JR., PETITIONERS NOT BEING
THE LATTERS ATTENDING PHYSICIAN AS THEY WERE MERELY REQUESTED BY THE EMERGENCY
ROOM (ER) NURSE TO SEE THE PATIENT WHILE THEY WERE PASSING BY THE ER FOR THEIR LUNCH.
6. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT ACQUITTING ACCUSED-PETITIONERS OF THE
CRIME CHARGED."9
The foregoing can be synthesized into two basic issues: [1] whether or not the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is applicable in
this case; and [2] whether or not the petitioners are liable for criminal negligence.
THE COURTS RULING
The CA is correct in finding that there was negligence on the part of the petitioners. After a perusal of the records,
however, the Court is not convinced that the petitioners are guilty of criminal negligence complained of. The Court is also
of the view that the CA erred in applying the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in this particular case.
As to the Application of The Doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur
This doctrine of res ipsa loquitur means "Where the thing which causes injury is shown to be under the management of
the defendant, and the accident is such as in the ordinary course of things does not happen if those who have the
management use proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of an explanation by the defendant, that the
accident arose from want of care." The Black's Law Dictionary defines the said doctrine. Thus:

The thing speaks for itself. Rebuttable presumption or inference that defendant was negligent, which arises upon proof
that the instrumentality causing injury was in defendant's exclusive control, and that the accident was one which ordinarily
does not happen in absence of negligence. Res ipsa loquitur is a rule of evidence whereby negligence of the alleged
wrongdoer may be inferred from the mere fact that the accident happened provided the character of the accident and
circumstances attending it lead reasonably to belief that in the absence of negligence it would not have occurred and that
thing which caused injury is shown to have been under the management and control of the alleged wrongdoer. Under this
doctrine, the happening of an injury permits an inference of negligence where plaintiff produces substantial evidence that
the injury was caused by an agency or instrumentality under the exclusive control and management of defendant, and that
the occurrence was such that in the ordinary course of things would not happen if reasonable care had been used.10
The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur as a rule of evidence is unusual to the law of negligence which recognizes thatprima
facie negligence may be established without direct proof and furnishes a substitute for specific proof of negligence. The
doctrine, however, is not a rule of substantive law, but merely a mode of proof or a mere procedural convenience. The
rule, when applicable to the facts and circumstances of a given case, is not meant to and does not dispense with the
requirement of proof of culpable negligence on the party charged. It merely determines and regulates what shall
be prima facie evidence thereof and helps the plaintiff in proving a breach of the duty. The doctrine can be invoked when
and only when, under the circumstances involved, direct evidence is absent and not readily available. 11
The requisites for the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur are: (1) the accident was of a kind which does not
ordinarily occur unless someone is negligent; (2) the instrumentality or agency which caused the injury was under the
exclusive control of the person in charge; and (3) the injury suffered must not have been due to any voluntary action or
contribution of the person injured.12
In this case, the circumstances that caused patient Roy Jr.s injury and the series of tests that were supposed to be
undergone by him to determine the extent of the injury suffered were not under the exclusive control of Drs. Jarcia and
Bastan. It was established that they are mere residents of the Manila Doctors Hospital at that time who attended to the
victim at the emergency room.13 While it may be true that the circumstances pointed out by the courts below seem
doubtless to constitute reckless imprudence on the part of the petitioners, this conclusion is still best achieved, not
through the scholarly assumptions of a layman like the patients mother, but by the unquestionable knowledge of expert
witness/es. As to whether the petitioners have exercised the requisite degree of skill and care in treating patient Roy, Jr. is
generally a matter of expert opinion.
As to Dr. Jarcia and Dr. Bastans negligence
The totality of the evidence on record clearly points to the negligence of the petitioners. At the risk of being repetitious, the
Court, however, is not satisfied that Dr. Jarcia and Dr. Bastan are criminally negligent in this case.
Negligence is defined as the failure to observe for the protection of the interests of another person that degree of care,
precaution, and vigilance which the circumstances justly demand, whereby such other person suffers injury. 14
Reckless imprudence consists of voluntarily doing or failing to do, without malice, an act from which material damage
results by reason of an inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person performing or failing to perform such act.15
The elements of simple negligence are: (1) that there is lack of precaution on the part of the offender, and (2) that the
damage impending to be caused is not immediate or the danger is not clearly manifest.16
In this case, the Court is not convinced with moral certainty that the petitioners are guilty of reckless imprudence or simple
negligence. The elements thereof were not proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt.
The testimony of Dr. Cirilo R. Tacata (Dr. Tacata), a specialist in pediatric orthopedic, although pointing to some medical
procedures that could have been done by Dr. Jarcia and Dr. Bastan, as physicians on duty, was not clear as to whether
the injuries suffered by patient Roy Jr. were indeed aggravated by the petitioners judgment call and their diagnosis or
appreciation of the condition of the victim at the time they assessed him. Thus:
Q: Will you please tell us, for the record, doctor, what is your specialization?
A: At present I am the chairman department of orthopedic in UP-PGH and I had special training in pediatric orthopedic for
two (2) years.

Q: In June 1998, doctor, what was your position and what was your specialization at that time?
A: Since 1980, I have been specialist in pediatric orthopedic.
Q: When Alfonso Santiago, Jr. was brought to you by his mother, what did you do by way of physicians as first step?
A: As usual, I examined the patient physically and, at that time as I have said, the patient could not walk so I [began] to
suspect that probably he sustained a fracture as a result of a vehicular accident. So I examined the patient at that time,
the involved leg, I dont know if that is left or right, the involved leg then was swollen and the patient could not walk, so I
requested for the x-ray of [the] lower leg.
Q: What part of the leg, doctor, did you request to be examined?
A: If we refer for an x-ray, usually, we suspect a fracture whether in approximal, middle or lebistal tinial, we usually x-ray
the entire extremity.
Q: And what was the result?
A: Well, I can say that it was a spiral fracture of the mid-tibial, it is the bigger bone of the leg.
Q: And when you say spiral, doctor, how long was this fracture?
A: When we say spiral, it is a sort of letter S, the length was about six (6) to eight (8) centimeters.
Q: Mid-tibial, will you please point to us, doctor, where the tibial is?
(Witness pointing to his lower leg)
A: The tibial is here, there are two bones here, the bigger one is the tibial and the smaller one is the fibula. The bigger one
is the one that get fractured.
Q: And in the course of your examination of Alfonso Santiago, Jr. did you ask for the history of such injury?
A: Yes, actually, that was a routine part of our examination that once a patient comes in, before we actually examine the
patient, we request for a detailed history. If it is an accident, then, we request for the exact mechanism of injuries.
Q: And as far as you can recall, Doctor, what was the history of that injury that was told to you?
A: The patient was sideswiped, I dont know if it is a car, but it is a vehicular accident.
Q: Who did you interview?
A: The mother.
Q: How about the child himself, Alfonso Santiago, Jr.?
A: Normally, we do not interview the child because, usually, at his age, the answers are not accurate. So, it was the
mother that I interviewed.
Q: And were you informed also of his early medication that was administered on Alfonso Santiago, Jr.?
A: No, not actually medication. I was informed that this patient was seen initially at the emergency room by the two (2)
physicians that you just mentioned, Dr. Jarcia and Dra. Bastan, that time who happened to be my residents who were [on]
duty at the emergency room.
xxxx

A: At the emergency room, at the Manila Doctors Hospital, the supervisor there is a consultant that usually comes from a
family medicine. They see where a certain patient have to go and then if they cannot manage it, they refer it to the
consultant on duty. Now at that time, I dont why they dont Because at that time, I think, it is the decision. Since the xrays
xxx
Q: You also said, Doctor, that Dr. Jarcia and Dra. Bastan are not even an orthopedic specialist.
A: They are general surgeon residents. You have to man[x] the emergency room, including neurology,
orthopedic, general surgery, they see everything at the emergency room.
xxxx
Q: But if initially, Alfonso Santiago, Jr. and his case was presented to you at the emergency room, you would have
subjected the entire foot to x-ray even if the history that was given to Dr. Jarcia and Dra. Bastan is the same?
A: I could not directly say yes, because it would still depend on my examination, we cannot subject the whole body for xray if we think that the damaged was only the leg.
Q: Not the entire body but the entire leg?
A: I think, if my examination requires it, I would.
Q: So, you would conduct first an examination?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And do you think that with that examination that you would have conducted you would discover the necessity
subjecting the entire foot for x-ray?
A: It is also possible but according to them, the foot and the ankle were swollen and not the leg, which sometimes
normally happens that the actual fractured bone do not get swollen.
xxxx
Q: Doctor, if you know that the patient sustained a fracture on the ankle and on the foot and the history that was
told to you is the region that was hit is the region of the foot, will the doctor subject the entire leg for x-ray?
A: I am an orthopedic surgeon, you have to subject an x-ray of the leg. Because you have to consider the kind of
fracture that the patient sustained would you say the exact mechanism of injury. For example spiral, "paikot yung
bale nya," so it was possible that the leg was run over, the patient fell, and it got twisted. Thats why the leg
seems to be fractured.17 [Emphases supplied]
It can be gleaned from the testimony of Dr. Tacata that a thorough examination was not performed on Roy Jr. As
residents on duty at the emergency room, Dr. Jarcia and Dr. Bastan were expected to know the medical protocol in
treating leg fractures and in attending to victims of car accidents. There was, however, no precise evidence and scientific
explanation pointing to the fact that the delay in the application of the cast to the patients fractured leg because of failure
to immediately diagnose the specific injury of the patient, prolonged the pain of the child or aggravated his condition or
even caused further complications. Any person may opine that had patient Roy Jr. been treated properly and given the
extensive X-ray examination, the extent and severity of the injury, spiral fracture of the mid-tibial part or the bigger bone of
the leg, could have been detected early on and the prolonged pain and suffering of Roy Jr. could have been prevented.
But still, that opinion, even how logical it may seem would not, and could not, be enough basis to hold one criminally
liable; thus, a reasonable doubt as to the petitioners guilt.
Although the Court sympathizes with the plight of the mother and the child in this case, the Court is bound by the dictates
of justice which hold inviolable the right of the accused to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable
doubt. The Court, nevertheless, finds the petitioners civilly liable for their failure to sufficiently attend to Roy Jr.s medical

needs when the latter was rushed to the ER, for while a criminal conviction requires proof beyond reasonable doubt, only
a preponderance of evidence is required to establish civil liability. Taken into account also was the fact that there was no
bad faith on their part.
Dr. Jarcia and Dr. Bastan cannot pass on the liability to the taxi driver who hit the victim. It may be true that the actual,
direct, immediate, and proximate cause of the injury (fracture of the leg bone or tibia) of Roy Jr. was the vehicular accident
when he was hit by a taxi. The petitioners, however, cannot simply invoke such fact alone to excuse themselves from any
liability. If this would be so, doctors would have a ready defense should they fail to do their job in attending to victims of
hit-and-run, maltreatment, and other crimes of violence in which the actual, direct, immediate, and proximate cause of the
injury is indubitably the act of the perpetrator/s.
In failing to perform an extensive medical examination to determine the extent of Roy Jr.s injuries, Dr. Jarcia and Dr.
Bastan were remiss of their duties as members of the medical profession. Assuming for the sake of argument that they
did not have the capacity to make such thorough evaluation at that stage, they should have referred the patient to another
doctor with sufficient training and experience instead of assuring him and his mother that everything was all right.
This Court cannot also stamp its imprimatur on the petitioners contention that no physician-patient relationship existed
between them and patient Roy Jr., since they were not his attending physicians at that time. They claim that they were
merely requested by the ER nurse to see the patient while they were passing by the ER for their lunch. Firstly, this issue
was never raised during the trial at the RTC or even before the CA. The petitioners, therefore, raise the want of doctorpatient relationship for the first time on appeal with this Court. It has been settled that "issues raised for the first time on
appeal cannot be considered because a party is not permitted to change his theory on appeal. To allow him to do so is
unfair to the other party and offensive to the rules of fair play, justice and due process." 18 Stated differently, basic
considerations of due process dictate that theories, issues and arguments not brought to the attention of the trial court
need not be, and ordinarily will not be, considered by a reviewing court.19
Assuming again for the sake of argument that the petitioners may still raise this issue of "no physicianpatient
relationship," the Court finds and so holds that there was a "physicianpatient" relationship in this case.
In the case of Lucas v. Tuao,20 the Court wrote that "[w]hen a patient engages the services of a physician, a physicianpatient relationship is generated. And in accepting a case, the physician, for all intents and purposes, represents that he
has the needed training and skill possessed by physicians and surgeons practicing in the same field; and that he will
employ such training, care, and skill in the treatment of the patient. Thus, in treating his patient, a physician is under
a duty to exercise that degree of care, skill and diligence which physicians in the same general neighborhood and in the
same general line of practice ordinarily possess and exercise in like cases. Stated otherwise, the physician has the
obligation to use at least the same level of care that any other reasonably competent physician would use to treat the
condition under similar circumstances."
Indubitably, a physician-patient relationship exists between the petitioners and patient Roy Jr. Notably, the latter and his
mother went to the ER for an immediate medical attention. The petitioners allegedly passed by and were requested to
attend to the victim (contrary to the testimony of Dr. Tacata that they were, at that time, residents on duty at the
ER).21 They obliged and examined the victim, and later assured the mother that everything was fine and that they could
go home. Clearly, a physician-patient relationship was established between the petitioners and the patient Roy Jr.
To repeat for clarity and emphasis, if these doctors knew from the start that they were not in the position to attend to Roy
Jr., a vehicular accident victim, with the degree of diligence and commitment expected of every doctor in a case like this,
they should have not made a baseless assurance that everything was all right. By doing so, they deprived Roy Jr. of
adequate medical attention that placed him in a more dangerous situation than he was already in. What petitioners should
have done, and could have done, was to refer Roy Jr. to another doctor who could competently and thoroughly examine
his injuries.
All told, the petitioners were, indeed, negligent but only civilly, and not criminally, liable as the facts show.
Article II, Section 1 of the Code of Medical Ethics of the Medical Profession in the Philippines states:
A physician should attend to his patients faithfully and conscientiously. He should secure for them all possible benefits
that may depend upon his professional skill and care. As the sole tribunal to adjudge the physicians failure to fulfill his
obligation to his patients is, in most cases, his own conscience, violation of this rule on his part is discreditable and
inexcusable.22

Established medical procedures and practices, though in constant instability, are devised for the purpose of preventing
complications. In this case, the petitioners failed to observe the most prudent medical procedure under the circumstances
to prevent the complications suffered by a child of tender age.
As to the Award of Damages
While no criminal negligence was found in the petitioners failure to administer the necessary medical attention to Roy Jr.,
the Court holds them civilly liable for the resulting damages to their patient. While it was the taxi driver who ran over the
foot or leg of Roy Jr., their negligence was doubtless contributory.
It appears undisputed that the amount of P 3,850.00, as expenses incurred by patient Roy Jr., was adequately supported
by receipts. The Court, therefore, finds the petitioners liable to pay this amount by way of actual damages.
The Court is aware that no amount of compassion can suffice to ease the sorrow felt by the family of the child at that time.
Certainly, the award of moral and exemplary damages in favor of Roy Jr. in the amount of P 100,000.00 and P 50,000.00,
respectively, is proper in this case.
It is settled that moral damages are not punitive in nature, but are designed to compensate and alleviate in some way the
physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social
humiliation, and similar injury unjustly inflicted on a person. Intended for the restoration of the psychological or
emotional status quo ante, the award of moral damages is designed to compensate emotional injury suffered, not to
impose a penalty on the wrongdoer.23
The Court, likewise, finds the petitioners also liable for exemplary damages in the said amount.1wphi1 Article 2229 of the
Civil Code provides that exemplary damages may be imposed by way of example or correction for the public good.
WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTLY GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated August 29, 2008
isREVERSED and SET ASIDE. A new judgment is entered ACQUITTING Dr. Emmanuel Jarcia, Jr. and Dr. Marilou
Bastan of the crime of reckless imprudence resulting to serious physical injuries but declaring them civilly liable in the
amounts of:
(1) P 3,850.00 as actual damages;
(2) P 100,000.00 as moral damages;
(3) P 50,000.00 as exemplary damages; and
(4) Costs of the suit.
with interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of the filing of the Information. The rate shall be 12% interest per
annum from the finality of judgment until fully paid.
SO ORDERED.

