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VELASCO VS MERALCO MAMUGAY

Facts:

Velasco, a physician, bought 3 adjoining lots in Diliman, Quezon City. He sold the
two lots to Meralco and kept the third one and built a house on it. Later on, Meralco
construted a sub-station without prior building permit. The sub-station emanates
unceasing sound. Velasco now contends that the sound constitutes an actionable
nuisance under Article 694 of CC because it had disturbed his concentration and
sleep and impaired his health and lowered the value of his property and thus he is
seeking for judicial abatement the nuisance and recovery of damages under Art
2202 of CC.

RTC dismissed Velascos claim and ruled that the sound of the substation was
unavoidable and is not a nuisance and that it could not have caused anxiety to
Velasco.

Issue 1: Can Velasco claim damages?

Ruling: Yes. The general rule is that everyone is bound to bear the habitual or
customary inconveniences that result from the proximity of others, and so long as
this level is not surpassed, he may not complain against them. But if the prejudice
exceeds the inconveniences that such proximity habitually brings, the neighbor who
causes such disturbance is held responsible for the resulting damage, being guilty
of causing nuisance.

An inquiry must be made as to the character and intensity of the sound/noise


generated by the substation. Not much help can be obtained from testimonial
evidences because sound is a subjective appreciation. Furthermore, Velasco is
plainly to biased and emotional as to exaggerate his appreciation of the sound.
Thus, the court is constrained to rely on quantitative measurements.

Samplings of sound intensity were taken within the compound of Velasco as well as
near the substation compound. Evidence points to the sound emitted from the
substation transformers were much higher level than the ambient sound of the
locality. Contrary to the finding of the trial court, the noise which continued day and
night constitutes an actionable nuisance.

Although the sound cannot be eliminated, it may be reduced. Meralco must adopt
necessary measures to reduce the sound by replacing the wire fence surrounding
the substation with a partition made of sound absorbent material; it is impractical
and prejudicial to the customers of Meralco if the substation be relocated. Hence,
the practical solution of reducing the noise.

Issue 2: How much van Velasco claim?


Note: Velasco claims the following (he also claims he suffered dieases due to
anxiety):

Loss of professional earnings P12,600 Damage to life expectancy


180,000

Moral damages 100,000 Loss due to frustration of sale of house


125,000

Exemplary damages 25,000 Attorneys' fees 45,000

Ruling: Expert witnesses and medical findings supports Velascos claims of


suffering diseases due to anxiety but there should be a reduction of award for
damages.

First, he has undeclared income. The alleged losses for shortening of life expectancy
is both inflated and speculative. There are also no adequate basis for award of
exemplary and punitive damages. Furthermore, only Velasco claimed suffering in
health in his household, this also should be factored in the computation. Velasco
was also passive in the face of the damage caused to him by the noise by the fact
that he did not take immediate steps to abate the nuisance or remove himself from
the area. Instead, he stayed in the area until his health became gravely affected.

He is entitled to P20,000 moderate and moral damages, P5,000 attorneys fees.