ORIX METRO LEASING AND FINANCE CORPORATION (Formerly CONSOLIDATED ORIX LEASING AND FINANCE
CORPORATION)
vs.
MINORS: DENNIS, MYLENE, MELANIE and MARIKRIS, all surnamed MANGALINAO y DIZON, MANUEL M. ONG,
LORETO LUCILO, SONNY LI, AND ANTONIO DE LOS SANTOS
G.R. No. 174089

January 25, 2012

x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
SONNY LI and ANTONIO DE LOS SANTOS
vs.
MINORS: DENNIS, MYLENE, MELANIE and MARIKRIS, all surnamed MANGALINAO y DIZON, LORETO LUCILO,
CONSOLIDATED ORIX LEASING AND FINANCE CORPORATION and MANUEL M. ONG
G.R. No. 174266
The ones at fault are to answer for the effects of vehicular accidents.
A multiple-vehicle collision in North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) resulting in the death of all the passengers in one vehicle,
including the parents and a sibling of the surviving orphaned minor heirs, compelled the latter to file an action for damages
against the registered owners and drivers of the two 10-wheeler trucks that collided with their parents Nissan Pathfinder
(Pathfinder).
Assailed in these consolidated Petitions for Review on Certiorari1 filed by Orix Metro Leasing and Finance Corporation
(Orix)2 and by Sonny Li (Sonny) and Antonio delos Santos (Antonio)3 are the October 27, 2005 Decision4 and August 17,
2006 Resolution5 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 70530.
Factual Antecedents
On June 27, 1990, at about 11:15 p.m., three vehicles were traversing the two-lane northbound NLEX in the vicinity
of Barangay Tibag, Pulilan, Bulacan. It was raining that night.
Anacleto Edurese, Jr. (Edurese) was driving a Pathfinder with plate number BBG-334. His Isabela-bound passengers
were the owners of said vehicle, spouses Roberto and Josephine Mangalinao (Mangalinao spouses), their daughter
Marriane, housemaid Rufina Andres and helper Armando Jebueza (Jebueza). Before them on the outer lane was a
Pampanga-bound Fuso 10-wheeler truck (Fuso), with plate number PAE-160, driven by Loreto Lucilo (Loreto), who was
with truck helper Charlie Palomar (Charlie). The Fuso was then already moving in an erratic and swerving
motion.6 Following behind the Pathfinder was another 10-wheeler truck, an Isuzu Cargo (Isuzu) with plate number PNS768 driven by Antonio, who was then with helper Rodolfo Navia (Rodolfo).
Just when the Pathfinder was already cruising along the NLEXs fast lane and about to overtake the Fuso, the latter
suddenly swerved to the left and cut into the Pathfinders lane thereby blocking its way. As a result, the Pathfinder hit the
Fusos left door and left body.7 The impact caused both vehicles to stop in the middle of the expressway. Almost instantly,
the inevitable pileup happened. Although Antonio stepped on the brakes, 8 the Isuzus front crashed9 into the rear of the
Pathfinder leaving it a total wreck.10 Soon after, the Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC) patrol arrived at
the scene of the accident and informed the Pulilan police about the vehicular mishap. Police Investigator SPO2
Emmanuel Banag responded at about 2:15-2:30 a.m. of June 28, 1990 and investigated the incident as gathered from the
information and sketch11 provided by the PNCC patrol as well as from the statements12 provided by the truck helpers
Charlie and Rodolfo.
In the meantime, the Mangalinao spouses, the driver Edurese, and the helper Jebueza were declared dead on the spot
while 6-month old Marriane and the housemaid were declared dead on arrival at a nearby hospital. 13The occupants of the
trucks escaped serious injuries and death.
As their letters14 to the registered owners of the trucks demanding compensation for the accident were ignored, the minor
children of the Mangalinao spouses, Dennis, Mylene, Melanie and Marikris, through their legal guardian, 15 consequently
filed on January 16, 1991 a Complaint16 for damages based on quasi-delict, before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Makati which was docketed as Civil Case No. 91-123.17 They impleaded the drivers Loreto and Antonio, as well as the

registered owners of the Fuso and the Isuzu trucks, namely Orix and Sonny, 18respectively. The children imputed
recklessness, negligence, and imprudence on the truck drivers for the deaths of their sister and parents; while they hold
Sonny and Orix equally liable for failing to exercise the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and
supervision of their respective drivers. The children demanded payment of more than P10.5 million representing damages
and attorneys fees.
Orix in its Motion to Dismiss19 interposed that it is not the actual owner of the Fuso truck. As the trial court denied the
motion,20 it then filed its Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim and Cross-claim.21 Orix reiterated that the children had no
cause of action against it because on September 9, 1983, it already sold the Fuso truck to MMO Trucking owned by
Manuel Ong (Manuel).22 The latter being the alleged owner at the time of the collision, Orix filed a Third Party
Complaint23 against Manuel, a.k.a. Manuel Tan.
In their Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim and Cross-Claim,24 Sonny and Antonio attributed fault for the accident
solely on Loretos reckless driving of his truck which suddenly stopped and slid across the highway. They claimed that
Sonny had exercised the expected diligence required of an employer; that Antonio had been all along driving with care;
and, that with the abrupt and unexpected collision of the vehicles before him and their precarious proximity, he had no
way of preventing his truck from hitting the Pathfinder.
For failing to file any responsive pleading, both Manuel and Loreto were declared in default. 25
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
After trial, the court a quo issued a Decision26 on February 9, 2001 finding Sonny, Antonio, Loreto and Orix liable for
damages. It likewise ruled in favor of Orix anent its third party complaint, the latter having sufficiently proven that Manuel
of MMO Trucking is the real owner of the Fuso.
The dispositive portion of the RTC Decision states:
Wherefore, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiffs and against the defendants, ordering
the latter to pay plaintiffs, jointly and severally, the following:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

P3,077,000.00 as actual damages;


P2,000,000.00 as moral damages;
P1,000,000.00 as exemplary damages; and
P400,000.00 as and for reasonable attorneys fees
legal interest at six percent (6%) per annum on the above-stated amounts from the filing of the complaint on
January 16, 1991 until fully paid; and
6. costs of suit and expenses of litigation.
Third party defendant Manuel M. Ong is ordered to indemnify third party plaintiff [Orix] for the amounts adjudged against
the latter in this case.
SO ORDERED. 27
Ratiocinating its finding of recklessness on both truck drivers, the RTC said:
The evidence leaves no doubt that both truck drivers were at fault and should be held liable. Lucilo, who was driving the
Fuso truck, was reckless when he caused the swerving of his vehicle directly on the lane of the Pathfinder to his left. The
Pathfinder had no way to avoid a collision because it was about to pass the truck when suddenly blocked. On the other
hand, the Isuzu truck was practically tailgating the Pathfinder on the dark slippery highway such that when the Pathfinder
collided with the Fuso truck, it became inevitable for the Isuzu truck to crash into the Pathfinder. So, de los Santos, the
driver of the Isuzu truck was likewise reckless.28
In an attempt to exonerate itself, Orix appealed to the CA29 followed by Sonny and Antonio.30 All of them challenged the
factual findings and conclusions of the court a quo with regard to their respective liabilities, each pinpointing to the
negligence of the other and vice versa. All of them likewise assailed the amounts the RTC awarded to the minors for lack
of basis.
Ruling of the Court of Appeals

On October 27, 2005, the CA rendered its Decision31 affirming the factual findings of the trial court of reckless driving. It
said:
It may be true that it was the Nissan Pathfinder which first hit and bumped and eventually crashed into the Fuso truck.
However, this would not have happened if the truck did not swerve into the lane of the Nissan Pathfinder. As aforementioned [sic], the latter had no way then to avoid a collision because it was about to overtake the former.
As a motorist, Lucilo [Loreto] should have operated his truck with reasonable caution considering the width, traffic, grades,
crossing, curvatures, visibility and other conditions of the highway and the conditions of the atmosphere and weather. He
should have carefully and cautiously driven his vehicle so as not to have endangered the property or the safety or rights of
other persons. By failing to drive with reasonable caution, Lucilo is, hence, liable for the resultant vehicle collision.
Neither do [we] find credence in delos Santos claim that he is without liability for the vehicular collision. We cannot
overemphasize the primacy in probative value of physical evidence, that mute but eloquent manifestation of the truth. An
examination of the destroyed front part of the Isuzu truck, as shown by photographic evidence, clearly indicates strong
bumping of the rear of the Pathfinder. The photographs belie delos Santos claim that he was driving at a safe speed and
even slowed down when he noticed the [erratic] traveling of the Fuso truck. In fact, by his own admission, it was a matter
of seconds before his Isuzu truck hit the Nissan Pathfinder - a clear indication that he did not actually [slow] down
considering the weather and road condition at that time. Had he been actually prudent in driving, the impact on the Nissan
Pathfinder would not have been that great or he might have even taken evasive action to avoid hitting it. Sadly, that was
not the case as shown by the evidence on record.32
The CA also ruled that Orix, as the registered owner of the Fuso, is considered in the eyes of the law and of third persons
responsible for the deaths of the passengers of the Pathfinder, regardless of the lack of an employer-employee
relationship between it and the driver Loreto.
The CA modified the award of damages as follows:
1. P150,000.00 as indemnity for the death of Spouses Roberto and Josephine Mangalinao and their daughter
Marianne Mangalinao;
2. P2,000,000.00 for loss of earning capacity;
3. P64,200.00 for funeral expenses;
4. P1,000,000.00 as moral damages;
5. P1,000,000.00 as exemplary damages;
6. P400,000.00 as attorneys fees.
If the amounts adjudged remain unpaid upon the finality of this decision, the interest rate shall be twelve percent (12%)
per annum computed from the time the judgment bec[a]me final and executory until fully satisfied.
The six percent (6%) interest per annum from the filing of the complaint indicated in the assailed decision is DELETED.
SO ORDERED.33
Orix and Sonny joined by Antonio, filed their separate Motions for Reconsideration34 but same were denied in a
Resolution35 dated August 17, 2006.
Hence, these consolidated petitions.
Petitioners Respective Arguments
Orixs contentions in its petition may be summarized as follows:
1. It is not the owner and operator of the Fuso at the time of the collision and should not be held responsible for
compensating the minor children of the Mangalinaos;
2. The Fusos swerving towards the inner lane where the Pathfinder is cruising is attributable not to the alleged
negligence of Loreto but to adverse driving conditions, i.e., the stormy weather and slippery road;
3. The CA has no reliable evidentiary basis for computing loss of earning capacity as the Balance Sheet and Income
Statement of Roberto Mangalinao, as certified by accountant Wilfredo de Jesus for the year 1989, is hearsay
evidence; and

4. The award of attorneys fees sustained by the CA is not justified and is exorbitant.
On the other hand, Sonny and Antonio argue in their petition that:
1. the CA erred in affirming the trial courts erroneous finding that the Isuzu was tailgating, which is contradicted by
the material evidence on record;
2. the proximate cause of the death of the victims is Loretos gross negligence. Antonio should have been accorded
the benefit of the emergency rule wherein he was immediately confronted with a sudden danger and had no time
to think of how to avoid it;
3. the CA should not have awarded damages and attorneys fees because of the total absence of evidence to
substantiate them.
In short, petitioners want us to review the finding of negligence by the CA of both truck drivers, the solidary liability of Orix
as the registered owner of the Fuso, and the propriety of the damages the CA awarded in favor of the Mangalinao
children.
Our Ruling
The finding of negligence of petitioners as found by the lower courts is binding
Negligence and proximate cause are factual issues.36 Settled is the rule that this Court is not a trier of facts, and the
concurrence of the findings of fact of the courts below are conclusive. "A petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of
the Rules of Court should include only questions of law - questions of fact are not reviewable"37 save for several
exceptions,38 two of which petitioners invoke, i.e., that the finding is grounded on speculations, surmises, and
conjectures, and that the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts.
There is no compelling reason to disturb the lower courts factual conclusions.
With regard to the Fuso, we note the statement given by the helper Charlie before the Pulilan police immediately after the
incident:
T: Pakisalaysay mo nga ang mga pangyayari?
S: Nuon nga pong oras at petsang nabanggit habang ako ay sakay ng isang truck patungo Pampanga at sa lugar ng
pinangyarihan ay namireno ang aking driver dahil sa madulas at nagawi kami sa gawing kaliwa (inner lane) na isang
mabilis na pajero (Nissan 4x4) ang bumangga sa gawing unahan hanggang sa tagiliran gawing kaliwa, na ang nasabing
pajero ay papalusot (overtake) na pagkatapos nuon ay may isa (1) pang truck na bumangga sa hulihan. 39
Based on the helpers statement, the Fuso had lost control, skidded to the left and blocked the way of the Pathfinder,
which was about to overtake. The Pathfinder had absolutely no chance to avoid the truck. Instead of slowing down and
moving towards the shoulder in the highway if it really needed to stop, it was very negligent of Loreto to abruptly hit the
brake in a major highway wherein vehicles are highly likely to be at his rear. He opened himself up to a major danger and
naturally, a collision was imminent.
On the other hand, the parties for the Isuzu contend that the CA erred in ruling that the truck was moving at a fast speed
and was tailgating. They assert that they be absolved because the fault lay entirely on the Fuso, which had been
zigzagging along the highway. They aver that when the Fuso and the Pathfinder collided in the middle of the highway with
the Fuso blocking both lanes of the northbound stretch, there was no room left for driver Antonio to maneuver to avoid
them, and that the Pathfinder was hit as a natural consequence.
The Isuzus driver, Antonio, claims that he and the two vehicles before him were travelling at the right lane of the highway,
and on his part, he was travelling at a speed of 50-60 kph and that he was three cars away from the Pathfinder. When the
Pathfinder hit the left side of the Fuso, he stepped on the brake but still struck the Pathfinder. 40 He further narrated:
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ATTY. DOMINGO:
Q And what was this if you noticed anything before the incident happened?
A The Fu[s]o Cargo Truck was swerving from left to right, Sir.

Q How long before this collision did you notice this kind of travelling on the part of the Fu[s]o Cargo Truck?
A About 15 to 20 minutes, Sir.
Q When you noticed this, what if anything, did you do?
A I slow[ed] down, Sir.
Q When you said you slow[ed] down, at what speed do you mean you were travelling?
A More or less 50 kph., Sir.
Q So prior to that, you were travelling faster than 50 to 60 kph. Is that correct?
A Yes, Sir.
Q And [in spite] of that, you testified that you hit the Nissan Pathfinder after it hit the Fu[s]o Cargo Truck?
A Despite the fact that it slow[ed] down, I also hit the Nissan Pathfinder when I skidded because of the slippery
condition of the road at that time.
Q And it was precisely this slippery condition of the road that you are talking about that caused you to hit the
Nissan Pathfinder?
A Yes, Sir.41
xxxx
Q I will just go back to the incident on the collision. At what particular point in the vehicle you were driving hit the
Nissan Pathfinder? At what portion of the Nissan Pathfinder was it hit by the vehicle that you were driving?
A At the rear portion of the Nissan Pathfinder, Sir.
Q What portion, the right o[r] the left portion of the rear?
A I hit the right side of the rear portion of the Nissan Pathfinder, Sir.
Q And what happened to the Nissan Pathfinder after you hit it on the right rear portion?
A The back portion of the Nissan Pathfinder was damaged, Sir.
Q And what was the extent of the [damage] on the back portion?
A The rear portion was extensively damaged, Sir.
Q After you hit the rear portion of the Nissan Pathfinder, did your vehicle hit any other portion of that Nissan
Pathfinder?
A None, Sir.
Q After you hit the Nissan Pathfinder at the rear, in what manner did it move, if it moved?
A After I hit the rear portion of the Nissan Pathfinder, it did not move anymore, but I also hit the right side of the
Fu[s]o Cargo Truck, Sir.
COURT:

For a while, what part of the Fu[s]o Cargo Truck did you hit?
WITNESS:
A I hit the sidings of the Fu[s]o Cargo Truck, Your Honor.42
xxxx
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ATTY. GUERRERO:
Q When the Pathfinder hit the Fu[s]o Truck, were you still behind the Pathfinder?
A Yes, Sir.
Q [Were you] still in the same lane that you were travelling 30 minutes before the impact?
A Yes, Sir.
Q You did not move from your lane [in spite] of the collision between the Pathfinder and the Fu[s]o Truck?
A No, Sir. I did not move. I stayed on my lane.43
xxxx
REDIRECT EXAMINATION BY ATTY. NATIVIDAD:
Q You stated a while ago, during the cross-examination by counsel that the moment you saw the Nissan
Pathfinder [smash] against the side of the Fu[s]o, you did not move your Truck anymore. Why did you not swerve
to the left or to the right?
A Because there was an [oncoming] bus signalling [sic] to me, Sir.
Q How about to the right, why did you not abruptly maneuver your truck to the right to avoid hitting the Nissan
Pathfinder?
A I cannot move my truck to the right side because my truck will not pass thorugh [sic] the lane because it is very
narrow and if I will do that, I might fall on the other side of the highway where houses were standing.
Q You said that you were unable to pass through the right side of the road. Why [were you] not able to pass
[through] to the right side[?] You said it was too narrow. Why is it too narrow?
A Because the Fu[s]o Truck cut across the highway and my truck cannot pass through that space. It is only in the
fast lane where I can pass through, Sir.
Q All the while this bumping or the impact between the Nissan Pathfinder and the Fu[s]o Truck and your bumping
against the Nissan Pathfinder happened in a few seconds only. Is that correct?
A Yes, Sir.44
The exact positions of the vehicles upon a perusal of the sketch45 (drawn only after the Fuso was moved to the shoulder
to decongest traffic) would show that both the Pathfinder and the Isuzu rested on the highway diagonally. The left part of
the former occupied the right portion of the inner lane while the rest of its body was already on the outer lane, indicating
that it was about to change lane, i.e., to the inner lane to overtake. Meanwhile, the point of collision between the
Pathfinder and the Isuzu occurred on the right portion of the outer lane, with the Isuzus front part ramming the
Pathfinders rear, while the rest of the 10-wheelers body lay on the shoulder of the road.

We are not convinced that the Isuzu is without fault. As correctly found by the CA, the smashed front of the Isuzu strongly
indicates the strong impact of the ramming of the rear of the Pathfinder that pinned its passengers. Furthermore, Antonio
admitted that despite stepping on the brakes, the Isuzu still suddenly smashed into the rear of the Pathfinder causing
extensive damage to it, as well as hitting the right side of the Fuso. These militate against Antonios claim that he was
driving at a safe speed, that he had slowed down, and that he was three cars away. Clearly, the Isuzu was not within the
safe stopping distance to avoid the Pathfinder in case of emergency. Thus, the Emergency Rule invoked by petitioners
will not apply. Such principle states:
[O]ne who suddenly finds himself in a place of danger, and is required to act without time to consider the best means that
may be adopted to avoid the impending danger, is not guilty of negligence, if he fails to adopt what subsequently and
upon reflection may appear to have been a better method, unless the emergency in which he finds himself is brought
about by his own negligence.46
Considering the wet and slippery condition of the road that night, Antonio should have been prudent to reduce his speed
and increase his distance from the Pathfinder. Had he done so, it would be improbable for him to have hit the vehicle in
front of him or if he really could not avoid hitting it, prevent such extensive wreck to the vehicle in front. With the glaring
evidence, he obviously failed to exercise proper care in his driving.
Orix as the operator on record of the
Fuso truck is liable to the heirs of the victims of the mishap
Orix cannot point fingers at the alleged real owner to exculpate itself from vicarious liability under Article 2180 47 of the Civil
Code. Regardless of whoever Orix claims to be the actual owner of the Fuso by reason of a contract of sale, it is
nevertheless primarily liable for the damages or injury the truck registered under it have caused. It has already been
explained:
Were a registered owner allowed to evade responsibility by proving who the supposed transferee or owner is, it would be
easy for him, by collusion with others or otherwise, to escape said responsibility and transfer the same to an indefinite
person, or to one who possesses no property with which to respond financially for the damage or injury done. A victim of
recklessness on the public highways is usually without means to discover or identify the person actually causing the injury
or damage. He has no means other than by a recourse to the registration in the Motor Vehicles Office to determine who is
the owner. The protection that the law aims to extend to him would become illusory were the registered owner given the
opportunity to escape liability by disproving his ownership. x x x 48
Besides, the registered owners have a right to be indemnified by the real or actual owner of the amount that they may be
required to pay as damage for the injury caused to the plaintiff,49 which Orix rightfully acknowledged by filing a third-party
complaint against the owner of the Fuso, Manuel.
The heirs deserve to receive the damages awarded by the CA, with modifications as to their amounts
With regard to actual damages, one is entitled to an adequate compensation only for such pecuniary loss suffered by him
as he has duly proved.50 Anent the funeral and burial expenses, the receipts issued by San Roque Funeral Homes 51 in the
amount of P57,000.00 and by St. Peter Memorial Homes52 in the amount of P50,000.00, as supported by the testimonies
of the witnesses who secured these documents, prove payment by the respondent heirs of the funeral costs not only of
their deceased relatives but of the latters helpers as well, and thus we find it proper to award the total amount
of P107,000.00.
In addition to P150,000.00 indemnity for the death of the spouses Mangalinao and their daughter Marianne as a result
of quasi-delict, actual damages shall likewise include the loss of the earning capacity of the deceased. 53 In this case, the
CA awarded P2,000,000.00, which it found reasonable after considering the income statement of Roberto Mangalinao as
of the year 1989.54 Petitioners challenge this for lack of basis, arguing that the CA failed to consider the formula provided
by this Court,55 and that the income statement was not even testified to by the accountant who prepared such document.
In its Decision, the CA, while recognizing that there is a formula provided for computing the loss of the earning capacity of
the victims, itself acknowledged that such formula cannot be used to arrive at the net earning capacity using the 1989
income statement alone, more so when such was not authenticated by the proper party. If the net income stated therein
was used in the formula, the CA would have awarded the Mangalinao heirs more thanP18,000,000.00. It did not,
however, use the income statement as its sole gauge.

While the net income had not been sufficiently established, the Court recognizes the fact that the Mangalinao heirs had
suffered loss deserving of compensation. What the CA awarded is in actuality a form of temperate damages. Such form of
damages under Article 222456 of the Civil Code is given in the absence of competent proof on the actual damages
suffered.57 "In the past, we awarded temperate damages in lieu of actual damages for loss of earning capacity where
earning capacity is plainly established but no evidence was presented to support the allegation of the injured partys
actual income."58 In this case, Roberto Mangalinao, the breadwinner of the family, was a businessman engaged in buying
and selling palay and agricultural supplies that required high capital in its operations and was only 37 at the time of his
death. Moreover, the Pathfinder which the Mangalinaos own, became a total wreck. Under the circumstances, we find the
award of P500,000.00 as temperate damages as reasonable.59lawphi1
Moral damages,60 it must be stressed, are not intended to enrich plaintiff at the expense of the defendant. They are
awarded to enable the injured party to obtain means, diversions, or amusements that will serve to alleviate the moral
suffering he/she had undergone due to the other partys culpable action and must, perforce, be proportional to the
suffering inflicted.61 While the children did not testify before the court, undoubtedly, they suffered the pain and ordeal of
losing both their parents and sibling and hence, the award of moral damages is justified. However, the amount must be
reduced to P500,000.00.62
"In quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may be granted if the defendant acted with gross negligence."63 It is given by way of
example or correction for the public good.64 Before the court may consider such award, the plaintiff must show his
entitlement first to moral, temperate, or compensatory damages,65 which the respondents have. In the case at bench, the
reckless driving of the two trucks involved caused the death of the victims. However, we shall reduce the amount of
exemplary damages to P200,000.00.66
Lastly, because exemplary damages are awarded and that we find it equitable that expenses of litigation should be
recovered,67 we find it sufficient and reasonable enough to grant attorneys fees of P50,000.00.68
Parenthetically, the Manifestation and Motion with notice of change of address by counsel for respondents; and the
transmittal of CAs rollo consisting of 256 pages with two attached Supreme Court petitions, one folder of original records
and one folder of transcript of stenographic notes, by the Judicial Records Division, CA, are noted.
WHEREFORE, the instant petitions are PARTIALLY GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV
No. 70530 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. The award of actual damages is hereby INCREASED toP107,000.00.
The award of moral damages is REDUCED to P500,000.00, the award of temperate damages for loss of earning capacity
is likewise REDUCED to P500,000.00, and the award of exemplary damages and of attorneys fees
are REDUCED to P200,000.00 and P50,000.00, respectively. All other awards of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

*Footnotes:
38

"The exceptions are when: (1) the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmise and conjecture; (2)
the inference made is manifestly mistaken; (3) there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) the judgment is based on a
misapprehension of facts; (5) the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) the CA went beyond the issues of the case and its
findings are contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellees; (7) the findings of fact of the CA are contrary to
those of the trial court; (8) said findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are
based; (9) the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner's main and reply briefs are not disputed by the
respondents; and (10) the findings of fact of the CA are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted
by the evidence on record." Sealoader Shipping Corporation v. Grand Cement Manufacturing Corporation, G.R. Nos.
167363 & 177466, December 15, 2010, 638 SCRA 488, 510 citing Spouses Rosario v. PCI Leasing and Finance, Inc.,
511 Phil. 115, 123-124 (2005).
Article 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for ones own acts or omissions, but also
for those of persons for whom one is responsible.
47

xxxx
Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers acting within the
scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any business or industry.

xxxx
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.
50

Civil Code, Article 2199.

53

Article 2206. The amount of damages for death caused by a crime or quasi-delict shall be at least three thousand pesos
even though there may have been mitigating circumstances. In addition:
(1) The defendant shall be liable for the loss of the earning capacity of the deceased, and the indemnity shall be
paid to the heirs of the latter; such indemnity shall in every case be assessed and awarded by the court, unless
the deceased on account of permanent physical disability not caused by the defendant, had no earning capacity
at the time of his death;
xxxx
60

Predicated on Articles 2217 and 2219 of the Civil Code which provide:
Article 2217. Moral damages include physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched
reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injury. Though incapable of pecuniary
computation, moral damages may be recovered if they are the proximate result of the defendants wrongful act or
omission.
Article 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous cases:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

A criminal offense resulting in physical injuries;


Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries;
Seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious acts;
Adultery or concubinage;
Illegal or arbitrary detention or arrest;
Illegal search;
Liberal, slander or any other form of defamation;
Malicious prosecution;
Acts mentioned in Article 309;
Acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, and 35.

The parents of the female seduced, abducted, raped, or abused, referred to in No. 3 of this article, may also
recover moral damages. The spouse, descendants, ascendants, and brothers and sisters may bring the action
mentioned in No. 9 of this article, in the order named.
63

Civil Code, Article 2231.

64

Civil Code, Article 2229.

65

Civil Code, Article 2234.

67

Civil Code, Article 2208(1) and (11).

SWIFT FOODS, INC. vs. SPOUSES JOSE MATEO, JR. and IRENE MATEO
G.R. No. 170486

September 12, 2011

A review of the facts of the case is necessary when the courts below fail to make findings that are necessary for a proper
disposition of the case.
Before the Court is a Petition for Review1 of the November 15, 2005 Decision2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R.
CV No. 73368. The dispositive portion of the assailed Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION, in that the trial courts award of attorneys fees
to the [respondents] is deleted for lack of basis.
SO ORDERED.3
The affirmed ruling of the trial court contained the following disposition:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court hereby renders judgment in favor of [respondents] SPS. JOSE &
IRENE MATEO and against [petitioner] SWIFT FOODS, INC., directing [petitioner] to:
1. RETURN the Owners Duplicate Copies of Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. T-19808 P(M), T-19809 P (M) and
T-19810 P(M) of the Registry of Deeds of Bulacan immediately;
2. RETURN P100,000.00 cash bond upon the finality of this Decision with interest at twelve [percent] (12%) per
annum from the filing of this Complaint until fully satisfied;
3. PAY to [respondents] the following amounts, to wit:
a. Two Hundred Forty Three Thousand (P243,000.00) Pesos as actual damages representing the
warehousing fees from May 13, 1996 up to June 30, 1997;
b. Two Hundred Thousand (P200,000.00) Pesos as moral damages;
c. One Hundred Thousand (P100,000.00) Pesos for and as attorneys fees; and
d. Cost of suit.
SO ORDERED.4
Factual antecedents
Petitioner Swift Foods, Inc. (Swift) is a corporation engaged in the manufacture, sale, and distribution of animal feeds.
Respondent-spouses Jose and Irene Mateo (respondents) are businessmen engaged in a dealership in poultry and feeds
supply and a trucking business in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.
In 1984, the two parties entered into a Trucking Agreement whereby respondents trucks hauled Swifts feeds from its
central office in Pioneer Street in Mandaluyong City to its various warehouses in Luzon. Under this agreement,
respondents deposited cash bonds of P100,000.00 per truck. Several years into their contract, only one truck of
respondents remained under contract but Swift maintained respondents cash bond of P100,000.00. Respondents
requested the return of the excess cash bond but the same was inexplicably denied by Swift.
In June 1995, respondent Jose Mateo (Jose) spoke with Swifts Feeds Sales Supervisor, Efren Buhain 5 (Buhain),
regarding the possible lease of Joses warehouse for the storage of Swifts feeds products. The two agreed and on July 5,
1995, Jose signed the Warehousing Agreement, which was to remain in force for a two-year period.6The signatory for
Swift was its Vice-President for Feed Operations, Edward R. Acosta.7 While the warehousing agreement required Jose to
post a bond to secure his faithful compliance with his obligations,8 both parties nonetheless proceeded with the
enforcement of the contract even without compliance with such requirement.

In the same month, Swift began delivering feeds to respondents warehouse. 9 Swifts booking salesman, Rosalino
Enfestan10 (Enfestan), worked closely with respondents in the warehouse operations, even supervising the work of
respondents bodegero, Vicente Mateo (Vicente).11 To properly document the movement of the stocks, Swift, through
Enfestan gave respondents two kinds of warehouse documents: the Daily Warehouse Stock Report (DWSR), which is the
inventory of incoming stocks, and the Warehouse Issue Slip (WIS), which is a receipt for released stocks. 12 According to
Swift, the WIS should contain the signature of the sales personnel as proof that the latter received the released stocks, in
accordance with Paragraph V of the agreement. According to Jose, Wilfredo Pacres (Wilfredo), Swifts National Feed
Sales Manager, would sometimes inspect respondents warehouse and the warehouse documents.13
On February 16, 1996, seven months into the contract, the respondents in apparent compliance with the bond
requirement, delivered three land titles to Swift.14 The acknowledgment receipt issued by Swift for the surrendered titles
stated that these were "collateral for feeds warehousing."15 The receipt was duly signed by Swift officials and by
respondent Jose.
On May 9, 1996, Swifts personnel, Wilfredo and Jasmine Pena, conducted an audit of the stocks stored in respondents
warehouse. They went over the warehousing documents (i.e., WIS and DWSR) and counted the remaining stocks. A
comparison of the two warehouse documents revealed one missing bag, which respondent Jose duly paid on the same
day.16
On May 20, 1996, however, Swift informed respondents that it was terminating their contract effective May 13, 1996
because of respondents violations of their Warehousing Agreement.17 Swift explained that, under Paragraph V of the
Warehousing Agreement, the warehouse operator should only release stocks to Swifts sales personnel after the latter
presents a clearance to withdraw stocks.18 This was to ensure that Swifts stocks would only be released to authorized
individuals and Swift could collect payment accordingly. Contrary to this provision, respondents released stocks without
the necessary clearance to withdraw and without the participation of Swifts sales personnel. The violations were evident
from the WIS which did not contain the signatures of Swifts sales personnel. The absence of the sales personnels
signature meant that the warehouseman released stocks, without the participation of Swifts sales personnel, and without
any written authority from Swift. These unauthorized releases caused Swift a cash shortage of around P2 million, for
which respondents should be held liable.19 Swift then retained respondents three land titles until the latter shall have fully
complied with their obligation. It cited as its basis Paragraph XII of the Warehousing Agreement, which states that the
"bond x x x shall answer for whatever obligation the warehouse operator may have with [Swift]." 20
Respondents denied violating the terms of the warehousing agreement. They explained their actions as mere obeisance
to Buhain and Enfestans instructions to release the stocks directly to customers. As proof of these instructions,
respondents presented the handwritten letter they received from Buhain 21 authorizing them to release the stocks directly
to customers. Respondents maintained that Buhain and Enfestan should answer for the cash shortages. Expecting their
explanation to be satisfactory, respondents demanded that Swift return their three land titles. 22 When Swift did not accede
to their demand,23 respondents filed a complaint against Swift for the surrender of their certificates of title with damages 24
Respondents complaint alleged that petitioner is retaining respondents titles without legal justification. They maintained
that the alleged cash shortage is attributable to petitioners negligence in the supervision of its sales personnel.
Respondents claimed actual damages from petitioner consisting of the monthly rentals for the unexpired term of the
contract for the unjustified termination of their warehousing agreement.
Respondents then filed an Amended Complaint.25 They included an additional cause of action, whereby respondents
asserted that petitioner is in possession of respondents cash bond, worth P100,000.00, under their expired trucking
agreement. Respondents argued that petitioner had no right to retain the bond because the trucking agreement had
already expired and respondents did not incur liabilities under the said trucking agreement that may be chargeable to the
cash bond.
Petitioner countered in its Answer that it was respondents breach of the clear written terms of the agreement which
facilitated the unauthorized sales committed by the sales personnel. 26 It was respondents who were well aware that
petitioners sales personnel were not following the procedure set out in the warehousing agreement. It was therefore
incumbent upon them to have alerted petitioner to the matter. Respondents failure to do so constitutes bad faith in the
performance of their contractual obligations.27
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court28
The trial court ruled in favor of respondents and ordered petitioner to return

the three land titles. The RTC held that respondents did not breach the Warehousing Agreement for which their titles may
be answerable. They merely followed the instructions given to them by Swifts sales personnel, which instructions they
had no reason to doubt. Since respondents were first-time warehouse operators, they could not have been presumed to
have any knowledge of the warehouse operating procedures. It was therefore incumbent upon Swift to have conducted
training and seminars for respondents. It was Swifts failure to conduct such trainings for respondents that allowed the
Swift sales personnel to take advantage of the novice warehouse operators. Moreover, Swift should recover their cash
shortages from its own employees who appear to have malversed the same.
In the absence of a breach of contract, Swift was not justified in prematurely terminating the warehouse agreement. For
this, it was ordered by the court to pay respondents the unrealized warehousing fees for the remaining duration of the
contract.
Since Swift did not allege damages incurred pursuant to the trucking agreement, it is not justified in keeping
theP100,000.00 cash bond beyond its purpose. Thus, the trial court ordered petitioner to return respondents cash bond.29
The trial court also ordered petitioner to pay P100,000.00 as attorneys fees and P200,000.00 as moral damages, as well
as costs of suit.30
Petitioner appealed the adverse Decision. It argued that the trial court erred in finding respondents free of any liability
under the warehousing agreement. Respondents were not justified in contravening the written terms of their agreement.
Their contractual breach is clear and their bond, consisting of the three land titles, is properly answerable for the damages
caused to petitioner.1avvphi1
Ruling of the Court of Appeals31
The CA disagreed with petitioner. First, the CA held that petitioner had no basis for terminating the Warehousing
Agreement. The CA observed that petitioner did not bring the alleged contractual breach to respondents attention. Its
silence can be taken as its condonation of respondents acts. 32 Having condoned these acts for several months,
petitioners sudden unilateral termination of the warehouse agreement was tainted with bad faith for which petitioner
should be held liable for damages.33
Second, petitioner failed to prove its allegation that respondents incurred cash shortages that can be charged against the
surrendered titles. The CA noted petitioners utter failure to present the Audit Report, which could have proven the
existence and extent of the cash shortage. Moreover, it failed to present the original or duplicate originals of the WIS.
Weighing the evidence on record, the CA ruled that the shortages appear to be attributable to petitioners employees,
Buhain and Enfestan, not to respondents. Thus, petitioner has no justification for withholding respondents titles and was
ordered to return the same to respondents.34
The CA also found sufficient basis for the trial courts award of moral damages to respondents in the amount
ofP200,000.00.35 The CA, however, deleted the award of attorneys fees to respondents for lack of basis. 36
Hence, this petition.
Petitioners arguments
Petitioner assails the CA Decision that petitioner has no right to withhold respondents land titles.
Petitioner points out that respondent Jose and his bodegero, Vicente, admitted in open court that they issued stocks
directly to customers without a prior written clearance from the petitioner and without obtaining the signature of the sales
personnel on the WIS. Respondents irregular practice constitutes a breach of the contract, which caused substantial
financial losses to petitioner and is chargeable against respondents collateral.37
Petitioner likewise assails the CA Decision for relieving respondents of all the blame and finding petitioners sales
personnel responsible for the incurred cash shortage. Petitioner insists that respondents did not present admissible proof
of the sales personnels culpability. 38
Petitioner maintains that the CA erred in ordering petitioner to return respondents cash bond of P100,000.00 under an
alleged trucking agreement. Petitioner argues that there was no basis for the said Decision given that respondents never
presented such agreement and any proof of the delivery of the cash bond to petitioner. It invoked the Best Evidence Rule

that when the contents of a document are in issue, the best evidence thereof is the original document which contains all
the terms between the contracting parties.39
Respondents arguments
Respondents pray for the dismissal of the petition on the ground that it raises factual issues, which is beyond the province
of a Rule 45 petition for review.40 1avvphil
With respect to the allegation that releasing stocks without prior written authority constitutes a breach of the Warehousing
Agreement, respondents replied that the breach was caused by petitioner itself when it never issued any written authority
for the release of stocks. Moreover, petitioner was content to receive the collections from the sales of respondents
warehouse, without questioning the absence of prior written authorizations. 41
Respondents maintain that petitioner failed to prove respondents liability for cash shortages. The photocopies of the WIS
were inadmissible because petitioner could not adequately explain why the originals were lost. Moreover, petitioner could
not present the audit report on the cash shortages despite its contention that such report exists.42
As for the failure to present the Trucking Agreement in court, respondents argue that petitioner never objected to
respondent Joses testimony regarding the existence of the same and the delivery of the cash bond to petitioner. Thus,
respondents maintain that this is a question of fact that was raised for the first time in the appeal. 43
Issue
Whether the CA erred in its appreciation of the evidence
Our Ruling
This case involves respondents complaint against Swift to surrender their land titles. Swift refused to return the titles on
the ground that they were being held as security for respondents liabilities for their breach of the warehousing agreement.
Respondents denied incurring any liability under the agreement. Thus, at the heart of the case is the issue of whether
respondents committed a breach of the warehousing agreement for which they may be held liable to Swift.
From a reading of the decisions below, it appears that the trial and appellate courts side-stepped this issue of breach.
Both Decisions did not make categorical findings on the matter. Instead, they pronounced that respondents actions,
whether violative of the written contract or not, were justified because petitioner neglected to inform respondents of their
duties under the warehousing agreement and to conduct trainings and seminars to orient respondents to warehouse
operations. According to the lower courts, it was petitioners negligence that made the novice warehouse operators easy
prey to petitioners erring employees, and petitioner should have monitored its employees better to avoid the situation.
The error in the Decisions below is apparent. They failed to decide the main question of whether respondents breached
the contract. It is for this reason that this Court, which generally does not review facts, is pressed to make its own findings
for a proper disposition of the case.
The vinculum that binds respondents and petitioner is their contract, denominated as a warehousing agreement. Under
the said contract, the parties agreed that petitioner will pay respondents a monthly warehousing fee ofP18,000.00, and in
return, respondents will warehouse petitioners stocks and be accountable for all the stocks duly received and released by
them.44 Their contract also required respondents to post a bond to answer for whatever obligations they may have with
petitioner.45
The agreement also provided the procedures that respondents should observe "in order to promote an effective and
efficient warehouse operation."46 For the purpose of this disposition, the relevant procedural provision is Paragraph V, to
wit:
V- RECEIPTS AND ISSUANCE OF STOCKS
The WAREHOUSE OPERATORS shall duly acknowledge all incoming deliveries from [Swift] signing on the
corresponding Delivery Receipts and Waybills.
The WAREHOUSE OPERATORS shall issue stocks, duly documented, to all feeds salesmen assigned in the area, which
stocks may be issued only upon presentment of the clearance to withdraw stocks.

Under no circumstanc[e] that the WAREHOUSE OPERATORS shall issue any stocks to any person, including themselves
without any prior written authority from [Swift]. In any event all stocks withdrawals must pass thru the authorized feeds
salesman of [Swift].47
The foregoing provision of the Warehousing Agreement states that the warehouseman should only release stocks to
Swifts sales personnel who present a clearance to withdraw stocks.
The records reveal that, contrary to this provision, respondents released stocks without the necessary clearance. They
admitted in court that they never required a clearance prior to the release of stocks. Moreover, they admitted that there
were times when they released stocks directly to customers and not to petitioners sales personnel. When asked to
explain his actions which were in contrast to his contractual undertakings, respondent Jose admitted not reading, much
less understanding, the warehouse agreement. He simply followed all the verbal instructions given to him by Buhain and
Enfestan. Thus, respondents breach of Paragraph V of the Warehousing Agreement is clear.
These admissions were ignored by the trial and appellate courts, which seemed to brush off Joses negligence as
understandable because he was a novice in the warehousing business. But ones newness to the business is not an
excuse to violate the clear terms of ones contract. A seasoned businessman such as Jose (who admitted in open court to
having several successful businesses) should have been alert to the dangers of contravening the clear terms of ones
contract. He should not have deviated from the procedure provided in the contract in the absence of any amendment
therein. At the very least, ordinary diligence required him to inquire with the head office whether the changes being
introduced by Buhain or Enfestan were proper or authorized. Respondents total reliance on the word of petitioners sales
personnel, contrary to the written contract, is a clear act of negligence. A contract is the law between the parties and those
who are guilty of negligence in the performance of their obligations are liable for damages. 48
Worse, the real reason why respondent Jose did not notice the dubious nature of the procedures being introduced by the
Swift personnel was his total ignorance of his obligations under the warehousing agreeement. He admitted not reading the
agreement, which was a total abdication of his duties. Unless a contracting party cannot read or does not understand the
language in which the agreement was written, he is presumed to know the import of his contract and is bound
thereby.49 Not having alleged any of the foregoing, respondent Jose has no excuse for his actions. It was his nonchalance
to his contractual duties and obligations, which facilitated the malfeasance of petitioners personnel and exposed
petitioner to undue risks.
Having come to the finding of breach, we come to the determination of respondents liability. Swift maintains that, due to
respondents unauthorized stock releases, it was unable to collect the payments for 4,444 bags of feeds, the price of
which amounts to P2,197,063.00.50 What Swift is trying to recover are actual damages, which is only awarded to the
extent that pecuniary loss had been proven. 51 Unfortunately for Swift, it miserably failed to prove its actual damage.
According to Paragraph IV of the Warehouse Agreement, Swifts "claims x x x against the operators shall be based on
prevailing price list at the time of loss."52 The records show that Swift failed to prove the existence and extent of the
alleged shortages for which respondents are being held liable. It did not even attempt to show in court the prevailing price
of the feeds that respondents released. The least that Swift could have done was to produce the audit report to serve as
basis of its claims against respondents. As it is, Swift only presented the WIS that did not contain the signatures of the
sales personnel, which is only proof that respondents violated paragraph V of the warehouse agreement, but is not
sufficient proof of the damages caused by the violation.
In these situations where there has been a breach of contract but actual damages have not been established, nominal
damages may be awarded to vindicate the injured partys rights. 53 Considering that the respondents did not perform or
even take efforts to fully comply with their duties and obligations under the warehousing agreement, it is only just that they
be ordered to return P150,000.00 as nominal damages which is an approximation of whatever benefit they received from
such agreement.
As for the land titles surrendered by respondents, the Court determines that Swift has no basis for retaining the same as
"collateral for feeds warehousing."54 While the warehousing agreement stipulated that the respondents shall post a bond
(which may be in the form of a property bond), this was merely a future undertaking that did not actually materialize.
Although the respondents delivered their land titles to Swift, they did not actually execute any bond agreement or security
instrument (such as real estate mortgage). In the absence of such bond agreement or security instrument, it cannot be
said that a bond has actually been posted or constituted. Besides, even assuming arguendo that the real properties
served as collateral, petitioner cannot just appropriate them in view of the prohibition against pactum commissorium.55

Considering petitioners wrongful retention of respondents titles, we affirm the lower courts award of moral damages in
favor of respondents. "The person claiming moral damages must prove the existence of bad faith by clear and convincing
evidence for the law always presumes good faith."56 "Bad faith is defined in jurisprudence as a state of mind affirmatively
operating with furtive design or with some motive of self interest or ill will or for ulterior purpose." 57 Respondents were able
to prove that petitioner acted in bad faith in keeping the titles despite its knowledge that there was no bond or real estate
mortgage to justify its retention thereof. Petitioner knew that it needed a real estate mortgage to keep the titles, as shown
by the fact that its officer even went to respondents home to try to obtain their signatures to a deed of real estate
mortgage (without success).58 Despite its failure to obtain such bond, petitioner bull-headedly kept the titles.
The Court, however, finds the sum awarded as moral damages excessive under the circumstances. 59 The Court believes
that the amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages is reasonable and sufficient. Moral damages are not punitive in nature
and not intended to enrich the claimant at the expense of the defendant. 60
As for the cash bond of P100,000.00 still held by petitioner despite the termination of the trucking agreement, the Court
affirms the trial and appellate courts findings that the same has been duly established. Petitioner did not deny receiving
the cash bond. Neither did it allege that it has already returned the cash bond, nor did it allege that respondents incurred
liabilities under the trucking agreement for which the bond may answer. The inevitable conclusion is that it remains
indebted to respondents for the said cash bond. Moreover, such debt was impliedly admitted by petitioner when it stated
in its Answer61 that it had agreed to offset the amount it owes respondent under the cash bond with respondents liability
for breaching the warehousing agreement.
Nevertheless, the Court finds basis for modifying the trial and the appellate courts disposition regarding the interest rate
imposable on the cash bond.62 Since the bond is not a loan or a forbearance of money, the interest rate should only be six
percent (6%) per annum from May 17, 1999,63 which is the date of judicial demand. The interest rate of twelve percent
(12%) per annum shall apply from the finality of judgment until its full satisfaction.64
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The November 15, 2005 Decision of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 73368 is REVERSED AND SET ASIDE insofar as it found SWIFT FOODS, INC.
liable to the spouses Jose Mateo, Jr. and Irene Mateo for actual damages. Instead, the spouses Jose Mateo, Jr. and Irene
Mateo are ordered to PAY SWIFT FOODS, INC. the amount of P150,000.00 by way of NOMINAL DAMAGES, which
amount may be offset (to the extent applicable) against the monetary award in favor of spouses Jose Mateo, Jr. and Irene
Mateo.
The rest of the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATIONS, to wit:
1. The legal interest imposed on the P100,0000.00 cash bond shall be at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum
from May 17, 1999 and at the rate of twelve percent (12%) per annum from the time the judgment of this Court
becomes final and executory until the obligation is fully satisfied;
2. The award of moral damages in favor of spouses Jose Mateo, Jr. and Irene Mateo is REDUCED toP50,000.00.
SO ORDERED.

*Footnotes:
8

Id. The agreement states:


XII BOND TO SECURE FAITHFUL COMPLIANCE
It is agreed and understood that the WAREHOUSE OPERATORS shall post a bond acceptable to [Swift] which
may either be surety bond, or a certificate of time deposit, or a cash bond, or a property bond in the amount of
ONE MILLION (P1,000,000.00) PESOS. In case of surety bond, only surety bonds issued by an accredited
bonding company of [Swift] are acceptable. In case of time deposit, it shall be issued by a major commercial
bank, and that the same shall be properly assigned in favor of [Swift]. Cash bond will earn an annual interest of
10%. In case of property bond, the same shall be subject to the proper appraisal by [Swift].

This bond, in any of the forms mentioned, shall answer for whatever obligation the WAREHOUSE OPERATORS
may have with [Swift]. Notwithstanding the foregoing, [Swift] will not be precluded from bringing any action against
the WAREHOUSE OPERATORS as it may be entitled under the law.
17

Id. at 75. The letter reads thus:

Dear Mr. Mateo:


We are writing to your good office to inform you that we shall terminate our warehousing agreement effective May 13,
1996.
This was due to violation [sic] committed in our Warehousing Contract of Agreement. Violation covers the following
provisions:
Provision I Ownership of Stocks
Provision IV Liability for Stocks Shortage
Provision V Receipts and Issuance of Stocks
The monthly rental of P18,000.00 per month shall likewise be on hold starting April & May, this shall be applied to the
three months advance deposit we have done last year. May we also request that the remaining P18,000.00 from the 3
months advance be return [sic] to SFI.
Thank you very much for the kind support and understanding.
Very truly yours,
(Signed)
Wilfredo H. Pacres
National Feeds Sales Manager
18

Id. at 190. The pertinent paragraph is reproduced below:


V RECEIPTS AND ISSUANCE OF STOCKS
The WAREHOUSE OPERATORS shall duly acknowledge all incoming deliveries from [Swift] signing on the
corresponding Delivery Receipts and Waybills.
The WAREHOUSE OPERATORS shall issue stocks, duly documented, to all feeds salesmenassigned in the
area, which stock may be issued only upon presentment of the clearance to withdraw stocks.
Under no circumstances that the WAREHOUSE OPERATORS shall issue any stocks to any person, including
themselves without any prior written authority from [Swift]. In any event all stocks withdrawals must pass thru the
authorized feeds salesman of [Swift]. (Emphasis supplied.)

46

Id. The whole provision is reproduced below:


XIV- OTHER PROVISIONS
It is agreed and understood that all existing Standard Operating Procedures, Circulars and Directives, and those
which may hereafter be issued by [Swift] shall be observed by the WAREHOUSE OPERATORS in order to
promote an effective and efficient warehouse operations [sic], [Swift] shall, from time to time, provide the
WAREHOUSE OPERATORS such Operating Procedures, Circulars, and Directives.

48

Civil Code, Article 1170.

49

Civil Code, Article 1332.

51

Civil Code, Article 2199.

53

Civil Code, Article 2221; Lufthansa German Airlines v. Court of Appeals, 313 Phil. 503, 526 (1995).

59

Civil Code, Article 2216.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. ROSENDO REBUCAN y LAMSIN


G.R. No. 182551

July 27, 2011

Assailed before this Court is the Decision1 dated August 21, 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No.
00282, which modified the Decision2 dated November 3, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Carigara, Leyte,
Branch 13, in Criminal Case No. 4232. In the Decision of the Court of Appeals, the accused-appellant Rosendo Rebucan
y Lamsin was adjudged guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two (2) separate counts of murder and was sentenced to suffer
the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count.
On January 23, 2003, the accused-appellant was charged with the crime of double murder in an Information, the
accusatory portion of which reads:
That on or about the 6th day of November, 2002, in the Municipality of Carigara, Province of Leyte, Philippines and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with deliberate intent to kill, with treachery and evident
premeditation and abuse of superior strength, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and
wound FELIPE LAGERA Y OBERO, 65 years old and RANIL TAGPIS Y LAGERA, 1 year old, with the use of a long bolo
(sundang) which the accused had provided himself for the purpose, thereby inflicting upon Felipe Lagera:
Hypovolemic shock, massive blood loss and multiple hacking wounds upon Ranil Tagpis:
Hypovolemic shock, massive blood loss and hacking wound, head[,] which wounds caused the death of Felipe Lagera y
Obera and Ranil Tagpis y Lagera, immediately thereafter.3
When arraigned on February 10, 2003, the accused-appellant pleaded not guilty to the charge. 4 Trial, thereafter, ensued.
The prosecution presented as witnesses: (1) Dr. Ma. Bella V. Profetana, Municipal Health Officer of Carigara, Leyte; (2)
Carmela Tagpis, the 5-year-old granddaughter of the victim Felipe Lagera and sister of the victim Ranil Tagpis, Jr.; 5 (3)
Adoracion Lagera, the wife of Felipe Lagera; and (4) Alma Tagpis, the daughter of Felipe Lagera and mother of Ranil
Tagpis, Jr.
Dr. Profetana testified that she conducted a post-mortem examination on the body of the victim Felipe Lagera on
November 6, 2002. She stated that Felipe sustained three hacking wounds, the first of which was located at his right arm
and was about 23x2x4 centimeters. The said wound was fatal and could have been caused by a sharp instrument such as
a bolo. The second wound was located at Felipes "nose maxillary area," 6 measuring 13 centimeters, with an inverted C
shape. The second wound was not fatal and could have been caused by a sharp-edged instrument like a bolo. The third
wound was located at Felipes left arm and was measured as 9x1x1.5 centimeters. The said wound was fatal and could
have likewise been caused by a sharp-edged instrument. Dr. Profetana concluded that the causes of death of Felipe were
hypovolemic shock, massive blood loss and multiple hacking wounds. She also conducted a post-mortem examination on
the body of Ranil Tagpis, Jr. on the aforementioned date. The results revealed that Ranil sustained a hacking wound at
the "fronto-temporal area"7with a skull fracture. In the case of Ranil, the cause of death was "hypovolemic shock
secondary to massive blood loss secondary to [the] hacking wound to the head." 8 The instrument that was most likely
used was sharp-edged like a bolo.9
Carmela Tagpis testified as an eyewitness to the incident in question. She pointed to the accused-appellant as the "Bata
Endong"10 (Uncle Endong) who hacked her grandfather and brother. She stated that Ranil was hit in the forehead, while
Felipe was hit on the face, the left shoulder and the right shoulder. After Felipe was hacked by the accused-appellant, the
former was still able to walk outside of his house, to the direction of the coconut tree and thereafter fell to the ground.
Carmela said that she saw that a long bolo was used in the killing of Felipe and Ranil. She related that Felipe also owned
a bolo but he was not able to use the same when he was attacked. She was then inside the house with Felipe and her two
younger brothers, Jericho and Bitoy (Ranil). She was sitting about four meters away when the hacking incident occurred
indoors.11
On cross-examination, Carmela stated that at the time of the incident, she was playing with a toy camera inside the house
and she was situated beside a chicken cage, near a bench. Felipe was also there near the bench and he was carrying
Ranil in his right arm. When asked whether the accused-appellant came inside the house in a sudden manner, Carmela
answered in the affirmative. She insisted that Ranil was indeed carried by Felipe when the accused-appellant entered the
house. She said that no fight or altercation occurred between Felipe and the accused-appellant. After Felipe was hacked,
he immediately ran outside of the house. Carmela and Jericho then ran to the back of the house. 12

Adoracion Lagera testified that at 4:00 p.m. on November 6, 2002, she was at the house of a certain Justiniano Rance.
After arriving there, she was fetched by a little boy who told her to go home because Felipe had been hacked. She ran
towards the direction of her house. When she got there, she saw the lifeless body of Felipe sprawled on the ground. She
then went inside the house and found her daughter, Alma Tagpis, cuddling the body of Ranil whose head was wounded.
She told Alma to look for a motor vehicle to bring the child to the hospital. She also found out that the other two children,
Carmela and Jericho, hid when they saw Felipe being hacked. When she asked them who went to their house, Carmela
told her that it was the accused-appellant who entered their house and hacked the victims.13
Alma Tagpis testified that at about 4:00 p.m. on November 6, 2002, she was in Brgy. Sogod, having their palay (unhusked
rice grain) milled. Shortly thereafter, she went home and proceeded to the house of her father, Felipe, where she left her
children. She then met a person looking for her mother who was about to tell the latter that Felipe was hacked. When she
rushed to Felipes house, she saw him lying in the grassy place, wounded and motionless. She asked Felipe who hacked
him, but he was not able to answer anymore. She went inside the house and saw blood on the floor and the feet of her
son Ranil. Thinking that the killer was still inside, she went to the back of the house and pulled a slot of board on the wall
so she could get inside. Upon seeing the body of Ranil, she took him and ran towards the road. She was able to bring
Ranil to the hospital, but the doctor already pronounced him dead. Her other two children, Carmela and Jericho, soon
arrived at the hospital with the police. When she asked them who killed Felipe, Carmela answered that it was the
accused-appellant.14
Thereafter, the prosecution formally offered the following documentary evidence, to wit: (1) Exhibit A the Post-mortem
Examination Report on Felipe;15 (2) Exhibit B the sketch of the human anatomy indicating the wounds sustained by
Felipe;16 (3) Exhibit C the Certificate of Death of Felipe;17 (4) Exhibit D the Post-mortem Examination Report on
Ranil;18 (5) Exhibit E the sketch of the human anatomy indicating the wounds sustained by Ranil;19 and (6) Exhibit F
the Certificate of Death of Ranil.20
The defense, on the other hand, presented the following witnesses, namely: (1) Raymond Rance, the stepson of the
accused-appellant; (2) Renerio Arminal,21 the barangay chairperson of Brgy. Canlampay, Carigara, Leyte; (3) Arnulfo
Alberca, a member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) stationed at Carigara, Leyte; and (4) the accused-appellant
Rosendo Rebucan y Lamsin.
Raymond Rance testified that his mothers name is Marites Rance. The accused-appellant is not his biological father but
the former helped in providing for his basic needs. He narrated that on the night of July 18, 2002, he saw Felipe Lagera
inside their house. Felipe placed himself on top of Raymonds mother, who was lying down. Raymond and his younger
sister, Enda, were then sleeping beside their mother and they were awakened. His mother kept pushing Felipe away and
she eventually succeeded in driving him out. In the evening of July 20, 2002, at about 11:00 p.m., Raymond recounted
that he saw Felipes son, Artemio alias Timboy, inside their house. Timboy was able to go upstairs and kept trying to place
himself on top of Raymonds mother. The latter got mad and pushed Timboy away. She even pushed him down the stairs.
The accused-appellant was working in Manila when the aforesaid incidents happened. Raymond said that his mother
thereafter left for Manila. Subsequently, he saw the accused-appellant at the house of a certain Bernie, several days after
the accused-appellant arrived in Leyte. He told the accused-appellant about the incidents involving Felipe and Timboy. On
November 6, 2002, Raymond and the accused were already living in the same house. On the said date, the accusedappellant left their house after they had lunch and he told Raymond that he was going to call the latters mother. Raymond
testified that the accused-appellant is a good man and was supportive of his family. He also stated that the accusedappellant seldom drank liquor and even if he did get drunk, he did not cause any trouble.22
Renerio Arminal testified that on November 6, 2002, the accused-appellant surrendered to him. The latter came to him
alone and told him that he (the accused-appellant) fought with Felipe Lagera. Arminal then ordered the human rights
action officer, Ricky Irlandez, and the chief tanod, Pedro Oledan, to bring the accused-appellant to the police station.
Afterwards, the police officers came to his place and he accompanied them to the house of Felipe. 23
Arnulfo Alberca was likewise called upon to the witness stand to prove that the voluntary surrender of the accusedappellant was entered into the records of the police blotter. He was asked to read in open court the Police Blotter Entry
No. 5885 dated November 6, 2002, which recorded the fact of voluntary surrender of the accused-appellant. His testimony
was no longer presented, however, since the prosecution already admitted the contents of the blotter. 24
The accused-appellant testified that he arrived in Carigara, Leyte from Manila on August 15, 2002. He went to the house
of his elder brother, Hilario, to look for his children. There, he learned that his wife went to Manila and his brother was
taking care of his two children and his stepson, Raymond. On November 2, 2002, he saw Raymond at the place of his
friend, Bernie Donaldo. He asked Raymond why the latters mother went to Manila and he was told that, while he was still
in Manila, Felipe and Timboy Lagera went to their house and tried to place themselves on top of his wife. He then said
that he harbored ill feelings towards the said men but he was able to control the same for the sake of his children. On

November 6, 2002, at about 2:00 p.m., he went to the house of barangay chairperson Arminal to place a call to his wife
who was in Manila. He was carrying a bolo at that time since he was using the same to cut cassava stems in his farm.
When he talked to his wife, she confirmed that she was sexually molested by Felipe and Timboy. Thereafter, as the
accused-appellant proceeded to go home, it rained heavily so he first sought shelter at the place of his friend, Enok. The
latter was drinking gin and he was offered a drink. After staying there and drinking for half an hour, the accused-appellant
decided to go home. Afterwards, he remembered that he had to buy kerosene so he went to the store of Felipe Lagera. 25
The accused-appellant further testified that when he reached the house of Felipe, the latter was feeding chickens. When
Felipe asked him what was his business in going there, he confronted Felipe about the alleged sexual abuse of his wife.
Felipe allegedly claimed that the accused-appellant had a bad purpose for being there and that the latter wanted to start a
fight. Accused-appellant denied the accusation and responded that Felipe should not get angry, as it was he (Felipe) who
committed a wrong against him and his wife. Felipe allegedly got mad and hurled the cover of a chicken cage at him, but
he was able to parry it with his hand. The accused-appellant then drew his long bolo and hacked Felipe on the left side of
the abdomen, as the latter was already turning and about to run to the house. He also went inside the house since Felipe
might get hold of a weapon. When they were both inside and he was about to deliver a second hacking blow, Felipe held
up and used the child Ranil as a shield. As the second hacking blow was delivered suddenly, he was not able to withdraw
the same anymore such that the blow landed on Ranil. When he saw that he hit the child, he got angry and delivered a
third hacking blow on Felipe, which landed on the right side of the latters neck. Thereafter, Felipe ran outside. He
followed Felipe and hacked him again, which blow hit the victims upper left arm. At that time, Felipe was already on the
yard of his house and was about to run towards the road. He then left and surrendered to the barangay chairperson.26
During his cross-examination, the accused-appellant said that he was a bit tipsy when he proceeded to Felipes house,
but he was not drunk. When Felipe ran inside the house after the first hacking blow, the accused-appellant stated that he
had no intention to back out because he was thinking that the victim might get a gun and use the same against him. The
accused-appellant also asserted that when he was about to deliver the second hacking blow, Felipe simultaneously took
Ranil who was sitting on a sack and used him to shield the blow. There was a long bolo nearby but Felipe was not able to
take hold of the same because the accused-appellant was chasing him. He admitted that he had a plan to kill Felipe but
claimed that when he arrived at the latters house on the day of the attack, he had no intention to kill him. 27
The defense also presented the following documentary evidence: (1) Exhibit 1 the Police Blotter Entry No. 5885 dated
November 6, 2002;28 and (2) Exhibit 2 the Civil Marriage Contract of Rosendo Rebucan and Marites Rance. 29
On November 3, 2003, the RTC rendered a decision, convicting the accused-appellant of the crime of double murder. The
trial court elucidated thus:
[In view of] the vivid portrayal of Raymond on how [the wife of the accused] was sexually abused by the father and son
Lagera, the accused hatched a decision to avenge his wifes sexual molestation. Days had passed, but this decision to kill
Felipe did not wither, instead it became stronger, that on the 6th of November 2002, he armed himself with a sharp long
bolo known as "sundang" and went to Brgy. Canlampay, Carigara, Leyte where the victim live[d]. Fueled by hatred and
the spirit of London gin after consuming one bottle with his compadre "Enok", he decided to execute his evil deeds by
going to the house of Felipe Lagera, in the guise of buying kerosene and once inside the house hacked and wounded the
victim, Felipe Lagera who was then holding in his arm his grandson, one and half years 1 old, Ramil Tagpis, Jr.
The manner by which the accused adopted in killing the victim, Felipe Lagera, and Ramil Tagpis, Jr. was a premeditated
decision and executed with treachery.
xxxx
There is credence to the testimony of the minor eyewitness Carmela Tagpis that the victim, Felipe was holding in his arms
her younger brother, Ramil Tagpis, Jr. inside his house, when the accused entered, and without any warning or
provocation coming from the victim, the accused immediately delivered several hacking blows on the victim giving no
regard to the innocent child in the arms of Lagera. With this precarious situation, the victim who was unarmed has no
opportunity to put up his defense against the unlawful aggression of the accused, moreso, to retaliate. Moreover, what
defense could an innocent 1 1/2 years old Ramil Tagpis, Jr. put up against the armed and superior strength of the
accused, but to leave his fate to God.
The circumstance that the attack was sudden and unexpected and the victims, unarmed, were caught totally unprepared
to defend themselves qualifies the crime committed as murder. x x x.

After the incident, the accused Rosendo Rebucan immediately went to the house of Brgy. Chairman, Renerio Arcenal at
sitio Palali, Brgy. Canlampay, Carigara, Leyte, to surrender, because he killed Felipe Lagera and Ramil Tagpis, Jr. The
Brgy. Chairman instructed his Brgy. Human Rights Action Officer, Ricky Irlandez and his Chief Tanod, Pedro Oledan to
bring Rosendo to the Police Authorities of Carigara, Leyte. This fact of voluntary surrender was corroborated by Police
Officer Arnulfo Alberca, who presented to Court the police blotter, under entry No. 5885, dated November 6, 2002, of the
PNP, Carigara, Leyte.
Clearly, the act of the accused in surrendering to the authorities showed his intent to submit himself unconditionally to
them, to save the authorities from trouble and expenses that they would incur for his capture. For this reason, he has
complied with the requisites of voluntary surrender as a mitigating circumstance[.] x x x.
From the circumstances obtaining, the mitigating circumstances of admission and voluntary surrender credited to the
accused are not sufficient to offset the aggravating circumstances of: a) evident premeditation; b) treachery (alevosia); c)
dwelling the crime was committed at the house of the victim; d) intoxication the accused fueled himself with the spirit
of London gin prior to the commission of the crime; e) abuse of superior strength; and f) minority, in so far as the child
victim, Ramil Tagpis, Jr. is concerned, pursuant to Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code as amended. x x x.
xxxx
In the mind of the Court, the prosecution has substantially established the quantum of evidence to prove the guilt of the
accused beyond reasonable doubt.30
The RTC, thus, decreed:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, pursuant to Sec. 6, Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended and further
amended by R.A. 7659 (The Death Penalty Law), the Court found accused ROSENDO REBUCAN y LAMSIN, GUILTY
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of DOUBLE MURDER charged under the information and sentenced to suffer the
maximum penalty of DEATH, and to pay civil indemnity to the heirs of Felipe Lagera and Ramil Tagpis, Jr. in the amount
of Seventy-Five Thousand (P75,000.00) Pesos for each victim and moral damages in the amount of Seventy-Five
Thousand (P75,000.00) Pesos to each; and
Pay the Cost.31 (Emphases ours.)
The case was originally elevated to this Court on automatic review and the same was docketed as G.R. No.
161706.32 The parties, thereafter, submitted their respective appeal briefs.33 In our Resolution34 dated July 19, 2005, we
ordered the transfer of the case to the Court of Appeals for appropriate disposition, pursuant to our ruling in People v.
Mateo.35 Before the appellate court, the case was docketed as CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 00282.
The Court of Appeals promulgated the assailed decision on August 21, 2007, modifying the judgment of the RTC. The
appellate court adopted the position of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) that the felonious acts of the accusedappellant resulted in two separate crimes of murder as the evidence of the prosecution failed to prove the existence of a
complex crime of double murder. The Court of Appeals subscribed to the findings of the RTC that the killing of Felipe
Lagera was attended by the aggravating circumstances of treachery and evident premeditation. With respect to the
ensuant mitigating circumstances, the Court of Appeals credited the circumstance of voluntary surrender in favor of the
accused-appellant, but rejected the appreciation of intoxication, immediate vindication of a grave offense and voluntary
confession. As for the death of Ranil, the appellate court also ruled that the same was attended by the aggravating
circumstance of treachery and the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender. Thus, the Court of Appeals disposed of
the case as follows:
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the Decision appealed from is hereby MODIFIED. As modified, accusedappellant is hereby adjudged guilty beyond reasonable doubt for two (2) counts of murder for the deaths of Felipe Lagera
and Ramil Tagpis, Jr., and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count of murder he
has committed.
The award of civil indemnity is reduced to P50,000.00 for each victim; the award of moral damages is likewise reduced
to P50,000.00 for each victim. Further, exemplary damages in the amount of P25,000.00 is awarded to the heirs of each
victim.36
The accused-appellant filed a Notice of Appeal37 of the above decision. In a Resolution38 dated February 6, 2008, the
Court of Appeals ordered that the records of the case be forwarded to this Court.

On June 18, 2008, we resolved to accept the appeal and required the parties to file their respective supplemental briefs, if
they so desire, within thirty days from notice.39 Thereafter, both parties manifested that they were adopting the briefs they
filed before the Court of Appeals and will no longer file their respective supplemental briefs. 40
The accused-appellant sets forth the following assignment of errors:
I
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT FOR THE CRIME OF MURDER.
II
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FAILING TO APPRECIATE THE MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE OF
IMMEDIATE VINDICATION OF A GRAVE OFFENSE IN FAVOR OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT.
III
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FAILING TO APPRECIATE INTOXICATION AS A MITIGATING
CIRCUMSTANCE IN FAVOR OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT.
IV
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN APPRECIATING THE AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES OF
DWELLING, ABUSE OF SUPERIOR STRENGTH AND MINORITY.41
The accused-appellant admits to the killing of Felipe but denies that the crime was committed with treachery and evident
premeditation. He argues that there is doubt as to the presence of treachery given that there was no eyewitness who
categorically stated that the accused-appellant attacked the victims suddenly, thereby depriving them of the means to
defend themselves. He brushed aside the testimony of Carmela Tagpis, insisting that she was not in a position to say that
there was no altercation between him and Felipe, which could have put the latter on guard. The prosecution allegedly
failed to prove that the accused-appellant intentionally waited for the time when Felipe would be defenseless before
initiating the attack. The fact that he voluntarily surrendered to the barangay chairperson and the police and admitted the
killings supposedly showed that it was not intentional and he did not consciously adopt the method of attack upon the two
victims. The accused-appellant similarly rejects the finding of the RTC that there was evident premeditation on his part
since the prosecution failed to prove that he deliberately planned the killing of Felipe.
The accused-appellant maintains that at the time of the incident, he was still unable to control his anger as he just recently
discovered that his wife was sexually abused by Felipe and the latters son, Timboy. He also avers that he was a bit
intoxicated when the crime took place so that he was not in total control of himself. He claims that he is not a habitual
drinker and that he merely consumed the alcohol prior to the incident in order to appease his friend. He likewise argues
that the aggravating circumstance of dwelling should not have been appreciated inasmuch as the same was not alleged in
the information. Moreover, the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength cannot be appreciated since he did
not deliberately harm or attack Ranil Tagpis, Jr. and the death of the latter was accidental. The accused-appellant prays
that he should only be found guilty of the crime of homicide with the mitigating circumstances of voluntary surrender,
immediate vindication of a grave offense and intoxication.
The appeal lacks merit.
Basic is the rule that in order to affirm the conviction of an accused person, the prosecution must establish his guilt
beyond reasonable doubt. Proof beyond reasonable doubt does not mean such a degree of proof as, excluding possibility
of error, produces absolute certainty. Only moral certainty is required, or that degree of proof which produces conviction in
an unprejudiced mind.42 Ultimately, what the law simply requires is that any proof against the accused must survive the
test of reason for it is only when the conscience is satisfied that the perpetrator of the crime is the person on trial should
there be a judgment of conviction.43 A finding of guilt must rest on the strength of the prosecutions own evidence, not on
the weakness or even absence of evidence for the defense.44
In the instant case, the evidence of the prosecution established the fact that the killings of Felipe and Ranil were attended
by treachery, thus qualifying the same to murder.

According to Article 24845 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, any person who shall kill another shall be guilty of
murder if the same was committed with the attendant circumstance of treachery, among other things, and that the
situation does not fall within the provisions of Article 246.46 There is treachery when the offender commits any of the
crimes against the person, employing means, methods, or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specially
to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make.47 The
essence of treachery is a deliberate and sudden attack, offering an unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist
or to escape. There is treachery even if the attack is frontal if it is sudden and unexpected, with the victims having no
opportunity to repel it or defend themselves, for what is decisive in treachery is that the execution of the attack made it
impossible for the victims to defend themselves or to retaliate.48
In the case at bar, the RTC gave more weight to the testimony of Carmela Tagpis in establishing the presence of
treachery in the manner with which the accused-appellant carried out the violent killings of Felipe and Ranil. In this regard,
we reiterate the established doctrine articulated in People v. De Guzman49 that:
In the resolution of the factual issues, the court relies heavily on the trial court for its evaluation of the witnesses and their
credibility. Having the opportunity to observe them on the stand, the trial judge is able to detect that sometimes thin line
between fact and prevarication that will determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. That line may not be discernible
from a mere reading of the impersonal record by the reviewing court. x x x.50
Moreover, we have oftentimes ruled that the Court will not interfere with the judgment of the trial court in determining the
credibility of witnesses unless there appears in the record some fact or circumstance of weight and influence which has
been overlooked or the significance of which has been misinterpreted.51
Carmela testified as follows:
PROS. TORREVILLAS:
Q: Do you have a brother named Ranil Tagpis, Jr?
A: Yes sir.
Q: Where is he now?
A: He is dead.
Q: Do you know the circumstance of his death?
A: Yes sir.
Q: Why did he die?
A: Because he was hacked by Bata Endong.
Q: Do you know also your grandfather Felipe Lagera, Jr?
A: Yes sir.
Q: Where is he now?
A: He is dead also.
Q: Why did he die?
A: Because he was hacked by Bata Endong.
Q: Is the person your Bata Endong here in the court room who hacked your brother and your grandfather?
A: Yes sir.

COURT INTERPRETER:
Witness pointing to a person when asked of his name identified himself as Rosendo Rebucan.
xxxx
Q: What instrument did the accused use in killing your [brother and] your grandfather?
A: Long bolo, sundang.
Q: Were you able to see that long bolo?
A: Yes sir.
xxxx
Q: Was your grandfather armed that time?
A: He has his own bolo but he placed it on the holder of the long bolo.
Q: Was that long bolo used by your grandfather?
A: No sir.
xxxx
Q: How far were you to the incident, when this hacking incident happened?
A: (witness indicating a distance of about 4 meters).
xxxx
COURT:
Cross.
ATTY. DICO:
Q: You stated awhile ago that your brother Jericho, Bitoy [Ranil] and you and your papo Felipe were at the house
of your papo Felipe?
A: Yes sir.
Q: You mean to say that there were no other persons present in that house other than you four (4)?
A: Yes sir.
xxxx
Q: So, you were playing that toy camera inside the room of your papo Felipe?
A: No sir, I was playing then at the side of the chicken cage.
Q: Is that chicken cage was inside or outside the house of your papo Felipes house?
A: Inside the house of my grandfather.

xxxx
Q: Was your brother Ranil carried by your grandfather Felipe?
A: Yes sir.
He was carried by his right arm.
Q: So, you mean to say that your uncle Endo went inside, it was so sudden?
A: Yes sir.
Q: Because it was sudden, you were not able to do anything, what did you do?
A: I then cried at that time.
xxxx
Q: But you are sure that when your uncle Endo entered as you said that your brother Ramil was carried by your
papo Felipe?
A: Yes sir.
Q: Did your uncle Endo and your papo Felipe fight or was there an altercation?
A: No sir.52
As can be gleaned from the above testimony, Carmela firmly and categorically pointed to the accused-appellant as the
person who entered the house of Felipe. She clearly stated that the attack was not preceded by any fight or altercation
between the accused-appellant and Felipe. Without any provocation, the accused-appellant suddenly delivered fatal
hacking blows to Felipe. The abruptness of the unexpected assault rendered Felipe defenseless and deprived him of any
opportunity to repel the attack and retaliate. As Felipe was carrying his grandson Ranil, the child unfortunately suffered
the same fatal end as that of his grandfather. In the killing of Ranil, the trial court likewise correctly appreciated the
existence of treachery. The said circumstance may be properly considered, even when the victim of the attack was not the
one whom the defendant intended to kill, if it appears from the evidence that neither of the two persons could in any
manner put up defense against the attack or become aware of it.53 Furthermore, the killing of a child is characterized by
treachery even if the manner of assault is not shown. For the weakness of the victim due to his tender years results in the
absence of any danger to the accused. 54
Although the accused-appellant painted a contrasting picture on the matter, i.e., that the attack was preceded by a fight
between him and Felipe, the Court is less inclined to be persuaded by the accused-appellants version of the events in
question. Indeed, the Court has ruled that the testimony of children of sound mind is "more correct and truthful than that of
older persons" and that "children of sound mind are likely to be more observant of incidents which take place within their
view than older persons, and their testimonies are likely more correct in detail than that of older persons."55 In the instant
case, Carmela was cross-examined by the defense counsel but she remained steadfast and consistent in her statements.
Thus, the Court fails to see any reason to distrust the testimony of Carmela.
Incidentally, the testimony of the accused-appellant not only contradicts that of Carmela, but some portions thereof do not
also conform to the documentary evidence admitted by the trial court. The testimony of Dr. Profetana and the sketch of
the human anatomy of Felipe, which was marked as Exhibit B for the prosecution, stated that Felipe sustained three
hacking wounds that were found on his right arm, at his "nose maxillary area"56and on his left arm. On the other hand, the
accused-appellant testified that he delivered four hacking blows on Felipe, the three of which landed on the left side of the
victims abdomen, the right side of his neck and on his upper left arm. When confronted on the said apparently conflicting
statements, the accused-appellant did not offer any explanation.57
Therefore, on the strength of the evidence of the prosecution, we sustain the ruling of the RTC and the Court of Appeals
that the circumstance of treachery qualified the killings of Felipe and Ranil to murder.

The Court finds erroneous, however, the trial courts and the Court of Appeals appreciation of the aggravating
circumstance of evident premeditation. For evident premeditation to aggravate a crime, there must be proof, as clear as
the evidence of the crime itself, of the following elements: (1) the time when the offender determined to commit the crime;
(2) an act manifestly indicating that he clung to his determination; and (3) sufficient lapse of time, between determination
and execution, to allow himself to reflect upon the consequences of his act. 58 It is not enough that evident premeditation is
suspected or surmised, but criminal intent must be evidenced by notorious outward acts evidencing determination to
commit the crime. In order to be considered an aggravation of the offense, the circumstance must not merely be
"premeditation"; it must be "evident premeditation."59 In the case at bar, the evidence of the prosecution failed to establish
any of the elements of evident premeditation since the testimonies they presented pertained to the period of the actual
commission of the crime and the events that occurred thereafter. The prosecution failed to adduce any evidence that
tended to establish the exact moment when the accused-appellant devised a plan to kill Felipe, that the latter clung to his
determination to carry out the plan and that a sufficient time had lapsed before he carried out his plan.
Likewise, the trial court erred in appreciating the aggravating circumstances of abuse of superior strength, dwelling,
minority and intoxication. When the circumstance of abuse of superior strength concurs with treachery, the former is
absorbed in the latter.60 On the other hand, dwelling, minority and intoxication cannot be appreciated as aggravating
circumstances in the instant case considering that the same were not alleged and/or specified in the information that was
filed on January 23, 2003. Under the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, which took effect on December 1, 2000, a
generic aggravating circumstance will not be appreciated by the Court unless alleged in the information. This requirement
is laid down in Sections 8 and 9 of Rule 110, to wit:
SEC. 8. Designation of the offense. - The complaint or information shall state the designation of the offense given by the
statute, aver the acts or omissions constituting the offense, and specify its qualifying and aggravating circumstances. If
there is no designation of the offense, reference shall be made to the section or subsection of the statute punishing it.
SEC. 9. Cause of the accusation. - The acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense and the qualifying and
aggravating circumstances must be stated in ordinary and concise language and not necessarily in the language used in
the statute but in terms sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is being charged as
well as its qualifying and aggravating circumstances and for the court to pronounce judgment.
With regard to the conflicting rulings of the RTC and the Court of Appeals vis--vis the nature of crimes committed, we
agree with the appellate court that the accused-appellant should be held liable for two (2) separate counts of murder, not
the complex crime of double murder.
Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code provides that "[w]hen a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave
felonies, or when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other, the penalty for the most serious crime shall
be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period." There are, thus, two kinds of complex crimes. The first is
known as compound crime, or when a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies. The second is
known as complex crime proper, or when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other. 61
The Court finds that there is a paucity of evidence to prove that the instant case falls under any of the two classes of
complex crimes. The evidence of the prosecution failed to clearly and indubitably establish the fact that Felipe and Ranil
were killed by a single fatal hacking blow from the accused-appellant. The eyewitness testimony of Carmela did not
contain any detail as to this material fact. To a greater degree, it was neither proven that the murder of Felipe was
committed as a necessary means for committing and/or facilitating the murder of Ranil and vice versa. As the factual
milieu of the case at bar excludes the application of Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, the accused-appellant should
be made liable for two separate and distinct acts of murder. In the past, when two crimes have been improperly
designated as a complex crime, this Court has affirmed the conviction of the accused for the component crimes
separately instead of the complex crime.62
In the determination of the penalty to be imposed on the accused-appellant, we uphold the trial courts ruling that the
mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender should be appreciated. For voluntary surrender to mitigate criminal liability,
the following elements must concur: (1) the offender has not been actually arrested; (2) the offender surrenders himself to
a person in authority or to the latters agent; and (3) the surrender is voluntary. 63To be sufficient, the surrender must be
spontaneous and made in a manner clearly indicating the intent of the accused to surrender unconditionally, either
because they acknowledge their guilt or wish to save the authorities the trouble and the expense that will necessarily be
incurred in searching for and capturing them.64 The accused-appellant has duly established in this case that, after the
attack on Felipe and Ranil, he surrendered unconditionally to the barangay chairperson and to the police on his own
volition and before he was actually arrested. The prosecution also admitted this circumstance of voluntary surrender
during trial.

We reject, however, the accused-appellants contention that the trial court erred in failing to appreciate the mitigating
circumstances of intoxication and immediate vindication of a grave offense.
The third paragraph of Article 15 of the Revised Penal Code provides that the intoxication of the offender shall be taken
into consideration as a mitigating circumstance when the offender has committed a felony in a state of intoxication, if the
same is not habitual or subsequent to the plan to commit said felony; but when the intoxication is habitual or intentional, it
shall be considered as an aggravating circumstance. The Court finds that the accused-appellant is not entitled to the
mitigating circumstance of intoxication since his own testimony failed to substantiate his claim of drunkenness during the
incident in question. During his cross-examination, the accused-appellant himself positively stated that he was only a bit
tipsy but not drunk when he proceeded to the house of Felipe.65He cannot, therefore, be allowed to make a contrary
assertion on appeal and pray for the mitigation of the crimes he committed on the basis thereof.
As regards the mitigating circumstance of immediate vindication of a grave offense, the same cannot likewise be
appreciated in the instant case. Article 13, paragraph 5 of the Revised Penal Code requires that the act be "committed in
the immediate vindication of a grave offense to the one committing the felony (delito), his spouse, ascendants,
descendants, legitimate, natural or adopted brothers or sisters, or relatives by affinity within the same degrees." The
established rule is that there can be no immediate vindication of a grave offense when the accused had sufficient time to
recover his equanimity.66 In the case at bar, the accused-appellant points to the alleged attempt of Felipe and Timboy
Lagera on the virtue of his wife as the grave offense for which he sought immediate vindication. He testified that he
learned of the same from his stepson, Raymond, on November 2, 2002. Four days thereafter, on November 6, 2002, the
accused-appellant carried out the attack that led to the deaths of Felipe and Ranil. To our mind, a period of four days was
sufficient enough a time within which the accused-appellant could have regained his composure and self-control. Thus,
the said mitigating circumstance cannot be credited in favor of the accused-appellant.
Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, prescribes the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death for the crime of
murder. In this case, apart from the qualifying circumstance of treachery, the prosecution failed to prove the existence of
any other aggravating circumstance in both the murders of Felipe and Ranil. On the other hand, as the presence of the
lone mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender was properly established in both instances, Article 63, paragraph 3 of
the Revised Penal Code67 mandates that the proper penalty to be imposed on the accused-appellant is reclusion perpetua
for each of the two counts of murder.
Anent the award of damages, when death occurs due to a crime, the following may be recovered: (1) civil indemnity ex
delicto for the death of the victim; (2) actual or compensatory damages; (3) moral damages; (4) exemplary damages; (5)
attorney's fees and expenses of litigation; and (6) interest, in proper cases. 68
The RTC awarded in favor of the heirs of Felipe and Ranil the amounts of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity andP75,000.00
as moral damages for each set of heirs. The Court of Appeals, on the other hand, reduced the aforesaid amounts
to P50,000.00 and further awarded the amount of P25,000.00 as exemplary damages to the heirs of the victim.
Civil indemnity is mandatory and granted to the heirs of the victim without need of proof other than the commission of the
crime.69 Similarly, moral damages may be awarded by the court for the mental anguish suffered by the heirs of the victim
by reason of the latters death. The purpose for making such an award is not to enrich the heirs of the victim but to
compensate them for injuries to their feelings.70 The award of exemplary damages, on the other hand, is provided under
Articles 2229-2230 of the Civil Code, viz:
Art. 2229. Exemplary or corrective damages are imposed, by way of example or correction for the public good, in addition
to the moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages.
Art. 2230. In criminal offenses, exemplary damages as a part of the civil liability may be imposed when the crime was
committed with one or more aggravating circumstances. Such damages are separate and distinct from fines and shall be
paid to the offended party.
In People v. Dalisay,71 the Court clarified that "[b]eing corrective in nature, exemplary damages, therefore, can be
awarded, not only in the presence of an aggravating circumstance, but also where the circumstances of the case show
the highly reprehensible or outrageous conduct of the offender. In much the same way as Article 2230 prescribes an
instance when exemplary damages may be awarded, Article 2229, the main provision, lays down the very basis of the
award."72
Thus, we affirm the Court of Appeals award of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages. The
award of exemplary damages is, however, increased to P30,000.00 in accordance with the prevailing jurisprudence. As

held in People v. Combate,73 when the circumstances surrounding the crime call for the imposition of reclusion perpetua
only, the proper amounts that should be awarded are P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages
and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages.
In lieu of actual or compensatory damages, the Court further orders the award of P25,000.00 temperate damages to the
heirs of the two victims in this case. The award of P25,000.00 for temperate damages in homicide or murder cases is
proper when no evidence of burial and funeral expenses is presented in the trial court. Under Article 2224 of the Civil
Code, temperate damages may be recovered, as it cannot be denied that the heirs of the victim suffered pecuniary loss,
although the exact amount was not proven.74
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby AFFIRMS with MODIFICATION the Decision dated August 21, 2007 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 00282. The accused-appellant Rosendo Rebucan y Lamsin is found GUILTY of two (2)
counts of murder for the deaths of Felipe Lagera and Ranil Tagpis, Jr. and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty
of reclusion perpetua for each count. The accused-appellant is further ordered to indemnify the respective heirs of the
victims Felipe Lagera and Ranil Tagpis, Jr. the amounts of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity,P50,000.00 as moral
damages, P30,000.00 as exemplary damages and P25,000.00 as temperate damages for each victim, plus legal interest
on all damages awarded at the rate of 6% from the date of the finality of this decision. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

*Footnotes:
45

The entire provision states:

Art. 248. Murder. Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246, shall kill another, shall be guilty of
murder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death, if committed with any of the following attendant
circumstances:
1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed men, or employing means to
weaken the defense or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity;
2. In consideration of a price, reward, or promise;
3. By means of inundation, fire, poison, explosion, shipwreck, stranding of a vessel, derailment of or assault upon
a railroad, fall of an airship, or by means of motor vehicles, or with the use of any other means involving great
waste and ruin;
4. On occasion of any of the calamities enumerated in the preceding paragraph, or of an earthquake, eruption of a
volcano, destructive cyclone, epidemic or other public calamity;
5. With evident premeditation;
6. With cruelty, by deliberately and inhumanly augmenting the suffering of the victim, or outraging or scoffing at
his person or corpse. (As amended by Republic Act No. 7659.)
Art. 246. Parricide. Any person who shall kill his father, mother, or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or any of
his ascendants, or descendants, or his spouse, shall be guilty of parricide and shall be punished by the penalty of
reclusion perpetua to death. (As amended by Republic Act No. 7659.)
46

47

Revised Penal Code, Article 14, par. 16, as amended.

Art. 63. Rules for the application of indivisible penalties. In all cases in which the law prescribes a single indivisible
penalty, it shall be applied by the courts regardless of any mitigating or aggravating circumstances that may have
attended the commission of the deed.
67

In all cases in which the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties, the following rules shall
be observed in the application thereof:

xxxx
3. When the commission of the act is attended by some mitigating circumstances and there is no aggravating
circumstance, the lesser penalty shall be applied.

CONTINENTAL CEMENT CORPORATION


vs.
ASEA BROWN BOVERI, INC., BBC BROWN BOVERI, CORP., AND TORD B. ERIKSON
G.R. No. 171660

October 17, 2011

"Except as provided by law or by stipulation, one is entitled to an adequate compensation only for such pecuniary loss
suffered by him as he has duly proved. Such compensation is referred to as actual or compensatory damages." 1
This Petition for Review on Certiorari2 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assails the Decision 3 dated August 25, 2005
and the Resolution4 dated February 16, 2006 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 58551.
Factual Antecedents
Sometime in July 1990, petitioner Continental Cement Corporation (CCC),
a corporation engaged in the business of producing cement,5 obtained the services of respondents6 Asea Brown Boveri,
Inc. (ABB) and BBC Brown Boveri, Corp. to repair its 160 KW Kiln DC Drive Motor (Kiln Drive Motor). 7
On October 23, 1991, due to the repeated failure of respondents to repair the Kiln Drive Motor, petitioner filed with Branch
101 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City a Complaint8 for sum of money and damages, docketed as Civil
Case No. Q-91-10419, against respondent corporations and respondent Tord B. Eriksson (Eriksson), Vice-President of
the Service Division of the respondent ABB.9 Petitioner alleged that:
4. On July 11, 1990, the plaintiff delivered the 160 KW Kiln DC Drive Motor to the defendants to be repaired under
PO No. 17136-17137, x x x
The defendant, Tord B. Eriksson, was personally directing the repair of the said Kiln Drive Motor. He has direction
and control of the business of the defendant corporations. Apparently, the defendant Asea Brown Boveri, Inc. has
no separate personality because of the 4,000 shares of stock, 3996 shares were subscribed by Honorio Poblador,
Jr. The four other stockholders subscribed for one share of stock each only.
5. After the first repair by the defendants, the 160 KW Kiln Drive Motor was installed for testing on October 3,
1990. On October 4, 1990 the test failed. The plaintiff removed the DC Drive Motor and replaced it with its old
motor. It was only on October 9, 1990 that the plaintiff resumed operation. The plaintiff lost 1,040 MTD per day
from October 5 to October 9, 1990.
6. On November 14, 1990, after the defendants had undertaken the second repair of the motor in question, it was
installed in the kiln. The test failed again. The plaintiff resumed operation with its old motor on November 19,
1990. The plaintiff suffered production losses for five days at the rate of 1,040 MTD daily.
7. The defendants were given a third chance to repair the 160 KW Kiln DC Drive Motor.1avvphi1 On March 13,
1991, the motor was installed and tested. Again, the test failed. The plaintiff resumed operation on March 15,
1991. The plaintiff sustained production losses at the rate of 1,040 MTD for two days.
8. As a consequence of the failure of the defendants to comply with their contractual obligation to repair the 160
KW Kiln DC Drive Motor, the plaintiff sustained the following losses:
(a) Production and opportunity losses - P10,600,000.00
This amount represents only about 25% of the production losses at the rate of P72.00 per bag of cement.
(b) Labor Cost and Rental of Crane - 26,965.78
(c) Penalties (at P987.25 a day) for
failure to deliver the motor from
Aug. 29, 1990 to July 31, 1991. - 331,716.00

(d) Cost of money interest of the


P987.25 a day from July 18, 1990
to April 5, 1991 at 34% for 261 days - 24,335.59
Total Damages 10,983,017.42
9. The plaintiff has made several demands on the defendants for the payment of the above-enumerated
damages, but the latter refused to do so without valid justification.
10. The plaintiff was constrained to file this action and has undertaken to pay its counsel Twenty Percentum
(20%) of the amount sought to be recovered as attorneys fees.10
Respondents, however, claimed that under Clause 7 of the General Conditions,11 attached to the letter of offer12dated July
4, 1990 issued by respondent ABB to petitioner, the liability of respondent ABB "does not extend to consequential
damages either direct or indirect."13 Moreover, as to respondent Eriksson, there is no lawful and tenable reason for
petitioner to sue him in his personal capacity because he did not personally direct the repair of the Kiln Drive Motor. 14
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
On August 30, 1995, the RTC rendered a Decision15 in favor of petitioner. The RTC rejected the defense of limited liability
interposed by respondents since they failed to prove that petitioner received a copy of the General
Conditions.16 Consequently, the RTC granted petitioners claims for production loss, labor cost and rental of crane, and
attorneys fees.17 Thus:
WHEREFORE, premises above considered, finding the complaint substantiated by plaintiff, judgment is hereby rendered
in favor of plaintiff and against defendants, hereby ordering the latter to pay jointly and severally the former, the following
sums:
P10,600,00.00 for loss of production;
P 26,965.78 labor cost and rental of crane;
P 100,000.00 attorneys fees and cost.
SO ORDERED.18
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
On appeal, the CA reversed the ruling of the RTC. The CA applied the exculpatory clause in the General Conditions and
ruled that there is no implied warranty on repair work; thus, the repairman cannot be made to pay for loss of production as
a result of the unsuccessful repair.19 The fallo of the CA Decision20 reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed August 30, 1995 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City,
Branch 101 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The October 23, 1991 Complaint is herebyDISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.21
Petitioner moved for reconsideration22 but the CA denied the same in its Resolution23 dated February 16, 2006.
Issues
Hence, the present recourse where petitioner interposes the following issues:
1. Whether x x x the [CA] gravely erred in applying the terms of the "General Conditions" of Purchase Orders Nos.
17136 and 17137 to exculpate the respondents x x x from liability in this case.
2. Whether x x x the [CA] seriously erred in applying the concepts of implied warranty and warranty against
hidden defects of the New Civil Code in order to exculpate the respondents x x x from its contractual obligation. 24

Petitioners Arguments
Petitioner reiterates that the General Conditions cannot exculpate respondents because petitioner never agreed to be
bound by it nor did petitioner receive a copy of it.25 Petitioner also imputes error on the part of the CA in applying the
concepts of warranty against hidden defects and implied warranty. 26 Petitioner contends that these concepts are not
applicable because the instant case does not involve a contract of sale. 27 What applies are Articles 1170 and 2201 of
the Civil Code.28
Respondents Arguments
Conversely, respondents insist that petitioner is bound by the General Conditions. 29 By issuing Purchase Order Nos.
17136-37, petitioner in effect accepted the General Conditions appended to respondent ABBs letter of
offer.30 Respondents likewise defend the ruling of the CA that there could be no implied warranty on the repair made by
respondent ABB as the warranty of the fitness of the equipment should be enforced directly against the manufacturer of
the Kiln Drive Motor.31 Respondents also deny liability for damages claiming that they performed their obligation in good
faith.32
Our Ruling
The petition has merit.
Petitioner and respondent ABB entered into a contract for the repair of petitioners Kiln Drive Motor, evidenced by
Purchase Order Nos. 17136-37,33 with the following terms and conditions:
a) Total Price: P197,450.00
b) Delivery Date: August 29, 1990 or six (6) weeks from receipt of order and down payment 34
c) Penalty: One half of one percent of the total cost or Nine Hundred Eighty Seven Pesos and Twenty five
centavos (P987.25) per day of delay.
Respondent ABB, however, not only incurred delay in performing its obligation but likewise failed to repair the Kiln Drive
Motor; thus, prompting petitioner to sue for damages.
Clause 7 of the General Conditions is not binding on petitioner
Respondents contend that under Clause 7 of the General Conditions their liability "does not extend to consequential
damages either direct or indirect."35 This contention, however, is unavailing because respondents failed to show that
petitioner was duly furnished with a copy of said General Conditions. Hence, it is not binding on petitioner.
Having breached the contract it entered with petitioner, respondent ABB is liable for damages pursuant to Articles 1167,
1170, and 2201 of the Civil Code, which state:
Art. 1167. If a person obliged to do something fails to do it, the same shall be executed at his cost.
This same rule shall be observed if he does it in contravention of the tenor of the obligation. Furthermore, it may be
decreed that what has been poorly done be undone.
Art. 1170. Those who in the performance of their obligations are guilty of fraud, negligence, or delay, and those who in
any manner contravene the tenor thereof, are liable for damages.
Art. 2201. In contracts and quasi-contracts, the damages for which the obligor who acted in good faith is liable shall be
those that are the natural and probable consequences of the breach of the obligation, and which the parties have
foreseen or could have reasonably foreseen at the time the obligation was constituted.
In case of fraud, bad faith, malice or wanton attitude, the obligor shall be responsible for all damages which may be
reasonably attributed to the non-performance of the obligation.

Based on the foregoing, a repairman who fails to perform his obligation is liable to pay for the cost of the execution of the
obligation plus damages. Though entitled, petitioner in this case is not claiming reimbursement for the repair allegedly
done by Newton Contractor,36 but is instead asking for damages for the delay caused by respondent ABB.
Petitioner is entitled to penalties under Purchase Order Nos. 17136-37
As per Purchase Order Nos. 17136-37, petitioner is entitled to penalties in the amount of P987.25 per day from the time of
delay, August 30, 1990, up to the time the Kiln Drive Motor was finally returned to petitioner. Records show that although
the testing of Kiln Drive Motor was done on March 13, 1991, the said motor was actually delivered to petitioner as early as
January 7, 1991.37 The installation and testing was done only on March 13, 1991 upon the request of petitioner because
the Kiln was under repair at the time the motor was delivered; hence, the load testing had to be postponed. 38
Under Article 122639 of the Civil Code, the penalty clause takes the place of indemnity for damages and the payment of
interests in case of non-compliance with the obligation, unless there is a stipulation to the contrary. In this case, since
there is no stipulation to the contrary, the penalty in the amount of P987.25 per day of delay covers all other damages (i.e.
production loss, labor cost, and rental of the crane) claimed by petitioner.
Petitioner is not entitled to recover production loss, labor cost and the rental of crane
Article 1226 of the Civil Code further provides that if the obligor refuses to pay the penalty, such as in the instant
case, 40 damages and interests may still be recovered on top of the penalty. Damages claimed must be the natural and
probable consequences of the breach, which the parties have foreseen or could have reasonably foreseen at the time the
obligation was constituted.41
Thus, in addition to the penalties, petitioner seeks to recover as damages production loss, labor cost and the rental of the
crane.
Petitioner avers that every time the Kiln Drive Motor is tested, petitioner had to rent a crane and pay for labor to install the
motor.42 But except for the Summary of Claims for Damages,43 no other evidence was presented by petitioner to show
that it had indeed rented a crane or that it incurred labor cost to install the motor.
Petitioner likewise claims that as a result of the delay in the repair of the Kiln Drive Motor, its production from August 29,
1990 to March 15, 1991 decreased since it had to use its old motor which was not able to produce cement as much as the
one under repair;44 and that every time the said motor was installed and tested, petitioner had to stop its operations;
thereby, incurring more production losses.45 To support its claim, petitioner presented its monthly production reports46 for
the months of April to June 1990 showing that on the average it was able to produce 1040 MT of cement per day.
However, the production reports for the months of August 1990 to March 1991 were not presented. Without these
production reports, it cannot be determined with reasonable certainty whether petitioner indeed incurred production losses
during the said period. It may not be amiss to say that competent proof and a reasonable degree of certainty are needed
to justify a grant of actual or compensatory damages; speculations, conjectures, assertions or guesswork are not
sufficient.47
Besides, consequential damages, such as loss of profits on account of delay or failure of delivery, may be recovered only
if such damages were reasonably foreseen or have been brought within the contemplation of the parties as the probable
result of a breach at the time of or prior to contracting.48 Considering the nature of the obligation in the instant case,
respondent ABB, at the time it agreed to repair petitioners Kiln Drive Motor, could not have reasonably foreseen that it
would be made liable for production loss, labor cost and rental of the crane in case it fails to repair the motor or incurs
delay in delivering the same, especially since the motor under repair was a spare motor. 49
For the foregoing reasons, petitioner is not entitled to recover production loss, labor cost and the rental of the crane.
Petitioner is not entitled to attorneys fees
Neither is petitioner entitled to the award of attorneys fees. Jurisprudence requires that the factual basis for the award of
attorneys fees must be set forth in the body of the decision and not in the dispositive portion only. 50 In this case, no
explanation was given by the RTC in awarding attorneys fees in favor of petitioner. In fact, the award of attorneys fees
was mentioned only in the dispositive portion of the decision.
Respondent Eriksson cannot be made jointly and severally liable for the penalties

Respondent Eriksson, however, cannot be made jointly and severally liable for the penalties. There is no showing that
respondent Eriksson directed or participated in the repair of the Kiln Drive Motor or that he is guilty of bad faith or gross
negligence in directing the affairs of respondent ABB. It is a basic principle that a corporation has a personality separate
and distinct from the persons composing or representing it; hence, personal liability attaches only in exceptional cases,
such as when the director, trustee, or officer is guilty of bad faith or gross negligence in directing the affairs of the
corporation.51
In sum, we find petitioner entitled to penalties in the amount of P987.25 per day from August 30, 1990 up to January 7,
1991 (131 days) or a total amount of P129,329.75 for the delay caused by respondent ABB. Finally, we impose interest at
the rate of six percent (6%) on the total amount due from the date of filing of the complaint until finality of this Decision.
However, from the finality of judgment until full payment of the total award, the interest rate of twelve percent (12%) shall
apply.52
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The assailed Decision dated August 25, 2005 and the Resolution dated
February 16, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 58551 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
Respondent ABB is ORDERED to pay petitioner the amount of P129,329.75, with interest at 6% per annum to be
computed from the date of the filing of the complaint until finality of this Decision and 12% per annum thereafter until full
payment.
SO ORDERED.

*Footnotes:
1

Civil Code, Article 2199.

11

Id. at 95. Clause 7 provides:


Clause 7. GENERAL LIABILITY AND MAINTENANCE GUARANTEE
All machinery and apparatus for our manufacture is guaranteed to be of high grade material and of good and
careful workmanship and we undertake to correct and make good any defect or defects which may develop under
normal and proper use within the guarantee period and which are due solely to faulty design, material, or
workmanship, provided always that we are notified immediately after the defect is discovered and that such
defective parts are promptly returned. The repaired or new parts will be delivered free or in the case of goods for
exports f.o.b. Defective parts thus replaced remain our property. Unless otherwise stated in the tender or order
confirmation the guarantee period is twelve months for all ordinary machinery and apparatus operated under
normal conditions. The guarantee period is reckoned from the date delivery is made, or if delivery cannot be
made on account of delays caused by circumstances beyond our control, from the date the goods are ready for
dispatch at our premises. All liability on our part ceases at the termination of the guarantee period.
Our liability is in all cases limited as provided in these conditions and does not extend to consequential loss either
direct or indirect, nor to expenses for repair or replacements or otherwise paid or incurred without our written
authority.

39

Art. 1226. In obligations with a penal clause, the penalty shall substitute the indemnity for damages and the payment of
interests in case of noncompliance, if there is no stipulation to the contrary. Nevertheless, damages shall be paid if the
obligor refuses to pay the penalty or is guilty of fraud in the fulfillment of the obligation.
The penalty may be enforced only when it is demandable in accordance with the provisions of this Code.
41

Civil Code, Article 1174.

EMERITA M. DE GUZMAN vs. ANTONIO M. TUMOLVA


G.R. No. 188072

October 19, 2011

This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court assailing the February 24, 2009
Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) and its May 26, 2009 Resolution2 in CA-G.R. SP. No. 104945 entitled "Antonio M.
Tumolva v. Emerita M. De Guzman."
The Facts
On September 6, 2004, petitioner Emerita M. De Guzman (De Guzman), represented by her attorneys-in-fact, Lourdes
Rivera and Dhonna Chan, and respondent Antonio Tumolva, doing business under the name and style A.M. Tumolva
Engineering Works (the Contractor), entered into a Construction Agreement3 (Agreement) for the construction of an
orphanage consisting of an administration building, directors/guests house, dining and service building, childrens
dormitory, male staff house, and covered walkways in Brgy. Pulong Bunga, Purok 4, Silang, Cavite, for a contract price
of P 15,982,150.39. Incorporated in the Agreement was the plan and specifications of the perimeter fence. The
Contractor, however, made deviations from the agreed plan4 with respect to the perimeter fence of the orphanage.
On September 6, 2005, after the completion of the project, De Guzman issued a Certificate of Acceptance. For his part,
the Contractor issued a quitclaim acknowledging the termination of the contract and the full compliance therewith by De
Guzman.
In November 2006, during typhoon "Milenyo," a portion of the perimeter fence collapsed and other portions tilted. In her
Letter dated December 5, 2006, De Guzman, through counsel, demanded the repair of the fence in accordance with the
plan. In response, the Contractor claimed that the destruction of the fence was an act of God and expressed willingness to
discuss the matter to avoid unnecessary litigation. De Guzman, however, reiterated her demand for the restoration of the
wall without additional cost on her part, or in the alternative, for the Contractor to make an offer of a certain amount by
way of compensation for the damages she sustained. Her demand was not heeded.
On February 14, 2008, De Guzman filed a Request for Arbitration5 of the dispute before the Construction Industry
Arbitration Commission (CIAC). She alleged that the Contractor deliberately defrauded her in the construction of the
perimeter fence by "under sizing the required column rebars from 12mm. based on the plan to only 10mm., the required
concrete hollow blocks from #6 to #5, and the distance between columns from 3.0m to 4.3m." 6Further, the Contractor
neither anchored the lenten beams to the columns nor placed drains or weepholes along the lower walls. She prayed for
an award of actual, moral and exemplary damages, as well as attorneys fees and expenses of litigation, and for the
inspection and technical assessment of the construction project and the rectification of any defect.
In his Answer with Counterclaim, the Contractor denied liability for the damaged fence claiming, among others, that its
destruction was an act of God. He admitted making deviations from the plan, but pointed out that the same were made
with the knowledge and consent of De Guzman through her representatives, Architect Quin Baterna and Project Engineer
Rodello Santos (Engineer Santos), who were present during the construction of the fence. He further argued that pursuant
to the Agreement, the claim for damages was already barred by the 12-month period from the issuance of the Certificate
of Acceptance of the project within which to file the claim. He, thus, prayed for the dismissal of the action and interposed a
counterclaim for actual and compensatory damages for the additional work/change orders made on the project in the
amount of P 2,046,500.00, attorneys fees and litigation expenses.
After due proceedings, the CIAC issued the Award dated July 17, 2008 in favor of De Guzman, the dispositive portion of
which reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered and AWARD is made on the monetary claims of Claimant EMERITA M. DE
GUZMAN, directing Respondent Contractor ANTONIO M. TUMOLVA, to pay her the following amounts:
P 187,509.00 as actual damages for reconstructing the collapsed and damaged perimeter fence.
Interest is awarded on the foregoing amount at the legal rate of 6% per annum computed from the date of this Award.
After finality thereof, interest at the rate of 12% per annum shall be paid thereon until full payment of the awarded amount
shall have been made, "this interim period being deemed to be at that time already a forbearance of credit" (Eastern
Shipping Lines, Inc. v. Court of Appeals (243 SCRA 78 [1994])

P 100,000.00 as moral damages.


P 100,000.00 as exemplary damages.
P 50,000.00 for attorneys fees and expenses of litigation.
P 437,509.00 TOTAL AMOUNT DUE THE CLAIMANT
The CIAC staff is hereby directed to make the necessary computation of how much has been paid by Claimant as its
proportionate share of the arbitration costs totaling P 110,910.44, which computed amount shall be reimbursed by
Respondent to the Claimant.
SO ORDERED.7
Aggrieved, the Contractor filed before the CA a Petition for Review with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining
order, challenging the CIACs award of damages in favor of De Guzman.
On February 24, 2009, the CA modified the Award rendered by CIAC. The dispositive portion of the decision states:
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is partly GRANTED. The assailed Award dated July 17, 2008 rendered by the CIAC in
CIAC Case No. 03-2008 is hereby MODIFIED, deleting the award of actual, moral and exemplary damages, but awarding
temperate damages in the amount of P 100,000.00 for reconstructing the collapsed and damaged perimeter fence. The
rest of the Award stands.
SO ORDERED.8
The CA held that although the Contractor deviated from the plan, CIACs award of actual damages was not proper
inasmuch as De Guzman failed to establish its extent with reasonable certainty. The CA, however, found it appropriate to
award temperate damages considering that De Guzman suffered pecuniary loss as a result of the collapse of the
perimeter fence due to the Contractors negligence and violation of his undertakings in the Agreement. It further ruled that
there was no basis for awarding moral damages reasoning out that De Guzmans worry for the safety of the children in the
orphanage was insufficient to justify the award. Likewise, it could not sustain the award of exemplary damages as there
was no showing that the Contractor acted in wanton, reckless, fraudulent, oppressive, or malevolent manner.
De Guzman filed a motion for reconsideration of the said decision, but it was denied for lack of merit by the CA in its
Resolution dated May 26, 2009.
Hence, De Guzman interposed the present petition before this Court anchored on the following
GROUNDS
(I)
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD FAILED TO SUFFICIENTLY
ESTABLISH THE AMOUNT OF ACTUAL DAMAGES THAT PETITIONER DE GUZMAN CAN RECOVER FROM THE
RESPONDENT.
(II)
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT PETITIONER DE GUZMAN IS NOT ENTITLED TO AWARDS
OF MORAL AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES.9
De Guzman argues inter alia that the Contractor is liable for the actual damages that she suffered from the collapse of the
perimeter fence. He failed to put weep holes on the collapsed portion of the said fence, which could have relieved the
pressure from the wet soil of the adjoining higher ground.
De Guzman adds that the computation of the cost of rebuilding the collapsed portion of the perimeter fence by Engineer
Santos constituted substantial evidence warranting an award of actual damages. His affidavit served as his direct

testimony in the case even if he did not appear during the hearing. Having been notarized, it must be admissible in
evidence without further proof of authenticity.
Further, De Guzman questions the CAs deletion of the award for moral and exemplary damages. She insists that her
anxiety and suffering over the safety of the children in the orphanage entitled her to an award of moral damages. It is
likewise her position that the Contractors wanton acts of deliberately cheating the benefactors of the orphanage by
making deviations on the approved plan through the use of construction materials of inferior quality warranted the
imposition of exemplary damages against the Contractor.
The Courts ruling
There is no doubt that De Guzman incurred damages as a result of the collapse of the perimeter fence. The Contractor is
clearly guilty of negligence and, therefore, liable for the damages caused. As correctly found by the CA:
Nonetheless, the Court sustains the CIACs conclusion that the CONTRACTOR was negligent in failing to place
weepholes on the collapsed portion of the perimeter fence. Fault or negligence of the obligor consists in his failure to
exercise due care and prudence in the performance of the obligation as the nature of the obligation so demands, taking
into account the particulars of each case. It should be emphasized that even if not provided for in the plan, the
CONTRACTOR himself admitted the necessity of putting weepholes and claimed to have actually placed them in view of
the higher ground elevation of the adjacent lot vis--vis the level ground of the construction site. Since he was the one
who levelled the ground and was, thus, aware that the lowest portion of the adjoining land was nearest the perimeter
fence, he should have ensured that sufficient weepholes were placed because water would naturally flow towards the
fence.
However, the CONTRACTOR failed to refute Mr. Ramos claim that the collapsed portion of the perimeter fence lacked
weepholes. Records also show that the omission of such weepholes and/or their being plastered over resulted from his
failure to exercise the requisite degree of supervision over the work, which is the same reason he was unable to discover
the deviations from the plan until the fence collapsed. Hence, the CONTRACTOR cannot be relieved from liability
therefor.10
The Court finds no compelling reason to deviate from this factual finding by the CIAC, as affirmed by the CA. It is settled
that findings of fact of quasi-judicial bodies, which have acquired expertise because their jurisdiction is confined to specific
matters, are generally accorded not only respect, but also finality, especially when affirmed by the CA. In particular,
factual findings of construction arbitrators are final and conclusive and not reviewable by this Court on appeal. 11
CIACs award of actual damages, however, is indeed not proper under the circumstances as there is no concrete
evidence to support the plea. In determining actual damages, one cannot rely on mere assertions, speculations,
conjectures or guesswork, but must depend on competent proof and on the best evidence obtainable regarding specific
facts that could afford some basis for measuring compensatory or actual damages. 12 Article 2199 of the New Civil Code
defines actual or compensatory damages as follows:
Art. 2199. Except as provided by law or by stipulation, one is entitled to an adequate compensation only for such
pecuniary loss suffered by him as he has duly proved. Such compensation is referred to as actual or compensatory
damages.
Unfortunately, De Guzman failed to adduce evidence to satisfactorily prove the amount of actual damage incurred.
Contrary to her assertion, the handwritten calculation of reconstruction costs made by Engineer Santos and attached to
his affidavit cannot be given any probative value because he never took the witness stand to affirm the veracity of his
allegations in his affidavit and be cross-examined on them. In this regard, it is well to quote the ruling of the Court in the
case of Tating v. Marcella,13 to wit:
There is no issue on the admissibility of the subject sworn statement. However, the admissibility of evidence should not be
equated with weight of evidence. The admissibility of evidence depends on its relevance and competence while the
weight of evidence pertains to evidence already admitted and its tendency to convince and persuade. Thus, a particular
item of evidence may be admissible, but its evidentiary weight depends on judicial evaluation within the guidelines
provided by the rules of evidence. It is settled that affidavits are classified as hearsay evidence since they are not
generally prepared by the affiant but by another who uses his own language in writing the affiants statements, which may
thus be either omitted or misunderstood by the one writing them. Moreover, the adverse party is deprived of the
opportunity to cross-examine the affiant. For this reason, affidavits are generally rejected for being hearsay, unless the
affiants themselves are placed on the witness stand to testify thereon.

Neither is there any evidence presented to substantiate Engineer Santos computation of the reconstruction costs. For
such computation to be considered, there must be some other relevant evidence to corroborate the same. 14Thus, the CA
was correct in disregarding the affidavit of Engineer Santos for being hearsay and in not giving probative weight to it.
There being no tangible document or concrete evidence to support the award of actual damages, the same cannot be
sustained.
Nevertheless, De Guzman is indeed entitled to temperate damages as provided under Article 2224 of the Civil Code for
the loss she suffered. When pecuniary loss has been suffered but the amount cannot, from the nature of the case, be
proven with certainty, temperate damages may be recovered. Temperate damages may be allowed in cases where from
the nature of the case, definite proof of pecuniary loss cannot be adduced, although the court is convinced that the
aggrieved party suffered some pecuniary loss.15 Undoubtedly, De Guzman suffered pecuniary loss brought about by the
collapse of the perimeter fence by reason of the Contractors negligence and failure to comply with the specifications. As
she failed to prove the exact amount of damage with certainty as required by law, the CA was correct in awarding
temperate damages, in lieu of actual damages. However, after weighing carefully the attendant circumstances and taking
into account the cost of rebuilding the damaged portions of the perimeter fence, the amount of P 100,000.00 awarded to
De Guzman should be increased. This Court, in recognition of the pecuniary loss suffered, finds the award
of P 150,000.00 by way of temperate damages as reasonable and just under the premises.
As to the CIACs award of P 100,000.00 as moral damages, this Court is one with the CA that De Guzman is not entitled
to such an award. The record is bereft of any proof that she actually suffered moral damages as contemplated in Article
2217 of the Code, which provides:
Art. 2217. Moral damages include physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation,
wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injury. Though incapable of pecuniary computation, moral
damages may be recovered if they are the proximate result of the defendants wrongful act or omission.
Certainly, the award of moral damages must be anchored on a clear showing that she actually experienced mental
anguish, besmirched reputation, sleepless nights, wounded feelings, or similar injury. There could not have been a better
witness to this experience than De Guzman herself.16 Her testimony, however, did not provide specific details of the
suffering she allegedly went through after the fence collapsed while she was miles away in the United States. As the CA
aptly observed, "the testimony of the OWNER as to her worry for the safety of the children in the orphanage is insufficient
to establish entitlement thereto."17 Since an award of moral damages is predicated on a categorical showing by the
claimant that she actually experienced emotional and mental sufferings, it must be disallowed absent any evidence
thereon.18
Moreover, under the aforequoted provision, moral damages cannot be recovered as the perimeter fence collapsed in the
midst of the strong typhoon "Milenyo." It was not clearly established that the destruction was the proximate result of the
Contractors act of making deviation from the plan. As correctly concluded by the CA, viz:
However, while it cannot be denied that the Contractor deviated from the plan, there was no clear showing whether the
same caused or contributed to the collapse/tilting of the subject perimeter fence. No competent evidence was presented
to establish such fact. As the CIAC itself acknowledged, "(t)here is no way by which to accurately resolve this issue by the
evidence submitted by the parties." The statement of Edwin B. Ramos, Engineering Aide at the Office of the Municipal
Engineer of Silang, Cavite, who conducted an ocular inspection of the collapsed perimeter fence, that the observed
deviations from the plan "affected the strength of the fence and made it weaker, such that its chance of withstanding the
pressure of water from the other side thereof was greatly diminished or affected" was merely an expression of opinion. As
he himself admitted, he is not qualified to render an expert opinion. 19
Further, De Guzman was not able to show that her situation fell within any of the cases enumerated in Article 2219 20 of
the Civil Code upon which to base her demand for the award of moral damages.
Neither does the breach of contract committed by the Contractor, not being fraudulent or made in bad faith, warrant the
grant of moral damages under Article 2220 which provides that:
Art. 2220. Willful injury to property may be a legal ground for awarding moral damages if the court should find that, under
the circumstances, such damages are justly due. The same rule applies to breaches of contract where the defendant
acted fraudulently or in bad faith.
De Guzman cannot be awarded exemplary damages either, in the absence of any evidence showing that the Contractor
acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or malevolent manner as provided in Article 2232 of the Civil Code.

The ruling in the case of Nakpil and Sons v. Court of Appeals,21 relied upon by De Guzman, where it was emphasized that
the wanton negligence in effecting the plans, designs, specifications, and construction of a building is equivalent to bad
faith in the performance of the assigned task, finds no application in the case at bench. As already pointed out, there is
negligence on the part of Contractor, but it is neither wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, nor malevolent.
The award of exemplary damages cannot be made merely on the allegation of De Guzman that the Contractors
deviations from the plans and specifications without her written consent was deplorable and condemnable. The Court
regards the deviations as excusable due to the unavailability of the approved construction materials. Besides, these were
made known to De Guzmans project manager who was present all the time during the construction. Indeed, no deliberate
intent on the part of the Contractor to defraud the orphanages benefactors was ever shown, much less proved. As may
be gleaned from his testimony:
xxx
2.2.0 : What can you say to the claim that the column rebars were reduced in size from 12mm to 10mm?
A : That is untrue.
2.2.1 : Why did you say that it was untrue?
A : Because the column rebars that we used is 12mm and not 10mm contrary to the claim of the claimant. The column
rebars that claimant and his engineers claimed to have been undersized [were] those already subjected to stretching. Due
to the lateral load on the perimeter fence coming from the water that accumulated thereon, the strength of the column
bars was subjected to such kind of force beyond its capacity thereby resulting them to yield or "mapatid." As a result of
such stretching, the column rebars were deformed thereby causing it [to] change its width but the length was extended.
You can compare it to a candy like "tira-tira" which if you stretch it becomes longer but its width is reduced. The other
column rebars on the perimeter fence which [were] not subjected to stretching will prove what I am stating.
2.2.2 : Also, in the said request for arbitration, it was claimed that the required hollow blocks (CHB) was reduced also from
#6 to #5, how would you explain this?
A : It is true but such deviation was known to them in view of the fact that there was no available CHB #6 in Silang, Cavite
and so to save on the travel cost in bringing materials from Manila to the site, it was agreed that such CHB #5 shall be
used instead.
2.2.3 : What was the effect of such deviation in using CHB #5 instead of CHB #6?
A : No effect, madam.
2.2.4 : Why did you state so, Mr. Witness?
A : Because the entire area of the land which is being secured by the perimeter fence was fully covered with the fence
which is made of CHB. This simply implies that even though we used a much lesser size of CHB, but we increased the
compressive strength of the mortar and filler used in the premises. This has really no effect because we cover the entire
place with fence.
2.2.5 : It was also claimed that the distance between columns was deviated from 3.0 m. to 4.0 m, will you please explain
this matter.
A : The computation of the distance between the columns of the perimeter fence as appearing on the plan was 3.0 m
inside to inside. However, the computation made by the engineer of the claimant as alleged in their Request for Arbitration
was 4.0 m. outside to outside which should be 3.6 m. outside to outside as correct distance.
2.2.6 : It now appears from your statement that there was a deviation as between the 3.0 m. inside to inside computation
in the plan and the actual 3.6 m. outside to outside computation made by the engineers of the claimant. My question Mr.
Witness is, what would be the effect of such deviation on the columns?

A : It is true that there was such a deviation on the distance of the column but it will have no effect because still the factor
of safety was well provided for. Even the existing law on building construction supports this matter. I even sought
Engineer Rommel Amante on the matter and his report supports my allegation.
2.2.7 : Was such deviation approved by the claimant or the representatives of the claimant?
A : Yes because during all the time the construction of the perimeter fence was done, the project manager of the claimant
was present and observing the works. Further, they have executed a Certificate of Final Acceptance of the project.22
xxx
As regards the award of attorneys fees, the Court upholds De Guzmans entitlement to reasonable attorneys fees,
although it recognizes that it is a sound policy not to set a premium on the right to litigate.23 It must be recalled that De
Guzmans repeated demands for the repair of the fence or the payment of damages by way of compensation, were not
heeded by the Contractor. The latters unjust refusal to satisfy De Guzmans valid, just and demandable claim constrained
her to litigate and incur expenses to protect her interest. Article 2208 of the Civil Code, thus, provides:
Art. 2208. In the absence of stipulation, attorneys fees and expenses of litigation, other than judicial costs, cannot be
recovered, except:
xxx
(2) When the defendants act or omission has compelled the plaintiff to litigate with third persons or to incur expenses to
protect his interest;
xxx
Finally, the dismissal of the Contractors counterclaim is sustained for lack of merit.1avvphi1 In his Comment24 and
Memorandum,25 the Contractor pleaded that damages should have been awarded to him. This deserves scant
consideration. A perusal of the record reveals that the matter as regards the return of what he had donated by reason of
De Guzmans ingratitude was not among the issues raised in this petition. Thus, the same cannot be taken cognizance by
the Court.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated February 24, 2009 and its Resolution
dated May 26, 2009 are AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the award of P 100,000.00 as temperate damages is
increased to P 150,000.00. The award shall earn interest at the rate of 12% per annum reckoned from the finality of this
judgment until fully paid.
SO ORDERED.

*Footnotes:
20

Art. 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous cases:
(1) A criminal offense resulting in physical injuries;
(2) Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries;
(3) Seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious acts;
(4) Adultery or concubinage;
(5) Illegal or arbitrary detention or arrest;
(6) Illegal search;

(7) Libel, slander or any other form of defamation;


(8) Malicious prosecution;
(9) Acts mentioned in Article 309;
(10) Acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, and 35.
The parents of the female seduced, abducted, raped, or abused, referred to in No. 3 of this article, may also
recover moral damages.
The spouse, descendants, ascendants, and brothers and sisters may bring the action mentioned in No. 9 of this
article, in the order named.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. PATRICIO TAGUIBUYA (accused-appellant)


G.R. No. 180497

October 5, 2011

The accused was charged with two counts of rape and a violation of Republic Act No. 7610, 1 committed against his own
daughter, AAA,2 then a minor. In the first instance of rape (Criminal Case No. 2545), committed in the month of May 1998,
the accused allegedly forced AAA to have sexual intercourse when she was cleaning the rice fields; she was then alleged
to be "a 15 year old minor and his own daughter."3 In the second instance of rape (Criminal Case No. 2546), which took
place on March 15, 2000 and in "the month of May 1998 up to and including March 2000," he allegedly raped AAA, "a 16
year old minor and his own daughter."4 As to the charge of child abuse (Criminal Case No. 2386), committed about "the
month of May 1998 up to and including March 2000," he allegedly "touch(ed), caress(ed) and forcibly inserted his penis
(in)to the private parts (vagina) of AAA, a 17 year old minor, which acts constitute(d) the Violation of Republic Act No.
7610)."5
The accused, pleading not guilty at his arraignment, denied the charges, claiming that AAA had fabricated them in
retaliation for his and his wifes refusal to allow her to go with her boyfriend to Baguio and for the subsequent punishments
he had inflicted on her. He insisted that it was impossible for him to have accosted AAA in the areas where the rapes were
supposedly committed because said areas were visible to others. His wife corroborated his denials.
In its decision promulgated on October 15, 2003,6 the Regional Trial Court (RTC) accorded credence to the testimony of
AAA and found the accused guilty of two counts of qualified rape due to AAA being a minor at the time of the commission
of the rapes and because he had admitted being her father. The RTC acquitted him of the violation of Republic Act No.
7610 on the ground that the information did not allege that AAA had been a "child below eighteen years of age but over
twelve years." Accordingly, the RTC ruled:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused Patricio Taguibuya:
In Criminal Case No. 2545-Bg., GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of qualified rape defined in and penalized
by Article 335, Revised Penal Code, as amended and sentences him to suffer the Supreme Penalty of DEATH and to pay
the costs. The accused is hereby ordered to pay the victim AAA, the amount of Seventy Five Thousand (P75,000.00)
Pesos as civil indemnity and Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos by way of moral damages.
In Criminal Case No. 2546-Bg., GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of qualified rape defined in and penalized
by Article 335, Revised Penal Code, as amended and sentences him to suffer the Supreme Penalty of DEATH and to pay
the costs. The accused is hereby ordered to pay the victim AAA, the amount of Seventy Five Thousand (P75,000.00)
Pesos as civil indemnity and Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos by way of moral damages.
In Criminal Case No. 2386-Bg., for failure of the prosecution to allege in the information that the victim is a "child" below
eighteen years of age but over twelve years which is an essential element of the crime of Violation of Section 5, Republic
Act No. 7610, the accused is hereby acquitted of the charge.
SO ORDERED.7
On March 20, 2007, the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the findings of the RTC, 8 specially taking note of the credibility of
AAA in contrast with the denials by the accused. The CA reduced the penalty of death to reclusion perpetua "with no
possibility of parole for each of the two (2) counts of consummated rape" pursuant to Republic Act No. 9346,9 viz:
WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing, the appealed Joint Decision of the Regional Trial Court dated October 15, 2003 is
hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. The Court sentences appellant Patricio Taguibuya to the penalty of reclusion
perpetua with no possibility of parole for each of the two (2) counts of consummated rape. Appellant is further ORDERED
to indemnify the complainant for each of the two counts of consummated rape the amounts of P75,000.00 as civil
indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages.
SO ORDERED.10
The accused now appeals, assailing the convictions for their being solely based on the testimony of AAA.
We affirm.

To begin with, the accused assails the factual findings of the RTC, including its assessment of the worth of the witnesses
who testified in the trial. We cannot, however, contradict the factual findings, especially because the CA, as the reviewing
tribunal, affirmed them. Such findings are now entitled to great weight and respect, if not conclusiveness, for we accept
that the trial court was in the best position as the original trier of the facts in whose direct presence and under whose keen
observation the witnesses rendered their respective versions of the events that made up the occurrences constituting the
ingredients of the offenses charged. The direct appreciation of testimonial demeanor during examination, veracity,
sincerity and candor was foremost the trial courts domain, not that of a reviewing court that had no similar access to the
witnesses at the time they testified.11 Without the accused persuasively demonstrating that the RTC and the CA
overlooked a material fact that otherwise would change the outcome, or misappreciated a circumstance of consequence
in their assessment of the credibility of the witnesses and of their respective versions, the Court has no ground by which
to reverse their uniform findings as to the facts.
And, secondly, the urging of the accused, that the RTC and the CA should not have accorded faith to the evidence of his
guilt because the only witness presented to prove the accusations was the victim herself, is unworthy of consideration.
Such urging cannot acquit him, considering that it is already settled that the accused in a prosecution for rape can be
convicted on the basis of the sole testimony of the victim provided the victim and her testimony are credible, convincing,
and consistent with human nature and the normal course of things.12Conviction or acquittal in a prosecution for rape has
often depended more often than not almost entirely on the credibility of the victims testimony, for, by the very nature of
the crime, the victim is usually the only one who can testify on its occurrence. At any rate, we also remind that in this
jurisdiction the worth of witnesses has been based on their quality, not on their quantity. Accordingly, the RTC correctly
considered AAA to be forthright and consistent in her recollection of the details of her ordeals at the hands of her own
father.
Nonetheless, there is a need to rectify the judgment of the CA on the civil liabilities. The CA awarded only the civil
indemnity of P75,000.00 and moral damages of P50,000.00 for each of the two counts of rape, and said nothing about
exemplary damages.lawphi1 Its judgment was inadequate in that respect in the face of the prevailing law and
jurisprudence.
Civil indemnity is mandatory upon a finding of the fact of rape; it is distinct from and should not be denominated as moral
damages, which are based on different jural foundations and assessed by the court in the exercise of its discretion.13 In
contrast, moral damages are granted to the victim in rape in such amount as the court shall deem just and reasonable
without the necessity of pleading or proof.14 Indeed, the fact that the victim suffered the trauma of mental, physical and
psychological sufferings that constituted the bases for moral damages is too obvious to still require the recital of such
sufferings by the victim at the trial; the trial court itself assumes and acknowledges her agony as a gauge of her
credibility.15 To expect and to require her to still provide the proof of her pains and sufferings is to demand that she render
a very superfluous testimonial charade.16
Exemplary damages, which are intended to serve as deterrents to serious wrongdoings and as a vindication of undue
sufferings and wanton invasion of the rights of an injured, or as a punishment for those guilty of outrageous conduct,17 are
awarded under Article 2230 of the Civil Code when the crime is committed with one or more aggravating
circumstances.18 In People v. Catubig,19 the Court held that the term aggravating circumstances as used by the Civil Code
should be understood in its broad or generic sense, not in the sense of prescribing a heavier punishment on the offender;
hence, the ordinary or qualifying nature of an aggravating circumstance should be a distinction that was of consequence
only to the criminal, as contrasted from the civil, liability, thereby entitling the offended party or victim to an award of
exemplary damages regardless of whether the aggravating circumstance was ordinary or qualifying.
Being the victim of two counts of qualified rape, AAA, a minor and the daughter of the accused, was entitled to recover for
each count of rape the amounts of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P75,000.00 as moral damages, andP30,000.00 as
exemplary damages (due to the attendance of the qualifying circumstances of minority of AAA and the relationship
between her and the accused). The quantifications accord with jurisprudence. 20
In crimes, interest may be adjudicated in a proper case as part of the damages in the discretion of the court. 21The Court
considers it proper to now impose interest on the civil indemnities, moral damages and exemplary damages being
awarded in this case, considering that there has been delay in the recovery. The imposition is hereby declared to be also
a natural and probable consequence of the acts of the accused complained of.22 The interest imposed is the legal rate of
6% per annum reckoned from the finality of this judgment.
WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on March 20, 2007, subject to the MODIFICATION that
accused Patricio Taguibuya is ORDERED TO PAY to AAA for each of the two counts of qualified rape the amounts
of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P75,000.00 as moral damages, and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages, plus interest of
6% per annum reckoned from the finality of this judgment.

The accused shall pay the costs of suit.


SO ORDERED.

*Footnotes:
1

Entitled An Act Providing For Stronger Deterrence And Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation And
Discrimination, Providing Penalties For Its Violation, And Other Purposes.
2

Pursuant to Republic Act No. 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004), and its implementing
rules, the real name of the victim and the real names of her immediate family members are withheld and, instead, fictitious
initials are used to represent her to protect her privacy. See also People v. Cabalquinto, G.R. No. 167693, September 19,
2006, 502 SCRA 419.
18

Article 2230. In criminal offenses, exemplary damages as a part of the civil liability may be imposed when the crime was
committed with one or more aggravating circumstances. Such damages are separate and distinct from fines and shall be
paid to the offended party.
21

Article 2211, Civil Code.

22

Article 2202, Civil Code, provides:


Article 2202. In crimes and quasi-delicts, the defendant shall be liable for all damages which are the natural and
probable consequences of the act or omission complained of. It is not necessary that such damages have been
foreseen or could have reasonably been foreseen by the defendant.